Monday’s polls: No. 4 and 5

After a week off, Minnesota Duluth (17-5-3) finds itself No. 4 in the PairWise Rankings, U.S. College Hockey Online poll, and USA Today-USA Hockey Magazine poll, and No. 5 in the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings.

Minnesota (11-10-3) which comes to Amsoil Arena on Friday and Saturday is No. 22 in the PairWise Rankings.

Losses to Union and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute dropped Yale (17-4) from No. 1 to No. 3 at U.S. College Hockey Online, but remains No. 1 in PairWise.

The UMD women (14-7-3) remain No. 6 in the PairWise Rankings and U.S. College Hockey Online poll.

The U.S. College Hockey Online polls, Division I and III, are here.

The Inside College Hockey Power Rankings are here.

The Division I men’s PairWise Rankings are here.

The Division I women’s PairWise Rankings are here.

Also, U.S. College Hockey Online looks back at last weekend’s games in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association here.

The Atlanta Thrashers have re-assigned center Tim Stapleton to Chicago in the American Hockey League. He has one assist in 15 games with the Thrashers this season.

Monday’s Bracketology from Sixty Minutes shows UMD taking a trip to…Green Bay…here.

Michigan State coach Rick Comley announced his retirement last week and then faced Red Berenson and Michigan likely for the last time, and saw the Spartans win 2-1 before 17,577 Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. The Lansing (Mich.) State Journal has a game story here.

Sunday in the WCHA

If you like surprises, there were plenty Saturday night in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association as all five road teams won. The five losing teams combined for four goals. The most interesting games?

Alaska Anchorage blanked Minnesota 1-0 at Mariucci Arena.

North Dakota smacked Colorado College 6-0.

Alabama-Huntsville stunned Nebraska-Omaha 2-1 in overtime.

Also, Wisconsin won 4-1 at Michigan Tech, and Minnesota State-Mankato won 6-2 at St. Cloud State. Minnesota Duluth, idle last weekend, is home this weekend with Minnesota.

Four teams are separated by four points at the top of the league as North Dakota took over first place. Denver is one point back, UMD two back and Wisconsin four back.

The PairWise Rankings have Yale at No. 1 and then Denver and North Dakota tied at No. 2 and UMD at No. 4. The PairWise is here.

At Minneapolis, backup goalie Chris Kamal (whose dad, Dan, is the Atlanta Thrashers radio play-by-play voice) hadn’t played in more than two months, but stopped all 30 Minnesota shots in the Anchorage goal. Matt Bailey’s blast 1:18 into the third period was the game’s only goal. Minnesota’s Kent Patterson had 21 stops. The Anchorage Daily News has a story here and the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a recap here.

At Colorado Springs, Colo., a 4-2 loss Friday, and losing captain Chay Genoway to injury, didn’t sit well with North Dakota. The Fighting Sioux led 1-0 after one period Saturday, then scored four in the second, including a power-play goal from Matt Frattin (21). Danny Kristo had three assists and Aaron Dell made 21 saves. North Dakota, in its black jerseys, led in shots 32-21. CC goalie Joe Howe was injured early in the third period. The Colorado Springs Gazette has a story here and the Grand Forks Herald has a recap here.

At Omaha, Neb., coming into Saturday’s game, independent Alabama-Huntsville was 0-13-2 on the road and 1-13-1 in its last 15 games. Despite being outshot 59-19, the Chargers pulled off the upset. Mac Roy put Huntsville up 58 seconds into the third period, Ryan Walters tied it for Omaha at 10:17 of the period, and Sebastian Geoffrion (brother of 2010 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Blake Geoffrion of Wisconsin) scored just 29 seconds into overtime. Clarke Saunders had 58 saves. Huntsville is 4-24-2. The Omaha World Herald has a recap here.

At. St. Cloud, Minn., the visiting Mavericks were in control throughout, leading 4-0 through two periods, including a Joe Schiller shorthanded goal. Michael Dorr had two goals for Mankato. Phil Cook had 29 saves and an assist. St. Cloud State had two goals 1:53 apart in the third period, including one from Cam Reid (8). St. Cloud’s seven-game unbeaten streak was ended, while Mankato broke its own seven-game conference winless streak. The St. Cloud Times has a recap here and the Mankato Free Press has a story here.

At Houghton, Mich., the Badgers led Michigan Tech 1-0 after one period and 2-1 after two, and led in shots 30-22. Patrick Johnson had a goal and two assists, and Justin Schultz (15) had a goal. Tech’s Ryan Furne had a power-play goal. Brett Bennett made 21 saves for the win. Michigan Tech is 0-20-2 the last 22 games and Wisconsin is 12-1 the last 13, and has won five straight. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

As the UMD women were finishing a sweep of Bemidji State 5-3 Saturday night at Amsoil Arena, the top-ranked Wisconsin Badgers beat Minnesota 3-1 in front of an NCAA-record crowd for a women’s game — 10,668 — at the Kohl Center. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

WCHA Standings Courtesy of College Hockey Stats.net

 1 North Dakota      28  20 14- 6- 0 .700  70- 49   29 19- 8- 2 .690 106- 72
 2 Denver            27  18 12- 3- 3 .750  63- 45   26 16- 5- 5 .712  87- 66
 3 Minnesota Duluth  26  18 12- 4- 2 .722  58- 37   25 17- 5- 3 .740  87- 57
 4 Wisconsin         24  20 11- 7- 2 .600  56- 41   30 19- 8- 3 .683 103- 60
 5 Nebraska-Omaha    22  18 10- 6- 2 .611  60- 46   26 14-10- 2 .577  88- 66
 6 Colorado College  18  18  9- 9- 0 .500  56- 52   28 15-12- 1 .554  93- 80
   Minnesota         18  18  8- 8- 2 .500  53- 51   24 11-10- 3 .521  72- 69
 8 St. Cloud State   16  18  7- 9- 2 .444  49- 52   26 11-12- 3 .481  73- 78
   Alaska Anchorage  16  20  7-11- 2 .400  40- 59   24  8-13- 3 .396  54- 74
10 Minnesota State   14  20  5-11- 4 .350  52- 67   28 11-11- 6 .500  86- 86
11 Bemidji State     12  18  5-11- 2 .333  39- 51   24  9-13- 2 .417  54- 63
12 Michigan Tech      3  18  1-16- 1 .083  33- 79   26  3-20- 3 .173  58-113

Saturday in the WCHA

Little changed in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association on Friday — which was good for Denver and not so good for Michigan Tech.

A 4-2 loss at Colorado College kept second-place North Dakota from overtaking idle league leader Denver; and Michigan Tech’s 4-2 loss at home to Wisconsin left the Huskies 0-19-2 the last 21 games. The league’s top three teams — Denver, Minnesota Duluth and North Dakota — are still separated by one point.

In other games: Minnesota defeated Alaska Anchorage 5-1 in Minneapolis; St. Cloud State and Minnesota State-Mankato tied 3-3 in St. Cloud, Minn.; and Nebraska-Omaha blanked Alabama-Huntsville 4-0 in Omaha.

The PairWise Rankings on Saturday show: 2. Denver, 3. Minnesota Duluth, 4. North Dakota, 8. Wisconsin, 14. Omaha, 17. Colorado College, 21. Minnesota and 23. St. Cloud State. Also, top-rated Yale lost 3-2 at No. 12 Union (N.Y.) The Pairwise is here.

At Colorado Springs, Colo., the Tigers scored two goals in the first period and two in the second on the way to a 4-0 lead. Cloquet’s Tyler Johnson had two assists. North Dakota rallied with two Jason Gregoire goals in the third (one while skating two-men shorthanded). Shots were 40-40. CC’s Joe Howe made 38 saves. North Dakota, however, lost defenseman Chay Genoway to a second-period leg injury on a hit by Johnson. The Colorado Springs Gazette has a recap here and the Grand Forks Herald has a game story here.

In Minneapolis, the Gophers scored twice in the first period and two in the second on the way to stopping Anchorage — the most goals by Minnesota since mid-November. Defenseman Aaron Ness added his first goal of the season and Kent Patterson made 28 saves for the win. Minnesota led in shots 48-29. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a story here, the Anchorage Daily News has a story here and the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a recap here.

In St. Cloud, Minn., the game was tied at 1, 2 and 3 — all in the first two periods, and no scoring in the third and OT. St. Cloud State junior center Drew LeBlanc of Hermantown had two goals, including the tying goal. Junior left winger Michael Dorr had three assists for Mankato. Shots were 28-28. St. Cloud State is 6-0-1 the last seven games and Mankato 0-3-2 the last five. The Mankato Free Press has a recap here and the St. Cloud Times has a story here.

At Houghton, Mich., the Huskies had their goal-less streak end at 227 minutes with two second-period goals (Alex MacLeod and Evan Witt) and even had a 2-1 lead. But freshman Mark Zengerle got the game winner to give Wisconsin a fourth straight victory and 11-1 mark the last 12 games. The Houghton Mining Gazette has a recap here and the Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

At Omaha, Neb., as bad as things have gone for Michigan Tech, the season has been worse for the only independent team in Division I — Alabama-Huntsville. The Chargers are: 1-13-1 the last 15 games, 0-13-2 on the road and have lost five straight (three by shutout margins). The Chargers are 3-24-2 and Michigan Tech (3-19-3). Oh, Omaha scored twice in the second period and twice in the third, including a power-play score by Matt White (11). John Faulkner earned his NCAA-leading fifth shutout of the season with 20 saves. Omaha led in shots 44-20. The Omaha World Herald has a recap here.

WCHA Standings Courtesy of College Hockey Stats.net

 1 Denver            27  18 12- 3- 3 .750  63- 45   26 16- 5- 5 .712  87- 66
 2 Minnesota Duluth  26  18 12- 4- 2 .722  58- 37   25 17- 5- 3 .740  87- 57
   North Dakota      26  19 13- 6- 0 .684  64- 49   28 18- 8- 2 .679 100- 72
 4 Nebraska-Omaha    22  18 10- 6- 2 .611  60- 46   25 14- 9- 2 .600  87- 64
   Wisconsin         22  19 10- 7- 2 .579  52- 40   29 18- 8- 3 .672  99- 59
 6 Colorado College  18  17  9- 8- 0 .529  56- 46   27 15-11- 1 .574  93- 74
   Minnesota         18  17  8- 7- 2 .529  53- 50   23 11- 9- 3 .543  72- 68
 8 St. Cloud State   16  17  7- 8- 2 .471  47- 46   25 11-11- 3 .500  71- 72
 9 Alaska Anchorage  14  19  6-11- 2 .368  39- 59   23  7-13- 3 .370  53- 74
10 Bemidji State     12  18  5-11- 2 .333  39- 51   24  9-13- 2 .417  54- 63
   Minnesota State   12  19  4-11- 4 .316  46- 65   27 10-11- 6 .481  80- 84
12 Michigan Tech      3  17  1-15- 1 .088  32- 75   25  3-19- 3 .180  57-109

Final: UMD women 4, Bemidji State 3

The Minnesota Duluth women’s team won its first game at Amsoil Arena on Friday night. That was about the only thing UMD coach Shannon Miller liked about the Western Collegiate Hockey Association matchup with Bemidji State – a 4-3 victory.

The No. 6-ranked Bulldogs had forged a 3-1 advantage in the first five minutes of the second period and then took a break. Bemidji State scored twice in 76 seconds as star left Erin Cody completed a hat trick for a 3-3 deadlock after 40 minutes.

Senior Elin Holmlov saved UMD with a goal at 4:03 of the third period, while goalie Kim Martin stopped all six shots in the period.

“We had some lapses in energy and (Bemidji State) took advantage of it,” said UMD senior defenseman Laura Fridfinnson, who had two goals. “Bemidji’s a great team and we have to focus on hard work every game. That’s what we did in the third period and that’s the reason we were able to win.”

The Bulldogs (13-7-3 and 11-7-3) overtook Bemidji State for fifth place in the league with the three points for a victory. They also broke the longest winless streak in the program’s 12 years, having gone 0-3-2 the previous five games. The defending NCAA champions, however, were pressed throughout by a team that broke a 0-47-2 mark in the series with a 1-0 victory Nov. 5 in Bemidji, Minn.

Each team was missing a significant player – Bemidji State sophomore goalie Zuzana Tomcikova is playing for Slovakia in the Winter World University Games in Turkey, while UMD Olympic gold medalist Haley Irwin, a junior center, is injured. Tomcikova, a 2010 Olympian and the 2010 WCHA co-player of the year, will also miss next week’s home series with No. 1 Wisconsin.

“(Tomcikova) felt it was important to go (to Turkey) and I respect her and the loyalty to her country,” said Bemidji State coach Steve Sertich. “We played hard, especially with the 1-on-1 battles. We went toe-to-toe with a good team and the only disappointing thing is that we didn’t get any points.”

Bemidji State (12-10-3 and 10-8-3) led 1-0 just 3:04 on Cody’s first goal. It was also the 100th career point for the senior from Roseville, Minn.  The Bulldogs followed with three straight goals, all from senior defensemen.

Tara Gray drove a shot from high in the slot at 6:47 to make it 1-1 after one period. Fridfinnson had goals 3:18 apart early in the second period. She came from behind the Bemidji State net to score from the right edge and followed that with a power play goal giving here 143 points in 140 career games, including 69 goals.

Things then fell flat for UMD.

“We didn’t work as hard as we’re supposed to. We took it too easy after we got a two-goal lead,” said Holmlov.

Cody stunned UMD with a 65-foot attempt from neutral ice that took two hops and the puck bounded overt Martin with 8:42 left in the second period. Cody then connected from the left circle, scoring to the near side with 7:26 remaining and has 102 points in 134 games, 53 goals and 49 assists. For the season she has 17 goals and 14 assists for 31 points in 25 games as Bemidji State’s scoring leader.

“We’re winning 3-1 and playing well, and then some of our players went on vacation. I’m tired of that,” said Miller. “Our players need to wake up and realize they have to play hard all the way through.”

UMD led in shots on goal 13-6 in the third period and 35-24 for the game. Holmlov, a Swedish Olympian, finished off some significant pressure by tipping in a shot in the third period for her 58th career goal.

The teams meet again at 7:07 p.m. today. The Bulldogs are at Minnesota State-Mankato on Feb. 4-5.

Bemidji State………………….. 1-2-0—3

Minnesota Duluth……………. 1-2-1—4

First period — 1. Bemidji State, Erin Cody 15, 3:04; 2. UMD, Tara Gray 2 (Audrey Cournoyer, Jamie Kenyon), 6:47. Penalties — Brienna Gillanders, UMD (checking), :27; Emily Erickson, Bemidji State (interference), 1:01; Tess Dusik, Bemidji State (hooking), 14:10.

Second period — 3. UMD, Laura Fridfinnson 3 (Cournoyer), 1:14; 4. UMD, Fridfinnson 4 (Katie Wilson, Gray), 4:32; 5. Bemidji State, Cody 16 (Montana Vichorek), 11:18 (pp); 6. Bemidji State, Cody 17, 12:34. Penalties — Kacy Ambroz, UMD (checking), 1:32; Erin Johnson, Bemidji State (slashing), 2:35; Dusik, Bemidji State (tripping), 5:41; Pernilla Winberg, UMD (cross-checking), 9:32; Jocelyne Larocque, UMD (interference), 13:23.

Third period — 7. UMD, Elin Holmlov 9 (Winberg, Jessica Wong), 4:03. Penalties — Sadie Lundquist, Bemidji State (tripping), 5:17; Kim Lieder, Bemidji State (tripping), 8:29; Marlee Wheelhouse, Bemidji State (tripping), 15:08.

Shots on goal — Bemidji State 10-8-6—24; UMD 12-10-13—35. Goalies — Alana McElhinney (1-2-1), Bemidji State  (35 shots-31 saves); Kim Martin (10-5), UMD (24 shots-21 saves). Power plays — Bemidji State 1-of-5, UMD 1-of-7. Referees — Shawn Thiele, Mike Elam. Linesmen — Nick Biondich, Sara Anderson. A — 1,104.

In eight days: The Gophers

In one week, Minnesota Duluth will be back on the ice, facing Minnesota at Amsoil Arena on Feb. 4-5. The Bulldogs are home for six of their final 10 regular-season games.

The Gophers (10-9-3) are home Friday and Saturday against Alaska Anchorage (7-12-3). The St. Paul Pioneer Press takes a look at Minnesota freshman center Erik Haula, a Minnesota Wild draft pick, in a story here.

The Pioneer Press also looks at Minnesota’s hopes to increase scoring in a story here.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an update on Minnesota’s goalie situation since the loss of senior Alex Kangas to a hip injury. That story is here.

The Star Tribune also has Minnesota-Anchorage series notes here.

The Anchorage Daily News previews the Seawolves here.

Predictions on this weekend’s Western Collegiate Hockey Association series, from Roman Augustoviz of the Star Tribune, are here.

Take a trip around the WCHA with Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald here, Theresa Spisak of U.S. College Hockey Online here, Jess Myers of Inside College Hockey here, and Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press here.

The No. 6-ranked UMD women are home Friday and Saturday against Bemidji State at Amsoil Arena, at 7:07 p.m. both nights. Bemidji State is without star goalie Zuzana Tomcikova, who is playing for Slovakia in the Winter World University Games in Turkey.

Statistics from Houghton

Some leftover statistics from Minnesota Duluth‘s series at Michigan Tech last weekend.

The Bulldogs won all four games against the Huskies for the season — a rarity. It happened just once before in the 51 years of Division I hockey at UMD.

The schools have met four times a season for all but one season since 1961-62. The one previous 4-0 sweep came in 1978-79 with wins of 4-3 in overtime, 7-6, 5-3 and 6-5. That season, the Bulldogs were 22-14-4 (the most wins to that point as a  Division I program).

In the first years of the rivalry, Michigan Tech simply owned UMD. The Huskies won the first nine games in the series, lost once, and then won 25 straight. That left the Bulldogs 1-34 in the first 35 games through 1969-70.

UMD has now won the last five straight.

With 5-0 and 3-0 wins in Houghton, Mich., last weekend, UMD achieved the first weekend shutout series in program history. Kenny Reiter (Friday) and Aaron Crandall (Saturday) were in goal.

The only other UMD  shutouts in back-to-back games on the same weekend came in the 2009 Western Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs with wins over North Dakota 3-0 and Denver 4-0 with Alex Stalock in goal.

UMD now has three shutouts in four games, a best in program history. The Bulldogs had three shutouts in five games in 1997-98 with Brant Nicklin in goal against Michigan Tech 1-0 on Nov. 29 at the DECC, Nebraska-Omaha 3-0 on Dec. 6 at the DECC and at Alaska Anchorage 2-0 on Dec. 20.

Stalock was in the NHL for the first time Wednesday night, as the backup goalie for the San Jose Sharks in a 3-2 shootout loss at the Los Angeles Kings. The Sharks were using a third backup goalie in three games behind Antti Niemi (as Antero Niittymaki recovers from an injury entering the All-Star break). Stalock will return to Worcester (Mass.) for American Hockey League home games Friday and Saturday. The San Jose Mercury News has a story of the Sharks loss here.

Former Colorado College defenseman Lee Sweatt also made his NHL debut Wednesday — and came up with the game-winner, in overtime, as Vancovuer defeated Nashville 2-1 in Vancouver, British Coloumbia. Sweatt, 25, played four seasons at Colorado College through 2007. The Vancouver Sun has a game story here.

U.S. College Hockey Online debuts its Bracketology this week — taking a look at the NCAA tournament if the season ended today. That entry is here.

USCHO also takes a look a the revived St. Cloud State Huskies (who are in Duluth on Feb. 11-12), and has previews of the WCHA’s weekend series. That story is here.

To get a sense of what the straight-shooting Rick Comley is like, read the College Hockey News question-and-answer with the Michigan State coach following his announcement to retire at the end of the season at age 64. Comley was a joy to talk with when in the WCHA behind the Northern Michigan bench. The College Hockey News piece is here.

NHL.com looks at proposed changes in Division I, including a half-shield rather than a full helmet. That story is here.

Also, did you know NHL.com has a Division I Top 10 men’s ranking? That’s on the same post as above.

UMD Recruits

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

High School, U.S. Hockey League, USNTDP, Canadian Junior

Tony Cameranesi, F, Wayzata H.S., 18 GP, 14-27-41

Chris Casto, D, Lincoln (Neb.), 30 GP, 1-11-12

Willie Corrin, D, Fargo (N.D.), 30 GP, 0-7-7

Justin Crandall, F, Omaha, 32 GP, 6-9-15

Cal Decowski, F, Des Moines (Iowa), 31 GP, 8-14-22

Caleb Herbert, F, Sioux City (Iowa), 25 GP, 12-14-26

Derik Johnson, D, Penticton, British Columbia, 49 GP, 2-6-8

Adam Krause, F, Chicago, 34 GP, 5-5-10

Matt McNeely, G, USA U18 Program, 20 GP, 6-11, 3.78, .898

Kyle Osterberg. F, USA U17 Program, 32 GP, 7-8-15

Andy Welinski, D, Green Bay, 27 GP, 3-3-6

Austyn Young, F, Sioux Falls (S.D.), 27 GP, 7-11-18

Northland Connection

The eighth 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, 40 GP, 2-5-7

Alex Goligoski, D, Pittsburgh, 50 GP, 9-17-26

Jamie Langenbrunner, W, Dallas, 7 GP, 1-1-2; New Jersey, 31 GP, 4-10-14

Matt Niskanen, D, Dallas, 39 GP, 0-6-6

Mason Raymond, W, Vancouver, 38 GP, 9-14-23

Tim Stapleton, C, Atlanta, 15 GP, 0-1-1; Chicago Wolves, 4 GP, 1-3-4; San Antonio, 20 GP, 4-3-7

AHL

Rob Bordson, F, Adirondack (N.Y.), 28 GP, 3-3-6; Syracuse, 15 GP, 1-2-3

Andrew Carroll, F, Peoria, 14 GP, 1-2-3; Abbotsford, 13 GP, 1-1-2

Zach FitzGerald, D, Charlotte (N.C.), 44 GP, 0-5-5

Travis Gawryletz, D, Lake Erie, 46 GP, 2-9-11

Josh Meyers, D, Abbotsford, 34 GP, 2-7-9

Evan Oberg, D, Manitoba, 26 GP, 5-1-6

Dylan Olsen, D, Rockford, Ill., 5 GP, 0-1-1

Neil Petruic, D, Hamilton, 23 GP, 0-2-2

Jay Rosehill, F, Toronto Maple Leafs, 5 GP, 0-1-1; Toronto Marlies, 32 GP, 7-6-13

MacGregor Sharp, C, Syracuse, 39 GP, 4-6-10

Steve Wagner, C, Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, 45 GP, 4-16-20

Clay Wilson, D, Rochester (N.Y.), 45 GP, 8-20-28

ECHL

Ross Carlson, F, Florida, 29 GP, 8-12-20

Jay Cascalenda, D, Bakersfield, 30 GP, 0-3-3

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

Michael Gergen, F, Bakersfield, 13 GP, 2-5-7; Utah, 19 GP, 1-6-7

Jordan Fulton, F, Stockton, 11 GP, 1-4-5; Kalamazoo, 27 GP, 5-10-15

Ben Gordon, F, Reading, 39 GP, 19-23-42

Junior Lessard, F, Idaho, 8 GP, 3-1-4

Matt McKnight, F, Idaho, 16 GP, 3-6-9

Weston Tardy, D, Idaho, 26 GP, 1-13-14

GOALIES

AHL

Alex Stalock, Worcester (Mass.), 37 GP (17-17), 2.65, .907

INTERNATIONAL

Nick Anderson, F, Landsberg, Germany, 32 GP, 19-11-30

Nick Angell, D, Avangard, Omsk Russia, 0 GP, 0-0-0; Novokuznetsk, Russia, 49 GP, 8-9-17

T.J. Caig, F, HYS The Hague, Netherlands, 25 GP, 15-44-59

Gino Guyer, F, Lillehammer, Norway, 36 GP, 16-33-49

Tim Hambly, D, Ingolstadt, Germany, 37 GP, 1-10-11

Andy Sertich, D, Zagreb, Austria, 41 GP, 6-15-21

Evan Schwabe, F, Olofstroms, Sweden, 9 GP, 4-2-6

Aaron Slattengren, F, Heilbronn, Germany, 36 GP, 8-11-19

Craig Weller, F, Cardiff, England, 19 GP, 4-23-27

A Jack Connolly blog

Junior center Jack Connolly has started a blog on the Minnesota Duluth athletic website following in the footsteps of Drew Akins, who was UMD’s first official blogger last season as a senior captain. The Connolly blog, with a recap of the Michigan Tech series, is here.

The News Tribune has some hockey notes in Wednesday’s edition here.

Veteran writer Neil Koepke of the Lansing (Mich.) State Journal has more on the retirement announcement of Michigan State coach Rick Comley, including possible candidates for the job. Denver coach George Gwozdecky, a former Michigan State assistant, is among the top three possibilities says Koepke in a story here.

In an anticipated high school boys game from Tuesday, Bemidji was beaten 7-2 at Grand Rapids, and the Bemidji Pioneer has a recap here.

In Kara Goucher’s blog at Competitor.com she talks about her first race in 511 days — the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Half-Marathon 10 days ago. She wasn’t particularly happy with the result, second in the women’s division, or her time 1:14, but says she has about 90 days to get in tip-top shape before the Boston Marathon in April. Her blog entry is here.

Stalock, Brown, Comley

Alex Stalock knows his NHL debut will be fleeting. The former UMD All-American goalie from South St. Paul was called up to the San Jose Sharks on Monday to be used Wednesday as a one-game backup to Antti Niemi in a road game against the L.A. Kings at the Staples Center. San Jose starting goalie Antero Niittymaki injured his groin last week and returns from the injured reserve list Thursday.

Stalock, 23, has been the starter for Worcester (Mass.) in the American Hockey League the past two years. He arrived in San Jose on Monday and practiced with the team Tuesday before an hour flight to Los Angeles.

“It’s going to be a thrill to go through a day-in-the-life of an NHL player, to get a grasp of what it’s like,” Stalock said Tuesday from Los Angeles. “Because I had been in a couple of (San Jose) training camps, some of the guys came up and shook hands before practice, and then it was time to get to work.”

This season Stalock is 17-17-4 with a .907 save percentage and 2.65 goals-against average. He left UMD in 2009, after three seasons, as the school career leader in save percentage (.910), goals-against average (2.48) and shutouts (nine).

He’ll be back with Worcester for home games Friday and Saturday against Bridgeport and Providence, with his team in the midst of a battle for an American Hockey League playoff spot.

The San Jose Mercury News has a blog entry here and a team release is here.

Minnesota Duluth freshman winger J.T. Brown was named WCHA offensive player of the week for his performance in last week’s series at Michigan Tech. The league release is  here.

One of college hockey’s good guys — Michigan State coach Rick Comley – announced Tuesday he’s retiring at the end of the season. He coached in the WCHA at Northern Michigan. A Lansing (Mich.) State Journal story is here.