Tag Archives: hockey

The puck drops on 2018

Golden Gopher Hockey at Mariucci

The 2018-19 Division 1 college hockey season is now underway.

The University of Minnesota opened the season against last year’s national champion Minnesota-Duluth with a home and home series.

On Saturday the two programs skated to a tough 1-1 tie in Duluth.

Stub & Herb’s, a campus tradition

Minnesota came out in a flurry for new coach Bob Motzko’s first home game. At the end of the first period, the Gophers held a 3-0 lead, with sophomore Brannon McManus netting two.

The Gophers were overtaken by an unnatural desire to sit in the penalty box for period two, which gave Duluth some life. The Bulldogs would score the first two goals of the period, but Sammy Walker would follow up with a goal for Minnesota and Rem Pitlick would add a short handed tally for the Gophers. Minnesota now led 5-2.

The two teams would trade goals in the final frame, giving Minnesota a 7-4 win over their in-state rival.

The Bulldogs outshot Minnesota 46-23, mainly due to the nine penalties the Gophers took. Junior goaltender Mat Robson was solid in net for Minnesota.

It was a good atmosphere at Mariucci, with 8000+ fans in the stands for a Sunday night game.


Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

While in the province of Quebec, I was able to take in two QMJHL games with Brazil Lucas & The Curator.

The first was in Shawinigan, Quebec at the Centre Gervais Auto. The Shawinigan Cataractes were hosting the Sherbrooke Phoenix.

It was the 50th Anniversary for the Cataractes, so we were lucky enough to be on hand for the pregame celebration. The haze in the photos is from the celebratory smoke that hung in the air for the entire game.

This would prove to be a very entertaining game.

The Phoenix took a 2-1 lead in period one. Ryan Da Silva, whose parents we were sitting next to, would get an assist for Sherbrooke.

The second period saw the pucks flying everywhere. Shawinigan would score three, Sherbrooke two, and things were tied up at four. Da Silva notched another assist in the period.

The teams traded goals in the third, so we went to overtime. It was a 3 on 3 OT, which ended quickly with a goal for the home team.

Cataractes win 6-5.

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The second game was at the Quebec City Videotron Centre. We would watch the Sherbrooke Phoenix once again, this time taking on the Quebec Remparts.

This was not quite as entertaining of a game. Even though the score was close, the Phoenix never really seemed to get things going. Goal tender Brendan Cregan kept Sherbrooke in the game, especially early on.

The first period was scoreless. Quebec took a 2-0 lead at the end of two. The Phoenix did score two in the third, with Ryan Da Silva getting one assist, but the Remparts also scored two. The final was 4-2 Remparts over the Phoenix.

The Vidéotron Centre is quite the hockey arena for a Junior team. It seats just over 18,000 for hockey. The announced crowd was 8500 for a Sunday afternoon game.


Montreal Canadiens

Centre Bell; Montreal, Quebec

When in Montreal…

Brazil Lucas, The Curator and I spent much of Saturday exploring downtown Montreal. With a Habs game on the agenda for that night.

It would be my first game at Bell Centre, home of the Canadiens.

Warmups

The Ottawa Senators were in town to play the Habs. It was a preseason game, but when you’re traveling and have the opportunity to take in a home game of one of the Original Six, you can’t be fussy.

Opening face off

Ottawa drew blood first in the opening period , as Brady Tkachuk beat Carey Price. Cody Ceci doubled the Senators lead in the second.

Montreal finally got on the board with a goal early in period three on a score by Tomas Tatar. Nikita Scherbak would tie the game, and Paul Byron would put the Habs up for good. Price would end the game with 15 saves on 17 shots. Montreal outshot Ottawa 32-17 In the 3-2 Canadiens win.

Mike Reilly, #28

Mike Reilly, the product of Chanhassen, Minnesota, is now a member of the Montreal Canadiens, after being traded last year from the Minnesota Wild. I realized at the game that I have seen Reilly play for four teams now: the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Iowa Wild, Minnesota Wild, and Montreal Canadiens.

Reilly, a 25 year old defenseman, was the Second Star of the game against Ottawa. It was probably the best game I have seen him play since he wore Maroon & Gold.


Reading Royals

Santander Arena
Reading, Pennsylvania


Reading Royals Logo

While in Pennsylvania, we caught an ECHL game in Reading, with the Royals facing the Railers of Worcester, Mass.
Santander, is a nice rink, and I bought a pair of tickets online while riding into PA. Technology has its advantages, until someone hacks your information.


Reading Royals take on Worcester Railers

It wasn’t the Royals best night, as the Railers scored twice in the final five minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Worcester would then add an empty netter, for the 4-1 win.


He shoots! He scored!

Two highlights for the Royals: Matt Wilkins skated in his 100th game, and Jack Riley made his professional debut.
A highlight for the Curator: Jack Randolph, the Duluth native, and former University of Nebraska Omaha player, was now skating for the Worcester Railers.
Author’s highlight: I received a phone call today from a representative of Royal Hockey. He wanted to know how the experience was in Reading, whether I liked the seats, etc. I do not think I have ever had a hockey team call me up before, to see if I had a good time. I assume that they would like me to buy upcoming playoff tickets, but I was never asked to do so. A pretty impressive tactic from the Reading Royals.

And yes, we had a great time.


Railers logo added for the Curator


Humboldt Broncos

The hockey community throughout Canada and the U.S. was rocked by news of a bus accident involving the Humboldt Broncos, a Saskatchewan junior hockey team.

A semi-truck slammed into the charter bus carrying the team to the Game 5 playoff game against Nipawin in the SJHL semifinals. Of the 29 people on the bus, 15 have died and the other 14 are injured. Head coach Darcy Haugan,Broncos captain Logan Schatz, 20, and teammates Adam Herold, 16, Jaxon Joseph, 20, Xavier Labelle, 18, Logan Hunter, 18, and Stephen Wack, 21, along with Tyler Bieber, a play-by-play announcer, were among the known victims to have passed.


The Humboldt Broncos hockey team. Photo credit: Humboldt Broncos/Twitter

There were 24 players on the Broncos, between the ages of 16-21.
Curt Giles, the former North Star great, and current Edina High School coach, played for Humboldt back in 1973-1975. “It’s a great little farming town of around 6,000, and that hockey team is everything to the people,’’ Giles said. “It’s small town Canada at its best. I can only imagine the broken hearts in Humboldt this morning. Terrible. The hockey team is the anchor of that town. All the players live with a host family. I lived with the Grunskys for two years. Great people.”*

A Gofundme page has been started for the Broncos players and families. Within 18 hours, it has raised over $1 million of the $2 million goal.

Quote by Curt Giles was given to Patrick Ruesse


Frozen Four 2018

XCel Energy Center
Saint Paul, Minnesota


The X

The Frozen Four, college hockey’s national championship, returned to Saint Paul for the first time since 2011. The tournament featured the University of Minnesota-Duluth against The Big Ten, as three B1G teams made the finals this year. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan joined Duluth at The X.


UMD and OSU in warmups

Game one on Thursday saw The Duluth Bulldogs face the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Dawgs came out fast, scoring two goals in the first 3:04. Defenseman Louie Roehl opened the scoring. Roehl never scored a goal in high school.

Ohio State was never really in the game, which had to frustrate the Buckeyes, as they defeated the reigning national champs, Denver, in their regional. After putting two in the net, Duluth went to a defensive game plan, and really shut OSU down.


Opening puck drop, UMD v OSU

OSU eventually scored a PPG at the 9:37 mark of the third period, but that was the only goal the Buckeyes put behind Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard. Duluth would move on to the title game with a 2-1 win.


Warm ups between Michigan and Notre Dame

In game two we saw Michigan take on the Irish of Notre Dame. Michigan was trying for its 10th National Championship in hockey, and The Irish were trying for their first.

Michigan drew first blood, with a goal by Tony Calderone in the first period. The Wolverines added to their lead early in period two, on a freak bounce of a goal, as the puck ricocheted off a Notre Dame defenseman, and into the Irish net. Notre Dame would tie the game at 2 later in the period.

1:35 into period three, the Irish went ahead 3-2 on a nice goal by Cal Burke. Michigan, once again tied things up at 3, late in regulation. It looked like the late game was going into overtime. On what looked to be a harmless drive towards the Michigan net, Cam Morrison made a great effort to center the puck to Jake Evans. Evans was able to get enough on the shot, to slide the puck under Wolverine goaltender Hayden Lavigne with 5.7 seconds left in the game. It was Evans’ second goal of the game, and it sent Notre Dame into the final against Duluth.


Post game handshake Michigan and Notre Dame


PPL Center

Allentown, Pennsylvania

The curiously named, “Midwest Regional” for NCAA D-1 hockey was held in Allentown over the weekend. Both the Curator and I thought that the city put on a decent regional. The interest was here, and the community seemed to know why we were here, which is always a good sign.


Opening face-off between OSU and Princeton

The Princeton Tigers would face the Ohio State Buckeyes in game one. It looked like the Princeton magic from the ECAC tournament was running dry, and not even the Hobey Baker video could drum up some extra life for the Tigers.
OSU scored twice within 20 seconds in the first period. There was no score from either team in the second period, then OSU scored two more goals in the third.
Princeton finally showed some life, when OSU took a penalty with less than a minute left in the game. Princeton would score twice in the final minute, but that was not enough to avoid a season ending loss. OSU gets the W, 4-2.


DU vs PSU

We went into game two thinking we’d see some great hockey. Unfortunately, only one team provided that. The game was never as close as the opening puck drop; Denver just beat Penn State in every facet of the game. The crowd was decidedly pro-PSU, but that only made for a lot of very disappointed fans. Final score: 5-1 Denver.

Ticket to Saint Paul:


Puck drop in OSU v DU

We finally had a game. Ohio State and Denver were evenly matched, and the up-tempo style of play was fun to watch. A lot was on the line: Denver was the defending national champion, and Ohio State had never made a Frozen Four field before.

The first period was scoreless, and both goalies had been looking good. OSU finally got a puck past DU net minder Tanner Jaillet on a nice backhander by Dakota Joshua. Then, 3/4 of the way through the second period, OSU doubled their lead on another beautiful backhand shot by Kevin Miller. Things were looking up for the Buckeyes.
OSU would take a 3-0 lead before Denver scored their first goal. OSU gets their first trip to the Frozen Four with a hard fought 5-1 win over Denver.

Sean Romeo, the OSU net minder finished with 30 saves, and was the Regional MVP.


Ohio State celebrates their first trip to the Frozen Four

The field is now set for Saint Paul. Three B1G Teams will advance: Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame. Minnesota-Duluth also advances for their second trip in two years.