2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • Midweek reading: Western Michigan adds size; No Minnesota early departures

    Tue, May 27, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Goff action WMUWestern Michigan is going big in its recruiting with the addition of 6-foot-5, 220-pound defenseman Neal Goff to its incoming seven-player freshmen class. The smallest rookie is 5-11, 175-pound forward John Carpino so the Broncos are looking to take advantage of the NHL sheet.

    This is no accident under coach Andy Murray. Junior forward J.T. Osborn is the shortest skater at 5-8, 180 pounds while sophomore forward Sheldon Dries is 5-9, 179. Here is the WMU roster. Among the incoming Broncos freshmen is Paul Stoykewych, younger brother of CC’s Peter Stoykewych.

    Surprisingly, no Gophers have left early for the pro ranks at this point, which is a bit unusual. Any departures are expected to happen this week or next.  There is also a post-NHL Draft period when some players reconsider their commitments.

    USCHO keeps a list of all the early departures in D1 hockey.

  • Seventh NCHC player leaves early for pros

    Wed, May 7, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    UND Grimaldi actionNorth Dakota redshirt sophomore forward Rocco Grimaldi, 21, signed a three-year deal with the Florida Panthers, giving up his final two years of college eligibility.

    The NCAA Midwest Regional MVP led UND with 17 goals and 22 assists this past season.

    “We are very pleased to have reached a contract agreement with Rocco,” Florida general manager Dale Tallon said in a press release. “He is a hard working forward who possesses speed along with great vision on the ice. We look forward to his continued growth and development within our organization.”

    He is the seventh to leave an NCHC school early, joining Nebraska-Omaha junior forward Josh Archibald (43 points, 29 goals), AHL Penguins, SCSU junior goalie Ryan Faragher (20-9-4, 2.79 gaa, .905 saves), Anaheim; Duluth junior Caleb Herbert (31, 19 points), Capitals; ) UNO junior defenseman Jaycob Megna (10, 10 assists), Ducks; Western Michigan junior defenseman Jordan Oesterle (17, 15 assists), Oilers;  and CC freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson (eight, four goals), Minnesota.

    In all, 26 college players have left early this offseason.

  • Midweek reading: Sioux nickname lucrative; color barrier pioneer; HEA suspension

    Tue, April 1, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    rylan-und5The Fighting Sioux nickname remains a profitable one for the University of North Dakota and other businesses.

    The first black man to play college hockey in the United States passed away last month.

    Hockey East suspended Northeastern coach Jim Madigan for the first game next season after he criticized game officials following a March 16 quarterfinal playoff game at New Hampshire.

    “Using the media to criticize an official’s decision is contrary to league policy and is inherently unfair to the officials who work hard for college hockey each and every night,” Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna said. “Hockey East and Northeastern University expect better from our head coaches and Jim has acknowledged his error in this situation.”

    Here is a Canadian Press article that points out that Canadians going to NCAA colleges can make the NHL. See Schwartz, Jaden for a recent  example.

    Alaska-Anchorage standout Matt Bailey signed with the Anaheim organization.

  • Friday reading: Denver’s chances; CS native feature; Owens; NCAA previews, schedule

    Fri, March 28, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Fulghum home whitesDenver graduate Luke Fulghum, who scored two power-play goals against CC in the 2005 national semifinals, practices with current and former Pioneers often and is confident they can make some noise in the NCAA Tournament:

    “It feels just like the team during my junior season (2004 NCAA titlist),” he said. “We snuck up on a lot of teams and beat some real high-quality teams. I think they have a real solid chance and if they can get past (Boston College) and their confidence will really grow.”

    Fulghum, a Colorado Springs native, is the subject my feature in Friday’s Gazette.

    Gazette columnist David Ramsey suggests CC coach Scott Owens give his program a good long look.

    Ferris State is healthy and ready to make some noise for the oft-underrated WCHA against Colgate. UMass-Lowell, coached by former CC assistants Norm Bazin and Jason Lammers, takes on Minnesota State this weekend.

    New coach Jim Montgomery happy to add to Denver’s NCAA streak.

    North Dakota’s coach and players were fans of the Badgers for less than a day.UND had its troubles when they arrived in Cincinnati.

    CCUND picWisconsin has covered for its goalie’s struggles so far this postseason. Here is a plethora of UND-Wisconsin links from the Grand Forks beat writer. Here is a Midwest regional preview and one for the West regional which involves Minnesota and St. Cloud State.

    From College Hockey Inc: Despite the rise in early departures for the NHL in recent years, college hockey remains a game that rewards experienced teams.  The top five scorers in the NCAA tournament field and 11 of the top 14 are juniors or seniors.

    A number of players in the field turned down opportunities to sign pro contracts last summer to pursue an NCAA championship, including Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau (Flames), St. Cloud State’s Nic Dowd (Kings) and Wisconsin’s  Michael Mersch (Kings). Most seniors: Notre Dame, 11; Wisconsin, nine and Vermont, UMass-Lowell, both seven.

    NCAA Tournament schedule

    All times MT

    East Regional

    Bridgeport, Conn.


    No. 3 Union vs. Vermont, noon ESPNU

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


    Regional final, 1 p.m. ESPN2

    Midwest Regional



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

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


    Regional final, 4:30 p.m. ESPNU

    West Regional

    St. Paul, Minn.


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

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


    Regional final, 5:30 p.m. ESPNU

    Northeast Regional

    Worcester, Mass.


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

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


    Regional final, 3 p.m. ESPNU

    Frozen Four


    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.

  • Wednesday reading: J. Schwartz, Bachman, another NCAA first-time champ?

    Wed, March 26, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Jaden picThis just in:  Former Tiger Jaden Schwartz is pretty darn good.

    Oklahoma City goalie Richard Bachman made 33 saves in his team’s 2-1 win over San Antonio to earn the game’s No. 1 star.

    From College Hockey Inc: The odds of another first-time NCAA champion are high  judging from the first-round match-ups. Two of the last three years the national champion was a team that had never won it before (Minnesota Duluth in 2011, Yale in 2013).

    Only five teams in the  2014  tourney have won national titles before, and four of them face off in the first round: Denver (7), North Dakota (7), Wisconsin (6), Boston College (5) and Minnesota (5). The 11 others enter in search of their first championships.

    NHL teammates whose alma maters face off in the first round of the NCAA Tournament include Zach Parise (North Dakota) and Ryan Suter/Dany Heatley (Wisconsin) in Minnesota and Paul Carey (Boston College) and Paul Stastny (Denver) in Colorado.

    Michigan’s Phil Di Giuseppe signed with Carolina for $675,000 in 2014-15, $725,000 in 2015-16 and $775,000 in 2016-17 according to ESPN.

    And finally, although I should know better, this column on Dallas’ Rich Peverley made me say “Wow” out loud this morning.


  • Olofsson leaves CC early for pros

    Mon, March 24, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Olofsson 2The Minnesota Wild signed former Colorado College defenseman Gustav Olofsson to a three-year entry level contract starting next season.

    The NHL team announced Monday afternoon that the 6-foot-4, 191-pounder will report to the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League later this week on an amateur tryout. He was Minnesota’s second-round (46th overall) pick in the 2013 draft.

    The native of Sweden played one season at CC, recording eight points (four goals) in 30 games.

    “Goose was a very fun guy to have on the team,” Tigers assistant Eric Rud said. “We were happy to have him on our team for a year and we wish him the best as he continues his career.”

    Olofsson helped Sweden to a silver medal at the 2014 IIHF world junior championships in Malmo, Sweden in early January. He tied for second in defenseman scoring with five points (four assists), which stimulated interest from the Wild for him to join the Western Hockey League’s Portland (Ore.) Winterhawks.

    At that time, Olofsson said he wanted to stay at the school.

    “That (WHL) will always be there because they have my (major junior) rights,” he said. “This is where I want to be and that is why I am here.”

    The Wild’s interest in Olofsson, who told CC of his decision on Sunday, never abated.
    “We’re excited to get Gus under contract,” assistant general manager Brent Flahr said. “His performance this year at the world junior championships and at Colorado College exceeded our expectations and we’re confident that he’s ready for the next challenge in his young career. His skill set really excites us going forward. We’re looking forward to see him continue his development at the pro level.”

    He may end up in Portland next season while he physically matures. At 19, he is one of the youngest in the AHL.

    CC goalie Tyler Marble congratulated his former teammate via Twitter.

    “We will all miss you here at school,” he told Olofsson. “Best of luck!”

    Olofsson is the third NCHC player to leave early, joining Minnesota-Duluth junior forward Caleb Herbert and league Player of the Year and junior forward Josh Archibald of Nebraska-Omaha in the pros.

  • NCHC Player of the Year leaves early

    Mon, March 24, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Archibald vs ColgateHobey Baker Top 10 finalist Josh Archibald of Nebraska-Omaha skipped his final season to sign with the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, the school announced Sunday evening.

    The junior, who set a school record with 29 goals (43 points, 37 games) this season compiled 94 points (58 goals) in 112 games. The Penguins’ 2011 sixth-round pick (174th overall) signed an amateur tryout agreement with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins on Sunday. He was the NCHC’s Player of the Year and Forward of the Year honoree.

    Here is a link to the confirmed early departures (rumors abound as usual).

  • At last, the league playoffs are here

    Fri, March 14, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    CC uniforms, Herb Brooks 047This is a great time of year for college hockey fans. Here are various links to previews and features from around the West-oriented college hockey conferences.

    Tigers senior goalie Josh Thorimbert, pictured, does not get enough credit for the workload he has shouldered this season. Hopefully this feature rectifies that somewhat. Here are Three Things to Watch.

    North Dakota needs to win the playoff series or the perennial power may miss out on the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.

    The return of Blake Coleman from injury has made No. 8 seed Miami a more dangerous first-round NCHC opponent for top seed St. Cloud State. Here is more from the more confident RedHawks.

    An 11-year-old battling cancer is inspired by the Huskies, who were reminded how good they have it when they met last weekend.

    ““It’s tough after you lose any time, but his coming into the locker room … it just shows you how precious and how good we really have it,” Jimmy Murray said. “It touched everyone.“After talking with the family, he’s a pretty amazing kid. He was smiling and laughing. We really enjoyed it. Anyone on our team would have done that. I’d like to think that.”

    Here is the rest of the article.

    CCUND picFreshman Kyle Osterberg is on a roll for No. 4 seed Minnesota-Duluth, which hosts Western Michigan.

    Here are some UND-oriented NCHC predictions and picks by USCHO and the Grand Forks Herald (UND in three).

    USCHO previews the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals, WCHA quarters and the final regular-season weekend for the Big 10. Here is a WCHA linkorama and the Gazette’s Air Force preview.

    RPI’s best forward bolted for the N.Y. Rangers. Here are the latest Pairwise rankings.

  • Midweek reading: NCHC travel; LSSU early departure and coach firing

    Wed, March 12, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    planes trainsThe Tigers are flying out to Minneapolis Wednesday afternoon and have a five-hour bus trip to Grand Forks, N.D. ahead of them on Thursday.  CC is taking advantage of spring break, which begins at 1 p.m. Wednesday, to make the trip without losing class time.

    Through this approach, CC was able to find large enough planes that can carry all their equipment. In years past,  CC sent its equipment on a team bus to allow the team to fly to Fargo on smaller planes. The team is scheduled to fly back early Monday morning but has floated the idea of staying in the Minneapolis area during the week if they are fortunate enough to advance to the Frozen Faceoff at the Target Center the following weekend.

    Eighth-place Miami has a 12-hour bus trip to St. Cloud State while Western Michigan will use a combination of airplane and bus travel to reach Minnesota-Duluth. Grand Forks and Duluth are expensive places to fly to on short notice and finding 30 seats was not possible. There were few seats available from Dayton or Cincinnati to Minneapolis  for the RedHawks to snap up, prompting the long bus trip.

    Denver to Nebraska-Omaha was the easy trip even though it starts a day early (Thursday-Saturday).

    The first early departure for the pros is Lake Superior State junior defenseman Kevin Czuczman, who signed a two-year entry-level deal with the N.Y. Islanders. His 10 goals was second among Division I blue-liners. The 23-year-old Czuczman registered 45 points (14 goals) in 114 games.  He was the ream’s most valuable defenseman in 2012-13 and top freshman in 2011-12.

    Not coincidentally, LSSU let coach Jim Roque go shortly before that announcement: Roque (136-165-46) just completed his ninth season as the Lakers’ head coach but finished eighth in the WCHA, missing out on the eight-team playoffs on a a tiebreaker with Bemidji State.

  • Defenseman Finch leaves program

    Wed, February 5, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Finch2013-14Sophomore defenseman Russell Finch left the Colorado College hockey program recently to focus on academics at the school, where he remains as a mathematical economics major.

    Finch appeared in eight games as a freshman (no points) and five this season. He recorded his only career point, an assist in the season-opener, on  Oct. 18 vs. Minnesota-Duluth. He had not played since Nov. 23, a span of 14 games.

    His departure leaves the Tigers (3-17-4, 3-8-3-1 National Collegiate Hockey Conference) with seven defensemen.