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On Campus

10 finalists named for Hobey Baker Award

Thursday, 03.17.2011 / 11:30 PM / On Campus

NHL.com

Three players selected in the NHL Draft are among the 10 finalists for the 2011 Hobey Baker Award.

The award, presented annually to the best player among the 58 NCAA Division I teams, will be presented April 8 at Xcel Energy Center, during the NCAA Frozen Four.

Among the finalists are Boston College right wing Cam Atkinson, a 2008 sixth-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets; Maine center Gustav Nyquist, a 2008 fourth-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings; and Wisconsin defenseman Justin Schultz, a 2008 second-round choice of the Anaheim Ducks.

NCAA PRO-file with Brian Rafalski

Wednesday, 03.16.2011 / 1:20 PM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Born in nearby Dearborn, Michigan, and currently playing his fourth season in the Motor City, Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski might seem a local kid with limited exposure to world geography.

Au contraire.

Since the mid 1990s, Rafalski has traveled -- and played -- from next-door Madison, Wisconsin, to Sweden and then Finland, and back to the USA in New Jersey before returning to the Wolverine state with a five-year deal in 2007 to anchor the Wings' blue line with Nicklas Lidstrom.

Each one of these five sites produces enough personal and puck stuff to create a biography worthy of NCAA, international, and NHL distinction.

Five conferences, five paths to Frozen Four

Thursday, 03.03.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Three of the five NCAA hockey leagues -- Atlantic Hockey, CCHA and the ECACHL -- ended their regular seasons last weekend. The other two, Hockey East and the WCHA, end this weekend.

Of the 58 Division I teams, 55 will participate in postseason play in the five respective league tournaments. The winner of each gets an invite to the 16-team NCAA Tournament, to be held March 25-27. (The other 11 teams will be selected on an at-large basis.) The four regional pairings, seeded No. 1-4 each, will be announced March 20. The regional winners advance to the Frozen Four, to be held this year in St. Paul, April 7 and 9.

With Alabama-Huntsville playing an independent schedule, only Hockey East's 10-team league exempts members from postseason play.

Western Michigan seeks to end 14-year drought

Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

Hockey East's Merrimack Warriors were NHL.com's No. 1 surprise the first half of the season.

There's no denying that the CCHA's Western Michigan Broncos -- and the Union College Dutchmen in the ECACHL (see sidebar) -- are tops the second half.

With the longest unbeaten streak this season among the 58 teams, first-year coach Jeff Blashill got his Broncos going before the new year with an 8-0-6 run from Dec. 11 until a 3-1 loss to Miami on Feb. 12.

"We're certainly happy with the progress we've made," Blashill told NHL.com. "We have a good foundation in place to be good the next few years, but right now we recognize there are great opportunities at hand."

NCAA PRO-file with Dominic Moore

Thursday, 02.17.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

It is the most exclusive club in college hockey, and an expanding one across NHL rosters.
 
Ken Dryden started at Cornell en route to making an indelible mark in NHL history during the 1970s; Joe Nieuwendyk, also a Big Red alum, came along in the 1980s. Each went on to win Stanley Cups and Conn Smythe trophies.
 
Six of the most prestigious academic institutions in any Division I sport -- Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth -- are sending more and more players to the NHL, and many are having their names inscribed on the Stanley Cup.
 
It's even more impressive when you consider the Ivy schools don't offer athletic scholarships, while most NCAA teams provide up to 18 tuition-free opportunities.

Niagara hopes senior tandem sparks tournament run

Thursday, 02.10.2011 / 2:41 PM / On Campus

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

The Niagara Purple Eagles may be mired in a four-game losing streak and trailing Atlantic Conference leader RIT by seven points headed into a weekend set at Air Force but head coach Dave Burkholder is confident his team can pull out their funk.

That's because not only are senior forwards Paul Zanette and Bryan Haczyk a dynamic duo on the ice, but leaders off the ice with the fortitude to lead Niagara (15-10-3, 12-8-1 Atlantic Conference) back into the win column and hopefully the NCAA tournament.

Headed into weekend action, Zanette was tied New Hampshire forward Paul Thompson for first in the nation in goals with 23 and Haczyk sat third with 22. Zanette has 42 points this season after putting up 51 points in his previous three seasons, while Haczyk has 37 as compared to 50 in his first three seasons. Haczyk also recently had a school record 22-game points streak broken. The pair, roommates since their freshman seasons, have gone from third line role players to go-to players at even strength and on the power play in just one season.

Maine looks to turn crunch time into their time

Thursday, 02.03.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

One of the most storied programs in NCAA play since joining Hockey East in the 1980s, the University of Maine boasts 17 tournament appearances, including 11 trips to the Frozen Four, five title games, and two national championships. 

The legendary Shawn Walsh built the Black Bears into the sport in Maine, and national prominence behind the bench with two of the most memorable championship games in NCAA history -- 1993 and 1999 -- with the latter coming on the heels of an unprecedented three-year tournament drought. Walsh's warriors also lost one in between -- the 1995 thumping by BU, 6-2.

After Walsh lost a courageous battle with kidney cancer 10 years ago, his assistant, Tim Whitehead, continued the program's success highlighted by two gut-wrenching, one-goal title-game losses: in 2002 to Minnesota in OT, 4-3, and in '05 to Denver in a 1-0 final.

NCAA mulls move to half shields

Thursday, 01.27.2011 / 9:00 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

In the second of a two-part series, NHL.com looks at two possible rules changes in the NCAA Division I men's programs that encompass five leagues and 58 teams.
 
Last week, Part I related to a proposed change to reduce the number of players in the five-minute overtime.
 
This week, Part II looks at a possible change from full headgear to a half shield.
 
The 12-member NCAA Rules Committee designated both as "future considerations." The committee will consider adopting either or both rules starting with the 2012-13 season.

NCAA mulls change from five-on-five overtime

Thursday, 01.20.2011 / 9:02 AM / On Campus

Bob Snow - NHL.com Correspondent

In a two-part series, NHL.com looks at two possible rules for change in the NCAA Division I men's program.

One appears a no-brainer; the other relates to -- and invokes -- deeper feedback about a "cerebral" topic.

This week, Part I looks at a possible reduction the number of players in the five-minute overtime.

Next week, Part II looks at the possibility of changing from the current full head gear to the half shield.

The 12-member NCAA Rules Committee and college-hockey community designated both as "Future Considerations." The committee will consider adopting either or both starting with the 2012-13 season.

Recent efforts vs. UND a positive for Robert Morris

Thursday, 01.13.2011 / 9:21 AM / On Campus

James Murphy - NHL.com Correspondent

It's rare when a coach will come away from an 8-0 loss encouraged by his team's performance, but sometimes the score doesn't always tell the story and that was the case for the Robert Morris Colonials (12-7-2, 7-5-2 Atlantic Conference) and coach Derek Schooley last weekend, when his team went into Grand Forks, N.D., to take on the second-ranked Fighting Sioux. Robert Morris lost 8-0 last Friday, and while they still lost the second of the two-game set 2-1 on Saturday, Schooley was impressed with his team's efforts in both games.

"I think if you look at the scoreboard, it's a little deceiving because I thought we played fairly well against North Dakota both games," Schooley said. "We had two bad bounces, off one of our sticks and one off a skate. Two bad breaks there early and then we gave up a couple goals that were suspect and I think that put us behind the eight-ball and I think we were a little overwhelmed once we got down a lot. The shots were fairly even and the scoring chances were fairly even. Obviously they (North Dakota) didn't think it was as big a blowout as the score says because they played their No. 1 goaltender and didn't make any lineup changes. So it wasn't like they were playing their non-regulars."

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