Tuesday, April 26, 2016

USA Finishes Third at Under-18 Championship

Joey Anderson (Minnesota-Duluth) scored two goals, and Clayton Keller (Boston University) and Casey Mittelstadt finished with three assists apiece, as the United States routed Canada, 10-3, in the bronze medal game of the 2016 IIHF Under-18 World Hockey Championship in Grand Forks, N.D. on Monday. The U.S. medaled for the 12th consecutive time in the tournament, according to IIHF.com.

Jake Oettinger (Boston Unievrsity) finished with 29 saves for the Americans, whose only blemish in the competition was a 4-2 semifinal loss to Finland on Saturday. Finland then defeated Sweden, 6-1, yesterday for the gold medal. Keller, who according to usahockey.com is eligible for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, finished second in overall tournament scoring with four goals and six assists for 10 points in seven outings. He will join Oettinger at BU in the fall.

Oettinger finished with a record of 4-0 in the championship, which saw the U.S. defeat Russia, Sweden, Latvia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic by a combined score of 38-4 in five Group "B" preliminary-round contests from April 14-21 at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Team USA was coached by Danton Cole (Michigan State).

Next year's U18 tournament will be hosted by Slovakia.

Parayko, Blues Oust Blackhawks

Colton Parayko (Alaska Fairbanks) scored his second career postseason goal, and Brian Elliott (Wisconsin) made 31 saves as the St. Louis Blues defeated the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2, in a deciding first-round Game Seven on Monday night in Missouri.

Jaden Schwartz (Colorado College) and Paul Stastny (Denver) had assists for the Blues, who managed to win the series after surrendering a three games-to-one lead. Stastny's assist came on the winning goal by Troy Brouwer with 11:29 remaining in regulation.

The Blackhawks rebounded from an early 2-0 deficit to knot the contest in the second period, as Jonathan Towes (North Dakota) and Duncan Keith (Michigan State) drew assists on the tying goal by Andrew Shaw. Chicago had claimed the Cup in three of the past six seasons (2010, 2013, 2015).

The Blues, who had been eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the past three years, will now face the Dallas Stars, the top seed in the NHL's Western Conference. The Stars eliminated the Minnesota Wild, four games to two, with a 5-4 victory in Game Six in St. Paul on Sunday.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Demko Leaves Boston College for Canucks

And then there were five (gone).

Boston College junior goaltender Thatcher Demko gave up his senior season to sign an entry level contract yesterday with the Vancouver Canucks, who selected him in the second round (36th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Demko, 20, who won the Mike Richter Award this year as the top goaltender in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey, joins Adam Gilmour, Steve Santini, Alex Tuch and Miles Wood as ex-Eagles who signed professional contracts with college eligibility remaining following the end of BC's 2015-16 campaign. Gilmour and Tuch signed with the Minnesota Wild, while Santini and Wood inked deals with the New Jersey Devils and then made their NHL debuts in the Devils’ season finale on April 9 against Toronto.

A San Diego native, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound Demko leaves the Heights after recording a 27-8-4 record with a 1.88 goals-against average, a .935 save percentage, and 10 shutouts in 36 games last season, all career bests. In 98 outings over three seasons, he finished with a mark of 62-26-10 (2.08, .928) with 13 shutouts. 

Demko also backstopped BC to two NCAA Frozen Four appearances, two Hockey East regular-season titles, and two Beanpot Tournament championships in his career. He played his final game for BC in a 3-2 loss to Quinnipiac in an NCAA Frozen Four semifinal on April 7 in Tampa, where he made 27 saves. He stopped 60 of 63 shots combined two weeks prior, against Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth, as the Eagles defeated both to claim the NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester.

The Eagles will return one experienced netminder in the fall in rising freshman Ian Milosz, who posted a win and a tie in two starts against Providence after joining BC at midseason. Sophomore goalie Chris Birdsall is also expected to return, after missing all of last season due to injury. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Two Clubs Back in Contention, One Set to Sweep

Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts) made 28 saves on Monday night as the Los Angeles Kings climbed back into their Western Conference quarterfinal series of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2-1 overtime win at San Jose. The Sharks, who had won the first two games in Los Angeles, now lead the best-of-seven series, two games to one. Game 4 is Wednesday in San Jose.

In Minnesota, the host Wild stormed back from a 2-0 first-period deficit to register a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars yesterday. Erik Haula (Minnesota) had a goal and assist to lead the Wild, while Charlie Coyle (Boston University) picked up an assist. Patrick Sharp (Vermont) scored twice for Dallas, which leads the series, two games to one, and will again try to extend its lead in Game 4 on Wednesday in St. Paul.

Lastly, the Washington Capitals, the NHL's top team during the regular season, tallied five power-play goals to move to the brink of a first-round sweep of the Philadelphia Flyers with a 6-1 triumph in Pennsylvania. Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage) scored the final goal for the Caps, who now lead the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, three games to none, and will look to close it out on Wednesday.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Blues Take Two-to-One NHL Series Lead

Colton Parayko (Alaska Fairbanks) tied the game at a goal apiece in the first period, and Jaden Schwartz (Colorado College) notched the game winner on a power play with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation as the St. Louis Blues edged the host Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2, at the United Center on Sunday afternoon in Game Three of their NHL Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Brian Elliott (Wisconsin) finished with 44 saves for St. Louis, while Kevin Shattenkirk (Boston University) and David Backes (Minnesota State) had one assist apiece. The Blues, who won Game One, 1-0, in overtime at home last week before dropping a 3-2 decision in Game Two to the defending NHL champion Blackhawks, now lead the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoff series, two games to one. Game Four is Tuesday night in Chicago.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tuch Leaves Boston College for NHL's Wild

Alex Tuch has passed up his final two years at Boston College to sign with the Minnesota Wild, who drafted him in the first round (18th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He will not be eligible to participate in this spring’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, but may practice with the team.

A native of Baldwinsville, N.Y., the 6-foot-4, 220-pound right wing led BC in scoring as a freshman in 2014-15 with 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points as the Eagles advanced to the NCAA Tournament. This season, Tuch notched 18-16—34 points, including an overtime goal in the Beanpot Championship game against Boston University in February. 

Tuch also scored a goal in an NCAA Northeast Regional victory over Harvard last month, and collected his final college goal in a Frozen Four semifinal loss a week ago to Quinnipiac. He finishes his two-year college career with 32-30—62 points in 77 outings, and also helped the Eagles to a share of this year’s Hockey East regular-season title.

Prior to enrolling at the Heights, Tuch, 19, tallied 13-19—32 points in 26 outings with the U.S. National Under-18 Team in 2013-14. He becomes the fourth undergraduate with eligibility remaining to leave BC in the past week. Junior defenseman Steve Santini and freshman forward Miles Wood signed with the New Jersey Devils late last week, while junior forward Adam Gilmour preceded Tuch this week with the Wild.  

Former College Players Capture Early Stanley Cup Playoff Spotlight

Former NCAA players starred Wednesday night in all three games on the schedule as the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs got underway.

Jeff Zatkoff (Miami) made 35 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins topped the visiting New York Rangers, 5-2. David Backes (Minnesota State) scored the only goal of the game 9:04 into overtime as the St. Louis Blues edged the defending NHL champion Chicago Blackhawks. Finally, Alex Killorn (Harvard) notched the game-winning goal with just over 11 minutes remaining in regulation as the host Tampa Bay Lightning outlasted the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2.

The conference quarterfinals continue tonight in the east as the Philadelphia Flyers visit the Washington Capitals, and the New York Islanders travel to the Florida Panthers. In the west, the Minnesota Wild drop in on the Dallas Stars, while the San Jose Sharks head south to face off with the Los Angeles Kings.