Monday in the WCHA

The WCHA was in a celebratory mood Sunday as 2012 neared an end with three tournament championships won by Michigan Tech, Minnesota State-Mankato and Minnesota.

Michigan Tech (Minnesota Duluth’s next opponent on Jan. 11-12) finished an amazing run at the Great Lake Invitational by blanking No. 8 Western Michigan 4-0 in Detroit; No. 4 Minnesota closed out the Mariucci Classic with an eye-opening 8-1 win over No. 1 Boston College; and No. 18 Minnesota State-Mankato took the UConn Classic title by beating Connecticut 3-1 (the Purple Mavs are 9-1 the last 10 games).

At Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, secret weapon Pheonix Copley had 32 saves as Michigan Tech won the GLI for the first time since 1980. He finished with consecutive 4-0 shutouts. Tech had three goals in the third period including scores by Tanner Kero and Aaron Pietila in the final 59 seconds. Western Michigan led in shots 32-22, and was 0-8 on PPs. Attendance 14,719. From Chris Dilks of Western College Hockey here.

At Minneapolis, Nick Bjugstad had a career night with two goals and two assists in Minnesota’s 8-1 win over Boston College. Minnesota led in shots 36-33 and had four PP goals. Minnesota goalie Adam Wilcox is 12-2-3. BC star goalie Parker Milner was replaced in the third period. He had 25 saves and allowed six goals. BC defeated Minnesota in the 2012 NCAA semifinals. Attendance 10,230. From the St. Paul Pioneer Press here and Minneapolis Star Tribune here.

At Storrs, Conn., two Johnny McInnis second-period goals rallied Minnesota State-Mankato past Connecticut 3-1. Stephon Williams made 17 saves for the win. McInnis was tournament MVP. Connecticut led 1-0. Mankato led in shots 31-18. Attendance 881. From the Mankato Free Press here.

At Camden, Conn., No. 9 Quinnipiac defeated No. 12 Nebraska-Omaha 3-1 to sweep a nonconference series. Quinnipiac led in shots 37-29. Omaha led 1-0 on a goal by Ryan Walters (12). Winning goalie Eric Hartzell is 14-2-2. Omaha was swept for first time this season. Attendance 2,327. From the Omaha World-Herald here.

At Hanover, N.H., Bemidji State opened play in the Ledyard Bank Classic with a 4-3 loss to Massachusetts. BSU led 2-0 on goals from Aaron McLeod and Brance Orban, then Massachusetts scored the next four. Massachusetts led 33-20 in shots. Attendance 4,500. From the Bemidji Pioneer here.

U.S. College Hockey Online has some thoughts from the WCHA’s holiday performances here.

On Monday, the United States defeated Slovakia 9-3 at the World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. USA Hockey has a recap here.

Summer begins June 20, it’s hockey season

The Summer Solstice is June 20, which means it’s time for hockey.

The NHL Entry Draft is Friday and Saturday in Pittsburgh, and Bob McKenzie of TSN has a projected Top 60 list right here.

College Hockey Inc. has a list of college and college-bound players who may be selected in a piece here.

Minnesota Duluth recruits and their draft ranking, all forwards, are: Adam Johnson (82), Austin Farley (112), Alex Iafallo (133) and Dom Toninato (149). Forward Jake Bischoff of Grand Rapids, a Minnesota recruit, is ranked 147.

USA Hockey named Phil Housley as coach of the 2013 U.S. Junior team on Monday. Housley, a native of South St. Paul, a former NHL star, and the Stillwater High School boys coach, talked with Bruce Brothers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press for a story here.

Candidates for the 2013 U.S. Junior team were also announced, including incoming UMD defenseman Andy Welinski of Duluth. An evaluation camp is Aug. 4-11 in Lake Placid, N.Y. Camp information and a roster are here.

The WCHA, a nine-team league starting in 2013-14, decided on a 28-game league schedule and put together a playoff format for the first season of its reconfigured look. The  details were formulated in a meeting in Detroit recently and the playoff plan is being met with some skepticism. A championship-round playoff venue has yet to be selected. Shane Frederick of the Mankato Free Press has a story here.

The WCHA playoff system calls for Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage to meet in a pre-determined first-round pairing. That news didn’t play well in Alaska and Doyle Woody of the Anchorage Daily News has a story¬†here.

Stephen Anderson of the Houghton Mining Gazette also has an in-depth look at the WCHA meetings with input from Michigan Tech coach Mel Pearson here.

Last week Brad Berry officially returned to North Dakota for a second stint as an assistant coach, after spending two years on the coaching staff of Columbus in the NHL. He joins Dave Hakstol’s staff, replacing Cary Eades. A North Dakota press release is here.

Vancouver has said it will go to salary arbitration with winger Mason Raymond. The Canucks have a press release here.

Four-time U.S. Olympian and former UMD center Jenny Potter discusses hockey and being a sports parent in a Responsible Sports podcast here.

Kara Goucher’s return to Duluth in Saturday’s USA Half Marathon Champions was a celebration all the way around with a victory and a course record. In addition to video from the News Tribune here, news partner Northland’s NewsCenter also has video here.