Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Readin'

Here's a fun article about the Tigers' WCHA title hopes from Brian Gomez over at the Gayzette who took over for Crandall (who I thought was one of the worst writers ever because her stories were always tangents and didn't jive with the issue at hand). As for the polls, the Tigers didn't move, remaining at 9 in USA Today and 10 in USCHO polls. I'll post the full list tomorrow.

Despite Struggles, WCHA Title in Reach
by Brian Gomez

Unbalanced scoring should be the culprit. Or a lackluster power play. Or first-game woes.

Colorado College has made big problems resemble small bumps in the road, as another MacNaughton Cup, given to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association regular-season champion, remains in sight.

A split last weekend at Minnesota - CC lost 4-1 Saturday and won 1-0 Sunday - puts the Tigers in a tie for third in the WCHA with Wisconsin, one point behind the Golden Gophers and three points in back of Denver.

CC (10-6-4, 7-5-2 WCHA) remained 10th Monday in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll.

Air Force moved from 13th to 12th following an idle weekend.

Most now don't consider CC, which was picked to repeat as WCHA champion in a preseason coaches' poll, the MacNaughton favorite because of its challenging second-half schedule.

After playing host to Sacred Heart this weekend, CC will take a 19-day holiday break, then finish with home series against Minnesota State-Mankato, St. Cloud State and No. 4 Minnesota; road trips to Wisconsin, Michigan Tech and North Dakota; and a home-and-home set with No. 5 Denver.

"People are going to beat people all the time," said coach Scott Owens, whose team is 2-5-3 in the first games of weekends and 8-1-1 in the second games. "We just want to hang in there. We're just trying to get toward the top."

Chad Rau, Bill Sweatt and Eric Walsky have carried the load, combining for 27 of 50 goals and 61 of 130 points. So has Richard Bachman, sporting a 2.27 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

The Tigers, minus injured captains Jake Gannon and Scott McCulloch and suspended senior Cody Lampl until January, lack consistency on special teams. They're third in the WCHA in penalty killing at 89.7 percent, although their power play is ninth at 14 percent.

Nate Prosser said his teammates "don't look at the preseason polls. We go from weekend to weekend and concentrate on the point we've got at hand."

"We were picked to win the MacNaughton, and we've struggled a little bit," Kris Fredheim added. "But given how we've been playing, we'll take where we are today."