Wednesday reading: Anchorage, ESPN, Holmstrom, Air Force videos

Alaska-Anchorage forward Andrew Pickering retired from hockey after suffering two concussions in two months.

Here is more on the No. 2 Minnesota at UAA league series this weekend.

The NCAA championship game is back on ESPN.

Cornell says the ECAC is tougher this year after surviving a scare against Colgate.

It is too early to tell if Ferris State will match last year’s big season.

UConn’s coach is now on medical leave.

Here is a video interview with Colorado Springs native Ben Holmstrom.

Here is the weekly Frank Serratore video interview:

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Sunday reading: UMD, CC, Zengerle injury, Denver, Air Force, USHL

Minnesota-Duluth coach Scott Sandelin hopes his Bulldogs will use their off week to develop more consistency (video).

The Wisconsin State Journal does a postmortem about Saturday’s 3-0 home loss to Colorado College and an injury to leading scorer Mark Zengerle.

Here is the Post’s story on Denver’s 6-1 win over St. Cloud State, including a hat trick for Colorado Springs’ Chris Knowlton.

From Air Force sports information …

Air Force 7, Holy Cross 0

Jason Torf recorded his first shutout of the season and eighth of his career as he made 23 saves in a 7-0 win over Holy Cross in an Atlantic Hockey Association game, Saturday, Nov. 3, at Academy’s Cadet Ice Arena. The two teams split the weekend series as the Falcons improved to 2-3-3 overall and 2-1-1 in the league. Holy Cross fell to 4-2 overall and 3-2 in the AHA.

Seven different Falcons scored goals as AFA scored two in the first, two in the second and three in the third. Air Force scored a power-play goal, a short-handed goal, a penalty shot goal and three even-strength goals.

Torf made 23 saves in the game, including 21 in the final two periods, and stopped 63 of the 66 shots he faced in the series. The shutout was his first since a 4-0 win over RIT in last season’s AHA championship game. Kump made 25 saves for the Crusaders. AFA was 2-for-6 on the power play while Holy Cross was 0-for-3. AFA outshot Holy Cross, 32-23, in the game.

Air Force is on the road next weekend for a two-game non-conference series at Penn State, Friday-Saturday, Nov. 9-10, in University Park, Pa. Faceoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET each night.

Also, the schedule for the Air Force-UConn hockey series, Nov. 23-24, in Connecticut has changed. The first game of the series will be Friday, Nov. 23, at 4 p.m. ET at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum on the UConn campus in Storrs, Conn. The game was previously scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

The teams will conclude the two-game Atlantic Hockey series on Saturday, Nov. 24, at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn, at 3:30 p.m. ET. The game will be the first of a doubleheader at the XL Center as the Connecticut Whale (American Hockey League) hosts the Norfolk Admirals at 7 p.m. The Nov. 24th game was originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m. in Storrs, Conn.  The 15,635-seat XL Center is the home of the AHL’s Connecticut Whale and the part-time home of the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams.

From the USHL …

The United States Hockey League announced that the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, presented by League equipment partner CCM, will take place on Jan. 23, 2013, returning to Muskegon, Mich. for the second consecutive year.

The game features the top NHL Draft-eligible players from the USHL competing in front of a full battery of NHL scouts and front office personnel at the L.C. Walker Arena, home of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  Forty players will be chosen for the event based on a selection process that includes input of the 16 USHL General Managers, NHL Central Scouting, and NHL team scouts and decision makers.

“We’re excited to have the Prospects Game return to Muskegon, one of the proudest and longest-standing hockey markets in the United States,” said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince.  “These are America’s best, gathered together for a special night with the Muskegon Lumberjacks as host and all of hockey as spectators.”

The 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game takes place just after NHL Central Scouting releases its midterm rankings of players eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.  Prior to the season, a total of 39 players skating in the USHL were designated as “Players to Watch” by NHL Central Scouting.  Five of those players were ranked as “A” skaters, meaning they are first-round pick consideration, including defensemen Ian McCoshen (Waterloo Black Hawks) and Michael Downing (Dubuque Fighting Saints), and forwards Luke Johnson (Lincoln Stars), J.T. Compher (Team USA), and Hudson Fasching (Team USA).

“We are proud that our organization and city can host this event and showcase this community to NHL personnel,” said Josh Mervis, Owner and CEO of the Muskegon Lumberjacks.  “It will be the highlight event of ‘Hockey Week in Muskegon’ and fans will be treated to an event featuring young talent that will be playing professional hockey in the very near future.”

Last June, a total of 28 players who spent the 2011-12 season in the USHL were selected in the 2012 NHL Draft, including a record six players chosen in the first round.  Additionally, 11 USHL alumni were drafted by NHL teams.

The inaugural USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January 2012 saw Team East earn a 5-3 win over Team West.   Forward Robbie Baillargeon (Indiana Ice) scored a pair of goals for Team East to capture his team’s MVP of the game and then went on to be selected by the Ottawa Senators in the fifth round of the 2012 NHL Draft.  More than 100 NHL scouts and personnel attended the inaugural event for the USHL.

Air Force picked to win AHA championship

2012-13 Atlantic Hockey Preseason Coaches Poll

Air Force (8) – 112
Niagara (3) – 101
Mercyhurst – 89
Bentley – 87
RIT – 87
Holy Cross – 74
Connecticut – 65
Robert Morris (1) – 61
Canisius – 38

“I wish winning the league was as easy as winning the coaches’ poll,” AFA coach Frank Serratore said. “The bottom teams have gotten so much better. There are no ‘gimmes.’”

CBS Sports Network will broadcast two AHA games including Sat., Jan. 12, Army at Air Force.

Air Force and Army are no stranger to the national scene as they have faced each other for the past six seasons on CBS Sports Network. The game will mark the 14th time in the last seven years that Air Force hockey has appeared on national television.

“Our players are thrilled about being able to play on national television,” said Serratore.  “I am excited for the opportunity to showcase one of the greatest rivalries in college hockey, those fans who have never seen an Air Force-Army hockey game are in for a special treat”

“Once again we are looking forward to playing Air Force on national TV,” states Army coach Brian Riley. “It’s a game that is played with a passion and intensity that is hard to match in college hockey. This rivalry is one of the best in all of college sports. I expect that it will be a great game not only for the people who will be in the stands to watch but it will also be great for people around the country to view on national TV.”

Here are more details including this quote from AFA coach Frank Serratore:

Monday reading: CC complex renovations, UND, Hastings, Fairbanks

The new athletic department office/classroom addition along Cache La Poudre Street opened on Aug. 6 and the new facility at the El Pomar Sports Complex looks sharp. Pictured above (image courtesy CC sports information)  is a display outside the three hockey offices showing all the former Tigers who have played in the NHL.

And yes, the display is set up so more players may be added over time.

The addition has three classrooms that may also serve as team meeting rooms — fittingly the 8-seat Ray Werner classroom could be the freshmen study table — and a formal meeting room.

Here is a view of the entrance to the athletic department offices on the second floor of the El Pomar Sports Complex.

All in all, the addition is a huge improvement over the former office space with more room for a more centralized department instead of having offices spread out all over the facility and campus.

The varsity weight rooms, locker rooms and hockey shooting room (synthetic ice) — as part of Phase 2 renovations of the existing building — are scheduled to open by Sept. 3 when classes start.

That phase also includes extensive improvements to Reid Gym. Phase 3, which includes the much-anticipated student/faculty/staff fitness center addition to the north, is scheduled to open in late spring 2013.

In other news, the Grand Forks Herald continues to give Division I hockey its due by sending its beat writer to all road contests. I was glad to read that. There is also an update of sorts about goalie Aaron Dell who will not be back but has yet to sign a pro deal. No doubt there will be more later.

ECAC postseason tournament is headed back to Lake Placid in 2014.

Here is a short profile on Minnesota State Mankato coach Mike Hastings and UConn’s Brant Harris, a future Air Force opponent.

A former Nanook is back as an assistant for Alaska-Fairbanks.

Air Force announces 2012-13 schedule

From AFA sports information …

USAFA, Colo. – The Air Force hockey team opens the 2012-13 season with an exhibition game against the University of British Columbia on Monday, Oct. 8, at 6:05 p.m. at the Cadet Ice Arena. The Falcons then travel to Anchorage, Alaska for the Kendall Hockey Classic, Oct. 12-13, when the Falcons face Alaska and Alaska-Anchorage. Air Force opens the regular-season home schedule against cross-town rival Colorado College, Friday, Oct. 19, at 7:05 p.m. AFA then travels to the University of Denver, Saturday, Oct. 20, at 7:05 p.m. AFA opens Atlantic Hockey Association play on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7:05 p.m. at Canisius.

Air Force is coming off of its fifth AHA championship in the last six years. The Falcons won the 2012 AHA Tournament with a 4-0 win over RIT in the championship game. The Falcons’ season ended with a 2-0 loss to top-seeded, and eventual national champion, Boston College in the NCAA Northeast Regional.

The top two scorers from last season (seniors Kyle DeLaurell and John Kruse) both return. DeLaurell led the team with 23 assists and 38 points. Kruse led the team with 16 goals and had 30 points.

Four of the top five scorers return as sophomores Cole Gunner and Chad Demers are back after stellar freshman seasons. Gunner finished the season with 28 points while Demers had 24. Junior defenseman Adam McKenzie is the top returning blueliner with 18 points (2-6-18).

Junior goaltender Jason Torf returns after earning AHA Tournament MVP honors last season. After returning from an injury, Torf started the final 15 games and finished among the top 10 in the nation in goal-against average and saves percentage. Torf was fourth in the nation in GAA with a 1.73 goals-against average and was ninth in saves percentage with a .929.

Air Force Hockey – 2012-13 Schedule

All times at site
Day Date    Time   Opponent                                                       Site
Mon. Oct. 8 6:05 UNIV. OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (EXH) USAFA, CO
Fri. Oct. 12 5:07 vs. Alaska-Fairbanks# Anchorage, AK
Sat. Oct. 13 7:07 at Alaska-Anchorage# Anchorage, AK
Fri. Oct. 19 7:05 COLORADO COLLEGE USAFA, CO
Sat. Oct. 20 7:05 at Denver Denver, CO
Thur. Oct. 25 7:05 at Canisius* Buffalo, NY
Sat. Oct. 27 7:05 at Robert Morris* Pittsburgh, PA
Fri. Nov. 2 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Nov. 3 7:05 HOLY CROSS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Nov. 9 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Sat. Nov. 10 7:30 at Penn State University Park, PA
Fri. Nov. 23 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Sat. Nov. 24 7:05 at UConn* Storrs, CT
Fri. Nov. 30 7:05 MERCYHURST* USAFA, CO
Sun. Dec. 2 6:05 RIT* USAFA, CO
Fri. Dec. 7 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat. Dec. 8 7:05 at Bentley* Waltham, MA
Sat.-Sun Dec. 29-30 TBA at Mariucci Classic Minneapolis, MN
(Minnesota, Alabama-Huntsville, Boston College and Air Force)
Sat. Jan. 5 7:05 at Niagara* Niagara Falls, NY
Fri. Jan. 11 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 12 7:05 ARMY* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 19 4:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Sun. Jan. 20 12:05 at Sacred Heart* Bridgeport, CT
Fri. Jan. 25 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Jan. 26 7:05 ROBERT MORRIS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 1 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 2 7:05 AIC* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 8 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Sat. Feb. 9 7:05 at Mercyhurst* Erie, PA
Fri. Feb. 15 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Sat. Feb. 16 7:05 CANISIUS* USAFA, CO
Fri. Feb. 22 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Sat. Feb. 23 7:05 at RIT* Rochester, NY
Fri. Mar. 1 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Sat. Mar. 2 7:05 NIAGARA* USAFA, CO
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 8-10 TBA AHA First Round (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 15-17 TBA AHA Quarterfinals (Best of Three) TBA
Fri.-Sat. Mar. 22-23 TBA AHA Final Four Rochester, NY
Fri.-Sun. Mar. 29-31 TBA NCAA Regionals TBA
(Grand Rapids, MI; Manchester, NH; Providence, RI; Toledo, OH)

Monday reading: Bradley, Harstad, Stoykewych, Tech, Scherr, SCSU

Incoming Tigers forward Cody Bradley (2013), pictured, of Tampa was invited to the Lightning development camp starting July 3. Current Tigers defensemen Aaron Harstad and Peter Stoykewych will attend Winnipeg’s July 9-13 NHL development camp.

The Grand Forks Herald’s Brad Schlossman compiled a list of all the early WCHA departures so far. Michigan Tech will not have to worry, according to this article.

MTU looks to have brought in an impact freshman in C.J. Eick.

NCHC commissioner Jim Scherr and his brother Bill, both Olympic wrestlers, were profiled by the Rapid City Journal.

SCSU’s Drew LeBlanc is trying out his healing leg at the Wild development camp.

Lake Superior State announced its final CCHA schedule.

UConn’s move to Hockey East certainly puts pressure on its longtime coach to end a streak of 12 losing seasons in the Atlantic Hockey Association. Having 18 scholarships (as opposed to zero) may help. The UConn faithful are pumped by the move.

This Penn State fan blog thinks the Nittany Lions can become a top team very quickly and takes exception to BC and North Dakota fan bloggers who suggest otherwise. With the big-time resources and national name recognition in all sports, there is no reason not to expect a rapid rise.

Division III SUNYAC hired a new commissioner.

Weekend reading: Clarke, NCHC, USNTDP, Duluth, Minnesota

Former Tiger Noah Clarke, pictured, should be a star for the Belfast Giants of the British Elite Ice Hockey League.

The last sentence of the linked article is telling.  Apparently the team has a program that pays for his masters degree at a Belfast university. Very smart move for a veteran player preparing for life after the game.

He will be back in Germany this October representing Belfast, the British league champs, in the Continental Cup. He played only 18 games last season in the German league before an injury ended his year.

Chris Peters thinks UConn and Notre Dame are a huge boost for Hockey East and argues the National Collegiate Hockey Conference lost out in a chance for name recognition. This UND blogger talks about that and gets some reaction from NCHC fans.

Another USNTDP player skips out on Michigan and heads to the Canadian junior leagues.

It looks like former North Dakota standout Chay Genoway will get another shot with the Wild. He definitely deserves it.

Here are the Minnesota-Duluth players headed to NHL development camps. Here are the Gophers.

The UMass head coach search is heating up and the rumors are flying.