Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday Morning Coffee

  • Rocco Grimaldi and Team USA suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to Russia Friday at the World Junior Championship and Dave Starman broke down the performance for while Chris Peters did the same on his USOH blog. The Americans will have a shot to rebound early Sunday morning (3:30 AM CST) against Canada in a game that will have a big impact on medal round seeding. 
  • Team USA played an exhibition game last night against Canada Pacific in a World Under-17 Challenge tune-up. The Americans shelled CP 6-2, with North Dakota recruits Chris Wilkie (two goals) and Austin Poganski (one goal) each figuring into the scoring. The games begin to count in the standings this afternoon when Team USA takes on Canada Ontario at 12:30 CST. Chris Peters again has his bases covered with a Team USA preview, and if you want to watch the streamed games free via FastHockey, here's how to do so.
  • The Women's Under-18 World Championship kicked off today in Finland and Team USA got off to a rousing start with a 7-0 victory over Russia. North Dakota recruits Gracen Hirschy and Amy Menke did not figure into the scoring but they were a combined +3 for the game while Alexis Shaw (G) did not see action today. Team Canada also has a North Dakota recruit on its roster in defenseman Halli Krzyzaniak, who is serving as an alternate captain for the Canadian squad. As of this post, the Canadians were leading Hungary 4-1 late in the third, with Krzyzaniak notching a pair of assists. Preliminary play continues tomorrow for both Team USA and Canada before Monday's rest day. Tuesday will see the conclusion of preliminary action with the medal round commencing Wednesday and concluding with next Saturday's gold medal game. This is the sixth year this event has been held, and Team USA has won gold three of the five years while Canada, the defending champion, has won gold twice. Also of note, Canada and Team USA have met in the gold medal game all five years.
  • Chris VandeVelde was suspended for three games by the AHL as a result of this illegal check to the head. Dave Staples of the Edmonton Journal's Cult of Hockey blog says it should have been a 10 gamer.
  • Last weekend North Dakota recruit and current Lincoln Star Luke Johnson took some time to talk to the guys at The Pipeline Show. 
  • Recruit Paul LaDue scored the OT game-winner for Lincoln last night. He continues to lead all USHL defensemen with 23 points (5G, 18A).
  • Recruit Christian Evers blasted a PP goal in the Omaha AAA U-16 Lancers 6-1 win over Wenatchee yesterday at the Dallas NAPHL event. Evers now has 11 points (2G, 9A) in 11 NAPHL games this season and Omaha remained undefeated (15-0) in NAPHL play.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Recruit Profile: Shane Gersich
Current Team:  USA NTDP Under-18 Team (USHL/Int.)
Potential Arrival at UND:  2014/15
Position:  Forward
Birthday:  July 10, 1996
Hometown:  Chaska, MN
Height:  5'11"
Weight:  175
Shoots:  Left

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He will play for the USA Hockey NTDP Under-18 Team.
  • He participated in the 2013 All-American Prospects Game as one of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft.
  • In September he was listed as a C skater on the NHL Central Scouting Service's Preliminary Watchlist for the 2014 NHL Draft.
  • Played his sophomore season for Holy Family Catholic School (MN-HS), picking up 62 points (28G, 34A) in 25 games. He also scored one goal in six contests for the USHL's Omaha Lancers.
  • In August he took part in the 2012 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament and registered six points (1G, 5A) in the first two games before suffering a shoulder injury that would keep him out of competition for the rest of the tournament.
  • In the fall he played in the Upper Midwest HS Elite League, where he produced eight points (5G, 3A) in seven games. USHR ranked him as Team Southwest's top player based on this scouting report: 1. Shane Gersich, F, 7/10/96 (Holy Family Catholic) 5-10/165 — Very well could be the top uncommitted college prospect in the country—and he’s only a sophomore! Our opinion of him is a bit skewed because we have seen him at his best. He sort of went through the motions here. Nonetheless, Gersich just has so much skill – an absolute stud. Played for Team USA at the Five Nations tournament and led the team in scoring. Was outstanding at the Select 16 Festival over the summer. As a freshman last season. Gersich posted a 30-30-60 scoring line in just 21 games played. Might outgrow Minnesota high school hockey after this season and be forced to move on to the USHL or the NTDP.
  • He participated in USA Hockey's Select 15 Development camp in July of 2012 and was ranked USHR's No. 2 forward after leading the camp in scoring with 12 points (5G, 7A) in six games. Here's what USHR had to say about him: Shane Gersich (Kelly Green, 5GP 5-6-11) 5-11/170 — Was outstanding all week long. Led the camp in scoring and had at least one point in every game. Is the top uncommitted ’96 forward in the country. An excellent skater who is able to pick up steam with the puck on his stick, Gersich makes plays while accelerating and is very agile and tough to check. We do not know who is recruiting him (everyone perhaps?), but our guess is that the Holy Family Catholic High School product, who has All-America potential, ends up at Minnesota or North Dakota. In 21 games played last season, the Chaska, Minn. native put up a 30-30-60 scoring line. We can only imagine what he will do next season as a junior.  (NOTE: Should read sophomore, not junior)
  • As a freshman at Holy Family Catholic School he registered 60 points (30G, 30A) in 21 games, and his 30 goals led the team while his 60 scoring points were second most.
  • Following his freshman season, the Omaha Lancers made him the No. 1 overall selection in the USHL's 2012 Futures Draft.
  • In January of 2012 he participated in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, where he was a teammate of fellow North Dakota recruit Nick Schmaltz. He produced four points (3G, 1A) in six tournament games. 
  • In July of 2011 he attended USA Hockey's Select 15 Development Camp, where he was USHR's No. 8 rated forward after producing seven points (3G, 4A) in five games: 8. Shane Gersich (#12 Red) 5-11/163 – 3-4-7 – Really good hands and a keen sense of the game. Is strong on the puck, and has a nice shot -- really snaps it off. Plays for Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, Minn. The school, which is about 25 miles southwest of Minneapolis), is moving from A to AA this season, at least in part because of the presence of Gersich.
  • As a Holy Family Catholic School 8th grader he finished second on the team with 41 points (16G, 25A) in 25 games.

Holiday Leftovers

The blogging came to a screeching halt as the result of holiday travels, but having now returned home a Heinz post is in order. Here's some old news along with some not-so-old news in an effort to catch up:
  • Team USA kicked off the 2013 World Junior Championship today with an 8-0 thumping of Germany, and North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi picked up an assist in the victory. They will take on tournament host Russia tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM CST, and the game can be viewed on NHL Network or streamed on (Full Broadcast Schedule). Grimaldi is seeking to play a big role for Team USA, and he and WJC linemate Johnny Gaudreau are big on ability despite both being under 5'10". In another local connection, the team doctor for Team USA is Phil Johnson of Fargo.
  • In a WJC lead-up feature, Jonathan Toews came in at No. 8 in TSN's Top 40 All-Time Canadians in World Junior history.
  • Corban Knight finished off the season's first half in style with a six point weekend in a road sweep against Michigan Tech and he was named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Beyond the Pond says he is no silent Knight, while Goon's World asks the question, why not Knight for Hobey?  
  • The Western College Hockey Blog issued its WCHA First Half Awards and Knight, Grimaldi, Danny Kristo, and Jordan Schmaltz all received recognition.
  • After being named the CHL Goaltender of the Month for November, Aaron Dell stayed hot and was named the league's Goaltender of the Week for the week ending December 16th.
  • Brock Nelson was recently included in The Hockey News' Hot List.
  • The 2012 Spengler Cup is underway in Davos, Switzerland and former Sioux defenseman Travis Roche is representing Team Canada. Roche has notched an assist in two tournament games and is among an unheralded group of Canadians getting the job done. This year's Spengler is drawing a bit more interest than usual as a number of locked out NHL stars pepper tournament rosters. Among the familiar names are Rick Nash, Joe Thornton, Patrick Kane, Tyler Seguin, Patrice Bergeron, John Tavares, Jason Spezza, etc.
  • Colby Genoway was recently featured in a nice video highlight package (link opens a YouTube video). Genoway currently plays for Lausanne of the NLB (Switzerland Tier 2) and is tied for 8th in the league in scoring with 45 points (19G, 26A) in 26 games. His 1.73 PPG rank first in the league among players with at least 25 games played. 
  • As virtually everyone knows, UND recently received verbal commitments from two highly-coveted recruits. St. Cloud Cathedral's Austin Poganski and Holy Family's Shane Gersich both committed to North Dakota in the days leading up to Christmas. A recruit profile for Gersich is forthcoming, and in the meantime you can get to know Poganski a little better via his recruit profile.
  • Poganski will be joining fellow North Dakota recruit Chris Wilkie on Team USA's entry in the 2013 World Under-17 Challenge, which runs Dec. 29 through Jan. 4th in Victoriaville/Drummondville, Quebec. Team USA plays an exhibition game Friday against Canada Pacific before kicking off preliminary round play Saturday in a tilt with Canada Ontario. Poganski is the only high schooler on the Team USA roster. The majority of the roster is made up of NTDP players, while a few others play for junior clubs.
  • The 2013 Women's Under-18 World Championship begins Saturday in Vierumaki/Heinola, Finland, and North Dakota has four committed recruits taking part. Alexis Shaw (G), Gracen Hirschy (D), and Amy Menke are on Team USA's roster while Halli Krzyzaniak (D) will be playing for Team Canada.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recruit Profile: Austin Poganski
Current Team: Tri-City Storm (USHL)
Potential Arrival at UND: 2014/15
Position:  Forward
Birthday:  February 16, 1996
Hometown:  St. Cloud, MN
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 198
Shoots: Right

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He will play for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL.
  • He was invited to participate in the 2013 All-American Prospects Game as one of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft, but he was unable to play due to injury.
  • In September he was listed as a B skater on the NHL Central Scouting Service's Preliminary Watchlist for the 2014 NHL Draft.
  • In August he was a member of the USA Hockey Under-18 Select team that took part in the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup.
  • He participated in USA Hockey's Select 17 Development Camp, logging one goal and four assists in six tournament games in leading Team Royal to the camp championship.
  • He played his junior season for St. Cloud Cathedral (MN-HS), logging 66 points (35G, 31A) in 26 games while earning the St. Cloud Times' All-Area High School Player of the Year award. He also appeared in two games for the Tri-City Storm (USHL), recording a goal and an assist.
  • He played for the bronze medal-winning Team USA at the 2013 World Under-17 Challenge in Victoriaville/Drummondville, Quebec where he scored a team-leading six goals in six tournament games. He was a teammate of fellow UND recruit Chris Wilkie.
  • In the 2012 Upper Midwest Elite League, he led Team Great Plains in scoring with 20 points (8G, 12A) and finished tied for tenth overall among all league players. Here's a scouting report from USHR, which ranked him as Team Great Plains' top performer: 1. Austin Poganski, F, 2/16/96 (St. Cloud Cathedral) 6-1/194 -- Just oozes with talent. Right off the hop you will notice his skating, which is exceptional. The ’96 forward has an explosive first step and is learning how to use his size to his advantage. Plus he really sees it. We have been told that the NTDP expressed interest in having him join the National U17 team this fall. Still seems to be figuring out how to dominate games, but his potential is very high. One of the top uncommitted ‘96s in the country.
  • In August he was the leading goal scorer on USA Hockey's Select Under-17 team that went undefeated in capturing the 2012 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament championship.
  • In July of 2012 he participated in the USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp, producing six points (4G, 2A) in six games.
  • As a sophomore he was the second leading point producer for St. Cloud Cathedral, registering 52 points (24G, 28A) in 28 games.  In July of 2011 he took part in the USA Hockey Select 15 Player Development Camp, where he registered four points (2G, 2A) in five games.
  • His freshman campaign at St. Cloud Cathedral saw him produce 38 points (22G, 16A) in 27 games, good for second on the team.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Morning Coffee

  • After earning its first sweep of the season this past weekend against Michigan Tech North Dakota will enter the holiday break on a high note. After the impressive showing in Houghton, several UND players will be strong candidates for WCHA Player of the Week consideration. Corban Knight and/or Danny Kristo could take home offensive honors, while Clarke Saunders and Joe Gleason put up very nice numbers on the defensive side. UND will next take on Holy Cross January 4-5 at REA.
  • If you have not already seen it, Sports Illustrated published a very nice article on North Dakota hockey's loyal following.
  • The National Post featured Toronto Marlies winger Matt Frattin in an article in which Toronto brass had a number of nice things to say about the former Sioux star. Frattin came up big over the weekend as he scored the game tying goal with just 10 seconds left in regulation and then helped seal a 4-3 victory over Rochester by scoring in the shootout. He now has 12 points (8G, 4A) in 12 games this season.
  • Brock Nelson recently went one on one with The Checking Line. He is currently tied for 3rd in scoring among AHL rookies with 22 points (11G, 11A) in 25 games.
  • The Des Moines Register wrote on a quartet of Iowans currently playing for the Omaha AAA Under-16 Lancers, and included in the piece is North Dakota commit Christian Evers. The Omaha AAA program, which also produced UND commit and current USA NTDP forward Chris Wilkie, has quickly developed into a very powerful hockey program.
  • North Dakota recruit Tucker Poolman's (Omaha-USHL) effectiveness on the power play earned some recognition from the USHL in its weekly update. Poolman, a defenseman, added a seventh power play goal over the weekend and is now tied for the league lead in that category. Meanwhile, recruit Paul LaDue continues to lead all USHL blueliners with 21 points (4G, 17A) in 24 games.
  • The recently decommitted Brendan Lemieux got himself into some trouble with an illegal hit.

Friday, December 14, 2012

North Dakota vs. Michigan Tech: Notes & Links

  • North Dakota: 8-5-3 Overall (5-2-3 WCHA)
  • Michigan Tech: 4-8-3 Overall (3-6-3 WCHA)
  • Gametime: Friday & Saturday 6:07 CST
  • Both games will be broadcast across the UND Radio Network, and as always, here's the standard broadcast information. While there will be no TV coverage, both games will be available for viewing via Michigan Tech webcast. Cost is $12.00 per game.
  • Series Notes (PDF): North Dakota and Michigan Tech
  • For all of the GF Herald stories, check out Brad Schlossman's Friday Morning Reading.
  • The Daily Mining Gazette: Huskies, Genoe Doing Alright
  • The Daily Mining Gazette: Last Minute of Hate in This Period
  • The Tech Hockey Guide: Scouting the Huskies and North Dakota
  • UND Sports: Men's Hockey Travel Blog
  • Series Numbers: North Dakota leads the all-time series 145-93-10, including a 61-55-5 edge on the road, and in the last 24 meetings in Houghton, UND has a remarkable 21-1-2 record. The Huskies are winless in the last 14 meetings, with North Dakota holding a 12-0-2 advantage over that stretch. These two teams last met at Engelstad Arena in February of this year, with North Dakota winning on Friday and the two teams playing to a 1-1 tie Saturday. UND's 145 victories against the Huskies are the most in program history against any one team.
  • Michigan Tech and North Dakota have each played five overtime games this season, and both teams sport 2-0-3 records in the extra session. Tech's five overtime contests have all come in their last seven games.
  • North Dakota forward Corban Knight is riding an 11 game point streak, during which he has racked up 15 points (3G, 12A).
  • Following their big weekend against Denver, linemates Carter Rowney and Rocco Grimaldi earned Weekly WCHA Honors. Rowney is starting to look very much like he did last year during his breakout junior season. Against Denver he was driving hard to the net and using his physical strength to out-muscle opponents, and his efforts were rewarded with a five point weekend. Grimaldi, who has produced eight points (2G, 6A) in his last five games, is constantly buzzing around the rink and is a threat to generate offensive chances anytime he is on the ice. The scary thing about him is he still seems a bit snakebitten in terms of burying his quality scoring chances. If he can maintain his current level of play, eventually he will start finding the back of the net and his production will really take off.
  • Michigan Tech has killed off just 75.8% of short-handed situations, second-worst in the conference and fourth-worst in the nation, and the Huskies are last in the WCHA in scoring defense, allowing 3.53 GPG. UND's play on the man-advantage has been relatively ineffective this season, cashing in on just 15.6% of its power play opportunities, third worst in the WCHA. However, North Dakota has been killing off penalties at an 84.5% clip, good for third in the conference.
  • Michigan Tech forward Dennis Rix is one of just eight players in the nation with more than one shorthanded goal this season.
  • Expect Kevin Genoe to get the nod in net for Michigan Tech. For UND, don't be surprised to see Clarke Saunders and Zane Gothberg each get a start this weekend.  
  • UND forward Michael Parks will not play this weekend. Michigan Tech defenseman Daniel Sova is out with a wrist injury, while forwards Tanner Kero, David Johnstone, Chad Pietila and defeseman Justin Fillion are all probable to 50/50 for this weekend's series.  
  • Three Michigan Tech Huskies are NHL draft picks, while 14 North Dakota players have heard their names called by NHL clubs.
  • USCHO's This Week in the WCHA
  • USCHO's Three WCHA Observations
  • USCHO's Weekend Picks
  • CHN's Tale of the Tape
  • CHN's WCHA Power Rankings
  • CHN's Three Things
  • WCHB Weekly WCHA Preview
  • WCHA Weekly Press Release
  • The Hockey Writer's Combine: UND vs. Michigan Tech Series Notes
  • Sioux Sports Series Preview

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday Morning Coffee

  • North Dakota forward and Manitoba native Stephane Pattyn was featured in a very nice Winnipeg Free Press article.
  • Aaron Dell was recently named the Central Hockey League's Goaltender of the Month for November. Dell leads the CHL in both GAA (2.03) and Save Percentage (.930). 
  • Matt Watkins was named alternate captain for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He will wear the A in Sound Tiger road games.
  • says Mike Commodore's return to the AHL is part of a bigger mission.
  • After patiently playing a game of wait and see with the NHL lockout, Jonathan Toews says heading overseas is "absolutely" on the front burner.
  • Even after last week's apparent negotiation meltdown between the NHL and NHLPA, Zach Parise remains optimistic.
  • The Hockey Writers are in the midst of ranking their top 90 prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, and they have some nice things to say about North Dakota native/UND recruit Keaton Thompson (No. 26). Here's their take on the Devils Lake product:
Mr. Impressive – The smooth and easy of defense; fluid, consistent, calm under pressure, one and out passes, can join the rush, and not afraid of the rough stuff. A player who has been increasingly impressive so far with hints of what he can develop into. Go ahead, Keaton, add some weight and strength and see where this game can take you.
  • Colorado Eagle (ECHL) defenseman Jake Marto was recently the subject of a player profile video and he spent a couple minutes discussing his time playing for the University of North Dakota:

Friday, December 7, 2012

North Dakota vs. Denver: Notes & Links

  • North Dakota: 7-5-2 Overall (4-2-2 WCHA)
  • Denver: 9-4-1 Overall (7-2-1 WCHA)
  • Gametime: Friday 7:37 CST/Saturday 7:07 CST
  • Both games will be broadcast across the region on a variety of media outlets and as always, here's the standard broadcast information. Fox College Sports Central will also be televising both games of the series (DirecTV channel 626).
  • Series Notes: North Dakota and Denver
  • For all of the GF Herald stories, check out Brad Schlossman's Friday Morning Reading.
  • College Hockey News: Saunders Finds a New Home in Grand Forks
  • Series Numbers: North Dakota leads the all-time series 135-116-8, including an 80-42-5 record in Grand Forks. Denver has had relative success playing in the new Engelstad however, managing an 8-9-2 record in Grand Forks since North Dakota opened its current arena. Over the course of the previous two seasons, UND owns a 5-2 advantage over Denver, with three of those wins coming in the postseason (two at the WCHA Final Five, one in the NCAA tournament).
  • The GF Herald's Brad Schlossman wrote a great article containing a number of impressive stats that detail the staying power both Denver and North Dakota have displayed over the course of the last decade. The sustained relevance of these two programs has created a very heated rivalry, and every time they meet the games seem to carry some measure of significance. One other number that displays the consistency of this weekend's combatants? Denver and North Dakota have hosted WCHA first round playoff series each of the past nine seasons. Every other program in the conference has had to travel for the first round at least twice over that same span.  
  • North Dakota pivot Corban Knight is currently riding a nine game point streak (1G, 11A). The last time he failed to record a point was November 2nd against Boston University.
  • UND freshman Drake Caggiula scored three goals last weekend against Colorado College. When was the last time a freshman scored three times in a weekend for North Dakota? Danny Kristo accomplished the feat November 27-28, 2009 in the Subway Holiday Classic against Ohio State and Miami University.
  • At the beginning of the season, significant departures upfront led many to question where Denver would find its offensive production. During the first ten games of the season Pioneer defensemen racked up a very impressive 14 goals and were responsible for nearly a third of the team's offense as Denver jumped out to a 9-1-0 start. The last four games, however, their defensemen have produced just one goal and the team has gone winless (0-3-1). Denver head coach George Gwozdecky affords his defensive corps quite a bit of freedom to jump up into the offensive play, and the talented group will certainly warrant extra attention in the North Dakota zone this weekend.
  • Denver has played 14 games thus far in 2012-13, with only three coming on the road. One of those games was against Colorado College, making this weekend's visit to Grand Forks just the second time this season the Pioneers have travelled outside of Colorado. They swept Minnesota State in Mankato a month ago.
  • Over the course of the past five seasons, North Dakota has been swept at home just once. Denver was the evildoer, back in January of 2010.
  • Denver Post writer Mike Chambers says Denver is expected to start Juho Olkinuora in goal Friday night, and that the Fin could be in net Saturday night as well.
  • Earlier this week rumors swirled that highly-regarded freshman forward Quentin Shore was considering leaving Denver in order to join the WHL's Portland Winterhawks. Shore appears to be staying put, however, and he is excited to be making the trip to Grand Forks.
  • North Dakota forward Michael Parks remains sidelined with a lower body injury. On the Denver injury front, defenseman Nolan Zajac is expected to return to the lineup while Josiah Didier is out. Also sitting for the Pioneers is Larkin Jacobson (team suspension).
  • Seven members of this season's Pioneer squad are NHL draft picks, while 14 North Dakota players have heard their names called by NHL clubs.
  • USCHO's This Week in the WCHA 
  • USCHO's Weekend Picks
  • CHN's Tale of the Tape
  • CHN's WCHA Power Rankings
  • CHN's WCHA 3 Up, 2 Down
  • WCHB Weekly WCHA Preview
  • WCHA Weekly Press Release
  • The Hockey Writer's Combine: Series Notes
  • Sioux Sports Series Preview

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday Morning Coffee

  • USCHO's This Week in the WCHA casts its spotlight on North Dakota captain Andrew MacWilliam, who head coach Dave Hakstol calls "a true throwback."
  • Goon's World put together a feature on UND freshman Drake Caggiula, who had a big three goal series against Colorado College last weekend.
  • The Hockey Writers have released their NCAA Women's Hockey Week 10 Recap, and they have North Dakota ranked No. 4 in the nation. UND junior Michelle Karvinen was also named the week's 2nd Star after her two goal, five assist weekend against RIT.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs' official website took a look at Matt Frattin's torrid goal scoring pace. As of this morning Frattin was the Maple Leaf website's lead story.
  • The Edmonton Oilers' weekly notebook feature's former Sioux centerman Chris VandeVelde and the newest member of his family.
  • did a short video interview with Houston Aeros defenseman Chay Genoway.
  • TSN has an updated "Craig's List," which is scout Craig Button's player rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft. The initial list included Button's top 30 draft-eligible players, but the update has been expanded to the top 75. North Dakota recruit Keaton Thompson maintained his No. 24 ranking, while Luke Johnson made his debut on the list at No. 74.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Morning Coffee

  • USA Hockey announced its preliminary roster for the World Junior Championships yesterday and, as expected, North Dakota's Rocco Grimaldi was on it. The final roster will eventually be whittled down to 23 players from the current 27 sometime during the team's training camp, but at this point it would be a shock if Grimaldi did not make the team. USA Hockey's release on the roster announcement includes its full training camp and WJC schedule, while the United States of Hockey blog took to the task of breaking down each of the 15 forwards named to the preliminary roster. Of note, former UND assistant coach/current Ohio State head coach Mark Osiecki and current Minnesota assistant coach/Grand Forks native Grant Potulny will serve as assistant coaches to Team USA head coach Phil Housley.
  • The Hockey News' Ryan Kennedy tweeted last night that Denver University freshman forward Quentin Shore is considering leaving school in order to join the WHL's Portland Winterhawks. If Shore does indeed bolt for Portland, it would mark the third consecutive season that a WCHA player has left school mid-season in order to play for the Winterhawks. William Wrenn left Denver for Portland in 2010-11, while St. Cloud State's Cam Reid made the jump to the Winterhawks last season. Denver, of course, will be visiting REA to take on North Dakota this weekend.
  • Former Sioux defenseman Mike Commodore talked with The Toronto Globe and Mail on his decision to sign with the AHL's Hamilton Bulldogs.
  • The Toronto Maple Leaf fansite We Want a Cup says Matt Frattin is on the right path to a productive NHL career.
  • Aaron Schneekloth of the Colorado Eagles is once again among the ECHL's top point-producing defensemen with 16 points (2G, 14A) in 19 games, and he was recently featured in a video player profile.
  • Want your very own "life-like" version of Stanley Cup champion Matt Greene? Life in Hockeywood has it for you.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tuesday Morning Coffee

  • All Habs Magazine recently ran a nice feature on North Dakota forward Mark MacMillan, whom Montreal selected in the 4th round on the 2010 NHL Draft.
  • USA Hockey is set to release its World Junior Championship preliminary roster this morning, and the United States of Hockey expects North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi to be on the list. Team USA's pre-tournament camp begins December 16 and the WJC begins December 26 in Ufa, Russia. The tournament runs through the gold medal game Januray 5th.
  • The International Ice Hockey Federation has published a series of articles examining the role of college hockey within the overall bounds of the sport. On the men's side they covered the NCAA's increased ability to develop professional players, while they also examined the elite level of play NCAA women's ice hockey brings to the international stage. UND women's coaches Brian Idalski and Peter Elander are prominently featured in the women's article.
  • Despite playing in just eight of Toronto's 21 games this season, Matt Frattin is tied for the Marlies' team lead in goals with seven. The Winnipeg Sun took a look at his strong return from injury, while TSN says the former Sioux star has a lot of extra eyes watching him.
  • Norfolk Admiral teammates Matt Smaby and Emerson Etem share the Shattuck-St. Mary's connection.
  • Jonathan Toews will be part of the group of players that will meet with team owners in the hopes of  breaking the NHL lockout stalemate. Toews recently commented that the players refuse to get pushed around by the owners.
  • Looking past the lockout and the all-too-real possibility of the cancellation of the entire season, Sportsnet has listed some of the top potential free agents for 2013, and Travis Zajac is in their group.
  • The always entertaining Mike Commodore spent an hour discussing a wide range of topics on the Cabbie Podcast.
  • UND recruit Christian Evers and the Omaha AAA U-16 Lancers rolled through the NAPHL Blaine Showcase this weekend with a 5-0 record, outscoring their opponents 24-4 along the way. Evers, a 6'4" 195 pound defenseman, finished the showcase with five assists in five games. The Lancers, who have yet to lose an NAPHL game this season, are coached by David Wilkie, the father of North Dakota recruit and current USNTDP Under-17 team forward Chris Wilkie.

Friday, November 30, 2012

North Dakota vs. Colorado College: Notes & Links

  • North Dakota: 6-4-2 Overall (3-1-2 WCHA)
  • Colorado College: 7-6-1 Overall (4-2-0 WCHA)
  • Gametime: Friday 8:37 CST/Saturday 8:07 CST
  • Both games will be broadcast across the UND Radio Network, and as always, here's the standard broadcast information. While neither game of this series will be on TV, both games will be available for viewing via CC's Tiger Vision webcast. Cost is $6.95 per game, or you can buy a monthly pass for $10.95 and get both games at a discount.
  • Series Notes (PDF): North Dakota and Colorado College
  • For all of the GF Herald stories, check out Brad Schlossman's Friday Morning Reading.
  • Colorado Springs Gazette: CC Needs to Snap Out of Funk vs. #7 North Dakota
  • The Catalyst: CC-DU Hockey Fight Raises Questions, Issues Off the Ice
  • The Catalyst: Ice of the Tiger
  • UND Sports: Men's Hockey Travel Blog
  • Paisley Hockey: Friday Reading
  • Series Numbers: North Dakota leads the all-time series 137-76-10, with Colorado College holding a 47-56-4 edge at home. However, in the last 10 meetings in Colorado Springs, UND has a 6-4-0 advantage. The Tigers have won just one time in the last eight meetings, with North Dakota holding a 7-1-0 advantage over that stretch. Their last meeting came just over one year ago (Thanksgiving weekend of 2011), with North Dakota earning a sweep in what was a wildly entertaining series at Engelstad Arena.  All-time, UND has recorded 137 victories at the Tiger's expense, second-most in program history to its 145 wins over Michigan Tech, and the Fighting Sioux have scored more goals (1,045) against CC than any other team.
  • North Dakota forward Danny Kristo is averaging 1.40 points per game, good for ninth nationally and third in the conference, while goaltender Clarke Saunders is T-12th in the nation with his WCHA-leading .934 save percentage. 
  • This is the last weekend for Team USA World Junior Championship candidates to make an impression on USA Hockey staff, as the preliminary roster is set to be released next week. Rocco Grimaldi would seem to be a virtual lock, but Jordan Schmaltz is a fringe player who could could tip the scale in his favor with a strong weekend in Colorado Springs, which is the home of USA Hockey headquarters.
  • Special teams effectiveness could very well be a difference-maker this weekend. CC boasts the WCHA's top power play, converting at a 24.4% clip, but they've killed off just 73.5% of short-handed situations, second-worst in the conference and third-worst in the nation. UND, on the other hand, has been effective on the kill (85.7%, 3rd in WCHA), while cashing in on just 15.2% of its power plays, third worst in the WCHA.
  • The defense and goaltending of Colorado College has been very porous this season. The Tigers allow 3.50 goals per game, second worst in the conference to Michigan Tech's 3.60 GPG and 54th out of the nation's 59 teams. Their goaltenders, Josh Thorimbert (3.38) and Joe Howe (3.48), rank 16th and 18th respectively in GAA among the 19 WCHA netminders who qualify statistically, and they've really struggled at home. In games played in Colorado Springs, Howe has a 3.66 GAA to go along with his .894 Save % while Thorimbert has a 4.00 GAA and .854 Save %.
  • At the other end of the ice, Colorado College boasts a potent offensive attack, scoring 3.71 goals per game (3rd most in the WCHA, 5th most in the nation). They have seven of the top 22 point producers in the WCHA, with senior forwards Rylan Schwartz and William Rapuzzi tied for the league lead with 17 points each. Schwartz in particular has been a thorn in North Dakota's side. In his last three games against UND, Schwartz has scored eight of CC's twelve goals, including two hat tricks last year in Grand Forks.
  • UND forward Michael Parks will not play this weekend. Two weeks ago against Minnesota-Duluth he aggravated the lower body injury he suffered in the exhibition game against Manitoba and he has not played since. His status is considered to be week-to-week. 
  • Four Colorado College Tigers are NHL draft picks, while 14 North Dakota players have heard their names called by NHL clubs.
  • USCHO's This Week in the WCHA
  • USCHO's Three WCHA Observations
  • USCHO's Weekend Picks
  • CHN's Tale of the Tape
  • CHN's WCHA Power Rankings
  • WCHB Weekly WCHA Preview
  • WCHA Weekly Press Release
  • The Hockey Writer's Combine: UND vs. Colorado College Series Notes
  • Sioux Sports Series Preview

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Morning Coffee

I haven't had much time to get any former Sioux and/or recruit "update" posts up over the past couple of weeks, so some of this stuff may be old news to many of you, but regardless...
  • Monique Lamoureux earned WCHA weekly honors for the second consecutive week after a strong weekend against Minnesota-Duluth.
  • Jonathan Toews is still undecided about heading overseas as the NHL lockout threatens the 2012-13 season. Toews, who has only recently begun feeling 100% healthy after the concussion he suffered last season, was ranked as one of the top 10 players in the NHL by CBS's Eye on Hockey blog. Zach Parise, meanwhile, came in at number 30.
  • The Hamilton Bulldogs (AHL) signed veteran defenseman Mike Commodore to a professional tryout contract. Commodore, who has yet to suit up for the Bulldogs, feels his NHL career would be over if he were to sit out the entire season due to the lockout.
  • UND recruit Adam Tambellini has been on a hot streak lately, including picking up a rare six pack. One of the contributing factors to his streak may have been his World Junior A Challenge snub. He is currently sixth in the BCHL in scoring with 31 points (16G, 15A), trailing league-leader and fellow North Dakota recruit Wade Murphy (13G, 20A) by just two points.
  • NHL Central Scouting released its preliminary rankings for the 2013 NHL Draft, and recruits Keaton Thompson (No. 5) and Luke Johnson (No. 8) are among the top-ranked USHLers on the list. Thompson is ranked no. 22 overall by International Scouting Service and he was featured by scout Craig Button in TSN's scouting report video series. Meanwhile, Tambellini and Murphy are among a group of BCHLers to receive mention from Central Scouting. Tambellini is listed as a B-skater and Murphy jumped up to a C-skater after not appearing on the preliminary watch list.
  • Darcy Zajac recently took part in a Q&A as the Albany Devils (AHL) prepared to play the first of its four regular season tilts in Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall.
  • Evan Trupp scored a beary big goal last weekend.
  • Brock Nelson and Nino Neiderreiter have developed some nice chemistry for the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers. They were both first round draft picks of the New York Islanders in 2010, and Lighthouse Hockey recently took a look at Nelson's emergence as a force in the AHL. Nelson currently has 14 points (7G, 7A) in 17 games.
  • Matt Frattin has returned to the Toronto Marlies' lineup with a vengeance, scoring five goals in five games since returning from knee surgery...Michael Forney (Colorado Eagles) continues to lead the ECHL with 16 goals. He is also third in the league with 29 points (16G, 13A) in 19 games...Mario Lamoureux (Ontario Reign) is T-6th in ECHL rookie scoring with 14 points (6G, 8A) in 16 games...Aaron Dell (Allen Americans) leads the CHL in both GAA (1.89) and Save Percentage (.936)...Aaron Schneekloth (Colorado Eagles) is T-3rd among ECHL defensemen with 16 points (2G, 14A) in 19 games...Andrew Kozek (Dornbirner) leads the Austrian elite league with 18 goals...Curtis Murphy (Linz) is T-4th among Austrian elite league defensemen with 21 points (5G, 16A) in 25 games...Defenseman Travis Roche (Bern) is expected to be out until mid-December with a broken hand. He has 10 points (1G, 9A) in 10 Swiss elite league games this season...UND recruit Paul LaDue leads all USHL defensemen in points (3G, 13A) and assists (13)...

Friday, November 23, 2012

North Dakota vs. Notre Dame: Notes & Links

  • North Dakota: 5-3-2 Overall (3-1-2 WCHA)
  • Notre Dame: 8-3-0 Overall (5-1-0 CCHA)
  • Gametime: Friday 6:35 CST/Saturday 4:05 CST
  • Both games will be broadcast across the UND Radio Network, and as always, here's the standard broadcast information. While neither game of this series will be on TV, Notre Dame is one of just a few schools out there to provide free webcasts of their games. Use the Live Video link on the Notre Dame hockey scoreboard page to access the live stream.
  • Series Notes (PDF): North Dakota and Notre Dame
  • For all of the GF Herald stories, check out Brad Schlossman's Friday Morning Reading.
  • South Bend Tribune: Notre Dame's Bryan Rust on Verge of Breakout Campaign
  • The Observer: Irish Face North Dakota in Top 10 Matchup
  • College Hockey News: Notre Dame, Team of the Week
  • UND Sports: Men's Hockey Travel Blog
  • Series Numbers: The all-time series is tied at 16-16-3, with Notre Dame holding a 6-9-1 edge in South Bend. Notre Dame has won just one time in the last 15 meetings, with North Dakota holding an 11-1-3 advantage over that stretch. Their last meeting came in 2010 over Thanksgiving weekend, with North Dakota earning a win and a tie at Engelstad Arena. The bulk of the matchups between the Irish and UND came while the two schools were members of the WCHA (1971-72 through 1980-81). In their 35 game history, they have met just five times as non-conference foes. 
  • North Dakota's Danny Kristo is the reigning WCHA Offensive Player of the Week, while defenseman Robbie Russo and goaltender Steven Summerhays earned weekly CCHA honors for Notre Dame.
  • Scoring will not come easily this weekend against Notre Dame. The Irish rank second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 1.64 goals per game, while Summerhays' 1.51 GAA is the fourth best in the nation. Notre Dame has also killed 90.9% of its opponent's power play opportunities, good for fifth nationally.
  • Offensively, Notre Dame is led by Anders Lee (11 gms - 5G, 4A) and Bryan Rust (11gms - 3G, 5A) while defensemen Stephen Johns (11gms - 0G, 7A) and Robbie Russo (11 gms - 3G, 4A) are regular contributors to the offensive attack of the Irish. Star forward TJ Tynan (11 gms - 2G, 3A) is off to a slow start this season, but the dynamic center remains a threat. 
  • Because Notre Dame's webcasts are free (combined with the fact that they've appeared on national TV a few times), I've had the opportunity to watch them play several times. Lee has been consistently impressive upfront for the Irish. His combination of size, strength, and the ability to finish makes him very hard to handle. Tynan's play, as indicated by his dip in production this season, has been inconsistent. While he still displays the flashy skills that have made him a point-per-game player during his career (95 games, 100 points), there have also been significant stretches during which he is far too uninvolved in the play. Defensively, Johns has impressed the most. Both he and Russo are good offensively, but Johns has been more sound in his own zone. As for the goaltending, it usually takes a special play to get one by Summerhays. He has been very good all season for the Irish.
  • Last week, forward Michael Parks returned to the UND lineup for the first time since suffering a lower body injury in the exhibition game against Manitoba, but he left Friday's game after apparently aggravating the injury. He will not play this weekend against Notre Dame and his status is considered to be week-to-week. Notre Dame freshman forward Mario Lucia made his collegiate debut during last weekend's sweep at Michigan. Lucia suffered a broken leg in the preseason, and he is expected to see increased ice-time this weekend against North Dakota. Mario, of course, is the son of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia, who is a Notre Dame alum himself.
  • Twelve members of this season's Notre Dame squad are NHL draft picks, while 14 North Dakota players have heard their names called by NHL clubs.
  • USCHO's This Week in the WCHA
  • USCHO's Weekend Picks
  • CHN's Tale of the Tape
  • CHN's WCHA Power Rankings
  • CHN's WCHA 3 Up, 2 Down
  • CHN's Three Things
  • WCHB Weekly WCHA Preview
  • WCHA Weekly Press Release
  • The Hockey Writer's Combine: UND vs. Notre Dame Series Notes
  • Sioux Sports Series Preview

Friday, November 16, 2012

North Dakota vs. Minnesota-Duluth: Notes & Links

  • North Dakota: 4-3-1 Overall (2-1-1 WCHA)
  • Minnesota-Duluth: 2-5-1 Overall (0-3-1 WCHA)
  • Gametime: Friday 7:37 CST/Saturday 7:07 CST
  • Both games will be broadcast across the region on a variety of media outlets and as always, here's the standard broadcast information. Fox College Sports will also carry both games of the series. Friday's game can be found on DirecTV channel 623 while Saturday's will air on DirecTV channel 608.
  • Series Notes (PDF): North Dakota and Minnesota-Duluth
  • For all of the GF Herald stories, check out Brad Schlossman's Friday Morning Reading.
  • Duluth News-Tribune: Bulldogs Take WCHA Winless Skid to North Dakota
  • Duluth News-Tribune: Bulldogs Looking For Right Chemistry
  • The Ciskie Blog: UMD Returns to Grand Forks, Trying to Stop Slide
  • Bulldog Country: Series Preview
  • Series Numbers: North Dakota leads the all-time series 135-75-8, including a 75-31-2 record in Grand Forks. Dating back to the 2003-04 season, UND sports a 23-7-2 mark against the Bulldogs, including a 12-2-1 advantage at Engelstad Arena. UMD is one of just five programs North Dakota has faced at least 200 times, with Minnesota, Michigan Tech, Denver, and Colorado College being the others. 
  • UND goaltender Clarke Saunders is second among WCHA goaltenders in both GAA (1.98) and Save Percentage (.931).
  • UND has the second best penalty kill in the WCHA, having killed off 87.5% of shorthanded situations.
  • UMD senior forward Mike Seidel leads all WCHA skaters with four power play goals and Tony Cameranesi is third among WCHA freshmen with seven points (4G, 3A), while Austin Farley is tied for fourth with six (2G, 4A).
  • UMD is averaging the third fewest goals per game (2.38) among WCHA teams while allowing the fourth most (2.88). They are also the most penalized team in the country, taking an average of 19.0 penalty minutes per game.
  • UMD's head coach is former Sioux player and assistant coach Scott Sandelin and one of his assistants, Jason Herter, is also a former Sioux player.
  • Bulldog defenseman Willie Corrin is the nephew of former Sioux head coach Dean Blais, and his full name is William Blais Corrin.
  • Michael Parks could return to the UND lineup for the first time since suffering a lower body injury in the exhibition game against Manitoba. He was a full participant in Thursday's practice, playing on a line with freshmen Rocco Grimaldi and Drake Caggiula. On the Minnesota-Duluth injury front, defenseman Chris Casto is expected to return to the lineup while defenseman Luke McManus is questionable (UMD injury news courtesy of Rink & Run).
  • Seven members of this season's UMD squad are NHL draft picks, while 14 North Dakota players have heard their names called by NHL brass.
  • USCHO's This Week in the WCHA
  • USCHO Weekend Review: UMD is in Trouble
  • USCHO's Weekend Picks
  • CHN's Tale of the Tape
  • CHN's WCHA Power Rankings
  • CHN's WCHA 3 Up, 2 Down
  • CHN's Three Things
  • WCHB Weekly WCHA Preview
  • WCHA Weekly Press Release
  • The Hockey Writer's Combine: UND vs. UMD Series Notes
  • Sioux Sports Series Preview
  • Episode 2.07 of Through These Doors: