January 1, 2004
St. Cloud Roasts Foes in Coffee Pot

By Jess Myers

 WCHA Notebook

Colin Peters and the St. Cloud State Huskies won the Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Pot with what looked like tennis scores: 6-4, 6-1.

This week's schedule
National TV Schedule

Hockey East Notebook

Anyone who was ready to write of the St. Cloud State Huskies as an early-season flash in the pan got a little heads-up lesson last weekend. After sprinting to an 8-0-1 start, the Huskies had struggled for a month or more, and headed to Providence for the holidays on a 2-6-1 streak.

But the salty air in Rhode Island apparently did wonders for Craig Dahl’s crew, who won the Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Pot, beating Harvard 6-4 in the semis and host Providence 6-1 in the final. Goalie Adam Coole was named the tournament’s MVP for his efforts despite giving up a season-high four goals in the Harvard game.

In the tournament’s title game, the Huskies fell behind 1-0 to the host Friars before storming back with six unanswered goals, sending a message that perhaps their hot start wasn’t a fluke. For Dahl, who had never taken his team to a holiday tournament, the trip to Providence was an enjoyable break from the norm.

“We played pretty well considering we only had about a 40-minute practice and our pre-game skate to prepare,” he said. “Being in a tournament was nice for a change, but it’s not something we’re going to do every year. The guys kind of like having some time off too.”

And there’s another great opportunity for the Huskies to assert their strength this weekend, with top-ranked North Dakota coming to the National Hockey Center.

In November, the Huskies went to Grand Forks and earned a split with the Sioux. This time around, with three key North Dakota players (Zach Parise, Brady Murray and Drew Stafford) away at the World Juniors, opportunity knocks again for the Huskies. But before the hockey-watching populace in Central Minnesota gets too excited about playing a “weakened” opponent, it should be noted that North Dakota hasn’t lost since that November game with the Huskies.

“They’ve still got the same defense, and they’ve still got (Brandon) Bochenski, so they’ll be tough as nails,” said Dahl. “They put up eight goals in their last game without those guys.”


Memories of Glory and Frustration in Duluth – When Bowling Green visits the DECC this weekend, it will mark the first meetings between the Bulldogs and Falcons since those two teams squared off in Lake Placid in the 1984 NCAA championship game. In one of the most memorable games in college hockey history, the underdog Falcons rallied from a late third period deficit to tie, then won 5-4 in the fourth overtime.

It was a shocking unhappy end to an otherwise near-perfect season for the Bulldogs, as the school claimed its first WCHA title, its first WCHA playoff title, its first trip to the Frozen Four, and its first Hobey Baker recipient (defenseman Tom Kurvers).

There were originally plans for a reunion of that 1983-84 Bulldog team this weekend, but the get-together will instead be held in February when North Dakota visits the DECC for UMD’s final regular season home series.

Of course, games with the Fighting Sioux always conjure up memories of that dreamy ’83-’84 season for Bulldogs fans as well. The Sioux and Bulldogs met in March of 1984 to decide the WCHA Playoff Championship, which was played at a neutral site somewhat by accident. UMD had won the right to host the two-game total-goals series, but the DECC was booked with a camping show, so the Bulldogs kindly rejected North Dakota’s offer to play host and instead rented the old Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis. With sellout crowds on hand, the Bulldogs won the series 12-6. UMD beat North Dakota again a few weeks later in the Frozen Four semifinals, thereby advancing to the school’s first and only NCAA title game appearance.

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

North Dakota at St. Cloud State (Fri.-Sat.)
The Huskies are hot and healthy (and possibly a bit jittery from all the caffeine), having just won the Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee Pot. The Sioux are hot, but shorthanded, with three top players away at the World Juniors. After struggling to beat Findlay last Saturday, Sioux coach Dean Blais noted that with two players gone from their top line and one gone from their second line, “that’s half of our offense that’s out of whack.” Apparently it took less than 24 hours to get back in whack, as NoDak spanked Wayne State in their tournament’s title game. So the Sioux, with their “not quite full strength but still mighty scary” offense will try to solve the WCHA’s Comeback Player of the Year, Huskies goalie Adam Coole. For those concerned that NoDak is primed for a fall with all of their second half road games coming up, two wins this weekend would send a mighty loud message.

While You’re There: There are a few great post-game options in downtown St. Cloud, and where you go will tell a lot about what you’re into. If you like a quieter post-game hockey talk with outstanding pizza, lots of beers on tap and classic rock playing unobtrusively in the background, the Green Mill is your best bet. If your tastes run more toward noise, neon, 50 Cent, OutKast, and cute blonde (it IS Minnesota, after all) co-eds who aren’t afraid to sport big hair, the Rox is for you. One “brush with fame” note: the Radisson in downtown St. Cloud is where TV talk show host Craig Kilborn stayed last fall when he went to training camp with the Minnesota Timberwolves. (We’re told that the Timberwolves play in something called the “N-B-A” but we’re not sure what that stands for.)

Stick Salute

To famed Subway pitchman Jared Fogle, for his welcome message to fans attending the Subway Hockey Classic. Fogle, who gained fame for losing 245 pounds by eating Subway sandwiches (and nearly nothing else) for a year, was shown on the Ralph Engelstad Arena big screen before the start of the North Dakota-Findlay game on Saturday, wearing a Fighting Sioux sweater, and welcoming fans to the tournament. In the college hockey ranks, this is about as big a celebrity endorsement of the game that you’ll ever see.

Bench Minor

To the college hockey message board writer who recently accused INCH of plagiarizing ideas from an online thread. Anyone who knows anything about INCH knows that our ideas are plagiarized exclusively (with NO exceptions) from ESPN’s Page 2 and from the folks who run the Waibel Factor web site. To accuse us of stealing from other sources is simply wrong and we will not stand for such lies and rumor-mongering. If there are lies to be told and rumors to be mongered, we’re perfectly capable and willing to do so ourselves, thank you.


Alaska Anchorage has yet another weekend off to savor the sweep of Colorado College on Dec. 12-13, and doesn’t play again until visiting North Dakota on Jan. 9-10. For the Seawolves, the sweep was their first since the days of the Bill Clinton White House. On Feb. 22-23, 2000, Alaska Anchorage won a pair of one-goal games from the Tigers and had not swept a two-game WCHA series since then.

• We’re less than a year away from WCHA hockey’s Florida debut. St. Cloud State has signed on to join Boston College, Maine and Cornell in the 2004 Everblades College Classic. It will mark the first time a WCHA team has played in the event, held each December at TECO Arena near Fort Myers.

• Living in the Twin Cities (where college hockey is roughly seventh on the sports scene radar) for many years, one can forget what life is like in a town where college pucks are first and foremost in the minds of sports fans. I got a refreshing reminder of how much college hockey means to people in North Dakota early Sunday morning while waiting in line at the Red Pepper in Grand Forks, and hearing countless people recount the details of that night’s North Dakota-Findlay tilt. Unlike Minneapolis, Denver or Boston, where one might be met with blank stares at the mention of the Sioux and the Oilers, it’s nice to spend a little time in a place where mentioning “the game” automatically means college hockey to most people.

• When Minnesota and Boston University get together, as they do this weekend in Minneapolis, one is always reminded of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team, the roster of which featured five Terriers and eight Gophers. In the forthcoming Disney movie about the Miracle On Ice, much is made of the hatred between players from BU and Minnesota, and how Herb Brooks was able to channel that rage, direct it at himself, and use it to produce a positive effort on the ice. Things are different today, as it’s been eight years since the last truly meaningful game between these teams (BU beat the Gophers 7-3 in the 1995 Frozen Four semis en route to the Terriers’ most recent NCAA title). Perhaps more significant is that the BU roster features three Minnesotans, so a little of the East-West rivalry has apparently disappearing. With that said, don’t think beating Jack Parker wouldn’t mean a great deal to Don Lucia, and vice-versa.

Colorado College assistant coach Norm Bazin is not out of the woods, health-wise, but he is at least out of the hospital. Bazin was recently discharged from the Spokane medical facility where he’d been since his serious car accident on Nov. 20 and returned to Colorado. While family members are still tight-lipped about the specifics of his condition, Bazin’s relocation to Colorado Springs is clearly a positive sign, and an answer to many prayers.

• While some see the start of something good in Jamie Russell’s first few months at Michigan Tech, others aren’t as convinced that there’s future success in the cards for the Huskies. One long-time college hockey observer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, recently told INCH he believes that the geographical hurdles are too significant for Russell to consistently lure top-level talent to Houghton, and that the Huskies will remain perennial also-rans in the WCHA. While the pessimist will note that Tech’s 0-2 showing at this season’s Great Lakes Invitational makes it 23 years since the Huskies last won the tournament, the optimist can point to a player like Chris Conner. The sophomore star, who hails from a Detroit suburb, was actively recruited by other Michigan schools closer to his home, but chose Tech for the school’s top-notch engineering program and has been one of the WCHA’s most exciting players during his season and a half in Houghton.

Minnesota State, Mankato played in a holiday tournament for the first time since becoming a WCHA team in 1999, but after their experience at the Sheraton/Banknorth Classic, the Mavs might not be looking to return to Vermont anytime soon. MSU went 0-2 in Burlington, and is surrendering more than five goals per game on average during their current 1-7-1 streak. That’s not a good sign for anyone hoping to attend playoff games in Mankato this season.

• When it comes to performing well in your own tournament, Denver’s success stands in stark contrast to Michigan Tech’s struggles. The Pioneers won the Wells Fargo Denver Cup last weekend, giving them 10 titles in the 12 years the tournament has been played. DU is now 20-3-1 all-time in Denver Cup games.

• Remember that hype last May about the prospects for D-I hockey at the University of South Dakota? Two months after publicly announcing that he was exploring the addition of hockey at the school, USD’s then-athletic director, Dr. Kelly Higgins, quietly stepped down citing “personal reasons.” Now a reliable source with knowledge of the North Central Conference (the football, basketball and baseball home of South Dakota, along with St. Cloud State, North Dakota, Nebraska-Omaha, Minnesota Duluth and Minnesota State, Mankato) tells INCH that Higgins may have been forced out at USD, and one of the biggest reasons for the shake-up may have been because football and basketball interests at the school were outraged at the prospect of adding big-time hockey (which was sure to sap attention and resources from other sports). In November, USD hired Joel Nielsen away from Colorado College to be the school’s new athletic director. Despite Nielsen’s background at a D-I hockey school, don’t expect anymore puck talk out of USD anytime soon.

Wisconsin’s school-record 15-game unbeaten streak came to a sudden halt last Sunday in the championship game of the Badger Hockey Showdown, via a penalty-filled 3-1 loss to Ferris State. Wisconsin drew crowds of 10,000-plus for both games of the tournament, which was held at the Kohl Center in Madison for the first time. The tournament’s first 14 years were played at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, but the crowd size had dwindled nearly every year. Last season’s final game in Milwaukee barely drew 7,000, leading most to believe the shift to Madison will be permanent.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

Send this to a friend

About Us | Advertiser Info | Site Map | Privacy Policy
© 2004 Inside College Hockey, Inc., All Rights Reserved