Monday, December 31, 2012

USA Routs Slovakia to Stay Alive in WJC

Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau (pictured) scored two goals to help the United States to a 9-3 victory over Slovakia at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia in its final game of the preliminary round, according to The victory prevents the U.S. from heading to the WJC relegation round for the second consecutive year.

Current NCAA players who also scored against Slovakia included Cole Bardreau (Cornell), Jake McCabe (Wisconsin), Mike Reilly (Minnesota)and Jacob Trouba (Michigan). Jimmy Vesey (Harvard) had three assists. Trouba has now tallied a goal in three consecutive contests, including Team USA's only goals in back-to-back 2-1 losses to Russia and Canada.

The Americans defeated Germany, 8-0, to begin the tournament on Dec. 27, and finished with two wins and two losses in the preliminary round. The U.S. will enter the quarterfinal round as the No. 3 seed in Group B, and will face the Czech Republic on Jan. 2 in its next outing. The game will be televised live on the NHL  Network at 4 a.m., and then replayed at 5:30 p.m.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

York Now All-Time Winningest College Coach

Boston College men's hockey head coach and alumnus Jerry York earned his 925th career victory today in the Eagles' 5-2 win over Alabama-Huntsville in the first round of the Mariucci Classic in Minneapolis.

The win puts him one victory ahead of Ron Mason, who compiled 924 career wins with Lake Superior, Bowling Green and Michigan State from 1966 to 2002. York, who also coached at Bowling Green and led the Falcons to the 1984 NCAA title, began his coaching career at Clarkson and later returned to his alma mater in 1994. He has since guided BC to four national championships (2001, 2008, 2010, 2012).

York will lead the Eagles, currently ranked No. 1 in the Division I ranks,  against Mariucci host Minnesota on Saturday. The Golden Gophers defeated Air Force, 4-0, on Saturday.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Broadwater Backs Hobart to Top of ECAC West

Recently profiled Hobart College senior goaltender Nick Broadwater for He's 8-1-2 so far this season, and has led the Statesmen to the No. 4 ranking in NCAA Division III. Story can be found here.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

U.S. Begins 2013 World Juniors Thursday

The 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship gets underway Thursday morning for the U.S. National Junior Team in Ufa, Russia against Germany. The Americans went 1-1 in preliminary play, edging Sweden, 3-2, in overtime on Dec. 20 before getting pasted two days later by Finland, 5-1.

According to, Wisconsin sophomore defenseman Jake McCabe has been named captain of the 2013 U.S. National Junior Team, while alternates will include Cornell sophomore forward Cole Bardreau and Michigan freshman defenseman Jacob Trouba.

The U.S. is looking to improve upon last year's showing in Alberta, when it finished out of the medal running at 1-3-0 overall, and was dropped to the relegation pool, where it finished with a 3-0 mark. 

This year's final U.S World Junior roster features 13 current collegians out of a total of 24 players.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

All About Princeton

 My latest story for New York Hockey Journal celebrated Princeton, New Jersey, where I've watched a lot of games over the last 12  years, as a hockey town. The entire article can be found online at the NYHJ web site.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rest in Peace and God Bless

Thoughts and prayers today to the people of Newtown, Connecticut, and especially those young lives that were lost this past Friday - far, far too soon.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Norwich Still No. 1 in Division III

Norwich continues to remain ranked atop the Division III men's hockey ladder with a 10-0-0 mark. The Cadets stayed unbeaten with a 1-0 win at Plattsburgh on Saturday.

A wrap-up of last week's Division III action and some of the national stat leaders can be found here at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Farrell Pacing Neumann from Knights' Blueline

I recently profiled Neumann University senior defenseman Scott Farrell for, who is tied for the Knights' team scoring lead with eight points, with all four of his goals coming on the power play

The Farrell story can be found here. Neumann skated to a 2-2 non-conference tie at Morrisville on Friday, and is now 4-4-2 overall (2-4-0 ECAC West). The rematch between the Knights and Mustangs (1-11-2 overall) is Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

York Just One Win Away from History

One more win.

That's all it will take for Boston College head coach Jerry York, who has already led the Eagles to four national titles, to become the winningest coach in the history of college hockey. York is currently tied with former Michigan State legend Ron Mason, now retired 10 years from his last game, with 924 wins. York can reach 925 victories on Friday with a win at Providence.

It would have been nice if the Eagles could have swept rival Boston University last weekend so that York could have broken the mark on Saturday at home - but following a Friday road loss, at least he got to tie the record at BC's Conte Forum.

York, a 1967 BC graduate, All-American, and three-year hockey letterman, is in his 41st college coaching campaign, following previous stints with Clarkson and Bowling Green. He also won a national championship at BGSU in 1984. Ten years later, he was back home at the Heights, and after three non-descript seasons, has been rolling almost ever since.

According to, York is 924-559-94 so far for his career, including a 457-224-60 mark in 19 seasons at his alma mater. Since taking the reins at BC in 1994, he's led the Eagles to 15 NCAA tournament berths, 13 Frozen Four appearances, eight national title games, and four NCAA crowns, including last spring in Tampa.

All he needs now, for right now, is just one more win to stake his claim as the best of all time; and then, like Mason before him, he'll just keep adding to his legendary total with each additional victory.

Not bad for a kid from Watertown, Mass.

ADDENDUM (12/07): Providence tied BC, 3-3, on a goal with less than 11 seconds remaining in regulation time. York's next chance for No. 925 will come on Dec. 29 when the Eagles face Alabama-Huntsville in the first round of the Mariucci Clasic in Minneapolis.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Educate Schooling Utica's Opponents

Recently profiled sophomore forward Louis Educate of Utica College for He leads the 10th-ranked Pioneers with eight goals and eight assists for 16 points so far following his off-season transfer from Nichols College, and is also one of the top scorers in NCAA Division III.

Story can be found here, in the ECAC West section.

Utica (6-2-0 overall, 3-2-0 ECAC West) will host Buffalo State on Saturday night at the 4,000-seat Utica Memorial Auditorium. The Pioneers defeated No. 8 Amherst, 4-3, in their most recent game on Nov. 24.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Michigan's Struggles Continue in Loss to Cornell at MSG

Michigan shouldn’t be a ranked team right now. And after Saturday’s 5-1 loss to Cornell at The Frozen Apple at Madison Square Garden, odds are pretty good that, despite their reputation, it won’t be any more come next week.
The No. 19 Wolverines have struggled this season, and struggled against the No. 13 Big Red, who ended Michigan’s 2011-12 campaign in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This time, Cornell (4-3-2) just looked stronger and faster at the World’s Most Famous Arena as they took it to the Wolverines (5-7-1) , who had snapped  a three-game losing streak Wednesday night with a win against Bowling Green.

Michigan had some chances on Saturday in Manhattan—but when they did, it was Cornell goaltender Andy Iles turning them away. The Ithaca native made 26 stops in his 45th straight start as Cornell got two goals and an assist from senior forward Greg Miller in winning its first game at MSG in three tries.
The Big Red, which has eight NHL draftees among its ranks, ousted the Wolverines in OT in the NCAA Midwest Regional last spring. Saturday’s game wasn’t nearly that close.

Michigan is breaking in new goaltenders this fall, true—but goaltending isn’t the root of all the Maize and Blue’s problems. The Wolverines looked slow against Cornell, and Michigan is usually a pretty good skating team. They also seemed to have some trouble offensively, at least in finishing, for a team that has piled up goals in bunches in the past two decades, even though they outshot the Big Red.
The U-M defense has been vulnerable this year, having now surrendered four or more goals in a game no less than seven times, including a 7-2 loss at rival Michigan State on Nov. 10.

In short, this year’s squad doesn’t look like a typical Michigan Wolverines team. Not yet.
That doesn’t mean their streak of 22 consecutive NCAA Division I Tournament berths is in jeopardy—not in late November. Michigan has gotten off to slow starts before, and actually had to keep its NCAA streak alive in 2010 by winning all six games it played in the Central Collegiate Hockey Association Tournament that year to gain the conference’s automatic NCAA berth.

The Wolverines also got off to a 7-8-2 start last season after coming within an overtime goal of the 2011 national title—but then went on a nine-game unbeaten string en route to a second-place regular-season finish in the CCHA.
Michigan has time to right the ship this season , starting with a pair of games at 2012 national runner-up Ferris State  next weekend. The Wolverines have 11 NHL draft choices on their roster, and head coach Red Berenson, now in his 29th season, has seen every kind of adversity at least twice in his long career.

Odds are the Wolverines will start winning again, and be a threat to claim the final CCHA title.
They just shouldn’t be ranked come Monday morning.

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Beginning at Nazareth

Recently spoke to head coach George Roll and one of his captains about the new NCAA Division III varsity men's hockey program at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y.

Nazareth won two of its first three games under Roll, who previously coached at both Oswego State and Clarkson. The Golden Flyers, who are still seeking their first victory in ECAC West play but won't have another conference game until January, are at the Skidmore Invitational this weekend.

Story can be found here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Rattray Leading Clarkson Scoring Parade

Saw my first women's college game in probably four years last week when No. 3 Clarkson topped host Princeton, 2-1, in overtime at Hobey Baker Rink on Nov. 17.

Tallying the winning goal for the Golden Knights was junior forward Jamie Lee Rattray, who had a hat trick the night before at Quinnipiac, and is one of the top scorers in the nation with 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points through 14 games. She's had at least one point in all but one game so far this fall, and is on pace to set new personal highs in all three scoring categories this season. .

Clarkson is also currently atop the ECAC Division I women's standings with a 6-0-0 record in conference play. The Golden Knights are 12-2-0 overall, with the only blemishes so far coming at Mercyhurst and North Dakota, which both made the NCAA Tournament last spring. Clarkson itself is attempting to get back to the big dance for just the second time ever in its short history, and first since 2010

A profile I wrote on Rattray will appear in an upcoming issue of New York Hockey Journal.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fleming Backstops MVille to Top of ECAC West

Manhattanville College has a new No. 1 netminder in sophomore Brian Fleming, and so far he's led them to a 2-1-1 record and first place in the ECAC West. More about Fleming and the Valiants here at

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pair of Lakers Pacing Division III in Points

Just as I wrote a couple of weeks ago that a couple of St. Lawrence Saints were leading NCAA Division I men’s hockey in scoring, so a pair of Oswego State Lakers are doing the same in NCAA Division III.

Oswego senior forwards Luke Moodie (pictured) and Paul Rodrigues are atop the Division III scoring scroll with 12 points apiece through five games, with each having tallied five goals and seven assists to date.

Moodie, who hails from Oakville, Ont., hit the century mark for career scoring last week, tallying his 100th point in an Oswego uniform with a goal in a 5-1 win over Morrisville. In 87 career games he has 46 goals and 54 assists, including 14 power-play goals and eight game-winning goals.

Rodrigues, who is from Etobicoke, Ont., has 39 goals and 60 assists for 99 points, also in 87 games. Included in his totals are 13 power-play scores and six game-winners.

The Lakers are 5-0 so far this season, including 4-0 in SUNYAC play, and have games this weekend against Buffalo State and Fredonia. Oswego has also earned three straight NCAA Tournament berths, and won the 2007 Division III men's national championship.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012-13 ECAC West Preview

Covering the ECAC West this year for - the 2012-13 season preview can be found here.

2012 ECAC West Tournament champion Hobart (shown above) is the favorite to make it two league titles in a row, while Elmira is seeking its sixth straight NCAA Division III Tournament berth.

My predicted order of finish: Hobart, Utica, Neumann, Elmira, Manhattanville, and NCAA newcomer Nazareth.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pair of Saints Lead NCAA in Scoring

A senior and a junior are leading the nation in NCAA Division I men’s hockey scoring – and they’re not from Boston College, Michigan, or North Dakota.

Senior forward Kyle Flanagan and junior Greg Carey of St. Lawrence are 1-2 in the national scoring race, with Canton, N.Y. native Flanagan having tallied six goals and nine assists for 15 points in six games, and Burlington, Ont. resident Carey having posted 6-7—13 points. The duo has also led the Saints to a No. 13 national ranking ( and a 5-1-0 overall mark so far in 2012-13, including a split at Western Michigan and a two-step sweep at Maine.

For his career, team captain and hometown skater Flanagan has 37-78—115 points to date in 105 career contests, including 20 power-play goals and seven game-winning goals. Carey has already put up 44-46—90 points in 82 outings, including 19 PPG and seven game-winners.

SLU, which just took two games from Alabama-Huntsville at home, begins Eastern College Athletic Conference play this weekend at Brown and Yale. The Saints, who finished 14-19-3 (10-11-1 ECAC) overall a year ago and are seeking their first winning campaign since 2009-10, are also looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boston College Raises One More Banner

I was fortunate enough to be at Boston College’s NCAA Championship banner ceremony on Saturday night at Conte Forum. I missed 2008’s event because I got stuck in traffic on the Mass Pike that night, and 2010’s gathering was too close to Halloween to travel to New England and back—so it sure was nice to finally watch one get raised to the rafters. 

I'm still smiling two days later.

Besides the 2012-13 team and over 7,000 of their closest friends in Maroon and Gold, some of the program's past champions made it back to Chestnut Hill to celebrate on Oct. 20, including former coach Len Ceglarski and locked-out NHL players like Nathan Gerbe. Hoisting the newest banner to the skies were graduated seniors Chris Venti and Tommy Atkinson, part of the 2012 team that won 19 straight contests to close out the campaign, including the national title game in Florida against Ferris State.

To top off the festivities Saturday, the Eagles won, 3-0, over local and Hockey East rival Northeastern, which had beaten BC a week before in Boston. Goals came from forwards Kevin Hayes, Johnny Gaudreau and Stephen Whitney, while captain Pat Mullane had two assists and goaltender Parker Milner made 26 saves before a raucous sold-out crowd of 7,884 at Kelley Rink that included almost an entire section of black-clad NU undergrads who surely got back on the Green Line unhappy.

It was a nice night of nostalgia and one final salute to last year’s title team, which not only made mustard-colored jerseys a thing of beauty, but was also the third BC squad in five years to claim a national crown. When I was a student, BC made the 1990 Frozen Four and won a few Hockey East championships, but not the sheer plethora of team prizes that the program has brought home since 1998.

For me, as an alumnus, it was good to be back on an ever-changing campus that still feels like home. It was good to sit again at the Forum, where I covered several scores worth of games as an undergraduate, and to see old friends like Jack Casey and Paul Gallivan. They and the rest of the Zamboni crew work hard to keep the ice smooth for one of college hockey’s top programs, led by head coach Jerry York (915 career wins and counting) and old friend and Eagle defenseman Greg Brown.

Yes, life has been good at the Heights lately. Keep up the good work, all.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Chris Serino 1949-2012

Former Merrimack College head coach and University of New Hampshire assistant coach Chris Serino passed away on Monday after a long battle with throat cancer, according to and other published sources.

The hockey coach and athletic director at Malden Catholic High School at the time of his passing, Serino, 63, is survived by his wife, Robin, and their five sons. He also served as hockey coach at Northfield Mount Hermon in his career before going to the college ranks, and had previous scholastic coaching stints at both Salem High and Saugus High.

"The thoughts and prayers of the Merrimack College Hockey Program go out to Coach Serino's family," head coach Mark Dennehy said in a statement on the Merrimack athletics web site. "Anyone who knew Coach Serino understood the passion and fight with which he coached. He will be missed."

A native of Saugus, Mass., and a 1971 graduate of American International College, where he played football, hockey and baseball, Serino coached hockey at Merrimack from 1999 to 2005, fashioning a 77-150-27 record and six appearances in the Hockey East tournament. He previously served as head baseball coach at UNH, and led the Wildcats to a school-record 26 wins in 1995. UNH no longer fields an intercollegiate varsity baseball team.

"He was a great guy and a great coach," said UNH head hockey coach Dick Umile of Serino, who was on Umile's staff from 1991 to 1998. "He was a tremendous athlete and a personal friend of mine; I go way back with him. The fans, the Friends of UNH Hockey, he really got along with the community. He fought a courageous battle with cancer and it came back in the last year-and-a half and really had a battle with it."

After leaving Merrimack, Serino coached  at Malden Catholic from 2005 to 2012, and guided the Lancers to their first-ever Super 8 Championships in both 2011 and 2012. He also coached two of his five sons during his tenure, in which he compiled a 95-32-18 overall mark at the school in Malden, Mass.

Serino will be remembered at UNH's Hockey East opener on Oct. 20 against Boston University, and again at Merrimack's home opener on Oct. 26 against Vermont.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Season Finally Underway

Following a plethora of exhibition games this past week, and a handful of non-conference (and even conference) contests, the 2012-13 NCAA hockey season kicks into full gear this weekend, a weekend when the NHL itself should have been starting regular-season play. Alas ...

The beginning of the year also means early-season college tournaments, with the most way-out one being the Kendall Hockey Classic at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska. The host Alaska Anchorage Seawolves will welcome in-state rival Alaska (Fairbanks), along with Canisius College and Air Force Academy. Friday's games will pit Alaska against Air Force, and Canisius against UAA. The second night will feature Alaska against Canisius, and UAA versus Air Force.

Next weekend, Alaska (the former UAF) will do the hosting honors for its own Alaska Goal Rush, as the Nanooks will entertain UAA, North Dakota and Merrimack at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks.

Penn State also begins its varsity sojourn this weekend when it hosts American International College, one week after the equally new Penn State women's team won their inaugural game at Vermont.

The start of the new year also marks the beginning of the end for the current men's college hockey landscape. A year from now the WCHA will have a vastly different look, the new NCHC and Big Ten Conference will both get underway, and the CCHA will be just a memory after more than 40 years of competition and eight national titles to date.

But there's six months to go between now and then, when the NCAA Division I men's champion will be crowned in Pittsburgh. Onward and upward—and drop the puck.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Huntsville Goes with Kleinendorst

The University of Alabama-Huntsville hockey program, still seeking a conference home after competing the last two seasons as an NCAA Division I independent, has turned to the professional ranks for its next bench boss.

UAH announced last week that it had hired Kurt Kleinendorst, who spent the last two seasons coaching Binghamton (AHL), as its new head coach. He replaces Chris Luongo, a former Michigan State and NHL player who guided the Chargers for the past two years.

"It was something I had been kind of thinking about and now everything has worked out," said Kleinendorst recently at

A native of Grand Rapids, Minn., Kleinendorst, 51, played four years at Providence College (1979-1983) for current New Jersey Devils President/GM Lou Lamoriello, and tallied 89 goals and 103 assists for 192 points in 123 collegiate games while earning All-America accolades. Drafted by the New York Rangers (77th overall ) in 1980, Kleinendorst played six years of minor-league hockey before turning to the coaching ranks with Raleigh (ECHL) in 1991.

He was part of the Devils' system for nine years, including a stint as head coach of the AHL's Lowell Devils (2006-09), and has also coached in Europe and with the U.S National Team Development Program in his career. He was also an assistant coach in New Jersey during the 2001-02 NHL campaign..

His predecessor, Luongo, inherited  a tough job at UAH when he succeeded fellow Michigan State grad Danton Cole in 2010, after the Chargers had made their second-ever NCAA Division I Tournament appearance. UAH managed only six wins over the past two seasons, with the threat of being dropped as a varsity sport coming dangerously close to reality last year.

It's not known why UAH decided to let Luongo go, who is a class act, and he's wished well; but maybe the hiring of Kleinendorst signals that the university is making a committment to have the "Hockey Capital of the South" stick around a while.

His old college coach believes so.

"There is no question in my mind that Kurt will be a decided asset to the University of Alabama-Huntsville hockey team both on and off the ice, and help UAH in their pursuit of a major Division I hockey conference affiliation," said Lamoriello at the UAH athletic web site.

Monday, October 1, 2012

USCHO's Top 10 Goalies for 2012-13

Just previewed the top 10 returning Division I men's goalies entering the 2012-13 NCAA campaign for - article can be found here. Troy Grosenick (pictured) of Union College is on the list.

Hard to believe that it's already October, the Frozen Four was six months ago, and the new season is about to face off - well, not for the NHL, not any time soon.

That's OK - those of us who love the college game in all its myriad forms have a wealth of riches to look forward to from now until the NCAA Division I Men's Frozen Four in Pittsburgh in April.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Boston College Picked to Finish First in Hockey East

Defending national champion Boston College has been tabbed by both Hockey East coaches and media to claim the conference again in 2012-13, according to the circuit's web site. The Eagles, who have also won three consecutive Hockey East championship games, were ranked ahead of UMass-Lowell, Boston University, and New Hampshire in both polls released Tuesday.

Sophomore forward Johnny Gaudreau and senior goaltender Parker Milner (pictured) were also named to the preseason All-Hockey East team. Gaudreau tallied 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points a year ago, including a dazzling clinching goal in the national title game against Ferris State, while Milner finished 29-5-0 overall with a 1.66 goals-against average, and won his last 19 games of the season.

Also concerning BC, a shout-out to former defenseman and old friend Greg Brown, who was recently elevated to the position of associate head coach. Brown has been on Jerry York’s staff for the past eight seasons, and has helped the Eagles to three NCAA titles in that span. A great player, a very good coach, and an even better person, he’s more than deserving of the promotion.

BC opens its 2012-13 campaign with an exhibition contest against New Brunswick on Oct. 6, before ringing in the regular season a week later at Northeastern.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

North Dakota Captains Suspended for Season Opener

There's trouble in Grand Forks. Again. 

North Dakota senior men's hockey captain Andrew MacWilliam and assistant captains Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney have all been suspended for UND's opener on Oct. 19 against WCHA opponent Alaska Anchorage at the Brice Alaska Goal Rush in Fairbanks, AK.

The quartet has been suspended for allegedly violating team rules as the result of a party that was held on Sept. 15, according to

“The behavior in this situation was unacceptable,” North Dakota athletic director Brian Faison said in a prepared statement issued by the university. “Measures taken by the athletics department do not preclude possible additional measures by the department, or actions by the university or local and state authorities.”

The team is also on probation, according to Faison, with further violations possibly costing players as much as their scholarships.

It's not the first time something like this has happened at UND, or under head coach Dave Hakstol's watch.

Former UND forward Matt Frattin was acquitted on drunk driving charges in 2010 after he was dismissed from the squad for violating team rules. He had previously been brought up on disorderly conduct charges. Frattin returned to lead the Fighting Sioux to the 2011 NCAA Frozen Four, and was also a Hobey Baker Award finalist that season before turning pro.

In Feb. 2007, then-Sioux forwards Jonathan Toews and T. J. Oshie,. now both established NHL players, were cited for being minors in a Grand Forks bar, while teammate Robbie Bina reportedly faced charges of obstructing a police officer in the same incident.

Incidents, especially those involving alcohol, can and do happen on or near college campuses all the time - witness last season with two incidents at Boston University, or in 2010 at Boston College, or in July with Minnesota's Erik Haula. That doesn't excuse them, as they give all of college hockey a black eye.

Hopefully this will be the last incident in Grand Forks for a while. Forever is too long a time to ask for.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Penn State Unveils New Sweaters

Penn State University is just weeks away from unveiling its new men's and women's NCAA hockey teams on ice. Earlier this week, both squads unveiled their new white home and blue road sweaters, as depicted online at

The overall design for both teams is generally the same, except the women's team will carry a College Hockey America patch on theirs, below the left shoulder, as they will begin CHA play this season. The men's team will compete as an independent in 2012-13 before moving to the new Big Ten Conference a year from now with Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Both team's sweaters will feature a Nike logo below the right shoulder, and traditional hockey lacing in front below the neck.It's a nice, clean look, with the school's blue and white colors complimenting each other well. There's solid wide striping featured on both the sleeves and waist, and the well-known Nittany Lion head logo situated on the front.

For Penn State men's coach Guy Gadowsky, who originally comes from a pro background, it's similar to his previous two college stops. Alaska Fairbanks had the UAF logo on the front of its sweaters during his tenure there, while Princeton displayed the university shield while he was behind the bench at Baker Rink and actually kept the design last season.

The PSU women's team and coach Josh Brandwene will make their varsity debut first, when the Nittany Lions visit Vermont on Oct. 6-7. The men's team will swing into action a week later at home against American International College on Oct. 12-13.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Michigan's Madden Hangs 'Em Up

Former University of Michigan forward John Madden, who won the Stanley Cup in both 2000 and 2003 with the New Jersey Devils, has retired as an active NHL player. According to Fire and Ice, he will join the Montreal Canadiens staff, with an emphasis on scouting the U.S. college ranks.

Madden, who also won a Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, completed his NHL career with 165 goals and 183 assists for 348 points in 898 regular-season games with New Jersey, Chicago, the Minnesota Wild, and the Florida Panthers. He added 21-22--43 points in 141 Stanley Cup Playoff contests from 2000 through 2012.

A 5-11, 190-pound native of Barrie, Ont., Madden set an NCAA record with 23 career shorthanded goals at Michigan, while recording 80-100--180 points in all in four seasons in Ann Arbor (1994-1998), including three consecutive 20-goal campaigns. He was a junior on Michigan's first NCAA title team in 32 years in 1996, and also helped the Wolverines to the Frozen Four as a senior.

Undrafted out of college, Madden signed with New Jersey soon after. After a brief apprenticeship with Albany (AHL), he made it to the Meadowlands for good in the fall of 1999, ultimately winning two Cups and compiling 140-157--297 points in 712 regular-season outings as a Devil, including 19 shorthanded goals. He also won the Selke Trophy in 2001 as the NHL's best defensive forward, notching a career-high 23 goals as the Devils eventually fell to Colorado in seven games in the Stanley Cup Final.

After he was not re-signed by the Devils for 2009-10, Madden went west to Chicago as a free agent, and tallied 10-13--23 points in 79 games as the Blackhawks went on to capture their first NHL crown since 1961. The following year he was in Minnesota, and posted 12-13--25 points in 76 appearances with the Wild.

He played his final NHL game with Florida in late April, in the Panthers' 3-2 double overtime Game 7 loss to his old Devils squad. He had three goals in 31 regular-season games with the Panthers for his final NHL points.

Despite my having worked two years at Michigan State, I can say that Madden, 39, wasn't too bad for a Michigan guy. I'm pretty sure he walked by me once at a minor league baseball game in New Jersey and wasn't too pleased to see a Spartan logo on my shirt, though  ...

I'll remember how hard he played and how tenacious he was, especially in those two Stanley Cup seasons with the Devils. I'll also recall his playoff hat trick against the Rangers in 2006 at Continental Airlines Arena, including a pair of shorthanded markers. He definitely proved you can play four years in college and still experience NHL success - even if your name was never called at the draft.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Senators Sign Turris to Five-Year Extension

The Ottawa Senators signed former University of Wisconsin star Kyle Turris to a five-year contract extension, as detailed today at Acquired by trade in December from Phoenix, who drafted him third overall in 2007, Turris has 31 goals and 44 assists for 75 points in 186 career NHL games with the Sens and Coyotes.

Turris, 23, played one season of college hockey after he was drafted, and notched 11-24—35 points in 36 games with Wisconsin in 2007-08. He jumped to the pros right after the Badgers were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in overtime by WCHA rival North Dakota. He played in his first three professional games with Phoenix that spring, recording an assist.

The New Westminster, B.C. native never seemed to find his NHL niche in the desert, although he did post 24-39—63 totals in 76 games with San Antonio (AHL) in 2009-10. He was a scoring machine in junior ‘A’ hockey in his native Canada, collecting 102-91—193 points in two seasons with Burnaby (BCHL) before enrolling at Wisconsin for one season.

Turris probably won’t be the last player to be signed to an extension in the next few weeks. The NHL’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on Sept. 15, and it’s been said that the owners will lock out the players as they did eight years ago if a new deal is not brokered by then.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ECAC Headed Back North in 2014

Just when I get back from Atlantic City, the Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey Championship is also getting ready to leave the "World's Favorite Playground".

After two years of very low attendance, and likely another one in March, on the fabled Boardwalk in southern New Jersey, the ECAC announced last week that it will be returning its men’s hockey semifinals and final to Lake Placid in 2014 for the first year of a three-year deal.

The ECAC previously held its title tilt in Lake Placid from 1993 to 2002 before shifting to Albany in 2003 and then Atlantic City in 2011.

I had the feeling last week while walking the Boardwalk that the ECAC was going to pull the plug on AC after that three-year deal expires in 2013. As compared to the last two Augusts, there was virtually no promotion near the site of the 86-year-old venue, Boardwalk Hall, nor anywhere else for that matter.

The past two years saw a large four-color banner that featured all twelve ECAC school logos and a color photo either of game action or a past champion, announcing the championship rounds, stretched across the outside of the venerable facility. This year there was a small green-on-white placard mounted on a column that announced next spring’s playoff, the winner of which gets the league’s automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

That small sign was it for marketing, as far as I saw.

There was also the standard inflatable goal-shooting game outside the arena, where kids could step up and take a shot on a plastic net   but hardly anyone was using it the day of the annual Atlantic City “Thunder Over the Boardwalk” air show, which in itself didn’t seem quite as heavily populated as in the past.

It’s just as well. Atlantic City is a great place with a lot of tradition, but unfortunately ice hockey doesn’t rank very highly on that list. The Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies (still can’t stand that name) won an East Coast Hockey League title in 2003, and then moved to California two years later simply because they couldn’t get enough people out of the casinos and into their games.

Lake Placid isn’t exactly inexpensive, and isn’t easy to get to in late winter – but no one can say it lacks hockey tradition. The Olympic ice surface may be larger than what Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Union and the other seven league schools are used to; but with the memory of the “Miracle on Ice” as strong as ever 30-plus years later, the ECAC returning to upstate New York for its conference championship will definitely be like coming home.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Devils Sign Former UNH Sniper Butler

The New Jersey Devils, looking to replenish some firepower after losing former captain Zach Parise  to free agency this summer, yesterday signed former University of New Hampshire star Bobby Butler to a one-year, two-way contract.

Butler, 25, a native of Marlborough, Mass., was bought out by Ottawa in July after tallying six goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 56 NHL games with the Senators last season. He registered 10-11--21 points in 2010-11 with Ottawa, and had 22-11--33 totals in 47 AHL games with its Binghamton affiliate that same winter.

“He signed a two-way (contract), so we’ll just see what develops, but he has the potential of being a top-six forward," said Devils President/GM Lou Lamoriello to The Record.

The six-foot, 180-pound forward, who prepped with the Boston Jr. Bruins before going to UNH, played four years for head coach Dick Umile and the Wildcats. He posted 61-60--121 points in 153 collegiate outings from 2006 to 2010, and helped the Wildcats to four NCAA Tournament berths and three Hockey East Association regular-season championships.

Butler definitely saved his best for last, notching 29-24--53 points in 39 contests as a senior while helping UNH to the 2009-10 Hockey East Association regular-season championship and the NCAA East Regional Final. He also earned Hockey East Player of the Year and First Team All-America accolades, and had two goals and one assist in a 6-2 regional semifinal win over Cornell.

Now he'll be looking to recapture some of his scoring magic in Newark.

“It’s going to be really up to him,” said Lamoriello. “He’ll be given every opportunity.”

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Merrill to Return for Junior Year at Michigan

Newspapers in Detroit and New Jersey revealed this week that New Jersey Devils prospect Jon Merrill, who recently attended a Devils' prospect camp in Newark, will be returning to the University of Michigan for his junior year. A 6'2", 209-lb. native of Brighton, Mich, he was drafted 38th overall by New Jersey in 2010.

Merrill, 20, missed the first 22 games of the Wolverines' season last year, when he was suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules. He then tallied two goals and nine assists for 11 points in 19 outings as Michigan fell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Cornell in overtime.

“I’ve talked to him all winter and spring,” said long-time Michigan head coach Red Berenson at “I think based on this year he knows that he needs another year. Another year in college would be really good for him. He needs a breakout year.”
As a freshman in 2010-11, Merrill recorded 7-18--25 totals in 42 games as the Wolverines were edged in OT by Minnesota-Duluth in the national title game in St. Paul, Minn. In two collegiate campaigns, he has notched 9-27--36 points in 61 contests.

Michigan is slated to open its 2012-13 season on Oct. 9 at home against Windsor.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gadowsky Speaks on Penn State Situation

Guy Gadowsky, head coach of the Penn State University men's ice hockey team that will begin Division I play this fall, issued a statement on Tuesday regarding the NCAA's sanctions of the Nittany Lion football program.

Those penalties, which were levied for administrators covering up a child sexual abuse scandal that lasted over a decade, included a fine of $60 million, cuts in the total number of football scholarships over the next four years, no bowl/playoff games for the next four years, and the vacating of more than 100 of the program's overall victories from 1998 to 2011.

"I am motivated by the professionalism and positive nature in which (Penn State) Football Coach Bill O'Brien is dealing with the recent NCAA ruling," said Gadowsky, who previously coached at both Alaska Fairbanks and Princeton. "Penn State Hockey stands behind Coach O'Brien, our great University and the best student body in the nation. We are excited to move forward together to build a better Penn State. "

The full text of Gadowsky's statement can be found here at Penn State's athletic web site.

The Nittany Lions will begin their first NCAA Division I hockey campaign on Oct. 12-13 at home against American International College, with the second game to be played in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

More Out the Door

If it's the off-season following the NHL Entry Draft, it means two things for college hockey: speculation about fine-tuning next year's schedules, and speculation about next year's rosters.

Here's a sampling of NCAA players, in alphabetical order, who won't be back for 2012-13, along with their positions, academic year they were headed into, and NHL organization they have signed with since the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four was held in April:

Beau Bennett, F, Jr., Denver (Pittsburgh Penguins)
Tyler Biggs, F, So., Miami (Toronto Maple Leafs) *
Jason Clark, F, Jr., Wisconsin (New York Islanders)
Adam Clendening, D, Jr., Boston University (Chicago Blackhawks)
Brian Dumoulin, D, Sr., Boston College (Carolina Hurricanes) #
Zemgus Girgensons, F, Fr., Vermont (Buffalo Sabres)
Kyle Jean, F, Jr., Lake Superior State (New York Rangers)
Chris Kreider, F, Sr., Boston College (New York Rangers)
Matt Mangene, F/D, Sr., Maine (Philadelphia Flyers)
Brock Nelson, F, Jr., North Dakota (New York Islanders)
Steve Quailer, F, Sr., Northeastern (Montreal Canadiens)
Justin Schultz, D, Sr., Wisconsin (Edmonton Oilers)
Chris Wagner, F, Jr., Colgate (Anaheim Ducks)
Jeremy Welsh, F, Sr., Union (Carolina Hurricanes)

* Has not yet signed a contract
# Traded to Boston Bruins

Thanks to

Earlier signings were reported here.

There'll undoubtedly be at least several more before the puck drops in October.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Two Say No to College Ranks

Mark Carlson played hockey in college, but won't be coaching there (again). Zemgus Girgensons (above) didn't even get on the ice.

Carlson, a former UMass Lowell skater and assistant coach who has spent the past 13 seasons as head coach and general manager with Cedar Rapids (USHL), has turned down the opportunity to become head coach at Massachusetts, according to He led the RoughRiders to a Clark Cup title as USHL playoff champions in 2004-05, and Anderson Cups in 2004-05 and 2010-11 as USHL regular-season champions.  He was also named USHL Coach of the Year both of those seasons.

Carlson, a New Jersey native, will remain with the RoughRiders, whom he has guided since the 1999-2000 campaign. He follows head coaches Rand Pecknold of Quinnipiac University and Paul Pearl of the College of the Holy Cross, who also recently turned down the UMass job to remain with their current employers. The Minutemen have been seeking a new mentor since long-time bench boss Don "Toot" Cahoon resigned on June 19.

Girgensons, who was to enroll at the University of Vermont this fall, has instead signed a professional contract with the Buffalo Sabres, who drafted him 14th overall last month in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Latvian native played with Dubuque (USHL) the past two years, collecting 45 goals and 59 assists for 104 points in 100 games, along with 115 penalty minutes and a plus-24 plus-minus rating. He helped the also Fighting Saints to the 2011 Clark Cup championship, one year after skating for Green Mountain (Vt.) (EJHL).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lamoriello Inducted into U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Former Providence College hockey coach and athletic director Lou Lamoriello, who has guided the New Jersey Devils organization for the last quarter-century, was inducted this week into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame along with former NHL players Mike Modano and Ed Olczyk. Lamoriello had previously been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders category in 2009.

The Devils President/CEO/General Manager, Lamoriello has shepherded the once-woeful franchise to five Stanley Cup finals (1995, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2012), with New Jersey winning three championships (1995, 2000, 2003).  Under his watch, the Devils have gone 1,007-695-226 (.581) in 1,928 regular-season games, and 134-116 (.536) in 250 playoff outings. In two separate head coaching stints behind the New Jersey bench, in 2005-06 and 2006-07, the Devils went 34-14-5 in regular-season play (.689) and 10-10 in the postseason, in their final two seasons playing at the Meadowlands.

A former Providence skater, Lamoriello tallied 58 goals and 60 assists for 118 points for the Friars in 64 games from 1960 to 1962. He became Providence's head coach in 1968-69, and by the time he was finished after the 1982-83 campaign, when he served as both coach and AD, the Friars had gone 248-179-13 in 440 games (.578), winning the 1981 ECAC Championship and making an appearance in the 1983 NCAA Frozen Four.

One of the founding members of the Hockey East Association in 1984-85, he also served as commissioner of the league before joining the Devils, and the Hockey East playoff tournament trophy has borne Lamoriello's name since 1989. Among his many other honors, he was presented with the Lester Patrick Trophy in 1992 for service to hockey in the United States, and is also a member of several other halls of fame in both New England and New Jersey.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Parise and Suter Reunited with the Wild

Who says (former) North Dakota Fighting Sioux and Wisconsin Badgers can't get along?

NHL stars Zach Parise, who skated two seasons for the Sioux, and Ryan Suter, who manned the Badger blue line for one year, and were teammates for the U.S. at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, were reunited again on Independence Day. The highly-sought-after free-agent pair signed separate 13-year, $98 million pacts with the Minnesota Wild on July 4, and will both be leaving the only NHL clubs they have known since entering the league in 2005-06.

Parise, 27, a 5'11, 185-lb. Minneapolis native and the son of a former Minnesota North Star in J.P. Parise, led the New Jersey Devils to the 2012 Eastern Conference championship as captain this spring. He tallied 194 goals and 216 assists for 410 points in 502 career NHL regular-season games, all with the Devils.

In 61 career Stanley Cup Playoff outings with New Jersey, the left-shooting center registered 21-22--43 points, including eight goals and 15 points in 24 games this year as the Devils ultimately fell in six games in the final to the Los Angeles Kings.

"The opportunity to play at home meant a lot to me, and my family," said Parise at "Every kid that's growing up in Minnesota would love to play with the Wild. Now, I'm lucky we were able to make that happen."

Suter, 27 from Madison, Wis., has recorded 38-200--238 points in 542 regular-season NHL outings, all with the Nashville Predators. The 6'1, 195-lb. left-shooting defenseman added 4-9--13 points in 39 postseason appearances.   

"The fact that Minnesota has a lot of good young players, I think will help make this team successful," said Suter, also at the Wild's web site.

The only college season they faced one another was 2003-04, when Suter posted 3-16--19 points for Wisconsin, and Parise collected 23-32--55 points for the WCHA regular-season champion Sioux, as both teams fell in the regionals of the NCAA Tournament, Wisconsin to Maine and North Dakota to Denver.

Further mirroring each other's career, both players spent the 2004-05 NHL lockout in the American Hockey League, Parise with Albany and Suter with Milwaukee, and then were both members of the silver medal-winning U.S squad in Vancouver two years ago. They were earlier teammates at the 2004 World Junior Championships, where they helped the U.S to its first-ever gold medal in that event.

Now they'll again get to share the same stage, this time in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, as they attempt to return the Wild to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2007-08. Minnesota will also visit New Jersey on Nov. 11, and Nashville on Dec. 1 and March 9, in what are likely to be less-than-warm welcomes for the two respective transplants.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wisconsin's Schultz Signs with Edmonton

Defenseman Justin Schultz, who earlier bypassed his final year of eligibility at Wisconsin, has signed a free-agent contract with the Edmonton Oilers. The Badgers blueliner from Kelowna, B.C. took advantage of a loophole in the NHL's Collective Bargaining Agreement to bypass Anaheim, which drafted him four years ago, and join the Oilers instead.

Schultz, 21, was chosen 43rd overall by the Ducks in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, but withdrew from school after the 2011-12 season and then did not sign with Anaheim by June, which made him a free agent.

A 6'1", 185-lb. defender, Schultz recorded 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 37 games last year. In three seasons with the Badgers, he posted 40-73--113 points and 62 penalty minutes in 121 outings. He tallied five game-winning goals in his tenure, and also registered 21 power-play tallies.

A two-time All-America selection, All-WCHA choice, WCHA Defensive Player of the Year, and Hobey Baker Award finalist, he led all NCAA Division I college defensmen in overall scoring the past two seasons. He also helped Wisconsin to its most recent NCAA Tournament berth during his freshman campaign.

Schultz is expected to attend training camp in September with the Oilers, who finished 32-40-10 last year and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the sixth straight season.

Monday, June 25, 2012

UConn Joining Hockey East in 2014-15

The University of Connecticut men's hockey team will be making the jump from Atlantic Hockey to Hockey East for the 2014-15 season. The long-rumored move was announced last week at, and a welcome celebration will be held in Hartford on Friday.

"This is a historic day in the history of the University of Connecticut and its Division of Athletics," said UConn Director of Athletics Warde Manuel at "Hockey East is the premier men's ice hockey conference in the country and we are proud to say that the Huskies are now part of it."

Hockey East has won four of the last five NCAA men's hockey Division I national titles, with Boston College winning three of those, including this year. Boston University won in 2009.

The Huskies will now offer 18 scholarships, and will face-off regularly with a number of New England rivals from BC and BU to Maine, Merrimack and UMass-Lowell. Since joining Atlantic Hockey/MAAC in 1998-99 when it transitioned to the Division I level, UConn's New England foes have included American International, Bentley, Holy Cross and Sacred Heart. The program first began play in 1960-61.

With the change in leagues will also come a change of venue, of sorts. UConn will still play it's home non-conference schedule on campus in Storrs, Conn., at the soon-to-be revamped Freitas Ice Forum; but Hockey East conference game swill be contested 25 miles away in Hartford at the 15,635-seat XL Center, current home of the Connecticut Whale (AHL) and former home of the NHL's Hartford Whalers, who moved to Carolina in 1997.

"The entire UConn men's ice hockey family is very excited about this announcement," said UConn head coach Bruce Marshall, a 1985 UConn graduate and former Huskies player who is now entering his 25th season at the Husky helm.

UConn's women's hockey program, which got its start in 2000-01, has been a member of Hockey East since 2002-03.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

10 NCAA Skaters Selected on 2nd Day of NHL Entry Draft

No less than 10 players who played NCAA Division I college hockey last season were chosen on the second day of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft held Saturday at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh.

2nd Round
Phillip Di Giuseppe of Michigan (CCHA) went 38th overall to the Carolina Hurricanes
Jake McCabe of Wisconsin (WCHA) went 44th overall to the Buffalo Sabres

3rd Round
Shayne Gostisbehere (pictured) of Union (ECAC) went 78th overall to the Philadelphia Flyers

4th Round
Austin Wuthrich of Notre Dame (CCHA) went 107th overall to the Washington Capitals

5th Round
Joey Laleggia of Denver (WCHA) went 123rd overall to the Edmonton Oilers
Brendan Woods of  Wisconsin (WCHA) went 129th overall to Carolina

6th Round
John McCarron of Cornell (ECAC) went 153rd overall to Edmonton

7th Round
Dmitry Sinitsyn of UMass-Lowell (Hockey East) went 183rd overall to the Dallas Stars
Joakim Ryan of Cornell (ECAC) went 198th overall to the San Jose Sharks
Jaycob Megna of Nebraska-Omaha (WCHA) went 210th overall to the Anaheim Ducks

No college players from the 2011-12 season were chosen in the first round of the draft on Friday.

Wuthrich also holds the distinction of being the final CCHA player to be drafted, as the league will disband following the 2012-13 campaign, with three of its teams (Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State) going to the new Big Ten Conference and the rest to a revamped WCHA.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Incoming College Freshmen Taken in First Round of NHL Entry Draft

Five incoming NCAA freshmen, including four defensemen, were selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Friday night.

Jacob Trouba, who played for the U.S. National Development Team and is committed to Michigan for next season, was picked ninth overall by the Winnipeg Jets. Latvian-born forward Zemgus Girgensons, who played with Dubuque (USHL) and will skate at Vermont next year, was nabbed 14th overall by the Buffalo Sabres. His junior teammate, Quebec native Michael Matheson, was taken 23rd by the Florida Panthers, and is headed to Hockey East opponent Boston College in the fall.

Jordan Schmaltz (pictured), who is off to North Dakota for 2012-13, was tabbed 25th overall by the St. Louis Blues after playing in Green Bay (USHL). Brady Skjei, who has agreed to play at Minnesota, was chosen 28th overall by the New York Rangers from the U.S. NTDP.

Rounds 2 through 7 of the draft will be conducted on Saturday.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cahoon, Lang Step Down from Coaching Positions

Well, didn't exactly see either of these moves coming.

A day before head coach Don "Toot" Cahoon resigned from Massachusetts with one year left on his contract, Eric Lang (shown above) stepped down after one season at the helm of the Manhattanville College men's program.

I watched Cahoon (BU '72) coach at Princeton before he took the UMass job, and earlier this year I wrote about Lang and the Valiants for New York Hockey Journal. Cahoon went 166-229-42 in 13 seasons with the Minutemen, and is 336-393-76 overall with UMass, Princeton, Norwich and Lehigh in 25 years.

Lang (AIC '98) led Manhattanville to a 13-9-3 mark and an ECAC West playoff berth in his only campaign with the men's program. He previously went 58-22-3 in three seasons with the Valiants women's team.

Also last week, Blaise MacDonald (RIT' 85) , a former head coach with both Niagara and UMass Lowell, took the reins at Colby College, where he will make his Division III debut as a head coach. He holds a career record of 236-241-59 in 15 seasons with the Purple Eagles and River Hawks.

Just the first of what may be several coaching changes at the college level this summer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kings Win Stanley Cup, Quick Captures Conn Smythe

It’s all over now except the celebrating. The Los Angeles Kings claimed the first Stanley Cup title in their 45-year history with a 6-1 win over the New Jersey Devils on Monday night in Game 6 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at the Staples Center in California.

Kings goaltender and former UMass netminder Jonathan Quick also took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL playoff MVP after fashioning a 16-4 record during the postseason, along with a 1.41 goals-against average , a .946 save percentage and three shutouts. He surrendered just seven goals in the six-game final, in which the Kings won the first three games before New Jersey came back to win the next two. LA then closed it out two nights ago to become the lowest-ever seeded team (eighth) to win the title.

Former NCAA skaters joining Quick on the Kings roster were Davis Drewiske (Wisconsin), Matt Greene (North Dakota), Alec Martinez (Miami), Dustin Penner (Maine), Willie Mitchell (Clarkson), Scott Parse (Nebraska-Omaha), Rob Scuderi (Boston College), and Kevin Westgarth (Princeton). Penner had previously raised the Cup with Anaheim in 2007, while Scuderi won it before in 2009 with Pittsburgh.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Former Clarkson Defenseman Rufenach Passes Away

Bryan Rufenach, who played collegiately at Clarkson University, died recently while traveling abroad in Switzerland, according to The cause was electrocution, according to

Rufenach was drafted in the seventh round by the Detroit Red Wings in 2007, just before he enrolled at Clarkson after playing junior hockey with Lindsay (OPJHL).  In four seasons in Potsdam, Rufenach tallied 21 goals and 34 assists for 55 points to go with 121 penalty minutes in 136 games.

His best campaign with the Golden Knights came in 2009-10, when he notched 5-1520 points. As a freshman, he helped Clarkson to the ECAC regular-season title, along with its last NCAA Tournament berth to date.

A native of Barrie, Ont., the six-foot, 192-pound blueliner turned pro with Toledo (ECHL) in 2010-11, collecting a goal and an assist in six games. Rufenach, 23, split last season between Toledo and Grand Rapids (AHL), recording 13-2225 points and 45 PIM in all.

"The entire team's thoughts and prayers are with Bryan's family as they get through this difficult time," said Toledo head coach Nick Vitucci. "Bryan was a great teammate and would play any role asked of him."

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Quick Continues to Get Job Done for Kings

The Los Angeles Kings are two wins away from claiming their first-ever Stanley Cup title, and they can thank goaltender Jonathan Quick for getting them this far.

Quick made 16 and 32 saves, respectively, in Games 1 and 2 of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final at the Prudential Center in Newark as the Kings recorded back-to-back 2-1 overtime victories over the host New Jersey Devils.

For the 2012 playoffs, the Connecticut native and UMass product is now 14-2 overall, including 10-0 on the road, with a 1.44 goals-against average, a .947 save percentage, and two shutouts. No. 32 has made 432 saves on 456 shots so far in the post-season, allowing just 24 goals in 16 games.

He's also garnering serious consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy as NHL playoff MVP, and is already a Vezina Trophy candidate for best league goaltender.

"We know Quickie's back there," said teammate Jarret Stoll to the Los Angeles Times following Game 2. "He kind of calms us down too, with the way he plays and how great he is back there."

It's a far cry from the last two years when Quick and the Kings went 2-4 each time in a pair of first-round losses.

Quick, who has posted 109 regular-season wins for the Kings over the last three years, will attempt to backstop LA to its fourth consecutive 3-0 lead in these playoffs in Game 3 Monday night back home at the Staples Center.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Carter Cleaning up on Fourth Line For Finals-Bound Devils

You could say that Ryan Carter is pretty much one of those dependable guys. Not spectacular on the scoresheet, but reliable in many other facets.
The native of White Bear Lake, Minn. played two full seasons of junior hockey with Green Bay (USHL), tallying 41 goals and 81 points in two seasons, and then potted 34 goals and 58 points in two years at Minnesota State (WCHA) before turning pro in 2006-07 with Portland (AHL). A free agent, he made his NHL debut with Anaheim that same year, playing in four games as the Ducks won their first Stanley Cup.

He played two more non-descript years in Anaheim before going first to Carolina and then to Florida, who waived him just seven games into this season. He was then tabbed by New Jersey, which was coming off its first playoff-less campaign since 1996, and was now guided by his former Panthers coach, Pete DeBoer.

Fast forward ahead seven months, and Carter and his current company are on the cusp of the Devils’ fourth-ever Stanley Cup title, after dispatching the east’s top seed, the New York Rangers, in six games in the Eastern Conference final. Carter scored three goals in that series, including the tying tally in Game 2, the game-winner in Game 5, and the game-opening score in Game 6.

His goal in Game 5 snapped a 3-3 tie with 4:24 remaining in regulation at Madison Square Garden, and also gave New Jersey a 3-2 series lead over its cross-river rivals it would not relinquish.
“(Stephen) Gio(nta) scooped the puck up, took a look and made a fantastic pass to me," said Carter afterwards to CBS Sports. "All I had to (do) was redirect it.”
Carter tallied only four goals and four assists for eight points in 65 regular-season outings with the Devils, and also racked up 84 penalty minutes. It’s in the playoffs, though, that he has really taken off, connecting for four goals and two assists in 17 postseason contests while forming a solid two-way fourth line with Gionta and Steve Bernier.

Not bad for a guy who wasn’t even drafted, and now has his second opportunity in five years to add his name to hockey's holy grail.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Gionta Gets Job Done for Devils in Game 5

On a night when goaltender Martin Brodeur wasn't anywhere near his best, the New Jersey Devils still managed to escape Madison Square Garden with a 5-3 victory, and a three games to two lead in the Eastern Conference final with the New York Rangers.

They can thank their smallest player for that.

That's smallest in terms of stature, not in play. Stephen Gionta made like his higher-scoring older brother, Brian, in tallying the Devils first goal early Wednesday night off a rebound. Later, after New Jersey blew a three-goal cushion, he set up Ryan Carter for the game-winner with less than five minutes remaining in regulation.

''You have to (keep it together) this time of year,'' said Gionta to the Associated Press afterwards. ''You have to have a short memory. Fortunately we did and came out with the victory.''

Did the Devils ever.

After Ilya Kovalchuk forechecked deep in the Rangers' end with the game tied, It was Gionta who swooped in, beat Dan Girardi to a loose puck in the corner to Henrik Lundqvist's left, and sent a perfect pass in front to Carter, who one-timed it home on Lundqvist's stick side to give the Devils back the lead for good.

And to think Gionta wasn't even named one of the three stars of the game.

The captain of the Devils' American Hockey League affiliate in Albany this season, Gionta and New Jersey's fourth line have been on a roll ever since he was called up for the regular-season finale against Ottawa and scored his first career NHL goal in that same game.

Gionta has appeared in all 17 playoff games for the Devils this spring, and has collected three goals and three assists. More importantly, he has combined with Carter and Steve Bernier to form a truly effective checking trio that has also been able to chip it with big goals at key times.

“You need contributions from the entire team," said Devils captain Zach Parise to The Record. We probably wouldn’t be here now without them (on the fourth line). They’ve been scoring goals, big goals. They’re reliable. They’re ready to play.”

Gionta, 28, was a decent player for his hometown Rochester Americans at the Junior A level in 1999-2000 before joining the U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Mich. Undrafted after four solid but unspectacular seasons at Boston College, he has spent his time honing his game in the minors since 2006, where he has appeared in more than 350 AHL outings.

Though he's not the scorer his brother is/was, Gionta still shares some attributes with his older sibling, who won a Cup with New Jersey nine years ago. Besides a common tenacity and work ethic, the biggest mutual trait is speed—speed that allows them to get in the play, get on opposing players, and make something happen, as evidenced on the Carter game-winning goal on Wednesday night.

Who knows what Friday night and Game 6 will bring; but nine years after a Gionta helped the Devils to their last Stanley Cup Finals appearance, yet another Gionta has them poised to do the same.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Boston College Will Again Be Engraved on the Stanley Cup

With only four NHL teams still playing, and one of those on the brink of elimination, the odds are practically guaranteed that a former player from Boston College will get a Stanley Cup ring this spring.

Whoever wins will join a Stanley Cup-winning Boston College contingent that includes Doug Brown (Detroit, 1997, 1998), Brian Gionta (New Jersey, 2003), Bill Guerin (New Jersey 1995, Pittsburgh 2009), Brian Leetch (New York Rangers, 1994), Joe Mullen (Calgary 1989, Pittsburgh 1991, 1992), Brooks Orpik (Pittsburgh 2009), Ryan Shannon (Anaheim 2007) and Kevin Stevens (Pittsburgh 1991, 1992).

They include Rob Scuderi (BC' 01) of the Los Angeles Kings, who won his first Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, and was a member of BC's NCAA title team in 2001.

Stephen Gionta (BC '06) scored his first career NHL goal for the New Jersey Devils in the regular season finale against Ottawa, and has added two more tallies plus two assists in the playoffs while providing energy and physical play on New Jersey's fourth line. Former BC teammate Peter Harrold (BC '06) has provided some offense from the Devils' blue line in the NHL postseason in the form of four assists.

Brian Boyle (BC '07) scored three goals for the New York Rangers in the first round against Ottawa, but has been slowed somewhat since suffering a concussion in the same series off of a Chris Neil hit. He still added an  assist in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against New Jersey. last but definitely not least, Chris Kreider (BC '12) has been the rookie find of the playoffs, and stepped right into the Rangers' postseason lineup fresh off a second NCAA title in three years with the Eagles. Despite some rough spots, he has tallied five goals and two assists in his first 15 NHL playoff games, including a pair of game-winners, and a huge insurance goal in Game 3 versus the Devils.

The Phoenix Coyotes, down three games to one to LA in the Western Conference finals, have no BC players on their roster this season.

It's been said that the road to the Stanley Cup begins in Chestnut Hill, Mass. It appears that will "ring" true once more in 2012.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Penn State Gearing Up for This Fall

Got to speak to an old friend in former Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky last month, regarding his getting the new Nittany Lions ready for the inaugural NCAA Division I campaign at Penn State University this fall. The story of the transition from club power to varsity newcomer is now up at USCHO. I imagine it it won't take him long to have things running smoothly as PSU gets ready to join the nascent Big Ten Hockey Conference in 2014.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Former NCAA Skaters Will Be Counted on in 2012 NHL Semifinals

Eight victories from now, the Stanley Cup will be awarded to one of the four teams remaining in the 2012 NHL playoff picture. Whoever raises Lord Stanley's prize this spring, one thing is sure– at least one of its players will have spent some time on a college campus.

For the New Jersey Devils, who haven't gotten this far since 2003 when they won their last Cup, look for Travis Zajac and Zach Parise, both from North Dakota, to be counted on for offense. Zajac has already collected five goals and 10 points in playoff action, including an overtime goal, while Parise has put up four goals and eight points. Former Boston College teammates Brian Gionta (2 goals, 4 points) and Peter Harrold (4 assists) will be called on to chip in on the fourth line, although usual-defenseman Harrold was a scratch late in the Flyers series. They will be joined by Minnesota State product Ryan Carter (1 goal, 3 points).

Mark Fayne (1 assist) will help the Devils' stay-at home defense, while Miami’s Andy Greene could be relied on to help kick-start the attack from the blue line; although he has just one assist so far in 12 playoff games.

For the New York Rangers, who last got this far in 1997 and will now face New Jersey in the Eastern Conference Finals, their roster of NCAA alumni includes Brian Boyle (BC), Derek Stepan (Wisconsin), Carl Hagelin (Michigan), Chris Kreider (BC), Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) and Stu Bickel (Minnesota).

Stepan leads all former collegian Rangers with a goal and seven assists so far, while Boyle had three goals in the first round against Ottawa. Bickel and McDonagh have each played in all 14 of the Rangers' postseason games, although neither has yet to record a point.

Twin speedsters Hagelin and Kreider have three points apiece so far. Hagelin missed three games against Ottawa due to suspension, while Kreider had game-winners against both the Senators and Washington Capitals after joining New York following BC's national title run last month.

The linchpin of the Los Angeles Kings’ playoff effort so far has been goaltender Jonathan Quick, a University of Massachusetts product who has gone 9-1 in 10 playoff outings so far against top-seeded Vancouver and second-seeded St. Louis. Former Maine forward Dustin Penner has tallied two goals and seven points, and previously won a Stanley Cup with Anaheim in 2007.

The L.A. defense includes Matt Green (North Dakota), Willie Mitchell (Clarkson), Rob Scuderi (Boston College) and Alec Martinez (Miami); who together had combined for a plus-15 rating prior to the semifinal round. Scuderi also won a Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009, after winning an NCAA title with BC eight years prior. The Kings last made it to the semifinals in 1993 on Wayne Gretzky's watch, where they fell to Montreal in five games.

As for their Western Conference finals opponent, former Boston University blueliner Adrian Aucoin has registered two assists and a plus-4 in 10 games this postseason for the Phoenix Coyotes, who ousted Chicago and Nashville to get to this point for the first time in franchise history. The lone former collegian on the Phoenix playoff roster, he was scratched from Sunday's 4-2 loss to Los Angeles.

Two rounds to go. Then its pencils down, and Cup up.