Monthly Archives: August 2018

NCHC preview: Minn.-Duluth

Minnesota-Duluth entered the NCAA Tournament just five games over .500 but pulled off four straight one-goal wins to earn its second Division I title.

And the goalie that was in net for every minute of the Bulldogs’ playoff run, Hunter Shepard, returns for his junior season.

MINN.-DULUTH BULLDOGS

NCAA titles: 2 (2011, 2018).

COACH: Scott Sandelin (340-300-85 in 18 seasons).

2017-18 RECORD: 25-16-3.

POSTSEASON: Won NCAA Tournament.

RINK (capacity): Amsoil Arena (6,726).

MIAMI VS. UMD LAST SEASON: 1-3.

ALL-TIME SERIES: Minn.-Duluth leads, 15-4-2.

SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: Jan. 18-19 – at Miami; March 1-2 – at Minn.-Duluth.

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: G Hunter Shepard, F Parker Mackay, D Scott Perunovich, D Nick Wolff, F Riley Tufte, D Mikey Anderson, D Dylan Samberg, F Peter Krieger, F Joey Anderson.

KEY NEW FACES: F Jackson Cates, F Noah Cates, F Cole Koepke.

NOTES: A couple of pieces may be gone from last season’s championship team, but Minn.-Duluth’s back end looks as good as any in college hockey.

Shepard logged 41 games and posted a 1.91 goals-against average and a save percentage of .925, and four returning defenseman recorded at least 13 points in 2017-18.

Shepard was second in Division I with 25 wins, 10th in save percentage and sixth in GAA. He won all four of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Tournament games this spring.

Blueliner Scott Perunovich led the team in plus-minus (22), assists (25) and points (36), and Mikey Anderson went 5-18-23.

Nick Wolff and Dylan Samberg finished with 13 points apiece, with Wolff hitting the net seven times and leading the Bulldogs with 81 penalty minutes.

Wolff and Samberg combined for 150 blocked shots.

Minn.-Duluth brings all that experience back after allowing just 2.09 goals per game last season – the fourth-best clip in the NCAA – and surrendering just 57 even strength tallies.

UMD also returns its top three points-producing forwards from its title year.

Peter Krieger led all forwards with 30 points and netted a team-best five game-winning goals. Riley Tufte finished with 29 points including a Bulldogs-high 16 markers, and Nick Swaney went 6-16-22, posting a plus-11 rating.

Newly-named captain Parker Mackay is also back and is a two-way stud up front.

The Bulldogs still have not released their 2018-19 roster, so it’s unclear how many freshmen they will bring in, but three players from that incoming class participated in NHL development camps this summer – Cole Koepke, Noah Cates and Jackson Cates.

NOTE: BoB is previewing each NCHC team leading into the 2018-19 season. This is the third of seven installments.

Here are the links for the other snapshots:

Colorado College
Denver

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NCHC preview: Denver

Denver has actually seen a more substantial exodus than Miami this off-season.

Head coach Jim Montgomery left for the NHL this spring, and the Pioneers’ three top scorers and five of their top 10 points producers from 2017-18 bolted for the pros in recent months.

So Denver has a lot of work ahead if it hopes for return trip to the regional final.

DENVER PIONEERS

NCAA titles: 8 (1958, 1960, 1961, 1968, 1969, 2004, 2005, 2017).

COACH: David Carle (first season).

2017-18 RECORD: 23-10-8.

POSTSEASON: Lost to Ohio State, 5-1 in a regional final.

RINK (capacity): Magness Arena (6,315).

MIAMI VS. DENVER LAST SEASON: 1-2-1.

ALL-TIME SERIES: Denver leads, 14-11-3.

SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: Feb. 22-23 – at Denver.

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: F Colin Staub, F Jarid Lukosevicius, D Ian Mitchell.

KEY NEW FACES: F Brett Stapley, F Mathias Emilio Pettersen, F Cole Guttman, D Slava Demin, D Sean Comrie, D Les Lancaster, G Filip Larssen.

KEY LOSSES: F Troy Terry, F Dylan Gambrel, F Henrik Borgstrom, F Logan O’Connor, F Blake Hillman.

NOTES: Denver probably expected early departures this off-season, but the Pioneers were hit harder than many expected.

DU has 11 freshmen listed on its roster, and its goaltending threesome has logged a total of 20 collegiate minutes.

Henrik Borgstrom, Troy Terry and Dylan Gambrell – all of whom left before completing four seasons – combined for 143 points in 2017-18.

Leading the way up front this season will be Jarid Lukosevicius, who scored 21 times last season, and two-way stud and team captain Colin Staub, a senior who has logged 117 career games and tallied 51 points.

Undersized Liam Finlay and Jake Durflinger produced 15 and 12 points, respectively.

Several of Denver’s newest forwards have been drafted, and the Pioneers will need them to contribute right away if they hope to return to the top tier of the NCHC standings.

Brett Stapley (Montréal), Mathias Emilio Pettersen (Calgary) and Cole Guttman (Tampa Bay) were all taken in the last two rounds.

On defense, Ian Mitchell led all blueliners last season in assists (28) and points (30) as a freshman.

But other than Mitchell, only Griffin Mendel and Michael Davies were the only other DU blueliners to dress for the majority of games in 2017-18.

Les Lancaster is an interesting addition, as he racked up 81 points at Mercyhurst, and he is eligible this season because he’s a graduate transfer.

Slava Demin, a Vegas fourth-round pick who thrived in the BCHL last season, is also expected to make a pick impact on the DU defense corps.

In net, Devin Cooley played one period last season as a freshman, as Tanner Jaillet was a mainstay between the pipes, and Detroit draftee Filip Larssen is expected to log substantial minutes as a freshman.

Denver has a talented freshman class coming in, but the Pioneers lost a lot of NHL-caliber talent and lack experience at forward, defense and especially in net.

Coach Jim Montgomery accepted the head coaching job with the Dallas Stars, and assistant David Carle was promoted to his position despite being just 28.

Carle is an NHL draftee, but sadly his career ended when he was diagnosed with a heart problem prior to him dressing in the NCAA.

He was a student assistant for Denver during his collegiate years, and after a year at USHL Green Bay as an assistant coach, he returned to the Pioneers as an assistant to Montgomery the past four seasons.

NOTE: BoB is previewing each NCHC team leading into the 2018-19 season. This is the second of seven installments.

The first one on Colorado College can be read here: 2018-19 Colorado College preview

NCHC preview: Colorado College

Colorado College played with zero seniors last season but came within two points of home-ice advantage in the first round of the NCHC Tournament.

The Tigers took Denver to a third game in their best-of-3 series before finally falling to the Pioneers, but CC was better in practically every metric than in any other season since the formation of the league, finishing 23rd in the all-important PairWise rankings.

Each Wednesday through September, BoB will post a quick Miami-centric preview on one of the NCHC teams as the countdown the opening night begins.

This week we take a look at the Tigers in the first of seven team snapshot installments.

COLORADO COLLEGE TIGERS

NCAA titles: 2 (1950, 1957).

COACH: Mike Haviland (35-96-13 in four seasons).

2017-18 RECORD: 15-17-5.

POSTSEASON: Lost at Denver in NCHC quarterfinal.

RINK (capacity): Colorado Springs World Arena (7,343), Colorado Springs, Colo.

MIAMI VS. COLORADO COLLEGE LAST SEASON: 1-2-1.

ALL-TIME SERIES: 8-8-2.

SCHEDULE VS. MIAMI: Nov. 16-17 – at Colorado College; Jan. 25-26 – at Miami.

TOP RETURNING PLAYERS: F Nick Halloran, F Mason Bergh, F Trey Bradley, F Westin Michaud, D Kristian Blumenschein, D Andrew Farny, D Ben Israel, G Alex Leclerc.

KEY NEW FACES: RW Chris Wilkie, F Ben Copeland, F Erik Middendorf, D Bryan Yoon.

KEY LOSSES: F Kade Kehoe, F Branden Makara.

NOTES: Mike Haviland signed a well-deserved five-year extension this off-season after leading the Tigers to their best finish in the NCHC era.

Colorado College had won seven, six, eight and eight games in the first four seasons since joining the league before posting 15 victories in 2017-18.

This is definitely a team on the rise, as it ended last season two games below .500 despite having zero seniors on its roster.

Five players are out from that 2017-18 squad, but those skaters combined for just six points last season. CC has added eight new faces, including junior right wing and Florida Panthers draftee Chris Wilkie.

Wilkie played two seasons with North Dakota, going 6-13-19 before transferring to the Tigers. He sat out last season.

Freshman forward Ben Copeland racked up 62 points with Waterloo of the USHL in 2017-18, and Bryan Yoon was one of the top points-producing defensemen in that league, going 3-32-35 for Tri-City.

Another newbie for the Tigers is forward Erik Middendorf, who has spent the past two seasons with the U.S. National Development Team.

All of Colorado College’s top 14 points leaders from 2017-18 return.

Junior Nick Halloran led the team with 45 points, and senior Mason Bergh finished with 40.

Seniors Ben Israel and Andrew Farny key a defense corps that combined for just nine goals last season. The Tigers will need to tighten up in their own zone, as they allowed an NCHC-worst 35 shots per game, an average that ranked 55th out of 60 in the NCAA.

Last season’s goaltending tandem of Alex Leclerc and Alec Calvaruso returns. Leclerc, a junior, saw the bulk of the playing time, going 15-15-4 in 36 games with a .907 save percentage and 3.21 goals-against average. Calvaruso logged 314 minutes and finished 0-2-1, .909 and 3.06.

And more good news for the Tigers: They recently had their plans for a $38 million on-campus rink green-lighted, as they look to open that facility in 2020.

Miami has struggled against Colorado College, posting just a .500 winning percentage vs. the Tigers all-time despite CC’s doormat status in the formative seasons of the NCHC.

The RedHawks have not won in Colorado Springs since 2015.

These teams meet in mid-November at CC as Miami wraps up a six-game, three-weekend set vs. NCHC opponents.

They hook up again at Cady Arena in late January in the back half of a RedHawks four-game homestand.

Different foes for Miami in 2018-19

A weekend tournament in Erie, Pa., a pair of New England road trips and rare Oxford visits for three out-of-conference opponents.

Those are some of the RedHawks’ 2018-19 schedule highlights.

Miami will also play an extra series for a 36-game regular season instead of the usual 34. Teams are allowed an additional two games when participating in a tournament or traveling to Alaska so they can recuperate travel expenses.

The RedHawks drop the puck on Oct. 6 vs. Alabama-Huntsville, hosting an unusual Saturday-Sunday weekend series. They are 8-1 all-time vs. the Chargers, who will skate at Cady Arena for just the second time.

Next up is the Ice Breaker Tournament, hosted by Mercyhurst. Miami will play Providence in the opening round and either Notre Dame or the host in the finale.

UMass-Lowell and Colgate visit Oxford the next two weekends. Miami and the Riverhawks have never played on each other’s campus, and Colgate has only played three games on the RedHawks’ home ice, with two of those games coming at Cady Arena in 2011.

UML is 1-0-1 vs. Miami with a neutral-ice tie in 2003 and an opening-round NCAA Tournament win in 2012. The Raiders and RedHawks split a 2011 series in Oxford, and Miami hammered Colgate, 14-2 in the only other series meeting on MU’s campus at Goggin.

Miami is 4-2 vs. the Raiders all-time.

After six straight conference games, the RedHawks head to New Hampshire, hooking up with the Wildcats for the first time since 2011. Miami is 1-2-1 at UNH and 5-6-1 in the history of the series.

Providence is the lone non-conference carryover from 2017-18. These teams will face off three times this regular season, including the Ice Breaker opener. They will play at Cady Arena on Jan. 4-5.

The Friars are 9-5-3 vs. the RedHawks including three straight wins. The last neutral-site game between these teams was the 2015 NCAA Tournament opener which PC won, 7-5.

Miami is 2-3-1 at Providence all-time and has played the Friars 12 times the past seven seasons.

The RedHawks will finish their campaign with 16 straight in-conference contests.

Dropping off the schedule from 2017-18 are Maine, Connecticut, Bowling Green and Cornell.

Starting with the first weekend in October, Miami hits the ice nine straight weeks to open the season. Dec. 1 is its final game of the first half, and the RedHawks do not play again until their lone exhibition vs. Guelph on Dec. 30.

They return to regular season action Jan. 4 at Providence then skate every weekend except one until the postseason, with the exception being Feb. 15-16.

Our thoughts: For better or worse, this is definitely not as difficult a schedule as Miami faced last season. Cornell was well embedded in the top five, Bowling Green challenged for the top 20 all season and Maine ended up in the middle of the pack.

Two of 2018-19’s non-league opponents, UAH and New Hampshire, finished in the bottom 10 of the NCAA.

Once again it will be a difficult finish for the RedHawks, as they face the defending national champions in four of their final 12 games and also travel to both St. Cloud and Denver, both of which were top five teams in 2017-18.

By the way, Bowling Green should be back on the schedule next season, but scheduling conflicts prevented the in-state foes from hooking up in the upcoming campaign.

A look at the 2018-19 schedule with opponents’ records in 2017-18 and Miami’s all-time head-to-head history:

NOTE: The next seven Wednesdays, BoB will preview each of Miami’s seven NCHC foes as we count down to the start of the 2018-19 season.

Home games in CAPS.

Date Opponent ’17-’18 record PairWise MU vs. all-time
Oct. 6-7 ALA.-HUNTSVILLE 12-23-2 51 8-1
Oct. 13 Providence! 24-12-4 7 5-9-3
Oct. 14 Mercyhurst/N. Dame! 21-12-4/25-9-2 23/2 0-0/39-18-10
Oct. 19-20 UMASS-LOWELL 17-20-2 36 0-1-1
Oct. 26-27 COLGATE 17-17-6 27 4-2
Nov. 2-3 at Nebraska-Omaha 17-17-2 19 20-17-6
Nov. 9-10 NORTH DAKOTA 17-13-10 14 6-13-3
Nov. 16-17 at Colorado Coll. 15-17-5 24 8-8-2
Nov. 23-24 at New Hampshire 10-20-6 52 5-6-1
Nov. 30-Dec. 1 ST. CLOUD STATE 25-8-6 1 17-16-2
Dec. 30 GUELPH@ 24-11 NA NA
Jan. 4-5 at Providence 24-12-4 7 5-9-3
Jan. 11-12 at W. Michigan 15-19-2 28 66-55-11
Jan. 18-19 MINN.-DULUTH 21-16-3* 12 4-15-2
Jan. 25-26 COLO. COLLEGE 15-17-5 24 8-8-2
Feb. 1-2 at St. Cloud State 25-8-6 1 17-16-2
Feb. 8-9 NEBRASKA-OMAHA 17-17-2 19 20-17-6
Feb. 22-23 at Denver 22-9-8 5 11-14-3
March 1-2 at Minn.-Duluth 21-16-3* 12 4-15-2
March 8-9 W. MICHIGAN 15-19-2 28 66-55-11

POSTSEASON

March 15-17 NCHC Tournament# TBA TBA TBA
March 22-23 Frozen Faceoff$ TBA TBA TBA
March 29-31 NCAA regionals TBA TBA TBA
April 11-13 Frozen Four% TBA TBA TBA

*-won NCAA championship in 2017-18
!-Ice Breaker Tournament, Erie, Pa.
@-exhibition
#-first-round best-of-3 series at campus sites
$-at the Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.
%-at Buffalo, N.Y.