• 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)

  • Saturday reading: Championship preview; Five NCHC players earn All-America honors

    Sat, April 12, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    bigger-NCHC-logo-300x300Here is a preview of tonight’s national championship game between Minnesota and Union.

    Five National Collegiate Hockey Conference players were named by the American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) as Men’s Division I All-Americans.

    Earning First-Team West All-American was Omaha junior forward Josh Archibald, Denver senior goaltender Sam Brittain and St. Cloud State senior forward Nic Dowd. Garnering Second-Team West All-American was Miami junior forward Austin Czarnik and Denver junior defenseman Joey LaLeggia.

    A total of 14 different schools were represented between the East and West All-American Teams, including four NCHC schools, with Denver the lone NCHC school to have multiple representatives. Six All-Americans each hailed from the Big Ten, the ECAC and Hockey East, with five came from the NCHC and two from the WCHA. Among the West All-American First Team, three played in the NCHC while the other half played in the Big Ten. All five NCHC student-athletes named All-Americans were also tabbed First-Team All-Conference.

  • 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

  • Denver assistant leaves program

    Tue, April 8, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    lassonde mugDenver assistant David Lassonde resigned from the Pioneer staff to pursue coaching opportunities closer to his family in New Hampshire.

    Lassonde spent three seasons at Denver and recently completed his 26th season as a college coach.  He assisted with all aspects of the Pioneer program including practice and game management, goaltending, recruiting and video breakdown.

    “Denver hockey is losing an outstanding coach today but we support his decision to be closer to family,” DU coach Jim Montgomery said.  “Coach Lassonde was a big part of Denver Hockey and our success during his tenure at DU.  He led our outstanding penalty kill unit this season and developed NCHC Goalie of the Year Sam Brittain and All-American Juho Olkinuora. He will be sorely missed, but family must always come first in life.”

    Lassonde was also an assistant on the staff for the 2012-13 U.S. National Junior Team, which captured the gold medal at the 2013 world junior championships in Russia. He was also part to the U.S. National Junior Team coaching staff in 2013-14.

    “For the past three years I have enjoyed being associated with one of the nation’s top college hockey programs and will be forever grateful for the opportunity George Gwozdecky and Steve Miller gave me to come to Denver and practice my labor of love,” Lassonde said.  “I also want to thank Jim Montgomery for giving me the opportunity to remain at Denver with our year together culminating in winning the NCHC Championship.  It will always be a special memory of my time as a Pioneer.”

    “Finally, I want to express my thanks to all the current and past players I have had the pleasure of coaching at Denver,” Lassonde said.  “One of the big reasons why we enter this profession is to have the opportunity to work with young men and watch them grow as people and athletes.  It is what drives us to do what we do and I am grateful to them for making my time at Denver such a rewarding one.”

    His final day is April 30.

  • Updated: CC 2014-15 schedule takes shape

    Tue, April 8, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Thorimbert2While the search for a new coach gets underway, information about the 2014-15 schedule continues to trickle in and it will be a tough one as usual.

    CC fans should expect home and road series against both Miami and Western Michigan this season under the league’s schedule rotation.

    Minnesota-Duluth will not travel to Colorado Springs during the regular season, just like Miami did not last season.

    CC has 24 league games, leaving 10 nonconference dates, in a 34-game regular-season schedule.

    Eight nonleague spots are filled by single road games against Boston College, New Hampshire, UConn, a road series at Providence and home contests against Wisconsin (1) and Alabama-Huntsville (2).

    Air Force may fill one or two of those open spots.

    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. 24-25, at Boston College, New Hampshire (block break weekend)

    November

    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

  • Owens resignation surprises most

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

    Scott Owens Photo #3The news of longtime coach Scott Owens’ resignation surprised fans, players and coaches alike.

    “We were all a little bit surprised,” CC junior defenseman Peter Stoykewych said. “We loved playing for him as a coach and had the utmost respect for him. He gave us all an opportunity.”

    Owens told CC athletic director Ken Ralph of his decision to resign after 15 seasons (324-228-54, .579) following his worst as a coach (7-24-6, .270) this past campaign; the Tigers’ first in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Both agreed it was time for him to step down following his annual review.

    “I was surprised by the decision,” Tigers assistant Eric Rud said. “I am very, very thankful that Scott had the confidence in me to bring me in as an assistant coach at my alma mater.”

    “We had a lot of success over the past 14 years,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. “I am proud of the work we’ve done with kids graduating, players reaching the NHL and the commits we have coming in.”

    The longtime coach was out of town and did not attend Sunday’s team awards banquet.  Ralph said Owens was absent to avoid overshadowing the event.

    “I can’t say I was shocked but it upsets me,” longtime fan Ken Rownd said. “I especially enjoyed the kind of players he brought in. That is a tough act to follow.”

    It did not take long for speculation on Owens’ replacement to start. There will be no shortage of interested coaching candidates for one of only two available in the 59-team Division I ranks. The other is the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Lake Superior State.

    Names already making the speculation rounds in social media include: Bonnett, Rud, former Denver coach George Gwozdecky, Minnesota assistant Mike Guentzel, former North Dakota associate coach Cary Eades and former DU assistant Derek Lalonde. Gwozdecky recently told the Gazette he was not interested in an opening if it were to arise. Both Bonnett and Rud expressed interest.

    “I think this is a great place to coach and play,” Rud said. “It’s a place I believe in. There are enough positives in place that this could be turned around quickly.”

    Ralph will be busy during a hiring process expected to last a few weeks.

    “We do not want to rush this,” he said. “We want to make the right choice.”

  • Poll, WMU early departure, Denver’s future

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

    DU BRittain road save Here is the USA Hockey weekly poll with Minnesota at No. 1 followed by Union, Boston College, UMass-Lowell and No. 5 North Dakota, who moved up from No. 13 before the tourney. USCHO.com did not release one this week.

    Western Michigan junior defenseman Jordan Oesterle left school early to sign with Edmonton.

    The Denver administration was pleased by Pioneers coach Jim Montgomery’s first season.

     

  • 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.