—one an up-and-comer, and the other a living legend.
Dylan Larkin, who played one season with the Wolverines before turning pro, has signed a five-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings. A restricted free agent, Larkin, 22, will receive an average of $6.1 million per season, according to NHL.com. Drafted 15th overall by Detroit in 2014, the Waterford, Mich. native has notched 56 goals and 84 assists for 140 points in 242 regular-season appearances over three full NHL campaigns, all with Detroit. He registered 15-32—47 points in 35 outings with U-M in 2014-15, his lone year in Ann Arbor and the inaugural season of the current Big Ten Conference.
Longtime Michigan head coach Gordon "Red" Berenson, who manned the Wolverines for 33 seasons and also won two NCAA Division I titles at the U-M helm, will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in December. The Regina, Sask. native starred at Michigan as a forward before going on to play in the NHL from 1962 to 1978. He later coached the St. Louis Blues for three seasons.
Berenson guided his alma mater from 1984 to 2017, and recorded an 848-426-92 overall mark with the Wolverines while winning national titles in both 1996 and 1998. He also led the Maize and Blue to 10 Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season championships, nine CCHA Tournament crowns, one Big Ten tournament title, and 22 consecutive NCAA Tournament berths from 1991 to 2012.
Also, in late July, Michigan defenseman Quinn Hughes announced he will return to U-M for his sophomore season. Drafted seventh overall by the Vancouver Canucks in June, the Orlando, Fla. native earned 2017-18 Big Ten All-Freshman Team accolades in collecting 5-24—29 points in 37 games as a rookie, while also helping the Wolverines to the NCAA Frozen Four.
Sunday, August 12, 2018
Thursday, August 2, 2018
Two former Boston College players have moved on in the coaching ranks, one professionally and one in college.
Mark Dennehy (BC'91), who led Merrimack College as head coach from 2004 until earlier this year, is the new head coach of the Binghamton (NY) Devils of the American Hockey League, the top minor-league affiliate of the NHL's New Jersey Devils. Dennehy, 50, who helped BC to three NCAA Tournaments as a defenseman (1989-1990-1991) and has also coached collegiately at Princeton and Massachusetts, had just joined Wheeling (ECHL) as head coach in June.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, Wheeling's parent NHL club, gave New Jersey permission to talk to Dennehy, and he leaves Wheeling without ever coaching a game for the ECHL's Nailers. A native of Dorchester, Mass., Dennehy led Merrimack to an NCAA Tournament berth and a No. 1 national ranking in 2011.
Brendan Buckley (BC'99) has returned to his alma mater as an assistant coach after three seasons as an assistant at Hockey East rival Connecticut. A fifth-round selection of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 1996, Buckley played on the BC blueline from 1995 to 1999, and helped the Eagles to consecutive NCAA Frozen Fours as a junior and senior while accumulating 39 points and 306 penalty minutes in 158 career games. He went on on to skate in 569 career AHL regular-season contests, and also played in Germany and Italy before retiring as a player in 2011.
A native of Needham, Mass., Buckley, 41, succeeds former Eagles associate coach Greg Brown, who left the Heights last month after 14 years on the BC bench to join the NHL's New York Rangers.
Wednesday, August 1, 2018
Kevin Hayes (Boston College) will be back on Broadway for at least one more season. The 6-foot-5 power forward from Dorchester, Mass., a restricted free agent, recently signed a one-year contract with the New York Rangers, the sole NHL team he has ever played for.
Hayes scored a career-high 25 goals for the Rangers last season, to go along with 19 assists for 44 points in 76 games. In 310 career NHL regular-season outings, all with New York, he has tallied 73 goals and 101 assists for 174 points. He has also notched two goals and 10 points in 34 career Stanley Cup Playoff contests, and was a member of New York's 2014 Eastern Conference champion club.
Hayes, 26, played at BC from 2010 to 2014. He notched 44-88—132 points in 142 career games with the Eagles, including career-best totals of 27-38—65 points as a senior in 2013-14 when he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and also helped BC to the 2014 NCAA Frozen Four. Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft before later signing with the Rangers as a free agent, he was a sophomore on BC's 2012 national championship team.
Friday, July 20, 2018
Another Hockey East coach has joined the New York Rangers. Longtime Boston College associate/assistant coach Greg Brown will be joining new Rangers head coach and Boston University alumnus David Quinn on Broadway, as assistant with the Rangers.
Brown, 50, had been with his alma mater as a coach since 2004, and helped the Eagles to NCAA titles in 2008, 2010 and 2012. He played at BC as a defenseman from 1986 to 1987, and from 1998 to 1990, with his tenure broken up by a stint with the 1988 U.S. Olympic Team. A 1990 Hobey Baker Memorial Award finalist, he also helped BC to the Frozen Four in Detroit that season, and finished his career with 24 goals and 96 assists for 120 points in three seasons.
A second-round draft choice of the Buffalo Sabres in the 1986 NHL Entry Draft, the Southborough, Mass. native played in the NHL with Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Winnipeg. He also skated with Rochester in the American Hockey League, and with San Diego and Cleveland in the International Hockey League, before finishing out his playing career in Germany from 1996 to 2003.
Monday, July 16, 2018
My latest USCHO feature story, on new Alaska (Fairbanks) head coach and Nanook alumnus Erik Largen, is now online here. Fairbanks native Largen, a former UAF goaltender and assistant coach, is the ninth head coach in modern Nanook Hockey history.
Sunday, July 15, 2018
Two former Hockey East players recently re-signed with their respective NHL teams, while another will have his jersey number retired next season.
Former NCAA forward Devin Shore (Maine) and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (UMass Lowell) have resigned with the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets, respectively, while Paul Kariya (Maine) will have his number retired by the Anaheim Ducks next season.
Shore played at Maine from 2012 to 2015, where he tallied 34 goals and 70 assists for 104 points for the Black Bears. A native of Ajax, Ont., he was a second-round draft choice of Dallas in 2012, and has compiled 24-41—65 points in all while playing the last two full NHL seasons for the Stars.
Hellebuyck, from Commerce, Mich., played at UML for two years (2013, 2014), and fashioned a 38-12-2 record with a 1.60 goals-against average, .946 save percentage and 12 shutouts in 53 outings. He also backstopped the River Hawks to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a Frozen Four berth in 2013, and two Hockey East tournament titles. A finalist for the Vezina Trophy this past season as the NHL's best goaltender after fashioning a 44-11-9 record, he has gone 83-41-14 (2.55, .917) in 149 career appearances over the past three NHL campaigns.
Kariya, from Vancouver, became the first freshman to win the Hobey Baker Memorial award as the NCAA's best player in 1992-93 when he tallied 25-75--100 points and also helped Maine to its first-ever national title that year. After skating for the Canadian National Team in the 1994 Olympic Winter Games, he turned pro and went on to record 402-587—989 points in 989 NHL regular-season contests with Anaheim, Colorado, Nashville and St. Louis over 15 seasons before retiring in 2010.
A five-time 30-goal scorer with the Ducks, including a pair of 100-point seasons, Kariya added 16-23—39 points in 46 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, and helped the Ducks to within one win of the Stanley Cup in 2003. A two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy for gentlemanly play, he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame last year.
Thursday, July 5, 2018
Former University of Alaska (Fairbanks) defenseman, assistant coach, and head coach Dallas Ferguson is returning to the college game as an assistant coach with the University of Denver.
He spent last season as head coach of the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, compiling a 24-37-record.
After beginning his coaching career as an assistant with the North American Hockey League's Fairbanks Ice Dogs in 2002, Ferguson served as an assistant coach with UAF from 2004 to 2008 before being elevated to the rank of head coach. He was named the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) Coach of the Year in his first campaign, and the following year led UAF to its first-ever berth in the NCAA Division I Hockey Tournament, an at-large selection. The Nanooks fell to eventual national champion Boston College, 3-1, in the opening round of the 2010 NCAA Northeast Regional in Worcester, Mass.
In 10 seasons overseeing the Nanook hockey program, Ferguson, 44, finished with a career record of 139-151-42, according to USCHO.com. In five of those seasons, he led the Nanooks to 17 or more victories. UAF also won eight consecutive Governor's Cups against rival Alaska Anchorage in his time behind the bench, although three of those Cups were vacated due to self-reported NCAA violations by the university.
Ferguson was a four-year letterwinner on defense for the Nanooks from 1992 to 1996, as UAF played its first four campaigns in the CCHA. He tallied a career-high six goals and 31 assists for 37 points as a sophomore, according to hockeydb.com, and finished his career with 17-87—104 points and 64 penalty minutes in 138 career collegiate outings.
At DU, Ferguson will join former Nanook forward and head coach Tavis MacMillan, whom Ferguson assisted from 2004 to 2007 at UAF. The Pioneers, 2017 NCAA champions, won the NCHC playoff crown last year, but fell to Ohio State in the NCAA Midwest Regional final in Allentown, Pa.
Monday, July 2, 2018
A number of former college players changed NHL teams over the last week, both before and after the league's annual free agent frenzy got underway.
Prior to the beginning of the free agency period on Sunday, the Pittsburgh Penguins dealt forward Connor Sheary (Massachusetts) and Matt Hunwick (Michigan) to the Buffalo Sabres for a conditional 2019 draft choice. Pittsburgh later signed defenseman Jack Johnson (Michigan) of the Columbus Blue Jackets to a five-year contract. Jimmy Hayes (Boston College) and John Muse (Boston College), who both helped BC to its 2010 NCAA title, joined the Penguins from the New Jersey Devils and Reading (ECHL), respectively.
Power forward and 30-goal scorer James van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire) returned to the Philadelphia Flyers after six seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the latter club pulling perhaps the biggest coup in free agency this summer by signing New York Islanders captain and All-Star forward John Tavares.
Paul Stastny (Denver) has jumped from the Winnipeg Jets to the Vegas Golden Knights. Tage Thompson (Connecticut) went from the St. Louis Blues to the Buffalo Sabres as part of a four-player trade, while Tyler Bozak (Denver) has re-upped with the Blues for three years. Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage), who helped the Washington Capitals win their first-ever Stanley Cup this spring, has left Washington after decade to join the Vancouver Canucks, while Nic Dowd (St. Cloud State) has signed with the Caps after spending last season with the Canucks.
Brian Gibbons (Boston College), a two-time NCAA champion with the Eagles, parlayed his most successful NHL season to date by leaving New Jersey for the Anaheim Ducks, while Eric Gryba (Boston University) went to the Devils from the Edmonton Oilers. Longtime pro netminder Mike McKenna (St. Lawrence), who backstopped the Dallas Stars' American Hockey League franchise to within one win of the AHL's Calder Cup championship, has signed with the Ottawa Senators, as has former New York Rangers forward Paul Carey (Boston College).
A full list of recent NHL transactions can be found here.
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Todd Reirden (Bowling Green) is the new head coach of the NHL's Washington Capitals. The Illinois native, who has served four years as an assistant or associate coach with the Capitals, takes over the top job after Barry Trotz resigned earlier this month. Trotz subsequently joined the New York Islanders after leading Washington to the first Stanley Cup title in franchise history this spring.
Reirden began his coaching career at BGSU in 2007-08, before moving on to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League as an assistant the following year. After serving as head coach of the WBS Penguins for the next season-and-a-half, he moved up to the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins as an assistant in 2010. He stayed there for four seasons before joining the Caps in 2014 as an assistant, before being promoted to associate head coach in 2016.
A defenseman as a player, Reirden skated four NCAA seasons at BGSU (1990-1994), collecting 25 goals and 51 assists for 76 points to go with 160 penalty minutes for the Falcons. A second-round NHL draft choice of New Jersey in 1990, he turned pro with Tallahassee of the ECHL in 1994-95. He would suit up for two more ECHL teams and three International Hockey League teams before making his NHL debut in 1998-99 with the Edmonton Oilers.
Reirden would go on to skate in 183 career NHL regular season contests for Edmonton, St. Louis, Atlanta and Phoenix, tallying 11-35—46 points and 181 PIM. He also played for five different AHL teams before concluding his career in Austria in 2006-07.
Reirden, 47, becomes the second former Central Collegiate Hockey Association player to become an NHL head coach this off-season. He joins Rod Brind'Amour (Michigan State), who is now head coach of the Carolina Hurricanes.
Monday, June 25, 2018
Several former NCAA Division I forwards were recently in the news regarding the ECHL, the primary Tier II or Double-A league for professional hockey, according to the league's website at ECHL.com.
Alex Kile (Michigan) became the first-ever player to sign with the new Maine Mariners franchise that will begin play in the fall. He spent last season with Cincinnati (ECHL), recording 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points in 46 games, after tallying 40-40—80 points in 130 games at Michigan from 2013 to 2017.
Joe Cox (Michigan State) re-signed with the Florida Everblades after helping them to within one victory of the ECHL's Kelly Cup playoff title earlier this month. He recorded 22-32—54 points in 70 regular-season games, before adding six goals and 16 points in 21 playoff outings. He collected 28-41—69 points in 143 games at MSU from 2013 to 2017.
Woody Hudson (St. Lawrence) re-signed with the Worcester Railers after posting 10-19—29 points in the team's inaugural campaign in 2017-18. He registered 19 goals and 35 points in 140 games at SLU from 2013 to 2017, and then turned pro with Indy (ECHL) following his senior NCAA season.
Bo Brauer (Notre Dame) has signed with the South Carolina Stingrays after helping the Fighting Irish to within one victory of the NCAA championship in April. He notched a career-high five goals and eight points in 35 appearances last season, and finished his career with 8-5—13 points in 64 games overall.
Sunday, June 24, 2018
Logan Hutsko (Boston College) was the lone current member of the BC men's hockey team to be drafted on Saturday at the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas. The Florida native was chosen in the third round, 89th overall, by the Florida Panthers.
A former member of the U.S. National Team Development Program, Hutsko overcame both a neck fracture and a cracked kneecap prior to college to tally 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points as a freshman for the Eagles in 2017-18. He also helped BC to last season's Hockey East regular season title.
Incoming BC freshman Jack McBain, son of retired NHL player Andrew McBain, was the first choice of the third round, and went 63rd overall to the Minnesota Wild. The 6-foot-3 center recorded 21-37—58 points in 48 regular-season appearances last year with his hometown Toronto Junior Canadiens in the Ontario Junior Hockey League. On the first day of the draft on Friday, incoming BC forward Oliver Wahlstrom was selected 11th overall by the New York Islanders.
Two former Eagle defensemen were involved in trades over the weekend. On Saturday, Noah Hanifin was traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Calgary Flames, in a deal that also involved former Calgary draft choice Adam Fox (Harvard) going to Carolina. Hanifin played just one year at BC, and helped the Eagles to the 2015 NCAA Tournament by notching five goals and 23 points in 37 outings. He has collected 18-65—83 points in three complete NHL seasons, all with the Hurricanes.
On Friday, two-time Stanley Cup champion Brooks Orpik was dealt from the Washington Capitals, whom he helped to their first-ever Cup earlier this month, to the Colorado Avalanche. A member of BC's 2001 NCAA championship team, Orpik notched 41 points and 324 penalty minutes in three seasons at the Heights, and has registered 185 points and 940 PIM in 14 full NHL campaigns.
Friday, June 22, 2018
Current and incoming NCAA players were among the four Americans taken in the top 14 selections in Friday's first round of the 2018 NHL Draft in Dallas.
Freshman forward Brady Tkachuk (Boston University) went fourth overall to the Ottawa Senators. The son of former BU and NHL forward Keith Tkachuk, the younger Tkachuk tallied eight goals and 31 points in 40 games this past season with the Terriers, and also helped them to their first Hockey East title since 2015. He also aided the U.S. in winning a bronze medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo.
Three picks after Tkachuk, the Vancouver Canucks tabbed defenseman Quinn Hughes (Michigan), who also played for the U.S. in Buffalo, and then helped the Wolverines to the 2018 NCAA Frozen Four in Minnesota after recording 5-24--29 points in 37 contests in his freshman NCAA campaign.
Right wing Oliver Wahlstrom, who is expected to join Boston College this fall after previously committing to Harvard, went at No. 11 overall to the New York Islanders after notching 40-43--83 points in 54 appearances with the U.S. National team Development Program's Under-18 squad. At No. 15, Boston University recruit Joel Farabee was taken by the Philadelphia Flyers, after collecting 27-37--64 points in 54 outings with the USA U-18 team.
Tkachuk and Hughes, like Wahlstrom and Farabee, were also products of the NTDP.
Other players with existing or upcoming NCAA ties who were taken in the first round on Friday included (Selection, NHL Team, Name, Position, Nationality, Team/League, NCAA school):
No. 19, Philadelphia, Jay O' Brien, C, USA, Thayer Academy/USHS (Providence)
No. 22, New York Rangers, K'andre Miller, D, USA, USA-18/NTDP (Wisconsin)
No. 26, Ottawa, Jacob Bernard-Docker, D, Canada, Okotoks/AJHL (North Dakota)
All 2018 NHL Draft selections can be found here.
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Brian Boyle (Boston College) is the 2018 winner of the NHL's Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, as awarded in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded to the NHL player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey". It was named for the late Minnesota North Star forward who died after suffering a head injury in a game during the 1967-68 NHL campaign.
Boyle, 33, who joined the New Jersey Devils prior to the 2017-18 season, was sidelined until November as he underwent treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukemia. A 6-foot-7 native of Hingham, Mass., he signed with New Jersey as a free agent in the off-season after previously playing for Los Angeles, the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay and Toronto. He skated in both the 2014 and 2015 Stanley Cup finals, for New York and Tampa Bay, respectively.
In 69 regular-season games this past year, Boyle scored 13 goals and added 10 assists for 23 points. He also helped the Devils back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012. In 693 career NHL regular-season outings, Boyle has recorded 106-86—192 points and 533 penalty minutes. He has also put up 15-13—28 points and 92 PIM in 111 Stanley Cup Playoff contests to date.
A two-time All-America selection in college, Boyle skated four seasons at BC (2003-2007) and notched 65-75—140 points in 159 appearances. He also helped the Eagles to five Hockey East regular-season or tournament titles, four NCAA Tournament berths, three NCAA Frozen Fours, and two NCAA title games.
Friday, June 15, 2018
The Toronto Marlies are the American Hockey League champion.
The top farm club of the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the visiting Texas Stars, 6-1, at Ricoh Coliseum in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Final on Thursday night in Ontario to clinch the club's first-ever AHL crown, and first by any pro hockey team from Toronto in 51 years.
Toronto captain Ben Smith (Boston College), who won two NCAA titles with the Eagles and also has a 2013 Stanley Cup ring from the Chicago Blackhawks, tallied an empty-net goal in Game 7. He led a contingent of former NCAA players on the Marlies' roster that included the likes of Chris Mueller (Michigan State), Trevor Moore (Denver), Colin Greening (Cornell), Justin Holl (Minnesota) and Vincent LoVerde (Miami).
Loverde had two assists for Toronto in the clinching contest, while Moore posted one. Mike McKenna (St. Lawrence) made 40 stops for the Stars in defeat, while Brian Flynn (Maine) and Matt Mangene (Maine) assisted on Texas' lone goal.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Mike McKenna (St. Lawrence) made 43 saves and the Texas Stars stayed alive in the AHL's Calder Cup Final with a 5-2 victory at Toronto in Game 6 on Tuesday night.
Curtis McKenzie (Miami) was one of five different goal scorers for the Stars, along with Sheldon Dries (Western Michigan). Texas, which trailed the best-of-seven series, 3-2, following a 6-2 loss at home in Game 5 on Saturday, broke open a scoreless Game 6 with three second-period tallies.
Justin Holl (Minnesota) scored one of the host Marlies' two goals on Tuesday. The Marlies, who went 0-for-4 on the power play, outshot the Stars, 45-24, overall on the night.
The American Hockey League's playoff championship series will be decided on Thursday night (7 p.m. ET, NHL Network) at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto.
Sunday, June 10, 2018
Ben Simon (Notre Dame) is the new head coach of the American Hockey League's Grand Rapids Griffins. Simon, 39, a native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, succeeds Todd Nelson, who left Michigan last month to join the NHL's Dallas Stars as an assistant.
Simon spent the last three seasons as Nelson's assistant in Grand Rapids, helping the Griffins to the 2017 Calder Cup trophy as AHL champions. He previously served as an assistant with Rockford and Toronto of the AHL, along with one year as head coach of Cincinnati (ECHL). He began his coaching career as head coach of the British League's Sheffield Steelers in 2010-11, the same season that he finished his playing career.
Simon tallied 38 goals and 71 points in 45 games with Cleveland (NAHL) in his final year of junior "A" hockey in 1995-96, and also earned NAHL Rookie of the Year accolades. A fifth-round draft choice by the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks in 1997 following his freshman campaign at Notre Dame, he registered 44 goals and 86 assists in four NCAA seasons with the Fighting Irish. He lead UND in both overall and league scoring as a junior, and helped the Irish to the CCHA semifinals as a senior.
Simon, who went on to play in 81 NHL contests with Atlanta and Columbus, spent the majority of his career in the AHL and now-defunct IHL, recording a total of 86 career goals while also helping the Chicago Wolves to the 2002 Calder Cup title. He also played one year in Germany and one in the ECHL before turning to coaching.
Grand Rapids went 42-25-2 overall during the 2017-18 AHL season, and finished second in the Central Division, before falling to Manitoba in five games in the first round of the 2018 Calder Cup Playoffs.
Saturday, June 9, 2018
The Colorado Eagles are the two-time ECHL champions. The Eagles defeated the host Florida Everblades, 3-2, on Saturday night in Game 7 of the Kelly Cup Final in Estero, Fla. to win their second straight league title. They join the Allen Americans (2015-2016), Toledo Storm (1993-1994) and Hampton Roads Admirals (1991-1992) as back-to-back ECHL playoff champions.
Former NCAA players on the Eagles roster this spring included Matt Garbowsky (RIT), Jake Marto (North Dakota), Chase Norrish (RIT), Brady Shaw (Vermont), Cliff Watson (Michigan Tech), Sam Brittain (Denver), Joe Cannata (Merrimack) and Lukas Hafner (Western Michigan), plus head coach Aaron Schneekloth (North Dakota) and goalie coach Ryan Bach (Colorado College).
The Eagles' franchise got its start in the now-defunct Central Hockey League in 2003, winning two league playoff championships there before moving on to the ECHL in 2011. Beginning this fall, Colorado will move up one level to the American Hockey League (AHL) as an expansion franchise, to compete for the Calder Cup as the primary/Triple-A affiliate of the NHL's Colorado Avalanche.
Friday, June 8, 2018
The Stanley Cup was awarded in Las Vegas on Thursday night—but not to the host Golden Knights.
That honor instead went to the Washington Capitals, who won the NHL title for the first time in their 44 seasons after a five-game triumph over expansion upstart Vegas, by virtue of a 4-3 victory in Game Five at T-Mobile Arena.
Washington defenseman Brooks Orpik (Boston College) assisted on the tying goal midway through the third period, after Vegas had taken a 3-2 lead after two periods of play. Lars Eller then tallied the game-winning goal with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation, and the Capitals held on for their first Stanley Cup crown since entering the league in 1974, in their second-ever finals appearance. Washington was swept by Detroit in four games in 1998.
Reilly Smith (Miami) notched a goal and an assist in the series finale for Pacific Division and Western Conference champion Vegas, which went 12-3 over the first three rounds of the NHL postseason. The Golden Knights then won Game One of the final, before dropping four straight contests to the Eastern Conference champion Capitals. Alex Tuch (Boston College) assisted on Smith's goal.
Washington team captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the Caps' second goal on the night and thus established a new franchise record with 15 goals this postseason, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL's most valuable player in the playoffs. This season marked the first time Washington had advanced past the second round of the playoffs in his 13-year NHL career.
Former NCAA players besides Orpik who lifted the Cup as champions with the Caps this year , Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage), Travis Boyd (Minnesota), Alex Chiasson (Boston University), Pheonix Copley (Michigan Tech), Aaron Ness (Minnesota), Matt Niskanen (Minnesota-Duluth) and T.J. Oshie (North Dakota).
Orpik had been the only player on the Caps' roster to have previously won the Stanley Cup (Pittsburgh, 2009). His second career Cup triumph pushed BC's all-time total to 19 Cups, tops among NCAA schools along with Wisconsin.
Thursday, June 7, 2018
Former Boston University player and recent associate coach Albie O’Connell is the new head coach of the Terriers. He succeeds David Quinn, who left BU last month to take the head coaching job with the NHL’s New York Rangers.
A fifth-round draft choice of the New York islanders in 1994, O'Connell skated at forward for BU from 1995 to 199, and tallied 42 goals and 108 points. As a sophomore, he was part of the Terriers’ squad that advanced to the 1997 NCAA title game. After playing two seasons in the ECHL, sandwiched around two seasons in the British League, he turned to coaching, and first served as an assistant at Colby College in 2003-04.
O'Connell, 42, then spent time as an NCAA Division I assistant at Niagara, Holy Cross, Merrimack, Northeastern and Harvard, before returning to his alma mater in 2014 and helping the Terriers to the 2015 NCAA championship contest in Boston. He served the last three years an associate at BU, and aided BU’s run to a Hockey East Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth this past season.
O’Connell becomes the sixth-ever head coach in BU men's hockey history, and the fifth alumnus.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) opened the scoring in a three-goal first period on Monday night, and later added two assists as the Washington Capitals moved to within one victory of their first-ever NHL championship.
The Capitals opened the week with a 6-2 rout of the visiting Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena in Game Four of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. Washington now leads the best-of-seven series, three games to one, while having won the last three contests, including both played in Washington, D.C.
Reilly Smith (Miami) had one goal for Vegas, which hit several goal posts early on and then trailed, 4-0, after 40 minutes. The expansion Golden Knights, who have lost three straight games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 28-Dec. 1, then pulled within two goals in the final period before Washington tacked on two more scores in the final seven minutes of play.
The Capitals finished 3-for-5 on the power play despite being outshot, 30-23, overall for the evening. Washington also blocked 24 opposing shots in all, and killed off all four Vegas power plays.
The Caps will look to sew up the series—and the Stanley Cup—on Thursday night in Game Five at Vegas (8 p.m. ET; NBC TV, CBC TV).
Saturday, June 2, 2018
Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage) assisted on two of his team's three goals Saturday night as the Washington Capitals took the lead in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena.
Washington now leads the best-of-seven NHL title series, two games to one. It was the first-ever home victory for the Caps in the Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.
T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) combined with Beagle on Washington's second goal, by Evgeny Kuznetsov, to make it 2-0 in the second period. After Vegas pulled within one early in the third period, Beagle fed Devante Smith-Pelly in front of the Golden Knights net with just over six minutes remaining in regulation for a score that regained Washington's two-goal advantage.
Game Four is Monday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC TV, CBC TV) in Washington, D.C.
Friday, June 1, 2018
Mark Dennehy is back in the coaching game.
Dennehy, 50, who spent the last 13 seasons as head coach at Merrimack College, has been named the new Head Coach and Director of Hockey Operations with the ECHL's Wheeling Nailers. It marks his first foray into the professional coaching ranks, as he becomes the 17th head coach in Nailers history.
Dennehy went 156-222-56 overall in 13 seasons at Merrimack. His overall career record is 159-250-59 in 14 collegiate campaigns, with the other one coming with the now-defunct NCAA Division I men's program at Fairfield University in 1999-2000. He served as an assistant coach at Princeton University before going on to Fairfield, and then worked as an assistant at the University of Massachusetts before taking the reins at Merrimack in 2005-06.
Dennehy's tenure in North Andover with the Warriors included a No. 1 national ranking, plus the first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament berth in school history in 2011 after they notched 25 overall victories and played in the Hockey East Championship game that season. He also guided them to six seasons of 15 or more total wins. Merrimack went 12-21-4 in 2017-18, winning at defending NCAA champion Denver during the regular season before falling to Boston College in the first round of the Hockey East postseason tournament.
A native of Dorchester, Mass. and a four-year letterman on the BC blueline as a player (1987-1991), Dennehy helped the Eagles to three NCAA Tournament appearances, the 1990 NCAA Frozen Four, and the 1990 Hockey East championship. He then skated one season with the Ayr Raiders in Scotland (1991-92) before turning to coaching.
Wednesday, May 30, 2018
A pair of former Boston College Eagles combined on the winning goal in Game Two of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday—even though they play for different teams.
Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik, who helped BC to the 2001 NCAA title over North Dakota, scored the winning goal in the second period at T-Mobile Arena when his wrist shot from the right side went in off 2016 BC Beanpot Tournament hero Alex Tuch of the Vegas Golden Knights. The score stood up as the game-winner as the Caps defeated host Vegas, 3-2, to tie the best-of-seven NHL championship series at one game apiece.
For Orpik, it was his first NHL goal since the 2015-16 NHL regular season, and his first Stanley Cup Playoff goal since 2014 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was a member of Pittsburgh's 2009 NHL championship team along with Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 23 saves on Wednesday.
Tuch, who tallied the game-winning goal in overtime in BC's Beanpot championship game triumph two years ago against Boston University, had a chance to tie the game for Vegas on a point-blank shot with two minutes remaining in the third period, but was denied by Washington netminder Braden Holtby. Reilly Smith (Miami), who tallied goal and an assist in Vegas' 6-4 triumph on Monday, had one assist in Game Two.
Wednesday was also the first-ever victory in the Stanley Cup Final for Washington in six games all-time. The Caps were swept by Detroit in four contests in 1998.
Game Three will be held Saturday night in Washington, D.C. (8 p.m. ET; TV: NBCSN, CBC).
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Reilly Smith (Miami) scored one goal and set up another as the Vegas Golden Knights took a one game-to-none lead in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final with a 6-4 victory over the visiting Washington Capitals on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena.
The goal by Smith, who helped Miami to the 2010 NCAA Frozen Four, broke a 2-2 tie early in the second period, after he had previously set up Vegas' second goal of the game. Erik Haula (Minnesota) drew the only assist on the Golden Knights' game-opening goal in the first period.
T. J. Oshie (North Dakota) had two assists for the Capitals, who squandered 2-1 and 4-3 leads en route to surrendering three third-period goals, including an empty-net tally with three seconds remaining in regulation.Washington outshot Vegas, 28-24 on the evening, and will try to even the best-of-seven NHL championship series in Game Two on Wednesday night.
Monday, May 28, 2018
The 2018 Stanley Cup Final begins tonight in Las Vegas, and both the cinderella Vegas Golden Knights and the upstart Washington Capitals feature several former NCAA players on their rosters.
For Vegas, the college roll call includes Ryan Carpenter (Bowling Green), Erik Haula (Minnesota), Jason Garrison (Minnesota-Duluth), Brad Hunt (Bemidji State), John Merrill (Michigan), Brandon Pirri (Rensselaer), Nate Schmidt (Minnesota), Reilly Smith (Miami), Alex Tuch (Boston College) and Zach Whitecloud (Bemidji State), according to hockeydb.com.
For Washington, its NCAA alumni include Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage), Travis Boyd (Minnesota), Alex Chiasson (Boston University), Pheonix Copley (Michigan Tech), Aaron Ness (Minnesota) Matt Niskanen (Minnesota-Duluth), Brooks Orpik (Boston College) and T.J. Oshie (North Dakota).
Game Two of the NHL's championship tilt will be held Wednesday in Nevada, before the best-of-seven series shifts to Washington, D.C. on Saturday.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
David Carle is the new men's hockey head coach at the University of Denver. The longtime DU assistant succeeds former head coach Jim Montgomery, who joined the NHL's Dallas Stars earlier this month.
Carle, 28, has served as an assistant with the Pioneers for eight of the last nine seasons, spending the 2013-14 campaign as an assistant with Green Bay (USHL) before rejoining DU as a full-time assistant in 2014. He has helped DU to eight NCAA Tournament berths in his overall tenure, including the 2017 NCAA title.
The past four seasons, according to denverpioneers.com, Carle has helped Denver to a 115-51-23 overall record, a 66-32-14-8 mark in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, one NCHC regular-season title, two NCHC Frozen Faceoff titles, and four NCAA Tournament appearances with one national championship. He becomes the youngest current head coach in NCAA Division I men's ice hockey with this hiring.
Carle, who has served as DU’s primary recruiter, is expected to retain former fellow assistant coach Tavis MacMillan.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Another NCAA head coach has gone directly to the NHL.
Nearly three weeks after Denver's Jim Montgomery was hired by the Dallas Stars, Boston University's David Quinn has been chosen to lead the New York Rangers.
A former BU defenseman ('89), Quinn took over his alma mater in 2013, succeeding his mentor, the legendary Jack Parker. In five seasons at the helm, Quinn guided the Terriers to a 105-68-21 overall record, including four NCAA Tournament berths, two Hockey East Association regular season titles, two HEA tournament crowns, one Beanpot Tournament title, and the 2015 NCAA Championship Game in Boston.
Quinn, 51, led the Terriers to the Hockey East championship this past season and the NCAA Northeast Regional final, where they fell to Michigan.
As a player, Quinn was a first-round draft choice of the NHL's old Minnesota North stars in 1984. He then skated three seasons for BU (1984-1987), while battling a blood disorder known as Christmas Disease. He later went on to play two years professionally with Binghamton (AHL) and Cleveland (IHL) before getting into coaching.
Quinn served as a college assistant at Northeastern and Nebraska-Omaha, and then spent five years as an associate at BU, helping the Terriers to the 2009 NCAA title in his final year there. He then coached Lake Erie (AHL) for three seasons and then spent one season as an assistant with the NHL's Colorado Avalanche before taking the top job at BU.
The Rangers, who advanced to the 2014 Stanley Cup Final and the 2015 Eastern Conference Final, did not qualify for the playoffs this season, the first time they had missed the postseason since 2010.
Monday, May 21, 2018
T.J. Oshie (North Dakota) scored two goals, including the game-winner, on Monday night to keep the Washington Capitals season alive.
Two days after the Caps were pushed to the brink of Stanley Cup Playoff elimination, Washington responded with a 3-0 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final. The deciding seventh game will be played Wednesday night in Florida, where the Caps have already won two of three games in this series.
Oshie opened the scoring on Monday with a power-play goal late in the second period, the Caps' only power play of the game. After Washington made it 2-0 midway through the third stanza, with Jay Beagle (Alaska Anchorage) drawing an assist, Oshie closed out matters with an empty-net goal with 50 seconds remaining in regulation. Washington outshot Tampa Bay on the evening, 34-24.
Wednesday's winner will face the Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights in the 2018 Stanley Cup Final. The expansion Golden Knights advanced to the NHL championship with a 2-1 win at Winnipeg on Sunday that wrapped up that series in five games.
Sunday, May 20, 2018
The United States earned its second bronze medal in four years at the IIHF World Championship with a 4-1 victory over Canada on Sunday in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Chris Kreider (Boston College) of the New York Rangers scored two goals for the Americans, including the game-opening goal in the second period, while Nick Bonino (Boston University) of the Nashville Predators tallied the game-winning goal with less than seven minutes remaining in regulation to break a 1-1 tie. Anders Lee (Notre Dame) of the New York Islanders then scored an insurance goal into an empty Canadian net for the U.S., followed by one from Kreider.
Keith Kincaid (Union) of the New Jersey Devils made 24 stops to garner the victory for Team USA, which earned bronze for the third time in the last six World Championships, and for the eighth time overall.
Sweden, which defeated Canada in a shootout in last year's World Championship gold medal game in Germany, won it all again today in a shootout. The Swedes bested Switzerland this time, by a 3-2 count, to claim their second straight World Championship title, and 11th overall.
Next year's tournament will be held in May 2019 in Slovakia.
Saturday, May 19, 2018
It'll be Switzerland against defending champion Sweden on Sunday for the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark.
In Saturday's semifinals, Switzerland edged Canada, 3-2, while Sweden blitzed the United States, 6-0, despite 41 shots on goal by the Americans. Colton Paryako (Alaska Fairbanks) of the St. Louis Blues scored Canada's second goal, late in the third period. Keith Kinkaid (Union) of the New Jersey Devils took the loss for the U.S., making 14 saves as Sweden also scored two empty-net goals.
In the quarterfinal round, Sweden edged Latvia, Canada outlasted Russia, Switzerland upset Finland, and the U.S. topped the Czech Republic, all one-goal decisions.
The U.S. and Canada will play for the bronze medal tomorrow afternoon before Sweden and Switzerland meet for gold.
Friday, May 18, 2018
Alex Killorn (Harvard) broke a 2-2 tie with a goal midway through the third period, and the Tampa Bay Lightning held on for a 4-2 victory over the host Washington Capitals on Thursday night. The win, Tampa Bay's second in a row, ties the Eastern Conference final at two games apiece.
Killorn scored on a backhand shot in front of the Washington net in the 12th minute of the final stanza for his fifth goal of this NHL postseason, before Tampa Bay added an empty-net goal in the final seconds for insurance. The home team has now won all four games in this Stanley Cup Playoff series, which resumes on Saturday night in Florida (7:15 p.m ET, NBC, CBC).
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
A goal by Alex Tuch (Boston College) in the ninth minute of the second period stood up as the game-winner as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the visiting Winnipeg Jets, 3-2, in Game Three of their 2018 Stanley Cup Playoff Western Conference semifinal series. Vegas now leads the best-of-seven NHL postseason series, two games to one.
Tuch's goal, his fifth of these playoffs, gave Vegas a 3-1 lead at the time, after Erik Haula (Minnesota) had assisted on the Golden Knights' second goal. Blake Wheeler (Minnesota) set up both Winnipeg goals, while Connor Hellebuyck (UMass Lowell) made 27 saves for the Jets.
Game Four will be held Friday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC).
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Paul Stastny (Denver) scored two goals, including the game-winner, and Blake Wheeler (Minnesota) set up another score as the Winnipeg Jets advanced to the first Western Conference final in team history with a 5-1 win at Nashville in Game 7 of the conference semifinals on Thursday.
Stastny's goal gave him five for the seven-game series, while Wheeler's assist was his ninth of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, both of which are team highs. Connor Hellebuyck (UMass Lowell) stopped 36 shots in all as the Jets eliminated the host Predators, the defending Western Conference champions and the team with the best record in the NHL this season. Winnipeg took a 2-0 first-period lead on Thursday, surrendered a Nashville power-play goal late in the opening stanza, and then scored three times over the final two periods to continue the Jets' best postseason run since relocating from Atlanta in 2011.
Winnipeg will begin a best-of-seven series against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, NBC TV). The winner of that matchup will then face the winner of the Eastern Conference final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals for the Stanley Cup itself.
Sunday, May 6, 2018
The United States is off to a good start at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark, winning its first two games in Group “B” round-robin play.
The Americans opened the tournament on Friday by besting rival Canada, 5-4, in a shootout. Cam Atkinson (Boston College) of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets scored twice in the extra session, including the deciding shootout goal.
Dylan Larkin (Michigan) of the Detroit Red Wings recorded two goals in regulation for the U.S. against the Canadians, with Chris Kreider (Boston College) of the New York Rangers setting up both of Larkin’s tallies. Anders Lee (Notre Dame) of the New York Islanders and Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) of the Calgary Flames also scored for Team USA in regulation. Keith Kinkaid (Union) of the New Jersey Devils stopped 40 shots in net, and then made five saves on six shootout attempts for the win. Colton Parayko (Alaska Fairbanks) of the St. Louis Blues scored for Canada in regulation.
The U.S. then blanked host Denmark, 4-0, on Saturday. Will Butcher (Denver) of the New Jersey Devils collected the game-winning goal in the first period, before Kreider and Atkinson connected in the second stanza. Nick Jensen (St. Cloud State) of the Detroit Red Wings then closed out the scoring in the third period, and also joined Kreider and Gaudreau in recording an assist on the day. Kinkaid finished with 20 stops for the shutout.
Team USA will face Germany on Monday in its next outing, before taking on Latvia on May 10 and Korea on May 11.
Friday, May 4, 2018
Jim Montgomery is now the head coach of the NHL's Dallas Stars. Montgomery, who led the Pioneers to the NCAA Division I men's hockey national title in 2017, joins Dallas after compiling a 125-57-26 record at DU over the past five seasons, including five NCAA Tournament berths and two Frozen Four appearances.
A native of Montreal, Montgomery, 48, tallied 34 points in 122 career NHL games with St. Louis, Montreal, Philadelphia, San Jose and Dallas, amidst a 12-year professional career. A four-year letterman at the University of Maine, he recorded 32-63--95 points in 45 outings as a senior as the Black Bears won the 1993 NCAA title, the first in school history. He also recorded a hat trick in the national title game victory over Lake Superior State.
After retiring as a player following the 2004-05 season, Montgomery served as an assistant coach at both Notre Dame and Rensselaer. He then spent a three-year stint as head coach of Dubuque (USHL) that culminated in two league championships before he took the reins at DU in 2013.
Wednesday, May 2, 2018
The Winnipeg Jets just keep rocketing along in the NHL postseason, thanks to several former NCAA stars.
The Jets took a 2-1 series lead in their Stanley Cup Playoff Western Conference semifinal series against defending conference champion Nashville with a 7-4 victory over the visiting Predators on Tuesday night. The Jets fell behind, 3-0, after one period, rebounded for a 4-3 lead after 40 minutes, and then broke a 4-4 tie in the third period with three unanswered tallies, including two empty-net goals.
Winnipeg captain Blake Wheeler (Minnesota) paced the home team with two goals and an assist, including the game-winning goal with 4:59 remaining in regulation before he scored an insurance marker into an empty-net just over four minutes later. Paul Stastny (Denver) notched a goal and two assists for the Jets, while Jacob Trouba (Michigan) provided a goal and an assist for Winnipeg from the blueline. Brandon Tanev (Providence) provided the final margin with his own empty-netter with 31 seconds left, while also boosting his goal-scoring streak to four games.
Connor Hellebuyck (UMass Lowell) overcame a rocky start to finish with 26 saves on 30 shots for Winnipeg, which will next host Nashville on Thursday night for Game Four.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
My latest feature story for USCHO.com, on former Notre Dame scoring star and current New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee, is now online and can be found here.
A native of Minnesota, Lee scored 61 goals in three NCAA campaigns with the Fighting Irish before turning pro in 2013. He has led the Islanders in goals the last two seasons, and hit the 40-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career in New York's season finale on April 7 in Detroit.
Lee will next play for Team USA at the 2018 IIHF World Championship in Denmark starting Friday.
Monday, April 30, 2018
The University of Alaska (Fairbanks) finally settled on a new head coach—and it's now-former assistant coach Erik Largen.
A Fairbanks native, Largen, 31, becomes the youngest head men’s ice hockey coach in NCAA Division I ranks, following Matt Curley, 35, who was tabbed as the new head coach at in-state rival Alaska Anchorage earlier this month.
Largen, who was an assistant coach at UAF over the past two seasons, is also a former backup goaltender for the Nanooks (2006-2008). According to eliteprospects.com, he entered the coaching ranks in 2009 and spent two seasons as the goaltending coach for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (NAHL). He then moved on to the Twin Cities (Minn.) Northern Lights (MNJHL) for two years as head coach, before splitting the 2013-14 campaign between Janesville (NAHL) and Tri-City (USHL) as an assistant coach.
Largen then served one season as head coach at NCAA Division III Marian (Wisc.) University, before he returned to his alma mater as an assistant in 2016. His hiring completes a process that was heavily botched by UAF administrators, one that came to a head earlier this month when first choice Brent Brekke, a former associate head coach at Miami, was chosen as the new Nanook head coach but could not come to an agreement with the university on a contract.
Lance West, the other finalist for the position, withdrew from consideration after Brekke was originally selected. West served as an interim head coach of the Nanooks last season after longtime head coach and UAF alumnus Dallas Ferguson took the head coaching job with Calgary (WHL) last summer. West, a former player for Alabama-Huntsville, had served as an assistant coach with UAF for nine years prior to his one year as head coach. Since he was labeled as an interim coach, the position had to be re-opened for applications this year.
Largen becomes the ninth head coach in the modern history of Nanook Hockey, which got its start as an independent NCAA Division II varsity program in 1979. The Nanooks, now a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, moved up to the Division I ranks in the 1980s and made their only NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in 2010 as a member of the now-defunct Central Collegiate Hockey Association.
The defending champion Americans fell to Finland, 3-2, on Sunday in the gold medal game in Chelyabinsk. Patrick Giles, who is committed to Boston College, and Trevor Janicke (Notre Dame) scored for the U.S., while Spencer Knight (Boston College) made 25 saves.
Jack Hughes of the U.S. was named both the tournament's top forward and its Most Valuable Player, and was also named to the All-Tournament Team. Hughes led all tournament scorers with seven assists and 12 points over seven games.
Team USA defenseman Cameron York (Boston College), and forward Oliver Wahlstrom (Harvard), were also named to the All-Tournament Team. York tied for second overall with six assists, while Wahlstrom finished second among all scorers with seven goals.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Torey Krug (Michigan State) tied the game early in the third period, and his teammates then deposited three more goals into the opposing net as the Boston Bruins outlasted the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs, 7-4, on Wednesday in the deciding Game 7 of their first-round Stanley Cup Playoff series.
The Bruins won the series, four games to three, after Toronto had claimed the previous two contests to force a tie, including a 4-3 win in Game 5 at Boston's TD Garden. Boston won three of its four home games in the series, en route to forging 2-0 and 3-1 series leads.
Krug's slapshot from the blueline brought the Bruins back from a 4-3 deficit and also started a run of four consecutive Boston third-period goals. Danton Heinen (Denver) also scored for Boston, his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal, while Kevan Miller (Vermont) set up two Bruins goals and David Backes (Minnesota State) recorded an assist.
The Bruins now advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, a five-game winner over the New Jersey Devils in the first round. The Bruins-Lightning best-of-seven series will begin Saturday at 3 p.m. ET (NBC TV) in Florida.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
The New Jersey Devils’ 2017-18 NHL campaign came to a close on Saturday in Tampa, Florida. The Devils dropped a 3-1 decision to the host Tampa Bay Lightning, who won the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, four games to one. It was New Jersey’s first playoff series appearance since 2012.
Kyle Palmieri (Notre Dame) assisted on the Devils’ only goal of the afternoon, while Cory Schneider (Boston College) stopped 35 of 37 shots in the loss. Tampa Bay advances to the Eastern Conference semifinals against either the Boston Bruins or Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston currently leads that series, three games to two.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ 2017-18 season ended Sunday as the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins scored five unanswered goals en route to an 8-5 victory. Pittsburgh, which won its ninth consecutive NHL playoff series dating back to 2016, closed out the Flyers in six games.
Jake Guentzel (Nebraska-Omaha) paced the Penguins with four goals and also added an assist, while Phil Kessel (Minnesota) set up two goals. Pittsburgh will next face the winner of the series between the Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets, which Washington currently leads by a three-to-two count.
Saturday, April 21, 2018
The Jets, who relocated to Manitoba from Atlanta in 2011, earned their first Stanley Cup Playoff series victory with a 5-0 win over the visiting Minnesota Wild on Friday night. Winnipeg won the best-of-seven series in five games.
Hellebuyck, a finalist this season for the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goaltender, made 30 stops in the Game 5 victory. Jacob Trouba (Michigan) scored the winning goal just 31 seconds into the game, while Paul Stastny (Denver) had two assists on the night.
Winnipeg will now face the winner of Colorado and Nashville in the Western Conference semifinals.
Monday, April 16, 2018
The New Jersey Devils aren't dead just yet, thanks to several former NCAA standouts.
A third-period goal by rookie defenseman Will Butcher (Denver), his first ever in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, tied the contest at two goals apiece as the Devils ultimately clawed their way back into their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with a 5-2 victory over the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night at the Prudential Center. Tampa Bay still leads the best-of-seven series, two games to one, with Game Four coming up on Wednesday in Newark, N.J.
Butcher's goal forged a 2-2 tie and was part of a four-goal third period outburst by the Devils. Team captain Andy Greene (Miami) assisted on the game-winning goal by Stefan Noesen, before Blake Coleman (Miami) and Ben Lovejoy (Dartmouth) scored unassisted empty-net goals in the final minutes of regulation, with Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy having been pulled both times for an extra attacker.
Cory Schneider (Boston College), making his first start in the NHL postseason since 2013 when he was with Vancouver, stopped 34 shots to earn the win for New Jersey. Alex Killorn (Harvard) notched a goal and an assist for the Lightning, which was outshot, 41-36, by the Devils.
ADDENDUM: Tampa Bay ultimately won the series in five games.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
The 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs have commenced. The ultimate winner from the field of 16 will be crowned sometime in June.
On Friday, Shayne Gostisbehere (Union) opened the scoring for Philadelphia as the Flyers rebounded from a Game One debacle to even their quarterfinal series with a 5-1 victory at two-time defending champion Pittsburgh. Farther north, Connor Hellebuyck (UMass Lowell) made 16 saves as the Winnipeg Jets took a two games to none series lead with a 4-1 victory over Minnesota.
Lastly, Alex Tuch (Boston College) scored the game's first goal and Erik Haula (Minnesota) connected in the second overtime to lift the Vegas Golden Knights to a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles. Vegas now leads that series, two games to none.
In the other five series (all one game to none as of Friday night): Nashville leads Colorado, San Jose leads Anaheim, Tampa Bay leads New Jersey, Boston leads Toronto, and Columbus leads Washington.
Sunday, April 8, 2018
Princeton University rising junior forwards and Ottawa natives Max Véronneau and Ryan Kuffner have been named as Second Team CCM/AHCA Hockey All-Americans by the American Hockey Coaches Association, as announced over the weekend at the NCAA Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minn.
Véronneau (No. 15 in photo) finished second in the nation with 55 points, on 17 goals and 38 assists, in 2017-18, five points behind Hobey Baker Award winner Adam Gaudette of Northeastern. Véronneau also established a new Princeton single-season superlative for total points, while Kuffner (No. 21) set a new school standard with 29 goals. Kuffner also registered 23 assists and was tied for fourth in NCAA Division I with 52 points with former University of Denver forward Henrik Borgström.
Véronneau and Kuffner, who played junior hockey together with Gloucester (CCHL) before enrolling at Princeton, are both undrafted and expected to return to the Tigers in the fall for their senior seasons. Each also recorded his 100th career collegiate point in 2017-18.
Véronneau and Kuffner led the Tigers to a 19-13-4 overall mark, including Princeton's first ECAC Hockey championship since 2008 and its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2009. The Tigers won six straight playoff games to earn their league’s title, before ultimately bowing out with a 4-2 loss to Ohio State University in an NCAA Midwest regional semifinal.
Two former UMass-Lowell goaltenders were atop the NHL statistical charts as hockey's top league finished its 2017-18 regular season on Sunday.
Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets led all NHL goaltenders with 44 victories, setting a new league standard for American-born netminders, while Carter Hutton of the St. Louis Blues paced the circuit in both goals-against average (2.09) and save percentage (.931). Hellebuyck finished 44-11-9 in 67 games this season, while Hutton went 17-7-3 in 32 contests.
Hellebuyck, a 2012 Jets' draft choice, from Commerce, Mich., played at UML from 2012 to 2014. He backstopped the River Hawks to both the 2013 Hockey East championship and the 2013 NCAA Frozen Four as a freshman, and went 38-12-2 (1.60, .946) in 53 career appearances. Hutton, a free agent from Thunder Bay, Ont., went 32-41-10 (2.33, .913) in 85 outings at UML from 2006 to 2010.
Winnipeg will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, while St. Louis was eliminated from postseason contention by the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
For the first time since 2011, the University of Minnesota-Duluth is the NCAA Division I men's ice hockey national champion. The Bulldogs outlasted Notre Dame, 2-1, on Saturday before a sold-out crowd of 18,303 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn. The national title is the second in UMD men's hockey history, while the Fighting Irish was seeking its first NCAA championship.
UMD (25-16-3 overall) took a 1-0 lead on a goal by senior captain Karson Kuhlman just over nine minutes into the first period, then assisted on the game-winning goal by Jared Thomas just over nine-and-a-half minutes later. Big Ten champion Notre Dame (28-10-2) got back within one on a score by Andrew Oglevie 7:40 into the second period, but was shut down by the Bulldogs the rest of the way.
Cale Morris, who won the 2018 Mike Richter Award as college hockey's top goaltender, finished with 33 saves for the Irish, while Hunter Shepard made 19 stops for the Bulldogs. UMD also outshot the Irish, 35-20, and went 0-for-3 on the power play, while Notre Dame was 1-for-2 with a man advantage.
UMD finished as national runner-up to Denver last year, dropping a 3-2 decision in last year's championship game in Chicago, after Notre Dame had fallen to DU in the semifinals. The Bulldogs edged Michigan, 3-2, in overtime in the 2011 NCAA championship game, also in St. Paul, after first ousting the Irish in a semifinal match, while Notre Dame dropped a 4-1 decision to Boston College in the 2008 national title tilt in Denver. The Bulldogs and Irish both advanced to this year’s championship contest with Frzoen Four national semifinal triumphs on Thursday, with UMD topping Ohio State, 2-1, and Notre Dame outlasting Michigan, 4-3.
The Bulldogs received the last at-large bid into this year's 16-team NCAA Tournament by .0001 percentage point over in-state rival Minnesota, according to the Pairwise Rankings that mimic the NCAA's selection process. UMD's victory Saturday also marked three consecutive NCAA titles for the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, following Denver last year and North Dakota in 2016.