Season-Opening Tournament Previews
All Times Eastern
Ice Breaker Tournament
Xcel Energy Center • St. Paul, Minn.
Boston College vs. Michigan, 5:30 p.m.
Rensselaer vs. Minnesota, 8:30 p.m
Rensselaer vs. Boston College/Michigan, 5:30 p.m.
Boston College/Michigan vs. Minnesota, 8:30 p.m.
The Ice Breaker served as the inaugural
event at the new Goggin Ice Arena in Oxford, Ohio.
Vermont won the championship, however, blanking Colgate
in the first round and dropping host Miami by a 4-1
score in the title game. Denver took third place,
following its 5-2 first-round loss to the RedHawks
with a 3-2 win against Colgate.
Boston College: Benn Ferriero, Jr.,
F; Nathan Gerbe, Jr., F; Brett Motherwell, Jr., D
Michigan: Chad Kolarik, Sr., F; Mark Mitera, Jr.,
D; Kevin Porter, Sr., F;
Minnesota: Jay Barriball, So., F; Kyle Okposo, So.,
F; Blake Wheeler, Jr., F
Rensselaer: Jonathan Ornelas, Sr., F; Peter Merth,
So., D; Jordan Alford, Sr., G
TO WATCH FOR
Goaltending will be a primary concern
for three of the four teams in the Ice Breaker field.
Freshman John Muse is expected to take over in goal
for Boston College, replacing the departed Cory Schneider,
who backstopped the Eagles to two straight appearances
in the NCAA tournament title game. Minnesota lost
Kellen Briggs to graduation, which leaves junior Jeff
Frazee as the Gophers’ go-to guy between the
pipes. Billy Sauer returns for a third year as Michigan’s
primary starter in goal needing to show consistency,
the lack of which plagued his first two seasons with
Rensselaer boasts two veteran netminders
in Jordan Alford and Mathias Lange; the tournament
will serve as a measuring stick for an Engineer program
entering in its second year under the guidance of
coach Seth Appert.
Lefty McFadden Invitational
Nutter Center • Dayton, Ohio
Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin, 5:05 p.m.
Mercyhurst vs. Ohio State, 8:05 p.m.
Third-place game, 4:35 p.m. ET
Championship game, 7:35 p.m. ET
The Lefty McFadden Invitational was
not held last season. Miami, the tournament’s
host since its launch in 2002, instead hosted the
aforementioned Ice Breaker Tournament a year ago.
Mercyhurst: Ben Cottreau, Sr., F; Matt
Pierce, Jr. F; Ryan Toomey, Sr., F
Notre Dame: Erik Condra, Jr., F; Kyle Lawson, So.,
D; Ryan Thang, So., F
Ohio State: Tom Fritsche, Sr., F; Tom Goebel, Sr.,
F; Joe Palmer, So., G
Wisconsin: Michael Davies, So., F; Jamie McBain, So.,
F; Kyle Turris, Fr., F
TO WATCH FOR
The tournament’s first game is
an intriguing one, pitting the young Badgers and its
highly touted freshman class led by forward Kyle Turris,
the third overall pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft,
against a Fighting Irish club that must deal with
raised expectations following last season’s
surprise run to CCHA regular season and playoff titles
and the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. Both
teams are also dealing with the graduations of standout
goalies – Notre Dame lost David Brown, while
Wisconsin is without the services of Brian Elliott.
Ohio State defined mediocrity last season;
the Buckeyes finished in the middle of the pack in
the CCHA with a 12-12-4 league mark and scored the
exact number of goals they allowed (120). A return
to form from senior forward Tom Fritsche, who missed
half of last season with a stomach ailment, will help
OSU’s offense greatly; another year of experience
under sophomore goaltender Joe Palmer’s belt
should boost the defense. Mercyhurst finished in a
very un-Laker-like tie for seventh in the Atlantic
Hockey standings last season. Ex-Maine goalie Matt
Lundin will be counted on to provide a boost for a
team that tied for the league lead in most goals allowed
(134) last year.
Nye Frontier Classic
Sullivan Arena • Anchorage, Alaska
Boston University vs. Robert Morris, 9:05 p.m.
Wayne State at Alaska Anchorage, midnight
Robert Morris vs. Wayne State, 8:05 p.m.
Boston University at Alaska Anchorage, 11:05 p.m.
Two teams – Alaska Anchorage
and Colorado College – posted 1-0-1 records
at last year’s event. Nebraska-Omaha skated
to a pair of ties, while Merrimack lost both its games.
The Seawolves earned the tournament title for the
third time in four years on the strength of a shootout
victory over UNO.
Alaska Anchorage: Paul Crowder, So.,
F; Josh Lunden, So., F; Merit Waldrop, Sr., F
Boston University: Matt Gilroy, Jr., D; Pete MacArthur,
Sr., F; Brandon Yip, Jr., F
Robert Morris: Christian Boucher, Sr., G; Ryan Cruthers,
Sr., F; Chris Margott, Jr., F
Wayne State: Brett Bothwell, So., G; Jared Katz, So.,
F; Derek Bachynski, Sr., F
TO WATCH FOR
The tournament marks the beginning of
the end for Wayne State, which last month announced
it was dropping varsity hockey upon the conclusion
of the season. It’ll be interesting to see how
the Warriors respond to their lame-duck status, especially
since WSU finished last season on a high note, posting
a 7-4-2 mark over its last 13 games. The Robert Morris
program, meanwhile, marks its fourth year of existence.
The veteran group – 14 seniors dot the Colonials’
roster – has its sights set on CHA regular-season
and playoff championships. They’ll need a better
effort from senior goalie Christian Boucher, who struggled
with consistency last season.
On Dec. 30 of last season, Alaska Anchorage’s
record sat at 10-8-2 following a sweep of in-state
nemesis Alaska. The Seawolves proceeded to win just
three of their last 17 games. UAA’s leading
goal scorers from a year ago are back. Sophomores
Paul Crowder and Josh Lunden (11 goals each last season)
need to score closer to 20 goals each for a UAA team
that brings back most of its key components from last
season. Expectations are high for Boston University
as Jack Parker mixes in a heralded freshman class
with a solid returning cast. Most observers will focus
on the Terriers’ newcomers, but an injury-free
season for junior forward Brandon Yip and finding
a suitable replacement for goaltender John Curry are
of primary concern.
— Mike Eidelbes