Feels Like the First Time For Guenin
Ohio State defenseman Nate Guenin will never forget the celebration
following the Buckeyes’ win against Michigan in last year’s
CCHA Super Six championship. As his teammates took turns skating
around Joe Louis Arena with the Mason Cup held high above their
heads, the Aliquippa, Pa., product watched from the bench in street
Weeks earlier against Ferris State, Guenin had a Bulldog player
lined up for a check along the wall when the opponent ducked down
to avoid the hit. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound Guenin sailed over the
top of the FSU skater and rammed head-first into the boards.
Michigan State 1
Bernard, D. Knapp
Fretter, M. Lalonde
Guenin, D. Maiani
Anderson, T. Fritsche
Beaudoin, M. Waddell
Dominic Vicari, 60:00, 35 saves, 4 GA
Dave Caruso, 59:57, 24 saves, 1 GA
MS 5/10; OS 6/12
Plays: MS 0-6; OS 2-5
whole left arm…I couldn’t feel it for a couple minutes,”
Guenin said. “I went to the hospital, and they did x-rays
and a CAT scan [in Big Rapids] and said I had a fractured vertebra.
Still, the doctor made it sound like in a couple weeks I’d
got back to Columbus and our neurologist dropped the bomb, saying
I’d be out for three months and depending on how it healed,
I could be out a whole year.”
Not only is
Guenin back, but he’s playing as well as he did before he
got hurt – if not better. An all-CCHA second team honoree,
the OSU assistant captain set up partner Sean Collins’ game-winning
goal as the Buckeyes advanced to the league playoff title match
with a 4-1 win over Michigan State.
who was chosen by the New York Rangers in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft,
embodies the Buckeyes’ style of play. He’s talented,
physical, tenacious and sound in all aspects of his game, which
he believes stems from his upbringing in the Pittsburgh area.
the Buckeyes’ captain] and I grew up in Pittsburgh,”
explains Guenin, who has 2-12—14 and 132 penalty minutes
in 39 games this season. “In a blue-collar town like that,
you learn to play hockey that way.
“We play with
that grit and with a chip on our shoulders. As a player, you want
to be that guy the other team doesn’t want to go up against.”
Consider that mission
accomplished. But there’s still the matter of the Mason
Cup, which Guenin hopes to raise triumphantly Saturday –
this time on the ice. He’s grateful to get a second chance
“My parents always
taught me to appreciate everything,” Guenin said. “As
a player, I always try to play as hard as I can because [that
game] could be my last. Being able to run on the ice every day
after not being able to do that for five months…you learn
not to take the little things for granted.”
goaltender Wylie Rogers was named the game’s third star
following his team’s 3-1 loss to Michigan Friday.
the first CCHA semifinal match– and there weren’t
many – know better. Rogers, who was named to the league’s
all-rookie team earlier in the month, stole the show by stopping
43 of the 46 shots he faced. Today’s effort is just the
latest leg of Rogers’ whirlwind ride through the playoffs,
during which he has outdueled a pair of Hobey Baker Award finalists
– Jordan Sigalet of Bowling Green and Northern Michigan’s
Tambellini, T. Hensick
Kaleniecki, J. Dest
Nystrom, A. Ebbett
Wylie Rogers, 60:00, 43 saves, 3 GA
Al Montoya, 59:46, 12 saves, 1 GA
AF 10/20; UM 5/10
Plays: AF 0-4; UM 1-9
physically tiring because they had so many shots – quality
shots – tonight,” Rogers said. “But you can’t
slip and start getting mentally tired, start getting lazy and
start giving up goals on shots you would normally stop.”
That the Wolverines,
the CCHA’s highest-scoring team, needed three perfect shots
to solve Rogers speaks volumes on the quality of his play. The
Anchorage, Alaska native was quick to credit his teammates for
guys did an excellent job clearing rebounds out from in front
of me, and talking – all weekend, the guys have been talking
and telling me, ‘Hey, you’ve got this shot…hold
on to the rebound,’” Rogers said. “Communication
has been huge this weekend.
guys did a helluva job. We battled hard.”
path to UAF has been a circuitous one. Two years ago, he was in
Ann Arbor as a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program,
an experience he says taught him the value of dedication to the
game. Last season, he jumped to the Victoria Salsa of the British
Columbia Hockey League only to ride the bench much of the time.
to learn to battle through adversity when I was sitting five games
in a row thinking I should be in there,” he said. “Coming
into this year, when I did get my shot I had to make [the coaches]
have to play me.”
little doubt UAF bench boss Tavis MacMillan will write Rogers’
name in ink atop his goaltending depth chart. In fact, the Nanooks,
whose lineup Friday featured 14 freshmen and sophomores, will
look roughly the same next season. Because of that, Rogers says,
this year’s playoff run will pay dividends down the road.
completely priceless. Every guy takes a piece of this,”
he explained. “The freshmen that come in next year…every
guy can say to them that this is what we’re shooting for.
This can be fuel for our fire.
out. This is a young team. We’re going to do some very good
AND HEARD AT THE JOE
The Super Six will stay at Joe Louis Arena through the 2009-10
season. The CCHA reached an agreement with Olympia Entertainment,
the venue's parent company, to keep the event in downtown Detroit.
The CCHA has brought its postseason finale to the Joe every season
By the way, Friday's announced attendance of 10,128 brings the
two-day turnstile total to 13,564. By comparison, Thursday's WCHA
play-in game between Wisconsin and North Dakota drew 15,583 to
the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
INCH's Three Stars of the Night
Sean Collins, Ohio State
The underrated blueliner notched the game-winning
goal for the Buckeyes on a shot from just inside the blue
line that sailed with over the glove of MSU goalie Dominic
2. Wylie Rogers, Alaska-Fairbanks
Thanks to his terrific effort between the
pipes, the Wolverines needed three restaurant-quality scoring
opportunities to advance to Saturday's championship game.
1. Brandon Kalienicki and Jeff Tambellini, Michigan
The latter set up the former on the Wolverines'
first goal, and the former returned the favor on the team's
second marker. Both plays were carbon copies in that perfect
shots were set up by beautiful passes.
State's NCAA Tournament prospects are iffy at best, but if the
Spartans are one of the teams to receive an invitation they'll
have to make do without the services of junior forward David Booth.
Booth, who cracked a rib in a 6-3 win against Ohio State in East
Lansing Feb. 18, will not return to the lineup this season. The
Washington, Mich., native and Florida Panthers' prospect scored
five goals and four assists in 13 games this season.
MSU's red-hot forward quartet of Colton Fretter, Jim McKenzie,
Drew Miller and Jim Slater was held scoreless against OSU Friday.
One of the four had recorded a goal in 10 of the Spartans' previous
favorite NFL quarterback, former Miami RedHawk Ben Roethlisberger,
gained such a following during his magical run with the Pittsburgh
Steelers last season that one of the city's eateries created the
"Roethlisberger" sandwich in his honor.
Perhaps it's ironic, then, that a Pennsylvania restaurant has
unveiled a meal named after a college athlete from the Buckeye
State. Copabanana in Philadelphia will debut its Umberger Monday.
Named after former OSU forward R.J. Umberger, who now plies his
craft with the American Hockey League's Philadelphia Phantoms,
the sandwich features fried onion rings and muenster cheese.
wonder why there's a second Stanley Cup in case of emergencies?
The Mason Cup, awarded to the winner of the CCHA playoff championship,
was on display at the Fox Theatre in downtown Detroit Wednesday
as part of the league's awards show. The handler charged with
moving the trophy from the lobby to the stage prior to the ceremony
apparently forgot about the velvet rope keeping minglers at bay,
stumbling over the barrier. The trophy hit the floor hard and
while the metal cup remained intact, the base shattered into pieces.
Thankfully, a spare trophy stored at league headquarters was removed
from a giant Tupperware container for Saturday's post-championship
let the scoreboard fool you. Friday's losing goaltenders –
Rogers and MSU's Dominic Vicari – were extremely sharp.
Their performances are especially impressive considering the extenuating
circumstances. Vicari and the Spartans have been in playoff mode
for four weeks, and Rogers and his Nanook mates have been on the
road for more than a week.
away from the CCHA for a moment, shout out to my alma mater, St.
Thomas (Minn.), for advancing to Saturday's NCAA Division III
championship game with a 4-1 win over Trinity in a semifinal match
Friday in Middlebury, Vt. The Tommies (yeah, I know) face the
host team in the title match. Middlebury downed New England College,
5-2, in the other semifinal. CCHA fans may remember New England
College as the school where Scott Borek landed after getting axed
at Lake Superior State. Borek is now an assistant at New Hampshire.
CCHA and Olympia Entertainment have extended the agreement to
hold the Super Six at Joe Louis Arena. But given the attendance
woes through two first two days of the event this season, perhaps
conference brass should've taken a harder look at alternate venues.
Skating on the Detroit Red Wings' home ice may be alluring, but
but playing in front of a crowd thet barely fills one-third of
the cavernous building certainly isn't.
public address announcements at the Joe encouraged fans to fill
out a college-hockey related questionnaire on the arena concourse,
but the survey's organizers could've put a little more thought
in the gift that one lucky fan will win via a blind drawing. A
Red Wings' sweater autographed by Pavel Datsyuk is nice and all,
but how about getting the John Hancock of a former collegian (say,
Chris Chelios) on the winged wheel?
For the second
straight year, Michigan and Ohio State play for the title Saturday.
One school of thought maintains the Wolverines have to let the
Buckeyes win in order for a second CCHA team to advance to the
NCAA Tournament. Another school remembers a flat Michigan team
sleepwalking through the first 40 minutes of last year's championship
game against OSU en route to a 3-2 loss.