Meet the CC freshmen: Michael King, Pete Maric

It won’t be hard to notice freshman defenseman Michael King, listed at 6-foot-4 without skates, when he takes the ice for the Tigers. His skating ability looked smooth and his reach gives him an advantage, covering a lot of the ice with his stick.

“Michael will take a little time to get used to the speed but he has a lot of upside,” coach Scott Owens said. “He is a very-skilled big man.”

“I am just trying to soak up as much as I can,” the 227-pounder from British Columbia said. “I have been working on playing more physical.”

Chances are if the Tigers need a particular role filled, freshman Pete Maric can handle it.

“Maric is a very versatile and well-rounded,” coach Scott Owens said. “He can fill many roles.  He also played on two different championship teams in two years.”

“You learn to give yourself a clean page the next day (after a loss),” he said. “That is part of the winning mentality. It gives you a lot of confidence.”

Maric said his success is from being willing to do whatever the team needed.

“You feed off that,” he said. “You work hard all the time. You defend, do a hell of a job forechecking to create opportunities and then capitalize. You do whatever you can.”

The previous installments of Meet The Freshmen: Cody Bradley and Hunter Fejes; Russell Finch and Jared Hanson are available by clicking the link in their names.

Meet the CC freshmen: Russell Finch, Jared Hanson

The much-traveled Russell Finch, the first Wyoming native to join the Tigers program, is happy to see his long road through junior hockey culminate with a roster spot at Colorado College.

Finch, 21, played with Casper Outlaws youth program until age 15 when he moved to play at a high level in Fort Collins and his family moved to Maryland.  He would have been the first from the Terrapin State to play for the Tigers but he has never lived there.

“Finch is a smart player,” said captain William Rapuzzi. “He is one of the older guys who really knows the game.”

“He’s a very experienced, dependable defenseman,” said CC assistant Eric Rud.

That showed in his final season when he record 15 points (12 assists) in 50 games and was a whopping plus-32 in plus/minus.

Finch spent the next three years in Chicago playing midget hockey before moving on to the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League for a season followed by 10 games before a trade to NAHL Fairbanks. Both teams won their divisions while Finch was there.

“I put in my time,” the 5-foot-11 defenseman said with a smile. ” I am really happy and excited to have the opportunity to play college hockey. I will work very hard. I will do whatever needs to be done for the team.”

Freshman Jared Hanson, like most rookies, is still adjusting to the college game.

But the former Lincoln Stars standout has shown that he can contribute in many ways thanks to a good work ethic, well-rounded game and a mature, winning attitude to the Tigers.

It showed in the larger role he had in Lincoln, working his way onto a top line and on the power-play unit. He went from 24 points in 53 games in 2010-11 to 55 points (27 goals) in as many games last season.

“He got better and better his final season there,” CC coach Scott Owens said.

That improvement was thanks to the same work ethic he promises to bring to the Tigers program.

“I will just try to work hard and seize every opportunity I can and make the most of it by burying the puck,” the Palmer, Alaska native said.

The previous Meet The Freshmen installment dealt with Cody Bradley and Hunter Fejes. The final one later this week will introduce Michael King and Pete Maric.

Tigers start off strong during first captain’s practice

CC captain William Rapuzzi, standing, sets up the next drill during the Tigers’ first captain’s practice on Monday at Honnen Ice Arena.

The Colorado College hockey team knocked off the offseason rust pretty quickly during the first of 11 scheduled captain’s practices on Monday night.

“It was pretty good,” said senior captain and wing William Rapuzzi. “We did a lot of passing to get the rust off and had a 5 to 7-minute scrimmage with a real fast pace.”

A lot of that had to do with the usual excitement of being back in school after a long offseason.

“Guys are excited to get on the ice,” said junior wing Alexander Krushelnyski. “The tempo was good. Everyone is going hard and setting high expectations for themselves.”

The Tigers looked good despite putting in a hard weight room session before the 75-minute practice away from the team’s coaching staff per NCAA rules. No one looked to be skating with heavy legs.

“Everyone came in in good shape,” junior defenseman Eamonn McDermott said. “(Fitness) testing (last week) went real well.”

A lot of roles need to be filled this season with a lot of contributors lost to graduation, Jaden Schwartz’s early departure for the NHL and Dakota Eveland’s neck injury. Eveland said he will find out more about his future after new X-rays in a couple weeks.

“Everything’s up in the air,” Rapuzzi said. “Guys are working real hard at taking up the slack and move into new roles.”

CC captain William Rapuzzi, center, leads the Tigers through their usual end-of-practice stretching.

The six freshmen (listed by roster number) – defensemen Russell Finch (No. 2) and Michael King (3), and forwards Cody Bradley (10), Hunter Fejes (11),  Peter Maric (22), and Jared Hanson (24) – did not stand out, which is a good thing as they learn the CC drills. Most looked good with smooth skating ability.

“They fit right in with us,” senior Rylan Schwartz said. ”They asked a few questions (about drills) and caught on real quick.”

“They have been working hard on and off the ice,” Kruselnyski said. “They are quick learners and work hard.”

That means listening to the upperclassmen, who are eager to teach them how things are done in the Tigers program.

“They’re not talking, just doing,” McDermott said.

That is critical since only one official practice led by the coaches is allowed before Sunday, Oct. 7’s exhibition game against British Columbia followed by the season-opening series against Clarkson Oct. 12-13.

“These aren’t throw-away practices,” Rapuzzi said. “You get right into games so these are just as important as normal practices and you have to treat them like that. Just because coaches aren’t here doesn’t mean you can slack off. We only have a month before the games count.”

Weekend reading: CC roster, INCH Hobey Watch, Sioux, USHL

Captain William Rapuzzi will lead the 2012-13 Tigers this winter.

The 2012-13 roster for Colorado College was announced on Thursday and recent commit Peter Maric will be in the fold this fall as expected.

The Tigers will take on three potential Hobey Baker award candidates this upcoming season according to Inside College Hockey.

The retirement of Niklas Lidstrom suggests that Detroit may be looking to add a free agent defenseman  like Justin Schultz after July 1.

The Spirit Lake Sioux nickname supporters plan an appeal.

RIT announces its incoming freshmen, which includes CC wing Andrew Hamburg‘s brother Anthony, the program’s first NHL draft pick.

Nice to see all but one of the USHL first team honorees are headed to college and almost all are headed to future National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams.

Miami promotes from within its athletic department.

Here is the new national 2013 recruiting list which now reflects the conference realignments.

CC lands another USHL champion

Green Bay Gamblers forward Peter Maric will play hockey at Colorado College following his USHL career.

Although the following USHL press release does not specify if the 5-foot-10, 184-pounder will come to CC this fall, I think it is quite likely he will to fill the spot vacated by Dakota Eveland while he recovers from neck surgery.

Here is a video highlight of Maric (No. 13) in action and another. The 19-year-old appears to have a knack for knocking in rebounds.

Here is the rest of the release …

Maric put up 17 points (4g, 13a) and posted a plus-10 rating in 40 games for the Gamblers after being acquired early in the season from the Sioux City Musketeers.  The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native returned to his home state and was part of the Gamblers Anderson Cup squad that finished with a 47-9-4 record in the regular season.

He added two points (1g, 1a) while playing in all 12 postseason games to help the Gamblers capture the Clark Cup.  He recorded an assist on the game-winning goal in the series-clinching 5-2 Game Five victory over Waterloo on May 23rd.

Maric first broke into the USHL during the 2010-11 season and scored 17 points (5g, 12a) in 55 games for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders.  He is one of eight players to play in the USHL this season that is committed to Colorado College, joining Christian Heil (Chicago Steel), Alex Roos (Chicago Steel), Jaccob Slavin (Chicago Steel), Matt Hansen (Des Moines Buccaneers), Duggie Lagrone (Des Moines Buccaneers), Cody Bradley (Dubuque Fighting Saints), and Jared Hanson (Lincoln Stars).

Colorado College is a member of the WCHA and recently completed their season with an 18-16-2 record.  A total of 17 USHL alumni were on the roster for the Tigers this season; Nick Dineen (Sioux Falls Stampede), Dakota Eveland (Omaha Lancers), Gabe Guentzel (Sioux Falls Stampede), Tim Hall (Ohio Junior Blue Jackets), Joe Howe (Waterloo Black Hawks), Alex Krushelnyski (Sioux City/Chicago), Joe Marciano (Omaha Lancers), Eamonn McDermott (Fargo Force), William Rapuzzi (Green Bay Gamblers), Jaden Schwartz (Tri-City Storm), Scott Winkler (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Aaron Harstad (Green Bay Gamblers), Peter Stoykewych (Des Moines Buccaneers), Jordan DiGiando (Dubuque/Cedar Rapids), Charlie Taft (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Scott Wamsganz (Dubuque/Waterloo), and Ian Young (Fargo/Chicago).