Thursday, March 21, 2013

Final Five Notes, Part II

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Few Final Five Notes & Links

  • North Dakota's final appearance in the WCHA Final Five begins tomorrow evening against Colorado College and the play of the ultra-competitive Danny Kristo will go a long way in determining UND's postseason success.
  • Similar to Kristo, Nick Mattson made his way from the Twin Cities to Grand Forks to play his college hockey, and he knows bragging rights are on the line at the Final Five.
  • UND Sports TV recently featured North Dakota senior forward and Hobey Baker candidate Corban Knight. Knight has 48 points (15G, 33A) on the season and with two more, he and Kristo would become UND's first 50+ point duo since Ryan Duncan and TJ Oshie accomplished the feat in 2006-07.
  • As for North Dakota's Thursday opponent, a rejuvenated Colorado College team advanced to the Final Five with some timely contributions from a pair of freshman forwards.
  • North Dakota will be looking to claim its fourth consecutive and ninth overall Broadmoor Trophy. Colorado College, despite all of its regular season WCHA success over the past two decades (six MacNaughton Cups since the 1993-94 season), has never won the Broadmoor.
  • For plenty of detailed information on Thursday's match-up, check out UND's game notes, the WCHA's Final Five press release, or the Colorado Springs Gazette's Final Five preview capsules.

Wednesday Morning Coffee

  • As Brad Schlossman first reported on his UND hockey blog, former Sioux defenseman Mike Commodore has signed with the AHL's Texas Stars
  • With 14 points (7G, 7A) over his last ten games, Jonathan Toews seems to have found his scoring touch. Toews currently ranks in the NHL's top 10 in goal scoring (T-8th with 14), face-off percentage (4th at 59.6%), plus-minus (T-9th at +18), and takeaways (T-1st with 35). He also leads the league in jersey sales. Add it all up, and does it equal a Hart Trophy?
  • TJ Oshie, out of the St. Louis Blues' lineup with an upper-body injury, is expected to return to action by this weekend.
  • Might Buffalo Sabres winger Drew Stafford be a trade target of the Detroit Red Wings?
  • Chay Genoway had several familiar faces to greet him upon his arrival in Hershey.
  • Two North Dakota commits have helped their teams advance to the second round of the BCHL playoffs.  Wade Murphy and the Penticton Vees made their way to the second round with a four-game sweep over Salmon Arm, with Murphy chipping in a goal and two assists. Adam Tambellini and the Surrey Eagles won their first-round match-up with Langley three games to one. Tambellini recorded seven points (6G, 1A) in the first round series, including a hat trick in last night's series clinching victory. Surrey begins second round play Friday while Penticton has a week and a half off before beginning play in the Interior Conference Finals March 29.
  • North Dakota recruit Christian Evers will be taking part in the NTDP Evaluation Camp beginning this weekend, and Russ Bitely offers his notes on the camp's participants. East Grand Forks players Tanner Tweten and Tye Ausmus will also be attending the camp.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Morning Coffee

  • Danny Kristo, Corban Knight, and Rocco Grimaldi earned All-WCHA honors this season, and as a team UND placed 11 players on the All-Academic Team. A contingent of WCHA bloggers, writers, etc. also voiced their collective opinions on who the best of the best were during the 2012-13 WCHA regular season.
  • Chay Genoway was traded to the Washington Capitals organization yesterday. He will report to the Capitals' AHL affiliate in Hershey.
  • TJ Oshie is day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
  • Since Evan Trupp's trade to his hometown Alaska Aces (ECHL), the former Sioux winger has found the scoresheet in every game he's played. He has two goals and four assists in three games since joining the Aces.
  • Mario Lamoureux (Ontario) continues to lead all ECHL rookies in point production with 59 points (25G, 34A) in 64 games. He is currently riding a seven game point streak during which he has amassed 10 points (4G, 6A).
  • Brock Nelson (Bridgeport - AHL) is on a five game point streak during which he has produced eight points (2G, 6A). He currently leads all Sound Tigers with a 0.85 points per game average, and don't be surprised if he earns a late-season NHL call-up.
  • A Chicago Tribune writer offers his reasoning as to why Jonathan Toews is the Chicago Blackhawk's first-half MVP.
  • The Minnesota's GM recently discussed the impact of the Wild's newly acquired superstars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. And if the Wild ever need an emergency Zamboni driver, Parise might just be their guy.
  • A few months ago The Hockey News featured former Sioux standout goaltender Darren Jensen in its Backchecking segment.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

2012-13 Blogger/Website All-WCHA Awards

The ballots have been tallied for the Second Annual Blogger/Website All-WCHA Awards, and the results are listed below. It was a fantastic regular season of WCHA hockey, and it is safe to assume we can expect an even more entertaining post-season. And of course, a big thanks to all of those who took the time out of their schedules to participate in the voting process.

* Asterisk denotes a unanimous selection

All-WCHA First Team:
F - Ryan Walters, Nebraska-Omaha
F - Erik Haula, Minnesota
F - Danny Kristo, North Dakota
D - Nate Schmidt, Minnesota
D - Nick Jensen, St. Cloud State
G - Stephon Williams, Minnesota State

All-WCHA Second Team:
F - Drew LeBlanc, St. Cloud State
F - Corban Knight, North Dakota
F - Rylan Schwartz, Colorado College
D - Mike Boivin, Colorado College
D - Joey LaLeggia, Denver
G - Adam Wilcox, Minnesota

All-WCHA Third Team:
F - Matt Leitner, Minnesota State
F - Josh Archibald, Nebraska-Omaha
F - Eriah Hayes, Minnesota State
D - Andrew Prochno, St. Cloud State
D - Andrej Sustr, Nebraska-Omaha
G - Juho Olkinuora, Denver

WCHA All-Rookie Team:
F - Alex Petan, Michigan Tech
F - Tony Cameranesi, Minnesota-Duluth
F - Jonny Brodzinski, St. Cloud State
D - Nolan Zajac, Denver *
D - Andy Welinski, Minnesota-Duluth
G - Stephon Williams, Minnesota State

WCHA Player of the Year: Ryan Walters, Nebraska-Omaha

WCHA Defenseman of the Year: Nate Schmidt, Minnesota

WCHA Rookie of the Year: Stephon Williams, Minnesota State

WCHA Coach of the Year: Mike Hastings, Minnesota State

Here's the rundown of the voters. Thanks again to all who took part:

Ryan, Gopher Puck Live
Matt, Bulldog Country
Joe, Colorado Springs Gazette
Travis, @nodakhockey/Fighting Sioux Hockey Facebook Fan Page
Emily, Beyond the Pond
Taylor, The Hockey Writers Combine
Eric, Goon's World/The Hockey Writers Combine
Tim, Tech Hockey Guide
Matthew, USCHO
Nate, College Hockey News/SB Nation Team Minnesota
Donn, Goon's World
Andy, Bucky's 5th Quarter
Andrew, College Hockey High Horse
Jeff, Mav Mania
Dave, Sioux Sports
Chad, A Tradition of Excellence

A Few Recruit Notes...

  • UND commit Troy Stecher of the Penticton Vees was named the BCHL Interior Conference's Best Defenseman for 2012-13. The Vees captain produced 47 points (8G, 39A) in 52 games in helping his team earn the Interior Conference's number one seed for the BCHL playoffs. Stecher, fellow UND commit Wade Murphy, and the rest of the Vees begin their defense of the RBC Cup tomorrow against Salmon Arm. 
  • Stecher and Murphy were also named to the All-BCHL Interior Conference First Team last week. Murphy finished the season T-5th in scoring with 70 points (23G, 47A) in 50 games played. Meanwhile, Surrey's Adam Tambellini earned Coastal Conference Second Team honors following his 65 point (36G, 29A) campaign. Surrey's acquisition of Tambellini, whose 36 goals tied for the third most in the league, paid big dividends for the Eagles down the stretch. Surrey captured the Ron Boileau Trophy after finishing the regular season with the league's best record and they will begin postseason play tomorrow night as the number one overall seed.
  • Junior Austin Poganski was named the St. Cloud Times' All-Area High School Player of the Year following his outstanding season for St. Cloud Cathedral. Poganski led the Crusaders with 66 points (35G, 31A) in 26 games, falling one game short of a state tournament berth. He has also appeared in a pair of Tri-City Storm (USHL) games as an affiliate player, during which he has picked up a goal and an assist. Here is a profile video on the UND commit:

  • Shane Gersich has appeared in three USHL games with the Omaha Lancers as an affiliate player.  
  • Christian Evers earned an invitation to the USA Hockey NTDP Evaluation Camp, which will take place later this month. A strong performance by Evers could very well earn him an offer to join the NTDP Under-17 team for next season. Evers and his Omaha U-16 squad recently earned the Midwest Tier 1 championship, and this weekend they will be taking part in the Central District Regional Championships where they will by competing for a spot in USA Hockey's U-16 National Championships.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

All-WCHA Blogger/Website Awards: My Votes

It's a bit crazy to think that it is yet again time to discuss and debate the various conference award selections. The results of the Second Annual Blogger/Website All-WCHA Poll will be released later this week, but in the meantime here is the way I voted:

All-WCHA First Team:
F - Ryan Walters, UNO
F - Corban Knight, UND
F - Erik Haula, UM
D - Nate Schmidt, UM
D - Nick Jensen, SCSU
G - Stephon Williams, MSU

All-WCHA Second Team:
F - Danny Kristo, UND
F - Drew LeBlanc, SCSU
F - Matt Leitner, MSU
D - Andrew Prochno, SCSU
D - Mike Boivin, CC
G - Adam Wilcox, UM

All-WCHA Third Team:
F - Rylan Schwartz, CC
F - Nick Bjugstad, UM
F - Michael Mersch, UW
D - Andrej Sustr, UNO
D - Nolan Zajac, DU
G - Joel Rumpel, UW

WCHA All-Rookie Team:
F - Austin Farley, UMD
F - Rocco Grimaldi, UND
F - Jonny Brodzinski, SCSU
D - Nolan Zajac, DU
D - Ethan Prow, SCSU
G - Stephon Williams, MSU

WCHA Player of the Year - Corban Knight, UND

WCHA Defensive Player of the Year - Nate Schmidt, UM

WCHA Rookie of the Year - Stephon Williams, MSU

WCHA Coach of the Year - Mike Hastings, MSU

Friday, March 8, 2013

Recruit Profile: Troy Stecher
Previous Team:  Penticton Vees (British Columbia Hockey League)
Arrival at UND:  Fall 2013
Position:  Defense
Birthday:  April 7th, 1994
Hometown:  Richmond, BC, Canada
Height:  5'11"
Weight:  180
Shoots:  Right

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • Earned 1st Team All-BCHL Interior Conference honors while producing 47 points (8G, 39A) in 52 games as the Penticton Vees team captain. He added six assists in 15 postseason games in helping the Vees to the BCHL Finals.
  • His 39 assists tied for the most among BCHL defensemen while his 47 points tied for second.
  • He earned the BCHL Interior Conference's Best Defenseman Award.
  • He was named a finalist for the CJHL's Top Defenseman award.
  • Played for Canada West at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge, earning a silver medal while producing two points (1G, 1A) in four tournament games.
  • He was named 2nd Team All-BCHL Interior Conference after a 42 point (5G, 37A) regular season campaign for Penticton. In earning the RBC Cup Playoff's Top Defenseman honors, he produced 15 points in 26 postseason games (BCHL Playoffs, Doyle Cup, RBC Cup) as Penticton won the RBC Cup as Canada's World Junior A national champions.
  • Played for the gold medal-winning Canada West team at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge, participating in five tournament games.
  • Playing for Penticton of the BCHL, he produced 20 points (5G, 15A) in 54 regular season games and five points (2G, 3A) in nine postseason contests.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Morning Coffee

  • Former Sioux captain Chris Porter became the 12th Sioux alum to play in the NHL this season when he made his season debut for the St. Louis Blues last night. Porter, TJ Oshie, and the rest of his teammates were singin' the Blues last night as they became the latest victim in the Chicago Blackhawks' historic start. Jonathan Toews scored twice in helping the 'Hawks earn at least one point in their 20th consecutive game. Chicago has not suffered a regular season regulation loss in nearly one calendar year, a stretch that dates back to March 26 of last season, and leading the way for the Blackhawks is a core of young stars.
  • Travis Zajac played in his native Winnipeg last night for the first time as a professional, but the Devils were handed a 3-1 loss by the hometown Jets.
  • Matt Frattin's NHL season was off to a fine start prior to being sidelined by minor knee surgery. He's on his way to a full recovery, but it will still be a few days before he returns to the lineup.
  • Mike Commodore has yet to find an NHL home this season, but he's been trying to keep sharp by skating with an Alberta college team.
  • It's a couple of months old, but former Sioux fan favorite Rastislav Spirko took part in a nice Q&A in which he talked about his time at North Dakota.
  • Brett Hextall recently displayed his boxing skills in what was an impressive scrap: