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.
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
Sept. 30 annual Faceoff Luncheon
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)
Nov. 14 at Denver
Nov. 15 Denver
Nov. 21 Wisconsin
Nov. 22 at Air Force
Dec. 5-6, at Minnesota-Duluth
Jan. 3-4, at Providence
Jan. 6, at UConn
Feb. 20 Denver
Feb. 21 at Denver
“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.”
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.
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.
Here are some predictions for this week’s regular-season finales.
Here 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.
Colorado College got contributions from throughout the lineup to pull away for a 3-1 home win over No. 18 Denver that gave the Tigers possession of the Gold Pan Trophy for the first time since the 2011-12 season.
CC has won the trophy 12 times in 21 seasons.
“It was a good team win tonight,” senior Alexander Krushelnyski said. “It’s awesome. Tonight was a special night. There is nothing like bring back the Gold Pan.”
The sweep, CC’s first this season, is the payoff for a strong work ethic by the Tigers.
“The guys have worked hard all season,” Krushelnyski said. “This shows it is finally paying off.”
“We got contributions from everybody tonight,” Tigers coach Scott Owens said.
The senior does not expect the Tigers to let down after a thrilling weekend, which also doomed their rival’s hopes for an at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Both Denver and Minnesota-Duluth, which lost 6-2 to No. 11 North Dakota Saturday, fell out of contention for that after being swept this weekend.
“This helps our confidence more than anything,” Krushelnyski said.
The coaches will worry about avoiding any letdown.
“We’ll enjoy this for a little while but we know we take on a good Nebraska-Omaha team with a lot of offensive skill,” Owens said. “It will be tough.”
Liked what you saw? Check out the rebroadcast
Saturday’s game will be replayed on Altitude Sports at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 and 7 p.m. Monday and 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.
Both goalies stand out in Gold Pan finale
CC senior goalie Josh Thorimbert made 25 saves, including a big one on Denver leading scorer Trevor Moore with about a minute left. The Tigers defense played well, holding Denver without a shot in the third period until 9:27 remained. Moore did not record a point this weekend.
“Josh has been playing well all season,” Krushelnyski said. “He has kept us in a lot of games.”
CC penalty kill containing potent Denver power play
A key to Friday’s road win over No. 18 Denver was the performance of the CC penalty kill. The Pioneers entered the weekend No. 5 with the man advantage (22.7 percent).
in Division I but managed only one score out of five chances, including a big power play chance late in the third period.
The Tigers did a good job denying the Pioneers entry into the CC zone late in the game after Denver was able to do so with regularity earlier.
“They did a good job making plays at key pressure points,” CC assistant Joe Bonnett said. “When we forced them to the outside, we were quick to getting on the puck. They were aggressive when appropriate. They are feeling confident and comfortable within the system.”
The Tigers went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill Saturday night for a 7-for-8 weekend.
Long distance connection
The first two goals Friday by the Tigers were scored by players born 4,814 miles apart in sophomores Jared Hanson (Palmer, Alaska) and Cody Bradley (Tampa, Fla.). According to Mapquest, the 57-hour drive would cost $2,696 in gas alone.
Denver sophomore Joey LaLeggia, the NCHC’s top-scoring defenseman (19 points, nine goals), missed his third game in a row with a shoulder injury. … The next home game on Friday March 7 against No. 4 St. Cloud State will start at 7:07 p.m. to accommodate CBS Sports Network’s schedule. … Alex Roos’ game-winner was goal No. 25 by the rookie class, which accounts for 42.66 percent of CC’s 60 as a team this season. … No. 8 Wisconsin of the Big Ten will travel to Colorado to take on CC and Denver for single games over one weekend next season. … Denver goalie Sam Brittain and Nebraska-Omaha forward Ryan Walters are among the 10 senior CLASS Award national finalists. … Eleven of the previous 14 games in the Denver-Colorado College series have ended in a tie or been decided by a single goal.
Unfortunately there were a number of interruptions in the broadcast feed during the second half of the CC show. Hopefully the fans at Tony’s Bar could hear well.
From the Coach Scott Owens Show …
Junior defenseman Aaron Harstad expressed his appreciation to the Tiger fans for sticking with the team through a tough season and remembered the noise the few hundred CC fans made in last year’s playoff series win at Denver.
“Hearing them that night was special,” he said.
Freshman Alex Roos knows that this weekend’s series is a little different from the usual games. he sensed it when he first stepped on the ice at Magness Arena
“There was a little extra buzz in the air,” Roos said. “You could feel the hatred.”
CC fans should not read too much into the absence of senior goalie Sam Brittain in Saturday’s 4-1 road win at Nebraska-Omaha for No. 18 Denver. The Pioneers coaching staff decided Brittain needed a rest and gave freshman Evan Crowley of Evergreen the start.
“We didn’t feel the team needed to be sent a message,” goaltending coach David Lassonde said. “We wanted to make sure he (Brittain) was fresh because he will be a big part of our success down the stretch. Sam is a great teammate and was probably Evan’s biggest fan Saturday night.”
There was no mention why standout defenseman Joey LaLeggia did not play that night.
The USCHO folks expect the Broncos to pull off the road and season sweep at World Arena.
Both special teams units a for No. 18 Denver are in the top four in Division I, which poses a real problem for host Nebraska-Omaha this weekend.
Air Force is right in the battle for the Atlantic Hockey Association title hunt.
Here is a feature on Jake Parenteau and links previewing the Minnesota-Michigan Big 10 series.
DENVER — The host Pioneers fell behind 2-0 in the opening period and would never lead in a game that saw them surrender a pair of power play scores as well as a short-handed goal to North Dakota, which moved into first place with the road victory.
With the loss, Denver falls to 12-8-5 overall and 6-5-2-1 in NCHC action. North Dakota improves to 13-7-3 and 8-5-0-0 in league play. The loss for the Pioneers marked only their third since Nov. 8. It was the 10th-straight game without a loss for UND (9-0-1).
“We couldn’t get anything going,” Denver coach Jim Montgomery said. “North Dakota was well prepared and I didn’t prepare our team well enough to have success tonight and we’re going to have to be better at that (Saturday). Our players have to bring some energy and emotion to the game. You play this game without emotion and you end up getting dominated in faceoffs, footraces and body contact. There were a lot of crimson pants on the ice compared to green.”
North Star Cup
No. 1 Minnesota 5, No. 5 St. Cloud State 1, semifinal
ST. PAUL – Minnesota broke the tie at 14:24 of the second period with a goal by Nate Condon with assists from Mike Reilly and Sam Warning. The Gophers pushed their lead to 3-1 at 18:14 of the second period with a power play marker by Hudson Fasching.
The Huskies (12-5-4, 7-3-2 NCHC) will continue play at the North Star College Cup on Saturday with a 4:07 p.m. CT game against Minnesota State Mankato in the consolation game. The championship at 7:07 p.m. will feature Minnesota and Minnesota-Duluth.
ST. PAUL — With a flick of his wrist Friday night, Alex Iafallo not only terminated a lengthy overtime drought for the University of Minnesota Duluth but, most importantly, put his club into the championship game of the first-ever North Star College Cup.
Iafallo banged in a rebound with 26.5 seconds left in sudden death to give the Bulldogs a 5-4 victory over Minnesota State in the North Star College Cup semifinals at St. Paul’s Xcel Energy Center. Prior to Friday, UMD was 0-3-7 in its 10 overtime outings since prevailing 3-2 over these same the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs nearly two years ago.
“We got a power play late in that overtime and we’re able to take advantage of that,” said Iaffalo, who paces the 2013-14 Bulldogs in goals with nine. “Tony (Cameranesi) worked hard on that play and got the shot on goal, so all I had to do was put it in.”
Conference Overall Team Pts GP W L T SW Win% GF GA GP W L T Win% GF GA North Dakota 24 13 8 5 0 0 0.615 39 39 23 13 7 3 0.630 67 62 St. Cloud State 23 12 7 3 2 0 0.667 39 28 21 12 5 4 0.667 71 51 Nebraska Omaha 21 12 6 4 2 1 0.583 36 29 22 9 11 2 0.455 66 70 Denver 21 13 6 5 2 1 0.538 33 32 25 12 8 5 0.580 65 55 Western Michigan 20 12 6 5 1 1 0.542 38 34 24 12 8 4 0.583 65 57 Minnesota Duluth 17 12 5 6 1 1 0.458 34 36 21 10 9 2 0.524 60 59 Colorado College 13 13 3 7 3 1 0.346 29 39 23 3 16 4 0.217 43 75 Miami 11 13 3 9 1 1 0.269 30 41 23 9 11 3 0.457 70 65
The USCHO columnists think Providence will sweep the Tigers while the other thinks a split is more likely. Here are their entire league picks. PC goalie Jon Gillies is a possible contender for the Hobey Baker Top 10, USCHO opines.
No. 3 St. Cloud State gets its first regular-season game on CBS Sports Network on Friday night (5:07 p.m. MT start).
About Joe Paisley
Joe Paisley rejoined The Gazette staff to cover college hockey in February 2013. He worked at The Gazette for 5.5 years, including 2.5 seasons as the college hockey beat writer until Dec. 2011.
Paisley graduated from the University of Montana journalism school and began his career in Butte, Mont in 1994. He worked as an education reporter before becoming a sports writer. His first beat was covering the Junior A hockey franchise, the Butte Irish. After nearly eight years at the Montana Standard, he transferred to the Twin Falls (ID) Times-News where he was the sports editor and met his wife Tiffany.
He moved on to the Gazette in March 2006 to become the high school sports editor; a position he held for three years.
Paisley and his wife live in Old Colorado City with their cat, Dewey, and dog, Lucky.
You can follow him on Twitter @Paisleyhockey or reach him at email@example.com.
- Joe Paisley on Tuesday reading: Denver mascot candidates, WMU academic issues, WCHA
- Eric J. Burton on Tuesday reading: Denver mascot candidates, WMU academic issues, WCHA
- Norm Bazin on Former Tiger Scott Winkler dies unexpectedly at 23
- Vern Mott on Former Tiger Scott Winkler dies unexpectedly at 23
- Tom on Former Tiger Scott Winkler dies unexpectedly at 23
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