Friday, February 5, 2016

Spartans Win "Duel in the D"




"D" stands for Detroit, as in the new Iron D trophy.
It also stands for DeBlouw, as in Michigan State forward Matt DeBlouw, whose slapshot from the top of the right circle 3:29 into overtime Friday night lifted the Spartans (7-18-2 overall, 3-8-0-0 Big Ten) to a  3-2 victory over fifth-ranked archrival Michigan at Joe Louis Arena.

MSU has now won two of its last three games, all in Big Ten play, while Michigan, which had been averaging five goals per game, saw its four-game winning streak snapped.
Joe Cox broke a scoreless tie 10:41 into the second period when he connected on penalty shot for the Spartans. The Wolverines (16-4-4, 7-2-2-1) rebounded just over six minutes later when Tyler Motte sped away to score on MSU goaltender Jake Hildebrand (40 saves) on the stick side.

Motte later put U-M up, 2-1, on a shot from the slot just over nine minutes into the third stanza. Cox responded just under four minutes later, snapping home a shot from the left side. DeBlouw then won it in the extra session when he blasted the puck off the far post and past Michigan netminder Steve Racine (38 saves).

The Spartans claim the inaugural 50-pound Iron D trophy that will be awarded to the winner of the annual “Duel in the D” contest between MSU and U-M. Tonight's game marked the 308th meeting in series history, with No. 309 scheduled for Saturday night at MSU's Munn Ice Arena in East Lansing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Tim Alexander 1957-2016


I knew Tim Alexander when I worked in communications for the North American Hockey League in Michigan 16 years ago and he was coaching the Cleveland Barons Junior ‘A’ franchise. I always liked him, and he always treated me well.

Tim accomplished quite a bit in hockey before he passed away from pancreatic cancer last week at age 58. He played four seasons at Bowling Green State University (1976-1980), tallying 17 goals and 22 assists for 39 points in 37 games as a senior under head coach Jerry York, according to hockeydb.com.

Born in Canada, he also led the Falcons to three Central Collegiate Hockey Association tournament titles, two CCHA regular-season championships, and three NCAA Tournament berths, including a third-place national finish as a sophomore under head coach Ron Mason, according to USCHO.com. The Falcons defeated visiting Colorado College in a two-game, total goals quarterfinal round series before falling to Boston College in a semifinal matchup in Providence, and then edged Wisconsin in the consolation contest. His teammates at BGSU included future NHL players George McPhee and Brian MacLellan, plus long-time Michigan State assistant coach Tom Newton.

After college and a short professional playing stint with Dayton (IHL), Tim embarked on a long career coaching at multiple levels in the Barons organization. He also returned to his collegiate alma mater as an assistant coach in 2001-02 before going back to the Barons, and in all coached hockey for over 30 years in the Cleveland area while sending numerous players on to junior, college and pro hockey. He leaves behind a wife, Sandi, and a son, Jarrett.


Rest in peace, Tim, and thanks.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

BC, BU to Meet for All the Beans in 2016


It'll be Eagles and Terriers again next Monday (weather permitting) next week at TD Garden.

Boston College and Boston University advanced to the 64th Beanpot Tournament title game after posting wins in the semifinal round yesterday. The fourth-ranked Eagles came back to edge No. 7 Harvard, 3-2, in the opener, while the No. 9  Terriers outlasted Northeastern, 3-1, in the nightcap.

Colin White's second-period power-play goal stood up as the game-winner in BC's victory, after the Crimson had taken a 2-1 lead in the first period by scoring on its first two shots on goal of the game.

Sean Maguire, who was a medical redshirt last season, made 24 saves in net for BU as the Terriers jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then held off the Huskies with a late empty-net goal.

BU won last year's Beanpot title, and has a record 30 crowns to its credit. BC had won the previous five Beanpots, and will be seeking its 20th ring since the tournament commenced in 1952. It will be the 22nd championship game meeting between the two Hockey East Association and MBTA Green Line rivals, and first since 2012 when BC won, 3-2, in overtime en route to the NCAA title.

Harvard last won the Beanpot in 1989, the last year the Crimson also won the national title. that title came one year after Northeastern claimed its last Beanpot crown in 1988.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Scott Stars at NHL All-Star Goings-On in Nashville


John Scott (Michigan Tech) is an NHL All-Star Captain. Deal with it.

Scott was seen on the bench in his black NHL All-Star jersey during Saturday night's NHL All-Star Skills competition in Nashville. Other players were dressed in their NHL team jerseys, but career enforcer Scott right now is a man without an NHL club, and toiling once more in the minor leagues where he has played more than 175 regular-season games.

No matter.

Hockey fans know the recent story of Scott, who skated with the MTU Huskies from 2002 to 2006. Voted into the All-Star Game this year by NHL fans despite having just one point in 11 games with the Arizona Coyotes, and just five goals and 11 points in 289 all-time NHL appearances,  the league asked the eight-year NHL veteran to decline the invitation. He didn't, was subsequently traded to Montreal, and then shipped to the AHL, pregnant wife notwithstanding.

The NHL, however, eventually relented—and Scott, an Edmonton native who holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from MTU and had originally told fans to vote for his Arizona teammates, enjoyed the festivities and media attention this week in preparation for the four division, 3-on-3 competition as captain of the Pacific Division. He took part in the Hardest Shot competition, topping out at just over 95 mph.

His personally-penned tale at The Players' Tribune is well worth reading.  Besides taking a stand, he's just about also made what is normally a meaningless, defense-less exhibition contest must-see TV.

More than a few people in Houghton, Mich. must be happy.

ADDENDUM: Scott scored two goals in a 9-6 win over the Central Division, and was later named All-Star Game MVP, winning a new 2016 Honda Pilot Touring SUV. In addition, he earned his share of $1 million after the Pacific Division outlasted the Atlantic Division, 1-0, in the title game on a Corey Perry goal. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound Scott also got a literal lift from some of his teammates, including Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin).

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Connor, Motte on Scoring Streaks as Michigan Visits MSG


University of Michigan leading scorer Kyle Connor tallied five points in his last game, a 7-4 win at Penn State on Thursday. It was the second time this season the freshman has accomplished that feat, and he'll try to do so again tonight when the Wolverines face the Nittany Lions again in a Big Ten matchup at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Connor, a Shelby Township, Mich. native who prepped with Youngstown (USHL), currently leads Michigan with 20 goals and 21 assists for 41 points through 22 NCAA games. He has recorded nine points over his last two contests, and is on an 11-game scoring streak in which he has collected 15-1429 points. He also had two assists in a 5-2 exhibition victory over the U.S. Under-18 Team on Jan. 21 in Ann Arbor.

Michigan junior forward Tyler Motte, who has 20 goals and 33 points so far this season, has five points in each of his last two appearances, including an 8-6 win over Ohio State on Jan. 17. He is on a personal six-game scoring string (9-817 points).

Michigan (15-3-4 overall, 6-1-2-1 Big Ten) ranks sixth overall in the nation, while Penn State (16-6-3, 6-3-0-0) is 15th nationally. The Wolverines last played at MSG in Nov. 2012, when they fell to Cornell, 5-1.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Horcoff Suspended for 20 NHL Games


Some bad news today for former Michigan State forward Shawn Horcoff, who is now with the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. Horcoff has been suspended by the NHL for 20 games without pay this season, for violating the NHL/NHLPA Performance Enhancing Substances Program.

The specifics are at NHL.com. The British Columbia native allegedly took an undisclosed medication to speed up healing from an injury he suffered in the fall.

Horcoff has recorded 186 goals and 320 assists for 506 points in 994 career NHL regular-season games with Edmonton, Dallas and Anaheim since turning pro for the 2000-01 campaign. He has also totaled 11-18—29 points in 41 Stanley Cup playoff contests, and helped Edmonton to within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Horcoff skated for MSU from 1996 to 2000, collecting 50-102—152 points in 155 outings with the Spartans. He also led them to two CCHA regular-season titles, two CCHA Tournament crowns, and four NCAA Tournament berths, including a Frozen Four appearance in 1999. He was also a First Team All-America selection and a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist as a senior when he notched a nation-high 51 assists out of his 65 total points.   

Saturday, January 23, 2016

BC's York Earns 1,000th Career Win



Boston College head coach Jerry York is now a millennium man.

York (BC'67) earned his 1,000th career coaching victory in college hockey on Friday night in BC's 8-0 win at Hockey East opponent Massachusetts. The Eagles got goals from eight different players, and 20 saves from goaltender Thatcher Demko before a crowd of 4,673 at the Mullins Center in Amherst.

York's overall record now stands at 1,000-595-108 in 44 seasons, including his previous head coaching stints at Clarkson and Bowling Green. He can also claim a 533-260-74 mark in 22 campaigns at his alma mater, including four of his five NCAA championships.

The fourth-ranked Eagles (16-4-3 overall, 9-1-3 HEA) return to conference action tonight (weather pending) at home against Connecticut. According to BCEagles.com, York will be publicly honored for his 1,000th win prior to BC's home game on Feb. 5 against New Hampshire.