"We have some unknowns, uncertainties," Colorado College coach Scott Owens said during a preseason teleconference call. "We've got 16 freshmen and sophomores. We are going to try to integrate them into our rotation pretty regularly."

The integration seems to be going pretty well. CC is 3-2-1 overall, 1-1-0 in WCHA so far, tied for seventh place with the Gophers and St. Cloud State. All three have two points. Five of CC's games have been decided by one goal. The sixth was a tie.

The Gophers (3-3, 1-3) play at CC this weekend.

"Our quickness and our speed is upgraded somewhat," Owens said. "Joe Howe, the returning national rookie goalie of the year will backstop us for the majority of the games."

Owens said Howe is a hard worker and mentally strong. "He prepared this spring and summer as if he is just going to build on his first year," Owens said. "Sometimes it is human nature to relax a little bit after a tremendous freshman year when you think you have it figured out.

"But his makeup is a little different. He is going to play very well for us. I like where he is at. We have a very tough first six weeks and we will get a handle on that right away.

Owens said the Tigers hope to have balanced scoring. "We will have to spread out scoring," he said. "We are going to have to be more than a one-line type of team. Get some good balance. We are picked for the middle of the pack and that is probably appropriate."


The Tigers' two top scorers are the Schwartz brothers. Jaden, a freshman center, has four goals and two assists for six points. Rylan, a left winger on Jaden's line has two goals and four assists for six points but he will miss Friday's game because of a suspension. Rylan got a game disqualification against Minnesota State Mankato on Saturday last week, which means he also has to miss CC's next game, too.

Jaden Schwartz was the coaches' and media's preseason pick for Rookie of the Year in the WCHA.

"We have known the family for a while, recruiting Rylan. and then Jaden," Owens said. "So we had a good relationship with the family. And Rylan had a great experience his first year. He was on the WCHA all-rookie team.

"I give Jaden credit. The WHL tried to lure him away. He [was] in the Canadian World Junior camp and I believe he is the only non-major [Canadian] junior A kid [there]. But he is a very impressive young man. He is mature. He is unflappable. And he is his own person. He wants to be down here and wants to contribute to the program and play with his brother. People are really going to enjoy watching him play in our league."

Other coaches maybe not so much.

Another key young players for CC is William Rapuzzi, a sophomore wing from Anchorage, Alaska. He was not feeling well near the end of last season, Owens said, and when the season ended, doctors removed his tonsils and gall bladder.

"He looks much better," Owens said. "He has been able to keep his weight on. He is a guy who will play some power play. He will play with your top six or seven forwards. He has a knack for scoring and we are really counting on him."

* The Tigers have eight freshmen and eight sophomores

* Besides Howe, who played at Wayzata in high school, there are four other Minnesotans on the CC roster: jr. D Gabe Guentzel, son of ex-Gophers coach Mike Guentzel; freshman forward Archie Skalbeck of Hopkins, senior forward Tyler Johnson of Cloquet and freshman forward Mike Morin of Breck.


* The NCAA caps the number of games a Division I team can play at 34, except that games in Alaska do not count toward that limit. It's a way to encourage teams to travel to Alaska. That's why CC is playing 38 games this season. The Tigers played in the Brice Alaska Gold Rush tournament on Oct. 15-16 and play at Alaska Anchorage on Nov. 26-27.

* CC scores so far:

Oct. 8/ RPI, W 2-1

Oct. 9/ RPI, T 2-2

Oct. 15/ Alaska Anchorage, W 4-3

Oct. 16/ Alaska Fairbanks, L 1-2

Oct. 22/ at MSU, Mankato, L 4-5

Oct. 23/ at MSU, Mankato, W 1-0