CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK OFF-SEASON NOTEBOOK – WEEK TWO

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK OFF-SEASON NOTEBOOK – WEEK TWO

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTWhile the lights may be out in Hartford, there is still plenty of hockey going on still in the ECHL, AHL, and NHL.

AHL PLAYOFFS

The Hershey Bears have a three-games-to-two lead in their playoff series with the Providence Bruins after the weekend’s action. On Thursday night, Hershey won a 2-1 OT thriller with, who else but ex-Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Bourque scoring both goals. The team got the win despite registering just 15 shots on goal. Bears’ goalie Pheonix Copley stopped 39 of 40 Bruins shots. The series is a 2-3-2 format with Game 4 on Friday going to the Bruins in a reversal of the score from the previous night and their own 2-1 win.  In Game 5 on Sunday in Providence, it took OT to get a result again, and Hershey won again as Madison Bowey scored 1:58 into overtime to give the Bears a 3-2 win.

Meanwhile, back in Thursday’s game, Bourque got his first goal early in the third and then the second, the game winner, the other came at 7:23 in overtime both on the powerplay. The Bears evened up their series with Providence at one with Travis Boyd scoring the overtime game-winner in Game 2.

Providence evened the series Friday night with a 2-1 win and another suffocating defensive effort outshooting the Bears 39-11. Hershey held to 26 shots in two games—unheard of.

Syracuse had a 2-0 series lead on Toronto are now tied at two games apiece going into Saturday’s game.

In Game 3 North Branford’s Adam Erne scored his first goal of the playoffs for Syracuse, but the Marlies scored three goals in 33 seconds in the final two minutes of the game to win capped by the game winner by Kasperi Kapanen, son of ex-Whaler Sami Kapanen.

Erne again scored the game’s first goal in Game 4, but Toronto prevailed 3-2.

Chicago had evened the series at one game but now trail three games to one in their series against Grand Rapids. In game 2 the Wolves had scored a 7-3 victory with former UCONN Husky Tage Thompson (Orange, CT) scoring his first pro playoff goal and picked up an assist and earned the game’s second star.

Thompson is, of course, the son of ex-Wolf Pack and current Bridgeport head coach Brent Thompson.

They dropped a 5-3 decision despite two goals from AHL regular season MVP and scoring champion an ex-Yale Bulldog Kenny Agostino and another Thompson tally.

Out West, San Jose has grabbed a commanding three games to one lead on San Diego winning 4-3 Friday night on strong play from Barclay Goodrow (a goal and two assists), Ryan Carpenter (goal and an assist and Joakim Ryan (two assists) holding off a third period Gulls rally. The Barracuda won game 3 despite the games first goal being scored by the Gulls Max Jones, son of ex-Nighthawk Brad Jones.

PLAYER AND COACHING MOVEMENT

-Cleveland’s Daniel Zaar heads back home to Sweden to play for Malmo IF of the Swedish Hockey League.

-Joey Benik who split the season between Bakersfield and Norfolk (ECHL) heads to Lillehammer (Norway-NEL).

-Jake Dowell goes from Rockford to EHC Linz (Austria-AEHL).

-Erik Karlsson (no not that one, but the same spelling) goes from Charlotte to Timra IK (Sweden-Allsvenskan). That makes 13 AHLer’s have signed for Europe next season.

-Jordan Sims, UCONN alum and son of ex-Whaler and Nighthawk Al Sims is heading overseas next year and HC Lyon (France-FREL).

-Mike Cichy (New Hartford, CT) switches team in Poland for next year going Orlik Opole to GKS Tychy (Poland-PZIHL).

-Martin Baca, nephew of former Whaler Jergus Baca switches tam in the Czech Republic going from HC Hradec Kralove to HC Kosice (Czech Republic-CEL).

-Ex-New Haven Senator Chris Luongo becomes an assistant coach at Michigan State (Big 10) leaving his post at USNDTP U-17 program.

-Texas signed two more collegians to AHL contracts for next season Sheldon Dires (Western Michigan University) and Steve Hanna (Michigan Tech) and goalie Rvan Cowley, a 4th round pick by Florida from the national champion University of Denver Pioneers signs an AHL deal with Springfield.

That makes 141 NCAA players I and III have signed pro deals with NHL, AHL or ECHL.

CONGRATS

For the second week in a row, a former Wolf Pack head coach gets top honors.

Ryan McGill was named the OHL Coach of the Year led the Owen Sound Attack to a 49-15-2-2 record and 102 points breaking their previous best record set in 2010-11. The Attack led the league defensively giving up 177 goals against, They had the second-best record in the league league in regular season and finished third in the Western Division, but got knocked out the semi-finals by the Erie Otters whose President and COO is former New Haven Nighthawk GM Roy Mlakar.

Last week John Paddock, of the Regina Pats was named WHL Coach of the Year.

IIHF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Ex-Pack Brady Skej and Ranger teammate Kevin Hayes have been added to the Team USA lineup.

They will also get to see their former teammate Henrik Lundqvist suit up for the Swedes joining his twin brother and the Swedes captain Joel Lundqvist. The last time the two played together internationally was in the 2002 WJC championship tournament.

The Germans are getting Leon Draisaital from Edmonton and the Russians are getting Dmitri Orlov and Evgeni Kuznetsov from the Washington Capitals.

One surprise is that this past season Wolf Pack leading scorer Nicklas Jensen who has played on the international stage for Denmark in their World Championships squad last spring and for their Olympic qualifying tourney games has not been assigned to their team,

HARTFORD JUNIOR WOLF PACK

Sad to see one of the long standing faces in CT junior hockey will not be a regular feature.

Dan McCarthy, who played professionally for the New Haven Nighthawks and the Springfield Indians has retired from coaching and GM duties for the Hartford Junior Wolf Pack.

Always with a quick smile and his unmistakable laugh has had some recent health issues that have forced McCarthy to finally to hang up the skates.

McCarthy will still stop in to see action now and again,  but the day to day grind was something he had to walk away from. He got married, stayed in the area had two children with his wife Lori and kept his hand in the hockey business at the local level.

“I’m approaching 60 years old and I am retiring from my full time job (Metro North) and I have a brand new grandson just gotta take care of my health right now.”

McCarthy played five memorable NHL games with the Rangers scoring four goals for a guy who was drafted in the 15th round, 223rd overall in the 1978 NHL Draft. Just 11 other players were drafted after him and two made it to the NHL, Chris Nilan (Montreal, Rangers, Boston) and Louis Sleigher (Quebec and Boston). McCarthy, was ultimately sent back to New Haven  when legendary coach, Fred “The Fog “ Shero pulled him aside and later repeated to the press corps he was being returned because all he could do was score !!

He also played in Springfield and last year was an inductee to the Springfield Hockey Hall of Fame last year.

McCarthy played his junior hockey with the OHL Sudbury Wolves counting among his teammates future NHL stars Ron Duguay and Dave Farrish (Rangers), Mike Foligno (Buffalo and Detroit), Randy Carlyle (Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and current Anaheim head coach),  Dave Hunter (Edmonton eldest of Hunter brothers Dale and Mark), Rod Schutt (Pittsburgh), Jim Bedard (Washington), Randy Pierce (Colorado Rockies) and Hector Marini (New Jersey).

McCarthy, started the junior hockey development in Connecticut with the West Haven based CT Junior Wolves in the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League before merging with Crawford’s (a fellow Ontario native) team the CT Clippers that became the Junior Wolf Pack.

McCarthy is part of whole slew of changes at the Junior Wolf Pack.

Chris Cerella, the former UHL New Haven Knights player and all time leading scorer at Quinnipiac after six years leaves to coach the in New Hampshire Jr.Monarchs (EHL)

The new head coach and Director of Hockey Operations as the team moves into a new and top flight junior circuit, the USPHL Premier Division is Mike Tenney.

Tenney has been coaching junior hockey for the last nine years his resume includes various stops all through the US Northeast.

Tenney’s stops include, the Central Penn Panthers (MJHL), Walpole Express (MJHL), Islanders Hockey Club in Middlesex, MA (EMPJHL), Maime Wild (NA3HL) and most recently the Northeast Generals (NAHL).

Tenney’s experience as both GM and Head Coach saw his teams to post a .528 winning percentage (157-139-25) at the Tier III level. He has won division and league championships as well as a National runner up in 2009 with Central Penn.

Tenney won the coach of the year award in 2014 in the maiden season of the Maine Wild. Under his leadership and direction he has seen upwards to 60 players move onto the collegiate and professional levels of hockey.

The Junior Wolf Pack have 11 players heading off to Division II hockey next season.

Captain Shane Visnick is going to SUNY-Brockport, NY (SUNYAC) and a pair head to SUNY-Fredonia, NY (SUNYAC) in Ryan Dunner and Colin Valentine.Then another pair Kyle Carducci and Matt Longobardi (East Haven, CT) skate to Western New England College in Springfield, MA and Mike Rockwell heads to Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island.

Going to a brand new program at Bryn Athyn College just outside of Philadelphia is a trio comprised of Connor Deveraux, Jimmy Lockamyia and Nick Malvasi. Then three more will head to Lebanon Valley College that plays out of the Giant Center Arena home of the AHL Hershey Bears in Skyler Pugh, Bobby Wurster, and Felix Takasci-Nagy.

Rounding things out goalie Kevin Lacroix goes to NE-10 Southern New Hampshire University (formerly New Hampshire College).

RBC CUP

The Canadian Junior A hockey championship tournament is now getting underway this weekend in Cobourg, Ontario with five teams competing.

The teams are the Penticton Vees (BCHL), Terrebonne Conbas (QJAAAHL), Brooks Bandits (AJHL), Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) and the host Cobourg Cougards (CCHL). There are some CT names involved.

Penticton has the most with Matt Gosiewski (Wilton, CT), a Harvard University commit next year who also has been drafted by two junior leagues in Cedar Rapids (USHL) and Chicoutimi (QMJHL). Jamie Armstrong (Avon Old Farms) who started the year with Sioux City (USHL) and is a Northeastern (HEA) commit next year and Owen Sillinger, son of ex-Sound Tiger Mike Sillinger.

Brooks features Tyler Carangelo (Hamden, CT/Avon Old Farms), Cobourg’s head coach is a  playoff name that still haunts the Rangers–John Druce then with the Washington Capitals and Trenton head coach is former NHL’er Jerome Dupont (Toronto).

MALLOY BEGINS ANOTHER YEAR IN AUSTRALIA

Incredibly ex-Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack and Cheshire native Rob “Bert” Malloy starts his seventh season in the Australian Ice Hockey League (AIHL) with the defending Goodall Cup champion Newcastle Northstars.

We had a chance to catchup with Malloy in an exclusive e-mail interview.

Prior to the new AIHL season again you and the Mighty Roos (nickname for the Australian national team) played on the international stage and you garnered a silver medal going 3-1-0-1 (W-OTW-OTL-L) in five games falling short just short of another gold at the IIHF Division II Group A World Championship tournament in Galati, Romania ?

We fell just short to Romania who was hosting the tournament. It was a good result for us after being promoted from the group below the year before. I think we caught a lot of people off guard and made a solid showing, we belong at that level and have room to have more success internationally.

Once again you start off another AIHL season and you personally have gotten off to a good start statistically (six points in six games) what has been you keys to your play? 

It helps coming back from worlds and training camp when we are on the ice sometimes multiple times a day. I don’t really see any major differences in my play, maybe it comes down to getting a few good bounces.

On the other hand, Newcastle has had a slow start to the regular season in the first six games (1-2-0-1-2) for seven points tied with Perth for third place in the eight team league anything you can pick up on that has been the cause so far ?

Not to make excuses, but we have had a difficult start to the season. Our first weekend we flew to Adelaide (East Coast) on Saturday, then Perth (most western part of Australia) on the Sunday. Its like flying from Florida then California, for both their home openers. Admittedly, we can be playing better, but we are only three weeks into the season.

You had a strong game recently against the CBR (Canberra) Brave recovering from a poor start on the game, but had a big third period rally can you point to why you were able to turn it around in the third period ?

We had a very poor second period that put us down 4-1 heading into the third. Nobody wanted to get on a five hour bus ride home after losing to our rivals. We had an early goal and built momentum through the final period and won in the shootout.

How is the AIHL looking is hockey getting stronger and any chance  the league will add a few more games or maybe some play against teams the NZIHL (New Zealand Ice Hockey League) with New Zealand being their hemispheric rival in all sports ?

The league is getting exponentially stronger every year. The level of import players that come out here gets better every year (like ex-Pack Rory Rawkyk playing with the Sydney Ice Dogs) as well as the local talent. This is my seventh season down here, its awesome to see how much this league has improved over the years. There is always talk about playing against New Zealand teams. It just comes down to money, they tried to do it a couple years back. Hopefully, they can collaborate at some point in the near future I think it would be great for hockey in this part of the world.

The Northstars are on the road this weekend with a rematch with Canberra CBR Brave Saturday and play in Sydney against the Ice Dogs on Sunday.

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