Friday reading: Holmstrom, WCHA column, predictions, Kerdiles

HolmstromColorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom will miss much of the season with a knee injury.

Here is this week’s WCHA column from USCHO and my and Tyler’s predictions.

CC hopes the road proves kinder than its recent homestand.

Puckato’s Morning Skate provides links to previews from around the league.

Wisconsin 5, Alabama-Huntsville 0

MADISON — Junior forward Michael Mersch and freshman forward Nic Kerdiles each scored two goals to lead Wisconsin to a 5-0 victory against Alabama-Huntsville on Thursday night at Kohl Center. It was Kerdiles’ first college scores after a tough offseason.

Wednesday reading: DU streak, Krushelnyski, Gold Pan previews

Denver Post beat writer Mike Chambers talks about this interesting fact in a new weekly column: The Pioneers have not been swept in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series in nearly four years — since losing 4-2 and 2-1 at St. Cloud State on Nov. 14 and 15, 2008.

It is very likely  a league record, pending confirmation.

Junior Alexander Krushelnyski, pictured at left and forever in CC lore after last year’s OT penalty shot goal, was featured by the Gazette.

Here is the Star-Tribune’s preview of the Gold Pan series and the preview from

Northeastern lost a freshman forward who had played in all nine games (two assists) to USHL Muskegon.

Friday reading: Harstad homecoming, WCHA previews, videos

Tigers sophomore defenseman Aaron Harstad will get a chance to play before family and friends when the Stevens Point, Wis, resident plays in the Kohl Center for the first time when CC travels to Wisconsin to open WCHA play this weekend.

“It’s exciting to get to play in place like the Kohl Center,” said Harstad, who played a state tournament game in the smaller UW women’s arena during his high school days. “A lot of my family will be there.”

CC practiced Thursday night at UW’s new practice rink because of a basketball game at the Kohl Center that night.

Also, Wisconsin’s Derek Lee is reportedly ready to play this weekend after missing last weekend due to injuries from a car-scooter accident.

Here are the preview notes for Colorado College at Wisconsin; No. 12 Boston University at No. 5 North Dakota; No. 18 St. Cloud State at No. 3 Denver; unranked Minnesota State vs. No. 2 Minnesota; and Nebraska-Omaha at Michigan Tech.

Alaska-Anchorage, Bemidji State and No. 17 Minnesota-Duluth are idle.

Here is a look at SCSU’s Nic Dowd. North Dakota received a commit from the son of its longtime athletic trainer.

Videos are becoming more commonplace for sports information departments. Here is North Dakota’s latest Through These Doors episode:

Michigan Tech’s latest In The Crease episode concerns the recent home split against Minnesota:

Wednesday reading: Clarkson, ECAC, Cornell, Miami, CCHA

Allan McPherson scored 11 goals as a junior for Clarkson (photo: Shelley M. Szwast).

Clarkson is looking to decide its goalie situation early in the season. Here is an excerpt from USCHO:

“First and foremost, the cavity left by St. Louis Blues prospect and Clarkson’s all-time saves leader Paul Karpowich is crying out for attention. Senior (and Islanders draft pick) Cody Rosen is the lone returning netminder for Clarkson, and he will have a battle on his hands if he hopes to hold down the No. 1 spot this year.

“Our philosophy is that the best goalie will play; there is no entitlement in the position,” Jones said. “We have two newcomers with Cody that will battle for playing time, but with that experience we’re a vastly different team than last year. Last year we were vastly inexperienced on the blue line and we had a better goaltender in net. It kind of flips around this year. We’ll be a little more veteran in front of the nets.”

The rookie backstops are Surrey, British Columbia,-bred Andrew Hunt and Mars, Pa., product Greg Lewis. All three goalies play similar styles, according to Jones, filling a lot of vertical space but complementing their height with butterfly-method technique.”

Here is the ECAC season preview and a look at Cornell, CC’s road foe later this month.

Mankato’s Mike Hastings received a warm welcome from the other WCHA coaches during the annual media conference call on Tuesday. Notre Dame’s Mario Lucia may be back earlier than expected from his broken leg.

The Miami athletic director has accepted a similar position at Boston College.

Here is the USCHO’s CCHA season preview with links to future National Collegiate Hockey Conference members Miami and Western Michigan. The other school previews are available as links besides the main preview.

Here’s more on North Dakota’s exhibition opener.

Thursday reading: Pros updates, weekend preview notes

Mark Stuart has been a leader at every level of hockey he's played.

Former Tiger Mark Stuart, pictured at left playing for Team USA last summer, is profiled by the Winnipeg Jets while listing all his considerable accomplishments.

Getting replaced by Joey Crabb on your line is a good motivational tool for Leafs’ coaches. Crabb has made the most of his chance this season.

From the “Hockey is a Small World” department, here’s a story by the Post’s Mike Chambers linking two Avalanche teammates to their peewee days when they lost to two former Denver standouts and a former CC goalie named Richard Bachman.

Here’s Goon’s World’s weekly predictions and an injury update for Colorado College, which looks to have lost sophomore Michael Morin for the season with surgery on a broken right ankle.

Here’s the Gazette’s capsule preview for the home-and-home series between CC and Denver.

The Minnesota AD announced he will retire soon.

Former Mankato standout and Blues captain David Backes used his free time over the NHL All-Star Break to save three shelter dogs by flying them from Houston  to a no-kill shelter in St. Louis.

The City of Mankato is looking to invest some serious money into improving the Verizon Wireless Center. Great job by Shane Frederick finding that Backers story.

After some talk of the Blues trading the rights to current CC sophomore standout Jaden Schwartz, that rumor has been dispelled.

Michigan Tech is no longer anyone’s doormat.  The Huskies take on MSU-Mankato this weekend.

Here’s Denver’s weekly press conference video  featuring coach George Gwozdecky.

Bemidji State coach Tom Serratore discusses his team’s road series at Nebraska-Omaha in this video.

Alaska Anchorage has the unenviable task of hosting No. 1/2 Minnesota Duluth.

Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves talks about his team’s home series against St. Cloud State.

North Dakota’s Corban Knight is the subject of the “Through These Doors” weekly video feature. UND is idle this week as are the No. 1/2 Gophers.

This Week in the WCHA …

Games for Friday, February 3: St. Cloud State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:37 pm CT; Colorado College at Denver (WCHA), 7:37 pm MT; Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

Games for Saturday, February 4: Bemidji State at Nebraska Omaha (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Michigan Tech at Minnesota State (WCHA), 7:07 pm CT; Denver at Colorado College (WCHA), 7:07 pm MT; St. Cloud State at Wisconsin (WCHA), 8:07 pm CT; Minnesota Duluth at Alaska Anchorage (WCHA), 7:07 pm AT.

Friday reading: Previews and recaps

North Dakota faces an unfamiliar foe, Harvard, with plenty of familiar players from Minnesota. As beat writer Brad Schlossman points out, this is an important series for UND, which needs to pick up some Pairwise ranking points.

That said, CC, No. 15 in the latest rankings, needs them too. Playing a tough, physical opponent like Air Force followed by No. 10 Union is business as usual for Nos. 5/6 Colorado College.

“It’s just like a weekend in the WCHA,” senior defenseman Gabe Guentzel said earlier this week. “You empty the tank on Friday and come back for more on Saturday.”

Last year  a 6-4 win over Air Force was followed by a rout at the hands of No. 1 Yale, which according to Pairwise analysts secured a top seed based on that 5-1 win. Fortunately for CC fans, Union plays Denver the night before.

Here’s the Gazette’s previews focusing on CC and Air Force, which hosts Denver on Saturday.

The NCHC commissioner search looks to be lasting until January.

Former CC goalie Michael Shibrowski is still waiting for his chance to play. Kent Patterson will start against Niagara tonight at the Mariucci Classic with a game against either Princeton or Northeastern on Saturday for No. 2 Minnesota. Here’s notes from the Minnesota beat writer, including a setback for UND nickname supporters.

Nebraska-Omaha has a chance to boost its nonconference record (2-4) with a weekend series against Quinnipiac.

A hot Bemidji State (5-1-1 of late) team takes on future WCHA foe Bowling Green, winless in its last eight, for the first time.

MSU-Mankato takes on the USA U-18 squad in an exhibition tonight.

Thursday’s recaps from …

St. Cloud State 4, No. 8 Western Michigan 2

ST. CLOUD —  The St. Cloud State University men’s hockey team (8-9-4, 5-6-3 WCHA) rallied to win a big 4-2 decision over #8 Western Michigan University (9-5-5, 7-4-3 CCHA) on Thursday, Dec. 29 at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minn.

The series concludes tonight in St. Cloud.

The Huskies relied on a pair of goals by senior forward Jared Festler to capture the victory, which included Festler’s game winner at 16:55 of the third period with power play assists from freshman defender Andrew Prochno and sophomore defender Nick Jensen.

No. 14 Michigan State 3, Michigan Tech 1

DETROIT – Michigan Tech held a 46-26 advantage in shots on goal but fell 3-1 to Michigan State in the first semifinal of the 47th annual Great Lakes Invitational Hockey Tournament at Joe Louis Arena. Down 2-0 after two periods, the Huskies (9-10-1) pulled within one with 12 minutes to play before the Spartans (11-6-2) added an empty net goal.

“I’m proud of our team,” said Tech’s head coach Mel Pearson. “We played a pretty good game today and just didn’t get the bounces. I’m disappointed for the guys because I feel like we deserved a better result.”

The Huskies play No. 3 Boston College which lost 4-2 to No. 20 Michigan later Thursday for third at 2 p.m. Friday.

Notes: Junior forward Chad Pietila played his first game in a Tech uniform after sitting out a year because of NCAA Division I transfer rules …Junior defenseman Tommy Brown saw his first action since the opening weekend against American International. He had sat out with a medical condition.

In the pros: Prosser called up; Bachman secures Dallas backup job; Stuart fight video

Former Tiger Richard Bachman has secured the backup job in Dallas with the imminent release of Andrew Raycroft.

From the article:

“It’s no secret that we’ve been taking a look at Richard the past three weeks and he’s got a good number of starts,” said Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk. “It’s always a difficult decision because Andrew is a veteran guy and he’s a good teammate, but we made the decision at this time that we are going to go with Bachman.”

Nate Prosser was called up by Minnesota for tonight’s 6 p.m. Mountain game at Nashville.

Here’s video of Tuesday night’s fight between Mark Stuart and the Avs’ Cody McLeod:

Wednesday reading: Around the WCHA

Here’s a look at some Gopher reserves, including former CC goalie Mike Shibrowwski, who may play in the Mariucci Classic this weekend. That may not help a perceived lack of buzz over No. 2 Minnesota’s season so far.

Here’s the preview notes from Air Force and Colorado College.

Nebraska-Omaha loses one reserve and brings in another.

The WCHA could use a strong start to the second half of the season this nonconference weekend with only three — Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota and CC — in the top 15 of the Pairwise rankings at the moment.

That could be tough with Michigan Tech, pictured at left celebrating a win at Minnesota,  as the only unranked team in the Great Lakes Invitational field.

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.

Thursday reading: Previews, videos, other news

Minnesota-State-Mankato may be toward the bottom of the standings but they are a tough foe, especially at home. The No. 7 Tigers, missing Jaden Schwartz and Scott Winkler, should have their hands full.

“They’re a lot like Anchorage,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said after Saturday’s game. “This league is very close. That’s why no one should be surprised by all the splits.”

Here’s MSU-Mankato’s preview notes and a capsule preview by the Gazette. Here’s more info on Mankato from the Free Press and a look at Mankato freshman wing Jean-Paul LaFontaine.

UNO dismissed senior captain Alex Hudson for a second violation of team rules.

Denver closes out the first half at St. Cloud State in the only other WCHA series this weekend. Here’s DU’s notes preview package and a new video preview from SCSU.

Bemidji State hosts Alabama-Huntsville in a rematch of former College Hockey America and Division II rivals. Here’s a video interview of BSU coach Tom Serratore.

Michigan Tech travels to UP rival Northern Michigan. Here’s the preview notes for the single game on Friday.

The Russian Red Stars play North Dakota in an exhibition on Saturday.

The WCHA announced its players of the week earlier.

MSU-Moorhead is struggling to raise the cash needed to start a D I program in fall 2013.