Final: UMD 4, Clarkson 2

     Twenty-five penalties for 72 minutes, including two five-minute checking-from-behind majors.

     That pushed Saturday night’s nonconference college men’s hockey game to a lengthy two hours and 30 minutes. It was frightening on Halloween at the DECC.

     Yet four power play goals allowed Minnesota Duluth to complete a sweep of Clarkson University of Potsdam, N.Y., with a 4-2 victory before a crowd of 3,581.

     “We were good with the puck in the offensive zone, our power play was clicking and we grinded out a win,” said UMD junior winger Rob Bordson, who had a hand in every score with a goal and three assists. “We came out with a Saturday victory.”

     UMD (5-2-1) had been 1-2 on the second night of series this season and was 0-of-5 in power plays in Friday’s 4-1 win. The Bulldogs were without scoring co-leader Justin Fontaine because of an upper body injury suffered in the third period Friday, and defenseman Dylan Olsen, who was sick.

    A number of Clarkson players were battling the flu, said coach George Roll and winger Scott Freeman was out after taking a puck to an ankle Friday. That left the Golden Knights (3-4) with one less player than allowed and then defenseman Bryan Rufenach was lost to a checking-from-behind major penalty as the first period closed and defenseman Mark Borowiecki left on a similar call halfway through the third period.

     “We have no on to blame but ourselves. We got what we deserved,” said Roll. “We lost our best two defensemen to checking-from-behind penalties, but those were legitimate calls. When you spend that much time in the penalty box you have no chance to win. We have been a disciplined team, but not this weekend. We’re better than we showed.”

      UMD, 5-1 at home, went four-of-13 on power plays and held Clarkson to 1-of-9. The Bulldogs led in shots on goal 44-22 and 94-39 for the series, yet the Golden Knights scored just 20 seconds into the game as Brandon DeFazio’s shot from the left circle went over the shoulder of goalie Brady Hjelle. Consecutive first-period Clarkson penalties gave UMD a 5-on-3 edge for 92 seconds, but goalie Paul Karpowich of Thunder Bay, Ontario, kept the Bulldogs scoreless.

     Clarkson defenseman Dan Reed was called for interfering with UMD’s Mike Connolly midway through the opening period and the Bulldogs converted. Bordson scored on the power play, from the right circle, for his third goal of the season. That made it 1-1 after 20 minutes.

       At the end of the first period, Rufenach received a five-minute checking-from-behind major penalty and a game disqualification for a hit on UMD’s Kyle Schmidt. That power play started the second period and with eight seconds left, defenseman Brady Lamb connected from the point. Mike Connolly scored on a wrist shot off a pipe with 3:56 left in the second for a 3-1 lead.

     “There was no flow to the game, but the big thing is we showed a bunch of character and came back,” said Lamb. “Clarkson plays a skating game, a more strategic game, and less physical, and we were able to win the physical part. Special teams can make or break a weekend and our power play helped us get a second win.”

     The Golden Knights of ECAC Hockey got within 3-2 in the first 55 seconds of the third period and the Bulldogs needed a Mike Seidel goal, his first as a collegian, to put the game away during a five-minute power play with 6:51 to play.

     “When you have [disjointed] games like this, you have to find ways to win. It was an ugly game and a good win,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin.

     UMD returns to Western Collegiate Hockey Association play this Friday and Saturday at No. 15 Colorado College (4-1-1).                                      

Clarkson……..…………………1-0-1–2

Minnesota Duluth……..………1-2-1–4

    First period – 1. Clarkson, Brandon DeFazio 1 (Nick Tremblay, Louke Oakley), :20; 2. UMD, Rob Bordson 3 (Jack Connolly, Brady Lamb), 10:48 (pp). Penalties – Bryan Rufenach, Clarkson (tripping), :41; Lauri Tuohimaa, Clarkson (interference), 1:07; Rufenach, Clarkson (high-sticking), 3:06; Keegan Flaherty, UMD (cross-checking), 4:17; Kyle Schmidt, UMD (hooking), 6:21; Oakley, Clarkson (slashing), 6:32; Dan Reed, Clarkson (interference), 10:22; Chase Ryan, UMD (roughing), 15:23; Nik Pokulok, Clarkson (slashing), 18:01; Rufenach, Clarkson (5-minute checking from behind major, game disqualification, served by Matt Wilson), 20:00.

    Second period – 3. UMD, Lamb 2 (Wade Bergman, Bordson), 4:53 (pp); 4. UMD, Mike Connolly 4 (Jordan Fulton, Bordson), 16:04 (pp). Penalties – Keegan Flaherty, UMD (hooking), 9:37; Tim Marks, Clarkson (hooking), 11:02; Oakley, Clarkson (tripping), 13:48; Matt Beca, Clarkson (hooking), 15:40; Dan DeLisle, UMD (holding), 16:31; Cody Danberg, UMD (slashing), 19:21.

    Third period – 5. Clarkson, Mark Borowiecki 2 (Oakley, Tremblay), 1:05 (5×3 pp); 6. UMD, Mike Seidel 1 (Bordson, Jack Connolly), 13:09 (pp). Penalties – Flaherty, UMD (tripping), :34; Reed, Clarkson (tripping), 6:14; Bordson, UMD (interference), 6:19; Borowiecki, Clarkson (slashing), 8:41; Lamb, UMD (elbowing), 9:15; Pokulok, Clarkson (interference), 10:31; Borowiecki, Clarkson (five-minute checking-from-behind major, game misconduct, served by Adam Pawlick), 11:15 .

      Shots on goal – Clarkson 9-4-9—22, UMD 14-16-14—44. Goalies – Paul Karpowich (2-3), Clarkson (44 shots-40 saves); Brady Hjelle (4-1-1), UMD (22 shots-20 saves). Power plays – Clarkson 1-of-9, UMD 4-of-15. Referees – Justin Brown, Jonathan Morrison. Assistants – Sterling Egan, Chris Olson. A – 3,581.

 

Final: UMD 4, Clarkson 2

Winning at home was a key to Minnesota Duluth’s NCAA-tournament team last season, going 10-4-3 at the DECC.

      The Bulldogs are continuing the trend in 2009-10, using four power-play goals Saturday night to beat Clarkson University 4-2 in a nonconference college men’s hockey game before 3,581 fans. UMD is 5-1 at home.

      The Golden Knights were hoping to get back to Potsdam, N.Y., with a series split, after losing 4-1 Friday. Clarkson (3-4) needed just 20 seconds to go up 1-0 on Brandon DeFazio’s shot from the left circle over the shoulder of goalie Brady Hjelle.

     A number of Clarkson players were battling the flu, said coach George Roll and winger Scott Freeman was out after taking a puck to an ankle Friday. That left the Golden Knights with one less player than allowed and then defenseman Bryan Rufenbach was lost to a checking-from-behind major penalty as the first period closed.

     The Bulldogs (5-2-1) were without scoring co-leader Justin Fontaine, who was hit in the third period Friday and suffered an upper body injury. He’s tied for the Division I scoring leader (12 points) with teammate Jack Connolly. Freshman defenseman Dylan Olsen was sick and missed the game.

     Consecutive first-period Clarkson penalties gave UMD a 5-on-3 edge for 92 seconds, but goalie Paul Karpowich of Thunder Bay, Ontario, kept the Bulldogs scoreless.

     Clarkson defenseman Dan Reed was called for interfering with UMD’s Mike Connolly midway through the opening period and the Bulldogs converted. Winger Rob Bordson scored on the power play, from the right circle, for his third goal of the season. That made it 1-1 after 20 minutes.

       At the end of the first period, Rufenach received a five-minute checking-from-behind major penalty and a game disqualification for a hit on UMD’s Kyle Schmidt. That power play started the second period and with eight seconds left, defenseman Brady Lamb connected from the point. Mike Connolly scored on a wrist shot off a pipe with 3:56 left in the second for a 3-1 lead.

     The Golden Knights got within 3-2 in the first 55 seconds of the third period and the Bulldogs needed a Mike Seidel goal, his first as a collegian, to put the game away during a five-minute power play with 6:51 to play.

     UMD returns to Western Collegiate Hockey Association play this Friday and Saturday at No. 15 Colorado College (4-1-1).                                     

Clarkson……..…………………1-0-1–2

Minnesota Duluth……………..1-2-1–4

    First period – 1. Clarkson, Brandon DeFazio 1 (Nick Tremblay, Louke Oakley), :20; 2. UMD, Rob Bordson 3 (Jack Connolly, Brady Lamb), 10:48 (pp). Penalties – Bryan Rufenach, Clarkson (tripping), :41; Lauri Tuohimaa, Clarkson (interference), 1:07; Rufenach, Clarkson (high-sticking), 3:06; Keegan Flaherty, UMD (cross-checking), 4:17; Kyle Schmidt, UMD (hooking), 6:21; Oakley, Clarkson (slashing), 6:32; Dan Reed, Clarkson (interference), 10:22; Chase Ryan, UMD (roughing), 15:23; Nik Pokulok, Clarkson (slashing), 18:01; Rufenach, Clarkson (5-minute checking from behind major, game disqualification, served by Matt Wilson), 20:00.

    Second period – 3. UMD, Lamb 2 (Wade Bergman, Bordson), 4:53 (pp); 4. UMD, Mike Connolly 4 (Jordan Fulton, Bordson), 16:04 (pp). Penalties – Keegan Flaherty, UMD (hooking), 9:37; Tim Marks, Clarkson (hooking), 11:02; Oakley, Clarkson (tripping), 13:48; Matt Beca, Clarkson (hooking), 15:40; Dan DeLisle, UMD (holding), 16:31; Cody Danberg, UMD (slashing), 19:21.

    Third period – 5. Clarkson, Mark Borowiecki 2 (Oakley, Tremblay), 1:05 (5×3 pp); 6. UMD, Mike Seidel 1 (Bordson, Jack Connolly), 13:09 (pp).. Penalties – Flaherty, UMD (tripping), :34; Reed, Clarkson (tripping), 6:14; Bordson, UMD (interference), 6:19; Borowiecki, Clarkson (slashing), 8:41; Lamb, UMD (elbowing), 9:15; Pokulok, Clarkson (interference), 10:31; Borowiecki, Clarkson (five-minute checking-from-behind major, game misconduct, served by Adam Pawlick), 11:15 .

      Shots on goal – Clarkson 9-4-10—23, UMD 14-16-14—43. Goalies – Paul Karpowich (2-3), Clarkson (44 shots-40 saves); Brady Hjelle (4-1-1), UMD (23 shots-21 saves). Power plays – Clarkson 1-of-9, UMD 4-of-12. Referees – Justin Brown, Jonathan Morrison. Assistants – Sterling Egan, Chris Olson. A – 3,581.

UPDATES: Recruit Justin Crandall

     St. Thomas Academy senior left winger Justin Crandall of Lakeville, Minn., says he’s always been interested in Minnesota Duluth and wanted to be part of a hockey program on the rise. He made a campus visit Wednesday and committed to the Bulldogs on Friday for 2011-12.

     Crandall, 17, the brother of UMD freshman goalie Aaron Crandall, was the second-leading scorer of the Upper Midwest High School Elite League which completed the regular season last week. UMD recruit Caleb Herbert of Bloomington Jefferson, Crandall’s centerman, led the league scoring with 13 goals and 24 assists for 37 points in 21games for the Southeast team. Crandall had 13-21-34 in 20 games. Southeast won the team title at 15-5-1 and opened the league playoffs Friday night with a 12-0 win over the Omaha Junior Lancers at the New Hope Arena. Southeast met Northwest in Saturday’s semifinals.

     "It was an easy decision in picking UMD," Crandall said Saturday. "I love the city, I like UMD’s style of play, and I’ve been talking about wanting to go there for a few years."

       Crandall said he’d made a recuiting visit to Minnesota State-Mankato and had talked to Bemidji State, Nebraska-Omaha, Harvard, Princeton and Yale. He is close friends with UMD recruit Justin Faulk of South St. Paul, a defenseman with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team, and South St. Paul High School goalie Adam Wilcox, a cousin of former UMD goalie Alex Stalock.

     Crandall had 23 goals and 27 assists for 50 points in 28 games as St. Thomas Academy’s second-leading scorer, as a junior. He’ll play for the Cadets this season as a captain and is expected to spend a year in the U.S. Hockey League before coming to UMD, along with Herbert.

     "Justin is a leader who motivates his teammates," said St. Thomas Academy co-coach Greg Vannelli. "He’s very creative with the puck, he’s good one-on-one, he’s not flashy, but he’s noticeable as a hard worker."  

     Another St. Thomas Academy senior forward, Christian Isackson, has committed to Minnesota; while former St. Thomas Academy forward, Ryan Walters, with Des Moines (Iowa) in the U.S. Hockey League this season as a senior, has also made a commitment to Minnesota.  

Final: UMD 4, Clarkson 1

     An all-Connolly second period, including two goals in 42 seconds, turned a scoreless game into one-sided performance Friday night as Minnesota Duluth took care of Clarkson University of Potsdam, N.Y., 4-1 in a nonconference men’s college hockey game before 3,701 fans at the DECC.

      The game was 0-0 through five minutes into the second period before Mike Connolly knocked-home a Justin Fontaine pass at the left edge of the crease. Seconds later, linemate Jack Connolly repositioned his skate at the crease as freshman defenseman Drew Olson powered a shot from the right point. The puck deflected in, was reviewed, and stood for a 2-0 lead. Two goals on two shots. Jack Connolly made it 3-0 later in the second.

       UMD outshot Clarkson 20-3 for the period and 50-17 for the game.

        “That first [scoreless] period was kind of a grind, then once we got that first goal, it was a spark,” said Jack Connolly, who has six goals and 12 points in seven games. “After we got two more then things really shifted in our favor. I don’t know if any of our goals were pretty, but all we keep talking about is getting pucks at the net.”

      Clarkson (3-3) of ECAC Hockey had a three-game win streak broken. UMD (4-2-1) had a two-game (0-1-1) winless streak broken.

      The Golden Knights were making their first DECC appearance since 1984 in a Division I quarterfinal two-game, total-goals series. They arrived with a number of players fighting the flu, including star winger Matt Beca. Then each team lost a skater to first-period checking-from-behind majors (Clarkson winger Brandon DeFazio and UMD winger Jordan Fulton), and then Clarkson’s Scott Freeman went out after taking a puck to the ankle.

     “[UMD] was a much better team. We didn’t play with much composure, especially in the second period,” said Clarkson coach George Roll. “We lost our focus and didn’t compete. It was hard to have any consistency, but UMD was much hungrier on the puck.”

     UMD goalie Kenny Reiter, who earned his first collegiate victory, didn’t see a shot from Clarkson until halfway through the first period. Yet he maintained his interest and held the Golden Knights scoreless until a Tim Marks power-play goal with 3:40 to play.

      Richie LeVeau of Clarkson had 46 saves in the game and twice stopped UMD breakaways.

     “Our guys were flawless in taking care of the puck,” said Reiter. “There might’ve been just two times all night when their forwards got behind our defense. And it was tough to be smooth with the puck because the ice was soft and bumpy.”

      Jack Connolly’s second goal of the game, with 9:06 left in the second period, came from the right edge of the crease. Winger Justin Fontaine had two assists in the game and is tied for the team scoring lead with seven goals and five assists for 12 points. The Connollys and Fontaine were put on the same line this week at practice.

     After Clarkson got within 3-1, Drew Akins scored into an empty net with 53 seconds to go. The Bulldogs are 4-1 at home entering today’s 7:07 p.m. rematch

      “We were good around the net, we blocked shots, we pressured the puck, we had a lot of chances,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “That was a good effort and I was happy for how well [Reiter] played.”                                     

Clarkson……..…………………0-0-1–1

Minnesota Duluth……………0-3-1–4

    First period – No scoring. Penalties – Brandon DeFazio, Clarakson (5-minute checking from behind major, game misconduct, served by Matt Wilson), 4:46; Chad Huttel, UMD (interference), 11:39; Adam Pawlick, Clarkson (interference), 13:13; Jordan Fulton, UMD (5-minute checking from behind major, game misconduct, served by Mike Seidel), 13:28; Justin Fontaine, UMD (holding), 19:33.

    Second period – 1. UMD, Mike Connolly 3 (Fontaine, Cody Danberg), 5:53; 2. UMD, Jack Connolly 5 (Drew Olson, Fontaine), 6:35; 3. UMD, J. Connolly 6 (Rob Bordson, Dylan Olsen), 10:54. Penalties – Nick Pokulok, Clarkson (roughing), 2:05; Dan DeLisle, UMD (slashing), 8:35; Olson, UMD (interference), 11:50; Louke Oakley, Clarkson (interference), 15:16; Pokulok, Clarkson (slashing), 16:29; Drew Akins, UMD (roughing), 16:29; Scott Freeman, Clarkson (slashing), 18:11.

    Third period – 4. Clarkson, Tim Marks 3 (Pokulok, Mark Borowiecki), 16:20 (pp); 5. UMD, Drew Akins 2, 19:07 (en). Penalties – Keegan Flaherty, UMD (interference), 2:11; Seidel, UMD (too many men on ice), 16:07; Marks, Clarkson (interference), 16:46.

      Shots on goal – Clarkson 5-3-9—17, UMD 8-20-22—50. Goalies – Richie LaVeau (1-1), Clarkson (50 shots-46 saves); Kenny Reiter (1-1), UMD (17 shots-16 saves). Power plays – Clarkson 1-of-8, UMD 0-of-5. Referees – Justin Brown, Jonathan Morrison. Assistants – Sterling Egan, Chris Olson. A – 3,701.

Final UMD 4, Clarkson 1





     An all-Connolly second period sparked Minnesota Duluth to a 4-1 win over Clarkson University of Potsdam, N.Y., in a nonconference men’s hockey game Friday night before 3,701 at the DECC.

      Left winger Mike Connolly broke a scoreless tie 5:53 into the second period, then center and linemate Jack Connolly followed 42 seconds later. Jack Connolly’s sixth goal of the season came with 9:06 left. The Connollys and Fontaine were put on the same line this week at practice.

     UMD (4-2) outshot Clarkson 20-3 in the period and 50-17 for the game. Clarkson (3-3) of ECAC Hockey had a three-game win streak broken. The Golden Knights were making their first DECC appearance since losing to UMD in the 1984 Division I quarterfinals in a two-game, total-goals series.

     Kenny Reiter’s attempt at his first collegiate shut out was broken with 3:40 to play on a Tim Marks power-play goal.

     Justin Fontaine curled behind the Clarkson net and dropped a pass back to Mike Connolly for the first goal. On UMD’s next shot, defenseman Drew Olson banked an attempt off a Jack Connolly skate for a goal. Fontaine had an assist and has 12 points in seven games, while Jack Connolly also has 12 points.

      UMD sophomore Kenny Reiter earned his first collegiate victory. Richie LeVeau was in goal for Clarkson. The Bulldogs are 4-1 at home.

     A scoreless first period included each team having an extended power play for checking-from-behind major penalties. UMD had a full five minutes and put a bundle of shots on LaVeau, building a 7-0 edge in shots on goal. UMD defenseman Mike Montgomery took the hit on the play.

     Clarkson had 3:15 of a major power play (because of some offsetting time on a previous penalty). Reiter stood his ground for UMD.

 

 

                                      

Clarkson……..…………………0-0-1–1

Minnesota Duluth……………0-3-1–4

 

 

   First period – No scoring. Penalties – Brandon DeFazio, Clarakson (5-minute checking from behind major, game misconduct, served by Matt Wilson), 4:46; Chad Huttel, UMD (interference), 11:39; Adam Pawlick, Clarkson (interference), 13:13; Jordan Fulton, UMD (5-minute checking from behind major, game misconduct, served by Mike Seidel), 13:28; Justin Fontaine, UMD (holding), 19:33.

 

 

   Second period – 1. UMD, Mike Connolly 3 (Fontaine, Cody Danberg), 5:53; 2. UMD, Jack Connolly 5 (Drew Olson, Fontaine), 6:35; 3. UMD, J. Connolly 6 (Rob Bordson, Dylan Olsen), 10:54. Penalties – Nick Pokulok, Clarkson (roughing), 2:05; Dan DeLisle, UMD (slashing), 8:35; Olson, UMD (interference), 11:50; Louke Oakley, Clarkson (interference), 15:16; Pokulok, Clarkson (slashing), 16:29; Drew Akins, UMD (roughing), 16:29; Scott Freeman, Clarkson (slashing), 18:11.

 

 

   Third period – 4. Clarkson, Tim Marks 3 (Pokulok, Mark Borowiecki), 16:20 (pp); 5. UMD, Drew Akins 2, 19:07 (en). Penalties – Keegan Flaherty, UMD (interference), 2:11; Seidel, UMD (too many men on ice), 16:07; Marks, Clarkson (interference), 16:46.

 

 

     Shots on goal – Clarkson 5-3-9—17, UMD 8-20-22—50. Goalies – Richie LaVeau (1-0), Clarkson (50 shots-46 saves); Kenny Reiter (0-1), UMD (17 shots-16 saves). Power plays – Clarkson 1-of-7, UMD 0-of-6. Referees – Justin Brown, Jonathan Morrison. Assistants – Sterling Egan, Chris Olson. A – 3,701.

 

Less Quality, More Wins

      While Clarkson is at Minnesota Duluth this weekend, another Eastern team, New Hampshire of Hockey East, is in Madison, Wis., to face Wisconsin. According to an Andy Baggot story in the Wisconsin State Journal, Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves is expected to downgrade future nonleague home schedules. Here are some excerpts from that story:

Lots of factors are changing the way Mike Eaves puts together future home schedules.

"We have to have more balance," he said. "We have to help ourselves get to where we want to be at the end of the year [in the PairWise Rankings]."

On its last legs, apparently, is the annual College Hockey Showcase, which began in 1993 as a way for four longtime Big Ten Conference entries to meet every year. Wisconsin and Minnesota, from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, play Michigan and Michigan State, from the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Wisconsin is looking to incorporate CCHA member Ohio State, a fifth hockey-playing entity from the Big Ten, into the rotation. That could result in a series with the Buckeyes one year, followed by one with Michigan and Michigan State the next.

Eaves said recent adjustments in how strength of schedule factors into an NCAA tournament resume is driving the changes. In the past three years, the value of an opponent’s winning percentage [in the computer rankings] has decreased significantly (from 50 percent to 21) and a school with a record under .500 can no longer qualify for an at-large berth regardless of its schedule strength or where it stands in the PairWise Rankings.

Alabama-Huntsville, projected to be an NCAA Division I independent in 2010-11, and Massachusetts, a consistent second-division club in Hockey East, will play series in Madison next season.

Eaves said putting Ohio State into a rotation with Michigan and Michigan State makes sense at the expense of the current Showcase format, which represents a nod toward more exposure on the Big Ten Network.

Asked this week if an elite Eastern opponent such as New Hampshire would be coming to the Kohl Center anytime soon, Eaves shook his head.

"Probably not," he said.

Game Day: Clarkson at UMD

CLARKSON (3-2) AT MINN. DULUTH (3-2-1)
WHAT: NONCONFERENCE GAMES
WHEN: 7:07 P.M. FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
WHERE: DECC (5,301)
RANKING: NEITHER TEAM IS RANKED
RADIO/TV: KQDS-AM 1490; WWW.B2TV.COM, PAY-PER-VIEW
SERIES: TIED 2-2

COACHES
 SCOTT SANDELIN IS 147-175-46 IN 10 YEARS AT UMD
 GEORGE ROLL IS 228-175-43 IN 14 YEARS, THE PAST SEVEN AT CLARKSON
UMD UPDATE
The Bulldogs are without sophomore D Scott Kishel, who suffered a concussion last Friday at St. Cloud State, and senior D Trent Palm, who is recovering from the flu. Sophomore C Travis Oleksuk remains out with a knee sprain. UMD’s power play is No. 9 in Division I at 21.5 percent. Junior C Rob Bordson has 2-3–5 in six games this season, after recording seven points in his first 42 UMD games.
CLARKSON UPDATE
The Golden Knights of Potsdam, N.Y., were picked to finish eighth among 12 teams in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. Clarkson has won three straight games, all at home. Sophomore G Paul Karpowich of Thunder Bay, Ontario, is 2-2 with a .896 goals-against average and 3.52 save percentage. Senior RW Matt Beca has five goals in five games and sophomore C Louke Oakley has 1-6–7 as the team scoring leader.
UMD PROBABLE LINEUP
Lines

MIKE CONNOLLY-JACK CONNOLLY-JUSTIN FONTAINE

CODY DANBERG-ROB BORDSON-JORDAN FULTON

KYLE SCHMIDT-DREW AKINS-KEEGAN FLAHERTY

MIKE SEIDEL-DAN DELISLE-JAKE HENDRICKSON
Defensive Pairs
DYLAN OLSEN-BRADY LAMB

MIKE MONTGOMERY-WADE BERGMAN

DREW OLSON-CHAD HUTTEL
Goalies
BRADY HJELLE, KENNY REITER

Clarkson: It’s been 25 years

Clarkson University of Potsdam, N.Y., a private school of 3,000 students, has a hockey team in town for the first time in 25 years.

The Golden Knights were previously here during a rollicking period in Minnesota Duluth sports history.

UMD’s first NCAA victory came March 16, 1984 at the DECC. The Bulldogs were at their postseason, high-flying best in pummeling Clarkson 6-2.

However, the Division I quarterfinal, played before a howling sellout crowd, was a two-game, total-goal affair.

Clarkson came back to win the second night 6-3. The Golden Knights scored four goals in the final period and hit a goal pipe in the waning seconds on a shot that could’ve tied the series and forced overtime. No matter, No. 1-ranked UMD won 9-8 overall and was on to Lake Placid, N.Y., to the Frozen Four for the first time.

“We were so good the second half of that season and so good in the playoffs,” remembered Tom Kurvers, a UMD senior defenseman in 1983-84 and the Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner. “We were in command and then had to hold on for dear life.”

Kurvers, 47, assistant general manager for the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, saw his UMD team steamroll through the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs outscoring Wisconsin and North Dakota 24-10. The Bulldogs then had their first NCAA home games in program history, against Clarkson.

Bill Watson, Brian Johnson and Skeeter Moore each had two goals for UMD in the series. All-American defenseman Dave Fretz helped spark Clarkson in the third period of the second game, while defenseman Bob Armstrong scored with 61 seconds to play after goalie Jamie Falle was pulled to get within the final margin.

Cap Raeder, a Clarkson assistant coach, was in charge on the bench during the final two periods of the second game after head coach Bill O’Flaherty was ejected for objecting to a goal by Moore.

“We were getting blown out in Friday’s game and then we roared back,” said Raeder, who later was Clarkson’s head coach and now is the goalie coach for Tampa Bay. “We were a feisty group. We were never really in the series, but we were never out of it.”

The continuing connection

Next up for UMD was WCHA rival North Dakota (with defenseman Scott Sandelin) in the NCAA semifinals. Watson had to score in overtime for a 2-1 victory.

No. 3-ranked Bowling Green also advanced to the title game played March 22.

UMD led 4-2 with less than eight minutes to play and then Bowling Green got within 4-3. A fluke goal tied it with 1:47 left in regulation as John Samanski took advantage when a dump-in hit off a crack in the end zone boards and the puck hopped in front of the UMD net. Assisting on the goal was junior winger George Roll.

Roll, 47, is now in his seventh season as Clarkson’s head coach.

“Without that lucky bounce, UMD would’ve been the national champion,” Roll said Wednesday.

Yet, the teams went to 7:11 of a fourth overtime before Gino Cavallini scored to give Bowling Green and the Central Collegiate Hockey Association their first NCAA hockey title. Neither school has been back to the championship game.

Roll’s Clarkson team of 2009-10 comes to the DECC on a three-game win streak. The Golden Knights (3-2) of the Eastern College Athletic Conference were 10-19-7 last season after going 47-22-9 the previous two years and gaining NCAA berths in 2007 and 2008.

“We’re more competitive, stronger on the puck and our special teams are much better [than last season],” said Roll.

Alex Stalock – Martin Brodeur

This feature story on Alex Stalock, playing with Worcester (Mass.) in the American Hockey League. Stalock is 4-0 (with a shootout loss) and has a 1.93 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

By Lindsay Kramer || NHL.com

Worcester Sharks rookie goalie Alex Stalock was so impressive at Adirondack on opening night Oct. 3 that he had San Jose goalie coach Corey Schwab experiencing flashbacks.

They stretched all the way back to the 1992-93 season, when Schwab minded the net for the Utica Devils of the AHL. He shared time on that team with some unproven kid named Martin Brodeur.

Even back then, Brodeur’s stickhandling was becoming legendary. In the very same Glens Falls barn in which Schwab watched Stalock frolic, Schwab recalled backing up Brodeur for a contest in which he recorded three assists against the old Adirondack Red Wings.

Schwab wasn’t making a comparison of Stalock to Brodeur just yet, but he sure saw some double vision regarding their artwork with the paddle.

"I don’t see a lot of difference there," Schwab said. "It’s one thing to be able to shoot the puck. It’s another to be able to read the play. He (Stalock) does very well at reading the play and reading his teammates."

Oh, and more importantly, Stalock opened his pro career with a win, denying 28 of 30 Phantoms shots along the way. The newcomer fresh out of Minnesota-Duluth showed a little Brodeur-esque cool by snagging two points from the grips of 5,411 rabid fans of the new Adirondack franchise.

"It is a big deal, being a rookie, coming in you want to make an impact," said Stalock, 22. "You have to be mature. You can’t be nervous. Your time is now. You don’t have time to sit back. When it’s going to come around, it’s going to come around."

Stalock, a fourth-round pick by San Jose in 2005, always has been a perpetual man in motion on the ice. Like many young goalies, he skated out a lot and played forward in youth hockey. That planted the seed that hand, stick and puck could all act in concert, and puck movement was as much a chess game as a reflex.

"I loved playing forward. That’s one thing I miss about the game," Stalock said. "I think it’s just the passion of having the puck in your hands. You want to make the play."

Stalock eventually settled back in the crease – just barely – and began directing traffic from there. By the time he was a junior at Minnesota-Duluth, he was one of the best goalies in the country. He paced the nation in minutes played (2,534) and was 11th in goals-against (2.13).

"I wanted to make steps every year," he said. "I think that’s what I did."

After his junior season, the issue became whether it was time for Stalock to start climbing toward a different level. There was little question he could return and dominate for another season in college. But the Sharks and Stalock agreed that his window for development was more wide open in the AHL.

"He felt he’s ready to move on to the pro game," Schwab said. "From what I’ve seen, he’s made a good decision."

College was over, but Stalock’s education was just beginning. First, there’s that pesky little trapezoid behind the goal in pro hockey that marks off where the netminder is allowed to play the puck. Heck, when it comes to Stalock you might as well drop steel bars around the crease and feed him his meals through a small slot.

"I have to watch myself. It has to be in the back of your head. A couple of times you will have a close call," Stalock said. "You have to be smart making the decision (to play the puck). That’s probably the toughest part, making a decision quickly. It (the trapezoid) is part of the game. You have to dance with it."

Stalock’s also had to learn how to do the two-step with his emotions. In college, he admitted to a little overflow fury, occasionally drawing a penalty for extra-curricular stickwork. Those sorts of costly lapses are never good, but there’s little tolerance for them in the land of pay-for-play hockey.

"I’d get frustrated quite a bit when I give up a goal," Stalock said. "I’d show my emotions. I think it’s just being competitive. It’s never a good feeling when you lose. That’s one thing that comes with my personality. You almost have to expect to win. That’s one thing that winning teams learn."

Schwab said Stalock doesn’t need much recalibration to channel that sense of urgency toward a productive direction.

"It’s not in a negative way that he has a lot of energy, a lot of competition," he said. "Whatever drill we’re doing, he’s competing. He has that extra fire in him to do whatever he can."

Usually that fuels an engine that makes Stalock a goalie on the move, looking to create something. Even when there’s nothing there, he understands the perpetual effort required to, at the very least, keep pace with his fast new company.

"I want to have that mindset I’m ready for the league. I want to make a difference right away," he said. "You learn something new every day. The team is moving forward. You want to be moving forward with them."

Lindsay Kramer, the AHL correspondent for NHL.com, profiles an up-and-coming player each Monday during the season, and his AHL notebook appears each Thursday on NHL.com.

Blais, Rasmussen Honored

     Two Minnesota Duluth women’s players were honored by the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with weekly awards Wednesday. Here’ s the release. Further down is the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association women’s preseason poll:

MADISON, Wis. – The Western Collegiate Hockey Association today (Oct. 28) announced the women’s players of the week for Oct. 28-Nov. 3, 2009. They are Minnesota Duluth forward Emmanuelle Blais on offense, Minnesota Duluth defenseman Jaime Rasmussen on defense, and Minnesota goaltender Noora Räty as rookie.

WCHA Offensive Player of the Week
Emmanuelle Blais
Sr., F, Minnesota Duluth

     Senior forward Emmanuelle Blais tallied four goals and an assist for the No. 5-ranked Minnesota Duluth last weekend to help the Bulldogs sweep WCHA rival and visiting North Dakota.
    The native of Lasalle, Quebec netted her first collegiate three-goal hat trick in last Friday’s (Oct. 23) 4-1 win over the Sioux, including two power-play goals. Trailing 1-0 at the start of the second period, Blais scored at 0:24 to tie the game and then PPGs at 15:11 of period two and at 9:13 of the third to complete her hat trick.
    Last Saturday (Oct. 24), Blais scored UMD’s first goal of the game Saturday, which tied the score just 10 minutes into play. She also had an assist on the Bulldogs’ final goal to give her a total of five points on the weekend. She also fired eight shots on goal and earned a +2 plus/minus rating.
    Blais, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring with 11 points (7g, 4a) through eight games, is also ranked second in the WCHA for points and goals.
    Also nominated for the award this week were: Erin Cody, F, BSU; Laura May, F, UM; Laura McIntosh, F, OSU; and Mallory Deluce, F, UW.

WCHA Defensive Player of the Week
Jaime Rasmussen
Sr., D, Minnesota Duluth

    Minnesota Duluth senior defenseman Jaime Rasmussen registered a goal and four assists last weekend against North Dakota to help the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs to a two-game sweep of their WCHA series in Duluth.
    A product of Garden Grove, Calif., Rasmussen dished out a career-high three assists from the blueline last Friday (Oct. 23) night in the Bulldogs’ 4-1 win over the visiting Sioux.
    The assistant UMD team captain then scored the game-winning goal last Saturday (Oct. 24) on a power blast from the point, before adding an assist on the Bulldogs’ third goal in a 3-1 triumph over UND. In addition to her five scoring points, Rasmussen also fired 12 shots on goal in the series.
    Rasmussen currently is the highest scoring blueliner in the country in Div. 1 women’s hockey with eight points (2g, 6a) through eight games for a 1.00 points per game average. She is also tied for the No. 2 spot in the WCHA with her six assists, and ranks No. 1 in the conference with five (1g, 4a) power-play points.

Wisconsin-River Falls Picked in NCHA

The Wisconsin-River Falls women’s hockey team has been picked to win the 2010 NCHA championship.

In the league’s annual coaches poll, the Falcons picked up six of nine first place votes. Wisconsin-Superior had two first-place votes and was picked No. 2

The Falcons return 17 of 19 letter winners from the 2009 team that won both the NCHA regular season and playoff championships. UWRF finished the season with an overall record of 20-7-3 and were 15-2-1 in league play.

The Falcons are coached by Joe Cranston who starts his 11th season behind the bench. He has a 150-96-20 career record.

UWRF advanced to the NCAA National Championships and upset No. 1 ranked Gustavus Adolphus, 2-1, in a game played in St. Peter, Minn. The Falcons advanced to the NCAA semifinals at Middlebury, Vt., College where they lost, 3-0, to Elmira College. In the game for third place the Falcons lost a 3-2 overtime decision to Middlebury.