Early season tournaments review

By DJ Powers





NCAA: Prospects shine in the early season tournaments

Five tournaments plus the annual U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame
Game highlighted the first two weeks of the 2004-05 NCAA season. Of the five
tournaments only the Q-Cup Tournament did not feature a team with NHL prospects
on its roster. The first weekend saw the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game as well
as the Icebreaker, Lefty Mc Fadden and Maverick Stampede Tournaments. This past
weekend saw the Nye Frontier Classic and Q-Cup Tournaments. There were plenty
of current NHL prospects as well as 2005 NHL Draft eligible players featured.

 

The U. S. Hockey Hall of Fame between
the two most recent National Champions in the current reigning Champion Denver
Pioneers and 2002 and 2003 National Champion Minnesota Golden Gophers took
place at the Xcel Energy Center back on October 9th. The game
featured several 2004 NHL draft selections as well as several 2005 NHL draft
eligible players. The Gophers won the game 5-2 thanks to the stellar play of
their top line combination of sophomores Ryan
Potulny
(PHI) and Danny Irmen
(MIN) and freshman Kris Chucko
(CGY), as well as freshman defenseman Alex
Goligoski
(PIT). Potulny notched his first career hat trick, which included
both a short-handed and a power play goal. Goligoski, who notched an assist on
Potulny’s first goal, was outstanding in his collegiate regular season debut.
He displayed some outstanding skating and puck skills that made him quite
effective, particularly on the power play.

 

Denver had several players making their collegiate regular
season debuts as well, most notably 2005 draft eligible freshman Paul Stastny. Stastny’s play was
outstanding throughout the course of the game, despite the lack of points. He’s
a smart player who possesses great playmaking ability and was very good at both
ends of the ice. Denver sophomore goaltender Glenn Fisher (EDM) played quite well in this game stopping 30 of 34
shots in the losing cause. Minnesota sophomore Kellen Briggs made 32 saves for the win. The victory also earned
Briggs WCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors.

 

The day before the game, four new members were inducted into
the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. They included former NHL defenseman Phil Housley,
current Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Illitch and Mark Johnson, a member of Team
USA’s 1980 gold-medal winning “Miracle on Ice” team.

 

The New Hampshire Wildcats played host to this year’s Icebreaker
Tournament
in Durham. Ohio State, St. Lawrence University and St. Cloud
State were also participants. The opening game between SLU and SCSU took a
shootout to decide who was going to the championship game. SLU won the shootout
1-0 behind the stellar goaltending of senior Mike McKenna (NSH). He stopped 24 of 25 shots in regulation and
overtime as well as stopped all the shooters he faced in the shootout. The
other opening match saw Ohio State face off against host UNH, and marked the
debut of Buckeyes freshman goaltender Ian
Keserich
(COL). However, it was the Wildcats who would emerge victorious
behind a pair of power play tallies by junior Brett Hemingway (COL). Junior goaltender Jeff Pietrasiak (PHX) made 17 saves for the win for UNH.

 

The consolation game featured St. Cloud State taking on Ohio
State. The game saw some excellent penalty killing by the Huskies and along
with the play of sophomore goaltender Jason
Montgomery
, emerged with a 3-1 win. Ohio State’s special teams problems
that had plagued them all weekend long contributed to their fourth place finish
in the tournament. The championship game saw SLU take on host UNH. The two
Colorado Avalanche prospects that make up UNH’s “awesome twosome” in senior Sean Collins and sophomore Brett Hemingway propelled UNH to an
Icebreaker Tournament championship and were also named tournament Co-MVPs. The
twosome accounted for seven points (five goals, two assists) during the
tournament. The win also marked the first collegiate victory as well as debut
for freshman goaltender Kevin Regan
(BOS). He went the distance stopping 36 of 38 shots. Regan was also named
Hockey East Rookie of the Week for his performance.

 

The Lefty McFadden Invitational in Dayton, Ohio was perhaps the most interesting of the early
season tournaments. One note about this particular tournament is that it
doesn’t crown an “official” tournament winner nor names a tournament MVP.

 

The Northeastern Huskies shocked the college hockey world
when they pulled off a stunning upset of top ranked Michigan 4-2 in the
tournament’s opening game. Senior Jason
Guerriero
notched a goal and two assists (including his 100th
collegiate point) in leading the Huskies to advance to the “unofficial”
championship game. Huskies senior goaltender Keni Gibson made 31 saves in the win. This marked the first time in
over a decade that the Wolverines lost their regular season opener. In the
second game, host Miami-Ohio beat Boston University 5-2 in the regular season
debut of highly touted BU forward Chris
Bourque
(WSH). After losing Derek Edwardson to graduation, the RedHawks
were trying to find their next offensive leader and it looks like they found
him in sophomore Marty Guerin (LA).
Guerin, along with sophomore Matt
Christie
(ANA) have become arguably the CCHA’s best “dynamic duo” of the
season thus far. The twosome combined for eight points (four goals, four
assists) in the tournament. They were also instrumental in leading Miami-Ohio
to a tournament victory, defeating Northeastern 5-2. Guerin, along with his
Miami teammates junior defenseman Andy
Greene
and sophomore goaltender Brandon
Crawford-West
(PIT) were all named CCHA Players of the Week for their
tournament performances.

 

In the consolation game, Michigan soundly defeated Boston
University 7-2 behind a three-point effort by junior Jeff Tambellini (LA) and the outstanding goaltending of junior
sensation Al Montoya (NYR). BU
freshman forward Chris Bourque (WSH)
notched his first collegiate regular season point when he assisted on fellow
freshman Peter MacArthur’s second goal of the game.

 

Host Nebraska-Omaha was looking for a championship win of
their annual Maverick Stampede Tournament. They welcomed RPI, Merrimack and
UConn to this year’s tournament at the Qwest Center Omaha. The opening game
featured RPI facing off against Merrimack. The Warriors emerged victorious
behind a three-point effort by 2005 NHL Draft eligible sophomore defenseman Jeff Caron. Merrimack’s three power
play goals also helped propel them to a 5-3 win and a trip to the championship
game. In the later game, host UNO defeated the UConn Huskies 4-1 behind
multi-point efforts by sophomores Scott
Parse
(LA) and Dan Knapp and
freshman Bill Thomas. Sophomore
goaltender Chris Holt (NYR) made 16
saves in the win for UNO.

 

It took a shootout win for UConn to take the consolation
game and third place in the tournament after a 3-3 tie at the end of overtime.
Freshman Brad Smith came in and did
a superb job of finishing the game for the Huskies in goal, making 24 saves.
Sophomore Scott Tomes who had
started the game, left with a head injury after having an Engineers player fall
on him. Host UNO would take the championship game 4-3 over Merrimack. The
Mavericks top line of sophomore Scott Parse
(LA) and freshmen Mick Lawrence and Bill Thomas accounted for two of the
goals. Thomas was named tournament MVP as well as earned CCHA Rookie of the
Week honors. Merrimack’s sophomore goaltender Jim Healey was sensational, stopping 34 of 38 shots in the losing
cause.

 

Arguably the most hotly contested early season tournament
took place up in Anchorage, Alaska in the Nye Frontier Classic this past
weekend. The tournament featured host Alaska-Anchorage, along with Minnesota,
UMass and Canisius. In the opener, Minnesota defeated UMass 1-0. Ryan Potulny (PHI) scored his fourth
goal of the season with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation to send
the Gophers to the championship game. In the later game, it took a 2-1 shootout
win for host UAA to defeat the surprising Canisius Golden Griffins. The Golden
Griffins showed some real fight throughout the game as well as got a stellar
27-save effort by senior goaltender Bryan
Worosz
. UAA’s outstanding second line combination of freshmen Merit Waldrop and Chris Tarkir and junior Justin
Johnson
accounted for all three UAA goals.

 

In the second day of the tournament, UMass rallied late in
the game to hand Canisius a stinging 2-1 defeat in the consolation game. The
Minutemen scored two goals just 48 seconds apart for the win. Host
Alaska-Anchorage retained their tournament championship title as they handed a
Minnesota a heartbreaking 3-2 loss thanks to the stellar play of two freshmen
in goaltender Nathan Lawson and
forward Shea Hamilton, who was named
tournament MVP. Hamilton notched two goals, including the game winner. Lawson
stopped 36 of 38 shots and also added an assist to lead the Seawolves to the
tournament win. The Gophers top two defensemen in junior Chris Harrington and freshman Alex
Goligoski
(PIT) accounted for Minnesota’s two goals, both on the power
play. Florida Panthers prospect and UAA freshman defenseman Luke Beaverson played quite well in
this tournament but suffered a hip pointer in the championship game. His status
is unknown for this coming weekend’s Governor’s Cup Tournament versus in-state
rival Alaska-Fairbanks.

 

The Quinnipiac Bobcats were seeking their seventh title in
their annual Q-Cup Tournament that took this past weekend in Hamden, CT. The
tournament also featured two other Atlantic Hockey teams in Bentley College and
American International College as well as non-conference opponent Air Force.
The opening game of this tourney between Bentley and Air Force went to a
shootout to decide who would advance to the championship game. The Bentley
Falcons defeated the Air Force Academy Falcons 3-1 in the shootout. Bentley
senior goaltender Simon St. Pierre
made 46 saves and stopped two of AFA’s three shooters in the shootout to lead
Bentley to the tournament championship game.

 

The second game featured host Quinnipiac facing off against
AIC. Three power play goals, two of which were scored by senior forward Matt Froehlich and a 27-save effort by
senior goaltender Jamie Holden
propelled the Bobcats past AIC 3-2 and a date with Bentley in the championship
game. In the consolation game, Air Force defeated AIC 4-0. Both teams’
goaltenders were outstanding in the contest. Sophomore Peter Foster got the 15-save shutout win for the Falcons, while
senior Frank Novello made 48 saves
on 52 shots, including 27 in the first period alone in the losing cause for
AIC.

 

In the tournament championship game, Quinnipiac beat Bentley
3-0 to claim their seventh Q-Cup Championship title in nine years. The Bobcats
got two power play goals from senior forward Matt Craig and some stellar goaltending by tournament MVP Jamie Holden. Holden went the distance
stopping all 32 shots he faced to lead Quinnipiac.

 

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editorial staff.