Thursday, February 28, 2013

Salhany to Alabama-Huntsville

Press Release

Congratulations to former River Rat Matt Salhany ('93) who has accepted an offer to play for the University of Alabama-Huntsville Chargers next season.  Salhany will be the first Rats to play in the WCHA next season.

Salhany, a Warwick, RI native, spent his entire midget career with the River Rats.  Matt was part of the 2009 U16 team won the programs first State Championship at the midget level and then won two league championships with the U18 team (2010 and 2011).  During his two years with the U18 team Salhany posted a 20-55-75 line in 49 career games.

Currently, Salhany is playing for the Boston Bandits of the EJHL where he led the team in points during the regular season with 41 points in 44 games.  Matt was reunited with former River Rats Nick Finn (Holy Cross), Alex Bonito and Brian Miller this season.

"It's exciting to see Matt accept this offer.  He was with us for his entire midget career and he deserves this opportunity." said U18 head coach Jon Hutcheon.

Good luck to Matt next season and beyond!

 (Nathan can be reached at

President Craig Cripps Departs Alberta Junior Hockey League

Press Release

 Alberta Junior Hockey League President Craig T. Cripps formally announced today that after seven years at the helm of the AJHL, he will not be returning for the 2013-2014 AJHL season.  Cripps’ contract with the League expires at the completion of the 2013 regular season.

"After seven years serving as President of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, I am proud of my accomplishments, most of which were a part of my initial vision for the League when I was hired,” stated Cripps.  “Along with a dedicated staff, we have realized critical accomplishments and improved the AJHL, making it a stronger brand while providing a safe environment for our athletes. I am confident that I am leaving the League in a much better state than when I first started.”

The Alberta Junior Hockey League has become one of the premier leagues in Junior A hockey with initiatives such as the Annual AJHL Showcase, the AJHL Network, AJHL Web TV, and the AJHL Guidebook.  A growing number of AJHL athletes continue to represent their team and country at elite level events across North America, on College and University rosters, and on the NHL stage. Internally, the AJHL has undergone a significant review of its governance and bylaws, executive structure, and daily operations.

“The League has renewed positive relationships with Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta, and these strong relationships have resulted in the success of events such as the World Junior A Challenge and RBC Cup,” said Cripps.  “The AJHL is a valuable member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League and I am proud of the contribution the League has made at the national level in recent years.”

During Cripps’ tenure, he also served on the CJHL Executive and was an integral leader in the development of the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup, rebranding of the CJHL, and the creation of the Junior A Supplement.  "The Junior A Supplement should be viewed as a historic document in the world of hockey,” said Cripps.  “I am very proud of the Presidents and Commissioners of the five leagues that spent countless hours creating this document.  Its true purpose is to better protect players and hold individuals more accountable for their actions.  I can say without hesitation it has and will continue to improve our game, allowing the true skill of Canadian players to thrive."

Craig Cripps was introduced as the 14th President of the Alberta Junior Hockey League in May 2006. Cripps will be available for media inquiries until March 2nd, 2013.

The Alberta Junior Hockey League will announce the details of a new AJHL Executive and Staff over the coming days.

(Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

A new WHL ironman could be crowned this week as Justin Feser of the Tri-City Americans approaches the WHL record for consecutive games played.

The previous mark of 311 consecutive games was set by Dwayne Newman with the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Victoria Cougars back in 1988-92.

Feser, a 20-year-old from Red Deer, AB, is in his fifth season with the Americans.  He missed a string of games in December of his rookie year before playing in 33 straight games to finish 2009, then suited up for all 72 games in each of the next three seasons.

With 63 games played this season, Feser tied Newman’s record of 311 straight games Tuesday against the Portland Winterhawks and is anticipated to break it at home against the Seattle Thunderbirds this Friday, March 1.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Wildcats defenseman Knudson made NCAA DI commitment

Press Release

The number of NCAA Division I recruits currently skating with the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), has now increased to five, as defenseman Chris Knudson announced last night that he will join the Michigan State Spartans in the Big Ten in the 2013-14 season.

"My pee-wee coach played for Michigan State, so we used to visit there every year," Chris said about his choice. "Ever since then, I wanted to play there, so this is really a dream come true."

Knudson, 19, has been solid on the Wildcats' blue line this year after being picked up in trade from Wenatchee in September.  He has been a minutes eater and major shutdown blueliner, and has chipped in nicely at the offensive end, putting up 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points in 45 games as a Wildcat. 

Last season with Wenatchee, Chris had a pair of goals-- both being game-winners-- along with 13 assists.  Of his 13 assists, 10 came either on the powerplay or shorthanded. He also had four assists in eight playoff games.

(Nathan can be reached at

Musketeers Forward Chooses University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Press Release

  Sioux City Musketeers forward Josh Erickson has committed to play college hockey at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Erickson has totaled eight points (3g, 5a) and a plus-two rating in 33 games for the Musketeers this season.  He equaled a career high with two points (1g, 1a) while posting a plus-two rating in the 3-2 shootout loss to Lincoln on January 25th.  Erickson has recorded an even-or-better plus/minus rating in each of his last 10 games and in 16 of his last 17 contests.

It is the second season in the USHL for the 19-year-old who put up 11 points (6g, 5a) in 46 games last year in Sioux City.  The gritty forward from Roseau, Minnesota has also racked up 213 penalty minutes in 79 career games in the League.

Two other current USHL players are committed to play hockey at Alaska-Fairbanks; Lincoln Stars defenseman Justin Woods and Tri-City Storm forward Jared Linnell, both of whom are Alaska natives.

The University of Alaska-Fairbanks is a member of the CCHA and has six USHL alumni on the Nanooks rosters this season; Steve Thompson (Sioux City/Omaha), Andy Taranto (Fargo Force), Nolan Youngmun (Sioux Falls Stampede), J.D. Peterson (Tri-City/Des Moines), John Keeney (Muskegon/Omaha), and Matt Friese (Lincoln/Chicago/Tri-City).

(Nathan can be reached at

Phantoms Captain Picks St. Lawrence University

Press Release

 The Youngstown Phantoms announced that forward Alexander Dahl has committed to play collegiate hockey beginning next season at St. Lawrence University.

Dahl, who just celebrated his 20th birthday yesterday, has produced 19 points (9g, 10a) while appearing in all 46 games for the Phantoms this season.  The second-year forward is also serving as a team captain this season.  The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native played in all but one of the 60 regular season games for Youngstown last season and recorded nine points (3g, 6a) as a USHL rookie.  He also added two assists in six playoff games.

“I couldn’t be any more proud of, or happier for Alex,” Phantoms head coach Anthony Noreen said. “He’s everything we want the Youngstown Phantoms organization to be about.  St. Lawrence is getting a great player but an even better person.”

Dahl is the second member of his family to suit up for the Phantoms as his brother, Jefferson Dahl, played in Youngstown during the 2009-10 season.  Alexander was the Phantoms’ first pick (18th overall) in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft.

“The area in upstate New York reminds me a lot of Northern Wisconsin and I had a really good feeling about the coaching staff,” Dahl said.  “I was really excited once I found out that they wanted me.”

Dahl will be joined at St. Lawrence University by Phantoms teammate Eric Sweetman who is also committed to the school.  Six other USHL players are committed to St. Lawrence; Michael Rotolo (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Drew Smolcynski (Chicago Steel), Michael Marnell (Des Moines Buccaneers), Gavin Bayreuther (Fargo Force), Nolan Gluchowski (Tri-City Storm), and Brian Ward (Tri-City Storm).

St. Lawrence University is located in Canton, New York and has six USHL alumni on the roster this season; George Hughes (Waterloo Black Hawks), Kyle Flanagan (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Chris Martin (Indiana Ice), Gunnar Hughes (Waterloo Black Hawks), Justin Bruckel (Lincoln/Cedar Rapids), and Patrick Raley (Chicago Steel).

 (Nathan can be reached at

David Melaragni Commits to Northeastern University

Press Release

Dave Melaragni is a 1998 birth year Defenseman who until this year had been playing up on the Comcast 97 team for the previous 3 years. Dave returned to his birth year to showcase his skill and compete against his peers and to help a very strong 98 team make a run at Nationals. Dave has always been a team player and competitive kid and understands that individual success comes through team success. This has allowed him to flourish and be a key contributor on one of the Nation's top Bantam Major teams

Dave is a product of South Philadelphia and started his playing career at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ, home of the NHL Philadelphia Flyers. His parents Dave and Dana are excited about the opportunity Dave has been given at Northeastern University, and look forward to the day they will see him suit up for the Huskies 

 (Nathan can be reached at

AJHL announces postseason awards

Press Release

CHESTERFIELD, VA. – The Atlantic Junior Hockey League (AJHL) has announced that Northern Cyclones forward Jonathan Felteau (pictured) has been named the league’s Most Valuable Player for the 2012-13 season.

Felteau, a 1993-born from Peabody, Mass., won the AJHL scoring title with 80 points on 24 goals in 43 games for the regular-season champion Cyclones.

“Jonathan established himself this year as a player who learned to compete at both ends of the ice to compliment his tremendous skill level,” said Cyclones head coach Bill Flanagan. “He was our offensive catalyst, but also one of the best shorthand guys I’ve ever coached. He’ll be a terrific college hockey player.”

Felteau was also named Forward of the Year and to the All-AJHL First Team.

The other All-AJHL First Team selections include forwards Jack Ceglarski of the Wilkes/Barre-Scranton Knights and Chris Wallace of the New York Bobcats; defensemen Gabe Chuckran of the Philadelphia Little Flyers and Tommy Dowell of the Knights; and Cyclones goaltender J.J. Solloway.

Named to the All-AJHL Second Team were forwards Eric Salzillo of the Walpole Express, Pat Schule of the Bobcats and Jason Zaleski of the Knights; Cyclones defensemen L.J. Fellows and Grant Gallo; and Boston Jr. Rangers goaltender Sam Bernard.

Other individual award winners include:

Defenseman of the Year
Tommy Dowell, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Dowell, a 1992-born from Kansas City, Mo., led all AJHL defensemen in scoring with 37 points on six goals in 43 regular-season games.

Goaltender of the Year
J.J. Solloway, Northern Cyclones
Solloway, a 1992-born from Derry, N.H., led all AJHL goaltenders in wins with 22, including five shutouts, to compliment a league-leading 2.09 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.

Rookie of the Year
Jeremy Bracco, New Jersey Rockets
Bracco, from Freeport, N.Y., finished tied for 11th in league scoring with 48 points (15 goals) in only 29 games. The 1997-born has committed to Harvard University.

Coach of the Year
Justin Lyle, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights
Lyle guided the Knights to a 26-14-4 regular-season record, good 56 points - a 17-point increase from the 2011-12 season - and a fourth-place finish in the AJHL standings. In addition, three of his players have committed to NCAA programs for the coming fall.

 (Nathan can be reached at

AJHL announces Players of the Week

Press Release

 CHESTERFIELD, VA. - The Atlantic Junior Hockey League (AJHL) has announced that New Jersey Rockets forward Brooks Lewis (left), New York Bobcats defenseman Joe Rassett (middle) and Walpole Express goaltender Kyle Shapiro have been named the Offensive, Defensive and Goaltender of the Week, respectively, for the last week of the regular season.

Lewis, from Hummelstown, Pa., struck for three goals and two assists as the Rockets forged a 2-0 record. On Sunday, the 1993-born notched two goals in a 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. Two days later, the 5-foot-9, 175-pounder connected for the game-winning marker and a pair of assists as the Rockets downed the Connecticut Wolfpack, 5-4.

Rassett, a Bradenton, Fla., native, tallied four assists as the Bobcats finished the regular season with a 2-1-1 record. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the 1992-born picked up a pair of assists in an 8-4 loss to the Northern Cyclones. After being held scoreless two days later - a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Titans - the 5-foot-11, 175-pounder picked up an assist in a 5-2 win over the Titans on Saturday. Rassett added another helper to his totals in a 1-1 tie with the Express on Monday.

Shapiro, from Ocean, N.J., forged a 2-1-2 record in five appearances, turning aside 141 of 152 shots. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, the 1993-born made 31 saves in a 3-2 loss to the Laconia Leafs. The next day, the 6-foot, 167-pounder stopped 30 shots as the Express bested the Wolfpack, 7-3. Shapiro then backstopped Walpole to back-to-back ties - 3-3 against the Jr. Flyers on Friday (26 saves) and 1-1 versus the Bobcats on Monday (30) - before steering aside 24 shots in a 4-1 triumph over the Bobcats on Tuesday.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

For the first time since Bob Beatty of Humboldt and Don Chesney of Yorkton split the award in 2003, we have a tie for the SJHL Coach Of The Year and, again, it involves Humboldt and Yorkton.

Trent Cassan, who doesn’t turn 30 until June, just completed his third full year as head coach of the Terriers and he’s had his team in contention each season.  He took over with eight games remaining in the 2009-10 campaign and, promptly marched a club that barely made the playoffs all the way to the SJHL final.  The Terriers returned to the league finals in 2010-11 and then went 33-20-2-and-3 in 2011-12, losing in the division semi-finals.  This season, Cassan guided the Terriers to a first place finish of 36-14-1-and-3, the best record the club has had since Cassan has been at the helm.  He accomplished this, despite having a team with two unproven Junior ‘A’ goaltenders at the beginning of the season.   The Terriers are also void of a game breaking offensive player, but Cassan has molded the club into one that is incredibly deep and can get contribution from all four lines and all six defensemen.

Dean Brockman, a journeyman bench boss in the SJHL, has been the General Manager/Head Coach of the Humboldt Broncos since 2004-05 and has guided the club to an RBC championship (2007-08) in the midst of winning three SJHL titles in a row (2007, 2008, 2009).  Brockman’s Broncos also won the Canalta Cup in 2012 and lost in the semi-finals of the RBC Cup in front of their home fans.  It is, generally expected, a team that is built for a big year of success while hosting the national championship to experience a sharp decline the following season as a rebuild takes place.  That wasn’t the case with Brockman and the Broncos in 2013 as they were every bit as good this year.  Humboldt was hit with a number of key graduations and lost a couple of other players through future considerations trades that helped them in 2012, but they continued to steam roll the competition by being nearly unbeatable on home ice, playing a stifling defensive brand of hockey, while mixing in dangerous, timely offense from players who managed to jump up from playing depth roles last year to major ones this year.

 (Nathan can be reached at

MacMaster to attend Boston College

Press Release

 The Camrose Kodiaks are pleased to announce that Tanner MacMaster has accepted a scholarship offer from Boston College. The rookie forward has had an exceptional year and is deserving of this achievement. MacMaster is nominated for Rookie of the Year in the AJHL this year and was a unanimous selection to the AJHL South All-Rookie Team. Details of when Tanner will attend Boston College will be determined in the future. The entire Kodiaks organization would like to congratulate Tanner and his family on this accomplishment and wish him well in his future at Boston College.

(Nathan can be reached at

Caps announce coaching hire to take effect after current season's end

Press Release

The Cowichan Valley Capitals are very pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Beatty as head coach and general manager for the 2013-14 season.

Beatty has been at the helm of the LaRonge Ice Wolves of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League for the last nine seasons, winning league championships in 2010 and 2011.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to work with the rest of the staff, shareholders and stakeholders to build and maintain a team that the community can rally around," said Coach Beatty. "The Cowichan Valley has a reputation of being a great hockey community. I am very pleased to be afforded the chance to enjoy living and working in Duncan and can't wait to get started on a new challenge."

Coach Beatty will assume his duties after the completion of the current season. 

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

The OJHL announced today that Trenton Golden Hawks forward Shawn Hulshof has been named the Gongshow Gear North-East Conference Player-of-the-Month for February after tying for the Conference lead in scoring with 13 points in nine games played,

The second year Stouffville, Ontario native would miss some games early in the season due to a knee injury suffered during Team Canada East camp, but would consistently get stronger as the season progressed, finishing fourth on the Golden Hawks in scoring with 45 points in 52 games played..  Hulshof, who also tied for the team lead with 25 goals and notched four game-winning goals for the regular season champions, tied for the North-East Conference scoring lead in February on the strength of 7 goals and 13 points, including five power play points and would score the 3-2 game-winner during a Divisional match versus Whitby.  Entering February on a two game point scoring streak, the power forward would extend the streak to a career-high seven games that saw him notch 12 points and he would record points in seven of nine Golden Hawks contests during the month.

"It is a true honour to be selected North-East Conference Player-of-the-Month, chosen amongst so many good players in this OJHL Conference," said the 19-year old Hulshof.  "I'd like to thank the league, the Trenton Golden Hawks and in particular my teammates for making this possible."

"Shawn has been instrumental in the success of the Golden Hawks this year because he is a big power forward who can play in any and all situations," said Trenton Golden Hawks general manager and head coach Jerome Dupont.  "He goes about his business quietly, but really leads with his 'A' game, wants to learn, and is the consummate team player."

Daniel Leavens of the Newmarket Hurricanes was named runner-up to Hulshof as the OJHL North-East Conference Player-of-the-Month.  Leavens tied Hulshof for the Conference lead in scoring with 13 points on the strength of seven goals and six assists, including three different three point outings.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

KEARNEY, Neb. – Thursday’s game broadcast of the Storm and Waterloo Black Hawks will air on the ESPN Radio Superstation 1460 AM and 1550 AM.

The Viaero Wireless Pre-Game Show will get underway at 6:45 p.m. and the puck will drop at 7:05.

In addition, the game will be streamed online at Free downloads of each broadcast are available on demand through The Breeze archives by clicking here.

The Storm will be in Indianapolis on Friday to face-off with the Ice and in Youngstown on Saturday for a matchup with the Phantoms. Both games can be heard live on The Breeze 94.5 FM with the Viaero Wireless Pre-Game Show getting underway at 6:45 p.m.

(Nathan can be reached at

Barrett Kaib commits to Northern Michigan

Press Release

The Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) are pleased to announce that defenseman Barrett Kaib has committed to Northern Michigan University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. The Wildcats are coached by Walt Kyle who enters his 11th season behind the bench.

Kaib returned to the USHL after playing last season with Providence University of the Hockey East Conference. Kaib appeared in 31 games tallying six points for the Friars. In 2010-11 Kaib skated in 44 games for the U.S. National Under-18 Team where he posted seven assists and appeared in three games for the U.S. National Under-17 Team. During the 2009-10 campaign, Kaib skated in 34 games with the U.S. National Under-17 Team and notched a goal and five assists. Internationally, the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native posted three points (1 goal and 2 assists) in 10 games against and was part of the U.S. squad that earned first place at the 2010 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge in Timmins, Ont. Kaib scored a goal and added an assist in six games. Prior to playing for the NTDP, Kaib skated in 47 games for Culver Academy where the defenseman notched five goals and 12 assists.

Kaib becomes the 15th Gambler on the 2012-2013 squad to commit to a NCAA Division I institution. Others include forwards Tanner Pond (Northeastern), Kyle Novak (Western Michigan), Matthew Weis (Ohio State), Nicholas Schilkey (Ohio State), Alex Kile (Michigan) Ryan Siroky (Miami), Kevin Irwin (Vermont), Nick Schmaltz (North Dakota), Sheldon Dries (Western Michigan) defensemen, Ben Gallacher (UMass-Amherst), Jake Linhart (Wisconsin), Brandon Kirk (Dartmouth), Gustav Olofsson (Colorado College) and Jordan Gross (Notre Dame).

 (Nathan can be reached at

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Halifax Mooseheads in first place of BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings

Press Release

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the twenty-third edition of the BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings for the 2012-13 regular season.  The weekly rankings of the Canadian Hockey League’s Top 10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 23

Rank: Team:
Last Week Rank:
Number of Weeks Ranked:
1 Halifax Mooseheads (49-6-2-1)
2 Portland Winterhawks (51-10-1-2)
3 London Knights (43-12-2-2)
4 Edmonton Oil Kings (44-15-2-3)
5 Kelowna Rockets (44-15-3-1)
6 Rimouski Oceanic (38-14-2-6)
7 Baie-Comeau Drakkar (39-16-2-3)
8 Owen Sound Attack (38-17-1-3)
9 Belleville Bulls (38-14-3-3)
10 Kamloops Blazers (41-17-2-3)
Honourable Mention:
Saskatoon Blades (39-21-0-3)
Plymouth Whalers (34-17-5-4)
Moncton Wildcats (38-20-1-0)

 (Nathan can be reached at

Zweep Suspended Five Games

Press Release

The Owen Sound Attack is announcing that the Ontario Hockey League has handed overage forward Daniel Zweep a five game suspension.

The incident occurred at the end of the second period on February 23rd’s game against the Saginaw Spirit where Zweep was issued a five minute major for cross checking. On the very same play, an opposition player was issued a minor for slashing. The league reviewed the play over the course of the week and deemed the cross check suspendable.

Attack officials would not comment on the suspension.

Zweep will be eligible to return on March 9th against the Erie Otters.
 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

 Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced that forward Justin Feser of the Tri-City Americans is the CHL Player of the Week for the week ending February 24 after recording 13 points in three games including six goals and seven assists along with a plus-minus rating of plus-7.

Feser led the Americans to three straight victories and was named first star of all three games beginning last Tuesday night when he recorded his third hat-trick of the season including the game-winner plus an assist in a 5-4 win over the Vancouver Giants.  On Friday night he scored two goals and two assists in a 6-2 win over the Everett Silvertips, then wrapped up the week on Saturday recording his first career five-point game with a goal and four assists in an 8-1 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings.

Feser, a 20-year-old from Red Deer, AB, is playing in his fifth WHL season with the Americans and is currently fifth in league scoring with 92 points scoring 38 goals with 54 assists.  On Tuesday night, Feser tied a WHL record by playing in his 311th consecutive game equaling Dwayne Newman of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Victoria Cougars from 1988-92.

Also considered for the award this week was 2013 NHL Draft prospect Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads who picked up 11 points with two goals and nine assists in three games, and Anaheim Ducks prospect Rickard Rakell of the Plymouth Whalers who scored six goals and three assists for nine points in three games.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Kumpel named director of hockey operations

Press Release

 CHESTERFIELD, VA. - The Atlantic Junior Hockey League (AJHL) has announced that Mark Kumpel has been named its director of hockey operations.

Kumpel, who is currently serving as the head coach of the Walpole Express, will assume his new duties at the conclusion of the AJHL season.

“We couldn’t be happier to have such an experienced and well-respected individual like Mark oversee our league,” said Northern Cyclones governor Bill Flanagan, who also serves as chairman of the AJHL’s board of governors. “He’s a prominent hockey figure not only in New England, but across North America, and his familiarity with our league and the Junior and college hockey landscapes are tremendous assets as we continue to advance more and more of our student-athletes to the NCAA and professional ranks.”

“I’m excited for the opportunity to help build on the tremendous success the AJHL has experienced over the last 10 years,” said Kumpel. “With all our ownership groups committed to the development and advancement of our student-athletes, coupled with our experienced and well-connected coaching staffs, the AJHL has established itself as one of the most highly-regarded Junior leagues in North America and I’m looking forward to helping build on its already-strong foundation.”

Among Kumpel’s day-to-day duties will be handling all AJHL hockey operations, working with each coaching staff to ensure new AJHL standards are met across the board and helping brand the AJHL name with youth players around the country.

No stranger to the AJHL, Kumpel has guided the Express to three consecutive league playoff championships from 2009-12, including two regular-season titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12.

During that span, Walpole fashioned a 124-14-8 overall record; the Express finished this year’s regular season with a 29-11-4 mark, good for 62 points and a second-place finish in the AJHL standings.

As a player, the Wakefield, Mass., native skated for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell from 1979-83 before embarking on a lengthy professional career in the National Hockey League (NHL) and American Hockey League (AHL).

Kumpel, who was also a member of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team, played 288 games in the NHL with the Quebec Nordiques, Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets, totaling 38 goals for 84 points.

Prior to his head coaching stint with the Express, Kumpel served as head coach of the Nashville Knights and Dayton Bombers of the ECHL and Portland Pirates of the AHL. He also scouted for the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Subban named CHL Goaltender of the Week

Press Release

TORONTO, ON - The Canadian Hockey League announced Tuesday that Bulls goaltender Malcolm Subban has been named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week from February 18-24 after he went 3-0 with victories over Barrie, Peterborough and Ottawa.

Subban helped propel the Bulls into an Eastern Conference lead this past week, turning aside 29 shots in a 3-0 shutout victory over the second placed Barrie Colts on Monday afternoon. The Boston Bruins first round draft pick continued his stellar week with a Saturday night 5-2 win over the Peterborough Petes as he made 36 saves. Subban and the Bulls wrapped up the week on Sunday at Scotiabank Place as Malcolm made 34 saves in a 6-3 win over the Ottawa 67's.

Subban went 3-0-0-0 with a 1.67 goals against average and a .952 save percentage to be named the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for a fourth time in his OHL career. He his last six decisions and has a 6-1-0-0 record with a 2.68 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in the month of February.

Subban has a record of 17-4-1-0 when he has faced thirty shots or more and his fine performances in combination with goaltending partner Charlie Graham have the Bulls with a 15-8-2-1 record this season when being outshot.
 (Nathan can be reached at

AJHL Announces All-League and All-Rookie Teams

Press Release

 The Alberta Junior Hockey League is proud to announce the Reebok AJHL All-League teams and CCM AJHL All-Rookie teams for the 2012-2013 season.  The selections for each team were determined through a voting system by the League General Managers and Coaches.

Reebok South Division All-League Team

G Jared D'Amico Okotoks Oilers
D Jonathan Lashyn Camrose Kodiaks
D Brennan Baxandall Drumheller Dragons
F Cam Maclise* Brooks Bandits
F Chris Collins Okotoks Oilers
F Mathew Marcinew Olds Grizzlys

Reebok North Division All-League Team

G Marc -Olivier Daigle Drayton Valley Thunder
D Josh Healey Sherwood Park Crusaders
D Grant Baker Lloydminster Bobcats
F Jerome Raymond Whitecourt Wolverines
F Mathieu Guertin Whitecourt Wolverines
F Dylan Richard Spruce Grove Saints
* Unanimous Selection

The South Division All-League team includes four AJHL Award Finalists (D’Amico, Lashyn, Baxandall, Maclise).  The North Division All-League teams also boasts four League Award Finalists (Daigle, Healy, Raymond, Richard).

Whitecourt Wolverines forwards Jerome Raymond and Mathieu Guertin lead the AJHL in scoring and represent the league’s newest franchise on the North Division All-League team.  The Okotoks Oilers also have dual representation on the South Division All-League team.  Cam Maclise is the sole unanimous selection to the All-League teams.

Three members of the All-League teams have committed to further their academic and athletic pursuit following the AJHL.  Josh Healey and Dylan Richard of the North Division All-League team and Jonathan Lashyn of the South Division All-League team have already committed to a post-secondary career.

Josh Healy and Dylan Richard represented the AJHL at the 2012 World Junior A Challenge and won a silver medal as members of Team West.  Matthew Marcinew of the 2013 South Division All-League team was also selected to the 2012 North Division All-Rookie team.

CCM North Division All-Rookie Team

G Marc -Olivier Daigle Drayton Valley Thunder
D Carson Soucy Spruce Grove Saints
D Matt Purmal Fort McMurray Oil Barons
F Luc Lalor Fort McMurray Oil Barons
F Sean MacTavish Sherwood Park Crusaders
F Trevor Poirier Drayton Valley Thunder

CCM South Division All-Rookie Team

G Colin Cooper Calgary Canucks
D Brandon Tkachuk Brooks Bandits
D Luc Lemire Camrose Kodiaks
F Tanner MacMaster* Camrose Kodiaks
F Brett Njaa Camrose Kodiaks
F John Edwardh Okotoks Oilers
* Unanimous Selection

The South Division All-Rookie team includes three selections from the Camrose Kodiaks.  The North Division team has two selections from both the Thunder and Oil Barons.   Goaltender Marc -Olivier Daigle has been voted to both the North Division All-League team and All-Rookie team.

Tanner MacMaster was a unanimous selection to the South Division All-Rookie team.  MacMaster also represented the AJHL as a member of Team Pacific at the 2013 World Junior Under 17 Hockey Challenge.

Defenceman Carson Soucy has committed to a post-secondary career following his time in the AJHL.  Soucy, Daigle and MacTavish participated in the 2012 CJHL Prospects Game in November 2012.

Three rookies on the North Division team are finalists for the 2013 League Awards (Daigle, Soucy, Lalor), and two members of the South Division All-Rookie team are also award finalists (Cooper, MacMaster).

(Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

The Ontario Junior Hockey League today announced the OJHL First and Second All-Star Teams, as selected by the OJHL General Managers.

1st Team All-Star
G – Charlie Finn (Kingston Voyageurs)
D – Erlich Doerksen (Trenton Golden Hawks)
D – Patrick McCarron (St. Michael's Buzzers)
F – Shane Bennett (Milton Icehawks)
F – John Carpino (North York Rangers)
F – Tyler Gjurich (Buffalo Jr. Sabres)

2nd Team All-Star
G – Joseph Pianta (Toronto Lakeshore Patriots)
D – Alex D'Oliveira (Toronto Lakeshore Patriots)
D – Patrick Piacentini (North York Rangers)
F – Justin Danforth (Cobourg Cougars)
F – Corey Kalk (North York Rangers)
F – Jonah Renouf (Oakville Blades)

Goaltender – Charlie Finn (Kingston Voyageurs)
(pictured top left - photo credit - Brian Watts/OJHL Images)
Recently awarded his second OJHL Top Goaltender Award for leading all netminders with a 2.15 goals against average, Charlie Finn of the Kingston Voyageurs was instrumental in the club's second half surge that saw them break into the CJHL's Top 20 rankings after going 17-2 from mid-December until the end of the season.  The North Vancouver, B.C. native also led all goaltenders with a .941 save percentage and eight shutouts, while finishing fourth in wins with a 25-10-4 record in 39 games played.  Previously named a 1st Team All-Prospect for the South-East Conference in 2010-11, Finn would be named the Gongshow Gear Goaltender-of-the-Month for January, as well as the runner-up in November, and was the starting goalie for Team Canada East at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge held in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  He would also be selected to play for the OJHL East Division All-Stars at the 2012 Central Canada Cup, but would miss the event, and is committed to join the Colgate University Raiders beginning next season.

Defence – Erlich Doerksen (Trenton Golden Hawks)
(pictured top middle - photo credit - Shawn Muir/OJHL Images)
Joining the Trenton Golden Hawks this season from the St. Michael's Buzzers, Erlich Doerksen solidified the club's blueline and would not only finish fifth on the Hawks in scoring with 44 points in 54 games played, but also third overall among defencemen in the OJHL.  A key member of Trenton's power play unit, the Toronto, Ontario native would lead all rearguards with 14 goals, as well as four game-winners.  Doerksen would be named to the OJHL East Division All-Star Team, but would miss competing in his second consecutive Central Canada Cup event.  The five-year OJHL veteran will be joining the Sacred Heart University Crusaders beginning next season.

Defence – Patrick McCarron (St. Michael's Buzzers)
(pictured top right - photo credit - Mike Ivall/OJHL Images)
St. Michael's Buzzers captain Patrick McCarron was a leader both on-and-off the ice for his club and would lead the scoring race among OJHL defencemen for most of the season, despite missing three games while serving as an alternate captain for Team Canada East at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge.  The lanky rearguard's 58 points, second on the Buzzers scoring chart, included 49 assists, which was more than any other OJHL defencemen had points and ranked fourth league-wide among all players.  Critical to the success of the league's sixth best power play unit, McCarron would factor in on 31 of the club's 53 power play goals, while leading the entire OJHL with 27 power play assists.  Named the South-West Conference Gongshow Gear Player-of-the-Month for October, the only defenceman in the OJHL to win a monthly award this season, he is scheduled to join the Cornell University Big Red next season.

Forward – Shane Bennett (Milton Icehawks)
(pictured bottom left - photo credit - Jennifer-Rose DeVincentis/OJHL Images)
A native of Grand Island, New York, Shane Bennett was consistently one of the top scorers in the OJHL this past season, finishing second in the scoring race with 45 goals, accounting for more than 21% of the Icehawks total goals scored this year.  Bennett's totals also included a team high 42 assists and 87 points, which ranked him third in the OJHL scoring race, as well as 13 power play goals, tied for the second best total in the entire league.  The 5'9", 155 lbs. forward would be named to the OJHL West Division All-Star Team for the second consecutive year, but would fail to record a point in three games played at the 2012 Central Canada Cup held in Wellington, Ontario.

Forward – John Carpino (North York Rangers)
(pictured bottom middle - photo credit - Tim Bates/OJHL Images)
John Carpino of the North York Rangers had one of the biggest offensive production increases from last season after joining the club from the now-defunct Vaughan Vipers.  The 18-year old would record 28 more goals to finish third in the OJHL with 42 goals, as well as 50 more points to finish fourth in league scoring with 81 points in 54 games played.  The runner-up as South-West Conference Player-of-the-Month in November, he helped lead the franchise to their best finish since Junior 'A' hockey returned to the Greater Toronto Area in the early 1990's.  Carpino was also selected as a member of the OJHL South Division All-Star Team, tying for the team lead in scoring with four points in three games played at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge, and is committed to join the Western Michigan University Broncos beginning in 2014-15.

Forward – Tyler Gjurich (Buffalo Jr. Sabres)
(pictured bottom right - photo credit - Graeme Reid/OJHL Images)
Leading the OJHL scoring race for much of the regular season, Tyler Gjurich would become the first member of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres to lead the league in scoring since Jeff Farkas led the Metro Junior 'A' Hockey League as a member of the Niagara Scenic in 1995-96.  The 20-year old rookie forward was the only OJHL player to hit the magical 50 goal plateau this season, finishing the year with 53 goals, as well as 97 points, including nine game-winning goals that also ranked second among all players.  Named the South-West Conference Gongshow Gear Player-of-the-Month for November, the Hatfield, Pennsylvania native was selected to play for the OJHL West Division All-Star Team, recording two points in three games at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge.  Gjurich recently confirmed his commitment to join the University of Maine Black Bears in the Fall.

2nd Team All-Stars
Toronto Lakeshore Patriots goaltender Joseph Pianta is a native of Woodbridge, Ontario.  He posted a 22-7-4 record with four shutouts and the second best goals against average in the OJHL at 2.18, while also being named to the South Division All-Star Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup.

Toronto Lakeshore Patriots defenceman Alex D'Oliveira is a native of Georgetown, Ontario.  He finished second in scoring among all OJHL defencemen with 40 assists and 47 points and was a member of the South Division All-Star Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup.

North York Rangers defenceman Patrick Piacentini is a native of Vaughan, Ontario.  He finished tied for fourth in scoring among OJHL defencemen with 43 points and second with 22 power play assists.  Piacentini was a member of the South Division All-Star Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup and is committed to Mercyhurst for 2014.

Cobourg Cougars forward Justin Danforth is a native of Oshawa, Ontario.  He led the Cougars in scoring with 56 points, was a member of Team Canada East for the second consecutive year and was named MVP of the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge as a member of the East Division All-Star Team.  Danforth is committed to the Sacred Heart University Pioneers for next season.

North York Rangers forward Corey Kalk is a native of Thornhill, Ontario.  He was the South-West Conference Player-of-the-Month for December and finished sixth in the OJHL scoring with 78 points, while also leading the South Division All-Star Team in scoring at the 2012 Central Canada Cup.  Kalk is committed to the Dartmouth College Big Green for 2015.

Oakville Blades forward Jonah Renouf is a native of Mississauga, Ontario.  He led the OJHL with 65 assists and finished second in scoring with 94 points, while also playing for the South Division All-Star Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup.  Renouf is committed to join the Quinnipiac University Bobcats beginning next season.

The Ontario Junior Hockey League will begin announcing its OJHL year-end award winners next week.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

 The Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) is pleased to announce that the Corporate Hype Player of the Week is Darren Smith of the Pembroke Lumber Kings. The Lumber Kings goaltender led them to a 2-0 week with wins over the Carleton Place Canadians and Hawkesbury Hawks. Smith posted a 2.0 Goals Against Average, an outstanding .961 Save Percentage and was selected second game star for both contests. The past Rookie of the Month for January continues to perform well, he is (20-8-0-3), currently sits tied for 8th in Goals Against Average (2.77) and 5th for Save Percentage (.915) in overall league goaltending statistics.

The Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) features one team in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) Top 20 this week. The Ottawa Jr. Senators are ranked #19 in the country.      

Honorable Mention:  G Alexandre Savard-Belanger (Ottawa Jr. Senators) and G Carmine Guerriero                          (Hawkesbury Hawks)

 (Nathan can be reached at

Jarrett Brown Headed to Alaska

Press Release

This past weekend, Jarrett Brown comitted to the University of Alaska-Anchorage for the 2014-2015 season. "We couldn't be prouder of Jarrett" said Head Coach Aaron Plumb. "Jarrett is an all around great player. We use him on special teams, in every situation. He deserves his chance at the college level and we are thrilled for him"

Alaska-Anchorage plays in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, against teams such as Minnesota, St. Cloud State and Bemidji State. The calibre of hockey is very high, and academically, Alaska-Anchorage is also rated high.

"We're also happy we have him for one more year." said Coach Plumb. "We'll make good use of him, be sure of that!"

 (Nathan can be reached at

Warriors forward Erkkila makes NCAA DI commitment

Press Release

The Michigan Warriors, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce that forward Levi Erkkila has verbally committed to continue his hockey career playing for Head Coach Walt Kyle at NCAA Division I Northern Michigan University. 

The Calumet, Michigan native is in his first season playing for the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League, and coach Moe Mantha.

Mantha continued by saying he… “is excited to see the continued development of his players, and that the Warriors organization is extremely pleased for Levi. This is an excellent opportunity for him to continue his hockey career and education”.

Erkkila tallied 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points in 36 games for the Warriors this season.

He joins former Warrior Ryan Trenz at Northern Michigan University and becomes the 8th Warriors player joining Robert Tadazak (Army), Mike Szuma (University of Michigan), Justin Hoomaian (MSU), Joey Ferris (Connecticut), and A.J. White (UMass-Lowell), and Corey Schueneman (Western Michigan University) as NCAA Division 1 Commitments.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

LONDON, ONTARIO: The London Knights Hockey Club is pleased to announce that fans now have a chance to view and bid on the 2012-2013 London Knights game worn black, green and cream jerseys that are up for auction online.  The game worn jerseys will be up for auction until Monday, July 8, 2013 at 10pm.  Also up for auction are the game worn warm up jerseys.  The warm up jerseys will be available to bid on until one week following the end of playoffs.  All details are listed below:

Game Worn Jersey Auction

Black, Green & Cream London Knights Jerseys (Full Team Set)

Ends Monday, July 8, 2013 at 10:00PM

Warm Up Jersey Auction

Specially Designed Gold Warm Up Jerseys (Full Team Set)

Ends One week following the completion of playoffs at 10:00PM

 (Nathan can be reached at

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Looking Forward: Fargo Force Tender Christian Cakebread

Press Release

 Force fans may not be familiar with Christian Cakebread, but this young up and comer looks to be one of the pieces the Force coaching staff is looking for when composing next season’s team.

Cakebread is a 15-year-old sophomore who is currently playing for the Arizona Bobcats U16 (AAA) where he serves as the Assistant Captain. Cakebread hails from Gilbert, AZ, which is the same hometown of former Force forward, Colten St. Clair (’08-11) who is currently playing at the University of North Dakota.

The Force recently picked up Cakebread through the tender process. This is a fairly new process in the USHL where a team essentially uses a future’s round draft pick prior to the actual draft that takes place in the summer. With many current Force players moving into the college ranks next season, filling those roles as soon as possible is important to the coaching staff. The tender process allows the Force to start building early, prior to the draft.

“We [the Force] thought he was a very good player and he was worth the draft pick. We want him on our team,” said Assistant Coach and Director of Player Personnel Jesse Davis.

Cakebread, a natural forward, is currently playing defense with the Arizona Bobcats where he has 56 points (19g, 37a) on the season.  He will use his diversity in play next season by returning to the forward position when he joins the Force.

“I did what I needed to benefit the team,” said Cakebread of the position switch this season. “My style of play is more defensive but I can still score which helped in my transition [to defense].”

Growing up in Arizona, which Cakebread said is a ‘growing hockey state’; he didn’t necessarily come from a hockey family. His dad played for just one season in high school but his parents encouraged him to try something different.

He has been with his current coach Ron Filion for the last couple seasons. “Coach [Ron Filion] helped me grow and mature as a player and helped me improve my skills greatly,” said Cakebread.

Looking toward to the future, Cakebread is excited to join the Force and move up to the USHL. “I’m looking forward to gaining range and experience.” His goals for his hockey career are to focus on his game and get into a DI college. Also as he moves up to the next level, he also looks to improve on his game, particularly on his hand coordination.

“I have friends and former teammates in the USHL and I want to follow in their footsteps,” said Cakebread of joining the Force and choosing the USHL route.   “It was an easy decision.”

Cakebread will remain on the Force’s affiliate list for the remainder of this season but will join the team next season. Look for him to be a growing part of the Force for seasons to come.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Tomahawks Tender Four Players

Press Release

 JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – Johnstown Tomahawks General Manager and Director of Hockey Operations, Rick Boyd, today announced the tender of four players for the 2013-2014 NAHL season. Collin Finkhouse, Matt Meier, Aaron Bland, and Eric Tien have all officially announced their intentions to play for the Tomahawks.

Finkhouse, a center from Ada, Mich. currently plays with the West Michigan Hounds 18U of the North American Prospects Hockey League. He is third in the league in scoring this season, having gone 19-14-33 in 22 games. He was named “Pointstreak Peak Performer” of the NAPHL Blaine II Showcase event in Blaine, Minn.

Meier now plays with the Colorado Thunderbirds 18U AAA Tier I Elite Hockey League. The Highlands Ranch, Colo. native has 14 goals and 27 points (14-13-27) in 36 games this season. He has also stepped in to play six games with the NAHL’s Kenai River (2-3-5) this season.

Forward Bland of Phoenix, Ariz. has gone 24-14-38 in 39 games with the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes U18 AAA Tier I Elite Hockey League.

Tien plays for the Richmond Generals of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League and has 60 points in 35 games (20-40-60) for 2012-2013. The Midland, Mich. native is currently fifth in the league in points, was selected as MJHL Player of the Week three times this season, and chosen to participate in the league’s All-Star Game.

In the NAHL, a tender is a contract a player signs announcing his intentions to play for one particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders - plus or minus any trades - which become active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft. Unless agreed upon in writing by the two NAHL teams, tendered or drafted players are not eligible to try out for other NAHL teams.

(Nathan can be reached at

Bulls Add Defenseman Dean Rhymer

Press Release

 As the Amarillo Bulls get ready for two games against the Corpus Christi IceRays tonight (Tuesday) and tomorrow (Wednesday) morning they welcome a new defenseman to the line-up.

The Bulls have added defenseman Dean Rhymer from the Los Angeles Jr. Kings program. Rhymer, who has tendered with the Bulls for next season, will get his first opportunity to skate for his future team. The Aliso Viejo California native also spent time with the California Jr. Titans program of the North American Prospects Hockey League. The affiliated players have certainly made an impact when they have been inserted into the Bulls line-up.

“I think it is a great opportunity to come out and meet the guys,” said Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams.  “Dean comes from a good program and Coach Jack Bowkus does a terrific job out there with his players. Rocky has had an opportunity to watch him, and I know we have had others watch him too. We’ve heard nothing but great things about him. This is an opportunity to get him in for a couple of games.”

Rhymer said he is looking forward to getting into action.

“I am really excited to play with the Bulls,” Rhymer said. “Coach Bowkus has done a great job preparing for this level by keeping me calm, focused and ready for everything.”

 (Nathan can be reached at

Bourret suspended for 2 games

Press Release

The Director of Player Safety of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Raymond Bolduc, today suspended Gabriel Bourret of the Gatineau Olympiques for 2 games. The suspension was handed out following an unsportsmanlike conduct at the penalty box during the February 23 game.

The Director of Player Safety took this decision after watching the video of the incident, considered the various reports, spoken to the organizations involved and consulted with his senior advisor, Sébastien Bordeleau.

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will not be available for further comment.

 (Nathan can be reached at

MJHL Keegan Cup Play-In Round Begins Tonight

Press Release

HAWTHORNE, NJ – The Metropolitan Junior Hockey League’s Keegan Cup Playoffs are set to begin this evening with two of the three divisional round play-in games.  In the 2011-2012 season, the MJHL added this round to its playoff format to increase the number of teams that had a chance to vie for the Keegan Cup.

In the first match-up, the Philadelphia Junior Flyers will travel to Flemington, New Jersey to face-off with the New Jersey Renegades at 7:00pm.  The Renegades won the season series 4-1 and will look to continue that momentum tonight.  The winner of tonight’s game advances to the divisional semi-final matchup with the Dowd Division Champion, Richmond Generals.

In game number two this evening, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights travel to Brooklyn, New York to face-off with the Metro Moose at 7:50pm.  The Moose and the Knights just split a pair of one goal games this past weekend.  The victory on Sunday by the Moose gave them a 3-2 advantage in the season series.  The winner of tonight’s game advances to take on the Long Island Royals, the back-to-back Mullen Division regular season champions.

In the final play-in game, the Walpole Express will travel to Cranston, Rhode Island to face-off with the Cranston Reds at 6:30pm on Wednesday, the 27th.  By virtue of their 5-3 victory this past weekend, the Reds won the season series 3-2.  The winner of tomorrow night’s matchup will advance to take on the Francis Division’s regular season champion, the Boston Junior Ranges in the division semifinal round.

All three games are available on Fast Hockey. 

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

The Ontario Junior Hockey League today announced the OJHL First and Second All-Prospect Teams

1st Team All-Prospect
G – Daniel Mannella (Stouffville Spirit)
D – Kyle Jenkins (Oakville Blades)
D – Jared Walsh (St. Michael's Buzzers)
F – Matt Buckles (St. Michael's Buzzers)
F – Jake Evans (St. Michael's Buzzers)
F – David Miller (Georgetown Raiders)

2nd Team All-Prospect
G – Hayden Lavigne (Wellington Dukes)
D – Travis Dermott (Newmarket Hurricanes)
D – Chad Duchesne (Kingston Voyageurs)
F - Matt Alvaro (Oakville Blades)
F – Troy Crema (Hamilton Red Wings)
F – Mike Soucier (Wellington Dukes)
F – Aidan Wallace (Pickering Panthers)

Goaltender – Daniel Mannella (Stouffville Spirit)
(pictured top left - photo credit - Catherine Reid/OJHL Images)

The 17-year old native of Woodbridge, Ontario, Daniel Mannella was the only member of the All-Prospect Teams to be traded this year, after beginning his rookie season with the Georgetown Raiders.  After getting off to a hot start with the Raiders, that would see him post a 9-2-1 record in his first 13 contests, Mannella would earn an invitation to Team Canada East's Final Selection Camp and ultimately earn a spot as Charlie Finn's back-up at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge held in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  Upon returning to the OJHL, Mannella would be one of the key pieces in part of the December 1st five player blockbuster trade between the Raiders and Stouffville Spirit. Playing on a younger club in Stouffville, the backstop would log heavy minutes, ultimately finishing with a 19-20-2 record, including one shutout, a 3.00 goals against average and .904 save percentage.  Mannella was also a member of the OJHL Prospect Team that defeated the CCHL Prospects 4-3 in overtime, allowing just one goal during his half of the game.

Defence – Kyle Jenkins (Oakville Blades)
(pictured top middle - photo credit - Shawn Muir/OJHL Images)

Selected in the 4th round, 68th overall of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, 16-year old defenceman Kyle Jenkins impressed the OHL club enough that they officially signed the rearguard in early January.  One of the few 16-year olds that was invited to the Team Canada East Final Selection Camp, the smooth skating Jenkins recorded 9 goals and 29 points on the season to finish seventh in scoring on the Oakville Blades, while also finishing 16th among all OJHL defencemen.  The native of Brampton, Ontario finished tied for fourth among blueliners with his nine goals, including a league-leading seven markers on the power play.  Jenkins would also be selected as a member of the OJHL South Division All-Star Team that competed at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge that took place in Welllington, Ontario, notching two assists in three games played.

Defence – Jared Walsh (St. Michael's Buzzers)
(pictured top right - photo credit - Mike Ivall/OJHL Images)

One of the pleasant surprises on the Buzzers blueline this year, 16-year old Jared Walsh impressed many early in the season with his steady presence on the back-end and he would use his great start to earn a spot on Team Canada East, competing at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge.  The 5', 11", 175 lbs. Toronto, Ontario native would finish third on the club in scoring among defencemen with 17 assists and 21 points in 49 games played.  Walsh was also selected to play for the OJHL Prospect Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge in Wellington, Ontario, recording an assist during a 4-3 overtime victory versus the CCHL.  A second round pick of the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (now Steelheads), Walsh confirmed his commitment to join the prestigious University of Michigan Wolverines program beginning in 2015.

Forward – Matt Buckles (St. Michael's Buzzers)
(pictured bottom left - photo credit - Mike Ivall/OJHL Images)

One of the most highly touted prospects in the OJHL this season, Matt Buckles has not disappointed both scouts and fans alike with his play this season, leading the Buzzers in scoring with 40 goals and 71 points in 50 regular season games played.  The 17-year old native of Toronto, Ontario, who played last year with the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots, finished fourth among all OJHL players in goal scoring, while also playing with a physical edge that would see him record 107 penalty minutes, tied for the 17th highest total in the league.  On NHL Central Scouting's Watch List all season, Buckles was ranked 134th among North American skaters on the mid-season rankings.  After playing in the 2011 CJHL Prospect Game series, Buckles would join Team Canada East at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge, recording a game-winning goal, as well as representing the OJHL South Division All-Star Team at the Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge for the second consecutive year.

Forward – Jake Evans (St. Michael's Buzzers)
(pictured bottom middle - photo credit - Mike Ivall/OJHL Images)

After committing to the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish program as a minor midget, Jake Evans joined another well respected program in the St. Michael's Buzzers to play his junior hockey.  Another Toronto, Ontario product, the 6', 179 lbs. forward played five games as an affiliate with the Buzzers last season, recording four points, and would make an impact during his rookie season, finishing seventh on the Buzzers in scoring with 44 points in 50 games played.  Evans' impressive OJHL start would also see him join Team Canada East at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge, as well as competing for the OJHL Prospect Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge.

Forward – David Miller (Georgetown Raiders)
(pictured bottom right - photo credit - Shawn Muir/OJHL Images)

Another top rookie in the OJHL this season, David Miller was selected by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the 6th round, 107th overall, of the 2012 OHL Priority Selection.  His early season efforts with the Georgetown Raiders, scoring at more than a point/game pace, saw him sign with the OHL club and make his debut just after Christmas, recording three assists in five games played.  The Burlington, Ontario native finished seventh on the Raiders in scoring, notching 16 goals and 42 points in 46 games played.  He was selected as a member of the OJHL Prospect Team that competed at the 2012 Central Canada Cup, but was forced to miss the event due to his OHL recall to Sault Ste. Marie.

2nd Team All-Stars (tie in voting for final forward position)

Wellington Dukes goaltender Hayden Lavigne is a native of Brampton, Ontario.  He posted a 9-7-1 record with a 2.48 goals against average and a .922 save percentage.  Lavigne would compete for Team East at the 2012 CJHL Prospects Game.

Kingston Voyageurs defenceman Chad Duchesne is a native of Kingston, Ontario.  He led the Vees defensive corps with seven goals, while recording 24 points.  Duchesne is committed to Northeastern University for 2015 and competed for Team East at the 2012 CJHL Prospects Game.

Newmarket Hurricanes defenceman Travis Dermott is a native of Newmarket, Ontario.  He finished fourth among Hurricanes defencemen with 14 assists and 15 points and was a member of the OJHL Prospect Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge.

Oakville Blades forward Matt Alvaro is a native of Toronto, Ontario.  He led the Blades with three shorthanded goals, while also recording 14 goals and 27 points.

Hamilton Red Wings forward Troy Crema is a native of Toronto, Ontario.  He led the Red Wings in most statistical categories, including 24 goals, 37 assists and 61 points.  Crema was a member of the OJHL Prospect Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge and is committed to Dartmouth College for 2013.

Wellington Dukes forward Mike Soucier is a native of Caledon, Ontario.  He finished sixth on the Dukes in scoring with 15 assists and 22 points in 46 games played and was a member of the East Division All-Star Team that won the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge, as well as Team Canada East at the 2012 World Junior 'A' Challenge.  Soucier is committed to Bemidji State University for 2013.

Pickering Panthers forward Aidan Wallace is a native of Markham, Ontario.  He finished fifth in scoring on the Panthers with 22 points, was named Player of the Game for Team East during game two of the 2012 CJHL Prospect Game series, and scored the overtime-winning goal for the OJHL Prospects at the 2012 Central Canada Cup versus the CCHL.  Wallace also made his OHL debut as a member of the Oshawa Generals.

The Ontario Junior Hockey League’s All-Star Teams will be announced later this week.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

Russell Trudeau, Melville
1993 F Russell Trudeau (Landmark MB) made a late charge for the SJHL scoring championship by scoring 2-goals and 4-assists in 3-games played; with his biggest game coming on Friday against the league leading Humboldt Broncos when he had a goal and three helpers.  He also had an assist on Tuesday against Weyburn and a goal on Saturday versus Battlefords.  He ends the year with a league leading 31-goals and 37-assists for 68-points in 53-games played.

Matt Saunderson, Melfort
1993 D Matt Saunderson (Saskatoon SK) registered four helpers in two games played last week, further  blossoming his offensive game as his 19-year-old season winds down.  Saunderson, who is emerging as one of the SJHL’s top defensemen, had two assists on Friday night when his team needed to win against Yorkton to secure a playoff berth.  Mission accomplished. He also had two assists on Tuesday against Nipawin and goes into the final game of the year with 5-goals and 20-assists in 51-games played.

Spencer Gosselin, Battlefords
1994 D Spencer Gosselin (Wainright AB) collected three goals in three games played last week, only getting shutout in the week’s finale game against Yorkton.  He started with a two goal effort Friday night against the Hawks and then scored his team’s only goal on Saturday in Melville.  On the season, the rookie blueliner has 6-goals and 10-assists in 45-games and has taken on a larger role as the year has progressed.

Devin Buffalo, Flin Flon
1993 G Devin Buffalo (Wetaskiwin AB) wins the nod for the second straight week, further proving the first half version of Devin Buffalo is back in top form and ready for the playoffs.  In back to back starts against La Ronge, Buffalo stopped 35-of-38 in an overtime loss to the Ice Wolves on Thursday and then turned back 27-of-28 one night later in a Bomber victory.  With a 23-14-and-1 record, Buffalo also has a 2.44-GAA and .926-SPCT to move back into the top five in the league statistically.

 (Nathan can be reached at

Shaw shows the way for Eagles on three-game road swing

Press Release

Surrey Eagles forward Brady Shaw has been named the Gongshow BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending Feb. 24, the league announced Monday.

Shaw helped the Eagles earn five of a possible six points on a three-game Island road trip and led all BCHL scorers for the week with eight points. The Ottawa native started off with a goal and an assist and 3rd Star in an overtime win in Powell River, really hit stride with two goals and two assists and a 1st Star nod in a tie with Alberni Valley and scored the overtime winner plus one assist in a win against Cowichan Valley.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward is now second in the BCHL with 36 goals on the campaign and he leads Surrey with 67 points.

Honourable mentions this week:

Cowichan Valley Capitals F Jesse Neher (4G2A, 1st Star, 2nd Star)

Cowichan Valley Capitals D Jarrett Brown (5A, 3rd Star)

Cowichan Valley Capitals F Kyle Horsman (2G2A, GWG, OT GWG)

Trail Smoke Eaters G Adam Todd (2W, .939 sv%, 2.31 GAA, 1st Star)

Langley Rivermen G James Barr (2W, .957 sv%, 1.48GAA, 2nd Star)

Coquitlam Express F Adam Rockwood (1G2A, 1st Star, FortisBC Energy Player of the Game)

Surrey Eagles F Adam Tambellini (5G1A, OT GWG, 1st Star, FortisBC Energy Player of the Game) 

(Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

The Niagara IceDogs are pleased to announce a new five year contract for current Head Coach & General Manager Marty Williamson.  The new contract will start at the beginning of the 2013-2014 season.

Since his arrival in 2010, Williamson has amassed a 119-64-13 record in the regular season – the best in the Eastern Conference during that time – while also coaching the IceDogs to the Eastern Conference Final in 2011 and the Ontario Hockey League Championship in 2012.

In addition, Williamson’s 21 playoff wins are the most by any OHL team during that period.

Marty lives in St. Catharines with his wife Deborah and son Sam.

The entire Niagara IceDogs organization would like to congratulate Marty on his new contract and look forward to five more seasons of exciting IceDogs hockey.

 (Nathan can be reached at


Press Release

1-HUMBOLDT BRONCOS (36-13-2-2) … 1st last week
They will have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs

2-MELVILLE MILLIONAIRES (35-14-2-3) … 3rd last week
Hottest team in the SJHL to end the regular season

3-YORKTON TERRIERS (36-14-1-3) … 2nd last week
They stumbled in the final week, but regrouped to win when they needed on final night
4-NIPAWIN HAWKS (32-14-2-6) … 4th last week
No regulation time losses in their last nine to end the regular season

5-FLIN FLON BOMBERS (33-19-1-0) … 5th last week
No regulation losses in four to end season and may be underrated going into playoffs

6-NOTRE DAME HOUNDS (27-21-0-5) … 7th last week
They got it together in the final week, restoring hope that maybe they belong closer to the top tier of the league

7-BATTLEFORDS NORTH STARS (26-21-2-5) … 6th last week
 Brutal schedule to end the year and just three wins in final ten
8-KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS (21-27-3-2) … 8th last week
Home ice advantage in a ‘pick em’ series with Estevan

9-ESTEVAN BRUINS (20-29-4-0) … 9th last week
Need a much better showing than the last time they went to Kindersley

10-MELFORT MUSTANGS (19-29-3-2) … 10th last week
Heavy underdogs in their series with the Stars, but don’t ever count these guys out

11-LA RONGE ICE WOLVES (20-31-0-3) … 11th last week
Paid dearly at Whitney Forum as Bombers knock them from playoffs for a change

12-WEYBURN RED WINGS (16-35-0-3) … 12th last week
Year to forget is over.  New era begins.


Tad Kozun, Nipawn (12-9-9-18) … finally held off scoresheet on Saturday after nine in a row with a point.

Wheaton King, Nipawin (12-2-12-14) … put up one the quietest high end seasons in recent memory.

Russell Trudeau, Melville (6-5-8-13) … nice spurt to make it within a point of scoring championship.

Ian McNulty, Melville (6-5-6-11) … almost as good as Trudeau to hang on to scoring championship.

Matt Saunderson, Melfort (4-0-6-6) … blossoming at just the right time of the year to lead Melfort blueline.

Calder Neufeld, Estevan (5-1-6-7) … it’s been a long road to recovery from injury layoff.

Devin Buffalo, Flin Flon (3-1, 1.68, .949) … no question he’ll be between the pipes for the start of playoffs.

Matt Hrynkiw, Humboldt (5-1, 1.48, .942, 1SO) … and to think Melville beat him for four on Friday night.  To Hrynkiw, it must’ve felt like ten.

Tyrell King, Kindersley (5-1, 1.95, .941) … most pivotal player in the Survivor Series versus Estevan.

Jordan Liem, Nipawin (6-1, 2.00, .932 ,1SO) … have to wonder if we’ll see him come playoff time.

 (Nathan can be reached at


My story for the Maine Hockey Journal 

Press Release

Buffalo Jr. Sabres forward and OJHL leading scorer Tyler Gjurich (photo credit - Graeme Reid/OJHL Images) has confirmed his commitment to join the University of Maine Black Bears beginning with the 2013-14 Hockey East season.

The rookie is a native of Hatfield, Pennsylvania and has led the OJHL scoring race for most of the season, recently becoming just the second player in franchise history and only OJHL player this season to hit the magical 50 goal plateau.  Along with the leading the club's resurgence in the standings, Gjurich also represented the OJHL West Division All-Star Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge that was held in Wellington, Ontario.

“They’ve been interested for a pretty long time,” said Gjurich. “Once they came and offered me to go, you can’t really turn down going to Maine!  I was really excited.”

“Tyler has earned this wonderful opportunity,” added Jr. Sabres head coach and general manager Michael Peca.  “He has committed himself this season to round out his game and compliment his incredible offensive instincts. In all my years of hockey I haven't seen many players that shoot the puck as well as he does. Maine is getting one heck of a player.”

Gjurich, who resides in Hatfield, Pennsylvania but previously played midget level hockey for the Buffalo Regals organization, is the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s leading goal scorer.  Gjurich has scored 52 goals so far this regular season with one game left to play.  On February 17 he netted his 50th and 51st goals and became only the second player in the history of the junior franchise to clear the 50-goal mark.  The only other person to do it was Brian Gionta, now captain of the Montreal Canadiens, who scored 57 times for what was then known as the Niagara Scenics in the 1996-97 season.

Gjurich becomes the seventh player on the current roster to commit to an NCAA hockey program.  He has not yet decided on an academic major.

Congratulations Tyler and best of luck in the playoffs and your NCAA career!

(Nathan can be reached at

Lansing's Durgan signs NAHL tender

Press Release

The Lansing Capitals of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) have announced that 18U forward Conor Durgan has signed an NAHL tender with the Michigan Warriors.  The Warriors are members of the NAHL’s North Division and were a 2011 NAHL Robertson Cup Finalist.

Durgan, 18, was named as the NAPHL’s Pointstreak Peak Performer for the month of January.  His performance led Lansing to capture the 18U regular season title.  In the NAPHL Championships played this past weekend, the Capitals made it all the way to the Championship game, where they lost to eventual Champion, Indiana Jr. Ice.

Durgan, who is from Laingsburg, Michigan, is blessed with good size (6’1/190) and a nice scoring touch as proven during the month of January.  While helping the Capitals go undefeated in the Troy I event, Durgan had six points (5 goals, 1 assist, 2 game-winning goals) at the event and managed to register at least a point in each of the four wins.

During the 2012-13 season, he finished tied for 5th in team scoring with 13 points in 22 NAPHL games played this past season.  Durgan is the second Lansing 18U player to sign an NAHL tender. Teammate Ryan Polin previously tendered with the Topeka RoadRunners.
 (Nathan can be reached at

Monday, February 25, 2013


Press Release

The Spokane Chiefs have added Jacob Cardiff, a 16-year-old forward from Wilcox, Saskatchewan, and reassigned 16-year-old defenseman Colton Bobyk to Red Deer of the AMHL.

Cardiff scored 21 goals and 41 points this season in 42 games with the Notre Dame Hounds of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.  The 6'0", 180 pound right wing was Spokane's seventh round selection in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft.

Bobyk, Spokane's 10th round pick in 2011, played two games over the weekend for Spokane and will join Red Deer for the AMHL playoffs.

 (Nathan can be reached at

MacKinnon of Wilderness named Pizza Hut player of the week

Press Release

THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The Superior International Junior Hockey League announced Monday that Michael MacKinnon of the Minnesota Wilderness has been named the Pizza Hut player of the week for the period wrapping up Feb. 24.

In two games this past week the 20-year-old native of Troy, Mich., registered six points helping the league-leading Wilderness skate to a pair of victories, while also aiding his club extend a consecutive game win streak to 16 in succession.

MacKinnon opened up his award-winning effort Friday by dishing out four assists in a 9-3 romp over the visiting Thunder Bay North Stars.

He followed that up the next night by scoring once and setting up another in a 7-0 shutout win vs. the Dryden Ice Dogs.

On the season the Wilderness forward sits 10th in SIJHL scoring with 48 points in 40 games, including 17 tallies.

MacKinnon also shares the league lead in game-winning goals with five, along with teammates Mike Dietrich and Jordan Shockley.

Honourable Mention for Pizza Hut player of the week went to forward Merritt Rysavy, the captain of the Fort Frances Lakers.

At the conclusion of the 2012-13 regular season the SIJHL’s top performer will earn the Pizza Hut player of the year award.

 (Nathan can be reached at

NAHL announces Combat Hockey Divisional Stars of the Week

Press Release

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) today announced the Divisional Stars of the Week presented by Combat Hockey for the week ending February 24, 2013.  The Divisional Stars of the Week is a weekly feature during the 2012-13 regular season that honors the top performing players in each of the four NAHL divisions as nominated by their respective teams.

Central Division Star of the Week: CJ Smith, forward, Austin Bruins

The Bruins got closer to a regular season title with their weekend home sweep of the 2nd place Bismarck Bobcats this past weekend.  Forward CJ Smith, 18, had a busy week and big impact over the weekend.  After playing for the NAHL 18U Selects Team at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament on Monday-Wednesday, the Richfield, Minnesota native returned to Austin where he had five points (1 goal, 4 assists) in the weekend sweep of the Bobcats.  All of Smith’s (5’11/175) points came in the second game of the weekend, an 8-3 win over Bismarck.  Smith was also a +3 during the weekend.  His 49 points to date are a career high and rank tied for 3rd on the Bruins roster.  “CJ had a long week and I thought his outstanding play was a testament to his talents, drive and conditioning,” said Bruins head coach Chris Tok.  “Bismarck is a very tough team to play against, so the fact he was able to make a significant impact is proof as to how well he played.”

2nd Star: Tim Shaughnessy, goaltender, Coulee Region Chill

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Erik Baskin, forward, Aberdeen Wings – Peter Krieger, forward, Aberdeen Wings.

North Division Star of the Week: Tyler Spezia, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons

Newly acquired Port Huron forward Tyler Spezia, 19, made his presence felt this weekend as he helped the Fighting Falcons earn a weekend split of their series in Janesville as they sit in position to make the playoffs with just eight games remaining in the regular season.  The native of Clinton Township, Michigan, recorded a point in six of Port Huron’s nine total goals over the weekend, which included three goals and three assists.  On Friday, Spezia (5’11/170) had two goals (including the game-winner) and two assists in a 7-1 win.  On Saturday, he chimed in with a goal and an assist in a 5-2 loss.  Despite the split, Spezia was a +4 on the weekend and has eight points and two game-winning goals in his six games played with the Fighting Falcons thus far.  “This past weekend was probably the most comfortable for Tyler.  Has settled in with his linemates and created some great chemistry with them,” said Port Huron head coach Michael Gershon.  “He set the tone from the first game this weekend and it’s been a very pleasant surprise to have a player of his caliber on the team and contributing the way he has.”

2nd Star: Jared VanWormer, forward, Soo Eagles

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Ryan Atkinson, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues – Zach Diamantoni, forward, Janesville Jets – Brock Kautz, goaltender, Janesville Jets – Sean Murphy, forward, Soo Eagles – Alex Okicki, goaltender, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – David Parrittino, forward, Port Huron Fighting Falcons – Robbie Payne, forward, Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings – Brett Skibba, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues.

South Division Star of the Week: Tyler Poulsen, forward, Topeka RoadRunners

Thanks to a weekend road sweep of the Tornado and a subsequent seven-game winning streak, the Topeka RoadRunners sit comfortably in 2nd place in the South Division and still have their sights set on 1st place.  Leading the way this past weekend was 19-year-old forward Tyler Poulsen.  The Arvada, Colorado native made a significant impact in each of the RoadRunners two wins in Texas in the weekend sweep.  On Friday, Poulsen (5’7/146) had an assist in the eventual game-tying goal in Topeka’s 4-3 win over the Tornado.  A night later, he scored twice (including the game-winning goal) and added an assist in a 4-2 win over Texas.  He was also a +3 during the weekend.  “We acquired Tyler for exactly what he has been doing, which is adding depth to our offense and providing some spark and talent,” said Topeka head coach Scott Langer.  “He has been very dynamic, especially since Christmas and is a threat every time he touches the ice.  Tyler plays with a lot of speed and plays with some grit.  He is tough to play against.” 

2nd Star: Conor O’Neil, forward, Wichita Falls Wildcats

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): Gage Christianson, forward, Amarillo Bulls – Tyler Groat, forward, Topeka RoadRunners – Ben Myers, goaltender, Corpus Christi IceRays – TJ Sherman, defenseman, Amarillo Bulls.

West Division Star of the Week: Matt Salituro, forward, Fresno Monsters

Fresno’s sweep of the Tomahawks in Johnstown couldn’t have come at a better time for the team.  Having lost their last 10 games heading into the weekend, the Monsters needed a sweep and got one thanks to timely scoring and good goaltending.  One of those point producers was forward Matt Salituro, 20.  The native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, began the week by helping the Frontier team win the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament.  His weekend concluded with a two-goal effort over the weekend in two tightly contested wins.  Salituro’s (5’11/185) big night came on Friday, in which he scored both goals in regulation in a 3-2 shootout win.  Although his night ended early on Saturday, Salituro was the biggest contributor offensively for the Monsters during the winning weekend.  “It was important for us to get back on the right track and Matt had a big impact for us during the weekend,” said Monsters head coach Eric Ballard.  “He plays with an edge and works hard to provide himself and his teammates with scoring chances.”

2nd Star: Mitchell Snyder, forward, Fresno Monsters

Honorable Mention (alphabetical): None

 (Nathan can be reached at

USHL Honors - Week 22

Press Release

  Today, the United States Hockey League announced the CCM and Reebok player awards for the 22nd week of the 2012-13 USHL regular season.

Award winners include Thomas Forgione of the Sioux Falls Stampede who has been named CCM Forward of the Week; Jimmy Mazza from the Youngstown Phantoms, selected as CCM Defenseman of the Week; and Sean Romeo of the Youngstown Phantoms, earning honors as Reebok Goaltender of the Week.

Thomas Forgione, F, Sioux Falls Stampede: The South Burlington, VT native had a big week for the Stampede, tallying three goals and two assists in three games.  Friday night in Fargo, the second-year forward had a three-point game when he dished out two assists and netted a goal in the 6-3 victory.   After being held off of the score sheet in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to the Omaha Lancers, the 19-year-old bounced back with a two-goal performance in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Green Bay Gamblers and also finished with a game high plus-three rating.  Forgione has seven points (5g, 2a) over his last four games and is currently fifth on the team in scoring with 35 points (18g, 17a) through 46 games.  Five of his goals this season have been game-winners, tying for third in the USHL.

Jimmy Mazza, D, Youngstown Phantoms: The rookie defenseman tallied his first USHL career goal and assisted on the game-winning goal in Saturday’s 3-1 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks, helping the Phantoms to a weekend sweep.  His goal late in the third period sealed the win for the Phantoms, and finished the game with a plus-one on-ice rating.  The 18-year-old from Kings Park, New York was also part of a defensive unit that held Muskegon to just three goals over the two weekend games, snapping their four-game win streak.  Mazza currently has seven points (1g, 6a) in 40 games this season, fifth-most among the Phantoms defensemen, and has posted an even-or-better plus/minus rating in seven of his last eight contests.

Sean Romeo, G, Youngstown Phantoms: The Cary, NC native backstopped the Phantoms to two huge wins over the weekend, posting a 1.47 goals-against-average and .947 save percentage.  On Saturday, he turned aside 30 shots to lead Youngstown to a 3-1 win over the Muskegon Lumberjacks and capture his 20th win of the season.  The Cary, NC native then blocked 24 shots through 65 minutes of play before coming up with two huge saves in the shootout to complete the sweep of Muskegon with a 3-2 shootout win on Sunday.  Romeo is 5-1-0 over his last six starts and has not allowed more than two goals in any of those five victories.   He ranks third amongst USHL goaltenders with 21 wins this season.

 (Nathan can be reached at