Wednesday, June 26, 2013

College Players Help Chicago to Second Cup in Four Seasons

The Stanley Cup, claimed in dramatic fashion by the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night in a 3-2 win in Boston, will once more host several names that once dotted NCAA rosters.

Team captain Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) was again the first Blackhawk to lift the Cup after recording three goals and 11 assists for 14 points this spring. He also tallied a goal and an assist in the Game 6 clincher, including the primary assist on the tying goal with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Toews also captained Chicago, this year’s President’s Trophy winner for the best regular-season record, to the 2010 NHL title.

Duncan Keith (Michigan State) will again get his name on the Cup after contributing two goals and 11 assists to this year’s Chicago run, and this time around shared the moment with his six-week-old son, Colton (shown above).

Patrick Sharp (Vermont) and Viktor Stalberg (Vermont), both former Catamounts, will also be engraved onto the chalice this fall, with Sharp joining Keith and Toews as a two-time winner with the Blackhawks. He led Chicago with 10 goals and added six assists this postseason, while Stalberg contributed three assists.

Also receiving the honor will be Nick Leddy (Minnesota), who played in all 23 Chicago playoff games this spring, and Ben Smith (Boston College), the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four MVP, who played in one game in the Final. Brandon Bollig (St. Lawrence) saw action in five playoff contests this spring, but skated in 25 regular-season outings, which qualifies him to have his name on the Cup in the lockout-shortened campaign, according to

Jimmy Hayes (Boston College) and Jamal Mayers (Western Michigan) did not play enough regular-season games or appear in the Final to qualify to have their names put on the Cup, although Mayers was on the ice at TD Garden to hold it aloft.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

NCAA Players Play Parts in Game 4 of NHL Final

There weren't a ton of  them, but several former NCAA players got their names on the scoresheet in Wednesday's 6-5 overtime win by the Chicago Blackhawks over the host Boston Bruins in Game 4 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.

Rich Peverly (St. Lawrence) scored the Bruins first goal, while Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) had a goal for the Blackhawks. Patrick Sharp (Vermont) put Chicago up, 5-4, in the third period on a power-play goal, his 10th tally of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with Duncan Keith (Michigan State) assisting on Sharp's go-ahead goal.

Viktor Stalberg (Vermont) posted two hits, one shot on goal, and also blocked one shot for the Blackhawks, and Torey Krug (Michigan State) notched four shots on goal and three hits for the Bruins.

The series is now tied at two wins apiece, with three of the games having been decided in OT, including both of the Blackhawks' victories. Game 5 is Saturday night in Chicago, while Game 6, the potential Cup clincher, will be Monday in Boston.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Seawolves Select Thomas as New Bench Boss

The University of Alaska Anchorage has a new head coach—someone who will be moving just up the West Coast, and is no stranger to the college ranks.

The Seawolves have hired former Rochester of Technology Institute center Matt Thomas, who spent the last 12 seasons in professional hockey, most recently as head coach of the ECHL’s Stockton Thunder. The Thunder, an affiliate of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, were the ECHL’s Western Conference champions this season before they fell to the Reading Royals in the Kelly Cup Final.

“I have always admired the sense of community and pride that is associated with Anchorage and the entire state of Alaska and our entire family is excited about the move,” said Thomas at It truly is a ‘hockey state.’ My goal is to bring back the passion for UAA hockey and produce a winner for the community, alumni and our fan base.”

Thomas, from Mississauga, Ont., went 163-127-39 (.555) in 329 games in five campaigns with the Thunder, and was also 34-30 in the ECHL postseason in that span, according to the team’s website. All-time, Thomas fashioned a 342-225-80 mark (.590) in 647 career ECHL regular-season games as head coach of the Thunder, the Fresno Falcons and the Atlantic City Boardwalk Bullies. He ranks fifth in league regular-season annals in victories, and is sixth in total games coached.

A former assistant coach at the University of Maine from 2000 to 2002, Thomas played at RIT from 1994 to 1998. He helped the Tigers to three NCAA Division III Tournament berths, along with a national runner-up finish his sophomore season. He also helped them to the NCAAs as an assistant coach in 1999.

The Seawolves last posted a winning season in 1993-94, one year after they finished a string of three consecutive NCAA Division I Tournament appearances.

UAA will start play this fall in a revamped WCHA that also includes Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State and Northern Michigan.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Michigan State to Add One More Name to Stanley Cup

No matter who wins the Stanley Cup this month, one thing is certain: a defenseman from Michigan State will be getting his name on the chalice.

Either it'll be Duncan Keith for the Chicago Blackhawks, who played a season-and-a-half with the Spartans--or Torey Krug, who earned All-America and Hobey Baker finalist status in his three campaigns in Green & White.

Keith got his name on the Cup with Chicago in 2010, the last active NHL player hailing from MSU to do so, and has 11 points in 16 playoff games so far this spring. Krug, who scored four goals in the Eastern Conference semifinal this year, is in his first NHL postseason since turning pro following the 2012 NCAA East Regional.

In all, 11 former Spartans have raised the Cup a total of 12 times, led by Craig Simpson, who won with the Edmonton Oilers in 1988 and 1990.

It's also the first time ever that the Blackhawks and Bruins will face each other in the final, and the first time that two NHL Original Six squads will play for the Cup since Montreal downed the New York Rangers in five games in 1979 to complete a stretch of four consecutive Cups.