6, 2006 All-CCHA
D-men: Jack Johnson and ... Scott Parse?
Not many coaches can be short by three defensemen
because of injuries, move a forward who has never been a
rearguard back to the blue line, and then watch him score
five points in a game. But Scott Parse has a knack for making
coaches look like geniuses.
Nebraska-Omaha's Scott Parse played on the blue line
last weekend for the first time in his life, but it
didn't slow down his scoring production.
The Nebraska-Omaha senior, the reigning CCHA
Player of the Year, no less, suited up as a defenseman for
the first time in his life Saturday against Bowling
Green, and netted a hat trick and two assists. He was called
to fill in because the Mavericks' blue-line corps has been
decimated by injuries. First, it was Eddie Del Grosso. Then
Dan Knapp. Then Mike Eickman went down Friday night.
Enter Parse, a.k.a. Plan D (in more ways than
"They came to me during the pregame meal
and told me I was playing defense," Parse said. "I
wasn't too happy about it at first, because it was the first
time I had ever played it. But it's part of the game. You
can't say no."
UNO coach Mike Kemp gave Parse the green light
to jump into any play he saw fit, while freshman defensive
partner Mark Bernier had to stay back and make sure he covered
for potential gaffes. The good news for Bernier was that
Bowling Green couldn't rush the other way when Parse was
putting the puck in the back of the net.
"It's possible that (Bowling Green wasn't)
used to having one guy all over the ice," Parse said,
"playing defense then jumping up with the forwards
in a rush."
Of course, everyone already knew Parse could
score. He leads the Mavs with a 9-14-23 line this season.
But how did he perform as a defenseman?
Well, he didn't face any odd-man rushes Saturday,
which was "a good thing," he said – mostly
because he doesn't have the slightest idea how to defend
those. But the way it looks in Omaha, he might get more
chances to learn.
With the injury situation still cloudy, Parse
continued skating at defense during the early part of the
practice week. With UNO hosting non-conference foe Bentley
this weekend, it's possible that Kemp will rest his ailing
troops and keep his best player in an unnatural position.
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
Rest for the weary: Lake
Superior State goalie Jeff Jakaitis is playing the best
hockey of his career. He's also playing the least.
After starting all but one game as a junior
last year, Jakaitis is getting a few more breathers this
season. Freshman Pat Inglis has started five of LSSU's 16
contests, and has proved that opponents won't hang a 10-spot
if Jakaitis doesn't take the ice. (He's 4-1-0.) Perhaps
the extra rest is why Jakaitis has a noteworthy 1.70 goals-against
average and .949 save percentage heading into this weekend's
series at Ferris State.
"You always want to play as much as you
can," said Jakaitis, a Rochester, Minn., native who
wasn't shabby last year with a 2.22 GAA and .920 save percentage.
"But as much as you don't want to have a night off,
maybe it gives you a little mental breather now and then."
During last weekend's sweep of rival Northern
Michigan, Jakaitis picked up his 10th career shutout, breaking
the school record. It came in his only action of the weekend.
"There's always going to be those nights
when the puck looks like a pea and you can't stop anything,"
Jakaitis said. "But I think I've learned how to limit
those, and I've been playing pretty well so far."
One-Nanook show: Kyle Greentree
needs help. And Alaska coach Tavis MacMillan is starting
to lose patience for the players he expected to aid the
Greentree has 12 goals (twice that of anyone
else on the team) and a team-high 10 assists, but other
Alaska veterans are lagging. Sophomore Kyle Jones, who had
10 goals last season, has none this year. Junior Aaron Lee,
who also had 10 last season, has one. So does senior Lucas
Burnett, who had seven last year.
"We're getting to the point where we're
going to have to make decisions about giving some opportunities
to other guys," MacMillan said. "Sometimes it's
tough to score if you're not getting the time and opportunities,
but there are guys who have continually had it. Something
has to be done."
Talented freshman Dion Knelson is capable
of taking some of the offensive load of of Greentree, but
he's still fighting a shoulder injury from last month (which
MacMillan said could nag him throughout the season), plus
he's only 17 years old.
"It's tough to look down the bench and
put it all on a 17-year-old kid," MacMillan said. "Where
are the vets? Where are the older guys? They're the ones
who should feel that pressure."
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
Great Weekend Getaway
Dame at Michigan (Fri.)
Michigan at Notre Dame (Sun.)
This is the second straight Sunday on which the Fighting
Irish have played. Last week, the ND football team
took over the Joyce Center for its banquet on Friday,
pushing the hockey series against Alaska to Saturday-Sunday.
This week, ND's home game was moved from Saturday
to Sunday to accommodate ESPNU. This is a "statement"
series for Notre Dame. U-M's Andrew Cogliano will
miss Sunday's game as he heads to Team Canada's camp
for the World Junior Championship.
While you’re there: Michigan's
third annual Teddy Bear Toss to benefit Mott Children's
Hospital takes place during Friday's first intermission.
Fans are encouraged to bring a teddy bear(-enson?)
or purchase one through the Dekers Club, and to wrap
the bear in plastic prior to throwing onto the ice.
Matt Christie reached the 100-point mark
in his career with an assist Friday against Ferris
State, then blew past it with three more points Saturday.
He'll soon be joined in the RedHawks' Century Club
by junior teammate Nathan Davis, who sits at 99 heading
into this weekend's home-and-home series against Ohio
pick on Bowling Green again, but the Falcons have
lost eight games in a row, their
longest losing streak since dropping 14 straight from
December 1990 to February 1991. BGSU has been outscored,
42-8, during this skid. On tap this weekend: a trip
• Western Michigan senior Kevin Labatte
shocked us when he revealed that he is, in fact, "more
of a Coors Light guy." But he did admit that his surname
makes for a good pick-up line, provided his targets aren't
sharp enough to notice the tweaked spelling. "I tell
them I put an E on the end so people can't look me up in
the phone book," Labatte said. Nice.
• Interesting factoid about Michigan's
top line, which has accounted for 42.1 percent of the Wolverines'
offense this season: Kevin Porter (Northville), David Rohlfs
(Northville) and T.J. Hensick (Howell) grew up within 25
miles of each other in southeastern Michigan. U-M SID Matt
Trevor is referring to them as the I-96 Connection, based
on the highway that runs through their towns.
• Injury report: Michigan State does
not expect to have senior defenseman Ethan Graham (knee)
back in the lineup at Northern Michigan this weekend. The
best bet for his return is the Great Lakes Invitational.
... Miami expects goalie Charlie Effinger (mononucleosis)
to return Friday against Ohio State, but defenseman Mitch
Ganzak (hand) is considered questionable. ... Michigan will
be without defenseman Jason Dest (shoulder) for a month.
Fellow defenseman Jack Johnson is day-to-day with a shoulder
• At long last, we have a suitable explanation
for the weird exchange at the end of this CSTV
chat with Michigan State forward Justin Abdelkader.
It seems that a buddy of Spartan captain Chris Lawrence
came up from Pennsylvania hauling nearly 300 pounds of meat
and a not-small grill for a tailgate with the hockey team
before the MSU vs. Notre Dame football game on Sept. 23.
Amazingly, the icers did away with every last bit of flesh
and, presumably, increased the price of Pepto Bismol stock
• The CCHA had better take care of business
in its last three nonconference games before Christmas:
Nebraska-Omaha's home set against Bentley on Friday and
Sunday (Creighton hoops occupies the Qwest Center on Saturday),
and Western Michigan's one-day trip to Wayne State next
Saturday. Sunday's UNO-Bentley game counts in the Commissioners'
Cup standings. In those, the CCHA sits in fifth place with
a 3-5-0 record.
• Laker personnel dept: Lake Superior
State freshman forward Michael George left campus without
playing a game and signed with Fort Wayne of the UHL this
week. George never gained eligibility from the NCAA, apparently
because of an issue regarding his retaking of a ninth-grade
class in Saskatchewan. ... Odd quote from coach Jim Roque
about recruit Tyson Hobbins, who signed with the Lakers
this week: "I've only seen Hobbins on TV." Hmmm.
Perhaps Roque next could recruit Scott Oake as a stay-at-home
• Congratulations to those CCHA players
who netted hat tricks last week: Michigan's Andrew Cogliano,
Miami's Ryan Jones and Nebraska-Omaha's Parse and Bryan
Marshall. Marshall became the first Maverick to score three
goals in one period.
• Lineup oddities: Ferris State has
experimented with senior defenseman Joe Van Culin at forward
the past three games, and he has responded with a goal and
an assist. Coach Bob Daniels termed the switch a day-to-day
"experiment." ... Michigan freshman goalie Steve
Jakiel earned his first career start Saturday, and beat
Western Michigan, 6-5 ... Michigan State freshman netminder
Bobby Jarosz, who has yet to start a game, made his second
relief appearance on the same night.
• The weirdest moment of last weekend
came in the Notre Dame vs. Alaska series opener when Nanooks
forward Ryan Muspratt scored a goal that nobody seemed to
notice, followed by the Irish picking up the puck and scoring
at the other end of the rink. After the goal, referee Matt
Shegos watched the instant replay, discovered that UA had
scored first, gave the Nanooks a goal and took the tally
away from Notre Dame. Obviously, the Irish should have snapped
the ball before the replay official stopped the game. But
it didn't matter in their 3-1 win.
• You know about the four CCHA players
heading to the World Junior Championship. But did you know
that MSU video coordinator Keith McKittrick was picked to
fill a similar capacity for the U.S. team?
A variety of sources
were utilized in the compilation of this report