• Tuesday reading: Miami adds size; NHL-college numbers; Andy Gambucci

    Tue, April 22, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Gambucci in actionMiami is remedying its problem with a lack of size in the defensemen corps judging from its incoming freshmen for 2014-15.

    A record 305 college hockey alumni played in the NHL this past regular season. Thirty-one with ties to the programs in the NCHC are now competing in the NHL playoffs.

    Tigers great Andy Gambucci, pictured, was inducted into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night. Here is a feature I did on Gambucci when the honor was announced.

  • 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)

  • 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

  • Thursday reading: CC travel; DU’s NCAA hopes

    Thu, March 13, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    HansonWith the prospect of a three-game playoff series this weekend, Colorado College brought 23 players to Grand Forks. The only players left behind in Colorado Springs were: Jordan DiGiando, Jared Hanson, Tyler Marble, Peter Maric, and Derek Shatzer. Only Shatzer is uninjured.

    Here are 3 Things to Watch for the CC at North Dakota playoff series.

    Like Colorado College, Denver’s only chance at making the NCAA Tournament is by winning the NCHC playoffs‘ automatic berth.

    Here is College Hockey News’ quarterfinals preview. The Denver at Nebraska-Omaha series starts tonight.

    ALL quarterfinal games this weekend will be streamed FREE of charge at the league website. Very smart move by the league

    The outgoing WCHA commissioner is happy with how his final season played out.

    The big thing, from a league finance standpoint, is that Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska-Fairbanks play in the first round based on standings, not on the now-defunct Alaska plan. That was scrapped after the league faced criticism. This match-up keeps the league from paying for a team to go to Alaska on short notice and means they only have to worry about one Alaska team advancing to Grand Rapids. Mich. next week. It could not have worked out any better for the WCHA and commissioner Bruce McLeod, one of the good guys  in college hockey.

  • 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.

  • Friday reading: Penrose Cup race; regular-season finales; WCHA race; women’s hockey

    Fri, March 7, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    SCSU road celebrationCC fans can point to this stat to buoy their hopes this weekend: No. 4 St. Cloud State started the season at 11-1-2 but is  8-7-3 since Dec. 7.

    The Huskies remain confident coming into this weekend because they faced a similar scenario last year when they shared the WCHA title with Minnesota. Friday’s game starts at 7:08 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

    Here is The Gazette’s feature on CC captain Eamonn McDermott and the learning experience this season has been.

    Three teams can lay claim to the inaugural Penrose Cup as NCHC regular-season champion. No. 9 North Dakota and No. 4 St. Cloud State are tied atop the standings, three points ahead of Nebraska-Omaha. A sweep by either UND vs. Western Michigan or SCSU at Colorado College guarantees them at least a share of the Penrose Cup, if not the outright title.

    For seeding purposes, UND currently holds the tiebreaker with more conference wins but that could change this weekend. Omaha would need both teams to falter in order to have a shot at the title.

    The top four teams receive home ice for next weekend’s NCHC best-of-three quarterfinal series. North Dakota and St. Cloud State have already clinched home ice, while UNO needs just one point at Duluth or UND to earn one point vs. Western Michigan to secure home ice.

    The final home ice spot(s) will go to WMU, Minnesota-Duluth or Denver. Colorado College is locked in as the No. 7 seed and will face the No. 2 seed, which could be UND, SCSU or UNO. Miami is last and will travel to face the No. 1.

    The NCHC race leads off a national roundup. Western Michigan hopes to grab a couple road points at No. 9 North Dakota and secure home playoff ice. Here is more on UND and the beat writer’s predictions.

    Family ties will be tested when Nebraska-Omaha plays at  Minnesota-Duluth with home playoff ice on the line.  Here are UNO’s preview notes.

    Here are some predictions for this week’s regular-season finales. 

    Penrose cupHere is this week’s USCHO column which talks about commissioner Josh Fenton’s uncertain travel itinerary this weekend; CC’s offensive woes and Nebraska-Omaha’s emotional week.

    Here is a look at some of the great hockey games played at the Target Center, the site for the NCHC’s Frozen Faceoff.

    Minnesota State has a chance to win its first MacNaughton Cup this weekend and other WCHA links.

    In women’s hockey, sophomore forward Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn./Minnesota), senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray (Kanata, Ontario/Clarkson) and junior forward Jillian Saulnier (Halifax, Nova Scotia/Cornell) have been named top-three finalists for the 2014 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award. The honor will be presented on March 22, as part of the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four weekend hosted by Quinnipiac. The award, which is in its 17th year, is presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.

  • Midweek reading: CC-SCSU match-up; Duluth home ice issues; Nebraska-Omaha hopes; Spring break in Grand Forks?

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

    CC celebration gold 2Here are three things to watch in this weekend’s final home series for the CC Tigers. They host No. 4 St. Cloud State. Friday’s game is on CBS Sports Network.

    With a 4-7-3 home record (2-6-2 league), there is a little truth behind the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs’ jokes about opting out of home playoff ice.

    Nebraska-Omaha is one point away from clinching home ice and has an outside shot at the regular-season championship. Here is USCHO’s look at the past weekend.

    Western Michigan is taking advantage of its spring break to take its time traveling out to Grand Forks and spend a couple extra days practicing on the North Dakota home ice before this weekend’s series.

    The WCHA playoff race, which drops the bottom teams out of playoff contention, is entertaining this columnist argues.

  • Tigers fall 2-1 in overtime at Omaha

    Sat, March 1, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Massa picOMAHA, Neb. – The Tigers can leave Omaha knowing they bounced back and played better hockey.

    But they left without a win and as the seventh seed in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs.

    Colorado College fell short in a 2-1 overtime loss at Nebraska-Omaha Saturday, one night after a 6-0 loss. The setback in the series finale was especially tough since CC could not score over the final 60:20 of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference game.

    “We have had a lot of games like that this year,” said Tigers coach Scott Owens, referring to a 1-8-6 record in one-goal games. “We competed and we battled. But it never should have reached that point (overtime). But scoring is tough for us.”

    UNO senior defenseman Michael Young scored from a few feet away for the game-winner 55 seconds into the extra frame. A rebound bounced over to Young, who scored his first goal of the season, for the third-place Mavericks (15-15-2, 12-8-2-1 NCHC).

    The loss means the Tigers (6-20-6, 6-11-5-1, 24 points) are unable to overtake sixth-place Denver (15-13-6, 9-10-3-2) and its 32 league points with two games remaining. Minnesota-Duluth downed Miami 1-0 on Saturday to send the RedHawks (17 points) into the playoffs as the low seed.

    No. 5 St. Cloud State downed No. 10 North Dakota 3-1 to forge a tie atop the standings (42 points apiece) with UNO in third with 39. Any of the three could finish as the No. 2 seed and be CC’s playoff road opponent.

    Tigers senior Charlie Taft scored only 35 seconds in to stake CC to a 1-0 lead early. The wrist shot was made from a tough angle to beat UNO junior goalie Ryan Massa (26 saves). The score set the tone for a better game by CC.

    “We knew we had to put forth a better effort,” Taft said. “We played tough but couldn’t we couldn’t find the back of the net.”

    Nebraska-Omaha tied it at 1-1 when Jake Guentzel scored on a power play with 8:20 left in the opening period.

    Senior goalie Josh Thorimbert bounced back from a tough Friday (one save) and kept CC in the game with two big-time stops in the final 1:45 of regulation and 35 saves overall.

    He kicked away a shot by Ryan Walters on a breakaway with 1:45 left and then recovered to stop a rebound attempt by Dominic Zombo with 54 seconds remaining to force overtime.

    Now, Thorimbert and his teammates must wait to see who they will play in the postseason, which may be next week’s home foe, SCSU.

    “With the exception of when we were on the PK (penalty kill) we played them (UNO) pretty evenly,” he said. “We need to keep playing hard and working to get better for the playoffs.”

    Nebraska-Omaha 2, Colorado College 1 OT

    Colorado College         1          0          0          0          –1

    Nebraska-Omaha         1          0          0          1          –2

    First period – 1. CC, Taft (unassisted):35; 2, UNO, Guentzel (Young, Montpetit) 11:40 (PP). Penalties – CC, Olofsson, cross-checking, 5:17; CC, Stoykewych, boarding, 10:04.

    Second period – No scoring. Penalties – UNO, Seeler, cross-checking, 4:28; CC, Rothstein, holding, 10:10; CC, Krushelnyski, unsportsmanlike conduct, 10:10; UNO, Cooper, slashing, 15:30; CC, McDermott, tripping, 17:44; CC, Stoykewych, checking from behind, 10-minute misconduct, 18:47.

    Third period – No scoring. Penalties – UNO, Searfoss, slashing, 7:25.

    Overtime – 3. UNO, Young (Walters, Montpetit) :55. Penalties – none.

    Power play – CC 0-3, UNO 1-6. Shots on goal – CC 11-11-5-0 – 27; UNO 8-13-14-2 –37. Saves-minute – CC, Thorimbert 7-13-14-1 – 60:55; UNO, Massa, 10-11-5-0 – 60:52. Referees – Dreger, B. Shepherd. Linesmen – Fitzpatrick, Stanton. Attendance – 8,744 (16,680 capacity).

    STANDINGS

    Conference Overall
    Team Pts GP W L T SW Win% GF GA GP W L T Win% GF GA
    North Dakota 42 22 14 8 0 0 0.636 73 61 32 19 10 3 0.641 101 84
    St. Cloud State 42 22 13 6 3 0 0.659 76 59 32 19 8 5 0.672 114 86
    Nebraska Omaha 39 22 12 8 2 1 0.591 76 60 32 15 15 2 0.500 106 101
    Minnesota Duluth 34 22 10 10 2 2 0.500 60 64 32 15 13 4 0.531 90 91
    Western Michigan 34 22 10 10 2 2 0.500 64 66 34 16 13 5 0.544 91 89
    Denver 32 22 9 10 3 2 0.477 54 54 34 15 13 6 0.529 86 77
    Colorado College 24 22 6 11 5 1 0.386 47 64 32 6 20 6 0.281 61 100
    Miami 17 22 5 16 1 1 0.250 52 74 32 11 18 3 0.391 92 98
  • Midweek notes: Injuries; tickets; CC season

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

    Zahn injuryUNO senior Zahn Raubenheimer’s college career is over after he was helped after he broke his foot Saturday blocking a shot. (Photo by @LSchellhardt)

    From the article:Foot broken, Raubenheimer got up and tried to block another shot, and just missed with his right foot.

    St. Cloud defenseman Andrew Prochno won’t play this weekend against UND because of a lower-body injury, according to the SCSU beat writer.

    SCSU coach Bob Motzko on Prochno’s  injury: “He’s going to be out a couple weeks.”

    Not surprisingly, tickets are getting scarce for the North Dakota at SCSU series that may determine the first winner of the Penrose Cup. North Dakota home playoff tickets go on sale Wednesday.

    The Colorado College win streak has moved them down a dubious list.

     

  • Blais impressed by Tigers’ sweep of Denver

    Tue, February 25, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Blais picI listened in on the weekly radio show for Nebraska-Omaha coach  Dean Blais, who was impressed by Colorado College’s sweep of rival Denver last weekend.

    “That was not an accident,” he said during his weekly radio show. “They went into Denver and got their first road win. You’d think Denver would come out and get some revenge in Colorado Springs the next night and CC was the better team. We are going to have to play at the top of our game to beat them. Guys are confident we can win with the guys we have in there.”

    Blais also spoke highly of senior goalie Josh Thorimbert.

    “He’s played every game and obviously done a great job,” Blais said. “He had four saves each night (against Denver) that were the difference in the game.”