Friday reading

Captain Nick Dineen and senior Tim Hall (pictured) may not be honored by the midseason awards, but both are big reasons the Tigers are in third and four points out of first place in the WCHA halfway through the season.

It’s time to look at the first half of the WCHA season. Here’s Bucky’s Fifth Quarter’s take which honors Rylan and Jaden Schwartz, Mike Boivin and Gabe Guentzel.

Here’s more on the Canada captaincy of CC sophomore Jaden Schwartz, including a feature touching on the influence of his sister Mandi.

Former Tiger Mike Testwuide looks due for a breakout later this season.

Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad remains day to day for Team USA at the world juniors. Here’s an update on the Americans.

Nebraska-Omaha picks up a goalie commit.

Here’s a Gazette feature on AFA’s Kyle De Laurell, a product of the Colorado Rampage club in northern Colorado Springs.

CURRENT WCHA STANDINGS
WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
1
Minnesota
14
11
3
0
22
51
28
14
5
1
83
41
Minnesota Duluth
14
10
2
2
22
59
32
12
3
3
73
44
3
Colorado College
14
9
5
0
18
59
48
11
5
0
67
50
4
Nebraska Omaha
14
7
4
3
17
46
43
9
8
3
62
60
5
Denver
14
6
5
3
15
47
45
8
7
3
59
55
6
North Dakota
14
7
7
0
14
39
37
9
8
1
51
50
7
Michigan Tech
14
6
7
1
13
41
43
9
9
1
54
55
St. Cloud State
14
5
6
3
13
43
41
7
9
4
64
62
9
Bemidji State
14
5
7
2
12
36
46
9
9
2
55
56
10
Wisconsin
14
4
8
2
10
40
50
7
9
2
57
59
11
Alaska Anchorage
14
3
10
1
7
29
54
6
10
2
46
63
12
Minnesota State
14
2
11
1
5
37
60
5
14
1
55
75

Around the WCHA: Tigers charge into third with road sweep

CC junior Rylan Schwartz scored twice to spark the Tigers for their fourth win in five games. Courtesy CC Athletics

No. 7 Colorado College ended the first half of its season with an exclamation point.

The Tigers (11-5, 9-5 Western Collegiate Hockey Association) scored twice early in the third period to seal a convincing 6-2 win at last-place Minnesota State-Mankato (5-14-1, 2-11-1). The road sweep moved CC into sole possession of third place, past idle Nebraska-Omaha (9-8-3, 7-4-3).

CC junior center Rylan Schwartz scored twice, with his team-leading 16th of the year proving to be the game winner when he put the Tigers ahead 3-1 with 15:27 left in the second period.

Defensemen Eamonn McDermott and Joe Marciano scored in the first 4:19 of the third to open up a 5-1 command. Mike Boivin scored the opening goal to give CC three goals by its blue-liners.

Mankato’s Michael Dorr scored a shorthanded goal to make it 5-2 midway through the final period. It was the sixth shorty allowed by the Tigers this season. It was the only negative for a power play that clicked at a 3-for-6 pace.

William Rapuzzi scored an empty-netter for the final margin. Rylan Schwartz got the assist.

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert recorded 24 saves, 13 in the third, to win his second in a row. The Tigers out shot Mankato 44-26, leading in that stat by a 43-18 margin midway through the third.

No. 2 Minnesota (14-5-1, 11-3) and No. 1 Minnesota-Duluth (12-3-3, 10-2-2) are tied for first with 22 points, four ahead of the Tigers.

No. 13 Denver (8-7-3, 6-5-3) lost 5-1 at St. Cloud State in the only other league series this weekend to remain in fifth.

Bemidji State beat Alabama-Huntsville 5-0 for the home sweep while North Dakota downed the Russian Red Stars 5-1 in exhibition play.

The league is idle until after Christmas. CC hosts Air Force on Dec. 30 and No. 12 Union on New Year’s Eve.

Union downed No. 5 Merrimack 3-1 on Saturday night.

CURRENT WCHA STANDINGS

WCHA Games
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Minnesota
14
11
3
0
22
51
28
14
5
1
83
41
Minnesota Duluth
14
10
2
2
22
59
32
12
3
3
73
44
Colorado College
14
9
5
0
18
59
48
11
5
0
67
50
Nebraska Omaha
14
7
4
3
17
46
43
9
8
3
62
60
Denver
14
6
5
3
15
47
45
8
7
3
59
55
North Dakota
14
7
7
0
14
39
37
9
8
1
51
50
Michigan Tech
14
6
7
1
13
41
43
9
9
1
54
55
St. Cloud State
14
5
6
3
13
43
41
7
9
4
64
62
Bemidji State
14
5
7
2
12
36
46
9
9
2
55
56
Wisconsin
14
4
8
2
10
40
50
7
9
2
57
59
Alaska Anchorage
14
3
10
1
7
29
54
6
10
2
46
63
Minnesota State
14
2
11
1
5
37
60
5
14
1
55
75

Friday’s lines: CC at MSU-Mankato

Colorado College

LW-C-RW

Skalbeck/R. Schwartz/Rapuzzi

Krushenyski/Dineen/Hamburg

Eveland/Civitarese/Collett

Morin/Hall/Taft

LD-RD

Guentzel/McDermott

Harstad/Marciano

Stoykewych/Boivin

Goalies — Thorimbert/Howe

From Puckato, which is hosting a live game blog both nights.
MINNESOTA STATE
23-Dorr     14-Jokinen     22-McInnis
15-Burkemper     19-Lehrke     25-Hayes
12-LaFontaine     18-Leitner     8-Gaede
24-Mueller     29-Zuck     9-Louwerse3-Cooper     26-Schiller
7-Palmquist     16-Elbrecht
17-Mosey     2-Nelson

1-Lee
31-Karambelas
30-Cook

Scratches: Grant, Heath, Knoll, Leivermann, Stern, Thauwald

Friday reading

Some think CC sophomore Jaden Schwartz, pictured at left, may have a letter on his Canadian national team jersey soon, judging from this well-done feature. They’ll get no argument from me.

He is one of the five Canadians to watch according to NBC.

His absence makes it likely CC will split at Mankato this weekend according to this prediction. The Mavs are healthier headed into this series.

Here’s the Mankato Free Press’ preview capsule and The Gazette’s look at CC’s goalie situation. Fans should keep in mind that they needn’t freak out unless a true No. 1 hasn’t emerged by February. Remember CC turned its season around with a 2-1 loss at Bemidji State when the team suddenly started playing to its potential; capped by that memorable NCAA win over Boston College.

The Alabama-Huntsville at Bemidji State series is previewed by the Bemidji Pioneer. Beavers player Drew Fisher is interviewed in this video.

Denver sophomore Jason Zucker’s hectic days are profiled by the Post’s Adrian Dater. The Pioneers play at St. Cloud State.

The rivalry between the Michigan Tech and Northern Michigan’s coaches go back to their playing days and continued as assistants.

Here’s preview notes for North Dakota’s Saturday exhibition against the Russian Red Stars.

Former Tiger Bill Sweatt’s demotion to the AHL  is explained by the Canucks’ coach. It’s good news. Here’s a feature on his NHL experience by his hometown newspaper.

Richard Bachman continues to impress. It is unclear if he will play against the Devils tonight after winning 3-2 at the Islanders Thursday night.

There’s high hopes for UMass-Lowell, where former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers have engineered a strong start.

Goon’s World makes his predictions for this weekend.

The weekly news releases from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference is annoying to this columnist.

Boivin’s goal with 2.8 seconds left caps thrilling CC comeback

Colorado College defenseman Mike Boivin’s goal with 2.8 seconds left lifted the sixth-ranked Tigers to a thrilling 4-3-come-from-behind win over Alaska-Anchorage at World Arena Saturday night.

The score, which was reviewed for 3 minutes, 42 seconds by video officials, capped a Tigers comeback from down 3-1 early in the second period.

“Rylan had a good screen and the goalie couldn’t see anything,” said Boivin, who scored his second of the night. “I was just trying the get the puck on net. Rylan is good on rebounds in front.”

Schwartz didn’t have to be as the shot went in just inside the far post. Schwartz was shoved into the crease for a moment but did not make contact with UAA goalie Rob Gunderson.

“I was in the crease for a moment but I was out by the time the puck got there,” said Schwartz, who scored a great unassisted goal while CC was on the power play four minutes into the second to make it 3-2 Alaska-Anchorage.

David Civitarese scored an unassisted shorthanded goal seven minutes later to make it 3-3 and give the Tigers momentum headed into the third.

On Schwartz’s goal, the puck was hit up into the air by a falling Seawolves player near the UAA right faceoff circle. It hit Schwartz and ended up going off Schwartz’s body down to his stickblade as he skated between the circles.

He attacked the UAA net and beat a stickless Anchorage defender and Gunderson with 15:56 left in the second.

“It’s a good thing the defender didn’t have a stick,” Schwartz said with a grin.

Civitarese intercepted a UAA pass just inside the Tigers blue line and he split the two defenders to charge in on Gunderson, beating him glove side with 8:47 left in the second.

“After giving up a shorthanded goal (Friday) it was nice to make it 3-3,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert made 23 saves, 11 in the third, including three in rapid succession with 2:26 remaining to keep the game tied at 3-3 and set the stage for Saturday’s dramatic finish.

“Those three saves by him saved the day,” Owens said.

The video review couldn’t have ended sooner for Owens, who admitted that he, like most of the announced crowd of 6.552 fans, let out a sigh of relief.

“I wanted the game over now,” he said.

While the win makes the fans feel good, the CC defensive problems continued, putting CC behind 3-1 when Brett Cameron popped free unmarked for a goal only two minutes into the second period.

“It wasn’t a game of beauty but I thought we showed a lot of character and resiliency to come back,” Owens said. “We’re not clicking on all cylinders.”

Those same defensive miscues put the Tigers in a 2-0 deficit before a slap shot by Boivin, who recorded his first two-goal game and first game-winner, got past Gunderson to make it 2-1 headed into the first intermission.

Boivin’s goal, assisted by Jeff Collett, came 62 seconds after Brett Cameron scored off a great pass from Mickey Spencer, who intercepted a clearing attempt by Archie Skalbeck to make it 2-0 with 4:30 remaining.

Skalbeck’s misfire on defense was indicative of the troubles CC has battled in their own end this season. A defensive zone coverage mistake led to the opening goal for Alaska-Anchorage early in the period.

Alaska-Anchorage freshman Eric Scheid banged in a rebound after Thorimbert made a great first save on a shot by Austin Coldwell. No CC skater was in position to beat Scheid, who was unmarked, to the loose puck with 12:15 left for the 1-0 lead.

Despite the errors, the Tigers played much-improved team defense – admittedly not saying much – compared to Friday. Boivin credited a more focused effort by the entire team.

“We regrouped today,” Boivin said. “We were a lot stronger on our sticks. Our forwards were making it difficult for their defensemen to get the puck out. That made it a lot easier for our defensemen.”

CC travels to MSU-Mankato, which swept Alabama-Huntsville, next weekend to conclude the first half of the season.

Defensive struggles put CC behind 2-1 after one

Colorado College’s defensive troubles continued, putting the Tigers in a 2-0 deficit before a slap shot by defenseman Mike Boivin, his third goal of the year, got past Alaska-Anchorage goalie Rob Gunderson to make it 2-1 headed into the first intermission.

Boivin’s goal, assisted by Jeff Collett, came 62 seconds after Brett Cameron scored off a great pass from Mickey Spencer, who intercepted a clearing attempt by Archie Skalbeck to make it 2-0 with 4:30 remaining.

Skalbeck’s misfire on defense was indicative of the troubles CC has battled in their own end this season. A defensive zone coverage mistake led to the opening goal for Alaska-Anchorage early in the period.

Alaska-Anchorage freshman Eric Scheid banged in a rebound after Tigers goalie Josh Thorimbert made a great first save on a shot by Austin Coldwell. No CC skater was in position to beat Scheid, who was unmarked, to the loose puck with 12:15 left for the 1-0 lead.

A quick whistle by the referee negated a power-play goal by Archie Skalbeck less than two minutes later. CC played better than Friday (that is not saying a lot) and generated far more scoring chances with a 19-8 edge in shots on goal.