Saturday, December 31, 2016

U.S. Beats Canada to End WJC Round-Robin Play

Boston College helped power the U.S. National Junior Team to a victory on New Year's Eve.

BC forward Colin White scored a goal for the fourth straight game, while BC netminder Joe Woll made 25 saves as Team USA topped host Canada, 3-1, in a round-robin game at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship in Toronto.

White lifted the U.S. to a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal in the opening stanza, while Jordan Greenway (Boston University) followed up with another power-play goal that stood up as the game-winner. Greenway also assisted on White's goal and an insurance marker late in the second period by former BC forward Jeremy Bracco. Clayton Keller (Boston University) finished with two assists.

U.S. finished first in Group "B" round-robin play with a 4-0-0 record, outscoring Latvia, Russia, Slovakia and Canada by a 17-6 margin. The Americans will now take on an as-yet-unnamed opponent in the WJC quarterfinal round on Monday.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Holiday Tournaments Wrapping Up

Three of the various NCAA Division I men's ice hockey holiday tournaments are already in the books, with the title game results listed below:

Colorado College 2, Cornell 1 (OT) (Florida College Classic)
Robert Morris 5, Quinnipiac 2 (Three Rivers Classic)
Western Michigan 1, Michigan Tech 0 (OT) (Great Lakes Invitational)

Championship games for three other holiday tourneys will be held on Saturday:

Massachusetts vs. Minnesota (Mariucci Classic)
Brown vs. Connecticut (Desert Hockey Classic)
Massachusetts-Lowell vs. Dartmouth (Ledyard Bank Classic)

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

U.S. Edges Russia, Improves to 3-0

The U.S. National Junior Team made it 3-for-3 in the Group “B" round-robin portion of the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 3-2 victory over Russia on Thursday afternoon in Toronto.

A tip-in goal by Troy Terry (Denver) in the second period gave the U.S. a 3-1 lead and held up as the game-winner. Clayton Keller (Boston University) staked the Americans to a 1-0 lead on a backhander in the first period, and Colin White (Boston College) put the U.S. up, 2-1, in the second period by putting home a rebound. Terry was named the U.S. Player of the Game, while White has scored a goal in each of USA’s three WJC games this winter, all victories.

Tyler Parson had 25 saves for the Americans, who snapped a three-game WJC losing string to Russia. Team USA will close out the round-robin portion of this year’s tournament against host Canada in Toronto on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET (NHL Network).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

U.S Tops Slovakia, 5-2

The U.S Junior National Team got goals from five different skaters and improved to 2-0 in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 5-2 win over Slovakia on Wednesday night in Toronto.

Colin White (Boston College) scored a goal for the second straight game for the Americans, who also got 18 saves from first-time WJC starter Joe Woll (Boston College). Tanner Laczynski (Ohio State), Tage Thompson (Connecticut), Troy Terry (Denver) and Charlie McAvoy (Boston University) also scored for the U.S., which connected once on the power play and outshot Slovakia, 50-20, on the evening. Jack Roslovic (Miami) posted one assist and was named U.S. Player of the Game, according to

Team USA will now face Russia (1-1), on Thursday at 3;30 p.m. ET (NHL Network). Russia, which fell to host Canada on Tuesday, has ended American medal hopes in the past three World Juniors.

Monday, December 26, 2016

U.S. Wins 2017 World Juniors Opener

Clayton Keller (Boston University) scored twice and Troy Terry (Denver) and Tage Thompson (Connecticut) had two assists each as the U.S. National Junior Team opened the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship with a 6-1 victory over Latvia on Monday afternoon in Toronto.

Colin White (Boston College) had a goal and an assist for the NCAA-laden Americans, who also got goals from Jeremy Bracco, Patrick Harper (Boston University) and U.S. player of the game Jordan Greenway (Boston University), plus 11 saves from Tyler Parsons. Team USA, which outshot Latvia, 30-12, en route to scoring the final five goals of the game, will return to action on Wednesday against Slovakia at the Air Canada Centre.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

MSU's Petry Scores Twice in Montreal Win

Michigan got upstaged by Michigan State on Tuesday night in Montreal.

Andrew Cogliano (Michigan) scored the game’s first goal for the Anaheim Ducks while extending his consecutive games played streak to 738 NHL games, but it was all Montreal after that. The Canadiens tallied five unanswered goals, two of them by defenseman Jeff Petry (Michigan State),  en route to a 5-0 victory at the Bell Centre.

Petry, from Ann Arbor, Mich. now has seven goals on the season, tying his NHL career high recorded in 2013-14 with the Edmonton Oilers. He collected nine goals in three NCAA seasons at MSU (2007-2010), according to

The games played streak by Toronto native Cogliano, who scored 36 goals in two years at Michigan (2005-2007), is the fifth-longest streak in NHL history. He passed current St. Louis Blues blueliner Jay Bouwmeester, who played in 737 consecutive NHL contests from 2002 to 2014 with Florida, Calgary and St. Louis.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Princeton Routs MSU (Mankato) for Fifth Straight Win

Princeton got goals from six different skaters on Friday night in dismantling No. 19 Minnesota State, 6-1, in NCAA Division I men's hockey action at Hobey Baker Rink. 

Princeton led 2-0 after one period, and then 5-0 after two. The Tigers (7-7-1 overall) have now won five straight games, and are also 7-1-0 in their last eight outings, while MSU (10-7-2) fell to 2-2-1 over its last five contests. The full story can be found here.

The two teams face off tonight at 7 p.m. ET to close out the series, and also the 2016 calendar year. Both schools will return to their respective league action on Jan. 6-7.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

NCAA Recruits to Dominate 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game

 A total of 20 NCAA Division I men's hockey programs will see some of their future players skating in this season's 2017 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. The contest, which will feature some of the top players in the United States Hockey League, the sole Tier I Junior "A" circuit in American hockey, will take place on Jan. 10 in Sioux Falls, S.D.

According to, 35 of the 40 players selected to participate in this, the fourth iteration of the event, were named to the National Hockey League Central Scouting Preliminary List last month, including three A-rated players in forwards Shane Bowers (Waterloo Black Hawks) and Eeli Tolvanen (Sioux City Musketeers), and goaltender Maksim Zhukov (Green Bay Gamblers). Bowers has committed to Boston University, while Tolvanen has signed with Boston College.

A total of 32 of the 40 players chosen for the game have already committed to NCAA Division I schools. The list of universities with players involved includes BC, BU, Connecticut, Cornell, Denver, Ferris State, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan State, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, Minnesota State, Northeastern, Notre Dame, Providence, Quinnipiac, Union, Western Michigan, Wisconsin and Yale. BC, BU, Denver and Minnesota-Duluth all boast the most recruits participating, with three apiece.

The full list of participating players is available here.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Princeton Tops Quinnipiac, 5-3

Princeton made it four wins in its last five outings overall as the Tigers defeated No. 7 Quinnipiac, 5-3, on Friday night at Hobey Baker Rink.

Princeton, which took three one-goal leads on the night, went ahead for good with just over four minutes remaining in regulation when an unassisted shot from the blueline by defenseman Matt Nelson found the back of the Quinnipiac net. Eric Robinson then fired an insurance goal into an empty net with 15 seconds left, after Bobcats netminder Chris Truehl (24 saves) had been pulled for an extra attacker. Princeton last won four of five games from Jan. 4-27, 2013.
Max Veronneau set up three of Princeton goals and now has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in his last three games, after starting the season with four points over his first nine contests. Ryan Kuffner, Jackson Cressey (power-play goal) and Alex Riche also scored for the Tigers (4-7-1 overall, 2-6-1 ECAC), who got 33 stops on the evening from Colton Phinney, including a pad save on a shot late in regulation with Quinnipiac threatening to tie the game on a power play.
The Bobcats’ goals came from Kevin Duane (PPG), Landon Smith and Thomas Aldworth, in the first second and third periods, respectively, with each one forging a tie. Quinnipiac (10-6-2, 6-3-1) finished 1-for-5 on the power play while outshooting Princeton, 36-29, overall. The Tigers, who were 1-for-3 with the man advantage, defeated Quinnipiac for the first time since Nov. 23, 2013, a span of four games, and for the first time at home since Jan. 4, 2010.

An altercation after the final whistle resulted in 10-minute misconduct penalties being issued to both teams, and no traditional postgame handshake was held. The two ECAC travel partners will conclude their home-and home series tomorrow at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Preliminary 2017 U.S. World Junior Roster Announced

Current NCAA players dominated the preliminary 27-man roster for the U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Toronto and Montreal.

Boston University had more players (seven) selected than any other Division I school, followed by Boston College with three skaters. Connecticut, Denver, Harvard, Michigan, Minnesota, Minnesota-Duluth, North Dakota, Ohio State, Providence, St. Cloud State and Wisconsin each had one player chosen. There were also four players picked from the Ontario Hockey League, and one apiece from the Western Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

The head coach for the U.S. this year is Bob Motzko (St. Cloud State), while his assistants include Greg Brown (Boston College), Grant Potulny (Minnesota), Kris Mayotte (Providence ) and Steve Miller (Air Force). The full American roster, which will be pared down to 23 players prior to the start of the tournament, can be found here

The U.S. finished third in last year’s World Juniors in Helsinki, and last won World Junior gold in 2013 in Russia.

Monday, December 5, 2016

UND Outlasts BC at MSG, 4-3

Boston College rebounded from a 2-0 deficit with two goals early in the third period, but couldn't pull out a victory against North Dakota on Saturday night in New York City. The Fighting Hawks held on for a 4-3 win, their first over the Eagles since 2005, in the inaugural College Hockey Showdown at Madison Square Garden.

Following a scoreless first period, Tyson Jost scored twice to put UND up, 2-0, the second goal coming on a power play, after 40 minutes. After a major penalty and game misconduct sustained by UND’s Rhett Gardner late in the second stanza, Colin White got the Eagles to within a goal on a 5-on-3 man advantage  just 49 seconds after the puck dropped to begin began the final frame. Christopher Brown then tied the game for the Eagles by putting home a rebound less than four minutes later.

UND (8-5-3 overall) regained the lead at 9:04 when Joel Janatuinen snapped home a loose puck in the slot, and then Trevor Olsen took advantage of a defensive miscue by BC (12-5-1) to make it 4-2 for the Fighting Hawks with 2:01 left. Matthew Gaudreau’s long-range goal for the Eagles with nine seconds remaining in regulation provided the final margin. Scott Savage assisted on all three BC goals.

UND outshot BC, 34-31, before 11,348 on-lookers at MSG.  Joseph Woll finished with 30 saves for the Eagles, while Cam Johnson had 28 stops for the Fighting Hawks, who went 1-for-6 on the power play compared to BC’s 1-for-2 success rate. UND now leads the all-time series, 12-11-1, after BC had gone 4-0-1 against UND in the previous meetings between the two schools. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

New Jersey's Stolarz Wins NHL Debut

Anthony Stolarz (Nebraska-Omaha) made 29 saves for the win in his NHL debut on Sunday, as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the visiting Calgary Flames, 5-3.

The 6-foot-6 Stolarz, who according to is the first New Jersey native to play in goal in an NHL contest, spent one semester at Omaha in 2012. He went 2-5-0 with one shutout in eight NCAA appearances with the Mavericks before transitioning to London (OHL), according to After recording 38 wins in 55 games over two campaigns with the Knights, Stolarz turned pro in 2014-15 with Lehigh Valley (AHL), and finished 21-18-7 in 47 games last season with a 2.60 goals-against average and .916 save percentage for the Phantoms.

A native of Edison, N.J., Stolarz was drafted by the Flyers in the second round (45th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. He spent his pre-draft year with Corpus Christi (NAHL) before enrolling at Omaha, and later served as a back-up for 26 NHL contests with Philadelphia before getting the start on Sunday.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hockey Thanksgiving 2016

Happy (U.S.) Thanksgiving, hockey world

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Cammalleri Powers Devils over Canes

Several New Jersey Devils with NCAA ties figured prominently on the scoresheet in Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the host Carolina Hurricanes.

Mike Cammalleri (Michigan) opened the scoring with his first three goals of the year, a natural hat trick spanning the second and third periods, following a scoreless opening 20 minutes. It was Cammalleri’s sixth career hat NHL trick, and first in a New Jersey uniform since joining the club in 2014. Goaltender Keith Kinkaid (Union) made 33 saves in earning not only his first victory of the season, but the Devils’ first road triumph of the 2016-17 campaign, in their sixth try after going 0-3-2.

Beau Bennett (Denver) had two assists for the Devils on Sunday, while team captain Andy Greene (Miami) closed out the scoring with a shorthanded empty-net goal in the final minute of regulation, his first goal this fall. Noah Hanifin (Boston College) assisted on Carolina’s lone score.

New Jersey is now 5-3-3 overall, while Carolina is 3-5-3. The two teams meet again tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark to conclude their home-and-home series.

Friday, November 4, 2016

BC to Retire Mottau's Jersey

Former Boston College defenseman Mike Mottau will become the 13th hockey Eagle ever to have his number retired, according to 

Mottau, who won the 2000 Hobey Baker Memorial Award as the top player in NCAA Division I men's hockey, will be honored on Nov. 27 at the Eagles' home game at Conte Forum against Minnesota. Although his jersey is being retired, Mottau's No. 3 will still remain in circulation on the Eagle roster.

A native of Avon, Mass. and a Thayer Academy product, Mottau posted 27 goals and 130 assists for 157 points to go with 228 penalty minutes in 163 career appearances in Maroon and Gold. He became the second Eagle ever following David Emma (1991) to earn the Hobey Baker Award, after putting up 6-37—43 points in 42 outings during his senior season. Johnny Gaudreau followed as BC's third Hobey Baker winner, in 2014.

A two-time All-America selection, Mottau still leads BC in career assists, and also helped the Eagles to three NCAA Frozen Fours (1998, 1999, 2000) and two national runner-up finishes. They also won two Hockey East Tournament titles (1998, 1999) during his tenure in Chestnut Hill.

Drafted by the New York Rangers (182nd overall) in 1997, Mottau went on to play in 321 NHL regular-season games with the Rangers, Calgary Flames, New Jersey Devils, New York Islanders, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers. He notched 7-51—58 points and 164 PIM overall, and also picked up four points in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff contests with the Devils, before retiring in 2014, according to He also played in nearly 400 regular-season games in the American Hockey League.

No. 3 is currently worn at the Heights by freshman defenseman Luke McInnis, son of BC assistant coach and former forward Marty McInnis. It was worn the past three seasons by defenseman Ian McCoshen, who left school after his junior campaign last year to sign an NHL contract with Florida after helping the Eagles to the 2014 and 2016 NCAA semifinals.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Vecchione Tops NCAA Division I Scorers

Two skaters from Hockey East, one from the ECAC, and one from the NCHC topped the scroll of leading scorers in NCAA Division I Men's Hockey through Halloween, according to

Headlining the list was Union College senior forward Mike Vecchione, who has tallied 10 goals and six assists for 16 points in eight games. His 10 goals put him ahead of Notre Dame junior forward and NHL draftee Anders Bjork, who has collected 7-9—16 points in eight outings and is property of the Boston Bruins.

In third place is North Dakota sophomore forward Brock Boeser, a Vancouver Canucks draft choice and 2016 NCAA champion, with 6-6—12 points in seven appearances. Coming in fourth overall is Joe Gambardella, a senior forward at Massachusetts-Lowell who has put up 5-7—12 points in eight starts. 

Eight players are tied with 11 points apiece, paced goal-wise by Gambardella's junior UML teammate, C.J. Smith, who has notched 5-6—11 points in eight contests.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Howard, Talbot Among NHL Goalie Leaders

Two former college goaltenders are currently leading the National Hockey League in at least two netminding categories apiece.

According to, Jimmy Howard (Maine) of the Detroit Red Wings is atop the league in both goals-against average (0.50) and save percentage (.984). The Syracuse native, who backstopped the Black Bears to the 2004 NCAA championship game, is nine wins short of 200 regular-season victories for his NHL career.

Cam Talbot (Alabama-Huntsville) of the Edmonton Oilers is pacing the circuit with five wins, two more than any other NHL goaltender at present. He is also tied for the league lead with one shutout, which came in Sunday's Heritage Classic in Winnipeg with a 3-0 blanking of the Jets. The Ontario native needs one victory to reach 60 wins in his NHL tenure.

Detroit hosts Carolina tonight, while Edmonton entertains Washington on Wednesday.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Vesey Tallies First NHL Goal in Ranger Win

Former Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Jimmy Vesey (Harvard) scored his first NHL goal, and two other Beanpot Tournament veterans added goals of their own as the New York Rangers defeated the San Jose Sharks, 7-4, on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

Chris Kreider (Boston College) had a goal and an assist as the Rangers built a 3-1 lead after two periods. After the Sharks closed to within 3-2 midway through the third period, Kevin Hayes (Boston College) and Vesey, last year's top player in college hockey, struck 21 seconds apart to put New York up by a 5-2 count. Joe Pavelski (Wisconsin) scored for San Jose, which couldn't draw any closer than 5-4 before New York added two late tallies to seal the win.

Kreider, 25, who won two NCAA titles (2010, 2012) in his three seasons at BC, has tallied a goal and an assist in his first three outings this year, giving him six points in three games. The Rangers, who have gone 2-1-0 to start the season, will now host the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday at  8 p.m. at MSG, while the Sharks visit the New York Islanders tonight.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Sun Devils Top Air Force for First Ranked Win

NCAA Division I independent Arizona State earned its first-ever victory over a ranked opponent with Sunday's 5-2 triumph over No. 18 Air Force at Gila River Arena.

The Sun Devils, playing in their second varsity season and in their first full NCAA Division I campaign, earned their first win of the season to earn a series split. The visiting Falcons, who earlier this fall won the Icebreaker Classic in Denver with victories over Boston College and Ohio State, had edged ASU, 4-3, on Friday night.

Tyler Busch scored the game-winning goal on a second period power play on Sunday for the Sun Devils, who also got a goal and two assists apiece from from Dylan Hollman and Boston University transfer Robbie Baillargeon, plus 24 saves from Joey Daccord. Sunday's win also marked the first time ASU had beaten a Division I opponent in Arizona, as last year's Division I wins over Alaska (Fairbanks) and Lake Superior State all came on the road or at a neutral site.

ASU (1-3-0 overall) will now visit Northeastern this weekend before hosting Harvard to close out the month.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Division III UCHC to Debut in 2017-18

A new NCAA Division III men's and women’s hockey league will arise starting with the 2017-18 season, in the form of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference.

According to, the UCHC roster will include the men’s and women’s teams from Chatham, Elmira, Hobart, King’s, Lebanon Valley, Manhattanville, Neumann, Stevenson and Utica. It will also feature the Nazareth men’s team, while the Wilkes men’s and women’s teams will join the conference full-time in 2018-19.

“We are pleased to announce the formation of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference,” said Nazareth College president Daan Braveman at “We have a tremendous grouping of academic and athletic institutions, and this will be will an exciting time for our student-athletes and member institutions.”

Chuck Mitrano, current commissioner of the Empire 8 Conference, will serve as the UCHC’s inaugural commissioner, as reported in the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

The UCHC announcement sounds the death knell for the eight-school ECAC West men's conference, of which Elmira, Hobart, Lebanon Valley, Manhattanville, Nazareth, Neumann and Utica are currently all members. Elmira, Neumann and Utica are also members of the nine-school ECAC West women's league.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Horcoff Joins Red Wings as Player Development Director

Shawn Horcoff has come back to the state of Michigan full-time.

The former Michigan State University star, who retired earlier this year after a 15-season NHL career, has been named director of player development for the Detroit Red Wings, as reported at

Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the fourth round of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft after his sophomore campaign at MSU, Horcoff spent the first 12 years of his professional career with them. He also captained the Oilers, and helped them to within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2006. He joined the Dallas Stars for two seasons beginning in 2013, before finishing up last year with the Anaheim Ducks.

He tallied 186 goals and 325 assists for 511 points in 1,008 NHL regular-season outings, and added 11-19—30 points in 46 Stanley Cup playoff contests, according to A native of Castlegar, B.C, Horcoff, 38, played at MSU from 1996 to 2000, and was a member of its NCAA Frozen Four team as a junior. He joined the Spartans after starring with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League

As a senior at MSU, Horcoff was tabbed as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association’s Player of the Year and its Best Defensive Forward while leading the conference in scoring, with 14-51—65 totals in 42 games overall. He was also named to the CCHA All-Academic Team and the league’s first All-Conference Team that spring, and was a Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist and first team All-America selection, according to

In 155 games in his tenure in East Lansing, Horcoff recorded 50-102—152 points. He also helped the Spartans to two CCHA regular-season titles, two CCHA Tournament championships, and four NCAA Tournament berths while skating for the late Ron Mason.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

U.S. Eliminated from World Cup

Team USA is done.

The American contingent dropped its second straight game of the 2016 World Cup in Toronto on Tuesday night, 4-2, to host Canada. The loss eliminates the U.S. from semifinal contention, after its second defeat in as many games in Group ‘A’ play.

Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin) and T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) sandwiched goals for the U.S. around four consecutive tallies by Canada that spanned the first and second periods at Air Canada Centre. Jonathan Quick (Massachusetts) had 34 saves for the Americans, three days after he made 14 stops against Team Europe in a 3-0 loss.

The U.S. went 2-1-0 in exhibition play before the start of this year’s tournament, including a split with Canada. Team USA, which won the inaugural World Cup in 1996 in Montreal, will close out this year’s edition on Thursday against the also-eliminated Czech Republic.

ADDENDUM: The U.S. closed out the World Cup by finishing in next-to-last place overall with a 4-3 loss to the Czechs.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

NCHC Staying at Eight Schools

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference will remain at eight member schools for the time being.

According to and other sources, the league will not accept Arizona State and current WCHA member Minnesota State into its ranks at this time. ASU is an NCAA Division I independent, in its second season of varsity competition, while MSU belongs to the Western College Hockey Association.

The NCHC, which began play in the fall of 2013, consists of Colorado College, Denver, Miami (Ohio), Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Western Michigan. CC, DU, UMD, Omaha, UND and SCSU came to the league from the WCHA, while Miami and WMU are transplants from the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA).

North Dakota won the NCHC's first-ever national title in April, defeating Quinnipiac, 5-1, in the
national championship game in Florida.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Remembering Kent State NCAA Hockey has published the piece I wrote on the demise of the NCAA Division I men's hockey program at Kent (State) 22 years ago. Though the NCAA and CCHA are long gone from the Kent Ice Arena, hockey is still thriving on the Ohio campus in the form of a successful club program.

Saw Kent play several times in Fairbanks, Alaska when I was working at UAF in 1991-92. The Golden Flashes ceased play before I got to Michigan State in the fall of 1994. Hard to believe they've been gone so long.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Vesey Signs with Rangers

Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Jimmy Vesey has finally found an NHL landing spot.

The Harvard graduate, who finished his Crimson career with 80 goals and 66 assists for 144 points in four seasons, according to, inked a free-agent deal on Friday with the New York Rangers, as reported by multiple sources. Full terms were not immediately disclosed.

Originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Vesey ultimately did not sign with them after completing his career at Harvard this spring. He also did not sign with the Buffalo Sabres, who recently traded with Nashville for his rights, before becoming a free agent exactly a week ago.

The son of former Merrimack forward Jim Vesey, he led the ECAC this past season with 20-1737 points in 25 league contests, and finished with 24-2246 points in 33 outings overall. A native of North Reading, Mass., he prepped with the South Shore Kings (EJHL) prior to skating in Cambridge, recording 91 points in 45 games in 2011-12, according to

Vesey 23, led the Crimson to the 2015 ECAC Tournament championship, while also earning the Walter Brown Award that season as the top American-born player in New England Division I men's collegiate hockey after tallying 58 points in 37 appearances. He copped All-America accolades as a junior and senior, and was also named ECAC Player of the Year in both those campaigns, while helping Harvard to back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Former BC Forward Janney to Join U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame

Former NHL forward Craig Janney (Boston College) will be inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame this year, along with members of the U.S. squad that won the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, according to

Janney, 48, from Enfield, Conn. played two seasons at BC, notching 41 goals and 69 assists for 110 points in 71 games from 1985 to 1987. His 55 assists and 83 points as a sophomore still stand as single-season school records, and he also earned First Team All-America accolades that year while guiding the Eagles to both the Hockey East regular-season and tournament titles. Born in Hartford, he prepped at Enfield High School and Deerfield Academy before suiting up for the Eagles.

After skating with the American team at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Janney embarked upon a 12-
year NHL career, beginning with the Boston Bruins, who drafted him 13th overall in 1986. As a rookie, he helped Boston to the 1988 Stanley Cup Final after recording 6-10— 16 points in 23 playoff games that spring, He also helped the Bruins to the 1990 Stanley Cup Final, and also went on to play with the St. Louis Blues, San Jose Sharks, Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders before retiring in 1999. In 760 career NHL regular-season outings, Janney tallied 188-563—751 points, along with 24-86—110 points in 120 Stanley Cup Playoff contests, according to, while never playing a game in the minor leagues. His highest-scoring season came in 1992-93 in St. Louis, when he registered 24-82—106 points in 84 appearances with the Blues.       

Janney joins Bill Guerin (Class of 2013), Brian Leetch (Class of 2008), the late John Cuniff (Class of 2003), Len Ceglarski (Class of 1992) and the late John A. “Snooks” Kelley (Class of 1974) as former Eagles who have been inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, as stated at

The 1996 U.S World Cup team, which defeated Canada in a best-of-three final-round series to win the inaugural title, featured former NCAA forwards Tony Amonte (Boston University), Bill Guerin (BC), Brett Hull (Minnesota-Duluth), John LeClair (Vermont), Shawn McEachern (BU), Joel Otto (Bemidji State), Brian Rolston (Lake Superior State), BryanSmolinski (Michigan State), Keith Tkachuk (BU), Doug Weight (LSSU) and Scott Young (BU). It also included former NCAA defensemen Shawn Chambers (Alaska Fairbanks), Chris Chelios (Wisconsin), Brian Leetch (BC) and Gary Suter (Wisconsin), plus former NCAA goaltenders Jim Carey (Wisconsin), Guy Hebert (Hamilton) and Mike Richter (Wisconsin). The coaching staff consisted of head coach Ron Wilson (Providence), along with associate coaches John Cunniff (BC), Paul Holmgren (Minnesota) and Keith Allain (Yale). Holmgren will serve assistant general manager of Team USA for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.

Also slated to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame this year will be Normand “Bill” Belisle, according to Belisle has served as head coach for over 40 years at Rhode Island schoolboy power Mount Saint Charles Academy, and has sent numerous players on to both the NCAA and NHL ranks. The induction ceremony will be held at the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in Eveleth, Minn. at a time and date to be announced.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Carle Signs with Nashville

Former Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner Matt Carle will continue his NHL career in Music City.

Carle, an Anchorage, Alaska native, has signed with the Nashville Predators for the 2016-17 campaign for $700,000, according to Alaska Dispatch News.

The six-foot, 197-pound Carle played the last four NHL seasons with Tampa Bay, and in 724 career NHL games with the Lightning, San Jose Sharks and Philadelphia Flyers has recorded 45 goals and 237 assists for 282 points, to go with 6-38—44 points in 127 Stanley Cup Playoff contests, as noted at He also has two assists in three career minor-league appearances, all in the American Hockey League in 2006-07.

Carle, 31, was named the top player in NCAA Division I men’s college hockey as a junior in 2005-06 after pacing Denver with career-high totals of 11-42—53 points while also leading the nation in assists and all college defensemen in points that winter. He also helped the Pioneers to back-to-back NCAA championships his first two years, and registered 29-94—124 points in 112 career outings before turning pro after three seasons, according to

Saturday, July 23, 2016

BC's Kreider, Hayes Re-Sign with Rangers

A pair of former Boston College Eagles will remain New York Rangers.

Former Eagle forwards Chris Kreider and Kevin Hayes, who were teammates on BC’s 2012 NCAA championship team, re-signed Friday with the Rangers, the only NHL club the duo has played for in their professional careers.

Kreider, 25, who was potentially headed to arbitration yesterday for nearly the second time in two years, reportedly signed a deal for four years worth $18.5 million, according to CBC via Hayes, 24, who was himself headed to arbitration next week, signed for two years with an average annual value of $2.6 million, according to

A 6-foot-3, 226-pound native of Boxford, Mass., Kreider, who turned pro following BC's 2012 title run and then helped the Rangers to the NHL's Eastern Conference Final that spring, was also a freshman on the Eagles 2010 national title team.  In three seasons at the Heights, he collected 50 goals and 43 assists for 93 points in 114 games, as stated at In 248 NHL regular-season outings, all with New York, Kreider has tallied 61-68—129 points, to go with 20-13—33 totals in 65 Stanley Cup playoff appearances, according to

Hayes, a Dorchester, Mass. native and a 2014 Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist for the top player in NCAA Division I men's hockey, notched 44-88—132 points in 142 career games with the Eagles, including 27-38—65 points as a senior while helping BC to the Frozen Four in Philadelphia that year. In 158 career NHL regular-season contests, all with the Rangers, Hayes has potted 31-50—81 points, plus 2-5—7 points in 22 postseason starts.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

McPhee Tabbed as Inaugural Las Vegas GM

Former Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner George McPhee (Bowling Green) is the new general manager of the as-yet unnamed Las Vegas expansion team that will start National Hockey League play in 2017-18, according to

McPhee, 58, who played seven seasons as a forward in the NHL with the New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils, appeared in a total of 155 regular-season outings and 29 Stanley Cup playoff contests from 1983 to 1989. He later spent 17 years as GM of the Washington Capitals (1997-2014), guiding the Caps to eight regular seasons of 40 or more wins, and seven Southeast Division crowns, plus the 1998 Stanley Cup Final.

A native of Guelph, Ontario, McPhee won the Hobey Baker Award as a senior at BGSU in 1981-82 when he led the Falcons with 28 goals and 52 assists for 80 points, and also earned All-American and All-CCHA honors, according to BGSU’s athletic website. In four seasons, he racked up 114-153—267 points in 153 NCAA games, including a 40-goal campaign as a freshman in 1978-79 when he played for the late Ron Mason. He also helped the Falcons to two NCAA Tournament berths, two CCHA regular-season titles, and one CCHA playoff championship.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

BC's Sanford Signs with Capitals

Make it seven players now lost for Boston College this offseason.

Rising sophomore forward Zach Sanford became the seventh Eagle to leave the Heights with college eligibility remaining, by signing a three entry-level NHL contract with the Washington Capitals, who drafted him 61st overall in 2013, according to the team website. He has attended four summer development camps with the Capitals, who finished as the top team in the NHL during the 2015-16 regular season.

Sanford, 21, a 6-foot-4, 191-pound skater from Auburn, N.H. leaves BC after tallying 20 goals and 43 assists for 63 points in 79 career games. He recorded career highs of 13-2639 points and 44 penalty minutes to go with with six power-play goals last season as the Eagles shared the Hockey East regular-season title with Providence, and also advanced to the NCAA Frozen Four in Tampa. He joins Ian McCoshen, Steve Santini, Miles Wood, Alex Tuch, Adam Gilmour, and Thatcher Demko in leaving BC early for the pros this year.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

New Jersey's Palmieri Re-Signs with Devils

New Jersey native Kyle Palmieri (Notre Dame) has signed a new contract with the New Jersey Devils, whom he led with 57 points last season. The Montvale, N.J. and St. Peter’s Prep product has inked a five-year, $23.25 million deal with the Devils, whom he also led with 30 goals in 2015-16, tying him for the team lead with Adam Henrique.

A restricted free agent, Palmieri had filed for salary arbitration earlier this week, according to He was traded from the Anaheim Ducks to New Jersey last year in exchange for the 41st selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

Born in Smithtown, N.Y., Palmieri played one season at Notre Dame, tallying nine goals and eight assists for 17 points in 33 NCAA games with the Fighting Irish in 2009-10, after being drafted 26th overall by Anaheim in 2009. He had skated for the U.S. National Team Development Program after starring at St. Peter’s Prep, and before enrolling at Notre Dame. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound forward turned pro in 2010-11 with Syracuse (AHL), and also made his NHL debut with Anaheim that same season, scoring once in 10 games.

In 280 NHL regular-season outings with the Ducks and Devils, Palmieri, 25, has collected 73-73—146 points and 129 penalty minutes. He has posted 7-5—12 totals in 33 Stanley Cup playoff outings, all with Anaheim, via His goal, assist and point totals last season with New Jersey were all NHL career-highs, as were his 82 appearances and 39 penalty minutes.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Backes, Okposo Sign with New NHL Teams

Two notable former NCAA players changed NHL teams on Friday, according to

Former St. Louis Blues captain David Backes (Minnesota State) signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Boston Bruins, while former New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo (Minnesota) inked a seven-year, $42 million pact with the Buffalo Sabres. Both are leaving the only NHL franchise that each player had known since turning professional, respectively, after both became unrestricted free agents this off-season.

Backes, 32, played three seasons at MSU (2003-2006), tallying 46 goals and 119 points with the Mavericks. In 727 NHL regular-season outings, all with St. Louis, he has posted 206-254460 points and 969 penalty minutes, via, after being drafted by the Blues in the second round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.

Okposo, 28, played a year-and-a-half at Minnesota (2006-08), tallying 26 goals and 51 points in 58 outings with the Golden Gophers. Taken seventh overall by the Islanders in 2006, he has registered 139-230369 points and 310 PIM in 529 regular-season NHL games to date.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Canucks to Part Ways with Yale's Higgins

The Vancouver Canucks are poised buy out the contract of former Yale University forward Chris Higgins, according to The Hockey News on Monday. The Smithtown, N.Y. native has been placed on waivers, and should be bought out after no claim is expected to be made for him.

Higgins played two seasons at Yale, collecting 34 goals and 37 assists for 71 points in 55 NCAA games with the Bulldogs from 2001 to 2003, via The 14th overall selection by Montreal in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, the six-foot, 200-pound skater played four full seasons with the Canadiens before spending a combined year with the New York Rangers and Calgary Flames. He has been with the Canucks since the 2010-11 season, and last year also played in 22 games with Utica (AHL), his first time in the minors since 2004-05 with now-defunct Hamilton (AHL).

In 711 career NHL regular-season outings, Higgins has tallied 165-168—233 points to go with 220 penalty minutes, including his 2007-08 campaign in Montreal where he posted career highs of 27-25—52 points, according to In 62 Stanley Cup playoff contests with Montreal and Vancouver, he has recorded 11-10—21 points, and had a career-best 4-4—8 points in 25 games his first season with the Canucks as they came within one win of a Stanley Cup title.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

NCAA Selections Abound at 2016 NHL Draft

Current and incoming NCAA players figured heavily into Friday night's first round of the 2016 NHL Entry Entry Draft in Buffalo.
Among a record 12 Americans taken amongst the first 30 selections were Clayton Keller, who is headed to Boston University this fall and was chosen seventh overall by the Arizona Coyotes. Future BU teammate Charlie McAvoy went 14th to the Boston Bruins, while Wisconsin's Luke Kunin went next to the Minnesota Wild. Tage Thompson of UConn was chosen 26th overall by the St. Louis Blues.

The second round on Saturday started off with Notre Dame recruits Andrew Peeke (34th) and Cam Morrison (40th) going to the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Colorado Avalanche, respectively. According to, a total of 61 players with NCAA ties heard their names called this weekend.
BU led all schools with six selections overall, followed by North Dakota and Wisconsin with five draftees apiece. Providence saw four of its players taken in the two-day event, while Boston College, Denver, Michigan, Northeastern, Notre Dame and Omaha each had three skaters selected.

A full, sortable list of selections can be found here.


Friday, June 24, 2016

New North Dakota Logo Revealed

The University of North Dakota unveiled its new Fighting Hawks logo, shown above, this week. I have to saythat's the best they could do?

It's simple and easily duplicated, and, as UND probably wanted, non-controversial, following the saga of the historic Fighting Sioux nickame and logo that were dropped four years ago after the NCAA got involved.

After featuring such an iconic mark as the Sioux, with its myriad of colors and sharp design, though, this new, playing-it-safe avian logo leaves a lot to be desired for one of the premiere college hockey programs in the nation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

McCoshen Leaves Eagles for Panthers

The offseason exodus from Boston College continues. According to, BC rising junior defenseman Ian  McCoshen has signed a contract with the NHL's Florida Panthers, foregoing his final year of NCAA eligibility.

A native of Hudson, Wisc., the 6-foot-3, 218-pound McCoshen tied a career-high mark this past season with six goals, and  also set new personal career highs with 15 assists, 21 points and 86 penalty minutes in 40 games. In 110 career appearances with the Eagles, the left-shooting blueliner registered 17-33—50 points to go with 201 PIM. He posted one assist in his final collegiate contest, a 3-2 NCAA semifinal loss to Quinnipiac on April 7 in Tampa. He also recorded a team-high six shots on goal in that game, including a potential game-tying one-timer that was turned aside with four seconds remaining in regulation.

McCoshen prepped three seasons with Waterloo (USHL) before enrolling at BC in the fall of 2013, after being selected by Florida in the second round (31st overall) of the NHL Entry Draft that year.  An applied psychology and human development major in BC’s Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, according to, he played in two World Junior Championships for the United States, and helped the Eagles to two Hockey East regular-season titles and two NCAA Frozen Four appearances in his three years at the Heights.

McCoshen becomes the sixth Eagle this offseason to leave BC early for the pros, following Steve Santini, Miles Wood, Alex Tuch, Adam Gilmour, and Thatcher Demko.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Remembering Ron Mason 1940-2016

The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup on Sunday. The day after, it didn’t really matter to me all that much.

Three days after the death of Gordie Howe, hockey lost another legend in retired Michigan State University head coach Ron Mason, who passed away at age 76 early in the morning on June 13. Unlike Mr. Hockey, whom I met only once at an NHL All-Star Game in New York City, I knew Ron Mason personally, and a lot longer.

I never called him Ron. It was always "Coach".

Back in the fall of 1994, three years after graduating from Boston College and spending time at BC, Alaska Fairbanks, and with the NHL and the New Jersey Devils, I packed my bags again and drove 10 hours west with my father to take a position as the sports information intern for hockey at Michigan State. I stayed there for two seasons, 82 games, and 53 victories. While MSU didn't win any titles (came close a couple of times) or raise any banners to the rafters of Munn Ice Arena in my largely non-descript tenure, in a lot of ways those were some of the best years of my life.

If you’ve ever seen the 2014 Brad Pitt film "Fury" about a World War II Sherman tank crew in Nazi Germany, you know that the credo that was passed along among his five-man gang about their insular existence, that they were each living the "best job I ever had". That's how I feel about my time at State—and a lot of that had to do with Spartan Hockey and Ron Mason.

A year-and-a half before I arrived in Michigan, Coach had broken retired Boston College head coach Len Ceglarksi’s record for career NCAA victories. Even the vending machines on the concourse at Munn paid him homage, electronic letters scrolling around price listings with the words “Welcome to Munn Arena—Home of the Winningest Coach in North American College Hockey.”

“Roman, could we get that fixed?” he asked me early on. “It makes it sound like there’s some guy in France I have to beat.”

I'd actually seen Coach on the Spartan bench before I ever worked at State. The first time was in 1988, when MSU edged Harvard, 6-5, at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, Mass. in the NCAA Tournament. A year-and-a-half-later, it was at BC as State rebounded to win, 5-3, at Conte Forum, eight months after the Spartans won a best-of-three NCAA quarterfinal series at Munn over the Eagles. I didn't actually meet him until five years later, though, when I walked into Munn and shook hands with him outside his office.

"You're not a member of the media, Roman, you're one of us," he told me matter-of-factly.

That was my life the next 20 months, dealing and traveling with MSU Hockey, overseeing the press box at home and acting as a liaison on the road. Besides taking care of publicity, I’d also take a spin on the ice at Munn every chance I got. Not as impressive as it sounds, since I didn’t start skating seriously until I was 15, but I can ice the puck with the best of them.

I got hurt playing in the Sunday night league at Munn one weekend when some opposing behemoth dumped me on the ice and I ruptured my left trapezius muscle, which blew up like a balloon. I convalesced the next day in the training room, with Spartan players snickering that I had suffered a writing injury, then being minutely impressed when I said I actually gotten hurt playing hockey. I remember telling myself don’t fall asleep, even though I was tired from waking up in pain several times the night before, because I wanted to be ready when Coach invariably came in.

Of course, I nodded off—and of course, he walked in while I was out cold.

“Roman, you dying or what?!” came a booming voice that could only belong to him.

Hey, Coach. Nope, still alive, just nursing this pesky trapezius.  

At the Spartan Hockey Awards Banquet following the 1994-1995 season, Coach told the crowd, to some laughs, that I was a frustrated hockey player. I'm still a frustrated player, Coach, I'm just older now than I was back then. (My next goal in Saturday night pick-up against other, almost 50-year-old men and much, much faster kids home from college will be dedicated to him—hopefully I don't tear up my good knee doing it.) He also said that night that I wrote some nice things about the team, which coming from him meant quite a bit.

That’s because Coach was Spartan Hockey, whether it was at Munn, on campus, or anywhere else in town. His radio show on Wednesday nights, first at Sneekers and then at Reno's East, was a mainstay, even when I left East Lansing and was living elsewhere in Michigan. He'd talk to anybody and everybody, always passing on his vast knowledge of the game.

He had presence, he had personality, and he also had compassion. My first trip to Lake Superior State, I got sick, but still made the game. It was an important Central Collegiate Hockey Association contest, yet the first thing Coach asked me when I got to the rink was how I was feeling. Two league points on the line, and he was asking how the PR guy was. I appreciated that, although we settled for a tie after leading by two goals and got no movies on the five-and-a half hour ride home from the Soo, in the days before tablets and smart phones. At least we got sandwiches.

Coach could also be tough on you personally at times, whether you were a player or not. My second year, assists sometimes got screwed up on the scoresheet. (Anson Carter, you probably should have had several more helpers your senior year—hope that didn't impact your NHL chances). In retrospect, I’d rightfully bear the brunt when errors like that occurred, and Coach would let me know in no uncertain terms.

You didn't want to have Coach scowling at you. Besides making you uncomfortable, you felt like you had let him down. He had a way of how he wanted things done, and as I’ve learned over the years, working with other highly-successful coaches, it’s better to just do things their way because they’ve got it down pat. Heck, he once even rearranged my tie for me (with the players watching) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit because he didn’t like way I fashioned the knot.

At MSU, doing things Coach’s way included making sure to call a long-distance hotline and get out-of-town scores following our own game, especially league contests. (There was no real Internet back then to check results.) He’d just be sitting there near the locker room, often talking to a reporter, then would look directly at me and simply say “Scores?” Better not tell him you couldn’t get through.

He also didn't shy away from his convictions. If Coach didn't know something, which wasn't often, he'd tell you so. If he did something and you were like "Really?" he'd tell you flat out, "You're damn right I did."

Besides the radio show, public appearances and Spartan games, he was also a showman in his own right. My second year, we opened in California at the Great Western Freeze-Out, and Coach wielded the microphone up front on the tour bus near Los Angeles. At one point he gestured to the side of the road and said knowingly, “There’s the McDonald’s where Kato Kaelin met with O.J. Simpson.”

As he continued, I said to one of my friends on the team, “Boy, Coach sure knows a lot about the O.J case.” To which my friend replied, “Nah, the bus driver’s feeding him information.” Good show, Coach.

He knew Xs and Os, obviously, and was the first coach to employ five forwards on the same power play. He also knew how to put players together to have success—our second line of Taylor Clarke, Steve Ferranti and Tony Tuzzolino was just tremendous for us my second season, in terms of puck pressure and putting the puck away—but he also knew how hockey is predicated on effort and emotion.

“They’re going to come at you hard this period, trying to get back in it,” I heard him say in the locker room in Fairbanks between periods as State went for a three-game sweep. “Don’t let ‘em.”

He simply loved the game. Back in 1995, our two hockey team statisticians, Amy Bauer and Rebecca McCurdy, got an MSU women's club team started up, which is still in existence today and has also won a national club championship. At their very first game at Munn, Coach was not only watching, he was actually working the door on the Spartan bench as players changed up.

After two seasons at MSU, I moved on to the expansion Grand Rapids Griffins of the old International Hockey League in late 1996. Coach told me after a Spartan game that fall what a beautiful building the new Van Andel Arena was, and he visited again that March when State played Minnesota in the NCAA West Regional. I'd see him intermittently after that, after I moved back home to New Jersey in 2000, including at the 2006 NCAA East Regional in Albany when State outlasted New Hampshire but fell to Maine with the Frozen Four on the line. A year later, the Spartans went all the way in St. Louis, topping Maine in a Frozen Four semifinal before claiming the national title with a win over BC (anybody sensing a pattern here?).

I saw Coach at Munn in 2002 when I visited from Jersey, where I was working in athletics at Montclair State University, one of the 15 other MSUs in America. I told him I was now at another MSU, specifically Montclair, and he said matter-of-factly, “Yeah, I know where it is.” Of course he did.

The last time I saw him in East Lansing was in late summer 2007 in his office at Jenison Field House, where he was winding down his tenure as State’s athletic director after five years. I showed up unannounced, just hoping to see him for a minute to say hello. He gave me ten, despite his busy schedule.

The final time I actually saw Coach was in late 2008 at the Icebreaker at Boston University. He was already on the Spartan bus sitting behind Agganis Arena after BU's 2-1 win (I still think MSU goalie Jeff Lerg got bumped out of position on one of those BU goals). I didn't speak to him, I just waved. He waved back, with a look on his face that almost said "Is that you?" (I have a habit of turning up like a proverbial bad hockey penny—ask former BC coach Steve Cedorchuk how he stepped off a plane in Anchorage, Alaska in August 1991 only to see me, on my own way up to Fairbanks to work at UAF. Truly a "WTF" moment.)

I last spoke to Coach in 2013 when he actually called me, just a regular guy from Jersey and now a reporter, on my cell phone. We talked about the end of the CCHA, for a potential article I was writing, but he also beamed about his younger grandson, Travis, who had just started out at State that year as a freshman defenseman. I remember when Travis used to run around Sneekers with his older brother, Tyler, during Coach's radio shows, and a year after that phone call I saw Travis playing live as a junior for the Spartans in a pair of games here at Princeton. I was quite impressed with his hockey sense, how he moved the puck, and how he didn't panic under pressure—must have had a good teacher, and good bloodlines.

After MSU lost to Colorado College in the 2002 NCAA West Regional in Ann Arbor (ugh) in his final game behind the Spartan bench, I read that Coach said he was going to go home and watch an NHL contest. According to reports, the last thing he did the night before he passed was watch Pittsburgh defeat San Jose in Game 6 to win the Stanley Cup.

I won't talk about all of his many, many accomplishments—the wins, the titles, the records, the trophies, the halls of fame. Others have already done that, comprehensively and honorably. Things have also changed since my day-to-day time at MSU 20-plus years ago. I haven't traveled to Michigan in almost a decade now, the longest time I've been away since I first went there, and I sometimes forget there's no more CCHA and that State is now a member of the Big Ten for hockey as well.

Although it’s not a hop, skip and a jump by car from New Jersey to East Lansing (about 10 hours one-way), I still feel guilty I wasn’t in attendance for his wake at Munn. I feel like I should have been there to honor him—but if you believe in such things, then I feel his spirit will always permeate Munn, and will still be there the next time I make it out to State.

Hockey itself has gone dark for another season, and unfortunately so has another legendary name of the game. My condolences to his wife, Marion (whom I have always called "Mrs. Mason"), his daughters, Cindy and Tracey, his grandsons, and all his countless friends and former players, many of whom I've also been privileged to know over the years.

If I can take any solace from his passing, it's that I know Coach is up there now with our mutual friend, Jerry Marshall, another good man who was the longtime Munn public address announcer for Spartan Hockey. Jerry passed away in early 2008, after State won its last NCAA hockey championship, and has probably been waiting for Coach to come along, so he’s in good hands.

Rest in peace, Coach—and thanks. Go State.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

NHL, AHL, ECHL Champions Crowned

The Pittsburgh Penguins closed out the 2015-16 hockey season with a 3-1 victory at San Jose on Sunday night to win the fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. The Penguins, who defeated the Sharks in six games, have won all four of their Cups on the road, dating back to 1991.

Brian Dumoulin (Boston College) opened the scoring for the Penguins on a first-period power play, assisted by Nick Schultz (Wisconsin) and Chris Kunitz (Ferris State). Less than two minutes after the Sharks tied the game in the second period, Conor Sheary (UMass) help set up the Cup-winning goal by Kris Letang. Pittsburgh then scored into an empty net late in the third stanza to seal the victory.

Other former NCAA players who starred for Pittsburgh this postseason included the HBK line of Carl Hagelin (Michigan), Nick Bonino (Boston University) and Phil Kessel (Minnesota), who combined for 56 points and a +23 plus-minus rating. The Penguins were led by head coach Mike Sullivan (Boston University), who took the reins in December and then led Pittsburgh to a 16-8 playoff mark.

The Lake Erie Monsters brought Cleveland its first professional hockey title since 1964 with Saturday night's 1-0 overtime victory over the Hershey Bears at Quicken Loans Arena. The Monsters won the American Hockey League's Calder Cup Final in four games.

Lake Erie, the top farm team of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, went 15-2 during the postseason to complete its ninth season in Ohio and the league’s 80th season, according to Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski (Michigan) finished among the top scorers in the AHL playoffs with five goals and nine assists for 14 points in 17 games with the Monsters. Hershey forward Carter Camper (Miami) was second overall among AHL postseason scorers with six goals and 17 points in 21 outings.

The Monsters' Calder Cup victory came two nights after the ECHL's Allen Americans won their second consecutive Kelly Cup with a six-game, final-round victory over the Wheeling Nailers. Riley Gill (Western Michigan) backstopped the Americans to the title, his third ECHL crown, with a 12-5-0 playoff record, according to Allen is the first repeat ECHL champion since the Toledo Storm in 1993-1994.

See you next season.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Penguins One Win from Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins are one win away from claiming their first Stanley Cup since 2009.

Phil Kessel (Minnesota) assisted on Pittsburgh's first two goals on Monday night, and Carl Hagelin (Michigan) set up an insurance tally with just over two minutes remaining in regulation as the Penguins recorded a 3-1 victory over the host San Jose Sharks in Game Four at the SAP Center in California. Pittsburgh now leads the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final, three games to one, after dropping Game Three, 3-2, in overtime in San Jose on Saturday night.

The Penguins can clinch their fourth NHL title overall, and fourth since 1991, with a victory in Game Five at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh on Thursday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC).

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Former Minutemen Trade Goals as Penguins Take 2-0 Lead

The HBK line struck again in another postseason win for the Pittsburgh Penguins, although a pair of former UMass Minutemen traded late goals to decide the outcome.

The line of Carl Hagelin (Michigan), Nick Bonino (Boston University) and Phil Kessel (Minnesota) combined on Pittsburgh's first goal Wednesday night as the Penguins edged the visiting San Jose Sharks, 2-1, in overtime in Game Two of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final. Eastern Conference champion Pittsburgh now leads the best-of-seven series, two games to none.

Hagelin stole the puck deep in the San Jose end just over eight minutes into a scoreless second period, and fed Bonino to his left across the slot. Bonino pulled up and sent the puck across the crease, where it glanced off a San Jose stick to Kessel for a tap-in and his 10th goal of the postseason. The HBK line has now totaled 50 points to date in the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs, where the Penguins have posted a 14-6 record so far this spring.

The NCAA heroics weren't finished at Consol Energy Center after Pittsburgh took the lead.

After San Jose defenseman Justin Braun (UMass) tied the game on a slap shot that went in off the far post with 4:05 remaining in regulation for his first career playoff tally, Conor Sheary (UMass) won it for the Penguins on a wrist shot 2:35 into the overtime session following a face-off.  Braun graduated from Massachusetts in 2010, while Sheary, who also had a goal in Pittsburgh's 3-2 win in Game One on Monday, followed four years later. 

Pittsburgh outshot San Jose, 30-22, while the two squads combined to go 0-for-3 on the power play. The two teams also hit three posts each with shots in regulation.

Game Three is Saturday night in San Jose. The last team to lose the opening two games of the final on the road and still win the Stanley Cup was the Boston Bruins, who rebounded from an 0-2 deficit to defeat the Vancouver Canucks in seven games five years ago.