Friday, October 29, 2010

Husky Hockey Weekend Predictions

Here is what a sampling of people around the hockey community are saying about this weekend's St. Cloud State games against Quinnipiac:

USCHO.com WCHA Picks
Theresa: "This weekend is the perfect opportunity for the Huskies to finally find their groove ... and I think they will. SCSU sweep."
Tyler: "After the annual slow start to the season, a visit from an ECAC team is perfect opportunity for the Huskies to get rolling and reverse the slide in the polls. SCSU sweep."
USCHO.com ECAC Picks

"SCSU’s biggest boasts so far are a split at Minnesota and a 1–1 draw at home against Miami. At 2–3–1, the Huskies are counting on a six-game homestand to boost them back into the black. QU split a pair in Hamden with Ohio State to open the year, then edged little-sisters Bentley and Holy Cross to advance to 3–1–0. St. Cloud is a whole ‘nother animal for these greenhorn Bobcats, and I’m not sure they’re ready for this kind of challenge yet. 4–3 Huskies in Game 1..."
MD: "Considering Quinnipiac against St. Cloud is like comparing a Mac against a PC. A Mac is good at everything, great at nothing, where a PC has moments of greatness and followed by a lot of blue screens and tears. But worth reiterating, the Bobcats lose to the cumbersome Huskies in what should be the least cared about match until well, tomorrow. 3–1 St. Cloud".
Bloggers Note: While I agree that comparing St. Cloud to a Mac computer is a decent analogy, I disagree with his reasoning. I used PC's growing up and all through college and have now been using a Mac for the last 4 years and I would have to say that a Mac is great at everything you just need to give it a try (like St. Cloud State Hockey!)

 MS: "St. Cloud lost an uninspired game to the Gophers last Sunday and are out to prove they are a top ten team in the opener. St. Cloud."
This is the WCHA...

"The Huskies aren't where they need to be yet but their goaltenders finally showed up last weekend. This will be the weekend it all comes together. ST. CLOUD STATE SWEEP"
Goal Gophers

"Love saying the word Quinnipiac. It is the English name for the Eansketambawg, a Native American nation which inhabited a region in New England, including present-day Connecticut.  Bobcats are 3-1 and played SCSU tough last season before losing 3-1, 3-2 in Hamden, Conn., but ... SCSU sweeps"
Goons World

"SCSU looked good on Friday against the Gophers, but then again, most teams have looked good against the Gophers this season (I couldn’t resist a little Gopher bashing). Sunday the Huskies looked a little flat, like they were happy knowing they had already gotten a split on the road, and the Gophers played better too, which also factored into the game. I have to go with our beloved WCHA conference in this series. Huskies Sweep."
Okay, so point of the story, anyone who is anyone is predicting St. Cloud State to sweep this weekend. The Huskies should not have any problem taking all the points this weekend from Quinnipiac. That being said, the Huskies have underperformed thus far this season. On the positive side, they seem to be improving (almost) with every game. I happen to agree with what many of these bloggers said about this being the weekend that things finally start to come together for this Husky Hockey team and start to show why they are a top ten team in the nation. Because the competition is relatively low, I am not expecting a couple of wins this weekend to help SCSU dramatically in the polls. However, if we can take a couple of wins this weekend and take it into the next couple weekends at home against Bemidji and Omaha we can start to really reverse our digression in the national polls.

Lets have a great weekend and GO HUSKIES!

Wild Win in the Battle of Husky Alum

The Wild beat Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals last night to the tune of a 2-1 victory. The game featured a couple of St. Cloud State alums in Matt Cullen (Wild) and Matt Hendricks (Capitals). Hendricks really didn't have too many accomplishments on the ice for the Capitals (but neither did the rest of his team), however Cullen got an assist on a Mikko Koivu power play goal. Matt Cullen has 299 assists now in his career and now has nine power-play points out of his 10 with the Wild.

Read about the game at Wild.com and the Star Tribune. See video below:

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mid-Week Husky Notes

Here are a couple quick Husky Hockey notes:
  • Head over to the CIC website to listen to the Bob Motzko show. Senior Garrett Roe is on talking about the team and the little bit of a slow start the Huskies have had.
  • The CIC player of the week is Brett Barta- 1 goal, +2, strong defensivly
  • In this week's Bob Motzko show, Coach discusses how players will continue to compete for spots. This competition for playing time is a luxury SCSU has due to its depth. 
  • Lines today at practice: Feslter-LeBlanc-Hanowski--- MacMillan-Marvin-Novak--- Mosey-Roe-Volpei---Reid-Oslund-Thorson---B. Johnson-Dowd-Christian
  • Former Husky Andreas Nodl scored an empty net goal for the Flyers last night against the Sabers. I was lucky enough to see the game on Versus.
  • Former Husky Mike Doyle has a new post: Doylog: Dishing the Biscuit
  • Mick Hatten, Husky Hockey beat writer, has a new blog published: Upon further review ... of the Gophers series and looking ahead a bit. The post talks about how the Huskies continue to do better (and NEED to continue becoming better). 
  • The Huskies play Quinnipiac at 7:07 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at the NHC. They are 3-1 (all home games).
  • The Huskies have played 4 of their first 6 games on the road. I (and probably most Husky fans) are looking forward to our upcoming 6 home games (against Quinnipiac, Bemidji, and Omaha). Hopefully we can get some serious points out of these next 3 weekends.
Below is a video that I recently found of Coach Motzko on the win over Minnesota last weekend:
 



While looking at YouTube I came across this music video parody. St. Cloud citizens, students, and alumni should recognize a lot of the locations. If your like me (away from St. Cloud for several years) you will probably feel nostalgic. (Heads up the singing is honestly terrible.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

NHC Renovations on Track

The University Chronicle (the St. Cloud State Newspaper) recently wrote an article titled, "Change is coming to the National Hockey Center". The article talks about the upcoming renovations to the NHC that has served as the Huskies home arena for over the last 20 years. The acting director of SCSU building and grounds, said that construction to the National Hockey Center will begin after this current hockey season and involve the structural expansion. The main expansion of the building will be on the south side and will include a four story atrium, new weight room, new ticket booths and a Husky pro-shop. The renovations to the west side include expanded seating to create the horseshoe and luxury suites. The arena will have added about 200-300 seats for a total of about 6,000 people for hockey. The arena’s size will increase from 152,000 square feet to 256,000 square feet. The second phase of construction, beginning after next season, will involve bricklaying, placing glass, and adding the final touches. Some of those final touches include upgraded restrooms, concessions, concourse and sound system. The arena will also undergo branding, which is decorating using the team logo, pictures and a variety of team memorabilia. The renovations are expected to cost $29 million and should be complete by the start of the 2012-13 hockey season. You can read an earlier post of mine about the construction here and watch both this photo slide show and YouTube video about the expansion:



SCSU continues its slide in the Polls #17

St. Cloud State continues to slide in the polls this week. Dropping to #17 in the USCHO.com poll and completely dropping out of both the INCH power rankings and USA Today polls (close in both though).

USCHO.com
1 Miami (28) 4-1-1 975 3
2 Boston College (19) 3-1-0 952 1
3 Minnesota-Duluth(1) 5-0-1 854 6
4 Michigan 3-1-2 769 4
5 Yale 0-0-0 733 5
6 Boston University ( 2) 4-0-1 726 8
7 Maine 3-1-2 710 12
8 North Dakota 3-2-1 679 2
9 Nebraska-Omaha 5-1-0 572 10
10 New Hampshire 1-1-2 513 7
11 Michigan State 2-0-2 427 16
12 Denver 2-2-2 400 11
13 Notre Dame 4-1-0 391 17
14 Cornell 0-0-0 366 13
15 Alaska 3-2-1 340 9
16 Union 5-1-0 339 18
17 St. Cloud State 2-3-1 224 14
18 Wisconsin 3-2-1 166 15
19 Colorado College 3-2-1 69 19
20 Minnesota 3-3-0 57 20
20 Rensselaer 3-1-2 57 NR

USA Today
1 Miami University 493 (18) 4 4-1-1
2 Boston College 481 (14) 1 3-1-0
3 University of Minnesota Duluth 415 (1) 5 5-0-1
4 University of Michigan 365 3 3-1-2
5 Boston University 349 (1) 8 4-0-1
6 University of Maine 324 11 3-1-2
7 Yale University 319 6 0-0-0
8 University of North Dakota 278 2 3-2-1
9 University of Nebraska Omaha 219 10 5-1-0
10 University of New Hampshire 171 7 1-1-2
11 University of Notre Dame 143 NR 4-1-0
12 University of Denver 126 13 2-2-2
13 Union College 105 NR 5-1-0
14 Michigan State University 104 NR 2-0-2
15 Cornell University 77 12 0-0-0

Monday, October 25, 2010

Husky vs. Gopher Recap (video included)

Quick recap of this weekends games against the University of Minnesota. The Huskies played very well on Friday night. Lee did very well and Roe looked like he was about to break out. We all know he can score goals; however, some of us Husky faithful have been waiting for him to real show his stuff this season. Sunday was disappointing. The Huskies are most definitely a better team than the Gophers and should have won. The team needed a little more effort and to get in front of the net more. Hopefully, next weekend the Huskies will score a lot of goals and come away with a sweep. Anything less would be unacceptable. Here is some highlights from the weekend:

Friday Recap:
Sunday Recap:
  • Huskies lose 2-1
  • Senior defenseman Brett Barta got the Huskies only goal
  • Despite a bad hit on the boards, Roe led the team in SOG with 5
  • Dan Dunn had 22 saves
  • Huskies need to get more shots on goal
  • Read: Gophers get physical, Huskies get a 2-1 loss
Videos:










Friday, October 22, 2010

Prediction for this weekend

I am not much on predictions. Mostly because they are frequently wrong (especially in a highly competitive league like the WCHA). However, I do find it interesting to read them each week. (Well, specifically how people are predicting SCSU will do). So far, I have read three predictions for this weekend on the SCSU vs. UofM. The three have been all different:
  • Goal Gophers- Gopher Sweep- Highly improbable (at best).
  • Sioux7 via Goon's World- Split- Possible, not probable. Barriball will need to continue his hot streak and Kangas will need a great game. (Side note: both Barriball and Kangas are Sioux Falls Stampede Alumni)
  • This is the WCHA...- Husky Sweep- Most likely. Go Huskies!
USCHO.com is supposed to come out with their predictions later today. I will post that if I have time. To break this 3-way tie, my vote is Husky Sweep. Also the Husky Hockey Time readers vote (at the time that I wrote this) was 75% said Husky Sweep, 25% said some other combination involving ties. For those of you keeping track, that is 3 sources for Husky Sweep, 1 source for Split, and 1 source for Gopher Sweep. Go Huskies!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Former Husky Matt Cullen Great for the MN Wild!

Former St. Cloud State Husky, Matt Cullen has had an enormously great start to his career with the Minnesota Wild. Don't believe me? Read some of this weeks quotes:
"...amazingly Matt Cullen's 4th 2-point game in 5 games as a Wild. He leads the NHL with 7 power-play points and is a huge reason for tonight's 3 for 3 power play and the season's league-leading 11 for 24 power play. " ~Michael Russo-Wild trounces Canucks, chases Luongo, makes Rypien lose marbles
"Cullen has been more than anybody could have expected at least early in the season. With a goal and an assist tonight, he’s now posted two points in four of the five games this year. He leads the team in scoring with three goals and five assists and he continues to pace the NHL in power play points with seven (3-4=7)."  ~Glen Anderson- Glen Andresen's Five Takeaways vs. Vancouver
 Now that Matt Cullen leads both the Wild in scoring and leads the NHL in power play scoring, does anyone have any doubts he was worth his 3-year, 10.5 million dollar contract? Is he still just a hometown signing? I think not. He is a great player for the Wild and was a great player for the Huskies.

Go Wild and Go Huskies!

Gopher Game Videos

It is getting closer to the Gopher game. Here is a new, wonderful video previewing the games this weekend:



Here is the pregame clip from last years Gopher game:



Also, please read this great article titled, "SCSU early season review"

I will try to add some more soon; however, I will be out of town this weekend so I will not be able to post the results of this weekends games until at least Monday. I do, however, have free tickets to see the Blues vs. Blackhawks game this Friday and Blues vs. Penguins game on Saturday. Seeing the 2009 AND 2010 Stanley Cup winning teams in one weekend sounds like a great weekend to me. I am pumped!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gophers Game!

First, I have to mention that Dan Dunn has been named Center Ice Player of the week. He clearly stood out this weekend (well Saturday) as the key to SCSU's success against Miami. Dunn stopped 38 out of 39 SOG including 5 in OT in the 1-1 tie with #4 Miami Saturday. You can read an earlier post of mine about Dunn and his tie here.

This weekend the Huskies will face I-94 and division rival the University of Minnesota for the first and only time this year. It will also be the Huskies first WCHA conference game. Needless to say, this is an important weekend for the Huskies and Husky fans. You can hear some of Coach Bob Motzko's thoughts on the game in this week's "Bob Motzko Show" which can be heard over at the CIC website.

You should also head over to Goal Gopher and read the article "SCSU coach Motzko expects to find Gophers ornery", which is sort of a response to Coach Motzko's comments on his radio show. The article begins with this gem of a quote:
"St. Cloud State, much like the Gophers, is struggling a bit at the start of the season."
Now, is this quote accurate? Yes, it most certainly is. St. Cloud State has struggled (at least by my expectations) at the start of this season.  I would also have to agree that the Gophers have struggled a bit at the start of this season. However, I think it is a stretch to really compare the two with "much like".  The two teams overall records are fairly similar, with the Gophers being 2-2-0 so far this season and the Huskies are 1-2-1 this season; however, they have faced very different teams and have had very different accomplishments so far. The Gophers accomplishments (where they have received their points) are from winning two games against Massachusetts. This Massachusetts team has yet to show up on any of the major college hockey polls. The best I could find was INCH's Great 58 which placed Massachusetts as the 35th best college hockey team in the nation. By comparison, SCSU's accomplishments (points) have come from beating RIT (a team that went to the Frozen Four last year) and getting a tie against #4 Miami (also a team that went to the Frozen Four last year---and the year before). I think by looking at these accomplishments alone, the Huskies are off to a better start this year than the Gophers. However, I expect the Gophers to come at the Huskies strong this weekend as they will have something to prove after being swept at home by WCHA newcomer Nebraska-Omaha.

If you have not yet heard, President Obama is throwing things a little off for this weekend's game. Because of his visit the Saturday night game has been postponed to Sunday afternoon. You can read more about that here.

Here is a slightly dated, yet still highly relevant, video on the Husky vs. Gopher rivalry:

video

What do you think will be this weekends outcome?




Last, but not least, a little quote from INCH to think about:
"Pollsters, can we drop the notion that sweeping Minnesota is a big deal? In the last two seasons and change, the Gophers have been swept nine times – they’re an average to slightly above-average team, not the juggernaut that rolled to two national championships nearly a decade ago."

A Good Cause

Chris Garner, a former Husky Hockey equipment manager and current hockey equipment manager at UMD, is currently battling MDS (Myelodysplatic Syndrome). Jeremiah Minkel,  the St. Cloud State Hockey equipment manager, met Chris when they were both student assistants at SCSU and they have been close friends ever since. Jeremiah has put together an on-line auction that will be starting October 24th at www.obermanauction.com to raise funds to help offset Chris's medical costs not covered by insurance. To date they have collected 82 college and pro jerseys, over 20 autographed sticks and many other items that were graciously donated. Also, check out the the Chris Garner Support and Benefit Facebook page.

Donated items and cash can be sent to:
St. Cloud State University
Attention: Jeremiah Minkel
720 4th Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498

Please make checks out to "C/O Chris Garner"

Cards and letters of support can be mailed to:

Chris Garner
1765 10th Ave. SE
Rochester, MN 55904

You can read more about this at the following websites:
Coach Motzko said this week that he has been very impressed with the efforts of Jeremiah Minkel and with the hockey community. Apparently, the SCSU equipment room is FULL of awesome hockey memorabilia right now. You can see more in the video below:



Please help if you can.

St. Cloud Ranked #14/15

The major polls for this week are out. Luckily, they are not as bad as what I reported yesterday on the INCH power rankings; however, St. Cloud State does need to (and CAN) do better:

USCHO.com Poll
1 Boston College (49) 3-0-0 999 1
2 North Dakota ( 1) 3-0-1 941 2
3 Miami 2-1-1 872 4
4 Michigan 2-0-2 848 3
5 Yale 0-0-0 758 5
6 Minnesota-Duluth 3-0-1 730 7
7 New Hampshire 1-1-1 617 9
8 Boston University 2-0-1 543 10
9 Alaska 3-1-0 514 14
10 Nebraska-Omaha 4-0-0 467 17
11 Denver 1-2-1 443 6
12 Maine 1-1-2 429 8
13 Cornell 0-0-0 406 12
14 St. Cloud State 1-2-1 368 11
15 Wisconsin 3-1-0 341 15
16 Michigan State 1-0-1 267 20
17 Notre Dame 3-1-0 242 19
18 Union 3-1-0 236 16
19 Colorado College 2-1-1 126 18
20 Minnesota 2-2-0 118 13

USA Today/ USA Hockey Poll
1 Boston College 510 (34) 1 3-0-0
2 University of North Dakota 473 2 3-0-1
3 University of Michigan 413 3 2-0-2
4 Miami University 409 4 2-1-1
5 University of Minnesota Duluth 333 7 3-0-1
6 Yale University 324 5 0-0-0
7 University of New Hampshire 250 9 1-1-1
8 Boston University 236 T-10 2-0-1
9 University of Alaska 172 14 3-1-0
10 University of Nebraska Omaha 164 NR 4-0-0
11 University of Maine 134 6 1-1-2
12 Cornell University 113 12 0-0-0
13 University of Denver 107 8 1-2-1
14 University of Wisconsin 102 15 3-1-0
15 St. Cloud State University 71 T-10 1-2-1 

For those curious folk out there, SCSU was #10 last week in the USA Today Poll and #11 in the USCHO.com poll. Click here for the entire poll last week.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dan Dunn Stuns Allowing Only One

The Huskies came back from a very disappointing game Friday to tie 1-1 against the #4 Miami Redhawks. Senior goaltender Dan Dunn allowed four of the six goals in during the Clarkson game (and was pulled) and let 3 of the 4 goals in during the preseason game against Manitoba. After this lackluster start some (including myself) was wondering if Dunner still had it in him. He proved to everyone Saturday night why he should still be considered one of the best goalies in the nation. Dan Dunn ended with 38 saves on Saturday and had to play extraordinarily well during the OT where Miami outshoot the Huskies 5-0. Furthermore, the only player able to get past Dunn was Carter Camper, who has six goals and nine points in four games (tied for best in the nation). Read more about the game here:
You can read more about Dunn by reading the blog post, "Checking in with Dan Dunn"

I can see why Coach Motzko is doing his rotating goalie thing. I mean last weekend I would have said Mike Lee should be SCSU's starting goalie and now this weekend I would give the job to Dan Dunn. I hope both of these talented goalies continue to push each other and that competitiveness only makes them (and our team) stronger.

Below are a couple of post-game interviews:





The Huskies have had an extraordinary slide in the INCH power rankings this week. SCSU was #6 last week and has now fallen 13 places to #19. I think dropping St. Cloud 13 places after this weekend was excessive. Miami (who was ranked #3) were not able to sweep St. Cloud (at #6) and still the Huskies suffered a 13 place slide in the polls? St. Cloud has one bad game (Friday night) arguably one bad period (Friday, 2nd period) and they drop 13 spots. Yikes! However, it is still very early in the season and maybe this will only motivate them more for next weekend (like they need motivation against the Gophers).

Go Huskies!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Huskies Lose to #4 Miami

The Huskies lost last night against nationally ranked Miami 3-6. The Huskies let 3 goals in on the PK and let another one in short-handed. All this is to say that our special teams have a lot of work to do. They also had a terrible second period (see any similarities to last Saturday's game). Please read more about the game here:
The Huskies will play the Redhawks again tonight at the National Hockey Center at 7:07 PM. Dan Dunn will be the starting goalie tonight. Hopefully he will be hungry to prove himself after last weekends loss. Check out Mike Doyle's Keys to the Game:
  • Sustain Pressure
  • Control Bloody Nose Ally
  • Hit the Net
Also, some other great Husky stories from Mick Hatten that I have not yet published yet here:
In Other Hockey News:
  • The Minnesota Wild won their home opener last Thursday night against the Oilers. St. Cloud State alum Matt Cullen scored a goal and an assist.
  • The Sioux Falls Stampede also won their home opener last night against the USA Development Team. The final score was 5-3 and you can read about the game here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Top Freshmen Classes

Inside College Hockey just released their ranking of the incoming freshmen and freshmen classes as a whole. Here is how St. Cloud State stacked up:

Top 20 Forwards:

19. Mitch MacMillian


Top 20 Defensemen:

7. Nick Jensen
8. Kevin Gravel

Top 10 Goalies:

*Yep, we have this one covered.

Top 15 Recruiting Classes (WCHA Teams):

1. Denver
4. North Dakota
5. Minnesota
7. St. Cloud
8. Minnesota Duluth
9. Colorado College
12. Wisconsin
14. Nebraska- Omaha

My Reflection:

First, look at all those WCHA teams with "best recruiting class". Eight out of the top fifteen recruiting classes come from WCHA teams (roughly 53.3%). Interpretation---The best young hockey players want to play in our league. Way to go WCHA!

As for the "Top Forwards", I would also place SCSU freshmen Cam Reid and Nic Dowd in the top 20. Cam Reid was a 4th round pick in the 2009 NHL draft for the Nashville Predators and had a high scoring career in the BCHL. Nic Dowd was a seventh round draft pick for the Los Angeles Kings in the 2009 draft and most recently played in the USHL (Indianapolis) scoring 48 points in 46 games and 6 points in 9 playoff games.

I can't say that I have much of an argument with the "Top Defensemen" category. Jensen and Gravel were very important players for SCSU to pick up and should be high quality players for our program. As the defensive position is often one of SCSU's "weaker" spots, I am glad to have two freshmen defenders so highly ranked on this list.

As for St. Cloud's position at #7 on this list of recruiting classes, I personally believe that SCSU should be a little higher. I might not place them as high as Denver or North Dakota, but they should be higher because of the high potential of forwards Reid and Dowd.

Other Quick Links:
  • Husky Alum Ryan Malone was featured today on NHL.com for his OT game winning goal against Montreal. You can watch the video below.
  • The Minnesota Wild home opener is tonight. You can read several good articles about it over at the Star Tribune.



*Or go here if the video does not work: http://video.nhl.com/videocenter/console?hlp=8467988&event=MTL812

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alumni and Practice Notes

Alumni Notes and Links:
  • Matt Cullen was recently featured on NHL.com in an article titled, "Time was right for Wild's Cullen to go home". The article talks about Cullen returning to Minnesota to play in the NHL and about he has not yet had the freedom to be a major point producer in the NHL the way he was in high school and at St. Cloud State University but may get that freedom with the Wild. 
  • Matt Cullen was also named the Bryant "Who's Hot?" Player of the Week for October 4 through October 10 for the Minnesota Wild. He is the first Wild player this year to get this recognition. You can read more about that here.
  • Former SCSU defenceman Jeff Finger has been placed on waivers by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Many people attribute this as a "cap space" move. Finger's $14-million, four-year contract (signed in July 2008) was quite a bit larger than many people believed Finger should have received. You can read about the situation at The Hockey News and over at The Star.
  • Mark Parrish is also heading to the AHL this season playing for the Portland Pirates. You can read more about Parrish at the Journal Tribune.
  • Matt Hendricks is happy to be playing with the Washington Capitals this season. You can read about him here.
SCSU Practice Notes:
  •  Read Mick Hatten's new blog, "Some notes after getting back from practice".
  • Jordy Christian, who has yet to play this season, has been practicing with the team this week and looks to be playing this weekend against Miami
  • Aaron Marvin, who was injured during the first game of the season and did not play last Saturday, practiced shortly with the team yesterday and was out practicing again today. Should be a sign that he will be playing this weekend.
  • Lines at today's practice: Marvin-Roe-Mosey, Hanowski-Dowd-Festler, MacMillan-LeBlanc-Novak, Reid-Oslund-Christian
  • Bob Motzko, "its a whole new year" in regards to the goalies. Mike Lee will be starting on Friday against Miami. Does this mean that the system of rotating goalies may be out the door? I look forward to seeing what goalie will play on Saturday. It is a little early to be judging Dunn, but early this season Lee is looking a bit sharper. Hopefully this will only increase the competitiveness between these two high-caliber goaltenders.
 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Polls and Links and Notes Oh My!

The newest national polls have been released. St. Cloud State ranked #10 in the USA Today/ USA Hockey poll and ranked #11 in the USCHO.com poll. Below are the full rankings:

USA Today/ USA Hockey
1. Boston College
2. University of North Dakota
3. University of Michigan
4. Miami University
5. Yale University
6. University of Maine
7. University of Minnesota Duluth
8. University of Denver
9. University of New Hampshire
10. Boston Universtiy
10. St. Cloud State University
12. Cornell University
13. University of Minnesota
14. University of Alaska
15. University of Wisconsin

USCHO.com
1. Boston College
2. North Dakota
3. Michigan
4. Miami
5. Yale
6. Denver
7. Minnesota-Duluth
8. Maine
9. New Hampshire
10. Boston University
11. St. Cloud State
12. Cornell
13. Minnesota
14. Alaska
15. Wisconsin
16. Union
17. Nebraska-Omaha
18. Colorado College
19. Notre Dame
20. Michigan State

So St. Cloud has taken a good size step backwards from the #4/6 rating we enjoyed last week. However, this large of a step backwards is typical early in the season after one bad game. If the Huskies do well this weekend against #4 Miami they will take a giant step forward in the rankings.

Check out College Hockey News' preview of the WCHA:
Key quote from the CHN preview:
"With the weight of gaining their first NCAA Tournament victory already lifted, don't be surprised if SCSU makes a deep playoff run in 2011."
Also, be sure to listen to the "Bob Motzko Show" over the the Center Ice Club website. This week Coach Motzko talks about the two games last weekend, better team chemistry at practices, work needing to be done on PP, and previews the weekend ahead against Miami. It sounds like the whole staff and players are excited about this coming weekend and therefore should be playing with better enthusiasm than was displayed last weekend.

Player Notes
  • Jordy Christian, who has not played with the team yet because of injury, should be back for this weekends home opener against Miami.
  • Aaron Marvin, who sustained an injury during the first game of the season and did not play last Saturday for the Huskies, should be back and playing this weekend.
  • Ben Hanowski, who scored in both games this weekend, was selected as the Center Ice Club player of the week.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Is this the Year? (video)

Okay, so this is my first YouTube video (ever). It is a compilation of other SCSU YouTube clips with "This Week in the WCHA" previewing the Huskies. Somewhat similar to the NHL commercials. I hope you enjoy!

First Major Upset of 2010-2011 Season

Well, SCSU has now gotten that first loss out of the way. On Saturday night, playing against a very hungry team, the Huskies were beat by Clarkson 6-2. Clarkson being the same team (so to speak) that was slaughtered the night before when UNO beat them 8-0. Despite both teams being scoreless during the first period, Clarkson came out during the second by scoring 4 unanswered goals. Those goals presented a hill that was too high for the Huskies to climb. This weekend leaves me with the following questions:
  • Dan Dunn allowed the most goals since the season began, does this mean that Mike Lee will have a shot as "top" goaltender?
  • With SCSU's deep and talented offense, what needs to happen for our power play to start hitting the back of the net?
  • What is our defense doing wrong and what can make them stronger?
If you want to read about the games, please visit the following sites:
The Huskies are now 1-1-0 in the season and will have to play MUCH better this weekend when we face #3 Miami at the National Hockey Center. Hopefully, this last weekend's poor performance will inspire the Huskies to play with more intensity than displayed at either last Fridays or last Saturdays games.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Clock strikes midnight on Cinderalla team RIT

St. Cloud State beat RIT last night 3-1 at the Maverick Stampede Tournament. The game was a close one (to close for comfort) with the score being 1-1 early in the third. Ben Hanowski scored the game winning goal about half way through the third period with Travis Novak putting in an empty netter with about 30 seconds of the game remaining. You can read about the game here:
The Huskies will now face Clarkson Saturday at 4:07. Last night Omaha beat Clarkson 8-0 by scoring early and often. You can read more about that game here. Hopefully, this means that St. Cloud should have no problems beating Clarkson tonight when the two teams face off.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Does the glass slipper still fit?

This weekend the Huskies will play at the Maverick Stampede Tournament. We will play RIT on Friday and Clarkson on Saturday (both games begin at 4:07). RIT was the Cinderella story of last seasons NCAA Frozen Four. This little known team (at least to those of us in the WCHA) was able to run through the Atlantic Hockey tournament and then beat two VERY respectable hockey programs (Denver and New Hampshire) to make it in the Frozen Four tournament. This unlikely run to the Frozen Four was largely attributed to goalie Jared DeMichiel. DeMichiel has now graduated leaving RIT with a bunch of questions in goal. They also have a young defensive corps. With this being said, RIT does still retain some talented scores and are the preseason pick as the number one team in Atlantic Hockey. Clarkson, on the other hand, is generally considered to be one of the top teams in the ECAC but had down years the last two years. The defensive corps is, conversely, probably the strong point for this Clarkson team. Clarkson is ranked 8 (out of 12 teams) in the ECAC preseason poll. There should be some good battles this weekend and these two teams should be able to push the Huskies a little more than last weekends game against Manitoba. However, the Huskies should pull away from this weekend with two wins. You can follow both Fridays game and Saturdays game by listening at Lite Rock 99.9.

News Around College Hockey about SCSU

"SCSU hockey team has a lot back, needs to find the right mix"- This article discusses some key points the Huskies have (or will need to have) to have a successful season this year. The points include:
  • 15 of the 19 skaters who played in more than 20 games last season return.
  • One of the best goaltending tandems in the nation
  • 4 of 8 new freshmen are NHL draft picks
  • 7 of 8 new freshmen are at least 6 feet and 185 pounds
  • Veteran players will need continue to improve and to fill in roles left empty by Lasch and Raboin
  • Will need to find the right mix of veterans with our freshmen
Also read the article, "SCSU is excited about talent on team"

Speaking of one of the best goaltending tandems in the nation, check out, "Dominating is the goal for SCSU". This article talks about our awesome goaltenders Dan Dunn and Mike Lee.

Recently, I shared a link from USCHO.com that listed Garrett Roe as one of the early contenders (forwards) for the Hobey Baker Award. USCHO.com just released part II (defense and goalies) of their Hobey watch and named SCSU goalie Mike Lee as an early contender for the Hobey Baker Award as well.

General WCHA Stuff

"WCHA talking about changes"- SCSU Hockey writer Mick Hatten talks about the league conference call with coaches and officials of the WCHA.

Inside College Hockey released it's 2010-2011 season preview. INCH places SCSU at #3 in the WCHA and asks the "burning question" on the mind of all Husky fans, "Is St. Cloud State poised to take the next step?"

Take a listen to "This Week in the WCHA"

Go Huskies!


    Wednesday, October 6, 2010

    The First WCHA Blogger Poll Results!

    Recently I participated in the first ever WCHA blogger preseason poll. This idea comes from bloggers at 60 Minutes. No Alibis. No Regrets and Running with the Dogs. The final results are:

    Teams:

    1. North Dakota (12) 177
    2. St. Cloud (2) 158
    3. Duluth (1) 154
    4. Denver 125
    5. Minnesota 117
    6. Wisconsin 113
    7. Nebraska-Omaha 81
    8. Colorado College 77
    9. Bemidji State 73
    10. Minnesota State 39
    11. Michigan Tech 30
    12. Alaska-Anchorage 26

    WCHA Player of the Year:

    Jack Connolly-Duluth (6)
    Garrett Roe-St. Cloud (5)
    Jacob Cepis-Minnesota (1)
    Chay Genoway-North Dakota (1)
    Jason Gregoire North Dakota (1)
    Matt Read-Bemidji (1)

    WCHA Rookie of the Year:


    Jaden Schwartz-Colorado College (6)
    Beau Bennett-Denver (2)
    Derek Forbort-North Dakota (2)
    Nick Bjugstad-Minnesota (1)
    Erik Haula-Minnesota (1)
    Matt White-Nebraska Omaha (1)
    Mark Zengerle-Wisconsin (1)
    Sam Rendle-Bemidji (1)

    As you can see these blogger results are very similar to the results from last weeks coach's and media polls. This WCHA blogger poll is not "perfect" though. Some schools were represented by three voters (like UW and UND) and others were not represented at all (like MSU and CC). Despite this fact, I think that this bloggers poll is a fairly accurate (well as accurate as preseason polls can be). You can see the full list of voters and other details here. I found the breakdown to be interesting. If you look at the points that each school received you can see a fairly universal break down.
    • Top Tier schools: UND (177), SCSU (158), UMD (154)
    • Upper-middle schools: DU (125), UM (117), UW (113)
    • Lower-middle schools: UNO (81), CC (77), BSU (73)
    • Bottom Tier schools: MSU (39), MTU (30), UAA (26)
    I was glad to see that my WCHA blogging peers also placed SCSU high in this poll and that Garrett Roe was also selected very high to be one of the best players this year. Below you can see my ballot:
    1. St. Cloud State University (SCSU)
    2. University of North Dakota (UND)
    3. University of Minnesota- Duluth (UMD)
    4. Denver University (DU)
    5. University of Wisconsin (UW)
    6. University of Minnesota (UMN)
    7. Colorado College (CC)
    8. Bemidji State University (BSU)
    9. University of Nebraska- Omaha (UNO)
    10. Minnesota State University- Mankato (MSU)
    11. University of Alaska- Anchorage (UAA)
    12. Michigan Tech University (MTU)
    WCHA Player of the year: Garrett Roe, SCSU
    WCHA Rookie of the year: Jaden Schwartz, CC

    As you can see, my results, although not the exact same as the blogging poll, does follow the same universal breakdown of the schools.

    What do you think of the First Ever WCHA Blogger Poll?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    SCSU #6 in INCH Great 58

    Inside College Hockey recently released it's ratings of all 58 teams in Division I hockey. In this rating, St. Cloud State was listed as the 6th best Division I hockey program in the country. Below is the ranking of the WCHA teams:

    1. UND
    5. UMD
    6. SCSU
    11. DU
    18. UMN
    19. UW
    21. CC
    25. UNO
    29. BSU
    39. MSU
    46. UAA
    53. MTU

    In my own opinion, I believe SCSU deserves to be ahead of UMD and I would also place UW ahead of UMN. However, now that the regular season will begin soon, we can start having more accurate polls and rankings in the near future.

    Mick Hatten over at the St. Cloud Times has posted some additional material about last Saturday's game that you can read about. This blog is worth reading for several of the quotes he got from Coach Motzko and the players. Some of the quotes I found most noteworthy include:
    "The only negative is that we got too cute tonight. When we got too cute, it led to turnovers and it had an impact. When you play old-fashioned, protect-the-puck hockey, we're a pretty good team. We established that in the early part of the third (period)." ~Coach Motzko
    "Skill- and talent-wise, at times, we showed what we have. Then there was the ugly head of the turnovers ... and we had a lot of them." ~Coach Motzko
     For those of you who may have been worried about Dunn's performance (allowed 3 of the 4 goals in):
    "Dan got hung out to dry on special teams. We gave up a breakaway and two power-play goals. So it's hard to evaluate that." ~Coach Motzko
    What about those freshmen?
    "I heard a couple of them say on the bench that it was faster than they thought it would be. You get used to it. They'll be fine. They're all skilled players."

    "I think all of them played well and all of them have the capability to make plays. Our depth, hopefully, is going to be  our key this year. If that's going to be the case, we're going to need them all."
    ~Drew LeBlanc (scored two goals in the game)
    For some more information about the returning members of the team, the new recruits, our previous game, and the games coming up this weekend in Omaha please go to the Center Ice Club website where you can hear yesterday's "Bob Motzko Show".

    Also, check out some great photos of game 1 here.

    Hobey Watch:
    This is coming to you a little late, but senior alternate captain Garrett Roe has already been named by USCHO.com as one of the early contenders for the Hobey Baker Award. Roe has been one of the top 25 scorers in the nation all three years at St. Cloud State. He has never scored less than 45 points in his 3 years with SCSU and it is reasonable to believe that he will score at least 42 points this season to become SCSU's all time leading point producer. Roe was also previously listed by Inside College Hockey as one of the players to watch in the 2010-2011 season. Roe has already started this season hot with a goal and two assists in the first game of the year.

    Matt Cullen:
    A couple of good reads coming from the St. Cloud Times today about Husky alum Matt Cullen:

    Monday, October 4, 2010

    Husky Hockey Notes (and video!)

    First, have a look at this video of SCSU's goals from our first game on Saturday:



    As you can see, the guys are looking great! I am especially impressed with the new guys. They look to be forming some good chemistry with our veteran leaders.

    Also, make sure you read, "With NCAA Hurdle Gone, St. Cloud State Returns Strong Cast" over at USCHO.com. The article highlights SCSU this year. The article has some good points and quotes in it. However, USCHO.com seems to be at it with the mistakes again by saying that Mike Lee is a "Key Loss" for SCSU this season. Mike Lee is anything but a "loss" to the Huskies.

    The first USCHO.com poll came out today. St. Cloud is sitting nicely at #4 in the nation right now.

    Couple quick alum notes:

    Matt Cullen and the MN Wild get their first win of the preseason in Finland. I am looking forward to finishing this rough preseason and begin (hopefully) a great season of MN Wild Hockey. (Matt Cullen had at least two assists in the game and is looking ready for the regular season)

    After reading this article on how Andreas Nodl was looking like a long shot to make the Flyers roster (especially with Bill Guerin looking to secure a spot) it appears that the Flyers have cut Guerin in favor of Nodl. Andreas Nodl earned a spot on the club’s roster officially today.

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    Huskies skate away with win in preseason opener

    The Huskies won last night in the first game of the year against Manitoba 7-4. You can read about the game over at the St. Cloud Times, at USCHO.com, or at St. Cloud State's page. Below are some brief highlights:
    • The freshmen did really well in their first game as Huskies. Mitch MacMillian had a goal and an assist. Bryce Johnson added a goal in as well. Cam Reid assisted on a goal by Nick Oslund. All eight of our new guys had playing time (Hepp, Mosey, and Christian all sat this game out).
    • Each of our goalies played a period. Mike Lee did not allow any goals on 14 shots in the first period (he is looking very sharp this year). Dan Dunn allowed 3 goals in 13 shots in the second (however 2 of the goals came on the power play). Nate Hardy played in the third period saving 6 shots and allowing 1 goal in. 
    • The Huskies veterans had a great night as well. Garrett Roe had a goal and two assists. Drew LeBlanc had two goals. Nick Oslund had a goal and an assist. Ben Hanowski had two assists. Aaron Marvin had two assists. 
    • Travis Novak showed some exceptional speed with a breakaway goal. Novak's speed was one of the key factors to SCSU's success last year in short-handed goals. Last year SCSU led the nation (along with BU) in SHG's.
    • The three stars from the game last night. 1. LeBlanc (SCSU); 2. Roe (SCSU); 3. MacMillan (SCSU).
    Some great quotes from our new guys about the NHC and the passionate Husky fanbase:
    "It was an unbelievable atmosphere and it was only an exhibition game. The starting (introductions before the game) was really cool. I've never experienced something like that." ~Mitch MacMillian
    "I've played in front of 2,000 or 3,000 fans before. But it was fun to see how they support the program here." ~Bryce Johnson 
     Below is a post game interview by freshmen Mitch MacMillian and Aaron Marvin:






    The Huskies play next on Oct. 8-9 at the Nebraska Omaha tournament for games against RIT and Clarkson. SCSU's next home game at the National Hockey Center will be on Oct. 15-16 against nationally ranked Miami (Ohio).

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    Game Day!!! The Wait is Over

    Are you ready for hockey Husky fans?
    The Huskies will compete in their first game of the 2010-2011 season tonight at 7:07 against The University of Manitoba at the National Hockey Center. If you are able, please go to the game tonight to cheer on the Huskies. Despite being an exhibition game, it is the FIRST game of the year and it is guaranteed to be a fun time. If you can't go to the game, but live in St. Cloud, then watch the game on Charter cable channel 14. If you are unable to watch the game live or on TV (like me in Memphis, TN) then below are some links and other options for you:
    • Listen to the game on Lite Rock 99.9 or online here
    • Listen to the game on KVSC radio or online here
    • Watch on America One (formerly B2 networks) PPV (P.S. if you would like to donate a SCSU hockey season pass to me I would be incredibly grateful)
    • Get live stats at WCHA.com
    • Get live stats at CHN.com
    • Get live stats at USCHO.com
    • Get live stats from KVSC twitter page
    • Get live stats from Center Ice Club twitter page
    • Get live stats from St. Cloud State's hockey homepage. (They had this last year using a tool called cover it live and was awesome. However I am not sure if they will be doing it again this year.)
    • Get live stats from St. Cloud Times (Not sure if the new guy Mick Hatten will be doing this, but the live stats from the Times were nice last year.)
    If there is any other way for Husky Fans to follow the game that I have left out? Please let me know.

    Are you ready for Husky Hockey?

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Are you ready for game time?

    Team Photo: Class of 2010-2011

    Husky Hockey will begin its preseason play tomorrow night against the University of Manitoba at 7:07 PM at the National Hockey Center. In a previous blog I wrote about three reasons why I was excited about this addition to our preseason lineup. The reasons are as followed:
    1. Additional game, additional practice, additional chance to see SCSU hockey
    2. Earlier start to the season (not every WCHA team will be playing this weekend)
    3. UND will be playing Manitoba on Sunday night
    I consider the fact that UND will be playing the University of Manitoba the night after we play them as an EARLY measuring stick of how the top two teams in the WCHA stand up against each other. Now don't get me wrong here, comparing these two games is ONLY a measuring stick. I fully realize and accept (as you probably should too) that assessing these two games is only a comparison of sorts and should not be used as any sort of declaration of fact (i.e. if SCSU won 6-2 Sat. and UND won 5-4 Sun. that does not mean that SCSU is the best team). Furthermore, keep in mind that these are preseason games and the coaches (and players) will still be working things out. With that being said, I think it will be interesting to see how each team does against the same opponent early in the season.

    For a great look into the entire season please check out The Hockey Hair All's "Husky hockey season preview".

    Also, to get you in the mood for Husky Hockey, check out the Center Ice Clubs 2010-11 "Huskies Have Talent, Experience and Depth to Succeed". The article address how SCSU's coaching staff, goalies, defensemen, and forwards each have enough to be successful this season.

    In Other News...

    Despite a rough (to say it nicely) preseason for the Minnesota Wild, there has been at least one bright spot... SCSU alum Matt Cullen. According to the Star Tribune:
    "The chemistry developing between center Cullen and winger Martin Havlat is one of the positives to come out of training camp. The two, paired for a third time Thursday night, have quickly meshed."
    You can read more about Cullen and playing for the "hometown team" in a new article title "The Pressure Cooker Of...Minnesota" over at Wild.com