• 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.

  • AHL Iowa signs Howe for tonight’s home finale

    Wed, April 16, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Howe road saveIowa Wild General Manager Jim Mill announced on Wednesday that the American Hockey League  club signed goaltender Joe Howe to a Professional Tryout Agreement and released goaltender Cody Reichard from a PTO.

    Expect the former Tiger netminder to get the start for Iowa against the Chicago Wolves at 6:05 MT Wednesday night in the Wild’s regular season home finale. Iowa did not qualify for the playoffs. The season ends Friday at Oklahoma City where Howe could face former Tigers goalie Richard Bachman.

    Howe, 23,  spent the bulk of his rookie season with the Cincinnati Cyclones of the ECHL. In 18 games, Howe went 10-3-4 with a 2.78 GAA and a .907  save percentage. The Plymouth, Minn. native also played in seven games for the Missouri Mavericks of the Central Hockey League (CHL). He was 3-2-1 with the Mavericks, posting a  2.52 GAA and a .915  saves percentage. In 119 CC appearances, Howe was 65-48-8 with a 2.91 goals and .900 saves percentage.

  • Natives make area pro hockey history

    Tue, April 15, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    For the first time, three Colorado Springs natives played in an American Hockey League game Monday night with Tom Serratore, a former Minnesota wing, and Ben Holmstrom (UMass-Lowell) with the Adirondack Phantoms, an affiliate of the Flyers, and former Lowell forward Josh Holmstrom on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Islanders).

    Ben Holmstrom picked up an assist on the winning goal in a 4-2 victory for the Phantoms in Serratore’s pro debut. Josh Holmstrom has no points in five pro games.

    They play each other again to end their season on Friday since neither will make the playoffs. All three played club hockey for the Colorado Rampage in Monument.

  • Former Tiger Rapuzzi is ECHL Rookie of the Year

    Mon, April 14, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Rapuzzi ActionFormer Colorado College captain William Rapuzzi is the ECHL Rookie of the Year.

    The Idaho Steelheads forward led ECHL rookies with 42 assists and was tied for second with 58 points. He also led all first-year players with 15 power-play assists and 21 power-play points and was tied for fifth among rookies with four-game winning goals.

    Prior to turning pro, he played four seasons at Colorado College where he tallied 87 points (48 assists) in 151 games.

    The No. 4 seed Steelheads host the Colorado Eagles, which include Colorado Springs native Luke Fulghum and former Tiger Arthur Bidwill, in the first round of the ECHL’s Western Conference playoffs. Games 1-2 are Friday and Saturday in Boise and Games 3-4 in Loveland Tuesday and Thursday. All games are at 7:05 p.m.

  • Friday reading: Blais contract extension; Walsky injury; Frozen Four; Hobey Baker

    Fri, April 11, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    UNO coach Dean Blais has plenty of reasons to smile today.

    UNO coach Dean Blais has plenty of reasons to smile today.

    Nebraska-Omaha athletics director Trev Alberts announced that hockey coach Dean Blais signed a contract extension through the 2017-18 season.

    “Dean has done an exceptional job leading our team through a period of great transition during the last four years,” Alberts said.  “In that time, he led the team into two new leagues, the WCHA and the NCHC, and his experience and knowledge of the leagues and the Division I hockey landscape was critical to our success.   Next year, he will guide us through additional transition as we move into the new arena. This extension will allow us to ensure the continuity of our coaching staff and the recent positive momentum we’ve had recruiting quality student-athletes to our program.”

    “When I came to Omaha, Trev and I had a goal of building an on-campus arena, and I’m excited that this extension will allow me to see UNO athletics reach that goal,” Blais said.  “We’ve got a very good core of returning players and what is perceived to be a great recruiting class coming in.  As a coach, you want to work with great players with strong community support behind your team, and we have that here.”

    Blais is 91-86-18 in five years as the Mavericks’ coach, including two 20-win seasons and an NCAA tournament berth in 2011, the second in school history.   The 1973 graduate of Minnesota has posted a 15-year career record of 353-201-51 including   10 years at North Dakota.  He is a two-time Spencer Penrose Memorial Award winner as the Division I coach of the year and a four-time winner of the WCHA’s Coach of the Year Award.  He led North Dakota to national championships in 1997 and 2000.

    Locally, this may affect the CC coach search somewhat with Blais putting off retirement for a couple more years. This makes the Tigers’ job all the more attractive since Omaha would have been  favorite for some next offseason when Blais’ old deal ended.

    Swiss head coach Sean Simpson will have to do without HC Lugano’s Eric Walsky, a former CC standout, at the IIHF world championships in Minsk May 9-25.  The forward is suffering from an upper-leg injury and is out for the next five to six weeks.

    Here are game articles on the Minnesota-North Dakota instant classic (I don’t say this lightly) form last night’s national semifinal. Here is the Pioneer Press’ take and the Grand Forks Herald’s postmortem. College Hockey News focused on the heartache for UND. It was the fifth Frozen Four trip in a row that UND has lost in the  semifinals.

    The Hobey Baker winner will be announced tonight.

  • Rapuzzi named to ECHL all-rookie team

    Wed, April 9, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Rapuzzi ActionFormer Colorado College captain and forward William Rapuzzi is one of six players to be selected to the ECHL’s 2014 All-Rookie Team.

    The players were selected based on a vote of the league’s coaches, broadcasters and media.

    RapuzziThe Anchorage, Alaska native leads all ECHL rookies with 41 assists, 57 points, 15 power-play assists and 21 power-play points.  His 57 points are also good for tops among all Idaho Steelheads players.

    Rapuzzi is the fifth Idaho and second former CC player to earn All-Rookie honors, joining Kael Mouillerat (2011), Evan Barlow (2010), Richard Bachman (2010) and Frank Doyle (2005).

    The entire All-Rookie team, as announced by the ECHL:

    G – Laurent Brossoit, Bakersfield Condors (36 gp, 24-9-2, 2.05 GAA, .924 save pct.)

    D – Michal Cajkovsky, Reading Royals (63 gp, 13g, 22a, 35 pts., +5)

    D – Brad Richard, Alaska Aces (59 gp, 6g, 24a, 30 pts., +21)

    F – Matt Caria, Kalamazoo Wings (63 gp, 24g, 30a, 54 pts., Even)

    F Jeremy Langlois, Stockton Thunder (53 gp, 17g, 39a, 56 pts., +3)

    F – William Rapuzzi, Idaho Steelheads (58 gp, 16g, 41a, 57 pts., +1)

    The Steelheads wrap up the regular season with a pair of games at Utah on Friday and Saturday.   Idaho returns home on April 18- 19 for Games 1 and 2 of the opening round of the ECHL’s Western Conference playoffs against an opponent yet to be determined.

  • Area native starts pro career

    Wed, April 9, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Josh Holmstrom actionColorado Springs native Josh Holmstrom’s professional career is underway.

    The former UMass-Lowell captain signed an amateur tryout for the remainder of this season late last week with the American Hockey League’s Bridgeport Tigers, an affiliate of the N.Y. Islanders. He has no points in two games so far.

    The 6-foot, 175-pound forward played in 154 games over four years are UMass Lowell notching 31 goals and 43 assists for 74 points. His best season came in 2012-13 when he had 12 goals and 13 assists in 41 games, leading the River Hawks to their first ever Hockey East regular season title and tournament Championship.

    His older brother Ben Holmstrom is a third-year center and captain for the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms, a Flyers affiliate, who has 30 points (18 assists) in 69 games this season. He is the last area native to play in the NHL with five games in 2012.

  • 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.

  • Championship Saturday: UND’s NCAA hopes

    Sat, March 22, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    miamiNorth Dakota’s run of 12-straight NCAA Tournament berths is in trouble but it can be done if this scenario happens. Here are details of Miami’s 3-0 NCHC semifinal win.

    Ohio State’s 3-1 upset of Minnesota in one Big Ten semifinal last night further complicates things.  They take on No. 2 seed Wisconsin.

    Championships for OSU, Denver or Miami and the Atlantic Hockey winner eat up the bottom three seeds, meaning the first at-large berth goes to the No. 13 team. UND is tied for 14th with idle Michigan.

    No. 8 seed Miami continues to play well of late and takes on No. 6 seed Denver in the NCHC postseason championship.

    Minnesota-Duluth’s Caleb Herbert is leaving UMD early for the Capitals organization.

    Ferris State plays Minnesota State for the WCHA championship.

    Both Atlantic Hockey semifinals were decided in overtime:  No. 7 seed Canisius 5, No. 1 Mercyhurst 4 2OT; No. 5 Robert Morris 5, No. 6 Niagara 4 OT.

    Updated tournament brackets

    All times MT

    NCHC Tournament

    Target Center, Minneapolis

    TV: CBS Sports Network

    Friday’s results

    No. 6 Denver 4, No. 5 Western Michigan 3

    No. 8 Miami 3,  No. 2 North Dakota 0

    Saturday

    2:38 p.m., third-place game, UND vs. WMU  (NCHC video stream only)

    6:38 p.m., championship, Miami vs. Denver

    Atlantic Hockey

    Rochester, N.Y.

    TV:  None

    Friday’s results

    No. 7 Canisius 5, No. 1 Mercyhurst 4 2OT

    No. 5 Robert Morris 5, No. 6 Niagara 4 OT

    Championship

    5:05 p.m., Robert Morris vs. Canisius

    Big Ten Tournament

    Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

    Thursday’s results

    No. 6 Penn State 2,  No. 3 Michigan 1 2OT

    No. 4 Ohio State 2, No. 5 Michigan State 1 OT

    Friday’s results

    No. 2 Wisconsin 2, Penn State 1

    Ohio State 3, No. 1 Minnesota 1

    Saturday

    6 p.m., championship, Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

    WCHA Final Five

    Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.

    TV: FS North

    Friday’s results

    No. 2 Minnesota State 4, No. 3 Bowling Green State 0

    No. 1 Ferris State 5, No. 4 Alaska-Anchorage 4 OT

    Saturday

    5:07 p.m.,  Minnesota State vs. Ferris State

  • McDermott signs with ECHL Idaho

    Wed, March 19, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    McDermott2013-14Colorado College senior captain and defenseman Eamonn McDermott signed to play for the rest of the season for the ECHL’s Idaho Steelheads. He is scheduled to make his pro debut Saturday in Boise against the Colorado Eagles.

    “I think this is a real good opportunity for me to show off my skills,” said McDermott who finished with 52 points (45 assists) in 149 games with the Tigers.

    He joins former teammate and CC captain William Rapuzzi (53 points, 37 assists, 52 games), who signed with Idaho this past offseason.

    “He was good to talk to about this organization and explained why I would want to play here,” said McDermott, who hopes to garner an invite to an American Hockey League training camp this summer.

    He is the first of the six Tiger seniors to sign a pro contract.