Badger Makes a Quick Splash
the ice for the Wisconsin Badgers last weekend in Mankato, freshman
Ross Carlson was at risk of becoming the answer to a trivia question.
Namely, “Name the only Badger whose college hockey career
ended due to a volleyball injury.”
native of Duluth, Minn., and a product of the powerful Duluth
East High School program, toiled three seasons in the USHL before
being invited to walk on with the Badgers. But in June, Carlson
suffered a serious knee injury during a pick-up volleyball game
with some friends. Instead of going to training camp in Madison,
Carlson spent the fall rehabbing the injury and didn’t enroll
at Wisconsin until the winter semester.
practicing with the team in December. With the Badgers short-staffed
due to injuries and players at the World Junior Tournament, Carlson
made his college hockey debut in the win and tie at MSU, Mankato,
and recorded a goal and two assists over the weekend.
worked out nice,” said a beaming Carlson after the Badgers’
6-2 win on Saturday night. “All of the guys on the team
have been great, and have certainly helped me figure out our team
systems and other things.”
With the Badgers’
trailing 1-0 early in the game, Carlson took advantage of a loose
puck near the Mankato net, snapping off a low wrist shot that
beat Mavericks goalie Kyle Nixon and tied the game. Wisconsin
put the contest out of reach in the second, scoring three times,
including a Tom Gilbert goal set up by Carlson.
started a little slow, but the team came out with guns blazing
in the second,” said Carlson, who was named the WCHA’s
rookie of the week for his efforts. “I think we kind of
caught them back on their heels and kept them there.”
coach Troy Ward, who ran the team while Mike Eaves was off mining
gold in Finland, said he was pleased but not really surprised
by Carlson’s immediate contributions to the team.
we didn’t expect this much from him right away, but we definitely
knew he had this ability,” said Ward. “He definitely
made a strong statement tonight, and he’s going to be an
important part of this team for a long time.”
AND HEARD IN THE WCHA
Turning Heads as Huskies Struggle – The only time
Michigan Tech has had a finalist for the Hobey, he came from a
last-place team. Goalie Jamie Ram was one of the nation’s
10 best in 1994, when the Huskies were 13-27-5 overall. (In fairness,
it should be noted that the ’94 Hobey winner, forward Chris
Marinucci, played for seventh-place Minnesota Duluth, so apparently
team success didn’t weigh heavily on voters minds that year.)
Conner shares the national lead with 15 goals.
A decade later,
the Huskies are again struggling to find a way out of the WCHA
cellar, and start the season’s second half at Wisconsin
on a 1-9-3 streak. But just like ’94, they might be headed
for another Hobey finalist, as sophomore forward Chris Conner
continues to impress.
reports have noted the show Conner put on at the Great Lakes Invitational,
earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team despite his team’s
7-2 and 6-2 losses to Michigan State and Michigan. The Detroit-area
native apparently felt right at home versus the Spartans at Joe
Louis Arena, scoring a cut-to-the-net-and-shoot goal that was
one of ESPN’s top 10 highlights of the day.
athletic communications director, Dave Fischer, has already begun
work on a promotional campaign, hoping that despite the team’s
struggles, Conner’s efforts will earn the school its second
Great Weekend Getaway
Minnesota at Colorado College (Fri.-Sat.)
One wonders if there will be any “our trophy’s
bigger than your trophy” trash talk going on this
weekend in Colorado Springs as the defending conference
champs host the defending national champs. And whether or
not Tigers fans will taunt Don Lucia about his hair (as
they’ve done without pause every time the ex-Tigers
coach has brought his Minnesota club to CS World Arena)
is another question that remains to be answered. If the
WCHA playoffs started today, both of these teams would be
on the road, so to call the four points up for grabs “critical”
would be a huge understatement.
You’re There: Keep in mind that this season there’s
a direct link between Colorado Springs World Arena and the
Frozen Four, as Colorado College will host the NCAA West
Regional in late March. So this would be a good weekend
to do some scouting of the bar, restaurant and hotel scene
in the vicinity. As four teams will find out come playoff
time, you’ll never make it to Boston if you’re
not prepared to give it everything you’ve got in Colorado
Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves for his efforts
assembling and coaching Team USA at the World Junior Championships.
He comes back to Madison with a gold medal, his sons playing
for one of the top teams in the country, and his Badgers
in first place in the WCHA. How sweet is life, and hockey,
for the Eaves family right now?
St. Cloud State officials, for refusing
Internet TV broadcast permission to the folks from North
Dakota for last Friday’s game. While it was done for
reasons that are, on some levels, understandable (Victory
Sports owns broadcast rights to Huskies home games), we
still don’t think college hockey is dying from too
much media exposure. Kudos to the cooler heads that prevailed
on Saturday and allowed the Internet broadcast to go forth.
TO PICK UP AFTER PRACTICE
a two-goal lead is renowned to be the most dangerous lead in hockey,
a three-goal advantage is generally safe, right? Well, apparently
not when you’re playing North Dakota this
season. Last Friday, St. Cloud State stormed
out to a 3-0 lead just 3:06 into their game with the Sioux, only
to see the visitors rally to lead 4-3 in the third period. The
teams settled for a 4-4 tie. In October, the Sioux trailed Boston
College (then the top-ranked team in the nation) by three goals
in Grand Forks, before rallying for a 6-4 win.
a good sign for Pioneers fans if Denver makes
it to the NCAA playoffs: By beating St. Lawrence and Wayne State
last weekend at Magness Arena, the Pioneers finished their non-conference
schedule with a 10-0-0 mark.
former Fighting Sioux Chris Fournier is likely to get plenty of
attention from North Dakota (and plenty of love
from the Sioux fans) this weekend when Alaska Anchorage
visits Grand Forks, the Sioux would probably be making
a mistake to key on any one Seawolf. While going 7-7-2 in the
season’s first half, UAA has gotten game-winning goals from
seven different players.
said, the Seawolves' offense lost a key cog over the team’s
month-long holiday break when forward John Hopson left the team.
According to published reports, Hopson surprised teammates and
coaches when he withdrew from school and returned home to Prince
George, B.C., after complaining about playing time. Hopson’s
departure, along with the recent announcement that sophomore defenseman
Matt Hanson is academically ineligible, leaves coach John Hill
with just 19 eligible players available. Don’t be surprised
to see fliers for mid-season walk-on tryouts posted in the UAA
student center sometime soon.
to 1984 Hobey winner Tom Kurvers on his recent engagement, and
kudos to the former Minnesota Duluth star for
his inventive proposal. Kuvers, who scouts for the Phoenix Coyotes,
has two daughters from a previous marriage. Before Christmas,
Kurvers gave his daughters Coyotes sweaters with “KURVERS”
and his college number (22) on the back. He took the girls and
his then-girlfriend, Heather Estby, to a skating party at his
hometown rink, Bloomington (Minn.) Ice Garden, on Christmas Day.
While sitting on one of the team benches and watching his daughters
skate in their Coyotes sweaters, Kurvers gave Heather a matching
Coyotes sweater, with “KURVERS” on the back. After
she donned the sweater, he said, “If you’re going
to wear a sweater with that name on it, you should probably wear
this too,” and presented her with a diamond engagement ring.
southern Minnesota viewers tune in to see local broadcasts of
Minnesota State, Mankato hockey, they get to
hear a Mavericks legend calling the action. Steve Carroll, the
school’s one and only Hobey Baker finalist, is donning the
headset for Mavericks hockey broadcasts on Mankato-area cable
this season. Carroll was the team’s star goalie in 1980
when MSU claimed its only Division III national title, and was
one of the 10 finalists for the first Hobey (won by Minnesota’s
Neal Broten) a year later. A former Twin Cities sportscaster and
onetime editor of Let’s Play Hockey, Carroll now
works in communications for the Minnesota Department of Natural
Resources and conducts goaltending schools in his spare time.