More Thursday reading: Atlantic expansion, CLASS award finalists, Notre Dame, Fairbanks punishment, ECAC parity, CCHA update

Four schools, including Alabama-Huntsville, are under consideration to fill the 12th Atlantic Hockey Association spot being vacated by UConn when it leaves for Hockey East in summer 2014. Judging from the article, UAH is still on the outside looking in because of geography.

All four look like strong candidates including one strong D3 and D1 start-ups at Rhode Island and Navy.

Air Force’s Stephen Carew is one of the 20 Lowe’s CLASS award finalists.

It looks like Notre Dame will fit in very well in Hockey East.

The NCAA took scholarships away from Alaska-Fairbanks.

The ECAC has more parity than in years past.

Here is a look at the progress made at Michigan State.

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Alaska upsets No. 2 North Dakota, 2-1

Alaska-Fairbanks 2, No. 2 North Dakota 1

FAIRBANKS — Chad Gehon scored 3:02 into the third period and the host Nanooks killed off two penalties, including one in the final 57 seconds that led to a 6-on-4 North Dakota advantage, to hold on for a 2-1 win over second–ranked UND.

Nanooks goalie Scott Thompson (2-0) finished with 25 save while North Dakota junior Clarke Saunders (1-1) made 30.

WCHA roundup: Lucia records No. 600; Denver routs Air Force

No. 1 Minnesota 3, Michigan Tech 2

HOUGHTON — Sophomore forward Seth Ambroz scored twice to help Don Lucie secure his 600th career win as Minnesota skated to a 3-2 victory against Michigan Tech on Saturday at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.

No. 7 Denver 5, Air Force 2

DENVER — Junior forward Nick Shore registered three goals and an assist to lead Denver to a 5-2 win against Air Force on Saturday night at Magness Arena.

No. 17 Northern Michigan 2, Nebraska Omaha 1

OMAHA — Junior forward Zahn Raubenheimer scored a goal but Nebraska Omaha was defeated by Northern Michigan, 2-1, on Saturday night at CenturyLink Center.

St. Cloud State 4, Alabama-Huntsville 0

ST. CLOUD — Senior forward Drew LeBlanc and sophomore defenseman Andrew Prochno each had a goal and an assist to help St. Cloud State earn a weekend sweep with a 4-0 win against Alabama Huntsville on Saturday at National Hockey Center.

Bemidji State 5, Lake Superior State 0

BEMIDJI — Sophomore goaltender Andrew Walsh stopped 25 shots and junior forward Radoslav Illo had a goal and an assist to lead Bemidji State to a 5-0 win against Lake Superior State on Saturday night at Sanford Center.

Minnesota State 5, RPI 4 OT

MANKATO — Senior forward Eriah Hayes scored at 1:09 of overtime to lift Minnesota State to a 4-3 win against Rensselaer on Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Center.

Alaska Anchorage 6, Merrimack 3

FAIRBANKS — Sophomore forward Scott Allen scored two goals and an assist and freshman forward Blake Tatchell added two goals to lead Alaska Anchorage to a 6-3 victory against Merrimack College on Saturday night at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in Fairbanks

Wednesday reading: Honors, Crabb, Hillen, DU, UND, schedule

Two future NCHC foes garnered weekly CCHA honors.

The recent NHL proposal has desperate NHL bloggers excited enough to post depth charts, including former Tigers Joey Crabb, pictured, and  Jack Hillen in Washington.

Denver has a new  director of media relations after Eric Bacher left for the assistant athletics director for public relations at Virginia. His replacement is Nicole Bostel, who was DU’s associate director of media relations. Congratulations to Nicole on the promotion.

Here is an injury update for shorthanded North Dakota.

This Week in the WCHA …

Games for Thursday, Oct. 18: Minnesota Duluth at Notre Dame (NC), 7:35 pm ET.

Games for Friday, Oct. 19: Minnesota at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; Minnesota Duluth at Notre Dame (NC), 7:35 pm ET; Lake Superior at Bemidji State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Rensselaer at Minnesota State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Alabama-Huntsville at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Northern Michigan at Nebraska Omaha (NC), 7:37 pm CT; Colorado College at Air Force (NC), 7:05 pm MT; * North Dakota vs Alaska Anchorage (NC), 5:05 pm AT; UMass Lowell at Denver (NC), 7:37 pm MT. * Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK).

Games for Saturday, Oct. 20: Minnesota at Michigan Tech (WCHA), 7:07 pm ET; * Merrimack vs Alaska Anchorage (NC), 4:05 pm AT; Lake Superior at Bemidji State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Rensselaer at Minnesota State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Alabama-Huntsville at St. Cloud State (NC), 7:07 pm CT; Northern Michigan at Nebraska Omaha (NC), 7:07 pm CT; UMass Lowell at Colorado College (NC), 7:07 pm MT; Air Force at Denver (NC), 7:07 pm MT; * North Dakota at Alaska (NC), 7:05 pm AT. * Alaska Goal Rush (Fairbanks, AK).

More Friday reading: WCHA previews, weekend picks, Alabama-Huntsville’s hopes, weekend schedule

Here is the conference season preview I wrote along with colleague Tyler Buckentine, who is based in Minnesota.

Michigan Tech lost 4-2 at Lake Superior State on Thursday, something Tyler and I both predicted. We also picked MTU to win at home Saturday night against the Lakers. Here are the rest of the weekend’s picks.

Alabama-Huntsville needs to show it can compete in the WCHA and fill its arena with WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod coming South to watch Minnesota State at the Chargers this weekend.

Here are the team season previews we wrote: Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State, Colorado College, Denver;

Michigan Tech, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State;

Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin.

Here is this weekend’s schedule, courtesy of the WCHA. Michigan Tech lost at LSSU 4-2 Thursday night.

Fri
10/12/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
6:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:30 p.m. ET
Fri
10/12/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
USA Under-18 Team
at North Dakota
7:37 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:37 p.m. MT
Fri
10/12/12
Army
vs Nebraska Omaha
9:00 p.m. CT
Fri
10/12/12
Canisius
at Alaska Anchorage
8:07 p.m. AT
Sat
10/13/12
Notre Dm/Maine
vs Nebraska Omaha
3:30/6:30 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
St. Cloud State
at New Hampshire
7:00 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Lake Superior
at Michigan Tech
7:07 p.m. ET
Sat
10/13/12
Minnesota State
at Alab-Huntsville
7:00 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Wisconsin
vs Northern Michigan
7:05 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Ohio State
at Minnesota Duluth
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
USA Under-18 Team
at Bemidji State
7:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Clarkson
at Colorado College
7:07 p.m. MT
Sat
10/13/12
Michigan State
at Minnesota
8:07 p.m. CT
Sat
10/13/12
Air Force
at Alaska Anchorage
7:07 p.m. AT

More Wednesday reading: Thorimbert, CCHA coaches, media polls

Colorado College goalie Josh Thorimbert (39) made a save in the second period as Denver wing Chris Knowlton looks for the rebound during a college hockey game in Denver, Friday night, Feb. 3, 2012. The Denver Post, Karl Gehring

CC goalie Josh Thorimbert is profiled by Inside College Hockey.

From the CCHA …

For the fifth time in seven years, the coaches and media disagree on who should own the No. 1 position in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s annual preseason polls. The conference’s 11 head coaches ranked Notre Dame first for the second consecutive season, while voting from 87 members of the media tabbed Michigan as the preseason favorite.

In the coaches poll, the Fighting Irish captured seven first-place votes and one second, while Michigan took two first-place votes as well as six seconds to come in just five points behind the favorite. Western Michigan, last season’s CCHA Tournament Champion, had the remaining first-place votes to finish third, just three points behind Michigan and eight behind the Irish. Miami finished fourth in the poll while the 2011-12 CCHA Regular-Season Champion and National Runner-Up Ferris State rounded out the top five.

The media voted in favor of Michigan, with Western Michigan coming in second and Notre Dame in third, agreeing with the coaches on which three teams should occupy top three.  The Wolverines picked up 50 of a possible 87 first-place votes, while the Broncos garnered 25 and the Irish received nine first-place votes.  The Bulldogs and RedHawks finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in the media poll as well.

The Wolverines, who finished in second place in the regular season, return 20 letterwinners that took them to their 22nd consecutive NCAA tournament. Included in that list is a pair of defensemen that were named to a Preseason All-Conference Team, with junior Jon Merrill being named to the first team and senior Lee Moffie earning a second-team selection. Michigan also returns seven of its top ten scorers, including last season’s Rookie of the Year, Alex Guptill, who tied for the team lead in scoring a season ago, notching 16 goals and 33 points.

Notre Dame also brings back 20 letterwinners from the 2011-12 season, which saw the Irish finish eighth in the conference. The Irish return their top two scorers in junior forwards T.J. Tynan, last season’s Scoring Co-Champion, and Anders Lee. Both are CCHA Preseason All-Conference First-Team selections and combined for 30 goals and 75 points last season.

The Broncos are the defending CCHA Mason Cup champion and return 15 letterwinners, including a trio of CCHA Preseason All-Conference First Team selections: junior Chase Balisy at forward, junior Dan DeKeyser on defense and sophomore Frank Slubowski in goal. Western Michigan returns their top offensive line of Balisy, junior Shane Berschbach and senior Dane Walters. The trio combined to score 39 goals and 98 points last season, making up almost one-third of the Broncos’ scoring.

Miami is coming off a fourth place finish and returns a young roster of 18 underclassmen, including three freshmen goaltenders. The RedHawks return their second-highest scorer from last season in sophomore forward Austin Czarnik, a Preseason All-Conference Second Team selection. Ferris State hopes to build off last season’s success, returning 18 letterwinners, including three of their top five scorers.  

A total of 87 media members ranked the 11 CCHA teams in projected order of finish for the regular season. Points were awarded on an 11-10-9-8, etc., basis. League coaches ranked the CCHA teams, excluding their own school, in the order they predicted the regular season will end.

     Coaches Poll

        1.       Notre Dame (7) 105

        2.       Michigan (2)   100

        3.       Western Michigan (2)   97

        4.       Miami  78   

        5.       Ferris State   67

        6.       Ohio State     66

        7.       Michigan State 56

        8.       Bowling Green  43

        8.       Northern Michigan      43

        10.      Alaska 31

     11.    Lake Superior    29

     Media Poll

        1.      Michigan (50)   903

      2.      Western Michigan (25)   825

        3.      Notre Dame (9)  765

        4.      Ferris State (3)        626

        5.      Miami   622

        6.      Michigan State  528

        7.      Ohio State      438

        8.      Northern Michigan       389

        9.      Bowling Green   264

     10.     Lake Superior   232

        11.     Alaska  150

Friday reading: Clarkson, predictions, lockout, Serratore, Nanooks

Here is the Know Your Enemy post on Clarkson by the RPI fan blog, who covers the ECAC quite well. Plenty of good information in this season preview as well.

The North Dakota beat writer picks CC to finish 10th in the WCHA. His season preview supplement is also available. Information how to get it without a Herald subscription is here. It costs $4 and it is definitely worth it. Brad Schlossman puts a lot of work into this every year.

The new Bemidji State beat writer (welcome Jack Hittinger) makes his picks as does Duluth vet Kevin Pates here. College Hockey Weekly also weighs in.

The College Hockey News announced its preseason Top 10 with Minnesota No. 1.

This freshman could fill Minnesota’s hole at goalie if former CC backup Michael Shibrowski cannot.

Former Tiger Mark Stuart is optimistic the NHL lockout may end soon.

New Minnesota State Mankato coach Mike Hastings runs intense practices.

Air Force coach Frank Serratore hands out some sound advice to parents about whether their child should leave high school early for junior hockey.

Per Matthew Semisch via Twitter: Just confirmed that, despite Omaha radio reshuffle, Dave Ahlers and Terry Leahy will still be doing the UNO hockey broadcasts this season.

Minnesota is also picked to win the WCHA women’s title by its coaches.

There is a three-way battle for the starting goaltender job at Alaska-Fairbanks after years of stability. Here is the 2011-12 introduction video which was a departure from the previous years where CCHA opponents were blown up seemingly at random.

Here is the 2010-11 intro which includes the destruction of the CCHA opponents and the Earth as well. Please comment below which you prefer. Keep in mind both intros are played at ear-splitting volume levels.