• More weekend reading: Jaden Schwartz; No cuts for Air Force hockey; ECHL playoffs

    Fri, April 18, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Schwartz celebrationFormer Tiger Jaden Schwartz scored the tying goal in regulation in a 3OT thriller against Chicago.

    Air Force announced its athletic department cuts, which did not affect revenue sports, including hockey.

    The ECHL playoffs are underway with former Tiger William Rapuzzi ( No. 4 seed Idaho) hosting the No. 5 Colorado Eagles (Arthur Bidwill). No. 6 Bakersfield (Joe Marciano) plays at No. 3 Utah. Here is a league preview.

    Here are the incoming freshmen for Minnesota State in Mankato. Here is a look at how North Dakota has fared in the national rankings this past decade.

    Not surprisingly, Union’s Rick Bennett was the USCHO Coach of the Year.

  • Weekend reading: Tom Serratore; LaLeggia; coach salaries; AFA, North Dakota schedules

    Thu, April 17, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    The first piece of steel for the new Nebraska-Omaha arena for hockey, hoops and volleyball was pout in place Thursday morning.

    The first piece of steel for the new Nebraska-Omaha arena for hockey, hoops and volleyball was put in place Thursday morning.

    Colorado Springs native Tom Serratore  picked up his first pro goal, fight and penalty in a 5-4 win at Syracuse on Wednesday for the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.

    All but Rocco Grimaldi have announced they will be back for North Dakota next season. Denver defenseman Joey LaLeggia is returning for his senior year.

    The final NCHC players of the month of the season were named with North Dakota goalie Zane Gothberg and Nebraska-Omaha’s Jake Guentzel honored.

    Under the terms of the three-year contract extension reached between Nebraska-Omaha and coach Dean Blais, he will make a total of just less than $1.3 million over the next four seasons, putting him among the five highest-compensated coaches in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

    According to the Omaha World Herald, Blais’ base salary for 2014-15 is the same as it was for this past season, $250,000. It climbs to $260,000 the following season, followed by raises to $265,000 in 2016-17 and $270,000 in 2017-18. A $250,000 longevity bonus from his original contract (originally due as a lump sum next summer) will be paid out concurrently, at $62,500 annually — so Blais will be paid $312,500 in 2014-15 and will top out at $332,500 in the final year of the contract.

    This should give CC fans a good idea of what the new Tigers coach may be paid if he is a candidate with head coaching experience.

    The Air Force Falcons travel to play Western Collegiate Hockey Association members Alaska-Anchorage and host Alaska-Fairbanks in the Brice Gold Rush tournament Oct. 17-18.  North Dakota will host Air Force Nov.  1 in the annual college hockey Hall of Fame Game at Ralph Engelstad Arena. The single contest will serve as a homecoming for Air Force’s Chad Demers, who is from nearby Grafton, N.D.

    The complete Air Force schedule will be announced later this summer.  Here is the North Dakota schedule.

  • NCHC schedule release; CC slate nearly full

    Thu, April 17, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    cc celebration gold

    Colorado College will play on the National Collegiate Hockey Conference’s Opening Night for the second season in a row.

    The Tigers begin conference play hosting national semifinalist North Dakota on Oct. 17-18. The Friday game comes after the 2014-15 league opener between Nebraska-Omaha at Western Michigan earlier that night.

    Last season, the first two league games – which included Minnesota –Duluth at CC in Game 2 — were part of a national TV doubleheader on CBS Sports Network. The NCHC’s broadcast schedule will be announced later.

    The NCHC released its league composite schedule on Thursday, also confirming that Colorado College and NCAA Tournament participant Denver will play their four-game home-and-home series the weekends of Nov. 14-15 and Feb. 20-21, 2015 to determine ownership of the Gold Pan Trophy. CC downed Denver in the series (2-1-1) last season to take back the rivalry hardware.

    CC will host Miami of Ohio and Western Michigan in February. The Tigers will travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on the RedHawks for the first time there on Nov. 7-8. Previous meetings were at World Arena and at a neutral tournament site.

    CC associate athletic director Scott Lowenberg said he hopes the new league rivalries will take root after World Arena fans see these new opponents more often.

    “We will work hard to educate the fans about those program’s long hockey histories,” he has said.

    The complete Tigers schedule, which will include 10 as of yet unconfirmed nonconference including area rival Air Force and one or two more exhibition game dates, will be released later this month. Other TV broadcasts will be announced later this offseason.

    Like last year, all eight NCHC teams will play five league foes, including their protected rival (CC and Denver, for example), in both home and away series, while facing the other two teams for just one series (one home and one away) for a total of 24 league games.

    In CC’s case, that means the Tigers only travel to Duluth Dec. 5-6 and host defending NCHC regular-season champion St. Cloud State on Jan. 30-31 this upcoming season, which begins Saturday, Oct. 4.

    First-round series winners advance to the Target Center in Minneapolis for the second annual NCHC Frozen Faceoff with the semifinals Friday, March 20 and the third-place game and championship on Saturday, March 21. The Frozen Faceoff champion receives an automatic NCAA berth.

    In this blog post, I also added some of the nonconference and exhibition games I have heard about through other media or during interviews. They remain unconfirmed.

    CC 2014-15 schedule

    Subject to change

    September

    Sept. 30 annual Faceoff Luncheon

    October

    Oct. 5, McGill University (exhibition)

    Oct. 10-11, Alabama-Huntsville (Homecoming)

    Oct. 17-18 North Dakota

    Oct. 23-26, at Boston College, at New Hampshire (block break weekend)

    Oct. 31-Nov. 1 OPEN

    November

    Nov. 7-8, at Miami

    Nov. 14, at Denver

    Nov. 15,  Denver

    Nov. 21, Wisconsin

    Nov. 22, at Air Force

    Nov. 28-29, OPEN

    December

    Dec. 5-6, at Minnesota-Duluth

    Dec. 12-13, at Western Michigan

    WINTER BREAK

    January

    Jan. 3-4, at Providence

    Jan. 6, at UConn

    Jan. 16-17, Nebraska-Omaha

    Jan. 23-24, at North Dakota

    Jan. 30-31, St. Cloud State

    February

    Feb. 6-7, OPEN

    Feb. 13-14, Miami

    Feb. 20, Denver

    Feb. 21, at Denver

    Feb. 27-28, Western Michigan

    March

    March 6-7, at Nebraska-Omaha

    March 13-15, NCHC quarterfinals

    March 20-21, NCHC Frozen Faceoff (Target Center, Minneapolis)

  • Gold Pan series dates; tentative CC schedule

    Thu, April 10, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Taft 2Next season’s Gold Pan series between Colorado College and Denver will resume in November 2014 and conclude in February 2015 judging from the DU home schedule cards. 

    CC travels to Denver on Friday, Nov. 14 and hosts their Front Range rivals on Nov. 15. The Tigers host the Pioneers on Friday, Feb. 20 and travel to Magness Arena on Feb. 21 in National Collegiate Hockey Conference play.

    Denver hosts Air Force in a nonleague game on Friday, Nov. 21 and the Big Ten’s Wisconsin the next night. That makes it very likely the Badgers will visit World Arena to play the Tigers on Nov. 21.

    The schedule is subject to change and remains unconfirmed until formal announcements later this month.

    Here is a very INCOMPLETE, TENTATIVE SCHEDULE (in other words, do not book any flights just yet) based on past interviews and other media.

    CC 2014-15 schedule

    Subject to change

    September

    Sept. 30 annual Faceoff Luncheon

    October

    Oct. 3, McGill University (exhibition)

    Oct. 10-11, Alabama-Huntsville (Homecoming)

    Oct. 17-18 North Dakota

    Oct. 24-26, at Boston College, New Hampshire (block break weekend)

    Oct. 31-Nov. 1 BYE WEEK

    November

    Nov. 7-8  at Miami

    Nov. 14 at Denver

    Nov. 15   Denver

    Nov. 21  Wisconsin

    Nov. 22 at Air Force

    December

    Dec. 5-6, at Minnesota-Duluth

    January

    Jan. 3-4, at Providence

    Jan. 6, at UConn

    February

    Feb. 20 Denver

    Feb. 21 at Denver

  • Air Force announces captains, honorees

    Sun, April 6, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    mckenzie-gazetteAir Force and Colorado College recognized their players’ achievements at team award banquets on Sunday with the Falcons also announcing leaders for next season.

    Juniors George Michalke III and Dan Weissenhofer were both named as co-captains for the Falcons.

    Michalke also garnered the team’s most inspirational award after returning from a head injury that ended his sophomore season in October 2012. The forward played 32 games this season (20 points).

    Defenseman Weissenhofer was named as the Defensive Player of the Year thanks to a plus-11 rating. He and the other juniors, including team MVP Cole Gunner (44 points), are anxious to get started.

    “That is exactly how we all feel,” Weissenhofer said. “We are ready to get the season going knowing we have just one more year to win a championship.”

    Here are the team award winners for Air Force from this past season.

    Chuck Delich Award (team MVP) — Junior forward Cole Gunner, a second team Atlantic Hockey Association honoree, led Falcons with 44 points (15 goals).

    Defensive Player of the Year — Junior Dan Weissenhofer was a team-best plus-11 this season with 15 points.

    Jim Bowman Award (top scholar-athlete) — Senior defenseman Adam McKenzie, an aeronautical engineering major with 3.86 grade-point average and three-time AHA all-academic honoree was a second-team all-conference blue-liner (18 points, seven goals).

    Vic Heyliger Award  (dedication, character, leadership and work ethic) — Senior forward Ryan Timar recorded career-high seven goals and 14 points, 28 blocks.

    Most Improved Player — Senior forward Mitch Torrel played in just 25 games and had two assists his first three years. This season, he played in 28 and was for fourth on the team with eight goals.

    John Matchefts Award (top freshman) – Defenseman Johnny Hrabovsky was one of just seven Falcons to play in every game (10 points, eight assists, 38 shot blocks).

    Larry Cronk Award (inspirational player) — Junior forward George Michalke III missed almost all of last season to injury, but returned this season to record 20 points and win team-best 59 percent of his faceoffs.

  • AFA picks up blue-liner for next season

    Fri, April 4, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    MackeyYoungstown Phantoms defenseman Kyle Mackey committed to play starting next season at Air Force.

    “Air Force has been showing interest this whole year.  I finally got out to visit this past week, and it was great,” said Mackey.  “The campus was great; the Colorado Springs area is just awesome.  They have a lot to offer, and they set you up for the rest of your life.  It’s a great opportunity, and I’m really blessed for it.”

    Mackey has produced 16 points (1g, 15a) and collected 52 penalty minutes in 49 games this season for the Phantoms.  He scored his first USHL goal in a 4-3 shootout win against the Fargo Force on Nov. 8, one month after celebrating his 19th birthday.  It is the second season in the USHL for the Derby, N.Y. native after he recorded six assists and a plus-eight rating over 38 games with the Phantoms last season.

    The defenseman came to the USHL after the Phantoms selected him in the 2012 USHL Entry Draft.  He previously played youth hockey for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres organization.

    “It’s a great accomplishment for Kyle,” said Phantoms coach Anthony Noreen.  “Last year, and I think he’d be the first to admit it, was a big growing process for him as a player, but he stuck to it.  He believed in us, he trusted us, he worked his way through it, came back this year, and he stepped up big time on our back end when we needed it.  He fought his way into our top pair, and has really been an anchor for us on our blue line all year.  I think it’s something that he deserves, something that he’s worked towards, and it’s a huge honor for him.”

    Mackey is joined by two other USHL defensemen that have committed to Air Force – Phil Boje of the Dubuque Fighting Saints and R.J. Majkozak of the Sioux Falls Stampede.

  • Monday reading: NCAA Tournament update

    Mon, March 31, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    icehockey_m-DIThe Big 10, ECAC, Hockey East and NCHC all have a team in the Frozen Four April 10-12 after Minnesota routed St. Cloud State and Boston College edged league rival UMass-Lowell.

    Interestingly enough, in a tournament usually marked by big upsets, three of the top four seeds advanced with only North Dakota in as a lower seed (No. 4, Midwest regional).

    NCAA Tournament

    East Regional — No. 3 Union 5, Vermont 2; Providence 4, Quinnipiac 0; Union 3, Providence 1

    Midwest Regional — Ferris State 1, Colgate 0; North Dakota 5, No. 4 Wisconsin 2[ North Dakota 2, Ferris State 1 2OT

    West Regional — No. 1 overall seed Minnesota 7,  Robert Morris 3; St. Cloud State 4, Notre Dame 3 OT; Minnesota 4, SCSU 0

    Northeast Regional — No. 2 Boston College 6, Denver 2; UMass-Lowell 2, Minnesota State 1; Boston College 4, UMass-Lowell 3

    Frozen Four, Philadelphia

    All times MT

    Semifinals, April 10, both ESPN2

    Boston College vs. Union, 3 p.m.; North Dakota vs. Minnesota, 6:30 p.m.

    National championship, April 12, ESPN

    Semifinal winners, 5:30 p.m.

  • Sunday reading: North Dakota advances to 20th Frozen 4; SCSU faces Minnesota today

    Sun, March 30, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Thorimbert vs UND road unisNorth Dakota’s Connor Gaarder scored 1:28 into the second overtime to push UND, the last at-large team to make the NCAA field,  to a 2-1 win over WCHA regular-season champion Ferris State and earn the NCHC program’s 20th trip to the Frozen Four.

    Last season, the last team to make the field was eventual champion Yale, which also won the Midwest regional.

    NCHC regular-season champion St. Cloud State’s Nic Dowd scored in overtime to knock off Notre Dame and set up a rematch with No. 1 overall seed Minnesota on Sunday.

    Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau scored three goals and added three assists in a 6-2 win over NCHC postseason champion Denver to end the Pioneers season.

    UMass-Lowell defeated WCHA playoff champ Minnesota State 2-1 to set up an all-Hockey East regional final against the Eagles.

    ECAC champion Union downed Providence 3-1 to advance out of the East regional to Philadelphia.

    NCAA Tournament

    All times MT

    East Regional

    Bridgeport, Conn.

    Friday

    No. 3 Union 5, Vermont 2

    Providence 4, Quinnipiac 0

    Saturday

    Union 3, Providence 1

    Midwest Regional

    Cincinnati

    Friday

    Ferris State 1, Colgate 0

    North Dakota 5, No. 4 Wisconsin 2

    Saturday

    North Dakota 2, Ferris State 1 2OT

    West Regional

    St. Paul, Minn.

    Saturday

    No. 1 overall seed Minnesota 7,  Robert Morris 3

    St. Cloud State 4, Notre Dame 3 OT

    Sunday

    Regional final, 5:30 p.m. ESPNU

    Northeast Regional

    Worcester, Mass.

    Saturday

    No. 2 Boston College 6, Denver 2

    UMass-Lowell 2, Minnesota State 1

    Sunday

    Regional final, 3 p.m. ESPNU

    Frozen Four

    Philadelphia

    Semifinals, April 10

    Both ESPN2, Times TBA

    BC/Lowell winner vs. Union

    North Dakota vs. Minn./SCSU

    National championship. April 12

    Semifinal winners, ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

     

  • Saturday reading: Updated NCAA schedule

    Sat, March 29, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    und vs ccSophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi recorded his first career hat trick and junior forward Mark MacMillan scored the game-winner with less than two minutes to play to lead No. 13 North Dakota to a 5-2 win over No. 4 Wisconsin Friday night in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals at U.S. Bank Arena.

    With the victory, fourth-seeded UND (24-13-3) advanced to Saturday’s regional championship against Ferris State, 1-0 winners over Colgate earlier, with a berth in the NCAA Frozen Four on the line. The season for Wisconsin (24-11-2), the top seed in the region, is over.

    Grimaldi’s final two goals both came with an empty net to seal the win for his first multi-goal game at North Dakota. MacMillan also finished with a three-point night, adding two assists to go along with his game-winning goal, while junior forward Michael Parks had a two-point outing with a goal and an assist on the game-winner.

    NCAA Tournament schedule

    All times MT

    East Regional

    Bridgeport, Conn.

    Friday

    No. 3 Union 5, Vermont 2

    Providence 4, Quinnipiac 0

    Saturday

    Regional final, 1 p.m. ESPN2

    Midwest Regional

    Cincinnati

    Friday

    Ferris State 1, Colgate 0

    North Dakota 5, No. 4 Wisconsin 2

    Saturday

    Regional final, 4:30 p.m. ESPNU

    West Regional

    St. Paul, Minn.

    Saturday

    No. 1 overall seed Minnesota vs. Robert Morris, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

    St. Cloud State vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m., ESPN2

    Sunday

    Regional final, 5:30 p.m. ESPNU

    Northeast Regional

    Worcester, Mass.

    Saturday

    No. 2 Boston College vs. Denver, 2 p.m. ESPNU

    UMass-Lowell vs. Minnesota State, 5:30 p.m., ESPN3 (online only)

    Sunday

    Regional final, 3 p.m. ESPNU

    Frozen Four

    Philadelphia

    Semifinals, April 10

    Both ESPN2, Times TBA

    Northeast winner vs. East winner

    Midwest winner vs. West winner

    National championship. April 12

    Semifinal winners, ESPN, 5:30 p.m.

  • NCHC sends three on to NCAAs

    Sun, March 23, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    DU No. 4Denver reached its eighth-straight NCAA Tournament while North Dakota’s streak reached a Division I-best 12 years, giving the NCHC three berths in the tournament, including regular-season champion St. Cloud State.

    Congratulations to all three squads for good seasons.

    Here is a link to the bracket.

    NCAA East Regional

    Bridgeport, Conn.

    Friday

    No. 3 Union vs. Vermont, noon ESPNU

    Providence vs. Quinnipiac, 3:30 p.m. ESPNU

    Saturday

    Regional final, 1 p.m. ESPN2

    NCAA Midwest Regional

    Cincinnati

    Friday

    No. 4 Wisconsin vs. North Dakota, 6 p.m. ESPNU

    Ferris State vs. Colgate, 2:30 p.m. ESPN3 (online only).

    Saturday

    Regional final, 4:30 p.m. ESPNU

    NCAA West Regional

    St. Paul, Minn.

    Saturday

    No. 1 overall seed Minnesota vs. Robert Morris, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

    St. Cloud State vs. Notre Dame, 7 p.m., ESPN2

    Sunday

    Regional final, 5:30 p.m. ESPNU

    NCAA Northeast Regional

    Worcester, Mass.

    Saturday

    No. 2 Boston College vs. Denver, 2 p.m. ESPNU

    UMass-Lowell vs. Minnesota State, 5:30 p.m., ESPN3 (online only)

    Sunday

    Regional final, 3 p.m. ESPNU

    Frozen Four

    Philadelphia, Pa.

    Semifinals, April 10

    Both ESPN2, Times TBA

    Northeast winner vs. East winner

    Midwest winner vs. West winner

    National championship

    Semifinal winners, ESPN, 5:30 p.m.