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.

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.

Seven sign on with Tigers; four coming this fall

Here is the CC press release ….

Colorado College has received signed letters of intent from seven hockey players who will enroll at and play for CC in the future, head coach Scott Owens announced today.

The list of Tigers-to-be includes five forwards and two defensemen. Four will join the team later this year as freshmen on the 2012-13 roster, while three more will arrive in time for the 2013-14 season.
Additions for the ’12-13 campaign are 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.

“We are very pleased with the talent, skill and character of this group,” said Owens. “Joe and Eric (assistant coaches Joe Bonnett and Eric Rud) have done a great job of bringing this class together. We’re bringing in an excellent mix of hockey ability, size and players who come from winning programs. I’m very excited to see them on the ice in the fall and to watch their development while at Colorado College.”

Bradley, 5-10 and 166 pounds, has played in 15 games for the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League this season, scoring six goals and adding four assists. In time split between Dubuque and the USHL’s Indiana Ice, he’s collected 18 points (9g,9a) in 31 games. His father, Brian Bradley, played 14 years in the National Hockey League before retiring with 503 career points (182g,321a) in 1998. The Fighting Saints wrap up their regular season this weekend before opening Clark Cup playoffs action as a No. 3 seed in the USHL East.

“Cody is a skilled, clever center iceman,” Owens said. “He has the ability to score goals and to distribute the puck as well. He gets around the sheet very well and is suited to our style of play here at CC.”

Fejes, a standout at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minn., is ranked 91st among North American skaters in the final 2012 draft rankings released earlier this week by the National Hockey League. At 6-1 and 191 pounds, he is expected to be selected within the top five rounds in June. Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a perennial powerhouse in the USA Hockey Tier I Under-18 ranks, recently claimed its fifth national championship in nine years with an overall record of 50-5-2. Fejes led the team with 38 goals and finished second with 78 points in 55 games.

“Hunter is a power left wing who also can score,” said Owens. “He has the ability to get to the net front and makes good things happen down low.”

The 6-0, 190-pound Hanson, currently in his second full season with the USHL West-leading Lincoln Stars, has compiled 51 points (26g,25a), four game-winning goals and a +29 plus-minus rating in 53 appearances so far in 2011-12. Lincoln currently leads the second-place Omaha Lancers by one point in the conference standings, with two games to play. The Stars finished fifth in the West Conference during Hanson’s rookie season in 2010-11.

“Jared has had an excellent season for Lincoln,” Owens said. “He’s continued to get better and better all year long. He’s a goal scorer, with 22 of his 26 tallies so far having come in 5-on-5 situations.”

King, 6-4 1/2 and 210 pounds, finished the 2011-12 season with the Lloydminster Bobcats of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. He collected 19 points (4g,15a) in 32 games with the Westside Warriors of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League before being traded, then added a power-play goal and two assists in five appearances, including a pair of playoff games, with Lloydminster. In 2010-11, he compiled 23 points (5g,18a) while playing in 48 outings for Westside.

“Michael has very good foot speed and stick skills for a young man his size,” said Owens. That range and mobility will enable him to improve and develop throughout the season as he adjusts to the tempo and rigor of the WCHA.”

Also signing letters of intent to join the Tiger Hockey family a year later, in time for the 2013-14 season and CC’s debut as a member of the of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, were forwards Matt Hansen of St. Cloud, Minn., and Christian Heil of Westminster, Colo., as well as defenseman Jaccob Slavin of Erie, Colo., who all will play another year of junior hockey before launching their collegiate careers.

“Matt, Christian and Jaccob represent the beginning of a projected, very strong class in 2013,” said Owens, who has compiled a record of 299-185-43 (.608) in 13 years behind the bench. “All three are playing significant minutes for their respective junior teams at this time. Matt has tremendous speed and skill, Christian is a power forward with the ability to make plays and finish, and Jaccob plays both ends of the rink extremely well as an offensive ‘D-man’ who can defend as well. We are extremely pleased to have them as future Tigers and look forward to monitoring their progress next season.”

Hansen, who actually signed his letter of intent previously, currently plays for the Austin (Minn.) Bruins of the North American Hockey League, while Heil and Slavin are teammates with the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

Tigers To Be
Name                Pos.    Hgt.     Wgt.     Shoots        DOB            Hometown                              Arrival at CC

Cody Bradley       C      5-10     166            L           5/26/94          Tampa, Fla./Dubuque (USHL)          2012-13
Hunter Fejes      LW      6-1       191            L           5/31/94         Anchorage/Shattuck-St. Mary’s       2012-13
Christian Heil        F      6-1       178            L           3/25/95         Westminster/Chicago (USHL)         2013-14
Matt Hansen         F     5-10      163            R           5/11/93          St. Cloud, Minn./Austin (NAHL)       2013-14
Jared Hanson    RW     6-0       190            R           1/24/93        Palmer, Alaska/Lincoln(USHL)      2012-13
Michael King        D      6-4 1/2   210            R           1/22/93      Prince George, B.C./(AJHL)          2012-13
Jaccob Slavin      D       6-2       170            L            5/1/94           Erie, Colo./Chicago(USHL)            2013-14

Updated Thursday reading: Frozen 4, Guentzel, Penrose award, predictions,Owens, Hall, Mankato, Rud, Sterling, Connelly, C. Stuart

Former CC standout Gabe Guentzel of the Syracuse Crunch at bottom tangles up with Corey Cowick of the Binghamton Senators in a mid-ice collision in the second period at the Onondaga County War Memorial. Mike Greenlar / The Post-Standard.

Here is a link to all the stories by the Union beat writer in preparation of today’s 2:30 p.m. Mountain semifinal (ESPNU) vs. Ferris State. Here is a video made by ECAC fans hopeful the league will win its first NCAA title since 1989.

Western College Hockey Blog talks about why Ferris State has made it this far.

The Boston College-Minnesota semifinal (6 p.m. Mountain, ESPN2) is discussed here along with other preview notes. The fan blog BC Interruption weighs in on the second semifinal. The teams will face off often in the future.

Goon’s World breaks down the Frozen Four and picks the Dutchmen to win it all. My prediction? Boston College over Ferris State. Let the second-guessing begin.

FSU’s coach garnered the Spencer Penrose Award ahead of UMass-Lowell’s Norm Bazin.

Who says that college does not prepare you for the pros and NHL? For the second year in a row, four of the six all-AHL rookie team members played in college:

  • G: Eddie Pasquale, St. John’s (34 GP, 21-11-1, 2.36 GAA, .913 save pct., 4 SO) OHL
  • D: Matt Donovan, Bridgeport (69 GP, 10-32–42, +9) Denver (NHL debut on Tuesday)
  • D: Cade Fairchild, Peoria (63 GP, 7-25–32, +28, 3 GWG) Minnesota
  • F: Cory Conacher, Norfolk (70 GP, 34-39–73, +11, 7 GWG) Canisius (Favorite to win Rookie of the Year)
  • F: Tyler Johnson, Norfolk (70 GP, 29-35–64, +13, 5 GWG) WHL
  • F: Gustav Nyquist, Grand Rapids (56 GP, 22-36–58, +7, 7 PPG) Maine (NHL debut earlier this season)

CC coach Scott Owens has been under fire of late from fans that were dissatisfied by the early end to this past season. The Colorado Springs Independent’s Ralph Routon does his usual good job outlining the situation.

Not included, but I think worth mentioning is the class workload these players have to handle while facing the full-time demands of playing hockey. The block system is intense and I could see the fatigue in the players’ eyes before every block final. I think the off-ice workload definitely plays a role in the second-half struggles.

The Anchorage Daily News found out some good detail on former Tiger Tim Hall’s move from CC to the ECHL, including how CC assistant Eric Rud connected with Brian Swanson to put Hall on the Alaska Aces’ radar.

Rud is mentioned by the Mankato beat writer as a possible replacement for the ousted Troy Jutting. He and longtime CC assistant Joe Bonnett are both worthy of serious consideration.

Brett Sterling had a goal and an assist in a big win for Portland as the Pirates battle to make the AHL playoffs.

Brian Connelly recorded an assist and Colin Stuart, the captain of the Rochester Americans, was interviewed about Abbotsford’s 4-3 overtime win over the Americans.

More Monday reading: Tigers in the pros, Mankato, USA U18 roster

I wrote a feature on Richard Bachman, pictured at left, for CC sports information and an update on the other former Tigers under AHL and NHL contracts.

The coaching change at Minnesota State Mankato continues to be the big news around the league for the time being (I suspect the Gophers will be the focus again within 24 hours). Here are more Frozen Four links.

Here’s more from the Monday morning press conference where Troy Jutting shows why he is the respected man he is around the WCHA.

Now it is time for people to guess about possible replacements, which mentions current CC assistant Eric Rud as a possibility. In my opinion, both he and Joe Bonnett are more than qualified.

Here is the USA U-18 national team roster for the upcoming world championships in Europe. There are plenty of college commits on the list.

Wednesday reading: Weekly honors, UNO rink, J. Schwartz, WCHA women, AFA honor

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) and defenseman Jack Hillen stop a Kings shot during the first period Monday. / Sanford Myers / The Tennessean

Two Gophers were honored by the WCHA this week.

UNO coach Dean Blais is trying to jump start the school’s effort to get its own 8,000-seat arena on campus. No doubt, such a move would be huge for the program, especially from a financial viewpoint (concessions, parking revenue, etc.).

Here’s a look at Wisconsin’s road playoff possibilities.

CC assistant Eric Rud was checking out the NAHL’s top prospects recently.

From stltoday.com: Blues GM Doug Armstrong believes Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz is close to NHL-ready, and why not? He was captain of Team Canada at the World Junior Championships. He has scored 12 goals and added 24 assists in 26 college games this season.

Colorado College has won just one of its last six games. At 16-14-2 overall and 13-12-1 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Schwartz’s team is on the outside of the NCAA’s 16-team national tourney bracket looking in.

Perhaps Colorado College can win the WCHA tourney and the automatic berth that goes with it. Or perhaps Jaden will have to decide whether to turn pro earlier than he expected.

Schwartz is a skilled player, but his character is what sets him apart. He appears to be a natural leader. “When you play, you want to make the players around you better,” he told the Colorado Springs Gazette earlier this season. “Whether teams are on you more or not, that’s something you’ve got to battle through. Every player has been through that at different levels.”

Pine Creek graduate Emily West’s play will be critical for the Minnesota women in the WCHA Frozen Faceoff (league semifinals and championship) this weekend in Duluth.

This sick little boy has been inspired by the Brown Bears and they have been motivated by him.

From AFA sports information:

Air Force sophomore Jason Torf was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Goalie of the Month for February as he helped lead Air Force to a 5-2-1 record and the AHA regular-season championship.

Torf, from Hermosa Beach, Calif., posted a 1.11 goals-against average and a .956 saves percentage in the month. He recorded four shutouts in eight starts as he blanked RIT (3-0 on Feb. 3), Niagara (2-0 on Feb. 10), Mercyhurst (8-0 on Feb. 17) and Robert Morris (3-0 on Feb. 25). Three of his four shutouts came against teams ranked in the top four in the league. Torf led AFA to the league title by stopping all 25 shots he faced in the final regular-season game at Robert Morris, Feb. 25. The night before, he made a season high 35 saves against the Colonials.

After missing almost three months and 14 games with a groin injury, Torf has come back to be among the national leaders in every goaltending category. In all games, he ranks third in the nation in goals-against average (1.65), seventh in shutouts (4) and eighth in saves percentage (.931)

The Atlantic Hockey monthly honor was his first of the season and second of his career. Air Force, 17-9-7 overall and 15-6-6 in the league, earned a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Falcons will host an AHA quarterfinal series, March 9-11, at the Cadet Ice Arena.