Boivin garners weekly WCHA defensive honor

Colorado College’s Mike Boivin (28), right, celebrates teammate Nick Dineen’s (22) goal during the first period at World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo., Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. The Gazette File.

CC senior defenseman Mike Boivin earns a league weekly award while Archie Skalbeck and Hunter Fejes were finalists.

From the WCHA …

Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week
Nick Bjugstad • Junior, Forward, University of Minnesota

MADISON, Wis. – University of Minnesota forward Nick Bjugstad, who scored both game-winning goals while boosting the host and top-ranked Golden Gophers to a season-opening sweep over visiting Michigan State last weekend, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for October 16.

Centering Minnesota’s top line that included left winger Kyle Rau and right winger Christian Isackson, Bjugstad led the trio to a combined for nine scoring points over the weekend. A 6-6, 220-pound junior from Blaine, Minn. and a draftee of the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Bjugstad notched the game-winning goal and added an assist in defending WCHA champion Minnesota’s 5-1 victory over Michigan State last Friday (Oct. 12) night at Mariucci Arena, earning First Star of the Game honors. He then came back on Saturday (Oct. 13) to again tally the game-winner as UM completed the sweep of the Spartans with a 7-1 triumph.

An All-WCHA First Team and All-American Second Team honoree a year ago, Bjugstad also fired five shots on goal in the series and earned a +4 plus/minus rating. The two-point night last Friday was his 17th career multi-point game, with Minnesota holding a 14-1-2 record in those games while his two game-winners upped his collegiate total to six winners. In 71 collegiate games, Bjugstad has 35 goals, 30 assists and 65 points.

Also nominated: Matt Bailey, F, Alaska Anchorage; Archie Skalbeck, F, Colorado College; Milos Gordic, F, Michigan Tech; Mike Seidel, F, Minnesota Duluth; Chase Grant, F, Minnesota State.

Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week
Mike Boivin • Senior, Defenseman, Colorado College

MADISON, Wis. – Colorado College’s Mike Boivin has been named Red Baron® WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 16 after the veteran blue liner helped lead the host Tigers to a two-game, season-opening sweep of Clarkson last weekend at the Colorado Springs World Arena.

A 6-1, 190-pound senior from Delta, B.C., Boivin contributed a pair of key assists, fired 12 shots on goal and earned a +1 plus/minus rating as No. 19-ranked Colorado College recorded a pair of 5-4 victories over the visiting Golden Knights. Last Friday (Oct. 12) night, Boivin assisted on teammate Jeff Collett’s second period shorthanded goal that gave CC a 2-1 lead and had three shots on goal. Then last Saturday (Oct. 13) evening he assisted on William Rapuzzi’s game-winning goal at 19:00 of the third period and had a game-high nine shots on goal as the Tigers completed the series sweep after rallying from 2-1 and 4-3 deficits.

Boivin has played 82 career games as a Tiger and has contributed 12 goals, 28 assists and 40 points.

Also nominated: Michael Shibrowski, G, Minnesota.

Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week
Austin Farley • Freshman, Forward, University of Minnesota Duluth

MADISON, Wis. – University of Minnesota Duluth forward Austin Farley, who produced four scoring points in his collegiate debut weekend as the host Bulldogs split a two-game series with visiting Ohio State at AMSOIL Arena, has been named the Red Baron® WCHA Rookie of the Week for Oct. 16.

A 5-9, 170-pound rookie left winger from Niles, Ill., Farley paced the 13th-ranked Bulldogs offensively with a team-high tying four points each on the Oct. 12-13 weekend. Last Friday (Oct. 12) night, Farley scored the game’s first goal at 1:05 of the first period on his first shift at UMD and later set up two others for three points, put five shots on goal and earned a +1 plus/minus rating as Minnesota Duluth defeated the Buckeyes, 6-2. One of his two assists came on teammate Mike Seidel’s game-winner. On Saturday (Oct. 13), Farley earned his third assist of the series when Seidel tied the game at 2-2 at 19:24 of the second period in an eventual 3-2 setback. He also had one shot on goal for a total of six in the two games and accrued an ample amount of time on the Bulldog power-play, which connected on five-of-14 series opportunities (35.7%).

Also nominated: Hunter Fejes, F, Colorado College; Brady Skjei, D, Minnesota.

Friday reading: Bloggers preseason poll, USCHO rankings, Lagrone, Face Off Luncheon, Mankato, Michigan Tech, Wisconsin, Gross

Eighteen bloggers, including yours truly and gmf1a of the CC fan forum, made their preseason picks and ranked CC eighth in the 3rd Annual Web Site and Bloggers Preseason Poll compiled by Tradition of Excellence. Give it a look.

USCHO announced its preseason Top 10 forwards, led by Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad, who is pictured.

CC 2013/14 defenseman commit Duggie Lagrone of Dallas will play for NAHL Fairbanks this season.

Both Air Force coach Frank Serratore and CC coach Scott Owens are feeding off the enthusiasm of their players as the season nears.

There is a definite buzz around the Minnesota State program this preseason.

Six second-year coaches are discussed, including Michigan Tech’s Mel Pearson.

Here is a season preview about Miami.

Wisconsin really needed its new on-campus hockey facility. There is a lot for the Badgers to celebrate this season.

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross leads the Penn State women into the 2012-13 season.

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.

Wednesday reading: Wisconsin, Mercyhurst, UMass, Gadowsky

Oft-injured Wisconsin forward Jason Clark has left the program after a strong performance in the Islanders development camp.

The Badgers athletic department gave out more than $1 million in bonuses to coaches last season.

The Mercyhurst coach got an extension through the 2015-16 season.

New UMass coach John Micheletto, pictured, knows he has a tough task ahead. Here are more links with reactions from UMass players.

Former Tiger Guy Gadowsky is talking at a coaches conference later today. Here is an update on the Kitchener lawsuit against The Michigan Daily student newspaper.

The Florida brass are not concerned about Nick Bjugstad‘s development slowing by staying another season at Minnesota.

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.

Bjugstad will return for Gophers

From Goal Gophers

The Gophers men’s hockey team, coming off a Frozen Four season and armed with a bunch of talented incoming recruits, figured to be good next season regardless of whether Nick Bjugstad decided to come back for his junior year or turn pro with the Florida Panthers.

But the news from the program Thursday — that Bjugstad is, indeed, coming back — was huge nonetheless.

Bjugstad, a 6-5, 211-pound center from Blaine, was named All-WCHA First Team and Second-Team All-American last season as a sophomore. He had a team-leading 25 goals, which was tied for fifth in the nation. He was a first-round pick of the Panthers in the 2010 draft, and the prospect of him turning pro genuinely seemed like a 50-50 proposition, though in a February interview with the Star Tribune, Bjugstad perhaps hinted at his mindset when he said, “I would have no problem coming back for another year or two years,” and talked of the joys of college hockey.

Here is a look at what this means for the UM program this coming season and more from College Hockey News.

Weekend reading: Bjugstad, Prosser, Parise, Suter, faceshields, Penn State scandal, Union, UMass, NHL Draft, NCAAs

Minnesota standout Nick Bjugstad, pictured, likely will announce if he will return this season sometime this weekend. UPDATE: He said Sunday night he and his family will decide over the next two weeks.

Former Tiger Nate Prosser, an Elk River native, is excited, like much of Minnesota, about the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter signings.

The NCAA continues its slow saunter toward 3/4 face shields.

This Penn State fan blog talks about how the recent scandal may affect hockey.

Here is the top reported remaining candidates for the open UMass coaching job.

Lake Superior State lost an undrafted forward after he excelled in the Rangers development camp. A goal in all four scrimmages apparently caught the scouts’ attention.

The 2013 NHL Draft should be as loaded as the famed 2003 picks. Five are future collegians as the Grand Forks Herald reports.

If that is not planning far enough ahead for you here are the 2013 NCAA regionals:

Northeast, Manchester, N.H., on March 29-30;

East, Providence, R.I., on March 30-31;

Midwest, Toledo, Ohio, on March 30-31;

West, Grand Rapids, Mich., on March 29-30.