NCHC signs CBS Sports Network deal

The NCHC has signed a three-year contract with CBS Sports Network and the station will broadcast at least 18 games per year.

This is a good news/bad news deal for UND fans.

The good news is that the CBS Sports Network broadcasts will all be in high definition and are available on DirecTV and Dish Network.

The bad news is that the FCS contract is up after the 2012-13 season and will not be renewed. CBS will have exclusive rights for national broadcasts for the conference.

UND will retain rights to broadcast games locally and regionally.

UND spokesperson Jayson Hajdu says that the school also is “working on a plan for the day when the FCS contract expires,” but didn’t detail what that involves.

CBS Sports Network will have an opportunity to choose which games it wants to show, but it is unlikely that any team will be on more than five times per regular season. CBS also will cover the league’s postseason tournament.

This appears to be a good deal for those in the local and regional area, as UND will still broadcast all of its home games and now some will be on HD. But it is a poor deal for those who live in Arizona, Florida, Colorado, etc.

Tambellini commits to UND

Who says this week is just reserved for football recruiting?

UND has garnered a second verbal commitment today — Vernon Vipers forward Adam Tambellini says he’s headed to UND in either 2012 or 2013.

Tambellini is the son of Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini and the brother of former Michigan star Jeff Tambellini.

He chose UND over Minnesota, Michigan, Penn State and Portland of the WHL.

Tambellini made his official visit during UND’s 2-1 win over Minnesota in Ralph Englestad Arena.

“He’s a high-end, offensively talented player,” Vernon coach Jason Williamson said. “He can get the puck in the back of the net. He was heavily recruited. He could have picked wherever he wanted to go.”

Tambellini gained notoriety last year, leading his team to the championship at the Mac’s midget tournament. He scored all of his team’s goals in a 3-2 victory in the championship.

Chyzyk commits to UND

Fargo Force forward Bryn Chyzyk has committed to UND.

Chyzyk is the second-leading scorer on the Force with 20 goals and 31 points in 37 games this season. He’s the sixth-leading goal-scorer in the league.

The 19-year-old from Virden, Man., has been on fire lately for the Force. After starting the year with 8 points in 19 games, he has racked up 23 points (13 goals) in the last 18.

Chyzyk made a visit to UND on Friday along with Miles Koules, who already has committed.

“To grow up watching the Sioux play and have a dream come true to play for them, it’s pretty unbelievable,” Chyzyk said.

Chyzyk will come to UND next season.

Saturday night rewind

UND went into its bye week in the first half of the season after getting swept by a rival and with one win in seven games. This time, the team is heading to its bye week on a much better note. UND finished off a sweep of a different rival, Wisconsin, with a 4-2 win Saturday and is 11-3-1 in the last 15. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald

Wisconsin State Journal

UNDsports.com

USCHO

Other notes:

  • With the sweep, UND moved up to No. 16 in the Pairwise Rankings. Still more work to do there, but UND is starting to move closer to striking distance of the NCAA tournament.
  • In my gamer, I wrote about the outstanding job UND did on Mark Zengerle and Justin Schultz. The difference in this series may have been that UND’s top-end guys were better than Wisconsin’s top-end guys. The Corban Knight line produced two goals each night.
  • Saturday night was only the third game all season that Zengerle was held without a point.
  • As important as the top line’s production, UND also got production from all over the lineup. Three lines scored on Friday. Two lines and a defenseman scored Saturday.
  • Brad Eidsness moved into a tie for fourth all-time in wins at UND and put together a strong performance for the second straight weekend. The goalie battle is starting to get interesting and I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue splitting starts as long as they both keep playing well.
  • Joe Gleason played center, right wing and defense within the game. UND coach Dave Hakstol had some good comments about Gleason. More on that later.
  • Andrew MacWilliam was UND’s top-scoring defenseman in January with five points in seven games. His goal came right after the blown no-call on Wisconsin’s Keegan Meuer, who tripped MacWilliam to prevent an icing call before scoring. Hakstol’s comments were that maybe things have a way of working themselves out and that MacWilliam has been working on his shot.
  • UND actually was able to fill out a full lineup this weekend. That being said, they still have two defensemen playing forward.
  • Wisconsin only managed 54 shots in the last three games combined against UND. That’s an average of 18 per game.
  • Prior to the weekend, Hakstol said he didn’t think his top guys have played on tired legs yet. They proved his point against the Badgers. UND’s two best periods of the weekend were the third periods both nights.
  • Danny Kristo is five points shy of reaching the Century Club.
  • UND’s next game is Feb. 10 at Minnesota-Duluth.

Gameday final: UND 4, Wisconsin 2

TO ENTER THE LIVE CHAT, click here.

Viewing options: UNDSN, MidcoSN (GF 323), Fox College Sports Pacific, DirecTV 623, FSN Plus.

First period

UND 1, Wisconsin 0 — Danny Kristo (Brock Nelson, Joe Gleason) 19:05 (pp). Kristo uses his speed to carry the puck all the way up the ice and into the zone. He dishes to Nelson, who is coming up the left wing and Nelson dishes it back to Kristo who taps it in.

UND 1, Wisconsin 1 — Keegan Meuer (Justin Schultz, Gavin Hartzog) 19:15. Schultz sends the puck down the ice, missing Meuer and it appears as though it’s going to be icing. As MacWilliam skates back for it, Meuer trips MacWilliam, who falls down. Meuer bets MacWilliam to the circle then and the puck is sitting right there for him to one-time for a goal.

Second period

UND 2, Wisconsin 1 — Andrew MacWilliam (Ben Blood) 2:05. MacWilliam launches a slap shot from outside the blue line — about halfway between the blue line and the center line — and it hits the post and goes in.

UND 2, Wisconsin 2 — John Ramage (Brendan Woods) 10:33. Pattyn has the puck along the halfwall and tries to chip it out of the zone, but it dies at the blue line. Woods picks it up and finds Ramage all alone in the low slot and he backhands one by Eidsness.

UND 3, Wisconsin 2 — Michael Parks (Ben Blood, Derek Forbort) 15:21. Blood hits Parks, who is cutting down the slot. Parks gets the defenseman to go down and snaps a shot that’s headed for the corner of the net. Rumpel makes the save, but drops the rebound and Parks gets there immediately to bang it home.

Third period

UND 4, Wisconsin 2 — Brock Nelson (Corban Knight, Danny Kristo) 6:30. Great cycle by UND’s top line leads to a goal Knight makes the play turning around a Badger defenseman, going behind the net and leaving a backhand feed for Nelson on the doorstep. Rumpel stops Nelson’s first attempt with the pad, but Nelson fights off Simonelli to chip it over Rumpel’s pad on the second attempt.

UND’s lines

29 Brock Nelson–10 Corban Knight–7 Danny Kristo
16 Mark MacMillan–27 Carter Rowney–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–9 Mario Lamoureux–13 Connor Gaarder
8 Dan Senkbeil–20 Joe Gleason–14 Taylor Dickin

2 Andrew MacWilliam–24 Ben Blood
18 Dillon Simpson–5 Nick Mattson
4 Derek Forbort–22 Andrew Panzarella

31 Brad Eidsness
32 Aaron Dell
35 Tate Maris

Wisconsin’s lines

21 Brendan Woods–9 Mark Zengerle–7 Tyler Barnes
20 Ryan Little–16 Joseph LaBate–25 Michael Mersch
8 Matt Paape–14 Jefferson Dahl–18 Sean Little
26 Brad Navin–12 Keegan Meuer–13 Gavin Hartzog

27 Frankie Simonelli–6 Justin Schultz
19 Jake McCabe–55 John Ramage
4 Eric Springer–24 Joe Faust

33 Joel Rumpel
30 Landon Peterson

Friday night rewind

UND, which has relied heavily on its top line to score in order to get wins, received goals from each of its top three lines, a defenseman and 11 different players collected points in the team’s 5-3 win over Wisconsin on Friday night. Game stories:

Grand Forks Herald

Wisconsin State Journal

UNDsports.com

USCHO

Other notes:

  • UND remains No. 19 in the Pairwise Rankings and in sixth place in the WCHA standings.
  • The team is now 10-3-1 since the Sunday loss at Bemidji State.
  • UND’s top players outproduced Wisconsin’s. Justin Schultz was held without a point and had a minus-1 rating. Mark Zengerle was held to just a second assist and was a minus-2. The Brock Nelson-Corban Knight-Danny Kristo line had two goals, three assists and was plus-2.
  • The game felt much like the contests in the Kohl Center. UND played well enough to win, but the Badgers got fortunate bounces on goals No. 1 and No. 3, and Aaron Dell would like No. 2 back. And just like that, the game was tied.
  • UND coach Dave Hakstol said he wanted his team to play more free-flowing in the third period and he thought they did play well that frame. UND outshot Wisconsin 9-3 in the third.
  • UND has held the Badgers to 17 and 15 shots on goal, respectively, in the last two meetings between the teams.
  • On the winning goal, Zengerle told the Wisconsin State Journal that he tried to lift Steph Pattyn’s stick, but he couldn’t do it. That’s a great play to have a strong stick and be able to finish that one off for Pattyn.
  • Mario Lamoureux obviously made the play happen, showing great poise to hold on to the puck and spot Pattyn backdoor. His feed went through some traffic, too.
  • UND made good use of its timeout with 13:49 left in the third period. The fourth line was stuck out there for an extended period of time and iced the puck. Wisconsin was going to put the Zengerle line out there against a winded fourth line.
  • Derek Forbort made his return to the lineup and the coaches liked what he was doing enough that they felt he could play a regular shift. Then, they moved Joe Gleason up to center the fourth line. When asked about Gleason playing center, Hakstol chuckled a little bit, but said Gleason skated the puck out of the zone 3 or 4 times from behind the net.
  • If Forbort is feeling good today, I’m guessing they will keep Gleason at center. He added a lot to that line.
  • A blog reader mentioned that Dillon Simpson was wearing a sling earlier this week. For Simpson to come back and play the way he did tonight is very impressive. I thought he was very good defensively in addition to his goal.
  • My goalie guesses for the series finale? I’ll say Brad Eidsness gets the call for UND and Joel Rumpel is back in net for the Badgers.
  • The students gave a nod to the Water Bottle Game holding a sign that said: “If you squirt, you will get hurt.”

Gameday final: UND 5, Wisconsin 3

TO ENTER THE LIVE CHAT, click here.

Viewing options: UNDSN, MidcoSN3 (GF 323), Fox College Sports Central, DirecTV 617, FSN Plus. Webcast available at UNDsports.com.

First period

UND 1, Wisconsin 0 — Michael Parks (Carter Rowney) :31. Right off the draw, the puck sits near the dot, Parks walks up and snaps a wrist shot on the fire side of Rumpel.

UND 2, Wisconsin 0 — Danny Kristo (Brock Nelson, Nick Mattson) 4:56 (pp). Nelson carries the puck off the wall to the top of the right circle, holds it until Kristo has a good screen on Rumpel and fires it. The puck goes off of Kristo’s leg for the power-play goal.

UND 2, Wisconsin 1 — Michael Mersch (Tyler Barnes, Mark Zengerle) 6:37 (pp). Zengerle speeds up the right wing and sends a pass across the slot to Barnes, who lifts a backhand that appears to be going wide, but it hits the right knee of Mersch and goes in.

UND 2, Wisconsin 2 — Keegan Meuer (Brendan Woods, Ryan Little) 13:34. Woods is able to get the puck off the end wall and send it to Meuer in the slot. Meuer didn’t get much on the shot, but it fooled Dell.

Second period

UND 3, Wisconsin 2 — Dillon Simpson (Danny Kristo, Nick Mattson) 13:27 (pp). Kristo dishes the puck back to Simpson, who is right in the middle of the ice and blasts a point shot through traffic for his first of the season.

UND 3, Wisconsin 3 — Michael Mersch (Derek Lee, Frankie Simonelli) 16:45. Lee sends a pass to the slot area, where MacMillan easily picks it off, but the puck is rolling, deflects off of MacMillan’s stick, up in the air and in the slot, where Mersch skates in and snaps it five-hole on Dell for a fluky goal.

Third period

UND 4, Wisconsin 3 — Stephane Pattyn (Mario Lamoureux, Joe Gleason) 18:06. Gleason leads a rush up the center of the ice and loses the puck to Lamoureux, who tries to shoot, but it is blocked. The puck comes back to Lamoureux, who finds Pattyn back door for the goal.

UND 5, Wisconsin 3 — Brock Nelson (Andrew MacWilliam, Corban Knight) 19:59 (en). Nelson attempts to clear the puck from his own zone and the puck rolls on end the length of the ice and into the net.

UND’s lines

29 Brock Nelson–10 Corban Knight–7 Danny Kristo
16 Mark MacMillan–27 Carter Rowney–15 Michael Parks
28 Stephane Pattyn–9 Mario Lamoureux–13 Connor Gaarder
8 Dan Senkbeil–(no center)–14 Taylor Dickin

24 Ben Blood–22 Andrew Panzarella
2 Andrew MacWilliam–5 Nick Mattson
18 Dillon Simpson–20 Joe Gleason
4 Derek Forbort

32 Aaron Dell
31 Brad Eidsness
35 Tate Maris

Wisconsin’s lines

16 Joseph LaBate–9 Mark Zengerle–7 Tyler Barnes
8 Matt Paape–23 Derek Lee–25 Michael Mersch
26 Brad Navin–14 Jefferson Dahl–18 Sean Little
21 Brendan Woods–12 Keegan Meuer–20 Ryan Little

27 Frankie Simonelli–6 Justin Schultz
19 Jake McCabe–55 John Ramage
4 Eric Springer–24 Joe Faust

33 Joel Rumpel
30 Landon Peterson

Friday morning reading

The most famous brawl in UND hockey history — the Water Bottle Game — turns 30 years old on Monday. And coincidentally enough, the University of Wisconsin is in town this weekend.

With those stars lining up, I couldn’t help but write about the Water Bottle Game. After all, any time you mention UND vs. Wisconsin, that game/incident is the first thing that comes to mind for people. I chatted with UND associate coach Cary Eades, who played a large role. Read that story here.

Eades says maybe it’s time to bury that game. He mentioned that he seems to be remembered more for that one incident than for his offensive production — and he was one of the program’s most prolific scorers ever (85 goals, 164 points).

Virg Foss, who covered that game for the Herald, mentioned to me that the history between Eades and John Newberry (who squirted Eades with the water bottle) went back to their days in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League.

Anyway, for those who were around, that story should be a stroll down memory lane. And for those who weren’t, maybe there’s some new info there.

This weekend’s series features some of the league’s top players. My story in Thursday’s paper talks about how much UND relies on that top line to produce. There’s a clear-cut difference in their production when UND wins versus when UND loses.

That story also touches on Wisconsin, a team similar to UND in that regard. Wisconsin relies on Hobey Baker Award frontrunner (at least in my mind) Justin Schultz and sophomore forward Mark Zengerle to produce. UND will be aware of those guys.

This week’s Q&A is with Brad Eidsness, who has just a couple of months left in his college career. We’ll see if he can add anything else to his already-impressive resume: Two-time all-WCHA, two MacNaughton Cups, two Broadmoor Trophies, a Frozen Four, an undergraduate degree in business and a master’s in business administration (which he will finish May 15). Yes, he accomplished a bit more than I did in four years of college.

With all of UND’s injuries, junior forward Carter Rowney is emerging as a leader.

On the Wisconsin end, the Badgers are hoping that Tyler Barnes will break through with some goals this weekend. Barnes was strong against UND in the Kohl Center earlier this season.

This week’s episode of Through These Doors is posted here.

I also answered five questions for Bucky’s Fifth Quarter.

Elsewhere around the WCHA…

Michigan Tech at Minnesota-Duluth: Jack Connolly will continue his pursuit of the Hobey Baker Award this weekend against Michigan Tech in AmsOil Arena, where Connolly has become larger than life.

St. Cloud State at/vs. Minnesota: St. Cloud State doesn’t want to have to pull-a-UND and play fewer than 18 skaters this weekend, so it appears that defenseman Jarrod Rabey will be playing up front. The Gophers will likely continue to rely on Jake Parenteau to be a solid, consistent defenseman.

MSU-Mankato at Bemidji State: The Beavers host a team that has given them fits over the years in Mankato. The Free Press has a feature on Johnny McInnis, who says he’s losing his Boston accent and enjoying the Midwest.

Denver at Alaska-Anchorage: Denver starting goalie Sam Brittain, who had surgery over the summer and missed the first half of the season, is on the trip to Anchorage and may start one of the games. Defenseman John Ryder also is back after missing 13 games. Those additions should make Denver even tougher down the stretch.

Toews named to Power 100 list

Former UND star Jonathan Toews is the most powerful hockey player in the world, says Bloomberg Businessweek magazine.

Bloomberg Businessweek made its annual list of the 100 most powerful athletes based on statistics, the popularity and viewing audience of the sport, endorsement earnings and their reach on social media.

Toews is ranked No. 69 overall and is the top hockey player on the list.

The only other hockey players on the list are Daniel Sedin and Tim Thomas.

Check out Toews’ profile and the entire list here.