BY: COLLIN SCHUCK
NCAA Division III hockey is beginning to close out their 2014-15 regular seasons and focus on playoffs in now the 18th edition of the IceRays Alumni Report. And with the final stretch to the playoffs for both junior and collegiate teams, many teams are jockeying for positioning for the postseason.
After spending the past two weeks with the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL), goaltender Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) was loaned back to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the American Hockey League (AHL) yesterday afternoon while netminder Rob Zepp was recalled by the Flyers. The 21-year-old sat three games behind starting netminder Ray Emery during his first call-up to the NHL. The Jackson, N.J. native will rejoin the Phantoms for this Wednesday’s game against Binghamton and is favored to get the start.
Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) continues to help earn points for his Hershey Bears, this time saving 27 of 28 shots en route to a 5-1 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Sunday. By the time the Sound Tigers claimed their first goal in the third period, the Bears had already jumped ahead 3-0 thanks to a trio of goals in the middle frame. The netminder has not had a regulation loss since Nov. 23 in a 2-0 loss to the St. John’s IceCaps on home ice. In that span, the 23-year-old has earned a 6-0-3 record in ten appearances and allowed more than two goals just twice. On the year, Copley is one win shy of hitting the decade mark with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage.
Valentine’s Day brought some love for forward Emil Romig (’12-’13) at the University of Denver, helping the charge back to a 3-3 tie against the now top-ranked team in NCAA Division I men’s hockey, the University of North Dakota. His second assist of the season came in the first four minutes of the third period, directly feeding Tariq Hammond to draw within one. In 20 games, the Austrian has four points with a NCAA Division I alumni-high plus five rating.
UConn stood no chance against the hot Northeastern University Huskies last weekend, falling 9-0 and 6-1 in the home-and-home series, and defenseman Colton Saucerman (’10-’11) picked up two more points over the weekend. In Friday’s 9-0 thumping, Saucerman fed Zach Aston-Reese for two of his three goals on the night, once in the first period and another in the second period. Two players for Northeastern earned hat-tricks that night. After being shut down in Saturday’s game, the 22-year-old ended a four-game point streak, earning two goals and three assists. On the year, Saucerman has six goals and eight assists for 14 points.
Forward Matt Weis (’11-’12) tacked on another assist on that same night as Ohio State University edged the Wisconsin Badgers 2-1 on home ice, and the freshman was one of the leading factors in that decision. He helped Nick Schilkey earn his sixth goal of the year and the game-winner late in the second period to take and hold the lead. With that point, Weis now has four goals and 11 assists for 15 points and ranks first in assists and fourth in points on the Buckeyes roster. The Madison, N.J., native still has three years of eligibility after this season.
In Colorado State’s final ACHA game of the 2014-15 regular season from the Pepsi Center, they could not take down the rival University of Colorado, falling 8-3 on Sunday evening, and defenseman Luc Neitenbach (’10-’11) picked up two points in the win for the Buffaloes. Teammate Thomas Jarman earned a hat-trick in that game, and both Neitenbach and Matt Anders assisted two of his three goals. With two games remaining next weekend, Neitenbach how has five goals and 13 assists for 18 points. Rams defenseman Payden Mielke (’11-’12) was kept off the scoreline.
Four alumni met last Thursday in the NCAA Division III matchup between UMass-Dartmouth and Plymouth State, and the Panthers just edged the Corsairs 3-2 in New Hampshire. Forward Mike Economos (’12-‘13) kicked the scoring off for Plymouth State at 7:05 with a power play goal from defenseman Tommy Dowell (’10-’11) to take a 1-0 lead. After a second goal by the Panthers in the first period and the first by UMass-Dartmouth in the second frame, forward Brandon Berkley (’12-’14) tied the game at 16:15 of that period for the Corsairs. Despite the comeback, Plymouth State would find the game-winner at 3:43 assisted in part by forward Ian McGilvrey (’12-‘13). Economos continues his charge among IceRays alumni with 12 goals and 10 assists for 22 points with McGilvrey right behind him at six goals and 12 assists for 18 points. Dowell’s assist gives him seven on the season for nine points. Berkley has two goals and two assists for UMass-Dartmouth in 15 games. Both teams will finish their 2014-15 regular seasons next Tuesday night.
Valentine’s Day also proved to be a good night for Wentworth Institute of Technology, who took it to Becker College with a 7-2 win on Saturday night. Though the score was well out of hand with five minutes remaining, forward Kevin Crowe (’10-’11) helped Brian Farkas gain his second of the night and the sixth goal for the Leopards. Even his younger brother Connor picked up a goal in the contest. With three games left, Kevin Crowe has earned six goals and two assists for eight points in his final collegiate season.
Forward Jon Grebosky (’11-’13) closed out the 2014-15 regular season with a nice burst of production for the University of Concordia-Moorhead, picking up two points during their split with Saint Mary’s of Minnesota. The Oakdale, Penn., native cashed in with an assist on the power play to tie the game in the first period in the eventual 4-3 overtime loss. The next night, the forward closed out his freshman season with the final goal of the night late in the third period to continue the offensive surge for the Cobbers in an 8-3 win. Grebosky finishes the season with four points over his last three games while his Cobbers sit atop the MIAC and waits for their playoff seeding.
Johnson & Wales University now has just two games left of their season, and during their weekend split forward Josh Obregon (’10-’12) tacked on one assist in the latter game, a 3-2 loss to Western New England. With the game tied 1-1 in the second period, Obregon helped the Wildcats take a 2-1 at 5:03 with an assist to Ben Brouillard before the eventual fall. The junior owns 11 points through 23 games this season and has the chance to add to his total against Nichols and Salve Regina on Thursday and Sunday.
One alumnus with professional ties earned a point with Colby College over the weekend. Jonathan Sdao (’10-’11) picked up an assist in the Mules’ only goal during their 5-1 loss to Trinity College. Down 2-0, the junior earned his first helper on Michael Rudolf’s goal at 15:23 of the second period. That was just his fifth game of the season and his second point. The 23-year-old is the younger brother of Michael Sdao, former 7th round selection by the Ottawa Senators in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
For the second-straight weekend, forward Tommy Telesca (’12-’13) of SUNY Potsdam tallied an assist during Friday’s 7-2 win over Morrisville State on the road. Morrisville State came back within one at 3-2 early in the second period, but Telesca helped the Bears get back to a two-goal lead with an assist before the midway mark of the frame. The sophomore owns four goals and four assists for eight points with two games left next weekend against SUNY Cortland as well as Brandon Adams ('11-'12) and the top-ranked SUNY Oswego Lakers.
As the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League starts to wind down for the regular season, defenseman Phil Pietroniro (’11-’13) keeps winding up with the Victoriaville Tigers, who split their last two games over the weekend. In Saturday’s 6-1 win over Baie-Comeau, the 20-year-old assisted on his side’s first and third goals of the night, and the following night tallied a third assist despite his side falling 3-2 to Moncton. In 58 games this season, Pietroniro has 38 points and looks strong in his final junior season with his last games in sight.
Forward Beau Walker (’10-’13) earned a five-point weekend with East Washington University of the British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) despite his Eagles dropping both contests against Selkirk College. In Friday’s 6-3 loss, Walker helped the Eagles to their final two goals to initially take a 3-2 lead before surrendering to the Saints in the second and third periods. On Saturday, the freshman claimed his second three-assist night despite the 5-3 loss. Walker now has 30 assists to go along with 45 total points through 22 games 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 email@example.com or on Twitter at @CollinDSchuck.