By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Dec. 13, 2016
The holidays are just around the corner, meaning that most NCAA programs will be finished with the first half of their seasons after last weekend’s action, so the focus will shift outside of collegiate action in the coming weeks. For now, the sixth edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. III continues with the last bit of action at the collegiate level and more big news out of the National Hockey League (NHL) for one former junior player getting his first NHL looks.
How does a young, 22-year-old goaltender follow a win in his first NHL game? How about a shutout? Goaltender Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) is having a great start to his NHL career with the Philadelphia Flyers, who are on a roll of their own. Since Stolarz’s first NHL game, the Flyers have not lost a game, and that continued on Sunday night at Joe Louis Arena against the Detroit Red Wings. The Flyers would claim a 1-0 overtime win to improve to nine-straight wins, and the Edison, N.J., product stopped all 28 shots en route to his first shutout win, becoming the youngest Flyers goaltender to do so since Dominic Roussel on Feb. 27, 1992 at Calgary after just turning 22 years old. It’s a small sample size, and the time in Philadelphia won’t last forever, but a 2-0-0 record with a 1.46 goals-against average and .950 save percentage isn’t a bad way to kick off a NHL career.
There were signs early this season that Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) may have a career season with the Chicago Wolves in the American Hockey League (AHL), and recent games continue to prove that notion with a few more wins under his belt. Since the start of December, the North Pole, Alaska native has wins in all three games, conceding no more than two goals in each game and stopping over 90 percent of shots in each contest including a 29-for-31 save performance on Saturday against the Milwaukee Admirals followed by a 27-for-28 save night on Sunday against the Grand Rapids Griffins. Copley has only allowed three goals or more in two of his nine starts this season, and he’s becoming the mainstay in net for the Wolves. He owns a 5-3-1 record with a 1.99 goals against average and .928 save percentage while sitting sixth in the AHL in goals-against average and save percentage.
The going has been a little bit slower this season at Niagara University for forward Tanner Lomsnes (’14-’15) in NCAA Division I action, but a small burst of production heading into the holidays might help with a second half turnaround. After starting the season with points in four of his first seven games, the Red Deer, Alb., native has been on a bit of a slump. However, he’s picked up a pair of points over his last three games including an assist on December 3 against RIT and a goal last Friday at Air Force. He now has two goals and five assists for seven points through 18 games. He’ll be next in action after the New Year right in the thick of conference play.
After an explosive weekend to kick off December in NCAA Division III play, forward Michael Economos (’12-’13) at Plymouth State University cooled off a little bit while developing his first point streak of the season. As part of a two-game home weekend, the senior earned a pair of assists against the University of New England and Castleton College, creating a four-game goal streak to start the month. He has eight points through four games helped by a five-point night on December 3, but the production boost propels him to second on the team with seven goals and six assists for 13 points heading into the holiday break.
A big night on the ice to close out the first semester is a nice holiday send-off. Just ask forward Jon Grebosky (’11-’13) at Concordia College, who put up a three-point night on Friday against the University of Wisconsin-Stout as part of a 6-1 home win. The Pennsylvanian added two goals (both on the power play) to kick off the scoring in the first period and start third period scoring while adding an assist to the sixth and final Cobbers goal of the night. After a cool down for the last month, Grebosky has gotten back to producing points with five points in his last two games after one point in a five-game span. He now leads the Cobbers in scoring with four goals and seven assists for 11 points through 11 games.
Every once and a while, an old name crops up around collegiate hockey midway through the season, and Brendan Murphy (’14-’15) has that designation heading into the holidays. After finishing his junior career last year, the St. Peters, Mizz., native is now at the University of Southern Maine as a freshman. He started the season with points in three of his first four games as well as five of seven contests through November 22 but has cooled off since then as the team’s fortunes have changed. Through 12 games this season, Murphy owns two goals and three assists for five points.
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.