2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • CC announces schedule; lower season ticket prices

    Tue, May 6, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    SlavinThe upcoming Colorado College schedule is out and it will be cheaper for some to see the 18 home games next season.

    The price reduction for season tickets was made since CC had a difficult time scheduling home games because of previous agreements and other schools’ availability.

    “We were light on home games and we wanted to be fair to our fans,” CC athletic director Ken Ralph said.

    The National Collegiate Hockey Conference member lowered its season ticket prices from 10 to 18 percent depending on the seat’s location if purchased before June 27, CC associate athletic director Scott Lowenberg said. Season ticket renewal forms will be mailed out May 19-23.

    The light schedule prompted CC to book the USA U-18 national team for Dec. 27-28 with the second contest counting as one of the allowed 34 regular-season games under NCAA rules. None of the three home exhibitions this season count in the team’s record or in the Pairwise rankings.

    A scheduling conflict with The Broadmoor World Arena affected the Gold Pan rivalry series. Instead of playing a home-and-home series against Denver in November, the foes will play a single game on Nov. 14 at Denver with three games in 14 days (Feb. 7, 20 and 21). The CC hosts DU for its only game that weekend on Feb. 7 and again on Feb. 20.

    Skalbeck celebrationThe Trans-Siberian Orchestra is scheduled for CC’s home venue that November weekend. Both schools had Feb. 6-7 open and preferred a single game, Ralph said.

    CC travels to Air Force on Nov. 22 to determine ownership of the annual Pikes Peak Trophy after hosting Big Ten Wisconsin the night before.

    The USA U-18 exhibitions are followed by the second of two tough road trips to the East Coast. CC plays two games at Providence Jan. 3-4 and a single game on Tuesday, Jan. 6 at new Hockey East member UConn. The first trip is Oct. 24-25 against Boston College on Friday and New Hampshire on Saturday.

    The Tigers open play with an exhibition against Canada’s McGill University on Sunday, Oct. 5 followed by the season and home opener against Alabama Huntsville Oct. 10-11.  CC opens NCHC play at home against North Dakota Oct. 17-18.

    Individual ticket prices remain the same except for rows A-D in the upper bowl. Those went up to $18 from $16.50. Season tickets for the lower bowl center and sides between the goal lines are sold out as are the upper bowl rows A-D seats.

    The upcoming season features games against six NCAA Tournament teams. The Tigers will face foes from five of the six leagues, including four games against Hockey East schools.

    CC 2014-15 schedule

    Subject to change, all times MT

    Home games bolded

    Oct. 5, McGill University (exhibition), 6:07 p.m.

    Oct. 10-11, Alabama-Huntsville (Homecoming), 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Oct. 17-18, North Dakota, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Oct. 24, at Boston College, 5 p.m.

    Oct. 25, at New Hampshire, 5 p.m.

    Oct. 31-Nov. 1, OPEN

    November

    Nov. 7-8, at Miami, both 5:07 p.m.

    Nov. 14, at Denver, 7:37 p.m.

    Nov. 21, Wisconsin, 7:37 p.m.

    Nov. 22, at Air Force, 7:05 p.m.

    Nov. 28-29, OPEN

    December

    Dec. 5-6, at Minnesota-Duluth, both 6:07 p.m.

    Dec. 12-13, at Western Michigan, both 5:07 p.m.

    WINTER BREAK

    Dec. 27, USA U-18 (exhibition), 7:07 p.m.

    Dec. 28, USA U-18 (exhibition), 6:07 p.m.

    January

    Jan. 3-4, at Providence, 5 p.m.

    Jan. 6, at UConn, 5:05 p.m.

    Jan. 16-17, Nebraska-Omaha, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Jan. 23-24, at North Dakota, 6:37, 6:07 p.m.

    Jan. 30-31, St. Cloud State, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    February

    Feb. 7, Denver, 7:07 p.m.

    Feb. 13-14, Miami, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    Feb. 20, Denver, 7:37 p.m.

    Feb. 21, at Denver, 7:07 p.m.

    Feb. 27-28, Western Michigan, 7:37, 7:07 p.m.

    March

    March 6-7, at Nebraska-Omaha, 6:37, 6:07 p.m.

    March 13-15, NCHC quarterfinals TBA

    March 20-21, NCHC Frozen Faceoff (Target Center, Minneapolis) TBA

     

  • 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

  • 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.

     

  • 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.

  • Brunch with a heapin’ helping of crow

    Sun, March 9, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    scsu celebrationI am posting my NCHC preseason media poll ballot to own up to what I thought during the preseason to what transpired. Mock me if you wish, but no one saw the Miami last-place finish coming, as evident by the preseason poll.

    My apologies to Western Michigan and Minnesota-Duluth for underestimating your squads.

    My ballot
    1. St. Cloud State
    2. Miami
    3. North Dakota
    4. Colorado College
    5. Nebraska-Omaha
    6. Denver
    7. Western Michigan
    8. Minnesota-Duluth
    NCHC preseason poll
    1. Miami (7)   115
    2. North Dakota (5)  109
    3. SCSU (4)  99
    4. Denver  66
    5. Western Michigan 61
    6. Minnesota-Duluth  43
    7. CC  42
    8. Nebraska-Omaha 41
    FINAL STANDINGS
    Conference Overall
    Team Pts GP W L T SW Win% GF GA GP W L T Win% GF GA
    St. Cloud State 48 24 15 6 3 0 0.688 87 64 34 21 8 5 0.691 125 91
    North Dakota 45 24 15 9 0 0 0.625 76 63 34 20 11 3 0.632 104 86
    Nebraska Omaha 42 24 13 9 2 1 0.583 82 69 34 16 16 2 0.500 112 110
    Minnesota Duluth 37 24 11 11 2 2 0.500 69 70 34 16 14 4 0.529 99 97
    Western Michigan 37 24 11 11 2 2 0.500 66 69 36 17 14 5 0.542 93 92
    Denver 35 24 10 11 3 2 0.479 60 58 36 16 14 6 0.528 92 81
    Colorado College 24 24 6 13 5 1 0.354 52 75 34 6 22 6 0.265 66 111
    Miami 20 24 6 17 1 1 0.271 56 80 34 12 19 3 0.397 96 104
  • SCSU win sends Tigers on to North Dakota; notes and stats

    Sat, March 8, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Skalbeck celebrationBy the third period, the only question was which team Colorado College would face in the playoffs.

    No. 4 St. Cloud State cruised to a 4-1 win over the Tigers on Saturday to spoil Senior Night at World Arena.

    As a result, CC will travel to No. 9 North Dakota for their best-of-three playoff series at 6:37 p.m. Friday at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

    Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) are at 6:07 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. UND enters the postseason as the No. 2 seed after falling 2-1 at home to Western Michigan

    “It will be a tough, rugged and hard-fought series,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said. “I am sure they are unhappy about losing at home to Western Michigan.”

    More importantly for the visitors, the victory propelled SCSU to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference championship and possession of the inaugural Penrose Cup. They received the trophy in their locker room after the game.

    CC spoiled Huskies goalie Ryan Faragher’s shutout bid when Archie Skalbeck lifted in a power-play rebound following a shot by Jaccob Slavin with 18:57 left in the third period. The Tigers played determined hockey over the final 20 minutes for the announced crowd of 6,742.

    “We did not play on our heels like we did the first two periods,” Owens said. “We were more determined and that gave us something to build on going into the postseason.”

    Western Michigan’s win gave the Huskies (21-8-5, 14-6-3 NCHC) the chance they needed to seize the title. St. Cloud State made sure there would be no doubt.

    Sophomore Kalle Kossila took advantage of a CC turnover only 3:53 into the game when he one-timed the puck past junior goalie Courtney Lockwood (20 saves), who made his first career start for the Tigers (6-22-6, 6-13-5-1).

    Lockwood had his moments including a stop on a two-on-none breakaway when he stopped a shot by SCSU wing Jimmy Murray, who scored in the first period for the 2-0 lead.

    Courtney was pretty decent especially after he settled in,” Owens said.

    Penrose cupThe visitors pulled away with two scores in 2:16 for a 4-0 command with 10:19 left in the second period, including one by Tigers killer Jonny Brodzinski, who now has 14 points (11 goals) in eight games against CC. 

    The sophomore’s goal came after a CC defender’s stick broke, leaving the puck laying there in the Tigers zone for the score and a four-goal lead.

    Here are the other playoff match-ups:

    No. 8 seed Miami at St. Cloud State; No. 6 seed Denver at Nebraska-Omaha and No. 5 Western Michigan at No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth. All games are Friday-Sunday (times to be announced) except for UNO, which plays Thursday-Saturday because of a scheduling conflict with a Demi Lovato concert in Omaha.

    NOTES

    CC shuffles lines, rests some players

    With no chance to move up to sixth place, Colorado College rested some players – notably freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson and senior goalie Josh Thorimbert – to prepare for next week’s National Collegiate Hockey Conference playoffs.

    Thorimbert made 33 consecutive starts before Saturday’s night off. He is now No. 10 on the all-time career saves list with 2,062 saves behind NHL netminder Curtis McElhinney (2,069) and Wisconsin goalie coach Jeff Sanger (2,161). Thorimbert passed Dan Griffin (1971-75, 2,047) on Friday.

    “(Thorimbert) has carried the load this year,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. “It’s a good game for him to catch his breath. (Junior) Courtney (Lockwood) has worked hard and earned his (first college) start.”

    Olofsson played 15 games in a row since the world junior championships in early January.

    “It will be good for him to take a step back and see things from a different angle,” Bonnett said. “He needs to get his second wind for the playoffs.”

    The Tiger coaches also shuffled the lines to see if new combinations may click, notably putting freshman center Christian Heil between senior Alexander Krushelnyski and rookie right wing Alex Roos and moving freshman Sam Rothstein to another line between senior Michael Morin and rookie Matt Hansen.

    The move was to make four balanced lines with equitable offensive potential for a team averaging 1.97 goals, up from 1.91 before Friday’s four scores.

    “We wanted to shake thing sup a little bit,” Bonnett said. “We wanted more balanced lines that make all four better and make them a tougher matchup.”

    Sophomore Hunter Fejes played for the first time since sustaining a lower-body injury against Western Michigan on Feb. 14.

    Ice chips

    CC finished 5-4-3 at home in league play. … The three second-period goals in 7:29 by Scott Wamsganz, Cody Bradley and Jaccob Slavin was the quickest three of the season and marked the third time the Tigers tallied three in one period. CC fell to 2-1 in games when they scored three in a single period. … CC ended the regular season at 4-7-5 on Fridays and 2-14-1 on Saturdays.

    No. 4 St. Cloud State 4, Colorado College 1

    St. Cloud State 2          2          0          –4

    Colorado College         0          0          1          –1

    First period – 1. SCSU, Kossila (unassisted) 3:53; 2. SCSU, Murray (Rabey) 9:17. Penalties – SCSU, Nevalainen, tripping, 1:31; CC, Krushelnyski, holding, 9:38.

    Second period – 3. SCSU, Dowd (Daly) 7:25; 4. SCSU, Brodzinski (Papa) 9:41. Penalties – SCSU, Nevalainen (interference), 2:02; CC, McDermott, interference, 6:00; SCSU, Brodzinski, tripping, 6:40.

    Third period – 5. CC, Skalbeck (Slavin, Rothstein) 1:03 (PP). Penalties – SCSU, Dowd, hookig, :42’ CC. Taft, tripping, 3:09.

    Power play – SCSU 0-3, CC 1-4. Shots on goal – SCSU 8-7-9 –24; CC 6-8-7—21. Saves-minutes – SCSU, Faragher 6-8-6 –20; CC, Lockwood 6-5-9 –20.  Referees – Patafie, Sterns, Linesmen – Keltie, Shaw. Attendance – 6,742 (7,380 capacity).

  • NCHC playoff scenarios aplenty

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

    bigger-NCHC-logo-300x300Here are playoff scenarios to keep you awake this Friday night/Saturday morning including Denver’s plausible chance at home playoff ice.

    CC’s playoff foe may not be determined until 10:30 p.m. MT. Courtesy collegehockeystats.com

    North Dakota
    Seeded 1st with a win.
    Seeded 1st with a shootout win and a St. Cloud State loss, shootout loss, or shootout win.
    Seeded 1st with a shootout loss and a St. Cloud State loss or shootout loss.
    Seeded 1st with a loss and a St. Cloud State loss.
    Seeded 2nd with a shootout win and a St. Cloud State win.
    Seeded 2nd with a shootout loss and a St. Cloud State win or shootout win.
    Seeded 2nd with a loss and a St. Cloud State win, shootout win, or shootout loss.

    St. Cloud State
    Seeded 1st with a win and a North Dakota loss, shootout loss, or shootout win.
    Seeded 1st with a shootout win and a North Dakota loss or shootout loss.
    Seeded 1st with a shootout loss and a North Dakota loss.
    Seeded 2nd with a win and a North Dakota win.
    Seeded 2nd with a shootout win and a North Dakota win or shootout win.
    Seeded 2nd with a shootout loss and a North Dakota win, shootout win, or shootout loss.
    Seeded 2nd with a loss.

    Nebraska-Omaha
    Seeded 3rd with a win, shootout win, or shootout loss.
    Seeded 4th with a loss.

    Minnesota-Duluth
    Seeded 3rd with a win.
    Seeded 4th with a shootout win.
    Seeded 4th with a shootout loss and a Denver loss, shootout loss, or shootout win.
    Seeded 4th with a loss and a Denver loss, shootout loss, or shootout win.
    Seeded 5th with a shootout loss and a Denver win.
    Seeded 5th with a loss and a Denver win.

    Denver
    Seeded 4th with a win and a Minnesota Duluth loss or shootout loss.
    Seeded 5th with a win and a Minnesota Duluth win or shootout win.
    Seeded 5th with a shootout win and a Western Michigan loss, shootout loss, or shootout win.
    Seeded 5th with a shootout loss and a Western Michigan loss, shootout loss, or shootout win.
    Seeded 5th with a loss and a Western Michigan loss or shootout loss.
    Seeded 6th with a shootout win and a Western Michigan win.
    Seeded 6th with a shootout loss and a Western Michigan win.
    Seeded 6th with a loss and a Western Michigan win or shootout win.

    Western Michigan
    Seeded 5th with a win and a Denver loss, shootout loss, or shootout win.
    Seeded 5th with a shootout win and a Denver loss.
    Seeded 6th with a win and a Denver win.
    Seeded 6th with a shootout win and a Denver win, shootout win, or shootout loss.
    Seeded 6th with a loss or shootout loss.

    No. 7 Colorado College and No. 8 Miami, clinched.

  • 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.