Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Orpik Goal Boosts Caps to Game Two Win

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

Vegas Takes Game One of 2018 Cup Final

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

At Last it Begins ...

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

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

Carle Takes Reins at Denver

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, 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.

A native of Anchorage, Alaska, Carle was offered the head coach position at UAA earlier this year, but turned it down. His college playing career came to a premature end as a freshman in 2008 when he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, after which he joined Denver’s coaching staff as a student assistant under former head coach George Gwozdecky. A product of Shattuck- St. Mary's in Minnesota, Carle was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the seventh round of the 2008 NHL Draft.

Carle, who has served as DU’s primary recruiter, is expected to retain former fellow assistant coach Tavis MacMillan.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

BU's Quinn Takes Over New York Rangers

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

Oshie, Capitals Force Game Seven Versus Lightning

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

U.S. Claims Bronze at 2018 World Championship

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

Sweden, Switzerland to Play for IIHF Gold in Denmark

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

Killorn Boosts Lightning Over Capitals to Tie Series

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

Tuch Goal Boosts Vegas to Game Three Victory

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

Winnipeg Advances to NHL's Western Conference Final

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

U.S. Wins First Two at World Championship

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

DU's Montgomery Goes to NHL's Dallas

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

Jets Take 2-1 Series Lead over Nashville

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

Spotlighting NHL's Anders Lee

My latest feature story for, 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.