BY: COLLIN SCHUCK
Professional and junior hockey leagues continue to play through the holiday season as we stretch to the ninth edition of the IceRays Alumni Report. NCAA Division I and III hockey rounded out play last weekend, and ACHA Division I play has already ceased until 2015, but we press on with a few more strong appearances in the professional ranks and Division III action.
Make it two-straight wins for former netminders in the American Hockey League. In possibly his best performance thus far in his professional career, Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) helped his Lehigh Valley Phantoms to a 2-1 overtime win on Saturday over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins from the PPL Center. Stolarz fended off a season-high 44 of 45 shots to collect his second win in two appearances and has now won his last three decisions. That bumps his record to 4-5-0 with a 2.60 goals against average and .927 save percentage.
For Phoenix Copley (’10-’11) of the Hershey Bears, his only two appearances in the month have both resulted in wins, most recently turning aside 18 of 20 shots in the Bears’ 5-2 win over the Binghamton Senators on Saturday. Now after going 0-3-0 in the month of November, December picks up where Copley left off at the outset of the season. He now improves to 5-3-0 with a 1.86 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. One winning trend could come to an end this Friday when the Bears and Phantoms take the ice in Allentown, P.A.
In a NCAA Division III matchup featuring two teams carrying former IceRays skaters, only one was given the opportunity to add to his point production and did just that. Forward Jon Grebosky (’11-’13) of the University of Concordia-Moorhead helped his side take down Northland College 4-2 on Saturday to close out the fall session with an assist in the game’s final goal of the third period. That’s only his second assist of the season to join his six goals tallied. Defenseman Chance Creger (’10-’11) was the other former player hoping to appear in the match.
Plymouth State slipped in their final two games before winter recess, but two former forwards combined for five points last weekend. In Friday’s 4-4 tie with New England College, forward Ian McGilvrey (’12-’13) began his weekend with a secondary assist in the game’s first goal for either side. But the following night is when former IceRays lit up the night. The Panthers dropped 4-3 to Castleton on home ice but not without both McGilvrey and forward Mike Economos (’12-’13) going quietly. McGilvrey tacked on two more assists in the three-goal second period for Plymouth State, one of which came on Economos’ goal with three seconds remaining. Economos would also add an assist on his side’s first tally. Both McGilvrey and Economos have eleven points through their first ten games, two points behind Andrew Wigg for first on the team.
There were only two games in the month of December for Johnson & Wales University, and in one of those two games forward Josh Obregon (’10-’12) capitalized. In Saturday’s 5-3 loss to Buffalo State, Obregon scored his side’s final goal in the second period to cut the deficit to 4-3 before his team allowed a shorthanded empty net goal. That goal is Obregon’s third of out four points through his 11 games thus far.
When wins are difficult to come by, a lot of coaches will look to change momentum or the angle of attack mid-game to regain an edge. Lawrence University attempted that by allowing goaltender Anton Olsson (’10-’11) into the game for the final 6:21 of the first period during Saturday’s 11-2 loss to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Counterpart Mattias Söderqvist allowed five goals on 15 shots in the opening frame before allowing Olsson to stop four of five shots to complete the period. Söderqvist would re-enter the game for the final two periods, allowing a game total ten goals on 47 shots. Olsson did not record a decision but drops to 4.64 goals against average and .886 save percentage.
Phil Pietroniro (’11-’13) of the Victoriaville Tigers saw his most recent point streak come to a close after acquiring an assist during the Tigers’ 3-1 loss to Saint John in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Victoriaville’s lone goal came in the first period to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead with Pietroniro garnering the primary assist. In the following two games last weekend, Pietroniro was shut down in point production. That marks 24 points on the season after his four-game point streak as he continues to tear through his final junior season.
Read the IceRays Alumni Report every Tuesday on www.GoIceRays.com and hear the audio version during the second 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 email@example.com or on Twitter at @CollinDSchuck.