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.

More Wednesday reading: Thorimbert, CCHA coaches, media polls

Colorado College goalie Josh Thorimbert (39) made a save in the second period as Denver wing Chris Knowlton looks for the rebound during a college hockey game in Denver, Friday night, Feb. 3, 2012. The Denver Post, Karl Gehring

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert is profiled by Inside College Hockey.

From the CCHA …

For the fifth time in seven years, the coaches and media disagree on who should own the No. 1 position in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s annual preseason polls. The conference’s 11 head coaches ranked Notre Dame first for the second consecutive season, while voting from 87 members of the media tabbed Michigan as the preseason favorite.

In the coaches poll, the Fighting Irish captured seven first-place votes and one second, while Michigan took two first-place votes as well as six seconds to come in just five points behind the favorite. Western Michigan, last season’s CCHA Tournament Champion, had the remaining first-place votes to finish third, just three points behind Michigan and eight behind the Irish. Miami finished fourth in the poll while the 2011-12 CCHA Regular-Season Champion and National Runner-Up Ferris State rounded out the top five.

The media voted in favor of Michigan, with Western Michigan coming in second and Notre Dame in third, agreeing with the coaches on which three teams should occupy top three.  The Wolverines picked up 50 of a possible 87 first-place votes, while the Broncos garnered 25 and the Irish received nine first-place votes.  The Bulldogs and RedHawks finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the media poll as well.

The Wolverines, who finished in second place in the regular season, return 20 letterwinners that took them to their 22nd consecutive NCAA tournament. Included in that list is a pair of defensemen that were named to a Preseason All-Conference Team, with junior Jon Merrill being named to the first team and senior Lee Moffie earning a second-team selection. Michigan also returns seven of its top ten scorers, including last season’s Rookie of the Year, Alex Guptill, who tied for the team lead in scoring a season ago, notching 16 goals and 33 points.

Notre Dame also brings back 20 letterwinners from the 2011-12 season, which saw the Irish finish eighth in the conference. The Irish return their top two scorers in junior forwards T.J. Tynan, last season’s Scoring Co-Champion, and Anders Lee. Both are CCHA Preseason All-Conference First-Team selections and combined for 30 goals and 75 points last season.

The Broncos are the defending CCHA Mason Cup champion and return 15 letterwinners, including a trio of CCHA Preseason All-Conference First Team selections: junior Chase Balisy at forward, junior Dan DeKeyser on defense and sophomore Frank Slubowski in goal. Western Michigan returns their top offensive line of Balisy, junior Shane Berschbach and senior Dane Walters. The trio combined to score 39 goals and 98 points last season, making up almost one-third of the Broncos’ scoring.

Miami is coming off a fourth place finish and returns a young roster of 18 underclassmen, including three freshmen goaltenders. The RedHawks return their second-highest scorer from last season in sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, a Preseason All-Conference Second Team selection. Ferris State hopes to build off last season’s success, returning 18 letterwinners, including three of their top five scorers.  

A total of 87 media members ranked the 11 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on an 11-10-9-8, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end.

     Coaches Poll

        1.       Notre Dame (7) 105

        2.       Michigan (2)   100

        3.       Western Michigan (2)   97

        4.       Miami  78   

        5.       Ferris State   67

        6.       Ohio State     66

        7.       Michigan State 56

        8.       Bowling Green  43

        8.       Northern Michigan      43

        10.      Alaska 31

     11.    Lake Superior    29

     Media Poll

        1.      Michigan (50)   903

      2.      Western Michigan (25)   825

        3.      Notre Dame (9)  765

        4.      Ferris State (3)        626

        5.      Miami   622

        6.      Michigan State  528

        7.      Ohio State      438

        8.      Northern Michigan       389

        9.      Bowling Green   264

     10.     Lake Superior   232

        11.     Alaska  150

Friday reading: Clarkson, predictions, lockout, Serratore, Nanooks

Here is the Know Your Enemy post on Clarkson by the RPI fan blog, who covers the ECAC quite well. Plenty of good information in this season preview as well.

The North Dakota beat writer picks CC to finish 10th in the WCHA. His season preview supplement is also available. Information how to get it without a Herald subscription is here. It costs $4 and it is definitely worth it. Brad Schlossman puts a lot of work into this every year.

The new Bemidji State beat writer (welcome Jack Hittinger) makes his picks as does Duluth vet Kevin Pates here. College Hockey Weekly also weighs in.

The College Hockey News announced its preseason Top 10 with Minnesota No. 1.

This freshman could fill Minnesota’s hole at goalie if former CC backup Michael Shibrowski cannot.

Former Tiger Mark Stuart is optimistic the NHL lockout may end soon.

New Minnesota State Mankato coach Mike Hastings runs intense practices.

Air Force coach Frank Serratore hands out some sound advice to parents about whether their child should leave high school early for junior hockey.

Per Matthew Semisch via Twitter: Just confirmed that, despite Omaha radio reshuffle, Dave Ahlers and Terry Leahy will still be doing the UNO hockey broadcasts this season.

Minnesota is also picked to win the WCHA women’s title by its coaches.

There is a three-way battle for the starting goaltender job at Alaska-Fairbanks after years of stability. Here is the 2011-12 introduction video which was a departure from the previous years where CCHA opponents were blown up seemingly at random.

Here is the 2010-11 intro which includes the destruction of the CCHA opponents and the Earth as well. Please comment below which you prefer. Keep in mind both intros are played at ear-splitting volume levels.

Wednesday reading: UND, Mankato, SCSU, Niagara, Penn State

The future of North Dakota goalie Aaron Dell remains up in the air.

With a new TV contract comes a change at play-by-play announcer for UND.

The Mankato assistants will stay on under the new head coach.

Former St. Cloud State captain Garrett Raboin is back as a new assistant coach.

Penn State coach Guy Gadowsky “excited to move on” from Sandusky scandal.

The Niagara AD takes a job at Virginia Commonwealth.

The 1991-92 Lakers were inducted into the Lake Superior State Hall of Fame.

The Syracuse women made a head coaching hire.

NHL free agency: Bachman re-signs with Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has signed restricted free agent goaltender Richard Bachman to a one-year, one-way contract for the 2012-13 season worth $625,000.

Bachman, 24, posted an 8-5-1 record with a 2.77 goals against average and a .910 save percentage in 18 games with Dallas last season. Bachman earned a win in his NHL debut on Dec. 10, 2011 at Los Angeles, and recorded his first career NHL shutout on Dec. 12, 2011 against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Bachman became the first rookie goaltender in Dallas Stars history to win his first three NHL starts, and the first to start seven consecutive games. He was also the first goaltender in Dallas Stars history, and the third in franchise history, to shutout the Rangers (also Gilles Meloche and Gump Worsley).

Bachman represented the United States for the first time in his career at the 2012 IIHF World Championships, stopping 17 of 19 shots en-route to a win over Kazakhstan in his only appearance at the tournament.

Originally drafted in the fourth round (No. 120 overall) by Dallas in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Bachman spent two seasons at Colorado College before making his professional debut with the Idaho Steelheads, Dallas Stars’ ECHL affiliate, during the 2009-10 season. Bachman was named to the ECHL All-Rookie Team in 2009-10 and finished as runner-up for the ECHL Goaltender of the Year award.

Prior to his tenure as backup goaltender last season for the Stars, Bachman spent two partial seasons and one full season (2010-11) with the Texas Stars, Dallas’ affiliate in the American Hockey League. In 78 career games with Texas, Bachman posted a 39-29-6 record with a 2.37 GAA and nine shutouts.

Here are the remaining available free agents (all unrestricted) as of 2 p.m. Mountain on Thursday: They are (name, 2011-12 team): Mark Cullen (Florida); Kris Fredheim (Wild); Trevor Frischmon, (Islanders); Richard Petiot (Tampa Bay);  and Colin Stuart (Sabres).

Monday reading: SCSU, Wisconsin, Sweatt, NHL, Dark Star, Dimmen

St. Cloud State added a goalie and here is an analysis of the Wisconsin schedule.

Here is more on Ryan Lasch‘s deal with Anaheim from the St. Cloud state beat writer.

Living in Colorado means I never had the chance to hear or meet Twin Cities radio personality Dark Star. Judging from this article, I definitely missed out.

Here is a list of some college players, including Devils captain Zach Parise, who battling for the Stanley Cup this week.

Former Tiger Bill Sweatt is the fastest skater in the Canucks organization.

Colorado Springs native Jeff Dimmen, a former Maine defenseman, is the only area tie to the AHL’s Calder Cup Finals. Dimmen plays for Norfolk, which has a 2-0 lead over Toronto.

Here is the remaining series schedule (times Mountain):

  • Thursday, June 7 – Norfolk at Toronto, 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 9 – Norfolk at Toronto, 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 10 – Norfolk at Toronto, 1 p.m.
  • Wednesday, June 13 – Toronto at Norfolk, 5:15 p.m.
  • Friday, June 15 – Toronto at Norfolk, 5:30 p.m.