Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday @ The Rink: DU defenseman Chris Butler

Denver defenseman Chris Butler, a junior, participated in CSTV's "Tuesday @ The Rink" online chat. Click here to see what Butler had to say as the Pioneers head to Minnesota for a two-game set this weekend.

NHL Update - 10/31

Much like the USHL update I posted earlier today, the WCHA Blog will keep track of former WCHA players that are currently playing in the NHL. Click here to view that spreadsheet.

Please use the comments section below to inform me of any errors or players I missed. If I missed a player that used to play on your favorite team, it's not because I'm an arrogant Gopher fan that hates your school. I promise.

Eden Prairie defenseman Leddy commits to Minnesota

According to the Gopher Hockey Blog, Eden Prairie High School defenseman Nick Leddy has committed to play for Minnesota. The junior visited Minnesota last Thursday and committed to the Golden Gophers on Monday. He was also interested in North Dakota, St. Cloud State, and Minnesota Duluth.

As the Gopher Hockey Blog points out, Leddy is currently participating in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, and will play his junior season for Eden Prairie. He's scheduled to join Minnesota in the fall of 2009. He was a first round pick of the Des Moines Buccaneers in the recent USHL draft, so it would appear likley that he'll play in the USHL next year before enrolling at Minnesota.

Leddy's stock has risen rapidly over the last year or so. This past summer, he played very well at the Select 16s Festival in New York and was chosen to play on the U.S. Under-17 Select team that participated in the 2007 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament. Leddy had a goal and two assists in the four games for Team USA.

Toews featured in Buccigross' column

Former North Dakota star Jonathan Toews is featured in ESPN.com's John Buccigross' weekly column. Click here to read more about Toews, who has nine points in his first nine NHL games for the Chicago Blackhawks.

USHL Update - 10/31

Click here to see the individual stats for USHL players that are committed to play in the WCHA. I will update this on a weekly basis during the USHL season. If you see a player I missed or a mistake, please take advantage of the comments section and let me know.

WCHA Blog Power Rankings - 10/31

To compliment the USCHO.com/CSTV Division I men's poll and the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings that are updated on a weekly basis, the WCHA Blog will establish its own weekly ranking system. The number in parenthesis to the right of the team's name shows the change in rank from last week's rankings.

1. North Dakota (-)
Last Week: 3-1 loss and 6-0 win at Michigan Tech
This Week: Two games vs. Colorado College

The Fighting Sioux finally yielded a goal to the opposition this weekend, and even dropped a game in Houghton to the Michigan Tech Huskies. Despite the weekend split though, UND outshot MTU on both nights and showed the ability to rebound after a loss on Saturday. Their matchup with Colorado College should be a fun series.

2. Wisconsin (+2)
Last Week: Bye Week
This Week: Two games vs. Michigan Tech

The Wisconsin Badgers didn't play last weekend, but the two teams that were previously ahead of them in the power rankings lost, so UW moves up by default. They will certainly get a shot to prove they deserve this ranking as they host Michigan Tech and North Dakota over the next two weekends, and then travel to Colorado College and Michigan / Michigan State for the College Hockey Showcase.

3. Colorado College (-1)
Last Week: 5-3 and 4-2 losses at New Hampshire
This Week: Two games at North Dakota

The Tigers dropped a pair of games to New Hampshire last weekend, but were in both games until the end. Plus, dropping two games to UNH on the road is nothing to hang your head about, especially when you consider that the Tigers swept Minnesota the weekend before. All that being said, it's key that the Tigers get at least a point or two out of their series with UND this weekend in Grand Forks before returning home to play five of their next six at the World Arena.

4. Michigan Tech (+1)
Last Week: 3-1 win and 6-0 loss vs. North Dakota
This Week: Two games at Wisconsin

Most teams will be very content in splitting with the Fighting Sioux on most weekends, and you have to think that Jamie Russell and Co. were very content to take two points from UND. Starting this weekend with a pair of games in Madison against the Badgers, the Huskies play seven of their next nine on the road. It will be interesting to see if MTU can carry their solid play on the road, after opening the season by going 4-2-0 at home.

5. Denver (-2)
Last Week: 5-1 win and 3-0 loss vs. Minnesota Duluth
This Week: Two games at Minnesota

The Denver Pioneers played very well in both games last weekend versus Minnesota Duluth, but only managed to take two points from UMD. The Pios surrendered three goals on just 13 shots on Saturday night, and couldn't get any of their 43 shots past UMD's Alex Stalock. That came on the heels of Friday's 5-1 win where DU outshot the 'Dogs by a 30-23 margin. Denver heads to Minnesota this weekend for a rematch of last years hotly contested second-half showdown at Mariucci Arena.

6. Minnesota (-)
Last Week: 3-1 and 2-1 wins vs. Ohio State; 3-1 win vs. U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team
This Week: Two games versus Denver

The Golden Gophers got things going in the right direction last weekend as they swept the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mariucci Arena. However, they still didn't put forth a full 60 minutes of solid play, and were somewhat lucky to come away with the win on Saturday night. Freshman Alex Kangas made 32 saves, including 21 in the third period, to preserve the 2-1 win. This weekend's series with Denver should be a good indicator of where the Gophers stand in the WCHA.

7. Minnesota Duluth (-)
Last Week: 5-1 loss and 3-0 win at Denver
This Week: Bye

The Bulldogs have just one loss in their first six games, which had helped them obtain their first place standing in the WCHA. They took two points home with them from the Mile High City last weekend, which is something that they maybe didn't deserve after being severely outshot in Saturday's 3-0 win. UMD will head back out to Colorado next weekend when they take on Colorado College.

8. St. Cloud State (+1)
Last Week: 2-1 and 6-1 wins vs. Bemidji State; 2-2 tie vs. U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team
This Week: Two games vs. Alaska Anchorage

After being swept by Minnesota Duluth the weekend before, the St. Cloud State Huskies returned home and swept the Bemidji State Beavers by scores of 2-1 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday. On Sunday night, the Huskies skated to a 2-2 tie with the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team, which featured a two-goal third period by the Huskies to force overtime. In all three games this weekend, SCSU allowed 34 shots on goal or more, so there is still work to be done in St. Cloud.

9. Minnesota State (+1)
Last Week: 2-2 tie and 2-0 win at Alaska Anchorage
This Week: Two games at Alabama-Huntsville

The surprise of the weekend in the WCHA was probably Minnesota State taking three of four points from a previously unbeaten Alaska Anchorage team on the road. Junior Mike Zacharias started both games for the Mavs and played well in stopping 52 of 54 shots. In Friday's 2-2 tie, the Mavericks were down 2-0 after the first period. Minnesota State has a good shot to gain a couple of wins this weekend as they travel to Alabama Huntsville before playing their first home game of the season next Friday against Minnesota.

10. Alaska Anchorage (-2)
Last Week: 2-2 tie and 2-0 loss vs. Minnesota State
This Week: Two games at St. Cloud State

The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves suffered their first loss of the season this weekend, but are still 4-1-2 on the young season. They will venture out of Anchorage for the first time this weekend as they travel to St. Cloud to take on the Huskies. They then play two games at Minnesota, two at home versus Colorado College, and then two at Minnesota Duluth, so we'll see how the Seawolves do in the coming weeks against some stiffer competition.

WCHA Players of the Week - 10/31

North Dakota forward T.J. Oshie, Minnesota State goalie Mike Zacharias, and St. Cloud State forward Garrett Roe have been named the WCHA Players of the Week.

From the press release:

University of North Dakota forward T.J. Oshie, who notched a three-goal hat trick in his team's 6-0 road victory over host Michigan Tech last Saturday night, has been named Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for Oct. 30-Nov. 5.

A 6-0, 192-pound junior from Warroad, Minn., Oshie's three goals against the Huskies included his second game-winning goal of the season and allowed him to surpass the 100-point mark in his collegiate career. The 76th player in UND history to reach the century mark in points, Oshie now has 45 goals, 56 assists and 101 points.

In addition to his hat trick, Oshie also fired 11 shots on goal in the series and earned a +1 plus-minus rating.

On the 2007-08 season, the St. Louis Blues (NHL) draftee has scored four goals in his first five games, with two being game-winners.

Also nominated this week were: Tyler Ruegsegger, So., F, DU; and Justin Bostrom, Jr., F, UM.


Mike Zacharias, a junior goaltender at Minnesota State University, has been named Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 30-Nov. 5 as a result of his outstanding play in the visiting Mavericks' tie and win over WCHA-rival Alaska Anchorage.

A 5-10, 175-pound junior from Plymouth, Minn., Zacharias had six shutout periods in the two-game series - including a five-minute overtime - stopped 52 of 54 shots on goal for a league-best .963 saves percentage, and blanked the Seawolves on all nine of their weekend power-play chances.

Zacharias had 27 saves in a 2-2 overtime tie against UAA last Friday (Oct. 26) evening at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage and then stopped all 25 shots on goal in a 2-0 shutout victory last Saturday (Oct. 27). The shutout was the second of his three-year collegiate career.

Over 224:54 of action so far this season, Zacharias sports a 1.87-goals against average, a .933 saves percentage and a 1-1-1 record.

Also nominated this week were: Michael-Lee Teslak, Jr., G, MTU; Alex Stalock, So., G, UMD; Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, Sr., G, UND; and Jase Weslosky, So., G, SCSU.

St. Cloud State University forward Garrett Roe, who produced five scoring points while helping the Huskies to a home-ice sweep over Bemidji State last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Oct. 30-Nov. 5.

A 5-8, 162-pound freshman from Vienna, Va., Roe had a career-high four points last Saturday (Oct. 27) night, scoring two goals - including the eventual game-winner - and adding two assists as St. Cloud State posted a 6-1 victory over the Beavers at the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.

Last Friday (Oct. 26) evening, Roe scored the game's first goal on a power-play at 10:28 of the second period as the Huskies went on to a 2-1 triumph.

In addition to his five points over the weekend, Roe also had six shots on goal. On the season, Roe now has a team-leading 10 points with five goals and five assists and ranks second overall in scoring among first-year players in the WCHA.

Also nominated this week were: Tyler Bozak, Fr., F, DU; Bennett Royer, Fr., F, MTU; Alex Kangas, Fr., G, UM; and Justin Fontaine, Fr., F, UMD.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team versus St. Cloud State

The WCHA Blog made the trek up to the National Hockey Center in St. Cloud to watch the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team take on the St. Cloud State Huskies in exhibition play on Sunday night. Below you'll find some video snippets of the five players on the team that are committed to play for WCHA teams.

This first video features UW recruit Nick Pryor. For some reason I accidentally focused the video on his defensive parter Steve West, an Ohio State recruit. You can still see Pryor play in this video though; just look for No. 22, who is playing left defense.

The other videos are of UND recruit Danny Kristo, and of the three Gopher recruits (Grant Scott, Jordan Schroeder, and Sam Lofquist).

As I noted when I posted video of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, I'm not a professional when it comes to this type of thing and short video clips aren't the best way to view a player's game, but it's better than nothing.


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UM recruit Walters to join U.S. NTDP U-17 for Four Nations tournament

According to the Gopher Hockey Blog, Minnesota recruit Ryan Walters will join the U.S. NTDP Under-17 Team when they travel to Russia to take part in the Four Nations tournament on November 7-11. Walters, who will join Minnesota in 2010 after playing for St. Thomas High School this year and for Des Moines in the USHL the next two seasons, narrowly missed making the team this summer as a full-time player.

Walters will join former Chaska High School defenseman Nick Mattson (uncommitted) as the only two Minnesota-natives on the team.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Around the Country - 10/29

Each week, the WCHA Blog will take a look at action from around the nation that doesn't involve WCHA teams.

In the biggest series not involving a WCHA team this week, the Michigan Wolverines took on the Boston University Terriers at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor, Mich., and Red Berenson's team came out on top in both games. On Friday night, Michigan freshman Matt Rust continued his hot start as he notched a pair of goals, including the game-winner on the power play midway through the third period. Rust now has four goals on the season. In Saturday's rematch, the Wolverines had six different goal-scorers in a 6-2 thumping of BU. Rust had an assist on the night, while fellow freshmen Ben Winnett, Max Pacioretty, Louie Caporusso, and Carl Hagelin all scored for the Maize and Blue. Michigan will no doubt have some ups and downs this season with such a young team, but if Billy Sauer can just be "above average," the Wolverines will be a very dangerous team.

Northern Michigan was swept by the Wolverines last weekend, losing one game by one goal and the other by two. This weekend, they traveled to East Lansing, Mich. to take on the defending NCAA champion Michigan State Spartans, and the Wildcats would again suffer a pair of close losses. On Friday night, NMU was down by a 5-1 score entering the third period, but scored three times to give themselves a chance at the end. On Saturday, the teams combined for five power play goals, and NMU outshot MSU by a 35-26 margin, but a Mike Ratchuk power play goal with just under 12 minutes left gave Sparty the 3-2 win. Things don't get any easier for the Wildcats this weekend, as they return home to play the Miami Redhawks, who are the current No. 1 team in the country.

Notes: RIT upended Cornell by a 4-1 score in a mild upset ... Notre Dame was able to take two points back to South Bend with them after splitting with Ferris State ... Maine won a pair of one-goal games to sweet the Northeastern Huskies on the road.

WCHA Weekend Recap - 10/29

The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, who got off to a hot 3-0-1 start, came back down to earth a bit this weekend, as they tied Minnesota State 2-2 on Friday night and then were shutout by the Mavericks on Saturday by a 2-0 score. After the first period on Friday, it appears as though the Seawolves would continue their winning ways, as they got out in front of the Mavs by a 2-0 score. However, they would surrender one goal in each of the final two periods and skated to a draw. In Saturday’s rematch, the Seawolves found themselves trailing by a 1-0 score just 1:18 into the game, and that was all the Mavericks needed on the night. The Seawolves now travel to St. Cloud State and Minnesota for back-to-back road series, though they have a weekend off in between.

Speaking of coming back down to earth, the Colorado College Tigers did just that this weekend, though against arguably one of the top teams in the nation in the form of New Hampshire, who swept CC by scores of 5-3 and 4-2 in Durham, N.H. On Friday night, the Tigers got out to a quick 3-1 lead after the first period, but couldn’t extend their lead past two goals. UNH brought the score to within one after the second period, and then used three third period goals to take control of the game. The Tigers managed just three third period shots in the loss. In Saturday’s rematch, the Tigers outshot the Wildcats by a 33-25 margin, but were only able to get two goals past UNH’s sophomore netminder Brian Foster, who was making his first start of the season. Thing don’t get any easier for the Tigers this weekend, as they travel to Grand Forks to take on the Fighting Sioux before returning home for five of their next six contests.

It was a tale of two nights in the Mile High City this weekend, as the Denver Pioneers were able to gain a split with Minnesota Duluth. In Friday’s opening contest, the Pios used three second period goals to propel themselves to a 5-1 win. Sophomores Tyler Ruegsegger and Rhett Rakhshani each had two-point evenings, while freshman Kyle Ostrow notched his third tally of the year. The tide turned on Saturday though, as UMD’s Alex Stalock made 43 saves, including 18 in the third period, as the Pioneers were shutout by a 3-0 score. The power play killed DU on this night, as they were 0-7 with the man advantage. Denver now travels to Minnesota for a pair of games this weekend versus the Gophers.

It was a similar story in Houghton this weekend as it was in Denver, as the two games played between the Michigan Tech Huskies and North Dakota were very different. In Friday’s game, Michael-Lee Teslak made 26 saves in the Huskies’ 3-1 win. Two third period goals, including an empty-netter, were the difference in this one. On Saturday, Tech’s Rob Nolan could not stop the Fighting Sioux’s offensive onslaught, as UND cruised to a 6-0 win. Tech was 0-7 on the power play, while the Fighting Sioux went an impressive 3-8. The Huskies will look to rebound next weekend when they hit the road for a matchup with the Badgers in Madison

Minnesota rebounded off of their poor performance in Colorado Springs the weekend before by sweeping a pair of games from the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mariucci Arena. Minnesota outshot the Buckeyes by a 16-2 margin and scored two goals in the first period on Thursday night, and cruised to a 3-1 victory. OSU rebounded nicely on Friday and outplayed the Gophers for much of the game. Freshman netminder Alex Kangas was very good in his first college start, as he stopped 32 of 33 Buckeyes shots, and Jay Barriball got the game-winning goal on a breakaway early in the second period in the Gophers’ 2-1 win. Minnesota also topped the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team on Saturday night by a 3-1 score. The Maroon and Gold host Denver for a pair of games this weekend.

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs continued their strong play this season as they managed to gain two points on the road in Denver. The Bulldogs came out flat on Friday night and got trounced by a 5-1 score, managing just 23 shots on the evening. Saturday night was certainly a different story, as sophomore Alex Stalock was stellar between the pipes, stopping all 43 Pioneers shots that came his way. MacGregor Sharp scored the first goal of the game, which turned out to be the game-winner, midway through the second period. Rob Bordson and Matt Greer tacked on some insurance goals later in the game. The Bulldogs now take a week off before heading back to Colorado to take on the CC Tigers on Nov. 9-10.

After suffering a pair of losses in Houghton to the Michigan Tech Huskies to start off their season, the Minnesota State Mavericks picked up an impressive three points on their trip to Anchorage against the Seawolves. Troy Jutting’s team fought back after finding themselves down a 2-0 score after the first period on Friday night to tie UAA 2-2. Saturday night’s rematch was highlighted by Mike Zacharias’ 25 saves, as the Mavs shutout the Seawolves by a 2-0 score. Mick Berge and James Gaulrapp got the goals for Minnesota State, who now head south to take on Alabama-Huntsville in non-conference play before opening up the WCHA season against Minnesota the following week.

Not only did the North Dakota Fighting Sioux actually lose a game this weekend, but the even allowed three (3!!!) goals – OMG! UND’s offense was held in check on Friday night in their 3-1 loss to Michigan Tech in Houghton, but the came back with vengeance on Saturday in a 6-0 thumping of the Huskies. Friday’s contest was 1-1 going into the third period, and despite UND’s 14 shots on goal in the final frame, they yielded two goals to the Huskies that cost UND the game. Saturday’s effort was headed by junior T.J. Oshie, who notched a hat trick in the win. Reigning Hobey Baker winner Ryan Duncan had three assists, while defensemen Taylor Chorney and Robbie Bina each had two helpers on the night. The Fighting Sioux now return home to take on Colorado College in a big early-season series for both teams.

St. Cloud State returned to the National Hockey Center after being swept the weekend before by the Bulldogs in Duluth to take on the Bemidji State Beavers. The Huskies were outshot by a 40-29 margin on Friday night, but sophomore Jase Weslosky was able to make the two Husky goals standup, as SCSU won by a 2-1 score. Saturday’s rematch was much more lopsided on the scoreboard, as St. Cloud used four power play goals to cruise to a 6-1 win. Nate Dey and Garrett Roe each had two goals for the Huskies, who skated to a 2-2 tie with the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team on Sunday night. The WCHA Blog was in attendance and will post some video later today.

Wisconsin was off this weekend, but hit the ice this Friday for a home series versus Michigan Tech.

USCHO Poll - 10/29

Click here to view the entire poll. The number in parenthesis represents the movement in the poll from last week. Miami received 39 of the 46 first place votes, while North Dakota (4) and New Hampshire (3) received the other seven. WCHA teams in bold.

1. Miami (+1)
2. North Dakota (-1)
3. Michigan (-)
4. New Hampshire (+3)
5. Boston College (-)
6. Michigan State (+2)
7. Denver (-1)
8. Minnesota (+2)
9. Colorado College (-5)
10. Wisconsin (+1)
11. Clarkson (-2)
12. Maine (+1)
13. Michigan Tech (+1)
14. Notre Dame (-2)
15. Minnesota Duluth (+2)
16. St. Lawrence (-1)
17. RPI (NR)
18. Niagara (NR)
19. St. Cloud State (NR)
20. Massachusetts (-4)

Tech's Pierro-Zabotel to the Dub?

The Western College Hockey blog is reporting that Michigan Tech freshman Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who isn't eligible to join the Huskies until after the current semester, may opt to play for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL. Pierro-Zabotel, who was the 80th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, was considered a partial qualifier according to the NCAA's initial eligibility standards. He will use the fall semester to fulfill the necessary requirements to become eligible.

As the WCH blog points out, "this is still just a rumor, albeit one from a fairly credible source, and things can always change, but as of right now, it doesn't sound promising for the Huskies."

WCHA Blog's Take: When it was announced that CPZ would have to sit out for the first half of the season, it seemed like there was a fairly good chance that he'd wind up playing major junior hockey as opposed to waiting it out to play for the Huskies, given he's a western Canadian kid and his lofty NHL draft status. We'll see if this rumor comes to fruition, but if it does, this is certainly a blow to a Tech team with high aspirations this season.

INCH Power Rankings: 10/29

Click here to view the list in detail. WCHA teams, which hold seven of the 20 spots, are in bold.

1. Miami
2. New Hampshire
3. North Dakota
4. Michigan State
5. Michigan
6. Boston College
7. Denver
8. Wisconsin
9. Clarkson
10. Colorado College
11. Minnesota
12. Maine
13. Minnesota Duluth
14. Notre Dame
15. Michigan Tech
16. RPI
17. Niagara
18. St. Lawrence
19. Dartmouth
20. Massachusetts

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Gophers land out-of-state recruit in Wausau 's Condon

As the Gopher Hockey Blog first reported, Wausau West's High School's Nate Condon committed to Minnesota late last week. The senior forward will finish out his four years for Wausau and then play a year in the USHL before joining the Gophers in the fall of 2009.

In addition to the Gopher Hockey Blog's coverage, Wisconsin Prep Hockey has some more info, including some quotes.

A 6'0, 180 lb. forward, Condon currently leads the Upper Midwest High School Elite League in scoring while playing for Team Wisconsin, who take on Russell Stover, a midget AAA team, for the league championship today. The Gopher Hockey Blog reported that Condon was also considering Notre Dame, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State, Dartmouth, and Wisconsin.

He is the first Wisconsin-born player to join the Maroon and Gold since Phil Kessel in 2005-06. US-NTDP member Grant Scott, a forward from Pennsylvania, is the only other current Minnesota recruit not born in the land of 10,000 lakes. This current season and the 1999-2000 season have been the only years under Don Lucia's watch where the Gophers didn't have a out-of-state player on the roster.

Condon was rated an "A" prospect by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau, and was a fifth round choice by the expansion Fargo Force, led by former North Dakota head coach Dean Blais, in the recent USHL Futures Draft.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Tech adds a pair of recruits for 2008

As the Western College Hockey blog and Chris Heisenberg reported, Michigan Tech has added a pair of recruits for next fall.

The first is Bryce Reddick, a 5'10", 165 lb forward who currently plays for the Cowichan Valley Capitals in the BCHL. The Las Vegas native had 19 points in 54 games last season for the Caps, and currently sits 16th in the BCHL scoring race with 21 points in 15 games. He will have just turned 19-years-old when he steps foot in Houghton next fall.

The other Husky recruit added on Thursday is Seth Soley, who is from Eau Claire, Wisc. The Eau Claire Memorial High School forward has good size at 6'1", 185 lbs., and has played very well thus far in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League -- he is currently the second-leading scorer behind fellow Wisconsin native Nate Condon, who is uncommitted.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Zdeno Chara > David Koci

Weekend Preview: Oct. 25-28

Alaska Anchorage
Friday & Saturday – vs. Minnesota State

The undefeated – yes, I said undefeated – Alaska Anchorage Seawolves enjoy one more weekend in Anchorage before taking hitting the road for ten of their next 14 games. On paper, it would appear as though they have the ideal opponent coming to the Sullivan Arena in the form of Minnesota State. The Mavericks have played just two games so far, both losses to Michigan Tech. Sophomores Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark both have eight points, while Winston DayChief is the reigning WCHA Freshman of the Week.

Colorado College
Friday & Saturday – at New Hampshire

In arguably the best series – WCHA-related or not – the Colorado College Tigers head to Durham to take on the New Hampshire Wildcats in what should be a terrific pair of hockey games. Both teams are used to playing on the 200’ x 100’ sheet of ice that the Whittemore Center houses, so the games should be very entertaining if you like end-to-end action. The Tigers, of course, swept the Gophers in Colorado Springs last weekend and are 2-0-0 on the season. UNH has played just one regular season game, and was impressive in topping Boston University by a 4-1 score in the Terriers’ barn.

Denver
Friday & Saturday – vs. Minnesota Duluth

The Denver Pioneers will open up WCHA play this weekend after going an impressive 3-1 in a pair of home games against Maine (two wins) and two games in South Bend, Ind. against Notre Dame (1-1). The Pioneers have used a very balanced scoring attack up to this point, as eight players have two points or more. Not surprisingly though, their three leading point getters – Brock Trotter, Tyler Ruegsegger, and Chris Butler – were all players that head coach George Gwozdecky was counting on heading into the season. Senior goalie Peter Mannino has minuscule 1.51 goals against average to compliment his .935 save percentage.

Michigan Tech
Friday & Saturday – vs. North Dakota

After dropping the first game of their season to Northern Michigan, the Huskies have rebounded to win three straight games by a combined score of 13-4. The competition will certainly be much tougher this weekend as they welcome the North Dakota Fighting Sioux to Houghton. One of they keys to the weekend for Tech will be to get great goaltending out of juniors Michael-Lee Teslak and/or Rob Nolan. Both have been very good against not-so-good competition this season, but they will really have to be on top of their game(s) if the Huskies hope to hang with UND.

Minnesota
Thursday & Friday – vs. Ohio State; Saturday vs. U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team

Minnesota will look to rebound in non-conference action this weekend as they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes at Mariucci Arena. The Maroon and Gold was swept at Colorado College last weekend in a pair of tightly contested affairs. Minnesota swept the Buckeyes in Columbus last October, and has not lost to a CCHA foe since Oct. 14 of 2005 (a 4-3 overtime loss to Alaska Fairbanks). Head coach Don Lucia has said that all three of his goalies, including freshman Alex Kangas, will see time this weekend. The Gophers also play the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team on Saturday night in an exhibition game.

Minnesota Duluth
Friday & Saturday – at Denver

The Bulldogs take to the road this weekend as they look to maintain a piece of first place in the WCHA. Scott Sandelin’s club scored an impressive sweep over St. Cloud State last weekend, and registered a tie and a win in their previous two games against Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan, respectably. Like DU, the ‘Dogs have had many players contributing offensively this season. Eleven players have multiple points, which is something that this UMD team needed having lost their two leading scores off last year’s team (Mason Raymond and Matt Niskanen) to the NHL. Sophomore Alex Stalock will need to stand tall in the team’s first road test of the young season.

Minnesota State
Friday & Saturday – at Alaska Anchorage

The Mavericks were disposed of rather easily last weekend in Houghton at the hands of Michigan Tech, but they will look to bounce back this weekend in Anchorage as they take on the Seawolves. Junior netminder Mike Zacharias played well in both games last weekend; the problem for the Mavs was that on Saturday, he had to come in and relive Dan Tormey, who gave up four goals on 11 shots to the Huskies. The Seawolves have started strong this season, so Minnesota State will need to play well if they hope to leave the Last Frontier with some points.

North Dakota
Friday & Saturday – at Michigan Tech

In addition to hoping for a pair of victories this weekend, the Fighting Sioux are just hoping for the John McInnes Student Ice Arena to have power for both games. North Dakota, of course, skated to a 0-0 tie with Boston College last weekend, but the game was called after two periods because of fog and poor ice conditions due to power failure in the arena. That didn’t phase senior goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, who has played nearly 160 minutes this season without allowing a goal. Junior defensemen Taylor Chorney leads the way for UND with three points. These two contests will be the first WCHA games for the league’s pre-season favorite and current No. 1 team in the country.

St. Cloud State
Friday and Saturday – vs. Bemidji State; Sunday vs. U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team

The Huskies return home to the National Hockey Center this weekend after suffering a tough two-game sweep in Duluth. And though they are taking on a non-conference opponent, WCHA fans have learned not to treat the Bemidji State Beavers lightly. BSU went an impressive 6-5-0 against WCHA teams a year ago and certainly won’t be intimidated heading into St. Cloud. These will be the first road games of the season for Bemidji State, as they are coming off a pair of home losses to Merrimack after winning two versus Army. The Huskies also play the U.S. NTDP Under-18 Team on Sunday night in an exhibition game.

Wisconsin
Off

The Badgers are off this weekend as they rest up before taking on Michigan Tech and North Dakota in back-to-back home series in Madison.

Other Noteable Games

Boston University at Michigan

Along with the CC/UNH matchup, this is the other key non-conference series on the weekend. Boston University is off to a rough start, as they possess a 0-1-2 record heading into Yost to take on the Wolverines, who are coming off a road sweep of Northern Michigan. Red Berenson’s team is 3-0-1 on the season and has yet to play a home game.

Shore commits to Pioneers

Forward Drew Shore has committed to Denver for the fall of 2009, according to the U.S. Hockey Report. The Denver native currently plays for the U.S. NTDP U-17 team. Both of his parents attended DU, so this was a logical choice for Shore. Wisconsin was the only other WCHA school in the mix for Shore, who joins fellow NTDP'ers William Wrenn (D) and Adam Murray (G) as DU recruits for 2009.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

2007 U.S. Junior Select Team named

USA Hockey has announced the 21-player roster and coaching staff for its 2007 U.S. Junior Select Team. The team will compete at the 2007 World Junior A Challenge from Nov. 5-11 in Trail and Nelson, B. C.

Team members that are commited to play at a WCHA school are in bold. The team they are playing for during the 2007-08 regular season is noted after the player's name, and the WCHA school they are commited to play for is in parenthesis.

Goalies
Brady Hjelle - Cedar Rapids / USHL (Minnesota Duluth)
Josh Robinson - Sioux City / USHL

Defensemen
Ben Blood - Des Moines / USHL (North Dakota)
John Carlson - Indiana / USHL
Seth Helgeson - Sioux City / USHL (Minnesota)
Tyler Kieffer - Lincoln / USHL (St. Cloud State)

Blake Kessel - Waterloo / USHL
John Lee - Waterloo / USHL (Denver)
Max Nicastro - Chicago / USHL

Forwards
Barry Almeida - Omaha / USHL
Mike Cichy - Tri-City / USHL (North Dakota)
Jack Connolly - Sioux Falls / USHL (Minnesota Duluth)
Nick Dineen - Sioux Falls / USHL (Colorado College)
Jarred Festler - Lincoln / USHL (St. Cloud State)
Keegan Flaherty - Green Bay / USHL
Tim Hall - Ohio / USHL (Colorado College)
Jimmy Hayes - U.S. NTDP U-18 Team
Nick Larson - Waterloo / USHL
Drew LeBlanc - Chicago / USHL (St. Cloud State)
Nico Sacchetti - Omaha / USHL (Minnesota)
Craig Smith - Waterloo / USHL (Wisconsin)

NHL Central Scouting "Players to Watch"

The NHL Central Scouting Bureau released their 2008 lists of "Players to Watch" for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. The Gopher Puck Blog did a good job of explaining things, and they list out all kids with Minnesota and WCHA ties.

Here are the kids that are listed that are currently committed to a WCHA school:

"A" Players
Tyler Barnes - Burnsville High School - Wisconsin
Joe Colborne - Camrose of the AJHL - Denver
Jared Festler - Lincoln of the USHL - St. Cloud State
Cory Fienhage - Eastview High School - North Dakota
Michael Fink - Waterloo of the USHL - North Dakota
Jake Gardiner - Minnetonka High School - Wisconsin
Danny Kristo - U.S. NTDP - North Dakota
Aaron Ness - Roseau High School - Minnesota
Derek Stepan - Shattuck St. Mary's - Wisconsin
David Toews - Shattuck St. Mary's - North Dakota

"B" Players
Michael Cichy - Tri City of the USHL - North Dakota
Matt Donovan - Cedar Rapids of the USHL - Denver
Joe Gleason - Edina High School - North Dakota
Tim Hall - Ohio of the USHL - Colorado College
Jake Hendrickson - Burnsville High School - Minnesota Duluth
Tyler Kieffer - Lincoln of the USHL - St. Cloud State
Drew LeBlanc - Chicago of the USHL - St. Cloud State
Sam Lofquist - U.S. NTDP - Minnesota
Brock Montpetit - Waterloo of the USHL - Wisconsin
Jordy Murray - Shattuck St. Mary's - Wisconsin
John O'Neil - Anoka High School - Minnesota Duluth
Travis Oleksuk - Sioux City of the USHL - Minnesota Duluth
Matt Thurber - Omaha of the USHL - Wisconsin
Jake Youso - Green Bay of the USHL - Minnesota

"B" Goalies
Brady Hjelle - Cedar Rapids of the USHL - Minnesota Duluth

"C" Players
Adam Mueller - Roseville High School - Minnesota State
Nick Pryor - U.S. NTDP - Wisconsin
Rylan Schwartz - Notre Dame of the SJHL - Colorado College

"Limited Viewing" Players
Brandon Martell - Tri-City of the USHL - Minnesota
Grand Scott - U.S. NTDP - Minnesota

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday @ The Rink: CC head coach Scott Owens

Colorado College head coach Scott Owens participated in CSTV's "Tuesday @ The Rink" online chat. Click here to see what the Tigers' head coach had to say on the heels of his team's sweep of Minnesota.

WCHA Players of the Week - 10/23

Wisconsin forward Kyle Turris, Colorado College goalie Richard Bachman, and Alaska Anchorage forward Winston DayChief have been named the WCHA Players of the Week.

From the press release:

University of Wisconsin forward Kyle Turris, who topped all league players with eight scoring points while leading the Badgers to a two-game sweep of Robert Morris last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for Oct. 23-29.

A 6-1, 180-pound freshman from New Westminster, B.C., Turris is the top scoring player in both the WCHA and the nation through the first three weeks of the 2007-08 season with 12 points on five goals and seven assists. He is averaging 3.00 points per game and it is believed his 12 points through four games is the best four-game start to a career in UW history. Former Badger and current UW women's hockey coach Mark Johnson began his 1976-77 season with 4-7-11.

Turris collected three goals and five assists in Wisconsin's 7-2 and 8-2 victories over Robert Morris on Oct. 19-20. He had two power-play goals and two assists in the Friday victory and then added another power-play goal and three assists in the win last Saturday. In addition to his eight points, Turris fired seven shots on goal and earned a +2 plus-minus rating.

Turris was the No. 3 overall pick of Phoenix in last spring's NHL Entry Draft.

Also nominated this week were: Chad Rau, F, CC; Brock Trotter, F, DU; and Malcolm Gwilliam, F, MTU.

Richard Bachman, a freshman goaltender at Colorado College, has been named Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 23-29 as a result of his outstanding play in a weekend sweep of two-time defending conference champion Minnesota.

A 5-10, 172-pound freshman from Highlands Ranch, Colo., Bachman stopped 61 of 63 shots on goal (.968 saves percentage) and posted five shutout periods, including one overtime, while backstopping the host Tigers to a 3-1 victory over the Golden Gophers last Friday (Oct. 19) and a 2-1 overtime win last Saturday (Oct. 20). They were his first two collegiate starts.

Bachman had 23 stops in the series opener and then came back with 38 saves in the series finale as CC swept UM at home for the first time since Feb. 5-6, 1999 and handed UM it's first road sweep since Feb. 27-28, 2004 at Denver.

In addition, Bachman, an NHL draft choice of Dallas, also played a key role in the Tigers' success on the penalty-kill against Minnesota, as CC held their opponents scoreless on all 11 power-play opportunities over the weekend.

Also nominated this week were: Michael-Lee Teslak, G, MTU; Alex Stalock, G, UMD; and Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, G, UND.

University of Alaska Anchorage forward Winston DayChief, who factored in both game-winning goals as the host Seawolves posted a two-game home-ice sweep over in-state rival Alaska Fairbanks last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Oct. 23-29.

A 6-1, 195-pound freshman from Standoff, Alberta, DayChief extended his point-scoring streak to four games by tallying two goals and adding one assist as the Seawolves continued their strong start to the 2007-08 season and pushed their record to 3-0-1 overall.

DayChief assisted on teammate Tommy Grant's third period game-winner at 16:25 of the third period last Friday (Oct. 19) evening as UAA skated past the Nanooks, 4-3, at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage. He then came back on Saturday (Oct. 20) night to score two goals, including the eventual game-winner at 18:56 of the second period, as Alaska Anchorage completed the series sweep over UAF with a 5-3 triumph.

Through the first three weeks of the campaign, DayChief is tied for fourth overall in scoring among WCHA rookies with 3-2-5 in four games, averaging 1.25 points per game.

Also nominated this week were: Eric Kattelus, F, MTU; Cade Fairchild, D, UM; and Patrick Johnson, F, UW.

Star Tribune adds Minnesota hockey blog

Before the season started, word leaked out that the Star Tribune would not be assigning a full-time reporter to cover the Minnesota men's hockey team. However, it seems like those plans have changed, as the Minneapolis-based publication has now established a Gopher hockey blog to compliment their standard coverage of the team. Roman Augustoviz appears to have taken over for Dean Spiros, who had covered the team for the last several years, as the primary beat writer.

You can view the blog by clicking the above link, and I've also added it to the 'WCHA-related Blogs' list on the right side of the page.

WCHA Blog Power Rankings - 10/23

To compliment the USCHO.com/CSTV Division I men's poll and the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings that are updated on a weekly basis, the WCHA Blog will follow LetsGoDU’s lead and establish its own weekly ranking system.

1. North Dakota
Last Week: 0-0 tie at Boston College, 3-0 win at Northeastern
This Week: Two games at Michigan Tech

The Fighting Sioux have yet to allow a goal this season and were very impressive two weekends ago in taking out the defending NCAA champions Michigan State Spartans by a 6-0 score. This weekend’s series in Houghton should feature a couple of hard-fought contests.

2. Colorado College
Last Week: 3-1 and 2-1 wins versus Minnesota
This Week: Two games at New Hampshire

Freshman goalie Richard Bachman appears to have emerged as the No. 1 guy between the pipes for the Tigers. If CC can continue to have their goalie(s) play well, that answers one of the biggest questions that faced the team during the preseason. They take on New Hampshire this weekend in what should be a very fun series in Durham, N.H.

3. Denver
Last Week: 4-3 loss and 3-1 win at Notre Dame
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota Duluth

The young Pioneers have just one loss in four games against some stiff non-conference competition in the form of Maine and Notre Dame. They return to the Mile High City to take on a Minnesota Duluth team that is unbeaten in four games this season. Senior goalie Peter Mannino has played well thus far, giving a boost to the young DU defensemen and forwards.

4. Wisconsin
Last Week: 7-2 and 8-2 wins versus Robert Morris
This Week: Off

Who says the Badgers can’t score goals? Well, granted they lit up Robert Morris in Madison, but 15 goals is a month’s worth for the typical Wisconsin team over the years. Kyle Turris is leading the nation in scoring, while fellow forwards Ben Street and Blake Geoffrion are also in the top ten nationally in scoring. They will rest up for a week before hosting Michigan Tech and North Dakota in back-to-back series.

5. Michigan Tech
Last Week: 2-0 and 7-1 wins versus Minnesota State
This Week: Two games versus North Dakota

After suffering a tough 3-2 loss to start the year against Northern Michigan, the Huskies have rebounded with three straight wins. Things will get much tougher this weekend with the top team in the country coming to town, but Michigan Tech has the experience and goaltending to hang with the Sioux in Houghton.

6. Minnesota
Last Week: 3-1 and 2-1 losses at Colorado College
This Week: Two games versus Ohio State and one exhibition vs. US-NTDP U-18 Team

It’s been a rocky start to the season for Don Lucia and Co., but the fact remains that the team is 2-2 against some good competition (RPI, Michigan, and CC) and hasn’t played in the friendly confines of Mariucci Arena yet. Junior Jeff Frazee has played very well so far, which is a good sign for Minnesota. They played very well in defeat on Saturday in Colorado Springs, but need their power play (3-26) to improve. The Gophers swept the Buckeyes last season in Columbus in a pair of lopsided games, but OSU should be a tougher test this time around for the Maroon and Gold.

7. Minnesota Duluth
Last Week: 2-1 and 4-2 wins versus St. Cloud State
This Week: Two games at Denver

The Bulldogs have taken care of business in four games at the DECC to start the season, going 3-0-1 over that stretch. They won a pair of close contests with St. Cloud State last weekend to emerge in a three-way tie for first place in the WCHA after one week. The UMD special teams have been very solid this year, as the power play is currently at 4-20, while the penalty kill is a particularly impressive 25 of 27. I’m sure most Bulldogs fans would happy to leave Denver with two points.

8. Alaska Anchorage
Last Week: 4-3 and 5-3 wins over Alaska
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota State

The Seawolves have been very impressive thus far, but the competition hasn’t been especially great, and they have played all of their games thus far in Anchorage. They will continue both of those trends this weekend as they play host to the Minnesota State Mavericks, who got handled by Michigan Tech last weekend. Sophomores Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark each have eight points for the Seawolves.

9. St. Cloud State
Last Week: 2-1 and 4-2 losses at St. Cloud State
This Week: Two games versus Bemidji State and one exhibition vs. US-NTDP U-18 Team

It’s been a tale of two weekends so far this year for the Huskies, who handled – as they should have – Canisius at home rather easily, but then struggled at Minnesota Duluth. SCSU is much younger than they were a year ago, so some inconsistent play early in the season isn’t too shocking. Bemidji State has certainly proved over the years that they can play with (and beat) WCHA teams on a regular basis, so this weekend will be a nice test for Bob Motzko and Co.

10. Minnesota State
Last Week: 2-0 and 7-1 losses at Michigan Tech
This Week: Two games at Alaska Anchorage

The Mavericks don’t play a home game until mid-November, and if last week’s showing in Houghton was any indication, it could be a long couple weeks for Minnesota State. They scored just one goal in two games at Michigan Tech, but did get solid goaltending from junior Mike Zacharias. They head to Anchorage to play a hot Seawolves team this weekend.

NTDP U-18 takes on UM, SCSU this weekend

The U.S. National Under-18 Team comes to Minnesota this weekend to take on the University of Minnesota on Saturday night and St. Cloud State on Sunday night. This is another good chance for WCHA fans to see several high-end kids play against top-notch competition before they play in the NCAA.

This year, there are fewer kids on the U-18 team that are committed to play in the WCHA than in year's past. Defenseman Sam Lofquist (Minnesota - 2008), forward Grant Scott (Minnesota - 2008), and Nick Pryor (Wisconsin - 2009), forward Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota - 2008), and forward Danny Kristo (North Dakota - 2008) are the WCHA-bound players on the team.

Two weekends ago in Colorado, Minnesota recruit Aaron Ness, who is currently a junior at Roseau High School, joined the team for the weekend. No word yet on if Ness will play in more games with the U-18 team, but it obviously wouldn't be too tough to make the drive down from northern Minnesota to partake in this weekend's games.

Some players to keep an eye on aside from the aforementioned kids are Vinny Saponari, a forward who recently committed to Boston University and was rumored to be interested in Wisconsin; forward Robbie Czarnik, who is a Michigan recruit and was probably the best player I saw on the ice when the team played in Blaine, Minn. at the NAHL Showcase back in September; and Jimmy Hayes, a 6'4", 205 lb. forward who is committed to Boston College.

Patrick Gaul (Notre Dame) recruit stood out to me at the Select 17 festival this past summer in St. Cloud. Defenseman David Warsofsky, who is a BU recruit, is also a fun player to watch.

USHL Update - 10/23

Click here to see the individual stats for USHL players that are committed to play in the WCHA. I will update this on a weekly basis during the USHL season. If you see a player I missed or a mistake, please take advantage of the comments section and let me know.

Bachman named INCH Player of the Week

Colorado College freshman netminder Richard Bachman was named Inside College Hockey's Player of the Week after his performance against Minnesota last weekend in Colorado Springs. The Highlands Ranch, Colo. native 61 saves and yielded just two goals on the weekend, as the Tigers swept the Gophers by scores of 3-1 on Friday and 2-1 in overtime on Saturday.

Monday, October 22, 2007

UND's Malone out about six weeks

According to Brad Schlossman's blog, North Dakota freshman forward Brad Malone will miss about six weeks after injuring his shoulder in Friday's game versus Boston College. Junior Brad Miller replaced Malone, a fourth round pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, in the lineup.

USCHO Poll - 10/22

Click here to view the entire poll. The number in parenthesis represents the movement in the poll from last week. North Dakota received 42 of the 50 first place votes, while Miami (7) and New Hampshire (1) received the other eight. WCHA teams in bold.

1. North Dakota (-)
2. Miami (-)
3. Michigan (+3)
4. Colorado College (+6)
5. Boston College (-1)
6. Denver (-1)
7. New Hampshire (+1)
8. Michigan State (+1)
9. Clarkson (-2)
10. Minnesota (-7)
11. Wisconsin (+2)
12. Notre Dame (-1)
13. Maine (+4)
14. Michigan Tech (NR)
15. St. Lawrence (-)
16. Massachusetts (+4)
17. Minnesota Duluth (NR)
18. Cornell (+1)
19. Ohio State (-7)
20. Alaska-Anchorage (NR)

Around the Country - 10/22

Each week, the WCHA Blog will take a look at action from around the nation that doesn't involve WCHA teams.

On Friday night, New Hampshire scored a key early season victory over Boston University at Agganis Arena by a 4-1 score. UNH's top line, which could be one of the best in the nation, torched the Terriers for three goals and three assists. Freshman James vanRiemsdyk and seniors Mike Radja and Matt Fornataro had a goal and an assist each for the Wildcats. Senior Kevin Regan made 30 saves for UNH. BU is still struggling to replace John Curry between the pipes, as they have yielded 11 goals in three games, including seven to Robert Morris (3) and Alaska Anchorage (4).

One week after getting worked over in Grand Forks by the Fighting Sioux, the defending NCAA champion Michigan State Spartans returned to East Lansing and swept Colgate by scores of 6-3 and 2-1. MSU got out to a 3-0 lead on Friday night and never looked back. The top line of Tim Kennedy / Justin Abdelkader / Tim Crowder combined for just a goal and an assists, but the second line of Matt Schepke (2 G, 1 A), Bryan Lerg (0 G, 4 A), Dustin Gazley (2 G, 0 A) did the damage for Sparty. The Spartan's top line accounted for both goals on Saturday night in MSU's win, as Kennedy and Abdelkader accounted for both MSU goals. Jeff Lerg was in net both nights for the Spartans.

Miami continued their strong early season play, as they dominated in-state rival Ohio State, winning both games of the home and home series by a 5-1 score. The Redhawks were without 2006-07 leading scorer Nathan Davis, who is out with a separated shoulder. On Friday night, junior Justin Mercier had two goals for Miami, while Carter Camper and Alex Martinez each had two helpers. Freshmen Tommy Wingels continued his hot start on Saturday, scoring two goals in the victory. He now has five points in his first four games. The Redhawks are scoring plenty of goals without Davis or fellow senior Ryan Jones, who had 48 points last season and just one so far this year, contributing much, which is a good sign for the boys from Oxford. Junior Jeff Zatkoff continued his strong play; he is 4-0-0 with a 1.00 GAA and a .960 save percentage.

Notes: Michigan got off to a good start in CCHA play, sweeping their series at Northern Michigan. Seniors Kevin Porter (three goals) and Chad Kolarik (one goal, three assists) were key in both wins for the Wolverines ... Boston College visited Vermont on Sunday, and the two teams skated to a 3-3 tie. The Eagles outshot the Wildcats by a 33-25 margin. Ben Smith and Brian Gibbons each had a goal and an assist for BC, while the same stats applied to Vermont's Peter Lenes and Dean Strong.

WCHA Weekend Recap - 10/22

Four games into the season and the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves are undefeated. After topping Wayne State and tying Boston University to open the season, the Seawolves defeated the Alaska Nanooks twice in the first of four games in the battle for the Governor's Cup. On Friday night, freshman Tommy Grant scored his first collegiate goal with less than four minutes left in the 4-3 victory. On Saturday night, fellow freshman Winston DayChief scored two goals as the Seawolves completed the home sweep with a 5-3 win. Sophomores Josh Lunden and Kevin Clark continued their strong play, as they both have eight points in four games. Alaska Anchorage opens up WCHA play next weekend by playing host to Minnesota State

After winning a pair of exhibition games the previous two weekends, the Colorado College Tigers used a great weekend of goaltending by freshman Richard Bachman to sweep the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the World Arena and putting themselves in a three-way tie for first place in the WCHA. The Tigers were very impressive on Friday night, as they cycled the puck in the Minnesota end for much of the game, and yielded just 11 shots to the Gophers over the final two periods. Eric Walsky, the former Alaska Anchorage player who wanted to transfer to Minnesota but was denied by the UAA administration, scored the game-winning goal early in the second period for the Tigers, who won 3-1. On Saturday, Bachman was the story in the Tigers’ 2-1 overtime win. He stopped 38 shots – including 21 in the third period – and Chad Rau, an Eden Prairie, Minn. native, scored both goals for the Tigers, who travel out to New Hampshire for a key non-conference series this upcoming weekend.

The Denver Pioneers have to be happy, as they open WCHA play with a 3-1 non-conference record against Maine and Notre Dame. This past weekend, the Pioneers split with the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind. In the first contest on Thursday night, the two teams combined for just 38 shots but accounted for seven goals. DU was 0-4 on the power play, which likely cost them the game as they lost 4-3. Sophomore Brock Trotter had two points for DU, while freshmen centers Tyler Bozak and Kyle Ostrow each scored. On Saturday, the DU power play was again poor, going 0-6, but senior netminder Peter Mannino made 19 saves as the Pios captured a 3-1 win. Freshmen Anthony Maiani notched the game-winning tally midway through the third period. DU returns to the Mile High City to take on Minnesota Duluth this weekend.

In another somewhat surprising turn of events, the Michigan Tech Huskies are currently are in a three-way tie for first place in the WCHA after sweeping Minnesota State in Houghton last weekend. On Friday night, Michael-Lee Teslak made 23 saves to earn the shutout in the 2-0 victory, while Jimmy Kerr and Alex Lord scored the Husky goals. The Tech goaltending was again key in Saturday’s 7-1 victory, as Rob Nolan made 35 saves. Malcolm Gwilliam, a junior forward, had a career-night, scoring two goals and chipping in three assists. The Huskies will try to prove they are for real when they host North Dakota, the No. 1 team in the country, this weekend.

It was a very tough weekend for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, who dropped a pair of games to Colorado College. The WCHA Blog was in Colorado Springs for both games, and Friday’s effort was as poor of a showing by the Maroon and Gold as I can remember in quite a while. There wasn’t much energy and they generated very few scoring chances. The defensive core had a very tough time getting out of their own zone and turned the puck over several times, and the forwards were unable to generate many scoring chances at all. Freshman Cade Fairchild scored his first collegiate goal in the 3-1 loss. Saturday’s effort was much better, but the end result was another loss while scoring one goal. The defense again had its’ issues, giving up a pair of two-on-zero breaks. Junior Jeff Frazee, the team’s MVP thus far, made a phenomenal save on the first break, but was unable to thwart Rau’s first goal of the night on the second break. The power play really cost the Gophers on Saturday, as it was 0-7. Minnesota has won a lot of games over time via the power play, and it will need to improve as the season goes on. Thankfully for Gopher fans, Don Lucia coached teams generally have a very good power play, and it should improve this season as some of the freshmen defensemen improve. Minnesota will play their first two regular season games of the season at Mariucci Arena this week, as they host Ohio State on Thursday and Friday. They then take on the U.S. NTDP on Saturday night in an exhibition game.

I mentioned earlier the Michigan Tech is in a tie for first in the WCHA, and one of the teams they are tied with is the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who got a little bit of retribution on St. Cloud State for their heart-breaking defeated of UMD in last year’s WCHA playoffs by sweeping the Huskies at the DECC this weekend. The Bulldogs used a pair of power play goals on Friday night to propel the Dogs to a 2-1 win. Despite giving up two power play goals on Saturday and going 0-5 with the man-advantage, UMD got third period goals from Jason Garrison and Andrew Carroll to complete the sweep with a 4-2 win. Sophomore goalie Alex Stalock was between the pipes for both victories. The Bulldogs travel to Denver this weekend for a pair of games against the Pioneers.

The Minnesota State Mavericks’ season got off to a very rocky start, as they were swept by Michigan Tech and outscored by a 9-1 margin on the weekend. In Friday’s 2-0 loss, Mike Zacharias played very well in net and kept the Mavs in the game, stopping 30 of 32 shots. Junior Dan Tormey got the nod on Saturday, but was pulled after giving up four goals on 11 shots. Zacharias played okay on Saturday, stopping 16 of 19. Sophomore Trevor Bruess scored the lone goal on the weekend for Minnesota State. The Mavericks have a pair of long roadtrips ahead of them – at Alaska Anchorage this weekend and then at Alabama-Huntsville the following weekend – before playing their first home game of the year against Minnesota on Nov. 9.

It was certainly an odd weekend for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux, who left the Boston area with a win and a tie, but only played five periods of hockey. The story of the weekend happened on Friday night, where UND took on Boston College in a much anticipated early-season matchup. The start of the game was delayed by 15 minutes due to fog on the ice after a power outage. BC’s arena, the Conte Forum, has had issues in the past with fog and soft / wet ice. So, after the teams played to a 0-0 tie after two periods, the game was called and will go in the record books as a tie. On Saturday night, North Dakota went across town to take on Northeastern, and emerged with a 3-0 victory. Senior goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux has not allowed a goal all season, having shutout Michigan State last weekend in Grand Forks. The Huskies shut down the T.J. Oshie / Ryan Duncan line, but the Sioux got goals from Andrew Kozek, Rylan Kaip, and Brad Miller, who was filling in for injured freshman Brad Malone, who was injured his shoulder in Friday night’s contest. North Dakota travels to Michigan Tech this weekend.

After beating and tying Canisius at home, the competition got cranked up a notch this past weekend, as St. Cloud State traveled to Duluth to take on the Bulldogs. Unfortunately for the Huskies, they were swept by UMD, losing 2-1 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday. The power play cost SCSU on Friday night, as they went 0-8. Sophomore Ryan Lasch scored the lone Husky goal with less than seven seconds left in the contest. The power play clicked for SCSU on Saturday night, going 2-9, but that wasn’t enough to overcome a pair of third period UMD goals. The Huskies return to the National Hockey Center this weekend to host Bemidji State in non-conference action. They also play the U.S. NTDP on Sunday night in an exhibition game.

The Wisconsin Badgers split the first two games of their season against Notre Dame (win) and Ohio State (loss), and then returned home this past weekend and proceeded to rough up a Robert Morris team that topped Boston University the weekend before. Freshman Kyle Turris and sophomore Ben Street each had two goals and two assists in Friday’s 7-2 victory. Junior Shane Connelly got the win for the Badgers, stopping 24 Colonial shots. Freshman Scott Gudmandson got his first collegiate start on Saturday night, and played well in stopping 25 of 27 shots faced. Turris continued his red-hot start to his season, putting up another four points. Sophomore Blake Geoffrion had one goal and four assists on the night. The Badgers take the upcoming weekend off before hosting Michigan Tech at the Kohl Center on Nov. 2-3.

Cunti saga continues - UPDATED

The on-going drama involving Luca Cunti and St. Cloud State continues. Cunti played for the Chicago Steel in the USHL on Saturday night, which would indicate that his chances of playing for the Huskies this year appear to be decreasing. As of last weekend, the 2007 third round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning had not yet received his clearance of amateur status from the NCAA.

UPDATED - Pointstreak has since updated the box score from Saturday's game, and apparently Cunti was NOT in the lineup for Chicago, and is still awaiting clearance from the NCAA in St. Cloud.

St. Clair commits to Colorado College

As noted on the Western College Hockey blog, PF Changs U18 forward Colton St. Clair has verbally committed to Colorado College for the fall of 2010, according to The Scouting News. The PF Changs team was in Colorado Springs this weekend, and the team attended both CC victories over Minnesota.

INCH Power Rankings: 10/22

Click here to view the list in detail. WCHA teams in bold. Minnesota State and St. Cloud State are the only two teams not ranked in INCH's current top 20.

1. North Dakota
2. Miami
3. New Hampshire
4. Michigan State
5. Denver
6. Colorado College
7. Clarkson
8. Boston College
9. Wisconsin
10. Michigan
11. Notre Dame
12. Minnesota
13. Massachusetts
14. Minnesota Duluth
15. Cornell
16. Maine
17. Michigan Tech
18. St. Lawrence
19. Air Force
20. Alaska Anchorage

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Weekend Preview: Oct. 19-21

The WCHA Blog is live from Colorado Springs this weekend, as I'm in town for the Gophers / Tigers showdown from World Arena. I'll try to keep the blog updated over the weekend on events happening here in the Springs and around the league.

Alaska Anchorage
Friday & Saturday – vs. Alaska

The Seawolves got their season off on a good note last weekend, as they emerged unbeaten after the Nye Frontier Classic. They were arguably more impressive in tying Boston University 4-4 on Saturday night than they were in defeating Wayne State by a 5-2 score on Friday. This weekend, they play the first of four games against in-state rival Alaska. The Nanooks have yet to play an official game, but defeated Southern Alberta IT by a 4-2 score in exhibition play. The night prior to that game, the Seawolves defeated that same team by an 8-0 score. Having already played two official games and the game this weekend played in Anchorage should give the edge to the Seawolves.

Stay tuned to the UAA Hockey Blog for more coverage.

Colorado College
Friday & Saturday – vs. Minnesota (8:30 p.m. CST on Friday, 8 p.m. CST on Saturday on FSN North)

The Tigers will finally hit the ice for some real action after playing one exhibition game each of the last two weekends. Those two games should help them adjust to the Gophers, who of course played – and won – a pair of games last weekend in St. Paul at the Ice Breaker. The Tigers will be without Jimmy Kilpatrick, who is out until mid-November due to a hip injury. CC was swept at home late last season by the Gophers, a series which really killed the Tigers’ post season chances.

Denver
Thursday & Friday – at Notre Dame

After a very impressive sweep of the Maine Black Bears last weekend at Magness Arena, the Pioneers head to South Bend for a key non-conference series against Notre Dame. The Irish were upended by Wisconsin last weekend on Friday night, but rebounded to top Mercyhurst on Saturday. Sophomore Rhett Rakhshani should be back in the lineup for DU after suffering a concussion last weekend. Fellow sophomore Tyler Ruegsegger had three points for DU, while senior Peter Mannino allowed just one goal on 55 shots against Maine. The Irish are a talented team but lost a good deal of production from the blueline and goalie position from last season. Both teams feature very good forwards but play a defensive style, so it will be interesting to see how these games play out. The series being played on a Thursday / Friday basis because of the Notre Dame / Southern California football game on Saturday.

LetsGoDU has continuing coverage.

Michigan Tech
Friday & Saturday – vs. Minnesota State

After a split at home last weekend, Michigan Tech will look to get off to a fast start in WCHA play this weekend when they play host to Minnesota State. The Huskies lost to U.P. rival Northern Michigan by a 3-2 score on Friday night, but managed to defeat Lake Superior State by a 4-3 margin on Sunday. Senior forward Tyler Shelast and sophomore defenseman Drew Dobson each enter the weekend with three points. Both of Tech’s standout netminders – Michael-Lee Teslak and Rob Nolan – saw action last weekend, and the two figure to continue to share the duties until one emerges as the No. 1 netminder in Houghton.

Minnesota
Friday & Saturday – at Colorado College (8:30 p.m. CST on Friday, 8 p.m. CST on Saturday on FSN North)

It was a weekend of highs and lows for the Golden Gophers a week ago in St. Paul. After getting off to a terrible start against RPI on Friday, the team rebounded to win by a 4-3 score. The next night, they came out and took a 2-0 first period lead against Michigan and managed to hang on for the 4-3 win. However, that win came at a large price, as junior forward Ryan Stoa was lost for the season with a knee injury. Junior goalie Jeff Frazee played great last weekend, stopping 69 of 75 shots faced. He’ll need to continue his strong play with the young Gopher defensive core playing in front of him. Expect the CC forwards to test the Minnesota defensemen on the Olympic sheet at the World Arena.

Minnesota Duluth
Friday & Saturday – vs. St. Cloud State

The Bulldogs host the Huskies in a rematch of one of the most memorable WCHA first round playoff matchups of all time. The Bulldogs defeated SCSU by a 3-1 score on Friday night last season, only to lose in overtime the next two nights, including a triple overtime defeat on Sunday to end their season. You can expect this to be another heated series between these in-state rivals. UMD tied Lake Superior State by a 2-2 score last Friday, and then Alex Stalock made 21 saves as the Bulldogs shutout Northern Michigan by a 4-0 score on Saturday. Look for the South St. Paul native to be in net for both games this weekend for UMD.

Minnesota State
Friday & Saturday – at Michigan Tech

The Mavericks are the only WCHA team that has not played an exhibition or regular season game, though they did hold a team scrimmage. This will be a good early season test for the young Mavericks, as they travel to Houghton to play one of the older and more experienced teams in the WCHA. Minnesota State doesn’t play a home game until mid-November, so it will be important for them to get off to a good start on the road.

North Dakota
Friday – at Boston College (7p.m. CST, CSTV)
Saturday – at Northeastern

After thumping the defending NCAA champion Michigan State last weekend, the Fighting Sioux head east to take on Boston College and Northeastern. North Dakota is certainly the favorite in both of these games, and will be looking to payback Boston College for bouncing them from the Frozen Four semifinals each of the last two seasons. The Eagles, much like the Sioux, are a very talented team, but the difference could be in goal, where UND will likely start senior Philippe Lamoureux, while BC will probably start freshman John Muse. Northeastern is an improved team from recent years, but it would very surprising if they were able to hang with the Green and White.

St. Cloud State
Friday and Saturday – at Minnesota Duluth

The Huskies will face a much stiffer test this weekend after gaining a win and a tie at home last weekend against Canisius. Even in the disappointing tie against the Griffins, SCSU outshot them by a three-to-one margin, so they certainly controlled the play on both nights. As previously stated, the Bulldogs will look to avenge their postseason losses to the Huskies last year. The DECC is generally a wild atmosphere, so this will be a good test for a Husky team that is much younger than they were a year ago. How the SCSU goalies play (be it Jase Weslosky, Dan Dunn, or B.J. O’Brien) may determine how the weekend goes for both teams.

Wisconsin
Friday & Saturday – vs. Robert Morris

The young Badgers witnessed mixed reviews last weekend, as they split their two games in the Lefty McFadden Tournament in Dayton, Ohio. On Friday night, they defeated Notre Dame by a 4-1 score and got one goal from each of their four lines. However, on Saturday, they fell to tournament-host Ohio State by a 5-3 score. Freshmen sensation Kyle Turris was able to put up 4 points on the weekend, and he will be counted on to score all season long, given the Badgers offseason losses up front. Shane Connelly will likely start Friday night’s game against the Colonials, while freshmen Scott Gudmandson could get the nod on Saturday. Robert Morris shouldn’t be taken lightly though, as they defeated Boston University last weekend in Anchorage as part of the Nye Frontier Classic, though they were outshot by a good margin.

Other Notable Games

Colgate at Michigan State

The Spartans will look to rebound off last weekend’s butt-kicking at Ralph Engelstad Arena as they take on Colgate. The Raiders defeated Sacred Heart and RIT last weekend.

Miami at Ohio State

Miami may be without senior center Nathan Davis, a preseason Hobey Baker candidate, as they take on their top in-state rival. Ohio State is coming off a two-win weekend and will look to take it to get a leg-up on the Redhawks early in the season.

New Hampshire at Boston University

The two teams play just one game on Friday night, but it’s a key early-season Hockey East matchup. UNH’s James vanRiemsdyk, who was the second overall pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, will make his regular season debut. He’ll be up against BU’s Kevin Shattenkirk, who was the 14th overall pick last summer by the Colorado Avalanche.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

WSJ article on players leaving school early

Andy Baggot wrote a good article in today's Wisconsin State Journal that talks about the recent trend of WCHA players leaving school early to play in the AHL / NHL. The topic has been re-hashed many times in recent years, but both Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves and Minnesota coach Don Lucia think that trend may change in the coming years.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Four CC players suspended

Colorado College's senior captain Scott Thauwald, sophomores Andreas Vlassopoulos and Brian Connelly, and freshman Brett Wysopal were all suspended for two weeks and not allowed to participate in hockey team activities for "wearing blackface and costumes of characters in a TV show about a black family," according to an article in the Colorado Springs Gazzette.

UPDATE: The players will be allowed to play this weekend versus Minnesota. LetsGoDU will have continuing coverage as the story develops.

According to the story, the incident occurred at the team's preseason golf outing. The team divided itself into groups, which each group picking a different television show to represent. Groups chose “Baywatch,” “Entourage,” “WWE,” “Scrubs” and “The Office." The group of Thauwald, Vlassopoulos, Connelly, and Wysopal chose to dress up in wigs and makeup as members of the "Family Matters" show.

From the article:

The punishment included two weeks without hockey team activities and disciplinary probation for the rest of the school year. The players were required to meet with members of the local branches of the NAACP and the Urban League, and participate in a campus forum at the school’s multicultural residence, Glass House, with members of the Black Student Union.

“The intent was to have good costumes,” Thauwald said. “We realize now, even though there was no racial intent, that what we did was wrong. We’ve all learned a lot through the last couple of weeks, and we’ve apologized to the school and the people we directly affected, and I feel like a lot of the students were pretty welcoming to our apology. We made a mistake.”

CTSV chat with Ryan Duncan

North Dakota's Ryan Duncan, who of course won the Hobey Baker award last year, took some time yesterday to partake in CSTV's "Tuesday @ the Rink" chat. Click here to read what the junior forward had to say.

UW's Engel out 2-4 weeks

Wisconsin senior forward Josh Engel will miss 2-4 weeks with a a shoulder injury, according to Todd Milewski's blog. Wisconsin head coach Mike Eaves said that the injury was not as severe as the team originally feared, but that Engel will probably miss closer to four weeks than two. Engel, from Rice Lake, Wisconsin, suffered the injury in the Badgers' season-opening win against Notre Dame last Friday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

NTPD's Wren commits to Denver for 2009

William Wren, who currently plays on the U.S. Under-17 Team, has verbally commited to the Denver Pioneers for the fall of 2009, according to the U.S. Hockey Report. The 6’1”, 185 lb. defenseman joins teammate Adam Murray, a goalie, as being DU commits for '09 from the Under-17 team. Both hail from Anchorage, Alaska as well. The Pioneers were the only WCHA team in the hunt for Wren.

DU head coach George Gwozdecky is putting together a very talented freshman class for 2009. Wrenn and Murray join Paul Phillips (USHL - Cedar Rapids), Matt Donovan (USHL - Cedar Rapids), and Nate Dewhurst (USHL - Des Moines) as '09 Pioneer recruits. If Denver can manage to keep a fair amount of their current underclassmen on campus for a few seasons, they should really be set up nicely for 2009 and beyond.

WCHA Players of the Week - 10/16

Alaska Anchorage forward Josh Lunden, Denver goalie Peter Mannino, and St. Cloud State forward have been named the WCHA Players of the Week.

From the press release:

University of Alaska Anchorage forward Josh Lunden, who produced five scoring points while earning Most Outstanding Player honors at the Nye Frontier Classic last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for Oct. 16-22, 2007.

A 6-2, 202-pound sophomore from Port Coquitlam, B.C., Lunden was named the Classic's Most Outstanding Player have scoring three goals and setting up two others for five point as the host Seawolves defeated Wayne State, 5-2, last Friday and tied Boston University, 4-4 (ot) last Saturday at Sullivan Arena in Anchorage.

He assisted on teammate Kevin Clark's game-winning goal against WSU while recording a career-best three points and then scored two goals against the Terriers, including the game-tying tally with just two minutes remaining in regulation.

Lunden has posted 5-2-7 in four career Nye Frontier Classic games and has a point in four consecutive games dating back to last season.

Peter Mannino, a senior goaltender at the University of Denver, has been named Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Oct. 16-22 as a result of his outstanding play in a weekend sweep of nationally-ranked Maine.

A 6-0, 195-pounder from Farmington Hills, Mich., Mannino backstopped the host Pioneers to back-to-back victories over the Black Bears last Friday and Saturday, posting 2-0 and 3-1 victories.

He recorded his 10th career shutout with 25 saves in the series opener on Oct. 12 and then turned aside 29 of 30 shots in the weekend finale on Oct. 13. In the series, Mannino stopped 54 of 55 shots on goal for a .981 saves percentage and also keyed DU penalty-killing units that yielded just one power-play goal in 11 opportunities. He stopped 18 of the 19 power-play shots on goal.

Mannino, who ranks second all-time at DU in saves percentage and is third in both shutouts and goals-against average, is 2-0-0 with an 0.50 GAA and .982 Sv%. Over his Denver career, he is 40-18-4 with a 2.33 GAA and .919 Sv%.

St. Cloud State University forward Tony Mosey, who was an offensive catalyst with four points for the Huskies as they opened their season with a win and tie against visiting Canisius College last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Oct. 16-22, 2007.

A 5-10, 185-pound freshman from Prior Lake, Minn., Mosey enjoyed a stellar first weekend as a collegiate player. He scored one goal and set up two others for three points to help St. Cloud State skate to a 7-0 victory over Canisius last Friday (Oct. 12) at the National Hockey Center. His first collegiate goal game on the power-play at 7:34 of the second period.

To complete his weekend, Mosey scored the Huskies' third goal of the game last Saturday (Oct. 13), an even-strength tally at 4:08 of the middle period, in an eventual 3-3 overtime draw.

In addition to his four points in the series, Mosey also fired four shots on goal and earned a +1 plus-minus rating.