Maine's Trip Down Memory Lane
With a limited slate last weekend, Inside
College Hockey offers a national notebook this week.
Check back next week for our first conference notebooks
of the regular season.
Inside College Hockey Staff
As if to underscore the strangeness that can
happen in the opening weekend of the college hockey season,
the Maine Black Bears felt right at home playing before 15,000
opposing fans, on the rink that hosted one of the most gut-wrenching
losses in the program’s history. Inspired by a pre-game
pep talk from the most renowned ex-Black Bear, the current
club scored early and got great goaltending throughout its
3-1 upset of Minnesota at the Xcel Energy Center.
The day of the game, Minnesota Wild defenseman
Keith Carney, who skated for Maine between 1988-91, stopped
by with his triplet sons for the team’s morning skate.
And just before the Black Bears took to the ice, 1993 Hobey
winner Paul Kariya (in town with his Nashville Predators teammates
for a game versus the Wild the next night) addressed the team.
“Our players were able to see those guys
who have been such a big part of our program and of the tradition
at Maine,” Black Bears coach Tim Whitehead said. “Carney
and Kariya are a big part of what makes Maine hockey special,
so for these players to meet them was a really great opportunity.”
Kariya, who starred on the 1993 NCAA title team
in his only full season of college hockey, told the players
that they had a great opportunity in front of them.
“It brought back a lot of memories,”
Kariya told Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Mike
Russo. “I just told the guys that this was a great time
in their lives, and to get the most out of being a student-athlete.”
For the current team, it was an impressive way
to start the season.
“The guy’s a legend,” said
Black Bears captain Michel Leveille. “He only played
a year and a half at Maine, but he holds pretty much all the
records as far as points. He’s a great guy to learn
Indeed, the 75 assists and 100 points Kariya
recorded as a rookie still stand as the school's season records.
For Whitehead, the toughest part of the weekend
was walking into the same dressing room where he had to address
his club after their heartbreaking 4-3 overtime loss to Minnesota
in the 2002 NCAA title game. He said the Black Bears’
2006 win was nice, but not nearly enough to provide emotional
“When I went back in the locker room,
it was a pretty tough moment,” Whitehead said. “That
was a very difficult loss for us. I won’t lie and say
it wasn’t a big thing. But tonight’s outcome,
to me, doesn’t have any significance toward that outcome.
We could’ve beaten them 10-0 and it wouldn’t have
wiped away the heartache of that loss.”
– Jess Myers
SEEN AND HEARD AROUND THE NATION
|Rogers, in his pre-Reebok days.
Addressing errors in Alaska –
Nanooks goalie Wylie Rogers played the team's two
exhibition games without his new pads, blocker and glove because
they were mistakenly shipped to Alaska Anchorage –
UAF hockey equipment manager Randy Pommenville
said he ordered the equipment in late June from Reebok, a
new supplier to the program. Production was supposed to take
four to five weeks, but the pads still hadn't arrived by September.
Pommenville made some calls and figured out that the boxes
had been sent to UAA, and the shipment was refused because
the Seawolves (obviously) hadn't ordered them. So the pads
were taken out of Alaska and wound up in Independence, Mo.,
where Pommenville tracked them down through UPS two weeks
later. But once found, UPS sent them to Anchorage yet again.
Fortunately, a UAA staffer took them this time
and called Pommenville. The pads were trucked from Anchorage
to Fairbanks and finally found a home with Rogers this past
Saturday. "He was the happiest goalie in the world that
day," Pommenville wrote in an e-mail.
– James Jahnke
strong start – Joe Fallon reminded everyone
last weekend that he is one of the best goalies in all of
college hockey, as the Vermont keeper swatted away 54 of the
55 shots he saw in two games at the Ice Breaker Invitational
in Ohio. But the twice-victorious Catamounts banked home 10
goals in the tournament, which should provide some optimism
in Burlington after UVM struggled at times to score last year.
“We got a lot of power play chances, and
we were able to score on a few of those,” said Vermont
coach Kevin Sneddon, who won his 100th career game over the
Fallon really hit the scene last year when the
Catamounts played their first season in Hockey East and the
second-year goalie broke the school’s career shutout
record. Sneddon believes Fallon, now a junior, hasn’t
reached his ceiling yet.
“Joe has had a couple really good seasons
for us,” Sneddon said. “He has broken records
and played well, but he has worked hard to really get better.
I truly believe that he will get better, and we have yet to
see the best of Joe Fallon.”
Vermont knocked off No. 14 Colgate 6-0 in Friday’s
semifinal before disposing of host Miami 4-1 in the tourney
final. Though the Catamounts would much rather be talking
about tournament championships in the spring than the fall,
the UVM bench boss is taking something out of last weekend.
“It’s good to get the team together
and traveling and playing on the road,” he said. “It
was good to get a couple big wins and play well as a team
against ranked opponents.”
– Jeff Howe
Great Weekend Getaways
We'd Pay to Watch in Person
Denver at St. Cloud State
What could be the WCHA's two most compelling
teams in the preseason square off in the opening weekend
of league play. Denver, a year removed from its back-to-back
national titles, lost its three best players (Matt Carle,
Gabe Gauthier and Paul Stastny), but still figures to
challenge for a top-10 national finish. St. Cloud would
like to climb to that level after a surprising run under
new head coach Bob Motzko last year. Goaltender Bobby
Gopefert and forward Andrew Gordon are back to lead
Games We'd Pay to Watch on Satellite
North Dakota at Wisconsin (Fri., CSTV, and Sat., FSN
Forgive us for sticking in the WCHA for both
Getaways this weekend, but the home of the last five
national champions also has the best early-season matchups.
North Dakota's offense, led by the dynamic T.J. Oshie
and Jonathan Toews, will test Brian Elliott early. It
will be a good chance to see if the stingy Badger defense
will be able to hold up this season despite the losses
to graduation and the pros.
College head coach Jerry York collected his
750th career coaching victory Tuesday night against
Northeastern, and afterwards collected the game puck
as a keepsake.
Becoming just the second coach with 750
wins wasn't at the forefront of his mind, however. "I
was reflecting a little bit when I was coming to the
rink [Tuesday night], not necessarily on the victory
total, but because this is my 35th year wearing my hat
and whistle,” York said after the game. “That’s
a lot of seasons, and I’ve been really fortunate
to have coached some remarkable players over that stretch.
I forgot about No. 750, to be honest. It was the 35
[years] that rings a bell more.”
Tough love in Minneapolis –
In their season opener, the Minnesota Golden Gophers had more
healthy seniors in the press box, in suits, than they had
on the ice in uniform. A quick glance at the line chart showed
that coach Don Lucia dressed one senior and eight freshmen
in the 3-1 loss to Maine, with seniors Tyler Hirsch and Kellen
Briggs sitting out for disciplinary reasons.
Briggs was suspended for three games a few days
before the meeting with Maine, for reasons that he and the
coach would not reveal. Hirsch’s suspension was shorter
(one game) and more surprising. Lucia sat him out after Hirsch
arrived a few minutes late to a team meeting on the day of
But after last November, when a Minneapolis
TV station’s investigative report about Gopher players
receiving free alcohol and drinking underage at a Dinkytown
bar was a distraction for many, Lucia said the message about
keeping your nose clean is going to be sent early and often.
“We talked this year about how important
discipline was going to be, after what happened last year,”
Lucia said. “We wanted to set some examples early and
I think that was done. I think they were warranted and I think
they’re great lessons for everybody.”
– Jess Myers
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Two CCHA teams that can ill afford injuries
have suffered major ones already this season.
Bowling Green will be without senior forward
James Unger for 6-8 weeks after he underwent surgery on his
right wrist last week. Among current Falcons, only Jonathan
Matsumoto tallied more than Unger's 27 points last season.
Throughout his career, Unger has averaged a goal every three
games or so.
Farther north, Ferris State has lost its leading
returning scorer, senior forward Mark Bomersback, for 10 weeks
because of a broken lower leg. Bomersback scored 32 points
on 16 goals and 16 assists last season, finishing second on
the team in scoring. He broke his leg while trying to check
a Union player during Friday's season-opening loss in Big
Rapids, and he likely won’t be back until after Christmas.
• Clarkson head coach George Roll and
his recruiting-ace assistants in Greg Drechsel and Jean-Francois
Houle have steadily been increasing the talent level in the
Golden Knight lineup since taking over in 2002. Early returns
in the 2006-07 season show that the work is paying off. Clarkson
won twice on their opening weekend and scored 11 goals. Nine
players accounted for the scores. The only players with two
goals were junior winger David Cayer and former walk-on Dan
Tuttle, who played in just five games as a freshman last year.
• One could argue that most of the CHA
teams are gluttons for punishment. This week features non-conference
games headlined by Bemidji State's trip for a pair of games
at Maine. Wayne State travels to Minnesota, Alabama-Huntsville
travels to Michigan and Bowling Green, while Niagara plays
a neutral site game in Rochester, N.Y. against Colgate before
hosting defending Atlantic Hockey champion Holy Cross. Robert
Morris is on the road again as well, for a pair at Quinnipiac.
Two to three wins against ranked opponents and you'll see
some CHA teams receive recognition in the national rankings.
• Denver's George Gwozdecky became the
first hockey coach to join Miami's 45-member Cradle of Coaches
Association during Friday's dedication game of the new Goggin
Ice Center in Oxford. Gwozdecky coached Miami from 1989-94.
Among other luminaries in the Cradle of Coaches are Woody
Hayes, Ara Parseghian and Bo Schembechler.
• Niagara overcame their 7-3 opening night
loss to Clarkson with a 4-3 victory at St. Lawrence. Ted Cook
netted a pair of goals while Vince Rocco scored once and Matt
Caruana the game-winner with five minutes remaining. Sophomore
goaltender Juliano Pagliero made 38 saves including 17 in
the second period.
• RIT goaltender Jocelyn Guimond made
a name for himself when he stopped 66 shots in a 3-2 victory
over St. Lawrence last season. The Saints got his number this
year but not before Guimond made 41 saves in RIT’s 4-3
setback in Canton.
• Air Force won an exhibition over Calgary
(4-2), lost to Colorado College (2-1) and beat former CHA
foe Alabama-Huntsville (4-3). Give credit to the Falcons’
defense, which held the three teams to an average of 19.7
shots. Making the job easier for talented netminder Peter
Foster should give Air Force a shot at the top division of
• Army swept Ryerson University of Toronto
in a pair of exhibitions, 5-0 and 3-1. In all, 15 players
registered at least one point for the Black Knights. In the
race to replace Brad Roberts as the Black Knights' starting
goalie, Josh Kassell stopped all 16 shots and A.J. Drago came
within 3:17 of a shutout, making 11 saves.
• Ottawa traveled south to face three
Atlantic Hockey teams – Sacred Heart,
Holy Cross and Connecticut – and skated
away with three ties.
• If you are a big fan of the 8-9 NCAA
tourney basketball matchups, then you’ll probably like
INCH’s own 30-31 weekend matchup pitting Ferris State
and visiting Mercyhurst. Ferris State is loaded with veterans
and Mercyhurst is loaded with scorers.
• Army and American International have
struggled to get out of the bottom half of MAAC/Atlantic Hockey
but, barring a tie, one of them is going to be on top of Atlantic
Hockey for at least 24 hours when the clubs open the league
slate Friday night at West Point.