UMD Recruits

Minnesota Duluth recruits statistical update 2009-10.

Defensemen Justin Faulk and Derek Forbort of Duluth, also a USA Under 18 member in Ann Arbor, Mich., have been named to the U.S. team for the World Men’s 18-Under Championship April 13-23 in Minsk and Bobruisk, Belarus.

USHL

J.T. Brown, F, Waterloo, 58 GP, 33-41-74

Justin Faulk, D, US Under 18, 51 GP, 19-8-27

Luke McManus, D, Tri City, 44 GP, 1-8-9

Matt McNeely, G, US Under 17, 30 GP, 9-17-3, 4.06, .887

Chris Stafne, F, Des Moines, 58 GP, 16-14-30

Max Tardy, F, Tri City, 50 GP, 11-24-35

BCHL

Derik Johnson, D, Penticton, 75 GP, 1-15-16

HIGH SCHOOL

Joe Basaraba, F, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, 52 GP, 24-22-46

Chris Casto, D, Hill-Murray, 31 GP, 14-19-33

Willie Corrin, D, International Falls, 26 GP, 19-30-49 

Justin Crandall. F, St. Thomas Academy, 28 GP, 21-36-57

Cal Decowski, F, Andover, 27 GP, 25-54-79

Caleb Herbert, F, Bloomington Jefferson, 28 GP, 30-32-62

Adam Krause, F, Hermantown, 31 GP, 37-29-66

Andy Welinski, D, Duluth East, 25 GP, 5-19-24

Akins to Gwinnett in ECHL

     Minnesota Duluth senior captain Drew Akins signed as a free agent with Gwinnett of the East Coast Hockey League on Wednesday. The Gwinnett Gladiators play in….Duluth, Ga. Akins will give up his spot in the NCAA Frozen Four Skills Competition on April 9. Here is a release from Gwinnett:

The Gwinnett Gladiators announced Wednesday they have agreed to terms with Drew Akins, a rookie forward out of Minnesota Duluth. Akins made his professional debut Wednesday night as South Carolina defeated Gwinnett 5-1 in Duluth, Ga., and he didn’t figure in the scoring.

Akins, 24, a forward from Excelsior, Minn., appeared in 153 games in four UMD seasons, tallying 21 goals and 30 assists for 51 points while serving 240 penalty minutes. Before UMD, Akins played one junior season each in the North American Hockey League and the United States Hockey League, totaling 70 points over the two seasons from 2004 to 2006.

The Gladiators continue their seventh season in the ECHL vs. South Carolina. The Gladiators are the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Thrashers and Columbus Blue Jackets and play all home games at the 11,355-seat Arena at Gwinnett Center, located just off I-85 on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth.

Hobey Hat Trick

    The three finalists for the 2010 Hobey Baker Memorial award, given to the top Division I player, are detailed in this Wednesday release:

They are Bobby Butler, senior forward from New Hampshire; Blake Geoffrion, senior forward from Wisconsin; and Gustav Nyquist, sophomore forward from Maine.

The three finalists were selected from the initial list of Top Ten candidates by the 24-member Selection Committee and an additional round of online fan balloting to determine this year’s Hobey Baker winner.
Criteria for the award includes: strength of character on and off the ice, displaying outstanding skills in all phases of the game, sportsmanship and scholastic achievements.

This year’s Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced Friday, April 9, 2010 from Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. during the NCAA Frozen Four. The 30th annual announcement will be aired live on ESPNU at 6 p.m.

Bobby Butler – University of New Hampshire, Senior, Forward, Marlboro, Massachusetts Bobby Butler is one incredible person. He is a finalist for not one, but three prestigious individual hockey awards: the Hobey Baker Award, the Hockey Humanitarian Award and the Walter Brown Award. Already named the Walter Brown recipient as the best American-born college player in New England, Butler has evolved into a prolific goal scorer leading the nation bagging 29 goals in 39 games this past season. He chipped in with 24 assists to total 53 points, tied for second best in the country. The Wildcat captain tied for the conference scoring lead in Hockey East tallying 41 total points and led the circuit in goals, helping UNH to the regular season title. His efforts earned him Player of the Year honors in Hockey East and a berth as a First Team all-star. Butler is a Health Management Major and recently signed as a free agent with the Ottawa Senators. His outreach into the community is extensive. Butler volunteers for every assignment involving the hockey program, has attended a local middle school every week for the past three years working with special needs students, has mentored two children (one who lost his father to cancer and another child battling leukemia) and volunteers with his teammates in the Reading Across America program at area schools.

Blake Geoffrion – University of Wisconsin, Senior, Forward, Brentwood, Tennessee Certainly the family bloodlines don’t hurt, but Blake Geoffrion has established himself as one of the nation’s premiere players. The tri-captain of the Frozen Four bound Badgers is a complete player. Utilized in all situations, Geoffrion skates a regular shift, receives ample special teams time on both power play and penalty killing, takes key faceoffs (where he is a remarkable 60% on faceoffs) and has an amazing shooting percentage of 23%. Geoffrion was named MVP of the West Regional and has 27 goals and 21 assists in 38 games ranking second in the nation in goal scoring while tied for first in the country with 14 power play goals.
Finishing second in the WCHA scoring race and topping the conference in goals and power play goals, he was selected as a First Team all-star. And the family bloodlines? His dad Danny, granddad Bernie “Boom Boom” and his great grandpa Howie Morenz all played for the Montreal Canadiens. Boom Boom and Howie are both enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame and have nine Stanley Cups between them. Blake Geoffrion is a Consumer Science Major and spends time off the ice visiting UW Children’s Hospital, has been a mentor to a cancer patient and is a Peer Leader lending assistance to UW students. He is a second round draft pick of Nashville.

Gustav Nyquist – University of Maine, Sophomore, Forward, Malmo, Sweden A guiding light for the Maine Black Bears and a dynamic force in Hockey East, Gustav Nyquist still leads the nation in scoring by a comfortable eight-point margin; despite the fact Maine missed the NCAA post season tournament. Completing the season with 61 points in 39 games on 19 goals and 42 assists, Nyquist topped the country in both points and assists. In conference games, Maine ended the season tied for third place while Nyquist tied fellow Hobey Hat Trick finalist Bobby Butler for first in Hockey East scoring and topped the circuit in assists in league play. A fourth round draft pick of Detroit, Nyquist was runner-up for Hockey East Player of the Year and was selected as a First Team all-star. The Finance Major is on the Dean’s List at Maine. He volunteers off-ice time coaching at youth hockey clinics.

Northern Michigan Loses 2

     Coach Walt Kyle and Northern Michigan, after losing to St. Cloud State in the NCAA West Region playoffs last week, have lost two juniors — forward Mark Olver and defenseman Erik Gustafsson to the NHL. Here’s some information from the Northern Michigan sports information office in Marquette, Mich. Minnesota Duluth plays at Northern Michigan in the second game of 2010-11 on Oct. 9.

     And further down, College Hockey News named Denver goalie Marc Cheverie as its player of the year.

The Colorado Avalanche announced the signing of Northern Michigan  forward Mark Olver to an entry-level contract.  Olver will report to Colorado’s American Hockey League affiliate, the Lake Erie Monsters.

He just completed his junior season with the Wildcats.  Olver led the ‘Cats during the 2009-10 season with 49 points on 19 goals and 30 assists in helping the team advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.  The Burnaby, B.C. native was named one of the top 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s player of the year.  Olver finished the regular season as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) scoring champion with 35 points on 17 goals and 18 assists in 27 conference games and was named to the CCHA All-Conference First Team.

“Mark had a very productive career at Northern Michigan and we look forward to having him make his professional debut with the Lake Erie Monsters,” said Avalanche General Manager Greg Sherman in a release.

He was Colorado’s fourth selection (fifth round, 140th overall) in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.  Olver led NMU in scoring in each of his three seasons as he collected 38 points for the 2007-08 season (21-17) and 35 points for the 2008-09 season (16-19).   For his NMU career, Olver appeared in 119 games and recorded 56 goals, 66 assists for 122 points.

Junior defenseman Erik Gustafsson will forego his senior season at Northern.  He signed with the Philadelpiha Flyers March 29 and was assigned to the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League. Gustafsson played in 123 games for Northern from 2007-2010 scoring 7 goals, 86 assists for 93 points.  The Kvissleby, Sweden native was whistled for 48 career penalty minutes as well.  He earned All-CCHA Rookie team in 2007-2008.  In his sophomore year, Gustafsson was named to the CCHA all-conference first team.  He was also named the CCHA Best Offensive Defenseman and named to the Reebok/ACHA Division I Ice Hockey All-America West second team.  This season Gustafsson was again named to the CCHA All-Conference team.

After completing his NCAA eligibility, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., native Ray Kaunisto signed with the Los Angeles Kings organization and will head to L.A. March 31.  In four years and 161 career games, Kaunisto had 36 goals and 26 assists, good for 62 points and 208 penalty minutes.

Marc Cheverie, College Hockey News Player of the Year

PRINCETON, N.J. — In perhaps the closest call in College Hockey News’ five years, Denver goaltender Marc Cheverie has been named CHN Player of the Year.

Cheverie has been considered a Hobey Baker Award favorite for a large part of the year, but with his team losing its last three games, his status has been thrown into question.

Two other players still playing — Wisconsin’s Blake Geoffrion and Brendan Smith — have seen their stars rise, particularly with Geoffrion now up to 27 goals coming off his West Regional Most Outstanding Player award last weekend.

But Cheverie was stellar the entire season for Denver, leading it to a MacNaughton Cup as WCHA regular-season champions. His overall numbers were 24-6-3 with a 2.08 goals against average and .932 save percentage in 35 games.

Willie Corrin to UMD

         International Falls senior defenseman Willie Corrin likes the idea of staying close to home and joining a program that has produced some top-level defensemen in recent years. That led him to making a commitment to Minnesota Duluth on Saturday, likely for the 2012-13 school year.

     Corrin, 18, who is 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, had 19 goals and 30 assists for 49 points in 26 games this season for the Broncos. He’s expected to play two years with the Fargo (N.D.) Force of the U.S. Hockey League before joining UMD.

     "I’ve always wanted to go to UMD, the coaching staff there is very good in working with defensemen, and there’s a good chance of playing on a national-caliber team there," Corrin said Tuesday.

     International Falls coach John Prettyman said Corrin is a raw talent with skill. Corrin has been on the varsity for three seasons and was a tri-captain in 2009-10 (he’s also the baseball captain).

      "He’s got a great shot and great feet, he’s run our power play the last two years and he’s extremely competitive," said Prettyman.

     Corrin was a three-time Minnesota Associated Press All-State honorable mention pick, and was on the 2010 News Tribune All-Area second team. He had a goal and an assist in the Ted Brill Great 8 tournament which finished Sunday in South St. Paul.

     Recent UMD defensemen include Matt Niskanen of the Dallas Stars and Jason Garrison of the Florida Panthers, Josh Meyers with Abbotsford (British Columbia)in the American Hockey League and Evan Oberg with Manitoba of the AHL.

     Corrin said he had scholarship offers from Northern Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha, where his uncle, Dean Blais, is head coach.

Willie Corrin to UMD

      Minnesota Hockey Hub posted this story Tuesday on defenseman Willie Corrin of International Falls making a commitment to Minnesota Duluth:





When Willie Corrin has the puck on his stick, he isn’t so much a defenseman as a Learjet with the go-ahead for takeoff.
      With the rink serving as his runway, Corrin’s end-to-end rushes have propelled him not just to high school stardom in his hometown International Falls but made him a standout in the seemingly unending array of elite and all-star tournaments in which he has been invited.

All that flash and flair didn’t go unnoticed by college recruiters, as Corrin turned down scholarship offers from Northern Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha before verbally committing to play at Minnesota Duluth.

Corrin made his decision on Saturday, March 27, while in the Twin Cities to participate in the Ted Brill Great 8 High School Festival. UMD assistant coach Brett Larson originally called Corrin with the offer and a recommendation to take some time to think it over.

The puck again squarely on his stick, Corrin knew immediately where he was headed.

“I walked into the St. Cloud State-Wisconsin (NCAA regional tournament game at the Xcel Energy Center), then called him back and said I wanted to be a Bulldog,” Corrin said.

The eventful weekend for Corrin continued with an appearance in Sunday’s championship game of the Great 8, an eight-team tournament created to showcase the state’s top seniors. Corrin, playing for Section 7, made a half-dozen or so of those signature jet-fueled rushes and scored a power-play goal on a blistering shot from the point in a 5-2 title-game loss to Section 4.

He finished the tournament with two goals and an assist, playing well enough to draw an inquiry from the Minnesota coaching staff.

 

Willie Corrin to UMD

     This story on Monday from Minnesota Hockey Hub concerning Willie Corrin of International Falls making a commitment to Minnesota Duluth:

When Willie Corrin has the puck on his stick, he isn’t so much a defenseman as a Learjet with the go-ahead for takeoff.

With the rink serving as his runway, Corrin’s end-to-end rushes have propelled him not just to high school stardom in his hometown International Falls but made him a standout in the seemingly unending array of elite and all-star tournaments in which he has been invited.

All that flash and flair didn’t go unnoticed by college recruiters, as Corrin turned down scholarship offers from Northern Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha before verbally committing to play at Minnesota-Duluth.

Corrin made his decision on Saturday, March 27, while in the Twin Cities to participate in the Ted Brill Great 8 High School Festival. UMD assistant coach Brett Larson originally called Corrin with the offer and a recommendation to take some time to think it over.

The puck again squarely on his stick, Corrin knew immediately where he was headed.

“I walked into the St. Cloud State-Wisconsin (NCAA regional tournament game at the Xcel Energy Center), then called him back and said I wanted to be a Bulldog,” Corrin said.

The eventful weekend for Corrin continued with an appearance in Sunday’s championship game of the Great 8, an eight-team tournament created to showcase the state’s top seniors. Corrin, playing for Section 7, made a half-dozen or so of those signature jet-fueled rushes and scored a power-play goal on a blistering shot from the point in a 5-2 title-game loss to Section 4.

He finished the tournament with two goals and an assist, playing well enough to draw an inquiry from the Minnesota coaching staff.

Corrin to UMD

      This story Tuesday on Minnesota Hockey Hub corncerning Willie Corrin of International Falls headed to Minnesota Duluth:

When Willie Corrin has the puck on his stick, he isn’t so much a defenseman as a Learjet with the go-ahead for takeoff.

With the rink serving as his runway, Corrin’s end-to-end rushes have propelled him not just to high school stardom in his hometown International Falls but made him a standout in the seemingly unending array of elite and all-star tournaments in which he has been invited.

All that flash and flair didn’t go unnoticed by college recruiters, as Corrin turned down scholarship offers from Northern Michigan and Nebraska-Omaha before verbally committing to play at Minnesota Duluth.

Corrin made his decision on Saturday while in the Twin Cities to participate in the Ted Brill Great 8 High School Festival. UMD assistant coach Brett Larson originally called Corrin with the offer and a recommendation to take some time to think it over.

The puck again squarely on his stick, Corrin knew immediately where he was headed.

“I walked into the St. Cloud State-Wisconsin (NCAA regional tournament game at the Xcel Energy Center), then called him back and said I wanted to be a Bulldog,” Corrin said.

The eventful weekend for Corrin continued with an appearance in Sunday’s championship game of the Great 8, an eight-team tournament created to showcase the state’s top seniors. Corrin, playing for Section 7, made a half-dozen or so of those signature jet-fueled rushes and scored a power-play goal on a blistering shot from the point in a 5-2 title-game loss to Section 4.

He finished the tournament with two goals and an assist, playing well enough to draw an inquiry from the Minnesota coaching staff.

Maturi Backs Lucia

     This story appeared Monday in the St. Paul Pioneer Press as University of Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi repeats his backing and confidence in coach Don Lucia:

Brian Murphy, St. Paul Pioneer Press

Don Lucia is not going anywhere. So says the University of Minnesota men’s hockey coach. And so says his boss, University of Minnesota athletics director Joel Maturi.

Responding to questions about Lucia’s job security and the discontent growing among fans after the Gophers failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament a second straight season, Maturi affirmed his confidence in Lucia and said he is not in the market for a new coach.

"With all due respect, as the AD I can’t have a survey done to see how many people want to bring back Don Lucia and who doesn’t," Maturi said Friday. "There’s great passion for Gopher hockey. Many of our passionate fans want to win every game, and if they don’t they’re not pleased.

"The good news is we’ve got passionate fans. The challenge for me and coach Lucia, when we aren’t successful, is ‘What’s the prudent response?’ "

Maturi said, as usual, he would take the next four weeks to conduct his post-season evaluation of Lucia and his staff.

The Gophers finished with a losing record in 2009-10, the first sub-.500 season in 10 seasons under Lucia. More alarming, they lost in the first round of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs for just the second time in 32 years, failing to reach the Final Five for the first time in 11 years.

"I don’t think anyone connected with Gopher hockey is pleased with what has occurred the last two years," Maturi said.

Despite a roster laden with 20 NHL prospects, the Gophers only scored 2.72 goals per game, which ranked eighth in the 10-team conference.

"We had challenges scoring," Maturi said. "Should we blame it on the system? I don’t know, but that’s an unfair thing, in my opinion. I saw a lot of nets open we didn’t put the puck in. We went through one of those years. We’ll be better."

Maturi acknowledged he was concerned a raft of players have left early to turn pro, including sophomore Jordan Schroeder, who signed with Vancouver this month. But he chafed at NHL executives who criticized the program for failing to develop players.

"Sure I’m concerned, but in most of these cases they aspired to go to the pros. That’s where they want to be and where they belong. If a kid has the opportunity to sign for a lot of money to play in the NHL, I understand that and am respectful of that," Maturi said.

"There seems to be lot of negativity about how our kids don’t get better. I believe that is completely unfounded. I’m sure the guys playing in the NHL wouldn’t say that, and I’ve spoken to some of them. You don’t get there if it’s the coach’s fault."

Maturi also refuted speculation he had contacted former North Dakota coach Dean Blais, currently heading the program at Nebraska Omaha, to determine whether the Minnesota alumnus was interested in coaching the Gophers.

"I hate to tell you, none of that’s true," he said. "I haven’t spoken to coach Blais, whom I have great respect for. Some day, if I have the opportunity to hire a hockey coach, he would certainly be on my list."

UMD 2010-11

     Inside College Hockey continues its power rankings here  with just a week remaining in the college season. See if UMD is in the top 20. Also, this appeared in the News Tribune last Saturday as a Minnesota Duluth season-ending wrap:

A second straight 22-win season, the best Western Collegiate Hockey Association finish since 2004, five sweeps and a first-round league home playoff series.

The Minnesota Duluth men succeeded on many levels in 2009-10, yet were stung by late-season inconsistencies and missed getting into a second consecutive Division I tournament.

The Bulldogs (22-17-1) ended with a 2-0 loss to eventual-champion North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five play-in game. They were one of the last teams cut from NCAA consideration.

“I would’ve liked our chances in the NCAA tournament because we were playing well again our last four games,” UMD senior winger Jordan Fulton said. “We hit a rough patch in January and February, which kept us from our most important goal, but we did a lot of good things with a young team.”

Coach Scott Sandelin played a combined 11 freshmen and sophomores in a 20-player lineup in the final game. UMD loses senior forwards Fulton and Drew Akins, and likely senior defenseman Chase Ryan (although he has a redshirt season remaining). Junior winger Rob Bordson has left for the NHL, but senior defenseman Trent Palm is expected to receive an extra year after missing all but three games this season following hip surgery.

NHL teams also are eyeing free agents Mike Montgomery, Justin Fontaine and Brady Lamb, while freshman defenseman Dylan Olsen, Chicago’s 2009 first-round pick, must gauge his first-year progress.

“We had a good, but not great season, and we have a very good nucleus coming back,” said Sandelin, who signed a two-year contract extension last July through 2011-12. “We got points all but one weekend in our conference; we won four overtime games; we scored 55 power-play goals; we were resilient.”

However, the one overtime loss of the past two years, Jan. 23 against Bemidji State at the DECC, put UMD off-course for much of the rest of the season. The Bulldogs went 6-10 the final 16 games, including a WCHA playoff series win over Colorado College. Before that streak, UMD was 16-7-1 and 12-5-1 in the WCHA with a legitimate chance at the league title.

Bemidji State scored with two seconds left in the third period to tie the game and scored 36 seconds into overtime for a 5-4 victory and a series sweep. The Beavers are in the NCAA tournament; a victory by UMD may have gotten the Bulldogs into the tournament. UMD is 7-1-9 in OT since March 2, 2008.

“We were 4-4 in nonconference games and the four losses were to teams in the NCAA tournament. Those hurt,” said Akins, UMD’s captain. “The losses to Bemidji, especially the one in overtime, took something out of us. We took a few steps back and changed the way we played. We didn’t come after teams the way we did in the first half of the season.

“Everyone kept trying, but everyone was frustrated for a while. It became hit-and-miss. When we were on, it was like no one could beat us, and when we were off, it was like anyone could beat us.”

UMD had four players with 40 or more points in Jack Connolly, Fontaine, Mike Connolly and Bordson, with Jack Connolly a lead candidate for team MVP. A 23 percent effective power play ranked No. 3 in Division I. There were wins over No. 2 Denver, No. 3 Wisconsin and No. 5 North Dakota. The Bulldogs tied North Dakota for fourth place in the league, moving up three spots from the previous season. There were also two losses to last-place Michigan Tech.

Expected to be in UMD’s freshman class for 2010-11 are defensemen Luke McManus of Rosemount, Minn., and Justin Faulk of South St. Paul; and forwards Joe Basaraba of Fort Frances, Ontario; J.T. Brown of Rosemount, Minn.; and Duluth’s Chris Stafne and Max Tardy.

The first eight home games next season will be played at the 44-year-old DECC before the UMD men and women move to the DECC expansion. The first game is Dec. 30 as the UMD men face North Dakota.

Blais finished as scoring leader

A goal in the NCAA women’s hockey title game Sunday gave UMD senior winger Emmanuelle Blais a tie for the points lead in Division I for 2009-10. The All-American from LaSalle, Quebec, finished with 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points in 41 games, and 145 points in 145 games (eighth all-time among Bulldogs). Her 32 goals led Division I.

UMD freshman goalie Jennifer Harss led Division I in minutes played (2,386) and saves (1,138), and tied for first in wins (29). She had a .934 save percentage and 2.01 goals-against average.

UMD (31-8-2) defeated Cornell University 3-2 in three overtimes in Minneapolis for its fifth NCAA title in 10 years. The Bulldogs were 4-0-2 in overtime this season and are 3-0 in OT in the Frozen Four.

“My strength coach [Julianne Vasichek] told me at the start of the season this team listened and they had a great work ethic, and if you have that in the beginning, you know you’re going to accomplish some great things,” UMD coach Shannon Miller said Sunday. “We’re a very strong-willed team.”

Cornell University’s Doug Derraugh was named 2010 Division I women’s coach of the year Friday by the American Hockey Coaches Association. He’ll receive the award April 30 in Naples, Fla.

Derraugh led Cornell to the regular-season and playoff titles in the Eastern College Athletic Conference. The Big Red advanced to Sunday’s Division I title game, losing to UMD 3-2 in triple overtime. Derraugh is 58-81-15 in five years at the Ithaca, N.Y., school and 21-9-6 this season.

Rick Seeley of Quinnipiac University was voted runner up.

Since the Division I award began in 1998, three coaches from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association have been honored — Minnesota’s Laura Haldorson (three times), Wisconsin’s Mark Johnson (three times) and UMD’s Miller (once, in 2003).