Showing posts with label Denver Pioneers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Denver Pioneers. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Denver Pioneers Update Off-Ice Spaces

Interesting read in the Denver Post by Mike Chambers about the Denver Pioneers updating their hockey facilities. It's a smart move. Besides the cost of attendance stipends, programs need bells and whistles to lure the top recruits. This includes having updated, modern facilities. UND recently redid their locker room.  Omaha has a brand new shiny arena. Programs need to get the upper hand on the competition.  
Mike Chambers, Denver Post -- "I love where the program is headed, and this is the last step to put the icing on the cake," said DU coach Jim Montgomery, a Montreal native and former Canadiens forward. "We still get a lot of great recruits, but we've lost on some recruits because we don't have that wow factor when they walk into our locker room like they do at North Dakota, Miami or UNO (University of Nebraska at Omaha)."

North Dakota, Miami (Ohio) and St. Cloud State have pumped millions into arena/locker room renovations, UNO moved into a lavish new facility this past season and Minnesota-Duluth opened a new arena in 2010. Those are five of DU's National Collegiate Hockey Conference rivals.

"We just need to do it," Montgomery said. "Never mind nationally. Just look at our conference."

Magness Arena opened in 1999, a month before the Pepsi Center.

"It's going on 17 years since this building has been here and nothing has been done to the locker room. We need to give it the pop it needs of an elite-level program," Montgomery said. "I think if there's any part of our program that can prevent us from sustaining being a top-five program — which I think we are — would be the dressing room and lounge area."

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

NCHC Playoff First Round Preview and Predictions

The regular season is now over, and the playoff brackets are now set. Most of the seeding wasn't final until the last day of the regular season, however seeds 1 (North Dakota), 7 (Western Michigan), and 8 (Colorado College) were set last Friday when North Dakota took the Penrose Cup outright. The top four seeds in the NCHC have their quarterfinal best of three series at home against the bottom four seeds. This year the match-ups are 1 North Dakota vs. 8 Colorado College, 2 Miami vs. 7 Western Michigan, 3 Nebraska-Omaha vs. 6 St. Cloud State and 4 Denver vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth. 

1 North Dakota vs. 8 Colorado College
These two teams met four times this season with North Dakota winning all four contests, one of which while in Colorado Springs by a 7-2 score and a Mark MacMillan hat trick. When CC came to Grand Forks for a second half series, the story was much different. In two very tightly contested battles, CC would be the thorn in UND's side, making it seem like it was a battle of top five teams in the country. UND would prevail on the weekend with a sweep, but maybe the most well earned sweep of the season. 

Who to Watch:
UND: With MacMillan out, probably for the rest of the season, Focus for the offense will go to Senior Michael Parks, who likes to spend most of his time behind the goal line, Junior highlight reel Drake Caggiula, and master playmaker Freshman Nick Schmaltz. However this is a roster that seems to have someone different step up each night and in the second half their top producer has been Senior defender Nick Mattson. Finally, you look to Hobey Baker finalist Zane McIntryre. Zane leads the country in wins with 25, tied with Michigan Tech goalie Jamie Phillips, is 8th in save percentage at .931 and 14th in goals against average at 1.99. 

CC: Junior center Cody Bradley is the only Tiger with 10 goals this season, and is also the only Tiger with over 20 points as well. The junior center has been the sole hope for offensive production for the season, but Senior forward Scott Wamsganz is on the 20 point threshold sitting at 19 points for the season. Never count out Sophomore defender Jacob Slavin for making some plays from the point either. Slavin is probably their best defenseman.

Who Wins?
UND should win the best of three series in two games Friday and Saturday, but I think one of these games will be within a goal or two and a very tight defensive battle. UND wins Friday 3-1 and Saturday 5-2, however if UND sits back any, which I don't think will happen, but if they do, look for CC to take advantage and try to force a third game this weekend. 

2 Miami vs. 7 Western Michigan
Miami took 11 out of a possible 12 points against the Broncos this season with one overtime tie and shootout victory when they went to Kalamazoo for a series during the second half. The series that took place in Oxford was not as tightly contested, especially during the Saturday night contest with Miami winning by a score of 5-2. 

Who to Watch:
Miami: Senior assist machine Austin Czarnik has 31 assists on the season for the RedHawks and a team leading 36 points.Junior Riley Barber shares the team lead in goals with Junior Sean Kuraly who both are at 17 goals for the season. With Seniors Cody Murphy and Blake Coleman both over the 10 goal mark for the season as well, you can't count those two out when it comes to scoring either. 

WMU: Although the season ended somewhere they didn't want it to, Sophomore Sheldon Dries and Junior Colton Hargrove both are tied for the team lead in points with 25. Senior Justin Kovacs is not far behind with 24 points this season with 18 of those being helpers. 

Who Wins?
I can't see this series ending any other way then a Miami sweep, but if you remember last year, the only home ice team to advance to the Frozen Faceoff last year was North Dakota. For that reason, I think this series goes the distance and WMU wins Friday 2-1 with Miami coming back with a Saturday win of 4-2 and Sunday 3-1.

3 Nebraska-Omaha vs. 6 St. Cloud State
This is the series that I am most looking forward to. With Omaha falling off late in the season to lose the number one spot to North Dakota, and St. Cloud being a thorn in everybodys side this season despite being below the 500 mark, this series has classic written all over it. With both teams getting sweeps this season on their home ice, and the late season sweep of Omaha in St. Cloud a couple weeks ago being the catalyst in Omaha falling in the standings, look for the Mavericks to come out guns a blazing and look to gain some revenge. 

Who to Watch:
UNO: Sophomore Austin Ortega set the NCAA record for game winning goals in a season last weekend when he netted his 11th game winner. He is the leader with 18 goals on the season and tied with fellow Sophomore Jake Guentzel with points at 33, the youth movement in Omaha is on. Three of the top five in points for the Mavericks are freshman, Jake Randolph, Tyler Vesel, and Avery Peterson. Also look for Sophomore Justin Parizek to be a threat to score some goals as well. 

SCSU: Junior Johnny Brodzinski and Junior Joey Benik lead this team who's power play is top 5 in the NCAA. The top power play unit has combined for over 70 points this season with the extra man, so look for the Huskies to take advantage of every man advantage they are able to get this weekend. 

Who Wins?
No question in my mind this one goes the distance. I am taking St. Cloud to take the series and get the "upset" over Omaha as they have been struggling as of late, who is 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. St. Cloud wins Friday 3-2, Omaha Wins Saturday 4-3, St. Cloud wins 2-0.

4 Denver vs. 5 Minnesota-Duluth
With the season series seeing two splits, this series should also be very tightly contested, possibly the tightest of the four series. Duluth does hold the biggest victory this season with a 6-1 victory, but that came in Duluth. Every other game had a two goal or less margin, which is how I expect this to turn out. 

Who to Watch:
Denver: Freshman Danton Heinen leads the team with an amazing 42 points this season and Sophomore Trevor Moore is close behind at 39 points. Moore is the team leader in goals this year at 19 goals on the season. However, you can't talk about Denver without talking about Senior defenseman Joey LaLeggia. His puck moving ability and willingness to take it up on the rush has him tagged as one of the top offensive-defensemen in the NCAA. 

UMD: The usual suspects Tony Cameranesi, Alex Iafallo and Austin Farley are at it again this season and are leading this team on the helper side of things. the three are all at just 8 goals on the season and look to Dominic Toninato who leads the Bulldogs at 16 goals followed by Justin Crandall who has 12. 

Who Wins?
This should be a very close series, but Denver comes out on top. Their firepower will be too much for this UMD team. Denver wins Friday 3-1 and Saturday 4-3.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NCHC Three Things

With six teams in conference play this weekend, Duluth in non conference play, and NCHC leader,
Omaha, off, this is a big weekend for the six teams in NCHC play to gain some ground in the conference standings. So here are three things I believe will come out of this weekend.

1. North Dakota Puts Offense on Display
The final series of an entire month at home, UND looks to close out this homestand just one point behind Omaha, who sits at 29 points on the season. Last time North Dakota met Colorado College this season, Colorado Springs got a good taste of what the UND offense has with UND outscoring CC 10-3 on the weekend, including a 7-2 victory in the Saturday night game. With scoring coming equally on all four lines for UND, I'd expect them to score plenty of goals once again this weekend and take a sweep of CC into their battle in Omaha next weekend.

2. Miami Returns to Winning Ways
Miami had a rough weekend in St. Cloud in their last week of play and were swept by the Huskies. Their off week last weekend couldn't have come at a better time to regroup and refocus to finish out the stretch run strong and healthy, and with their series against Denver at home this weekend, I expect a successful weekend for the Red Hawks. One game will be close and possibly take overtime because Denver is always a tough opponent and very good this season, but Miami comes out hard Friday night and will win by more than one goal.

3. Western Michigan Continues to Roll
Since late November, the Western Michigan Broncos have been on a roll. at 7-1-2 since November 28, they have been one of the top teams in the conference and are finding success as they look to make another return trip to Minneapolis this March. With now only seven points back of third place North Dakota, this is a team who could possibly keep rolling into home ice once the NCHC playoffs start this March. There recent success will continue into St. Cloud this weekend as they take battle with the toughest sub 500 team in the country. This will be the series to watch in the NCHC this weekend.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

NCHC Awards.

Tonight, the NCHC handed out their individual awards for the leagues most outstanding players and a coach of the year. There were a couple of surprising choices and I would have chosen some others different, but hey they can't make everyone happy.

First lets start with the NCHC Player of the Year, Josh Archibald. Archibald would lead the NCHC in goals with 23 and win the league scoring title with 32 points in 24 league games. The Pittsburgh Penguins draft pick also would record two hat tricks this season, one coming against North Dakota at the Ralph in UNO's 6-3 Saturday night victory over North Dakota. Along with Player of the Year, Archibald would also be named Forward of the Year for these same reasons. It's a shame UNO will not make the NCAA tournament because Archibald would be a lot of fun to watch leading his team towards the Frozen Four in Philly come April.

Also taking home two individual awards in this inaugural NCHC season would be Nic Dowd of St. Cloud State. The senior, and LA Kings prospect, would land him the Scholar Athlete of the Year and the league's top defensive forward honors. Dowd would finish sixth in league scoring with 25 points in 24 league games played. The SCSU forward would also finish at a +12 this season and block 19 shots during conference play.

Another player with double the fun for awards this year would be Denver defenseman Joey LaLeggia. He would earn himself Offensive Defenseman of the year and Defenseman of the year. He finished tied for the conference lead in goals scored by a defenseman with six and started off his season with a three game goal scoring streak. LaLeggia would finish the season with 13 points in conference play and would block 23 shots in 19 league games played out of 24 possible.

The Goalie of the Year honors went to Denver's Sam Brittain. He would lead the NCHC with an outstanding .931 save percentage and would claim two of his four shutouts in NCHC play, which would also lead all league goalies. Brittain was named goalie of the week a record six times this season and his 686 saves in league play would be an amazing 81 more saves then any other NCHC goalie would make.

This year's Rookie of the Year, and much deserving Rookie of the Year, was awarded to Colorado College defenseman Jacob Slavin. The Freshman would tie the league best in defenseman scoring with 19 points, and would rank third in all freshman scoring. He would also lead all defenseman with 14 assists, and that would also be good for second among all league freshman. A 2014 World Junior representative, Slavin would show that he is going to be a top blue liner in this conference in his next few years at CC.

Finally, the last major award was the Herb Brooks Coach of the Year. SCSU's Bob Motzko would win the award, leading St. Cloud to the very first Penrose Cup this year. The Huskies would earn 15 conference wins,six non conference wins, and were scoring just under four goals a game this season. Although the Huskies would have a slumpish run towards the end of the regular season, and get swept by Miami in the first round of playoffs, this SCSU team could very well see play in the Frozen Four once again this season, especially with the week off to rest, get healthy, and have some good practice time before the NCAA tournament begins next weekend.

Now for who missed out. The only big one in my mind that missed out is North Dakota defenseman Dillon Simpson. Simpson was a lot of peoples choice for defenseman of the year, especially since he rarely made a defensive error that would cost North Dakota. In last weekend's series, Simpson and his d partner Jordan Schmaltz would combine for 21 blocked shots in the three games. If there was anyone left out it is for sure the North Dakota senior captain.

Frozen Faceoff Match-Ups (by Donn)

We have arrived at the final weekend of the inaugural NCHC games.  SCSU was the first winner of the first ever Penrose Cup, and then became the first ever 1st seed to lose to the 8th seed in the first round of the playoffs.  This could be a blessing for the Huskies; it will give them a week off to rest up for the NCAA tournament, and refocus their efforts.

NCHC Frozen Faceoff

Miami vs North Dakota
How they got here -

The RedHawks swept the Huskies a dramatic two game set.  Friday the Huskies scored with 1 second left to force overtime, and then Miami wins in OT.  Saturday night the RedHawks untied the score with 3 seconds left to punch their ticket to Minneapolis.

NoDak won the opener, forced OT in the second only to fall short, and the rebounded for the game three winner.

Season series – NoDak wins 3-1-0 – split in Oxford and swept in Grand Forks

These teams met about a month ago in GF, with UND beating MU 3-2 on Valentine’s Day and then crushing them 9-2 the next evening.  I don’t UND will hang another 9-spot on MU, but I don’t see UND losing on Friday either.  UND hasn’t lost on a Friday since November 29.  NODAK WINS

Denver vs Western Michigan
How they got here -

The Pioneers dropped the opener to Omaha and then won the next two games (4-3L, 5-1W, 2-0W) to advance to Minneapolis.

The Broncos swept the playoff series in Duluth (3-2, 4-3) to advance to the Frozen Faceoff.

Season series – Denver wins 3-1-0 – sweep in Denver and split in Kalamazoo

These teams played just three weeks ago in Kalamazoo, with Denver winning the opener 4-2 and the Broncos taking the next game 3-1.  WMU has now won three of their last four games and five of seven.  The Pioneers have won three of their last five and four of the last seven.  I think this game comes down to defense and goal tending and who’s on their A-game.  I’m giving this match up to the “away” team.  PIONEERS WIN

So if my predictions are right, UND v DU, will be the championship game and MU v WMU for third place.  Thus, I will pick UND to win the championship and WMU to take third.
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Friday, August 09, 2013

DU Pioneers: Mascot Committee will not be Adopting a new Mascot

Looking at Denver mascot choices, I don’t blame them for not wanting to pick a mascot after all. In a way, this is what I am hoping that the University of North Dakota does. I would rather see no mascot at all. I kind of like just being the University of North Dakota. I know some people are irritated by the sports writers calling UND the Green and White, but it’s better than being some stupid moniker none of us can embrace or get behind.
Caitlin Swieca, Denver Post --- After a months-long controversy surrounding the University of Denver's mascot, the DU Pioneers community has spoken and said it would prefer to have no mascot at all. The news came as DU's Mascot Steering Committee announced the findings of its research on Friday and recommended that none of the considered mascots move forward as they are currently designed.

A survey containing three mascot options— an elk, a jackalope and a mountaineer — was sent to DU students and alumni in July, asking them to evaluate the concepts against 20 attributes of the DU community.

More than 8,000 community members participated in the survey, more than three times the expected response. The release by the committee said that nearly 70 percent of respondents were either receptive or neutral to moving forward with a new mascot, but were not aligned on what that mascot should be.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tiger's Taft scores the game winning goal against DU, with help from DU goalie

This is the goal in question, I was finally able to get my hand on it. Colorado College forward Charlie Taft will probably never score a more fluky goal than this one. This was also the goal, that everyone was talking about on Monday morning that vaulted the Tigers to the Final Five and left the Denver Pioneers scratching their heads. I am sure there are some that aren't feeling sorry for the Pioneers, it's just one of those things.

The goal in question is at the 2:18 mark. s/t to Joe Paisley sending me the video. DU's Juho Olkinuora is a great goalie, but stuff happens in games that has no explanation sometimes.
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Monday, March 04, 2013

WCHA Power Rankings: Week 21

Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo
Western Collegiate Hockey Association logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here is the week 21 WCHA Power Rankings. This season, I have been doing the WCHA Power Rankings with Taylor Seibel, who is a contributor for The Hockey Writers Combine.
1. University of North Dakota – (18-9-7, WCHA 13-6-7) – This past weekend, UND took (4-2 W – 2-2 T) three points in their weekend series with the Bemidji State Beavers at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. This weekend, the University of North Dakota travels to Mankato, Minnesota to play the Minnesota State Mavericks at the Verizon Wireless Center. North Dakota is 5-2-3 in it's last 10 games. UND’s Pairwise Ranking 7.
2Minnesota – (22-7-5, WCHA 14-7-5) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers split (0-2 L – 5-1 L) there weekend series with the Denver Pioneers at Mariucci Arena. This weekend, the Gophers travel to Bemidji, Minnesota to play the Bemidji State Beavers at the Sanford Center. Minnesota is 5-4-1 in their last 10 games and has only swept one WCHA opponent all-season long (UAA). Minnesota Gophers Pairwise Ranking 2.Minnesota Gophers Pairwise Ranking 2.
3. Saint Cloud State – (20-13-1, WCHA 17-8-1) – This past weekend, the Huskies split (5-3 W – 1- 5 W) their weekend series with the Michigan Tech Huskies at the National Hockey Center. This weekend, the Huskies travel to Madison Wisconsin to play the Wisconsin Badgers. The Saint Cloud State Huskies have split the last three series they have played in and have a 6-3-1 record in their last 10 games. Saint Cloud State Huskies Pairwise Ranking 10t.
4. Minnesota State Mankato – (21-10-3, WCHA 15-10-1) – This past weekend, the Mavericks split (1-4 L – 7-2 W) their weekend series with Colorado College Tigers in Colorado Springs. This weekend, the Mavericks entertain North Dakota at the Verizon Wireless Center in Mankato, Minnesota. The Mavericks are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. Minnesota State Mavericks Pairwise Ranking 8t.
5. Denver University – (17-11-5, WCHA 12-9-5) – This past weekend, the Denver Pioneers split (2-0 W – 1-5 L) their weekend series with the University of Minnesota Gophers at Mariucci Arena. This weekend, the Pioneers entertain the Alaska Anchorage Seawolves at Magness Arena in Denver Colorado. The Pioneers are 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. Denver Pioneers Pairwise Ranking 8t.
6. Wisconsin – (16-11-7, WCHA 12-7-7) – The Wisconsin Badgers swept (4-3 W – 6-2 W) their weekend series with the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. This weekend, the Badgers entertain the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. After starting the season 1-7-3, the Badgers still have an outside chance of finishing in first place. The Badgers would probably have to win the Final Five to make the NCAA tourney. The Badgers are 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. Wisconsin Badgers Pairwise Ranking 20.
7. Nebraska Omaha – (18-14-2, WCHA 14-10-2) – This past weekend, the Mavericks were swept (3-4 L – 2-6 L) by the Wisconsin Badgers. This weekend, the Mavericks travel to Duluth Minnesota to play the Bulldogs in Amsoil Arena. The Mavericks are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games. Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks Pairwise Ranking 25. With the Mavericks being swept by the Badgers this past weekend, the Mavericks will probably have to win the Final Five to make the NCAA tourney. 
8. Colorado College – (13-16-5, WCHA 10-12-4) – This past weekend, the Colorado College Tigers split (4-1 W – 2-7 L) their weekend series with the Minnesota State Mavericks. This weekend, the Tigers travel to Houghton, Michigan to play the Michigan Tech Huskies at John MacInnes Student Ice Arena. The Tigers are 4-3-3 in the last 10 games. Colorado College Tigers Pairwise Ranking 30.
9. Minnesota Duluth – (12-17-4, WCHA 8-13-5) – This past weekend, the Bulldogs swept (4-0 W – 4-2 W) their weekend series with the Alabama Huntsville Chargers (1-20-1) at Amsoil Arena. This weekend, the Bulldogs entertain Nebraska-Omaha at Amsoil Arena.
10. Michigan Tech – (11-17-4, WCHA 7-15-4) – This past week, the Huskies split (3-5 L – 5-1 W) their weekend series with the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the National Hockey Center. This weekend, the Michigan Tech Huskies entertain the Colorado College Tigers at the John MacInnes Student Ice Arena.
11. Bemidji State – (6-18-8, WCHA 5-14-7) – This past weekend, the Beavers took one point (2-4 L, 2-2 T) from the University of North Dakota in a two game series at Ralph Engelstad Arena. This weekend, the Bemidji State Beavers entertain the Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Sanford Center in Bemidji, Minnesota.
12. Alaska Anchorage – (4-21-7, WCHA 2-18-6) – This past weekend, the Seawolves were swept (1-2 L – 1-3 L) by the University of Alaska Nanooks in the Governor’s cup. This weekend, the Seawolves travel to Denver to play the Pioneers at Magness Arena.
Taylor Seibel’s WCHA Power Rankings
1. St. Cloud State – (20-13-1, 17-8-1 WCHA) – The Huskies struggled at times against Michigan Tech, but still maintain a two point lead (and tiebreakers) over both Minnesota and North Dakota. That means that two points next weekend at Wisconsin will clinch at least a share of the MacNaughton Cup for the Huskies.
2. Minnesota – (22-7-5, 14-7-5 WCHA) – A tale of two nights, as Minnesota split their series against Denver this weekend. Friday was an abysmal showing for Minnesota, but Saturday, both teams brought it, and Minnesota came out on top thanks to a strong third period. The Gophers still have MacNaughton Cup aspirations, but they will need to sweep Bemidji State next weekend, and hope for some help from rival Wisconsin.
3. North Dakota – (18-9-7, 13-6-7 WCHA) – North Dakota played strong both nights, but were often frustrated by Bemidji’s physical play. The result was three points, moving North Dakota up into a tie for second place. Similar to Minnesota, North Dakota will be looking for a sweep next weekend against a strong Mankato squad, and then they will hope for some help from Wisconsin.
4. Wisconsin – (16-11-7, 12-7-7 WCHA) – The Badgers are peaking at the right time. Following a shocking loss to Penn State on Monday, Wisconsin stormed back, dominating Omaha in a weekend sweep. The Badgers can actually wind up with the MacNaughton Cup with a sweep of St. Cloud State next weekend at home, but they would need help from Bemidji and Mankato to get a share of the Cup.
5. Minnesota State – (21-10-3, 15-10-1 WCHA) – The Mavericks went down to Colorado Springs and managed to take two points against the Tigers. Mankato has a very slight chance at winning the MacNaughton heading into the final weekend, but it would begin with sweeping visiting North Dakota next weekend, and then hope for a miracle from both Bemidji and Wisconsin.
6. Denver – (17-11-5, 12-9-5 WCHA) – Denver played very well in their series up in Minnesota, scoring two points, and nearly holding on for a third (or fourth). Next weekend, the Pioneers host Alaska Anchorage in a Friday-Sunday series, giving DU fans and players a chance to survey exactly what they need to do to prevent them from being on the road in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs.
7. Nebraska Omaha – (18-14-2, 14-10-2 WCHA) – The Mavericks from Omaha were crushed this weekend by Wisconsin, getting swept by the Badgers. They still control their own destiny when it comes to home ice, but they will need to play much better next weekend when they make the trek up to Duluth to take on the Bulldogs.
8. Colorado College – (13-16-5, 10-12-4 WCHA) – The Tigers were eliminated from the home ice race on Saturday with their loss to Mankato, but CC will look to bounce back next weekend, as the Tigers host Michigan Tech in the WCHA finale. CC will wrap up the #8 spot with two points against the Huskies.
9. Minnesota Duluth – (12-17-5, 8-13-5 WCHA) – The Bulldogs swept Alabama Huntsville in non-conference action this weekend. The sweep should give Duluth some needed confidence heading into their WCHA finale against Nebraska Omaha next weekend. While Duluth is eliminated from home ice contention, they have an outside shot at moving up to the #8 ranking in the conference, and at the very least could avoid a top 4 team in the WCHA Playoffs.
10. Michigan Tech – (11-17-4, 7-15-4 WCHA) – The Huskies played with WCHA leader SCSU in St. Cloud, and arguably could have fared better than leaving with just two points. Tech is a dangerous team, that if they play up to their potential could easily make another trip to the Final Five. Next weekend, Tech looks to sharpen their skills as they travel to Colorado College.
11. Bemidji State – (6-18-8, 5-14-7 WCHA) – The Beavers played strong against North Dakota this weekend, and managed to take a point from the series. Bemidji will need to play another tight series next weekend as Minnesota comes to town for the WCHA finale. The Beavers play a style that should help them in the playoffs, and they will hope to showcase that against the Gophers, and these two squads could very well meet up in the WCHA Playoffs.
12. Alaska Anchorage – (4-21-7, 2-18-6 WCHA) – The Seawolves were swept this weekend in a home and home against non-conference, in-state rival Alaska. UAA played the Nanooks tough, but were unable to solve the UA netminder, scoring only two goals on the weekend. UAA will be playing for pride next weekend against Denver, as the Seawolves are locked into the twelfth spot.
Cross-posted at the Hockey Writers Combine
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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

EDIT... WCHA Power Rankings: Week 20

Wcha_newlogo_menHere is the week 20 WCHA Power Rankings. This season, I have been doing the WCHA Power Rankings with Taylor Seibel, who is a contributor for The Hockey Writers Combine.

 1.  Saint Cloud State – (19-12-1, WCHA 16-7-1) – This past weekend, the Huskies split (3-4 L – 5-2 W) their weekend series with the Colorado College Tigers in Colorado Springs. This weekend, the Huskies entertain the Michigan Tech Huskies. The Huskies have split the last two series they have played in. Pairwise Ranking 10.

 2. Minnesota – (21-6-5, WCHA 13-6-5) – This past weekend, the Minnesota Gophers took (5-3 W – 2-2 T) three points in their weekend series with the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs, who have won “one” game, in their last ten games (1-7-2). This weekend, the Gophers play the Denver Pioneers at Mariucci Arena. Fun fact, the Gophers have swept one “conference” series this season, Alaska Anchorage 01/11-01/12. The Gophers went an impressive 8-0-0 in their non-conference play. Pairwise Ranking 2.

 3University of North Dakota – (17-9-6, WCHA 12-6-6) – This past weekend, UND split (4-5 L – 6-1 L) their weekend series with the Denver Pioneers, at Magness Arena. This weekend, UND entertains the Bemidji State Beavers at the Ralph Engelstad Arena. Pairwise Ranking 6.

4. Minnesota State Mankato – (20-9-3, WCHA 14-9-1) – This past weekend, the Mavericks were off. This weekend, the Purple Mavericks travel to Colorado Springs to play the Tigers. Pairwise Ranking 7.
5.  Nebraska Omaha – (18-12-2, WCHA 14-8-2) – This past weekend, the Mavericks lost their exhibition game against the U-18 team 2-3. This weekend, the Red Mavericks entertain the Wisconsin Badgers. Friday’s game between the Mavericks and the Badgers will be on NBCSN. Pairwise Ranking 20t.

6. Denver University – (16-10-5, WCHA 11-8-5) – This past weekend, the Denver Pioneers split (5-4 W – 1-6 L) their weekend series with the University of North Dakota at Magness Arena. This weekend, the Pioneers travel to Minnesota to play the Gophers at Mariucci Arena. The Pioneers in essence, are competing with the Badgers for the last home playoff spot.  Pairwise Ranking 13t.

7.  Wisconsin – (14-11-7, WCHA 10-7-7) – The Wisconsin Badgers  split (5-0 w – 2-3 L O.T.) their non-conference series with future conference foe Penn State at the Kohl Center during a Sunday, Monday series. After starting the season 1-7-3, the Badgers have gone an amazing 13-4-4. This weekend, the Badgers travel to Nebraska-Omaha to play the Mavericks in an important two game series. The Badgers in essence, are competing with the Pioneers for the last home playoff spot.  Friday’s game between the Mavericks and the Badgers will be on NBCSN. Pairwise Ranking 28.
8.  Colorado College – (12-15-5, WCHA 9-11-4) – This past weekend, the Colorado College Tigers split (4-3 W – 2-5 L) their weekend series with the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the World Arena in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This weekend, the Tigers entertain the Minnesota State Mavericks. Pairwise Ranking 30.

9. Minnesota Duluth – (10-17-4, WCHA 8-13-5) – This past weekend, the Bulldogs took a single point (2-4 L – 1-1 T) in their weekend series with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Bulldogs have had a tough go recently, taking only a single point in each of their last two series and have one win in their last 10 games 1-7-2. This weekend that should change, as the Bulldogs entertain the Alabama Huntsville Chargers (1-18-1) at Amsoil Arena.

10. Michigan Tech – (10-16-4, WCHA 6-14-4) – This past week, the Huskies were off. The Michigan Tech Huskies travel to Saint Cloud Minnesota to play the Saint Cloud State Huskies at the National Hockey Center in the battle of the Dogs.

11. Bemidji State – (6-17-7, WCHA 5-13-6) – This past weekend, the Beavers were off. Thiks weekend, the Beavers travel down Highway 2 to play the University of North Dakota in a two game series at Ralph Engelstad Arena.

12. Alaska Anchorage – (4-19-7, WCHA 2-18-6) – This past weekend, the Seawolves were off. This weekend, the Seawolves play their cross state rivals the Nanooks in the Governor’s Cup. The Seawolves travel to Fairbanks on Friday and then entertain the Nanooks on Saturday night. The Seawolves have won one game since December 1, 2012, going 1-14-3.

Taylor Seibel’s WCHA Power Rankings

1.  St. Cloud State – (19-12-1, 16-7-1 WCHA) – The Huskies managed only a split against the Tigers this weekend, but still have a strong hold to the top spot in the WCHA thanks in part to slip-ups from Minnesota and North Dakota.  St. Cloud State has an excellent chance at gaining four points next weekend as the SCSU Huskies host the Michigan Tech Huskies, a team that SCSU has not lost to at home in over a decade.

2. Minnesota – (21-6-5, 13-6-5 WCHA) – The Gophers managed three points on the weekend against Minnesota Duluth, and struggled at times against the visiting Bulldogs.  While Minnesota still has a chance at winning the MacNaughton, the point they dropped on Saturday could prove decisive.  It also gave North Dakota a little bit of room to sneak the #2 spot away from the Gophers.  Next weekend, Denver travels up to Mariucci for WCHA play.

3. North Dakota – (17-9-6, 12-6-6 WCHA) – North Dakota struggled mightily against Denver’s powerplay on Friday, but found a way to largely control Denver’s man advantage on Saturday.  The result was a weekend split between these two rivals.  North Dakota says three points back of St. Cloud and one point back of Minnesota in the race for the MacNaughton.  North Dakota hosts Bemidji State next weekend, and four points will be crucial for UND’s hopes of winning the Cup.

4. Nebraska Omaha – (18-12-2, 14-8-2 WCHA) – The Mavericks were essentially off this past weekend, or at least some of the players thought so, as Omaha was defeated by the USA Under-18 squad.  To be fair, that same Under-18 squad has registered draws against Minnesota and Notre Dame on the season.  While the Mavericks are in good position for home ice, a strong showing next weekend at home against Wisconsin could cement their spot in the top half.

5. Minnesota State – (20-9-3, 14-9-1 WCHA) – The Mavericks of Mankato were also off this weekend.  In a similar position to Omaha, Mankato has a chance to solidify their spot as a top half team next weekend if they can take four points from Colorado College down in Colorado Springs.  Anything less, and it will be a shakier proposition as North Dakota comes down to Mankato to close out the regular season.

6. Denver – (16-10-5, 11-8-5 WCHA) – Denver played quite well in their victory over North Dakota on Friday, but failed to respond effectively on Saturday, and the Pioneers were trounced by the Visiting squad from Grand Forks.  The split drew the Pioneers even with Wisconsin heading into the final two weekends of the season.  Given that Denver loses the tiebreaker with Wisconsin, it makes any points that they can gather next weekend at Minnesota that much more important to their chances for home ice.

7. Wisconsin – (14-10-7, 10-7-7 WCHA) – The Badgers defeated Penn State last night in the first game of an odd Sunday-Monday series.  The victory shot Wisconsin up to an NCAA bubble squad.  The Badgers are also on the bubble when it comes to gaining home ice in the WCHA Tournament.  Currently, Wisconsin is tied with Denver for the 6th and final spot.  Next weekend, the Badgers travel to Omaha to take on the Mavericks in a key series for both squads.

8. Colorado College – (12-15-5, 9-11-4 WCHA) – The Tigers surprised many in the WCHA with their victory over St. Cloud on Friday, but were unable to complete the sweep, losing on Saturday.  Barring surprising results elsewhere in the conference, it is likely that CC will remain in the #8 slot in the conference.  Any chance at home ice would start next weekend, when Minnesota State comes into town.

9. Minnesota Duluth – (10-17-5, 8-13-5 WCHA) – Minnesota Duluth was able to steal a point from Minnesota this weekend, but it was not enough to prevent the Bulldogs from being eliminated from home ice contention.  With only two WCHA games remaining, the Bulldogs will definitely be a team nobody in the top half will want to square off against in the first round of the WCHA Tournament.  Next weekend, the Bulldogs host Alabama Huntsville.

10. Bemidji State – (6-17-7, 5-13-6 WCHA) – The Beavers were off last weekend, but perhaps no team can play as much of a spoiler role over the next two weekends as Bemidji State.  Next weekend, Bemidji travels to North Dakota.  The following weekend, the Beavers host Minnesota.  Both UND and Minnesota will be looking for sweeps, while Bemidji State will look to dash both teams’ dreams of the MacNaughton Cup.

11. Michigan Tech – (10-16-4, 6-14-4 WCHA) – The Huskies of Michigan Tech were off this weekend.  Hopefully they used the time to come up with a strategy to knock off St. Cloud State in St. Cloud, who they play next weekend. The season has been a disappointment for most Tech fans who were hoping to challenge for home ice, but a strong end to the season, coupled with the program’s first GLI Championship in three decades, would be a good consolation prize.

12. Alaska Anchorage – (4-19-7, 2-18-6 WCHA) – The Seawolves were off this past weekend.  While UAA has been assured the cellar, and a First Round matchup against the MacNaughton Cup Champions, the Seawolves are still playing for pride.  Next weekend, the Seawolves square off against in-state (and future WCHA) rival Alaska before concluding the WCHA and regular season at Denver.

Cross Posted at the Hockey Writers Combine.
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Thursday, February 21, 2013

UND vs. Denver; College Hockey’s Hatfield-McCoy feud

Fighting Sioux (University of North Dakota) vs...
Fighting Sioux (University of North Dakota) vs. Denver Pioneers (University of Denver, #14 Tom May), WCHA Final FIVE 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This season, since the NHL lockout has been over, NBC Sports Network has been doing a weekly rivalry game on Wednesdays nights between the various NHL teams.
This Friday night, there will be another rivalry game on NBC Sports Network between college hockey’s versions of the historicHatfield-McCoy feud.
Actually, both games will be on television this weekend, when the University of North Dakota (16-8-6, 11-5-6 WCHA) travels to Denver, Colorado to play their heated rival the Denver Pioneers (15-9-5, 10-7-5 WCHA) in a pivotal two game series, this series will go a long way in determining seeding for the WCHA playoffs.
As I mentioned earlier, Friday’s game will be on NBC Sports Network at 9:00 PM (CT) and Saturday’s game will be on Root Sports at 8:00 (CT).
Also at stake this weekend, is the all-important Pairwise rankings. A couple of wins would solidify either team’s standings for the NCAA playoffs and a couple of losses could knock you down a place or two.
Over the course of the last ten seasons North Dakota and Denver have had some entertaining games.
If you go on and conduct a search, you would literally find hours of videos of goals, scrums and dustups between Denver and North Dakota.  I can only imagine that we will be able to add a few more videos to that collection when this weekend is over.
North Dakota and Denver have a history in the playoffs and the Green and White have beaten DU in the final game of the last two WCHA Final Fives. North Dakota also has a 7-2-0 record the last 10 games against Denver.
One could say that it’s gut check time, but it’s also crunch time as well.
Freshman forward Rocco Grimaldi, who has played in a series against the Denver Pioneers earlier in the season at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, was asked why he thought the games between the Denver Pioneers and North Dakota were so intense.
“I think both teams are extremely competitive and well coached,” Grimaldi said. “Overall good teams offensively and defensively, the better the games are the more you build a rivalry with that team, I guess. When you have good games all the time, when you play someone, eventually rivalries are built.”
Senior forward Danny Kristo was more to the point when asked about the rivalry between the two teams.
“I think Mac [Andrew MacWilliam] hates these guys the most,” Kristo said. “I don’t need to beat around the bush but I don’t think our coaching staffs like each other too much, either. Obviously, both teams have a lot of respect for each other because both teams are always there at the end of the year.”
During an earlier series between the two teams, sophomore forward Steph Pattyn had this to say about playing against the Denver Pioneers.
“It’s kind of a personal rivalry for a couple of our guys,” Pattyn said.  “I know that Mac [Andrew MacWilliam] just really doesn’t like these guys.”
This is a series that gets everyone’s blood boiling. The fans of both teams love these games. The coaches and players involved in this rivalry love the games as well. You can bet that all of the body-checks will be finished, when these two teams meet this weekend. Emotions will run high, and you can also count on a few dust-ups and scrums happening between the two teams.
When it’s all said and done, the team that plays with the most discipline will probably prevail this weekend.
Denver is leading the WCHA in penalty minutes with 496 and that total could be a lot higher when the weekend is over. North Dakota is sitting in number three spot with 475.
Let the feud, err, I mean rivalry begin.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WCHA Web Media Poll: Week 19

Each week, I participate in a WCHA Web Media Poll that is put on by the Tech Hockey Guide with 11 other people that represent both the print media as well as the hockey blogosphere.
There is a new number one team, in this week’s WCHA Web Media Poll. The Saint Cloud State Huskies move from Second place to first as they garner seven of 12 first place votes. The Minnesota Golden Gophers drop one spot to second place. North Dakota remains in third place and Nebraska-Omahamoves up one spot from fifth to fourth place.
Minnesota State moves up one spot from Sixth to fifth place. The Denver Pioneers are this week’s biggest loser as the Pioneers drops from fourth place to sixth place. The rest of the poll is the same as it was last week.
Here’s a look at the results the Tech Hockey Guide WCHA Web Media Poll for Week 19:
1)St. Cloud State (7)137218-11-113
2)Minnesota (4)136120-6-412
3)North Dakota115316-8-635
4)Nebraska Omaha102518-12-236
5)Minnesota State (1)101620-9-317
8)Colorado College60811-14-588
9)Minnesota Duluth44910-16-4910
10)Michigan Tech361010-16-4911
11)Bemidji State28116-17-7911
12)Alaska Anchorage12124-19-71212
Representing Name Publication Twitter
Alaska-Anchorage, Taylor Hall College Hockey News @thall907
Bemidji State, Troy Mills The Beaver Pond
Colorado College, Joe Paisley, Paisley Hockey @Paisleyhockey
Denver, Mike Chambers, Denver Post @MChambersDP
Michigan Tech, Tim Braun, Tech Hockey Guide @TBraunTHG
Minnesota, Dan Myers, Minnesota Hockey Magazine @1DanMyers
Minnesota Duluth, Bruce Ciskie, The Ciskie Blog @BruceCiskie
Minnesota State, Chris Dilks, Western College Hockey @ChrisDilks
Nebraska-Omaha, Matt Semisch, Radio Free Omaha @matthewsemisch
North Dakota, Eric Burton The Hockey Writers Combine and Goon’s World @goon48
St. Cloud State, Jeremy Larson, Husky Hockey Time @jclarson02
Wisconsin, Andy Johnson, Bucky’s 5th Quarter @andyjohnsonB5Q

Cross Posted at the Hockey Writers Combine... 

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

DU and UND to renew the feud this weekend

I guess it's time to get this thread going. This week, UND visits their old buddies the Denver Pioneers and I am sure we will see some good action on the ice. Probably see a dust up or two and maybe a dance on the dancer by Denver's 5'2" head coach George Gwozdecky. I mean, why not also invite Todd Anderson to ref both games as well and the weekend will be complete.

From the UND game notes:  All-Time: UND leads the All-time series 136-116-9 (.538). UND's record against the Pioneers in Grand Forks; UND leads 81-42-6 (.651). UND's record against the Pioneers in Denver; DU leads 50-67-3 (.429). Neutral sites, UND trails 5-7-0 (.417). Last 10 games against the Pioneers, UND leads 7-2-1 (.750)

Good Memories here.
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