Pearson; Bracketology; Johnson; Pink Jerseys; NYC Marathon

Mel Pearson is enjoying his first two months as Michigan Tech’s head coach — the Huskies are 8-5-1 and ranked No. 20, and 6-1-1 at home entering a series with No. 4 Minnesota Duluth on Friday and Saturday in Houghton, Mich.

The News Tribune caught up with Pearson for a story here.

Chuck Schwartz of Bucky’s 5th Quarter has a second edition of Bracketology. Did you know that eight CCHA members would make the NCAA tournament today according to the PairWise Rankings? See where UMD would be headed right here.

NHL.com has a story on former Bulldog defenseman Jim Johnson joining the Washington Capitals staff as an assistant coach here and a Capitals press release is here.

UMD and Essentia Health have teamed up for a fund raiser to fight breast cancer. Pink jerseys to be worn by the UMD women’s team Saturday at home game against St. Cloud State are being auctioned online. The bidding will continue at Saturday’s game. A link to see the jerseys and make a bid is here.

As marathon entry numbers continue to increase world-wide the New York City Marathon, the world’s largest 26.2-mile race, has changed its entry qualifications. The update from the race’s website is here.

Shalane Flanagan recently talked with Flo Track about her new training partner in Portland, Ore. — Kara Goucher. That video is here.

Jim Johnson joins Dale Hunter’s staff in Washington

A rumor Tuesday night that former Minnesota Duluth defenseman Jim Johnson would join the coaching staff of Dale Hunter with the NHL’s Washington Capitals was confirmed by Johnson’s son, Derik.

Bob McKenzie of TSN Canada wrote that Johnson was a candidate as an assistant coach as Washington played its first game with Hunter as head coach, a 2-1 home loss to St. Louis.

NHL.com has a story here.

Derik Johnson, a UMD freshman defenseman, confirmed the job in a tweet message and congratulated his dad.

Hunter, 51, and Johnson, 49, played for the Capitals for two seasons, 1994-96.

In 2009-10, Johnson spent time as a Tampa Bay Lightning assistant and head coach of the Norfolk Admirals in the American Hockey League. He played 829 games in the NHL through 1998. His son, Derik, is a UMD freshman defenseman.

Hunter replaced fired Bruce Boudreau as head coach of the Capitals on Monday. Hunter is a former Capitals captain who played in 1,407 NHL games through 1999, including 12 seasons with Washington. The Washington job is his first as a coach in the NHL.

Fairchild makes NHL debut; Raymond still sidelined

Cade Fairchild of Duluth, a former University of Minnesota defenseman, made his NHL debut Tuesday night for St. Louis in a 2-1 road win over the Washington Capitals. Fairchild, 22, had played 19 games with Peoria (Ill.) in the American Hockey League before being re-called Tuesday. He was listed with 10 minutes, 31 seconds of playing time with one blocked shot for the Blues.

Mason Raymond’s anticipated return to the Vancouver lineup was delayed at least one more day as the Canucks played at home Tuesday against Columbus.

Next for UMD: Michigan Tech

Minnesota Duluth resumes play this weekend against Michigan Tech in Houghton, Mich., going on the road for the first time in a month, since games at Denver on Nov. 4-5.

Michigan Tech is back home after a non-conference weekend split at St. Lawrence in Canton, N.Y. The No. 20-ranked Huskies (8-5-1) are tied for fourth in the WCHA. No. 4 UMD (9-3-2) is tied for second.

Michigan Tech first-year coach Mel Pearson, a Tech alum who had been a Michigan assistant, says he’s talked with UMD coach Scott Sandelin about continuing to play annually after 2011-12, when the Bulldogs move to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

The Houghton Mining Gazette has a recap of Michigan Tech’s weekend series here.

Goalie Josh Robinson has played a big part in Michigan Tech’s turnaround this season, holding a 7-3-1 record, .929 save percentage and 2.08 goals-against average, and U.S. College Hockey Online profiles the senior here.

Colorado College junior Rylan Schwartz had hat tricks each night last weekend in a pair of losses at North Dakota and is noted for his effort by Inside College Hockey here. His sophomore brother, Jaden Schwartz, was named to Canada’s roster for the World Junior Championships on Monday and the Colorado Springs Gazette has an update here.

The U.S. Hockey League features alumni on its web site, including a story on UMD’s J.T. Brown, posted in October here.

In the USHL, UMD recruit Andy Welinski of the Green Bay Gamblers is tied for the scoring lead among defensemen with six goals and seven assists for 13 points in 14 games. His six goals is a best for defensemen.

UMD men: USCHO No. 4, INCH No. 5

Minnesota Duluth, idle last weekend, moved up two spots in the U.S. College Hockey Online Poll to No. 4 here and the Inside College Hockey Power Rankings to No. 5 here. Unbeaten Merrimack remains No. 1.

Also from U.S. College Hockey Online, the UMD women dropped one spot to No. 9 and the Wisconsin-Superior men moved up two spots in No. 10 in Division III.

Eric Burton of Goon’s World ranks the WCHA, with UMD ascending to No. 1 here.

The PairWise Rankings have UMD at No. 8 here.

The Bulldogs are at No. 20 Michigan Tech (8-5-1) on Friday and Saturday.

U.S. College Hockey Online looks back at the WCHA’s holiday weekend here.

Also, Duluthian Cade Fairchild, a defenseman, was returned by St. Louis to Peoria of the American Hockey League on Friday. A news release is here.

In Sunday’s lone WCHA game, in Omaha, Neb., two goals in the first period and two in the second left St. Cloud State and Nebraska-Omaha tied 2-2 in overtime. Brooks Bertsch and Ben Hanowski (10) scored for the Huskies, and Brock Montpetit and Matt White for the Red Mavs. There were just four penalties in the game. Omaha scored on its only power-play, and led 28-24 in shots. Omaha is now tied with UMD for second in the WCHA, a point behind Minnesota. Stories from the Omaha World-Herald here and the St. Cloud Times here.

WCHA Standings Courtesy of CollegeHockeyStats.net

 1 Minnesota         16  10  8- 2- 0 .800  36- 19   16 11- 4- 1 .719  68- 32
 2 Minnesota Duluth  15  10  7- 2- 1 .750  42- 21   14  9- 3- 2 .714  56- 33
   Nebraska Omaha    15  12  6- 3- 3 .625  44- 41   16  7- 6- 3 .531  53- 53
 4 Denver            11   9  4- 2- 3 .611  36- 30   13  6- 4- 3 .577  48- 40
   Michigan Tech     11  10  5- 4- 1 .550  30- 25   14  8- 5- 1 .607  42- 33
 6 Colorado College  10   9  5- 4- 0 .556  40- 33   11  7- 4- 0 .636  48- 35
   St. Cloud State   10  10  4- 4- 2 .500  29- 28   16  6- 7- 3 .469  50- 49
 8 Wisconsin          9  12  4- 7- 1 .375  35- 43   16  7- 8- 1 .469  52- 52
 9 North Dakota       8  10  4- 6- 0 .400  28- 32   14  6- 7- 1 .464  40- 45
10 Bemidji State      7  10  3- 6- 1 .350  23- 35   14  5- 8- 1 .393  34- 45
11 Alaska Anchorage   5  10  2- 7- 1 .250  17- 38   14  5- 7- 2 .429  34- 47
   Minnesota State    5  10  2- 7- 1 .250  30- 45   14  3-10- 1 .250  35- 57

Sunday in the WCHA

Six of seven games involving WCHA teams were decided by two goals or fewer Saturday night, with two ending in ties. Nebraska-Omaha’s home win over St. Cloud State, and a 2-2 tie Sunday afternoon, moved the Red Mavs into a second-place tie with  Minnesota Duluth in the league standings, one point behind first-place Minnesota.

UMD was idle over the weekend and is at Michigan Tech on Dec. 2-3.

At Grand Forks, N.D., Danny Kristo’s shorthanded goal was the game winner as North Dakota finished a sweep of No. 4 Colorado College 4-3, the first sweep of the season. The game was tied at 1 and 2, and North Dakota scored three straight from Derek Rodwell, Corban Knight and Kristo. CC’s Rylan Schwartz had a second straight hat trick, and third of the season. Shots on goal were 29-29. North Dakota is 3-1 the last four games. Aaron Dell was in goal for the win. Stories from the Colorado Springs Gazette here and Grand Forks Herald here.

At East Lansing, Mich., Daultan Leveille’s goal at 8:54 of the third period gave No. 20 Michigan State a 4-4 overtime time with No. 3 Minnesota. MSU led 1-0 and 3-1 before the Gophers scored three straight from Erik Haula, Zach Budish and Kyle Rau (10) for a 4-3 lead. Minnesota led in shots 39-31. Kent Patterson made 27 saves. Minnesota is 2-3-1 the last six games, five on the road. The Lansing Journal has a story here.

At Canton, N.Y., three second-period goals pushed No. 18 Michigan Tech to a 3-1 win over St. Lawrence and a series split. Ryan Furne, Milos Gordic and Tanner Kero scored for the Huskies (8-5-1). Josh Robinson (7-3-1) made 25 saves for the win. St. Lawrence led in shots 26-25. A recap from the Watertown Daily Times here.

At Mankato, Minn., goals were plentiful and Minnesota State-Mankato needed the last four to gain a 5-5 overtime tie with Alaska Anchorage before a crowd of 2,591. Anchorage led 5-1 early in the second period, helped by two Curtis Leinweber goals. The Purple Mavs finished with a flourish, including two goals from freshman Jean-Paul Lafontaine. Joe Schiller got the tying goal with 9:36 to play. Evan Karambelas made six saves in relief of Mankato’s Phil Cook. Mankato led in shots 46-13. The Mavericks are 0-4-1 the last five games. A recap from the Mankato Free Press here and some Shane Frederick blog thoughts here.

At Omaha, Neb., a Terry Broadhurst goal, his second of the game and 14th of the season, with 2:18 to play gave Nebraska-Omaha a 4-3 win over St. Cloud State. Cam Reid had tied the game for the Huskies at 5:42 of the final period. The game was tied at 1, 2 and 3. The Red Mavs led in shots 38-28. Winning goalie Ryan Massa had 25 saves. Stories from the St. Cloud Times here and Omaha World-Herald here.

At Denver, surging Miami of Ohio scored three straight goals and held on to beat No. 10 Denver 4-2 in the Denver Cup title game. Denver coach George Gwozdecky lost to one of his former pupils Enrico Blasi. Ty Loney got Denver within 3-2 late in the second period, but Trent Vogelhuber clinched the game for Miami with 1:33 to play. Denver led in shots 34-28. Miami (8-6-2) is 6-0-2 the last eight games. A recap from the Denver Post here.

In Madison, Wis., three third-period goals broke open a close game as Wisconsin beat Mercyhurst 5-2 for a weekend sweep. Eric Springer, Joseph LaBate and Tyler Barnes scored in the final period for the Badgers. Landon Peterson (25) got the win in goal. Wisconsin led in shots 28-27. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

WCHA Standings Courtesy of CollegeHockeyStats.net

 1 Minnesota         16  10  8- 2- 0 .800  36- 19   16 11- 4- 1 .719  68- 32
 2 Minnesota Duluth  15  10  7- 2- 1 .750  42- 21   14  9- 3- 2 .714  56- 33
   Nebraska Omaha    15  12  6- 3- 3 .625  44- 41   16  7- 6- 3 .531  53- 53
 4 Denver            11   9  4- 2- 3 .611  36- 30   13  6- 4- 3 .577  48- 40
   Michigan Tech     11  10  5- 4- 1 .550  30- 25   14  8- 5- 1 .607  42- 33
 6 Colorado College  10   9  5- 4- 0 .556  40- 33   11  7- 4- 0 .636  48- 35
   St. Cloud State   10  10  4- 4- 2 .500  29- 28   16  6- 7- 3 .469  50- 49
 8 Wisconsin          9  12  4- 7- 1 .375  35- 43   16  7- 8- 1 .469  52- 52
 9 North Dakota       8  10  4- 6- 0 .400  28- 32   14  6- 7- 1 .464  40- 45
10 Bemidji State      7  10  3- 6- 1 .350  23- 35   14  5- 8- 1 .393  34- 45
11 Alaska Anchorage   5  10  2- 7- 1 .250  17- 38   14  5- 7- 2 .429  34- 47
   Minnesota State    5  10  2- 7- 1 .250  30- 45   14  3-10- 1 .250  35- 57

UMD recruits

The first statistical listing of 2011-12 for Minnesota Duluth recruits:

USHL

Tony Cameranesi, F, Waterloo, 14 GP, 5-9-14

Willie Corrin, D, Fargo, 18 GP, 1-8-9

Cal Decowski, F, Des Moines, 15 GP, 5-4-9

Austin Farley, F, Fargo, 18 GP, 10-5-15

Matt McNeely, G, Cedar Rapids, 7 GP, .898, 3.07, 2-2-3

Andy Welinski, D, Green Bay, 13 GP, 5-7-12

Austyn Young, F, Sioux Falls, 10 GP, 3-5-8

USA U-18

Kyle Osterberg, F, 20 GP, 2-6-8

HIGH SCHOOL

Adam Johnson, F, Hibbing-Chisholm, 2 GP, 4-1-5

Saturday in the WCHA

Goals were plentiful Friday night as a Thanksgiving weekend of games opened. The winners in six games involving WCHA teams averaged 4.8 goals, including Wisconsin and North Dakota with 7 each.

Minnesota Duluth is off and resumes play Dec. 2-3 at Michigan Tech. The Bulldogs (9-3-2) are tied for the fewest losses overall in the league, with Colorado College (7-3) and Denver (6-3-3).

At Grand Forks, N.D., leads came and went, and so did goalies, as North Dakota stopped No. 4 Colorado College 7-6 before 11,375 fans. The game was just five days after North Dakota lost 1-0 at Bemidji State. The Fighting Sioux led 2-0 and 3-1, CC tied it 3-3, North Dakota went up 5-3, CC scored three straight for a 6-5 lead in the second period. Brock Nelson’s second goal of the game, and ninth of the season, came with 8:06 to play and was the only goal of the third period. Danny Kristo also had two goals for North Dakota. Rylan Schwartz (9) had three for CC. North Dakota’s Aaron Dell started and Brad Eidsness finished in net. Josh Thorimbert started for CC and Joe Howe finished. CC led in shots 35-32. North Dakota had 3 PPGs and CC had 2. Stories from the Grand Forks Herald here and the Colorado Springs Gazette here.

In East Lansing, Mich., two first-period goals pushed No. 20 Michigan State to a 4-3 win over No. 3 Minnesota at Munn Arena. The Spartans (8-5) were outshot 43-23, but got 40 saves from Drew Palmisano. Seth Helgeson and Nick Bjugstad got Minnesota to a 2-2 tie, the Spartans went back up 4-2 and Bjugstad (15) made it close on a goal with 6:58 to play. Kent Patterson had 19 saves. Minnesota has lost three straight Friday games. A recap from the Lansing Journal here.

At Canton, N.Y., St. Lawrence took a 3-0 lead and defeated No. 18 Michigan Tech 3-2. Kyle Essery had two goals for St. Lawrence (5-6). Brett Olson (5) on a power play and Tanner Kero, with 13 seconds to play, scored for the Huskies. Josh Robinson was in goal for Michigan Tech, which is 1-3 the last four games. A recap from the Watertown Daily Times here.

At Madison, Wis., the Badgers also went up 3-0 on the way to a 7-2 victory over Mercyhurst. Jefferson Dahl, Michael Mersch and Justin Schultz put Wisconsin up by three. Mersch and Schultz each finished with two goals. Wisconsin scored three power-play goals. Mercyhurst (6-6-1) led in shots 26-21 and Joel Rumpel made 24 saves for the win. The Wisconsin State Journal has a story here.

At Mankato, Minn., another back-and-forth game went to Alaska Anchorage 5-4. Mankato had leads of 1-0 and 2-1, and the Mavs got into a 4-4 tie with Zach Lehrke’s goal with 8:48 to play. But Anchorage freshman Scott Allen’s first collegiate goal was the winner with 5:35 left. Mankato led in shots 27-24, Anchorage had two power-play scores and Rob Gunderson got the win with 23 saves. Mankato has lost four straight. A recap from the Mankato Free Press here and some Shane Frederick blog thoughts here.

At Denver, freshman Juho Olkinuora of Finland made 37 saves for his first collegiate win as No. 10 Denver beat Princeton 3-0. Nick Shore, Drew Shore and Joey LaLeggia scored for the Pioneers. Princeton (2-7-1) led in shots 38-28 and Denver had two PP goals. A recap from the Denver Post here.

WCHA Standings Courtesy of CollegeHockeyStats.net

 1 Minnesota         16  10  8- 2- 0 .800  36- 19   15 11- 4- 0 .733  64- 28
 2 Minnesota Duluth  15  10  7- 2- 1 .750  42- 21   14  9- 3- 2 .714  56- 33
 3 Nebraska Omaha    12  10  5- 3- 2 .600  38- 36   14  6- 6- 2 .500  47- 48
 4 Denver            11   9  4- 2- 3 .611  36- 30   12  6- 3- 3 .625  46- 36
   Michigan Tech     11  10  5- 4- 1 .550  30- 25   13  7- 5- 1 .577  39- 32
 6 Colorado College  10   8  5- 3- 0 .625  37- 29   10  7- 3- 0 .700  45- 31
 7 St. Cloud State    9   8  4- 3- 1 .562  24- 22   14  6- 6- 2 .500  45- 43
   Wisconsin          9  12  4- 7- 1 .375  35- 43   15  6- 8- 1 .433  47- 50
 9 Bemidji State      7  10  3- 6- 1 .350  23- 35   14  5- 8- 1 .393  34- 45
10 North Dakota       6   9  3- 6- 0 .333  24- 29   13  5- 7- 1 .423  36- 42
11 Alaska Anchorage   4   9  2- 7- 0 .222  12- 33   13  5- 7- 1 .423  29- 42
   Minnesota State    4   9  2- 7- 0 .222  25- 40   13  3-10- 0 .231  30- 52

Northland Connection

The first Northland Connection for 2011-12 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, 21 GP, 8-4-12

Cade Fairchild, D, St. Louis, 0 GP, 0-0-0

Justin Faulk, D, Carolina, 7 GP, 0-2-2

Alex Goligoski, D, Dallas, 15 GP, 2-4-6

Jamie Langenbrunner, W, St. Louis, 21 GP, 2-6-8

Matt Niskanen, D, Pittsburgh, 21 GP, 1-4-5

Jay Rosehill, D, Toronto, 9 GP, 0-0-0

Mason Raymond, W, Vancouver, 0 GP, 0-0-0

Tim Stapleton, C, Winnipeg, 15 GP, 2-5-7

AHL

Andrew Carroll, C, Hershey (Pa.), 16 GP, 0-2-2

Mike Connolly, F, Worcester, 15 GP, 5-10-15

Zack FitzGerald, D, Hamilton, 17 GP, 1-0-1

Justin Fontaine, F, Houston, 17 GP, 4-7-11

Mike Montgomery, D, St. John’s, Newfoundland, 0 GP, 0-0-0

Evan Oberg, D, San Antonio, 10 GP, 0-2-2

Dylan Olsen, D, Rockford, Ill., 14 GP, 0-0-0

Joe Stejskal, D, Hamilton, Ontario, 11 GP, 0-1-1

ECHL

Rob Bordson, F, Trenton, 10 GP, 2-10-12

Jordan Fulton, F, Stockton, 13 GP, 0-2-2

Michael Gergen, F, Bakersfield, 17 GP, 3-5-8

Aaron Slattengren, F, Colorado, 15 GP, 4-7-11

INTERNATIONAL

Nick Anderson, F, Pontebba, Italy, 14 GP, 1-4-5

T.J. Caig, F, HYS The Hague, Netherlands, 6 GP, 8-9-17

Travis Gawryletz, D, Karlovy, Czechoslovakia, 10 GP, 0-2-2

Ben Gordon, F, DEG Metro, Germany, 21 GP, 3-8-11

Gino Guyer, F, Lillehammer, Norway, 21 GP, 13-15-28

Ben Gordon, F, DEG Metro, Germany, 21 GP, 3-8-11

Chad Huttel, D, Sheffield, England, 15 GP, 1-3-4

Tim Hambly, D, Ingolstadt, Germany, 21 GP, 3-4-7

Matt McKnight, F, Lausitzer, Germany, 17 GP, 9-6-15

Josh Meyers, D, Bolzano, Italy, 14 GP, 4-7-11

Kyle Schmidt, F, Lillehammer, 14 GP, 1-3-4

Andy Sertich, D, Zagreb, Austria, 23 GP, 5-13-18

MacGregor Sharp, F, Bolzano, Italy, 14 GP, 9-6-15

Steve Wagner, D, Mannheim, Germany, 8 GP, 1-4-5

Game day in the WCHA

Minnesota Duluth and Bemidji State are off this holiday weekend, but the rest of the WCHA is in action, including three league series: Colorado College at North Dakota, Alaska Anchorage at Minnesota State-Mankato, and Nebraska-Omaha at St. Cloud State on Saturday and Sunday.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald gets you caught up on the Sioux and the rest of the WCHA in a comprehensive Friday listing right here.

Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press also provides a good look at the WCHA’s weekend here.

U.S. College Hockey Online has WCHA weekend series picks here.

Dan Myers of College Hockey News has WCHA Power Rankings right here.

Inside College Hockey has a Division I notebook, led by the resurgent Ohio State Buckeyes, in a posting here.

College Hockey Inc. recently talked with five Division I captains, including Jack Connolly, about a typical day in the life of a college player. That story is here.

This Week in the WCHA audio from Jim Rich here.

Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press took a few photos of Amsoil Arena last weekend in his first trip to the building and published some here.

The No. 8-ranked UMD women are at Ohio State on Friday and Saturday. U.S. College Hockey Online makes weekend Division I series picks here.

Defenseman Jason Garrison and the Florida Panthers continue to be a story in the NHL, off to their best start in 11 years. Garrison already has eight goals. A recap of Wednesday’s 2-1 win over the New York Rangers is here with video hightlights, including a Garrison booming power-play goal, here.

With the start of the high school season Friday, Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey previews Minnesota’s top teams, led by Duluth East, in a post here and reviews some top prospects to watch, including a few from Northeastern Minnesota, in a posting here.