By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Dec. 8, 2015
December marks not only the beginning of a fresh month but also the home stretch of the 2015 calendar year, and we’ve hit the decade mark with the 10th edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. II. While there is no rest for the weary up in the American Hockey League (AHL) for goaltenders, some fresher faces return to the fold across NCAA hockey while the United States Hockey League (USHL) is seeing former players make a larger impact on their respective teams.
AHL goaltender Pheonix Copley (’10-’11) earned the lion’s share of games this weekend with the Chicago Wolves, and though he may have split his two decisions the set was productive for the second-year man. On Wednesday, he stopped a season-high 35 of 37 shots in an 8-2 rout of the Manitoba Moose on home ice. It’s the fourth time in the past two seasons that the Alaskan has made 35 saves or more and the first time this year. Three nights later, the result didn’t fall Copley’s way, making 30 saves on 33 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Grand Rapids Griffins on the road. His two games keeps his goals-against average at 2.58 but his save percentage rises above .900 once again.
Speaking of the lion’s share, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms put netminder Anthony Stolarz (’11-’12) right back to work after returning to the lineup with all three road games. The first came on Wednesday in Utica, and two third-period goals sunk the Comets 3-1 in a relatively low shooting game. Two nights later, the Phantoms addressed the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights and also took them down by the same score, 3-1. On Saturday, the Phantoms couldn’t make it a three-win week, dropping 2-1 to the Hershey Bears with two third period goals allowed including the game-winner with 21 seconds remaining. Stolarz only allowed four goals in three games, which add up to 104 saves on 108 shots. From a numbers perspective, that’s a 1.34 goals-against average and a .963 save percentage. He continues to be one of the premiere goalies in the AHL, sitting third in goals-against average and save percentage.
The University of Alabama-Huntsville had a positive resulting weekend with a dramatic win and a draw in consecutive games at the NCAA Division I level, and defenseman Frank Misuraca (’11-’12) took that time to earn his first goal of the season on Saturday. He was the only tally of goal production for the Chargers in their 1-1 draw with Northern Michigan, tying the game exactly two minutes into the third period. Production has been lower compared to last season, earning three points in 14 games, but he’s on pace to record his second-highest point total in his final season of collegiate play based on last year’s games played.
In three less games, defenseman Mychal Monteith (’10-’12) has surpassed his freshman and junior season point total with Mercyhurst University. In the first of a two-game set against Holy Cross, the Toledo, Ohio native picked up his third assist during the second period to draw the Lakers within one despite eventually falling 5-4 on Friday night. The senior has only missed four games from the lineup, playing in 12 of 16 total games and holding a better point-per-game than any previous collegiate season. He’s still four points away from tying his collegiate-high seven points set two seasons ago.
Another unrelenting weekend in Hockey East play subsided for Northeastern University, but on the positive side there was some salvaging and good news. The Huskies were able to steal a draw against second-ranked Boston College despite falling the following night, but in that 4-3 loss on Sunday, defenseman Colton Saucerman (’10-’11) found Eric Williams on the power play to initially put Northeastern up 2-0 in the first period before the Golden Eagles surged back in the third period. That’s points in two of three games for the senior from Colorado, who now has five points in 16 games.
It was a tough opening weekend in Big Ten Conference play for Ohio State University, dropping consecutive games in overtime to the University of Minnesota. In Friday’s 3-2 overtime loss, forward Matt Weis (’11-’12) added to his power play totals by finding Nick Schilkey early in the second period his ninth point of the season and an initial 2-0 lead. The sophomore continues to find ways to get points, and he sits tied for fourth on the team in points despite an early rut and a team-worst -7 rating.
Though it’s been short, December has been a good month for Brandon Adams (’11-’12) at NCAA Division III’s Oswego State as part of a home weekend sweep against Buffalo State and Fredonia State. Not only that but his two assists came as key contributions in each contest. In Friday’s 4-2 win over the Bengals, the senior helped Chris Waterstreet on the eventual game-deciding goal in the third period, and the next night he found Stephen Johnson for the game-tying goal of the Lakers’ 3-2 overtime win against the Blue Devils. Adams now has three assists through 11 games.
The three alumni at Saint John’s University were separated from any form of line combinations over their two-game set against Gustavus Adolphus, but that doesn’t mean points weren’t to be had. In fact, both forwards Matt Colford (’14-’15) and Joe Chitwood (’13-’15) factored in to Friday night’s 3-0 blanking of the Golden Gusties with assists on separate plays: Chitwood finding Huba Sekeši and Colford aiding to outlet Tyler Dunagan to go up 2-0 in the second period. Colford is now tied for fifth in points with five markets, and Chitwood follows right behind with three assists.
All four alumni earned at least one point at Plymouth State University as the Panthers continue to roll through Massachusetts State College Athletic Conference (MASCAC) play. In Thursday’s 3-1 win over Worcester State, forward Mike Economos (’12-’13) and defenseman Caleb O’Brien (’12-’14) combined for the second-straight week on special teams, finding Dan Dupell on the power play in the second period on the game’s first goal. Two nights later during the Panthers’ 4-2 victory over Westfield State, Economos and forward Ian McGilvrey (’12-’13) combined on the game’s opening goal with assists in the second period, O’Brien gave Andrew Wigg a tally to open the third period, and defenseman Tommy Dowell (’10-’11) fed Economos on the power play to go up 4-0. In total, Mike Economos earned three points on the weekend, which advances him to second on the team with 12 points, O’Brien rests in fifth with eight points, McGilvrey follows suit with seven, and Dowell now owns five assists.
Only one game last weekend was enough for Casey Rogers (’10-’11) to add to his ever-growing point total. Neumann University dropped their sole game 5-4 in overtime to Manhattanville, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort from one of their starting defenseman, who assisted the go-ahead goal in the third period before the Valiants knotted the game with less than one minute to go. The junior now has seven points in ten games and remains on-pace to set a career-high in both assists and points in fewer games than it took in previous seasons. The Knights finished up their last game of record for 2015 and will play the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP) U18 next weekend in an exhibition.
Defenseman John Roisum (’12-’13) is already right around his average for games played in a season, and the Minnesotan has reached that mark heading into the holiday break while finding more points. St. Thomas University swept Hamline in a home-and-home series last weekend, and the junior notched his first power play goal of the season, which proved to be the eventual game-deciding goal in the third period. Roisum is averaging a point every two games this season and has one more game in 2015 remaining.
An explosive game in Brockport, N.Y. helped the SUNY Potsdam Bears salvage a 6-6 draw with Brockport in their sole game of the weekend on Saturday. Junior forward Tommy Telesca (’12-’13) earned his second-straight game with an assist by helping Dylan Vander Esch score in the second period before the Golden Eagles took control in the third frame. The New York native has only played under half of his team’s games thus far but with more production comes more time to grab points moving forward into the new year.
The point streak came to an end for Jake Durflinger (’13-’14) last weekend, but his recent surge proves why the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder acquired him in early October. Before the streak ended on Sunday, the 18-year-old added two goals in Thursday’s 3-2 road win over Team USA, earning first star of the game along with the game-winning goal. His five-game point streak starting on November 20 totaled three goals and four assists for seven points, moving him to 12 points on the year and a share of the team lead in scoring. Durflinger now has ten points in 16 games with the Thunder this season.
Mentioning point streaks, forward Nico Sturm (’13-’14) is heating up once again and officially streaking with a two-point weekend for Tri-City. The Storm swept their home-and-home set against the Lincoln Stars with four goals in each game on Friday and Saturday, adding his seventh goal (a game-winner) while also on the power play in night one and an assist 37 seconds into the game on night two. That’s four points in three games for the Austrian, and he remains fourth on the team in scoring while sitting second 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.