Saturday, April 29, 2017

BLOG: Brannon McManus, Justin Holl find postseason success Friday night

Quiet for much of Chicago's USHL Eastern Conference semifinal series against Youngstown, Minnesota commit Brannon McManus (Newport Beach, CA) scored both the game-tying and game-winning goals Friday night in Game 1 of the USHL Eastern Conference finals.

McManus' pair of third period goals came just over six minutes apart. Chicago, the top seed in the Eastern Conference, ended up coming back to defeat #2 seed Dubuque by a 4-3 score.

Game 2 in the best-of-five series is tonight in Chicago.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

2017 NHL Draft: Casey Mittelstadt stays at 5th overall in Bob McKenzie's Top 15

Incoming Minnesota freshman center Casey Mittelstadt remains fifth overall in TSN and NHL Insider Bob McKenzie's 2017 NHL Draft rankings released Thursday.

Mittelstadt, the 2017 Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award recipient, split his draft-eligible season between Eden Prairie and Green Bay (USHL). His year ended earlier this month with the Gamblers not making the USHL postseason and too old for the U-18 WJC.

He is the highest player with ties to college hockey and one of just two in the top 15, which is cut short for the Draft Lottery contested Saturday. Future Massachusetts defender Cale Makar is the other, moving up from 12th in January's rankings to 7th.

Brandon (WHL) forward Nolan Patrick and Swiss center Nico Hischier, who plays with QMJHL Halifax, are a consensus #1 and #2 although potentially not in that order.

McKenzie's ranking system ends up being one of the most accurate because he does not do a mock draft, of which hundreds will be coming out in the time between now and the June 23-24 draft date.

Instead he bases the spots off of discussions with NHL scouts on ten different teams. Doing so helps paint a picture of where players are on various teams' draft boards.

Fellow Minnesota commit Scott Reedy was 50th in McKenzie's January rankings.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tyler Sheehy named 2017-18 Gopher Hockey Captain

(Author's note: Been extremely busy of late so I'm doing some catching up on news that happened last week/early this week. Thanks all for being patient and understanding.)

First team All-American forward Tyler Sheehy can add University of Minnesota team captain to his growing list of honors.

Needing to replace its entire leadership core for the third time in six seasons, Minnesota announced Monday (April 24, 2017) that Sheehy would be the next player to wear a "C" for the Gopher men's hockey team.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

BLOG: Minnesota not hosting 2019-2022 Frozen Fours

Minneapolis and St. Paul's time to host will be next season. After that the road trips begin.

The NCAA announced championship locations Tuesday for 2019-2022 for all sports.

Not surprisingly 2018 men's Frozen Four host Xcel Energy Center was not among the four venues chosen to the host the 2019-2022 editions. Those went to Buffalo (2019) Detroit (2020), Pittsburgh (2021), and Boston (2022).

Monday, April 17, 2017

Grant Potulny to be named Northern Michigan head coach

Minnesota assistant Grant Potulny is heading to the Upper Peninsula become the next head coach of Northern Michigan.

Northern Michigan has scheduled a press conference for 10 am ET/9 am CT Tuesday morning (April 18, 2017) to announce its third head coach in program history. The Wildcats fired Walt Kyle last month after 15 seasons behind the bench.

At just 37 years old Potulny will be the youngest head coach in the WCHA.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

BLOG: Gopher commits in playoffs + U-18 WJC Schedule

Yes, the college hockey season is over. Several Minnesota commits play on, however.
Scott Reedy and Nate Knoepke earlier today kicked off the 2017 U-18 World Junior Championships in Poprad and Spišská Nová Ves, Slovakia with a 7-0 win over Belarus. Knoepke (Farmington, MN) finished Thursday with two assists. His first helped up set Reedy's (Prior Lake, MN) goal (happens at about the :25 mark in the above tweet).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Radio: WCCO Radio on Sports Saturday with Steve Thomson (April 8, 2017)

Joining live from Chicago before Saturday's national championship game, I helped to preview Minnesota Duluth's chances against Denver.



My segment begins a little after the 14 minute mark of the 4pm hour on Saturday April 8th.

BLOG: News & Notes You & I May Have Missed

I spent this past week in Chicago covering the Frozen Four for SB Nation. While that didn't stop me from being able to put up a couple stories on players leaving and decommitting, a few pieces of news slipped through the blog.

This post is to quickly catch up on any news you may have missed.

In addition, I will also get to continuing the "What's Next" series later this week.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

2017 NHL Draft: Casey Mittelstadt 3rd in Central Scouting Final Rankings

Casey Mittelstadt keeps moving up Central Scouting's 2017 NHL Draft board.

Mittelstadt is the third-highest North American skater in the final rankings released Tuesday by NHL Central Scouting. He moves up two spots from the mid-term rankings released in January. Mittelstadt earlier began the year with an "A" rating as a player expected to go in the first round.

Sitting behind two CHL forwards (Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier) who are the popular picks to go #1 overall, the Eden Prairie, MN native is both the highest ranked American and player with college ties.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

BLOG: Clay Hanus decommits from Minnesota

Clay Hanus, previously a verbal commit to Minnesota, signed Thursday with the Western Hockey League's Portland Winterhawks beginning next season.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Ryan Collins signs with Columbus Blue Jackets

Ryan Collins (6) at the 2017 North Star College Cup (Photo: Daniel Mick)

Minnesota defenseman Ryan Collins has signed a three year, entry-level contract with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He will forego his senior season with the Gophers and report to Columbus' AHL affiliate in Cleveland to play this weekend.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

BLOG: Gopher commits Nate Knoepke and Scott Reedy to play in 2017 U-18 WJC

A pair of Minnesota commits will represent Team USA in the 2017 IIHF U-18 World Championships later this month.

Defenseman Nate Knoepke (Farmington, MN) and forward Scott Reedy (Prior Lake, MN) were among the 22 players named to the American roster. The tournament, which doubles as showcase for draft eligible players, runs from April 13-23 in Poprad and Spišská Nová Ves, Slovakia.

Knoepke and Reedy have each spent the past two seasons in the United States National Team Development Program, which annually makes up the vast majority of the roster. St. Cloud State freshman Ryan Poehling, a Lakeville native who accelerated his schooling to play college hockey, is the only player not from the USNTDP.

Both Knoepke and Reedy signed Letters of Intent during the early signing period to play at Minnesota next season.

Ryan Lindgren and 2017 incoming Gopher freshman Casey Mittelstadt represented Team USA in the 2016 U-18 World Championships. Lindgren captained the Americans to a third place finish.