By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Oct. 27, 2015
There’s still one more week before we hit the full gamut of skaters with the opening of the NCAA Division III hockey season, but we’ll continue to keep it short for the time being in now the fourth edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. II. Former players are beginning to run into each other as the season progresses, and one meeting found contributions from both sides of the ice in the United States Hockey League (USHL). Otherwise, goaltending seems to be settling well in professional hockey.
If there’s a way to rebound from a seven-goal debut, it’s a shutout performance in your very next game. Goaltender Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) got his chance to right the ship in the Chicago Wolves’ 3-0 blanking of the Charlotte Checkers on Sunday evening at home in Allstate Arena. The second-year man saved 23 shots and even earned his first two penalty minutes in the process during the third period. The Wolves have jumped out to a 3-1-0-1 record in their first five games of the season, and while the 23-year-old doesn’t appear to be the top dog in net with Jordan Binnington starting his fourth season in the American Hockey League, at least he can make a strong case for a mid-season swap if there is trouble in the crease.
The starting job in Lehigh Valley is one for Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) to lose early on his second season, and the goaltender made two more starts in consecutive nights over the weekend at home. With the promotion of Jason LaBarbera to the Philadelphia Flyers despite the 35-year-old’s torrid start to the season, the 21-year-old Stolarz can cement himself as the Phantoms’ top goalie with continued strong performances. While his side split the weekend with a 3-1 win against the Providence Bruins and a 3-1 loss to the Toronto Marlies, the Edison, N.J., native put up 45 saves on the weekend and felt his lone bit of trouble in the first period of Sunday’s loss. Through three games, Stolarz owns a 2-1-0 record with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .928 save percentage.
It took only five games for senior defenseman Mychal Monteith (’10-’12) to equal his previous season’s total in points after a two-assist weekend as part of Mercyhurst University’s sweep of Army in Erie, Penn. Both assists led directly to goals, with the first as the only helper in the final goal of Friday’s 4-2 win and the second a power play assist on the eventual game-winning goal in Saturday’s 5-2 win. The Toledo, Ohio native has a lot to go for in his final collegiate season. He’s only played more than 20 games in a season once: 41 games in his sophomore year, which was also the same year he put up a career-high seven assists. With spurts like this, Monteith could earn more time in the lineup and more chances to rack up an impressive finish.
Despite a slow and rocky beginning to his second season at Ohio State University, forward Matthew Weis (’11-’12) was one of the lone bright spots in yet another sweep of the Buckeyes, this time at the hands of the reigning National Champions: Providence College. In Friday’s 2-1 loss, the 20-year-old scored the only goal to draw the Buckeyes within one before being shut down in the third period, and he also grabbed the last goal of the night for Ohio State in Saturday’s 6-4 loss. The Buckeyes are now 0-6 to start the season, and Weis has accumulated a -6 rating as a reflection of the team’s efforts. They’ll play Mercyhurst University this weekend to start a four-game home stand.
Forward Nico Sturm (’13-’14) had a weekend for the Tri-City Storm in the USHL, picking up three points in a two-game road split on Friday and Saturday. Friday night was in Omaha, and the Storm were able to edge out the Lancers, 4-3, in overtime in a tight contest. The 20-year-old German helped get the Storm on the board in the first period with a primary assist and followed that with help in the eventual game-tying goal in the third period. Then on Saturday, they were turned away by the Sioux City Musketeers, 5-3, with contributions on both sides of the ice. Sturm earned his third goal of the season as the first strike for Tri-City in the first period, but prior to that, in the game’s first goal, defenseman Logan Gestro (’14-’15) picked up his first point of his USHL career with a secondary assist on Jackson Keane’s strike. Gestro has a -1 rating through nine games this season for Sioux City and is historically a quiet contributor on the ice. Sturm, on the other hand, has five points (three goals, two assists) through his first nine games of the year and is second on the Storm in goals.
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.