Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vees Win Doyle Cup

Just over two weeks after taking the Fred Page Cup as BCHL champs, the Penticton Vees, including 2012 forward Curtis Loik, have added to their trophy case. The Vees took home the Doyle Cup (symbolic of Canadian Junior A Pacific supremacy) Friday night with a game five series-clinching 6-2 win over the AJHL-champion Brooks Bandits. The Vees will now head to the Royal Bank Cup in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, where they're slated to face four other title-holding teams for the Canadian Junior A national championship. That tournament begins May 5th.

During the series with Brooks, Loik had an assist in a 7-2 game one Vees romp, then scored in game three, the only game Penticton lost in the series. On the goal, Loik capped a dominant shift for his line by going between the legs of a Bandit defenseman and popping it past the goalie. The tally gave the Vees a 2-0 lead in the second period before Brooks rallied with four of the game's final five goals.

The Bandits, of course, feature 2012 forward Reed Linaker, who recovered from a December knee injury in time to play in the first two games of the team's AJHL championship series. In the Doyle Cup, he played in games three, four and five, running up 10 penalty minutes.

Penticton becomes the final team to have its name engraved on the Doyle Cup, as a format change next year will see the champions of the junior A leagues in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan compete for the Western Canada Cup. It's both the first and last Doyle Cup for the Vees, as they lost the 2008 Doyle Cup to the AJHL's Camrose Kodiaks in their only other appearance.

Other than Linaker's and Loik's titles, 2013 goaltender Eamon McAdam and 2012 forward Casey Bailey remain alive for the USHL's Clark Cup championship (they're facing each other in the Western Conference semifinals, with McAdam's Waterloo up 2-1 in the best-of-five series). On the women's side, 2012 forward Hannah Hoenshell won the USA Hockey Tier II 19U national championship with her Alliance Bulldogs team on April 1st and 2012 forward Shannon Yoxheimer won the JWHL with NAHA, while 2013 forward Amy Petersen won a second straight Minnesota high school AA title with Minnetonka this year.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Breakout Past: La Vie of Penn State Hockey (Part III)

Last July, after getting the chance to read through La Vie archives, I made a couple posts that attempted to reconcile Penn State's yearbook records with the Daily Collegian archives to construct as complete of a schedule as possible for PSU's original varsity team. I also included the text of everything said about the teams in those yearbooks.

Breakout Past: La Vie of Penn State Hockey (Part I)
Breakout Past: La Vie of Penn State Hockey (Part II)

There was one thing missing from those posts though: the pictures. Thankfully, that omission has now been resolved, thanks to the discovery of digital La Vie archives maintained by University Libraries. Enjoy (and click to enlarge).

1939-1940 team photo:

1940-1941 team photo:

1941-1942 team photo:

1942-1943 team photo:

1946-1947 team photo:

1940-1941 captain and manager:

1941-1942 captain and manager:

1942-1943 manager and coach:

1946-1947 coach:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Three Stars: April 16-22

3. Penn State breaks ground on $102 million Pegula Ice Arena
(The Daily Collegian)

The Collegian got the short end in the groundbreaking roundup post due to its publication schedule, so I'm rectifying that here.

2. O'Brien, Chambers, Washington and Gadowsky Headline Seven-State Penn State Coaches Caravan In Early May

This one flew under the radar with all of the groundbreaking stuff going on, but...
Penn State men's hockey coach Guy Gadowsky is joining the bus tour for all six events during the third week of the Coaches Caravan, with stops in Altoona and Pittsburgh (May 14), Youngstown and Cleveland (May 15) and Erie and Buffalo (May 16).
Previously, Gadowsky was only scheduled for the Buffalo stop. It should be a great chance to meet him, and I'll probably be at my local stop (Cleveland, if you're too lazy to check the right-hand column) now.

1. Postseason Suspensions (Part 1, Part 2)
(Off The Crossbar)

Outgoing Lady Icer senior Abby Miller started a blog last week, and it looks like great reading so far, so check her out. The biggest story of the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far, without a doubt, is the number of incidents worthy of supplemental discipline. Here's Miller's take on several of them.

Best of the Rest

Former Penn State hockey star turns false prophet

Okay, so I got a Google Alert hit on this, for obvious reasons and was bored that day, so bear with me. From the not-so-subtle dedication in the video, it's established that we're talking about former Brandywine player Chad Thomas, a defenseman from 2006-2011 and an ACHA Division 3 Academic All-American in his senior year. What was his transgression?
Chad Thomas formerly operated a ministry called "The Salvation Movement" and was promptly kicked out when it was discovered he was living with his girlfriend. A hasty shotgun wedding tried to patch up the ministry but it was not to be. Chad never repented of his fornication to his followers.

Now Chad is hearing voices and is being told events are going to happen. These events ALWAYS fail and yet he claims the voice he heard was God and he continues to make videos about his false dreams and visions and posts them on youtube on a daily basis. This is not the first time he has made false prophecies. In all of Chad's videos he appears agitated and frantic. He does not have the peace of God in him. He is not saved and only wants to escape the tribulation without having to obey Jesus.
One of Thomas' YouTube videos was called "POSSIBLE EARTHQUAKE AND TSUNAMI OR SIGNIFICANT EVENT BY LAST DAY OF PASSOVER??", which particularly rubbed the uploaders of the lead video the wrong way (basically that entire account exists to attack Thomas). I particularly like the claim throughout that Thomas "misses the fame and celebrity status that being a college athlete brought him." Yeah, he's just like Claude Giroux in Southeast PA.

High drama. Aren't you glad you know about it now?

PS. It's the offseason. Get used to it.

Blues Prospects Trending Up, Apr. 22, 2012
(St. Louis Game Time)

Know what's cool? When a blog covering an NHL team rates one of your school's commits as one of their prospects that is "trending up" for the past week. That's new, eh?

Tuesdays With Jerry: An Old Man, A Young Man, And A College Hockey Dynasty's Greatest Lessons (Part 3) 
(BC Interruption)

The post is good in and of itself, but I'm particularly interested in one of the comments.
I’d especially love to see some football/hockey weekends with schools like Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State, Minnesota, etc. with a hockey game on Friday night and football game on Saturday. Of course, this would require the football program to schedule someone besides Perkins School for the Blind as a non-conf opponent, so I’m not getting my hopes up.
It would be tough to pull off for a non-Big Ten team on the football end, with the schedules set so far ahead and with the conference becoming increasingly insular (see: the eventual jump to nine conference games). Still, I'm game.

Former Mercyhurst Laker Meghan Agosta had three points in the IIHF World Championship gold medal game.

Three Former Lakers Help Team Canada Win World Championship

For the ill-informed, since this is kind of old news (the gold medal game was on the 15th)...
Former Mercyhurst women's hockey stars Meghan Agosta, Vicki Bendus, and Bailey Bram helped Team Canada capture the gold medal at the 2012 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Women's World Championship late Saturday night at the Gutterson Fieldhouse on the University of Vermont's campus...Canada defeated the United States 5-4 in overtime to capture the country's first world title since 2007 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Agosta tied the game late in regulation, then assisted on the overtime winner. Someday, a Penn Stater will be doing that instead. Preferably for, instead of against, Amurrica.

PIA Groundbreaking Coverage Roundup

Here's a quick spin around the best of what was written (and photographed) during Friday's Pegula Ice Arena groundbreaking ceremony.

Breaking away // Pegula Ice Arena Groundbreaking Ceremony
(Centre Daily Times)

The Centre Daily Times wrote the longest recap of anyone, and expertly weaved quotes from the ceremony itself with others from the media availability sessions - they also included a 16-photo gallery.

New Penn State DI hockey program gaining momentum
(Shooting for the Show)

SftS didn't attend the festivities, but offers something much better than a 28th rehashing of the same quotes - analysis of the program's marketing efforts to this point.

Ceremony Officially Breaks Ground on Pegula Ice Arena

Pegula Ice Arena breaks ground, is ahead of schedule for Penn State Division I Hockey

Greg Pickel wrote two quality recaps with different angles. His PennLive piece played up Guy Gadowsky's comparison of PIA to Hersheypark Arena, while on he led with the well-known story of Joe Battista's receipt of Terry Pegula's confirmation text message while in Boston.

Penn State breaks ground for hockey arena on 'great day'
(Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

The big city delegation captured the most...well, maybe second most (see below)...newsworthy thing said at the event.
Pegula, an oil and gas executive who founded East Resources in Warrendale and also own the Buffalo Sabres, pledged $88 million to bring Division I hockey to his alma mater. He since has upped that commitment to $102 million to ensure Penn State hockey "has the resources to be a national leader."

"Let's all visualize Guy Gadowsky and (women's coach) Josh Brandwene handing off national championship trophies to their teams in the future," Pegula told the crowd of about 300, which included donors, members of the men's and women's hockey teams and former Nittany Lions quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno.
Penn State Hockey Celebrates Pegula Ice Arena Groundbreaking // Photo Gallery

The official release gets the job done and also comes with a photo gallery.

Penn State 'breaks ground' on new ice hockey arena
(York Daily Record)

The AP also gets the job done, sans photo gallery.

Joyner Mum on Sherburne's Departure
(Fight On State)

According to Dave Joyner, "it's an HR issue" is the new "no comment," at least if you go by his reply when repeatedly asked at the event about the sudden dismissal of assistant athletic director Mark Sherburne Friday night.

Mark Brennan wins this slot for FOS over other write-ups on this blast:
Penn State officials were not nearly as adamant about sticking to the school's human resources policies when it came to [Joe] Paterno. The Board of Trustees announced that he had been dismissed from his job on a live telecast.

On multiple later occasions — both individually and as a group — board members gave further explanations on why he was fired. The latest was in early March, more than a month after Paterno died following a short bout with lung cancer, when the board released a statement saying Paterno was released due to a “failure of leadership.”
Yeah, that. Let's also not forget that Joyner was part of the scum patrol before his cronies put him in charge of the athletic department.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

PIA Groundbreaking Video: Battista, Pegula, Joyner

Interviews with those in charge of the hockey programs - and the guy who made their creation possible - during Friday's Pegula Ice Arena groundbreaking ceremony.

Associate Athletic Director Joe Battista:

Terry Pegula:

Athletic Director Dave Joyner:

PIA Groundbreaking Video: Madrazo, Kirchhevel, Gadowsky

Interviews with representatives of the men's program during Friday's Pegula Ice Arena groundbreaking ceremony.

Junior goaltender Matt Madrazo:

Junior forward Justin Kirchhevel:

Head coach Guy Gadowsky:

Friday, April 20, 2012

PIA Groundbreaking Video: Weaver, Desorcie, Brandwene

Interviews with representatives of the women's program during Friday's Pegula Ice Arena groundbreaking ceremony.

Sophomore forward Tess Weaver:

Sophomore forward Jess Desorcie:

Head coach Josh Brandwene:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Big Ten Tournament Announces Sites, Dates

The Big Ten has ended one of the worst-kept secrets since the league's sponsorship of hockey and has announced that the first four conference tournaments in history will rotate between the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN and Detroit's Joe Louis Arena. Specifically...
The inaugural Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament will be held March 20-22, 2014, at Xcel Energy Center. The tournament moves to Joe Louis Arena the following year and will be held March 19-21, 2015, and March 16-18, 2017, in Detroit. The 2016 event will return to Saint Paul and be held March 17-19. Tickets for the 2014 Big Ten Men's Ice Hockey Tournament in Saint Paul are expected to go on sale in the summer of 2013.

The tournament will feature all six teams - Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin - in a single-elimination format. Thursday's quarterfinals will feature the No. 3 seed facing the No. 6 seed and the No. 4 seed battling the No. 5 seed. The top two seeds will open tournament play in the Friday semifinals, with the No. 1 seed against either the No. 4 or 5 seed and the No. 2 seed facing the No. 3 or 6 seed. The championship game will be held on Saturday.
There's really not much more to say about it, so I won't. Congratulations to the Big Ten on making the tournament accessible to more than one fanbase at least half of the time.

Stroemel Reassigned, Out as Associate Coach

Stroemel (left) is moving to a third job in the last three years.

Mo Stroemel, the man who quite possibly has filled as many roles as anyone else in the history of Penn State hockey, will add yet another to the list: director of hockey operations and video coach for the women's program. He has been removed from his previous role of associate coach.

Stroemel joined former Boston University star Gina Kearns on Josh Brandwene's Lady Icers staff in 2011-2012, after serving as head coach of the program from 2007-2011. He interviewed to be the first head coach of the NCAA Division I women's program and lost out to Brandwene but was retained on staff.

Following those events last June, Stroemel indicated to The Daily Collegian's Christine Newby that he was grateful to stay involved with the program in any capacity, an outlook that hopefully has not changed.
“I think the university is behind me, and they are going to find a role for me at this point. I appreciate that. I think they’re willing to recognize the role that I had in getting us to where we’re at, at this point.

“I think it’s an honor and a privilege to be allowed to continue on with the program in some manner.”
Prior to his tenure as head coach of the Lady Icers, he was an Icers assistant under both Joe Battista and Scott Balboni from 2004-2007 and also spent ten years (1994-2004) as an assistant and head coach with the ACHA Division 2 Ice Lions (for more detail on Stroemel's resume, check out Head Coach Candidate: Mo Stroemel, a post that examined his worthiness of the position that eventually went to Brandwene).

Here's the job posting for Stroemel's replacement:

Click to enlarge.

The remainder of the post is pure speculation, just to be unambiguous about things.

The emphasis on goaltending requested by the posting, as well as Stroemel's new title, may indicate some shifting of responsibilities elsewhere in PSU hockey as well. Director of Hockey Operations Bill Downey, for example, is no longer listed on the women's roster and, while he probably retains oversight over both programs, he may begin spending more of his time on the men's program. Additionally, Josh Hand has been a goaltending consultant for both men's and women's programs, but his duties as head coach of the Ice Lions significantly limit his availability in that capacity.

One also has to wonder about the behind-the-scenes machinations that led to this move occurring now. It's curious that administration would make a point of building a staff to lead the program through a final ACHA season and get a running start into NCAA competition, only to make a significant change after year one. Was Stroemel forced on Brandwene and the two just couldn't make the previous arrangement work? Considering the relatively small number of pre-2011 Lady Icers expected to make the NCAA roster (my estimate: 2-3), was Stroemel only kept as top lieutenant for continuity with those he had coached previously, becoming expendable once they graduated?

Whatever the case, it's an unfortunate turn of events for a guy who has served PSU hockey quite capably for a lot of years, and who sacrificed diverse non-hockey interests (his position in the School of Theatre as one example) to fully commit to the women's NCAA program.

Breakout Past: The Manure Rink of 1922

It's very easy to fall into a certain trap when talking about the history of Penn State hockey, particularly with two very distinct eras of teams - the first varsity team that traces its roots to early 1938 and lasted until 1947 and the non-varsity period beginning in 1971 (of course, more recently, we've learned of an aborted attempt at hockey in 1909-1910). The trap? Neglecting the in-between periods. You might say 'idiot, there wasn't any team in those years,' and of course, you'd be right. That, however, doesn't mean that there weren't important, or at least interesting, developments in those years. Last summer, for instance, we looked at 1954 and the origins of the facility that eventually became the Icers' first home.

This time around, we'll hit a similar story, minus the happy ending. Under the leadership of Hugo Bezdek, Penn State's athletic director from 1918-1936 (and also, at various times, the head football, basketball and baseball coach) a number of attempts were made at building an outdoor rink in the 1920s. The following story appeared in the January 13, 1922 Penn State Collegian and outlined the first of these (as always, click to enlarge the articles):

Some of the highlights:
  • The rink was to be on Old Beaver Field, the one behind where Osmond Building is now and used by the football team from 1893-1908 (I've always had trouble even picturing that), not to be confused with New Beaver Field, which was completed for 1909 and now rests underneath the Nittany Parking Deck. Osmond was built in 1938 which, as far as I know, rendered the old/new distinction moot (in other words, attempts to create a rink on "Beaver Field" during the first varsity era took place at what was previously called "New" Beaver Field. But in 1922, "old" has to mean the one behind Osmond, as this 1930 campus map seems to verify.
  • Manure was piled along the edges to retain water. Oh Central Pennsylvania...
  • It was to be lit at night. If it wasn't for the manure, I'd say this is high-end stuff.
  • "In one or two years, the Blue and White colors may appear on the ice as well as on the gridiron, track or mat."
  • "It is too early to make predictions as to the possibility of Penn State being represented by a varsity hockey team but such a step may be taken next year. There is an abundance of good hockey material in school at present and a well balanced aggregation could be selected. An Intercollegiate Hockey League already exists in the east."
Four days later, the Collegian published an editorial supporting the idea.

By January 31st, everything was still going well...other than the fact that Old Beaver Field wasn't flat, and that prevented some areas from freezing. Still, Bezdek remained enthusiastic both about the present and the future of the rink (although we're apparently calling it an "experiment" now).

Nearly one month later, on February 28th, another editorial makes it seem clear that the "experiment" has not been successful this year (an assumption confirmed by a letter to the editor on December 5, 1922 that discusses "the failure" of "last year"), but that "the ball has been started rolling in the right direction...Bezdek will be on the job and Penn State students can count upon results."

How did that turn out? Other attempts at a rink (at minimum) followed in 1923, 1925, 1927 and 1928, none of which really went any better than 1922's two-month journey from "varsity hockey next year" to "failed experiment."

To me though, that's precisely what makes these in-between periods so fascinating - the sheer number of times Penn State tried to get it right, tried to have a rink and a varsity hockey program, and still somehow failed. It's not at all farfetched to see how more success in the 1920s could have meant PSU having one of the most traditional programs in the NCAA today. Instead, hockey finally took hold in what turned out to be the worst possible time since the sport's invention to try to start a program, just prior to the outbreak of World War II - but that's a whole different chapter in PSU hockey's 100-year run of teases and bad luck.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Crawford Shares Two More PIA Renderings

The Pegula Ice Arena page on Crawford Architects' newly-relaunched website contains a couple of renderings that (I believe) have not been previously released to the public. It should be obvious, but depicted below are the entrance facing the Curtin Road-University Drive intersection and a suite. Click for a larger size.

Also, as I like to do whenever it comes up, here's a quick link dump of everything we've seen of the final arena plans so far.

Pegula Ice Arena Approved (January 20, 2012)
The Room (February 16, 2012)
Photos of the Pegula Ice Arena CAVE model from GoPSUSports
Photos of the Pegula Ice Arena CAVE model from Crawford

Commit Cycle: April 17 (Men)

While hockey has become a year-round endeavor thanks to summer showcases, camps, etc., the primary hockey season (the one with easy-to-access info) is unfortunately winding down, and that of course includes the teams housing Penn State's recruits. As each player's season concludes, they'll be removed from this post as this feature fades into the offseason as well. So far, the removed players include:
  • 2013 D Thomas Welsh. His top-seeded Salisbury Prep was stunned in the Stuart/Corkery Tournament (the New England prep championship) semifinals by Lawrence Academy.
  • 2012 D Luke Juha. Juha played on the gold medal winning Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge. His Vernon Vipers, though, were 30-27-3 and missed the BCHL playoffs for the first time since 2000-2001, thanks in part to Juha's absence for most of the season due to injury.
  • 2014 D Bo Pellah. The youthful Langley Rivermen also missed the BCHL playoffs at 19-35-6, although Pellah led the team's blueliners in scoring.
  • 2014 D Kevin Kerr. Team Comcast missed the AYHL playoffs and then lost out to the North Jersey Avalanche for the Atlantic District bid to USA Hockey nationals on March 17th and 18th. Meanwhile Kerr's prep team, Holy Ghost, lost to La Salle College High School for the Flyers Cup title on March 14th.
  • 2013 D David Thompson. Thompson's Chilliwack Chiefs put forward a valiant effort in the first round of the BCHL playoffs against the juggernaut-ish Penticton Vees, but ultimately fell in six games.
  • 2012 F David Glen. The Spruce Grove Saints were 18 seconds from winning Game Seven of the North Division finals and advancing to the Enerflex Cup finals for the AJHL championship. Two goals by the Fort McMurray Oil Barons, the latter coming 7:06 into overtime, ended the Saints' dream of a third straight league title. Still, after a 46-6-8 regular season, that's hardly a valid source of shame.
  • 2012 F Jonathan Milley. Behind a finally-healthy Milley, the Pembroke Lumber Kings shook off an up and down 32-24-6 regular season to advance to the CCHL semifinals where they gave top-seeded Nepean all they could handle before falling in seven games. Milley's playoff stats: seven goals and 10 assists in 12 games.
  • 2012 D Connor Varley and 2013 F Zach Saar. The Des Moines Buccaneers slumped badly down the stretch (including losses in their last 14 games) and missed the USHL playoffs after finishing 20-33-7. Varley proved one of the steadiest defensemen on the team, although Saar's scoring hit the skids following a mid-season trade from Chicago with just six goals in 32 games as a Buccaneer.
  • 2012 D Joseph Lordo. The captain of the Sioux Falls Stampede was one of the few bright spots for the USHL's worst team this season. His 21 points led the team's blueliners and were fifth overall on the offensively-challenged outfit while he also added his trademark physical element on the back end.
  • 2012 D Mark Yanis. Yanis mirrors Lordo in being a physical defenseman on a team that struggled this year. His Muskegon Lumberjacks fell to the USHL's Eastern Conference cellar at 17-35-8, just one point better than the Stampede.
As always, for updated season stats of all recruits, visit the M Current Commitments page.

Casey Bailey

Omaha Lancers (USHL)
6'3", 195 pounds
Anchorage, AK
Class of 2012
DOB 10/22/1991

Date  Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM

4/6   at Sioux City           W 3-1  1   0   1   4 [box score]
4/13  at Des Moines           W 4-3  1   1   2   0 [box score]
4/14  vs. Sioux City          W 5-2  0   0   0   2 [box score]

Bailey's overtime goal against Des Moines clinched second place in the USHL's Western Conference as well as the first-round playoff bye that goes with finishing among the top two in either conference... his 59 points were tied for 9th in the USHL while his 27 goals tied for 10th.

Kenny Brooks

Tri-City Storm (USHL)
6'2", 195 pounds
Las Vegas, NV
Class of 2012
DOB 12/11/1991

Date  Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM

4/6   at Lincoln              L 1-4  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/7   vs. Sioux City          L 2-3  0   1   1   0 [box score]
4/13  at Waterloo             L 1-3  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/14  at Sioux Falls          W 3-2  -   -   -   - [box score]
4/16  at Waterloo             L 4-6  0   1   1   0 [box score]

The Storm took a loss to Eamon McAdam's Black Hawks in game one of their best-of-three first round series and will need to bounce back Tuesday night to avoid elimination.

Max Gardiner

Center/Left Wing
Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
6'2", 175 pounds
Minnetonka, MN
Class of 2012
DOB 5/7/1992

Date  Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM

4/6   vs. Waterloo            W 4-3  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/7   at Muskegon             W 3-2  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/13  vs. Chicago             L 2-4  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/14  vs. Muskegon            W 7-6  0   4   4   0 [box score]
4/16  vs. Team USA            W 6-3  0   2   2   2 [box score]

After helping to fuel an offensive outburst in a regular-season closing OT win over Muskegon, Gardiner kept it going with a pair of apples in a game one win over the USNTDP Under 17s.

David Goodwin

Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
5'9", 187 pounds
St. Louis, MO
Class of 2012
DOB 2/27/1992

Date  Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM

4/6   vs. Omaha               L 1-3  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/7   at Tri-City             W 3-2  -   -   -   - [box score]
4/13  at Sioux Falls          W 3-1  -   -   -   - [box score]
4/14  at Omaha                L 2-5  -   -   -   - [box score]
4/16  at Fargo                L 1-2  -   -   -   - [box score]

With Goodwin unavailable due to injury, Sioux City suffered an overtime loss against Fargo in their playoff opener and now need to win two straight against the Force to advance.

Reed Linaker

Brooks Bandits (AJHL)
5'9", 165 pounds
Edmonton, AB
Class of 2012
DOB 11/4/1991

Date  Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM

4/6   vs. Fort McMurray       W 5-1  0   0   0   2 [box score]
4/7   vs. Fort McMurray       L 1-7  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/9   at Fort McMurray        L 2-3  -   -   -   - [box score]
4/10  at Fort McMurray        W 3-2  -   -   -   - [box score]
4/12  vs. Fort McMurray       W 4-1  -   -   -   - [box score]
4/14  at Fort McMurray        W 4-0  -   -   -   - [box score]

Linaker returned from a knee injury suffered December 3rd, in his first game with Brooks following a trade from St. Albert, in time to play in games one and two of the AJHL Enerflex Cup finals... with the AJHL title now in hand following the six-game series win, the Bandits will now play Curtis Loik and his BCHL champion Penticton Vees in the Doyle Cup beginning Friday... the Doyle Cup winner advances to the RBC Cup, Canada's Junior A national championship.

Related stories:
Early setbacks helped Bandits win first AJHL crown (Calgary Herald)

Curtis Loik

Penticton Vees (BCHL)
6'1", 205 pounds
North Vancouver, BC
Class of 2012
DOB 4/23/1993

Date  Opponent                Score  G   A Pts PIM

4/6   vs. Powell River        W 3-1  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/7   vs. Powell River        W 2-1  0   0   0   0 [box score]
4/10  at Powell River         W 4-3  0   1   1   0 [box score]
4/11  at Powell River         W 3-2  1   0   1   0 [box score]

As already detailed in a separate post, Loik and the Vees finished their domination of the BCHL this year with a Fred Page Cup finals sweep of Powell River... Penticton will travel to Brooks for the first two games of the Doyle Cup series.

Loik attempts to protect his net in game one of the BCHL finals.

Eamon McAdam

Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
6'2", 180 pounds
Perkasie, PA
Class of 2013
DOB 9/24/1994

Date  Opponent               Score SA GA  Sv% GAA

4/6   at Dubuque             L 3-4 --  -  --- ---  [box score]
4/7   at Green Bay           W 5-3 12  1 .917 1.50 [box score]
4/13  vs. Tri-City           W 3-1 --  -  --- ---  [box score]
4/14  vs. Cedar Rapids       W 6-4 32  4 .889 4.00 [box score]
4/16  vs. Tri-City           W 6-4 --  -  --- ---  [box score]

McAdam entered the game against Green Bay at the first intermission facing a 2-0 deficit against the USHL's regular season champ and ended up leading the team to a nice win... he watched from the bench as Stephon Williams led the team to within a win of advancement versus the Storm.

Matt Skoff

Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
6'0", 186 pounds
McKees Rocks, PA
Class of 2012
DOB 7/23/1991

Date  Opponent               Score SA GA  Sv% GAA

4/6   vs. Omaha              L 1-3 25  3 .880 3.02 [box score]
4/7   at Tri-City            W 3-2 --  -  --- ---  [box score]
4/13  at Sioux Falls         W 3-1 27  1 .963 1.00 [box score]
4/14  at Omaha               L 2-5 --  -  --- ---  [box score]
4/16  at Fargo               L 1-2 36  2 .944 1.91 [box score]

In Sioux City's first playoff game, Skoff was spectacular in dueling with North Dakota commit/Boston Bruins draftee Zane Gothberg... he gave up a goal 20 seconds into the game, but shut the door from there, allowing the Musketeers to force overtime before he was beaten by Force defenseman Willie Corrin.

Related stories:
Skoff named Musketeers MVP (Sioux City Journal)
My Team... (Slightly Chilled)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Three Stars: April 9-15

3. Brooks Bandits win first AJHL Championship

2012 forward Reed Linaker's team took home the Enerflex Cup with a six-game finals win over the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (Enerflex, if you're wondering, sells products and services to the oil industry, which is obviously huge in western Canada...I had it between that and something sold at GNC, go me). The Bandits will now play 2012 forward Curtis Loik and the Penticton Vees, the BCHL champs, in the Doyle Cup beginning Friday. The winner of that series advances to the RBC Cup, Canada's Junior A national championship.

I downplayed the Bandits relative to the Vees and their solo-post status for an obvious reason: Linaker didn't play very much. Following a mid-season trade from bottom-feeding St. Albert (where he spent three and a half seasons), Linaker busted his knee 8:46 into his first game with Brooks on December 3rd and didn't play again until the first two games of the championship series. Hopefully a healthy Linaker can be a bigger part of two more Bandit accomplishments this season.

2. Pride of Pegula

Hey look, it's a message board. Devoted entirely to Penn State hockey. Get after it.

1.Penn State Hockey- We will show them who we are

Hey look, it's a YouTube pump-up video. Devoted entirely to Penn State hockey. Get after it.

Best of the Rest

IceDogs Sign 2011 2nd Round Draft Pick Anthony DiFruscia

I think a reasonable argument can be made that Penn State isn't really an NCAA DI program until a recruit or player bails for major junior. DiFruscia doesn't technically count towards that - he wasn't a commit, he only had an offer - but still, it's a first taste of the frustration top programs experience more or less all the time. I don't like it.

Inside Pegula Ice Arena - Applied Research Laboratory CAVE Model

I put this one later in the post simply because I assume that at least 68 percent of the free world has seen it by now. If not, it's pretty freaking cool and you should take this 808th chance to watch it. Although I imagine that the arena would cost about $78 million instead of $89 million without dropping some Disclosure-looking stuff on us. (Correction: I'm told that this pile of niceness has been on the house to this point.)

Okay, the technology's improved a little since 199whatever. Also, evil Demi Moore is evil.

Penn State Coaches Caravan To Hit The Road This Spring
The Nittany Lion Club and the Penn State Alumni Association will team up to provide fans the chance to meet and hear from some of the leaders of Penn State Athletics this spring when the Penn State Coaches Caravan hits the road for destinations across Nittany Nation, encompassing seven states and Washington, D.C.
Long story short and of interest to us: both Guy Gadowsky and Josh Brandwene will be at the Buffalo, NY stop at 6:00 p.m. on May 16th. Brandwene will also be in Pittsburgh at 6:00 p.m. on May 14th. The events cost $40 for alumni association members and $55 for non-members.

Gadowsky, program looking forward

Worth a read, especially if you like Gadowsky or (in this cut/paste) Taylor Holstrom telling you you're awesome.
“The fan support was really growing too that was the coolest part about it. I started seeing hockey stuff pop up in the stores and seeing people wearing it around campus. The entire year almost every game was sold out, that was really impressive.”
Hastings Named New Minnesota State Coach
(College Hockey News)

In the only real news from elsewhere worthy of this post from last week, Minnesota State poached UNO assistant Mike Hastings to replace Troy Jutting.


Speaking as one of those myself, I completely agree. Know who isn't a neutral observer?


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Loik, Vees Take BCHL Crown

If you like hockey because of its drama, the 2011-2012 Penticton Vees are probably not your favorite team. Behind sixteen NCAA Division I-committed players, including Wade Murphy (Merrimack), Joey Benik (St. Cloud State), Mario Lucia (Notre Dame), Travis St. Denis (Quinnipiac), Bryce Gervais (Minnesota State-Mankato), Ryan, Mike and Connor Reilly (Minnesota) and of course Curtis Loik (Penn State), the Vees were 54-4-2 in the regular season. Their 110 standings points were 26 ahead of the next best team in the BCHL. Eighty-four of those points came during a Canadian Junior A record 42-game winning streak that stretched from November 11th through March 9th. Yeah, they did okay.

On Wednesday night, they made official what would have taken an upset in the "all-time" category to prevent: the Fred Page Cup as playoff champions of the BCHL, via a finals sweep of Powell River.

Loik, for his part, contributed to all of that success as a tremendous shutdown forward with a penchant for scoring timely and usually dirty goals. Three happened during Penticton's fifteen game run through three playoff series. The first came in a pivotal game five of the opening round against Chilliwack (including 2013 defenseman David Thompson), the only team to pose a legitimate challenge to the Vees. His tally early in the third period gave Penticton a two-goal advantage and stood up as the winner in a 4-2 victory. The third came late in the second period of the championship-clinching 3-2 win over Powell River Wednesday night and also eventually became a game-winning goal. He was pretty happy about that one.

This is actually the second championship won by Loik this season. In November he, along with fellow PSU commit Luke Juha, helped Team Canada West to the gold medal at the World Junior A Challenge. I'm sure he wouldn't mind adding to the count, either. Up next: the Doyle Cup championship series, which pits the BCHL and AJHL champions against each other for the right to go to the RBC Cup, the Canadian Junior A national championship (2012 forward Jonathan Milley, incidentally, scored both goals in an RBC Cup clinching 2-0 win for the CCHL's Pembroke Lumber Kings over the BCHL's Vernon Vipers in last year's event). 2012 forward Reed Linaker and his Brooks Bandits are locked in a 2-2 series in the AJHL's Enerflex Cup finals, so they represent a possible next opponent for the Vees.

Other PSU commits still alive for championships this season include USHLers Kenny Brooks (Tri-City), Matt Skoff (Sioux City), David Goodwin (Sioux City), Casey Bailey (Omaha), Max Gardiner (Dubuque) and Eamon McAdam (Waterloo), all of whom will be in that league's playoffs beginning April 16th. Women's 2012 forward Hannah Hoenshell won the USA Hockey Tier II 19U national championship with her Alliance Bulldogs team on April 1st and 2012 forward Shannon Yoxheimer won the JWHL with NAHA, while 2013 forward Amy Petersen won a second straight Minnesota high school AA title with Minnetonka this year.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

PIA Construction: April 10, 2012

Third in a series tracking Pegula Ice Arena construction every few weeks (February 7, 2012 / March 27, 2012).

Today's installment, which comes courtesy of a generous reader, shows that yep, there's still just a giant pit at the future PIA site. Look closely though - there's order in the chaos. Before more obvious progress is made, what are just piles of dirt to the untrained eye actually serve as a rough layout of the arena's floor plan. The second picture, for example, quite clearly shows the location of the community rink through some orderly digging and a few orange cones.

Click for full size.

Rasmussen Delivers Horsepower, Brainpower

As the moment of finalizing the 2012-2013 women's roster approaches, Sartell/Sauk Rapids (MN) forward Kendra Rasmussen has officially committed to Penn State for the coming year.

Kendra Rasmussen

Sartell/Sauk Rapids (MN) HS
Height/weight unknown
Sartell, MN
DOB unknown

Season   Team                   Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM

2009-10  Sartell/Sauk Rapids    MN-HS  26   21   19   40    8
2010-11  Sartell/Sauk Rapids    MN-HS  24   32   17   49   10
2011-12  Sartell/Sauk Rapids    MN-HS  28   33   17   50    8

From the release:
“I fell in love with the campus,” said Rasmussen, the two-time Times Player of the Year and senior captain for the Sartell/Sauk Rapids Storm’N Sabres girls hockey team. “I first went out there in September and it just felt like home to me. I think I made a good decision."
She was also offered by Minnesota State-Makato and Quinnipiac, but decided on Penn State, largely due to its pre-med program. Her academic chops, as you might expect from someone who actually bases their college choice on academics, are pretty impressive - she'll already have 22 credits in the books when she begins classes this summer.

Hopefully she doesn't graduate too quickly, because she's not horrible at hockey either. Rasmussen was a scoring dynamo for the Storm'N Sabres (bad, bad things happen to nicknames when two high schools share hockey teams - Rasmussen attends Sartell, for what that's worth), and had nearly twice as many goals as anyone on a team that advanced to the Minnesota Section 8AA finals this past season before losing to Roseau. (here's video evidence that she's capable of making it look easy, and here are people talking about how she makes it look easy).

Sartell/Sauk Rapids was 18-8-1 overall, thanks in part to some eye-popping games from Rasmussen: a hat trick and an assist in the section playoffs against North Wright County on February 14th, another three-plus-one game against Hutchinson on December 20th and the reverse of that (one goal, three assists) against Alexandria on November 18th stand out among those. She was appropriately awarded with AP all-state honorable mention honors as the Storm'N Sabres won their league's title.

In 2010-2011, Rasmussen also led the team in scoring - in fact the next highest scoring player had 16 (!) points. They paid dearly for that lack of balance when they were quickly escorted from the 8AA playoffs by St. Cloud via a shutout after a 15-8-2 regular season. SSR was 16-9-1 in 2009-2010.

Rasmussen joins 2012 D Paige Jahnke and 2013 F Amy Petersen as future Nittany Lions produced by Minnesota high schools, a somewhat surprising outcome considering the coaching staff's eastern roots (that's not a complaint, particularly if they're all this complete of a student-athlete package).

The women's roster for 2012-2013 is in its final stages of construction. According to sources, there are 22 or 23 recruited players coming in, which breaks down as 13 forwards, seven defenders and two or three goalies. With Rasmussen, 10 forwards, five defenders and one goalie are counted on the Current Commitments page. That leaves six or seven to-be-identified recruits...and not a whole lot of room for last season's Lady Icers roster if the final roster size is in the range of 27 or 28 players. The tough decisions, again, according to sources, have been made and communicated to the affected players and we should have a good idea of who will lace up to face a tough College Hockey America schedule in the fall sooner rather than later.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Eizenman Voted to ACHA Hall

Alon Eizenman (wearing the C) celebrates the 2001 ACHA national championship with (left to right) Greg Held, Joe Battista and Mike Blevins.
Former Icers forward Alon Eizenman was announced on Monday as the sole member of the ACHA Hall of Fame's Class of 2012. He will become the third representative of Penn State with the honor, joining Joe Battista (Class of 2008) and Josh Brandwene (Class of 2009) once his formal induction takes place at the ACHA meetings in Naples, FL on April 28th.

Since the ACHA Hall of Fame was established in 2007, only nine people have been inducted, and only three have gotten in on the basis of their playing career (Oakland forward/Icers nemesis Will McMahon and Michigan-Dearborn forward Jesse Hubenschmidt are the other two). How does one join such exclusive company? Try this list of accolades, taken from the press release.

1997-1998 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Champions
1997-1998 ACHA Men’s Division 1 Honorable Mention All-American
1998-1999 ACHA Men’s Division 1 1st Team All-American
1998-1999 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championships 1st Team All-Tournament
1999-2000 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Champions
1999-2000 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championships Tournament MVP
1999-2000 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championships 1st Team All-Tournament
1999-2000 ACHA Men’s Division 1 Player-of-the-Year
1999-2000 Bob Johnson Award Winner
1999-2000 ACHA Men’s Division 1 1st Team All-American
1999-2000 ACHA Men’s Division 1 Academic All-American
2000-2001 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Champions
2000-2001 ACHA Men’s Division 1 National Championships Tournament MVP
2000-2001 ACHA Men’s Division 1 2nd Team All-American
2000-2001 ACHA Men’s Division 1 Academic All-American
2000-2001 Penn State University Team Captain
2007 Penn State University Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee

In addition to those awards, he was the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 Ted Caufman Icers Most Valuable Player, the 1998-1999 Jon Shellington Offensive Player award winner, the 1997-1998 team rookie of the year and awarded for the best academic performance on the team in 1999-2000. He was the team's leading scorer in both 1998-1999 and 1999-2000.

Eizenman arrived at Penn State for the 1997-1998 season from Toronto and the Wexford Raiders organization, where he totaled 79 points in a 59-game Midget AAA career before reeling off the glut of accomplishments above. His 165 assists as an Icer (to go with his 95 goals) still rank third in Penn State's record book, but that obviously doesn't scratch the surface of his impact on the program or his dynamic abilities as a player.

His goal 15:49 into overtime of the 2000 ACHA championship game against Eastern Michigan capped the Magic City Miracle, probably the most memorable tournament run in Icers history. He also scored with 1:37 left in the semifinals against Michigan-Dearborn to force overtime and began a comeback from a late 4-2 deficit against Minot State in the game previous to that by scoring with 4:47 remaining. The following season, he helped the Icers go from nail-biters to flat-out domination in winning a second consecutive national championship. In arguably the most one-sided tournament in ACHA history, PSU won all four games it played by at least four goals - and even the two four-goal wins (6-2 over Kent State and 7-3 over Illinois) were deceptively "close." Eizenman, as mentioned, was named MVP of both tournaments. He graduated from PSU with an honors degree in finance in 2001.

Before, during and after his time at Penn State, Eizenman competed internationally for Israel. He won gold at the IIHF Group D World Championships in 2000 and again at the IIHF Division II World Championships in 2005, the latter coming with Eizenman skating on a line with brothers Erez and Oren (who played collegiately at RPI and professionally in the AHL and ECHL). He also was team captain of the 1997 Israeli team in the World Under-20 Championships in 1997.

Following a brief pro career in France, Eizenman ended up in law school at the University of Toronto, receiving his J.D. in 2007. He now practices in his hometown, where he resides with his wife Erin and two-year-old daughter Sophie, at the firm of Stikeman Elliott LLP.