In the pros: Frischmon heads to Austria

The Graz 99ers, a team competing in the Austrian league, signed former Tiger Trevor Frischmon to a tryout agreement.

Frischmon, 31, joins the 99ers organization after spending five seasons as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets and one as a New York Islander. The Ham Lake, Minn. native was a member of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League last season, and recorded 28 points in 69 games before an injury. The year before that, with the Springfield Falcons, Frischmon had 29 points (four goals, 25 assists) in 80 games.

The 6-foot, 200-pound center has appeared in 396 career AHL games, recording 130 points (32 goals, 98 assists) and 221 penalty minutes between Springfield, Bridgeport and the Syracuse Crunch. Frischmon made his NHL debut during the 2009-10 season with Columbus and played in three games.

Thursday reading: NCHC, Gophers, UND, rules, expansion, UAH

Here is the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference web site. Here is a Denver Post profile of commissioner Jim Scherr.

Zach Budish will serve as Minnesota’s captain next season.

The NCAA announced rule changes for next season. Puckato explains here.

The roster for the 2012 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game on Sept. 29 was announced. No future Tigers made the list (several players remain uncommitted) but a number of WCHA and future National Collegiate Hockey Conference players did.

Goon’s World ran across a graphic that shows the number of championships won by Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. UND fans will enjoy it.

Former UNO player Jayson Megna signed with Pittsburgh. He announced he would leave Omaha last  Friday.

Bleacher Report’s Al Daniels put some thought into this blog post, although it is all wishful thinking or conjecture. He names Cincinnati, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Rhode Island, and Syracuse as five schools that would be good expansion sites for college hockey.

Illinois and Indiana have been mentioned as possible Big 10 additions by others but remember, for every men’s program, a women’s team must be added, with the exception of Syracuse (CHA). I suspect the next expansion will have to follow the Penn State model —  hockey-loving booster willing to donate $90-100 million to fund both genders’ programs and build an arena.

Other programs I have read or heard mentioned include Arizona State, Stanford, Vanderbilt and St. Louis. Anyone heard of others?

Regardless, it looks like Division I will lose a program soon after it gains Penn State. There was talk before Paul Kelly left College Hockey Inc. about a travel exemption for road games at Alabama-Huntsville (like the two Alaska schools) to give that program a fighting chance at drawing opponents for home games. Even that may not be enough.

The 2012-13 schedule remains unannounced but sources indicate only Minnesota State-Mankato, USA U-18 and two Division III schools are scheduled to play in Huntsville so far. Without some home ticket revenue, the Chargers will lose too much money to survive. The new-look WCHA, which had some members criticize the NCHC for leaving because of money and ignoring ” the good of the sport,” should move forward on admitting the program as soon as possible.

In the pros: ECHL, AHL playoffs update

San Antonio's Mark Cullen had a big game against Chicago in the AHL playoffs on Saturday night.

In the AHL, Mark Cullen picked up two assists, including the first assist on the game-winner in San Antonio’s 4-3 win over Chicago, which plays Bill Sweatt.

Gabe Guentzel played his second playoff game for Syracuse and finished plus-2. David Civitarese has yet to appear for Hershey in the postseason.

Today is a busy day for former Tigers with Bridgeport’s Trevor Frischmon trying to avoid elimination in the best-of-five series against Connecticut while Houston hopes to do the same at OKC. Abbotsford, which features Brian Connelly, will try to take a 2-0 lead at Milwaukee this afternoon.

Former Tiger Brian Swanson assisted the opening goal as the Alaska Aces defeated Stockton 4-1 in Game 5 of their ECHL second-round playoff series and advanced to the Western Conference finals for the sixth time in the franchise’s nine years. They Aces will face the winner of the Las Vegas-Idaho series (LV leads 3-1).

Tim Hall played for Alaska. The loss ends Ryan Lowery’s stay in Stockton He may now be called up to AHL Oklahoma City, which holds a 2-0 lead in its best-of-five series against Houston, which has Kris Fredheim, Nate Prosser and Chad Rau on its roster.

Saturday reading: AHL and ECHL playoffs, Crabb, coaches meetings, Air Force schedule, Penn State arena, Knight injury, DU captains

Former Tiger captain Nick Dineen showed off what he can do, especially on face-offs and down low, during his short amateur tryout with the ECHL's Elmira Jackals.

Former Tiger Nick Dineen’s first pro season is over. The Eastern No. 1 seed Elmira Jackals lost to No. 5 Florida 2-1  Friday night and the best-of-seven ECHL playoff series 4-1.

Elmira had led the series 1-0 on Dineen’s game-winner in Game 1. Dineen is now a free agent. I would expect him sign an AHL contract this summer.

Alaska, which includes Tim Hall and Brian Swanson, now leads Stockton, which plays Ryan Lowery, 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Saturday night in California.

Gabe Guentzel played in his first pro playoff game, a 3-2 loss for Syracuse. David Civitarese was a scratch for Hershey in its 3-1 loss. Kris Fredheim and Chad Rau’s No. 8 seed Aeros are down 2-0 in their series against Oklahoma City while Abbotsford, led by Brian Connelly, cruised past Milwaukee.

Colorado Springs’ Jeff Dimmen, a former Maine standout defenseman, is playing for the powerful Norfolk Admirals squad, which won its pro-hockey record 29th game in a row on Friday, a mark that is 11 games longer than any other winning streak ever recorded in any league since hockey was professionalized in 1904. CC fans may remember him for scoring the game-winner against the Tigers in the Florida College Classic during December 2008.

Joey Crabb received a respectable grade from the Toronto beat writer for his best NHL season.

This week’s national coaches’ meeting will have plenty of issues to discuss, including half-shields and the new conference alignments.

Construction on the new ice hockey arena for Penn State, which begins play as a Division I independent this October, began officially on Friday with a groundbreaking ceremony. Coach Guy Gadowsky, a CC alumnus, and two PSU players are interviewed in these videos.

Alaska-Anchorage announced its 2012-13 schedule which will include a game against Air Force in the Kendall Classic in Anchorage Oct. 13. The Falcons take on Alaska-Fairbanks at 3:07 p.m. Mountain on Oct. 12.

North Dakota’s Corban Knight played the last three months of the season with a broken hand.

Denver announced that junior defenseman Paul Phillips, who was an assistant this past season, will be the captain of the 2012-13 Pioneers.  Colorado Springs’ Chris Knowlton won the most improved award and will be an assistant captain along with Shawn Ostrow and Nick Shore.

UPDATED: Civitarese in AHL Hershey Bears’ fold

David Civitarese called me on Saturday, so here are some quotes and more details on his signing with the AHL Hershey, the 2009 and 2010 Calder Cup champions.

Here’s my original blog post with the changes included.

The Hershey Bears announced Friday morning that the club signed former Tigers forward David Civitarese to an amateur tryout agreement. Additionally, Civitarese has signed an American Hockey League contract effective for the 2012-13 season.

It was a relief for Civitarese, who had excelled at an amateur camp last summer held by the Washington Capitals, the Bears’ NHL affiliate and was wrapping up his schoolwork over spring break until Wednesday afternoon.

“(His advisor/agent) had heard from a couple ECHL teams but I was hoping to hear from the Capitals,” he said after Saturday’s pregame morning skate in Hershey. “Once we heard from them on Wednesday it all happened pretty quickly and I was flying out at 6 a.m. Thursday.”

He signed the AHL-only contract officially on Thursday and practiced with the team for the first time on Friday.

“It’s a great situation,” he said. “I’m happy to get the opportunity to play at a higher level.Being put into a leadership role as a senior for the first time helped contribute to my growth. It was a huge boost of confidence for me. They saw me play a couple times and evidently, they liked what they saw.”

Civitarese, 22, 6-foot-2, 204 pounds, recorded 30 points (14g, 16a) in 121 games in a four-year career at Colorado College.  He had 10 points (8g, 2a) his senior season.

The Bears host the Charlotte Checkers at 5 p.m. Mountain Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, when Civitarese may make his debut. He said he will be a healthy scratch Saturday night and will use the chance to learn more about the Bears’ systems.

“I’m going to learn as much as I can,” the physics major said. “Everything I can do to get better will be crucial.”

The defensive forward is not too concerned about making his pro debut quickly, knowing that being ready is important and the Bears are gearing up for the playoffs. He also has the relative security of being under contract next season.

“It’s definitely a plus for me,” he said. “(The Bears) have a history of success here. For sure, the coaches, everything, is top notch.”

The idea of making it to the NHL would be the fulfillment of a dream, but the all-WCHA academic honoree is not to getting too far ahead of himself. He knows he needs to become a good AHL player first.

“I know I need to prove myself at each level in order to move up,” he said.  “I’ll be learning and watching how the older players do things.”

Civitarese is the fourth of the six Tiger seniors to move into the pro ranks. Defenseman Gabe Guentzel signed a similar deal with AHL Syracuse while wing Tim Hall signed an ATO with the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. Defenseman Arthur Bidwill will sign with the CHL’s Allen Americans this weekend.

In the pros: J. Schwartz, Guentzel, signings

Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz scored the opening goal in his second NHL game at Anaheim Wednesday night. It was his first shot on net, seven minutes into the game.  That follows his game-winner on his first shot on Saturday. Two shots, two NHL goals. Nice average so far, huh?

Gabe Guentzel made his pro debut in a 4-3 shootout win for Syracuse against Rochester. Colin Stuart recorded an assist for the host Americans.

Former Bemidji State defenseman Brad Hunt has signed an ATO with the AHL Chicago Wolves as has St. Cloud State junior David Eddy with Calgary.

In the pros: Guentzel debut set for Wednesday

Former Tiger Gabe Guentzel texted me earlier today to let me know all the paperwork is signed.

The Syracuse Crunch coaches told him he will make his AHL and pro debut on Wednesday at the Rochester (N.Y.) Americans at 5:50 p.m. Mountain. Former Tiger Colin Stuart is on the Americans’ roster.

There are live video and audio options at this link.