By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Jan. 19, 2016
There were some big weekends from NCAA Division III and United States Hockey League (USHL) players that stood out above the rest. However, we’re starting to see more production up and down the roster now in the 16th edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. II, which bodes well not only for the program but also for the post-IceRays careers at hand. In total, six players earned multi-point weekends and a pair of Division III goaltenders made their first starts of the season.
Only four days after breaking an 18-game point drought, Chicago Blackhawks winger Ryan Garbutt (’09-’10) broke his large goal drought in Montreal with a big tally. In his 40th game with his new National Hockey League (NHL) team, the 30-year-old Albertan slapped a shot from the left wall in the first period of Thursday’s 2-1 win over the Canadiens for just his second of the season and his first game-winning goal of the year. The goal is his first since November 21 and his first game-winner since Nov. 13, 2014 against the Los Angeles Kings while breaking a 21-game span without a marker. Garbutt owns now six points in 42 games this season. The Blackhawks hope to break their franchise-high 11-win streak tonight against Nashville.
Four games in a week sounds like the IceRays schedule right after the holidays, but the Chicago Wolves placed goaltender Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) in their four-game, six-day gauntlet last week including three-straight over the weekend. The 2nd year netminder split his decisions down the middle, going 2-2-0 on the week while trading wins and losses through the stretch. Following a 5-2 loss last Tuesday, the Alaskan shut out the Iowa Wild on Friday night with a perfect 34-save performance at home for his third shutout of the year and first since November 1. The following two nights dropped from his luck in conceding goals: four goals allowed on 22 shots with only 32:33 minutes played on Saturday and 22 saves on 25 shots in Sunday’s 4-3 overtime win. Overall, Copley went 2-2-0 with a 3.08 goals-against average and .903 save percentage while co-goaltender Jordan Binnington plays in St. Louis.
Contrary to Copley, netminder Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) only played one game last week and it came at home against the Hartford Wolf Pack. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms were just edged 2-1 in the contest on Saturday night, but even with his solid 26-for-28 save performance the 21-year-old now is on a five-game losing streak dating back to Boxing Day. The trend follows the Phantoms in the standings with the team dropping seven of their last ten games and falling to seventh in the Atlantic Division.
It was a career weekend at Clarkson University for defenseman Perry D’Arrisso (’11-’13) over the weekend in an Ivy League swing on the road. Not only did the junior record assists in each game but also set a new career-high in points, overtaking the record set his freshman season. In Friday’s 5-2 loss to Dartmouth, the 24-year-old helped out on the Golden Knights’ second goal in the middle period and then found Pat Megannety in the third period of Saturday’s 5-1 upset of ninth-ranked Harvard. An assist in Clarkson’s next 12 games will help him to set a career-high in helpers, owning two with a career-high two goals.
Niagara University is still having difficulty stringing together wins in Atlantic Hockey Association (AHA) play, but they avoided a full sweep at the hands of Canisius College on Saturday night with a 3-3 draw in Buffalo, N.Y. A large reason for that can be attributed to Tanner Lomsnes (’14-’15), who ended a five-game goalless drought with the eventual game-tying goal in the second period to initially put the Purple Eagles up by one. With four goals and eight points this season, the kid from Red Deer, Alberta sits fifth on the team in points and is second among freshmen behind former Wichita Falls Wildcats forward Nick Farmer by only a two-point gap.
Heading into the back end of a two-game weekend set, forward Emil Romig (’12-’13) was warming up to a pair of points in as many games with the University of Denver just before Saturday’s road game. The reason for the near streak was his third goal of the season in Friday’s 5-3 victory over Western Michigan, and the tally got the game started just two minutes into the contest. Even though he didn’t tally in the back end game, the Austrian is getting more production going, improving to six points through 19 games while creeping closer to numerous career scoring highs.
A home-and-home series between Northeastern and New Hampshire gave both teams playing as the road side wins over the weekend, and a 6-2 victory on Saturday helps numerous players boost their numbers, including defenseman Colton Saucerman (’10-’11). The senior found Mike Jamieson just before midway through the third period for the game’s final goal. That was his first point in five games and now has six through 22 games though still is hoping to get close to his production from the last three seasons.
The Big Ten Conference featured a pair of barnburners when rivals Michigan and Ohio State took to the ice for a pair of games last weekend. The two drew 5-5 on Friday night in Columbus, and Michigan took the edge in Saturday’s 8-6 win over the Buckeyes at home. Before a five-goal output by the Wolverines in the third period, forward Matt Weis (’11-’12) assisted on two power play goals in the second to go up 3-2 and then 5-3 before the bottom fell out. The sophomore now has eight assists and 14 points through 18 games after a slow start to the season and sits fifth on the team in points.
Western New England played three games last week including one just yesterday, but back on Thursday the scoring continued for forward Matthieu Audet (’13-’14), who picked up his second point of the year in three games during the Golden Bears’ 3-3 draw with Fredonia State at home. The sophomore found Tyler Pionk for their first connection of the year on the power play. Though his squad has only won once, his new found production could help spur the team forward in the back end of the year.
Both games for SUNY Plattsburgh over the weekend helped former IceRays to points despite the top-ranked team recording just their third loss of the year. In Friday’s 3-0 blanking of Middlebury, defenseman Ryan Chiasson (’12-’13) found Michael Radisa for his first of two goals on the evening to open the scoring with defenseman Chris Taff (’11-’13) also notching a helper on the game’s final goal in the third period. One day later, Taff found another helper, this time finding Cole Stallard for the Cardinals’ first goal in their 3-2 overtime loss to Williams. The assist for Chiasson is his second of the year in 12 total games, while Taff is putting up a nice sophomore campaign with 11 points through as many games, resting two points shy of his career-high.
UMass Dartmouth is in the midst of a five-game home stand, and the time back in New Hampshire has helped get the team going with three wins in their last four games. In their most recent 4-2 win on Saturday against Westfield State, Brandon Berkley (’12-’14) helped the Corsairs’ cause with an assist on their final goal of the night. That’s his first point in seven games and gives him his fifth point this season in 14 games, breaking his career-high in points set last season in five fewer games.
There is no question one of the best weeks for any alumni this season took place last weekend for forward Jon Grebosky (’11-’13), who totaled a five-point weekend for Concordia College (Mich.) against Hamline in a two-game road swing. Friday’s 6-4 loss brought about two assists for the sophomore with the first on the game’s first goal directly to Zach Doerring and the second in combination with Doerring to find Mario Bianchi to tie the game in the third period before Hamline struck two late in the game. Saturday’s 7-3 win was much better all-around, and the second period was Grebosky’s to own. Both goals in the period were shorthanded, moving to three on the season and both sandwiching the three other goals scored by both teams combined. Following his first shorthanded tally, he helped to find Doerring again as part of five-unanswered goals. The Pennsylvanian is sixth in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) in points and leads the league in shorthanded goals while pulling away from the rest of his team for the scoring lead.
After an arm injury prior to the season and a slow start to production, St. John’s University forward Connor Kelly (’13-’14) has been waiting for a strong weekend to get the gears going, and that weekend came in two games against St. Olaf College in a home-and-home set. The Chaska, Minn., native notched the team’s first goal during their 4-2 home loss on Friday for his second goal of the year then continued surging with two more in Saturday’s 7-2 rebound win. Kelly once again found his side’s first goal then added some insurance on the power play in the third period with some help from teammate Matt Colford (’14-’15). Kelly’s point total skyrocketed with his three-goal weekend, now owning four goals and one assist for five points, while Colford’s seventh helper moves him to nine points through 16 games.
One year removed from the North American Hockey League (NAHL), forward Nick Monfils (’13-’14) has been on a slow start as well this season, but last weekend may be able to correct the adjustment to collegiate play thanks to his second goal of the season in Saturday’s 4-2 win over Concordia Wisconsin on the road. His tally came on the power play in the third period and proved to be the difference-maker in the contest. His only other goal came in his fourth game and ends a nine-game goal drought. He now has 14 games played this year.
Two different goaltenders earned their first starts this season for their respective NCAA Division III teams. Sophomore Dillon Kelley (’12-’13) is far removed from his time with the IceRays and played for two more NAHL seasons following that stint, but his first start proved to be successful on a very dominant Adrian College team. In Saturday’s 8-3 win over Lake Forest, the Petoskey, Mich., native turned aside 25 of 28 shots to earn his third collegiate win in two seasons while only allowing his first goals in his second game played. His previous outing came on January 8 against Aurora College, playing just over nine minutes of relief and stopping all three shots. The second-ranked team has rolled through now four goaltenders, and with his success Kelley hopes to see more time in net, playing only six games in two years.
The other goaltender, Ben Myers (’12-’14) made his collegiate debut on Friday night for the University of St. Thomas against Wisconsin-Stout, however a win wasn’t in the cards during their 5-3 loss. The Waywatosa, Wisc., kid stopped 17 of 21 shots before being pulled for an extra skater unsuccessfully late in the game. Following his two years with the IceRays, Myers sat out last season but returns for his first licks after a serviceable stint in the Coastal Bend.
At the start of a three-game week, forward Jake Durflinger (’13-’14) continued his point production for the Bloomington Thunder during their 4-1 home win against the Des Moines Buccaneers. Following a two-assist game, the 18-year-old scored his ninth goal of the year and third on the power play during the opening period, eventually becoming the game-deciding goal. Through six games this month, Durflinger has three points and has cooled off considerably since his swift November turnaround but is still finding ways to trickle across points.
An injury kept forward Ronnie Hein (’13-’14) away from action for most of January, but after his recovery the setback didn’t halt how he produces on the ice as evidenced in Friday’s three-assist effort against Team USA during the Waterloo Black Hawks’ 4-3 win. The second-year man factored into all but one goal for his side, assisting on the back three goals and directly finding all three goal-scorers in the process. With that spark, Hein moves to second on the team in points with 26 and still holds the assist lead at 20.
Another three-point weekend came for an IceRays alumnus but the trifecta came in multiple games and in different facets. Forward Nico Sturm (’13-’14) helped in the Tri-City Storm’s weekend sweep of multiple opponents starting on Friday in a 4-2 victory over the Lincoln Stars by adding his ninth goal of the year just 3:33 into the game. The production continued in Saturday’s 6-3 win over Des Moines when the chemistry between Carson Meyer and he worked late to allow Meyer to score two and Sturm to earn assists on both. Sturm now has four points over his last five games and stretches to 23 points this season.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CollinDSchuck.