• A look at the incoming Tiger freshmen

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

    Chase Perry

    Chase Perry

    The NCAA signing period began this morning with goalie Chase Perry and forward Mason Bergh expected to sign soon. Here are the six played joining the Tigers this summer and scheduled for the 2014-15 season.

    This box was included with the print article but was not included with the online article about the CC assistants’ continued recruiting efforts this spring while the head coach search continues:

    Incoming Tiger freshmen

    Stats through Monday

    Jordan Berger, 17, Meridian, Idaho, 5-foot-9, 168 pounds  – The Notre Dame Argos center recorded 42 points (27 goals) in 38 Saskatchewan Midget AAA league games.

    Garrett Cecere, 19, West Des Moines, Iowa, 5-8, 168  – He is the top-scoring defenseman (22 points, 20 assists, 24 games) for the U.S. Hockey League’s Sioux Falls Stampede after being traded from the Tri-City Storm (15 points, 14 assists in 30 games).

    Teemu Kivilhalme, 18, Savage, Minn., 6-0, 157  – The Fargo Force defenseman (12 points, nine assists, 47 games) was a fifth-round draft pick of Nashville in 2013 (140th overall).

    Daniel Labosky, 18, Edina, Minn., 5-7, 155  –  The forward is third in points (32, 22 assists) in 59 games for the USHL’s Tri-City Storm.

    Duggie Lagrone, 19, Plano, Texas, 5-9, 170  – The Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman has 27 points (17 assists) in 56 North American Hockey League games.

    Chase Perry, 18, Andover, Minn., 6-2, 191  – The Wenatchee Wild goalie (15-12-2, 2.24 goals, .905 saves percentage) led his team into the second round of the NAHL playoffs against Fairbanks. His size is complimented by his speed and hands, making him the No. 8-ranked North American goalie for this June’s NHL draft according to NHL Central Scouting.

  • Wednesday reading: Final polls; pre-preseason Top 10; World Arena

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

    sakic presserHere is the final top 20 from USCHO.com and the final top 15 from USA Hockey.

    College Hockey News tweeted its early Top 10 for the 2014-15 season: 1. Minnesota; 2. North Dakota, 3. Michigan, 4. BC; 5. Miami; 6. Providence; 7. Union;  8. Minnesota State; 9. Colgate and 10. Maine.

    World Arena was ranked No. 5 out of the 57 college hockey arenas rated by this web site. There was other big news for the facility.

  • Bonnett, Rud survive initial cuts

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

    Bonnett MUGRud2010-11gb31The list of potential Colorado College coaches is down to 10, including current assistants Joe Bonnett and Eric Rud.  A nine-member advisory committee whittled down an initial list of 60 applicants on Monday.

    The group will spend the next week or so vetting the second round’s 10 down to a more-workable number of two up to eight finalists for more in-depth interviews, athletic director Ken Ralph said on Tuesday.

    “We are really happy with the 10 candidates. Any of them would make an excellent head coach,” said Ralph, who confirmed Bonnett and Rud are among those 10. “They have both done an excellent job over the past nine days keeping the program moving forward.”

    Neither assistant will comment during the hiring process.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Wednesday reading: NHL Draft rankings, Team USA, WCHA commissioner, Frozen 4

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

    bruceandbill415Incoming CC goalie Chase Perry dropped from No. 4 to No. 8 in the most recent NHL Central Scouting rankings. The NHL draft is in June.

    Former Ohio State coach Mark Osiecki will serve as head coach of the 2015 U.S. National Junior Team, USA Hockey announced today. A three-time assistant for the U.S. National Junior Team, Osiecki helped Team USA capture gold medals in 2010 and 2013, plus a bronze medal in 2011. He replaces Minnesota coach Don Lucia.

    Bill Robertson is the new commissioner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.  He was vice president of communications and broadcasting for the Minnesota Wild from 1999-2011. He also has worked for the Anaheim Angels, the Ducks and the Timberwolves.

    Robertson, 53, succeeds longtime leader Bruce McLeod, who retired after 20 seasons with the league.

    “I am excited about this wonderful opportunity to help lead and guide the WCHA for many years to come,” Robetson said. “It is truly an honor to serve this iconic sports and collegiate hockey conference, while showcasing some of the top student-athletes and institutions in the country.”

    Here is a preview on Minnesota vs. North Dakota and a look at the semifinals. Here are analysis pieces on UM vs. UND and BC vs. Union.

    Thirty-nine players in the Frozen Four have been drafted by NHL teams, up from 15 in last season’s Frozen Four. Minnesota and North Dakota (14 each) are the top two teams nationally in NHL draft picks, while Boston College (10) ranks fourth. Gostisbehere is the lone draft pick on Union’s roster. 

    Minnesota and North Dakota have met 283 times in the past, third-most of any college hockey rivalry (Michigan-Michigan State and Colorado College-Denver the only two with more). The former WCHA rivals aren’t on each other’s regular-season schedules until 2016-17. Boston College and Union have played just once in the past, though the stakes were high: the Dutchmen ended BC’s season a year ago in the East Regional in Providence.

    Top Rivalries by Games Played
    299 – Michigan vs. Michigan State
    294 – Colorado College vs. Denver
    283 – Minnesota vs. North Dakota

  • 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.”

  • UPDATED: Owens resigns from program

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

    Owens2013An era in Colorado College hockey came to an end on Sunday morning.

    Longtime coach Scott Owens, 58, resigned from a position he held for 15 seasons at his alma mater.

    The all-time winningest coach in CC history’s career at the private school ends with a 324-228-54 record. Other highlights include a 2005 Frozen Four appearance, seven NCAA Tournament berths (most recently in 2011) and three Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season titles.

    Owens, who did not attend Sunday’s team awards banquet and was unavailable for comment, contacted athletic director Ken Ralph of his decision a few hours before the National Collegiate Hockey Conference program’s annual team awards banquet. Ralph notified the players and athletic department staff members as they arrived for the luncheon at the Colorado Springs Marriott Hotel that afternoon.

    “I have been fortunate to have had the best job in college hockey for the past 15 seasons. It is time for a new coach to enjoy working with our players,” Owens said. “I appreciate the support and encouragement I have received during my tenure and I hope the new leader of the team will be treated with the same respect. This is a tremendous institution and I am proud of what we accomplished here. I will always be a Tiger.”

    Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler expressed her gratitude for CC hockey players’ success in the classroom as well as on the ice.

    “The academic achievement of our student athletes always comes first, and under Coach Owens our players were consistently honored for their performance as students,” Tiefenthaler said. “I am grateful to Scott for keeping academics a top priority and supporting our players in their studies.”

    During Owens’ tenure, 15 players earned WCHA Scholar-Athlete distinction a total of 27 times from 2005-2013. This year, the first for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, 17 players were named to the NCHC’s inaugural Academic All-Conference Team.
    “We are thankful to Coach Owens for his years of dedicated service as our head hockey coach,” Ralph said. “His accomplishments during this time behind the bench for the Tigers speak for themselves.”

    The Tigers’ inaugural season in the NCHC did not go well, with the team placing seventh out of eight teams with an Owens career-low 7-24-6 record. The campaign ended in Game 3 of the first round of the league playoffs last month at eventual Frozen Four qualifier North Dakota.

    There were two years left on the 1979 CC graduate’s contract after signing an extension in 2011.

    A nationwide search for a replacement will begin shortly. This leaves two head coaching jobs open in Division I college hockey; CC and Lake Superior State of the WCHA.