Notebook: Slovakian Scorer
Note of the Week
Slovakian scorer – Rensselaer has played a grueling schedule and is on a 5-2-2 run entering its final non-conference weekend of the year, with visits to No. 9 BU and No. 4 UNH. Freshman Milos Bubela has given the team a spark lately, with the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Slovakian recording 5-4—9 in the last six games. One of only three Slovakians in Division I, a year ago he was representing his country in the World Junior Championship and playing for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints. He shares the Engineers’ team lead in goals (7), surpassing his total with the Saints in all of last year (5).
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Husky heights – Michigan Tech has appeared in all 48 Great Lakes Invitationals as a host of the annual Detroit holiday tournament, but last weekend’s title marked the first time the Huskies won the event since 1980. They did it despite entering with a 4-10-3 record, having their top player playing for the U.S. at the World Junior Championship and turning to a freshman goalie who hadn’t started since Nov. 3. Nevertheless, MTU won convincingly with back-to-back 4-0 shutouts, as Pheonix Copley – the rookie goalie from North Pole, Alaska – stopped all 70 shots he faced.
Senior ‘rookie’ leads PC – Thirteen college hockey teams have players going for gold Saturday in Ufa, Russia, with the U.S. National Junior Team. Miami has the most players gone (two), but none may feel the absence more than Providence, as Nate Leaman’s team is without its starting goaltender, freshman Jon Gillies. In his place stepped senior Russ Stein, who played 20 minutes in his first three seasons at PC. The Ridgefield, Conn., native earned a 4-4 tie in his first career start Dec. 20 against Vermont and now leads the Friars to Minnesota State to face the No. 14 Mavericks, who are 9-1-0 in their last 10.
Atlantic’s forgotten fourth – For the first time ever, three Atlantic Hockey teams landed in the USCHO.com top 20 poll this week with Niagara, Robert Morris and Holy Cross. The fourth conference team with an overall record above .500 may bear watching, as Mercyhurst has won three straight heading into Friday’s game against Maine in Portland, Maine. Four sophomore forwards – Ryan Misiak, Daniel Bahntge, Matthew Zay and Chris Bodo – helped lead the team to a third-place Atlantic Hockey finish last year and, with a year of college experience, are poised to take a step forward.
Center stage at Notre Dame – Notre Dame didn’t play in a holiday tournament and is off this weekend, which was likely just fine for folks in South Bend whose attention is elsewhere right now. As soon as the football team finishes its chase for the national title, however, hockey is poised to take center stage. The 14-4-0 Irish, who figure to make a national title run of their own, face off in a rare Tuesday night game less than 24 hours after the football title game. No. 1 Minnesota will host No. 3 ND, which may be welcoming back Mario Lucia from the U.S. National Junior Team just in time to play against his father, Don, Minnesota’s head coach.
Balancing act – One sign of the balance of power in college hockey: the number of schools represented on the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team. Thirteen schools have players chasing gold – by comparison, USA Hockey’s previous championship teams in this event featured players from 10 (2010) and nine (2004) schools, respectively.
CHI Media Kit (.pdf)
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NCAA Shutout Leaders
6 – Carsen Chubak, NIA
NCAA Power-Play Goal Leaders
6 – Chris Bodo, Mercyhurst