Category Archives: College Hockey

O’REILLY: PACK WIN SECOND STRAIGHT. KNOCK OFF MARLIES 5-2

Hartford Wolf Pack 5, Toronto Marlies 2

BY: Meghan O’Reilly, Hartford Wolf Pack

Hartford, CT, October 13, 2017 – Boo Nieves had the game-winning goal and an assist, and Scott Kosmachuk added three assists, as the Hartford Wolf Pack downed the Toronto Marlies 5-2 Friday night at the XL Center.

The Wolf Pack scored early, a developing trend for the team, thanks to Adam Tambellini and assists from Nieves and Kosmachuk. That goal occurred at 5:07 of the first period, and it was the team’s first shot on goal of the game. After a series of penalties, the Wolf Pack was outshot in the first period 11-5.

The second period started uneventfully, but it did not stay that way for long. At 6:29, the Wolf Pack’s Matt Puempel changed the tone of the game by putting the rebound of his own shot past Toronto goaltender Garret Sparks (25 saves), making the score 2-0. Ryan Graves and Alexei Bereglazov were credited with the assists.

After Dmytro Timashov was sent off for high-sticking at 8:55, the Wolf Pack had a power play opportunity they did not squander. Nieves backhanded the puck past Sparks at 10:49, with assists from Joe Whitney and Kosmachuk, upping the Hartford lead to 3-0.

At the beginning of the third, however, it seemed like Friday the 13th had finally caught up to the Wolf Pack. Kasperi Kapanen ended Hartford goaltender Chris Nell’s shutout bid on a shot from the left circle at 1:21, and just 45 seconds later, at 2:06, Vincent LoVerde scored shorthanded on a nearly rink-length solo rush. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 15

CANTLON’S CORNER: Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 15

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – You would think there might be a slow down for the dog days of summer, but hockey, like any other business, is at work around the world 365 days a year. Here’s what’s happening.

LORD STANLEY VISITS CONNECTICUT TWICE

On Sunday at Avon Old Farms at Jennings Fairchild Arena from 10:30 am to 12:30 am hockey’s chalice will be on display a donation of $10 as a charitable donation for the Connecticut Children’s medical Center this will be for Nick Bonino’s turn.

Then the prized silverware on Monday goes to the Bolton Ice Center for Ron Hainsey who played there and is more os a semi-private as they want all the youth groups who play out of the arena for a chance to get their picture taken.

Getting there early for parking is important at both venues. Continue reading

CANTLON: (SUN) PACK BEAT PHANTOMS IN A SHOOTOUT GET FIRST WIN

WOLF Pack Beat Phantoms In A Shootout FOR FIRst Win

      VERSUS      

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – It took a little extra time for the Hartford Wolf Pack on Sunday afternoon to earn their first win of the season as it took Adam Tambellini’s shootout attempt to win it, 2-1.

The goal came as a result of a last second decision by Tambellini.

As Tambellini came down the slot, he began to lose control of the puck, but he recovered on the backhand switched to his forehand and left goaltender Alex Lyon on his face on the ice. It was the only puck to score during the shootout.

“That was all planned, all planned,” Tambellini said with a wry smile. “I worked on the move in the off-season and wanted to give it a go and it worked out.”

Chris Nell (28 saves) sealed the deal stopping the third Phantoms attempt from Phil Varone. Continue reading

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: OCT. 9

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: OCT. 9

 Igor Shesterkin, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) – Shesterkin posted a 2-0-0 record, along with a 1.00 GAA and a .968 SV% (61 saves on 63 shots) in two appearances during the week. He has posted a 13-0-0 record, along with a 1.17 GAA, a .957 SV%, and 3 SO in 13 appearances this season. Shesterkin has allowed one goal or fewer in 10 of his 13 appearances in 2017-18, including each of his last seven appearances (7-0-0 record, 0.73 GAA, .973 SV%, 2 SO over the span).

The Rangers’ fourth-round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has registered a 44-4-1 record, along with a 1.53 GAA, a .942 SV%, and 11 SO in 52 appearances since the start of last season. Shesterkin leads the KHL in wins (13), GAA (1.17), and SV% (.957), and is tied for the league lead in shutouts (three) thus far in 2017-18. Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK FAN EVENT, “PAINT THE ICE,” POSTPONED (UPDATED)

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK FAN EVENT,

“PAINT THE ICE,” POSTPONED

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTThe annual fan event, “Paint The Ice” held at the XL Center was postponed Tuesday morning after a serious issue was discovered on the ice surface.

The brand new ice making system, which was hooked up to the old chiller system, was unable to make a complete sheet of ice. Spots of concrete in the area where the Hartford Wolf Pack defends twice were visible. The ice crew, and a local refrigeration company, Carrier, were on site trying to locate the problem and develop a remedy.

CRDA Executive Director Mike Freimuth was also on site. His only comment, “They have a month to get it ready.“ Freimuth was referencing the October 6th Pack home opener against the Charlotte Checkers.

Hartford PR Director, Bob Crawford, said the team hopes to reschedule the event in short order.

With training camp opening, a mere three weeks away, the hope is the Wolf Pack, and the UConn Huskies Hockey East squad will have the time to get adequately used to the brand new surface and in-rink conditions. Along with the ice, there are new dasher boards and a brand new, seamless Flex-glass. These renovations were part of a necessary 4 million dollar overhaul of the ice making system that started in early April. The process went full steam ahead in mid-May and included the pouring of a brand new concrete floor in mid-July.

WOLF PACK MAJOR SIGNING

After last year’s porous performance and the downward slide the Wolf Pack have had the past few years, the team took a major step in turning that around with the announcement of the signing of veteran center, Joe Whitney to a one-year AHL deal.

Whitney played for four years with Albany after completing a strong Division I college hockey career at Boston College (HE) where he tallied 142 points in 161 games for the Eagles.

Whitney has practically owned the Wolf Pack in his AHL career. Two years ago while skating with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, he had nine points in five games including, not one, but two hat tricks. Whitney’s career numbers against Hartford during his years in Albany and Bridgeport are staggering. He’s registered 37 points in 33 games. Whitney suffered a broken leg midseason while with the Sound Tigers in 2015-16. Last year, he signed a lucrative $325K deal with the San Antonio Rampage. However, it didn’t work out too well.

Last year, he signed a lucrative $325K deal with the San Antonio Rampage. However, it didn’t work out too well.

Whitney and the Rampage team struggled as he posted just 28 points in 55 games. Whitney was dealt at the trade deadline to the Tucson Roadrunners where he logged just eight points in 19 games to finish out the year. Tucson, like the Wolf Pack, did not qualify for the AHL Calder Cup playoffs.

This signing, along with the signing of Paul Carey, and former UConn star, Cole Schneider, gives the Wolf Pack a bonafide number one line to start the season and will likely be their top powerplay unit.

Continue reading

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 17

CANTLON’S CORNER: Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 17

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – This is the last of our off season trackings of all things Hartford Wolf Pack and CT hockey connected info. Cantlon’s Corner will return when Wolf Pack training camp opens in late September following the New York Rangers – New York Islanders exhibition game on September 22nd at the Webster Bank Arena. The exhibition game will be the sixth NHL pre-season game held at the Arena, but the first with the Rangers as the opponent for the Islanders.

PLAYER & COACHING MOVEMENT

Ex-Wolf Pack / Ranger, Tanner Glass, has signed a training camp PTO with the Calgary Flames.

Ex-Wolf Pack defenseman, Conor Allen, signed a one-year AHL deal with the Rochester Americans.

Ex-Pack forward, Scott Tanski, leaves the South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) to sign with the Reading Royals (ECHL).

Ex-Sound Tiger defenseman, Peter Lee, who had some good seasons with Metallurg Magnitogorsk (Russia-KHL), signed a PTO training camp deal with the Los Angeles Kings. He’ll likely end up playing with the Ontario Reign (AHL).

The AHL-to-Europe list grew this past week. Ex-Pack, Mike Kostka, who split last season with the Stockton Heat after being traded by the Binghamton Senators signs with Skelleftea AIK (Sweden-SHL). Former Yale player, Antoine Langaniere, following four years of AHL play departs the San Diego Gulls for Assat Pori (Finland-FEL).  John Kurtz of the Syracuse Crunch, who also had time playing time with the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL) signs with the Belfast Giants (Northern Ireland-EIHL).

These signings make 80 players who have signed in Europe with 28 of the 30 AHL teams having lost at least one to Europe or Asia hockey leagues.

Ex-Wolf Pack, Ryan Potulny, who started last year with HK Hradec Kralove (Czech Republic-CEL) and ended the season with EHC Linz (Austria-AEHL) heads to Braehead (Scotland-EIHL) for this season.

Ex-Pack, Maxim Kondratiev, re-signs with Amur Khabarovsk (Russia-KHL). Continue reading

CANTLON: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 16

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 16

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Each week we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2017-18 Hartford Wolf Pack hockey season. Still, teams are making moves in pursuit of being the only team to win their last game of the entire season. 

PLAYER & COACHING MOVEMENT

Winger Michael Joly, who signed a free agent out of the QMJHL last summer with Hartford, has departed and headed out West. Joly signed a one-year AHL deal with San Antonio. Joly struggled early last season, then caught fire in the ECHL with the Pack’s ECHL affiliates, the Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Upon his return to the American League, Joly was playing well for the Wolf Pack. A teammate’s errant shot from center ice late in the season caught Joly under his visor. The shot cracked his orbital bone, ending his season.

After four years in Hartford, defenseman Tommy Hughes, as expected, has moved on, signing a contract to play for the Hershey Bears this coming season.

Former Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig signed another one-year AHL deal with Vancouver and will start the season in Utica.

Another former Quinnipiac Bobcat, Justin Agosta, signs with Manchester (ECHL).

Ex-Sound Tiger Chris Langkow returns from Europe where he split last year with HDD Olimpija Ljubljana (Slovenia-AEHL) and VIK Vasteras HK (Sweden-Allsvenskan) and signs with expansion Worcester (ECHL).

Ex-Pack Vladimir Vorobiev was elevated from an assistant coach, which he’s been the last four years, to head coach for Dynamo Moscow (Russia-KHL).

The AHL Euro list has added Nikita Jevpalovs who left the San Jose Barracuda and heads back home to Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL). Fellow Latvian, Richard Burkharts, who split the season with Springfield and Manchester (ECHL) signs with HC Zlin (Czech Republic-CEL).

Chris Carlisle of Binghamton signs with HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL).

28 of the 30 teams in the AHL have now lost at least one player signing in Europe. The list has 77 players signing overseas.

Harvard’s Alex Kerfoot pursued by the New York Rangers and nine other NHL teams, settled on signing an ELC (entry level contract) with Colorado.

Eric Sweetman of St. Lawrence (ECACHL) signs with Texas (AHL).

UCONN’s Evan Richardson signed his first pro contract with Tulsa (ECHL). Doyle Somerby of Boston University (HE) signs with Cleveland (AHL). James De Haas of Clarkson University (ECACHL), signs with Lehigh Valley and his collegian teammate, A.J. Fossen, signs with RoKi (Finland Division-I).

Blaine Byron of the University of Maine (HE) signs with Springfield.  Danny Smith of R.I.T. (AHA) signs with Rapid City (ECHL) and Anthony Flaherty of Division III National champion, Norwich University, (Southfield, Vermont) signs with Rapid City.

That makes 182 Division I collegians signing North American pro contracts and 22 players from Division III. The total now stands at 204. Toss in another 45 signing in Europe and that’s 249 players moving from the American college hockey ranks to pro hockey.

NWHL & CWHL DRAFTS

The two professional women’s hockey leagues, the NWHL-National Women’s Hockey League and CWHL-Canadian Women’s Hockey League, recently held their respective drafts.

Two Yale players were taken in the NWHL Draft. Mallory Souliotis was taken by the Boston Pride which is coached by former Wolf Pack, Thomas Poeck while Eden Murray went to the CT Whale under new head coach, Ryan Equale (Wilton/UCONN)

Taylor Cianfarano of Quinnipiac University was selected by the New York Riveters coached by another ex-Pack, Chad Wiseman.

In the CWHL Draft, Nicole Kosta of Quinnipiac was selected the Markham (Ontario) Thunder and fellow Lady Bobcat Taryn Baumgardt was taken by the Calgary Inferno.

IN MEMORIAM

On Friday, some very sad and tragic news as former CT Whale Ticket Sales Director, Bob McCaffrey, passed away suddenly in South Carolina.

McCaffrey, a Hartford native, working for the ECHL South Carolina Stingrays was battling cancer the past two months and had his last chemotherapy treatment that morning.  He was a passionate man and a former member of the US Air Force. After the CT Whale dissolved, McCaffrey worked for the AHL’s Manchester Monarchs for two seasons before moving to South Carolina in 2012.

His father, Jim McCaffrey, has been a goal judge for 19 of the 20 seasons in Hartford. He recently beat prostate cancer in the spring. Deepest condolences are sent to his mother, Barbara, and his sister, Karen, and the entire McCaffrey family.

IN MEMORIAM PART  TWO

Another link to New Haven’s minor pro hockey history has passed away.

84-year-old, Parker MacDonald, passed away in a Branford nursing home last Thursday. His wife Janice MacDonald, who passed away in 2011, was the PR Director for the Nighthawks in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. She was the first woman to win the PR Person of the Year Award.

MacDonald’s career started out in his hometown of Sydney, Nova Scotia where he played with the junior Sydney Millionaires. He then moved on to play major junior with the famed, Toronto Marlboros in the mid-1950’s. He played in the AHL with the old Pittsburgh Hornets for four seasons (1952-56). MacDonald got his first NHL action with one game with the Maple Leafs in 1956. The following fall he played for the Providence Reds, then the Rangers farm team, and played with the Rangers from 1956-60.

MacDonald was back in the AHL. His first was with the Buffalo Swords and then with the Springfield Indians in the early 1960’s.

MacDonald actually got some playing time with Mr. Hockey, Gordie Howe, in Detroit when he broke into a six team league in 1960. He then spent a split season in Hershey before going back to Detroit where he stayed from 1961-65. He played the rest of his career from 1965-1969 with Boston, Detroit and then the expansion Minnesota North Stars.

MacDonald had some more AHL time back with Pittsburgh and then closed his playing career with Memphis South Stars of the Central Professional Hockey League (CPHL).

His coaching career started with the Iowa Stars in the original Central Hockey League in 1969-70. There, MacDonald coached a young Rick Dudley who would eventually become a New Haven coach. he also coached a future Ranger in Walt McKechnie, a future WHA scorer in Danny Lawson, a long time North Star in Dennis O’ Brien and a goalie, Gilles Gilbert, who had a good run in Boston. Then he moved onto to Cleveland (AHL) the following year but was replaced midseason by John Muckler in 1970-’71.

MacDonald then took on the job with the AHL expansion, New Haven Nighthawks. He was the most successful and longest serving Nighthawks head coach and compiled a record of 221-151-43. He went to back-to-back Calder Cup finals as a Rangers affiliate from 1978-1979. his teams got swept both times by the Maine Mariners, the top farm team of the Flyers.

He won the Louis Pieri Award in 1978-79 as the league’s coach of the year. His only interruption in New Haven came when he started his second season in Minnesota but was replaced midseason. His last coaching stop was in Los Angeles as an assistant coach in 1980-81, and then later as a head coach in 1981-82. He was again replaced at midseason with a 13-24-5 record in 42 games by another New Haven hockey legend, Don Perry.

A Nighthawks player who remembers him fondly, was then just a young kid out St. Mary’s, Ontario, Dan McCarthy.

“I had great respect for Parker. I had a tough first year with knee injuries, but he never gave up on me and always gave me a chance,” remarked McCarthy.

“He came and ran a practice working on game situations, but he expected you do the rest, get in shape, work on what he talked about, and work on your weak points. He expected you to be a man and he thought of you as a pro. He didn’t say, ‘Ah he’s a rookie, a first-year guy.’ He thought of you as a pro and among equals in the locker room. Looking back on it years later, I really appreciate that man-to-man approach. There were no analytic guys back then. You had expectations to meet. Parker was a fair and tough coach.”

He also had a sense of humor.

“One night in Syracuse, I got a breakaway from the red line with about ten seconds to go in regulation.  I missed it, so we have to go to overtime. I get back to the bench and Parker goes, ‘Thanks, McCarthy, now you’re cutting into my drinking time.'”

Parker MacDonald, a great part of New Haven and Connecticut hockey history rest in peace.

IN MEMORIAM PART III

The late first head coach of the Wolf Pack the effervescent and erudite, E.J. McGuire, was posthumously elected to Greater Buffalo Region Hall of Fame.

McGuire was obsessed with being healthy. He passed away in 2011 because of a rare blood cancer.

He started out as a head coach at Brockport University. He then went to the NCAA at the Division II level in the ECAC West. That was where he encountered a young, Mike Keenan, who was then the head coach of Rochester. After his five years there, he would become Keenan’s assistant. They went to the Stanley Cup Finals twice, losing to Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers in 1985 and 1987.

He came from what was known as the First Ward of the city. Ironically, the ceremony was held around the corner from McGuire’s childhood home. His intellect was always off the charts. McGuire earned a Ph.D.d in Kinesiology/Psychology from the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada) in 1990 certainly testifies to that.

He was a head coach twice in the pros and once in Canadian major junior. He coached Guelph (OHL) for two seasons where he earned a record of 80-41-10 in 132 games. His team lost in OHL Finals to Peterborough and then semi-finals to the Ottawa 67’s. Some of the players he coached those two seasons included ex-Wolf Pack players Dan Cloutier and Ryan Risidore and a trio of ex-Beast of New Haven players in the recently retired, Herbert Vasilijves, Dwayne Hay and Andrew Long,

Another Chris Hajt was recently named an assistant coach for the Buffalo Sabres.

McGuire coached the Maine Marines in 1991-92 with a 23-47-10 record and missed the Calder Cup playoffs.

He coached the first two Wolf Pack teams. In 160 games, McGuire had a a record of 81-55-17 mark and lost in the semifinals in six games his first year to the St. John Flames. He lost in his second year to the eventual Calder Cup champion Providence Bruins in a four game sweep.

He returned for one year as an assistant in Philly before becoming the Director of the NHL Central Scouting Bureau where he revamped and modernized the department.

After his passing, the NHL created the EJ McGuire Award of Excellence which is awarded to the draftee who best exemplified strength of character, competiveness, and athleticism.

He richly deserves to be in the Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame and a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame in the builders wing should be next.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 12

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 12

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – Another busy off-season week.

OLYMPIC TEAMS

The first country to get started on the Olympics, sans NHL participation for the first time in the last five Olympiads, has begun.  Team Canada named its management and coaching staff and a preliminary roster.

The GM who will guide and put the pieces of the puzzle together, is former Hartford Whaler, Sean Burke. A pro scout with the Montreal Canadiens, Burke was named last Tuesday to begin the process of putting a team together in six months for the Pyeongchang, South Korean Games which will run from February 9-25.

The first roster that’s been released has a few familiar names. They will have two squads with few different players on each to play in the Sochi Tournament on August 6-9 and the Tournament Victor Puchkov from August 14-17.

For the Sochi tourney, ex-Pack, Daniel Paille, will be playing and for the Puchkov tourney with ex-Pack and ex Bridgeport Sound Tiger, Taylor Beck. In both games, ex-Sound Tigers’ goalie Kevin Poulin will dress for the Canada. Continue reading

CANLTON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 11

CANLTON’S CORNER: Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 11

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – NFL football camps are opening. In basketball, the free agent signing period is in full-swing while in the NHL, nothing seems to be slowing down as the summer moves along.

RANGERS SIGNING

Of the many problems that existed for the Hartford Wolf Pack last season, the most glaring concern was between the pipes as the goaltending was far beneath an acceptable level.

The theory was that with both Magnus Hellberg, returning off a solid season, and a healthy and seeming revitalized Mackenzie Skapski, who is now fully recovered from hip surgery, could be the foundation upon which the team could build as the team’s young members adjusted to life in pro hockey.

It’s pretty apparent, that never materialized.

Hellberg freely admitted at the end of the year that he was sub-par. He seemingly was always fighting the puck and had problems shoulder high to his glove side and getting beaten early in too many games. Skapski just never seemed to recover sinking deeper and deeper on the depth chart as the season progressed.

Skapski never seemed to recover and sunk deeper and deeper on the depth chart as the season progressed.

After such an impressive training camp in New York, Skapski had a terrible performance in an early season game in Providence. “The Buffalo Killer,” as Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault dubbed him in his rookie season after two wins against the Sabres, dropped to 0-4 and was getting beaten cleanly on long shots. He also was apprehensive in his decision making deciding to stay back in his net instead of getting to a loose puck that the Bruins Jake DeBrusk raced in to get before beating him to the top shelf. His performance earned him a return ticket to the ECHL and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, where he remained except for a few emergency recalls. Skapski ended the year with his getting bombed in a 6-1 shellacking in his only playoff appearance. He did not even dress for the following game.

Hellberg has since signed in Beijing, China with the Kunlun Red Star, a KHL team there. Continue reading

RANGERS RELEASE 2017 PROSPECT BIOS

RANGERS RELEASE

2017

PROSPECT BIOS

BY: The New York Rangers

Name: Lias Andersson 
Position: Center Height: 6-0
Weight: 200 Shoots: Left
Born: October 13, 1998
Birthplace: Smogen, Sweden 

2016-17 Notes: Skated in 42 games with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), registering nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points, along with a plus-21 rating and 18 penalty minutes … Established SHL career-highs in several categories, including games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating … Ranked eighth in the SHL – and led all junior players (younger than 20 years old) in the league – in plus/minus rating … Ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in goals and assists, and tied for second among all junior players in the SHL in points … Registered five points (four goals, one assist) and 18 penalty minutes in 16 playoff games while helping HV71 win the Le Mat Trophy as Swedish Hockey League Champions … Tied for fifth on HV71 in goals in the playoffs; also ranked second among all junior players in the SHL in playoff goals … Recorded two goals in three games with HV71’s junior team in SuperElit … Registered three goals and posted a plus-two rating in seven games while representing Sweden at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Career Highlights: Helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF World U18 Championship; recorded nine points (five goals, four assists) in seven contests and was selected as one of the Top Three Players on his team in the tournament … Helped Sweden earn a silver medal at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament … Has skated in 64 career SHL games over parts of two seasons (2015-16 and 2016-17), registering 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists), along with a plus-14 rating … His father,  Niklas Andersson, played parts of six seasons in the NHL (1992-93; 1995-96 – 1997-98; 1999-00 – 2000-01) with Quebec, the NY Islanders, San Jose, Nashville, and Calgary … His uncle, Mikael Andersson, played in the NHL for parts of 15 seasons (1985-86 – 1999-00) and is currently a European Scout with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Career Transactions: June 23, 2017 – Selected by the Rangers in the first round, seventh overall, of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft

Continue reading