Although it has been less than three years since the city of Pittsburgh was awarded the bid to host the 2013 Men’s Frozen Four, the wheels for the opportunity have been turning for almost 10 years.
In the fall of 2003, Robert Morris announced it was adding Division I men’s ice hockey and then named Derek Schooley head coach. Just a short time later, members of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ staff had an idea and invited Schooley and the Robert Morris athletic administration for a Penguins game at its venue at the time, Mellon Arena.
“They asked us about hosting the Frozen Four in Mellon Arena,” Schooley said. “We told them we would love to be involved, but at that time the arena was outdated and we felt it wasn’t capable of hosting the Frozen Four, so the conversations quickly ended.”
Five years later, ground was broken for the CONSOL Energy Center, and the conversation was re-ignited. The bid was submitted before the building was finished, and they received word they had won the bid a month before the building’s first event.
“This is a tremendous event for the venue, the city of Pittsburgh and for Robert Morris,” Schooley said. “Being the host will give us name recognition across the country not only our hockey program, but for our entire University community as well.”
For the host hockey team, the season has gotten off to a good start as it split its two-game opening series on the road against No. 18 Quinnipiac. The win was a 4-0 shutout, marking the first blanking of a nationally ranked team in school history.
“We are a young team with 11 new players in the lineup,” Schooley said. “Any time you graduate a big class it is a good thing and a bad thing. It’s bad because you obviously lose a ton of experience and have a young team, but it’s good because you have a lot of new blood and new energy and there is a certain level of excitability that goes with it.”
• Before Saturday’s game against Holy Cross, Clarkson will honor former Golden Knight All-American and National Hockey League standout Craig Conroy by retiring his No. 7 jersey. A Potsdam, N.Y. native, Conroy ranks as one of the Green and Gold’s all-time leading scorers with 167 points (63 goals, 104 assists) in 140 games from 1990-94. He was runner-up for the 1994 Hobey Baker Award and earned All-America honors in his senior campaign. After playing on Clarkson teams that posted four consecutive 20-plus-win seasons, made three NCAA tournaments and captured one ECAC regular-season championship and two conference tournament titles, Conroy moved to the NHL where he skated in 1,009 games during his 17-year career — 507 of those games in a Calgary Flames uniform. Conroy, along with two other former Golden Knight hockey greats – Tom Hurley 1966 and Bill Blackwood 1978 — are part of Clarkson’s 2012 Athletic Hall of Fame class that will be inducted Saturday.
• Minnesota head coach Don Lucia currently needs just one more victory to reach the 600-win mark. The Gophers, who are 2-0 on the season, head to Houghton, Mich., for a weekend series against Michigan Tech. Lucia owns a 599-328-83 career record and is 320-173-54 in 14 years at the helm of Minnesota, while also putting together records of 166-68-18 in eight seasons at Colorado College and 113-87-10 in six years at Alaska Fairbanks. He would be the fourth active Division I coach to reach the mark, joining Boston College’s Jerry York, Boston University’s Jerry Parker and Michigan’s Red Berenson.
• Three players are closing in on becoming college hockey’s next members of the century club. North Dakota’s Corban Knight has 97 career points in 120 career games and would be the 84th player in program history to reach the 100-point plateau. St. Cloud State senior Drew LeBlanc, who redshirted 2011-12, returned to action on Oct. 12 with an assist against New Hampshire and now has 98 career points, which includes 29 goals and 69 assists in 131 career games. Boston College Senior captain Pat Mullane has 97 points — 26 goals and 71 assists — in 126 career games. He is three points shy of becoming the 99th player in school history and the 24th player under coach Jerry York to reach the 100-point plateau.
The RIT-Penn State game scheduled for Saturday at Blue Cross Arena (capacity 10,556 fans) is officially sold out. It is the third consecutive season that RIT has sold out Blue Cross Arena for its annual Brick City Homecoming and Family Weekend game. RIT typically plays in Ritter Arena, which holds 2,100 fans. … On Friday, RIT will be breaking ground on the Gene Polisseni Center, a new hockey facility on campus which is slated to hold between 4,000-4,500 fans and will be ready for the 2014-15 season. … New Hampshire head coach Dick Umile captured his 500th career win with a 5-3 victory against St. Cloud State. Umile became the 12th Division I coach all-time with 500 wins and is one of just six active coaches with 500 career wins. Additionally, he became just the eighth coach in Division I history to win 500 games at one program. … North Dakota senior defenseman Andrew MacWilliam leads all active WCHA players with 122 games played and ranks fourth nationally behind Michigan forwards Kevin Lynch (130) and A.J. Treais (128), and Miami (Ohio) defenseman Joe Hartman (124). … Minnesota-Duluth will engage in its first road activity of 2012-13 with a pair of non-conference outings against Notre Dame. It’s the Bulldogs’ first trip to South Bend, Ind., since Feb. 8-9, 1980. … With its trip to the Brice Alaska Goal Rush this weekend, North Dakota is making its first trip to Fairbanks, Alaska, since current head coach Dave Hakstol was a senior co-captain in 1991. … Colorado College hosts UMass-Lowell on Saturday in a homecoming for River Hawk head coach Norm Bazin, who used to be an assistant coach with the Tigers. … St. Cloud State will host Alabama-Huntsville in a game which will be a homecoming of sorts for SCSU’s 2012-13 scoring leader, junior forward Nic Dowd, who is from Huntsville, Ala. … This weekend, Miami (Ohio) hosts Providence in a series for the first time since 1999-2000 when Enrico Blasi was in his first year at the helm for the Redhawks. … Lake Superior State heads to Bemidji State to face a Western Collegiate Hockey Association opponent for the final time during the regular season.
|Oct. 19||Minnesota at Michigan Tech||FS North||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 20||Minnesota at Michigan Tech||FS North||7 p.m.|
|Oct. 20||Boston U. at New Hampshire||FOX College||7 p.m.|