Friday reading: Video, columns, predictions, features, previews

North Dakota released its weekly preview video:

Here is this week’s USCHO column on the WCHA. I wrote about CC’s defense, Mark Zengerle, the players of the week and provided the quick hits.

Here are my predictions for this weekend.

Here is the Gazette’s preview for the North Dakota at CC series. The Grand Forks Heralds says UND wants to generate greasy goals and keep an eye on senior Rylan Schwartz, who leads a potent Tigers offense. You may recall he had hat tricks two nights in a row at Grand Forks last Thanksgiving. Those links and plenty of others are provided here. More links including info on video streaming is included in links found here.

Puckato provides links to preview from all around the WCHA on his morning blog post. Check it out.

Here is a preview of the Wisconsin at Denver series focusing on the college debut of freshman Nic Kerdiles tonight, which will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network at 8 p.m. Mountain. Goalie Juho Olkinuora will start for Denver on Friday with Sam Brittain slated for Saturday, the Denver Post reports.

Here are capsules previews for all three series being played along the Front Range this weekend and a more detailed DU preview with an injury update on Josiah Didier.

Here is the NBC SN schedule this weekend:

Nov. 30 – Boston College vs. Boston University, 7:30 p.m. Eastern, Wisconsin vs. Denver, 10 p.m.

Dec. 1 – Boston University vs. Boston College, 7:30 p.m.

The NBC executives certainly picked the right games: BC coach Jerry York is one win away from tying Ron Mason for most Division 1 wins all time.

Friday reading: WCHA features and previews, military appreciation

No. 19 Colorado College takes on a strong No. 7 Cornell team in its first road trip of the season (No, Air Force does not count).

Minnesota State readies for its final campaign in the old WCHA. They travel to St. Cloud State.

Here is a look at the Wisconsin at No. 14 Minnesota Duluth series from a Bulldogs perspective. Wisconsin senior Derek Lee, UW’s power play quarterback, is out this weekend after a scooter-car collision.

Nebraska Omaha goalie John Faulkner is playing well so far. UNO hosts Bemidji State.

Hockey brought in big money to the Denver economy last weekend. Look for goalie Sam Brittain to start Friday against visiting Michigan Tech with Juho Olkinuora. Here is a preview focusing on Michigan Tech.

Here is all you need to know about Alaska Anchorage at No. 4 North Dakota.

Minnesota plays the USA U-18 team tonight and Canisius, which tied Air Force 1-1 on Thursday,  on Sunday. The Gophers will rest a few dinged up players.

In pro hockey, the ECHL Colorado Eagles are asking fans to nominate their family members or friends who they feel qualify as “Hometown Heroes” as part of Military Appreciation Night.

If you know of someone who deserves to be honored and recognized for their incredible efforts of military service, please fill out the attached form and return it for consideration to the Colorado Eagles by the end of business on Thursday, Nov. 1.

Three nominees will be chosen from the forms received, and honored (one per period) during our annual Military Appreciation Night on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Budweiser Events Center.  The honorees will receive free tickets to that night’s game, along with admittance for select family/friends.

Monday reading: Goalies, outdoor game, Duluth, Penn State, women

Jason Torf shut out Rochester Institute of Technology for the Atlantic Hockey playoff title last season (photo: Omar Phillips).

Air Force’s  Jason Torf and Denver’s Sam Brittain are both considered “Goalies to Watch” this season.

Sophomore goalie Frank Slubowski (17-11-4, 2.03 GAA, .911 saves) led Western Michigan to its first CCHA postseason championship so his inclusion was no surprise. But I did raise an eyebrow since CC’s Josh Thorimbert did not make that top 10 considering he tied for preseason honors with Brittain in the WCHA media poll.

The USCHO preseason poll is scheduled to come out on Monday. Here is last season’s final poll so you may compare the two later.

Tickets for the North Dakota at Nebraska Omaha outdoor game went on sale at 10 a.m. CT today.

A former Minnesota-Duluth forward succumbed to brain cancer.

Penn State will play its first game at Pegula Ice Arena against Army.

Here is a look ahead at this season in Hockey East play and another perspective.

The women’s Division I schedule got underway this weekend.

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.

Friday reading: Previews, academic honors

Oklahoma City’s Ryan Keller and Abbotsford’s Brian Connelly battle for control of the puck during the first period of Thursday night’s American Hockey League game at the Scotiabank Saddledome. Henrik Karlsson, Calgary Flames No. 2 goalie, was in the nets for the Heat on a conditioning assignment. Photograph by: Gavin Young, Calgary Herald

Denver hopes the return of goalie Sam Brittain gives the Pioneers a chance at making a run and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. They host No. 1/2 Minnesota, which is coming off a bye week. The Pioneers have done well against the Gophers of late, prompting some concern in the Twin Cities.

Here is a CC at Bemidji State preview from the Beavers’ perspective and a preview capsule by the Gazette, which has reported Nick Dineen and Josh Thorimbert did not make the trip to Bemidji this weekend.

Alaska Anchorage hopes to get on a roll at home against MSU Mankato after beating then No, 1/2 Minnesota Duluth last weekend. Here’s an update on the purple Mavs.

All four UMD Hobey Baker winners will be honored during the No. 3 Bulldogs’ home game tonight against No. 16 North Dakota. Here is a profile of all four. North Dakota brought all its healthy players, giving Stephane Pattyn more ice time than expected this season.

This weekend’s series between visiting Nebraska Omaha and Michigan Tech could determine home playoff ice for both teams. Mix in a large Winter Carnival crowd and it’s Hot Times in Houghton, which this time of year means a high of 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a 90 percent chance of snow.

Here are Roman’s fearless WCHA predictions. The Minnesota Mr. Hockey finalists were announced.

Former Tiger Bill Sweatt is profiled by his hometown newspaper. Wisconsin’s Justin Schultz will be a hot commodity in the free agent market this summer if he chooses to eeave a year early.

Altogether a record 96 hockey players were named WCHA scholar-athletes on Thursday.

Here is the list as copied from wcha.com:

2011-12 WCHA Scholar-Athletes
****four-time recipient; ***three-time recipient; **two time recipient

Alaska Anchorage — Matt Bailey (So., F, Winnipeg, MB); Brett Cameron (So., F, Spruce Grove, AB); Chris Crowell** (Jr., F, Williams Lake, BC); Andrew Pickering (So., F, West Vancouver, BC); Jade Portwood (Sr., F, Victoria, BC); Dusan Sidor*** (Jr., G, Poprad, Slovakia).

Bemidji State — Drew Fisher** (Sr., F, International Falls, MN); Jamie MacQueen** (Sr., F, St. Thomas, ON).

Colorado College — David Civitarese*** (Sr., F, Calgary, AB).

Denver — Beau Bennett (So., F, Gardena, CA); Daniel Olszewski (So., F, Janesville, WI); Shawn Ostrow** (Jr., F, Calgary, AB); Paul Phillips** (Jr., D, Darien, IL).

Michigan Tech — Corson Cramer*** (Jr., G, Colorado Springs, CO); Kevin Genoe** (Jr.,G, Qualicum Beach, BC); Patrick McCadden (So., F, Chesterfield, MO); Brad Stebner (So., D, Fort McMurray, AB).

Minnesota — Zach Budish (So., F, Edina); Nate Condon (So. F, Wausau, Wis.); Jake Kremer **(Sr., G, Eden Prairie); Nick Larson (Sr.  F, Stillwater);  Taylor Matson (Sr.  F, Mound); Nico Sacchetti ** (Sr. F, Virginia).

Minnesota Duluth —  Aaron Crandall** (So., G, Lakeville, MN); Luke McManus (So., D, Apple Valley, MN); Kenny Reiter**** (Sr., G, Pittsburgh, PA).

Minnesota State Mankato — Cameron Cooper (Sr., D, Lakeville, MN); Tyler Elbrecht** (Jr., D, Edwardsville, IL); Evan Karambelas (Fr., G, Fort St. John, BC); Austin Lee**** (Sr., G, Bloomington, MN); Evan Mosey (Jr., D, Downers Grove, IL); Joe Schiller*** (Sr., F, Detroit Lakes, MN).

Nebraska Omaha — Bryce Aneloski (Jr., D, Pekin, IL); Fredrik Bergman** (Jr., G, Vienna, VA); Terry Broadhurst (Jr., F, Orland Park, IL); Kyle Ensign (Sr., D, New Richmond, WI); Zahn Raubenheimer (So., F, Smoky Lake, AB); Johnnie Searfoss (So., F, Colleyville, TX); Alex Simonson (So., F, Grand Forks, ND).

North Dakota — Brad Eidsness*** (Sr., G, Chestermere, AB); Dillon Simpson (So., D, Edmonton, AB).

St. Cloud State  — Jordy Christian*** (Sr., F, Moorhead, MN); Nic Dowd (So., F, Huntsville, AL); Kevin Gravel (So., D, Kingsford, MI); Ben Hanowski (Jr., F, Little Falls, MN); Nick Jensen (So., D, Rogers, MN); Drew LeBlanc*** (Sr., F, Hermantown, MN); Mike Lee** (Jr., G, Roseau, MN); Travis Novak*** (Sr., F, Lethbridge, AB).

Friday’s lines

A nagging injury has Scott Winkler scratched for Friday’s game while DU goalie Sam Brittain gets his second start in a row.

Colorado College

LW-C-RW

J. Schwartz/R. Schwartz/Collett

Krushelnyski/Dineen/Rapuzzi

Skalbeck/Civitarese/Hamburg

Wamsganz/Hall/Taft

LD-RD

Guentzel/Marciano

Harstad/Bidwill

Stoykewych/Boivin

Goalies — Thorimbert/Howe

Denver

LW-C-RW

Doremus/D. Shore/Salazar

Zucker/N. Shore/Knowlton

Dewhurst/Ostrow/Jackson

Jacobson/Tabrum/Mermis

LD-RD

Phillips/Mayfield

Ryder/Didier

LaLeggia/Lee

Goalies — Brittain/Murray/Olknuora

Friday reading: Gold Pan rivalry news, other WCHA previews and notes

No doubt, this scene will be played out a few times tonight at Magness Arena.

Big news out of Denver: Red-hot freshman Ty Loney has been suspended indefinitely for violating team rules. The Post also reports coach George Gwozdecky is leaning toward starting goalie Sam Brittain at home Friday.

The Gazette looks at the Gold Pan rivalry from No. 11 CC’s perspective. The Gazette also reports that sophomore Josh Thorimbert has all but sealed up the No. 1 goalie spot ahead of Joe Howe. Here’s the Post’s preview notes. The No. 13 Pioneers are on a roll headed into the series.

No. 1/2 Minnesota-Duluth travels to desperate Alaska-Anchorage this weekend. The desperate Seawolves are mired in a seven-game losing streak. Did I mention they’re desperate for a win?

Come to think of it,  the Bulldogs are plenty motivated too after falling behind No. 1/2 Minnesota, which is idle. The Gophers are losing their longtime, well regarded AD to retirement.

No. 17 North Dakota is resting up too. Here are some excellent observations about the league from the UND beat writer and more news from Grand Forks.

A confident Michigan Tech team hosts 11th-place MSU Mankato. And yes, the Huskies are aware of the dangers of a letdown.

Like CC, Bemidji State is tweaking its power play as it heads to the sixth-place Nebraska-Omaha, which needs home points to keep in the home playoff ice hunt. UNO goalie Ryan Massa is likely to be back in net this weekend. BSU’s Jordan George has emerged from Matt Read‘s shadow.

St. Cloud State has a decision to make in net as they head to Wisconsin, which needs to get on a run if it hopes for home playoff ice.

Here’s USCHO’s WCHA roundup including Jordy Christian’s season being over.