In the pros: Dineen leads Finnish team with video

Dineen FinlandFormer Tiger captain Nick Dineen‘s pro career has taken off in Mestis, the second-tier Finnish league.

He centers his team’s top line with Aatu Hämäläinen and Pasi Salonen and leads KooKoo with 32 points (15 goals) in 43 games after a slow start.

Dineen has clearly adjusted well to the Finnish league even if the language proves more challenging, judging from the team’s YouTube channel.

Looks like Nick is having fun.

UNO’s Megna leaves for the pros

Colorado College’s Charlie Taft tries to steal the puck from UNO’s Jayson Megna. Megna, who made the WCHA all-freshman team in 2011-12 after recording 13 goals and 18 assists for 31 points, becomes another high-profile offseason departure for a Maverick program that slumped at the end of a 14-18-6 season. CHRIS MACHIAN/WORLD HERALD

Jayson Megna, UNO’s second-leading returning scorer, has decided to turn professional with one of three NHL organizations and won’t return for his sophomore season.

Megna, who attended development camp with Pittsburgh earlier this month, said he’d decide among the Penguins, Bruins and Jets this weekend. He said he received six or seven offers in all.

“Obviously it was a tough decision for me to leave school after playing there for a year, playing with my brother (defenseman Jaycob) and my other teammates,” Megna said. “I loved it. But I made a decision that I think is best for me and my career.”

It is another big hit for the Mavs after losing captain Terry Broadhurst to the Blackhawks earlier in the offseason, and his brother Alex, who decided to go to major junior instead.

For the rest of the Omaha World Herald article by beat writer Rob White, click here.

Here is a list of the 12 early departures from the WCHA so far this offseason as compiled by the Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman.

Monday reading: Tigers in the playoffs, Zaba video, J. Schwartz honor

Former Tigers Trevor Frischmon (No. 28) and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders' top affiliate, saw their season end on Sunday night with a 4-3 OT loss to Connecticut. The Whale swept the best of five AHL playoff series, 3-0.

Colin Stuart, captain of the Rochester Americans, will try to stave off elimination when his team hosts the Toronto Marlies on Monday night in the league’s only game.

Nate Prosser returned from an unspecified injury and the Houston Aeros defense held together for a 1-0 win Sunday at Oklahoma City to keep the best-of-five series going. The West top seed Barons still lead 2-1 in games.

Brian Connelly recorded an assist in Abbotsford’s 4-2 win Sunday night at Milwaukee. The Heat lead the series 2-0 and head back to B.C. for Game 3 on Wednesday.

The Foxes celebrate their championships in Italy's top pro hockey league.

Here are highlights of the Bolzano Foxes’ perfect (12 wins in 12 games) run to the franchise’s record 19th Italia Serie A championship as shown in this highlights video that features goalie Matt Zaba (No. 1, black headgear). The Foxes wear red and white.

Top hockey prospect website HockeysFuture.com selected Jaden Schwartz, drafted 14th overall in 2010, as an honorable mention after  his sophomore performance with Colorado College and as captain of the bronze medalist Canadian world juniors team.

The USA U18 team brought home yet another gold medal.

In the ECHL playoffs, Alaska will host Las Vegas, probably on Friday, to open the Western Conference finals. Brian Swanson and Tim Hall play for the top seed Aces. No former Tigers play for the Wranglers.

Saturday reading: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, Hall, playoff recaps, previews

Here’s a preview of tonight’s St. Louis at Tampa Bay game when former Tiger Jaden Schwartz will make his NHL debut. (TV: 5 p.m. Mountain FS Midwest, SUN Network).

Expect Gabe Guentzel, pictured at left, to make his pro debut Saturday night for AHL Syracuse against Adirondack and former CC teammate Mike Testwuide. Guentzel will wear No. 10 judging from the roster.

Tim Hall made his pro debut for ECHL Alaska in a 3-1 loss at Colorado. It reads like he played his defensive role well, drawing two penalties.

Here’s a lot of good information on CC and its available personnel next season by the Gazette’s Brian Gomez: CC wing Dakota Eveland will not play next season after offseason neck surgery this Tuesday. Look for one or two more 2012 commits or one of the 2013 players to be brought in a year early.

North Dakota could be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, if it wins its third Broadmoor Trophy in a row against Denver tonight in the WCHA Final Five championship game. ( TV: 6 p.m. Mountain ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain). Here’s plenty of recap and preview notes.

Western Michigan cruised past Miami in the CCHA semifinals on Friday. Top remaining seed Michigan defeated last-place Bowling Green State 3-2 in double overtime to end the Falcons’s memorable run at an NCAA berth.

In Hockey East, Maine downed Boston U in one semifinal while Boston College ended No. 7 seed Providence’s Cinderella run. Maine plays BC at 6 p.m. Mountain (TV: NBC Sports Network).

In the ECAC, Harvard kept its NCAA hopes alive by advancing to tonight’s championship against top seed Union. Harvard is rated at No. 19 in the Pairwise and must win the automatic berth to move on.

In the Atlantic, Air Force will take on No. 3 seed and host RIT tonight (Radio: 1300 AM, 5 p.m. Mountain)

Update: Watch Hall make ECHL debut Friday night against Colorado Eagles

Former Tiger forward Tim Hall signed an amateur tryout agreement on Thursday for an unspecified amount of time with the ECHL defending champion Alaska Aces and will join the team in Loveland for Friday and Saturday’s games at the Colorado Eagles.

Hall will make his pro debut Friday night in a road game against the Colorado Eagles. The Aces contacted him Wednesday and he jumped at the chance to show where he could fit into a team that features former Tiger and NHLer Brian Swanson as captain and all-time ECHL career goals scorer Wes Goldie.

“I’m going to be a third or fourth line guy,” he said. “They have a lot of skill on this team so they have their offense taken care of. I’ll come in, provide some energy and hopefully chip in a few points.”

The Aces are affiliated with the NHL’s St. Louis Blues organization and Peoria of the AHL.

The Aces can clinch the Mountain Division title with a win this weekend.

Hall finished his Tigers career with 40 points (16g, 24a) in 135 games including five goals and three assists in 34 games this past season.  However long his time with the Aces last, Hall is hopeful he’ll be able to take advantage of his chance.

“It’s a great place to start,” he said. “The Aces are a great organization. I hope I do well this weekend and make the most of this opportunity.”

That makes him the first of the six seniors to sign a pro contract. Gabe Guentzel will sign a deal with AHL Syracuse on Friday.

Guentzel headed to AHL Syracuse

Former Tiger defenseman Gabe Guentzel will likely make his pro debut this weekend for AHL Syracuse. COURTESY TIM BRULE/USCHO

Former Tiger defenseman Gabe Guentzel is flying to Syracuse, N.Y. on Friday to sign an AHL-only contract with the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch for the remainder of this season and the next, he said Thursday night.

“They really wanted to get me out there playing and learning their system,” he said. “That is one of the reasons I chose them.”

The Crunch are affiliated with the Anaheim Ducks organization, in which the puck-moving defenseman hopes he can find a niche and develop his game for the NHL.

Guentzel said he is unsure when he will make his professional debut. He is healthy and able to play when needed, he said.

“They really want to see me get some games under my belt this season,” he said.

The Crunch (27-27-4-4) host the Rochester Americans, which include former Tiger Colin Stuart, on Friday and the Adirondack Phantoms, which include former CC captain Mike Testwuide and Colorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom, on Saturday.

The college free agent said five other organizations – Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Edmonton and Minnesota – approached him about signing with them toward the end of his senior season, which ended March 10.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. He is the second  of the six Tiger seniors to sign a pro deal after his college career concluded. Tim Hall signed with the Alaska Aces late Thursday night.

Guentzel recorded 26 points (4g, 22a) his senior season and 94 points (16g, 78a) in 156 games for his career, missing only three games his freshman year out of a possible 159 contests played his his four years  a Tiger.