By: Collin Schuck – IceRays Staff
Feb. 7, 2017
While fewer alumni players may have earned strong weekends over the last seven days, those that did cashed those in a big way heading into the 12th edition of the IceRays Alumni Report, Vol. III. Time is ticking away both in NCAA Division III and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) seasons before playoffs hit, and while those players and teams jockey for points and positioning, the higher levels of alumni play are starting to feature more consistent recognition and production in their second halves.
The ECHL featured forward Chad Costello (’09-’10) today on the league website in a two-fold story describing the hunt for a third-straight Kelly Cup title with the Allen Americans and the esteem he’s gained over the last few years during his ECHL career. For perspective, in 286 career ECHL games, he has posted 317 assists, which ranks 24th in league history, but his 1.11 assists per game sits third all-time and 84 assists in the 2014-15 season are tied for fifth-most in a single season in league history. This comes on the heels of an eight-point weekend, a feat commonly done throughout the season for the Iowan, who has points in 42 of 49 games so far. He leads the league with 24 goals and 63 assists for 87 points, leading by 28 points over the next highest scorer as well as by 24 assists. Costello could go down as one of the best players in ECHL history by the end of his career. See the full feature here.
Not to be outdone, defenseman Phil Pietroniro (’11-’13) had a big weekend for the Utah Grizzlies in the points department, picking up four points over their three game weekend in Idaho. The Canadian earned his second-career multi-point game on Wednesday during the Grizzlies’ 6-4 win over the Steelheads followed by another apple on Friday and his third goal of the season on Saturday night that tied the game in an eventual 3-2 overtime win. The second year professional now has seven points in as many games and breached the decade mark in points, scrounging up three goals and 10 assists for 13 points through 42 games, sitting three points behind his career-high.
It only took one game for forward Nico Sturm (’13-’14) to continue his scoring ways last weekend when Clarkson University took down St. Lawrence University 3-1 on Saturday in NCAA Division I action. The freshman scored the lone goals of the third period, recording the game-winner at 9:17 followed by the final insurance goal with five seconds remaining. The game is the German’s fourth multi-point game and second two-goal game this season, and now he has seven points over his last eight games, boosting to eight goals and 11 assists for 19 points through 28 games this season. He sits third on the team in scoring and leads all Golden Knights freshmen.
The turnaround at Plymouth State University continued with their lone game against UMass-Dartmouth in NCAA Division III play last Saturday, and Michael Economos (’12-’13) had a big night to help out the Panthers. The senior captain earned three points as part of a 6-3 takedown, scoring what would be the game-winning goal early in the second period with a pair of primary assists: one to start the game and another to add the final insurance goal in the third period. The Panthers now have wins in five-straight and seven of their last nine games, and Economos is now five points shy of his career-best with 12 goals and nine assists for 21 points through 20 games with five contests remaining. He also ensured four-straight 20-point seasons with the Panthers to finish his collegiate career.
Speaking of three-point games, forward Jon Grebosky (’11-’13) kept atop Concordia College scoring with a multi-point game on Friday against St. Thomas University. The junior forward earned a pair of power play goals in the second period and assisted on the game-winning goal during their 5-4 overtime win over the Tommies. Despite being shutout the following evening, the three-point night boosted Grebosky right to the top of the team in scoring, owning now nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points through 21 games. He’s six points back of his previous season’s total, which stands as his best thus far. He also finished that season atop the team in scoring.
Take those points thus far in NCAA Division III play and nearly triple it, and that’s the kind of weekend defenseman Brendan Murphy (’14-’15) had with Southern Maine University during their three-game week. Despite only earning wins in two of three, the first-year defenseman recorded five assists those three games including a pair of assists in Tuesday’s 5-3 win over Bowdoin College and Friday’s 4-3 win over Saint Anselm College. Murphy has multi-point games in three of his last five contests as well as points in five of seven games, and he continues to get on a tear toward the end of the season, picking up three goals and 12 assists for 15 points through 23 contests.
It’s been a little while since checking in with Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), but alumni players have been keeping busy over the last few weeks, including defenseman Anthony Cortese (’14-’15). The freshman Quebec native earned points in both games last weekend nearing the end of the collegiate schedule, scoring his first career goal in Friday’s 7-4 win over Western University on the power play and picking up another assist in Saturday’s 6-3 win over the University of Guelph. He now has points in three-straight games with one contest left in the regular season, holding one goal and 17 assists for 18 points through 27 games.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @CollinDSchuck.