By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Nov. 8, 2016
There’s a lot of attention outside the hockey world today in the United States due to the Presidential Election, but that doesn’t mean we ignore looking out for our former players. In the third edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. III, many high producers from last season begin to find their stride, especially in NCAA Division III play, and early point production could aid and forecast some growing seasons for a few upperclassmen throughout the ranks.
The Lehigh Valley Phantoms continue to keep netminder Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) busy between the pipes with starts in all three games played in the last week. The 22-year-old netminder started three games in a four-day span with two away from Allentown, Penn. starting last Wednesday against the Hartford Wolf Pack. He earned his first shutout of the season and third career goose egg with a 33-save performance. Stolarz followed that with a 29-save showing in a 4-2 win over the Providence Bruins as well as a 6-4 home win over the Springfield Thunderbirds. He owns wins in three-straight and four of his last five games, helping himself to a 5-2-0 record with a 2.44 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage, ranking tied for fourth in wins, 14th in percentage and 20th in goals-against average.
Many NCAA Division I alums stayed quiet heading through the first weekend of November, but Nico Sturm (’13-’14) is steadily chugging along in his first season at Clarkson University. He’s yet to record his first career goal but he did earn assists in each of his last two games over the weekend against Quinnipiac and Providence to extend his recent run to three assists over his last four games. The German forward has five assists through his first 10 games and is third among Division I alumni in points thus far.
The bulk of NCAA Division III teams began their 2016-17 seasons last weekend to kick off November, but a second weekend of work helped defenseman Matthieu Audet (’13-’14) pick up a good start to his junior season at Western New England University. After dropping their first two games, the Golden Bears earned their first win of the year on Saturday against the University of New England with the help of the Californian. Audet notched the eventual game-tying goal in the second period on the power play for his first goal of the season and assisted on the game-winner later that frame. He now had 10 career points in three seasons, and if his early contributions are an early indicator of this year’s success, he could break career records in goals (two), assists (three) and points (five) all set in his freshman season.
The boys at Plymouth State University have gotten off to a rocky start compared to last season’s beginnings, but some production last weekend helped get the Panthers their first win of the year. Newly named captain Mike Economos (’12-’13) picked up their first win on Friday, and despite the loss Saturday the senior has goals in two of his first three games thanks to his tally on Saturday. Defenseman Tommy Dowell (’10-’11) is already off to a strong start with three points through three games including his first goal of the year on Saturday, and forward Ian McGilvrey (’12-’13) earned his first two points on Saturday with a goal and assist. The Panthers hunt for their first road run this weekend at UMass Dartmouth.
The Jon Grebosky (’11-’13) of last season seems to has emerged in his second weekend of the season as Concordia College (MN) split their weekend with Saint John’s University. The junior recorded four assists between both games including three in Saturday’s 5-1 win to grab their third win in four games. The Oakdale, Penn., product now has five assists through four games, which puts him on pace to break his career high point total (25) set last season. He comes off his best season thus far and the reigning point leader for the Cobbers.
It’s the final go-around for senior defenseman John Roisum (’12-’13) at St. Thomas University, and after a career junior season with 13 points, the Bloomington, Minn., native hopes to send off his collegiate career on a high note. He picked up his first two points last weekend in a split weekend against Wisconsin-River Falls and Wisconsin-Superior, earning one assist in each game. Friday night’s 4-3 win was not only his first point of the season but also the first win for goaltender Ben Myers (’12-’14), who stopped 40 of 42 shots in the victory. He’s yet to lose in regulation through two appearances with a 2.40 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage.
In his first game back on the ice this season, defenseman Chris Taff (’12-’13) helped Plattsburgh State open their season with a 4-2 win over SUNY Canton on Saturday night on the road to climb three spots to sixth in the D3Hockey.com National Rankings. The Omaha, Neb., product recorded two assists on the night including the team’s season-opening goal and the second of two insurance goals. Taff recorded 16 points in his sophomore season including two goals through 21 games and hopes to continue his upward trend moving forward.
The United States Hockey League (USHL) opened their first weekend of November in the thick of their season, and it’s a big year already for forward Jake Durflinger (’13-’14). After committing to the University of Denver just after the start of the year, the Californian is getting his scoring stroke going as well as of late, recording a goal in each game last weekend in Madison and Cedar Rapids including the game-winner on Friday. That’s goals in three of his last four games and points in four of six games, now hitting six points on the 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.