Wednesday reading: Huntsville, Gophers, PSU, Niagara

Alabama-Huntsville announced its 2012-13 schedule and it is very thin after Jan. 1 because everyone else is playing conference games.

Minnesota defensive defenseman Seth Helgeson, pictured, is profiled here as is Penn State’s Taylor Holmstrom, a former AHA Rookie of the Year for Mercyhurst who spent last season on the Nittany Lions’ club team. Air Force foe Niagara also has a player featured.

Air Force announces 2012-13 schedule

From AFA sports information …

USAFA, Colo. – The Air Force hockey team opens the 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia on Monday, Oct. 8, at 6:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons then travel to Anchorage, Alaska for the Kendall Hockey Classic, Oct. 12-13, when the Falcons face Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage. Air Force opens the regular-season home schedule against cross-town rival Colorado College, Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:05 p.m. AFA then travels to the University of Denver, Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7:05 p.m. AFA opens Atlantic Hockey Association play on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7:05 p.m. at Canisius.

Air Force is coming off of its fifth AHA championship in the last six years. The Falcons won the 2012 AHA Tournament with a 4-0 win over RIT in the championship game. The Falcons’ season ended with a 2-0 loss to top-seeded, and eventual national champion, Boston College in the NCAA Northeast Regional.

The top two scorers from last season (seniors Kyle DeLaurell and John Kruse) both return. DeLaurell led the team with 23 assists and 38 points. Kruse led the team with 16 goals and had 30 points.

Four of the top five scorers return as sophomores Cole Gunner and Chad Demers are back after stellar freshman seasons. Gunner finished the season with 28 points while Demers had 24. Junior defenseman Adam McKenzie is the top returning blueliner with 18 points (2-6-18).

Junior goaltender Jason Torf returns after earning AHA Tournament MVP honors last season. After returning from an injury, Torf started the final 15 games and finished among the top 10 in the nation in goal-against average and saves percentage. Torf was fourth in the nation in GAA with a 1.73 goals-against average and was ninth in saves percentage with a .929.

Air Force Hockey – 2012-13 Schedule

All times at site
Day Date    Time   Opponent                                                       Site
Mon. Oct. 8 6:05 UNIV. OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (EXH) USAFA, CO
Fri. Oct. 12 5:07 vs. Alaska-Fairbanks# Anchorage, AK
Sat. Oct. 13 7:07 at Alaska-Anchorage# Anchorage, AK
Fri. Oct. 19 7:05 COLORADO COLLEGE USAFA, CO
Sat. Oct. 20 7:05 at Denver Denver, CO
Thur. Oct. 25 7:05 at Canisius* Buffalo, NY
Sat. Oct. 27 7:05 at Robert Morris* Pittsburgh, PA
Fri. Nov. 2 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Nov. 3 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Nov. 9 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Sat. Nov. 10 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Fri. Nov. 23 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Sat. Nov. 24 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Fri. Nov. 30 7:05 MERCYHURST* USAFA, CO
Sun. Dec. 2 6:05 RIT* USAFA, CO
Fri. Dec. 7 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat. Dec. 8 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat.-Sun Dec. 29-30 TBA at Mariucci Classic Minneapolis, MN
(Minnesota, Alabama-Huntsville, Boston College and Air Force)
Sat. Jan. 5 7:05 at Niagara* Niagara Falls, NY
Fri. Jan. 11 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 12 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 19 4:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Sun. Jan. 20 12:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Fri. Jan. 25 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 26 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 1 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 2 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 8 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Sat. Feb. 9 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Fri. Feb. 15 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 16 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 22 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Sat. Feb. 23 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Fri. Mar. 1 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Sat. Mar. 2 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 8-10 TBA AHA First Round (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 15-17 TBA AHA Quarterfinals (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sat. Mar. 22-23 TBA AHA Final Four Rochester, NY
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 29-31 TBA NCAA Regionals TBA
(Grand Rapids, MI; Manchester, NH; Providence, RI; Toledo, OH)

Thursday reading: Huntsville, WCHA update, NCHC postseason venue, MSU-Mankato, Penner, Duluth commit, offseason player moves

The WCHA will talk about adding Alabama-Huntsville as its 10th member for the 2013-14 season at next week’s meetings in Detroit.

UAH makes a strong case and could be brought in for the good of college hockey and its only Division I foothold in the southern United States.  Here is a look at the other important issues to be decided next week.

CHN has more, including Bruce McLeod‘s future and that the WCHA is waiting on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference to finalize its postseason venue arrangements before it makes its announcement.

Alaska-Fairbanks is looking for a new assistant coach.

Here  is the RPI fan blog’s Without a Peer’s write-up on future foe MSU-Mankato and a feature on the Kings’ Dustin Penner, a former college player.

Minnesota-Duluth adds a high-end Minnesota high school commit.

Lost track of who plays where in college hockey? Start with this list of offseason player moves.

Sunday reading: BC, Huntsville, Dineen, M. Stuart, Testwuide, J. Schwartz, Bachman, Hillen, Mankato coach, humanitarian award

Colorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom came up big in a key win over Albany Saturday night in the hunt for an AHL playoff berth.

Happy Easter and Passover everyone.

Minnesota will get its rematch against Boston College, which won 19 straight including Saturday night’s 4-1 championship win over Ferris State, during the next Mariucci Classic. Here is the game story.

Perhaps Alabama Huntsville can take solace in this story about Ferris State’s near demise 20 years ago.

Former Tiger Nick Dineen picked up an assist (his third pro point) in Saturday’s 3-0 Game 4 win over Reading in the ECHL playoffs. Game 5 is at 5:05 p.m. Mountain on Monday.

Mark Stuart received the Dan Snyder Memorial Award.  The team honor was established by the Atlanta Thrashers back in 2004, after Snyder died in a car accident in the fall of 2003 and is given to a player who embodies perseverance, dedication and hard work without reward.

“It’s quite an honour, it’s very humbling,” said Stuart. “ I just try to work hard every night. It’s definitely an award I appreciate a lot. I knew his story, but when I got to Atlanta last year, I learned a lot more about him and had a chance to meet his brother (Jake) after our last game last year. What a great family. Everything you hear about (Dan) is positive. He was such a great guy, such a great teammate, that worked hard every night. He’s still sorely missed in the hockey community.”

Mike Testwuide scored an empty-netter for AHL Adirondack on Saturday.

Jaden Schwartz played 7.5 minutes in the Blues’ regular-season finale after three games as a healthy scratch as St. Louis looks to regain some of its intensity and grit headed into the playoffs as the West’s No. 2 seed. He took two shots on  Richard Bachman,  who made 32 saves in a season-ending loss on Saturday.Do not expect to see much of Schwartz in the playoffs. The Dallas Stars’ season is reviewed.

Here are the NHL playoff match-ups. Congrats to Jack Hillen (Nashville) for making the playoffs for the first time after playing for the Islanders.

MSU Mankato is expected to have its head coach hired by the AHCA meetings in late April. CC assistant Eric Rud is one of the darkhorses among the likely finalists. UND’s Cary Eades is the odds-on favorite.

Hockey Humanitarian Award winner and Yale senior Aleca Hughes was inspired by Mandi Schwartz, sister of Jaden and Rylan Schwartz. Hughes did a lot of work for the Mandi Schwartz Foundation.

Here are two Sioux players expected to be heavily courted by the Ontario Hockey League.

The Minnesota captain has moved on to the AHL.

The Frozen Four all-tournament team

Forwards

Kyle Bonis, Ferris State; Paul Carey and Steven Whitney, Boston College

Defensemen

Chad Billins, Ferris State; Brian Dumoulin, Boston College

Goalie

Parker Milner, Boston College.

Around the WCHA: Mankato downs UNO; CC stays alone in third

A tight league race got even tighter with 11th-place Mankato’s win over fourth-place Nebraska Omaha keeping the red Mavs a point behind third-place Colorado College with 10 games remaining for most WCHA teams. Five points separate third-place CC and St. Cloud State, which is tied with Michigan Tech for seventh.

Here’s the Gazette’s look at the Tigers’ chance at the WCHA title. Road points at No. 1 Minnesota Duluth will be tough to come by though. Here’s the game story on the 2-1 road loss for CC at No. 4 Minnesota.

Capsules compiled from school web sites …

Minnesota State 5, Nebraska Omaha 4 OT

MANKATO — Sophomore forward Johnny McInnis scored at 3:05 of overtime to help Minnesota State earn a split of a weekend series with at 5-4 victory against Nebraska Omaha on Saturday at Verizon Wireless Center. UNO won in OT Friday.

On the game-winning goal, Joe Schiller grabbed a loose puck at center ice and fed Johnny McInnes who beat UNO’s John Faulkner with a wrist shot from the top of the circles.

The goal capped off a wild, back-and-forth game that saw UNO take three one-goal leads and then have to score with an extra attacker in the final 10 seconds to send the game to overtime.

Wisconsin 3, Alaska Anchorage 2

MADISON, Wis. — A goal by freshman Joseph LaBate with just over four minutes remaining in the game broke a 2-2 tie and lifted the Badgers (12-10-2, 7-9-2 WCHA) to a win Saturday night and a weekend sweep over Alaska Anchorage (6-14-2, 3-14-1 WCHA) at the Kohl Center.

With the game tied at two and just over four minutes left in the third period, junior Justin Schultz and LaBate took off on the rush. After LaBate got the puck from linemate Mark Zengerle inside the UW blue line, he skated through center ice, then dished off to Schultz streaking down the right wing. Schultz skated behind the goal line, then gave it back to LaBate in front for the score.

“Coach just told us to get pucks in the net and get pucks in deep and go from there,” LaBate said. “I got the puck in the center from (Mark) Zengerle, a great pass from him, and I gave it to (Justin) Schultz who was streaking down the wing and I just went to the net, he put it on my stick and I put it in.”

The goal lifted a tense crowd into celebration and a charging Badger team two games above .500 as the defense held strong for the final minutes of the contest. Wisconsin improved 7-2-1 in its last 10 contests.

No. 17 North Dakota 3, St. Cloud State 2

ST. CLOUD — The St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team suffered a tough 3-2 loss to #17 North Dakota at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, MInn. on Jan. 21. The loss moves SCSU’s record to 10-12-4, 7-8-3 WCHA, while North Dakota improved its record to 13-10-2, 9-9-0 WCHA.

Corban Knight recorded two goals an assist to pace North Dakota.

The results of the weekend in WCHA play moved the Huskies into a tie for seventh place along with Michigan Tech (17 points each), while North Dakota moved into sixth place with 18 points on the season.

No. 1 Minnesota Duluth 4, Alabama Huntsville 3

DULUTH — The No. 1 team in the nation got another three-point night from the No. 1 scorer in the nation Saturday and equally as important, got a clutch third-period goal from rookie left winger Caleb Herbert en route to a 4-3 win over the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Minnesota Duluth wasted little time getting to work, striking first on senior center Jack Connolly’s 14th goal of the year 1:07 into the opening period. A power play tally by the Chargers at the 1:55 mark and a full-strength marker less than a minute later gave Alabama-Huntsville a brief 2-1 lead. The defending NCAA Champion Bulldogs knotted the score three minutes later on a one-time goal by sophomore right winger Joe Basaraba (with an assist to Connolly) and went into the first intermission in a 2-2 deadlock.

Connolly’s second goal of the evening put UMD back in front 2:12 into the second stanza before the Chargers tied it back up with 12:11 to go in the period. Connolly, who now has 40 points on the year, extended his personal scoring streak to 22 games, equaling the UMD single-season record set by another All-American center, Mark Pavelich in 1978-79.

“I’m just trying to go out there and help the guys,” said Connolly, who has recorded three or more points on seven occasions this winter. “Hopefully I can keep this streak going for a couple more games. It’s nice to share this kind of record.”

Northern Michigan 5, Michigan Tech 2

HOUGHTON — Freshman forward David Johnstone scored twice but the Michigan Tech Huskies were defeated by the Northern Michigan Wildcats, 5-2, on Saturday night at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

Bemidji State, Denver IDLE

Current standings follow …

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
18
13
5
0
26
61
35
17
9
1
103
56
Minnesota Duluth
16
11
3
2
24
66
37
17
4
3
95
56
Colorado College
18
11
7
0
22
69
57
14
9
1
84
68
Nebraska Omaha
18
9
6
3
21
57
56
12
10
4
79
76
Denver
16
8
5
3
19
56
50
13
8
3
85
67
North Dakota
18
9
9
0
18
47
49
13
10
2
73
70
Michigan Tech
16
8
7
1
17
53
49
11
12
1
70
71
St. Cloud State
18
7
8
3
17
54
52
10
12
4
80
77
Wisconsin
18
7
9
2
16
51
55
12
10
2
76
68
Bemidji State
16
5
9
2
12
41
55
11
11
2
66
67
Minnesota State
18
4
13
1
9
46
70
8
17
1
70
90
Alaska Anchorage
18
3
14
1
7
37
73
6
14
2
54
82

Around the WCHA: Tigers bounce back for 2-1 win

CC senior Tim Hall banged in a rebound off a shot by William Rapuzzi with 36 seconds left to lift the 11th-ranked Tigers to a 2-1 win at No. 2/4 Minnesota and only two points out of first place in the WCHA.

Hall’s goal came only 41 seconds after Minnesota had tied the game at 1-1 off a Nick Bjugstad shot.

CC sophomore goalie Josh Thorimbert (9-3) continued his excellent play of late, making 38 saves for the victory. The teams resume the series at 4 p.m. Mountain live on FS North and tape-delayed to 6 p.m. on ROOT.

CC captain Nick Dineen opened the scoring five minutes into the second period, pouncing on a Minnesota turnover and sending a backhanded shot between Gophers goalie Kent Patterson‘s leg pads for a 1-0 lead that held up through a five-minute Gophers power play in the third.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth 2, Alabama-Huntsville 1

DULUTH — The Bulldogs improved to 15-1-3 of late despite 52 saves by future North Dakota goalie Clarke Saunders, who will transfer to Grand Forks this summer. Jack Connolly‘s assist on the game winner increased his points streak to 21 games in a row.

Wisconsin 4, Alaska Anchorage 0

MADISON — Freshman Joel Rumpel made 23 saves for his second career shutout in a row in a home win over the struggling Seawolves.

St. Cloud State 3, North Dakota 1

ST. CLOUD — Freshman goalie Ryan Faragher made 41 saves and Jarrod Rabey scored the game winner midway through the second period as the host Huskies rallied for the win.

Nebraska Omaha 2, Minnesota State 1

MANKATO — Bryce Aneloski scored a power-play goal 1:37 into overtime to lift Omaha past Minnesota State. Mankato’s Adam Mueller slashed Omaha goalie Ryan Massa (39 saves) 45 seconds into overtime. Dayn Belfour came in for Massa and recorded a single save for the win.

Updated Thursday reading: News, previews and updates

CC will need to show more of this competitive fire for all 60 minutes to win at Minnesota this weekend.

There’s been some good beat work this week. Here’s my attempt to catchup with all of it.

Here’s an update on CC’s opponent, Minnesota, including lines and injuries and CC’s preview notes.

North Dakota’s injury troubles continue and other updates.

The emotions of the league race are heating up of late with UNO coach Dean Blais commenting on Dominic Zombo‘s one-game suspension and some harsh words after the incidents involving Minnesota and North Dakota.

It’s not just in the WCHA. Yale’s coach was reprimanded and the CCHA handed out some suspensions as well.

Nebraska-Omaha leans on its good penalty kill.

No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth plays at home for the first time in 63 days, which makes its recent 14-1-3 run all the more impressive.

The new-look WCHA will have a 28-game conference schedule in 2013-14. That may limit the Big Ten and NCHC’s chances at lining up a lot of nonconference games with them.

Minnesota State in Mankato is looking to improve the Verizon Wireless Center so the men’s and women’s hockey teams can make that arena their home seven days a week, instead of just game days. It’s great to see the state and school investing more in the program.

St. Cloud State goalie Nathan Hardy is profiled. Here’s North Dakota’s preview notes.

The Gazette has started doing daily podcasts including this one on Jeff Collett moving up to the top line at right wing. Here’s Wednesday’s podcast about Gabe Guentzel facing his father. This story deals with how the CC coaches are trying to motivate the Tigers out of their 2-3-1 idling since winter break.

Here’s an update on Alaska-Anchorage’s academic troubles including a correction and the WCHA players of the week. Here are preview notes for Alaska Anchorage’s trip to Wisconsin.