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USHL Midseason Report

by Jason Shaner

Halfway home. The 2001-2002 USHL season is at the midway mark of the season and so far USHL fans have been treated to some fantastic exhibitions of hockey. The race for the division titles has already begun with teams jockeying for playoff position and the coveted Division title for the 1st and 2nd seeds in the Clark Cup USHL playoffs. In the Eastern Division the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders have held the top spot for quite awhile with 38 points (18-10-2). Up until recently there was very little competition for the spot but the Green Bay Gamblers have stepped up their game a notch and are now within striking distance with 35 points (16-8-3). The Des Moines Buccaneers a preseason favorite by many, including myself to win the Eastern Division is not far behind with 33 points (15-10-3). The RoughRiders though hold the upper hand as they played a large number of their road games in the first half of the season en route to compiling a wonderful 12-7-2 road record.

With approximately 2/3 of their road schedule out of the way, Cedar Rapids will be in good shape to bring home their first ever division title while in Cedar Rapids. In the Western Division the Sioux City Musketeers broke out of the gate the fastest and still hold the top spot in the West as well as the top seed in the entire league with 46 points (22-5-2). Similarly to Cedar Rapids, the Musketeers have company at the top of the pole. The Sioux Falls Stampede have ridden a seven game winning streak back into 2nd place with 43 points (21-7-1) while the defending Clark and Gold Cup Champion Omaha Lancers a Read more »

Wells-Fargo Denver Cup Report

by Christa Moore

It was tournament weekend in the NCAA and one of the best match ups was the 10th annual Wells-Fargo Denver cup. Third ranked DU has won their tournament 7 times and this year they invited (#5) U-Mass Lowell, Bowling Green and Harvard to the party. As expected, DU and U-Mass Lowell battled for the cup in the championship game, however the story of the tourney was maturing process of the young (#14) Harvard Crimson team.

Game one: U-Mass Lowell vs Harvard
Even though these teams are geographically very close, they had to come all the way to Denver to face each other for the very first time. A relatively inexperienced, young, under .500 goaltender, Will Crothers was matched up against the best goalie in the NCAA, Cam McCormick. McCormick’s resume includes an incomprehensible 0.62 GAA, .972 Save percentage and an 8-0-0 record.

Crothers weathered a storm of 36 shots on goal until the last few minutes of the third period when Laurent Meunier finally got one past him on a rebound. Mark Concannon shot one though the five hole a few minutes later to seal the win. Crother’s solid goaltending kept his team in the game until the very end and would give them even more confidence in the consolation game on Saturday.

Game two: Denver University vs Bowling Green Read more »

ECHL Update

by Ron Valerino

By : Ron Valerino — 12/31/01



WJC games recap – Day 5

by Robert Neuhauser

Group B

Switzerland-France 8:0

1st Period

02:32 SUI Gerber (Monnet, Forster) 1:0 PP
08:43 SUI Monnet (Camenzind, Helfenstein) 2:0
19:16 SUI Nussli (P.Bartschi, Ramholt) 3:0

2nd Period

21:44 SUI Raffainer (Sutter, Gerber) 4:0 PP
23:44 SUI Camenzind (Monnet, Back) 5:0 SH
37:19 SUI Raffainer (Gerber, D.Bartschi) 6:0
37:52 SUI Nussli (Ambuhl) 7:0 SH

3rd Period

53:30 SUI P.Bartschi (Ambuhl, Nussli) 8:0

About the winner of this game was decided very soon. After the
first four minutes the Swiss players were enjoying a 2:0 lead
and were totally over the team of France. After two periods
the score was already 7:0 and for the third period the French
team changed the goalies and tactics. It was obvious that they
can´t do anything with the result, the Swiss players were
in control of the game and they didn´t allow almost any shot
at Matthias Schoder in their net. The French team played
a totally defensive game in the last period in order to get
ready for the relegation games, but couldn´t avoid a 8:0 loss.

Canada – Russia 5:2

1st Period

04:09 CAN Stoll (Ott) 1:0 SH
14:04 CAN Weiss (Spezza, Kobasew) 2:0 PP

2nd Period

20:50 RUS Knyazev (Chistov) 2:1 PP
27:11 CAN Cammalleri (Boyes) 3:1 PP
38:19 RUS Polushin (Frolov) 3:2 PP

3rd Period

48:09 CAN Aulin (Hamhuis) 4:2 PP Read more »

Albany Week In Review

by Mike Buskus

By Mike Buskus

Holiday week

The Albany River Rats enjoyed a holiday, of several days duration, following Saturday night?s 3-2 overtime victory over the Providence Bruins. It was the first time this season that the Rats emerged victorious when trailing after two periods (1-14-1).

The overtime game-winning goal, notched by Joel Bouchard, came on a 2-on-1 break featuring Bruce Gardiner setting up Bouchard. It was only the second overtime victory (Syracuse was the other) in twelve contests this year to go to the extra session.

The week began on the road in Hamilton, at Copps Coliseum. In the Rats? most offensive outburst in 20 minutes this season, Albany scored five times in the first period and took a 5-3 lead into the first intermission. Two periods later, the Rats emerged victorious, 8-6, to score the most goals since last spring when Albany scored 8 while hosting the Bulldogs at the Pepsi Arena.

For Albany fans who remember Walt Kyle?s Bulldogs as being a particularly stingy and cautious defense, this year?s Hamilton team is different. The Bulldogs led the league, through games played on December 22, with 125 goals, or 3.91 per game. For an Albany team that was at the bottom of the league (2.33 per game), the 8-goal outburst in Hamilton may have revived the confidence of some players who had not scored.

At Copps Coliseum, Albany collected two of the three stars, with defenseman Mikko Jokela garnering third star (1G; 2A) and forward Christian Berglund bagging first star (2G; 1A). Mike Rupp (1G; 2A) scored for Read more »

World Under 17 Championships

by Andrew Bourgeois

Michael Bartlett scored the winner early in the third period as the defending champion United States opened the world under-17 hockey challenge with a 5-4 victory Saturday over the Czech Republic. Western Canada joined the U.S. atop Pool A with a 9-0 victory over Germany. Ryan Getzlaf scored two goals and assisted on another to pace Western Canada past Germany. Chad Klassen, Jesse Fischer, Stefan Meyer, Mark Olafson, Nigel Dawes, Josh Froese and Stewart Thiessen also scored. Rejean Beauchemin got the shutout as Western Canada outshot Germany 50-23.
Also in Pool A is Quebec.

Ontario opened Pool B play with a 13-1 romp over Atlantic Canada, and Pacific Canada defeated Finland 7-1. Nate Horton scored three goals and Jeff Carter, Jamie Tardif and Luch Aquino added two each in Ontario’s rout of Atlantic Canada. Brad Richardson, Anthony Stewart and Dylan Hunter also scored. Andrew Gordon had Atlantic Canada’s lone goal late in the first period as Ontario held a 50-20 advantage in shots. David Brown got the win in goal for Ontario.
Mitch Bartley scored two goals and assisted on another to lead Pacific Canada past Finland. Tyler Czuba, Marc Connors, Colin Fraser, Cam Cunning and Ryan Stone also scored. Kim Nabb had the lone goal for Finland, midway through the second period, making the score 3-1. Also in Pool B is Russia.

Five Canadian regional teams, along with the U.S., Czech Republic, Germany, Finland and Russia are competing in the annual tournament. The 5 Canadian teams are divided in 5 different regional teams and they take on a full fledged European and US Read more »

Tuomo Ruutu World Junior showing will bring Blackhawk fans smiles

by Bill Placzek

While watching the preliminary round of the 2002 World Junior Tourney, I found myself with the distinct feeling that the Canadian entry was going to win first seed as their play over Russia and other competition was dominant. Two LA prospects, small centre Mike Cammalleri and Rw Jared Aulin along with the likes of Jason Spezza, Steven Weiss, and top two 2002 projected draft picks Rick Nash and Jay Bouwmeester were methodical, smart players who were able to penetrate with scoring chances while never sacrificing defense.

Their game against Team Finland, led by Ruutu, Mikko Koivu, and top five pick number one ranked goaltender Kari Lehtonen showed Canada could be dominated. Ruutu was the main cog at both ends of the ice, with a fine continued performance that have to bring smiles to the Hawk fans everywhere.

Could we trust that Mike Smith and his penchant for Europeans over North Americans was correct this time, when the Hawk “farm” was desperately in need of a future stopper? Compounding our second guessing is the fact Blackburn showed enough to the New York Rangers to keep him around as an 18-year-old back-up and continues to excel at the major league level.

Will Ruutu be a bigger impact to the Hawks? At this point, it would be pure speculation as Tuomo Ruutu must do his military service and will not get a chance for possibly 2003-04 season.

The things we can say are what we see: He is a dominant player at World Junior, a head above the rest. He went where he wanted and did want he wanted to. He was force inside the team game.

Read more »

Zetterberg Enroute to Stardom

by Peter Westermark

Young Henrik Zetterberg led Timrå offensively last year when his newly
promoted team surprised and finished ninth in the Elitserien, a 12-team
league. This year, the points have been harder to come by both for
Zetterberg and his team. Timrå is currently last in the league with only
five wins after 33 games, and they are trailing 11th place Linköping by
eleven points. After coming off a point-a-game campaign last season, the Red
Wings prospect has a disappointing five goals and 14 assists in 32 games.
Still, Zetterberg was among the players named to the Swedish Olympic team,
and few hockey people are surprised.

First of all, observers refuse to put any blame on Zetterberg for his team’s
struggles. “He’s a loyal player and he has assumed a more defensive role
this year,” said coach Peo Larsson who resigned due to the team’s poor start
after four successful years at the helm. “The points will come for him. He
hasn’t performed badly.”

That Zetterberg, who plays centre for Timrå, has a ton of offensive ability
was evident in the last game of the Sweden Hockey Games where Zetterberg
suited up in a more offensive role. He scored four goals against the Finns –
one of them after a beautiful move that gave Swedish fans a déjà vu of Peter
Forsberg’s famous “stamp goal”. Detroit Red Wings General Manager Ken
Holland was in attendance and praised his prospect in the Swedish press
right after the game, stating “I think he’s good enough to play in the
Olympics right now.”

Perhaps there’s a personal agenda reflected in those c Read more »

Sven Helfenstein interview

by Joeri Loonen

HF: First of all I would like to thank you for taking time to do this interview. It is very much appreciated. Like last year when Switzerland tied Russia 3-3 in the opening game, Switzerland started well this year again with a 3-0 victory over Finland. What are your impressions of that game?
H: Already early on in the game we noticed Finland was a very strong team and we should worry about playing solid defense first. We took full advantage of our chances which resulted in the 3-0 victory.

HF: What about the next game vs Canada?
H: It was the same sort of game. Again we played against a very strong opponent, but this time we got down 1-0 early on. Then we needed a equalier to get back in the game and we got it when Monnet scored short handed but then we gave up the 2-1 soon after that and that should not have happened. After that we gave away some bad goals due to some sloppy defensive plays.

HF: What is the goal of Team Switzerland at this year’s World Junior Championship?
H: A medal. Of course we are hoping for a gold medal but even getting the bronze medal would be a great performance for us. I have been ended up 4th several times with the national team already, that isn’t bad but it just out of the medals and I really would like to get one this year.

HF: What you personally feel is a realistic goal for this team at the WJC? Read more »

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