UNO goalie sits out upcoming season

OMAHA, Neb. – University of Nebraska Omaha head hockey coach Dean Blais announced today that sophomore goaltender Ryan Massa will be taking a year off for personal reasons and will not compete again for the Mavericks until the 2013-14 season.

“We respect Ryan’s decision and wish him the best in the upcoming year,” said Blais.  “Per NCAA rules, he has five years in which to complete four years of competition, and we’ll look forward to his return in 2013-14.

“We are fortunate to have John Faulkner and Dayn Belfour returning as well as incoming freshman Anthony Stolarz joining our roster, and we think all three will do a very good job for us.”

Massa shared the top job with Faulkner but had superior stats. The native of Littleton, Colo. also authored UNO’s only shutout of the season, turning aside 35 shots in a 4-0 win at Michigan Tech on Feb. 11.

Massa finished 7-8-2 with a .914 saves percentage and 2.60 goals against mark but it was Faulkner (5-9-2, .886, 2.93) who started in Saturday’s elimination game during the WCHA playoffs when St. Cloud State ended the Mavs’ season.

Stolarz is well regarded and could end up being the new No. 1 while incoming sophomore Belfour, son of former NHLer Ed, posted good numbers in six games: 2-1-2, .902 saves, 2.55 gaa.

Regardless, the news loosens up a logjam at that position. Colorado College plays a WCHA series at Omaha Jan. 4-5, 2013 in their only scheduled games this upcoming season before both joining the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

Monday reading: Douglas, Prosser, polls, Pairwise, postseason

Minnesota Wild defenseman Nate Prosser (39) and Dallas Stars center Steve Ott (29) tangle during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Dallas, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Former Tiger Nate Prosser, pictured at left, received a two-year contract extension  according to a Monday announcement. The new paperwork changed his two-way deal, meaning he was often sent down to the AHL whenever the Wild needed roster room, to a one-way NHL deal, meaning he cannot be demoted without first going on waivers.

The Gazette looks back on what was a big weekend for Air Force and CC, which moved up to No. 10 from 11 in the Inside College Hockey rankings, the U.S. College Hockey online weekly poll and the USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

CC sits in 16th in the Pairwise rankings, which would mean the Tigers would not be in the NCAA Tournament today with the 16th spot going to the Atlantic Hockey Association playoff champion.

In the USCHO poll, Boston University is the new No. 1, just ahead of Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth, which split at Alaska-Anchorage and is 1-2-1 in its last four league games after a home tie and loss to Michigan Tech. The USA Hockey rankings have Minnesota at No. 1 followed by BU and Duluth.

Here’s an update on the new-look WCHA looking for a 10th member and a side note that the WCHA will not be back at the Xcel Energy Center in 2014. That suggests strongly that the National Collegiate Hockey Conference will hold its postseason tournament there.

Here’s an NHL.com feature on Ed Belfour.

Former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers continue to lead a surging UMass-Lowell team that was won 13 more games than last year.

Joey Crabb talks about the Leafs’ struggling penalty kill.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to acknowledge the passing of News 5 sports director Lee Douglas, who succumbed to kidney problems Sunday morning. I cannot say I knew him well. I wish I had.

He was always positive, pleasant and professional in my interactions with him at the Air Force press conferences and the annual hockey banquet. He was a good example for all us on how to do things right. He is missed already. RIP.