BY: COLLIN SCHUCK
The final weekend of October wasn’t kind to former netminders as we delve into the third edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, with more tricks than treats in store on Halloween weekend. However, optimism blossomed in the lowest ranks of collegiate hockey as NCAA Division III action began.
All good things must come to an end as Hershey Bears netminder Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) found out over the weekend, dropping his first game of the season in a barnburner on Saturday. Copley stopped 23 of 28 shots en route to the team’s 5-4 loss against the Worcester Sharks. Though Copley drops to 3-1 on the season, he still ranks 8th in the American Hockey League in goals against average (1.71) and 15th in save percentage (.927). He’s one of two AHL goaltenders with at least one shutout, only trailing Jacob Markstrom of the Utica Comets with three.
While his play was better than the team’s result, freshman goaltender Hayden Stewart (’12-’13) made his regular season debut with the Cornell Big Red from Lynah Rink also on Saturday. Stewart had a few big saves in the game, totaling 21 of a possible 23 saves in the team’s 2-1 loss against the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Overall, the Big Red split the weekend against the Huskers, 1-1.
On the positive side, Matt Weis (’11-’12) continues his points pursuit with Ohio State University in his first season, adding another assist in the team’s 4-1 win against Canisus College on Saturday. With his secondary assist on the game-winning goal, Weis sits second on the team in points at five, all of them coming as assists. In addition, Weis is tied with senior Tanner Fritz for the team lead in assists.
Many new names are popping up on the radar with NCAA Division III opening their 2014-15 campaigns, and exactly half of the 22 alumni played their first games of the year. Included in this cluster is forward John Grebosky (’11-’13) of Concordia-Moorhead, who leads all D-III alumni in goals and points. Grebosky debuted with the Cobbers in a familiar rink: Schwan Super Rink for the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference against Augsburg. The former IceRay and Aberdeen Wing scored the first goal of the season in the first period during a two-point effort in the team’s 5-1 win. The very next day, he was also the first tally of the game in a 4-2 loss to Saint Mary’s Minnesota.
A pair of alumni took the ice on opposing sides when Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Kevin Crowe (’10-’11) and Worcester State’s Michael Dery (’11-’12) in their opening games on Halloween. Wentworth would prevail in the game, 3-1, but both alumni recorded goals in the third period, with Crowe gaining the team’s final goal at 15:01 and Dery recording the team’s lone goal at 17:15. Dery wouldn’t score again on the weekend, but Crowe added an assist on the game-winning shorthanded goal just 15 seconds into the third period en route to Wentworth’s 3-1 win over Fitchburg State on Saturday.
In last weekend’s game to watch, three of four former players took to the ice when Plymouth State College took on Norwich University. It was an ugly loss for Plymouth State, dropping their lone game 9-1 to Norwich, and forward Mike Economos (’12-’13) brought the only bright spot, scoring a power play goal at 16:58 of the first period to even the game, 1-1, before eight unanswered goals by Norwich. Defenseman Tommy Dowell (’10-’11) and forward Ian McGilvrey (’12-’13) also played in the game for Plymouth State, while forward Dmitry Ermakov (’11-’12) will have to wait to make his season debut with Norwich.
Four other players recorded points in their opening weekend games. Northland College forward Chance Creger (’10-’11) garnered the primary assist in the first of the Lumberjacks’ two goals as part of their 9-2 defeat at the hands of Adrian College on Friday. Forward Brandon Adams (’11-’12) of SUNY Oswego also grabbed a primary assist on the game-tying goal with 1:08 remaining in the game as part of the Lakers’ 4-3 opening game win against Buffalo State. Also in New York at SUNY Potsdam, forward Tommy Telesca (’12-’13) grabbed a primary assist on the team’s first goal of the season as part of their 4-2 loss to SUNY Plattsburgh. And let’s not forget forward Josh Obregon (’10-’12) of Johnson & Wales University, who scored his first goal of the season in the third period of the Wildcats’ 5-2 win over Franklin Pierce on Friday.
The points keep coming in the United States Hockey League for forward Jake Durflinger (’13-’14), who grabbed a goal and an assist in Saturday’s 6-3 loss at Sioux Falls. His goal was the first by Sioux City in the contest toward the end of the first period, and his assist was of primary variety around the same time in the second period. Durflinger now has two goals and five assists this season, placing him in a share for fifth on the Musketeers in points.
And it seems like we always close out with updates on the Pietroniro brothers, but they keep producing for their clubs. Sticking to the USHL, forward Chad Pietroniro (’11-’12) picked up another assist on Friday, making it now two assists over his first five games with the Madison Capitols. Defenseman Phil Pietroniro (’11-’13) continues to rack up points, grabbing three assists over his two games last weekend and continuing his point scoring streak, which now stands at seven points (one goal, six assists) over his last five games.
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.