Saturday in the WCHA

Overtime was the word among WCHA teams Friday night as four of nine games went to OT, three ending in ties. Each league team was at home, except for Michigan Tech in Detroit in the Great Lakes Invitational.

The News Tribune has an update on Minnesota Duluth returning to practice Friday here and a look at the No. 1 sports story in Northeastern Minnesota for 2011 here.

The PairWise Rankings are here.

In Minneapolis at the Mariucci Classic, Erik Haula and Jake Hansen each had a goal and an assist as No. 2 Minnesota beat Niagara 5-1. Stories from the Minneapolis Star Tribune here and St. Paul Pioneer Press here.

At Grand Forks, N.D., a two-goal third-period lead slipped away and No. 18 North Dakota settled for a 4-4 tie with Harvard. Nick Mattson scored twice for North Dakota. Harvard goals three minutes apart erased a 4-2 deficit. Aaron Dell had 14 saves. North Dakota led in shots 37-18. A Grand Forks Herald story is here.

At Omaha, Ryan Walters scored with 8:18 to play as Nebraska-Omaha rallied to tie Quinnipiac 2-2. Omaha led in shots 36-22. An Omaha World-Herald story is here.

At. St. Cloud, Minn., Chase Balisy scored 41 seconds into overtime to give No. 8 Western Michigan a 2-1 win over St. Cloud State and a series split. Western Michigan led in shots 29-23. UMD is at Western Michigan on Jan. 6-7. A St. Cloud Times story is here.

At Bemidji, Minn., Aaron McLeod scored early in the second period for a two-goal lead and Bemidji State went on for a 4-1 win over Bowling Green State. Andrew Walsh (6-2-1) got the win in goal. Bowling Green led in shots 27-16. BSU has won four straight. A Bemidji Pioneer story is here.

At Colorado Springs, Colo., Air Force built a two-goal lead through two periods and beat No. 6 Colorado College 2-1. Mike Boivin scored for CC. Josh Thorimbert made 15 saves in the loss. CC led in shots 34-17. A Colorado Springs Gazette story is here.

At Denver, all the scoring was done in the first period as No. 15 Denver defeated No. 10 Union College 3-1. Drew Shore and Joey LaLeggia power-play goals staked Denver to a 2-0 lead. Union led in shots 43-28. A Denver Post story is here.

At Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, No. 3 Boston College had just enough to get by Michigan Tech 2-1 in the consolation game of the Great Lakes Invitational. Brian Demoulin got the game winner with 9:20 to play, while Michigan Tech had a goal waived off in the final seconds because of a high stick. Shots were 25-25. A Houghton Mining Gazette story is here.

At Mankato, Minn., Eriah Hayes scored with an extra attacker with 51 seconds to play in the third period as Minnesota State-Mankato tied the USA U-18 team 3-3. UMD recruit Kyle Osterberg had an assist for the U 18s. Mankato led in shots 36-30. A Mankato Free Press story is here.

Friday in the WCHA

The second half of 2011-12 opened Thursday, although only two WCHA teams were in action. Four Division I ranked teams lost: No. 3 Boston College, No. 8 Western Michigan, No. 11 Ferris State and No. 13 Cornell.

No. 14 Michigan State beat Michigan Tech 3-1 in the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit (where No. 20 Michigan stopped Boston College 4-2). St. Cloud State defeated Western Michigan 4-2.

On Friday, there are nine games involving WCHA teams including one exhibition. Minnesota Duluth resumes practice Friday and next plays Jan. 6-7 at Western Michigan.

The PairWise Rankings are here.

At Joe Louis Arena, Michigan Tech could not recover after falling behind early. Michigan State led 1-0 after one period and 2-0 after two, before Ryan Furne scored for Tech in the the third. MSU’s Brett Perlini had an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left. Tech, 1-5 the last six games, led 46-26 in shots. MSU’s Drew Palmisano had 45 saves. The Spartans are 4-1-2 the last seven games. The combined crowd for two games was listed at 15,091. Stories from the Detroit Free Press here and the Lansing Journal here.

In St. Cloud, Minn., a three-goal, third-period rally gave St. Cloud State a victory. Jared Festler scored twice and Travis Novak added an empty-net goal with 1 second left to lift the Huskies.St. Cloud State had two power-play goals. Western Michigan led 31-23 in shots. The schools were meeting for the first time in hockey. Ryan Faragher got the win in goal. Stories from the St. Cloud Times here and Kalamazoo Gazette here.

Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press looks around the WCHA on a Friday morning right here.

Brad Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald is also on the WCHA beat here.

U.S. College Hockey Online looks at the WCHA at mid-season here.

Radio voice Bruce Ciskie looks at the Bulldogs at mid-season here and hands out WCHA awards at the halfway point here.

Jim Rich’s audio This Week in the WCHA is here.

At the World Junior Championships, the USA faces the Czech Republic at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Edmonton, Alberta (NHL Network). USA Hockey has pre-game information here.

Maturi turns down NCHC; Scherr still front runner

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference is expected to name its first commissioner in January, but it will not be Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi, who declined the new league’s offer to be interviewed for the job.

Maturi, 66, a Chisholm native, said Wednesday he was flattered to be considered, but that the timing wasn’t right. His contract with Minnesota ends June 30, 2012, and he’s still deciding on what is next in his future after 10 years with the Gophers. He had previously worked as AD at Denver and Miami of Ohio, and assistant AD at Wisconsin, and has been involved with the hockey programs at each school.

So who has been identified as a leading candidate as commissioner for a league that opens 2013-14 and will be based in Colorado Springs, Colo.?

No one is saying right now. Bobby Goldwater, president of the marketing firm The Goldwater Group based in Bethesda, Md., and in conjunction with Stafford Sports of Medford, N.J., has been charged with seeking candidates for the position. Initial interviews were held the last week in October in the Twin Cities.

“We are pleased with where we are and with the progress of the search, and the quality of the candidates,” Goldwater said Thursday. “Our goal was to have a commissioner hired by the end of December, but it wasn’t a deadline.

“A contract has not been signed and final details have not been worked out, but we hope to have the process concluded quickly.”

The hiring decision, said Goldwater, will be made through consensus voting of the eight athletic directors in the new league from Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, St. Cloud State, Denver, Colorado College, Nebraska-Omaha, Miami of Ohio and Western Michigan.

It was speculated here last month that Jim Scherr, 50, of Colorado Springs, Colo., CEO of a marketing firm and former CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, was among the finalists for the job, and is still believed to be the front-runner.

Others who did interview for the job included former Minnesota Wild vice president in charge of communications Bill Robertson and former NHL general manager Craig Patrick, but are believed to no longer be in the running.

There was talk that Colorado College athletic director Ken Ralph would take the commissioner job on an interim basis until a permanent hire could be made, but Goldwater said that is not the case.

It’s expected the NCHC will make a commissioner announcement when it can get the most media exposure. It’s possible it would follow the opening of the NFL playoffs Jan. 7 and college’s BCS Championship football game Jan. 9.

The NCHC was officially formed in July.

USA vs. Finland; Garrison; Joe Krause; East Greyhounds

The United States (1-0) faces Finland (0-1) at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton, Alberta (NHL Network). Canada defeated Finland 8-1 in the opening round.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey reviews Monday’s 11-3 U.S. win over Denmark here and looks at the World Junior Championships spectacle here.

The Miami Herald features Florida defenseman Jason Garrison and his impressive goal-scoring start to the NHL season here.

The Omaha World Herald has a Nebraska-Omaha roster update which includes Hermantown foward Joe Krause, older brother of Minnesota Duluth freshman winger Adam Krause, joining the team. Also freshman walk-on forward Zach Mausolf, from Aurora and played at Duluth Marshall, has left the Omaha team. The story is here.

In a Tuesday battle between top-ranked Minnesota high school teams, Duluth East beat St. Thomas Academy 5-4. Conner Valesano, son of former UMD foward Mike Valesano, had a pair of goals for East, and Dom Toninato, son of former UMD forward Jim Toninato, had another. The Minneapolis Star Tribune has a story here.

USA beats Denmark 11-3

The United States opened the 2012 World Junior Championships with an 11-3 win over Denmark on Monday in Edmonton, Alberta.

USA Hockey has a recap here..

College hockey gets back to action Thursday with nine games including Michigan Tech facing Michigan State in the Great Lakes Invitational in Detroit and St. Cloud State at home with Western Michigan.

Minnesota Duluth returns to practice Friday.

USA to open against Denmark

The United State opens the 2012 World Junior Championships at 7 p.m. Monday against Denmark in Edmonton, Alberta. All USA games are on the NHL Network.

USA Hockey has a story on the match up here.

USA Hockey has a Game Day Central link here.

The Edmonton Journal has a World Junior Championships story link here.

SB Nation looks at the U.S. team, coached by Dean Blais, Scott Sandelin and Troy Ward, here.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey has a guide to the World Junior Championships here.

UMD recruits

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

USHL

Tony Cameranesi, F, Waterloo, 21 GP, 8-10-18

Willie Corrin, D, Fargo, 24 GP, 1-11-12

Cal Decowski, F, Des Moines, 22 GP, 5-6-11

Austin Farley, F, Fargo, 24 GP, 17-13-30

Matt McNeely, G, Cedar Rapids, 11 GP, .901, 2.11, 3-3-(4 OT losses)

Andy Welinski, D, Green Bay, 21 GP, 6-9-15

Austyn Young, F, Sioux Falls, 17 GP, 4-7-11

USA U-18

Kyle Osterberg, F, 28 GP, 4-9-13

HIGH SCHOOL

Adam Johnson, F, Hibbing-Chisholm, 9 GP, 15-10-25

Northland Connection

The fourth 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 or comment to this post.

NHL

Jason Garrison, D, Florida, 36 GP, 10-6-16

Cade Fairchild, D, St. Louis, 1 GP, 0-0-0; Peoria (AHL), 27 GP, 2-11-13

Justin Faulk, D, Carolina, 20 GP, 1-4-5

Alex Goligoski, D, Dallas, 23 GP, 3-4-7

Jamie Langenbrunner, W, St. Louis, 34 GP, 2-10-12

Matt Niskanen, D, Pittsburgh, 34 GP, 2-12-14

Jay Rosehill, D, Toronto, 15 GP, 0-0-0

Mason Raymond, W, Vancouver, 10 GP, 3-4-7

Tim Stapleton, C, Winnipeg, 27 GP, 4-5-9

AHL

Andrew Carroll, C, Hershey (Pa.), 29 GP, 0-2-2

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

Zack FitzGerald, D, Hamilton, 26 GP, 1-0-1

Justin Fontaine, F, Houston, 30 GP, 7-11-18

Evan Oberg, D, Norfolk, 6 GP, 0-3-3; San Antonio, 12 GP, 0-2-2

Dylan Olsen, D, Rockford, Ill., 26 GP, 1-0-1

Joe Stejskal, D, Hamilton, Ontario, 22 GP, 0-1-1

ECHL

Rob Bordson, F, Trenton, 17 GP, 9-12-21

Jordan Fulton, F, Stockton, 24 GP, 2-6-8

Michael Gergen, F, Bakersfield, 21 GP, 4-6-10

Mike Montgomery, D, Ontario, 18 GP, 0-0-0

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

INTERNATIONAL

Nick Anderson, F, Pontebba, Italy, 24 GP, 4-10-14

T.J. Caig, F, HYS The Hague, Netherlands, 17 GP, 19-24-43

Travis Gawryletz, D, Karlovy, Czechoslovakia, 18 GP, 1-3-4

Ben Gordon, F, DEG Metro, Germany, 29 GP, 5-13-18

Gino Guyer, F, Lillehammer, Norway, 26 GP, 16-17-33

Chad Huttel, D, Sheffield, England, 24 GP, 1-3-4

Tim Hambly, D, Ingolstadt, Germany, 29 GP, 3-6-9

Matt McKnight, F, Lausitzer, Germany, 25 GP, 12-8-20

Josh Meyers, D, Bolzano, Italy, 26 GP, 5-15-20

Kyle Schmidt, F, Regensburg, Germany, 1 GP, 0-0-0; Lillehammer, 19 GP, 3-4-7

Andy Sertich, D, Zagreb, Austria, 30 GP, 5-16-21

MacGregor Sharp, F, Bolzano, Italy, 26 GP, 14-13-27

Steve Wagner, D, Mannheim, Germany, 22 GP, 0-10-10

Patrick White, F, Klostersee, Germany, 23 GP, 20-28-48

USA blanks Slovakia; Bracketology

The United States defeated Slovakia 5-0 Friday night in a World Junior Championships exhibition in Three Hills, Alberta. Charlie Coyle had two goals and U.S. led in shots 36-18. USA Hockey has a recap and summary here.

Denver sophomore forward Jason Zucker has been named the U.S. captain. The Denver Post has a story here. The Americans open the tournament Monday at 7 p.m. against Denmark in Edmonton, Alberta.

Canada lost 5-3 to Sweden on Friday in Edmonton. The Edmonton Journal has a story here.

We’re halfway through the college season. If the NCAA tournament opened today see where Minnesota Duluth would be placed in a Division I regional by Chuck Schwartz’s Bracketology calculations for SB Nation. Think St. Paul and think Gophers here.

2012 Hobey; WCHA first-half awards; USA team

Inside College Hockey has compiled a list of 2012 Hobey Baker Memorial Award candidates. Yes, Jack Connolly is on it and some others from the WCHA in a story here.

Chuck Schwartz of SB Nation hands out some WCHA first-half awards in a story here.

USA Today looks at the USA roster for the World Junior Championships here.

Bruce Ciskie previews the U.S. team for SB Nation here.

Chris Peters of the United States of Hockey evaluates Team USA’s defensemen and goalies here.

Colorado College forward Jaden Schwartz has been named captain of Canada’s World Junior team. The Toronto Globe and Mail has an update here.