Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Vegas Up Two Games in Stanley Cup Final

Jack Eichel (Boston University) set up two goals and Alec Martinez (Miami) scored another as the Vegas Golden Knights routed the visiting Florida Panthers, 7-2, last night to take a two games to none lead in the best-of-seven 2023 Stanley Cup Final.

Eichel assisted on Vegas' first and fifth goals, while Martinez notched the second goal of the game for the Golden Knights, who have outscored the Panthers, 12-4, though the first two games of the series. Eichel is also tied for second among NHL skaters this postseason with 22 points in 19 games, and has recorded four assists so far in the final.

Game Three is Thursday night in Sunrise, Fla. Both clubs are seeking the first-ever Stanley Cup in their respective franchise's history.

Monday, June 5, 2023

GLI to Remain in Grand Rapids Through 2026

The venerable Great Lakes Invitational has found a new regular home, at least for the next few seasons.

It was announced last week that the GLI will continue to be played at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., where it was contested last year after more than a half-century of being played largely in the Detroit area. The new agreement runs through 2026, with the tournament to be played in the month of December. 

Next year's field will include Ferris State, Michigan Tech, Western Michigan and first-time participant Alaska (Fairbanks). Last year's participants included Ferris State, Michigan State, Michigan Tech, and Western Michigan, with WMU winning the tournament.

The GLI fields for the following three seasons are as follows:

2024 - Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan, Western Michigan

2025 - Ferris State, Miami, Michigan State, Michigan Tech

2026 - Michigan State, Michigan Tech, Notre Dame, Western Michigan

Michigan, which holds the record with 17 GLI championships, is not scheduled to participate in any of the upcoming years, after also sitting out last season for the first time since 1973.

Home of the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins since its opening in 1996, the VAA seats 10,834 spectators for hockey. It has also hosted several NCAA men's hockey regionals in its existence, along with several non-tournament college contests.

Saturday, June 3, 2023

2023 Stanley Cup Final Starts Tonight

The 2023 Stanley Cup Final has arrived. A number of former NCAA players can be found on both sides as the Florida Panthers take on the Vegas Golden Knights, starting tonight in Nevada, as each club seeks its first-ever NHL postseason title:

Florida Panthers 

Zac Dalpe (Ohio State)

Casey Fitzgerald (Boston College)

Matthew Kiersted (North Dakota)

Spencer Knight (Boston College)

Ryan Lomberg (Maine)

Alex Lyon (Yale)

Colin White (Boston College)

Vegas Golden Knights

Teddy Blueger (Minnesota State)

Paul Cotter (Western Michigan)

Jack Eichel (Boston University)

Ben Hutton (Maine)

Phil Kessel (Minnesota) *

Alec Martinez (Miami) *

Jonathan Quick (UMass) *

Reilly Smith (Miami)

Zach Whitecloud (Bemidji State)

* Indicates previous Stanley Cup winner

The best-of-seven series continues Tuesday in Vegas, then shifts to Florida on Thursday and next Saturday for Games Three and Four. All games will start at 8 p.m. ET. (Sportsnet, TBS, TNT)

Friday, June 2, 2023

Carbery Named New Capitals Head Coach

Spencer Carbery (St. Norbert/Alaska Anchorage) is the new head coach of the NHL's Washington Capitals. He succeeds Peter Laviolette (Westfield State), who parted ways with Washington in April after the Caps missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Carbery, 41, from Victoria, British Columbia, began his coaching career in 2010-11 with South Carolina (ECHL) as an assistant, then spent the next six seasons there as head coach of the Stingrays, leading them to the Kelly  Cup Final in 2015. After one season in major junior as head coach of Saginaw (OHL), he went to Providence (AHL) as an assistant for a year before taking the reins of Hershey (AHL) in Washington's system for three seasons. He spent the last two years as an assistant with the NHL's Toronto Maple Leafs.

Carbery played one season at UAA (2002-03), notching a goal and two assists in 26 outings before skating at left wing for St. Norbert for three years, where he totaled 55-45–100 points in 87 appearances while helping the Green Knights to two NCAA Division III national championship games. He then played four seasons professionally, the last three in the ECHL and the last two as an assistant captain with South Carolina, before turning to coaching.

ADDENDUM: The NHL's Nashville Predators have parted ways with head coach John Hynes (Boston University) after three-plus seasons, while Colgate University has hired all-time leading scorer and former assistant coach Mike Harder as its new men's hockey head coach.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Vegas Advances to 2023 Stanley Cup Final

Reilly Smith (Miami) set up two goals and Alec Martinez (Miami) assisted on another as the Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the 2023 Stanley Cup Final with a 6-0 win over the host Dallas Stars in Game Six of the Western Conference final tonight.

After dropping the previous two contests in the series, the Golden Knights raced out to a 3-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes and cruised to their second-ever Stanley Cup Final appearance, and first since their inaugural NHL campaign in 2017-18. Reilly assisted on Vegas' second and sixth goals of the game, while Martinez helped set up Vegas' third goal and also finished with a plus-3 rating on the night

The Golden Knights will now face the Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final that begins on Saturday night in Nevada, with both clubs seeking their first-ever Stanley Cup title. Vegas fell to Washington in five games five years ago, while Florida was swept by Colorado in 1996 in the Panthers' only previous NHL finals appearance.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Canada Wins 2023 IIHF World Championship

Canada is the world champion of men's hockey once again. The Canadians defeated Germany, 5-2 on Sunday in Finland to claim their 28th gold medal all-time in the IIHF World Championship.

NCAA-trained players who helped Canada to its sixth World Championship in the last eight seasons included Adam Fantilli (Michigan), Brad Hunt (Bemidji State), Devon Levi (Northeastern) and Jack McBain (Boston College). Fantilli, who is projected to be selected second overall in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, scored the game-winning goal in a semifinal victory over Latvia on Saturday.

The United States, which won its first eight games in this year's tournament, fell to Germany in the semifinals and to co-host Latvia in the third-place game, both in overtime, to finish out of the medals. Germany earned silver for the third time overall in World Championship competition, while Latvia won bronze this year, its first medal of any kind ever in the event.

Next year's World Championship will be contested in Prague and Ostrava, Czechia in May 2024.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

U.S. Stays Perfect at 2023 World Championship

The United States is now a perfect 7-0 at the 2023 IIHF World Championship at Nokia Arena in Tampere, Finland.

The U.S. edged Sweden, 4-3, in overtime in its final round-robin contest on Tuesday, after giving up a two-goal lead late in regulation. Dylan Samberg (Minnesota-Duluth) notched the game-winning goal in sudden death, with the primary assist going to Carter Mazur (Denver). 

Lane Hutson (Boston University), Nick Bonino (Boston University) and Conor Garland also scored goals for the U.S., while T.J. Tynan (Notre Dame) led the Americans with two assists and Casey DeSmith (New Hampshire) made 23 saves for the victory. The U.S also outshot Sweden, 43-26, overall.

Team USA, which is seeking its first World Championship medal since claiming bronze two years ago, will now face Czechia in the quarterfinals.

ADDENDUM: The U.S. blanked Czechia, 3-0, and will meet Germany in the semifinals. The other semifinal will feature Canada against co-host Latvia, with the two semifinal winners meeting in the final for the gold medal.