By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Mar. 7, 2017
Collegiate hockey is in the midst of postseason play, and there’s changes abound in the 15th edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. III. Multiple players in professional organizations have new homes following the National Hockey League (NHL) trade deadline including one returning to his professional roots, alums face-off in NCAA Division I conference tournament play, and as the NCAA Division III Tournament field is set we say goodbye to five more players who end their collegiate careers after conference tournament play.
After a season and a half, who would’ve thought that goaltender Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) would end up right where he began? In a twist of fate on trade deadline day for the NHL, the North Pole, Alaska native was traded along with defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to the Washington Capitals for two players and two draft picks on February 27, meaning that, after being dealt to the St. Louis Blues as a piece in the T.J. Oshie deal, Copley returned to Chocolatetown to play with the Hershey Bears, where he began his first full professional season. There was no rest for the 25-year-old, who came right in to play two games last weekend and continued his strong seasonal performance with a 63-for-65 save performance in two wins. Copley has been on a tear, now earning wins in five-straight and at least points in 13 of his last 15 games while keeping opponents to two goals or less in 11 of those 15 games along with five-straight contests. This is one of his best seasons thus far, owning a 15-6-3 record with a 2.31 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage through 25 games while taking a larger role than his previous best: year one in Hershey.
Another move came but in the ECHL, and defenseman Colton Saucerman (’10-’11) is now part of his first trade as a professional player. Just on Monday, the South Carolina Stingrays shipped the 24-year-old defenseman to the Manchester Monarchs in exchange for Derek Arnold. The move comes at the right and wrong time, depending on the perspective because the Colorado Springs, Colo., product has been productive on both sides of the ice, including in his last weekend with the Stingrays, putting up three points in back-to-back games against the Colorado Eagles in his semi-return trip back home. He has been able to get points in every week since Friday, Jan. 13, marking eight-straight weeks with at least one point. He now owns two goals and 21 assists for 23 points through 42 games heading to New Hampshire, where he’ll settle in just five points back of the team’s top-scoring defenseman.
Most NCAA Division I programs are either beginning or in the midst of conference tournament play, including a few alumni teams that will square off against each other this weekend. Three players will be in the East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) Quarterfinals in Ithaca, N.Y. when former teammates Hayden Stewart (’12-’13) and Perry D’Arrisso (’11-’13) represent Cornell University and Clarkson University, respectively, along with forward Nico Sturm (’13-’14) for the Golden Knights. Stewart has played just 15 games in three seasons with the Big Red and looks to slot in as the backup behind All-American Mitch Gillam, and Sturm has been a rookie sensation for Clarkson with 20 points through 36 games. For D’Arrisso, this is his last go-around for not only an ECAC Championship but also a berth into the NCAA Tournament.
A few alumni teams will fight for a spot in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) Frozen Faceoff next weekend, however quarterfinal play may make it harder for some teams to advance over other squads. Miami University (OH) will have a difficult task this weekend in their best-of-three series against third-ranked Minnesota-Duluth on the road. The good news is that alumni defenseman Grant Hutton (’12-’13) has been on a hot streak as of late. He owns points in five of his last six games stretching through three weeks including three of four contests since our last update, consisting of a multi-point game in a 4-3 loss to Minnesota-Duluth on February 23, a second-straight game with a goal in a 3-3 tie the following night, and an assist last Saturday during the Redhawks’ 5-2 loss to 14th-ranked North Dakota. Hutton owns career-highs in all major scoring categories, recording nine goals and six assists for 15 points through 34 games, and he’ll be joined by rookie center Carter Johnson (’15-’16), who owns three assists heading into his first postseason appearance.
One of the more fortunate teams, Denver University, has a slightly easier task against a struggling Colorado College program heading into quarterfinal play. The spectrum of experience is on opposing ends with two alums battling it out: senior Emil Romig (’12-’13) and freshman Wes Michaud (’14-’15). This is Romig’s last chance for a strong postseason run and a shot at a NCAA Championship, which would be the first for the program since 2005, while hosting his best season of his collegiate career with seven goals and six assists for 13 points. Michaud, on the other hand, is in his first postseason with seven total points through 34 games and hoping to help the seven-win Tigers to one of the largest upsets in NCHC history.
Only two alumni teams remain in NCAA Division III play as the field has been set for the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament beginning this weekend: Adrian College, an at-large bid and sixth in the nation, and top-ranked Norwich University, who also claimed the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Championship over New England College. Though neither player have been a prominent figure in this season’s runs, junior goaltender Dillon Kelley (’12-‘13) and senior forward Dmitry Ermakov (’11-’12) each will have another shot at a championship this postseason. Each player earned five games this season with five wins for Kelley in those appearances. Kelley and Adrian College have a bye-week, but Ermakov and Norwich University host Salem State this Saturday in the opening round.
This also means five NCAA Division III players will hang up their skates for their collegiate careers, including three at Plymouth State University alone. The trio of forwards Mike Economos (’12-’13) and Ian McGilvrey (’12-’13) as well as defenseman Tommy Dowell (’10-’11) has been all over the scoresheet over their four seasons with the Panthers. Dowell finishes his college schedule with a career season for the green and white, recording five goals and 10 assists for 15 points through 27 games and setting records in all major scoring categories. In four seasons, he recorded 10 goals and 28 assists for 38 points with 77 penalty minutes through 102 games, providing consistency on the blue line and developing through all four years.
Economos was one of the biggest pieces of the Panthers’ success in the last four seasons, culminating with the award of being named captain for his final collegiate season. He recorded 20-point seasons in all four years while playing at least 27 games each year as well with double-digits in all but one season in all major scoring categories. He’s been one of the top-five scorers all four seasons, finishing with a career-best 14 goals and 13 assists for 27 points through 27 games. In total, he recorded 50 goals and 46 assists for 96 points through 109 games and sitting sixth all-time in Panthers history for career goals and in the top-15 in career points.
McGilvrey burst onto the scene in his freshman season with the Panthers then began to slowly revert to a lesser point production as his career went on. However, he still finished with three 20-point seasons, but his freshman total 31 points still stands as his best performance of his career. He closed his final year with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points through 27 games but amassed 34 goals and 59 assists for 93 points through 108 games, sitting just three points back of Economos and moving into a share of 10th all-time for career assists by a Panthers player. All three players left a lasting impact during their collegiate run and now move on to bigger and better things in life.
The first of two non-Panthers to finish their collegiate seasons is forward Johnny Roisum (’12-’13) with the University of St. Thomas, who began his collegiate career right out of Corpus Christi following three North American Hockey League (NAHL) seasons. The Bloomington, Minn., native started his first two years with split seasons, playing in only half of each year before earning a larger role in his junior and senior seasons. He set a career-high 10 assists in 2015-16 but earned seven goals and 13 points this season, which stand as a strong finish. Through four years, Roisum owns 12 goals and 26 assists for 38 points through 72 games with merely 29 penalty minutes.
Finally, forward Tommy Telesca (’12-’13) sees his collegiate career come to a close with SUNY Potsdam after bowing out in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Tournament. The New York product’s best seasons came in his sophomore and junior years for total point production, but he’s been consistent with what he’s provided the Bears each season, nearly earning the same assist total each year and fluttering just a few points outside the previous year. In four years, Telesca recorded 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points with only 20 penalty minutes through 85 games.
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.