2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Torf, Torrel garner league awards

    Tue, December 31, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    AFAlogo2012Air Force’s Mitch Torrel and Jason Torf earn Atlantic Hockey Association honors as the pair helped lead Air Force to the tournament championship in the Ledyard Bank Classic at Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H. Air Force defeated both No. 16 Northeastern and No. 4 Providence en route to the tournament championship. Torrel was named the tournament MVP while Torf was named to the all-tournament team.

    Torrel, a senior forward from Monticello, Minn., was named the Travel Team USA co-player of the week as he scored three goals in the two games. Torrel entered the tournament with two career goals in 33 games and scored three in two games against two ranked teams. The senior scored two goals in the 5-2 win over Northeastern. He netted the first goal of the game and then scored a big goal in the third period. After Northeastern cut the Air Force lead to 3-2 early in the third, Torrel scored his second of the night for a 4-2 lead. Against Providence in the championship game, his goal in the second period gave the Falcons a 2-0 lead in the 3-2 victory.

    Torf, a senior from Hermosa Beach, Calif., was named the Travel Team USA goalie of the week as allowed just four goals (2.00 goals-against average) and had a .915 saves percentage against the two ranked teams. He made 14 saves against Northeastern in the tournament’s first game. In the championship game, he made 29 saves, including 17 in a hectic third period. With two minutes left in the game against Providence and leading 3-2, Torf suffered a groin injury but was able to finish the game and made five saves in the final two minutes, in an extra-attacker situation, to preserve the victory.

    Air Force, 9-5-4 overall, returns to Atlantic Hockey Association action this coming weekend as the Falcons play a two-game series against American International College, Friday-Saturday, Jan. 3-4, in Springfield, Mass.

  • Olofsson, Slavin tally assists with mixed results

    Tue, December 31, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Colorado College freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson’s pass to the front of the Russian net was tipped in by Jacob de la Rose with 2:22 left in the third period to lift the host Swedes to a 3-2 win and the top seed out of Pool B at the 2014 world junior championships.

    It was Olofsson’s third assist in two games. He also added a goal earlier.

    Tigers rookie blue-liner Jaccob Slavin recorded the primary assist on the opening goal by the United States’ Riley Barber in an eventual 3-2 loss to Canada. the loss dropped Team USA to the second seed out of Pool A.

    Sweden will play Pool A No. 4 seed Slovakia at 11:30 a.m. while Team USA takes on No. 3 Pool B Russia at 4 a.m. in Thursday’s quarterfinals.

  • New Years reading: Bachman, rankings

    Tue, December 31, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The Oklahoman

    The Oklahoman

    Happy New Year everyone.

    The Oklahoma City Barons are hopeful former Tigers goalie Richard Bachman can be the foundation for a second-half surge into the AHL playoffs.

    USCHO put out its weekly poll on Monday — USA Hockey takes the holidays off due to the world junior championships — with little change with most teams idle. Minnesota remains No. 1 followed by WCHA leader Ferris State.

    Michigan suffered the most with two losses at the Great Lakes Invitational to drop from N o. 3 to No. 7.

    St. Cloud State moved up one spot to No, 3 as did Providence to No. 4. 

    Miami stayed at No. 12 and Wisconsin moved up one to No. 13, switching spots with Notre Dame.

    Denver creeped up one to No. 16 while Nebraska-Omaha stayed at No. 19.

    North Dakota, CC’s opponent next weekend, and Western Michigan (GLI champs) both received votes but remain unranked. Providence and Miami are the other January opponents for the Tigers.

  • Historic win for Falcons may prove costly after injuries to Carey, Torf

    Mon, December 30, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    afa vs uaaA historic win for Air Force hockey may prove bittersweet after injuries to sophomore center Ben Carey (left shoulder dislocation) and senior goalie Jason Torf (groin).

    Falcons senior Tony Thomas delivered a clutch third-period goal to spark the Falcons to a 3-2 upset win over No. 4 Providence in the championship game of the 25th annual Ledyard Bank Classic tournament Monday night.

    “I am really happy for our guys and couldn’t be more proud of them,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. “It is probably the biggest back-to-back wins in program history. Now we have to hope Ben Carey heals quickly and Jason is not hurt too seriously.”

    The netminder, who recorded his 50th win at the academy, made 17 of his 29 saves in the third period when the Friars (13-3-3) out shot the Falcons 19-3. Torf appeared to injure his groin with about three minutes remaining but finished the game, making a huge save with 2.7 seconds left. The nonconference game ended with a blocked shot by Jason Fabian.

    “If Fabes didn’t take on that shot it is moré than likely in the net with an injured Jason Torf and we have a tied game,” Serratore said.

    Carey left the game with 14:32 left in the second period. Two straight wins over two top-20 teams — AFA beat No. 16 Northeastern 5-2 on Sunday — are the most in a row in program history.

    Down 2-0 entered the third, Providence would not go quietly, dominating play and drawing within one on a goal by Steven Shamanski, before Thomas cashed in the Falcons’ second shot of the period for a 3-1 lead with 7:39 remaining.

    The Friars would draw within one again when Noel Acciari scored an extra-attacker goal with 30.5 seconds left.

    Junior Cole Gunner and Torf made the all-tournament team while senior Mitch Torrel was named MVP.

    “Mitch Torrel brings it every night,” Serratore said. “He is a Tommy Try Hard.”

    The victory is Air Force’s first over a top five-ranked team since a 2-1 road win over No. 5 Colorado College on Dec 30, 2011. The Friars entered the game atop the Pairwise rankings, which mimic the selection process for the NCAA Tournament.

    Air Force pulled away when the Falcons stymied a 5-on-3 power play for the Friars, thanks in part to two blocks in a row by junior defenseman Adam McKenzie.

    A few moments later, Torrel fired a shot from inside the face-off circle that blew past Providence freshman goalie Nick Ellis. The unassisted goal made it 2-0 with 7:19 left in the second.

    “He has the best shot on the team,” Serratore said. “He flippin’ rips it. The goalie didn’t even move.”

    It was Torrel’s third goal of the tournament in Hanover, N.H. and fifth this season, which began without a score for the senior forward.

    Air Force (9-5-4) took a 1-0 lead during the first period when junior forward Chad Demers cashed in a power-play goal with 1:35 left in when he tapped in a pass from Gunner after he skated into position by the left post.

    Demers managed to get a piece of the puck with the heel of his stickblade before he was leveled by a Providence defenseman.

    The title is Air Force’s first regular-season tournament win since the 2004 Thanksgiving tournament at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

  • Energized Tigers back from holiday break

    Mon, December 30, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

     09_30_09_CC_hockeyWA_logo[1]The Colorado College Tigers returned to Colorado Springs on Sunday with full participation in Monday afternoon’s  practice at World Arena.

    “The guys are all back with good attitudes,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “The break gave them a chance to relax and refocus.”

    Freshman 5-foot-9, 152-pound goalie Derek Shatzer of Highlands Ranch showed some good quickness, helping make up for his smaller stature between the pipes. 

    Shatzer was brought in as a midseason replacement for injured rookie goalie Tyler Marble (shoulder surgery).

  • Monday reading: Colorado College history; SCSU success; Lucia’s comfort level

    Mon, December 30, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    cc trophyI wrote a piece on CC hockey celebrating its 75 years and its connection to the community.

    Here are five reasons why St. Cloud State is doing well this season.

    Former CC and current Minnesota coach Don Lucia is comfortable leading Team USA at world juniors. The results don’t lie.

    Justin Kovacs’ goal 2:01 into overtime was the game’s only score, and gave Western Michigan only its second Great Lakes Invitational championship in the program’s history.

    The tournament was played outdoors for the first time, drawing an announced crowd of about 26,000 at Comerica Park in Detroit, the home of baseball’s Detroit Tigers. Here is a game story.

  • Air Force knocks off No. 16 Northeastern, 5-2

    Sun, December 29, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    mckenzie-gazetteHANOVER, N.H. — Air Force never trailed and knocked  off No. 16 Northeastern 5-2 in the opening game of the Ledyard Bank Classic tournament on Sunday afternoon.

    Air Force senior Mitch Torrel scored his second goal of the nonconference college hockey game less than two minutes after Northeastern’s Braden Pimm tallied his second score of the night to make it 3-2, Falcons, only 2:14 into the third period.

    “We took it to them for two periods,” Falcons coach Frank Serratore said. “For us to come back and answer with that fourth goal was huge. I cannot tell you have proud I am of Mitch Torrel.  He was a beneficiary of a lot of hard work. I couldn’t be more proud of our team.”

    Air Force senior goalie Jason Torf made 14 saves, including seven in the third period, to make that two-goal lead stand. Air Force out shot the Huskies 29-16 including 15-4 in the first period.

    “Jason Torf played well but he didn’t have to play off the charts for us to win,” Serratore said. “This may be an upset but it was no fluke. The team that won tonight deserved it.”

    Junior Scott Holm scored an empty-netter with 3:12 left for the final margin after Northeastern pulled goalie Clay Witt (24 saves).

    The Falcons picked up the winning goal when sophomore forward Ben Carey deflected in a shot to the front of the NU net by senior Tony Thomas for a 3-1 lead with 8:16 left in the second period. The rest of the period was slowed by a number of penalties, resulting in a short 4-on-3 advantage for the Falcons at one point.

    Torrel fired in a one-timer from down low off a pass from behind the net by senior Jason Fabian with 12:18 left in the opening frame.

    Northeastern tied it with a power-play goal by Pimm about five minutes later only to see junior Cole Gunner bang in a short-range shot with 15 seconds left in the period for the 2-1 margin.

    Air Force improved to 1-6 all-time in the tournament on the Dartmouth campus. It was the Falcons’ first win since downing Colorado College 3-1 on Nov. 19 and its first against a ranked opponent this season.

    The Falcons will play either No. 5 Providence or the host Big Green in the championship at 5 p.m. Monday.

  • Olofsson scores first WJC goal; Slavin update

    Sun, December 29, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    olofsson swedenColorado College freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson recorded his first goal, the eventual game-winner only 3:26 into the first period, during a 10-0 rout of Norway. He added two assists, also his first in Pool B play at the 2014 world junior championship in Malmo, Sweden.

    If Russia defeats Finland on Monday, Sweden (3-0) and Russia would battle for Pool B supremacy at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

    Tigers rookie Jaccob Slavin played as the seventh defenseman and recorded a shot in Team USA’s 8-0 win over Germany, putting the 3-0 Americans in position to win the top seed in Pool A when they take on Canada at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday on the NHL Network.

    Canada plays Slovakia on Monday and could win the pool with two wins.

    Sweden and  the United States both clinched a spot in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

  • Weekend reading: World juniors, Miami, Western Michigan, tourney schedules

    Fri, December 27, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    olofsson sweden

    Team USA, whcih includes CC rookie Jaccob Slavin,  takes on Slovakia at 5:30 a.m. MT on the NHL Network followed by Canada vs. the Czech Republic at 8:30 a.m.  The Team USA defense will be tested by Slovakia, which whipped Germany in its Pool A opener.

    Slavin’s college teammate Gustav Olofsson, pictured, plays Finland at about 9 a.m. in Pool B early Saturday. I cannot find any live streams/TV available for this game.

    And now, back to the lower 48 and tonight’s college hockey games.

    No. 12 Miami, which is tied for sixth in the eight-team NCHC for the moment, is not satisfied with their showing so far.

    Western Michigan hopes a little home cooking will help them succeed at the outdoor Great Lakes Invitational. The USCHO pickers are not so sure it will matter against No. 3 Michigan.  Michigan State plays Michigan Tech in the earlier semifinal.

    The Three Rivers Classic pairs No. 7 Boston College against Bowling Green and host Robert Morris against Penn State. No. 14 Wisconsin hosts Alabama-Huntsville this weekend. Yale plays the Russian Red Stars in an exhibition game.

    Here is the tournament schedule courtesy this USCHO preview:

    Saturday-Sunday: Florida College Hockey Classic (Princeton, Maine, New Hampshire, No. 15 Cornell), Catamount Cup (Canisius, No. 10 Massachusetts-Lowell, No. 9 Clarkson, Vermont).

    Sunday-Monday: UConn Hockey Classic (Massachusetts, No. 8 Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, Connecticut), Ledyard National Bank Classic (No. 16 Northeastern, Air Force, No. 5 Providence, Dartmouth).

    Jan. 3-4: Mariucci Classic (No. 2 Ferris State, Rensselaer, Colgate, No. 1 Minnesota).


  • Slavin scores in Team USA’s rout of Czechs

    Thu, December 26, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Colorado College Hockey, 2013-14Colorado College freshman defenseman Jaccob Slavin knocked in a rebound late in the second period to stake Team USA to a four-goal lead in an eventual 5-1 win over the Czech Republic in opening Pool A action at the 2014 World Junior Championship tournament in Malmo, Sweden.

    Slavin skated in after Denver’s Quentin Shore’s shot  bounced up in the air near the goal.  As it landed in the crease, Slavin tucked it inside the right post past diving Czech goalie Daniel Dolejs with 2:57 left in the second period.

    Slavin also spent time on the Team USA power play, which went 2 for 3.