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Preseason Top 16: #12 Denver


Last Season

The Pioneers had to do without stalwart goalie Sam Brittain for much of the year, but it did not hinder them too much as they mounted a late charge, winning 6 of their final 8 WCHA games to finish third in the league. Denver then advanced to their second straight WCHA championship game before losing to North Dakota in a rematch of the 2011 game. They then lost their first NCAA tournament game to Ferris State

It was the best of times….

During that aforementioned stretch when the Pioneers needed to make up points in a hurry to improve their WCHA position and they did just that, sweeping Minnesota an...

Preseason Top 16: #13 Ohio State

Last Season

The Buckeyes burst out of the gates, going 14-4-1 in 2011 but just 1-11-4 the rest of the way (you read that correctly). Their season culminated with a first round CCHA playoff loss to Notre Dame

It was the best of times….

These next two sections should be fairly easy. The Buckeyes had a 11 game unbeaten streak from October 21 to December 3rd, tying in only one of those games.

It was the worst of times…

Pretty much the entire second half of the season was a disaster for Ohio State, suffering through a 11 game winless streak. Other than a February 11 win over Western Michigan...

Preseason Top 16: #14 Miami

 

Last Season

Miami was once again one of the preseason favorites to make the Frozen Four, but finished 4th in the CCHA (though they did allow fewer goals than any other team in the conference). Miami made the CCHA tournament semifinals, but lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to UMass-Lowell.

It was the best of times….

When Miami finished the regular season with a six game winning streak. The last four of those were wins over Ohio State and Michigan State that helped the Redhawks to their fourth place finish in the league. The winning streak stretched to 8 with two wins over Michigan State in...

St. Lawrence Has An Awesome New Locker Room

(pic via College Hockey Inc)

 

We'll return to the Preseason top 16 starting next week, but for now we have some more aesthetically pleasing news. St. Lawrence plays in Appleton Arena, which is one of the most classic arenas in all of college hockey. It is also one of the oldest out there, opening in 1951. It went through renovations in the 70s, 80s, 90s and now the Saints hockey team will have a brand new locker room to call home starting in 2012, and boy is it sweet.

The Saints finished 8th in ECAC Hockey last year, and with most of their best players being underclassmen they can possibly get back ...

Preseason Top 16: #15 St. Cloud State

Last Season

The Huskies stumbled out of the blocks, losing three of their first four games, and spent most of the WCHA regular season alternating wins and losses. They tied Minnesota Duluth on the last day of the WCHA season, giving them one more point than Nebraska Omaha, which let them earn the 6 seed and home ice advantage. That home ice advantage proved vital as they swept the Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs before losing their first Final Five game to North Dakota.

It was the best of times….

When the Huskies went on a 3-0-1 run to first lock up home ice advantage in the first round of the WCHA pla...

Preseason Top 16: #16 Lake Superior State

The preseason top 16 is back! For those of you new to the rankings, I stick with 16 teams because 16 teams make the NCAA Tournament. Today we lead off the rankings with our #16 team, the Lake Superior State Lakers

Last Season

The Lakers burst out of the gates with 7 wins in their first 8 games, including sweeps over Michigan State and perennial CCHA power Miami. With a surprising offensive attack, the Lakers were ranked among the nation's elite. But as the offense dried up, so did the wins: Lake State finished 8th in the CCHA in scoring offense, scoring just 2.54 goals per game. And after a tremendous Freshman season by goaltender Ke...

Jon Merrill Returning to Michigan

 

Michigan star Jon Merrill is returning to school, according to the Detroit News. The 2010 2nd round pick of the New Jersey Devils was suspended for much of last season by the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Merrill had 11 points (2 goals) in 19 games last year as a Wolverine and helped them earn a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament.  Merrill said a big reason for coming back is that when he signs a pro contract he wants to be sure he is NHL ready and not have to spend much time in the minors, and while it is never a bad thing for a great talent to want to play college hockey, this is probably a bad move by him. He's already proven he can...

Early 2012-13 Hobey Baker Award Big Board

 

 

Last year Minnesota-Duluth Senior Jack Connolly became the fifth Bulldog to win the Hobey Baker Award, rising above a group of very talented hockey players. Although he did not run away with the award, the fact that there were a number of worthy potential winners means only good things for the talent level in college hockey. This year is no different: there are a few players who first come to mind when thinking of potential Hobey winners, but no one favorite. But even though there is no favorite, there still needs to be a Big Board. Here is the first look at the leading contenders for college hockey's player of the year, the Hobey Baker Award:(no...

2012 NHL Draft Liveblog presented by TCL

As the 2012 NHL Entry Draft takes place in Pittsburgh, follow along in The Checking Line's liveblog! 

There will be plenty of discussion between readers and writers about trades, picks, and prospects. Chat away as the time ticks down before your favorite team's selection.

The live blog will open at 6:30 p.m. and run until the draft ends, or until the commentary stops! 

 

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TCL And Grinder Threads Draft Week Sale: 30% Off Everything!

Heading to a draft or NHL free agency day party with nothing to wear? Fret not, The Checking Line and Grinder Threads have you covered as we enter summer!

In celebration of one of the most wonderful times of the year for hockey fans, we're offering our readers a 30% discount on everything in the Grinder Threads store! T-shirts, hoodies, you name it, you've got it at almost a third the cost. Those fancy TCL-branded t-shirts (in black AND fancy bright red) and sweaters we keep bragging about? They can be yours for next to nothing

Just click the link, brows...