Thursday, September 25, 2008

WCHA Previews: Colorado College

School: Colorado College
Mascot: Tigers
Head Coach: Scott Owens, 10th year, 223-121-25

Last Season: 21-6-1, 1st Place WCHA; 28-12-1 Overall

Predicted 08/09 WCHA Finish: 2nd

Key Departures:
D Jack Hillen, 6-31-37*
F Jimmy Kilpatrick, 15-16-31
F Scott McCulloch, 13-8-21
F Scott Thauwald, 5-10-15
*All stats listed from 07/08

Key Returnees:
F Chad Rau (Sr), 28-14-42
F Andreas Vlassopoulos (Jr), 8-23-31
F Bill Sweatt (Jr), 10-17-27
F Mike Testwuide (Jr), 11-10-21
D Nate Prosser (Jr), 3-17-20

Top Sieve (not much of a sieve last season):
Richard Bachman (So), 25-9-1, 1.85 GAA

Key Additions:
F David Civitarese (AJHL) 31-45-76
F Nick Dineen (USHL) 27-29-56
F Tim Hall (USHL) 18-26-44
D Gabe Guentzel (USHL) 5-23-28
D Ted Behrend (WI HS) 18-15-33, played for Oregon HS

When Wisconsin Beats CC: KC 1/16 & 1/17

07/08 Recap: Colorado College was the king of the hill during the WCHA regular season. They were almost unbeatable all season at home, at least until the NCAA Regional. The biggest part of CC’s success was their defense led by WCHA’s top defender Jack Hillen and WCHA’s top goalie Richard Bachman. As a freshman adjusting to the rigors of the WCHA, Bachman was nothing short of outstanding (and I rarely give any respect to opposing goalies), though the Hobey Baker folks had their heads in the sand (imagine that) giving him on respect. On offense, Chad Rau led the way including leading the nation in short handed goals, including the four he tallied against Wisconsin. There was a controversy during the season where two players were suspended for their parts in some sexual misconduct and lying, which also involved an unnamed CC recruit. Despite this, CC held off North Dakota’s late charge for the MacNaughton. CC ran up against a hot minnesota team at the Final Five, and later lost to North Dakota in the 3rd place game. The losing continued the next weekend at home in the NCAA Regional to Notre Dame. In between all that, Wisconsin had no luck against CC last year. The Badgers blew a lead on Friday night at CC, before getting blown away on Saturday night in a game I stupidly paid $6 to watch on B2Live. CC came to the Kohl Center in early January when Geoffrion, McBain and Turris were gone for the WJC. Wisconsin had as much offense that weekend (thank you Sean Dolan) as a normal Mighty Mite game during the 2nd intermission. Another successful regular season ended w/ another disappointing post season for the Tigers.

08/09 Thoughts: I’ve seen a lot of places that have CC repeating as WCHA Champs (well not the letsgodu blog); I think it will be a close contest between the Front Range teams in Colorado. While Richard Bachman dominated last year, will he have a sophomore slump in the Springs? I doubt it, but the defense will have to be strong again to carry CC back to the top. Compared to Denver or North Dakota, CC is not an offensive machine, though not horrible either. Take the series at the Kohl Center last year, they didn’t score many goals that weekend, and really didn’t impress on offense compared to their defense and goaltending. Chad Rau and Bill Sweatt will probably be the top offensive options coming back, though w/ Kyle Klubertanz’s graduation, short handed goals against Wisconsin will be in short supply. They add a solid recruiting class, no top NHL Draft picks on that list, but a good group of young players.