Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tigers Prepare for OOC Showdown

Tommorrow night the Tigers will take on the Bemidji State Beavers in their second real non-conference series of the season. Their last, against now #2 New Hampshire, didn't go so well, with CC getting swept at home. That series sparked a four game losing streak for the Tigers, who had to travel to Minnesota the week afterwards. Bemidji State should not present as much of a challenge for the Tigers, but could still provide a tough series - especially since the Tigers will be missing star freshman Bill Sweatt, who's at the World Junior Championships in Sweden. The series could have important implications when it comes time to make NCAA tournament selections. Out-of-conference games are always important, and a loss in this series could hit the Tigers hard in the pairwise rankings. On the other hand, if Bemidji State ends the season as a TUC (team under consideration), some wins this weekend could give the Tigers a nice boost come selection time.

Speaking of the World Juniors, the US team isn't doing so great. They dropped a heartbreaker in their first game, 2-1 to Germany. In the second, the US was beaten by Canada 6-3. CC's lone representative at the tournament, Bill Sweatt, however, is doing fairly well - notching two points in the first two games. He'll have to keep playing well if the US wants to redeem their medal hopes in the following days.

I haven't updated in awhile because there hasn't really been much going on in the college hockey world. Aside from a bunch of PC crybabies at Dartmouth whining about their upcoming game against North Dakota, things have been quiet. One link of note is INCH's midway all-WCHA team, which includes our own Scott McCulloch. There's some other notes about CC in that article, including a nice mention of McCulloch's emergence with the graduation of Marty Sertich and Brett Sterling, and also a little buildup for CC's home series for Minnesota that's coming up in a month or two. Lastly, there's a nice article on USA Hockey's website about Bill Sweatt.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Bucks are coming! The Bucks are coming!

Soon this phrase will be shouted along the streets of cities where the Bucks are visiting. Much how this phrase struck fear into the colonial Americans when Paul Revere made his famous ride, so too will this one. Last night the Bucks beat San Antonio 114-107. That's right, they not only beat the Spurs, at San Antonio, but they dropped 114 against one of the best defensive teams in the league. I was going to write more, but I am going to let the best Bucks writer out there do the talking today. Sky Hook has his blog: Bucks Diary, that has such a great writeup that I simply cannot top it.

The game turned suddenly at the 8:32 mark of the fourth quarter. With the Bucks trailing by five, and the Spurs calmly looking to close out another victim, Milwaukee's Michael Redd blew down the lane like an Ohio tornado. Tim Duncan stepped to meet him. Undeterred, Redd wrapped a finger roll around the big man's head and raindropped it into the net. The furious Bucks rally was on. From that point to the buzzer, the Bucks tore their teeth into the wounded and lumbering Spurs like a pack of starving hyenas, scoring 25 of the final 38 points. I still don't think the Spurs know what the hell happened.

I'll tell them. The Bucks opened the wagon and unleashed what looked like a Green Strike Team. That fourth quarter stretch that began with the Redd layup and ended with a huge Bucks win was one of the sweetest displays of coldblooded basket attacking I have seen from this team since the days of Marques Johnson. It was surreal. It was dreamlike. It took my breath away. During one stretch within that stretch, the Bucks scored 10 straight points on lay-ups. At crunch time. Against the seasoned Spurs. It was beautiful. Am I getting across to you how excited I was? The Bucks OWNED the lane in the fourth quarter against an elite team on the road. Reread that sentence a couple of times.

The Bucks are a steamroller baby, gonna roll all over you

The win streak is at 5, the run is at 8 of 11. And it includes a spectacular win on the road against the San Antonio Spurs. I think notice has been served. The Bucks want to be taken seriously again.This win will ring out because of the way it was produced. Unstoppable offense, TERRIFIC DEFENSE, energetic rebounding, and a 'my hairs on fire' fourth quarter rally. I don't want to hear about the "ailing Spurs" either. They had a healthy Tim Duncan, didn't they? And still the Bucks dominated all major phases of the game last night. Let that ring out. The Spurs were fortunate to have even been in the game at all. Three pointers and an obnoxious hometown disparity in free throws attempted (28 to 14) is all that kept that them from being completely wiped out.

But can the good times last in BucksNation? Believe it or not, I think they can. The Bucks may genuinely be a team reborn.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Hey, they won the bet for me

That was, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst NFL game I have ever witnessed last night. The Packers stumbled and bumbled their way to a win over the Raiders 9-7. Wait, you're saying that was against the Vikings? You sure, because 108 yds of offense, 3 first downs gained and 0 points by the offense along with 10 team penalties sure as hell sounds like the Raiders.

But I won the bet!

Seriously, the Vikings have turned into the NFC equivalent to the Raiders. A horribly coached team with absoultely no discipline on the field. The Packers defense completely dominated the Vikings last night. This is due to equal parts of the Packers DL manhandling the Vikings severly overpaid OL and complete offensive ineptitude of Brad Childress.

But I won the bet!

The Packers did do many things right this game, but screwed the pooch at key moments though. The defense played outstanding, although the 2 deep throws from Jackson could have been disastrous, they nevertheless made the worst offense in football look like the worst offense in football. Too often the Packers D makes opposing teams look good, not so last night. The DL harassed Jackson all night long, did a great job in stopping the run and KGB even looked good. Harris and Woodson were absolutely in shut down mode last night and the LB played a hell of a game.

But I won the bet!

Favre made several outstanding plays and some completely boneheaded ones. The 2 INTs were totally on him. The first was a pick even if Jennings stops his route, the second one, Jennings was wide open in the hole in the zone and Favre decides that his buddy Sharper needs a highlight for his season. As bad as those were, his pump fake late in the game where he had rushers all around him then completed a pass back to Franks was a glimpse of the HOF QB that he is.

But I won the bet!

That brings us to Bubba Franks. Poor, poor Bubba. He had the absolute worst game a player could have last night. Two drops, two fumbles, one of which just prior to crossing the goal line on the aforementioned play by Favre that would have likely won the game. He commits a stupid holding call on a big 30 yard completion to Green that would have given the Packers a 1st and goal from the 5 and either a TD or a chip shot FG to win. His game has completely disintegrated over the last 2 years to where he went from a legit threat to a well below average TE.

Let's look at this though, the Pack are 7-9, 3 wins better than last year and have loads of upside. They could beat Chicago next week and come out of this year with an 8-8 record, which after last season, everyone would welcome. But most importantly...

But I won the bet! (if you don't know what I am talking about, please read the comments between me and my neighbor from the previous post, it's quite enjoyable)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Poe was a Packer Fan

If Edgar Allen Poe was alive today, he would most assuredly be a Packer fan. So, here is what his poem "The Raven" would likely look like had he written it this week. Enjoy!

Once upon a Thursday evening, while I sat with the fish I was cleaning
That I had caught on the ice not more than three hours before
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping
As of some NFL team rapping, rapping at my stadium door
“Tis some dumb-ass Viking fan” I muttered –
“only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December
And as the Vikings fell on their ass then as they have always before
Eagerly I wished the kickoff; - As these “fans” began to piss off
Piss me off even more – So much I hoped we would run up the score
It is time for the man who has beaten them time and time before –
Time to bring out number Four.

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Look dumbass, your team and offense is a bore.”
“Your receivers are all lacking, and your losses are all stacking
Your team unity is simply cracking – your offense cannot even score.”
“Your coach is a moron” this I stated many times before –
“only this and nothing more”

And the purple painted loser, wobbling like some drunken boozer
Thrilled me filling him with fantastic terrors never felt before;
For he cannot help agreeing that no living Viking being
Could survive without fleeing – Fleeing from the number Four
Sharper, Williams, Childress, Johnson or even Mewelde Moore;
Not even their mascot, Pauly Shore.

The scrawny Vikes fan stood shaking, in his stupid Helga hat quaking
Teared up eyes begging that the truth he hear no more
But the thought of cold Lambeau, either with or without snow
A place where no Viking really wanted to go – A place of hallowed lore
With quivering lip full of fear, nay dread of the final score –
He peed himself upon the floor.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

CC Scores '08 Recruit

Western College Hockey, one of my favorite sports sites out there, reports that CC has picked up another recruit for the class of '08. David Civitarese, currently a member of the Okotoks Oilers of the AJHL, has thus far put up 19 points in 32 games, and is considered by the NHL's scouting bureau to be a possible late round pick in this year's draft. Civitarese joins Andrew Hamburg, Ryan Lowery, and possibly Nick Dineen among the Tiger's '08 recruit class.

Speaking of Ryan Lowery, news concerning him popped up in the college hockey world earlier this week. Apparently Lowery was involved in an altercation with a teammate during practice and he seemed to get the worst of it. Lowery ended up with a separated shoulder and a broken jaw, and is expected to miss significant time. A strange story indeed.

One last piece of news - the NCAA has rejected both CC and UAA's requests to stagger their suspensions from last Saturday's brawl, so all five suspended CC players will be forced to sit on Friday night of this week. Billy Sweatt will be absent too, as he'll be playing with Team USA at the World Juniors.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wild Weekend Ends With Brawl For The Ages

After a weekend that saw both teams come away with one overtime win, the Tigers and the Seawolves decided to settle things with a bench clearing brawl for the ages on Saturday night. The video has yet to be found, but if the pictures tell the story, it'll be an instant classic. What could lead to such an epic struggle? A great weekend of hard fought hockey, filled with late comebacks, plenty of penalties, and dramatic overtime wins. Adding to the obvious frustration that led to the brawl was the fact that both teams had their turn at dramatic third period comebacks, only to lose games in overtime. On Friday, it was the Tigers coming back from 4-0 down to tie it up before falling in overtime. On Saturday, the Seawolves rallied from a 3-1 deficit to send the game to extra time, before getting killed by penalties in the extra session.

Matt Zaba, who had been a rock in net for the past few weeks, was shaky from the start in Friday's game and was pulled after giving up four quick goals. Seawolves freshman Jon Olthuis, who was starting in goal after a terrible performance last week from regular starter Nathan Lawson, was able to finally lead Alaska-Anchorage to a long awaited victory in the World Arena. Lawson and Zaba were back in on Saturday, this time with Zaba coming out on top. Chad Rau and Scott McCulloch led the way offensively for CC, with Rau tallying a goal and two helpers on Saturday, and McCulloch putting in two. Brandon Polich set up two goals on Friday, and Andreas Vlassopoulos also netted his first career point with an assist.

All in all it wasn't a bad weekend for the Tigers, although it would have been nice to keep up the winning streak over UAA at home. The Seawolves have proven so far that they're for real this year in the WCHA, however, so the Friday night loss is not the end of the world. With St. Cloud State playing nonconference games against Colgate over the weekend, the Tigers have clawed their way into second place in the WCHA standings. They are followed in the standings by St. Cloud State, Denver, and Alaska-Anchorage.

The Tigers certainly seemed to have some early letdowns after an hard fought sweep of Denver last week. The Seawolves were able to come out on Friday and put in four goals in the first period. The Tigers seemed to settle in, however, and battle back nicely before dropping the contest in overtime. The Tigers could have sealed the win late in the third on Friday if it was not for a late goal being called back by the officials. CC players also hit a number of pipes throughout the game. On Saturday, it was CC who was able to come out on top after a late scare, with Scott McCulloch finding the back of the net in overtime to seal the win and secure a split for the Tigers.

The Tigers' next series will be at home against nonconference opponent Bemidji State. While the Beavers come from the CHA and may not help the Tigers tournament resume, they have proven themselves a worthy contender, recently sweeping a home and home series with Minnesota-Duluth. In fact, Bemidji State is 4-0-0 so far this year against WCHA competition, as they also swept Minnesota State earlier this year. All things considered, this could end up being a tough series for CC - especially since five players (DeBoer, Testwuide, Straub, L. Sweatt, Gannon) were handed game disqualifications as a result of the fracas in Saturday's game.


* Minnesota continues to pace the WCHA with a weekend sweep of Michigan Tech.

* Either Wisconsin is back on track, or North Dakota is heading into a tailspin. The Badgers swept this weekend in Grand Forks.

* This has already become obvious, but if you haven't been paying attention, Notre Dame is for real this year. This weekend they swept Michigan.

* The Tigers had a recruiting visit this weekend. Wish it could have been a week earlier!

Sunday, December 3, 2006


After a dominating win on Friday night, Colorado College was able to buckle down and steal game two on Saturday for the sweep over the hated University of Denver Pioneers. The sweep puts CC at 3rd in the WCHA with 14 points, and drops Denver to a tie for 4th, at 11 points. The Tigers overall record is now 10-5-1. And while CC is playing such great team hockey right now that it's hard to attribute their success to individuals, but here's some players who had particularly impressive weekends:

#1 Star : Matt Zaba - I always like to give props to the goalie because when they play solid but not spectacular, they rarely get attention. Well, this weekend Zaba was borderline spectacular. On Friday night, he consistently made big saves while the offense pounded away and finished off the Pioneers. On Saturday, he held the Tigers in the game with some huge saves when DU had all the momentum. Just a stellar all-around performance.

#2 Star : Lee Sweatt - Sweatt was not only laying guys out with big hits, but he also put the puck in the net on both nights. On Saturday, he opened the scoring for CC on the powerplay. On Friday, he solidified a 1-0 lead. He's looking sharp out there and playing physical - a real thrill to watch.

#3 Star : Chad Rau - Another big weekend for Rau, as he puts one in on Friday and then scores yet another huge goal in Magness.

Honorable mentions:

Mike Testwuide - Comes flying on Friday and puts in two goals against big-bro's team.

Denver's youngsters - Gotta give some love to Denver's younger players, who were more impressive than the scores of the games would indicate. Ruegsegger, Rhakshani, Trotter - these guys are all for real. Very impressive. Chris Butler (soph) accounted for DU's only goal on Friday, with Ruegsegger netting the assist. On Saturday, Trotter put up a goal and an assist, while two other freshmen (Ruegsegger and Seabrook) had assists. There could be some really good games between these two teams down the road if most of these guys stick around.

This was a huge weekend for CC for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Tigers have put themself in great position in the WCHA standings. I mentioned earlier that the Tigers are in 3rd behind St. Cloud State by one point; remember, though, that CC has two games in hand and could potentially move three points ahead of the Huskies with two wins. Thus, the Tigers have put themselves in great position in the WCHA, especially after what looked like a crippling sweep at the hands of Minnesota early in the season. Don't discount St. Cloud State though, they're on a roll of their own. They're currently on a six game win streak (four in the WCHA), and have their next six WCHA games against bottom-half teams, although they end their season with a fairly brutal stretch of league games.

The wins also put the Tigers in position to take back the apparently new and improved Gold Pan trophy. While not necessarily important in the big picture, it would be nice to see CC win back the trophy that DU has had a stranglehold on for the past few seasons.

All in all, a fantastic weekend for the Tigers and their fans. This was just good, solid, team hockey. Everyone looked sharp; players were finishing checks, forechecking effectively, crashing the net, and wearing down the opponent. If CC keeps up this type of play they should be able to win a lot of games down the road. Speaking of which, the Tigers are about to start a six game stretch at home, starting with two games against Alaska-Anchorage. The Seawolves come to town at 5-5 in the WCHA. Their most recent series was a split with Minnesota-Duluth. Before that, however, they managed an impressive series sweep of North Dakota. I'm confident that if the Tigers keep up the good team play, they can take some points in this series and further solidify their standing in the WCHA.

A couple more random thoughts:

* Great to see Andre Vlassopoulos playing again for CC - and looking solid.

* Best wishes to DU's Adrian Veideman, whose head hit the ice hard with no helmet on in Saturday's game, leading to a concussion. Also to teammate Ryan Helgason, who broke his hand in the same game.

* Ditto to Minnesota State goaltender Dan Tormey, whose hand was cut up pretty bad on Friday night by an opponent's skate. He suffered a severed tendon - ouch.