Denver takes 2-0 lead into first intermission

Denver seized control early with Nick Shore rifling a shot over CC senior goalie Joe Howe’s left  should less than five minutes into the game.

Colorado College has taken a 1-0 lead only 10 times out of 30 games so far this season.

DU made it 2-0 when Ty Loney redirected a shot by defenseman Joey LaLeggia only moments into a power play with 8:44 left in the opening period.

The Tigers had their chances with three Grade A chances missed, either with a missed redirect or pass through the crease that went through untouched. Denver goalie Juho Olkinuora also made two good saves early in the period to keep the game scoreless for a time.

Notes

Associate athletic director Scott Lowenberg said before the game that Saturday’s contest may be the “most sold-out ever” with people showing up during the day being turned away. The game was officially sold out on Tuesday.

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CC picked 7th, Thorimbert shares goalie honor in WCHA media poll

Compiled and written by Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network …

A year after surprising many by winning the WCHA’s MacNaughton Cup Championship, the Minnesota Golden Gophers are a nearly-unanimous pick of WCHA media to win the league. The annual 94X WCHA Preseason Media Poll, released Wednesday, shows the Gophers easily outdistancing the rest of the league.

A panel of 25 members of the WCHA media voted on a predicted order of finish, along with a handful of individual honors.

Minnesota received a whopping 24 of 25 first-place votes. Defending WCHA playoff champion North Dakota had the other first-place vote and finished a distant second. Denver came in third, followed by Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth. St. Cloud State claimed the final “home-ice” position in the preseason balloting.

Minnesota junior forward Nick Bjugstad, pictured, was a runaway choice for the Preseason Player of the Year. He also anchors the media’s second annual Preseason All-WCHA Team, where he is joined at forward by Wisconsin junior Mark Zengerle and St. Cloud State senior Ben Hanowski. The defensemen on the team are Denver’s Joey LaLeggia and Nick Jensen of St. Cloud State. Sam Brittain of Denver and Josh Thorimbert of Colorado College tied for the goaltending nod.

For the second straight year, the media chose North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi as Preseason Rookie of the Year. Grimaldi took a redshirt after an injury-ravaged season, and he is again eligible for rookie honors.

Teams were scored under a standard system of 12 points for a first-place vote, 11 for second, and so on. The number listed with each team is the number of points that team averaged per vote.

94X WCHA PRESEASON MEDIA POLL

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH

1. Minnesota (24 first place votes) … 11.92 poll average

2. North Dakota (1) … 10.76

3. Denver … 9.92

4. Wisconsin … 7.8

5. Minnesota Duluth … 6.88

6. St. Cloud State … 6.84

7. Colorado College … 6.08

8. Nebraska Omaha … 5.48

9. Michigan Tech … 5.2

10. Minnesota State … 3.6

11. Bemidji State … 2.48

12. Alaska Anchorage … 1.04

PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Nick Bjugstad, forward, Minnesota (16 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Erik Haula, forward, Minnesota (4); Mark Zengerle, forward, Wisconsin (3)

PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

Rocco Grimaldi, forward, North Dakota (8 1/2 votes)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nic Kerdiles, forward, Wisconsin (5); Jordan Schmaltz, defenseman, North Dakota (2 1/2); Brady Skjei, defenseman, Minnesota (2); Andy Welinski, defenseman, Minnesota Duluth (2)

PRESEASON ALL-WCHA TEAM

Forwards

Nick Bjugstad, Minnesota (20 votes); Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin (17); Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State (8)

Others receiving more than one vote: Danny Kristo, North Dakota (7); Erik Haula, Minnesota (6); Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College (5); Corban Knight, North Dakota (3)

Defensemen

Joey LaLeggia, Denver (20 votes); Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State (9)

Others receiving more than one vote: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota (7); Wade Bergman, Minnesota Duluth (3)

Goalie

Sam Brittain, Denver and Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College (7 1/2 votes each)

Others receiving more than one vote: Juho Olkinuora, Denver (3), Joel Rumpel, Wisconsin (2)

The following media members took part in the 94X Preseason Media Poll:  David Ahlers, KKAR Radio/University of Nebraska-Omaha; Stephen Anderson, Daily Mining Gazette; Andy Baggot, Wisconsin State Journal; Tyler Buckentine, USCHO.com; Mike Chambers, Denver Post; Bruce Ciskie, KZIO Radio/Bulldog Radio Network; Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey; Shane Frederick, Mankato Free Press; John Gilbert, WCHA.com; Kurt Haider, KENI Radio; Mick Hatten, St. Cloud Times; Dirk Hembroff, WKMJ Radio; Jack Hittinger, Bemidji Pioneer; Ken Landau, 103.9 FM The Eagle Radio; Don Lyons, Leighton Broadcasting/St. Cloud; Todd Milewski, USCHO.com; Dan Myers, Minnesota Hockey Magazine; Jess Myers, 1500ESPN.com; Joe Paisley, Colorado Springs/Colorado College; Kevin Pates, Duluth News Tribune; Chris Peters, United States of Hockey; Brian Posick, WIBA Radio/Badger Radio Network; Chad Purcell, Omaha World Herald; Brad Schlossman, Grand Forks Herald; Jay Stickney, 102.3 ESPN Radio.

Monday reading: Fejes’ NHL draft ranking, West, Duluth anniversary, DU honoree, All-Americans, club news and tryout info

The NHL released its final draft rankings and CC 2012 commit Samuel “Hunter” Fejes was rated at No. 91 among North American skaters. The draft is June 22-23.

Pine Creek High School graduate Emily West, pictured at right, is bringing the NCAA women’s championship trophy to her old Denver area club team to inspire the next generation of women’s college players.

One year ago today, on April 9, 2011, Minnesota Duluth won the NCAA title (video).

Denver’s Joey LaLeggia, who led Division I rookie defensemen with 38 points, was named the Hockey Commissioners Association National Rookie of the Year, it was announced over the weekend in Tampa.

LaLeggia was also the WCHA’s Rookie of the Year. The assistant coaches of the college hockey teams vote, with each league’s rookie honoree nominated. Cornell’s Brian Ferlin, Michigan’s Alex Guptill, Bentley’s Alex Grieve and Massachusetts-Lowell’s Scott Wilson, scheduled to play at World Arena this October, were runners-up. CC travels to Cornell in mid-October over block break while Air Force may host Bentley.

Here is a full list of the All-America teams announced over the weekend, which included West first team forward and former Tiger Jaden Schwartz and second-team East defenseman Tim Kirby of Air Force. Kirby is an East honoree because the Atlantic Hockey Association is based in the Northeast.

In club news, three Pikes Peak Miners were named to their age division’s all-North American Prospects Hockey League teams. Alec Butcher leads the U18 division in goals and points and is headed to the Kenai, Alaska franchise in the NAHL. Looks like he may be one for college scouts to keep an eye on.

The Colorado Hockey Club’s (Rampage) tryouts are April 20-22 (all goalie spots full) and July 27-29. Click here for more info.

The Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association (Miners) are also holding their first tryout session April 20-22. Click here for more details.

Thursday reading: NCAA TV schedule, previews

Here is the TV schedule with available preview links, etc for each game following each match-up.

As always, check your local listings. Schedule copied from Kevin Pates’ Rink and Run blog,  with times adjusted:

ALL TIMES MOUNTAIN

East Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24) Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, Bridgeport, Conn.
No. 1 Union (24-7-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan State (19-15-4), 1 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. ESPN analyst Barry Melrose, who lives in the area, gives hometown Union a lotta love.
No. 2 Miami (24-12-2) vs. No. 3 Massachusetts-Lowell (23-12-1), 4:30 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Former CC assistant Norm Bazin, the Hockey East Coach of the Year, is also CHN’s national honoree. Here are multiple notes and links courtesy of the RiverHawks sports information staff.
• Semifinal winners, 4:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU.

Midwest Regional (Friday, March 23-Saturday, March 24)
Resch Center, Green Bay, Wis.

No. 2 Ferris State (23-11-5) vs. No. 3 Denver (25-13-4), 3:30 p.m. Friday, live on Altitude (tape delay ESPNU, 10:30 p.m. Friday).DU freshman Joey LaLeggia is CHN’s Rookie of the Year. Here is a pdf of DU’s NCAA media guide which includes an injury update.

No. 1 Michigan (24-12-4) vs. No. 4 Cornell (18-8-7), 6 p.m. Friday, ESPNU. Here’s the Wolverine fan blog’s take on the Big Red. The Cornell web site provides preview notes for both teams.

• Semifinal winners, 7 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU

West Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

No. 1 North Dakota (25-12-3) vs. No. 4 Western Michigan (21-13-6), 11:30 a.m.  Saturday, FS North (tape delay ESPNU, 11:30 a.m. Sunday). Note that the UND beat writer contradicts the FS North availablity. The Broncos are enjoying another good season, this time under new coach Andy Murray. UND will unveil their new jerseys along with other team notes.

No. 2 Minnesota (26-13-1) vs. No. 3 Boston University (23-14-1), 3 p.m. Saturday, FS North plus, NESN (tape delay ESPNU, 2 p.m. Sunday). Here’s Don Lucia’s take on the Gophers and the NCAA field.
• Semifinal winners, 3:30 p.m.Sunday, ESPNU

Northeast Regional (Saturday, March 24-Sunday, March 25)
DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

No. 1 Boston College (29-10-1) vs. No. 4 Air Force (21-10-7), 2 p.m. Saturday, ESPNU, 1300 AM in Colorado Springs.  The Falcons will have to contain BC 150-pounder Johnny Gaudreau.
No. 2 Minnesota Duluth (24-9-6) vs. No. 3 Maine (23-13-3), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN3.com, FS North-plus (tape delay ESPNU, 9:30 p.m. Saturday). Here are multiple previews.
• Semifinal winners, 6 p.m. Sunday, ESPNU