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  • Updated league tournament brackets

    Fri, March 21, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    du undHere are the updated “western” tourney brackets with TV coverage included:

    All times MT

    NCHC Tournament

    Target Center, Minneapolis

    TV: CBS Sports Network

    Friday

    3:08 p.m., No. 6 Denver vs. No. 5 Western Michigan

    6:38 p.m., No. 8 Miami vs. No. 2 North Dakota

    Saturday

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

    6:38 p.m., championship

    Atlantic Hockey

    Rochester, N.Y.

    TV:  None

    Friday semifinals

    2:05 p.m., No. 7 Canisius vs. No. 1 Mercyhurst

    1 hour later, No. 6 Niagara vs. No. 5 Robert Morris

    Championship

    5:50 p.m., semifinal winners

    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

    1 p.m.,  Penn State vs. No. 2 Wisconsin

    6 p.m.,  Ohio State vs. No. 1 Minnesota

    Saturday (no third-place game)

    6 p.m., semifinal winners

    WCHA Final Five

    Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.

    TV: FS North

    Friday

    12:07 p.m., No. 3 Bowling Green State vs. No. 2 Minnesota State

    5:07 p.m., No. 4 Alaska-Anchorage vs. No. 1 Ferris State

    Saturday

    5:07 p.m., semifinal winners

  • Friday reading: NCHC, Big 10, WCHA, women

    Fri, March 21, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Miami vs SCSUDenver is focused on the NCHC Frozen Four, knowing they have a very good chance at making the NCAAs. Here is a preview of the Frozen Faceoffand another and another.

    The UND beat writer focuses on the Miami-North Dakota match-up, naturally.

    Wisconsin enters the Big Ten tourney with some confidence. The Big 10 says its inaugural year was a rousing success.

    Penn State knocked off Michigan while Ohio State edged Michigan State. Both games went to overtime though it appears no one saw it live, judging from the dismal crowds.

    Here is some basic info on the WCHA Final Five. Alaska-Anchorage has benefited from the new-look WCHA, which is previewed by Puckato.

    The women’s Frozen Four begins this weekend. Here is a look at that tourney’s scheduling.

    Key Dates:
    Sat., March 22: Conference championship games
    Sun., March 23: NCAA Selection Show (ESPNU, noon ET)
    March 28-30: NCAA Regionals
    April 2: Hobey Hat Trick (3 finalists) announced
    April 10-12: NCAA Frozen Four, Philadelphia

    Michigan Tech goalie Pheonix Copley has left school early to join the AHL Hershey Bears as part of the Washington Capitals organization.  Here is a list of the college hockey players who signed with the pros recently.

  • Midweek reading: UND, tourney brackets

    Tue, March 18, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    und vs cc

    This UND fan blogger talks about how North Dakota travels and yes, that series win was huge for the financial viability of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

    North Dakota may need to win the Frozen Faceoff in order to advance to the NCAAs for the 12th straight season.

    The Big 10 tournament is this weekend and I will be curious to see how much attention the NCHC gets outside the four school’s beat writers/local TV stations with Minnesota in the other tourney.

    This is a good weekend for Colorado-based college hockey fans with good cable TV packages with Thursday Big 10 games and a lot to watch on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy it. Here are the western leagues’ brackets:

    NCHC Tournament

    Target Center, Minneapolis

    All time MT

    TV: CBS Sports Network

    Friday

    3:08 p.m., No. 6 Denver vs. No. 5 Western Michigan

    6:38 p.m., No. 8 Miami vs. No. 2 North Dakota

    Saturday

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

    6:38 p.m., championship

    Big Ten Tournament

    Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.

    All times MT

    Thursday

    1 p.m., No. 6 Penn State vs. No. 3 Michigan

    6 p.m., No. 5 Michigan State vs. No. 4 Ohio State

    Friday

    1 p.m., Michigan/PSU winner vs. No. 2 Wisconsin

    6 p.m., OSU/MSU winner vs. No. 1 Minnesota

    Saturday (no third-place game)

    6 p.m., semifinal winners

    WCHA Final Five

    Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.

    All times MT

    TV: FS North

    Friday

    12:07 p.m., No. 3 Bowling Green State vs. No. 2 Minnesota State

    5:07 p.m., No. 4 Alaska-Anchorage vs. No. 1 Ferris State

    Saturday

    5:07 p.m., semifinal winners

  • 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.

  • NCHC roundup, playoff scenarios, tiebreakers, current standings

    Sun, March 2, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    bigger NCHC logoRemember when the coaches said before the season began how tight the National Collegiate Hockey Conference would be?

    Give them credit for being dead-on.

    St. Cloud State’s 3-1 Senior Night home win on Saturday resulted in a series split and a tie atop the NCHC standings headed into the final regular-season weekend.

    Both teams secured home ice for the quarterfinals while next weekend’s games will decide the regular-season champion.

    St. Cloud State travels to seventh seed Colorado College while North Dakota hosts Western Michigan. If both teams finish with the same amount of points, they would be co-champion.

    The Mavs can secure home ice for the quarterfinals when they close the regular season at Minnesota-Duluth next weekend, needing one point to clinch it (or can clinch with a North Dakota win/tie over Western Michigan.

    Third-place UNO is still alive for the regular-season title, though they need SCSU and UND to both lose at least once.

    Western Michigan, tied for fourth place with Duluth, and sixth-place Denver both remain alive for a top-four finish and home playoff ice. DU hosts Miami, which is guaranteed the low seed while CC is No. 7.

    Here is the NCHC’s tiebreaking procedure for playoff seeding (with the league’s exact wording):

    If two or more teams have the same number of points in the final standings, they tie will be broken based on the below formula.

    In the case of ties among three or more schools, the criteria will be used in order until a team, or teams, is separated from the pack. At that point, the process will begin anew to break the “new” tie. In other words, when a four-way tie becomes a three-way tie, the three-way tie is treated as a “new” tie and the process begins with the first criterion.

    1. The team with the greater number of NCHC regular-season wins shall be the higher seed.

    2. Head-to-head competition. Among the teams tied in the standings, the team with the highest winning percentage will be the higher seed.

    3. Goal differential: Total goals for and against in contests between the teams tied in the standings.

    4. Winning percentage of the teams tied in the standings against the remaining NCHC teams, starting at the top of the standings and working toward the bottom until the tie is broken.

    5. Coin flip.

    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
  • NCHC roundup: Victors seize control early

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

    CCUND picThe second period proved decisive Friday night with three road teams using those middle frame advantages to shake up the NCHC standings once again.

    No. 10 North Dakota, spurred by a five-goal second, downed No. 5 St. Cloud State, 5-2, on the road in a battle of first-place teams.

    UND took sole possession of the top spot, now three points ahead of the Huskies. A win Saturday by North Dakota clinches at least a share of the regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCHC Tournament.

    Here is the Grand Forks Herald coverage and the St. Cloud  Times.

    cc McDermottNebraska-Omaha was the lone home team to win Friday, as junior goaltender Ryan Massa pitched his first shutout of the season to backstop the Mavericks to a 6-0 win over Colorado College, snapping the Tigers’ three-game win streak. UNO remains in third place, now just three points back of SCSU.

    In that case, the game was decisive in the first five minutes as UNO jumped out to a 3-0 lead as the Omaha World Herald and Colorado Springs Gazette related.

    No. 20 Denver knocked off Western Michigan, 4-2, behind a three-goal second period to jump over the Broncos in the standings and claim fourth place for now. DU senior goalie Sam Brittain made 29 saves, including two point-blank stops in the second period.

    DU BRittain road save“Sam was outstanding in net,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “He made five saves tonight that normal goalies don’t make.”

    Here is Mlive.com’s take on the loss.

    The top four finishers host quarterfinal playoff series in two weeks. Minnesota-Duluth rallied past Miami for a 5-4 win, tallying four goals in the second period. The Bulldogs moved into a fifth-place tie with WMU, just one point behind Denver.

    UMD kept one streak going and ended another. The Bulldogs are 37-0-5 in the last 42 games in which they have scored at least four goals. But they won for just the second time in 14 games when an opponent scored first.

    Check out the Duluth News-Tribune for more on Friday’s road victory.

  • NCHC roundup: Huskies pad league lead

    Sat, February 15, 2014 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    bigger-NCHC-logo-300x300For the time being, St. Cloud State picked up some breathing room with a full three-point lead (33-30) over No. 17 North Dakota and Nebraska-Omaha, tied for second, after all three won at home on Friday.

    Western Michigan’s two points moved the Broncos up from fifth to a tie for fourth with Minnesota-Duluth.

    Denver fell to sixth and CC moved up to a distant seventh behind the Pioneers (26-15) and one point ahead of Miami.

    No. 6 St. Cloud State 5, No. 16 Minnesota-Duluth 3

    ST. CLOUD, Minn. –A poor opening period for the visiting Bulldogs  kpet a match-up of the NCHC’s top two teams form devleoping into the game most expected. SCSU took a 4-0 lead through one period and was never threatened.

    Here is the Duluth paper’s article and the game story from the Huskies beat writer.

    Nebraska-Omaha 4, No. 18 Denver 2

    OMAHA — Nebraska Omaha scored two goals in the second period and twice in the third for a 4-2 victory over the Pioneers before 6,281 fans at the CenturyLink Center.

    Josh Archibald scored twice, including the game-winner that  broke the 2-2 tie in the third. UNO improved to 12-13-2 and 9-6-3.

    Daniel Doremus and Will Butcher scored for the Pioneers (13-10-6, 7-7-5).  DU senior goaltender Sam Brittain finished with 27 saves.

    No. 17 North Dakota 3, Miami 2

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Sean Kuraly’s goal with 29.5 seconds remaining in the third brought Miami within a goal, but North Dakota held off a late charge to defeat the RedHawks 3-2 on Friday night.

    Miami fell to 10-14-3 (4-12-1-1 NCHC) with the setback. UND is 11-2-1 in its last 14 games, including five wins by a 3-2 margin. Here are CBS-SN’s video highlights.

    Here is more from the Grand Forks Herald.

    STANDINGS

    Conference Overall
    Team Pts GP W L T SW Win% GF GA GP W L T Win% GF GA
    St. Cloud State 33 17 10 4 3 0 0.676 61 46 27 16 6 5 0.685 99 73
    North Dakota 30 17 10 7 0 0 0.588 49 52 27 15 9 3 0.611 77 75
    Nebraska Omaha 30 17 9 6 2 1 0.588 59 49 27 12 13 2 0.481 89 90
    Minnesota Duluth 28 17 8 7 2 2 0.529 49 47 27 13 10 4 0.556 79 74
    Western Michigan 28 17 8 7 2 2 0.529 53 50 29 14 10 5 0.569 80 73
    Denver 26 17 7 7 3 2 0.500 42 42 29 13 10 6 0.552 74 65
    Colorado College 15 17 3 9 5 1 0.324 37 53 27 3 18 6 0.222 51 89
    Miami 14 17 4 12 1 1 0.265 42 53 27 10 14 3 0.426 82 77
  • Tuesday reading: NCHC tournament name contest; Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge Cup

    Tue, September 24, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    bigger-NCHC-logo-300x300The National Collegiate Hockey Conference is asking fans to help determine the name of the league championship tournament March 21-22, 2014 at the Target Center, with a prize set aside for the winning suggestion.

    League play begins on Oct. 18 with a doubleheader featuring No. 6 North Dakota at No. 2 Miami (5 p.m. MT) and Colorado College hosting Minnesota-Duluth at about 7:30.

    Fans can suggest names for the tournament on Twitter @TheNCHC using the hashtag #NCHCChamp or on the NCHC Facebook page using the same hashtag.

    Submissions are due Thursday, Oct. 10.  The league office will select the best suggestions and put them into a poll on NCHCHockey.com, where fans will vote on the winning name.

    The fan who suggests the winning name will receive two free, all-session tickets to the NCHC championship weekend in Minneapolis. If multiple fans suggest the winning name, the league will randomly select one winner.

    Hockey East released its preseason coaches poll with UMass-Lowell and Boston College tied as the preseason favorite with the RiverHawks getting seven out of a possible 11 first-place votes for the slight edge. Future Colorado College foe Providence was picked fifth.

    On Tuesday, the Big Ten and Hockey East announced an annual showcase week called the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. While these games were scheduled well in advance, this is a smart marketing move by the two leagues.

    The only thing better would be an NCHC/Conference TBD Showcase as a four-team holiday tournament in Las Vegas. Just sayin’

    Big 10 logo2

    Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge Schedule
    (All times 5 p.m. MST. unless noted)

    Friday, Oct. 18
    Wisconsin at Boston College
    Michigan State at Massachusetts
    Michigan at New Hampshire (5:30 p.m.)

    Saturday, Oct. 19
    Wisconsin at Boston University
    Michigan State at Massachusetts
    Michigan at New Hampshire

    Friday, Oct. 25
    Boston College at Minnesota (6 p.m.)*
    Boston University at Michigan#
    UMass Lowell at Michigan State@

    Saturday, Oct. 26
    Boston University at Michigan State
    UMass Lowell at Michigan#
    Penn State vs. Vermont %
    (Philadelphia, PA – 3 p.m.)

    Sunday, Oct.27
    Boston College at Minnesota (noon)^

    * Big Ten Network
    # XFINITY Channel 900
    @ Fox Sports Detroit
    % Comcast Philadelphia and New England
    ^ Fox Sports North and Sports Time Ohio

  • Steady progress continues at NCHC league office

    Tue, August 27, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    Fenton MUGThe National Collegiate Hockey Conference league office continues to settle in under new commissioner Josh Fenton, who attended an informal press conference announcing the Colorado College-KRDO radio broadcast contract Monday afternoon.

    The league continues to look for a media/public relations director, adjusting the job requirements after the changes in leadership after former USOC head Jim Scherr left to help run the 2015 European Games.

    The original job description emphasized marketing and revenue generation, areas Fenton said he feels the commissioner should take the lead. He emphasized a team-approach to those duties along with the usual press releases, including weekly league honors, etc.

    “We’re looking at developing a job description that is complementary of skill sets of people already in the office and then finding the gaps that need to be filled,” Fenton said. “We’re doing our due diligence.”

    Expect a hire in the next few weeks with the inaugural season starting this October.

    Fenton also continues to meet with Twin Cities business and civic leaders to help the postseason championship tournament at the Target Center  in March 2014 be as successful as possible. He reported that ticket package sales are going well and that single-game tickets will be available at a later date.

    The NCHC continues to work to line up corporate sponsors but he stressed that ticket sales will provide the bulk of the revenue to pay for the tournament and support the league office.

    In addition to the shootouts decision, the league also developed its 2014 fiscal budget and set up the referees clinic for Sept. 12-15 in Colorado Springs.

  • Weekend reading: NCHC web site; Penn State, Union, W. Michigan freshman classes

    Thu, August 1, 2013 by Joe Paisley with no comments

    bigger NCHC logoThe new National Collegiate Hockey Conference web site debuted Thursday morning. After a quick once-over, it looks pretty solid. It includes tournament postseason ticket information as well.

    USCHO took a look at Penn State’s first full incoming class of freshmen. Not surprisingly, there is plenty of talent entering the fold for former Tiger Guy Gadowsky.

    RIT coach Wayne Wilson signed a four-year contract extension that will take him through the 2016-17 season.

    Union forward Josh Jooris (88 points, 117 games) gave up his senior season with the Dutchmen for an NHL contract with the Calgary Flames. Here are the eight Dutchmen freshmen hoping to absorb that loss.

    Western Michigan is working to replace NHL draft pick Michael McCarron.