2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Emptying the notebook

Published: February 21, 2014, 11:10 pm, by Joe Paisley

Tigers schedule among toughest in Division I

According to the KRACH statistical ratings, Colorado College has the fourth most difficult schedule in Division I, trailing only Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth and New Hampshire. All of CC’s opponents this season, with the exception of Air Force, which has a No. 49 rating, and ECAC Brown, have spent time in the Top 20 rankings. Denver is ranked 34th.

“We take pride in playing the best teams we can,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “The NCHC is tough but that is not unexpected.”

KRACH stands for “Ken’s Ratings for American College Hockey,” for statistician Ken Butler.

NCHC teams struggling for NCAA at-large bids

No. 6 St. Cloud State and No. 11 North Dakota, first and second in the league standings entering this weekend, would be the only National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams in the NCAA tournament judging from the latest Pairwise rankings, which mimic the selection committee’s formula.

That leaves a lot of programs used to making the NCAAs on the outside looking in.

Denver coach Jim Montgomery points to the league’s nonconference struggles. The NCHC went 37-31-16 while the ECAC (51-38-16), Big Ten (47-30-8) and Hockey East (72-41-15) all enjoyed strong records.  Those leagues may take up 12 of the 15 available spots; the No. 16 seed is reserved for the Atlantic Hockey postseason champ.

Other NCHC teams on the bubble include DU, Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha and Western Michigan.

Ice chips

The CC fan bus was delayed by snarled traffic on northbound Interstate 25 after another vehicle was involved in a wreck but made it just in time for team introductions..Referee Derek Shepherd was unable to fly in from Minneapolis for the CC-Denver game. The referees were Dan Dreger and Nick Krebsbach. All the NCHC teams and officials are wearing a helmet sticker in support of Western Michigan’s annual Ice Duchenne weekend benefiting the fight against Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy. WMU assistant Rob Facca’s son, Louie, was diagnosed four years ago, and this spring and summer Rob’s father, Bob, will walk 1,574 miles from Quebec City, Quebec to Winnipeg, Manitoba to raise money and awareness.