This weekend, the state of Colorado was the center of attention in college hockey. The three top teams in the NCAA battled for WCHA points and rankings. Colorado College took on the mighty (#1) St Cloud State Huskies. After CC lost on Friday, they rebounded for a commanding 5-1 victory on Saturday. SCSU’s only two losses have come against the under .500 CC Tigers. However, the big battle was fought at Magnuss Arena as the (#2-t) Denver University Pioneers hosted the (#2-t) Minnesota Golden Gophers.
GAME ONE: Minnesota’s resume includes 6 draftees, 1 WJC invitee, 4 players ranked on the CSB preliminary rankings and one 2001 Hobby Baker finalist. With this impressive list, DU seemed to be a bit intimidated on Friday night. Both teams played a tight checking defensive game and neither team seemed to achieve good puck control thought out the evening. Both goaltenders made some incredible save and kept their respective teams in the game until the end. Minnesota’s goalie Adam Hauser was especially impressive, stopping 30 of 31 shots.
Minnesota was up 2-0 when the game finally opened up for a while during the second period with both teams exchanging break away attempts. DU’s Wade Dubielewicz made a spectacular save against Troy Riddle. Soon after that, Connor James also had a break away but could not convert. Also during this on slot, DU’s Jesse Cook blasted one that rang off the post. Finally in the 3rd period, Aaron MacKenzie’s shot from the blue line was redirected in by Luke Fulghum. DU pulled their goalie but could not tie it u Read more»
Kari Lehtonen will be the starting goalie. Joni Puurula would have been the 1st choice for the backup position, but he has been out for almost the whole season so far.
On defence 2002 eligble Joni Pitkänen has a big role. Tero Määttä, Markus Seikola and Olli Malmivaara are other TOP-4 defenceman on the team.
The two scoring lines are almost set. Mikko Koivu will center Tuomo Ruutu and Tuomas Pihlman. Jarkko Immonen will have Toni Koivisto and Jussi Jokinen on his wings.
Coach Erkka Westerlund says that other teams will have more talented players on their teams and Finland has to play as a team again. When selecting the players Westerlund has tried to find ambitious, brave and disciplined players.
1 G Kari Lehtonen Jokerit 11-16-1983 6-3 190
3 D Topi Jaakola Kärpät 11-15-1983 6-1 179
9 F Mikko Koivu TPS 03-12-1983 6-2 174
Ryan and his MSU teammates entered the 01-02 season as the top-ranked team in both the CCHA and NCAA. Holding onto the top position in the NCAA has proven difficult (12-3-2 overall, 6th in the USA Today/American Hockey Magazine poll), but the Spartans 10-3-1 conference record has them in first place in the CCHA.
While there is no question that MSU’s current standing is a direct result of both solid defensive play and good coaching, having a certain award-winning goaltender makes things that much easier for the Spartans. Miller is not without his detractors, however, as there are some observers who are of the opinion that Ryan benefits more from MSU’s strong defense than do the Spartans from Miller’s solid goaltending. Perhaps this case can be made, but the statistics don’t necessarily back up these claims.
After 17 games, Ryan leads the CCHA in goals-against average (1.55), save percentage (.944), and wins (12). His 6 shutouts are tops in the NCAA, while he continues to add to his NCAA-record career total, which stands at 24 shutouts. Miller is ranked 3rd in the nation amongst Division I goalies, but the two players in front of Ryan have appeared in just 8 and 4 games, respectively.
Perhaps the best indicator of Ryan’s importance to his team is the number of shots he faces per game. Miller has faced an average of 27.2 shots per game so far this season, which would put MSU in the middle of the pack in the CCHA for that category. While there are goaltenders on some lesser teams that face more rubber-per Read more»
It has been nine long months since Sheldon Keefe was able to don a Lightning jersey and call himself part of the team. Now, it appears he has finally redeemed himself enough in the eyes of Tampa Bay management to get a second chance with the team.
It was last March when Keefe and his agent, Mike Gillis, made the career threatening decision to refuse a minor league assignment to the Rochester Americans. The Lightning viewed the assignment as a valuable learning experience for the young winger. The Americans had a very competitive team, while their own affiliate, Detroit (IHL), was heading straight to the links. At the time, there was little room in Tampa Bay for Keefe, who had spent nearly the entire season with the Lightning.
Viewing his demotion as temporary, until another trade was executed, Keefe was not unhappy with the reassignment to Detroit. Until Mike Johnson and Paul Mara were sent to Phoenix in the Nikolai Khabibulin deal and room opened on the roster. Keefe saw that as his ticket back to Tampa Bay, but management had other ideas.
GM Rick Dudley thought Keefe would be better served by the stint in Rochester. Keefe on the other hand felt mislead by management and thought he earned and deserved more time in Tampa Bay. So, he refused the assignment was immediately suspended by the team.
The two sides took shots at each other through the media during the off-season, but finally came to an agreement that sent Keefe to the Lightning’s “B” squad during training camp with no hope of an immediate roster sp Read more»