Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2013-14 Conference Winners Predicted

The 2013-14 preseason polls for the NCAA Division I men’s hockey conferences have all been released. Following are the top picks in each of the six leagues:

Colgate (ECAC)

Providence (Hockey East) 
Mercyhurst (Atlantic Hockey)
Minnesota (Big Ten)
North Dakota (NCHC)
Minnesota State (WCHA)

All those schools made last year's NCAA tournament except Mercyhurst. Colgate, North Dakota and Minnesota State also all finished as regular-season runner-up in their respective leagues.

Minnesota won the inaugural Big Ten regular season crown last season, and then edged North Dakota in a national semifinal before falling to Union in the national title game in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Devils Edge Rangers, 5-4, Behind Two NCAA Netminders

Keith Kincaid (Union) and Scott Clemmensen (Boston College) teamed up to record a combined 20 saves as the New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Rangers, 5-4, in the 2014 NHL preseason opener for both teams at Madison Square Garden on Monday night.

Kinkaid picked up the win in relief, making 12 saves on 14 shots, after starter Clemmensen recorded eight stops on 10 attempts. Michael Ryder scored twice and Adam Henrique notched the game-winning goal with 51.7 seconds remaining in regulation for New Jersey, which has missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs the last two seasons.

Cam Talbot (Alabama-Huntsville) took the loss in relief with 16 saves on 19 shots for New York, and also picked up an assist. The Rangers, who won the Eastern Conference last season, got goals from Carl Hagelin (Michigan), Ryan Malone (St. Cloud) and Chris Kreider (Boston College).

Friday, September 12, 2014

New Boston College Uniforms for 2014-15

Boston College recently unveiled new men's hockey uniforms for the 2014-15 NCAA campaign, as shown on Twitter. The uniforms are still manufactured by UnderArmour, which took over BC's athletic apparel in 2010.

The new home white version (shown at right) modeled by sophomore forward Ryan Fitzgerald features maroon and gold stripes that now go all the way around the waist. There's also the return of the iconic interlocking BC Eagle logo on the shoulders.

The vertical stripes on the sleeves have been replaced by horizontal maroon and gold stripes at the elbow, with the stripes on both the arm and the waist being separated by the stained glass pattern introduced four years ago. The front of the new jersey also features a traditional lace-up neck, while the Hockey East patch remains in its customary spot below the right shoulder.

BC opens its new season on Oct. 4 with an exhibition game against visiting New Brunswick at Kelley Rink, before delving into the NCAA waters at Hockey East rival UMass Lowell six days later. The home opener will be on Oct. 24 against Colorado College.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Remembering Mark Bavis: Sept. 11, 2001

A story I've presented here before - hard to believe it's been 13 years now. Rest in peace, Mark.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Former 1980 Olympian Suter Passes On

Bob Suter, a member of the 1980 Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, and a former Wisconsin Badger, died of an apparent heart attack yesterday in Madison, Wisc. He was 57.

Suter, brother of former NHL defensemen Gary Suter and former Badger player John Suter, and father of current Minnesota Wild blueliner Ryan Suter, was a defenseman on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team that upset Russia and then topped Finland to claim the gold medal in Lake Placid. Bob Suter is also is the first player from that storied squad to pass away, having been preceded by head coach Herb Brooks, who died in a car crash in 2003.

"This is a heart-breaking day," said Wisconsin men's coach and former Badger teammate Mike Eaves at uwbadgers.com. "Bob was the ultimate teammate. He could skate like the wind and was as hard of a competitor that I ever knew. He has passed much too young."

A 1977 draft choice of both the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the WHA's Birmingham Bulls, Suter played for his hometown University of Wisconsin from 1975 to 1979, helping the Badgers to an NCAA title as a sophomore. In 1978-79, as a senior, he posted 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 40 games, according to hockeydb. He closed out his college career with a total of 27-76103 points and 377 penalty minutes in 157 appearances.

Suter, who set a Badgers record for most assists in game by a defenseman with five against Denver in 1979, was also a college teammate of current Badger men's coach Mike Eaves and current women's coach Mark Johnson. He also played seven games with the Tulsa Oilers of the Central Hockey League after graduation.

After joining the U.S. National Team, Suter won gold with Johnson at Lake Placid despite having broken his ankle during the club's preliminary tour. He played one final pro season in 1981-82 with the CHL's Nashville South Stars, notching 12-2133 points and 160 PIM in 79 outings.

Suter, who also owned a sporting goods shop in Madison, was aiding the newest incarnation of the Madison Capitals junior team at the time of his passing.

"I think he was in a great place with the new USHL team coming in and they were just getting up and starting to practice and getting ready for some exhibition games," said Johnson on the Badgers web site, "It is unfortunate that this happened at such a young age, and there are a lot of people who are going to miss him."

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Not Long Now

The NCAA Frozen Four in Philadelphia seems like last monthbut in reality, the 2014-15 Division I men's college hockey campaign is just 24 days away.

The festivities face off on Oct. 3 when Western Ontario visits Alaska Fairbanks at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, kicking off the usual slate of exhibition games between American universities and their Canadian counterparts. It's also the second year of the revamped structure of men's college hockey, with the Big Ten, the NCHC, and the revamped WCHA having all replaced the dearly-departed CCHA.No conference upheaval this time out, although UConn will be skating off to Hockey East from Atlantic Hockey.

It's all part of the usual grind to get through the next six months before the 2015 Frozen Four is held at TD Garden in Boston, the first time the championship will be played in Beantown since Denver defeated Maine, 1-0, in 2004. The ECAC will also be seeking its third national men's title in as many years, following NCAA title runs by Yale (2013) and Union (2014) after a two-decade drought.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Former BC Blueliner Forrest Rejoins U.S. NTDP as Coach

Former Boston College defenseman and recently-retired professional blueliner J.D. Forrest will be stepping behind the bench.

A member of BC’s 2001 NCAA championship team, Forrest will return to his roots with the U.S National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. this season as he begins his duties as intern assistant coach for the U.S. National Under-18 Team.

A native of Auburn. N.Y., Forrest was an original member of the NTDP (1997-2000), according to USAHockey.com. He ranks first in career games played (208) and is also tied for the lead in career assists (88) with current Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. He also holds the NTDP record for career points by a defenseman (111).

Forrest, 33, played at BC from 2000 to 2004, helping the Eagles to four combined Hockey East Association regular-season and tournament titles, three NCAA Tournament berths, and two NCAA Frozen Four appearances. He posted 24 goals and 74 assists for 98 points in 145 career games with BC, according to USCHO.com. He registered a career-best 6-25—31 points as a junior, and also earned Second Team All-America accolades that season. He then served as an assistant captain in his final collegiate campaign.

A sixth-round NHL draft choice (181st overall) of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2000, Forrest played professionally the last 10 seasons, mostly in Europe, according to hockeydb.com. He spent five years in Finland, and put up a career-high 5-28—33 points with Karpat in 2008-09. He also had stints with Florida and Elmira in the ECHL, and with Albany and Worcester in the American Hockey League, and also skated one season in Switzerland. He closed out his pro career by playing one year with Malmo (Sweden) and two years with Augsburg (Germany).

The U.S. National Under-18 Team opens its 2014-15 USHL season on Friday against the Muskegon Lumberjacks.