CC penalty kill performs well in exhibition victory

Colorado College certainly got some needed extra work on its penalty kill during its 3-1 exhibition win over visiting British Columbia on Sunday night.

With only penalty-kill regular Alexander Krushelnyski back this season, the Tigers performed well, killing 5-of-6 penalties. Some of the ”new faces” on the units included junior Michael Morin, freshman Jared Hanson, and seniors Rylan Schwartz and William Rapuzzi, all forwards.

“Hats off to the penalty kill guys,” said junior wing Archie Skalbeck, who scored the eventual game-winner during the second period. “It looked good. They only gave up one goal and that was a 5-on-3.”

“It was good for us to kill penalties but not that good,” said coach Scott Owens. “We should have put the game away early in the third. Instead we let them hang around. We took some ill-advised penalties and were on our heels a bit.”

“It was a mixed bag. It is pretty unusual for us to draw more penalties than what we draw.”

Skalbeck banged in his own rebound with 8:41 left in the second period for an important even-strength insurance goal minutes after the Thunderbirds nearly tied the game.

Courtney Lockwood made a nice glove save with 12:52 left in the second on a hard shot by Cole Wilson to preserve the 1-0 lead. Later, Tigers defenseman Joe Marciano swatted a rebound out of the air in front of the CC net moments after a Thunderbird shot caromed off the post.

That bang-bang sequence drew a slashing penalty on Mike Boivin, but CC killed the subsequent power play, even generating a shorthanded chance that went off the post.

About two minutes later, Skalbeck’s eventual game-winning goal came after a rush into the UBC zone by Charlie Taft, whose crossing pass to the junior wing set up his initial shot. Goalie Steven Stanford could not handle the shot and it came out for Skalbeck’s second chance.

Scott Winkler ripped a hard shot high glove side past UBC backup Jordan White with 1:48 left in the second to make it 3-0. That prompted some hard feelings which led to retaliation penalties that put CC down 5-on-3 for 28 seconds. UBC’s Scott MacDonald took advantage of a rebound to make it 3-1 headed into the final period.

CC recorded an even-strength score, a shorthanded goal and a power-play marker which bodes well. Joe Howe recorded 10 saves in a scoreless third, Lockwood made four stops in the second and Josh Thorimbert six in the first.

“It was a good game for us,” Owens said. “No one looked poor. We played 24 guys and all three goalies, who played well. We saw some things we need to work on.”

Winkler looked sharp while freshman Cody Bradley, who scored the opening goal on the power play, generated a couple good scoring chances. All three sophomore defensemen – Aaron Harstad, Peter Stoykewych and Young – looked improved and accounted for two assists (Stoykewych, Young).

“Overall, we are happy with how we played,” Rapuzzi said. “The younger guys played well which is good because we will need them to play a good bit. They definitely stepped in and played a big role.”

Still there remains plenty of work ahead as the Tigers tweak lien combinations to see which threesome clicks on the ice.

“We really haven’t had time to develop any chemistry,” Skalbeck said. “We have all been on different lines. None of the lines are cemented.”

MSU Mankato 7, Lethbridge 1

MANKATO — Minnesota State’s Bryce Gervais scored twice and added an assist while Eriah Hayes recorded three assists in the 7-1 exhibition win over Lethbridge.

Bemidji State 3, Manitoba 3 OT

BEMIDJI — Jeff Paradis scored an unassisted goal with about 7 minutes left to force overtime. Manitoba led 2-1 until Bemidji State’s Cory Ward and Danny Mattson scored six minutes apart for a 3-2 lead midway through the third.

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Meet the CC freshmen: Michael King, Pete Maric

It won’t be hard to notice freshman defenseman Michael King, listed at 6-foot-4 without skates, when he takes the ice for the Tigers. His skating ability looked smooth and his reach gives him an advantage, covering a lot of the ice with his stick.

“Michael will take a little time to get used to the speed but he has a lot of upside,” coach Scott Owens said. “He is a very-skilled big man.”

“I am just trying to soak up as much as I can,” the 227-pounder from British Columbia said. “I have been working on playing more physical.”

Chances are if the Tigers need a particular role filled, freshman Pete Maric can handle it.

“Maric is a very versatile and well-rounded,” coach Scott Owens said. “He can fill many roles.  He also played on two different championship teams in two years.”

“You learn to give yourself a clean page the next day (after a loss),” he said. “That is part of the winning mentality. It gives you a lot of confidence.”

Maric said his success is from being willing to do whatever the team needed.

“You feed off that,” he said. “You work hard all the time. You defend, do a hell of a job forechecking to create opportunities and then capitalize. You do whatever you can.”

The previous installments of Meet The Freshmen: Cody Bradley and Hunter Fejes; Russell Finch and Jared Hanson are available by clicking the link in their names.

Meet the CC freshmen: Russell Finch, Jared Hanson

The much-traveled Russell Finch, the first Wyoming native to join the Tigers program, is happy to see his long road through junior hockey culminate with a roster spot at Colorado College.

Finch, 21, played with Casper Outlaws youth program until age 15 when he moved to play at a high level in Fort Collins and his family moved to Maryland.  He would have been the first from the Terrapin State to play for the Tigers but he has never lived there.

“Finch is a smart player,” said captain William Rapuzzi. “He is one of the older guys who really knows the game.”

“He’s a very experienced, dependable defenseman,” said CC assistant Eric Rud.

That showed in his final season when he record 15 points (12 assists) in 50 games and was a whopping plus-32 in plus/minus.

Finch spent the next three years in Chicago playing midget hockey before moving on to the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League for a season followed by 10 games before a trade to NAHL Fairbanks. Both teams won their divisions while Finch was there.

“I put in my time,” the 5-foot-11 defenseman said with a smile. ” I am really happy and excited to have the opportunity to play college hockey. I will work very hard. I will do whatever needs to be done for the team.”

Freshman Jared Hanson, like most rookies, is still adjusting to the college game.

But the former Lincoln Stars standout has shown that he can contribute in many ways thanks to a good work ethic, well-rounded game and a mature, winning attitude to the Tigers.

It showed in the larger role he had in Lincoln, working his way onto a top line and on the power-play unit. He went from 24 points in 53 games in 2010-11 to 55 points (27 goals) in as many games last season.

“He got better and better his final season there,” CC coach Scott Owens said.

That improvement was thanks to the same work ethic he promises to bring to the Tigers program.

“I will just try to work hard and seize every opportunity I can and make the most of it by burying the puck,” the Palmer, Alaska native said.

The previous Meet The Freshmen installment dealt with Cody Bradley and Hunter Fejes. The final one later this week will introduce Michael King and Pete Maric.

Meet the CC freshmen: Cody Bradley, Hunter Fejes

Cody Bradley, the program’s first Florida native. knows a lot of hard work is ahead of him during his college career.

“The biggest adjustment is getting used to the tempo of college hockey,” he said. “As a freshman you just keep your head down and work hard and contribute however you can.”

His father, former NHL standout Brian Bradley, who played 14 years before retiring in 1998 with 503 career points (182 goals, 321 assists), two All-Star selections and seven assists for Canada in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games,  and Cody knew he needed to move on to ready for NCAA hockey.

“Youth hockey in Florida is good up to a point then you need to leave for the north and play juniors,” said the 5-foot-10, center who picked up some valuable experience this summer at the Tampa Bay prospects camp.

Rookie Hunter Fejes, a sixth round draft pick of the Phoenix Coyotes, did his best to make sure he would be ready to contribute as a freshman this season.

He spent the summer working out with fellow Anchorage natives Joey Crabb, Scott Gomez and Tim Wallace, all NHL regulars.

“Crabb showed me the ropes and told me what to expect and look out for,” Fejes said. “He was a great help.”

The center will likely be one of the freshmen getting the chance to contribute right away. He was identified by NHL bloggers as the top Coyotes’ NCAA prospect to watch this season.

The former Shattuck St. Mary’s leading scorer (38 goals) was second in points (78) in 55 games en route to leading the Sabres to their second USA Hockey Tier I Under-18 national championship in a row. They went 50-5-2 in 2011-12. The Sabres also won the national title his junior year.

“I will just work hard and work to earn everything,” he said. “I won’t get anything without earning it first. Hopefully I can contribute right away.”

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.

Tigers start off strong during first captain’s practice

CC captain William Rapuzzi, standing, sets up the next drill during the Tigers’ first captain’s practice on Monday at Honnen Ice Arena.

The Colorado College hockey team knocked off the offseason rust pretty quickly during the first of 11 scheduled captain’s practices on Monday night.

“It was pretty good,” said senior captain and wing William Rapuzzi. “We did a lot of passing to get the rust off and had a 5 to 7-minute scrimmage with a real fast pace.”

A lot of that had to do with the usual excitement of being back in school after a long offseason.

“Guys are excited to get on the ice,” said junior wing Alexander Krushelnyski. “The tempo was good. Everyone is going hard and setting high expectations for themselves.”

The Tigers looked good despite putting in a hard weight room session before the 75-minute practice away from the team’s coaching staff per NCAA rules. No one looked to be skating with heavy legs.

“Everyone came in in good shape,” junior defenseman Eamonn McDermott said. “(Fitness) testing (last week) went real well.”

A lot of roles need to be filled this season with a lot of contributors lost to graduation, Jaden Schwartz’s early departure for the NHL and Dakota Eveland’s neck injury. Eveland said he will find out more about his future after new X-rays in a couple weeks.

“Everything’s up in the air,” Rapuzzi said. “Guys are working real hard at taking up the slack and move into new roles.”

CC captain William Rapuzzi, center, leads the Tigers through their usual end-of-practice stretching.

The six freshmen (listed by roster number) – defensemen Russell Finch (No. 2) and Michael King (3), and forwards Cody Bradley (10), Hunter Fejes (11),  Peter Maric (22), and Jared Hanson (24) – did not stand out, which is a good thing as they learn the CC drills. Most looked good with smooth skating ability.

“They fit right in with us,” senior Rylan Schwartz said. ”They asked a few questions (about drills) and caught on real quick.”

“They have been working hard on and off the ice,” Kruselnyski said. “They are quick learners and work hard.”

That means listening to the upperclassmen, who are eager to teach them how things are done in the Tigers program.

“They’re not talking, just doing,” McDermott said.

That is critical since only one official practice led by the coaches is allowed before Sunday, Oct. 7’s exhibition game against British Columbia followed by the season-opening series against Clarkson Oct. 12-13.

“These aren’t throw-away practices,” Rapuzzi said. “You get right into games so these are just as important as normal practices and you have to treat them like that. Just because coaches aren’t here doesn’t mean you can slack off. We only have a month before the games count.”

Monday reading: Bradley, Bachman, club, Wisconsin, North Dakota

Cody Bradley recorded three goals, an assist and nine shots over six three-on-three games.

Incoming CC freshman center Cody Bradley (2013) made a huge impression on the Tampa Bay brass during the recent NHL development camp:

“He’s skates well, seems pretty smart and makes good plays,” player development coordinator Steve Thomas said. “He certainly didn’t look out of place.”

“He’s skilled,” assistant general manager Julien BriseBois said. “He’s responsible. He competes.”

For the rest of the article, click here.

Here is a link to eight photos of former Tiger Richard Bachman, pictured, from the Dallas Stars web site.

Colorado Springs School graduate Ryan Acuff, a longtime CC Tigers fan, is helping start up a club ice hockey program at Texas Christian University. The team’s league includes teams from SMU, Texas A&M, and North Texas but does have a nonconference trip to Boulder to take on the Colorado squad over Thanksgiving weekend.

Here is the team’s inaugural schedule. Give them a pageview or two and show your support for the sport.

Here is an update from Wisconsin sports information, much of which is old news, but does include who is in NHL development camps this month.

A school record 112 athletes garnered all-academic honors at North Dakota.