Monday reading: INCH shuts down, PCHS’ Gross scores, 3 Things

Inside College Hockey, one of three national web sites covering college hockey, announced it is ceasing operations.

This is sad news though not surprising. Having three national sites devoted to only college hockey seemed like too much for what remains a niche sport in much of the country.

That said, I will miss it. I enjoyed their humorous approach to the game (I and others often take it far too seriously). Hopefully their writers will stay around the game as they promised and find opportunities to write for USCHO or the College Hockey News when they find the time.

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross, pictured, scored her first goal of the year for the Penn State women.

Here are Three Things Learned in the WCHA from this weekend.

Tuesday reading: Colorado College, North Dakota, poll, Wisconsin, Clarkson, AHA, Notre Dame, Northeastern, Penn State, Merrimack


Penn State’s Taylor Gross, a Pine Creek HS graduate, and Syracuse’s Kallie Goodnough fight for the puck during a 6-0 loss to the Orange Sunday at the Greenberg Ice Pavilion. The Nittany Lions are 1-3 this season. Abby Drey — Centre Daily Times Photo

Here is a fan’s take on CC and Wisconsin.

North Dakota junior goalie Clarke Saunders is profiled.

UND is No. 2 behind Minnesota in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll.

Here is my 3 Things blog about last weekend in the WCHA for USCHO.

Clarkson can take heart in its good showing on the road in Colorado Springs according to this ECAC weekend review.

Atlantic Hockey enjoyed a strong opening weekend.

Notre Dame’s goalie had a .962 saves percentage this past weekend, among other CCHA notes.

Here is more reaction to Northeastern’s big opening week.

Penn State got its first Division I men’s win on Saturday.

A former Merrimack coach succumbed to throat cancer recently.

Friday reading: Bloggers preseason poll, USCHO rankings, Lagrone, Face Off Luncheon, Mankato, Michigan Tech, Wisconsin, Gross

Eighteen bloggers, including yours truly and gmf1a of the CC fan forum, made their preseason picks and ranked CC eighth in the 3rd Annual Web Site and Bloggers Preseason Poll compiled by Tradition of Excellence. Give it a look.

USCHO announced its preseason Top 10 forwards, led by Minnesota’s Nick Bjugstad, who is pictured.

CC 2013/14 defenseman commit Duggie Lagrone of Dallas will play for NAHL Fairbanks this season.

Both Air Force coach Frank Serratore and CC coach Scott Owens are feeding off the enthusiasm of their players as the season nears.

There is a definite buzz around the Minnesota State program this preseason.

Six second-year coaches are discussed, including Michigan Tech’s Mel Pearson.

Here is a season preview about Miami.

Wisconsin really needed its new on-campus hockey facility. There is a lot for the Badgers to celebrate this season.

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross leads the Penn State women into the 2012-13 season.

Monday reading: CC at Wisconsin, Minnesota, NHL, USHL

The CC at Wisconsin series during the 2013-14 season was confirmed along with some practice notes.

Boston College was picked to win Hockey East this season by league media.

This longtime Minnesota season ticket holder got the runaround due to a new program.

The New York Times put together a guide to the top European leagues to aid fans wondering where their favorite NHL player is headed during the lockout.

The USHL plans to amp up its focus on player safety, falling in line with recent college hockey rule tweaks and changes.

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross led the Penn State women’s first practice.

Friday reading: Gross, Fejes, Duluth, UND, WMU, Tech

Pine Creek HS graduate Taylor Gross, far left, models the new Penn State hockey home uniform. The captain of the women’s hockey team is joined by former CC standout Guy Gadowsky, the men’s head coach, third from left.

Incoming Tigers freshman Hunter Fejes is one of the rookies to watch this season according to this North Dakota blogger.

Senior forward Mike Seidel will need to have a good year producing those hard-work points to help Minnesota-Duluth remain a league contender after losing Hobey Baker winner Jack Connolly to graduation.

Here is the 2012-13 schedule for the CHL expansion franchise Denver Cutthroats, which includes a couple former Denver Pioneers. While checking out the home games, keep in mind that former Tiger Brian McMillin plays for the Allen Americans.

Western Michigan added a goalie for this season.

North Dakota’s beat writer explains the team’s TV broadcast deals for this season and next.

Freshman forward Blake Tatchell will need to step in and step up to replace the offense lost to graduation for Alaska-Anchorage.

The Mining Gazette offers a detailed first look at the Michigan Tech Huskies, who have high hopes after reaching the WCHA Final Five last season at the expense of the Tigers. Junior defenseman Daniel Sova will be a big reason (excuse the pun) why Tech fans have such high expectations.

Pine Creek grad assumes big leadership role at Penn State

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross received a huge honor and an equally large responsibility last week when she was named as the first captain of the new NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey program at Penn State.

“Even if I was not captain, I would still need to be a leader because of my Division I experience on a team with a lot of freshmen,” she said. “But, I think we will surprise some people. We will be better than most people will expect.”

Her coach is confident too as he builds a program that will take on the likes of Syracuse and women’s national power Mercyhurst in the College Hockey America conference this October.

“Taylor is absolutely the ideal person to lead this team. She has significant experience and success at the Division I level, and has demonstrated the commitment to Penn State’s academic and athletic values in her time here already,” said Nittany Lions head coach Josh Brandwene. “She will be a tremendous leader for our program and a great mentor to our many young student-athletes.”

The 2010 Eagles graduate played on PSU’s club team this past spring semester after playing a season and a half for Hockey East member Connecticut. She appeared in 46 games during her UConn career and totaled 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists). The Colorado Springs native was the team’s 2010-11 Rookie of the Year.

She will lead 18 freshmen on a 25-player roster that includes a couple holdovers from the previous club squad. Women’s club hockey is a step down from Division III programs, which are below D-I. There is no Division II.

Gross partnered up with two fellow juniors and UConn transfers to give the club team their top scoring line despite playing only half a season. The forward did her best to contribute on the ice without overstepping her role as a newcomer in the locker room.

“I tried to be a leader but without getting in the way of the older club players who had been here for years,” the biology major said. “I stayed positive.”

Excitement is building for hockey in Pennsylvania’s Happy Valley, she said. The women will share a state-of-the-art arena when it opens in 2013 with the men’s team, which is coached by former Colorado College standout Guy Gadowsky. Terry Pegula, owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, donated $88 million for the Pegula Ice Arena and to bank roll the two programs.

The creation of the men’s program started a conference shuffle in Division I hockey that prompted CC to become one of the charter members of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which is headquartered near the Broadmoor Hotel.

Gross is one of three Colorado Springs women set to play Division I hockey this winter including Rampart graduate Molli Mott, a standout forward for St. Cloud State, and defenseman Kristen Jakubowski, a former Cheyenne Mountain High School student in the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute program. A fourth area player, former Minnesota captain and forward Emily West (Pine Creek), graduated in May after scoring the game-winner in the NCAA championship game.

Gross played with Mott on the Sabercats, a local Tier II high school team, and on the Tier I club Colorado Selects of Denver with Mott and West. Gross played against boys in the Colorado Springs Amateur Hockey Association until age 12, when her small frame – she is listed at 5-foot-1 as a college junior – led her to focus on girls’ leagues. Playing against the bigger boys certainly helped her development as a player in a physical sport, she said.

Her goal of obtaining a Division I scholarship was realized, but she soon grew tired of UConn, considered moving to St. Cloud State,  and then transferred to PSU over Christmas because of its strong academics and athletics. Because it was only a club, Gross could transfer to Penn State without having to sit out a season.

Now she is ready to lay the foundation of a new program with big-time resources and TV exposure. The men’s and women’s programs have the potential to become national powers.

“I am excited to be at Penn State,” she said. “We have a lot of good leaders among the returning club players and the (incoming) freshmen. Everyone will have to play a large role. My job is to make the freshmen feel welcome and build team unity. If we can do that, we will surprise some people who may be underestimating us.”

Colorado Springs woman is first Penn State varsity captain

Taylor Gross led the Huskies in scoring as a freshman but was one of many standouts to leave the UConn program at the end of the fall semester in 2011.

Pine Creek High School graduate Taylor Gross, who transferred to Penn State after garnering team rookie honors at UConn, was named as the Nittany Lions’ first varsity captain, the program announced on Wednesday night.

She led the Huskies in scoring as a freshman in 2010-2011 with 23 points (12g, 11a), and was Hockey East’s rookie of the week on Feb. 7, 2011.

Despite playing only half a season at PSU after leaving UConn after the fall semester, the now-junior forward finished second on the club team in scoring last season with 27 points and assisted both Nittany Lions’ goals in the school’s first win over a Division I program — Sacred Heart.

Gross continues a string of success for area women in ice hockey. Of the 12 Colorado women on Division I rosters this past season, four were from Colorado Springs, including Minnesota’s Emily West who scored the game-winners in the WCHA tournament and NCAA championships games.