February 26, 2007
1. Notre Dame (20)
2. St. Cloud State (15)
3. New Hampshire ( 2)
4. Minnesota ( 3)
5. Boston University
8. North Dakota
9. Boston College
13. St. Lawrence
14. Michigan State
17. Colorado College
18. Michigan Tech
CC, North Dakota offer a challenge
(left) Colorado College looked poised to win the 2005 Frozen Four until they opened the door of the penalty box and DU dropped six power play goals on CuMac
DENVER - Despite its third place position in Western Collegiate Hockey Association standings, Denver’s work is far from finished heading into this weekend’s final regular-season home-andhome series with Colorado College.
The No. 6 Pioneers, who locked up home ice for the first round of WCHA playoffs last weekend, have two teams — North Dakota and CC — nipping at their heels for a top three finish in the WCHA.
No. 8 North Dakota, which travels to No. 2 St. Cloud State this weekend, trails Denver by two points and Colorado College trails the Pioneers by three.
“There’s not much margin for error, although I’d rather be in this position than the other two teams that are chasing us,” Denver coach George Gwozdecky said.
A top-five finish ensures home ice for the first round of the WCHA playoffs. A topthree regular-season finish alleviates any possibility of competing in the play-in game at the WCHA Final Five.
On top of that, Denver must sweep the Tigers to retain the Gold Pan for the fourth straight season. The traveling rivalry trophy is awarded to the regular-season series winner and CC won the first two meetings.
“I think we’d like to play better than we did in December,” senior goaltender Glenn Fisher said. “We know ourselves a lot better now.”
In the event of a 2-2 split, the team that entered the season with the trophy — Denver — holds onto it.
In other words, CC needs only a tie to reclaim the Gold Pan.
The teams play at Denver on Friday and at a sold-out World Arena on Saturday.
But the Tigers, who have a one-point lead over sixth-place Michigan Tech, will likely need more than a tie to cement a top-five finish.
With a sweep over DU, CC could finish in third or tied for third with North Dakota. In a tiebreaker situation, because CC and North Dakota split the season series, the Tigers would earn third place based on league wins.
If the Pioneers sweep the Tigers, North Dakota sweeps St. Cloud State, Michigan Tech sweeps Minnesota and Wisconsin sweeps Minnesota-Duluth, CC could finish seventh and end up on the road.
With only one win against DU, the Tigers need first-place Minnesota to claim at least one win against Michigan Tech to stay within the top five.
“There’s a lot on the line with the Gold Pan and the WCHA playoff positioning, national tournament ramifications, it doesn’t get much bigger than this,” Gwozdecky said.
Now they have an Online Petition to request Fox Sports Detroit televise the NMU-Tech series each year. Seems like a good cause...
Peter answered questions about the rivaly with Colorado College, facing the best players in the WCHA, DU's goaltender situation and many other questions. Its a good read.
Peter Mannino chat: http://www.cstv.com/chat/022607aab.html
From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney
(left) Coach Owens was spotting purchasing a copy of "Hockey Drills for Passing & Receiving" by George Gwozdecky at Barnes & Noble in the Springs on Monday morning
A resurgence by DU's dormant power-play units certainly will help finally land that coveted No. 3 seed, which allows teams to avoid the play-in game at the WCHA Final Five.
The Pioneers' split against North Dakota was enough to maintain third place and keep DU ensconced in the NCAA tournament picture heading into its regular-season closing home-and-home series this week against Front Range rival Colorado College.
DU, which has encountered sporadic trouble on the power play throughout the season, went 0- for-11 with a man advantage against North Dakota and has scored only three power-play goals in 31 opportunities during the past five games.
"If I can critique any part of our game, the No. 1 area that we struggle with and has to be more effective is the power play," DU coach George Gwozdecky said.
"When you get down to this time of year, the majority of games will be decided on special teams."
DU cannot finish better than third but could finish as low as fifth. CC has endured a tailspin that includes four consecutive losses and a six-game winless streak and is fighting for home ice in the first round of the WCHA tournament. The Tigers remain desperate to solidify their stature on the NCAA bubble.
Notes: With the return of senior forward J.D. Corbin from a four-month layoff, Gwozdecky moved sophomore Patrick Mullen from forward to defense against the Fighting Sioux. Given DU's tenuous depth along the blue line, Mullen might remain there the rest of the season.
From: Rocky Mountain News
by Pat Rooney
(left) CC Hockey Coach Scott Owens went "native" last summer after CC blew a 2-0 lead to Cornell in the first round of the NCAA Playoffs
The original Gold Pan, the trophy DU and CC compete for every season, has been missing for almost three years, but the second edition of the prize is expected to be unveiled this weekend.
Gwozdecky and CC coach Scott Owens have been trading e-mails regarding the newly crafted trophy.
"I've seen pictures of it, digital photos that CC has sent me and that the company that made it sent to CC," Gwozdecky said. "It looks great. I can't say yes definitely (that it will be unveiled), but from every indication, that's the case."
The Pioneers have won the trophy the past three seasons. Because the Gold Pan has to be won outright in order to switch teams, CC's sweep of DU earlier this year means the Tigers need one win or one tie to win it back for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers
(left) DU's Rhett Rakhshani, looks to clear the puck from deep in the Pioneers' zone as North Dakota's Robbie Bina closes in Saturday night in Denver
The University of Denver hockey team is in good position to qualify for the NCAA Tournament, but a glaring weakness suggests the Pioneers won't advance to the Frozen Four.
Making it to the national semifinals requires two weekend victories at regionals, and DU has not swept a two-game series in its past five weekends - and past six weekends against Western Collegiate Hockey Association foes.
The most recent sweep for the sixth-ranked Pioneers, who are eighth in the all-important Pairwise Rankings, came the weekend before Christmas at Alaska-Anchorage. Their most recent nonconference sweep occurred in the second week of January against Niagara.
"It's a concern," DU captain Adrian Veideman said after last weekend's 4-3 overtime win and 3-0 loss to North Dakota. "We're lacking a little bit of focus from game to game. But I think the freshmen and sophomores realize now that it's time to go six periods over a weekend, and not just four or five."
DU's three major goals are to retain state bragging rights over Colorado College, advance to the WCHA Final Five (March 15-17 in St. Paul, Minn.) and make it to the Frozen Four (April 5-7 in St. Louis).
Meeting each of those requires two weekend wins, beginning with the upcoming home-and-home series against CC to finish the regular season.
The Tigers pinned DU with its only two weekend losses this season, winning 5-1 and 3-2 in early December, and will take ownership of the new Gold Pan traveling trophy with at least a tie this weekend.
"Pretty much for the rest of the year we have to win twice on a weekend," DU's Patrick Mullen said. "That's all we talk about, being more consistent."
DU is assured of hosting a WCHA first-round, best-of- three series March 9-11. At stake will be advancement to the prestigious Final Five at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Pioneers, if they qualify, are guaranteed to play at the West Regional on March 24-25 at the Pepsi Center.
CC is still hoping to clinch home ice for the WCHA tournament and rally to make the 16-team NCAA field. The Tigers, on a four-game losing streak and winless in their past six, have fallen to a three-way tie for 13th in the Pairwise.
Colorado natives accounted for each of DU's four goals last weekend. They came from Ryan Dingle (Steamboat Springs), Tyler Ruegsegger (Lakewood), Geoff Paukovich (Englewood) and J.D. Corbin (Littleton)....
(left) The Broadmoor Trophy is up for grabs in the WCHA playoffs. Guess which team has never won the Trophy? If you said Colorado College go to the head of the class.
DENVER - Tickets for the University of Denver's WCHA home playoff series on March 9-11 go on sale Today at 10 a.m. Tickets for the best two-of-three series can be purchased at the Ritchie Center North Box Office, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 303-830-TIXS. Tickets start as low as low $17 for adults and $10 for children under 12 and senior citizens.
The No. 7 Pioneers (21-12-3, 13-10-3 WCHA) clinched home ice for the WCHA Playoffs for the fourth consecutive year after their two-game split last weekend against North Dakota and Michigan Tech's two-game sweep of Wisconsin. DU is currently third in the WCHA with 29 league points. The Pioneers' opponent for the first round of the WCHA Playoffs will be determined by Saturday, March 2.
"They (CC) trashed the locker room at the MCWW. Now, we're not talking just a few things...major trash job. They ripped off the doors on the lockers and broke almost everything in sight. Sadly, this locker room has a lot of stuff that's stored in it so they had a lot of stuff to break. The most pathetic thing? There are items stored in there for little kid's at the hockey game and they trashed that too. Nice. It takes a real tough man to trash stuff that is used for little kids."
Congrats also go out to the Defending National Champion Wisconsin Badgers for representing the WCHA and pulling down the 16th spot.
|How widely used is marijuana?|
by Mike Chambers
(left) Brock Trotter, left, fights for control of the puck with North Dakota's Chay Genoway
In one of many controversial calls made by referee Todd Anderson on Saturday night, the University of Denver's Tom May was given a game misconduct after getting punched by a gloveless Kyle Radke of North Dakota.
May was tossed from Magness Arena for a checking-from-behind major, but replays proved it was more like checking from the side after a Fighting Sioux player turned his back while battling for the puck against the boards.
Radke, sticking up for a teammate and prepared to fight, was only given a two-minute minor for roughing. May said he kept his gloves on and backed down because he thought Radke was going to be called for a fighting major, sending DU on the power play.
Anderson didn't see it that way, and the Fighting Sioux scored about a minute later on a 4-on-3 to take a three-goal lead in front of a sellout crowd of 6,108. And that's how it ended - 3-0 to give North Dakota a split of the series.
Anderson wasn't on his game, but he didn't prevent DU from scoring. The Pioneers (21-12-3, 13-10-3 WCHA), who won 4-3 in overtime Friday, were ineffective in front of Sioux goalie Philippe Lamoureux (28 saves) and finished 0-of-6 on the power play.
"Their goaltender played really well and they shut us down," said DU goalie Peter Mannino, who faced 20 shots.
In the end, the only people DU blamed for the loss were Lamoureux and diminutive sophomore wing Ryan Duncan, who had the first and third goals. Duncan, 5-foot-6 and 158 pounds, leads the WCHA with 27 goals and 48 points.
"It was huge for us to come back after losing in overtime (Friday). It was heartbreaking," Duncan said.
Despite the loss, DU learned that its road to the Frozen Four would predominantly go through Denver. Because of Wisconsin's two weekend losses at Michigan Tech, the Pioneers clinched home ice for the WCHA first-round playoffs March 9-11.
They remain in third place in the WCHA but cannot finish lower than fifth in the 10-team league. DU ends with this weekend's home-and-home series against Colorado College.
DU is assured of beginning the NCAA Tournament at the West Regional at the Pepsi Center, if it qualifies, and the Pioneers remain in good shape. They are eighth in the Pairwise Rankings; North Dakota (18-12-4, 12-10-4) is ninth.
The top 12 to 14 Pairwise teams will make the 16 team national field after automatic bids are awarded to the six tournament champions.
Tickets for DU's WCHA first-round, best-of-three series go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at the DU box office. Pepsi Center West Regional tickets are available at Ticketmaster.
Strong "Pre-sale" Ticket Sales Bolster Event
From: Rocky Mountain News & Grand Forks Herald
by Pat Rooney (RMN)
(left) Robbie Bina has 18 points and leads the WCHA with two incidents with the police this season for the University of North Dakota
Friday's game marked the first time Paukovich and North Dakota defenseman Robbie Bina met on the ice since a hit by Paukovich nearly two years ago left Bina with serious head and neck injuries that kept him on the sideline the 2005-06 season.
Gwozdecky was ejected from the game and Prpich repeatedly said he was just trying to tie Paukovich up off the draw.
The well-publicized incident cast a pall over Paukovich's appearances against North Dakota last season, but he seems to have recovered his scoring touch.
"It feels good to contribute, and it's great to see Robbie out there playing," said Paukovich, who has five goals and four assists in the past 10 games.
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers
(left) Ryan Dingle started his first game at wing this season and was flying all around Magness Arena
The game ended in storybook fashion.
Adding to the overtime drama of winning a crucial game at home Friday night was the fact University of Denver co-captain and Littleton native J.D. Corbin was the difference.
Corbin, who returned to the lineup after missing 30 games with leg and ankle injuries, scored 2:18 into overtime to propel the Pioneers to a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over North Dakota at Magness Arena.
Off an offensive faceoff won by DU's Mike Handza, Corbin redirected a shot from defenseman Adrian Veideman past goalie Philippe Lamoureux. Another Colorado native, junior Geoff Paukovich of Englewood, tied the game at 3-3 early in the third period, and Steamboat's Ryan Dingle and Lakewood's Tyler Ruegsegger also scored for DU in an impressive offensive showing from Colorado-bred players.
Corbin, playing in just his fifth game of the season, declined to discuss what his first goal of his senior season meant from a personal standpoint. "All I care about is the win," he said. "It's playoff time, and to get a win like that is great. It's really big for us."
The victory was DU's first when they trailed after two periods, and it snapped the Fighting Sioux's NCAA-best 11- game unbeaten streak. It also increased the Pioneers' lead from one to three points over North Dakota in the WCHA.
Five DU players were honored as WCHA Scholar-Athletes for achieving a 3.5 GPA during the 2005-06 academic year:
DENVER - After missing the last 30 games due to injury, J.D. Corbin notched the game-winning goal 2:18 into overtime to propel the No. 7 Denver Pioneers to a 4-3 victory over No. 8 North Dakota in a crucial WCHA contest before a sellout crowd of 6, 117 at Magness Arena. Ryan Dingle, Tyler Ruegsegger and Geoff Paukovich also notched a goal apiece for the Pioneers and senior goaltender Glenn Fisher recorded 20 saves as DU snapped its three-game winless streak while also bringing North Dakota's 11-game unbeaten streak to a halt.
The Pioneers overcame a stellar performance from North Dakota's top line of Ryan Duncan, Jonathan Toews and T.J. Oshie, who combined for three goals and six assists.
At nearly the midway point of the extra frame, Mike Handza won a faceoff cleanly back to Adrian Veideman (Sicamous, British Columbia) in DU's zone. Veideman fired a shot toward North Dakota's net, and Corbin was able to get enough of a tip to redirect the shot past UND goaltender Philippe Lamoureux (38 saves).
"You saw two pretty good teams going at it tonight," said Denver head coach George Gwozdecky. "We got a big draw win from Mike Handza and a great shot from the point. It may have been a lucky bounce, but I think you make your own luck. We deserved the win and really earned that bounce."
The Fighting Sioux got on the board first at 17:41 when Duncan fed a pass across the goalmouth to Oshie, who buried a shot before Fisher could slide across the crease.
DU struck back before the end of the first period when Dingle netted his team-leading 20th goal of the season. Ryan Helgason (Woodbury, Minn.) fought off two UND defenders in DU's offensive zone before slipping a pass into the slot to Dingle, who shelved a backhand over Lamoureux's left shoulder at 19:18.
Ruegsegger gave DU a 2-1 lead when he netted the 14th goal of his freshman campaign at 6:57 of the second period. Dingle led a 2-on-1 rush toward the North Dakota goal before firing a shot from the right faceoff circle that was stopped by Lamoureux. Ruegsegger corralled the rebound on the far side of the goal and fired the puck past Lamoureux, who couldn't recover in time.
UND's Oshie and Duncan again teamed up to tie the game, with Duncan being the benefactor this time on a power-play tally at 12:52. Toews then gave the Sioux a 3-2 advantage at 16:14 off assists from Duncan and Oshie.
The Pioneers evened the game, 3-3, at the 2:18 mark of the third period when Tom May walked around a UND defender and fed a pass to Paukovich, who knocked the puck home from the doorstep to account for the last goal in regulation.
DU outshot UND by a 42-23 margin. The Fighting Sioux finished 1-of-3 on the power play, while the Pioneers went 0-5 with a man advantage.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at Magness Arena at 7:07 p.m.
Notes: Tonight marked the first time all season that the Pioneers won a game when trailing after two periods. DU came into the game with a 0-9 record when entering the third period with a deficit ... Dingle's multi-point game was his first since Jan. 13 in a 5-2 victory over Niagara University ... Prior to the start of the game a moment of silence was observed for long-time DU Board of Trustee member Phil Hogue, who passed away on Feb. 20 at age 71 after a battle with leukemia.
DU Wins 1958 National Championship Over UND
DU Whips Nodaks 6-2, Wins Ice Crown
From: Denver Post
by Dick Hilker
The Pioneers, who shook off a 1-0 first period deficit, put out enough human effort to win two ordinary games as they came pounding back with three quick goals in the second period and three more in the third.
Coach Murray Armstrong's crew saved its best all-around performance of the season for its most important game.
Although beaten three times in four Western Intercollegiate Hockey League games by the Nodaks earlier in the season, the razor-sharp Pioneers skated like demons and passed with precision to defeat their old nemesis.
The pressure of a championship game had little effect on the Redshirts. All six DU goals were scored by different players, but if individuals had to be singled out, they would have to be Jim Brown and Murray Massier, the tournament's most valuable player.
A crowd of 7,878 watched the Pioneers win their first NCAA title as they played in their first tournament in the 11-year history of the event. Denver had trouble getting startedin the first period and trailed 1-0. But the Pioneers loosened up the rugged Sioux defenses with some crisp, long passes and scored three goals in 3:40 midway in the second period.
While 3,000 North Dakota fans sat in silent disbelief, Denver pounded in two consolation goals to make it "no contest."
North Dakota's first period goal came on a 40-foot shot by Ed Thomlinson, which deflected off the skate of a Pioneer defender and slid into the net.
Brown opened Denver's middle period by picking up a loose puck in front of the Sioux cage and drilling a 20-footer into the corner of the net with7:18 gone.
The Murray Massier-Bruce Walker-Walt Dingwell line, which had scoredonly three goals in Denver's last five games, scored two goals 19 seconds apart to send the Pioneers into a 3-1lead.
Walker hit the first one as he swept in on North Dakota goalie Bob Peabody and caged a backhander from close range after a double assist from Dingwell and Massier.
Massier's nifty pass found Dingwell in front of the cage and he hit the net on a picture book play. Ed Zemrau also assisted.
Walker's goal gave DU a 2-1 lead at 10:39, then Dingwell hiked the count with his marker at 10:58.
Ron King of North Dakota got open in front of the DU cage to make it 3-2 with 5:21 gone in the last period. But Massier, a pressure proof 150-pound sophomore, tapped in the killing goal at 7:18 as he poked the bouncing puck past Peabody.
Barry Sharp, one of only three seniors on the Denver team, and Denny Slinn, tacked on the icing to pad out the score.
Schneck, who made 20 saves in the first two periods, was credited with only two in the final round as Denver dominated offensive play.
"One of the guys in the group asked why no one was giving the guy in the DU hat a hard time. And one of them responded, “That’s Max Bull, he took the f**cking shot that knocked us out of the tournament last year 1 – 0 in the regional final”, and pointed “and that’s his brother Jessie, who won a championship in ‘97”."
"Ike one of the hosts, wanted an apology form Max, and Max gave him one in writing (see hat)."
Western College Hockey Blog & Heisenberg's Recruiting Site are reporting that Denver received a verbal commitment from Des Moines Buccaners (USHL) forward Nate Dewhurst. He will attend DU in either 2008 or 2009. Dewhurst is an Iowa native that played at Culver Academy last season. He chose DU over CC (his "safety school").
The Scouting News cited Dewhurst was one of the fastest rising prospects in all of youth hockey. They noted that Dewhurst was the best player on the ice at the U17 Three Nations Cup leading the tournament in scoring last summer.
Dewhurst skated last season at Culver Academy, a prep school in Indiana. He didn't make the Buccaneers' roster at tryouts in June and planned to return to Culver this season.
But he received another look in August after he was selected to represent the U.S. in the under-17 Three Nations Tournament in Rochester, N.Y.
Dewhurst led the tournament in scoring with eight points in four games.
Buccaneers Coach Regg Simon and assistant coach Todd Knott were there and offered him a spot.
"The chance to have one of the most elite players in the country in that age group from your hometown, I didn't want him playing anywhere else and I don't think he wanted to play anywhere else," Simon said.
Nanaimo, BC - Kyle Ostrow the skilled center and a prize recruit in DU's 2007 Recruiting Class has been injured for the second time in less than three weeks. The BCHL's Nanaimo Clippers offensive spark plug, suffered an undisclosed upper body injury last Friday and will probably be out for the rest of the regular season.
The DU coaching staff must be especially nervous as concussions have already ended the career of DU recruit Dan Comrie a little over a month ago.
Ostrow, who returned to the Clippers' lineup on Thursday from a concussion with a three-goal, one assist effort in Nanaimo's 4-2 win in Alberni, was injured in the first period of the Clippers' 5-4 overtime loss to the Chiefs at Nanaimo's Frank Crane Arena.
The Calgary native, who missed four games before returning to the lineup, was flattened from behind by Langley's Kyle Nason.
Nason received no penalty on the play from referee Tyler Fraser, fuelling a series of skirmishes and chippy play the rest of the game.
Nason hit Ostrow, who was in a vulnerable situation, said Clippers head coach/GM Bill Bestwick.
"He's been the best player on the ice since his return and he clearly was the victim of a desperate player (Nason) who wants to make a name for himself," said Bestwick, of Ostrow. "He's a reckless player who took advantage of a situation. It's the checking player's responsibility when a player has his back to him, to descretion and caution.
"That's a classic example why those penalties are in the game. It's an absolute mystery how there was no penalty on the play."
From: Denver Post
by Mike Chambers
(left) JD Corbin returns to night and will play on the same line as Rakhshani & Gifford
DENVER - Forgive George Gwozdecky for not making sense.
"The playoffs are here before the playoffs arrive," the University of Denver coach said.
To interpret, the Pioneers' NCAA Tournament fate could depend on how they fare in their final four regular-season games, because each game is against a team on DU's heels in the all-important Pairwise Rankings.
Finishing 4-0 would get DU into the NCAA Tournament and gain the Pioneers an automatic West Regional berth at the Pepsi Center. Going 2-2 or worse could lead to the Pioneers' second consecutive omission from the NCAA Tournament after winning it all in 2004 and 2005.
"Not making it last year will be a big motivation for these last four games," DU junior center Ryan Dingle said. "Believe me, it has been discussed."
The stretch begins tonight against North Dakota, which brings an 11-game unbeaten streak into the two- game Western Collegiate Hockey Association series at Magness Arena. The Pioneers finish with a home- and-home WCHA series against Colorado College on March 2 (Denver) and March 3 (Colorado Springs).
Denver, 2-4-1 in its past seven games, has dropped to ninth in the generic version of the Pairwise, tied with North Dakota. CC is in a three-way tie for 13th.
Only the top 12 to 14 Pairwise teams will get into the NCAA field. Conference tournament champions are given automatic berths.
"From here on out, it's a playoff mentality," DU junior goalie Peter Mannino said. "Every game counts for both our league and the national picture. If we're on the same page, play together and within our roles, we think good things will happen."
In addition to battling for an NCAA berth, DU, North Dakota and CC are vying for a top-five WCHA finish that guarantees home-ice advantage for the first round of the league playoffs. The Pioneers (27 points) lead the Sioux and Tigers by one point.
DU senior wing J.D. Corbin will play tonight after missing 30 games with leg and ankle injuries. The Littleton native has been practicing on a line with freshmen Brian Gifford and Rhett Rakhshani. Corbin's return marks the first time this season DU will have its entire roster available.
From: Lincoln Star Journal
by BRENT C. WAGNER
Lincoln Stars coach Steve Johnson, well, let’s just say he doesn't throw around individual praise of players with the same regularity as they give away T-shirts at the Ice Box.
Not to say he's not fond of his guys. Johnson's just a big team guy — no penalty for that. That's why the compliment Johnson gave Stars forward Jason Gregoire after a recent victory was all the more impressive.
“Our guys don't have to watch hockey on television to see how to play the game," Johnson said, “they can watch Jason Gregoire.”
Whoa. Heavy stuff, but it doesn't take an NHL scout to see that Gregoire is becoming one of the most complete players in the United States Hockey League.
He has missed most of the season because of two ankle surgeries, but Gregoire has nine goals and 10 assists in just 13 games. Most impressive, Gregoire has not had a negative plus/minus statistic in any game, including the 10-1 loss at Sioux City.
Much of what makes Gregoire so good doesn't always show up on a stat sheet, either. Things like protecting the puck, forcing turnovers, and blocking shots. In short, the dirty work it takes to be successful.
“Those little things are my game,” Gregoire said. "I'm not great at anything, but I'm good at a lot of little things, especially on defense. If you're not a total hockey person it might go unnoticed, but that's most of my game.”
Gregoire was somewhat unnoticed last season, despite earning rookie of the league honors in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League — comparable to a Tier II division in the United States. He had 12 goals and 11 assists in 14 playoff games, leading his team to the league championship.
But Johnson got a tip from a friend that he couldn't go wrong with snagging Gregoire, and drafted him without having seen him play. The Stars got a steal when they took Gregoire in the 13th of 19 rounds in the 2006 Entry Draft.
“It was the coolest thing ever when I got drafted,” Gregoire said. “I was telling all my buddies I might be going to Lincoln, Nebraska — this place I've never heard of — and I started hearing about the Cornhuskers.
“And while this might be a football area, they sure love their hockey down here.”
Johnson says it's probably not just coincidence that Lincoln is 10-3 with Gregoire in the lineup, and the coach had plenty more to gush about Gregoire. Among Johnson's praise:
- “Jason's not the most skilled guy in the world, but he just knows how to play the game in all three zones. When he gets quicker and stronger, he's going to be a pretty dynamic player.”
- "He plays with a lot of courage, and you can't play this game scared. The other night he scored a goal by the puck going off his head into the net. We got some guys who won't go to the net, and really hold themselves back. Part of being a goal scorer is being in the right place at the right time. The right spot is usually at the net."
- “Guys who play with him are fortunate. He works hard, and does things that force two defenders to take him.”
Gregoire, 17, had one goal and four assists in the opening weekend, and parlayed his early success into scholarships offers from the who's who of college hockey. He eventually settled on seven-time NCAA champion Denver, but doesn't know yet if he'll enroll there next season, or return to Lincoln.
As you may expect for someone who grew up across the street from a rink in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Gregoire loves the game. That love likely set him back, though, as he couldn't stand being off the ice, and tried to return from October ankle surgery too quickly. Gregoire needed a second surgery in December.
His passion also shows in his play. In the determination that Gregoire showed in scoring a breakaway goal against Tri-City with three skaters chasing him, and the shot he blocked in the last 30 seconds to preserve a win against Green Bay.
He’s driven, too, Johnson said.
“(Tuesday) we had a hard practice, and he's still out there now working on stuff — he just understands what it means to be a good player on and off the ice,” Johnson said. "He's very classy off the ice — a guy you look at the whole picture with, and how he carries himself. Everything from his appearance to his grades
“He's that guy who just gets it.”
WCHA Should Say "No" To Bemidji & Expansion
The continued growth of college hockey is dependant on following the "WCHA model" of success; renewed rivalries, new arenas, increased television coverage, better players. The WCHA is the best conference in college hockey, but to allow a "welfare case" like Bemidji will only weaken the conference.
WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod was on Fox Sports North last weekend, and mentioned that there were at least basic discussions going on about whether or not the WCHA would want to expand to 11 or 12 teams, if they expanded. McLeod shouldn't be "shooting his mouth off" on national television, unless he's certain that his opinion accurately reflects the views of the member schools.
The best course of action is for the CCHA to say "no" to Wayne State & for the WCHA to stall Bemidji until the possible entry of Canadian universities into the NCAA, becomes clearer.
If down the road, Bemidji builds a 5,000 seat arena, fills the barn occasionally, and "earns" the right to join the WCHA, then and only then should Bemidji be considered.
Tyler Ruegsegger has exploded during his freshman season with his
The former top-ranked collegiate prospect in
Ruegsegger has 25 points in 28 games, paced by 11 goals. He's also been a force to be reckoned with on the Pioneers' power play, accounting for four goals with the man advantage. Most impressively Ruegsegger has excelled in even-strength situations, leading the club in plus/minus ratings with a +13 total that's almost double that of the next closest teammate.
And although Ruegsegger has performed admirably in the collegiate ranks, there were pre-season questions about his readiness. According to a report in the Denver Post, the Pioneers weren’t sure that he was ready to make the jump straight from the high school ranks to the collegiate game without the traditional sojourn in the USHL. He made the choice not to defer his scholarship and the results speak for themselves.
In essence, hockey is a simple game and as Howie Meeker used to preach, you can't score if you don't shoot. Ruegsegger has obviously taken those lessons to heart and is amongst the team leaders in shots, which has been a significant factor in much of his offensive exploits to date.
Of course, this offensive performance isn't exactly unprecedented - Ruegsegger's last two seasons with Shattuck-St. Mary's saw him net 80 and 89 points. The question was always how this would translate against stiffer competition. So far so good - and, while it's still early, the Leafs are hoping that they've found a diamond in the rough in
College Hockey Recruiting
Where 7 minus 4 equals 0 Scholarships
I think the key lies with Steven Cook. He's a Senior, but I now think that DU is confident that he will be playing for the Pioneers in 2007. I have no inside information, just a hunch based on a few signs.
DU's star women's lacrosse player Kristie Leggio is in her 6th year of college. Like Cook she transferred (from Maryland) and sat out a year. DU applied for a "hardship" and now she's playing an extra season for the Pioneers. I believe that DU is using the same logic, plus Cook's injury at Air Force to apply for "an extra season."
We also know that Cook took the LSAT last weekend, so its not a stretch to think that he might be enrolling at DU's Law School next Fall.
With 6 or 7 players leaving, wouldn't DU still have extra scholarships available? Probably not, because "media darling" Danny King probably doesn't have a scholarship. Additionally, there might be several players on the current Roster that are playing with less than full scholarships that are "owed" better deals due to increased playing time or a previous agreement.
With Corbin coming back this weekend, one would assume that he is no longer a Redshirt Candidate and that might also free up a scholarship.
The final piece in the puzzle will be if Paukovich or Butler leave early for professional hockey. If a defenseman leaves early, that would presumably bring in Lee.
Barring a setback, the University of Denver co-captain will return Friday from a 30-game injury absence for a crucial two-game series against North Dakota at Magness Arena.
"I should be able to go," Corbin said Monday. "I practiced all of last week, full contact and everything, and I should be able to do that again this week."
The Littleton native broke his right leg and tore ligaments and tendons in his ankle four games into the season.
DU coach George Gwozdecky, whose team was idle last weekend, isn't sure where he will insert Corbin, who began the season on the second line with sophomore Patrick Mullen and freshman Tyler Ruegsegger.
"He still skates like crazy and is one of our fastest guys," Gwozdecky said of Corbin, who underwent ankle surgery in October after suffering the injuries in practice.
After the two-game series against the Fighting Sioux, the Pioneers play a home-and- home series against Colorado College. DU is in third place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, a point ahead of North Dakota and CC.
The top five WCHA finishers host best-of-three playoff series beginning March 9. The first- round winners advance to the WCHA Final Five in St. Paul, Minn.
Brock Trotter, who is seventh among NCAA freshmen in scoring (36 points), is on pace to become the first Pioneers freshman since Dave Shields in 1987 to lead the team in scoring.
Two classmates are chasing Trotter for that honor. Rhett Rakhshani and Ruegsegger are second and fourth on the team, respectively, with 32 and 31 points.
Tyler Bozak, who has committed to DU, leads the British Columbia Hockey League with 120 points. In 55 games, the center for the Victoria Grizzlies has 43 goals and 77 assists.
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(left) Brock Trotter suffered a season ending injury against North Dakota last season
Denver Redshirt Freshman Brock Trotter looks to join some elite company if his hot scoring way continue. Trotter leads the Pioneers with 36 points in 34 games and is on pace to become the first freshman to lead the team offensively since Dave Shields did it in 1986-87. Thus far, freshmen have accounted for 49% of the Pioneers’ offense.
The Pioneers are just ahead of the Fighting Sioux in 11th place in the PairWise rankings. CC, which plays at Minnesota State this week, slipped further down the NCAA tournament bubble and are in 12th in the PairWise.
"We needed a win," Owens said. "We would have been in third place all alone."
ETC.: DU senior J.D. Corbin hopes to return against North Dakota after missing the past four months because of an ankle injury.
Western College Hockey Blog is reporting that DU recruit John Lee has been selected as one of 10 Mr. Hockey finalists given annually to Minnesota's most outstanding senior boys' skater.
The Mr. Hockey award, which will be announced March 11, is selected by NHL scouts, major college coaches and media members around the state. It is hosted by the Minnesota Minutemen, a Twin Cities nonprofit organization that promotes athletics.
John Lee is a Senior at Moorhead H.S. and will attend DU in 2008. He is expected to play a season in the USHL before coming to DU. His brother, Brian, won the award in 2005.
Moorhead is 20-1-1 with 2 regular season games remaining.
52 Consecutive Sellouts
From: DU Clarion Student Newspaper
by Brooks Kirchheimer
"They are an unbelievable team, have an unbelievable coaching staff and great national success always helps sells tickets and other programs wish they were as successful as DU," said Matt Evans, Director of ticket sales and box office operations.
There have been numerous factors that have all had their part in contributing to the sell out streak. The fact that the Pioneers won back to back National Championships in 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 never hurts put people in the maroon colored seats.
Also just a couple years ago the NHL had a lockout during their season and the Colorado Avalanche fans found and some fell in love with DU hockey to replace the missing flying pucks and speeding skates at the Pepsi Center. Finally and probably most importantly DU offers the Denver and surrounding communities' quality, fun and exciting hockey to watch at a reasonable price.
At an Avs game it costs $126 and above to sit in the first five rows while at a DU game it costs less than that for a family of four to come to Magness at just $24 a ticket in the same seating range.
The cheapest ticket at an Avs game is $21 while DU sells their lowest priced at just $17.
"There are great price points within the program and for the community to see the level of hockey we are playing is a great value," said Evans.
There are three types of tickets that Evans and the DU athletic staff sell for every home game. Those are season, group and walk-up tickets.
"Having a strong season ticket base is key to any ticket model, it helps lessen the pressure on walk-up and group sales," said the fourth year employee of DU.
Season tickets have continued to grow year after year and the ticket staff now offers full season and Friday night packages for the public to watch exciting and nationally ranked college hockey.