Thursday, November 29, 2007

Weekend Preview: Nov. 30 - Dec. 2

North Dakota at Denver
Friday – 8:30 p.m. CST (Live on FSN Rocky Mountain and FCS Pacific)
Saturday – 8 p.m. CST

North Dakota travels to Denver this weekend to take on the second-place Denver Pioneers, and the Fighting Sioux will look to buck their early-season trend of splitting WCHA series. The Sioux are 4-4-0 in WCHA play, and have split each of their conference series (at Michigan Tech, at Wisconsin, versus Colorado College, versus Minnesota Duluth), which has left them in fifth place in the WCHA. The Pioneers split a home-and-home series with the first place Colorado College Tigers last weekend, with each team winning on home ice. Both teams have senior netminders, but the difference this weekend could be on the blueline, where North Dakota would appear to have more talent and experience. UND is also older up front, but DU’s sophomores (Brock Trotter, Rhett Rakhshani, and Tyler Ruegsegger) have done a very admirable job in carrying the load for DU.

Michigan Tech at Minnesota
Friday – 7 p.m. CST (Tape-Delayed on FSN North and FCS Central)
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North and FCS Central)

The Minnesota Golden Gophers return to conference play this weekend as they play host to the Michigan Tech Huskies. Both teams are off to slower than expected starts, and in particular Minnesota, whose troubles have been well documented. They rank near the bottom of the WCHA in nearly every key statistical element, including power play, penalty kill, scoring offense, scoring defense, and third period goal differential. The key to the weekend could be the play of Minnesota’s goals – Jeff Frazee and Alex Kangas. Both have been okay this season, but with Michael-Lee Teslak likely in net for the Huskies on both nights, Minnesota likely cannot afford any soft goals. Michigan Tech, meanwhile, will likely try to play a tight, physical game with the Gophers and try to grind out a pair of road wins. Goal-scoring has been an issue for Tech as well, so a pair of low-scoring games could be on tap at Mariucci.

Colorado College at Alaska Anchorage
Friday – 10:30 p.m. CST
Saturday – 10 p.m. CST

The first place Colorado College Tigers will look pad their four-point lead over DU for first place in the WCHA as they head north to take on Alaska Anchorage this weekend. They key to these games will be the Seawolves’ ability to slow down CC’s high-octane offense, which is led by the likes of Chad Rau, Jimmy Kilpatrick, and Billy Sweatt. They are averaging 3.6 GPG in WCHA play; the Seawolves have been scoring just 2.17 GPG in conference play, and go up against one of the conference’s best goaltenders in the form of Tiger freshman Richard Bachman, who has been the biggest surprise of the season so far. Expect CC to handle UAA handily in one night, but don’t be surprised if the Seawolves push the Tigers to the limit in one of the two contests.

St. Cloud State at Wisconsin
Friday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North-Wisconsin and showing at 1 a.m. on FCS Central)
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

In what could end up being a key series down the road for home-ice advantage in the WCHA playoffs, St. Cloud State travels to Madison to take on Mike Eaves’ Wisconsin Badgers, who are coming off a loss and a tie during last weekend’s College Hockey Showcase against Michigan and Michigan State, respectively. UW has four points in six conference games, which leaves them tied with UAA for eighth place in the WCHA. The Badgers need to come away from this weekend with at least two points to keep themselves in the hunt. The Huskies bring their top-ranked power play into Madison, and UW will need to key on sophomore Ryan Lasch and freshman Garrett Roe – the duo each have 20 points in 12 WCHA games, and are the conference’s co-leaders in scoring. UW’s scoring issues haven’t been as serious as they have been in year’s past, but they are far from an offensive juggernaut. SCSU has been yielding over 30 shots per game on a regular basis, so the Badgers will need to cash in on some of those chances, since it’s likely that the Huskies will get theirs in the offensive end.

Minnesota Duluth at Minnesota State
Friday – 7:30 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

Minnesota Duluth will look to keep gaining ground on CC and DU in the WCHA this weekend when they travel to Mankato to take on the Minnesota State Mavericks. On paper, it looks like four points should be in the Bulldogs’ future, but the Mavericks always have a propensity to play in-state teams tough, and certainly have the ability to take a point or two from UMD at the Alltel Center. Statistically speaking, UMD certainly wouldn’t appear to be a top WCHA team, but they have played well during the arguably toughest stretch of their schedule, and are primed to make a run at the top of the league with their next six WCHA games coming against the Mavs and Alaska Anchorage. Minnesota State didn’t play last weekend, and currently sits at the bottom of the WCHA, having amassed just three points in eight WCHA games, though most of their games have been away from home.

Other Noteable Games:

Boston University vs. Boston College
Friday - at BC
Saturday - at BU

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

WCHA Blog Power Rankings - 11/28

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. Colorado College (+1)
Last Week: 5-1 win and 3-2 loss versus Denver
This Week: Two games at Alaska Anchorage

The Tigers have a nice four-point lead in the WCHA race heading into this weekend's series at Alaska Anchorage, which gives them a decent shot to expand that lead, with second place Denver playing a though home series against North Dakota. CC has played arguably the toughest schedule in the nation and has obviously fared very well. They don't play another game at the World Arena until January 11, but play just five goad games from that date on.

2. Denver (-1)
Last Week: 5-1 loss and 3-2 win versus Colorado College
This Week: Two games versus North Dakota

The Pioneers are probably the most pleasant surprise in the WCHA this season. Like Michigan in the CCHA, the Pioneers infusion of youth, combined with an upperclassmen goalie, have allowed them to have great success on the ice. Their next two weekends are tough, as they host UND before heading to St. Cloud State to take on the Huskies.

3. North Dakota (-)
Last Week: 8-3 win and 4-2 loss versus Minnesota Duluth
This Week: Two games at Denver

Despite their average 6-4-1 overall record (4-4-0 in WCHA play), you haven't had to follow college hockey long to know that Dave Hakstol's teams always turn it on in the second half. This season, they have just as much talent as any of his previous teams at UND, so there's no reason to think another second-half surge isn't in store. That being said, it looks like DU and CC are near locks to finish in the top three, so that last spot appears to be North Dakota's to lose at this point, but leaving the Mile High City this weekend with points will be helpful to that quest.

4. St. Cloud State (-1)
Last Week: 4-1 win and 3-2 loss at Clarkson
This Week: Two games at Wisconsin

Sophomore Ryan Lasch and freshman Garrett Roe continued their hot play last weekend as SCSU went to Clarkson and left with a split. They now head into the teeth of their schedule, as their next six series shapes up like this: two at Wisconsin, two versus Denver, two versus Colorado College, Ohio Hockey Classic with Miami, Harvard, and Ohio State, two versus North Dakota, and a home and home versus Minnesota.

5. Minnesota Duluth (+1)
Last Week: 8-3 loss and 4-2 win at North Dakota
This Week: Two games at Minnesota State

Speaking of tough stretches in a team's schedule, it appears as though the best is yet to come for UMD, who currently sits a 6-4-2 overall and 5-4-1 in conference play. The Bulldogs play their next six conference games against Minnesota State and Alaska Anchorage, so it would appears as though a rise in the standings is on the way for UMD.

6. Wisconsin (-)
Last Week: 3-2 loss at Michigan and 4-4 tie at Michigan State
This Week: Two games versus St. Cloud State

Like the Gophers, UW left the College Hockey Showcase with more questions than answers. They lost a 3-2 game to Michigan that, by most accounts, could have been 6-2 if not for the Maize and Blue putting several pucks off pipes. The Badgers then skated to a 4-4 tie with Michigan State. They head home to Madison for a key series with SCSU this weekend.

7. Michigan Tech (-)
Last Week: Idle

This Week: Two games at Minnesota

Michigan Tech will look to cure their goal-scoring issues this weekend as they travel to Minneapolis to take on the Golden Gophers after not playing last weekend. The Huskies are just 4-5-1 in conference play with have just one win in their last seven games. They have just one home game from now until January 25, so they are going to have to learn how to get points on the road.

8. Minnesota (-)
Last Week: 3-3 tie at Michigan State and 5-1 loss at Michigan
This Week: Two games versus Michigan Tech

Minnesota played a solid road game on Friday night last weekend but blew a pair of third period leads versus Michigan State in tying 3-3. On Saturday, Michigan didn't run them up and down the ice, but the duo of Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter was just too much for Minnesota to stop. The Gophers are obviously having a down year, and will probably need a pair of wins over the next two weekends to remain in the race for home-ice.

9. Alaska Anchorage (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games versus Colorado College

The Seawolves will do their best to slow down the high-powered Colorado College Tigers this weekend at Sullivan Arena. UAA will look to carry over some momentum from it's 4-2 win on Nov. 17 at Mariucci Arena versus Minnesota. CC is averaging 3.60 GPG, while UAA is scoring just 2.17, so the Seawolves will likely look to bottle up CC and play a 2-1 type game if they can.

10. Minnesota State (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota Duluth

The Mavs have lost four-straight WCHA games, but have been in all but one of them. They take on another in-state rival this weekend in the form of UMD, who will be favored in each game. However, it wouldn't be shocking if they Mavs take a point or two from the Bulldogs in Mankato this weekend.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

UND adds goalie to replace Grieco

Earlier this month, North Dakota sophomore goalie Anthony Grieco left the team to pursue a career in the OHL. Today, the Fighting Sioux replaced Grieco on the roster with freshman Landon Snider, a former Brainerd High School player who was already enrolled at North Dakota as a freshman but not part of the hockey program.

From the press release:

Snider, a 6-foot, 170-pound UND freshman from Brainerd, Minn., has joined the team and begun practicing with the Sioux.

A 2007 Brainerd High School graduate, Snider was a three-year member of the Warriors boys hockey team. He lettered and was the starting goalie for his last two seasons. He helped Brainerd to the Central Lakes Conference championship in his junior season and a second-place conference finish as a senior.

Snider was named Brainerd’s team MVP in his senior year, and in his senior year he was also an all-conference selection along with being named academic all-conference. Snider was on the high school honor roll for two years.

In Snider’s senior season, Brainerd lost 1-0 in double overtime to Elk River in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota 7AA sectionals.

Snider’s high school head coach was Ty Eigner, and his position coach was former Sioux goalie Toby Kvalevog, who played at UND from 1993-97. Kvalevog is UND’s all-time leader in games played by a goalie (121), and ranks second in all-time saves.

WCHA Players of the Week - 11/27

Colorado College forward Chad Rau and goalie Richard Bachman, along with St. Cloud State defenseman John Swanson have been named the WCHA Players of the Week.

From the press release:

Colorado College center Chad Rau, who led all conference players over the Thanksgiving weekend with four scoring points, has been named the Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for Nov. 27-Dec. 3. This marks the second straight week Rau has earned the offensive honor.

A 5-11, 184-pound junior from Eden Prairie, Minn., Rau recorded his first collegiate three-goal hat trick - including his league-best fourth game-winner of the season - to boost the league-leading Tigers to a 5-1 victory over arch-rival Denver last Friday (Nov. 23) night at the Colorado Springs World Arena. His three goals came in succession in the first, second and third periods, giving him a natural hat trick.

Then last Saturday at DU, Rau added an assist on teammate Jimmy Kilpatrick's game-opening power-play goal at 1:11 of the first period in a game the Tigers dropped, 3-2.
In addition to his four points, Rau also extended his point-scoring streak to six games, fired 11 shots on goal and earned a +2 plus-minus rating in the series.

Through 12 games of the 2007-08 season, Rau is third in scoring overall among WCHA players with 15 points, including nine goals and six assists. He is an NHL Draft choice of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Also nominated this week were: Tyler Ruegsegger, F, DU; and Ben Street, F, UW.


St. Cloud State University defenseman John Swanson, who excelled at both ends of the ice in the Huskies' road series at No. 7-ranked Clarkson over the Thanksgiving weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Nov. 27-Dec. 3.

A 5-11, 180-pound junior from St. Cloud, Minn., Swanson has moved from forward to defense this season. He earned a +3 plus-minus rating in the series split against the host Golden Knights on Nov. 23-24, helped the Huskies kill nine of 10 CU power-play attempts, produced three scoring points, and had five shots on goal.

In a 4-1 St. Cloud State victory last Friday night, Swanson had one assist, was +2, and helped the Huskies go 6-of-6 on the penalty-kill in a game they were outshot, 33-13.

To complete the weekend, he scored his first goal of the season and his first collegiate shorthander to give SCSU a 1-0 lead in the second period, later added one assist, and earned a +1 plus-minus mark in a 3-2 setback last Saturday (Nov. 24) evening.

On the season, Swanson has one goal, five assists and six points in 12 games played.

Also nominated this week were: Nate Prosser, D, CC; and Alex Kangas, G, UM.

Colorado College first-year goaltender Richard Bachman, who stopped 52 of 56 shots on goal and posted three shutout periods in a weekend split against arch-rival Denver, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Nov. 27-Dec. 3. This marks the second time this season Bachman has earned the rookie honor.

A 5-10, 172-pound freshman from Highlands Ranch, Colo., Bachman stopped 28 of 29 shots on goal and blanked the visiting Pioneers on all four of their power-play chances in a 5-1 victory last Friday (Nov. 23) night at the Colorado Springs World Arena. He was named the game's second star.

He then came back with 24 stops in a 3-2 loss at Denver last Saturday (Nov. 24) evening, again stoning the Pioneers on both of their power-play chances. For the series, Bachman posted a .929 saves percentage , three shutout periods, and helped CC blank DU on all six man-advantage opportunities.

On the 2007-08 season, the Dallas Stars' (NHL) draftee sports a WCHA-best 8-2-0 (.800) record, a league-best .944 saves percentage, and ranks fifth overall in goals-against average at 1.70.

Also nominated this week were: Alex Kangas, G, UM; and Ryan McDonagh, D, UW.

USCHO Poll - 11/19

Click here to view the entire poll. The number in parenthesis represents the movement in the poll from last week. Miami received 44 of the 50 first place votes, while Michigan received the other six. WCHA teams, which occupy eight of the 20 spots, are in bold.

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

USHL Update - 11/27

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.

UW recruit Crandall mixes it up

Wisconsin recruit Aaron Crandall, a former goalie at St. Thomas Academy who now plays for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL, got into a pretty sweet fight with Chicago goalie Nick Pisellini in the Steel's 8-3 victory over Green Bay on Nov. 21.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ex-White Bear Lake defenseman Johnson to SCSU

As Chris Heisenberg first reported, former White Bear Lake defenseman Taylor Johnson has committed to St. Cloud State for the fall of 2008. Johnson, who currently plays for Green Bay in the USHL, would have been a senior for the Bears this fall. So far this year, Johnson, who currently stands at 5'9", 175 lbs., has played in 17 games for the Gamblers, posting two goals and four assists with a minus three rating.

Around the Country - 11/26

In the Rensselaer Holiday Hockey Tournament, Notre Dame was able to take down the host team – RPI – to capture the tournament title. In their first semi-final, the Fighting Irish took down Alabama-Huntsville, who pushed the Irish to double-overtime in last year’s NCAA Tournament, by a 4-1 score. On Saturday, the Irish needed a pair of third period goals – including Ryan Thang’s score with fewer than four minutes left – to topple RPI by a 4-3 score.

After dropping a 2-1 game in overtime to Harvard on Tuesday night, Boston University traveled to Madison Square Garden to take on the Cornell Big Red on Friday night. And in a game between two teams that are traditionally very defensive minded, the teams combined for 70 shots – 42 by BU – and the Terriers won by a 6-3 score. BU got goals from six different scorers, including a goal from each of their four forward lines. Brett Bennett made 25 saves in improving his record to 4-2-2.

Notes: Miami, the No. 1 team in the nation, outscored Canisius by a 15-1 margin in sweeping the Golden Griffins in Oxford … Boston College continues to be arguably the biggest bust of the season, as their record dropped to 3-4-5 after losing to Northeastern by a 4-3 score in overtime at home.

WCHA Weekend Recap - 11/26

Neither the Wisconsin Badgers nor the Minnesota Golden Gophers faired too well in the College Hockey Showcase, as both teams left the state of Michigan winless. On Friday night, Minnesota – playing without junior center Blake Wheeler who sat out with a knee injury – played a pretty solid road game at Michigan State, but were unable to hold on to a pair of third period leads, as they skated to a 3-3 tie. In Ann Arbor, the Badgers found themselves down 3-0 going into the third period versus the Michigan Wolverines, but a pair of late goals by Podge Turnbull and Ben Street gave the Cardinal and White a chance at the end, but they still came out on the losing end by a score of 3-2. Having a chance at the end of the game was not something that Minnesota had the next night versus Red Berenson and Co., as Michigan steamrolled the Gophers by a 5-1 score, ending their six-game skid versus Minnesota. The Badgers, like Minnesota, skated to a tie with MSU, but unlike the Gophers, UW again scored two goals in the third period to crawl back into the game. UW outshot the Spartans by a 37-27 margin.

As expected, Colorado College and Denver split in a home-and-home series, with each team winning on home ice. On Friday night, junior Chad Rau’s hat trick sparked the Tigers to a 5-1 win. Both of his linemates – Jimmy Kilpatrick and Scott Thauwald – each had two helpers, while defenseman Nate Prosser had a goal and an assist. Freshman Richard Bachman picked up his eighth win of the year, stopping 28 DU shots. The Pioneers rebounded nicely the next night though, as they limited CC to just 22 shots, including just five in the third period, en route to a 3-2 win. Sophomore Tyler Ruegsegger had a goal and an assist for DU. Senior Peter Mannino picked up his ninth win of the season.

In Grand Forks, the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs managed a split when, after Friday night’s game, it looked like North Dakota would roll to a sweep. In the first game of the series, North Dakota got out to a three-goal first period lead just 9:01 into the game. UMD then scored the next three goals to knot the game at 3-3. However, UND would score five unanswered goals to close the game out, winning by an 8-3 score. UND got goals from eight different scorers, and three of their four lines contributed two goals each; freshman Derrick LaPoint also scored from the blueline. In the Saturday rematch, the game was tied 2-2 midway through the third period, when UMD’s Drew Akins dumped the puck in on UND goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. And much like Robbie Bina’s goal last year at Minnesota, the dump-in skipped over JPL’s glove and into the net, giving UMD a 3-2 lead. Matt McKnight would tack on an empty-netter to give UMD a big 4-2 win.

In a rematch of last year’s two games in St. Cloud, the St. Cloud State Huskies went to Clarkson and came home with a split, which certainly has to be an outcome that the SCSU faithful would be happy with. On Friday night, SCSU was outshot by a 33-13 margin, but managed to win a by a 4-1 score, as sophomore Jase Weslosky made 32 saves for his sixth win of the year. Fellow sophomore Ryan Lasch continued his torrid pace, scoring a pair of goals. In the rematch on Saturday, the Huskies would again give up 30-plus shots, but freshman goalie Dan Dunn could not put up a performance similar to Weslosky’s, as SCSU lost 3-2. Clarkson’s Nick Dodge’s fifth goal of the season late in the third period was the difference for the Golden Knights.

INCH Power Rankings: 11/26

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

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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Weekend Preview: Nov. 23-25

College Hockey Showcase
Minnesota & Wisconsin at Michigan and Michigan State
Friday & Saturday Nights

For the first time a quite a while, both the Minnesota Golden Gophers and the Wisconsin Badgers will be the heavy underdogs in all four games of the College Hockey Showcase, as the two WCHA rivals head east to tangle with Michigan and Michigan State. Both WCHA schools are coming off disappointing weekends, with the Badgers having been swept by Colorado College and Minnesota taking two points from Alaska Anchorage at Mariucci Arena. Their CCHA opponents, meanwhile, are both off to great starts: Michigan has just one loss on the season, and that came at the hands of the Golden Gophers in the championship game of the Ice Breaker Invitation back in early October, while the Spartans have just three losses – one at North Dakota and two to the Miami Redhawks, who are the No. 1 team in the nation. It would appear that the most common theme in these matchups will be the CCHA’s edge in goal. Michigan’s Billy Sauer is finally living up to the hype that surrounded his arrival in Ann Arbor, while Michigan State’s Jeff Lerg proved his worth last spring in Sparty’s national title run. Minnesota’s combination of freshman Alex Kangas and junior Jeff Frazee has been okay at best, while UW junior Shane Connelly has struggled at times, especially during WCHA play. On the surface, if the WCHA could manage a split in these four games, it would be a nice accomplishment when you consider where all four teams are currently sitting.

Denver vs. Colorado College
Friday – 8:30 p.m. CST at Colorado College
Saturday – 8 p.m. CST at Denver

The marquee series in the WCHA – and around the nation for that matter – takes place in Colorado this weekend as the Colorado College Tigers and Denver Pioneers are set to do battle in a home-and-home series. The Pioneers, who are currently ranked No. 3 in the latest USCHO.com poll, currently trail the No. 4-ranked Tigers by four points in the WCHA standings, though the Pios have played two fewer games. DU’s defense has been stifling this year, allowing just 13 goals in 10 games. CC’s high-octane offense, led by the likes of Chad Rau, Jimmy Kilpatrick, and Billy Sweatt, will certainly test Peter Mannino and Co. this weekend. The series opens up at the World Arena on Friday night, and then shifts to Magness Arena on Saturday evening.

Minnesota Duluth at North Dakota
Friday – 7:30 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

Minnesota Duluth will look to get back to build off their win and tie versus Michigan Tech last weekend as they travel to Grand Forks to duel with the Fighting Sioux, who have plagued the Bulldogs over the last few years. To that point, UMD last beat North Dakota in December of 2004. The Sioux were off last weekend after going 3-3 in their first six WCHA games. UMD’s best shot to pull off the upset will likely be Friday night, as they might be able to take advantage of a potentially rusty UND squad.

St. Cloud State at Clarkson
Friday – 6 p.m. CST
Saturday – 6 p.m. CST

The Huskies won a pair of games from the Golden Knights last season at the National Hockey Center, so No. 7 Clarkson will be looking for a little revenge this weekend as SCSU visit Cheel Arena. These two teams were possibly set to meet in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, but both were upset in the first round of the East Regional. As is the case with ECAC teams early in the season, Clarkson will need to prove that, despite their 6-1-0 record and lofty national ranking, they can hang with a pretty good WCHA team in the form of the Huskies.

Michigan Tech, Alaska Anchorage, and Minnesota State are off this week.

Brainerd defenseman Olson commits to UMD

Brainerd High School defenseman Drew Olson has committed to Minnesota Duluth for the fall of 2008 or 2009. Olson, who currently stands at 5'11", 195 lbs, will be a senior for Brainerd this year and could join UMD as early as next fall. Olson was recently rated "B" prospect for this summer's NHL Entry Draft by the NHL's Central Scouting Service, and was a fourth round pick by the Omaha Lancers in the 2006 USHL Futures Draft. Olson would likely play in Omaha next year if he defers his enrollment at UMD to the fall of 2009.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tyler Ruegsegger plays hockey well

WCHA Blog Power Rankings - 11/20

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. Denver (-)
Last Week: 2-1 and 7-0 wins versus Minnesota State
This Week: Home and Home versus Colorado College


There’s not movement at the top of the power rankings this week, thanks in large part to a pair of sweeps by the two top teams. Denver took care of Minnesota State last weekend, and did so by outscoring the Mavs by a 9-1 score in the two games. They take on Colorado College in what should be a great matchup this weekend in a home-and-home series.

2. Colorado College (-)
Last Week: 4-3 and 6-1 wins versus Wisconsin
This Week: Home and Home versus Denver


As impressive as DU’s sweep was, CC’s sweep of the Wisconsin Badgers was even more impressive. They put 10 goals up on the Badgers in two games, which is not the easiest feat to accomplish. CC’s top two lines are arguably the best in the nation, and they are getting great goaltending from freshman Richard Bachman, who continues to dazzle on a nightly basis.


3. North Dakota (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota Duluth


After splitting three straight WCHA series, the Fighting Sioux took last weekend off, and return to action this upcoming weekend by playing host to Minnesota Duluth. UND last lost to the Bulldogs in December of 2004, so it will be an uphill battle for UMD in Grand Forks.


4. St. Cloud State (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games at Clarkson


Like North Dakota, the Huskies took last weekend off before heading out east for a non-conference series this weekend against Clarkson. SCSU swept the Golden Knights last season at the National Hockey Center by scores of 4-0 and 7-2, but the upcoming games should be much closer. Clarkson is 9-3-0 on the season and are currently ranked seventh in the current USCHO.com poll.


5. Minnesota Duluth (+2)

Last Week: 1-1 tie and 4-1 win versus Michigan Tech
This Week: Two games at North Dakota

The Bulldogs had a successful weekend, taking three of four points from Michigan Tech. UMD is now tied with Michigan Tech with 9 points, good for third place in the WCHA. Junior defensemen Josh Meyers leads the team in scoring with eight points in 10 games, while Alex Stalock has been great in net, posting a 1.97 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.

6. Wisconsin (-)
Last Week: 4-3 and 6-1 losses at Colorado College
This Week: One game at Michigan, One game at Michigan State (College Hockey Showcase)


After going 3-1 in non-conference play to open the season, the Badgers have struggled in WCHA play, winning just two of six games, and most recently were swept on the road by Colorado College. Scoring, which is usually a struggle for the Badgers, hasn’t been a huge issue in WCHA play, as they are fifth in the league. However, they are ninth in the WCHA in terms of scoring defense, ahead of only Minnesota State. Things don’t get any easier this weekend as they take to the road for the College Hockey Showcase.


7. Michigan Tech (-1)
Last Week: 1-1 tie and 4-1 loss at Minnesota Duluth
This Week: Idle


The Huskies got netminder Michael-Lee Teslak back last weekend, but only managed to take one point from UMD at the DECC. Michigan Tech now has just one win in its last seven games, and have just one game in Houghton from now until January 25. The Huskies are a middle-of-the-road team in most key conference statistics, but one of their issues is that they have no player with double-digit points, so the argument could be made that the Huskies lack a true game-breaker to win some of these close games.


8. Minnesota (-3)
Last Week: 3-0 win and 4-2 loss versus Minnesota State
This Week: One game at Michigan State, One game at Michigan (College Hockey Showcase)


The Gophers appeared to have righted their ship after last Friday’s 3-0 win over Alaska Anchorage, but then proceeded to fall back to their old ways in yielding three third period goals in a 4-2 loss on Saturday. On the season, Minnesota is a minus six in third period goal differential. The right names are appearing on the score sheet for Minnesota – Jay Barriball, Kyle Okposo, and Blake Wheeler all scored goals last weekend – but the Gophers need to work on playing a full 60 minutes of intense hockey if they hope to emerge as a top team. They take on Michigan State and Michigan this weekend.


9. Alaska Anchorage (+1)
Last Week: 3-0 loss and 4-2 win at Minnesota
This Week: Idle


The Seawolves used a three goal third period to stop their winless streak at five games last Saturday in Minneapolis. That was their first WCHA win and are now 1-3-2 in conference play. Sophomores Kevin Clark and Josh Lunden continue to play great hockey for the Seawolves, as they lead UAA in scoring.


10. Minnesota State (-1)

Last Week: 2-1 and 7-0 losses at Denver
This Week: Idle

The Mavericks have now dropped four straight games and have just one win in eight conference games to open the season. They are last in the league in both scoring offense (1.50 GPG) and scoring defense (3.62 GPG); and, not surprisingly, their power play and penalty kill both rank toward the bottom of the league as well. Part of their early season struggles could relate to their schedule: they’ve played nine of 10 games so far on the road. They are off this weekend but then host Minnesota Duluth and Wisconsin, so they have some chances – at home – to get back in the race.

WCHA Players of the Week - 11/20

Colorado College forward Chad Rau, Minnesota Duluth goalie Alex Stalock, Denver goalie Peter Mannino, and Alaska Anchorage defensemen Kane Lafranchise have been named the WCHA Players of the Week.

From the press release:

Colorado College center iceman Chad Rau, who helped the host Tigers to a two-game sweep over conference rival Wisconsin last weekend, has been named the Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for Nov. 20-26.

A 5-11, 184-pound junior from Eden Prairie, Minn., Rau produced four scoring points - including two shorthanded goals and a game-winner - as Colorado College moved into sole possession of first place in the WCHA race with a 4-3 victory over the Badgers last Friday at Colorado Springs World Arena and a 6-1 win last Saturday.

Rau scored two goals, including a game-tying shorthander at 3:21 of the third period, and set up another for three points on Nov. 16. Then on Nov. 17, Rau came back to score the eventual game-winning goal at 12:38 of the first period, this time with an unassisted shorthanded effort. In addition to his four points, Rau also earned a +4 plus-minus rating, fired five shots on goal, and won 59.5% of his faceoffs (22-of-37) in the series.

On the season, Rau is second in scoring for the first place Tigers, showing 6-5-11 in 10 games. He leads the team and shares the WCHA lead with three game-winning goals and two shorthanded tallies.

Also nominated this week were: Tyler Ruegsegger, F, DU; and Josh Meyers, D, UMD.

The University of Denver's Peter Mannino and the University of Minnesota Duluth's Alex Stalock - a pair of goaltenders who played crucial roles while helping their respective teams to successful results in league series last weekend have been named Red Baron WCHA co-Defensive Players of the Week for Nov. 20-26.

Mannino, a 6-0, 195-pound senior from Farmington Hills, Mich., stopped 56 of 57 shots on goal for a .982 saves percentage in the series and posted five shutout periods to backstop the Pioneers to 2-1 and 7-0 victories over Minnesota State on Nov. 16-17 at Magness Arena. The shutout last Saturday evening was his second of the season and 11th of his collegiate career. Mannino, who also had two assists last Saturday, including one on the game-winning goal, stands 8-2-0 on the season, is second among league goaltenders with a 1.31 goals-against average, and is first in saves percentage at .949. He has allowed one goal or less in DU's eight wins.

Stalock, a 6-0, 185-pound sophomore from South St. Paul, Minn., helped the host Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs to a three-point weekend against WCHA-rival Michigan Tech on Nov. 16-17, with a 1-1 overtime tie last Friday and a 4-1 triumph last Saturday.

Stalock stopped 65 of 67 opponent shots on goal in the series for a .970 saves percentage, did not surrender an even-strength goal as both of the Huskies' tallies came via the power-play, and had five shutout periods, including an overtime. He had 26 stops in the tie on Nov. 16 and 39 - including 34 in the first two periods - in the win on Nov. 17.

A member of the All-WCHA Rookie Team a year ago, Stalock is now 5-3-2 overall with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .929 saves percentage.

Also nominated this week were: Jon Olthuis, G, UAA; and Nate Prosser, D, CC.

University of Alaska Anchorage defenseman Kane Lafranchise, who played a key role in a two-game conference series at Minnesota last weekend, has been named Red Baron® WCHA Rookie of the Week for Nov. 20-26.

A 6-1, 198-pound freshman from Edmonton, Alberta, Lafranchise recorded his first collegiate goal and multiple-point game last Saturday (Nov. 17) to help the visiting Seawolves to a 4-2 victory over the two-time defending league champion Golden Gophers at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. He scored a game-tying goal at 15:56 of the first period and then drew an assist on teammate Brad McCabe's insurance goal at 10:02 of the third.

Lafranchise, who skated on UAA's top defensive pairing, also helped his team kill 10 of 11 opponent power-plays in the series, earned a +2 plus-minus rating, and fired four shots on goal.

Also nominated this week were: Richard Bachman, G, CC; and Dustin Jackson, F, DU.

NHL Update - 11/20

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.

USHL Update - 11/20

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.

Monday, November 19, 2007

USCHO Poll - 11/19

Click here to view the entire poll. The number in parenthesis represents the movement in the poll from last week. Miami received 48 of the 50 first place votes, while Michigan received the other two. WCHA teams, which occupy eight of the 20 spots, are in bold.

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

Around the Country - 11/19

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

In the key series of the weekend, the Miami Redhawks posted a very impressive sweep at Munn Ice Arena versus the defending NCAA champion Michigan State Spartans. The ‘Hawks outshot MSU by a good margin on both nights in winning 4-2 on Friday and 3-1 on Saturday. Both games witnessed Miami tack on an empty-net goal late in both games. Junior Justin Mercier had two goals in Friday’s win, and also scored in Saturday’s victory. Miami and Michigan have emerged as the top two teams in the CCHA, but will not meet on the ice until February 8-9.

Speaking of the Maize and Blue, Michigan extended their winning streak to ten games with a sweep at Lake Superior State. Junior Billy Sauer continued his great play, posting another pair of wins, while senior Kevin Porter is leading the way for the youthful Wolverines – he had a six-point weekend versus the Lakers. Michigan heads home to host Wisconsin and Minnesota in the College Hockey Showcase this upcoming weekend.

Clarkson has emerged as the top ECAC team early in the season, holding a 6-1-0 conference record after defeating Yale and Brown this past weekend. Junior Chris D'Alvise has 12 points in 12 games. After the Golden Knights, it looks like Harvard and Cornell may be the next best teams. Both clubs split over the weekend, but Harvard topped Cornell on Friday night.

Notes: Boston College went winless on the weekend, tying Massachusetts on Friday and losing to the Minutemen on Saturday … The New Hampshire Wildcats gained a split, losing to Northeastern in Durham by a 4-1 score on Friday night, but bounced back to top Providence 5-4 in overtime on Saturday … Notre Dame continued their solid play, sweeping Western Michigan in a home-and-home series; the Irish have now won five of their last six games …

WCHA Weekend Recap - 11/19

The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves ended their five-game winless streak on Saturday night in Minneapolis, as they were able to salvage a split with the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Mariucci Arena. They did this despite starring a road sweep right in the eyes, as they were down 2-1 heading into the third period. However, they managed to put up three third period goals and did a great job of limiting the number of chances the Gophers had in their effort to get back into the game. It was a much better effort by the Seawolves than they put forth on Friday night in a 3-0 loss. They managed just 24 shots, and not many of them were of high quality. Minnesota outshot the Seawolves by a 15-3 margin in the first period, but needed a pair of third period goals to seal the deal.

The Colorado College Tigers further established their first place standing in the WCHA by sweeping the Wisconsin Badgers at the World Arena. In Friday’s win, the Tigers needed two third period goals to overtake the Cardinal and White to win by a 4-3 margin, thanks in large part to the Tigers’ top line. Junior Chad Rau had a pair of goals, including the game-tying goal while shorthanded early in the third period, and senior Jimmy Kilpatrick had a pair of tallies as well, including the game-winner. Saturday’s rematch wasn’t close, as the Tigers second line did the majority of the damage in the 6-1 win. Andreas Vlassopoulos and Derek Patrosso each had two goals, while Billy Sweatt chipped in two helpers. Freshman Richard Bachman continued his stellar play, gaining the win in both starts. UW junior Shane Connelly was pulled in Saturday’s loss, but from a ‘glass half full’ perspective, the Badgers got goals from three of their four lines in Friday’s loss, so they aren’t relying on a single line for scoring.

As expected, Minnesota State gave Denver one tough game in the Mile High City this weekend, but ultimately ended up dropping a pair of games. In a scoring oddity, all three of the goals in Friday night’s 2-1 DU win came within a minute-and-a-half of each other. The Mavericks got on the board first thanks to a Trevor Bruess shorthanded tally, but DU freshman Kyle Ostrow tied things up a 1-1 just 33 seconds later. Just 22 seconds later, Brandon Vossberg scored his second goal of the year, and senior Peter Mannino made the one-goal lead stand. Saturday’s rematch was not so close, as the Pioneers cruised to a 7-0 win. Mannino actually ended up with a pair of assists on the night, while sophomores Tyler Ruegsegger (2 G, 1 A) and Brock Trotter (1 G, 2 A) had nice nights.

Despite getting junior Michael-Lee Teslak back between the pipes for both nights, the Michigan Tech Huskies were only able to take one point from Minnesota Duluth at the DECC this weekend. In Friday’s 1-1 tie, UMD got on the board in the first period thanks to Josh Meyers’ second goal of the season. Tech knotted things up on the power play late in the second period, as Tyler Schelast got his sixth goal of the season. UMD netminder Alex Stalock was the story on Saturday, as he stopped 39 of 40 Husky shots in the 4-1 win. That score is a little deceiving, since UMD tacked on two empty-net goals with under a minute to play to secure the win. Meyers scored the game-winning goal late in the second period for UMD, and got his fourth of the season later in the contest.

North Dakota and St. Cloud State were off this past weekend.

NHL.com article on former UND blueliner Lee

Click here to read an article done by NHL.com's Lindsay Kramer that talks about former North Dakota defenseman Brian Lee and his development in the AHL this season with the Binghamton Senators.

Hockey's Future Q&A with Sterling

Click here to read an interview that was conducted by Hockey's Future with former Colorado College Tigers star Brett Sterling, who started the year playing for the Atlanta Thrashers but was recently sent back to the Chicago Wolves of the AHL. Sterling led the AHL in goals last season with 55.

Oshie interview with Hockey's Future

Click here to download / listen to an interview that North Dakota junior T.J. Oshie did recently with Hockey's Futre.

INCH Power Rankings: 11/19

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

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

NTDP defenseman Marciano commits to CC

According to Kate Crandall's blog, U.S. NTDP Under-18 defenseman Joe Marciano has committed to Colorado College for the fall of 2008. The Alta Loma, Calif. native was also considering Harvard. Prior to joining the NTDP, Marciano, who stands at 6-foot-1, 194-pounds, played for Shattuck-St. Mary's in Fairbault, Minn.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weekend Preview: Nov. 16-18

Minnesota State at Denver
Friday – 8:30 p.m. CST
Saturday – 8 p.m. CST

The Denver Pioneers, fresh off their one week break from WCHA play, return to action by hosting five of the next six games at home, starting with two contests this weekend versus Minnesota State. The Pios hosted the Mavs last year for a pair of games, and got three points from Minnesota State. They key to Denver’s success (they are 6-2-0 on the young season) as been their defense: in their six wins, they have allowed a total of just five goals. Senior goalie Peter Mannino has obviously been paramount to their defensive success, and his numbers are stellar: a 1.52 goals against average and a .940 save percentage. The Mavericks are coming off a pair of losses versus Minnesota in a home and home series last weekend. That is becoming the norm for Minnesota State, as they have beat Minnesota just twice in their history. They have traditionally played DU tough, so they should bounce back and be competitive in the Mile High City this weekend.

Wisconsin at Colorado College
Friday – 8:30 p.m. CST
Saturday – 8 p.m. CST

The Colorado College Tigers have been a very streaky team this year: they won their first two games, lost their next three, and are currently riding a three-game winning streak into their series versus the Wisconsin Badgers this weekend. Last weekend, CC dispatched of Minnesota Duluth in a two-game sweep by scores of 5-3 and 3-0. Sophomore Billy Sweatt is off to a great start for CC, as he’s scored four goals and chipped in six assists in just eight games. Freshman netminder Richard Bachman, however, has been the real key: he’s 5-1-0 with a 1.49 goals against average and a .950 save percentage. The Badgers, meanwhile, have split in three of their four weekend series so far this season, and most recently took two points from North Dakota at the Kohl Center. UW has scored 20 goals in their four non-conference games, but just 11 in their four WCHA games. After these two games with Wisconsin and then hosting Denver next Friday on the front-end of a home and home series, the Tigers won’t play their next home game until January 11. However, after that day, they play 11 of their final 16 games at the World Arena.

Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota
Friday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North and FCS Central)
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North and FCS Atlantic)

Minnesota will look to climb back to the .500 mark in WCHA play this weekend as they host the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves in a rematch of last year’s three game WCHA first round playoff series. Despite all the “doom and gloom” that’s been surrounding Minnesota’s season so far, they are 6-4-0 and have played one of the tougher schedules in the nation, so there’s some reason for optimism on behalf of Minnesota fans. The Seawolves start a pretty tough stretch this weekend: they are at Minnesota for two games, then return home to host CC for two, travel back to the state of Minnesota to take on UMD, and they head back to Anchorage for a pair with DU.

Michigan Tech at Minnesota Duluth
Friday – 7 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST

This series will feature a pair of WCHA teams that got off to very hot starts to the season but have seen those hot starts fizzle a bit in recent weeks. Minnesota Duluth went undefeated in their first four games of the year – all at home at the DECC – but has subsequently lost three of four games at Denver and Colorado College. Michigan Tech, meanwhile, similarly played a majority of their early season games at home, and went 4-2 in those six games; however, they then split at UW and were swept back in Houghton last weekend by St. Cloud State. They key to this series will be the availability of Tech goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak. The junior missed both games last weekend with a sore back and it showed in the two losses to SCSU. Fellow junior Rob Nolan is a very solid goalie, but Teslak is “the guy” for Tech. UMD sophomore Alex Stalock appears to have emerged as a legit D-I goalie after an up and down freshman campaign. He’s played each game this year for UMD, posting a 4-3-1 record with a 2.24 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.

North Dakota and St. Cloud State are off this week.

Other Noteable Games

Miami at Michigan State
Thursday – Miami 4, Michigan State 2
Friday – 6 p.m. CST

These two teams kicked off the weekend a bit early last with, with Miami going into Munn Ice Arena and upending the defending NCAA champions by a 4-2 score. Michigan State’s power play was their downfall last night, going 0-8. Meanwhile, the Redhawks cashed in twice with the man advantage, going 2-6. The game was 2-2 going into the third period, but Miami’s Nathan Davis scored just :54 seconds into the final frame, and Justin Mercier would tack on an empty-netter with :41 seconds left. The Spartans had just three shots in the third period. The rematch is set for tonight.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WCHA Blog Power Rankings - 11/15

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. Denver (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota State

The Pioneers stay on top after taking the previous weekend off, and return to action this weekend as they host Minnesota State. On the surface, it would appear like an easy weekend is ahead for the Pioneers, but the Mavericks will likely put up a pretty good fight in an least one of this weekend's games.


2. Colorado College (+1)
Last Week: 5-3 and 3-0 wins versus Minnesota Duluth
This Week: Two games versus Wisconsin

The Tigers returned home after two straight weekends on the road and took care of business as they swept Minnesota Duluth. Freshman goalie Richard Bachman continued his stellar start to his NCAA career, and is answering one of the biggest questions coming into the season for the Tigers. Things will get a little tougher this weekend as they host the Badgers.


3. North Dakota (-1)
Last Week: 4-0 loss and 3-1 win at Wisconsin
This Week: Idle

After three straight splits to open the WCHA season, the Fighting Sioux take this weekend off before hosting UMD on Thanksgiving weekend. Last weekend in Madison, the Fighting Sioux could have easily won both games -- even in Friday night's 4-0 loss, UND outshot the Badgers 43-24, including 25 shots in the third period.


4. St. Cloud State (+3)
Last Week: 5-2 and 4-1 wins at Michigan Tech
This Week: Idle

St. Cloud State put up an impressive pair of victories last weekend as they swept the Michigan Tech Huskies in Houghton. It should be noted that Tech was without their top goaltender, but SCSU took advantage of that, which isn't always something a team is able to do. Freshman Garrett Roe and sophomore Ryan Lasch are tied with 17 points, which leads the nation.

5. Minnesota (+4)
Last Week: 4-3 and 5-3 wins versus Minnesota State
This Week: Two games versus Alaska Anchorage

Minnesota's power play ended its 0-30 drought last weekend, and -- not surprisingly -- ended up winning a couple games versus Minnesota State. And maybe most importantly, sophomore Kyle Okposo got on the board with a pair of goals, his first since the opening game of the season.


6. Wisconsin (-)
Last Week: 4-0 win and 3-1 loss versus North Dakota
This Week: Two games at Colorado College

I'm sure Mike Eaves and Co. were happy with a home split versus a team of North Dakota's caliber, and they will likely have a similar goal this weekend as they head to Colorado College to take on the Tigers. The Badgers got a good opportunity to play against a high-octane offense last weekend, and will face a similar group of forwards this weekend in the form of the Tigers.


7. Minnesota Duluth (-2)
Last Week: 5-3 and 3-0 losses at Colorado College
This Week: Two games versus Michigan Tech

After going undefeated in their first four games, UMD has dropped three of their last four games, including getting swept at CC last weekend. Now, all four of those games have been on the road against very solid teams (CC and DU). The Bulldogs return home to tangle with Michigan Tech this weekend in what should feature a pair of tightly-contested games.


8. Michigan Tech (-4)
Last Week: 5-2 and 4-1 losses versus St. Cloud State
This Week: Two games at Minnesota Duluth

The Huskies were without goaltender Michael-Lee Teslak last weekend versus St. Cloud State, and subsequently yielded nine goals in a pair of losses against SCSU. That being said, they also scored just three goals against a St. Cloud State team that doesn't appear to be a defensive dynamo. They suffered a big blow this week when star freshman-to-be Casey Pierro-Zabotel elected to enroll at Tech but will rather play in the WHL.


9. Minnesota State (-1)
Last Week: 4-3 and 5-3 losses versus Minnesota
This Week: Two games at Denver

The Mavericks continued to have their struggles versus their top in-state rival as they were swept by Minnesota in a home and home series last weekend. The scores would indicate that the games were fairly close, but there wasn't really a point in either game were it appeared like the Mavs were going to take over and win the game. Things don't get any easier this weekend as they head to Denver to take on the Pioneers, who were off last weekend.


10. Alaska Anchorage (-)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games at Minnesota

The Seawolves were off last weekend after taking one point from SCSU the weekend before. They now head back to the state of Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers in a rematch of last year's hotly contested WCHA first round playoff series. Because of that series, the Seawolves know they can hang with the Gophers. Getting off to a good start will be key for the Seawolves.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Minnesota State picks up another 2009 recruit

PF Changs Major Midget defenseman Danny Heath has committed to Minnesota State for the 2009 season, according to Chris Heisenberg. The Glendale, Ariz. native is already 6'1", 175 lbs. and was invited to the U.S. NTDP tryouts in 2006. Heath joins goaltender Kevin Murdock (Lincoln - USHL) as the two Maverick recruits for 2009.

Another Mattson picks UND

As Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald first reported, U.S. NTDP Under-17 defenseman Nick Mattson has verbally committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of 2010. The Chaska, Minn. native chose the Fighting Sioux over Minnesota and Wisconsin.


This Mattson will join Holy Angels junior forward Danny Mattson (no relation) and several other Twin Cities natives in Grand Forks over the next several years. Schlossman's blog does a good job of outlining the UND / Twin Cities pipeline.

Here are some quotes from Mattson, which come from the GFH article that is linked to in the first paragraph:

“North Dakota kind of matches my personality,” Mattson said. “I’m a small town kid. I just really felt comfortable with the coaching staff and facilities. I had a chance to meet some of the guys when I visited there, asked them some questions, and everyone seemed to love it.”


“This is the biggest relief I’ve ever felt in my life,” Mattson said. “I had a long time to think about it. It’s something I’ve really been thinking about all the time for the past five months. It feels really, really good to have it done with.”



"I have a ton of things to work on to get to where I want to be,” Mattson said. “It’s nice to get this (commitment) out of the way, so I can focus on my game.”

It's official: Pierro-Zabotel to the Dub

As the Western College Hockey blog speculated last month, Michigan Tech recruit Casey Pierro-Zabotel will not enroll at Michigan Tech, but will rather sign with the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, thus giving up his NCAA eligibility. He had been playing in the BCHL while trying to gain eligibility after he was initially denied by the NCAA Clearinghouse this past fall. Pierro-Zabotel was a second round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

WCHA Blog's Take: This is certainly a big blow to Michigan Tech. While their current roster has the makings of a very formidable team, they lack the explosive game-breaking type player that Pierro-Zabotel could have been.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

WCHA Players of the Week - 11/13

St. Cloud State forward Ryan Lasch, Denver goalie Peter Mannino, and Denver forward Tyler Bozak have been named the WCHA Players of the Week.

From the press release:

For the second straight week, St. Cloud State University right winger Ryan Lasch is the Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, this time for his efforts in a two-game conference road sweep over league-leading Michigan Tech.

A 5-7, 175-pound sophomore from Lake Forest, Calif., Lasch led all league players with three goals over the Nov. 9-10 weekend, and also added one assist and five shots on goal. In the process, Lasch extended his goal scoring streak to five games and his point scoring streak to six games.

In a 5-2 St. Cloud State victory over the host Huskies last Friday night, Lasch scored the game-opening goal in the first period and then netted the eventual game-winner at 6:53 of the second. Then in a 4-1 SCSU triumph last Saturday, Lasch added another goal and an assist on the game-opening goal.

Lasch, who was a member of the All-WCHA Rookie Team as a freshman in 2006-07, currently shares the scoring lead overall among WCHA players, and is also first among all Division 1 players, with 17 points (8g, 9a) in 10 games played.

Also nominated this week were: Andreas Vlassopoulos, F, CC; and Ben Gordon, F, UM.


University of Wisconsin goaltender Shane Connelly, who stopped 74 of 77 shots on goal and recorded his fifth collegiate shutout in a conference series split against visiting North Dakota last weekend, been named Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Nov. 13-19.

A 5-9, 177-pound junior from Cheltenham, Pa., Connelly posted a .961 saves percentage in the two games, posted four shutout periods and allowed just two even-strength goals.

He had a 43-save shutout - including 25 stops in the third period - in Wisconsin's 4-0 victory over the Fighting Sioux last Friday (Nov. 9) night at the Kohl Center, the second most saves for a UW goaltender in a shutout behind the 50 stops made by Dick Perkins at Michigan State on Feb. 25, 1972 in a 5-0 win.

Then last Saturday (Nov. 10), Connelly came back with 31 saves in a 3-1 setback to UND, including double digit stop totals in all three periods.

In addition to his 74 saves in the series, Connelly also helped hold North Dakota to one power-play goal in nine opportunities.

Also nominated this week were: Jake Gannon, D, CC; and Jase Weslosky, G, SCSU.

Colorado College freshman goaltender Richard Bachman, who backstopped the Tigers into first place in the WCHA with a pair of victories over visiting Minnesota Duluth last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Nov. 13-19. Bachman earned the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week award back on Oct. 23 for his play against Minnesota.

A 5-10, 172-pounder from Highlands Ranch, Colo., Bachman earned his first collegiate shutout, stopped 58 of 61 shots on goal in the series for a .951 saves percentage, and blanked the Bulldogs on all six of their weekend power-play chances. He had double digit save totals in five of the six periods.

Bachman stopped all 34 Minnesota Duluth shots on goal last Saturday (Nov. 10) evening at the Colorado Springs World Arena to notch his first career shutout as the host Tigers logged a 3-0 victory. Last Friday (Nov. 9), he made 24 saves in a 5-3 CC victory.

On the season, Bachman ranks first among WCHA goalies overall in both winning percentage (5-1-0, .833) and saves percentage (.950), and is second in goals-against average at 1.49.

Also nominated this week were: Cade Fairchild, D, UM; and Garrett Roe, F, SCSU.

UW's Shane Connelly is good

USHL Update - 11/13

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.

Monday, November 12, 2007

USCHO Poll - 11/12

Click here to view the entire poll. The number in parenthesis represents the movement in the poll from last week. Miami received 26 of the 50 first place votes, while Michigan received 22 votes and Michigan State got two votes. WCHA teams, which occupy eight of the 20 spots, are in bold.

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

Minnesota's Howe out with a concussion

In what was a very scary scene at Mariucci Arena on Saturday night, Minnesota senior forward Mike Howe suffered a stage two concussion, according to a report in the Star Tribune. However, it appeared for a moment as though Howe's injury could have been much more severe, as he laid on the ice for several minutes after hitting his head / neck / shoulder off the boards after trying to make a hit on a Minnesota State player. Howe was taken off the ice while strapped to a medical board (not the proper name I'm sure). FSN reported later in the game that he was taken off in a such a manner mainly for precautionary reasons.

Around the Country - 11/12

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

In the key series of the weekend in all of college hockey, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish was able to go on the road and gain a split with the Miami Redhawks. Notre Dame netminder Jordan Pearce was under siege quite often on Friday night, but managed to turn away 32 of 33 Miami shots in the 2-1 win. The one shot that did get by came from the stick of the Redhawks’ Nathan Davis, who returned to the lineup after missing the last few weeks with a shoulder injury. Miami came out flying on Saturday night, taking a 2-0 lead after the first period and outshooting the Irish by a 16-4 margin. That would be all the Redhawks would need in the 3-1 victory.

In the surprise of the weekend, Providence was able to go into Maine and sweep the Black Bears. On Friday, Maine was outshot by the Friars 39-17 and lost 6-2. Saturday’s game was played much closer to the vest, but Maine still lost by a 1-0 score and was against outshot by a wide margin (34-22).

In the marquee Hockey East matchup of the weekend, the New Hampshire Wildcats took it to the Boston College Eagles in Durham on Saturday night, topping BC by a 5-2 score. The Eagles tied the game early in the third period, but the Wildcats scored three third period goals to gain the win. BC was without junior Nathan Gerbe, who was suspended by Hockey East for an incident in Friday night’s tie versus Merrimack (though Gerbe was not penalized on the play).

Notes: Michigan extended their winning streak to eight games by sweeping Alaska at Yost Ice Arena by scores of 4-0 and 4-2 … Michigan State put up a pair of 6-2 victories at home versus MercyhurstBoston University went winless on the weekend, losing to Massachusetts at home on Friday and tying Northeastern on Saturday … Harvard didn’t allow a goal on the weekend, as they blanked RPI and Union in a pair of wins.

WCHA Weekend Recap - 11/12

In maybe the surprise of the weekend in the WCHA, the St. Cloud State Huskies went into Houghton and swept the Michigan Tech Huskies in a pair of games that weren’t really close. In Friday night’s 5-2 victory, freshman center Garrett Roe three assists, all of which came on the Huskies three power play goals. Junior Rob Nolan got the start between the pipes for Tech on both nights, as fellow junior Michael-Lee Teslak was out with an injury (rumored to be back spasms). On Saturday night, the SCSU power play went 0-3, but sophomore Jase Weslosky made 24 saves in the 4-1 win. SCSU’s Ryan Lasch had a goal and an assist in the win.

In what turned out to be a hotly contested series, the North Dakota Fighting Sioux split for the third weekend in a row against, this time against the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison. On Friday night, Wisconsin’s Shane Connelly turned away 43 North Dakota shots – including 25 in the third period – and the Badgers got three third period goals to propel themselves to a 4-0 win. The Fighting Sioux were able to rebound for a 3-1 win on Saturday, but the game was largely overshadowed by the end-of-game antics which resulted in 122 minutes in penalties at the 16:52 mark of the third period. The video can be viewed here, along with the video of the argument between UND head coach Dave Hakstol and UW head coach Mike Eaves at the end of the game.

The Colorado College Tigers continued their strong play, sweeping the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs at the World Arena in Colorado Springs. In Friday night’s 5-3 win, the Tigers scored four goals in the second period to jump out to a 5-2 lead which they would of course hold on to. CC’s top line of Bill Sweatt, Andreas Vlassopoulos and Derek Patrosso combined for seven points on the evening. Freshman goalie Richard Bachman got the win on Friday, which earned him a start in Saturday night’s rematch, and he didn’t disappoint, as he blanked the Bulldogs by a 3-0 score. Senior Jimmy Kilpatrick, back from injury, scored the game-winning goal midway through the first period.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers finally won a WCHA game on Friday night, and followed that up with another win on Saturday as they swept the Minnesota State Mavericks in a home and home series. On Friday night, the Gophers took a 4-1 lead into the third period at the Alltel Wireless Center in Mankato, but the Mavs scored a pair of goals in the third to cut the lead to one, but Minnesota was able to limit MSU’s chances down the stretch and hang on for the 4-3 win. In Saturday’s rematch in Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Kyle Okposo scored a pair of goals – his first since the opening game of the season – as the Gophers topped the Mavs by a 5-3 score. The power play, which had been zero for the last 30 for Minnesota, went 5-10 against MSU, so it would appear that the Gophers are in the process of righting the ship.

Alaska Anchorage and Denver were off this weekend.

INCH Power Rankings: 11/12

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

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

Friday, November 9, 2007

Shattuck's Novotny commits to Denver

As Chris Heisenberg first reported, Shattuck St. Mary's forward Stepan Novotny has committed to the Denver Pioneers for the fall of 2008. Novotny is a native of the Czech Republic and has 29 points in 22 games so far this year for SSM, as the Western College Hockey blog points out. Novotny will join Joe Colborne (F - AJHL), Nate Dewhurst (F - USHL), and John Lee (D - USHL) as Pioneer freshmen next fall.

Weekend Preview: Nov. 9-11

St. Cloud State at Michigan Tech
Friday – 6 p.m. CST
Saturday – 6 p.m. CST

After gaining a split with the Wisconsin Badgers last weekend in Madison, the Michigan Tech Huskies return home to Houghton to tangle with the St. Cloud State Huskies. Michigan Tech currently sits alone in first place in the WCHA, having gained eight points in six conference games. They managed an impressive road split at the Kohl Center, which as always a difficult place to play. But Tech is an experienced team, which will certainly play to their advantage as this season progresses. St. Cloud State, meanwhile, is not a veteran team, and it showed in their first road series of the year, which featured a pair of losses to Minnesota Duluth. Look for a pair of closely contested games between these two teams. Michigan Tech won the only two meetings between the two teams last season.

Minnesota Duluth at Colorado College
Friday – 8:30 p.m. CST
Saturday – 8 p.m. CST

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who are a somewhat surprising 4-1-1 overall after six games, head back to the state of Colorado this weekend after taking two points from the Denver Pioneers two weeks ago. This time around, they’ll head down to Colorado College to take on the Tigers, who are coming off a split at North Dakota. They key do UMD’s early season success has been the play of sophomore Alex Stalock and the defensive core. Overall, UMD is yielding just 1.67 goals per game. They are averaging just 2.67, so there isn’t a lot of room for error at this point. CC, meanwhile, is just 3-3 on the year, but they have played one of the toughest schedules in the country, with four of their six games coming away from the World Arena.

Minnesota vs. Minnesota State (Home and Home)
Friday – 7:30 p.m. CST (Live on Charter, FSN North, and FCS Central)
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North and FCS Atlantic)

The struggling Golden Gophers take their act to Mankato on Friday night to take on the Minnesota State Mavericks in the Mavs’ home opener. Minnesota’s power play is on a well-documented 0-30 streak, and will need to improve if they hope to capture any points in this weekend’s series. The Mavericks feature a hot goaltender in the form of junior Mike Zacharias, which may be all they need to topple the offensively-challenged Gophers. Minnesota was 3-0-1 against the Mavericks last season, but easily could have lost all four of the contests, so they will need to bring their “A” game – especially on the road on Friday – if they hope to snap out of their funk.

North Dakota at Wisconsin
Friday – 7 p.m. CST
Saturday – 7 p.m. CST (Live on FSN North - Wisconsin and FCS Pacific)

This is absolutely the marquee series of the weekend, as the Fighting Sioux head to Madison to take on the Wisconsin Badgers. UND has split each of their first two WCHA series – the first was a road split at Michigan Tech, where they arguably outplayed the Huskies on both nights, and the other was a home split against Colorado College where they clearly outplayed the Tigers on both nights, so there’s little reason for concern for the pre-season favorites. The Badgers are coming off a home split versus Michigan Tech. They showed good resolve in scoring three third period goals on Saturday night in their 4-2 win. The Badgers’ ability to score goals will be challenged this weekend, as UND will likely get their fair share of chances against UW’s youthful defensive core.

Denver and Alaska Anchorage are off this week.

Other Noteable Games

Notre Dame at Miami
Friday – 7 p.m. CST
Saturday – 6 p.m. CST

The Miami Redhawks, who are the No. 1 team in the nation in both major polls, will look to remain undefeated on the season as they take on the Fighting Irish in a key CCHA series this weekend in Oxford. Miami has been scoring at an outrageous clip (five goals per game!) and have been without last year’s leading scorer Nathan Davis for much of the season. Notre Dame’s goalies (Jordan Pearce and/or Brad Phillips) will need to play very well to keep their team in the games, though the Fighting Irish have a very nice stable of forwards that should be able to hold their own.

Boston College at New Hampshire
Saturday – 6 p.m. CST

The Eagles and Wildcats were, as usual, two of the preseason favorites in Hockey East, and both are off to solid starts to their seasons. New Hampshire had a hiccup in last weekend’s loss at home versus Northeastern, but is an impressive 4-1-0 overall with wins against Colorado College (2) and Boston University (1). The Eagles have just one loss on the season – to the No. 2 team in the nation (Michigan) – and have gotten very good play out of freshman goalie John Muse, which has helped ease any concerns BC fans had when Cory Schneider elected to turn pro this summer after his junior season.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

SCSU forward Gale leaves team for BCHL

As the Western College Hockey blog is reporting, St. Cloud State forward A.J. Gale has left the team to return to the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL. Gale, who was a sophomore this season for the Huskies, played in just 18 games as a freshman last season for St. Cloud State, registering one assist and a eight penalty minutes. He had played his junior hockey for the Clippers prior to joining the Huskies last fall.

Ex-St. Thomas goalie Crandall commits to Wisconsin

Former St. Thomas Academy goalie Aaron Crandall has committed to the Wisconsin Badgers for the fall of 2009, according to various online reports. The ex-Cadet is currently playing for the Green Bay Gamblers in the USHL. So far this season, Crandall has a 2-4-1 record with a 3.70 goals against average and a .888 save percentage. Despite those unimpressive statistics, Crandell is a nice recruit and will likely carry the torch as another good UW goalie, especially head coach Mike Eaves' system.

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last day or so ... the WCHA Blog has had the pleasure of dealing with airline cancellations for the "A" job. Good times. Rant over.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Michigan Tech & Minnesota State add recruits

According to Chris Heisenberg's recruiting website, Michigan Tech has added Waterloo Blackhawks' forward Brett Olson to its' 2009 recruiting class, while Minnesota State has secured the services of Tri-City defenseman Cameron Cooper for the fall of 2008.

Olson, who hails from Superior, Wisc., has 32 points in 102 USHL games, as the Western College Hockey blog points out. He has average size (5'11", 173 lbs.) but should be a solid role player for the Huskies.

Cooper, meanwhile, is a name that may be familiar to Twin Cities residents, as he recently played for the Academy of Holy Angels before heading to the USHL. The Lakeville, Minn. native is off to a good start this season, as he has six points in 10 games for the Storm.

WCHA Players of the Week - 11/6

St. Cloud State forward Ryan Lasch, Denver goalie Peter Mannino, and Denver forward Tyler Bozak have been named the WCHA Players of the Week.

From the press release:

St. Cloud State University right winger Ryan Lasch, who produced five scoring points while helping the Huskies to a three-point weekend against league rival Alaska Anchorage, has been named Red Baron WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for Nov. 6-12.

A 5-7, 175-pound sophomore from Lake Forest, Calif., Lasch scored three goals and set up two others while earning First Star of the Game honors both nights. He had two goals and one assist last Friday (Nov. 2) night in a 5-3 victory over the visiting Seawolves, scoring a tying goal and assisting on teammate Tony Mosey's second period game-winner. Lasch then added another goal and another assist on Saturday (Nov. 3) as SCSU overcame a 3-1 deficit to earn a 4-4 overtime tie. Trailing 3-1 in the second period, Lasch scored a goal to make it 3-2 and then drew an assist on teammate Garrett Roe's goal that evened the score at 3-3 in the third.

In addition to his five points, Lasch had eight shots on goal and earned a +1 plus-minus rating in the series. On the 2007-08 season, he is in a three-way tie for the overall scoring lead in the WCHA with 13 points (5g, 8a).

Also nominated this week were: Bill Sweatt, So, F, CC; Rhett Rakhshani, So, F, DU; Mick Berge, Jr, F, MSU; Ryan Duncan, Jr, F, UND; and Kyle Klubertanz, Sr, D, UW.


Peter Mannino, a senior goaltender at the University of Denver, has been named Red Baron WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for Nov. 6-12 as a result of his outstanding play in the Pioneers' two-game road sweep over two-time defending conference champion Minnesota last weekend.

A 6-0, 195-pounder from Farmington Hills, Mich., Mannino backstopped Denver to it's first sweep at Minnesota since Dec. 10-11, 1994. He stopped 68 of 70 shots on goal in the series for a .971 saves percentage, posted four shutout periods, and blanked the Golden Gophers on all 10 of their power-play opportunities.
Notching his first two career victories over Minnesota, Mannino stopped 36 of 37 shots on goal in a 5-1 Denver victory last Friday (Nov. 2) and then came back with 32 saves on 33 shots in a 4-1 triumph last Sunday (Nov. 4).

On the 2007-08 season, Mannino has allowed one goal or less in all six Denver wins and he sports a 6-2-0 record with a 1.52 goals-against average and a .940 saves percentage. He currently ranks second all-time at DU in goals-against average (2.20), third in saves percentage (.920) and shutouts (10), and is tied for ninth in wins (44).

Also nominated this week were: Kris Fredheim, So, D, CC; Drew Dobson, So, D, MTU; Brian Kilburg, Jr, D, MSU; Robbie Bina, Sr, D, UND; and Aaron Brocklehurst, Sr, D, SCSU.


University of Denver center iceman Tyler Bozak, who produced four goals and one assist while helping the visiting Pioneers to a pair of league road victories over defending WCHA champion Minnesota last weekend, has been named Red Baron WCHA Rookie of the Week for Nov. 6-12.

A 6-0, 175-pound freshman from Regina, Sask., Bozak's five scoring points included his first collegiate three-goal hat trick, a pair of shorthanded tallies, seven shots on goal and a +4 plus-minus series rating.

Last Friday (Nov. 2) at Mariucci Arena, Bozak scored one goal and drew an assist on teammate Tyler Ruegsegger's game-winner as DU posted a 5-1 victory over the Golden Gophers. He then came back on Sunday (Nov. 4) afternoon to notch his first hat trick, including two shorthanded goals in the third period, as the Pioneers completed the sweep with a 4-1 triumph.

In addition to his five points, Bozak also went 26-for-38 (68.4%) on faceoffs, added 10 hits, and blocked two shots.

On the season, Bozak is tied for third in scoring overall among WCHA rookies with five goals,two assists and seven points in eight games played.

Also nominated this week were: Richard Bachman, Fr., G, CC; Kurt Davis, Fr., D, MSU; and Cody Goloubef, Fr., D, UW.

USHL Update - 11/6

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 - 11/6

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. Denver (+4)
Last Week: 5-1 and 4-1 wins at Minnesota
This Week: Idle

The Pioneers swept the Gophers at Mariucci Arena for the first time since 1994 this past weekend, and now have an impressive 7-2-0 record after playing arguably one of the toughest early-season schedules in the nation. They’ll take the weekend off before taking on Minnesota State at home on Nov. 16-17.

2. North Dakota (-1)
Last Week: 6-2 win and 4-1 loss versus Colorado College
This Week: Two games at Wisconsin

North Dakota has held their own over the last two weekends, splitting at Michigan Tech and then taking two points from Colorado College in Grand Forks. The competition won’t get any easier for the Fighting Sioux this weekend, as they travel to Madison to take on the Badgers.

3. Colorado College (-)
Last Week: 6-2 loss and 4-1 win at North Dakota
This Week: Two games versus Minnesota Duluth

After a pair of very tough roadtrips, the Colorado College Tigers return home this weekend to take on Minnesota Duluth. I’m sure CC head coach Scott Owens is very happy with his team’s 5-3-0 start when you consider the teams they have played so far (Minnesota, New Hampshire, and North Dakota).

4. Michigan Tech (-)
Last Week: 4-2 win and 4-2 loss at Wisconsin
This Week: Two games versus St. Cloud State

The Huskies performed very well in their first road series of the year in splitting with the Badgers in Madison. Michael-Lee Teslak was in goal both nights for Tech and played well. The Badgers scored three third period goals on Saturday night, which was Tech’s lone soft period of the weekend.

5. Minnesota Duluth (+1)
Last Week: Idle
This Week: Two games at Colorado College

The Bulldogs were off last week after taking two points from DU the prior weekend. They return to the state of Colorado to take on the CC Tigers this Friday and Saturday. These will be UMD’s first games on an Olympic-sized sheet of ice this season. Junior MacGregor Sharp leads the Bulldogs with five points in six games.

6. Wisconsin (-4)
Last Week: 4-2 loss and 4-2 win versus Michigan Tech
This Week: Two games vs. North Dakota

After suffering a tough 4-2 loss on Friday night, Wisconsin shook off the rust (they didn’t play the previous weekend) and bounced back nicely to defeat Michigan Tech by a 4-2 score on Saturday. The Badgers had 30-plus shots on net both nights, which is certainly a good sign. Super frosh Kyle Turris had just one point in his first two WCHA games.

7. St. Cloud State (+1)
Last Week: 5-3 win and 4-4 tie versus Alaska Anchorage
This Week: Two games at Michigan Tech

St. Cloud State extended their unbeaten streak to five games this weekend by taking three points from Alaska Anchorage at home. Sophomore Ryan Lasch and freshman Garrett Roe continued their strong play, and they lead the Huskies with 13 points each. It will be a battle of the Huskies this weekend as St. Cloud travels to Houghton to take on Michigan Tech.

8. Minnesota State (+1)
Last Week: 7-0 and 4-2 wins at Alabama-Huntsville
This Week: Home and home series with Minnesota

After dropping their first two games of the season at Michigan Tech, the Mavericks have now gone four games without a loss, including a two-game sweep of Alabama-Huntsville this past weekend. Junior Mike Zacharias appears to have emerged as “the guy” between the pipes, as he sports a .943 save percentage and a 1.47 goals against average. Sophomore Trevor Bruess leads the team with five points in six games.

9. Minnesota (-3)
Last Week: 5-1 and 4-1 losses versus Denver
This Week: Home and home series with Minnesota State

For the first time in league history, the Golden Gophers have started conference play by losing four straight games. Their power play hasn’t scored in 30 consecutive tries, which is a big reason why they have scored just four goals in those four conference games. They’ll look to right the ship versus Minnesota State this weekend.

10. Alaska Anchorage (-)
Last Week: 5-3 loss and 4-4 tie at St. Cloud State
This Week: Idle

After winning three of their first four games, the Seawolves are now winless in their last four contests, and continued their streak of never having won a game in St. Cloud at the National Hockey Center. They had the lead in the third period of Saturday’s game with the Huskies but couldn’t hang on for the win. They are off this week before traveling back to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers Nov. 16-17.