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NCAA Update

Western Michigan seeks to end 14-year drought

Thursday, 02.24.2011 / 9:00 AM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - Correspondent

Hockey East's Merrimack Warriors were'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 "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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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 / NCAA Update

James Murphy - 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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - 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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - Correspondent

In the second of a two-part series, 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 / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - Correspondent

In a two-part series, 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 / NCAA Update

James Murphy - 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."

NCAA PRO-file with Dwayne Roloson

Thursday, 01.06.2011 / 9:00 AM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - Correspondent

The current box-office hit, "The Fighter," stars Mark Wahlberg as pugilist Micky Ward, who made an indelible mark in Lowell, Massachusetts, and boxing history.

If Wahlberg attempts a sequel such as "The Goaltender" featuring the Lowell standout in NHL history, Dwayne Roloson -- traded last Saturday by the New York Islanders to the Tampa Bay Lightning -- will be the leading name.

"Roli" etched his mark in the former mill city on the Merrimack River 40 miles north of Boston in calendar sync with Ward, arriving at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in the fall of 1990, and leading the then Lowell Chiefs to within one goal of reaching the Frozen Four in the 1994 NCAA Tournament.

Merrimack No. 1 surprise at the break

Wednesday, 12.29.2010 / 12:19 PM / NCAA Update

Bob Snow - Correspondent

No longer the league doormat, the Merrimack College Warriors have cracked the hallowed hall of Hockey East -- breaking into the top four historically reserved for Boston University, Boston College, New Hampshire and Maine.

Currently fifth in the 10-team league -- a first in team history this deep into any season -- Merrimack began December with a short stint in fourth, behind New Hampshire, BC and BU.

"It's an incredible league," said senior captain and Calgary native Chris Barton, who became the team's career scoring leader this season. "We've been trying to rebuild the program. We haven't missed a step or (been) jumping ahead of ourselves."

Shore shows he's ready to reach next level

Wednesday, 12.22.2010 / 5:41 PM / NCAA Update

James Murphy - Correspondent

"We think he has the potential to be a great two-way center in the NHL.  We obviously like his size and the fact he will get even bigger. He put a strong emphasis on strength and conditioning and that impressed us and I know the coaching staff at Denver has done a great job with him."
-- Panthers pro scout Mike Yandle

Denver Pioneers sophomore center Drew Shore knew exactly what he needed to do in the offseason to become the player everyone expected he could be.

At 6-3, 195 pounds, Shore, drafted No. 44 by the Florida Panthers in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has the potential to be physical two-way forward and if he wanted to start realizing that potential, it was time to hit the gym. Not that the Denver native -- who grew up wanting to play like former Avalanche great Peter Forsberg -- had a bad freshman season with 5 goals and 14 assists in 41 games, but he and those around him knew he could be better.

"I really wanted to get stronger because with my height and reach I felt if I was stronger I could be more effective," Shore said. "I spent a lot of time in the gym and just conditioning and I think that's helped me a lot. I think being stronger helps me demonstrate and use my skill level more because I can battle for pucks harder and win those battles. I wanted to be a presence both in front of the net and in the corners. It helps in the forecheck and really, all aspects."
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