Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bracco Bolts from BC After Just Five Games

Here today, gone tomorrow. Quite literally, at least in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Freshman forward Jeremy Bracco left Boston College today to join the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League, according to and other sources. Bracco, who was drafted in the second round (61st overall) by the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs in June, leaves BC after playing in just five NCAA contests. His only three points came on assists, all in the Eagles’ most recent win, a 5-0 whitewash of Colorado College on Oct. 24.
A former Harvard recruit, Bracco 18, put up 69 points with the U.S. National Team Development Program the past two seasons in Ann Arbor, Mich. He was considered by many to still be a flight risk, especially after former BC recruit and fellow New York native Sonny Milano never arrived on campus last year, going off to Plymouth (OHL) instead after originally decommitting from Notre Dame.
Bracco, though, had tweeted in July that he was coming to BC, and was happy to be an Eagle. So much for Twitter promises.
It’s not known at present if Bracco made this decision wholly of his own accord, or if someone was whispering in his ear to make the jump to major junior. If it was his advisors, well, it wouldn’t be the first time that Toronto was associated with a move like this. Take Jerry D’Amigo back in 2010.
D’Amigo played one season at Rensselaer and then signed with the Leafs, who had drafted him the year before in 2009. He went to Kitchener, where he averaged a little more than a point per game, before being promoted to the Leafs’ AHL club. Five years later he’s spent the majority of his pro career in the AHL, where he is saddled again now, and has skated in just 31 NHL games altogether, per Granted, he was a sixth-round selection, unlike Bracco—but he was also a product of the U.S. National Team Development Program like Bracco, and is roughly the same size as Bracco, whose father and uncle both played collegiately.
At least D’Amigo left school after his freshman season at RPI had ended, not after it had just barely begun. It would have been more palatable if Bracco had waited until at least the Christmas break to bolt from BC, if not March/April when the college season ended.
It could be Bracco was less than enamored with academia, or that he wanted to fast-track his way to the NHL. So did goaltender Jack Campbell, who decommitted from the University of Michigan to join Windsor (OHL) after he was drafted 11th overall by the Dallas Stars in 2010. So far he’s played a single game in “The Show”, in 2013-14.
It would be somewhat surprising if the new Toronto regime didn't want Bracco to develop at the college level. That’s especially since new general manager Lou Lamoriello, a former Providence College player, coach and administrator, is such a strong proponent of the college game, as evidenced by the rosters of his three Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils teams.
Bracco’s not the first Jeremy to do this at the Heights. Jeremy Roenick turned pro in the fall of 1988 with the Chicago Blackhawks but never suited up for the Eagles after spending a few weeks on campus. BC also lost rising freshman defenseman Noah Hanifin this past summer, after he was drafted fifth overall by the Carolina Hurricanes in June. Hanifin had two assists in his first eight games this fall with the big club.
The days of having the Brian Giontas for four seasons, or the Nathan Gerbes and Johnny Gaudreaus for three years, seem to be over at Conte Forum. Hopefully Bracco will be the last of these one-and-dones at BC. Or lately, one-and-nones.

Former UAA Skater Glencross Retires From NHL

Former University of Alaska Anchorage forward Curtis Glencross has called it a career.

Glencross, 32, who did not receive a new NHL contract this fall despite try-outs with both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche, calls it quits after playing in 507 NHL regular season games with the Anaheim Ducks, Columbus Bluejackets, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals. In that span, he recorded 134 goals and 141 assists for 275 points, to go along with 351 penalty minutes.

A native of Kindersley, Sask., Glencross joined the professional ranks as a free agent in 2003-04 with Cincinnati (AHL) in Anaheim's organization, after finishing his second and final season at UAA. He also apprenticed with Portland and Syracuse in the American League and made his NHL debut with the Ducks in 2006-07, scoring one goal in two games,

He made it to the NHL for good in 2007-08 with Columbus before joining Edmonton for a short stint. He then spent the bulk of his pro career in Calgary, where he put up career-best numbers of 26-22—48 points and 62 PIM in 67 outings with the Flames in 2011-12.

Prior to turning pro, Glencross played two years of junior hockey with Brooks (AJHL), where he tallied 113 points in 113 games, before skating two seasons with UAA. He posted 32-25—57 points in 72 total NCAA outings with the Seawolves, including a 21-13—34 ledger as a sophomore.

He finished his career playing 10 games in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs with Washington, which also featured former UAA skater Jay Beagle on its roster. Glencross scored his last pro goal in the second round of the postseason, as the Capitals fell to the New York Rangers in seven games.

Monday, October 26, 2015

BC Blanks CC for Third Straight Shutout

Boston College is on a roll. Really.

The fourth-ranked Eagles have shut out three straight opponents, including this weekend's two-step sweep at Colorado College, and have allowed just two goals the entire regular season in getting off to a 4-1-0 start.

Freshman forward Jeremy Bracco set up three goals, two of them by Ryan Fitzgerald, in Friday's 3-0 win at CC. The Eagles followed up the next night with a 5-0 triumph in Colorado Springs as Adam Gilmour scored twice and Scott Savage and Zach Sanford posted two assists apiece.

Junior goaltender Thatcher Demko stopped all 45 shots he faced on the weekend against the host Tigers. He has also registered all four BC wins on the year, all by shutout, including earlier whitewashings of Army and Wisconsin. BC and Demko have now not allowed a goal in 196:58, or since the three-minute mark of the third period in a 2-1 loss at Rensselaer on Oct. 11.

The Eagles get back to work on Friday night at home at Kelley Rink against No. 6 Denver to begin a five-game homestand. BC will then open the 2015-16 Hockey East campaign at home on Nov. 3 against UMass.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Richards Out, Tortorella in for Columbus

Former University of Minnesota defenseman Todd Richards was relieved of his coaching duties today by the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. He was replaced by John Tortorella, who last coached in the league in 2013-14 with the Vancouver Canucks, and who was serving as a studio commentator with the NHL Network.

Richards, 49, compiled a 127-112-21 record in 260 games with the Bluejackets, according to the team’s website. His 127 wins rank first in club annals, and he also guided Columbus to a pair of 40-win campaigns and two Stanley Cup Playoff berths, including the first two playoff victories in team history, after taking over as head coach during the 2011-12 season. The Bluejackets began the 2015-16 season with seven consecutive losses after missing the postseason last year.

Richards, who spent the bulk of his professional playing career in the International Hockey League, played four seasons at Minnesota from 1985 to 1989, excluding a stint with the U.S. National Team in 1987-88, according to His best scoring season came as a sophomore when he tallied eight goals and 43 assists for 51 points in 49 outings with the Golden Gophers, and he finished his college career with 30-120—150 points and 194 penalty minutes in 173 appearances. He also recorded four assists in eight NHL regular-season games with the Hartford Whalers.

Beginning in 2002-03, Richards went on to serve as an assistant coach with Milwaukee (AHL), head coach with Wilkes-Barre Scranton (AHL), assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks, and then head coach with the Minnesota Wild for two years. He was an assistant with Columbus the year before he took the reins there as head coach.

A former three-year skater at the University of Maine, Tortorella, 57, coached the Tampa Bay Lightning for six years and the New York Rangers for five seasons prior to his time in Vancouver. He also led Tampa Bay to its first Stanley Cup title in 2004, and is slated to serve as head coach of the U.S. entry in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dartmouth's Stempniak Boosts Devils to Win

Former ECAC and Ivy League standout Lee Stempniak (Dartmouth) boosted the New Jersey Devils to their first victory of the 2015-16 campaign at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.

Stempniak finished off a 2-on-1 break in overtime to give the Devils a 2-1 win over the local rival New York Rangers, one of his seven former NHL clubs, and also gave New Jersey head coach John Hynes (Boston University) his first career NHL victory. Devils captain Andy Greene (Miami) assisted on Stempniak’s game-winner, while Mike Cammalleri (Michigan) set up New Jersey’s game-tying goal early in the second period. Cory Schneider (Boston College) finished with 26 saves for the Devils, while Derek Stepan (Wisconsin) recorded New York’s only goal on the night.

Stempniak, 32, who tallied 63 goals and 151 points for the Big Green from 2001-2005, is now in his 11th NHL season. Originally drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the fifth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft after scoring a career-high 21 goals as sophomore at Dartmouth, he has also skated with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets. In 713 career NHL regular-season contests to date, he has tallied 166 goals and 206 assists for 372 points.

Stempniak was Dartmouth's first-team selection for the ECAC All-Decade Team that was named back in 2010. A two-time NCAA All-America choice, he was also named Dartmouth's Most Valuable Player three seasons in a row, and tied for the ECAC scoring lead as a senior with 8-19—27 points in 22 conference contests.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Eagles Blank Badgers in Home Opener

No. 4 Boston College rebounded from a 2-1 loss at Rensselaer on Sunday with a 6-0 win over Wisconsin in Friday’s NCAA home opener at Conte Forum.
Austin Cangelosi (game-winning goal) and Colin White each scored two goals for the Eagles, while brothers Ryan Fitzgerald and Casey Fitzgerald each had two assists, with Ryan also notching a goal. Teddy Doherty had BC’s other score, shorthanded, and Thatcher Demko finished with 20 saves.
The Eagles travel to Colorado College for a two-game set next weekend.

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Tale of Two NCAA Netminders

A pair of former NCAA netminders made their NHL debuts against one another on Sunday night in Canada's capital city.

Mike Condon (Princeton) made 20 saves in earning his first NHL victory, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 3-1 win over Matthew O'Connor (Boston University) and the host Ottawa Senators.

“A lot of energy going into the game, but after that first shot comes, all the interior monologue just quiets down and all your training takes over,” said Condon to afterwards. “After the first shot, I was just having some fun.”

A 6-foot-2 native of Needham, Mass., Condon went 23-19-0 with Hamilton (AHL) last season, after playing the previous season with Wheeling (ECHL). He recorded 18 victories at Princeton from 2009 to 2013, and also saw time with the former Houston Aeros AHL franchise after originally turning pro.

O' Connor, who made 31 stops for the Senators on Sunday, also made his professional debut that evening. He went 25-5-4 at BU last season, backstopping the Terriers to the Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles, along with a national runner-up finish. A 6-foot-6 native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., he notched 40 wins from 2012 to 2015 at BU.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sun Devils Earn First NCAA Win over Nanooks

Arizona State made Alaska (Fairbanks) its first victim in NCAA play as the Sun Devils defeated the Nanooks, 2-1, on Saturday in the Kendall Classic in Anchorage. Ryan Belonger, who set up ASU’s tying goal early in the third period at Sullivan Arena, connected for the game-winner with 34 seconds remaining in regulation. Ryland Pashovitz made 37 saves for the Sun Devils (1-1-0), while Tyler Morley scored the lone goal for Alaska (0-2-0), which won last year's Classic.

In one of the bigger shockers of the day , Union won, 5-3, over No. 3 Boston University as Matt Wilkins scored the go-ahead goal and assisted on an insurance marker, both in the final three minutes of regulation. Also out east, No. 19 St. Lawrence topped RIT, 5-1, with Gavin Bayreuther scoring the game-winner and adding an assist.
No. 18 Quinnipiac downed Holy Cross, 4-2, after Thomas Aldworth notched one goal and set up two more for the Bobcats. New Hampshire ran roughshod over American International, 7-3, as Tyler Kelleher had a four-point night, while Alabama-Huntsville scored a 5-2 victory over UConn for a series split, thanks to 29 saves by Carmine Guerriero.
Elsewhere on Saturday, Michigan State defeated Lake Superior State, 4-1 at the Icebreaker Tournament in Portland, Me. thanks to 29 saves from Jake Hildebrand. Mackenzie MacEachern notched the game-winning goal for the Spartans, Mason Appleton had two assists, and JT Stenglien posted a goal and an assist. Also, No. 10 Omaha completed a two-step sweep at No. 6 Minnesota State with a 2-0 victory, powered by two goals from Jake Randolph and 40 saves by Evan Weninger.



Saturday, October 10, 2015

No. 1 BC Leads Friday Night NCAA Victory Parade

No. 1 Boston College started its 2015-16 regular season on a winning note with a 5-1 victory at Army on Friday evening. Freshman forward Miles Wood tallied his first career goal and set up two others for the Eagles, who played at West Point for the first time since 1994, while junior netminder Thatcher Demko finished with 23 saves.
Michigan State got two goals from Zach Osbourn, including the game-tying tally with just over a minute remaining in regulation, in a 3-3 tie with Maine at the Icebreaker Tournament in Portland, while North Dakota overpowered Lake Superior State, 5-2, thanks to two third-period goals from Bryn Chyzyk. Defending national champion Providence got a goal and three assists from Mark Jankowski in opening its campaign with a 7-3 win at Miami.
Air Force edged instate rival and fifth-ranked Denver by a 5-4 count in overtime as Johnny Hrabovsky connected unassisted in the extra session in Colorado Springs, while No. 10 Omaha won, 3-2, at No. 6 Minnesota State in a match-up of former WCHA rivals in Mankato as Kirk Thompson finished with 24 saves for the victorious Mavericks. Bemidji State’s contest at No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth was postponed due to a power outage.

At the Kendall Classic in Anchorage, St. Cloud blanked Alaska (Fairbanks) by a 3-0 count as Charlie Lindgren made 14 stops for the Huskies, while host Alaska Anchorage edged NCAA Division I newcomer Arizona State, 3-2, in overtime on Brad Duwe’s goal.

Michigan Tri-Connection Powers Red Wings

Michigan State and Michigan combined with Western Michigan to make it the Detroit Red Wings’ night in Friday’s 4-0 home-opening victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Joe Louis Arena.
Justin Abdelkader (Michigan State) tallied a hat trick, while Larkin (Michigan) scored his first NHL goal and new head coach Jeff Blashill (Western Michigan) picked up his first NHL victory. Jimmy Howard (Maine) made 22 saves for the home team in helping spoil the homecoming of former Detroit head coach Mike Babcock, who led the Red Wings to back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2008-09, including a championship the first year.
Detroit plays at Carolina tonight, while Toronto will host Ottawa.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Greene Named 11th Devils' Captain

Veteran defenseman Andy Greene (Miami) was named the 11th captain in New Jersey Devils history prior to tonight's season opener against the Winnipeg Jets at the Prudential Center. A former Devils’ alternate captain, Greene succeeds former teammate Bryce Salvador, who retired in the off-season.
A native of Trenton, Mich., Greene, 32, has played his entire NHL career with New Jersey after signing with the Devils as a free agent in 2006. In 559 career NHL regular-season appearances through the 2014-15 campaign, he had tallied 31 goals and 140 assists for 171 points. He has also played in 45 Stanley Cup Playoff contests, collecting three goals and seven points, and was a member of New Jersey's 2012 Eastern Conference championship club.
Greene, who prepped with Compuware (NAHL) before enrolling in college, played for Miami from 2002 to 2006, notching 27-97—124 points while helping the Red Hawks to a CCHA regular-season title as a senior, along with a pair of NCAA Tournament berths in his collegiate career.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

NYHJ Profile of Yale's O'Gara Now Online


A new college hockey season is here, and with it is my first ECAC article for the 2015-16 campaign, a profile of Yale University senior defenseman Rob O'Gara. The issue can be accessed online here.

A Nesconset, NY native and a member of Yale's 2013 NCAA championship team, the 6-foot-4 O'Gara earned All-America accolades as a junior. He also led Yale with 15 assists last season, and has 10 goals and 43 points in his career to date.

The Bulldogs, who advanced to the NCAAs again last season, won't get the new season underway until Oct. 30 against ECAC rival Princeton at the Capital City Classic in Trenton, NJ.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New NHL Campaign Underway

A number of former NCAA players graced National Hockey League rosters this Wednesday for the opening of the 2015-16 NHL regular season.

Following captain Jonathan Toews (North Dakota) of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawk, are high-end rookies like Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Jack Eichel (Boston University), who will be making his league debut with the Buffalo Sabres, to journeyman netminder Mike Condon (Princeton), who is now a member of the Montreal Canadiens.

Full opening-day rosters are available at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2015-16 NCAA Season Starts Tonight

The 2015-16 NCAA hockey season officially faces off tonight when Penn State hosts Minnesota in a women's contest in University Park, PA.

Tomorrow night, it's the men's Division I side getting into the equation when Alaska Anchorage entertains Mt. Royal College in Soldotna, Alaska.

Drop the puck!