EAST LANSING (CCN) —
Big 10 Tournament Semi-Finals (Single Elimination)
Notre Dame 2, Minneosta 1 (OT)
Penn State 5, Ohio State 1
NCHC Tournament Quarterfinals (Best of 3)
At Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo
Game 3: Colorado College 3, Western Michigan 2
Game 2: Western Michigan 5, Colorado College 2
Game 1: Colorado College 2 , Western Michigan 1
At Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud
Game 2: St. Cloud State 6, Miami of Ohio 3
Game 1: St. Cloud State 5, Miami of Ohio 2
At Amsoil Arena in Duluth
Game 2: Minnesota Duluth 4, Omaha 1
Game 1: Minnesota Duluth 2, Omaha 1 (OT)
At Magness Arena in Denver
Game 2: Denver 4, North Dakota 2
Game 1: Denver 2, North Dakota 0
WCHA Tournament Semi-finals (Best of 3)
At Barry Events Center in Marquette
Game 2: Bowling Green 2, Northern Michigan 1 (2 OT)
Game 1: Bowling Green 6, Northern Michigan 1
At the Verizon Center in Mankato, Minnesota
Game 2: Minnesota State 2, Lake Superior State 0
Game 1: Minnesota State 2, Lake Superior State 1
KALAMAZOO (CCN) — Coach Andy Murray seemed resigned to the fact that Monday night's 3-2 loss to Colorado College likely signaled an end to Western Michigan's hopes for a trip to the NCAA tournament.
The 16-team field will include 10 at large selections to go with six conference tournament champions and Monday's loss ended WMU's hopes for a tournament title in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
Many around the Kalamazoo campus are hoping WMU's 21-15-1 record may be good enough to get in, however, when considering the Broncos were ranked No. 12 in the final regular season poll and made it to as high as No. 8 this season. They also play in a conference that includes defending national champion Minnesota Duluth as the current No. 4 team in the national rankings along with 2019 regular season champion St. Cloud State at No 1 and Denver at No. 5.
Colorado College closed out its regular season campaign with a two-game sweep over Denver before using two third period goals to put away WMU Monday night in Game 3 of their Best-of-3 quarterfinals series in the NCHC tournament. WMU had won 5-2 on Sunday night to force a decisive Game 3 in the series after Colorado College won 2-1 in Saturday night's opener.
"Last night, our shots were on net, and we were there for rebounds," Murray said in his post-game press conference after Sunday's loss. "Here tonight, it was difficult to get those extra-chance opportunities because we missed the net too much. We were shooting for top corners from the outside, which if you're watching the team, and you're watching tonight, you're going, 'What are they doing? What's coach telling them?' Obviously, I didn't tell them enough because we missed the net way too much."
KALAMAZOO (CCN) — Western Michigan's hockey fans will get a deciding game at home on Monday night in their Best-of-3 quarterfinals series with Colorado College. Game time is 7 o'clock after Western won 5-2 on Sunday night in Game 2 to get the series even.
The winner advances to the semi-finals this weekend in Minneapolis where the National Collegiate Hockey Conference's tournament champion will be crowned.
St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth and Denver have already punched their tickets to be there. They're currently the No. 1, No. 4 and No. 5 ranked teams in the country while WMU is ranked No. 12 in the latest poll.
Colorado College, coming off a two-game sweep over Denver last weekend to close out the regular season, beat Western Michigan 2-1 on Saturday night in the tourney quarterfinals series opener in Kalamazoo.
Seniors Colt Conrad and Corey Schueneman scored once each and also set up a goal each to lead WMU on Sunday night when fellow senior goaltender Trevor Gorsuch made 25 saves to force a decisive Game 3. WMU is now 21-14-1 and ranked No. 12 in the nation. A tournament championship earns an automatic invitation to the NCAA tournament, but a loss would leave the Broncos on the bubble for a bid as one of the 10 at large selections. Six conference tournament champions earn automatic spots in the 16-team field.
COLUMBUS (CCN) — Penn State overcame big odds with an explosive performance Saturday night in Columbus. The Nittany Lions had to win on the road in Ohio State's building against the Big 10 Conference's regular season hockey champions to reach the championship game of the tournament.
They won 5-2 in front of 4,545 rowdy Ohio State fans who packed Value City Arena with hopes of watching their Buckeyes repeat as tournament champions.
With a 20-10-5 record, Ohio State is likely to get an at large bid to make the NCAA field again. The Buckeyes made it all the way to the Frozen Four a year ago and they currently hold down the No. 8 national ranking.
Notre Dame made it to the national championship game last season and may need to win its showdown in the Big 10 championship game against Penn State to make the 2019 NCAA field. So, too, might Penn State which is ranked 17th in the nation with a 22-14-2 record. Notre Dame is ranked 16th with a 21-13-3 mark.
Penn State's Saturday night victory on the road advanced Coach Guy Gadowsky's Nittany Lions to the Big 10 tournament finals for the third year in a row. They're also aiming for a third straight NCAA tournament appearance. “We’ve produced in the playoffs before, and this is nothing new for us,” junior Liam Folkes told the Big Ten TV Network after Penn State shocked the Buckeyes in their own building.
KALAMAZOO (CCN) —
COLUMBUS (CCN) — The Ohio State Buckeyes can take a step closer to making more history Sunday when hosting Penn State in the Big 10 Conference's hockey tournament semi-finals. The Buckeyes, who brought home their first ever regular season championship this winter, are now taking aim at their first tournament title. They would host Notre Dame next weekend if they can take care of business against Penn State in Sunday's contest at Value City Arena in Columbus.
Sunday's game against the Nittany Lions will be televised on the Big 10 Network (BTN TV) at 3 pm.
Ohio State and Notre Dame were each Frozen Four qualifiers in the NCAA tournament a year ago when Notre Dame reached the finals before losing. Ohio State lost a 2-1 heart-breaker to eventual national champion Minnesota Duluth in 2018 when making their first Frozen Four appearance in 20 years. Ohio State also made the NCAA tournament field for the first time since 2009 after a runner-up finish in Big 10 action last season when finishing 26-10-5 under Coach Steve Rohlik. The Buckeyes are currently 20-9-5 so far this season, including a 13-7-4 record to win the Big 10 regular season championship this year.
SOUTH BEND (CCN) — Notre Dame moved on to the Big 10 Conference's hockey championship by beating Minnesota 2-1 in overtime Saturday night. The Fighting Irish, who reached the national championship game a year ago, won on a goal in the opening minute of overtime by freshman Michael Graham on a power play tally after a controversial penalty call.
Minnesota Coach Bob Motzko blasted the official after the game for the call against Golden Gophers' captain Tyler Sheehy for lifting the stick of a Notre Dame player near his own blue line. “That was an absolute travesty, the way that game ended," Motzko said. "Play it however you want to play it, it was a travesty.”
Motzko also had an animated discussion with the Big 10's supervisor of officials shortly before ranting about it with the media. Minnesota beat Michigan two straight in a quarterfinals series last weekend, including coming from behind after a 2-0 deficit to win the opener 3-2 in overtime. Minnesota won Game 2 a night later by a 4-1 score to advance to Notre Dame.
KALAMAZOO (CCN) — Game 1 in a Best-of-3 quarterfinals series between Western Michigan and Coloroda College in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has been called off because of travel programs out west. Colorado College's team was unable to fly into Michigan because of weather problems. The opening game has been moved back to Saturday at 7 pm. Game 2 will be on Sunday in Kalamazoo at 7 pm and Game 3, if necessary, will be on Monday night in Kalamazoo at 7 o'clock.
The winner of the series moves on to the NCHC semi-finals in Minneapolis next weekend.
Western Michigan is the No. 3 seed and ranked No. 12 in the nation, but Colorado College closed out its regular season schedule last weekend by beating NCHC runner-up Denver twice. Denver is ranked No. 3 in the nation. St. Cloud College was the No. 1 seed after winning the NCHC regular season title. St. Clair College is also ranked No. 1 in the latest national poll.
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
KALAMAZOO (CCN) — Andy Murray is a former NHL coach who has spent eight seasons behind the bench at Western Michigan. The Broncos went to the NCAA tournament during his debut year but have been back only once since, and the veteran coach is hoping to motivate the students on the Kalamazoo campus to pack Lawson Arena this weekend as they aim to get back to the NCAA's big dance this year by winning the National Collegiate Hockey Conference tournament. An automatic bid goes to the tourney champion.
Murray is so confident a full house can help motivate his players that he announced he's digging into his own pocket to help the cause. Any students who buy a ticket for Friday's game can show their ticket stubs at the door Saturday night to get in free. Murray is covering the cost out of his own pocket.
"The Lunatics mean so much to our program," he said. "I go up at five (minutes) to six (o'clock) every home game and let them in, and I've done that since I first got here. I don't know if my wife is watching this or not. She was kinda wanting a new kitchen, but I'd rather invest it into the Lunatics. They've meant so much to our program. As some incentive for them to come to the game on Friday night, I'll pay for them to come Saturday. We need them."
The Broncos nailed down the No. 3 seed to get the home ice advantage for the NCHC tournament quarterfinals by sweeping Miami of Ohio last weekend on the road. They won 5-1 on Friday night and then completed the sweep with a 6-1 victory on Saturday.
Between 800 and 1,000 reserved student seats are available for WMU students each night this weekend. The face-off is 7:05 pm on both Friday and Saturday. Game 3 in the Best-of-3 series, if necessary, would be at 7:05 pm on Sunday at Lawson Arena in Kalamazoo.
WMU will face Colorado College in the series. The winner advances to the NCHC Final Four next weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Broncos split their season series with Colorado College. They won 5-4 in overtime on a Friday night road trip but lost 8-2 one night later.
"Colorado College was very good the last time we played them," Coach Murray said. "We set a record for turnovers for a Friday-Saturday (regular season series) out at Colorado College. We have to manage the puck much better. They are great in transition. We can't be feeding their offense. We've got to feed ours. "
Colorado College is the No. 6 seed in the tournament and has a 15-17-4 overall record. WMU is 20-13-1 and holds down the No. 12 national ranking. Three other NCHC clubs (St. Cloud State, Minnesota Duluth and Denver) are also ranked in the top 10 with the No. 1, No. 3 and No. 6 spots in the latest poll, respectively.
WMU has made only five NCAA tournament appearances in school history but two of them have been under Murray's leadership. They made it in 2017 in addition to qualifying during their first season under Murray who had jobs with the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues during a 10-year coaching career in the NHL. His record in the NHL was 333-278-58 while his record during his eight seasons in Kalamazoo with the Broncos stands at 136–125–35 .
DETROIT (CCN) — The Michigan State Spartans have learned that their biggest scoring threat won't be returning for his senior season of college hockey. Junior forward Taro Hirose has agreed to sign a two-year entry-level contact with the Detroit Red Wings, according to a Tuesday press release by the NHL club.
Hirose, who signed as an un-drafted free agent, scored 33 goals and drew 83 assists during 106 college hockey games with MSU for 116 points. The Calgary native was runner-up in the Big 10 scoring race a year ago as a sophomore when voted as an All-Big 10 Second Team selection. Hirose was named the Ron Mason Team MVP and MSU's Outstanding Offensive Player after his team-leading 42 points were the most by a Spartan since Corey Tropp's 42 points during the 2009-10 campaign. He was the Big 10 scoring champion this winter with 34 points (10 goals and 24 assists in 24 games) and is a Hobey Baker candidate after putting up an NCAA-best 50 points in 36 games overall. He was also named Tuesday as a finalist for Big 10 Player of the Year honors this season.
Red Wings' General Manager Ken Holland revealed that he believes Hirose will see ice time in the NHL before the end of the current season. He told the Detroit Free Press that Hirose could play as soon as Saturday with a second college player signed earlier in the day from Princeton's program. “Taro has high hockey IQ, he’s got nice stick skills,” Holland told the Free Press. “We watched him Saturday at Notre Dame.:
DETROIT (CCN) — The all-time leading goal scorer in Princeton University's hockey history signed a two-year entry level contract on Tuesday to join the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL. Senior forward Ryan Kuffner was signed as an un-drafted free agent.
The 22-year-old Kuffner scored 75 career goals in 132 college hockey games at Princeton during a four-year career there. His 22 goals this season was tops in the Eastern College Athletic Conference and he was the No. 4 scorer in the nation. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound product of Ottawa, Ontario was best in the nation in points per game with 1.419 per contest.
He led the Tigers to a berth in the NCAA tournament as a junior when scoring 29 goals with 52 points and earning second team All-American honors.
Kuffner racked up 152 points in 132 career games at Princeton after putting up 55 goals and 115 points in 101 games during three seaons with the Gloucester Rangers of the Central Canada Hockey League. He was selected to represent Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge in the Ontario cities of Cobourg and Whitby. His great uncle, Edwin Gorman, played parts of four seasons in the NHL and won a Stanley Cup with the old Ottawa Senators during the 1926-27 campaign.
helping the Tigers to an ECAC Tournament Championship and an automatic berth into the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Tournament. In all, Kuffner recorded 152 points (75-77-152) in 132 games with Princeton
MINNEAPOLIS (CCN) — The Michigan Wolverines saw their college hockey season come to an end Saturday in Minneapolis. They lost 4-1 to drop two straight in their Best-of-3 series in the Big 10 tournament.
The Wolverines, who finished 13-16-7, were hoping to win the Big 10 tourney to punch their ticket to the NCAA tournament where they made it all the way to the Frozen Four a year ago. They were ahead 2-0 on Friday night before Minnesota's Golden Golphers rallied to win 3-2 in overtime.
The loss marked the final chapter in the careers of three seniors for the Wolverines. Joseoph Cecconi, Nicholas Boka and Brendan Warren were 72-59-18 as Wolverines with a combined 137 points. They won a Big Ten championship together as well as the Great Lakes Invitational title during their freshman year in addition to reaching two NCAA tournaments, including last winter's run to the NCAA Frozen Four before losing a 4-3 thriller to Notre Dame on a last-second goal.
BY MIKE KILLBREATH
CCN Executive Editor
OXFORD, OHIO (CCN) — Wade Allison's three-goal hat trick helped Western Michigan's hockey team complete a sweep at Miami of Ohio Saturday night to clinch home ice for their opening round tournament series in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
The tourney champion gets an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Broncos, who are 20-13-1 and ranked No. 12 in the nation, have made it to the NCAA tourney only once since Coach Andy Murray's debut season eight years ago. It was their second trip in a row then after Murray replaced Jeff Blashill who resigned to move on to an assistant coach role with the NHL's Detroit Red Wings where he is now the head coach.
Murray, who is now 136–125–35 behind the bench at WMU, will send his Broncos to the ice against Colorado College for 7:05 pm face-offs on Friday night and Saturday night. Game 3 in the Best-of-3 series, if necessary, would also be on Sunday in Kalamazoo.
WMU nailed down the No. 3 seed with its two-game weekend sweep at Miami of Ohio while Colorado College is the No. 6 seed after a 9-12-3 record in NCHC play where regular season champion St. Cloud State is ranked No. 1 in the nation and runner-up Minnesota Duluth is ranked No. 3 in the country. Denver, which finished fourth behind WMU in NCHC action, provides another top 20 club in the conference with the No. 6 national ranking. Denver is 19-10-5 overall, Minnesota Duluth is 21-11-2 and St. Cloud State is 27-4-3. Colorado College is 15-17-4 overall this season.
Home ice is huge for WMU, according to Murray. "One of the reasons that our team has played so hard all year is so that we could play two more home games in front of our home fans," he said about Lawson Ice Arena where the team is 25th in the nation for attendance this year with an average of 3,126 fans per game. WMU lost twice at Denver but won 3-1 and 5-1 in Kalamazoo against Denver. WMU also but beat Minnesota Duluth 3-2 in Kalamazoo to go with a 1-1 tie there. "Looking at some of the quotes coming out of Colorado College, their team knows this is a hostile building to come into," Murray added. "We want to make sure it feels like that and we fully expect the building to be packed... Coming to a Bronco hockey game is not just a game, it's an event. It's one of the most energetic things going here in this city. Hockey is special here and we need the support this weekend.
The Broncos split their season series with Colorado College. They won 5-4 on a Friday night road trip but lost 8-2 one night later there.
The other series this weekend are No. 8 Miami of Ohio (11-21-4 overall) at No. 1 St. Cloud State, No. 7 Omaha (9-22-3 overall) at No 2 Minnesota-Duluth and No. 5 North Dakota (18-15-2) at No. 4 Denver. All four series winners move on to St. Paul, Minnesota next weekend.
WMU won 6-1 Saturday night at Miami of Ohio after winning 5-1 there on Friday night. Senior goaltender Trevor Gorsuch had 22 saves each night to come up big after losing three in a row, including two in a row on home ice against St. Cloud State which won 8-2 in the second contest there to motivate many fans to call for Coach Murray to use a new man between the pipes.
"Trevor got us there," Murray said about his decision to trust the veteran again at Miami of Ohio. "He's the guy who has had to carry the load for us. I think Trevor knew that we believed in him and I think that means something to a player, too., and he got the job done for us." Gorsuch started 28 of WMU's 34 games this season and the back-to-back one-goal games lowered his season goals against average to 2.79 while giving the senior star 18 victories on the year.
Lake Superior State beats Bemidji State 3-1, 4-2
SAULT STE. MARIE (CCN) — Lake Superior State is moving on to the semi-finals of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament. The Lakers won their Best-of-3 series quarterfinals series in two straight by beating Bemidji State 3-1 on Saturday night in front of 1,757 fans at Sault Ste. Marie. The Lakers won 4-2 on Friday night in front of 1,831 fans on home ice.
Lake Superior State goes to Minnesota State this weekend for a Best-of-3 series. Minnesota State also had a sweep in the quarterfinal round by beating Alabama Huntsville 3-1 and 4-1 on home ice.
This weekend's series features a pair of top 20 ranked clubs. Minnesota State is No. 4 in the nation with a sparkling 27-7-2 overall record. Lake Superior State is 21-11-2 overall and ranked No. 20 in the country.
Minnesota State won the WCHA regular season title to get the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Lakers, who were the No. 4 seed, won their first playoff series since defeating Alaska at home in two straight in 2012. The last time the Lakers won a tournament playoff game in the WCHA was in 2016 when winning 2-0 over Minnesota State in a series they eventually lost.
The Lake Superior-Minnesota State series winner advances to the championship series against the winner in Marquette between Northern Michigan University and Bowling Green University.
Northern Michigan sweeps Alaska 5-4 and 4-2
MARQUETTE (CCN) — The Wildcats of Northern Michigan University delighted their home ice fans in Marquette with a two-game sweep over Alaska to punch their ticket to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament playoffs. They won 4-2 on Saturday night in front of 2,960 fans to clinch a two-game sweep in their quarterfinals series. They had won 5-4 in double overtime in front of 2,326 fans on Friday night in Marquette against their Alaskan opponents. They forced overtime on a dramatic goal with only 14 seconds remaining in regulation.
NMU now gets another home ice advantage in the WCHA semi-finals which will be a rematch of last year's series between the Wildcats and Bowling Green. Game time is 7 pm on both Friday night and Saturday night for Games 1 and 2. Game 3 in the Best-of-3 series, if necessary, would be at 7 pm on Sunday in Marquette.
NMU is riding a six-game winning streak after last weekend's sweep over Alaska. It was the third two-game weekend sweep in a row for the Wildats who closed out their regular season schedule by beating Michigan Tech twice before beating Lake Superior State twice. They are now 21-14-2 overall, including a runner-up regular season finish in the WCHA behind Minnesota State. Bowling Green, the WCHA's No. 3 seed, brings a 23-9-5 overall record to Marquette.
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA (CCN) — Michigan State's hockey season came to an end Saturday night in South Bend as Notre Dame handed the Spartans a second straight whitewashing to win their best-of-3 series in two straight. The Fighting Irish won 2-0 Saturday night on home ice after blanking the Spartans in a 1-0 thriller on Friday night in Big 10 tournament action.
Notre Dame goalie Clae Morris stopped 28 shots for his second shutout in a row in front of 4,442 fans at Compton Family Arena. He made 27 saves to delight 4,177 fans on Friday night. Notre Dame, which made it to the NCAA finals before losing in last year's national championship game, improved to 20-13-3 on the season while punching its ticket into the Big 10 Conference's tournament semi-finals.
MSU finished the season at 12-19-5 overall after posting a 12-22-2 record last season in Danton Cole's first year behind the bench as head coach. "I thought we battled hard last night and played better tonight and probably deserved a better fate," Cole said afterward to the media. "I think in the room, we feel like we like we should be playing on Sunday. But their goalie was really good and didn't give anything up. I'm proud of the way the guys worked and I'm proud of how they've moved some things forward over the last two years. They've done a lot of good for Spartan hockey and the University."
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