Saturday reading: AFA, upsets, WCHA recaps, CCHA, M. Schwartz

SCSU_KossilaThe Falcons’ special teams came up big as Air Force moved from fourth to a tie for second place in the AHA with a 2-0 home win Friday over Robert Morris. Goalie Jason Torf (30 saves) is why Falcons fans can again hope for an NCAA Tournament bid.

Around college hockey, it was a tough night to be a top 5 team. Only idle No. 2 Quinnipiac did not lose. Here are recaps from the WCHA and about those upsets.

No. 15/16 St. Cloud State 3, No. 5 North Dakota 1

GRAND FORKS —  No. 15/16 St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (15-10-0, 12-5-0 WCHA) took advantage of a dominant defensive performance to score a 3-1 victory at No. 5 North Dakota (13-8-4, 8-5-4 WHCA) on Jan. 25 in Grand Forks, N.D.

The victory helped the Huskies move into sole possession of first place in the WCHA with 24 league points thanks to a 2-1 victory by No. 14 Minnesota State at No. 1 Minnesota on Jan. 25.  The Gophers fell into second place tie along with Nebraska Omaha at 22 points.

SCSU outshot UND 33-16 in the contest and also held it scoreless until a third period power play goal broke the shutout for the Huskies.  In the first period, SCSU set the tempo by giving up only three shots on goal and followed with five shots allowed in the second period.

SCSU freshman Jonny Brodzinski opened the offense with a goal at 4:15 of the first period while senior captain Ben Hanowski added the game winner with his ninth goal of the season at 16:36 of the first period. Freshman Kalle Kossilla assisted for his 11th of the season.

No. 14 Minnesota State 2, No. 1 Minnesota 1

MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota’s 10-game unbeaten streak came to an abrupt end on Friday night after No. 14 Minnesota State’s Brett Knowles tallied the 2-1 game winner with 44 seconds left in regulation.

For the first time in Minnesota’s last 10 games, the Gophers failed to reach the four-goal plateau although freshman goalie Adam Wilcox did his best to try and pick up the win regardless of the offensive production. The rookie netminder (16-3-4) made 31 saves – one off his career high – for his first loss of 2013. MSU goalie Stephon Williams recorded 37 saves to move to 13-6-2 this season.

Despite Minnesota State’s third period goal, the Gophers held a 38-33 shot advantage and rallied from what would have been only the third time this season an opponent outshot the squad with 20 shots in the third period (the Mavericks had nine in the final stanza).

Minnesota returns to action on Saturday in Mankato for the series finale against Minnesota State. Game time is set for 7 p.m. CT on FOX Sports North PLUS.

No. 13/14 Nebraska Omaha 5, Bemidji State 3

BEMIDJI —  Nebraska-Omaha got two goals and an assist from Matt White while Johnnie Searfoss and Jaycob Megna each pitched in a goal and helped on another to help the Mavericks hold off a late charge by Bemidji State and earn a 5-3 WCHA victory at Sanford Center Friday.

No. 20 Wisconsin 5, Alaska-Anchorage 2

MADISON — Junior forward Michael Mersch posts two goals and an assist while Mark Zengerle and Nic Kerdiles scored a goal and an assist each to lead Wisconsin to a 5-2 victory against Alaska Anchorage on Friday night at Kohl Center.

Maine 4, No. 3 Boston College 1

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — On paper, it was a mismatch – Hockey East’s top team against the league’s cellar-dweller.

Maine flipped that mismatch on its head, however, in defeating third-ranked Boston College 4-1.

In pulling off the upset, Maine spoiled the return of BC coach Jerry York to the bench after missing four games while recuperating from surgery for a detached retina.

Martin Ouellette stopped 34 of 35 shots including all 20 in the second period when BC threatened on three power plays. He also benefited from a goaltender’s best friend, the pipes behind him, as the Eagles twice clanged iron.

The Black Bears, who hadn’t scored more than two goals in 20 of 23 games this year, took a 2-0 first-period lead, expanded it to 3-0 in the second, and after BC closed the gap to 3-1 in the third, added an empty-netter for the final margin.

“Frankly, we got some puck luck, which we perhaps haven’t had a lot of,” Maine coach Tim Whitehead said. “It could have been very different if we hadn’t had some of those bounces.

“Marty [Ouellette] was fabulous. A lot of guys made some key blocks. Any time we didn’t make the block, Marty was able to bail us out.”

Here is the rest of the article.

Merrimack 3, No. 4 New Hampshire 2

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. — After taking a brief 2-1 lead in the second, UNH allowed two unanswered Merrimack goals. The game-winner came from freshman Brian Christie, who started the third period by winning the opening faceoff, driving the middle and netting a marker through a defender’s legs just seven seconds into the final frame from captain Jordan Heywood and junior Mike Collins.

Collins and Christie both finished with three points on the night and Merrimack held the Wildcats scoreless for the remaining 19:53, winning 3-2.

“I didn’t even see it go in,” Christie said. “Fortunately, it did.”

Here is the rest of that article.

Of note from the CCHA: No. 9 Western Michigan defeated Michigan to take sole possession of first place and Miami beat Bowling Green to give RedHawks’ head coach Enrico Blasi his 300th career win. The RedHawks are now in second place while Notre Dame, losers in its last five, fell to third.

Also, this columnist tells us why Mandi Schwartz still matters to her teammates, loved ones and Yale.

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Mandi Schwartz Drive to be featured on Good Morning America

Donor, Recipient to Meet for First Time

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Since the Yale Athletics department first began holding marrow donor registration drives inspired by women’s ice hockey player Mandi Schwartz ’10 (1988-2011) in 2009, the Bulldogs have added more than 3,000 potential donors to the Be The Match Registry. That has led to at least 14 marrow donations for patients with life-threatening illnesses who are in need of genetic matches for transplants. This Wednesday morning, as part of a segment on ABC’s “Good Morning America”, two of the people involved in one of those “matches” will meet each other for the first time. Erika Turner, a cancer survivor whose life was saved by a stem cell transplant, will meet Christopher Magoon ’11, the man who donated those cells shortly after registering at a Mandi Schwartz Marrow Donor Registration Drive at Yale. ABC’s Robin Roberts, recently diagnosed with myelodysplastic systems, will facilitate the introduction. She is scheduled to have a bone marrow transplant in the near future.

For the rest of the article by Yale communications, click here.

Mandi Schwartz was the older sister for former Tiger Jaden Schwartz and incoming senior center Rylan Schwartz.

Updated weekend reading: J. Schwartz, PSU, lawsuit, Gophers

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz knows he needs to get stronger and work harder to overcome a size disadvantage in the NHL.

The ECAC’s Mandi Schwartz Student-Athlete of the Year Award went to her former Yale teammate, who led efforts for bone marrow registration. Hughes has been instrumental in the founding of the Mandi Schwartz Foundation and organizing the annual “White Out for Mandi” fundraising hockey game at Ingalls Rink.

Here are some details from the outdoor doubleheader at Soldier Field next February. The pairings are as reported before with CCHA foes Miami taking on Notre Dame and WCHA rivals Minnesota versus Wisconsin.

The last two times Wisconsin played in an outdoor game, the Badgers reached the NCAA championship game, winning once. That also bodes well for Boston College which played the Badgers each time in 2006 and 2010.

The likelihood of NCAA sanctions against Penn State remains a real possibility. It is unclear how that would affect the ice hockey programs there. Former Nittany Lions star Matt Millen, now an ESPN analyst, is being ripped for his pro-Paterno analysis of the report.

The likelihood of the Kitchener lawsuit against the student-run Michigan Daily resulting in any actual damages paid is unlikely, according to this student press law center article. The paper said it plans to defend itself.

Here is a look at Minnesota’s strengths and weaknesses headed into the 2012-13 season.

A New Hampshire assistant captain was hurt at the Capitals’ development camp. It does not appear to be serious. The Wildcats play at CC over Thanksgiving weekend.

UMass had another coaching candidate turn down its head job. A UNH assistant with college head coaching experience and Air Force associated head coach Mike Corbett may be the leading candidates now.

Weekend reading: Interesting 2014 WCHA playoff format, North Dakota nickname, Jaden and Mandi Schwartz, Parise, Big 10

The WCHA announced its nine-team playoff format which includes Anchorage and Fairbanks playing in a best-of-three first-round series every time unless one is the No. 1 seed.

It is clearly a cost-cutting measure so the league does not have to pay for two teams’ round trips to or from Alaska, but could make for some weird playoff scenarios in March 2014.

Here are more details from the Mankato beat writer and a reaction from the UND reporter.

Also, there was no word about any move toward adding Alabama Huntsville. Too bad. There is a lot of unfinished business ahead for the new-look WCHA. There was no word on the postseason venue either.

The state Board of Higher Education has directed the University of North Dakota to retire its Fighting Sioux nickname. State residents voted overwhelmingly earlier this week to uphold the Legislature’s repeal of a state law requiring the school to use the nickname. The moniker that the NCAA finds offensive had been brought out of retirement for a second time while the measure was decided.

Board President Grant Shaft, of Grand Forks, says there’s not much more that can be said about the issue that hasn’t been said already. UND will be asked to report its progress at a later date.

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will get to see the CHL’s Memorial Cup firsthand this week.

One of Mandi Schwartz‘s former teammates is a finalist for a league award in her honor.

The Minnesota Wild keep being mentioned as the possible new homes for free agents Ryan Sutter and Zach Parise. This may be a case of wishful thinking judging from this NHL.com interview by Parise.

Here is a feature on UNO recruit Brian Cooper of Anchorage.

The Big Ten paid out $24,6 million to its member schools.

The Fargo arena is in financial trouble. The Dartmouth women add an assistant.

Division III New England ran afoul of the NCAA’s financial aid rules. UMass has lost its radio home.

The dream is one step closer to fruition: the Penn State club hockey web site shut down voluntarily since the varsity program is handled by the university. Follow TYT for PSU updates.

Here is a look at the Mercyhurst program.

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.

Saturday reading: UMD strengthens hold on second place

No. 1/2 Minnesota-Duluth 4, Alaska-Anchorage 1

ANCHORAGE – J.T. Brown scored four goals to lead No. 1-ranked Minnesota-Duluth to a 4-1 win over Alaska Anchorage in a WCHA game Friday night at the Sullivan Arena. UMD improved to 18-5-4 overall and 12-4-3 in WCHA while the Seawolves fell to 6-17-2 overall and 3-17-1 in league play.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead thanks to Brown’s first-period natural hat trick. He scored just 2:30 in off a centering pass from Adam Krause. Brown’s second tally came at 11:36 after linemate Travis Oleksuk won a faceoff draw back to Brown in the UAA zone. His third came with just 50 seconds left in the first from a severe angle along the goal line.

The Seawolves came out with good energy in the second and drew within two on a power-play tally by Mitch Bruijsten at 13:42 of the second – his team-leading eighth on the season. Stationed in front of UMD netminder Kenny Reiter, Bruijsten deflected a shot from teammate Matt Bailey past a screened Reiter. Scott Warner was credited with the second assist.

But Brown’s fourth goal – via the power play less than two minutes later – pushed UMD’s lead back to three at 4-1 after two periods. The two teams played to a scoreless third-period stalemate, resulting in UAA’s eighth straight loss.

The Bulldogs clearly showed some improvement after a lackluster effort last weekend.

There was no lack of effort by either team in Game 3 of the Gold Pan rivalry series. CC can claim the trophy with a win or tie tonight at soldout CS World Arena.

Here’s the Post’s writeup of CC’s 2-0 road win and a photo slideshow. How important was that win? CC is 15th and would be in the NCAA Tournament if it started this morning according to the Pairwise rankings. DU, at 16th, would be bumped out in favor of the Atlantic playoff champion.

Here’s the Gazette’s take on the game with a column by David Ramsey on Friday being what would have been Mandi Schwartz’s 24th birthday. The ECAC announced Friday that it changed the name of its women’s student-athlete award in honor of her.

Here’s the Omaha World Herald’s story on the Mavs’ 1-1 tie with Bemidji State.

CURRENT STANDINGS

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
20
15
5
0
30
66
38
19
9
1
108
59
Minnesota Duluth
19
12
4
3
27
74
47
18
5
4
103
66
Colorado College
19
12
7
0
24
71
57
15
9
1
86
68
Denver
19
10
6
3
23
66
57
15
9
3
95
74
Nebraska Omaha
19
9
6
4
22
58
57
12
10
5
80
77
North Dakota
20
11
9
0
22
56
54
15
10
2
82
75
Michigan Tech
19
9
8
2
20
65
58
12
13
2
82
80
St. Cloud State
21
8
10
3
19
62
58
11
14
4
88
83
Wisconsin
21
7
12
2
16
57
69
12
13
2
82
82
Bemidji State
19
6
10
3
15
46
62
12
12
3
71
74
Minnesota State
21
6
14
1
13
57
77
10
18
1
81
97
Alaska Anchorage
21
3
17
1
7
43
87
6
17
2
60
96