BY: COLLIN SCHUCK
Like a well-written novel, the seventh edition of the IceRays Alumni Report leads off and concludes strong with awards and blowouts during the week of Thanksgiving. The turkey also didn’t halt one NCAA Division III alumnus’ charge to the top of the NCAA alumni rankings in two major categories to create a thick layer of warmth in the center of this loosely drawn analogy.
One week after he received the Alumni Bump, Cornell goaltender Hayden Stewart (’12-’13) was named Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) Rookie of the Week for the week of November 25 thanks to his 26-save shutout against Brown University in his first career league game. He joins strong company, as his shutout was the first by a Big Red freshman since All-American and current Edmonton Oilers netminder Ben Scrivens did so during his first ECAC start on Dec. 2, 2006 in a 6-0 win over Union. Stewart is also the first Cornell player to earn a weekly ECAC Hockey honor since another goaltender did so on Feb. 25, 2014: Andy Iles, who signed a professional tryout contract (PTO) with the Florida Everblades of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) last season and currently plays for the Alaska Aces.
November has been a difficult month for forward Ryan Garbutt (’09-’10) in the standpoint of staying on the ice. After already sitting for a small handful of games due to a lower body injury, the left winger was suspended two games for kneeing Edmonton’s Taylor Hall last Tuesday. That game was his first since November 16 and sidelined him for the rest of the month. Garbutt returns to the team this week when they faceoff against Toronto, Detroit and Montreal.
A golden opportunity has arisen for 20-year-old netminder Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms over the past week, who finds himself as the primary goaltender for the American Hockey League club following counterpart Rob Zepp’s lower body injury during warm-ups last Wednesday. Since then, Stolarz has started all three games for the Phantoms going 1-2-0 with a 3.90 GAA and a .895 save percentage. He allowed three goals in each game, including three in first period before being pulled in Friday’s 4-2 loss to the Albany Devils. On the season, the former IceRay is 2-5-0 with a 2.87 GAA and a .919 save percentage.
While cold fronts have dropped the temperature in Corpus Christi, Fairbanks, Alaska is already seeing temperatures consistently below ten degrees Fahrenheit, but that didn’t stop defenseman Kyle Froese (’13-’14) from gaining his first career collegiate point on Friday night for the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In the Nanooks’ 3-0 won over Northern Michigan, Froese recorded the primary assist on the first and eventual game-winning goal by Tyler Morley early in the second period. The Traverse City native has played 12 games in his first season with the Nanooks.
His junior season has been largely successful through his first 16 games with this weekend being no different for defenseman Frank Misuraca (’11-’12). In a position generally leading to assists, another goal crossed for the Michigan native, the second in Saturday’s 5-2 loss to Michigan Tech. He jumps back into the team lead in goals with four, which also doubles his career-high. With Misuraca’s next point, he will tie his career-high in points at seven around halfway through his season.
The ACHA took one week off during the week of Thanksgiving with many universities closing for the national holiday. However, action returns this week once again with two Colorado teams playing their lone weekend before winter break. The University of Colorado will remain at home against Minot State University this Friday and Saturday, when defenseman Luc Neitenbach (’10-’11) looks for more points of his own from the blue line to add to his 11 already tallied. Colorado State University has three more games before winter break beginning on Thursday, and forward Payden Mielke (’11-’12) can hit the decade mark in points with one over his next three games.
Forward Jon Grebosky (’11-’12) still has a long collegiate career ahead of him, but the freshman is proving his strength with Concordia-Moorhead this season. On Friday, helped the Cobbers to their 4-3 win over Middlebury with two goals. His consecutive goals in the first and second periods helped to gain a 3-0 lead before three-straight answers by Middlebury in the middle frame. Grebosky now has six goals and seven points. He leads all NCAA alumni in goals and shares the lead amongst collegiate alumni with Matt Weis (’11-’12) of Ohio State University. On his NCAA Division III side, the forward is fourth in points and second in goals scored.
Two more former IceRays recorded firsts last weekend wrapping up NCAA Division III coverage, both of them assists. Forward Josh Obregon (’10-‘12) tallied a primary apple in Johnson & Wales University’s 5-2 win over Assumption College on November 25, making it three points for the junior through his first eight games this season. Another junior, defenseman Casey Rogers (’10-‘11) recorded his first point of the season for Neumann University during Sunday’s 4-0 stomping of Adrian College. Rogers recorded 13 points last season in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference West (ECAC-W).
In his first season in the United States Hockey League (USHL), defenseman Chad Pietroniro (’11-’12) of the Madison Capitols scored his first league goal last Wednesday in big fashion. His third period goal against the Green Bay Gamblers finished as the game-winner to take a 4-3 win. The Quebec native has earned all three points with the USHL’s newest expansion team, and with another 16 penalty minutes recorded last Friday, he now leads the team in penalty minutes at 81, which includes the 21 penalty minutes earned in two games with the Sioux City Musketeers earlier this season. The 60 penalty minutes earned with the Capitols would also rank first among all skaters.
Also in the USHL, Tri-City’s defenseman Jalen Schulz (’12-’13) is on pace to eclipse both his USHL-high (9) and junior career-high (13) in points set with the IceRays, and one assist in last Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to the Des Moines Buccaneers. The 19-year-old now has two assists over his last four games, doubling his season point total during both recent games against Des Moines.
The welcoming is often warm to a player facing off against his former team, but the Victoriaville Tigers of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) took advantage and made sure that defenseman Phil Pietroniro (’11-’13) had a return to Val-d’Or to remember with a 11-1 demolishing of the Foreurs. In the contest, the Quebec native added a primary assist in the team’s early power play goal, increasing his season total to 17 assists and 19 points. Victoriaville scored four goals in the first period and five in the third period with the help of three assists coming from Angelo Miceli, Tommy Veilleux and Gabriel Gagné.
Read the IceRays Alumni Report every Tuesday on www.GoIceRays.com and hear the audio version during the second intermission of the opening game in every weekend series 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.