Tuesday, December 31, 2013

U.S. Falls to Canada, 3-2, in WJC Play

The U.S. National Junior Team concluded the round robin portion of the 2014 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden today with a 3-2 loss to Canada. The Americans finished 3-1-0 in the preliminary round after recording earlier victories over the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Germany. The U.S. finished second in Group 'A', one point behind Canada, which took first place with today's win.

Team captain Riley Barber (Miami) put the U.S. ahead, 1-0, in the second period with a shorthanded goal, but Canada tallied the next three goals of the game for the win, including two in the third period. Stefan Matteau scored late in the final stanza for the U.S. for the final margin, but had also been in the penalty box for tripping when Canada scored the game-winning goal on a power play. Jon Gillies (Providence) finished with 21 saves for the Americans, who outshot their North American neighbors, 26-24.

Team USA will return to action on Thursday with a quarterfinal-round contest against Russia.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Western Michigan Wins GLI

The Western Michigan University Broncos claimed their first Great Lakes Invitational title since 1986 with a 1-0 overtime victory over the defending champion Michigan Tech Huskies, on Saturday evening at Comerica Park in Detroit.

Justin Kovacs scored the game's only goal 2:01 into the extra session when he jammed a puck past MTU netminder Pheonix Copley at the left post after Copley had deflected a shot away to his right. Copley had posted a 4-0 shutout in the GLI title game over WMU last year at Joe Louis Arena when the Huskies claimed their first GLI crown since 1980.

2013 Tournament MVP Lukas Hafner made 33 saves in his second straight appearance in the Broncos net, after stopping 30 shots against  No. 3 Michigan in a 3-2 OT triumph on Friday. MTU survived Michigan State, 3-2, that same day in a shootout, while MSU then blanked rival Michigan, 3-0, in yesterday's consolation contest as Jake Hildebrand made 29 saves for the Spartans.

The tournament returns to Joe Louis Arena next December, with Ferris State slated to join the regular field of MTU , MSU and Michigan.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

U.S. Begins WJC Play on Thursday in Sweden

The U.S. National Junior Team will attempt to defend its title when it begins the 2014 IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship in Malmo, Sweden this week.

The U.S. opens WJC play on Thursday morning at 11:30 a.m. ET against the Czech Republic, in a game that will be televised on the NHL Network. The U.S. will also face Group 'A' opponents Slovakia, Germany and Canada in the preliminary round, which runs through Dec. 31. All of Team USA's games will be shown on the NHL Network, according to USAHockey.com.

Only three members of last year's gold-medal-winning squad in Russia return this time out for the Americans, including goaltender Jon Gillies (Providence) and captain Riley Barber (Miami). The only other returnee is Ryan Hartman of the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers.

The 24-man roster includes 23 NHL draft choices, and 18 players who are currently skating for NCAA Division I schools. The head coach this year is Don Lucia (Minnesota), a two-time NCAA national championship winner with the Golden Gophers who will attempt to guide the Americans to their second straight gold medal, and third in five years. The U.S. previously won gold in Saskatoon in 2010, and in Finland in 2004, both times by besting Canada in the title game.

Drop the puck, and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Littman Story Up at USA Hockey Magazine Site

Spoke to former Boston College goaltender David Littman in August for USA Hockey Magazine, more than 20 years after I first interviewed him at Boston College for The Heights undergraduate student newspaper when he was a senior netminder for the Eagles.

After playing pro for a decade from Rochester (AHL) to Orlando (IHL), and in the NHL with Buffalo and Tampa Bay, he's now overseeing EA Sports NHL line of video games as a senior producer out in Vancouver.

The full story on B.C's former No. 35 and his current job can be found here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Haggerty Story Up at NYHJ

My latest NCAA Division I feature story, on Rensselaer junior forward Ryan Haggerty, is now available at New York Hockey Journal's web site.

Haggerty is still pacing the nation in goals, with 18 scores in 17 games so far this season. The Engineers are currently 8-6-4 overall (3-3-3 ECAC), not including 2-1 win over the U.S. Under-18 Team this past Sunday, a contest in which Haggerty assisted on the game-winning goal at RPI's Houston Field House.

RPI will return to action on Jan. 3-4 at the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

NCAA Chooses Upcoming Frozen Four Sites

The NCAA has announced the Division I Men's Ice Hockey Frozen Four sites for the years 2015 through 2018, according to collegehockeynews.com.

Following the 2014 championship at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the 2015 semifinals and final will take place at TD Garden in Boston, and the 2016 championship will be contested at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Fla. The 2017 gathering will be held at the United Center in Chicago for the first time ever, and then 2018 will see the tournament return to St. Paul, Minn.

Boston last hosted the Frozen Four in 2004, when Denver scored its first NCAA title in more than 30 years. Tampa hosted for the first time in 2012, when Boston College won its third national championship in five seasons, and Minnesota-Duluth claimed its first NCAA crown in 2011 when the festivities were last held in St. Paul.

Yale won its first-ever national title last season, defeating ECAC rival Quinnipiac in the championship game in Pittsburgh.

Monday, December 9, 2013

St. Cloud Tops Current USCHO Division I Poll

For the first time since 2002, according to USCHO.com, St. Cloud State is atop the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey national rankings.

The Huskies, who swept former WCHA foe and current National Collegiate Hockey Conference rival Minnesota-Duluth over the weekend by 4-2 and 5-1 counts in Duluth, are 11-1-2 (6-1-1 NCHC) so far this season. SCSU also received 33 first-place votes to knock another instate rival and former WCHA opponent, Minnesota, out of the top spot.

Junior goaltender Ryan Faragher is 10-1-1 to date for SCSU, which also leads the nation in allowing just 1.79 goals per outing as a team. The Huskies are also unbeaten in their last seven outings (6-0-1) since a 2-0 conference loss to Miami on Nov. 8.

SCSU returns to action this weekend with pair of non-conference home games against No. 10 Union (ECAC).

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Holy Cross Holds on to Beat Boston College

The mighty fell on Friday afternoon when visiting Holy Cross held on to beat host Boston College, 5-4, at Kelley Rink. The Crusaders jumped out to 5-1second-period lead en route to defeating their in-state rival for just the second time in their history, and first since the 1940s.

Junior goaltender Matt Ginn made it all possible with 34 saves, including a breakaway stop on national leading scorer Johnny Gaudreau in the closing seconds of regulation. Mike Barrett scored twice and had an assist for the Crusaders, and Matt Vidal scored the game-winner and also set up two other Holy Cross scores.

It wasn't the signature win in Holy Cross hockey history—that would be its 4-3 overtime shocker over Minnesota in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament—but it's still a big notch in the Crusaders' belt. It was also the first time a school from Atlantic Hockey topped the five-time national champion Eagles.

BC (8-4-2 overall), which fell from No. 7 to No. 9 in this week's USCHO.com Division I poll, has been on the receiving end of other programs' groundbreaking victories before, most notably Northeastern in the 1980 Beanpot championship, and Alaska Anchorage in the first round of the 1991 NCAA Tournament. The Eagles have also now lost two consecutive contests, and have a home-and-home twinbill with Hockey East rival New Hampshire looming this weekend.

If there's anything heartening about the loss to Holy Cross (4-9-0) for BC, which last won NCAA championships in 2008, 2010 and 2012, it's that the Crusaders beat Yale last season—and the Bulldogs ultimately went on to win the national championship.

It's a long way to the Frozen Four and Philadelphia in April, though.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Gillam Gets Win, Goal in College Debut for Cornell

Mitch Gillam won his first career start for Cornell on Tuesday night against visiting Niagara, making 24 saves for the 14th-ranked Big Red in its 4-2 victory.

Unlike other freshmen—and most goalies—though, the Peterborough, Ont. also scored an actual, honest-to-gosh goal in his collegiate debut, sending the puck the length of the ice at Lynah Rink into an empty net with nine seconds remaining in regulation to ice Cornell’s seventh win of the season. It was also the first time in 80 games that someone other than Andy Illes started in net for the Big Red (7-3-1 overall).

You can watch Gillam’s historical goal-scoring goalie moment here.

“After I caught the puck, I noticed that most of their team was to one side of the ice,” said Gillam afterwards to the Ithaca Journal. “So I put it down and looked up, and (Joel) Lowry was telling me to get it out. I noticed their D-man was going toward the boards, so I just shot it right up the gut. Right into the net.”

Gillam is now tied with classmate Matt Buckles with one goal apiece, and with three other teammates who each have one assist. He is also ahead of five other teammates on Cornell’s scoring scroll.

According to USCHO.com, Gillam is the eighth goaltender to score a goal at the NCAA level, and just the third to shoot the puck into an empty net. The last one was sophomore Mike Mantua for Western Michigan in Nov. 2002 against visiting Ferris State in a 4-1 victory at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo, Mich,.

As for the first … I was there 15 years ago at Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing, Mich. in Feb. 1998 when old friend Chad Alban, then a senior for Michigan State, made history by hitting the empty net for the Spartans in their 6-3 CCHA win against those same FSU Bulldogs—and on MSU’s Senior Night, to boot.

You surely don’t see that every day—or even every season.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gaudreau, Carey Top National Scoring Leaders to Date

Looking at the most recent 2013-14 player statistics at USCHO.com, four of the top 11 scorers in Division I reside in the ECAC, four in Hockey East, two in the NCHC, and one in the Big Ten.

Boston College's Johnny Gaudreau is tied with St. Lawrence's Greg Carey (pictured) for the men's national scoring lead with 24 points, although Gaudreau has 12 goals to Carey's nine, and has done so in 13 games to Carey's 14. Carey, though, is also tied for the Division I lead with 15 assists.

Right behind them is Rensselaer's Ryan Haggerty, the NCAA goal-scoring leader with 15 tallies, who has a total of 20 points. Rounding out the top five are freshman Sam Anas of Quinnipiac with 10-10
20 points, and Sam Warning of top-ranked Minnesota with 5-1419 points.

Making up the rest of the top 12 are Providence's Ross Mauerman (19 points), Miami's Austin Czarnik (19) and Riley Barber (19), BC's Bill Arnold (18) and Kevin Hayes (18), and Quinnipiac's Kellen Jones (18). Arnold is also tied for first place in Division I with 15 assists. As for the rest, 12th place in national points is currently a logjam of five players with 17 points apiece.

In pre-Thanksgiving action tonight, Army visits American International in Atlantic Hockey, while the non-conference slate features Niagara at No. 14 Cornell, and Harvard at No. 20 New Hampshire. Tomorrow night, No. 4 Providence drops in on No. 5 Quinnipiac in a non-conference tilt.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Former Boston U. Blueliner Aucoin Retires

Former Boston University blueliner and 17-year NHL defenseman Adrian Aucoin has called it a career, according to the Windsor Star.

Aucoin, an Ottawa native, played at B.U. during the 1991-92 campaign, registering two goals and 12 points in 33 games in helping the Terriers to the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to Michigan State in the first round in the East Regional. A fifth-round draft choice by the Vancouver Canucks that summer, Aucoin played two seasons with the Canadian National Team, winning a silver medal at the 1994 Olympic Winter games in Norway, and also saw stints in the AHL with Hamilton and Syracuse.

The 6'2", 213-lb. rearguard made his NHL debut in 1994-95, scoring his first goal in his first game with the Canucks. The next year he was in the league for good, and he also went onto play with Tampa Bay, the New York Islanders, Chicago, Calgary and Phoenix in his tenure.

Known for his shot from the point, Aucoin's best offensive campaign came in 2003-04 with the Islanders, when he recorded 13-31—44 points in 81 contests, and was also a plus-29. His last NHL action came last season, when he collected four assists in 36 outings with Columbus.

All told, Aucoin, 40, finished with 121-278—399 points and 793 penalty-minutes in 1,108 NHL regular-season appearances, and added six goals and 21 points in 62 Stanley Cup Playoff skates.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cornell Grad Scrivens Shining in Net for NHL's Kings

It was a tale of two college goaltenders on Friday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. It was also the first time the New Jersey Devils had faced the Los Angeles Kings since Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final in California, in which the Kings won their first-ever NHL title.

The Kings improved to 5-2 in their last seven outings overall versus New Jersey, but it wasn’t former UMass netminder and 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick doing the honors this time. Cornell graduate Ben Scrivens, who came to L.A. earlier this year from Toronto, outdueled former Boston College backstop Cory Schneider in the Kings’ 2-0 victory, making 26 saves to Schneider’s 19 stops while allowing a third-period goal to stand up as the game-winner.

Scrivens, 27, who went 65-37-13 in 117 games for Cornell from 2006 to 2010, led the Big Red to two NCAA Tournament appearances and an ECAC Championship during his tenure in Ithaca. The Spruce Grove, Alta. native also recorded 20 career shutouts, including seven whitewashes apiece during both his junior and senior campaigns.

Scrivens made 37 saves on Sunday in the Kings’ 1-0 win against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, and is 3-0-0 in the L.A. net since Quick succumbed to a groin injury earlier this month. He is also 4-1-1 so far for the season for the Kings (14-6-1), who will host Tampa Bay on Tuesday night, and was named the NHL's First Star of the Week, according to NBC Sports ProHockeyTalk.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Calof Featured at NYHJ

Princeton senior scorer Andrew Calof is the subject of my latest feature story for New York Hockey Journal, which is now available online or at your local rink.

The Tigers (1-5 overall, 0-4 ECAC) are off to a rough start, while Calof has three assists in his first five games. Career-wise, he now has 40 goals and 65 assists for 105 points in 100 games in black-and-orange.

Princeton hosts UMass Lowell on Tuesday night at Baker Rink before entertaining Ivy league rival Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend. In Tiger alumni news, former defenseman Taylor Fedun tallied his first career NHL goal in his first career NHL game with the Edmonton Oilers, helping them to a 4-3 win at Minnesota on Nov. 5. Footage can be seen here, with the link courtesy of ECAC Hockey.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Golden Gophers Still Atop Both Polls

The University of Minnesota men's and women's Golden Gopher hockey teams have been atop their respective USCHO.com Division I polls for the past two weeks. They'll each try to make it three straight after taking road trips this weekend.

The Minnesota men (5-1-0 overall), in their first season in the new Big Ten Conference, will visit Hockey East newcomer Notre Dame for a pair for the first time since head coach Don Lucia was a Fighting Irish defenseman in 1980. Lucia, who is seeking his 350th career collegiate win, including previous stints with Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado College, will be facing son Mario, a sophomore forward for Notre Dame.

Minnesota's women's team (10-0 overall) will drop in on WCHA opponent St. Cloud State for two contests. The Golden Gophers, two-time defending NCAA women's Division I champs, have won 60 straight games overall dating back to the 2011-12 campaign.

ADDENDUM (11/11/13): Both teams made it three straight weeks atop their respective USCHO polls after the Minnesota men split at No. 4 Notre Dame and the Minnesota women swept host St. Cloud. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Brown Claims First Liberty Hockey Invitational

The inaugural Liberty Hockey Invitational in Newark, N.J. went to the Brown University Bears. The tournament, which was played on Oct. 25-26 at the Prudential Center, home of the NHL's New Jersey Devils, featured an all-ECAC field its first time out, including Brown, Dartmouth, host Princeton and defending NCAA champion Yale.

Brown bested Yale, 4-1, on Friday as Mark Naclerio notched two goals and an assist, while Princeton edged Dartmouth, 3-2 in overtime on Tucker Brockett's first career goal for the Tigers. On Saturday, Brown closed out matters by beating Dartmouth, 5-3, with Naclerio netting the game-winning goal and also setting up two other scores. Yale nipped Princeton, 3-2, as Nicholas Weberg scored twice, including the game-winner shorthanded  midway through regulation.

Naclerio and Brockett were both named to the All-Tournament Team, along with forward Stu Wilson (Yale), defensemen Brandon Pfeil (Brown) and Brett Patterson (Dartmouth), and goalie Sean Bonar (Princeton), according to goprincetontigers.com.

Despite published crowds of less than 2,000 per game, according to USCHO.com box scores, the Invitational is slated to return to Newark next fall.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Former UAH Netminder to Make NHL Debut Tonight

Former University of Alabama-Huntsville goaltender Cam Talbot will make his NHL debut tonight when the New York Rangers visit the Philadelphia Flyers. He will play in place of injured regular and 2012 Vezina Trophy winner Henrik Lundqvist.

"It's every kid's dream that grows up playing hockey to one day get the chance to play in the NHL," said Talbot in a game preview at NJ.com. "I just can't wait until that time comes. I'll have to approach it like any other game. It'll be tough to control those emotions, but I'll have to do my best to settle myself down and just focus on the game."

A native of Caledonia, Ont., Talbot, 26, played at UAH from 2007 to 2010. In three seasons with the Chargers, he posted a 15-44-6 record in 70 games with a 3.03 goals-against average, .909 save percentage, and three shut-outs. He also also led the Chargers to the final College Hockey America crown with a 43-save effort in the 2010 league title game against Niagara, and then closed out his college career with 36 stops in a 2-1 loss to Miami in an NCAA Midwest Regional semifinal, according to his career stats at USCHO.com.

After turning pro with Hartford (AHL) in 2010, playing in one game, the undrafted Talbot went 11-9-2 with the Wolfpack in 22 games (2.84, .902) the following season, according to hockeydb.com. He then played in 33 games with Connecticut (AHL) in 2011-12, finishing with a 14-15-1 record (2.61, .913) , before going 25-28-1 in a career-high 55 appearances (2.63, .918) with the Whale last season.

Face-off tonight at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia is slated for 7 p.m.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Cornell's Ryan Profiled at NYHJ

My latest feature story on Cornell University junior defenseman, New Jersey native and San Jose Sharks draft choice Joakim Ryan is up at New York Hockey Journal's web site.

No. 19 Cornell defeated York, 7-2, in an exhibition game on Oct. 19 in Ithaca, although Ryan did not play. The ECAC's Big Red open the 2013-14 NCAA regular season this weekend with a pair of games at Nebraska-Omaha.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Out with the Old at UND, Unfortunately

The old Ralph Engelstad Arena is now gone, but the memories live on.

The old coffee-brown steel barn, which served as the home of North Dakota Fighting Sioux Hockey from 1972 to 2001, met its demise in July and August to make way for a new UND indoor practice facility.

Former Sioux players have talked about the building and what it meant to them:


I never made it to the old Ralph myself, but it seemed like a neat place. The gateway to five NCAA titles and 11 combined WCHA regular-season and tournament crowns, it was more representative of a simpler time in college hockey than the palatial new Ralph Engelstad Arena on the UND campus that replaced it 12 years ago.

Remember When, indeed.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Off to a Fast, Strange Start

Sacred Heart defeats UMass Lowell? Bentley beats Nebraska Omaha? Alaska Anchorage outlasts Quinnipiac? One week into the Men's NCAA Division I season and it's already crazy time, I guess.

Other surprises over the weekend included Vermont skating to a tie in its rematch with North Dakota, Providence sweeping WCHA favorite Minnesota State, and Merrimack being blanked in a sweep at Denver. And in its first game ever at the brand-new Pegula Ice Arena (shown), Penn State topped Army, 4-1, on Friday night to help inaugurate the new Big Ten Conference.

All the scores from Oct. 10 through Oct. 13 can be found here at USCHO.com.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Here We Go Again

It begins once more.

Following last week’s slate of exhibition games against Canadian schools, along with a couple of non-conference outings, the 2013-14 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey campaign swings into full gear this weekend starting tonight, when Colgate visits RIT and Boston College drops in on Michigan. The schedule then picks up on Friday and Saturday with the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis and the Kendall Classic in Anchorage, plus a slew of non-conference contests that will extend through Sunday afternoon when Rensselaer visits B.C.

Hard to believe it’s college hockey season again, with the MLB postseason and the NFL regular season both in full swing, and the NHL having just gotten underway itself. Still, just 184 days from now, a new Division I national champion will be crowned in Philadelphia.

The last six years have seen Yale, B.C., Minnesota-Duluth, B.C., Boston University, and B.C. skate off with the NCAA trophy. We’ll see if that trend continues, or if someone else will break through this time out in an even-numbered season. After last year’s national tournament, whereby Yale literally came out of nowhere to win it all, anything can—and most likely will—happen.

Buckle up.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Devils Come Up Short in B.C. Alum's Return to Vancouver, B.C.

Former Boston College goaltender Cory Schneider, who led the Eagles to two NCAA championship games in his three years at the Heights, came up short Tuesday night in his return to Vancouver, which selected him in the first round of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Traded to New Jersey on draft day back in June, Schneider made 29 saves but couldn't prevent the Devils from falling for a third straight game in extra time, as the host Canucks rallied for a 3-2 overtime victory on Oct. 8. Full story can be found here.

Schneider, 27, from Marblehead, Mass., backstopped B.C. from 2004 to 2007, and majored in finance. He posted 65 total victories in his tenure with the Eagles, and also earned First Team All-America accolades as a junior.

B.C. opens its 2013-14 campaign Thursday night at Michigan

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10 Forwards to Take a Look At

Last year I looked at 10 goaltenders to watch in NCAA Division I for USCHO.comthis season it's 10 forwards to take a look at. Wish I could have had 20 players to post, but oh well.

Most of these skaters will be in 2013-14 action by this weekend,. As to who among them might possibly raise the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, and/or the NCAA championship trophy in six months time, well, your guess is as as good as mine at this point.

Anyway, time to drop the puck.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yale No. 1 in ECAC Preseason Coaches Poll

Defending national champion Yale University was the choice of league coaches for first place in the 2013-14 Eastern College Athletic Conference preseason poll. 

According to ecachockey.com, it’s also the first time in league history that six of the league’s (now) 12 schools received at least one first-place vote.

Following are the coaches’ preseason rankings, with total first place votes in parentheses, followed by total points. The ECAC campaign will get underway on Saturday, Oct. 5 as Colgate hosts 2012 NCAA runner-up Ferris State and Clarkson will visit Niagara of Atlantic Hockey.

1. Yale (4) - 103
2. Rensselaer (2) - 102
3. Quinnipiac (2) - 93
    Union (2) - 93
5. Cornell (1) - 89
6. Harvard - 67
7. Dartmouth (1) - 64
8. Brown - 46
9. Colgate - 44
10. St. Lawrence - 43
11. Princeton - 26
12. Clarkson - 22

Monday, September 16, 2013

BC Adds Former Star McInnis as Volunteer Coach

Former Boston College forward, U.S Olympian, and 11-year NHL veteran Marty McInnis was named last week as a volunteer assistant coach at his alma mater. He succeeds the retired Jim Logue.

McInnis skated at the Heights from 1988 to 1991, tallying a total of 58 goals and 142 points while helping the Eagles to three NCAA Tournament appearances, three Hockey East regular-season crowns, and both a Frozen Four berth and a Hockey East tournament championship in 1990.

The Hingham, Mass. native starred at Milton Academy prior to enrolling at BC. He was also part of the famed HEM line with classmate Steve Heinze and 1991 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner David Emma at BC that totaled 373 points among them in McInnis' last two collegiate seasons.

After playing for Team USA at the 1992 Olympic Winter Games in Albertville, France, McInnis turned pro with the NHL's New York Islanders, who drafted him in the eighth round (163rd overall) in 1988. He also played for the Calgary Flames, Anaheim Mighty Ducks and Boston Bruins in a career that wrapped up in 2003 with 170-250420 points in 796 regular-season NHL outings. He also played in 22 Stanley Cup playoff contests, the last 11 with Boston in his final two seasons. A three-time 20-goal scorer, he never played a game in the minor leagues.

McInnis was inducted into the BC Varsity Club Hall of Fame in 2012. He has worked professionally in real estate, and also coached the Hingham Squirt Team to the South Shore Town Cup crown in 2010.

BC will begin its 2013-14 campaign on Oct. 6 with an exhibition against St. Francis Xavier. The Eagles will then open their NCAA slate on Oct. 10 at Michigan before returning home against Rensselaer on Oct. 13.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

12 Years After 9/11: Remembering Mark Bavis

 Re-presenting and updating a story I first published several years ago. Rest in peace, Mark - R.

I remember when I met Mark Bavis during my one and only year with the North American Hockey League. He was an assistant coach with the Chicago Freeze franchise, while I was working in the league office in southeast Michigan. I immediately took a liking to him, even though I was a Boston College graduate and he had attended rival Boston University. (He was a real hockey player, mind you—while I was and still remain strictly a recreational one, except for maybe that one minute at Michigan State in 1995.)

I once told him I remembered the name "Bavis" from the 1991 Beanpot Tournament championship game at the now-demolished Boston Garden, which BU won by an 8-4 score. BC had taken an early lead and then fell behind, but was just two goals down late in the second period. The next goal would be huge, and BU got it with just one second left before intermission to effectively put the game away.

I asked Mark who exactly was the Terrier player who got that goal, and he replied with a sheepish grin, "me".

Mark was a genuinely good, down-to-earth guy, right down to his Boston accent as a native of Roslindale, Mass. I saw him again at the 2000 NAHL All-Star Game outside Chicago that season, and once more at the league office later that year before I returned to New Jersey in late August 2000. I didn't know when I'd see Mark again, but I'd figured I'd cross paths with him again at a rink somewhere along the way.

After graduating from BU in 1993, where he helped the Terriers to four NCAA tournament berths and three Beanpot titles, Mark played professional hockey for three seasons in two different leagues in Fredericton, Providence and South Carolina. He retired as an active player in 1996, and tried his hand at coaching, first at Brown University and then Harvard University before joining the Freeze.

It was as a scout soon after, however, that he found his true calling, scouring the globe for up-and-coming hockey talent. By 2001, he had quickly become one of the rising stars in the scouting department of the National Hockey League's Los Angeles Kings.

He was 31 years old, single, and succeeding at hockey's top level in the NHL.

He had his whole life ahead of him—and then he boarded United Airlines Flight 175 at Boston's Logan Airport the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

That was the second hijacked jetliner to strike the World Trade Center, as it collided with the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. All 65 people on board, including Mark and Wayne Gretzky's former mentor, Garnet "Ace" Bailey, the Kings' Director of Scouting, were lost.

It was certainly a surreal day, especially for all of us here in the greater New York City area. I remember my father telling me before he went off to Princeton that morning that a plane had struck the World Trade Center, and I didn't think too much of it at that time. Like many people probably did, I thought it was a small piston-powered prop job that had somehow gotten off course and collided with one of the towers—not a commercial jumbo jet commandeered by terrorists.

The first thing I did after getting out of the house was drive over to the Union Public Library on Morris Avenue, from where you could always see the Twin Towers on a clear day. On 9/11, however, the sky was choked with billowing black clouds of smoke that looked as if they'd never dissipate, the Towers never again to be seen from that or any other vantage point in my hometown—or anywhere else.

I was on my way to work in the athletic department at Montclair State University not long after, listening to the radio as I made my way north up the Garden State Parkway, when the towers crumbled. I still remember the shock and horror in the voices of the broadcasters, as if what was happening before them could not possibly be real.

My office at the time was in a house just off-campus, which itself was largely barren that day. So was Willowbrook Mall in nearby Wayne—recently it's been better known as a flood zone, but that day its doors were actually open. It's just that it was like a real ghost town. No one was there, everyone having closed up shop to go home and be with their loved ones in the wake of the terrorist attacks. I've never seen a mall like that, so eerie in its stillness and emptiness, and I hope to never see one like that again.

I didn't really get much, if anything, done at work that day, as I was still trying to comprehend what had taken place across the Hudson River, in Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon. The hardest jolt of all was yet to come that evening, though, when I saw the crawl at the bottom of the screen while watching ESPN. It confirmed in bold white letters that Mark Bavis and Ace Bailey had indeed been passengers on United 175.

I was a zombie for the next two days straight.

I've tried to contemplate what Mark must have seen or felt that morning. Did he know right after takeoff that his flight had been hijacked? Did he know his Boeing 767 was on a collision course with the World Trade Center? Who or what did he think of just before the plane's impact with the South Tower? Sadly, no one will ever know.

I got another jolt months later when I accompanied the MSU women's basketball team to a tournament at Emmanuel College in Boston in November. We had already played our first round game (a win) when I snuck off to Boston College (with permission) a few miles away to watch the Eagles play BU in men's ice hockey at Kelley Rink. It was the first time I had gotten to see a game at BC in more than seven years, having spent most of the time in-between working in Michigan, and I remember I was downright giddy at the prospect of seeing the two rivals face off again like I did many times before when I was an undergrad from 1987 to 1991.

That euphoria lasted about as long as it took me to climb the stairs to the second level of stands at Kelley Rink, where I turned to see Mark's brother, Mike, an assistant coach with BU—and his twin.

He looked exactly like Mark, of course, and I'm sure I probably stared at him like an abject moron for several seconds. If he noticed me, though, he didn't acknowledge it.

To this day I still feel guilty I didn't say anything or offer any words of condolence to Mike on Mark's loss, but in truth I'm still not sure I would have found the right words. Maybe one day I will. I hope to.

A dozen years later, it's still hard to believe that Mark is really gone. He might have been a husband and a father by now, might have been part of the Kings' 2012 Stanley Cup run with players that he recommended they draft into their system. For a while I even wore a BU Hockey t-shirt under my gear when I played, to honor Mark, until it just got too beat up. I may bring it out again for a special appearance one day, though.

Mark's family refused to settle their legal case for any monetary gain, as they want United Airlines and other involved parties to admit they made mistakes and were generally lax in their screening procedures, even before 9/11. A settlement was reached in 2011 with United Airlines and its security contractor, Huntleigh USA.

Mark's memory still lives on, primarily in the Mark Bavis Scholarship Foundation at his prep school alma mater, Catholic Memorial. The Mark Bavis Arena in Rockland, Mass. bears his name. He and Bailey have also both been immortalized in the lyrics of "Your Spirit's Alive" by Massachusetts' own Dropkick Murphys. A Kings 2012 Stanley Cup Champions hat was also placed at Ground Zero last year, between Mark's and Bailey's names. Thanks to whoever did that.

As I've have every year since, except when I vacationed in Michigan six years ago, I will be home in New Jersey for 9/11. I will also wear a new commemorative badge for that day, which showcases Mark in his BU uniform, to honor his memory. Last year I even pinned it to a BC polo shirt while I attended 9/11 remembrance gatherings.

I think Mark might have even approved. Maybe just a little.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Minnesota to Host 2014 Hockey City Classic

The University of Minnesota men's hockey team, which enters its first campaign in the new Big Ten Conference this fall, will host the 2014 Hockey City Classic on Jan. 17 on-campus at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, along with the defending NCAA champion University of Minnesota women's team.

The Golden Gopher women will host WCHA rival Minnesota State that day at 4:30 p.m. Central time, while the Minnesota men will face Big Ten opponent Ohio State at 8 p.m.

"The Hockey City Classic at TCF Bank Stadium will be a special event for the entire state of Minnesota," said Minnesota Director of Athletics Norwood Teague at the Gophers' web site. "Outdoor hockey is a prominent fixture of Minnesota culture, and we know that partnering with Intersport for this event will guarantee an unbelievable experience for everyone involved."

This will be the first time that either the Golden Gopher men or women will take part in an outdoor contest.

Tickets for the 2014 Hockey City Classic start at $15, are valid for admission to both games, and will go on sale to the general public on Oct. 22 at either www.mygophersports.com or by calling 612-624-8080.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Piece on Providence's Gilmour Up at USCHO

My latest 2013 NHL Entry Draft article, on Providence rising freshmen defenseman John Gilmour, was posted last week at USCHO.com and is still headlining on the site.

Gilmour, 20, posted four goals and 13 points in 38 games last year for the Friars. He was selected in the seventh round (198th 0verall) in June by the Calgary Flames, the final NCAA player to be chosen in this year's festivities.

Full story can be accessed here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Hodge, Jr. to Enter BC Varsity Club Hall of Fame

Former Boston College forward Ken Hodge, Jr. will be inducted into the school's Varsity Club Hall of Fame this fall, the only hockey player among the eight inductees, according to BCEagles.com.

The inaugural Hockey East Rookie of the Year, Hodge set freshman superlatives that still stand at the Heights, when he notched 44 assists and 64 points during that 1984-85 campaign. He played three seasons in all with the Eagles, and finished with 60 goals and 94 assists for 154 points.

Born in Ontario but raised in Massachusetts, Hodge also helped BC to 85 total victories, three Hockey East regular season titles, one tournament championship, and three NCAA tournament appearances, including a Frozen Four berth as a freshman. The Eagles fell to both Providence and Minnesota-Duluth in overtime.

The son of former Bruins 50-goal scorer Ken Hodge, Hodge, Jr. was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars in the third round in 1984 and went on to skate with the North Stars, Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning, after playing two seasons with the Kalamazoo Wings of the International Hockey League. He notched 39-48--87 points in 142 career NHL outings, including a 30-goal campaign with the Bruins in 1990-91, and finished his career in 1998 after two seasons with the Cardiff Devils of the British Hockey Super League.

Hodge, who will be inducted on Oct. 4 at BC's home ice of Conte Forum, has served as color commentator on BC Hockey radio broadcasts since the 1999-2000 season.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Canada Features Just Two NCAA Skaters on World Junior Roster

In contrast to the U.S National Junior Team, which just made its preliminary cuts and is top-heavy with American college-trained players, its Canadian counterpart features just two NCAA skaters in defenseman Michael Matheson and forward Mark Jankowski. Both hail from Hockey East and were 2012 NHL first-round draft choices, and both will be sophomores in 2013-14.

Matheson, a 6'2", 189-pound blueliner from Pointe-Claire, Quebec, was chosen 23rd overall by the Florida Panthers last year. As a freshman last season at Boston College, he put up eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 36 games, and helped the Eagles to their ninth NCAA Tournament berth in the last 10 years. He spent the 2011-12 campaign with the Dubuque Fighting Saints of the United States Hockey League.

Jankowski, a 6’3”, 175-pound forward from Dundas, Ontario, was taken two spots ahead of Matheson by the Calgary Flames last year. As a rookie at Providence College in 2012-13, he collected 7-11—18 points in 34 outings, while helping the Friars to the Hockey East semifinals. Prior to enrolling at Providence, he skated two years at Stanstead College Prep in Quebec.

The 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship will be contested in Malmo, Sweden from Dec. 26, 2013 to Jan. 5, 2014. The U.S. is the defending WJC champ, having taken gold last winter in Ufa, Russia.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Penn State Draft Choices Profiled at USCHO.com

Penn State begins Big Ten play this fall, its second season in the NCAA Division I ranks, but saw its first two draft choices celebrated in June.

Incoming freshman Eamon McAdam (pictured) and Mike Williamson were chosen by the New York Islanders and Vancouver Canucks, respectively, on June 30 at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Goaltender McAdam went in the third round (70th overall), while defenseman Williamson went in the sixth round (175th overall).

Full story at USCHO.com can be found here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mason, Guerin, Weight and Curley Among 2013 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductees

Four of the five inductees into the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn. this year have strong ties to the college game.

Ron Mason (pictured) won 924 games between 1966 and 2002 as head coach with Lake Superior, Bowling Green and Michigan State, and retired as the NCAA's all-time winningest hockey coach. A former St. Lawrence forward, he also won an NAIA national title with LSSU in 1972 and an NCAA championship with MSU in 1986. He led BGSU to three CCHA titles and three NCAA Tournament berths, and then guided MSU to 10 CCHA crowns and 19 NCAA berths. He then went on to a nearly six-year stint as athletic director with the Spartans, and now serves as a senior advisor to the USHL's Muskegon Lumberjacks.

Former Boston College forward Bill Guerin had 40 goals and 30 assists for 70 points with the Eagles from 1989 to 1990, and helped BC to a Hockey East title and two NCAA Tournament appearances. He then collected 429-427—856 points in 1,263 NHL games between 1992 and 2010 with the New Jersey Devils, Edmonton Oilers, Boston Bruins, Dallas Stars, St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins, according to hockeydb.com. He added 39 goals in 74 points in 140 NHL playoff games, and won Stanley Cups with the Devils (1995) and Penguins (2009). A three-time U.S. Olympian (1998, 2002, 2006), he now works in the Pittsburgh organziation as player development coach.

Former Lake Superior State forward Doug Weight collected 50-94—144 points in two campaigns with the Lakers, while helping them to two NCAA berths and a CCHA championship. He then notched 278-755—1,033 points in 1,238 NHL outings with the New York Rangers, Edmonton, St. Louis, Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks and the Islanders from 1991 to 2011. He added 23 goals and 72 points in 97 NHL playoff contests, and won the Stanley Cup with the Hurricanes in 2006. A teammate of Guerin's with Edmonton, the Islanders and the U.S. Olympic Team, he now serves as an assistant coach and a special assistant to the general manager with the Islanders.

Cindy Curley starred at Providence College from 1981 to 1985, where she tallied 110-115—225 points with the Lady Friars. She ranks among PC's top five in all three categories, according to Providence's 2012-13 media guide, and also played in three IIHF World Championships with the U.S., including the inaugural women's tournament in 1990. She has since worked in a number of administrative capacities with USA Hockey.

The fifth and final inductee this year is Peter Karmanos, Jr., owner of the NHL's Hurricanes and OHL's Plymouth Whalers, who has also long sponsored the Compuware youth hockey organization in Michigan.

More on each of the inductees can be found here on the USA Hockey site.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

2014 U.S Olympic Team Orientation Camp Roster Announced

Of the 48 NHL players invited to the 2014 U.S Olympic Team Orientation Camp next month, a total of 31 once plied their trade in the college hockey ranks.

Former NCAA players skating for a shot at the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia next February include goaltenders Jimmy Howard (Detroit Red Wings/University of Maine), Ryan Miller (Buffalo Sabres/Michigan State University), Jonathan Quick (Los Angeles Kings/University of Massachusetts), and Corey Schneider (New Jersey Devils/Boston College).

On the blueline, previous collegians include Dan DeKeyser (Detroit Red Wings/Western Michigan University), Justin Faulk (Carolina Hurricanes/University of Minnesota-Duluth), Jake Gardiner (Toronto Maple Leafs/University of Wisconsin), Erik Johnson (Colorado Avalanche/University of Minnesota), Jack Johnson (Columbus Blue Jackets/University of Michigan), Nick Leddy (Chicago Blackhawks/University of Minnesota), Paul Martin (Pittsburgh Penguins/University of Minnesota), Ryan McDonagh (New York Rangers/University of Wisconsin), Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh Penguins/Boston College), Kevin Shattenkirk (St. Louis Blues/Boston University), Ryan Suter (Minnesota Wild/ University of Wisconsin) and Jacob Trouba (Winnipeg Jets/University of Michigan).

Up front, former college forwards invited included Justin Abdelkader (Detroit Red Wings/Michigan State University), David Backes (St. Louis Blues/Minnesota State University), Beau Bennett (Pittsburgh Penguins/University of Denver), Nick Bjugstad (Florida Panthers/University of Minnesota), Ryan Kesler (Vancouver Canucks/Ohio State University), Kyle Okposo (New York Islanders/University of Minnesota), T.J. Oshie (St. Louis Blues/University of North Dakota), Max Pacioretty (Montreal Canadiens/University of Michigan), Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim Ducks/University of Notre Dame), Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild/ University of North Dakota), Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks/University of Wisconsin), Craig Smith (Nashville Predators/University of Wisconsin), Paul Stastny (Colorado Avalanche/University of Denver), Derek Stepan (New York Rangers/University of Wisconsin), James van Riemsdyk (Toronto Maple Leafs/University of New Hampshire) and Blake Wheeler (Winnipeg Jets/University of Minnesota).

The U.S. coaching staff will also have an NCAA flavor, and will include head coach Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh Penguins/Bowling Green State University), and assistants Peter Laviolette (Philadelphia Flyers/Westfield State College), Todd Richards (Columbus Blue Jackets/University of Minnesota) and Tony Granato (Pittsburgh Penguins/University of Wisconsin).

The orientation/tryout camp for Team USA will take place the final week of August in Arlington, Va., at the Kettler Capitals IcePlex, practice home of the Washington Capitals. The U.S. won Olympic silver in both 2002 (Salt Lake City) and 2010 (Vancouver) using NHL players.

The complete U.S. Olympic invitational roster can be found here.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Western Michigan Loses Two Skaters in McCarron and Haar

Western Michigan will have to make do with two less players next year, one a highly-prized incoming recruit and the other a defenseman with two years of NCAA experience, according to USCHO.com.

Michael McCarron, a first-round draft choice (25th overall) of the Montreal Canadians at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft last month, decided to bypass playing in the college ranks to sign a three-year deal with the Habs last week. The 6-foot-5, 228-pound winger from Michigan tallied 14 goals and 34 points with the U.S. National Team Development Program's U-18 squad last season, and will either be assigned to London (OHL) in the major junior ranks, or else start his pro career with Hamilton (AHL).

“Our feeling is our program is on solid footing and we will put someone in the lineup to replace Michael McCarron,” said WMU head coach Andy Murray at mlive.com.

Murray also announced that rising sophomore blueliner Garrett Haar has been released by the WMU hockey program and will no longer play for the Broncos after being ruled academically eligible earlier this year.

“Garrett has not lived up to his commitment to his academics and his Bronco hockey teammates and we have decided to part ways with him,” said Murray in a school news release last week.

Haar, a 6-foot-1, 198-pound California native and a 2011 Washington Capitals draft choice (207th overall) who posted four goals and 17 points in 58 career games with the Broncos, said on Twitter that the decision to leave WMU was all his own. He prepped with Fargo (USHL) before coming to Kalamazoo.

Western Michigan joins the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference this season, after playing its first 41 years in the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Corbett Takes Charge with UAH Chargers

Mike Corbett is the new head hockey coach at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

The long time Air Force Academy associate/assistant  coach, who also interviewed for the Alaska Anchorage job that eventually went to  Matt Thomas, took over at UAH earlier this week from Kurt Kleinendorst, who resigned after one year in Huntsville to pursue professional coaching opportunities.

A Green Bay native, Corbett earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Denver where he played four seasons on the Pioneer blueline (1993-1997) and was a two-time all-conference academic team choice. He then spent four seasons as a junior head coach in the American West Hockey League before returning to the college ranks at AFA in 2003.

Corbett, 41, served as the primary defensive coach during his 10-year tenure at Air Force, and also helped the Falcons to five Atlantic Hockey tournament championships and five NCAA tournament appearances. Those national berths included the East Region final in 2009, where AFA came within an overtime goal of going to the Frozen Four.

UAH begins the 2013-14 campaign, its first in the revamped Western Collegiate Hockey Association, on Oct. 11-12 at Northeastern.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Former College Players Changing Clubs in NHL Free Agency

There's already been quite a bit of activity on the NHL free agent front involving former NCAA players, with this year's transaction derby having begun on Friday.

Regarding defensemen, Joe Corvo (Western Michigan) has signed with Ottawa after most recently skating with Carolina, while Mike Komisarek (Michigan) went to Carolina from Toronto. Rob Scuderi (Boston College) has returned to Pittsburgh after winning the Stanley Cup last year in Los Angeles, while former college teammate and 2000 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Mike Mottau is off to Florida after playing with Toronto.

Concerning forwards, Viktor Stalberg (Vermont) is going from the current Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to Ottawa, while Eric Nystrom (Michigan) will join Nashville after playing in Dallas. Tyler Bozak (Denver) chose to re-sign with Toronto, while Ryan Jones (Miami) re-upped with Edmonton. Dominic Moore (Harvard) will join the New York Rangers from San Jose, while Jack Skille (Wisconsin) will suit up for Columbus after last playing with Florida.

Amongst goaltenders, Yann Danis (Brown) jumped from Edmonton to Philadelphia, while Dan Ellis (Nebraska-Omaha) is headed to Dallas from Carolina. Richard Bachman (Colorado College) will set up shop in Edmonton after getting his NHL start in Dallas, while David Leggio (Clarkson) will look to crack Washington's rotation after leaving Buffalo.

A complete list of NHL free agent signings to date can be found here.

Monday, July 1, 2013

McCarron First Incoming Collegian Taken at 2013 NHL Draft

The first player with college ties chosen in Sunday's 2013 NHL Entry Draft at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. was Grosse Pointe, Mich. native Michael McCarron, who went 25th overall to the Montreal Canadiens.

The 6-5, 228-lb. winger is committed to Western Michigan for next season, but his major junior rights are held by London (OHL). He had 11 goals and 29 points along with 166 penalty minutes last season for the U.S. U-18 Team that skates in the United States Hockey League. More on McCarron can be found here.

In all, 63 incoming or current NCAA players were picked by pro clubs on Sunday at "The Rock", home of the NHL's New Jersey Devils, according to USCHO.com. WMU will be part of the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference starting this fall with the likes of Denver, Miami and North Dakota.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

College Players Help Chicago to Second Cup in Four Seasons

The Stanley Cup, claimed in dramatic fashion by the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night in a 3-2 win in Boston, will once more host several names that once dotted NCAA rosters.

Team captain Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) was again the first Blackhawk to lift the Cup after recording three goals and 11 assists for 14 points this spring. He also tallied a goal and an assist in the Game 6 clincher, including the primary assist on the tying goal with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Toews also captained Chicago, this year’s President’s Trophy winner for the best regular-season record, to the 2010 NHL title.

Duncan Keith (Michigan State) will again get his name on the Cup after contributing two goals and 11 assists to this year’s Chicago run, and this time around shared the moment with his six-week-old son, Colton (shown above).

Patrick Sharp (Vermont) and Viktor Stalberg (Vermont), both former Catamounts, will also be engraved onto the chalice this fall, with Sharp joining Keith and Toews as a two-time winner with the Blackhawks. He led Chicago with 10 goals and added six assists this postseason, while Stalberg contributed three assists.

Also receiving the honor will be Nick Leddy (Minnesota), who played in all 23 Chicago playoff games this spring, and Ben Smith (Boston College), the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four MVP, who played in one game in the Final. Brandon Bollig (St. Lawrence) saw action in five playoff contests this spring, but skated in 25 regular-season outings, which qualifies him to have his name on the Cup in the lockout-shortened campaign, according to SI.com.

Jimmy Hayes (Boston College) and Jamal Mayers (Western Michigan) did not play enough regular-season games or appear in the Final to qualify to have their names put on the Cup, although Mayers was on the ice at TD Garden to hold it aloft.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NCAA Players Play Parts in Game 4 of NHL Final

There weren't a ton of  them, but several former NCAA players got their names on the scoresheet in Wednesday's 6-5 overtime win by the Chicago Blackhawks over the host Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

Rich Peverly (St. Lawrence) scored the Bruins first goal, while Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) had a goal for the Blackhawks. Patrick Sharp (Vermont) put Chicago up, 5-4, in the third period on a power-play goal, his 10th tally of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Duncan Keith (Michigan State) assisting on Sharp's go-ahead goal.

Viktor Stalberg (Vermont) posted two hits, one shot on goal, and also blocked one shot for the Blackhawks, and Torey Krug (Michigan State) notched four shots on goal and three hits for the Bruins.

The series is now tied at two wins apiece, with three of the games having been decided in OT, including both of the Blackhawks' victories. Game 5 is Saturday night in Chicago, while Game 6, the potential Cup clincher, will be Monday in Boston.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seawolves Select Thomas as New Bench Boss

The University of Alaska Anchorage has a new head coach—someone who will be moving just up the West Coast, and is no stranger to the college ranks.

The Seawolves have hired former Rochester of Technology Institute center Matt Thomas, who spent the last 12 seasons in professional hockey, most recently as head coach of the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder. The Thunder, an affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, were the ECHL’s Western Conference champions this season before they fell to the Reading Royals in the Kelly Cup Final.

“I have always admired the sense of community and pride that is associated with Anchorage and the entire state of Alaska and our entire family is excited about the move,” said Thomas at uscho.com. It truly is a ‘hockey state.’ My goal is to bring back the passion for UAA hockey and produce a winner for the community, alumni and our fan base.”

Thomas, from Mississauga, Ont., went 163-127-39 (.555) in 329 games in five campaigns with the Thunder, and was also 34-30 in the ECHL postseason in that span, according to the team’s website. All-time, Thomas fashioned a 342-225-80 mark (.590) in 647 career ECHL regular-season games as head coach of the Thunder, the Fresno Falcons and the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. He ranks fifth in league regular-season annals in victories, and is sixth in total games coached.

A former assistant coach at the University of Maine from 2000 to 2002, Thomas played at RIT from 1994 to 1998. He helped the Tigers to three NCAA Division III Tournament berths, along with a national runner-up finish his sophomore season. He also helped them to the NCAAs as an assistant coach in 1999.

The Seawolves last posted a winning season in 1993-94, one year after they finished a string of three consecutive NCAA Division I Tournament appearances.

UAA will start play this fall in a revamped WCHA that also includes Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Michigan State to Add One More Name to Stanley Cup

No matter who wins the Stanley Cup this month, one thing is certain: a defenseman from Michigan State will be getting his name on the chalice.

Either it'll be Duncan Keith for the Chicago Blackhawks, who played a season-and-a-half with the Spartans--or Torey Krug, who earned All-America and Hobey Baker finalist status in his three campaigns in Green & White.

Keith got his name on the Cup with Chicago in 2010, the last active NHL player hailing from MSU to do so, and has 11 points in 16 playoff games so far this spring. Krug, who scored four goals in the Eastern Conference semifinal this year, is in his first NHL postseason since turning pro following the 2012 NCAA East Regional.

In all, 11 former Spartans have raised the Cup a total of 12 times, led by Craig Simpson, who won with the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 and 1990.

It's also the first time ever that the Blackhawks and Bruins will face each other in the final, and the first time that two NHL Original Six squads will play for the Cup since Montreal downed the New York Rangers in five games in 1979 to complete a stretch of four consecutive Cups.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Maine Hires Gendron as Head Coach

Maine hired former assistant Dennis “Red” Gendron this week as head coach to replace the ousted Tim Whitehead. Gendron was on the staff of Maine’s first NCAA title team in 1993, and also coached in the New Jersey Devils organization. He then moved on to Massachusetts before spending the last two seasons at Yale,  garnering a second national championship ring in April with the Bulldogs.

With Mike Cavanaugh having been hired at UConn earlier this month, one of the last open head coaching positions in the Division I men’s ranks is at Alaska Anchorage, which assembled a new committee, including UAA hockey program founder Kelvin “Brush” Christiansen, to name a successor to Dave Shyiak. The former Northern Michigan skater was let go by the Seawolves after eight seasons and has been embroiled in some controversy lately involving an incident during his tenure at UAA.

Shyiak is still seeking a new coaching job along with Mark Osiecki and George Gwozdecky, who were released by Ohio State and Denver, respectively, this off-season. Osiecki spent three years at OSU after assisting at his alma mater of Wisconsin. Fellow Badgers alum Gwozdecky was not retained at Denver after 19 seasons with the Pioneers, including NCAA championships in both 2004 and 2005.

As reported tonight at USCHO.com, UAA athletic director Steve Cobb has been relieved of his duties. He had earlier received votes of no confidence from both the Anchorage youth hockey community and an alumni group of former Seawolf players.

The site is also reporting that the head coaching job at Alabama-Huntsville has just opened up after Kurt Kleinendorst stepped down after one season at the helm of the Chargers. UAH will join former independent foe UAA in the revamped Western Collegiate Hockey Association this fall.