|03-02-2005, 06:27 PM||#1|
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Colorado College CC vs DU For 2004-05 WCHA Championship
The series opener at CC will mark the 252nd official meeting between the Tigers and the Pioneers.
Red Baron WCHA Players Of The Week Announced
It's Colorado College vs Denver For 2004-05 WCHA Championship And MacNaughton Cup!
North Dakota Aims for Sweep over Wisconsin Sunday; Sioux Seek Final Home Playoff Berth
MADISON, Wisc. For the first time in the storied 53-year annals of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the league's two Rocky Mountain neighbors Colorado College and University of Denver will battle for the 2004-05 conference championship and possession of the MacNaughton Cup on the final weekend of a regular season when they go head-to-head in a historical home-and-home series Thursday (March 3) and Friday (March 4). The Tigers (25-6-3) were ranked No. 1 in last week's USA Hockey/USA Hockey Magazine Div. 1 Men's College Hockey Poll and No. 2 in the USCHO.com Poll while the Pioneers (23-8-2) were No. 1 in the USCHO.com Poll and No. 2 in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine ranking. Both games will get underway at 7:37 pm MT and will be played before sellout crowds, with Thursday's matchup at the Colorado Springs World Arena (7,343) and Friday's encounter at Magness Arena (6,026). CC is 14-3-1 at home this season while Denver is 13-3-1.
The series opener at CC will mark the 252nd official meeting between the Tigers and the Pioneers in a rivalry that started on Jan. 6, 1949. Denver owns a 145-98-8 (.594) all-time record against Colorado College head-to-head, but the Tigers are 17-8-0 vs the Pioneers during Scott Owens' reign as CC head coach, which began in 1999-2000. In the Mile High City, Denver is 86-43-4 (.662) all-time vs CC and 58-55-4 (.517) all-time in Colorado Springs. In two games played earlier this season,each team won on their home ice with CC claiming a 3-1 triumph on Nov. 12 and Denver earning a 6-3 victory on Nov. 13. The Tigers swept Denver, 4-3 and 6-1, in the first round of the WCHA playoffs last season after dropping three of four decisions during the regular season. They are 11-4-1 against Denver in 16 previous games at the Colorado Springs World Arena, and 10-3-0 in 13 appearances against the Pioneers at Magness Arena since 1999-00.
Colorado College and Denver enter the series with identical 18-6-2 WCHA records and 38 points in the standings. Should their be a victor on Thursday night, that team would earn at least a share of the regular season championship while a tie in the series opener would push the MacNaughton Cup-deciding game to Friday in the Mile High City. Should the teams wind up tied for first place after Friday's game, they will be declared co-champions, with conference tie-breakers used to determine the No. 1 seed for the WCHA tournament.
Colorado College last won the MacNaughton Cup in 2002-03 and the Tigers seek the program's eight WCHA title overall since the league's founding in 1951-52. Head coach George Gwozdecky's defending NCAA-champion Pioneers, who last won the MacNaughton Cup in 2001-02, seek the program's 12th title overall.
In conference action this past weekend Feb. 25-27 Minnesota won twice over St. Cloud State, 5-4 and 4-1, in a home-and-home series, Denver split at Minnesota State, 5-8 and 5-2, Wisconsin split at North Dakota, 2-4 and ?-?, and Alaska Anchorage gained three points from visiting Michigan Tech, 2-2 (ot) and 1-0. Head coach John Hill's Seawolves, who earned 7th place in the final standings compared to last season's 8th place finish, thus completed a 4-2-2 month of February.
And in non-conference play on Feb. 25-26, Minnesota Duluth won both matchups against Bemidji State in a home-and-home set, 4-1 and 5-2. UMD's two wins over BSU upped the WCHA's combined record in non-conference play to 43-15-13 so far this season, for a winning percentage of .697.
The final week of the regular season March 3-5 will have four conference series and two non-conference series (WCHA vs CCHA) on the schedule. In the WCHA, Colorado College and Denver play a home-and-home set on Thursday and Friday while on Friday and Saturday, Wisconsin travels to Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota heads to Michigan Tech, and North Dakota plays at St. Cloud State. Outside the loop, Alaska Anchorage plays at Alaska Fairbanks while Minnesota State and Nebraska-Omaha faceoff in a home-and-home set on Thursday and Saturday.
This Week in the WCHA
Games for Thursday, March 3: Denver @ Colorado College, 7:37 pm MT; Minnesota State @ Nebraska-Omaha, 7:05 pm CT (nc).
Games for Friday, March 4: Minnesota @ Michigan Tech, 7:07 pm ET; Wisconsin @ Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota @ St. Cloud State, 7:07 pm CT; Colorado College @ Denver, 7:37 pm MT; Alaska Anchorage @ Alaska Fairbanks, 7:05 pm AT (nc).
Games for Saturday, March 5: Minnesota @ Michigan Tech, 7:07 pm ET; Wisconsin @ Minnesota Duluth, 7:07 pm CT; North Dakota @ St. Cloud State, 7:07 pm CT; Nebraska-Omaha @ Minnesota State, 7:07 pm CT; Alaska Anchorage @ Alaska Fairbanks, 7:05 pm AT (nc). END OF REGULAR SEASON.
What's at Stake on the Final Weekend
With the final weekend of the 2004-05 WCHA regular season now upon us, there is still a great deal to be decided.
First and foremost will be the awarding of the MacNaughton Cup to the championship team or teams, with Colorado College and Denver currently tied for first place with 38 points.
Second will be the establishment of the final regular season standings, with only Alaska Anchorage's position currently set in stone at 7th. Third place Wisconsin (36 points) will try to hold on to it's lead over fourth place Minnesota (33 points) when the Badgers play at Minnesota Duluth and the Golden Gophers head to Michigan Tech. Should UW and UM wind up tied for third place, the Golden Gophers own the tie-breaker with a 3-1-0 head-to-head advantage.
Fifth place UND (26 points) and sixth place UMD (23 points) are both still in contention for the fifth and final first round home WCHA Playoff berth, with the Sioux needing either one more point or a loss by the Bulldogs. And ninth place co-holders Michigan Tech and St. Cloud State will both try to escape finishing in last place and both teams can still gain a tie for 8th place with idle Minnesota State. Should MTU and SCSU wind up tied in the final standings, SCSU owns the tie-breaker with a 2-0-0 head-to-head advantage for the higher playoff seed.
The Battle for the MacNaughton Cup
The race for the WCHA regular season championship and MacNaughton Cup is a season-long battle that consists of 28 conference games for each of the league's 10 member teams. The championship is awarded to the team compiling the most points over the course of those 28 games. In the event of ties for first place, teams will be declared co-champions.
North Dakota won the Cup in 2003-04 and the Fighting Sioux have captured a record total of 13 league titles overall, including five of the past eight (1997 co-champs, 1998, 1999, 2001 and 2004).
Each of the last six seasons including here in 2004-05 will have seen a different MacNaughton Cup champion emerge, with Wisconsin supplanting North Dakota in 1999-2000, followed by North Dakota in 2000-01, Denver in 2001-02, Colorado College in 2002-03, and North Dakota again in 2003-04. This season, the WCHA regular season champion will be either Colorado College or Denver, or both.
Awarding of the MacNaughton Cup
The MacNaughton Cup, awarded annually to the winner of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's regular season championship, will be on hand in the Rocky Mountain state for the Colorado College vs Denver home-and-home series.
WCHA Commissioner Bruce M. McLeod plans to consult with both CC head coach Scott Owens and Denver head coach George Gwozdecky on Monday to determine each school's preference for presenting the Cup, should they win it.
Tied with 38 points each, either the Tigers or the Pioneers could claim at least a share of the championship with a victory on Thursday (Mar. 3) night in Colorado Springs while a tie would force the MacNaughton Cup-deciding game to Friday in Denver.
2004-05 One of the Most Competitive Seasons in WCHA History
Thanks to some timely research from University of North Dakota public relations director Dan Benson, there is evidence that points to the 2004-05 season being one of the most competitive in the league's 53-year history, and maybe the most competitive.
Unquestionably, the last two years the WCHA has become a tougher league top to bottom. Since the WCHA went to a 28-game league schedule for the 1997-98 season (now eight years of 28-game schedules), the 2004-05 season marks the narrowest point spread from the No. 1 team in the final standings to the No. 10 team.
Through games of Feb. 27, there is a 22-point differential (38 to 16) between the two No. 1 teams (Colorado College and Denver) and the two No. 9 teams (Michigan Tech and St. Cloud State). Thus, even if one of the top teams sweeps and finishes with 42 points next weekend and the bottom teams gets swept and finish with only 16, that would be a 26-point differential, which will be the tightest finish from No. 1 thru No. 10 in the eight years of the current 28-game schedule format.
Prior to this season, the 28-game league record for smallest point difference from top to bottom was 28 points, which was set one season ago in 2003-04.
Also, the lowest finishing team in the league this season will have a minimum of seven WCHA wins, the most by a last-place team in the eight-year history of the 28-game schedule. The previous high was six by MSU and MTU last year.
Six Western Collegiate Hockey Association-member teams Colorado College, Denver, Wisconsin, Alaska Anchorage, Minnesota State and Michigan Tech have all improved conference win and conference point totals of a season ago (2003-04).
The Tigers have gone from 11 WCHA wins to 18 and from 24 points to a league-leading 38. The Pioneers have gone from 13 WCHA wins to 18 and from 31 points to 38. The Badgers have gone from 14 WCHA wins to 16 and are within one point of equalling their total of 35 from a season ago. The Seawolves went from seven league wins to nine and from 17 points to 22. The Mavericks went from six wins to eight and from 16 points to 20. And the MTU Huskies have gone from six wins in 2003-04 to seven and have also bumped their point total from 15 to 16.
Only Two Did It
Just two WCHA teams Denver and Wisconsin managed to defeat every other team in the conference at least once during the 2004-05 regular season.
Two others Colorado College and North Dakota earned victories over every other league team but one. The Tigers went 0-1-1 vs Minnesota Duluth while the Fighting Sioux went 0-2-0 vs Denver.
WCHA Players, Teams Prominent in Latest Div. 1 National Rankings Sertich, Murphy, Sterling Run 1-2-3 in Scoring
In this week's (Feb. 28-March 6) Division 1 national statistical rankings, WCHA players run 1-2-3 in points per game. CC's Marty Sertich (23-35-58) is at 1.71, MTU's Colin Murphy (11-41-52) is at 1.58, and CC's Brett Sterling (27-26-53) is at 1.56.
In goals per game, Sterling (0.79), UM's Ryan Potulny (0.69), Sertich (0.68) and Denver's Jon Foster (0.64) run No. 3, No. 7, No. 9 and No. 10, respectively. Sterling is also No. 1 nationally in goals scored with 27.
In assists per game, Murphy (1.24), Sertich (1.03), and Denver defenseman Brett Skinner (0.91) rank 1-2-3, while UM's Tyler Hirsch is 10th (0.83). Murphy is also No. 1 nationally in assists with 41.
In power-play goals, Sterling is No. 1 nationally with 15 while Potulny is No. 2 with 14. In game-winning goals, Sterling, UW's Robbie Earl and UM's Potulny are tied in the No. 3 slot with five each.
In points per game among Div. 1 defensemen, Denver's Matt Carle (12-23-35) is No. 2 at 1.06, Skinner (4-30-34) is No. 3 at 1.03, MTU's Lars Helminen (8-23-31) is No. 6 at 0.94, and CC's Brian Salcido (5-20-25) is No. 8 at 0.86.
In points per game among Div. 1 rookies, Denver's Paul Stastny (13-23-36) is No. 2 nationally at 1.12, and UW's Joe Pavelski (11-25-36) is No. 3 at 1.06.
In goals-against average, CC's Curtis McElhinney is No. 14 at 2.17, UND's Philippe Lamoureux is No. 15 at 2.20, UW's Bernd Brückler is No. 17 at 2.25, and CC's Matt Zaba is No. 20 at 2.32.
In saves percentage, McElhinney is No. 8 at .925, Zaba is No. 18 at .920, Brückler is No. 23 at .919, and MTU's Cam Ellsworth is No. 24 at .919.
And in winning percentage among the nation's goaltenders, McElhinney is No. 1 at .868 (16-2-1), Denver's Peter Mannino is No. 7 at .735 (12-4-1), Denver's Glenn Fisher is No. 8 at .719 (11-4-1), Zaba is No. 13 at .667 (9-4-2), and Brückler is tied at No. 20 at .630 (16-9-2).
In men's Div. 1 national team statistics, WCHA teams are also prominent among the leaders. In scoring offense, Denver is No. 1 at 4.24 goals per game, Colorado College is No. 4 at 3.82, Minnesota is No. 5 at 3.63, Wisconsin is No. 13 at 3.26, and Minnesota Duluth is No. 15 at 3.24.
In scoring defense, Wisconsin is No. 6 at 2.09 goals allowed per game, Colorado College is No. 9 at 2.26, North Dakota is No. 14 at 2.44, and Minnesota is No. 18 at 2.57.
In average scoring margin, Colorado College is No. 3 at 1.56 goals per game, Denver is No. 5 at 1.30, Wisconsin is No. 8 at 1.18, and Minnesota is No. 12 at 1.06.
In team power-play stats, Colorado College is No. 2 at 24.7%, Michigan Tech is No. 6 at 23.2%, Denver is No. 9 at 21.8%, Minnesota is No. 10 at 21.5%, Wisconsin is No. 16 at 20.0%, and North Dakota is No. 18 at 18.9%.
In team penalty-killing stats, Wisconsin is No. 2 at 87.8%, North Dakota is No. 14 at 85.3%, Colorado College is No. 15 at 85.2%, and Minnesota is No. 18 at 84.2%.
And in team winning percentage, Colorado College is No. 2 at .779 (25-6-3), Denver is No. 4 at .727 (23-8-2), Wisconsin is No. 10 at .662 (21-10-3), Minnesota is tied at No. 12 at .643 (22-12-1), and North Dakota is tied at No. 22 at .559 (17-13-4).
WCHA Team Statistical Leaders
(thru games of February 27)
Scoring Offense, G/GM (All Games): 4.24, Denver
Scoring Offense, G/GM (WCHA): 4.19, Denver
Scoring Defense, G/GM (All Games): 2.09, Wisconsin
Scoring Defense, G/GM (WCHA): 2.23, Wisconsin
Penalty Minutes, Game (All Games): 20.8, Minnesota State
Penalty Minutes, Game (WCHA): 20.8, Minnesota State
Power-Play (All Games): 24.7%, Colorado College
Power-Play (WCHA): 27.1%, Colorado College
Penalty-Kill (All Games): 87.8%, Wisconsin
Penalty-Kill (WCHA): 86.8%, Wisconsin
WCHA Individual Statistical Leaders
(thru games of February 27)
Most Points (All Games): 58, Marty Sertich, Jr, C, CC
Most Points (WCHA): 41, Marty Sertich, Jr, C, CC
Most Goals (All Games): 27, Brett Sterling, Jr, LW, CC
Most Goals (WCHA): 19, Luke Fulghum, Sr, LW, Denver
Most Assists (All Games): 41, Colin Murphy, Sr, RW, MTU
Most Assists (WCHA): 25, Marty Sertich, Jr, C, CC
Most PP Points (All Games): 29, Colin Murphy, Sr, RW, MTU; Brett Sterling, Jr, LW, CC; Marty Sertich, Jr, C, CC
Most PPG (All Games): 15, Brett Sterling, Jr, LW, CC
Most SH Points (All Games): 3, Jussi Halme, Sr, D, Denver; Adam Burish, Jr, C, UW; Tim Stapleton, Jr, C, UMD; Travis Zajac, Fr, C, UND; Dave Iannazzo, Sr, RW, SCSU
Most SHG (All Games): 3, Adam Burish, Jr, C, UW
Most GWG (All Games): 5, Robbie Earl, So, LW, UW; Brett Sterling, Jr, LW, CC; Ryan Potulny, So, C, UM
Most Points, Defenseman (All Games): 35, Matt Carle, So, D, Denver
Most Points, Defenseman (WCHA): 28, Matt Carle, So, D, Denver
Most Points, Freshman (All Games): 36, Paul Stastny, Fr, C, Denver; Joe Pavelski, Fr, C, UW
Most Points, Freshman (WCHA): 29, Paul Stastny, Fr, C, Denver
Best GAA (All Games): 2.17, Curtis McElhinney, Sr, G, CC
Best GAA (WCHA): 2.19, Philippe Lamoureux, Fr, G, UND
Best Saves Percentage (All Games): .925, Curtis McElhinney, Sr, G, CC
Best Saves Percentage (WCHA): .925, Curtis McElhinney, Sr, G, CC
Best Winning Pct. (All Games): .868 (16-2-1), Curtis McElhinney, Sr, G, CC
Best Winning Pct. (WCHA): .821 (11-2-1), Curtis McElhinney, Sr, G, CC
Denver 5 @ Minnesota State 2
1st: G1 Denver - Jeff Drummond 13 (Kevin Ulanski, Nick Larson), 1:24; G2 Denver - Ulanski 8 (Drummond), PPG, 6:00; G3 Denver - Luke Fulghum 19 (Paul Stastny, Brett Skinner), PPG, 18:02; G4 Denver - Drummond 14 (Ulanski, Geoff Paukovich), PPG, 18:23. 2nd: G5 MSU - Brad Thompson 10 (Ryan Carter, Kurtis Kisio), 17:39. 3rd: G6 MSU - Travis Morin 12 (Kyle Peto, Thompson), PPG, 5:54; G7 Denver - Matt Carle 12 (J.D. Corbin, Jussi Halme), 7:38. Score by Periods: Denver 4-0-1 = 5; MSU 0-1-1 = 2. Pen: Denver 10-20; MSU 14-39. PP: Denver 3-11; MSU 1-6. Saves: Peter Mannino (Denver), 10-13-9 = 32 (60:00); Chris Clark (MSU), 10-x-x = 10 (20:00); Jon Volp (MSU), x-10-6 = 16 (40:00). Att: 4,091. Time: 2:13.