Thursday reading: WCHA column, Winkler, Heil, Rothstein, Enga, Slavvin

I started new irregular features in the weekly WCHA column on USCHO, one focusing on an “unsung hero” for Bemidji State who has a young daughter and wife and still manages to find time to be a league academic honoree and log a lot of quality ice time for the Beavers. The Series Spotlight segment, naturally, deals with CC and Denver this weekend starting the annual battle for the Gold Pan Trophy, pictured.

CC senior Scott Winkler has the best numbers of any NCAA prospect for the Stars, especially in plus/minus.

Chicago Steel forward and CC commit Christian Heil scored two goals in 34 seconds during the third period of Sunday’s 5-2 loss to Indiana.  It gives the 18-year-old five goals over his last four games and pushed him into a tie for third in the USHL with 10 goals this season.

Future Tiger Sam Rothstein scored two goals for the Sioux Falls Stampede Saturday in the team’s USHL-leading eighth home win.

Former Tiger RJ Enga and CC commit Jaccob Slavin played key roles in Team USA’s World Junior A challenge championship. Enga served at an assistant coach while Slavin was an assistant captain.

Former Penn State club coach Joe Battista penned this column praising Air Force coach Frank Serratore and hockey people in general.

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S.F. Stampede forward commits to CC

From the USHL …

The Sioux Falls Stampede announced that forward Sam Rothstein has committed to play hockey at Colorado College following his USHL career.

Rothstein has put up eight points (4g, 4a) in eight games this season for the Stampede, including a USHL career high five-point game (2g, 3a) in the 6-5 victory over Fargo on Oct. 13.

That performance came one night after he scored the game-winning goal in the 4-2 victory against Indiana.

He went on to share honors as the CCM Forward of the Week for his efforts.

The 19-year-old from Minnetonka, Minnesota played 14 games for the Stampede last season, collecting seven points (3g, 4a). His bio follows.

#9 Sam Rothstein
Born: 8/31/1993
Position: Forward
Height: 5’10
Weight: 165
Hometown: Minnetonka
Previous Team: Minnetonka HS/Stampede
Previous Stats: GP:12 G:3 A:4 PTS:7
Nicknames: Sammy, Slammy
Favorite Hockey Player: Patrick Kane
Favorite Hockey Team: Chicago Blackhawks
Hobbies: Volleyball, raquet sports
Greatest Influence on career: Dad
If I were forced to give up all my possessions but one, I’d keep: Phone
Favorite TV Show: White Collar

Seven other current USHL players are also committed to Colorado College – Christian Heil (Chicago Steel), Alex Roos (Chicago Steel), Jaccob Slavin (Chicago Steel), Gustav Olofsson (Green Bay Gamblers), Zach Aman (Indiana Ice), Matt Hansen (Omaha Lancers), and Garrett Cecere (Tri-City Storm).

Colorado College is a member of the WCHA and has 15 USHL alumni on the Tigers roster this season; Joe Marciano (Omaha Lancers), Aaron Harstad (Green Bay Gamblers), Peter Stoykewych (Des Moines Buccaneers), Eamonn McDermott (Fargo Force), Cody Bradley (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Jordan DiGiando (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Alex Krushelnyski (Sioux City Musketeers), Charlie Taft (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Scott Wamsganz (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Ian Young (Fargo Force), Peter Maric (Green Bay Gamblers), Jared Hanson (Lincoln Stars), Scott Winkler (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), William Rapuzzi (Green Bay Gamblers), and Joe Howe (Waterloo Black Hawks).

Additionally, Tigers head coach Scott Owens and assistant coach Eric Rud have both had coaching stints in the USHL.

CC commit Slavin selected for Team USA

Colorado College defenseman commit Jaccob Slavin of Erie, Colo. was selected to play for Team USA at next month’s World Junior A Challenge tournament.

The World Junior A Challenge is in its seventh year and the United States will be competing for the sixth time. The 2012 field includes Canada East, Canada West, Czech Republic, Russia and Switzerland. The official event website is available here … The U.S. roster includes 13 forwards, seven defensemen and two goaltenders. The 22 players represent 11 states. Six players hail from Minnesota, while Michigan has five players and Illinois and Massachusetts have two apiece. Other states include Alaska, Colorado, Florida, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin … Brett Larson (Sioux City, Iowa), head coach and general manager of the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers, is the the head coach for the 2012 U.S. Junior Select Team … The assistant coaches are former Tiger  RJ Enga (Chicago, Ill.) and Derek Lalonde (Green Bay, Wis.). Enga is an assistant coach for the USHL’s Chicago Steel, while Lalonde is the head coach of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers.

2012 World Junior A Challenge
Nov. 5-11 • Yarmouth, N.S. • Mariners Centre

Date Opponent Venue Time
Sat., Nov. 3 Canada West (exhibition) Barrington Municipal Arena 7 p.m. ADT
Mon., Nov. 5 Canada East Mariners Centre 7:30 p.m. AST
Tues., Nov. 6 Switzerland Mariners Centre 7:30 p.m. AST
Thurs., Nov. 8 Quarterfinals Mariners Centre 4/7:30 p.m. AST
Fri., Nov. 9 Semifinals Mariners Centre 4/7:30 p.m. AST
Sat., Nov. 10 5th-Place/Bronze Medal Game Mariners Centre 2/7:30 p.m. AST
Sun., Nov. 11 Gold Medal Game Mariners Centre 7 p.m. AST

More Thursday reading: Enga, WCHA notebook, NHL family links, CC-UMass Lowell connections, Denver, Air Force preview video

Former Tiger R.J. Enga, an assistant with the USHL’s Chicago Steel where CC commits Christian Heil, Jaccob Slavin and Alex Roos play, will serve as an assistant for the U.S. team at the World Junior A Challenge next month.

Here is my first USCHO notebook on the WCHA. I wrote the portions dealing with Alabama-Huntsville, the arrested ref, senior Joe Howe, Denver and part of the Omaha arena blurb.

Three Tigers’ fathers all played in the NHL. The Gazette looks into how that affected the sons, Cody Bradley, Alexander Krushelnyski and Charlie Taft.

Here are the weekly CC preview notes.

Former Pikes Peak Miner and Colorado Springs native Josh Holmstrom said he is excited to get to play in Colorado for the first time in his college career at No. 10 UMass Lowell. I plan to write a feature on him and his older brother Ben Holmstrom, now in the Flyers organization with Jeff Dimmen and Mike Testwuide, for next week’s Woodmen Edition.

Lowell head coach Norm Bazin and associate head coach Jason Lammers both served as assistants under CC coach Scott Owens, which is partly why this series became possible.

Denver’s Nolan Zajac chose DU despite his older brothers going to North Dakota. Their father Tom was a Pioneer in the 1970s.

Air Force coach Frank Serratore talks about last weekend and the upcoming CC and Denver games in this video:

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Former SSM standout commits to CC

The Indiana Ice announced Friday that 5-foot-11 forward Zach Aman committed to playing for Colorado College of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.

There was no word on a commit date but 2013 is likely judging from his 3 goals and one assist in five preseason games. He did not record a point in the Ice’s season opening 3-2 loss to the Chicago Steel on Friday.

In that game, he took on three future teammates in Alex Roos (one goal), Christian Heil (one assist) and defenseman Jaccob Slavin. Roos’ unassisted goal early the third period proved to be the game-winner.

Aman, listed at 189 pounds, joins the Indy roster this season after spending last season with Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the powerhouse prep program in Faribault, Minn.

He finished the season fourth on the squad in goals (25) and assists (41) for a combined 66 points while a teammate with CC freshman Hunter Fejes. The Sabres won the 2012 USA Hockey U18 National Championships in Williamsville, NY.

The Johnstown, Pa. native is the second Ice player to commit to the Tigers after freshman forward Cody Bradley committed to the Colorado Springs institution last season.

Here is a link to his Ice bio.

Tuesday reading: Sweatt, Slavin interview, NCHC and WCHA news

Craig MacTavish (left), then coach of the American Hockey League affiliate Chicago Wolves, gives Vancouver Canucks prospect Bill Sweatt (right) some advice at team practice in Penticton September 10, 2011. MacTavish is now the head of hockey operations for the Edmonton Oilers.

Slavin

2013 signee defenseman Jaccob Slavin of Erie, Colo, is headed to USHL Chicago’s training camp this week to start another year preparing for college hockey, along with teammate and 2013 CC forward signee Christian Heil, 6-foot-1, 178 pounds, of Westminster.

Heil recorded 19 points (8g,11a) in 55 games this past season.

Slavin, 6-2, 170,  plans to focus on improving his skating, backwards and forwards, while looking to assume a larger leadership role on the Steel.

Heil

“It really depends on what our captain decides on college,” he said last week. “If he leaves, I would like to think I would be considered for a role.”

Slavin, an alumnus of the Denver-area Colorado Thunderbirds club program along with Heil,  played his first full season with Chicago this past season, recording 30 points (3g,27a) in 60 games and a plus-6 rating. That was a huge step up compared to the one point (1g) and minus-15 in 17 games the season before.

The improvement has made him a possible late-round draft pick later this month at the 50th NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.

“The Thunderbirds did a good job preparing me for juniors but it was a big step up,” Slavin said. “They run a good program.”

Both Colorado residents are part of the first Tigers freshman class to join the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which begins play in October 2013.

Here is the Associated Press’ story on the NCHC inking a 5-year contract with the Target Center in Minneapolis. The WCHA league meetings start today when a postseason home will be discussed.