Thursday, March 5, 2009

Colorado College Tigers

Magness Arena, Denver March 7

No. 5 Denver (20-10-4, 16-8-3 WCHA) concludes regular-season action against in-state rival No. 13/15 Colorado College (16-10-9, 12-9-6 WCHA) on Saturday, March 7. Puck drop is set for 7:07 p.m. at Magness Arena. The game will be televised live on FSN Rocky Mountain and broadcast live on AM 560 and Pioneer fans are urged to wear white to the game.

The Pioneers hold a 152-106-12 advantage over Colorado College in the historic series that dates back to 1950. DU is 89-46-6 against CC in Denver, including a 1-3-1 mark in the last five games at Magness Arena. DU is winless at 0-3-2 in its last five games against CC and 1-6-3 in its last 10 games against the Tigers overall. CC holds a 9-6 advantage in 15 years of Gold Pan Trophy competition.

Tigers to Watch
Colorado College is coming off a 4-4 overtime tie and 4-3 overtime loss at North Dakota last weekend. CC is 2-1-2 in its last five games, including a two-game sweep (4-3, 5-3) over Minnesota on Feb. 20-21. CC is led by forward Chad Rau and goaltender Richard Bachman. Rau leads the team in scoring with 17-19--36 and Bachman is 14-9-9 with a 2.63 GAA and .913 Sv%. Eric Walsky has added 11-24--35, while Brian Connelly is CC’s top scorer on the blueline with 3-23--26.

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:
The Pioneers and Tigers tangle for the last time in this regular season in what promises to be an exciting single season-ender at Magness Arena. With DU clinching at least a second place in the league with 35 points and still with a remote shot at first place (requiring North Dakota to stumble this weekend) with a DU NCAA berth a near certainty, DU still has a lot to play for this weekend.

Likewise, CC is sitting third with 30 WCHA points and is fighting for its NCAA life on the PWR bubble, and depending on other games, could finish anywhere from third to seventh in the WCHA. The Tigers would love to avoid the play-in game of the WCHA tourney and stop DU from having a chance at the MacNaughton Cup.

This year has been something of an exercise in frustration for both teams against each other. If you are a Denver fan, you hate that DU has put up more than 40 shots per game in each of the three CC games badly outshooting the opponent, and the DU team has not yet produced a win over the rival, allowing CC to retain the Gold Pan trophy again.

And if you are a CC fan, you probably hate the last game these two teams played, when CC coughed up a 3-1 lead with a minute left and ended up tying the Pioneers on home ice in Colorado Springs. Joe Colborne’s second goal of the game at 19:13 of the third period helped DU to a 3-3 overtime tie at Colorado College on Feb. 13

Rhett Rakhshani (2-5--7) and Tyler Ruegsegger (3-4--7) have each tallied seven points in 11 career games against the Tigers. Patrick Wiercioch (0-4--4) leads DU with four points against CC this season, while goaltender Marc Cheverie is 0-1-2 with a 2.22 GAA and .913 Sv% in four career games against CC. For CC, Chad Rau is the principal Pio killer, with 21 points in 15 career games against Denver.

DU is better than CC this in nearly every statistical category – offense, defense, goaltending and win percentage, while CC may have a slight edge in overall special teams, CC also seems to have the better goaltending against DU, as Bachman carries a .940 saves percentage against DU in his two seasons as the Tigers’ primary goaltender.

For Denver to win, the Pioneers will need to likely need to be leading or tied heading into the third period, as CC is undefeated this year when carrying a lead into the third period (12-0-6).

Denver is overdue for a victory against CC considering how much they’ve outplayed CC this year in about 80% of the game time, and CC seems to be a team that is all about ties this year, with 9 overall and two against DU. Either DU gets a win, or its another sister kisser.

I think DU sneaks out a 3-2 win this time.


vizoroo said...

Swami, you need to add Minnesota State Mankato to the list of WCHA teams.

And it's good to know the tradition of CC cheetahs goes back to 1885 :-D

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