Boivin garners weekly WCHA defensive honor

Colorado College’s Mike Boivin (28), right, celebrates teammate Nick Dineen’s (22) goal during the first period at World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. The Gazette File.

CC senior defenseman Mike Boivin earns a league weekly award while Archie Skalbeck and Hunter Fejes were finalists.

From the WCHA …

Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week
Nick Bjugstad • Junior, Forward, University of Minnesota

MADISON, Wis. – University of Minnesota forward Nick Bjugstad, who scored both game-winning goals while boosting the host and top-ranked Golden Gophers to a season-opening sweep over visiting Michigan State last weekend, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for October 16.

Centering Minnesota’s top line that included left winger Kyle Rau and right winger Christian Isackson, Bjugstad led the trio to a combined for nine scoring points over the weekend. A 6-6, 220-pound junior from Blaine, Minn. and a draftee of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Bjugstad notched the game-winning goal and added an assist in defending WCHA champion Minnesota’s 5-1 victory over Michigan State last Friday (Oct. 12) night at Mariucci Arena, earning First Star of the Game honors. He then came back on Saturday (Oct. 13) to again tally the game-winner as UM completed the sweep of the Spartans with a 7-1 triumph.

An All-WCHA First Team and All-American Second Team honoree a year ago, Bjugstad also fired five shots on goal in the series and earned a +4 plus/minus rating. The two-point night last Friday was his 17th career multi-point game, with Minnesota holding a 14-1-2 record in those games while his two game-winners upped his collegiate total to six winners. In 71 collegiate games, Bjugstad has 35 goals, 30 assists and 65 points.

Also nominated: Matt Bailey, F, Alaska Anchorage; Archie Skalbeck, F, Colorado College; Milos Gordic, F, Michigan Tech; Mike Seidel, F, Minnesota Duluth; Chase Grant, F, Minnesota State.

Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week
Mike Boivin • Senior, Defenseman, Colorado College

MADISON, Wis. – Colorado College’s Mike Boivin has been named Red Baron® WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 16 after the veteran blue liner helped lead the host Tigers to a two-game, season-opening sweep of Clarkson last weekend at the Colorado Springs World Arena.

A 6-1, 190-pound senior from Delta, B.C., Boivin contributed a pair of key assists, fired 12 shots on goal and earned a +1 plus/minus rating as No. 19-ranked Colorado College recorded a pair of 5-4 victories over the visiting Golden Knights. Last Friday (Oct. 12) night, Boivin assisted on teammate Jeff Collett’s second period shorthanded goal that gave CC a 2-1 lead and had three shots on goal. Then last Saturday (Oct. 13) evening he assisted on William Rapuzzi’s game-winning goal at 19:00 of the third period and had a game-high nine shots on goal as the Tigers completed the series sweep after rallying from 2-1 and 4-3 deficits.

Boivin has played 82 career games as a Tiger and has contributed 12 goals, 28 assists and 40 points.

Also nominated: Michael Shibrowski, G, Minnesota.

Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week
Austin Farley • Freshman, Forward, University of Minnesota Duluth

MADISON, Wis. – University of Minnesota Duluth forward Austin Farley, who produced four scoring points in his collegiate debut weekend as the host Bulldogs split a two-game series with visiting Ohio State at AMSOIL Arena, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Rookie of the Week for Oct. 16.

A 5-9, 170-pound rookie left winger from Niles, Ill., Farley paced the 13th-ranked Bulldogs offensively with a team-high tying four points each on the Oct. 12-13 weekend. Last Friday (Oct. 12) night, Farley scored the game’s first goal at 1:05 of the first period on his first shift at UMD and later set up two others for three points, put five shots on goal and earned a +1 plus/minus rating as Minnesota Duluth defeated the Buckeyes, 6-2. One of his two assists came on teammate Mike Seidel’s game-winner. On Saturday (Oct. 13), Farley earned his third assist of the series when Seidel tied the game at 2-2 at 19:24 of the second period in an eventual 3-2 setback. He also had one shot on goal for a total of six in the two games and accrued an ample amount of time on the Bulldog power-play, which connected on five-of-14 series opportunities (35.7%).

Also nominated: Hunter Fejes, F, Colorado College; Brady Skjei, D, Minnesota.

CC commit keeps ‘getting better and better’

Colorado College 2013 commit Jaccob Slavin of Erie, Colo, has made big strides in a short time with the USHL’s Chicago Steel, which is coached by Colorado Springs’ Scott McConnell.

Here is the start of the article:

Better and better.

That is how Chicago Steel head coach Scott McConnell describes defenseman Jaccob Slavin’s game.

The 6’1, 175 lbs. defenseman that averaged a point every two games in his first full season in the USHL went overlooked before joining the junior ranks. He wasn’t even listed by NHL’s Central Scouting before joining the Steel and last year the Carolina Hurricanes drafted him in the fourth round, 120th overall.

“When [Carolina] drafted him, they saw a kid that for some reason is always around the puck,” says Chicago head coach Scott McConnell, “and kept getting better and better. I think they got a steal. Jaccob’s ceiling is untouchable.”

For the rest of the Hockey’s Future article, click here.

CC picked 7th, Thorimbert shares goalie honor in WCHA media poll

Compiled and written by Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network …

A year after surprising many by winning the WCHA’s MacNaughton Cup Championship, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are a nearly-unanimous pick of WCHA media to win the league. The annual 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll, released Wednesday, shows the Gophers easily outdistancing the rest of the league.

A panel of 25 members of the WCHA media voted on a predicted order of finish, along with a handful of individual honors.

Minnesota received a whopping 24 of 25 first-place votes. Defending WCHA playoff champion North Dakota had the other first-place vote and finished a distant second. Denver came in third, followed by Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth. St. Cloud State claimed the final “home-ice” position in the preseason balloting.

Minnesota junior forward Nick Bjugstad, pictured, was a runaway choice for the Preseason Player of the Year. He also anchors the media’s second annual Preseason All-WCHA Team, where he is joined at forward by Wisconsin junior Mark Zengerle and St. Cloud State senior Ben Hanowski. The defensemen on the team are Denver’s Joey LaLeggia and Nick Jensen of St. Cloud State. Sam Brittain of Denver and Josh Thorimbert of Colorado College tied for the goaltending nod.

For the second straight year, the media chose North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi as Preseason Rookie of the Year. Grimaldi took a redshirt after an injury-ravaged season, and he is again eligible for rookie honors.

Teams were scored under a standard system of 12 points for a first-place vote, 11 for second, and so on. The number listed with each team is the number of points that team averaged per vote.

94X WCHA PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Minnesota (24 first place votes) … 11.92 poll average

2. North Dakota (1) … 10.76

3. Denver … 9.92

4. Wisconsin … 7.8

5. Minnesota Duluth … 6.88

6. St. Cloud State … 6.84

7. Colorado College … 6.08

8. Nebraska Omaha … 5.48

9. Michigan Tech … 5.2

10. Minnesota State … 3.6

11. Bemidji State … 2.48

12. Alaska Anchorage … 1.04

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Nick Bjugstad, forward, Minnesota (16 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Erik Haula, forward, Minnesota (4); Mark Zengerle, forward, Wisconsin (3)

PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota (8 1/2 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nic Kerdiles, forward, Wisconsin (5); Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman, North Dakota (2 1/2); Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota (2); Andy Welinski, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth (2)

PRESEASON ALL-WCHA TEAM

Forwards

Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (20 votes); Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin (17); Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State (8)

Others receiving more than one vote: Danny Kristo, North Dakota (7); Erik Haula, Minnesota (6); Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College (5); Corban Knight, North Dakota (3)

Defensemen

Joey LaLeggia, Denver (20 votes); Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State (9)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota (7); Wade Bergman, Minnesota Duluth (3)

Goalie

Sam Brittain, Denver and Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College (7 1/2 votes each)

Others receiving more than one vote: Juho Olkinuora, Denver (3), Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin (2)

The following media members took part in the 94X Preseason Media Poll:  David Ahlers, KKAR Radio/University of Nebraska-Omaha; Stephen Anderson, Daily Mining Gazette; Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal; Tyler Buckentine, USCHO.com; Mike Chambers, Denver Post; Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network; Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; John Gilbert, WCHA.com; Kurt Haider, KENI Radio; Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times; Dirk Hembroff, WKMJ Radio; Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer; Ken Landau, 103.9 FM The Eagle Radio; Don Lyons, Leighton Broadcasting/St. Cloud; Todd Milewski, USCHO.com; Dan Myers, Minnesota Hockey Magazine; Jess Myers, 1500ESPN.com; Joe Paisley, Colorado Springs/Colorado College; Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune; Chris Peters, United States of Hockey; Brian Posick, WIBA Radio/Badger Radio Network; Chad Purcell, Omaha World Herald; Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald; Jay Stickney, 102.3 ESPN Radio.

AFA’s McKenzie participating in Capitals development camp

CHRISTIAN MURDOCK/THE GAZETTE

Edited from original on NAHL.com …

Air Force junior defenseman Adam McKenzie, pictured, isgetting a rare opportunity afforded some undrafted players by participating in the Washington Capitals’ annual development camp, which began two days ago. The sessions end on Saturday.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” McKenzie told NAHL.com. “I’m really excited to be here. It’s an opportunity to show what I can do. It’s an NHL camp, and it’s a step toward reaching my dream.”

Among the camp’s 46 participants are players drafted by the team, including 2012 first-round selections Filip Forsberg and Tom Wilson, and free agents. The camp is at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va., and will consist of on- and off-ice workouts as well as scrimmages.

It was his development and experiences with the NAHL’s Wenatchee Wild that played a pivotal role in McKenzie making an easy transition to the Division I level, said Air Force head coach Frank Serratore.

“Adam was a good player when he left Wenatchee,” Serratore said. “He was a mature player to start with and we anticipated that he would be able to make a seamless transition into a Division I hockey player, and he did.”

As a freshman, McKenzie played in all 38 of Air Force’s games. He notched 19 points (5G, 14A) with a plus-8 rating on a Falcons team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. McKenzie was the No. 2 scoring freshman on the team and the top-scoring freshman in the AHA. Later, he was named to the AHA’s all-rookie team.

“It will be a terrific hockey experience for Adam, and it will give him an opportunity to see where he sits on the food chain among other prospects,” Serratore said. “We’re happy for Adam. It’s good for him, good for [Air Force] and Wenatchee.”

For the entire, unedited article click here.

Tuesday reading: Cecere, NHL free agency, Guentzel, Bjugstad, AFA

Future Tiger Garrett Cecere (2013 commit) is getting some attention from NHL scouts.

Seven former Tigers remain NHL/AHL free agents  (as of 10 a.m. MT) after Joey Crabb (Capitals), Curtis McElhinney (Columbus) and Toby Petersen (Dallas) signed on Sunday and Monday.

Jack Hillen joined Crabb on the Caps on Tuesday morning.

Here are some details about Crabb’s deal and the $200,000 pay raise from the Anchorage Daily News.

They are (name, 2011-12 team):

Richard Bachman (Dallas): Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, pictured, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay); Brett Sterling (Blues), Colin Stuart (Buffalo), and Mike Testwuide (Flyers).

Colorado Springs’ Ben Holmstrom (Flyers) is also available.

Jake Guentzel, younger brother of former Tiger Gabe, is considering Colorado College. Nice kid. I met him during his visit while he was watching a practice last November. He is forgoing his senior year of high school to go to the USHL which means he could develop more quickly.

Former Badger Justin Schultz hates how Lebronesque his decision became.

Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad will decide after the Panthers’ development camp if he will return to the Gophers.

UMass fans lick their wounds after being turned down by the Quinnipiac coach.

From  the academy …

The Air Force hockey team is proud to announce the five members of the Class of 2016, as announced Monday by head coach Frank Serratore. The class of 2016 includes two forwards and three defensemen.

26, Ben Carey, F, 5-11, 160, Centennial, CO / Wenatchee Wild (NAHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL … Led the Wild in scoring in 2011-12 with 57  points (27-30-57) in 60 games … led the team with 14 ppg and was second with a +16 … tied for 11th in the league in goals and 16th in points … third in the league in power-play goals … scored six points (2-4-6) in eight playoff games … in 2010-11, was fifth on the Wild with 43 points (19-24-43) in 57 games … fourth on the team in goals and fifth in points in 2010-11.

44, Max Edson, F, 5-8, 170, Hermosa Beach, CA / Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Waterloo Blackhawks of the USHL … Played 33 games in 2011-12 at forward and scored 15 points (6-9-15) … In 2010-11, played 54 games at forward and scored 19 points (10-9-19).

8, Max Hartner, D, 6-0, 195, Greenwood Village, CO / Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)

Played three years of junior hockey for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL … Played in 38 games in 2011-12 on defense and scored 10 points (1-9-10) … Played in 44 games on defense in 2010-11 and had 12 points (6-6-12) in 44 games … team captain in 2011-12 and 2010-11 … helped lead the Gamblers to the USHL regular-season and playoff championships twice … In 2009-10, scored three points (1-2-3) in 24 games.

10, Jesse Ramsey, D, 5-11, 175, Rogers, MN / Kenai River Brown Bears (NAHL)

Played three years of junior hockey with the Kenai River Brown Bears of the NAHL .. the top scoring defenseman, and third overall on the team,  with 38 points (11-27-38) in 60 games in 2011-12  … ranked fifth in the league in points by a defenseman … 11 goals tied as the second most in the league by any blueliner … played 57 games at forward for the Brown Bears in 2010-11 and had 21 points (5-16-21) … began his junior career in 2009-10 with the Wenatchee Wild of the NAHL and played 16 games, scoring four points (3-1-4) … played the final 38 games of the 2009-10 season with the Brown Bears at forward and scored 19 points (3-16-19) in 38 games.

77, Trevor Waldoch, D, 6-2, 175, Forest Lake, MN / Austin Bruins (NAHL)

Played two years of junior hockey for the Austin Bruins of the NAHL … Played in 60 games on defense in 2011-12 and scored 27 points (9-18-27) in 60 to rank third on team among defenseman … Played 48 games in 2010-11 on defense and scored 25 points (5-20-25) in 48 games.

Maryland commit heads to CC this fall

Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman Russell Finch is headed to Colorado Springs this fall according to the Daily News Miner.

One of the most consistent defensemen in coach Trevor Stewart’s lineup, Finch committed to play college hockey at Colorado College of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) starting this fall.

He would be the first Maryland native to play for the Tigers. He joins 2012-13 newcomers center Cody Bradley of Tampa, Fla., left wing Hunter Fejes of Anchorage, Alaska, and right wing Jared Hanson of Palmer, Alaska, along with defenseman Michael King of Prince George, British Columbia.

“He’s just a solid defender,” Stewart told the Fairbanks newspaper from Seattle earlier this week, as the Ice Dogs traveled to Dallas for the Robertson Cup on Thursday at the Dr. Pepper Center in Frisco, Texas.  “He’s good at the one-on-one game, he keeps things simple and he always makes a good first pass.”

Finch, 21, of Middleton, Maryland, has played the past two seasons in the North American Hockey League (NAHL).  The 6 foot, 205-pounder started his NAHL career in 2010-11 with the St. Louis Bandits, which defeated Fairbanks 3-1 in the Cup opener on Thursday. Here are his career stats.

After beginning this season with the Bandits, he was traded 10 games into the season to Fairbanks, where he flourished, recording 12 points in 40 regular season games with the Ice Dogs, including being a +26.  In 99 career NAHL regular season games, he has recorded 27 points.

He was then selected to participate in the 2012 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament this past February in Troy, Michigan, where he represented team West.

Stewart said Finch is a perfect fit for the Tigers, who play on an Olympic-size ice sheet.

“He’s an efficient skater and he has good stick control, which is beneficial on the big ice,” Stewart said.

Stewart said Finch should fit in well at Colorado College.

“He’s great academically and he’s a good team player,” Stewart said. “We’re excited that he’s going to be able to step in at a big-time school like Colorado College.”

Monday reading: Fejes’ NHL draft ranking, West, Duluth anniversary, DU honoree, All-Americans, club news and tryout info

The NHL released its final draft rankings and CC 2012 commit Samuel “Hunter” Fejes was rated at No. 91 among North American skaters. The draft is June 22-23.

Pine Creek High School graduate Emily West, pictured at right, is bringing the NCAA women’s championship trophy to her old Denver area club team to inspire the next generation of women’s college players.

One year ago today, on April 9, 2011, Minnesota Duluth won the NCAA title (video).

Denver’s Joey LaLeggia, who led Division I rookie defensemen with 38 points, was named the Hockey Commissioners Association National Rookie of the Year, it was announced over the weekend in Tampa.

LaLeggia was also the WCHA’s Rookie of the Year. The assistant coaches of the college hockey teams vote, with each league’s rookie honoree nominated. Cornell’s Brian Ferlin, Michigan’s Alex Guptill, Bentley’s Alex Grieve and Massachusetts-Lowell’s Scott Wilson, scheduled to play at World Arena this October, were runners-up. CC travels to Cornell in mid-October over block break while Air Force may host Bentley.

Here is a full list of the All-America teams announced over the weekend, which included West first team forward and former Tiger Jaden Schwartz and second-team East defenseman Tim Kirby of Air Force. Kirby is an East honoree because the Atlantic Hockey Association is based in the Northeast.

In club news, three Pikes Peak Miners were named to their age division’s all-North American Prospects Hockey League teams. Alec Butcher leads the U18 division in goals and points and is headed to the Kenai, Alaska franchise in the NAHL. Looks like he may be one for college scouts to keep an eye on.

The Colorado Hockey Club’s (Rampage) tryouts are April 20-22 (all goalie spots full) and July 27-29. Click here for more info.

The Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association (Miners) are also holding their first tryout session April 20-22. Click here for more details.