CC at St. Cloud State preview

CC Alexander Krushelnyski roadHere is part of a preview I wrote earlier this week.

Colorado College (8-8-2, 5-4-1 WCHA) at No. 17 St. Cloud State (9-7-0, 7-5-0) 7:37 p.m. Central Friday, 7:07 p.m. Saturday

The Tigers’ run of five weekends in a row against ranked opponents continues this Friday through Saturday in Minnesota. The league’s 11th-rated scoring defense (3.50 goals) is balanced out by CC’s potent offense (league-best 3.61 goals), although the Tigers start out slow with 51 of the team’s 65 goals coming in the second and third period.

“We just need to keep getting better,” said Tigers head coach Scott Owens. “Our 5-on-5 scoring has been good which is better than it has been the past three years.”

CC senior Rylan Schwartz is tied for the WCHA scoring lead with 24 points while senior captain William Rapuzzi is tied for third with 22 points (13 assists). Tigers senior Scott Winkler has 20 points and is tied with Schwartz and two others with a league-high 10 goals.  Junior Alexander Krushelnyski now has 19 points (11 assists), good for a tie for eighth on the WCHA point scoring list with two others.

They face a team that is every bit as good as the higher-ranked opponents CC has faced, Owens said.

“And it is at their home which only makes it tougher,” Owens added. “They have two top lines that are as strong as anyone’s. You knew they would be good coming into the season with (Drew) LeBlanc back. Their defensive corps is underrated, led by one of the league’s best in Nick Jensen, and they have had good goaltending. They are going to be good as always.”

SCSU Nick JensenThe Huskies are paced by senior LeBlanc’s 21 points (team-high 16 assists) and 20 points (12 assists) from junior Nic Dowd. Freshman Kalle Kossila has 13 points (eight goals) while junior defenseman Jensen has 12 points, with his first goal of the season last weekend.

Senior Ben Hanowski has 11 points (seven assists) while freshman David Morley has 10 points (four goals, including his first hat trick last Friday). Sophomore goalie Ryan Faragher is 8-6-0 with a 2.44 goals against mark and a .912 saves percentage.

Friday reading: Features and previews

The Tigers will need a strong start to keep the boisterous Duluth crowd from energizing the defending national champs.

Forgive CC senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel if he was already a little tired before the 160-mile ( it sure seems longer)  bus trip from Minneapolis to Duluth after the Tigers missed their flight to Duluth because of Thursday morning’s snowstorm. Look for the Bulldogs to rely on a strong forecheck to put further pressure on the CC blue-liners.

Thunder Bay, Ontario is the hometown for the top senior centers for both Minnesota Duluth’s men’s and women’s hockey teams. Good article by Kevin Pates and a smart way to feature two seniors headed into a big weekend at AMSOIL Arena.

North Dakota has struggled at Denver’s Magness Arena. DU’s top freshman defenseman plans to stick with the Pioneers for a full four years. Here’s a preview of the series and the latest Through These Doors video.

Keegan Meuer is a key offensive spark for Wisconsin as the Badgers head to Bemidji State. Here’s a preview capsule on the series.

Nebraska Omaha hopes to keep ahold of fourth place with a strong series against visiting Minnesota. Like most Minnesotans, UNO’s Ryan Walters will be inspired to play against the Gophers.

A Nebraska Lincoln hockey program would be welcome.

St. Cloud State travels to Michigan Tech. The red-clad Huskies’ Brooks Bertsch and Nic Dowd will likely show up early.

Alaska Anchorage takes on rival Alaska Fairbanks for the annual Governors Cup.

Here’s some prediction by the Roman Empire and Goon’s World.