Thursday, February 19, 2009

The University Of Wisconsin Badgers

(above) The Kohl Center will be sold out this weekend

The Kohl Center Madison, Wisconsin, February 20-21

This weekend is perhaps the biggest series of the season, as the WCHA’s Co-Number 1 team, Eight- ranked Denver (17-9-4, 13-7-3 WCHA) travels to Third Place (and one point behind) 13th ranked Wisconsin (16-11-3 WCHA) for a two-game WCHA series on Feb. 20-21. Puck drop is set for 6:07 p.m. MT at Kohl Center both nights. Friday's game will be televised live on NHL Network and broadcast on AM 560. Saturday's game will be televised live on FSN Rocky Mountain and broadcast on 101.5 FM.

The Badgers hold a 71-52-9 advantage against the Pioneers in the all-time series that began in 1968. DU is 26-31-5 against the Badgers in Madison, but 11-2-2 all-time at the Kohl Center. DU is 3-2 in its last five games against Wisconsin and 5-5 in its last 10. The winning team has scored six or more goals in the last four games between the teams.

Badgers to Watch
The Badgers are led by junior defenseman Jamie McBain, who leads all NCAA blueliners with 7-27--34, and is a Hobey Baker Award candidate. McBain, who has tallied a WCHA-leading 4-20--24 on the power play, is one of 10 NHL drafted Badgers. Derek Stepan (6-18--24), John Mitchell (13-8--21), Tom Gorowsky (9-12--21) and Blake Geoffrion (11-8--19) round out Wisconsin’s top-five scorers. Shane Connolly leads the team with a 15-9-3 record, 2.50 GAA and .913 Sv% in the nets.

About the Wisconsin Program:
According to Wikipedia and the UW web sites, records indicate that ice hockey was played at Wisconsin before 1900, but the first varsity game was played in 1921. Coaching changes were frequent and seasons were short, due presumably to relying on nature to provide suitable outdoor conditions, and the University dropped the sport in 1935.

The modern era of Badger Hockey began in 1963, with the decision of athletic director Ivan B. Williamson. The Badgers started out ambitiously, playing as an independent team and scheduling 8 games against Western Collegiate Hockey Association teams, losing all 8 games. However, the persistence eventually paid off. Late in the 1965-66 season, the Badgers finally broke through, beating the Minnesota Golden Gophers 5-4 in overtime, their first win over a WCHA opponent. At the end of that season, Coach John Riley retired, and UW hired "Badger" Bob Johnson (left), a former Minnesota Gopher player who would build the UW program into what it is today. Johnson would become one of the most the most legendary American hockey figures of all time, coaching not only the Badgers to NCAA glory, but winning a Stanley Cup as coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins and becoming an international fixture with USA Hockey as a coach and administrator.

The next milestone for UW hockey was WCHA membership, which came for the 1969-70 season. The Badgers shocked the hockey world by gaining an NCAA tournament berth in their first season as members of the WCHA. The early success captivated fans, who packed the 8,600 seat Dane County Coliseum off campus and made the arena what Sports Illustrated termed the “Montreal Forum of College Hockey”.

More success would follow under Johnson. After again earning an NCAA bid in 1972, the Badgers won their first national championship in 1973, over the Denver Pioneers. The 1977 UW team further cemented Wisconsin Hockey in the national landscape, by sweeping the WCHA regular season, tournament, and NCAA tournament titles. Behind the efforts of four first team All-Americans, Mike Eaves (the current head coach of UW) 1980 Olympic hero Mark Johnson (Badger Bob’s son and now coach of the UW women’ team), Craig Norwich and Julian Baretta) the 1977 team won the title in amazing fashion, getting an equalizing goal late in regulation and winning goal in overtime in the final against Michigan. Another player on that team, grinding forward George Gwozdecky, would later become the coach of the Denver Pioneers, cementing his own legend in Denver.

The early 1980s were a glory period for Badger Hockey. The Badgers reached the NCAA title game three consecutive times in 1981, 1982, and 1983. The 1981 title was especially sweet for the Badger faithful, coming with a defeat of archrival Minnesota in the championship game. After again reaching the championship game in 1982, where the Badgers lost to North Dakota, the program was dealt a double blow with the resignation of "Badger" Bob Johnson. He left Wisconsin after 15 seasons with 3 NCAA championships, a record of 367-175-23, and having built the program into an NCAA powerhouse.

The pain of 1982 was quickly eased in 1983, however, with the hire of former Badger assistant coach Jeff Sauer. Sauer turned around and won the 1983 NCAA championship in his first season. Wisconsin defeated Harvard 6-2 to earn the program's 4th NCAA title. Under Sauer's leadership, the Badgers would qualify for eight consecutive NCAA tournaments from 1988 to 1995, winning the program's 5th NCAA title in 1990, with a 7-3 victory over Colgate in Detroit. Also, Sauer presided over the team's move from the venerable Dane County Coliseum to the new, on-campus Kohl Center in 1998. The Badgers have been tops in college hockey attendance every year since moving to the Kohl Center, where crowds of 13,000 -15,000+ are the norm, with a rowdy band and and fully engaged student section. Wisconsin is also credited with the inventions of the "Sieve" cheer, now heard all over college hockey. A game in Madison is a special experience that all hockey fans should experience.

In the mid 1990s, Badger hockey hit a bit of a lull, earning NCAA bids in 1998 and 2000, but generally underachieving compared to the high standards of the 1970s and 1980s. The 1999-2000 team featured a duo of 2nd overall NHL draft pick Dany Heatley and Steve Reinprecht, won the MacNaughton Cup, and earned a #1 position in the polls for most of the season, only to be upset by Boston College in the NCAA regionals. Two seasons later, during the 2001-2002 campaign, coach Sauer announced his retirement.

Sauer's replacement was hotly debated. Denver’s George Gwozdecky was considered, but elected to stay at DU, and the selection came down to Mike Eaves and Mark Johnson, with Eaves getting the nod due to deeper coaching experience in the NHL and abroad. While Eaves still holds the record as UW's all-time leading scorer, he is a much more defensive-minded coach. His first season at UW was full of hardship and controversy, including one of the worst records in the modern era. However, in 2003-2004, Eaves brought the Badgers just short of the Frozen Four, falling in overtime to Maine. After a disappointing finish to the 2004-2005 season, the Badgers returned to national prominence by winning the 2005/2006 NCAA championship by winning the Frozen Four held in nearby Milwaukee. He is looking to return the Badgers to the pinnacle again, but recent teams have lacked the scoring depth needed to win Frozen Fours.

About the University of Wisconsin
Founded in 1848, the original idea of UW was to start the university near the seat of the state government in Madison, the capital city of Wisconsin. UW was founded the same year that Wisconsin became a state, and the University began with 17 students in rented rooms at the Madison Female Academy. Since then, it has grown to become one of America’s largest research universities, with over 42,000 students in 20 different schools, and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin system over $900 million in research funding.

Early UW academic successes included the 1913 and 1916 discoveries of Vitamins A and B by UW scientist, Elmer V. McCollum, and the 1923 process for adding vitamin D to milk. In 1940, UW developed Warfarin, an important blood thinner,
(also known as Coumadin) and named it after the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

In the 1960s and 70s, Madison and UW became a hotbed of anti-war protests including the August, 1970 bombing outside the Army Math Research Center in Sterling Hall, killing post-doctoral researcher Robert Fassnacht.

In 1988, two UW Madison students, Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson founded the Onion humor newspaper, and in 1998, UW cell biologist James Thompson first isolated and cultured human embryonic stem cells.

UW is a member of the Big 10 conference as well as the WCHA, and has really upgraded its athletic programs in recent years, and with no other comparable school in the state, UW Madison has a deep and passionate statewide following with large alumni chapters across the world.

Madison, Wisconsin
Known as one of America’s great college towns, the City of Madison is the State Capital with over 220,000 residents, and over 500,000 in the metropolitan area, the second largest city in Wisconsin after Milwaukee. The city was founded in 1836 as planned capital for the new Wisconsin Territory, and had only 626 people when UW was founded in 1848. The UW Campus has over 900 acres that occupy much of central Madison, sitting on an isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota in south central Wisconsin.

During the American Civil War, Madison served as a center of the Union Army in Wisconsin. Camp Randall, on the west side of Madison, was built and used as a training camp, a military hospital, and a prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers. After the war ended, the Camp Randall site was absorbed into the University of Wisconsin. Camp Randall Stadium was built over the site in 1917.

Today, the city is known for both its liberal leanings and for its reputation as a party town, helped along by 40,000+ UW students and the bars of State Street. It's a white collar place with a lot of culture, recreational opportunities and cheap alcohol.

University Traditions

Nickname – Badgers
The nickname "Badgers" was borrowed from the state of Wisconsin. The territory was dubbed the "Badger State," not because of animals in the region, but rather because of an association with lead miners. In the 1820s and 1830s, prospectors came to the state looking for minerals, and without shelter in the winter, the miners had to "live like badgers" in tunnels burrowed into the hillsides. The badger mascot was adopted by the University of Wisconsin in 1889.

Logo and Mascot:
"Buckingham U. Badger", aka “Bucky Badger” was chosen in a student contest in 1949. The current emblem, a scowling, strutting badger wearing a cardinal-and-white striped sweater, was designed by Art Evans in 1940. Bucky wears a cardinal red and white Wisconsin sweater along with a gruff look on his face (the costumed-mascot version is decidedly cheerier, with a beaming smile).He also has a history of playfully fighting other team's mascots like the University of Minnesota's Goldy Gopher or Purdue University's Purdue Pete. Although fighting is no longer allowed by NCAA mascots, Bucky still frequently interacts with other mascots through skits. Bill Sagal was the first costumed Bucky Badger. The original Bucky costume was introduced at a pep rally on Friday, November 11, 1949, before the next day's Homecoming football game against Iowa. Carolyn (Connie) Conrad, a UW art student, designed the original chicken wire and paper mache head. Sagal, then head cheerleader, wore his regular cheerleader trousers and sweater and added boxing gloves.

The modern Bucky Badger logo was part of a group of "comic collegiate badger mascots" created by the Anson W. Thompson Company of Los Angeles in 1940. The company was one of several that manufactured decals and other logowear for universities. The UW athletic department first used the logo on the cover of the 1948 Football Facts and Centennial Sports Review. In 2003, Bucky was given an update, with simplified lines and the "motion W" on his sweater.

Wisconsin School Colors:
Cardinal and white are the official colors of UW’s sports teams, and the color of cardinal shade or red comes originally from Catholic Cardinal’s Cassock (robe). Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa State, USC, Stanford and Wisconsin all use Cardinal as a school color, which is very close shade to crimson, the color of the Pioneers.

Wisconsin Fight Song
"On, Wisconsin!" is the fight song of the Wisconsin Badgers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It is also the official state song of Wisconsin. "On, Wisconsin!" was also the cry that Arthur MacArthur, Jr. used in the Battle of Chattanooga at Missionary Ridge, in the Civil War.

The tune was composed in 1909 by William T. Purdy, with the intention of entering it into a competition for a new fight song at the University of Minnesota. Carl Beck, a former University of Wisconsin-Madison student, convinced him to withdraw it from the contest at the last minute and allow his alma mater to use it instead. Beck then wrote the original, football-oriented lyrics, changing the words "Minnesota, Minnesota" to "On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!" (The eventual winner of the competition became known as the Minnesota Rouser).

The lyrics were rewritten for the state song in 1913 by Judge Charles D. Rosa and J. S. Hubbard. The song was widely recognized as the state song at that time, but was never officially designated. Finally in 1959, "On, Wisconsin!" was officially designated as the State Song. The song is actually in the public domain and used by hundreds of high school and small colleges, and is even used as the fight song of the CFL’s Saskatchewan RoughRiders.

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Plunge right through that line!
Run the ball clear down the field,
A touchdown sure this time. (U rah rah)
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin!
Fight on for her fame
Fight! Fellows! - fight, fight, fight!
We'll win this game.

Famous University of Wisconsin Alumni
The University of Wisconsin has many distinguished alumni including aviator Charles Lindbergh, Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, writers Saul Bellow, Joyce Carol Oates, Stephen Ambrose and Eudora Welty, TV personalities Edwin Newman, Greta Van Susteren and Jeff Greenfield. Famous UW politicians include Dick and Lynn Cheney, Senators Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, as well as musicians Steve Miller and Boz Skaggs.

Famous Sports Alumni include Alan Ameche, Ron Dayne, Troy Vincent and Crazy Legs Hirsch (Football), NBAers Michael Finley and Devin Harris, Baseball Hall of Famer Addie Joss, NHL Hockey players Chris Chelios, Dany Heatley,Tony Granato, Mike Richter and Gary Suter, and Olympians Eric Heiden, Suzy Favor Hamilton, Carly Piper and Horse trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

The Series
The last time these two teams met this season, DU fired in a series-high 13 goals against Wisconsin in the two-game home sweep of UW back on Oct. 17-18. DU used a four-goal third stanza and three power-play goals to win the opener, 6-5. The Pioneers jumped to a 3-0 lead en route to the 7-4 and sweep in game two. Tyler Bozak tallied a pair of three-point games and Patrick Wiercioch recorded his first career two-goal game, including the game-winner, in the 6-5 win.

But that was a long time ago, and while Badgers started the season slowly, they are now red hot. Wisconsin is 12-4-1 in its last 17 games after starting the season 4-7-2. The Badgers enjoyed a bye last weekend after earning a road sweep (3-2, 5-4) at arch rival Minnesota on Feb. 6-7. UW sports one of the most talented defensive players in college hockey, and an excellent power play, led from the backline by Jamie McBain, who is arguably the best defenseman in college hockey this year. McBain likes to feed Patrick White power play one-timers, reminding old time hockey fans of the great early 1980s Badger power plays with Chris Chelios feeding John Newberry, Bruce Driver and Pat Flatley.

The Pioneers, after a hot start, are treading water at 4-4-3 since Jan. 2 and are 4-3-2 in their last nine WCHA games while remaining tied for the WCHA lead with UND at 29 points each, while UW is third with 28 points. Frankly, since Tyler Bozak went down to injury in mid-December, Denver has been a very average hockey team.

If there is a silver lining for Denver, the Pioneers are 11-2-2 all-time at the Kohl Center, and come into Madison with lead in WCHA in scoring offense at 3.53 gpg and rank second in scoring defense at 2.53 gpg. Rhett Rakhshani is DU’s leading current Badger killer with 3-8--11 in 11 games against Wisconsin. Kyle Ostrow has added 2-5--7 in five games vs UW and Marc Cheverie is 2-0 with a 4.50 GAA and .871 Sv% in two games against the Badgers. If the Pioneers are going to be successful, they will also need help from rookies Wiercioch (10-15--25) and Joe Colborne (8-17--25) who are tied for second in WCHA rookie scoring. Wiercioch leads all NCAA rookie blueliners in goals and ranks third among all NCAA defensemen in goals, while Colborne is coming off his best game as a Pioneer last week, when he scored twice in the third period, including the game-tying goal in the last minute to lift Denver to a 3-3 tie with rival Colorado College.

Looking analytically at the series, DU has the slightly better offense, ranked 5th nationally at 3.53 GPG, while UW is 12th nationally at 3.40 GPG. Defensively, DU is 16th nationally at 2.53 GPG, and Wisconsin is 24th nationally at 2.67, so another slight edge to the Pioneers there. Goaltending is basically dead even, with DU’s Marc Cheverie at .914 overall and UW’s Shane Connolly at .913, overall. But the big difference is on combined special teams, where the Badgers are an amazing third nationally, and the Pioneers are a horrible 44th nationally. This will likely be the difference maker in the series, as UW has been the hotter team. With the Badgers on a major roll and playing their best hockey of the year, and the Pioneers treading water of late without Tyler Bozak, and UW playing at home in front of 15,000+ fans, it makes it very hard to predict road success for the Pioneers. That said, DU gets up to play in games and settings like this one, and I think they may squeak out a tie this weekend. But I think that’s about all Pioneer fans can hope for as UW will likely take 3 of 4 points.

DU will try to use it's speed to run the transition on UW, but UW will counter with a solid forecheck. At this time of year, defenses have closed the gap on offenses, as film study and familiarity make goals harder to come by,

Prediction. UW will be a little sluggish coming off the bye week, and DU will tie up a 2-2 game on Friday, but expect a 4-1 Badger win on Saturday, as the Pios won’t be able to match UW in special teams play.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Colorado College Tigers

Magness Arena, Denver November 1
Colorado Springs World Arena, November 3

No. 8 Denver (17-9-3, 13-7-3 WCHA) travels to No. 18 Colorado College (14-9-7, 10-8-4 WCHA) on Friday, Feb. 13. Puck drop is set for 7:37 p.m. at Colorado Springs World Arena. The game will be televised live on FSN Rocky Mountain and broadcast live on AM 560.

The Pioneers hold a 152-106-11 advantage over Colorado College in the historic rivalry series that dates back to 1950. DU is 60-60-5 in Colorado Springs, but just 6-16-2 in 24 meetings at World Arena. DU is 1-3-1 in its last five games against CC and 1-7-2 in its last 10. The losing team has been held to two goals or less in the last five meetings.

Tigers to Watch
Colorado College is 2-2-1 in its last five games and 4-4-2 in its last 10. Like DU, the Tigers are looking for more consistency in 2009 after enjoying an 11-6-5 mark in 2008. CC is led by forward Chad Rau and goaltender Richard Bachman. Rau leads the team in scoring with 13-17--30 and Bachman is 12-8-7 with a 2.50 GAA and .916 Sv%. .Rau has 20 points all time against DU in 14 games played, while Bachman sports a .943 saves percentage against the Pioneers in his career. Eric Walsky has added 10-18--28, while Brian Connelly is CC’s top scorer on the blueline with 3-18—21 this season, wit 16 of those points coming on the power play.

About Colorado College:
The Colorado College (familiarly known as CC) is a private, selective liberal arts college in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It was founded in 1874 by General William Palmer. The college enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduates at its 90-acre campus, 70 miles south of Denver. While it shares many similarities with the arch rival University of Denver (Both private and expensive, both have national student bodies and both student bodies love skiing and hockey) the major difference is the orientation of the schools. CC focuses solely on liberal arts and is mostly undergraduate, while DU is a medium sized university with business, liberal arts and professional schools and a 50/50 undergraduate balance. Also, CC is a famously liberal school (albeit in a conservative city) while DU is more conservative as a school but situated in a more liberal city.

Colorado College is known for its unusual "block plan," which divides the year into eight academic terms; a single class is taken during each block. Students study only one subject for three and a half weeks, which advocates say allows for more lab time, field trips, and other more intensive learning experiences. Blocks are only three weeks long in summer school, during which there are also graduate blocks of differing lengths. In parallel with the students, professors teach only one block at a time. Classes are generally capped at 25.

The current President of the college is Richard Celeste, former Governor of Ohio, ambassador to India, and Director of the Peace Corps.

Colorado College was instituted as a liberal arts college which would foster Christian outreach by its graduates and faculty in the New England tradition. Like many U.S. colleges and universities that have endured from the 19th century it now is secular in outlook, though it retains its liberal arts focus.

The college's first building, Cutler Hall, was occupied in 1880; the first bachelor's degrees were conferred in 1882. Phi Beta Kappa was chartered in 1904. Under President William F. Slocum, who served from 1888 to 1917, the campus took the shape it held until the 1950s. Since the mid-1950s, the campus has been virtually rebuilt. New facilities include three large residence halls, Worner Campus Center, Tutt Library, Olin Hall of Science and the Barnes Science Center, Honnen Ice Rink, Boettcher Health Center, Schlessman Pool, Armstrong Hall of Humanities, Palmer Hall, El Pomar Sports Center, and Packard Hall of Music and Art. Bemis, Cossitt, Cutler, Montgomery, and Palmer Halls are some of the remaining turn-of-the-century structures on the National Register of Historic Places, along with the William I. Spencer Center.

CC’s sports programs are primarily NCAA D-III, except for hockey and women’s soccer, which are Division I. CC and DU were once fierce rivals in many sports, and the two schools played the first football game west of the Mississippi River back in 1885. CC won 12-0, but the victory was tarnished when CC later revealed that a number of players on that team were not CC students.

About the CC Program:
Colorado College started playing hockey in the late 1930s when the Broadmoor Hotel converted its seldom-used indoor riding academy into an ice rink. The Broadmoor World Arena, originally called the Broadmoor Ice Palace, served as CC's home for 55 seasons before being demolished at the conclusion of the 1993-94 campaign.

CC has done a remarkable job in building a powerhouse program when one consider the size of the school, the distance from hockey hotbeds (far) and the strong academics and liberal arts nature of the college . Making it even more special is the fact that the program almost went bust in 1994, when many years of losing seasons and escalating costs put the program at a crossroads. After brushing aside faculty members who called for the end of hockey, CC made a great hire in then coach Don Lucia, who took the Tigers back to the NCAA finals in just a couple of seasons, built a new arena with the help of the city and USA Hockey, and today, have enjoyed strong contender status in the upper echelons of the NCAA. Lucia went on to Minnesota, but CC has remained a contender ever since.

However, ask many Denver Pioneer fans when CC won its last NCAA title and the answer “1957” comes quickly. Yes, Ike was still President when the Tigers brought home the hardware that year in beating Michigan, and the CC fans have been waiting ever since. The Tigers won the NCAA Division I championship twice during the formative years (1950 and 1957) of the NCAA tournament when it was always played in Colorado Springs, were runners up three times (1952, 1955, 1996) and made the NCAA Tournament eighteen times, including every year since 1995 except 2000, 2004 and 2007. In 2005, CC played in the ­Frozen Four against Denver in Columbus, but suffered a 6-2 setback when they could not stop the Denver power play that April afternoon.

While the Tigers have been a strong program since the mid 1990s, there were many years of disappointing hockey between the 1957 NCAA title and Lucia’s arrival in 1993, as the Tigers had just four winning seasons and one NCAA appearance in that time span .

Tiger Hockey officially made its debut on January 21 of 1938 in an 8-1 loss to a team sponsored by Giddings Department Store in Colorado Springs. Colorado College finished the campaign with three victories and nine defeats under playing coach and team captain John Atwood of Watertown, Conn.

The program made significant strides forward the following season under new coach Garrett Livingston, whose leadership the next four years helped vault CC to national prominence. While several New England students with backgrounds in high school hockey joined the team, the strongest addition was Ernie Young of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. When Young returned in the fall of 1939 for his second year at the school, he brought four more Canadian players with him - Jack Chamney, John "Chick" Ross, Wilmer "Spike" Wilson and Harold McClay -all from his home province.

With Livingston at the helm, those players helped the Tigers sweep the University of Michigan, 4-2 and 4-3, in their first-ever intercollegiate series early during the 1939-40 season. Colorado College also played games against Colorado Mines, the Montana School of Mines and the University of Southern California, champion of the Pacific Coast League, that season. Enthusiasm reached a feverish pitch among CC hockey supporters for the next few years, with games at the World Arena selling out on a regular basis. By winter of 1942, the Tigers had earned a reputation as one of college hockey's "Big Four," along with USC, the University of Illinois and Dartmouth.

Due to World War II, no games were played in 1942-43 or '43-44, but the sport was rejuvenated at Colorado College and nationwide in 1944-45. With the return of former players and the addition of seven more Canadians, the Tigers quickly were on the rise again. Cheddy Thompson, who came to Colorado Springs when he was assigned to 2nd Air Force Headquarters here, took over the coaching duties in the fall of 1945 and held the position for the next decade.

In cooperation with the Broadmoor Hotel, Colorado College sponsored the first National Collegiate Athletic Association Hockey Championships at the end of the 1947-48 season. The tournament would be held at the Ice Palace for the next 10 years, with CC participating seven times - in 1948, '49, '50, '51, '52, '55 and '57. Thompson was at the helm when CC won its first NCAA championship in 1950 and finished as runner-up in 1952 and '55. He was named national Coach of the Year in 1952 by the United States Hockey Coaches Association.

In 1951, Colorado College helped found the Mid-West Collegiate Hockey League, which changed its name to the Western Intercollegiate Hockey League in 1953. Other charter members were the University of Denver, Michigan, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota and North Dakota. The WIHL evolved to become the Western Collegiate Hockey Association in November of 1959, with the present-day WCHA consisting of five of its original seven teams plus the University of Wisconsin, Minnesota-Duluth, St. Cloud State University and Alaska Anchorage.

Four Colorado College coaches - John Matchefts (1968-69), Jeff Sauer (1971-72 and '74-75), Brad Buetow (1991-92) and Don Lucia (1993-94 and '95-96) - have earned WCHA Coach of the Year honors. Matchefts (2007) and Sauer (2003) both have been named recipients of the prestigious John “Snooks” Kelley Founders Award for their contributions to the overall growth and development of ice hockey nationwide. Lucia (1993-94) and Tony Frasca (1962-63) each were named national Coach of the Year by the U.S. Hockey Coaches Association. Still another, Bob Johnson (1963-66), went on to the National Hockey League where he guided the Pittsburgh Penguins to the Stanley Cup championship in 1991. Johnson earlier had served as head coach of the 1976 United States Olympic Team and of the NHL's Calgary Flames, as well as a three-year stint as executive director of USA Hockey.

More than 20 former Tigers actually have played in the NHL, including recent Tigers Noah Clarke, Mark Cullen, Jack Hillen, Curtis McElhinney, Toby Petersen, Richard Petiot, Tom Preissing, Peter Sejna, Brett Sterling, Mike Stuart, Colin Stuart and Mark Stuart, who was a first-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins in 2003. Two Colorado College products – Red Hay with the Blackhawks in 1961 and Doug Lidster with the New York Rangers in 1994 and Dallas Stars in 1999 have had their – names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

University Traditions:
Nickname – Tigers
College lore has it that in the late 19th century, the CC Trustees made the decision in homage to Princeton University's tiger emblem. Nearly a hundred years after in 1994, a group of CC students began a campaign to change the mascot from the tiger to the greenback cutthroat trout, the Colorado state fish. When the subject came to a vote, the tiger won by a narrow margin: 468 for, 423 against. The Tiger mascot is named “Prowler.

School Colors
Black and Gold

Scientia Et Disciplina (Science or Knowledge and Discipline)

Famous CC Alumni
Diana De Gette, US House (D-Colo.)
Ken Salazar, US Senator (D-Colo.)
Lynne Cheney, Wife of US Vice President Dick Cheney
Steve Sabol, President, NFL Films
Dutch Clark, NFL Hall of Fame (Detroit Lions, New York Giants)
Red Hay, NHL Player and administrator
Peggy Fleming, US Gold Medalist Figure Skater

The City of Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs is the county seat and most populous city of El Paso County, Colorado. At 372,437, it is the second most populous city in the State of Colorado behind Denver and the 47th most populous city in the United States. In 2007. the Colorado Springs area had population of 609,096. The city is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, at the eastern edge of the southern Rocky Mountains.

While noted for its exceptional natural beauty and climate, Colorado Springs is not exempt from the problems that typically plague cities that experience tremendous growth: overcrowded roads and highways, crime, sprawl, and government budget issues. Many of the problems are indirectly or directly caused by the city's difficulty in coping with the large population growth experienced in the last 20 years.

It is a well known as a conservative city, as it is dominated by large military installations including Fort Carson, NORAD and the United States Air Force Academy, which make up the largest employers in the city. Also, a large percentage of Colorado Springs' economy is also based on high tech and manufacturing complex electronic equipment, second to the military in terms of total revenue generated and employment.

Additionally, a large number of religious organizations such as Focus on the Family and churches make their headquarters here, particularly Evangelical Christians, as well as serving as the headquarters for the US Olympic Committee and many national sports governing bodies.
Colorado Springs was founded in August 1871 as a residential community by General William Palmer (who also founded CC and co-founded the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad), with the intention of creating a high quality resort community to benefit from the mountain location, the railroad and the proximity to mining affluence from a previous gold strike at nearby Colorado City. The flow of gold and silver ebbed as the decades passed, and Colorado City's economic fortunes faded with it; the miners and those who processed the ore left or retired. Because of the healthy natural scenic beauty, mineral waters, and extremely dry climate, Colorado Springs became a tourist attraction and popular recuperation destination for tuberculosis patients.

Famous Colorado Springs Residents
* Silent film star Lon Chaney
* Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Rich ‘Goose’ Gossage
* Focus on the Family founder James Dobson
* Cassandra Peterson (better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark)
* Automobile racer Bobby Unser
* Former British ice dancer Christopher Dean

The Series:
With DU leading the WCHA with 28 points, and Colorado College fourth with 24 points, both teams are battling for an WCHA hardware and and NCAA berth. Last time these rivals met in November, DU was the better team for much of the weekend, but CC got the better results. In the 2-2 overtime tie on Oct. 31, CC jumped to a 2-0 lead before DU rallied with goals by Rhett Rakhshani in the second period and Luke Salazar just 28 seconds into the third period. DU outshot the Tigers, 46-29, but Richard Bachman sparkled in net with 44 saves. CC then rode 40 saves from Bachman in its 3-2 win on Nov. 2 and DU outshot CC, 88-59, in the series. The decisive difference in the series was that DU went 1-for-19 on the power play.

The Pioneers and CC are both are 4-4-2 in the last 10 games, with both teams treading water in a tightening WCHA race. DU has split its last two WCHA series’ against Alaska Anchorage and Minnesota Duluth. DU is averaging 3.1 gpg without top playmaker Tyler Bozak. DU was averaging 3.8 gpg with Bozak in the lineup for the first 18 games. DU continues to receive strong goaltending from Marc Cheverie and features seven players with 20 or more points and 12 with 10 or more.
CC’s primary difficulties thia year are the same ones that plagued the Tigers in November, as the Tigers have found consistent scoring depth beyond its top line, and Bachman, who started the season in near perfect form, has been much more human over the mid-season. Tiger fans have complained that this year’s Tiger squad has not managed a consistent work ethic compared to past seasons, and have also cited team chemistry as a potential issue. These charges sound remarkably similar to concerns expressed by Pioneer fans, although with Denver, the worst part of the Pioneer season has coincided with the season-ending injury to Tyler Bozak.

Offensively, DU has more depth than CC does, and defensively, CC has more depth, especially with an injury to DU’s Chris Nutini and the likely suspension of Patrick Mullen. Goaltending is pretty even. Special teams edge probably goes to CC, and they also have home ice advantage.

In either case, both schools are playing average hockey, but I don’t expect that to be the case this weekend, as with just one game to focus on and a Gold Pan to be won, motivation should be strong for both teams.
As a Pioneer fan, I’d like to think the Pioneers are due for a win over the Tigers, especially with CC playing such average hockey, but I don’t know that DU has enough to beat CC at home in one game .That said, I don’t think CC is that much better a team than DU right now, either. With both teams giving their all, I think the reality is that both teams are pretty average, and what could be more average than a tie game?.

My prediction? Denver 2, Colorado College 2.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs

(above) Duluth Entertainment & Convention Center

Duluth Entertainment and Convention Complex

February 6-7, 2009

The No. 6/8 Denver Pioneers (16-8-3, 12-6-2 WCHA) play at No. 17 Minnesota Duluth (14-8-6, 8-7-5 WCHA) on Feb. 6-7. Puck drop is set for 6:07 p.m. MT each night at the DECC. Friday's game will be televised live on the NHL Network and broadcast live locally on AM 560. Both games will be audio cast on

Denver owns a 103-69-9 advantage in the series that dates back to 1961. DU charted 5-1 and 2-1 victories over the Bulldogs on Nov. 7-8. Luke Salazar netted two goals, including the game-winner, and Marc Cheverie made 34 saves in the 5-1 win. Tyler Ruegsegger’s power-play goal at 8:16 of the third period gave DU a 2-1 win and series sweep on Nov. 8. Cheverie stopped 27 shots and was named WCHA Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. DU scored two power-play goals in each win. The Bulldogs own a 37-34-5 mark against Denver in Duluth. Denver is 4-1-1 in its last six games in Duluth. The Pioneers are 4-1 in their last five games against Duluth and 7-3 in their last 10.

Bulldogs to Watch

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs are playing their best hockey of the season. Duluth has won five of its last six games, including two-game sweeps of Bemidji State and Minnesota State. The Bulldogs split (1-3, 1-0) a two-game set at Wisconsin last weekend. Goaltender Alex Stalock has posted three shutouts, while sophomore Justin Fontaine is second in WCHA scoring with 12-23--35 with a league-leading nine power-play goals. MacGregor Sharp has added 11-15--26, and Mike and Jack Connolly are tied for third in WCHA rookie scoring with 22 points each. Duluth is first in the WCHA in scoring defense at 2.29 gpg and seventh in scoring offense at 2.93 gpg. The Bulldogs rank second in the WCHA on the power play at 21.2% and eighth on the penalty kill at 80.5%. Head coach Scott Sandelin has posted a 136-168-43 record in nine seasons at Duluth.

About the University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD)
The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) is a regional branch of the University of Minnesota with about 11,000 students on campus. As Duluth's public research university, UMD offers 12 bachelor's degrees in 75 majors, graduate programs in 20 fields, a two-year program at the School of Medicine, a four-year College of Pharmacy program, and a Doctor of Education program. The chief executive officer of UMD is Chancellor Kathryn A. Martin. She has been Chancellor since November 1995.

Although the University of Minnesota Duluth didn’t officially make its appearance until 1947, its roots date to the Duluth Normal School, founded in 1896 to train women as teachers. In 1921, the Duluth Normal School was renamed to the Duluth State Teachers College, also known as DSTC. Shortly after the renaming, bachelor’s degrees and four-year degree programs were added to the school. In 1929 men began to come to the DSTC, and along with them, the first sports teams including hockey, football, and basketball. By 1937, the locals were fighting to make DSTC a University of Minnesota branch to increase funding and the overall reputation of the school. It was not until 1947 the DSTC became part of the University of Minnesota system and was again renamed, this time to the University of Minnesota Duluth, or UMD.

Today, the UMD campus consists of more than 50 buildings on 244 acres overlooking Lake Superior. Most UMD buildings are connected by concourses or hallways due to the climate. UMD is also home to the Tweed Museum of Art, the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium, Weber Music Hall, and the Marshall Performing Arts Center. Other UMD facilities include the Research and Field Studies Center, Glensheen Historic Estate, the Lower Campus, Minnesota Sea Grant, the Large Lakes Observatory, and the Natural Resources Research Institute.

UMD has experienced a revamping of student amenities and subsidized research facilities over the past seven years, beginning in 2000 with the completion of a new library. Additional buildings built since 2000 include the Weber Music Hall, Swenson Science Building, Sports and Health Center addition, and the new Labovitz School of Business.

About the UMD Program:
(left) Brett Hull

The Bulldogs are the classic underdog program –with the more glamorous Big 10 University of Minnesota a few hours away in the Twin Cities with a huge statewide following for the Gophers, the Bulldogs, based in the working-class port city of Duluth, have always had to scratch, claw and work for every advantage they could get.

The varsity hockey program dates to December of 1930, when Duluth State Teacher's College announced that intercollegiate ice hockey will be added to the institution's varsity sports program. Things got off to a really rough start when DTSC lost its first game to Duluth Central High School by a 3-0 score at the old Duluth Amphitheater, enroute to a winless 0-3 inaugural campaign under Coach Frank Kovach. The next year, DSTC did manage to beat Two Harbors High School by a goal 3-2 for a first victory, but the sport vanished for 14 years until reinstated in 1949, when the school, now known as the University of Minnesota-Duluth, beat Carleton College of Duluth to close out a 7-0 undefeated season against lower division schools as an independent.

By 1949 the program had joined the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (small schools) and scored the first win over a D-I opponent in 1957 when the Bulldogs beat Michigan Tech. UMD had become a dominant power in the MIAC in the 50s, with six consecutive titles, setting the stage for elevation to full Division I status in 1961 under coach Ralph Romano, helped in part by Denver’s Murray Armstrong, who helped recruit UMD first D-I teams. The Bulldogs took their lumps at first; including a still-NCAA record of 77 saves performance in a loss against Michigan in 1964. Romano later became the school’s athletic director, and died tragically of heart failure while watching a UMD-DU game in Duluth in the mid 1980s.

UMD continued to make progress in the mid 1960s, when the city built a new $6 million Duluth Arena-Auditorium complex with 5,600 seats, know known as the DECC (Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center) in downtown Duluth, which still serves as the home of the Bulldogs, but will soon be replaced by a new arena in 2010.

With the new arena, was admitted to the WCHA in 1965, but did not win the first 14 WCHA games until an overtime victory over North Dakota in 1966. The tough games also stretched into eras, as the Bulldogs had only three winning seasons between 1965 and 1982.

By 1971, UMD got perhaps its biggest program win (at the time) with a 15-3 win over rival Minnesota in Minneapolis, a game which set 12 school records, paced by all-American centers Walt Ledingham and Pat Boutette.

Mike Sertich took over as UMD coach for Gus Hendrickson in 1982, and produced some of the best WCHA teams of the mid 1980s. In 1983, the Dawgs went to the NCAAs for the first time, but lost to Providence at Schneider Arena in Providence, 10-5 in a two game total goals series. The next year, the Bulldogs won their first WCHA regular season title on Bob Lakso’s hat trick against Wisconsin in February, and were then forced to play a “home” WCHA playoff series in Minneapolis, as the Duluth Arena was already pre-booked with a boat show. The Bulldogs drew 7,000+ fans in Minneapolis and ran North Dakota out the building with an 8-1 victory in game 1, and later beat the same North Dakota team in overtime the NCAA semi-finals in Lake Placid 12 days later. UMD then faced Bowling Green in the NCAA title game, which went four overtimes before BGSU edged UMD for the title. Defenseman Tom Kurvers won the Hobey Baker Award that year as the first Bulldog to do so.

In 1985, the Bulldogs repeated as WCHA Champions, but fell to eventual NCAA Champion RPI, 5-4 in triple overtime at the Frozen Four, but the loss was sweetened with a victory over Boston College in the third place game the next day. Leading scorer Bill Watson became UMD’s second Hobey Baker Award Winner, and Mike Sertich was named WCHA Coach of the Year for the third year in a row.

In 1986, the Bulldogs were in a tooth and nail battle with Denver and Minnesota for WCHA supremacy, but when forward Matt Christenson had a stroke during a boot hockey game in the stretch run, the shocked Bulldogs faded. Sophomore Brett Hull had a 50 goal season, but the Pioneers aced out the Bulldogs in the WCHA semi finals.

After a couple of good years in the early 1990s with 1994 Hobey Baker winner Chris Marinucci scoring the goals including a WCHA title in 1993, the Dawgs did not reach the NCAA tournament again until 2004 in Boston, when the Pioneers bounced the Bulldogs and their talented 2004 Hobey Baker winner Junior Lessard from the Frozen Four.

Nickname and Mascot
The University of Minnesota Duluth mascot is the bulldog, named Champ. When UMD was the Duluth State Teachers College, the traditional designation was "peds" for pedagogues or teachers, but this did not suffice as an appropriate image for UMD's athletic teams. In the spring of 1933 the athletes themselves picked the bulldog as the school's mascot. Originally named "Killer," the mascot's name was changed to "Champ" in 1997 to present a less violent image.

School Colors
Because the University's colors varied during the early years, William Watts Folwell, first president of the University, appointed English instructor Augusta Norwood Smith to choose permanent school colors. Smith, "a woman of excellent taste," according to Folwell, chose maroon and gold. First used sometime between 1876 and 1880, the colors weren't officially approved by the regents until March 1940. The original school colors of UMD were green and gold, when UMD was the Duluth State Teachers College. The colors were changed to maroon and gold after the campus became part of the University of Minnesota System in 1947.

School Songs
"Hail! Minnesota" was written by Truman Rickard, class of 1904, for use in a class play. University student Arthur Upson wrote a second verse in 1905. In 1945, the song became the official state anthem. The "Minnesota Rouser," sung at most University athletic events, was written by Floyd M. Hutsell in 1909 in response to a contest sponsored by the Minneapolis Tribune. The spirited "UMD Rouser" is a variation of the "Minnesota Rouser."

The words to the UMD Rouser were submitted by Mike Dean, 2007-08 Alumni Board President:

"UMD Rouser"

Now let us praise UMD

Ever strong, and true we will be

And to the Bulldogs name

Maroon and Gold's our fame

We hail University, Rah, Rah, Rah

"U"-"M"-"D", Always with our loyalty

Sing and cheer to be victorious UMD!


Famous UMD Alumni
* Michael S. Berman - Longtime Washington lawyer and lobbyist, deputy chief of staff for Walter Mondale
* Mike Hatch - former Minnesota Attorney General and 2006 candidate for Governor
* Donny Ness - current mayor of Duluth

* David Oreck - Founder of the Oreck Corporation
* Robert Senkler - President and CEO of Securian Financial Group, Inc.

* Mark Pavelich and John Harrington were members of 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey gold-medal team that beat the USSR in the Miracle on Ice game.
* Dan Devine - head Football coach for the Missouri Tigers, Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame Fighting Irish
* Jay Guidinger - former center for the Cleveland Cavaliers
* Brett Hull - former NHL Player
* Tom Kurvers - Hobey Baker Award winner and long-time NHL player
* Junior Lessard - Hobey Baker Award winner, right wing for Tampa Bay Lightning
* Chris Marinucci - Hobey Baker Award winner
* Jeff Monson - Grappling and MMA fighter
* Derek Plante - former NHL Player
* Bill Watson - Hobey Baker Award winner and former NHL player

* Jim Brandenburg - renowned National Geographic nature photographer
* Lorenzo Music - the voice of Garfield and Carlton the Doorman on Rhoda

Duluth, Minnesota
Duluth is a port city on the north shore of Lake Superior, which is linked to the Atlantic Ocean 2,300 miles (3,700 km) away via the Great Lakes and Erie Canal/New York State Barge Canal or Saint Lawrence Seaway passages.

Duluth forms a metropolitan area with Superior, Wisconsin. Called the Twin Ports, these two cities share the Duluth-Superior Harbor and together are one of the most important ports on the Great Lakes, shipping coal, iron ore (taconite), and grain.

As the county seat of St. Louis County, Duluth is the fourth largest city in Minnesota had a total population of 86,918 in the 2000 census. The metropolitan census including outer suburbs and villages was estimated to be roughly 184,000.

As a tourist destination for the Midwest, Duluth features America's only all-freshwater aquarium, the Great Lakes Aquarium, the Aerial Lift Bridge which spans the short canal into Duluth's harbor, "Park Point", the world's second longest freshwater sandbar, spanning 6 miles, and is a launching point for the North Shore.[5]

The city is named for Daniel Greysolon, Sieur du Lhut, the first known European explorer of the area. Native American tribes had occupied the Duluth area for thousands of years, trading and cultivating wild rice. In 1659, Pierre Esprit Radisson and Médard Chouart des Groseilliers went searching for furs in the Lake Superior region, and visited the area that became today’s Duluth. Sieur du Lhut, the city's namesake, arrived in 1679 to settle rivalries between two Indian nations, the Dakota and the Ojibwa, and to advance fur trading missions in the area.

Interest in the area was piqued in the 1850s as rumors of copper mining began to circulate. A government land survey in 1852, followed by a treaty with local tribes in 1854, secured wilderness for gold-seeking explorers, sparked a "land rush," and led to the development of iron ore mining in the area.

Around the same time, newly-constructed channels and locks in the East permitted large ships to access the area. A road connecting Duluth to the Twin Cities was also constructed. Eleven small towns on both sides of the St. Louis River were formed, establishing Duluth's roots as a city.

By 1857, copper resources became scarce, and the area's economic focus shifted to timber harvesting. A nation-wide financial crisis led to nearly three quarters of the city's early pioneers leaving but the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad extension from St. Paul to Duluth opened areas due north and west of Lake Superior to iron ore mining. Duluth's population on New Year's Day, 1869 consisted of fourteen families; by the Fourth of July, 3,500 people were present to celebrate.

In the 1900s, the city's port passed New York City in gross tonnage handled, elevating it to being the leading port in the United States. Meanwhile, there were ten newspapers, six banks, and an eleven-story skyscraper, the Torrey Building, already present in the town. In 1907, U.S. Steel announced that a $5 – $6 million plant would be constructed in the area. Although steel production only began eight years later, predictions held that Duluth's population would rise to 200,000 to 300,000. With the Duluth Works steel plant came Morgan Park, a once-independent company town that now stands as a city neighborhood.

In the early twentieth century, Duluth was home to one of the largest Finnish communities in the world outside of Finland. The area was also settled by Immigrants from Ireland, Poland, Serbia, Italy, Ukraine, Romania, Norway, Hungary, Denmark, Sweden, Bulgaria, Austria, Croatia, England, and Russia.

During much of the twentieth century, the city was an industrial port town, with a cement plant, nail mill, wire mills, and the Duluth Works plant. In 1916, during World War I, a shipbuilding plant on St. Louis River produced eight vessels simultaneously. A neighborhood was formed around this operation, today known as Riverside. Similar industrial operations were heightened during the Second World War. Population growth continued after the war, with a peak of 106,884 reached in 1960.

Due to foreign competition, the U.S. Steel plant of the Duluth Works closed in 1981, presenting a major blow to the city. Duluth is often cited as "where the Rust Belt begins," and other industrial activity followed suit with more closures, including shipbuilding, heavy machinery, and the Air Force base. With the decline of the city's industrial core, the local economic focus shifted to tourism. The downtown was renewed with red brick streets and skywalks, and old warehouses along the waterfront were converted into cafés, shops, and restaurants, forming Canal Park as a largely tourism-oriented district. The city's population, for years experiencing a steady decline, has stabilized to around 85,000 in recent years.

Duluth once fielded a National Football League team called the Kelleys (officially the Kelley Duluths after the Kelley-Duluth Hardware Store) from 1923-1925 and the Eskimos (officially Ernie Nevers' Eskimos after the early NFL great, their star player) from 1926-1927. The Eskimos were then sold and became the Orange Tornadoes (Orange, New Jersey). This bit of history became the basis for the 2008 George Clooney/Renee Zellweger movie, "Leatherheads."

The Series
DU leads the WCHA with 26 points, while Minnesota Duluth is tied for fourth with 21 points, but UMD is certainly the hotter team and is playing at home, and the Pioneers’ sweep of a two-game series against UMD earlier this season was a long time ago. This series features the top two goaltenders in the WCHA in UMD’s Alex Stalock (13-8-6, 2.15 GAA, .925 Sv%) and DU’s Marc Cheverie (16-8-3, 2.40, .915 Sv%), and that may well be the deciding factor as to which team gets more points this weekend

Looking at the analytics, Denver is second in the WCHA in scoring offense at 3.59 gpg and second in scoring defense at 2.44, 6th nationally in offense, and 15th in defense at 2.44 gpg. That compares with UMD’s 27th ranked offense (2.93 GPG) and 10th ranked defense at 2,29 gpg. Just looking at the numbers, DU has the offensive edge and UMD has the defensive edge in the series. But going deeper, UMD has the nation’s 4th best power play, while DU has the 16th best PK, and DU’s #43 power play is similar in its ineptitude to UMD’s 46th ranked PK. The net/net here is that UMD will likely get a PPG or two each night, while DU must step up and take advantage of UMD’s poor PK with an improved version of its own dreadful power play if it hopes to compete.

Rhett Rakhshani is DU’s career scoring leader with 6-5--11 in 10 career games against the Bulldogs, while goaltender Marc Cheverie is 2-0 with a 1.00 GAA and .968 Sv% in two career starts against Minnesota Duluth. Those guys must lead the way if DU is going to get points, and with all the injuries facing DU (Bozak, Martin and Nutini) and struggles with defense and power play, I only see a statistically better but lukewarm DU team getting a single point against a red hot UMD team at home. And I would not be surprised if DU was swept, either.

Denver 3, UMD 3 Friday, UMD 3, DU 1 on Saturday.