college hockey

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Penn State goaltender robs opponent with incredible stick save (Video)

Penn State’s men’s hockey team won their fourth straight Big Ten conference opener thanks to a strong power play and the goaltending of Peyton Jones, who will find himself on many highlight reels this weekend.

With the Nittany Lions up 3-0 on the Minnesota Golden Gophers late in the second period, Jones, who stopped 20 of 21 shots faced, kept his shutout alive with this dazzling stick save on Mike Szmatula:

“I’ve obviously seen saves like that before on SportsCenter, but I’ve never seen one live,” Penn State head coach Guy Gadowsky said via USCHO. “It was pretty incredible.”

Jones, a sophomore who was making his 19th consecutive start, did find himself on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of the night Friday, landing at No. 3.

The Nittany Lions, with help from two power play goals, would hold on to win 3-1 to improve to 2-1-0 on the season.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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Chronically ill 4th-grader signs with college hockey team

AP
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WELLESLEY, Mass. — A Massachusetts college’s newest varsity athlete is a 10-year-old chronically ill boy recruited more for his spirit than his slap shot.

The Babson College men’s ice hockey team in Wellesley welcomed Walpole fourth-grader Coleman Walsh to the squad Tuesday. The induction was organized by Team IMPACT, a national nonprofit that connects colleges with youngsters dealing with debilitating or life-threatening illnesses.

Since birth, Coleman has been fighting Williams syndrome, a developmental disorder.

Coleman signed a letter of intent with Babson. He put on skates and a jersey before taking to the ice. He’ll be able to attend practices, games and other events.

Anaheim Ducks player Chris Wagner is from Walpole and wished Coleman luck this season in a video message.

Team IMPACT says it has paired more than 1,200 children with 450-plus U.S. colleges.

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Here’s your NBCSN college hockey schedule

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While the NHL decides its new CBA, college hockey will be starting on time and this year, NBC Sports Network will be bringing you 20 games worth of action.

This year’s schedule features matchups from Hockey East, the ECAC, CCHA and WCHA. The season kicks off with the Icebreaker Tournament from Kansas City, Missouri in October and closes out with the Hockey East tournament including the quarters, semis, and finals in March.

As for the schedule, soak it in as our cameras will be heading to campuses across America including legendary venues like Lynah Rink in Ithaca (January 25), Hobey Baker Rink in Princeton (January 11), Alfond Arena in Orono (February 15), and Magness Rink in Denver (three times).

Defending national champions Boston College will be featured in a monster weekend pair with rival Boston University on November 30 and December 1.

Please note, the schedule and start times are subject to change. Rankings are courtesy of USA Today’s poll.

Icebreaker Tournament

Fri., Oct. 12 Notre Dame vs. #12 Maine 7 p.m.
Army vs. Nebraska-Omaha TBD
Sat., Oct. 13 Final (Teams TBD) 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 16 Harvard at #13 Cornell 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 30 #1 Boston College at #11 Boston University 7:30 p.m.
Wisconsin at #8 Denver 10 p.m.

Dec. 1 #11 Boston University at #1 Boston College 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 7 Michigan State at Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 Colorado College at Nebraska-Omaha 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 11 #3 Union at Princeton 7:30 p.m.
Nebraska-Omaha at Denver 10 p.m.

Jan. 18 Harvard at Yale 7:30 p.m.

Jan. 25 Yale at #13 Cornell 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 Dartmouth at #3 Union 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 #6 North Dakota at Nebraska-Omaha 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 15 #11 Boston University at #12 Maine 7:30 p.m.

Feb. 22 Yale at Quinnipiac 7:30 p.m.
#6 North Dakota at #8 Denver 10 p.m.

March 1 Wisconsin at Nebraska-Omaha 7:30 p.m.

March 8 #12 Maine at New Hampshire 7:30 p.m.

Hockey East Tournament

March 15 Quarterfinals 7 p.m.
March 22 Semifinals 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. (@ TD Garden – Boston, MA)
March 23 Final 7 p.m. (@ TD Garden – Boston, MA

NCAA hockey shake-up: Six top schools set to form ‘super conference’ in 2013-14

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From the look of things, the landscape of college hockey could be markedly different by the time the 2013-14 season begins.

It already seemed that way when the Big Ten Conference was announced; Minnesota and Wisconsin will leave the WCHA while Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State will leave the CCHA and Penn State will get its program together to form the foundation of that conference. Now that point will be driven home even further after the announcement of a so-called super-conference that will put six college hockey juggernauts together. Those six colleges includes reigning 2011 NCAA champions Minnesota Duluth along with Colorado College, Denver, Miami of Ohio, Nebraska-Omaha and North Dakota. Five of those teams will bolt from the WCHA while Miami of Ohio will shift from the CCHA.

One program that didn’t seem to join either of the big new conferences was Notre Dame, but perhaps there will be more information about its future (along with the remaining teams in the WCHA and CCHA) as time goes on.

Here is a statement from the six schools who will form that not-yet-named “super conference.”

We are pleased to announce that six top NCAA Division I ice hockey programs will become founding members of a newly formed hockey conference, which will begin competition for the 2013-14 season. The six institutions are Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University, University of Minnesota Duluth, University of Nebraska Omaha and University of North Dakota.

We understand and appreciate the widespread interest in developments relating to the formation of the new hockey conference. More information will be provided about the initiatives that have been undertaken, as well as the next steps involved, at a news conference in Colorado Springs this Wednesday, July 13. Our programs look forward to continued associations with our current leagues, the WCHA and CCHA, for the next two seasons.

Additional information about Wednesday’s news conference will be forthcoming in the next few days. There will be no further comment from athletic directors, coaches or other officials from any of the institutions until Wednesday’s news conference.

We will provide more insight and analysis on these changes in the near future.

Eastern Conference finals mark reunion for college teammates Martin St. Louis, Tim Thomas

Every once in a while, a college hockey team will manage to attract players who go on to have special NHL careers. The University of Vermont experienced that kind of season in 1995-96, when Martin St. Louis and Tim Thomas helped the team make it to the Frozen Four for the first time in the program’s history.

St. Louis and Thomas set plenty of career and single season records that still stand, but both players faced bumpy roads to the NHL. After all these years, they still maintain a solid friendship, but those fuzzy feelings will be placed on hold as their teams meet in the Eastern Conference finals.

As it turns out, that isn’t the only connection Thomas will feel with the opposing Tampa Bay Lightning’s players. Joe Haggerty points out that Thomas might not have gone to the University of Vermont if it weren’t for Dwayne Roloson, who played in the University of Lowell’s net.

St. Louis sat next to Roloson at the TD Garden podium on Friday afternoon and jokingly thanked the former University of Lowell goaltender for discouraging Thomas from playing college hockey at Lowell – and instead pushing the Vezina Trophy winner toward the University of Vermont where Thomas and St. Louis put on a show for four years at the Burlington campus.

“Marty is one of the greatest competitors I’ve ever played with – and I’ve ever seen play,” said Thomas. “You know it’s unfortunate that we have to play against each other. That’s the way it works out, though. I couldn’t have more respect for a person as a player and as a human being than I do for Marty.”

As confident as those two athletes are, Thomas and St. Louis probably weren’t expecting to have the success they have experienced in the NHL when they were struggling in the minors and/or foreign leagues. Yet St. Louis already has a Hart Trophy on his resume and Thomas is a Vezina winner, with both players shooting for their second trophies this season.

That’s an excellent sign of success, but it also highlights an undeniable fact: only one of them will play in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals. Whenever people generate Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby-type buzz, they forget that those two players aren’t always competing as directly as it might seem. There’s no denying that if St. Louis wants to be successful, that means getting the puck past his former teammate. Thomas has connections to both Roloson and St. Louis, but for 4-7 games, they will be his enemies.

NHL.com shares this amusing retrospective video of the UVM’s remarkable 95-96 season, featuring much younger versions of St. Louis and Thomas.