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NCAA Update

Another van Riemsdyk impressing at New Hampshire

Thursday, 12.08.2011 / 9:00 AM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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 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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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 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 / NCAA Update

James Murphy - Correspondent'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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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.

Reports: Alabama-Huntsville to disband program

Monday, 10.24.2011 / 1:36 PM / NCAA Update

Never in the history of collegiate athletics has there been a school forced to disband its men's ice hockey program despite winning a national championship at some point.

That's all about to change at the University of Alabama-Huntsville following the 2011-12 campaign.

According to, Alabama-Huntsville interim president Malcolm Portera will announce on Monday that the Chargers will disband their Division I hockey program after 33 years following the completion of this season.

According to the Huntsville Times, UAH head coach Chris Luongo informed the team of the situation on Sunday night. Both players and coaches were scheduled to meet with Portera on Monday morning.

NCAA conference realignment spurs coach carousel

Wednesday, 10.19.2011 / 2:28 PM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - Correspondent's Top 10

1. Michigan 4-0-0
2. Boston College 3-1-0
3. Denver 1-1-0
4. Colorado College 2-0-0
5. North Dakota 2-1-1
6. Notre Dame 2-2-0
7. Boston University 2-1-0
8. Minnesota 4-0-0
9. Yale 0-0-0
10. Miami 2-2-0
When Terry Pegula, Penn State alum, Buffalo Sabres' owner and energy mogul, dropped an $88-million endowment check in the mail to fund a D-1 program in Happy Valley, Penn., last year, he initiated a domino effect that has led to the biggest transformation in college hockey history.

In addition, a number of coaching changes across the NCAA's 59 teams during last spring and summer -- some directly related to Pegula's penchant for the game on ice -- shook the college ranks as an NCAA-record 10 squads began this season with new coaches.

The merry-go-round began when 13-year CCHA commissioner Tom Anastos announced his departure from the executive role to return to his alma mater as Michigan States new head coach to replace the retiring Rick Comley.

Historic NCAA transitions coming in 2013

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 3:36 PM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - Correspondent's Top 10

1. Boston College 2-0-0
2. Michigan 3-0-0
3. Notre Dame 1-1-0
4. Denver 0-0-0
5. Miami 1-1-0
6. North Dakota 1-1-0
7. Colorado College 0-0-0
8. Boston University 1-0-0
9. Minnesota Duluth 1-1-0
10. Yale 0-0-0
The dust has finally settled after a tumultuous spring and summer for the NCAA.

Not since the six Ivy teams threatened to secede from the ECAC union in the mid-1980s -- causing then Providence College athletic director and current New Jersey Devils president and GM Lou Lamoriello to initiate the formation of a new Hockey East league -- has the college game experienced such dramatic change.

Beginning in 2013, the new alignment of leagues and teams will make the changes 25 years ago a walk in the park compared with a NASCAR finish.

What caused this reorganizational tsunami?

"[Benefactor and alum] Terry Pegula's generous gift [of $88 million] to Penn State was the genesis for change, as it gave the Big Ten conference the minimum number of schools (six) required to stage a Big Ten championship in a sport," said CCHA commissioner Fred Pletsch, who succeeded Tom Anastos last spring when he took the job as head coach at his alma mater Michigan State.
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