BY: COLLIN SCHUCK
The first win is very important in a netminder’s confidence and progression, and that’s just what two former goaltenders did last weekend as return to the sixth edition of the IceRays Alumni Report. In addition, one former player took the skate of a lifetime and another records a big weekend in a quiet week from former players.
It took four games, but goaltender Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) earned his first professional win and shutout on Friday as the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League shut down the Worcester Sharks, 4-0, on home ice. Stolarz faced a season-high 36 shots, turning aside every shot he faced. That breaks a three-game losing streak for the New Jersey native and plummets his numbers: 2.28 goals against average and .933 save percentage. While Stolarz doesn’t qualify for league rankings, he would slot in third in goals against average and tied for fourth in save percentage.
Another former goaltender earned both his first win of the season and also his first shutout, this one coming in NCAA Division I hockey. Hayden Stewart (’12-’13) of the Cornell Big Red shut down Brown University en route to a 4-0 win from Lynah Rink. Stewart made 26 saves on the night in just his second start of the season and third appearance. He evens his record to 1-1-0 with a 0.91 goals against average and a .962 save percentage. Cornell has now won three of their last four games after starting the season 0-3-1. They’ll head to New York City on Saturday to faceoff against Penn State University from Madison Square Garden in the 2014 Frozen Apple.
Back to the AHL, and for the first time in five games, goaltender Phoenix Copley (’10-’11) was given the nod for the Hershey Bears, but the November struggles continued in a 2-0 loss to the St. John’s IceCaps on Sunday. Copley stopped 26 of 28 shots, while his counterpart and former Odessa Jackalope Connor Hellebuyck shut down all 33 Bears shots. On the month, Copley drops to 0-3-0 with a 3.38 goals against average and a .882 save percentage. However, he remains even at 3-3-0 on the season with a 1.98 goals against average and a .922 save percentage, ranking seventh and 15th, respectively, in those categories.
Also in NCAA Division I action, a pair of former players grabbed an assist in last weekend’s action. Defenseman Frank Misuraca (’11-’12) of the University of Alabama-Huntsville aided in tying Saturday’s game against Ferris State in the second period before the Bulldogs pulled away, 5-2. The Michigan native now has five points in his first 14 games this season. Defenseman Colton Saucerman (’10-’11) grabbed his second assist of the year in Northeastern University’s 4-2 to Merrimack on Friday. Saucerman now has all three points over his last four games.
ACHA Division I players continue to place numbers on their stat lines, but this week only one was able to produce and with big numbers. Defenseman Luc Neitenbach (’10-’11) picked up three points for the University of Colorado in their weekend split against Williston State College of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). In Friday’s 8-2 plastering of the Tetons, the Colorado native earned two points, recording the second goal of the first period for the Buffaloes and aiding in the team’s fifth goal of the night coming in the second period. The next night, Neitenbach turned in another goal, this one the third of the first period to enhance their lead en route to a 5-3 loss. Neitenbach now has four goals and seven assists for 17 points this season, which ties him for second on the team.
While the American Hockey League broke indoor attendance records in the first Frozen Dome Classic on Saturday night from the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, N.Y., fifth-ranked SUNY Oswego set attendance records of their own against the Utica Pioneers Saturday afternoon in their Frozen Dome Classic, and former forward Brandon Adams (’11-’12) took part in the contest. The junior scored the go-ahead goal, which was his first of the year, early in the third period before Utica forced a 4-4 draw thanks to an answer later in the frame. Adams has three points through seven games thus far. Oswego and Utica brought 7,047 spectators into the Dome, setting a new NCAA Division III attendance mark for a men's ice hockey contest. The previous mark was set in the NCAA Championship semifinal between Elmira College and SUNY Plattsburgh in 2008 when 5,600 fans witnessed the game at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid.
The Panthers only needed one game for two former IceRays to grab a pair of points last weekend as Plymouth State defeated Worcester State 5-1 on Saturday. In total, four IceRays were in action with only forwards Mike Economos (’12-’13) and Ian McGilvrey (’12-’13) tallying points. The duo opened the scoring in the first period with Economos feeding McGilvrey to take the lead, 1-0. Early in the second period, it was Economos’ turn to find twine in what became the game-winning goal. McGilvrey added his assist on the team’s fourth goal of the night. Economos now has three goals and three assists on the season, and McGilvrey has one less assist. Both defenseman Tommy Dowell (’10-’11) of Plymouth State and forward Michael Dery (’11-’12) of Worcester State were kept off the score line.
The SUNY Potsdam Bears also only played one game over the weekend, and forward Tommy Telesca (’12-’13) seized the opportunity, adding another goal to his line in the Bears’ 4-2 win over SUNY Canton. The sophomore now has goals in each of his last three games and has moved into a share for third in the team in points with five and is tied for the team lead in goals at three. He has already surpassed his season total in goals from last season and is one point from tying his previous point total of six.
It’s been a low start to the season for defenseman Jalen Schulz (’12-’13) of the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, but a point last weekend can go a long way to helping his cause. The 19-year-old claimed a helper in Friday’s 5-2 win over the Des Moines Buccaneers on the game-winning goal by Nolan Aibel late in the first period. Schulz has three points in 14 games this season and is on pace to break both his USHL-high in points (9) but also his career-high in penalty minutes (120). He is the only former IceRay in the USHL to grab a point last weekend.
And in the Pacific Northwest, forward Beau Walker (’10-’13) can add two more to his league-leading points total in the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League, putting up one goal and one assist in Eastern Washington’s two-loss weekend against first place Trinity Western. In Friday’s 3-1 loss, Walker assisted on Cody Ogrin’s first period goal to gain the lead before allowing three unanswered goals. The next night in the Eagles’ 5-2 loss, he scored the second of his team’s two goals en route to the loss. Despite his individual performance this season, Eastern Washington is 4-8-0 and in last place in the BCIHL.
Read the IceRays Alumni Report every Tuesday on www.GoIceRays.com and hear the audio version during the first intermission of the opening game in every weekend series on the IceRays Broadcast Network.
Collin Schuck is the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations for the Corpus Christi IceRays. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CollinDSchuck.