IceBreaker Injuries Affect Minnesota and BC
Also: Boston College
defensemen Brett Motherwell and Brian O'Hanley are serving
an indefinite suspension for violating team rules. BC
hosts North Dakota on Friday and visits Vermont on Sunday.
Inside College Hockey Staff
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Perhaps injuries should
be expected when you travel to a tournament with the word
"break" in the title.
NCAA title contenders Minnesota and Boston College
each got their first win of the season last weekend at the
Ice Breaker Invitational at the Xcel Energy Center. But each
team also suffered a loss that will be felt in the coming
weeks and months.
In the second period of the tournament's opening
game – the Eagles' 4-3 overtime loss to Michigan –
top-line right wing Brock Bradford was reaching up with his
stick when he was checked by a Wolverine. Bradford, who had
45 points for the Eagles last season, suffered a broken humerus
in his left arm on the play, and will be out, according to
Eagles' coach Jerry York's estimate, for two months or more.
"He's certainly one of our top guys,"
said York after the Eagles' 4-1 win over RPI last Saturday.
"He'll have surgery and we're hoping for somewhere between
two and three months if everything goes right. He broke his
(arm). They're going to put a plate in there. He had his stick
caught up top and was reaching trying to get his stick out.
The guy just brushed his arm, and it snapped."
|Gopher forward Ryan Stoa suffered
a knee injury that required surgery and is out for the
On Saturday night, Minnesota won the tournament
by beating Michigan for the sixth consecutive time, 4-3. But
in the first period, in a play near the Minnesota bench, Gophers
top-line left wing Ryan Stoa was hit low by a Wolverine and
limped to the door in obvious trouble. On Monday, the school
announced that Stoa would have knee surgery and was done for
the season due to what they expect is damage to one or two
knee ligaments, including the medial collateral. Stoa scored
a power play goal in Minnesota's Friday win.
"I don't think he hit Ryan with intent
to injure, but he went low and Ryan's a big guy," said
Minnesota assistant coach John Hill of the play. "It's
part of the game, but I definitely feel bad for Ryan. He looked
good and was in great shape."
Much like last year when offensive star Tyler
Hirsch was dismissed from the squad at midseason, the one
of the rare teams in the nation that may have the offensive
depth to weather the loss of a player like Stoa. Hill said
the injury brought back memories of an injury the coach suffered
early in his first season of professional hockey. While skating
in a preseason game for Muskegon of the old IHL, Hill had
his season ended on a similar play.
"I tore an MCL 23 years ago, so I know
what Ryan's about to go through," said Hill, noting that
the key losses of Stoa and Bradford overshadowed things for
both BC and the Gophers last weekend. "These are not
six-week injuries. They're both going to be really costly.
But it's the nature of the game."
– Jess Myers
SEEN AND HEARD AROUND THE NATION
You Again?: St. Lawrence visits
Clarkson on Saturday night in what will be the first ECAC
Hockey conference game of the season. Both teams know it's
a big game because they went through a similar experience
to start the season on Oct. 7 at St. Lawrence's Appleton Arena.
Clarkson and St. Lawrence faced-off the season in an afternoon
non-league tilt on ESPNU.
The longtime rivals played a spirited contest
to start the season, with the Saints scoring twice in the
third period and holding on for a 3-2 win over the Golden
Knights. Both teams proved last season that they're back among
the nation's elite as St. Lawrence won the ECAC Hockey regular-season
title and the Golden Knights won the league tournament. Each
received a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
For the Saints, it was a great start to the
season and they earned an important win to start their season,
even though league standings points weren't at stake. "These
kids are good hockey players and they're an outstanding team.
I give our kids a lot of credit because we haven't had a lot
of practice and neither have they," Saints coach Joe
Marsh said. "You look at the leadership on both teams
and what they were able to do without the coaches. Those guys
are going to put us out of a job."
The Knights reviewed past lessons learned in
the opening-game loss. Clarkson's coaches admitted their team
was outworked over the course of 60 minutes by the Saints.
The Golden Knights responded one week later with wins over
Massachusetts and Providence.
— Joe Gladziszewski
Buckeyes Start Strong: After
letdowns in each of the last two seasons, this year's Ohio
State Buckeyes are out to prove that they're a force to be
reckoned with. And it's hard to conceive a better way to showcase
your legitimacy as a contender than winning the season-opening
Lefty McFadden Invitational in Dayton by knocking off a strong
Wisconsin team which annihilated defending CCHA winner Notre
Dame one night earlier.
It took the Buckeyes just 3:46 to jump out to
a two-goal lead, with a pair of markers which highlight the
age spectrum which makes this year's squad unique. Senior
captain Matt McIlvane opened the scoring at the 2:12 mark
before freshman Sergio Somma extended the lead shortly after.
After the opening frame ended with Ohio State
leading 3-2, Wisconsin tied the game early in the second period
on a goal by freshman phenom Kyle Turris. Having veteran leadership
from McIlvane, alternate captain Tommy Goebel and a healthy
Tom Fritsched, this year's Buckeyes finished the game strong,
with two additional goals en route to a 5-3 win.
According to Goebel, the apparent difference
between his current squad and last year's is the influx of
"Last year was disappointing, but we're
excited to have a new group of guys and to see what we can
do," Goebel said. "We have a lot of fresh faces
and young energy, so we expect to do well."
This weekend will provide an even tougher test
for just how much help this youth will provide, as the Buckeyes
open their conference schedule with a home and home against
— James V. Dowd
RMU Gets Another Big Win: Ho-hum…another
nationally-ranked team and another win for Robert Morris.
Only this time it was perennial powerhouse Boston University
and, after a second round win versus Wayne State, the net
result was the first tournament championship of any kind in
the Colonials' three-plus year history.
Robert Morris overcame a 2-0 deficit by scoring
three, third period goals over a four-minute span to defeat
the Terriers in the first round of the Nye Frontier Classic.
They then followed with a relatively easy 4-1 victory over
Combined with BU’s tie against Alaska-Anchorage
in the second round and the tourney title went to the Colonials.
The tournament win came nine months after Robert Morris defeated
nationally-ranked Notre Dame on the road and could signal
the start of a special season in Moon Township.
“We played hard all game and capitalized
on our power play opportunities,” said Robert Morris
head coach Derek Schooley. “We played excellent team
defense and kept most shots from out on the perimeter, plus
(Christian) Boucher was excellent in net and on his game.
We played as sound a weekend as I’ve seen in a long
"With the history of winning that Boston
University brings and with the Notre Dame win last season,
this was a big win for us."
The Colonials feature 14 seniors in this, their
fourth as a Division I program. The Nye Frontier Classic was
just the second tourney the team had ever participated in
with the RPI Thanksgiving Tournament the only other appearance
back in their first season.
As to pulling Boucher with a shutout going in
the third period of their second round victory, Schooley said,
“I had planned on playing (goaltender) Wes (Russell)
because we need to find out if these young guys can play.
Boucher came to the bench and asked if I wanted him to give
up a goal.”
Robert Morris is now 2-0 all-time in Alaska
and will look to increase that win total when they visit Alaska-Fairbanks
during the 2009-10 campaign.
The good news if you believe in trends and odds:
11 of the last 16 Classic tournaments has had at least one
participant later become an NCAA Tournament qualifier.
This season doesn’t get any easier for
the Colonials with their first-ever trip to Wisconsin this
— Warren Kozireski
Atlantic Hockey Quick Hits:
Atlantic Hockey got off to a brutal 0-9-1 start in non-conference
play, but a 4-0 start in exhibition contests. Canisius produced
the only tie against NCAA opposition, rallying from a 3-0
deficit to tie St. Cloud State, 3-3. David Kasch and David
Cianfrini scored early in the third period to tie the contest.
Canisius netminder Bryce Luker made four of his 43 saves in
overtime to preserve the tie. ... Mercyhurst goalie Matt Lundin,
a former netminder for the Maine Black Bears, held Ohio State
scoreless through two periods before allowing two third-period
power-play goals to the Buckeyes as Mercyhurst dropped a 2-1
decision in the first round of the Lefty McFadden Tournament.
Lundin was injured in the loss, and freshman Ryan Zapolski
started Saturday's 4-0 Laker loss to Notre Dame. ... Army
may have found another solid freshman netminder. Jay Clark
started the second game of a series at Bemidji State and allowed
just one goal. Bemidji produced two empty netters in the final
minute for a 3-0 win. Junior Josh Kassel, Army's savior in
net last season, started the opener and made 22 saves in a
— Ken McMillan
Great Weekend Getaways
We'd Pay to Watch in Person:
North Dakota at Boston College
The Sioux made an emphatic start to the season
with a 6-0 win over Michigan State last weekend. Now
they get to head east and face Boston College in a rematch
of last season's Frozen Four semifinal game won by the
Games We'd Pay to Watch on TV:
Ohio State vs. Miami
The Buckeyes and RedHawks both earned a pair
of non-league wins to start their seasons off on the
right skate. Which team will carry that momentum into
the weekend, and make a statement in the first weekend
of CCHA play?
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Brock Trotter's goal six seconds into
Denver's 3-1 win against Maine Saturday is the fastest goal
to start a game in school history. The goal came two seconds
faster than the previous mark of eight seconds, set by Marty
Howe in a 3-2 loss at Michigan Tech on Dec. 16, 1960.
• RPI surrendered eight goals in its pair
of losses at the IceBreaker last weekend – none of them
5-on-5. Minnesota's come-from-behind 4-3 win over the Engineers
happened via three power-play goals (including two in that
ridiculous third period, in which the penalty minutes were
23 for RPI and 2 for the Gophers) and one 4-on-4 goal. Boston
College beat the Engineers 4-1 with three power-play goals
and a shorty. On the flip side, Minnesota Duluth held Lake
Superior State and Northern Michigan without a power-play
goal last weekend. The Bulldogs have allowed one power-play
goal in their opponents' last 62 man-advantages.
• Perhaps the most ominous question mark
surrounding the CCHA's Michigan Wolverines heading into this
season was how far incumbent goaltender Billy Sauer would
carry the team or whether he would need to be replaced. Sauer
showed signs of growth in a weekend split which included a
4-3 overtime upset of Boston College last Friday night and
a narrow 4-3 defeat by Minnesota one night later at the Icebreaker
Tournament in the Twin Cities.
The junior had defeated Boston College once
before, at home during his freshman season, but had been absolutely
shelled by Minnesota in two previous meetings. By keeping
Michigan in the game, Sauer showed that perhaps he has taken
steps to mature in the off-season. Keep in mind that he started
strong each of the last two seasons, albeit against inferior
opponents, but Sauer's consistency will be a barometer of
• Union is 2-0-0 after sweeping a weekend
series against Ferris State. The Dutchmen have six players
who recorded at least two points in the series, including
junior Matt Cook who had a goal and three assists. Senior
goalie Justin Mrazek allowed just one goal on 44 shots in
the two games.
• While many people gaped in awe as North
Dakota crushed defending national champion Michigan State
6-0 in the season opener last Saturday, look for goaltender
Jeff Lerg and his team to bounce back from early adversity
and return to last year's playoff form.
The Spartans have showed their resilience in
the past, particularly after getting knocked off by rival
Michigan in last season's CCHA Playoff semifinal. After the
5-2 defeat, coach Rick Comley demanded that his players stay
in the locker room until he was through with them. Whatever
was said, it clearly turned Michigan State around and inspired
them when the NCAA Tournament commenced.
• Colgate travels to Michigan State this
weekend after an opening-weekend scoring bonanza that saw
the Raiders post six goals each night in wins over Sacred
Heart and RIT. Coach Don Vaughan promised a bigger emphasis
on creating scoring chances and it seems to have paid off
in the early going. Senior forward Tyler Burton leads the
way with five points, and freshmen Francois Brisebois (0-4—4)
and Brian Day (3-0—3) have made an immediate impact.
• While Michigan Tech's current crop of
Huskies was splitting a pair of home games to open the season,
two former Huskies had interesting returns to WCHA action
as well. Four-year Tech letter winner Matt Ulwelling stepped
back onto a college rink last Saturday, working the Michigan
State-North Dakota game as an assistant referee. He worked
a handful of games last season, but will see increased time
in the stripes this year. And former Huskies goalie Bryce
Luker, who left school at Tech after playing 31 games in two
seasons, found his way back to a WCHA rink on Saturday. Luker
had 43 saves (four of them in overtime) as Canisius rallied
for a 3-3 tie at St. Cloud State.
• The WCHA welcomed a new on-ice official
to the fold this season, and is prepared if fans start taunting
him with jokes about his old friend Screech. Max Battimo,
who worked last Friday's 2-2 tie between Minnesota Duluth
and Lake Superior State at the DECC, spent a significant part
of his childhood (OK, 13 episodes) playing Mikey Gonzalez
on "Saved By The Bell: The Junior High Years" in
the late 1980s. Battimo has worked ECHL games in California
for the past few years. And, since we know you were wondering,
there are three degrees of separation between Battimo and
• Bemidji State junior goaltender Orlando
Alamano registered his first career shutout 3-0 over Army
Saturday in just his fourth career start.
• Wayne State forward Derek Punches broke
a 17-game goalless streak with a tally Friday against Alaska-Anchorage.
He now has two goals in his last 42 games.
A variety of sources were used in the compilation
of this notebook.