CC battles back for 5-4 road OT victory

Junior Alexander Krushelnyski one-timed a pass from behind the Wisconsin net by Charlie Taft for the game-winner 25 seconds into overtime as Colorado College defeated host Wisconsin 5-4 at the Kohl Center.

Taft knocked down a pass by Wisconsin goalie Joel Rumpel and immediately passed toward the front where Krushelnyski was attacked the net.

The win, CC’s first in OT since Dec. 16, 2011 at Minnesota State (David Civitarese), ended a three-game losing skid.

“This was a good character win,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said in a radio interview afterward.  “You have to respect our determination tonight. The Kohl Center is not an easy place to play when the students get into it.”

Wisconsin jumped out to a 2-0 lead, scoring only 89 seconds into the game after the puck deflected in off a CC defenseman’s skate.  The Tigers (4-3, 1-0 WCHA) did not look sharp but shook off their slow start by dominating the second period.

CC freshman Hunter Fejes scored his first goal as a Tiger and CC added a power-play goal by defenseman Mike Boivin, his first of the season, to tie it at 2-2 headed into the third period. CC, which out shot the host Badgers 17-7.

Wisconsin (1-3-1, 1-1-1) scored a power-play goal less than a minute into the period before CC responded and took its first lead of the contest. Scott Winkler one-timed a pass from the corner by Krushelnyski to tie the game at 3-3 and senior captain William Rapuzzi added a power-play goal with nine minutes left for a 4-3 edge.

Rauzzi hauled in a long pass from defenseman Eammon McDermott from inside the CC zone and got behind the Badgers defensemen for a one-on-one chance against Rumpel.

“Eammon McDermott continues to dazzle with his long passes,” Bonnett said. “Winkler is a big guy with a strong stick in the paint.”

It was Rapuzzi’s third goal, matching his total from his junior season, which included two empty-netters.

Wisconsin would answer when Keegan Meuer batted in his own rebound with about four minutes left to force overtime.

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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.

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.

Thursday reading: UND, Fejes, BC, UAH, Duluth, Clarkson videos

Here are details about the aftermath of the North Dakota party that resulted in those suspensions and four minor in possession arrests for some freshmen.

Most Sioux logos may remain at Engelstad Arena according to latest talks with NCAA.

CC freshman forward Hunter Fejes (referred to as Samuel Fejes, his legal name) is the top Phoenix prospect to watch in the NCAA according to Hockey’s Future.

A BC freshman dropped out of school over academics.

USCHO staffer wins the Hockey East media award.

Alabama-Huntsville has a new coach. The Chargers have a relatively decent schedule until Jan. 1 when it can manage only one series, on the road, each month.

Minnesota Duluth will need this freshman, Austin Farley, to start off his college career well to make up for a lot of lost points production due to graduation.

Here is the Knights beat writer’s blog and the top 10 videos from the previous season to help CC fans become acquainted with Clarkson.

Here is Ben Sexton’s 3OT playoff game winner against RPI from last season.