MAY 5, 2015
With the changeover from April to May, only one alumni skater remains in action, which means this 28th edition of the IceRays Alumni Report will be the final recurring edition for the 2014-15 season. The United States Hockey League (USHL) saw its last team with an IceRays alum bite the dust, and the last hope for an alumni championship comes in the American Hockey League (AHL).
The sole team with an alumni player is the Hershey Bears, who eased their way into the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the Calder Cup Playoffs with a 3-1 series victory over the Worcester Sharks, who complete their final season in the Northeast before their move West. While the Bears dropped game three 4-1 last Wednesday at home, they rallied two days later to power by the Sharks 10-4 while outshooting Worcester 48-34. Goaltender Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) appeared in all four games thus far in the postseason, though that number could slow heading into future rounds with the return of Philipp Grubauer from the Washington Capitals. Copley stopped 29 of 32 shots faced in the lone loss of the series and came in relief during the final period of the series-clinching win, saving 11 of 13 shots in the third. By that point, the Bears were already up 6-2 so rest was key for the team’s netminder rotation. In his first professional playoff series, Copley showed strong promise for his future career with a 2-1-0 record as well as a 2.12 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage. Hershey will play the Hartford Wolf Pack in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, a series that mirrors a matchup of parent clubs in the National Hockey League (NHL).
The Sioux Falls Stampede continue to charge their way through the USHL Playoffs as the four-seed of the Western Conference into the Clark Cup Final, which means the final junior alum sees his season end with the Tri-City Storm falling 3-1 in the best-of-five series. Defenseman Jalen Schulz (’12-’13) not only sees his second USHL season come to a close but also his junior career after his commitment this season to play at the University of Nebraska-Omaha for the 2015-16 season. Over the past two seasons since joining the Storm, the Cambridge, Minn., native recorded four goals and 13 assists for 17 points with 241 penalty minutes and a -7 rating over 119 games including six games this postseason. He went pointless over the postseason, and his final point came as a goal on March 8 against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. He also served as one of the alternate captains for the Storm this season.
The IceRays will have updates on the progress of Copley and the Hershey Bears over the rest of their postseason run on Facebook (/CorpusChristiIceRays), Twitter (@goicerays), and on the team’s official website (www.goicerays.com). A final wrap-up and highlights of IceRays alumni during the 2014-15 season is expected to come later this summer.
Read the IceRays Alumni Report every Tuesday on www.GoIceRays.com and hear the audio version on the IceRays Broadcast Network.
Collin Schuck is the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the Corpus Christi IceRays. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter at @CollinDSchuck.