Thrashers sign Stapleton

Former Minnesota Duluth center Tim Stapleton, 28, has signed as an unrestricted free agent with the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers. The two-year, two-way deal this season is worth $525,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the American Hockey League. Next season’s NHL deal will be worth $525,000.

He is expected to be with Atlanta in Tuesday’s game at Colorado.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a story here.

UMD women No. 4 in USA Today-USA Hockey Magazine

USA Today-USA Hockey Magazine
Women’s Division I Poll

Rank
School
Last Week’s Ranking
2010-11 Record Weeks in Top 10
1 Cornell, 175 (8)
2
10-1-0
10
2 Wisconsin, 168 (9)
1
12-2-0
10
3 Mercyhurst, 152 (2)
3
10-2-0
10
4 Minn. Duluth, 141
4
10-4-0
10
5 Boston Univ., 111
5
11-2-3
10
6 Boston College, 108
6
10-2-4
10
7 Minnesota, 71
7
10-5-0
9
8 North Dakota, 54
8
8-4-2
10
9 Ohio State, 28
9
8-6-2
8
10 Northeastern, 14
NR
9-3-4
1


Others receiving votes:
Providence College, 13; Harvard 6; Dartmouth, 4.

Remembering the DECC

A week of remembering is underway in Duluth as the Minnesota Duluth men approach the final games at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center after 45 years. Games against Denver are Friday and Saturday, and then UMD will walk through a tunnel and move right next door to the $80 million Amsoil Arena. The Bulldogs begin practice there next week. The DECC’s first game was Nov. 19, 1966.

As of Monday, UMD officials reported there were tickets available for the Denver series, but the games are expected to sell out. The News Tribune has an update here.

The Maroon Loon, a hockey mascot which came into being in the 1980s, receives a video tribute from former UMD student and former Loon, Jay Jackson, 46, now of Fountain Hills, Ariz. He was a risk-taking, high-energy, crazy-skating costumed Loon during some of UMD’s best seasons in the 1980s. He’s now a star inline skater and often competes in Duluth at the NorthShore Inline Marathon. His 10-minute video DECC tribute is here.

Denver comes to Duluth on a six-game win streak and just two points behind first-place UMD in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. The Denver Post had a somewhat controversial Sunday story on a couple of Denver’s younger players, including scoring star Drew Shore, which talks about development at a U.S. college versus Canadian major-junior hockey. The story is here.

Shore was the Inside College Hockey player of the week after scoring four goals in two games. INCH has some other weekly notes here.

Shore is expected to be on the 2011 U.S. World Junior team when announced in late-December. The Wisconsin-based blog, Sixty Minutes, No Alibis, No Regrets made a Monday projection at what the U.S. team will look like, which includes defensemen Derek Forbort of Duluth and Justin Faulk (South St. Paul) of UMD. That list is here.

UMD sophomore defenseman Dylan Olsen is a candidate for the Canadian Junior team. The Toronto Globe and Mail looks at Canada’s prospects here.

USCHO, USA Today polls

Monday’s U.S. College Hockey Online and USA Today-USA Hockey Magazine polls:

USCHO Division I Men

1 Minn. Duluth (49)   11-1-2   999
2 Boston University ( 1)   7-1-5   901
2 Yale                                  8-1-0   901
4 Nebraska-Omaha          9-2-1   845
5 New Hampshire             7-2-4   775
6 Miami                              9-4-3   731
7 North Dakota                  9-5-2   689
8 Boston College                9-5-0   640
9 Maine                              6-3-3   598
10 Denver                        10-4-2   550
11 Michigan                       8-4-4   546
12 Notre Dame                  9-4-2   455
13 Union                             7-2-3   404
14 Alaska                            8-5-3   324
15 Wisconsin                      7-6-3   254
16 Rensselaer                    7-3-3   231
17 Minnesota                     8-5-1   230
18 Merrimack                   5-3-4   178
19 Western Michigan       7-4-3   124
20 Ferris State                  7-5-3    75

Others Receiving Votes: Dartmouth 21, Brown 15,
Robert Morris 8, Clarkson 2, Niagara 2,
Colorado College 1, Michigan State 1.

USA Today-USA Hockey Magazine Division I Men

1 Minn. Duluth  (34)
2 Yale
3 Boston University
4 Nebraska-Omaha
5 New Hampshire
6 Miami of Ohio
7 North Dakota
8 Boston College
9 Maine
10 Denver
11 Michigan
12 Notre Dame
13 Union
14 Alaska Fairbanks
15 Rensselaer

Others Receiving Votes: Wisconsin, Merrimack, Minnesota, Dartmouth, Robert Morris.

USCHO Division I Women

1 Cornell  ( 7)              10-1-0   139
2 Wisconsin (8)            12-2-0   138
3 Mercyhurst              10-2-0   114
3 Minn. Duluth        10-4-0   114
5 Boston University     11-2-3    88
6 Boston College           10-2-4    82
7 Minnesota                  10-5-0    56
8 North Dakota              8-4-2    45
9 Ohio State                    8-6-2    22
10 Northeastern            9-3-4     8
10 Providence                11-5-1     8

Others Receiving Votes: Dartmouth 4, Harvard 3,
Bemidji State 2, Quinnipiac 2.

USCHO Division III Men

1 Oswego  (17)                   9-0-0   295
2 St. Norbert  ( 2)           10-1-0   278
3 Norwich  ( 1)                   3-1-0   265
4 Bowdoin                           3-0-0   224
5 Williams                           4-0-1   195
6 Gustavus Adolphus        6-2-1   189
7 Neumann                          6-2-1   137
8 Manhattanville                 5-2-1   133
9 Adrian                               6-2-0   131
10 Geneseo                          7-2-2   122
11 Milw. Engineering          6-0-0    94
12 Hamline                           5-3-0    78
13 Wisconsin-Stout              7-3-0    55
14 Castleton                          4-0-0    41
15 Buffalo State                    6-2-1    37

Others Receiving Votes: Amherst 27, Plattsburgh 27,
Wisconsin-Eau Claire 19, St. Thomas 17, Middlebury 10,
Lawrence 4, Nichols 4, Curry 3, Elmira 3,
Massachusetts-Boston 3, Wis.-Superior 3,
New England College 2, Wis.-River Falls 2,
Wis.-Stevens Point 2.

USCHO Division III Women

1 Rochester Institute  (12)  10-0-0   146
2 Plattsburgh  ( 2)                  5-0-0   134
3 Amherst                                2-2-0   101
4 Gustavus Adolphus  ( 1)     6-0-0    92
5 Norwich                                7-1-0    91
6 Wis.-River Falls                  6-0-0    82
7 Middlebury                          5-0-0    65
8 Trinity                                  3-0-0    41
9 Wis.-Stevens Point             6-0-0    30
10 Elmira                                5-2-1    22

Others Receiving Votes: Manhattanville 11,
St. Catherine 8, Lake Forest 2.

INCH: Still No. 1

Minnesota Duluth, idle last weekend, remained No. 1 in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings for a third straight week. UMD’s home opponent this week, Denver, is No. 11. The rankings are below and a link to INCH is here.

In Sunday’s WCHA game, No. 15-ranked Minnesota scored the game’s first two goals and went on to beat No. 8 Michigan 3-1 at Mariucci Arena. Nate Condon, Nick Larson and Erik Haula scored for the Gophers, and goalie Alex Kangas was named the game’s No. 1 star. Michigan (8-4-4) led in shots 36-26. Minnesota is 8-5-1. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a story here and the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a story here.

The No. 4 UMD women knocked off No. 1 Wisconsin 3-1 on Saturday afternoon in Madison, Wis., and the Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

Inside College Hockey Power Rankings

1 Minn. Duluth
2 Yale
3 Nebraska-Omaha
4 Boston University
5 Maine
6 North Dakota
7 New Hampshire
8 Union
9 Miami of Ohio
10 Michigan
11 Denver
12 Notre Dame
13 Boston College
14 Alaska Fairbanks
15 Wisconsin
16 Rensselaer
17 Merrimack
18 Ferris State
19 Minnesota
20 Western Michigan

UMD women stop No. 1 Wisconsin 3-1

After nearly two days of considering a game that got away, No. 4-ranked Minnesota Duluth regrouped Sunday afternoon to defeat No. 1 Wisconsin 3-1 in a Western Collegiate Hockey Association women’s game before 2,151 fans at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wis.

The Bulldogs (10-4 and 8-4 WCHA) trailed 1-0 just 39 seconds into the game, then didn’t allow a goal the remaining 59:21 as senior goalie Kim Martin made 25 saves. Freshman winger Jamie Kenyon of Sparta, Wis., tied the score 1-1 at 9:54 of the second period on a breakaway and All-American senior defenseman Jocelyne Larocque scored 47 seconds later on a drive from the point.

Center Katie Wilson added goal at 4:17 of the third period to hand Wisconsin (12-2 and 8-2) its worst loss of the season. The Badgers had a four-game win streak broken and lost at home for the first time after nine victories. On Friday, Wisconsin scored with 25 seconds left in the third period to force overtime and then won 3-2 on a goal 10 seconds into sudden death.

“We weren’t disciplined at the end of (Friday’s) game and gave them one. (Sunday) we started slowly, and then showed we were hungry,” said UMD coach Shannon Miller. “We took control of the game. We kept the Wisconsin rushes to the outside, we protected the middle of the rink, and Kim didn’t allow any second or third chances.”

Martin came into the game ranked No. 2 in Division I in goals-against average (1.26) and third in save percentage (.948), while Wisconsin led on offense with 5.31 goals a game. Martin, a Swedish Olympian, earned her 60th career win, No. 5 all time at UMD, and is 60-20-6.

Wisconsin freshman Alex Rigsby (8-1), lost for the first time as a collegian. UMD, which led 35-26 in shots on goal, took no penalties in the game.

The outcome left the teams tied for first in the WCHA with 24 points, although Wisconsin has played two fewer games. The teams meet again Jan. 21-22 in the first games for the UMD women in Amsoil Arena. UMD is at St. Cloud State his weekend.

Minnesota Duluth     0-2-1—3

Wisconsin 1-0-0—1

First period – 1. Wisconsin, Meghan Duggan 13 (Hilary Knight, Brianna Decker), :39. Penalties –  None.

Second period – 2. UMD, Jamie Kenyon 2, 9:54; 3. UMD, Jocelyne Larocque 3 (Jessica Wong, Haley Irwin), 10:41. Penalties – Saige Pacholok, Wisconsin (checking), 1:36; Meghan Duggan, Wisconsin (checking), 1:53; Pacholok, Wisconsin (tripping), 19:00.

Third period – 4. UMD, Katherine Wilson 4 (Pernilla Winberg), 4:17. Penalties – None.

Shots on goal – UMD 8-13-14—35; Wisconsin 10-5-11—26. Goalies – Kim Martin (7-3), UMD (26 shots-25 saves); Alex Rigsby (8-1), Wisconsin (35 shot-32 saves). Power plays – UMD 0-of-3, Wisconsin 0-of-0. Referees – Jay Mendel, Dan Lick. Linesmen – Daniel Fitzsimmons, Cyndi Robertson. A – 2,151.

Sunday in the WCHA

The Western Collegiate Hockey Association was on top of its game Saturday, going 4-0-1 in non-conference games, while Colorado College earned a league home split with Alaska Anchorage.

Minnesota State-Mankato won 3-2 at Massachusetts-Lowell; No. 12 Denver won at home 3-1 over Air Force; No. 11 Notre Dame tied 2-2 at No. 9 North Dakota; Bemidji State won 3-0 at home over Northern Michigan; No. 16 Wisconsin won 4-1 at home over Michigan State; and Colorado College won 2-0 at home over Anchorage.

No. 15 Minnesota completes the weekend at 4:30 p.m. Sunday against No. 8 Michigan at Mariucci Arena.

Top-ranked Minnesota Duluth was idle but now opens December with a home series against Denver that has more than a few compelling storylines. UMD is first in the league, Denver second. Denver has the best winning streak in Division I (6), UMD the second-best (5). And most meaningful for folks in Northeastern Minnesota, the series marks the final men’s games at the 45-year-old DECC.

Oh, and UMD’s No. 1-ranked football team has a home noon game this Saturday in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals against Augustana (S.D.) College.

How did the top Division I teams do over the weekend? Entering play Sunday: No. 1 UMD off, No. 2 Boston University 0-0-1, No. 3 Yale 1-0, No. 4 Nebraska-Omaha off, No. 5 Miami of Ohio 1-1, No. 6 New Hampshire 1-0-1 and No. 7 Boston College 0-1.

At Grand Forks, N.D., Matt Frattin’s 13th goal of the season gave North Dakota a 2-1 lead 91 seconds into the third period. Sam Calabrese’s first goal of the season tied it for Notre Dame with 3:03 left in regulation. North Dakota, 4-1-1 the last six games, led in shots 41-28. The Grand Forks Herald has a story here.

At Denver, sophomore center Drew Shore (12) got the game-winner on a power play late in the second period to claim the Denver Cup title. Casey Kleisinger scored for Air Force. Denver’s Sam Brittain made 25 saves. Denver led 42-26 in shots. The Pioneers, after seven of the last eight games at home, are 8-2-1 at Magness Arena. The Denver Post has a story here.

At Lowell, Mass., Chase Grant scored at 5:48 of the third period to give Mankato a sweep of Lowell. Lowell had led 1-0, Zach Lehrke (1) tied it with the only goal of the second period, Kurt Davis gave the Mavericks a lead 55 seconds into the third and Riley Wetmore tied it for Lowell on a shorthanded goal. Mankato led in shots 36-28. The Mankato Free Press has a story here.

At Bemidji, Minn., Emil Billberg, Jordan George and Ian Lowe had goals for the Beavers. Dan Bakala had 17 saves for the shutout. Bemidji State shut down Northern Michigan in shots 37-17. The teams exchanged shutouts in the series. The Bemidji Pioneer has a story here.

At Madison, Wis., sophomore defenseman Justin Schultz (9) scored three goals, the first goal of each period (63 seconds into the first, 28 seconds into the third and 5:26 into the second). Defenseman Jake Gardiner had three assists to help end a six-game Badger winless streak. Wisconsin led in shots 30-22. Scott Gudmandson made 21 saves for the win. Zach Golembiewski scored for Michigan State. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

At Colorado Springs, Colo., Archie Skalbeck scored 2:08 into the second period and William Rapuzzi hit an empty net with 54 seconds left for all of the Colorado College scoring. Rob Gunderson made 18 saves for the shutout. Anchorage led in shots 26-20. The Colorado Springs Gazette has a story here.

Saturday in the WCHA

Post-Thanksgiving play left the Western Collegiate Hockey Association 3-2-1 Friday, and the one league series went to overtime as Alaska Anchorage won at Colorado College.

No. 9-ranked North Dakota beat No. 11 Notre Dame 6-3 in Grand Forks; No. 12 Denver beat Lake Superior State 6-3 in Denver; Michigan State won 5-2 at No. 15 Minnesota; Minnesota State-Mankato won 8-3 at Massachusetts-Lowell; Northern Michigan won 4-0 at Bemidji State; No. 8 Michigan tied 4-4 at No. 16 Wisconsin; and Anchorage won 4-3 in sudden death at Colorado College.

At Grand Forks, N.D., the Fighting Sioux outshot Notre Dame 39-30 and led 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 as Jason Gregoire had two goals and an assist, and Corban Knight (8) had a goal. Aaron Dell was in goal. Notre Dame was playing for the first time at the new Ralph Engelstad Arena and in Grand Forks for the first time since 1999. The South Bend Tribune has a story here and Grand Forks Herald has a story here.

At Minneapolis, Michigan State scored three goals in the game’s first nine minutes (two in 22 seconds) for its first road win of the season. Dustin Gazley finished with two goals as the Spartans broke a three-game losing streak. Cade Fairchild and Taylor Matson scored for Minnesota. Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson was replaced in the first period by Alex Kangas. Minnesota is 3-5-1 at home. The Lansing Journal has a story here and the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a story here.

At Denver, two Drew Shore goals in the final six minutes broke open a close game as Denver pulled away from Lake Superior State. Shore, with a hat trick, has 11 goals this season. Denver, with five straight wins, led 40-28 in shots. The Denver Post has a story here.

At Madison, Wis., Jake Gardiner scored a power-play goal 49 seconds into the third period to tie the game. The Badgers had three power-play goals in playing a third straight overtime game. Michigan is 3-0-1 the last four games and Wisconsin 0-4-2 the last six. The Badgers are 4-4-1 at home and 0-8-18 in OT the past four years. Gardiner had two goals. The Ann Arbor News has a story here and the Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

At Bemidji, Minn., junior goalie Reid Ellingson of Cloquet earned his second career shutout in making 37 saves. Senior center Nicholas Kosinski recorded his first goal of the season and second of his career with 18 seconds left in the first period. Northern Michigan is 3-0-1 the last four games. Bemidji State led 37-25 in shots and is 1-4 the last five games and 1-5-1 at home. The Bemidji Pioneer has a story here.

At Lowell, Mass., the Mankato Mavericks broke a five-game winless streak with its best offensive game of the season. Junior right winger Justin Jokinen of Carlton doubled his season goal total with three on the night, all coming in a five-goal second period. Lowell (2-9-2) used two goalies. Mankato led 35-26 in shots. The Mankato Free Press has a story here.

At Colorado Springs, Colo., the Tigers led 3-2 before Anchorage’s Matt Bailey scored shorthanded, and with an extra attacker, with a mere six seconds to play in regulation. Tommy Grant then scored with 70 seconds left in overtime. Tyler Johnson of Cloquet had two goals for Colorado College, which led 40-36 in shots. Bailey had two goals for Anchorage, including one with one second left in the second period. The Seawolves are 3-2-1 the last six games with three one-goal victories. The Anchorage Daily News has a story here and the Colorado Springs Gazette has a story here.

And the best women’s game in Division I was at the Kohl Center in Madison, as No. 1-ranked Wisconsin rallied to beat No. 4 Minnesota Duluth 3-2 in overtime. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

UMD Recruits

The first listing of 2010-11 of Minnesota Duluth recruits in junior and high school leagues. Any corrections, additions, deletions email kpates@duluthnews.com

U.S. Hockey League, USNTDP, Canadian Junior

Chris Casto, D, Lincoln (Neb.), 15 GP, 1-3-4

Willie Corrin, D, Fargo (N.D.), 14 GP, 0-4-4

Justin Crandall, F, Omaha, 18 GP, 4-4-8

Cal Decowski, F, Des Moines, 13 GP, 4-7-11

Caleb Herbert, F, Sioux City (Iowa), 12 GP, 7-5-12

Derik Johnson, D, Penticton, British Columbia, 29 GP, 2-1-3

Adam Krause, F, Chicago, 18 GP, 4-1-5

Matt McNeely, G, USA U18 Program, 11 GP, 5-5, 4.09, .891

Kyle Osterberg. F, USA U17 Program, 13 GP, 3-3-6

Andy Welinski, D, Green Bay, 14 GP, 3-1-4

Northland Connection No. 1

The first Northland Connection for 2010-11 for professional players connected to Northeastern Minnesota, northwest Wisconsin and Minnesota Duluth. Additions, corrections and deletions can be sent to kpates@duluthnews.com

NHL

Jason Garrison, D, Florida, 12 GP, 1-1-2

Alex Goligoski, D, Pittsburgh, 24 GP, 5-7-12

Jamie Langenbrunner, W, New Jersey, 16 GP, 3-6-9

Matt Niskanen, D, Dallas, 20 GP, 0-3-3

Mason Raymond, W, Vancouver, 21 GP, 4-9-13

AHL

Rob Bordson, F, Adirondack (N.Y.), 1 GP, 0-0-0; Syracuse, 15 GP, 1-2-3

Andrew Carroll, F, Abbotsford, 8 GP, 1-0-1

Zach FitzGerald, D, Charlotte (N.C.), 21 GP, 0-3-3

Josh Meyers, D, Abbotsford, 19 GP, 1-4-5

Evan Oberg, D, Manitoba, 12 GP, 2-1-3

MacGregor Sharp, C, Syracuse, 18 GP, 1-4-5

Jay Rosehill, F, Toronto, 18 GP, 3-3-6

Tim Stapleton, C, San Antonio, 19 GP, 7-6-13

Steve Wagner, C, Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, 19 GP, 2-3-5

Clay Wilson, D, Rochester (N.Y.), 20 GP, 3-8-12

ECHL

Ross Carlson, F, Florida, 8 GP, 2-2-4

Jay Cascalenda, D, Bakersfield, 12 GP, 0-2-2

Jon Francisco, F, Ontario (Calif.), 12 GP, 4-1-5

Jordan Fulton, F, Kalamazoo, 15 GP, 4-8-12

Ben Gordon, F, Reading, 16 GP, 3-12-15

Matt McKnight, F, Idaho, 9 GP, 1-3-4

Weston Tardy, D, Idaho, 3 GP, 0-1-1

GOALIES

AHL

Alex Stalock, Worcester (Mass.), 15 GP (8-6), 2.83, .902

INTERNATIONAL

Nick Anderson, F, Landsberg, Germany, 15 GP, 7-5-12

Angell Nick, D, Novokuznetsk, Russia, 28 GP, 4-7-11

Gino Guyer, F, Lillehammer, Norway, 21 GP, 9-23-32

Tim Hambly, D, Ingolstadt, Germany, 21 GP, 1-6-7

Andy Sertich, D, Zagreb, Austria, 21 GP, 3-8-1

Aaron Slattengren, F, Heilbronn, Germany, 16 GP, 2-2-4

Craig Weller, F, Cardiff, England, 4 GP, 1-4-5