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On Campus

On Campus: Ohio State is No. 1 first-half surprise

Thursday, 12.29.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Of the 10 first-half surprise teams, nobody comes close to Ohio State as the NCAA's "second" season gets underway next week.

If the Buckeyes come close to replicating their first-half performance, NHL alums like Ryan Kesler, David Steckel, and RJ Umberger will be texting second-year coach Mark Osiecki with congrats for a CCHA championship and a seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in program history.

With 13 overall wins (13-4-1), one behind Minnesota and tied with defending national champion Minnesota-Duluth, along with a five-point bulge atop the league standings at 10-3-1, the Buckeyes are on a roll that includes just two losses since Oct. 21, a sweep of arch-rival Michigan, and a split with Notre Dame and Michigan State.

Thanks to SEC hockey, football rivals hit the ice

Saturday, 12.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Tal Pinchevsky - NHL.com Staff Writer

In early 2011, rival squads representing Auburn University and the University of Alabama congregated near Birmingham to continue a rivalry that has been raging since 1893. Mobs of fans came out to cheer on the schools that have won the past two NCAA Division I football championships.

But this wasn't the Iron Bowl, the annual football matchup considered one of football's roughest games.

This was the Iron Cup.

Giving and receiving at Alabama-Huntsville

Thursday, 12.22.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

The University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers might postpone celebrating more jolly this holiday season until the formal announcement comes that their hockey program has indeed survived a stay of execution.

In the meantime, players, coaches, parents, alumni and fans can hang a bow around some important information in the Huntsville Examiner of Dec. 7: "Less than two months after UA System Chancellor and University of Alabama in Huntsville Interim President Dr. Malcolm Portera announced that the Chargers would be removed from the NCAA's Division I and returned to club level, the decision has been reversed. On Tuesday night the university's administrators met with the team's supporters (some of them anyway) to discuss plans to save the team with help from the community at large. While the university has kept the details quiet, the hockey team is certainly back on the right track."

Another van Riemsdyk impressing at New Hampshire

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

University of New Hampshire defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. (Courtesy: University of New Hampshire)
They aren't quite like the six Sutter brothers who made NHL history by all playing in the League at one time or another.

But if 15-year-old Brendan Van Riemsdyk -- already touted as an emerging equal to big brother James in the power-forward department -- ends up at the University of New Hampshire, half of the Sutter story will come true at the NCAA level.

"Brendan is next; he's got the talent," said Trevor van Riemsdyk, standing outside the UNH locker room under a photo of big brother James and hinting at a possible commitment for a third brother to eventually wear the blue and white. "Just like James, he's a big power forward. He's 15 and a sophomore in high school. He's just got to grow into his body a bit and he's going to be a good one."

NCAA PRO-file with Jimmy Howard

Thursday, 12.01.2011 / 10:51 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

He rolled into Boston's TD Garden for last Friday's matinee before a national audience on NBC as the main man in the Detroit Red Wings' net.

Jimmy Howard skated off the ice hours later with a 41-save, 3-2 shootout-win to end the Bruins 10-game unbeaten streak.

"This was great fun today and I hope the NHL keeps this [day after Thanksgiving game] as a tradition," Howard told NHL.com right after. "Maybe always Boston and Detroit because it's two great teams."

Niagara's Goodwin goes goodwill hunting in Tanzania

Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 10:55 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Niagara senior winger Sam Goodwin traveled to the remote town of Bagamoyo in northern Tanzania, a country in the heartland of Africa's east coast, last spring to teach. (Courtesy: Niagara University)
Many people would offer the shirt off their backs to those most in need.

Niagara University senior winger Sam Goodwin achieved the opportunity -- literally.

When the Purple Eagles season ended last spring, Goodwin traveled to the remote town of Bagamoyo in northern Tanzania, a country in the heartland of Africa's east coast between Kenya and Mozambique on the Indian Ocean.

For a kid from the U.S. heartland of St. Louis, this was no photo safari or for Niagara exchange credits.

"I really enjoy traveling and seeing new places, and in general, I just enjoy helping people," Goodwin told NHL.com as he detailed the two-week life-altering trip. "This was obviously that with a completely different culture."

On Campus: Minnesota-Duluth rounding into form

Thursday, 11.17.2011 / 3:57 PM / On Campus

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

NHL.com's Top 10

1. Minnesota 10-2-0
2. Merrimack 8-0-1
3. Boston College 9-3-0
4. Notre Dame 7-2-2
5. Colorado College 5-2-0
6. Ferris State 9-2-1
7. Michigan 7-3-2
8. Minnesota-Duluth 7-3-2
9. Yale 4-1-1
10. Western Michigan 6-3-3
Minnesota-Duluth head coach Scott Sandelin knew it would be a challenge for his team coming into the 2011-12 season as defending national champions, and that's why he was already cautioning his players for what would lie ahead before they even left for home for the summer.

On the plus side, the Bulldogs only lost three key cogs to their lineup in Mike Connolly, Justin Fontaine and Justin Faulk, so with the core together it was a matter of having the right offseason approach and mental fortitude entering this season.

After some difficult losses to start the season 1-3, the defending champs have righted the ship. Maintaining the approach and system they entered the season with and won a national title with last spring, they enter a two-game weekend set with Minnesota 7-3-2 overall and 5-2-1 in the WCHA. 

Major makeover at Michigan Tech

Thursday, 11.10.2011 / 3:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Mel Pearson is Michigan Tech's new head coach. (Courtesy: Michigan Tech Athletics)
In Michigan -- and across the college hockey map -- you can't go much farther north than the Keweenaw Peninsula, home of the Michigan Tech Huskies in Houghton.

In the WCHA standings and across the college hockey rankings, however, it's been quite the opposite, with the storied program buried in the south of both for too many of the past three decades.

The 2011-12 season was predicted to be the same, with the preseason poll pegging Tech at the bottom of the 12-team league.

Enter Tech alum Mel Pearson, one of 10 head-coaching changes this season, and likely the one with the greatest challenge.

State of the Union: Progressing toward NCAA's elite

Thursday, 11.03.2011 / 3:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Rick Bennett's Dutchmen went 14-1-1 in their final 16 regular-season games to clinch the league title, while leading the nation in power-play efficiency at 29.5 percent. (Courtesy: Union College)
They rolled into Durham, New Hampshire, last Friday night ranked No. 11 in the country for an early battle with the host and perennial power UNH Wildcats.

No, it wasn't Minnesota or Denver -- or Michigan or Miami.

Rather, the Union Dutchmen from upstate Schenectady, New York, whose education program is ranked the 29th best for a college or university by Forbes Magazine.

For most of Union's hockey history, being ranked anywhere near No. 29 among the 58 Division I teams would be a good season.

Not anymore.

Coming off an eight-year rebuilding effort by coach Nate Leaman and staff, the Dutchmen have improved the past four years from 15 to 19 to 21 to 26 wins. Last season's 26-10-4 mark propelled the program to a highest-ever No. 4 rank, a first-ever ECACHL league title, and a first-ever NCAA tournament appearance (a first-round loss to eventual champion Minnesota-Duluth.)

NCAA PRO-file: Corvo adds offense to Bruins' PP

Thursday, 10.27.2011 / 3:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

A product of Western Michigan University, Joe Corvo, has manned the blue line for five NHL teams and made it to a Stanley Cup Final -- now he's trying to help the Bruins defend their championship. (Courtesy: Western Michigan University)
If the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, it was pretty obvious throughout last season that some parts of the Boston Bruins' offense were creating big holes in their overall goal production.

Namely, a power play that ranked among the least-productive in the National Hockey League.

Despite the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle from the Maple Leafs before the trade deadline to help jump start their anemic man-advantage unit, the ensuing months and into the playoffs became a frustrating struggle to win games -- and then the Stanley Cup -- with woeful power-play production.

In a major offseason move, Kaberle left for a free-agent deal with Carolina; enter Joe Corvo in a July trade with Carolina in near-perfect symmetry of role swapping.

Symmetry has dogged Corvo on and off the NHL ice since his pro career began in 1998 after three stellar seasons at Western Michigan University.
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Quote of the Day

I think I'm lucky to be here and you definitely don't take very many things for granted, if you take anything for granted. I definitely put my family and my wife and my close family in perspective, that they're the most important thing in the world. I want to do whatever I can to play hockey, but like I said, under the right circumstances.

— Stars forward Rich Peverley to "The Musers" radio show on The Ticket 1310 AM in Dallas