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.

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