By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Apr. 4, 2017
Alumni had a great week despite some interesting situations heading into the 19th edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. III. Another return to the NHL for one goaltender came in unfavorable circumstances, the ECHL sees production from players old and new, and the NCAA Division I Final Four is set for this weekend with one player looking for a title.
It may not have been the best way to return to the NHL, but Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) was thrust into action over the weekend for the Philadelphia Flyers. Originally, the Edison, N.J. native was recalled on an emergency basis for the illness of Steve Mason, but he entered Saturday’s game against his former favorite team, the New Jersey Devils, because starter Michael Neuvirth collapsed mid-game. He came in late in the first and helped combine for a 3-0 shutout win, stopping all 26 shots faced. He gained the start the next day against the New York Rangers, though that didn’t go as well in a 4-3 loss, turning down 20 of 24 shots. In his first six NHL appearances, Stolarz now owns a 2-1-0 record with a 1.93 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. He will likely stay with the Flyers until the end of the season next Sunday.
With just three games remaining in the 2016-17 ECHL season, the league MVP and scoring race is all but secured by forward Chad Costello (’09-’10) for the third-straight season. In just 69 games this year, the Johnston, Iowa product has 116 points, which stands 28 points ahead of Colorado’s Casey Pierro-Zabotel, meaning there’s no way to catch Costello. He earned another six points in three games last week and has turned into a scoring machine. He also leads the league in assists (85) and will finish the season against Wichita and Tulsa, hoping to lock in the top spot in the Mountain Division. Now, Costello has over 100 points in three-straight seasons but is still nine points back of his career-best point total (125) set in 2014-15 but has notched a career-high in assists.
In just his second week of his professional career, forward Perry D’Arrisso (’11-’13) is proving the Elmira Jackals right with his first two professional points in consecutive games. On Friday in Adirondack, the 25-year-old recorded his first career assist on the final goal of the night during a 3-2 loss to the Thunder. Then, on Saturday, D’Arrisso scored his first professional goal at 16:45 of the second period during a 5-2 loss to the Manchester Monarchs. After a low-scoring collegiate career, an early scoring spark could help the case to start next season on an ECHL roster and pave the way for a longer hockey career. He’s played six games so far with the Jackals.
In that same game, defenseman Colton Saucerman (’10-’11) continued to prove the success of an alumnus at that level with a full year under his belt by notching a multi-point game against the Jackals. The Colorado native assisted on the first goal of the name, on the power play no less, and capped the night with his fourth goal of the season in the third period and his just second career goal away from the power play. He followed that up with an assist the following night in the Monarchs’ 4-2 win over Elmira, assisting on a power play empty net goal in the final 40 seconds. Saucerman now has points in four of his last five games and 11 points over his last 13 contests since March 3, earning two goals and 9 assists in that span. He also has collected four goals and 27 assists for 31 points through 53 games this season.
The NCAA Division I Frozen Four is set to begin on Thursday evening with one alumni player in the mix for his first NCAA Championship. Forward Emil Romig (’12-’13) and the University of Denver have a date with 12th-ranked Notre Dame in the national semifinals to play the winner of Minnesota-Duluth and Harvard on Saturday for the crown. Denver entered the tournament as the top overall seed and has continued to show their poise for a title throughout the season. Romig already scored in the opening game against Michigan Tech and hopes to help cash in for a national championship this weekend. Coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN 2.
Well, it may not have been a goal like forecast, but forward Jake Durflinger (’13-’14) will still take a two-point weekend to continue his late push for points with the Bloomington Thunder in the USHL. The Walnut Creek, Calif. native broke his patterned scoring trend over the weekend but earned a two-assist night against Cedar Rapids on Sunday during their 3-1 win over the Roughriders. Durflinger was the primary assist grabber in the first two Thunder goals in the third period during their comeback victory, and the final assist game on the game-winner with just 44 seconds remaining. Bloomington finishes their season this weekend at home against Green Bay and Muskegon already eliminated from playoff contention. Durflinger owns 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points through 49 games, which matches his exact scoring line for Bloomington last season with three fewer games played. Two points will tie his career-high scoring total for all junior play.
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.