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Coulee Region’s McDonald commits to Air Force

November 12, 2010 – NAHL.com

The Coulee Region Chill has announced that defenseman Mike McDonald has committed to the Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey) for next season.

McDonald, a 19-year-old from Mahtomedi, Minn., has a goal and three assists through 11 games this season.

“Mike worked hard this offseason to improve his footwork and quickness, and his dedication and hard work paid off,” said Chill head coach Garrett Strot. “Air Force is not only getting a quality player, but a quality individual as well.”

McDonald is the sixth player skating in the NAHL this season to hold a commitment to Air Force.

See the rest of the NAHL commitments here.

Chill’s first home win is a keeper

LaCrosse Tribune | Joel Badzinski | Saturday, November 6, 2010

ONALASKA – Paul Moberg is going to keep the puck, and the Coulee Region Chill definitely will take the win.

Moberg stopped 22 shots for his first NAHL shutout in 53 games – he was the starter for North Iowa last season – and the Chill won their first game on home ice, defeating the Alexandria Blizzard 1-0 at the OmniCenter.

"I got the puck," Moberg said. "I thought about giving it away, but not this one."

The teams combined for 14 goals Friday as Alexandria used six power play goals to win 8-6. It was a completely different game Saturday. Instead of struggling on the penalty kill, the Chill held the Blizzard scoreless on six power plays while Mickey Knox scored the game's only goal on a short-handed rush.

"We weren't taking stupid penalties; we were more disciplined, and we took care of ourselves rather than worrying about the other team," Coulee Region coach Garrett Strot said.

Moberg gave up five goals Friday before being replaced by Aaron Davis in the third period. He bounced back in a hurry.

"I just knew I could play better," Moberg said. "We just figured sometime I'm going to get the bounces. The last couple of weekends things definitely were not in our favor, but I just kept my head in it."

Moberg said the team studied video of Friday's game, and except for a rash of penalties, didn't see anything that worried them too much.

"We made some dumb mistakes, simple mistakes," Moberg said. "We were pretty focused going in, and that was huge."

The game was deadlocked 0-0 through two periods, with Moberg and Alexandria goalie Jake Williams (28 saves) matching stops.

Coulee Region got the edge on a penalty kill in the third period. Defenseman Eric Drapluk got control of the puck in his own zone and chipped it ahead, starting a 2-on-1 for Zac Frischmon and Micky Knox. Frischmon held the puck until the defenseman committed and slid it over to Knox, who tucked it under Williams.

"Me and Zac have good chemistry," Knox said. "It was a great pass; he gift-wrapped that one for me."

Coulee Region had another goal waved off with five minutes left. The officials said the net was off, and Strot agreed after the game.

The Blizzard pulled Williams for a sixth attacker with 1:13 left in the third period. Moberg and the Chill withstood several rushes to the net, then got to celebrate their first home win since the team moved from Mason City this past spring.

"It was great to work hard and give our fans a win," Moberg said.

Five members of the Chill selected for the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) has announced the rosters for next month’s Top Prospects Tournament, sponsored by SBK Hockey, which will be held from Dec. 5-7 at the Iorio Ice Arena in Walpole, Mass.  Five Chill representatives were selected including: leading scorer #19 Zac Frischmon, assist leader #10 Connor Gaarder. defenseman #7 Matt Blomquist, and goaltender #30 Paul Moberg.  Coulee Region Head Coach Garrett Strot has also been selected as one of the Coaches of Team Weight, one of the four teams in the tournament.

At the event, the four teams, named in recognition of four prominent NAHL alumni and comprised of the NAHL’s top committed and un-committed college players, will play a three-game round robin.  For more details on the Top Prospects Tournament, including the schedule, tickets and scout information, visit www.nahltopprospects.com.

Bittersweet home opener for the Chill

Over 1700 fans came out to cheer for the new team in town as the Chill took the ice for the first time in the Onalaska Omni Center this weekend.  However the Chill were not able to give the win that would have made this opener shine.

Friday started out well holding 0-0 through the first period, but then penalty trouble in the second gave Aberdeen the chance to put some away.  The Chill’s Lucas Dillon, Andrew Pitts and Conner Gaarder had a couple good chances but could not get them in and the Wings won 3-0 on Friday night.

Saturday’s hunt for the net ended in an exciting second period for the 700 fans when Scott Bell tipped in Gaarder’s shot putting the Chill on the board.  Thirty seconds later, Zac Frischmon slipped past the Aberdeen Goalie’s lower left side to bring the Chill within one of the Wings.   Next was David Mylrea at eleven minutes into the second to even the score at 3-3.  Then a go ahead goal by Frischmon redirected from Matt Bloomquist’s shot at the point.

In the third, Aberdeen was able to tie up the game and force the OT four on four.  The Chill had posession for most of the five OT minutes, but could not avoid the shootout.  In the end the Chill were upset 2-1 in the shootout, losing two this weekend against the Wings.

Chill split with Bobcats and retain first place.

Although outshot 39-23, the Chill were able to hold on to their first place lead in the NAHL Central Division.  Zac Frischmon’s goal in the second period started the Chill in the lead and a third period tiebreaker by Berkley Scott gave them the win.

Similar story on Saturday, but this game did not end the same as Bismarck defeated the Coulee Region 3-1.   The game was tied 1-1 in the second period on another goal by Frischmon, but the Bobcats took advantage of the power play and went ahead with three minutes left in the second period.   One more with five minutes left in the third finished the game.

The Chill come off the split this weekend and get right to work for their 3 week home stretch including the home opener this weekend against the Aberdeen Wings.   Don’t miss it.

On the road again…one more time before home opener

The Chill are in Bismarck this weekend to defend their first place spot in the NAHL Central Division against the 2009-10 NAHL Playoff Champion Bismarck Bobcats on Friday and Saturday.  The Bobcats are currently in the number two spot just behind the Chill and will certainly looking to take the lead away from them.  Should make for some great hockey this weekend.

While the team is away, work continues at home to get ready for the first home stand next week against the Aberdeen Wings.   The excitement of what is to come drives the Chill staff to finish up the details before the first OmniCenter face off on October 29th

Be sure to catch the action this weekend on FastHockey.com or ESPN Radio (LaCrosse) and come out to catch the action live at home next weekend.

Chill split with Wings in Aberdeen.

Friday night, the Chill trailed 2-1 through two periods, until taking back the lead early in the third period as Matt Blomquist and David Ripple scored 57 seconds apart. Zac Frischmon made it 4-2 with a short-handed goal at the 7:09 mark.

The Chill entered the game ranked second in the NAHL in penalty killing (94.1 percent).               All five Wings power plays were put down by the Chill along with scoring two short-handed goals, the other by Ben Jaremko in the first period.

Saturday's game started off so nicely for the Chill, but then turned around as Wings rallied in the second. 

The Chill scored three goals to start, but Aberdeen scored the next five and held off a Coulee Region comeback for a 6-4 victory.

The series split puts the Chill record at 6-1-1, still holding on to the lead in the NAHL Central division.  Followed closely by last year's NAHL Champion Bismarck Bobcats which they will face next on Oct. 22nd in Bismarck.

Extra work on defense sets up scoring for veteran Chill trio

La Crosse Tribune | Joel Badzinski | Thursday, October 7, 2010

ONALASKA – Coulee Region Chill coach Garrett Strot knows all too well that some forwards couldn't find their team's end of the ice even with a GPS installed in their helmets.

That's why Strot appreciates the work Connor Gaarder, Berkley Scott and Zac Frischmon have done in the early portion of this season.

The veteran trio not only lead the Chill (5-0-1) in scoring but in plus-minus ratings, which reveals how many even-strength goals a team has scored or given up with a specific player on the ice.

"You have guys who are high-end scorers, and that's all," Strot said. "These guys play both ends. They take pride in their plus-minus and are really conscious of that part of it."

Gaarder has scored 10 points (three goals, seven assists) and is a plus-six; Scott (3-3-6) and Frischmon (4-2-6) are plus-five.

"All this success starts in the defensive zone," Gaarder said. "If you're doing your job there and in the offensive zone, points will come."

The three played on a line together for the Chill's first six games but have been split up for this weekend's series at Aberdeen (S.D.) as Strot continues to look at combinations.

"Plus-minus is a big deal to us," Frischmon said. "Coaches, especially at the next level, are looking for players who can play well not only offensively but defensively. It's just one more thing that adds to your game and separates you from the next guy."

Strot insists on defensive awareness from all five skaters on the ice, so Chill forwards know they have to help out in their own end. What Gaarder, Scott and Frischmon have done is take that philosophy to the next level.

"They're such determined players," Strot said. "They've been playing through the puck, not just to it, on defense. At the (NAHL) Showcase, an NHL scout said he'd never seen Berkley work that hard, and he was right. Berkley was backchecking, blocking shots."

Scott, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound wing, was acquired by the Chill from Alaska this past August to add size and scoring punch. His defensive awareness has fit right in, too.

"We all have to earn our spots," said Scott, who scored 30 points and was plus-seven for the Avalanche. "You can't just expect to be in the lineup and play. We all have to go 110 percent here every day."

Gaarder and Frischmon both played for North Iowa, which relocated to Onalaska, in 2009-10. The team went 15-37-6 as Gaarder (minus-six) and Frischmon (minus-34) played their first seasons of junior hockey.

"Everybody says defense wins championships," Frischmon said. "That's obviously what we're looking for. We want to succeed as a team as well as individually, and that'll get everybody more attention and a better chance to move on."

PAUL'S WALL: Chill goaltender Paul Moberg ranks third in save percentage (.946) and sixth in goals against average (1.93) in the NAHL. Strot said Moberg, a second-year junior player, has been contacted by a number of NCAA Division I schools, led by Air Force, Canisius and Michigan Tech. The National Letter of Intent early signing period is Nov. 10-17.