Category Archives: Connecticut Whale

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – SARAH CASORSO SIGNS WITH BUFFALO BEAUTS

NWHLNWHL NEWS: SARAH CASORSO SIGNS WITH BUFFALO BEAUTS

Defenseman is Attending Buffalo Free Agent Camp This Weekend

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Buffalo, NYSarah Casorso has signed a contract with the Buffalo Beauts for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Ric Seiling announced Saturday at the NWHL Free Agent Camp in Buffalo. Casorso and the Beauts agreed to terms on a one-year, $13,500 contract.

“I think this league is one of the best in the world,” said Casorso. “It’s been a goal of mine to play at the highest level I can and this will give me the best opportunity to do so. I’m excited to be a part of this, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and hopefully I’ll inspire younger girls to achieve their goals.”

Casorso played for the University of British Columbia from 2010-2015, collecting 66 points (21g, 45a) in 121 games played. The defenseman from Kelowna, BC was named a First Team Canada West All-Star and a First Team CIS All-Canadian after the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

The NWHL is currently holding the second Free Agent Camp of the offseason in Buffalo, NY, at HARBORCENTER. Alexa Gruschow signed with the New York Riveters after the first Free Agent Camp in Newark, NJ.

The restricted free agency began on April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and lasts until July 31. The 2016 NWHL Draft was on June 18.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF-SEASON VOLUME 9

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT –  The Stanley Cup Championship has been won, and now the leaders of the thirty NHL teams are beginning the hardest part of their jobs…drafting prospects, trading players and signing free agents. But there is a LOT more than that going on.

AHL NEWS

The Tucson Roadrunners it is.

On Saturday, the Arizona Coyotes christened their new AHL team ready to begin to play in the fall at the Tucson Convention Center. They named the team The Tucson Roadrunners, a very familiar name to several generations of hockey fans in the state of Arizona. You can read about it in two well-written stories, HERE and HERE

While the former Springfield Falcons will now be in Arizona, there’s a new sheriff in town. The new team in Springfield will be known as, The Springfield Thunderbirds.

Having a team in Springfield makes Bruce Landon, the long-time face of hockey in Springfield, happy, though his role has significantly changed.

“I obviously couldn’t be more pleased that hockey is going to be in Springfield this fall and for a long time to come, but I’m no longer involved in the day-to-day business. I really defer to Mr. (Paul) Picknelly and attorney Frank Fitzgerald, who really put this together. I’m a consultant now, and I helped them with some pieces of this, but for any comment on the franchise, it’s theirs, and I will be strictly consulting on hockey matters like I was last year,” Landon said.

The team has acquired Paul Thompson, re-signed Connor Brickley, and are coming off a ninety point season in Portland where they posted a 41-27-6-2 record.

“They had a very good season in Portland, were in the playoffs and Florida had a good year last year, so things are trending in the upward direction. This week is a busy week in our business, with the draft and free agency, so the roster will be a little more formed, but we should have a strong team this season.”

ON THE MOVE

The National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) has four teams, and they held their draft last Saturday.  A few names of Connecticut interest were selected.

In that draft, there were a few names selected that could be of interest to Connecticut residents.

Sydney Daniels of Harvard, a former Westminster Prep (Simsbury) player, and the daughter of ex-Hartford Whaler, Scott “Chief” Daniels, was selected in the second round by the New York Riveters and its General Manager/Head Coach and former Hartford Wolf Pack forward, Chad Wiseman.

In the fifth round, the Connecticut Whale selected Quinnipiac University standout goaltender, Sydney Rossman, the ECACHL Goalie of the Year.

Former New York Rangers’ forward, Matthew Barnaby, has been named as an assistant coach with the Kitchener Rangers (OHL). Barnaby’s son, Matt Jr., has left Avon Old Farms to play for the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) where he will be coached by a former teammate of his father’s, Philippe Boucher. Joining him on the team will be Igor Larionev Jr.

The USNDTP that plays in the USHL could be renamed, “The Sons of Former NHL’ers.” Next year’s roster features eight players who are son’s of former NHL’ers and several with Connecticut connections.

Jack DeBoer, the son of the NHL San Jose Sharks’ head coach Peter Deboer, leaves Avon Old Farms to for USNDTP. Adam Samuelsson, the fourth and youngest child of Ulf Samuelsson, who was a one time Whaler favorite as well as an assistant coach with the Rangers, Wolf Pack, and Avon Old Farms goes as well. The youngest of the Samuelsson boys is Boston College-bound in two years. Mattias Samuelsson, no relation to Ulf, is the son of ex-New Haven Nighthawk, Kjell Samuelsson and he’s committed to attend the University of Michigan. While DJ King is the son of former Whaler and Springfield Indian, Derek King is another headed to the USNDTP.

Jack Barre (Greenwich/Salisbury Prep), who finished his four years at Dartmouth and was the team’s MVP, has signed an AHL deal with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

TRAVERSE CITY

The date for the annual Prospects Tournament has been released. The games will be played September 16-20. Playing in the tournament are the same eight teams as last season. The Detroit Red Wings are the host team while the Rangers, the St. Louis Blues, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Minnesota Wild, the Carolina Hurricanes, the Dallas Stars, and the Chicago Blackhawks make up the participants.

A complete schedule will be released at a later date.

UCONN HOME SCHEDULE

The Huskies announced their third season schedule as part of Hockey East. However, the times for the games are still being worked on as is the same for its entire 2016-17 schedule.

Oct 7 & 8 vs. Alabama-Huntsville
Oct. 21 vs. AIC
Nov. 18 vs. BU
Nov. 22 vs. BC
Nov. 26 vs. Sacred Heart
Dec. 3 vs. UMass-Lowell
Dec. 9 vs. UMass
Jan. 7 vs. Yale
Jan. 27 vs. Vermont
Feb. 4 vs. Merrimack
Feb. 8 vs. Providence
Feb. 17 vs. Northeastern
Feb. 25 vs. New Hampshire

UConn will also play some non-conference games on the road. The one’s they’re already committed to include:

Quinnipiac, Colgate, RIT, Ohio State (a two-game series), and another trip to the Desert Hockey Classic in Phoenix against Arizona State, St Cloud, and Brown.

Speaking of UConn, expect Cantlon’s Corner to have a feature story on an interview with Tage Thompson shortly.

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – ISOBEL CUP TO TRAVEL OVER 10K MILES THIS SUMMER

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NWHL NEWS: ISOBEL CUP TO TRAVEL OVER 10,000 MILES THIS SUMMER

Fans Can Track the Isobel Cup on Twitter Using #WheresIsobel

BY: Savanna Arral, Howlings

Boston, MA The Isobel Cup, the championship trophy of the National Women’s Hockey League, will travel the country this offseason with players from the 2015-16 Boston Pride team.

The Cup began its journey with a trip to Anchorage, AK, with Zoe Hickel and other members of the US National Team for a local showcase and youth clinic from June 7-10th. It then traveled to Sun Valley, ID, with Hilary Knight before returning to Boston, MA.

The Isobel Cup is also currently scheduled to travel to Warroad, MN, with Gigi Marvin in early July, and to Raleigh, NC, with Alyssa Gagliardi in late July for a youth hockey event.

The Cup received its name from Lord Frederick Arthur Stanley’s daughter, Isobel, who shared his love of the game. The sterling silver Cup stands at 25 1/2″ tall, 12″ wide, and weighs 15 pounds.

Media and fans can track the travels of the Isobel Cup this summer on Twitter by following @TheIsobelCup and using the hashtag #WheresIsobel.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

(Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images for NWHL)

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – KELSEY KOELZER TOPS 2016 NWHL DRAFT

NWHLNWHL NEWS: KELSEY KOELZER TOPS 2016 NWHL DRAFT

Draft Held Via Social Media From League Headquarters

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

New York, NYKelsey Koezler (Princeton), Lee Stecklein (Minnesota), Dani Cameranesi (Minnesota), and Ann-Renée Desbiens (Wisconsin) were selected in the first round of the 2016 NWHL Draft today.

General Managers Chad Wiseman of the New York Riveters, Ric Seiling of the Buffalo Beauts, Lisa Giovanelli of the Connecticut Whale, and Hayley Moore of the Boston Pride selected the top 20 rising seniors from collegiate hockey beginning at 12PM ET. Teams selected their picks according to their final regular season standing: Riveters, Beauts, Whale, and then Pride.

Koelzer, a defenseman, has collected 69 points (31g, 38a) in 95 games in her NCAA career thus far. She has been named a First Team All-American, a Patty Kazmaier Top 10 candidate, and ECAC Hockey’s Best Defender of the Year.

The full list of 2016 NWHL Draft selections:

Round 1: Kelsey Koelzer (NYR), Lee Stecklein (BUF), Dani Cameranesi (CTW), Ann-Renee Desbiens (BOS)

Round 2: Sydney Daniels (NYR), Cayley Mercer (BUF), Andie Anastos (CTW), Sarah Nurse (BOS).

Round 3: Jenny Ryan (NYR), Hayley Scamurra (BUF), Mellissa Channell (CTW), Ashleigh Brykaliuk (BOS).

Round 4: Sydney McKibbon (NYR), Emma Woods (BUF), Paige Savage (CTW), Halli Krzyzaniak (BOS).

Round 5: Amy Menke (NYR), Maddie Elia (BUF), Sydney Rossman (CTW), Lara Stalder (BOS).

Read more about the 2016 NWHL Draft class on nwhl.zone/draft.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK AHL OFF-SEASON VOLUME 4

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT – The AHL’s Final Four teams are set.

It took seven games, but the team with the league’s best record, the Toronto Marlies prevailed with a late goal in Game 7 to win 4-3 and eliminate the Albany Devils.

The Marlies were the deepest and most talented team entering the playoffs and were tested in every way in Game 7 and throughout the series with Albany.

Tied at one entering the third period, Albany scored early as Nick Lappin,  just signed out of Brown University after the collegiate season ended in March, scored his fifth of the postseason on a rebound after Jim O’Brien on a face off.

Before a packed crowd at the Ricoh Coliseum, Kasperi Kapanen, son of Whaler great Sami Kapanen, showed off his incredible speed by zipping down the left wing and whistling a wicked wrist shot to the short-side on Devils’ goalie, Scott Wedgewood.

William Nylander, son of former Whaler and New York Ranger Michael Nylander, employed his considerable skill and raced into the Devils zone. Nylander curled in the lower left-wing circle and found Kapanen again as he was open on the left wing. Kapanen waited and found Connor Carrick coming off the right point and hit him with a perfect cross-ice pass and he zipped his shot to the top shelf to take a 3-2 lead.

The Devils didn’t go away as Paul Thompson, a right-handed shot on the left wing side, took Marc-Andre Gragnani’s right point pass and drilled it to the short-side past a partially screened Antoine Bibeau.

Marlies veteran Richard Clune got a fortuitous bounce off the backboards of Andrei Soshnikov’s shot and chipped the puck into the top part of the net with 2:30 left in regulation for the game-winning goal.

The Devils had three whacks at the puck in the waning seconds, but Bibeau was down of the ice and kept his pads stacked to preserve the 4-3 win.

The Marlies will play the Hershey Bears featuring the Bourque brothers, Chris, and Ryan in the Eastern Conference final starting with Games 1 & 2 in Hershey Friday and Saturday night. The series will see a rare schedule of 2-3-1-1 format because of building scheduling issues in Hershey with the circus.

What a difference a year makes by the way.

Despite a strong regular season for Albany, Yann Danis has been the backup this playoff after his spectacular run last spring with the Wolf Pack and played just one period in relief of Wedgewood.

It took seven games and overtime for the Hershey Bears to advance.

Dustin Boyd’s goal at 10:58 gave Hershey a 3-2 over their Keystone State rivals, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Boyd swung around from behind the left-wing side and fired his shot high to the short side earning the Bears the victory.

Hershey took a 2-1 lead on what certainly has to be among those considered for the Goal-Of-The-Year.

Carter Camper made a great move to free himself then made a beautiful forehand-to-backhand move on Casey DeSmith to score the goal.

The Pacific Division series ended in Ontario Saturday night with the Reign winning 2-1 and advancing in five games to the Western Conference title.

Justin Auger had the game winner in the 2-1 Game 5 clincher.

The San Diego Gulls had just one win, a 3-0 shutout in Game Three.

Matt Hackett is the nephew of a former winner of the Calder Cup’s Jack Butterfield Award as the MVP of the playoffs. His uncle is also a goaltender. He’s Jeff Hackett, who played for Springfield in 1990. They younger Hackett pitched a shutout with 29 saves.

The Reign won Game 4 in overtime. The final score was 4-3 despite a strong three-point performance by ex-Hartford Wolf Pack, Chris Mueller.

Mueller set up rookie Shea Theodore on the powerplay with a perfect cross-ice pass from the right wing circle to Theodore at the left point for the first goal of the game.

Mueller potted a goal to tie the game at two from the left side of the net. The shot came off a rebound off the stick of AHL All-Rookie team member, rearguard Brandon Montour, who outworked Ontario captain Vincent LoVerde and jammed the puck home.

The Reign went ahead with two quick goals at 3-2 in a 1:52 span both by Adrian Kempe. Mueller scored ten seconds later going down the left wing side and turned Nic Dowd inside out and beat the league’s best in netminder Peter Budaj, but like last spring in Manchester when they were the Monarchs, the Reign found a way to get the game winner in overtime.

The Lake Erie Monsters looked to complete the sweep of the Grand Rapids Griffins after amassing a 3-0 series lead.  The Griffins, however, fought back to make it to a game six, but the Monsters overtime victory prevented a Game 7 by the count of 4-3. The Monsters will now play the defending AHL Calder Cup champions, the Ontario Reign in the Western Conference final starting Saturday with Game 2 Sunday in California.

Lake Erie was down early 2-0 in the first 2:16 of the game and that became 3-1 early in the second. When that happened, the Monsters replaced starting goalie Joonas Korpisala, with veteran and former Springfield Falcon goalie, Anton Forsberg and he shut the door stopping all 23 shots he faced.

Zach Werenski, the young defenseman just signed out of Michigan after their season ended a month ago, helped in engineering the Monster’s comeback.

Werenski set up Lukas Sedlak’s goal early in the second period with a right point shot. Sedlak chipped in a backhand rebound. Werenski, had the game-winner at 12:32 of overtime getting his rebound of a backhand shot and with four Grand Rapids players all nearby, Werenski got to the loose puck, and he put his second backhander in for the victory.

Had there been a seventh game, it would have been played in Columbus because the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers had a playoff game scheduled for Tuesday the same night that would have forced a date and venue change.

The Griffins rallied from a 4-1 deficit in Game Four with a three-goal third period to win 5-4 and avoid the playoff sweep. Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist.
Five different Grand Rapids players scored with Andreas Antanasiou tallying the game-winner with 1:55 to go in regulation.
Game 5 was all Grand Rapids a 6-1 win paced by a Tyler Bertuzzi hat trick.

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS

French Connection II watching ex-CT Whale Jonathan Marchessault setting up former Ranger Anton Stralman to tie the game at two in Game 2 Monday night. Then Jonathan Drouin, banished to Syracuse in the AHL at midseason, sniping a goal off the right side to tie the game at two.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

The Pack’s Nicklas Jensen continued the same strong play he showed down the stretch in Hartford’s failed playoff push helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

Jensen helped Denmark engineer an upset win over the Czech Republic 2-1 in a shootout.

He assisted on the game-tying goal, and he scored a shootout goal to keep Denmark alive in the extra round before Nikolas Ehlers scored the game winner.

Monday, Denmark beat Kazakhstan 4-1 with Jensen scoring again and had seven shots on goals, and the Danes secured a quarterfinal appearance because the Swiss lost 5-4 to Czechs on Tuesday. Last Friday, he scored his second goal, a shootout goal, to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

Last Friday, Jensen scored his second goal, in the shoot-out to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia. In six games he has five goals (tied for fourth in goals scored with Tomas Plekanec Czech Republic/Montreal) and seven points for the Danes.

The quarterfinals start Thursday Denmark plays Finland in St. Petersburg.

Ex-Pack Nigel Dawes continues to do well for Kazakhstan he scored the lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday and again in a loss to Denmark. He has eight points with four goals, good for tenth place in the tournament.

The best scoring defenseman still in the tourney is the Wolf Pack’s Raphael Diaz with six assists for Switzerland. Diaz played the most minutes (19:14) and had four shots on goal in a crucial 5-4 loss to the Czechs eliminating the Swiss from the medal round.

Ex-Sound Tiger Nino Niederreiter is right behind for the Swiss with three goals and five points.

The second best goalie so far is Canada’s and former Wolf Pack, Cam Talbot. In four games, Talbot has a microscopic 0.75 GAA, given up just three goals, pitched two shutouts and has a spectacular 96.0 % save percentage.

The Czech Republic’s Dominic Furch has a 0.65 GAA and a 97.2% save percentage. His numbers are better than Talbot’s, but he has played in only three games while Talbot’s played four.

Reminds you of Talbot’s AHL playoff debut when he shutout the Sound Tigers in three straight in an opening round series.

The US, despite a two-game slump, made the quarterfinals in Group B.

The US lost to Slovakia 3-2 on Tuesday despite getting the games first goal from ex-Sound Tiger, Brock Nelson.The game-winner came off the stick of ex-Springfield Falcon, Marko Dano.

The US plays the Czech Republic on Thursday in Moscow (9:00 am NBC Sports Network).

RANGERS SIGNING

Much heralded right-wing, and third round pick, 75th overall in 2013, Pavel Buchnevich, inked an NHL entry-level deal with the Rangers last week.

The 21-year-old split the year with his hometown KHL team Severstal Cherepovets before being traded to St. Petersburg. For the season, he had 16 goals and 31 points in 58 games. St. Petersburg made it to the KHL Western Conference final of the Gagarin Cup playoffs.

His three-year standard entry-level contract has an NHL salary of $925K and an AHL salary of $70K, but the contract according to General Fanager-dot-com has a European assignment clause which could mean if he doesn’t make the Rangers he would likely return to Russia.

ON THE MOVE

Former Hartford Whaler, Randy Cunneyworth, was replaced and reassigned from Rochester as the Buffalo Sabres named Dan Lambert (Kelowna-WHL) as their new AHL head coach.

Congrats to another former Whaler and longtime AHL coach, Tom Rowe, who became GM of Florida (NHL) as part of a major Panthers organizational shuffle.

Curiously, Eric Joyce was named as an assistant GM; he was also the GM of the Portland Pirates last year. When Rowe was given his promotion on January 1st to Assistant GM in Florida after coaching the Pirates in the first half of the season.

Joyce retained the title GM of their of their AHL affiliate, but the team remains unnamed in the press release. The move of their member team from Portland to Springfield is still under review by the AHL, which is set to reconvene in ten days on the matter. The sale was made by the local owner Ron Cain to a yet publicly unidentified ownership group, but Cantlon’s Corner has learned former Falcons owner Charles Pompea and long-time face of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon, are two of the primary investors.

Sam Ftorek, son of former Nighthawk coach and player Robbie Ftorek, was named the first head coach for Roanoke (SPHL). He was the assistant coach for Kalamazoo (ECHL) last year.

Bridgeport Sound Tiger Sebastian Collberg heads back home to play with Rogle BK (Sweden-SHL) next year making him the sixth AHL’er to sign to play in Europe next season.

Ex-Pack Tomas Zaborsky goes from HIFK Helsinki (Finland-FEL) to Brynas IF (Sweden-SHL), nd defenseman Ilkka Heikkinen goes from Vaxjo (Sweden-SHL) to TPS Turku (Finland-FEL).

Old New Haven Knights forward, Alexei Lazarenko, 40, signed for another year with Vityaz Kharkov to play in the Ukrainian Hockey League. He is just one of seven players left actively playing who wore a New Haven uniform between the AHL and UHL.

AEG Europe announced its team the Hamburg Freezers (Germany-DEL) will not operate next season despite an average attendance of 9.002 (tenth best in Europe) last year when they missed the playoffs.

The team GM is former Nighthawk, Stephane J.G. Richer and ex-Pack, Sam Klassen, played on the team. AEG also owns another team in the DEL Eisbaren Berlin who have the second best attendance of all hockey played in Europe with 13,022 per game.

Rich McKenna was hired as the new head coach for the Division III powerhouse University Wisconsin-Superior. McKenna was an assistant coach at both UConn (AHC years) and Wesleyan University. There are thirteen former UConn players and coaches in the coaching ranks nationally collegiately (Division I and III), juniors, and prep and public schools

US JUNIOR HOCKEY PLAYOFFS

Former UConn player, Trevor Stewart, guided his Fairbanks (AK) Ice Dogs to their third NAHL Robertson Cup title after a 2-0 win over Wichita Falls (TX) Wildcats on Sunday in Edina, MN in the national championship game.

Each team won both semifinal games Fairbanks over Aston (PA) Rebels and Wichita Falls over Bismarck (ND) Bobcats.

In the USHL’s best of five Clark Cup Finals, the Tri-City (NE) Storm are up 2-0 over the Dubuque (IA) Fighting Saints. In Game One, Yale-bound Evan Smith scored the first goal of the game for Dubuque,b ut Tri-City scored the next five goals in a 5-1 victory.

Then in Game 2, Tri-City won 4-2. Smith and his twin brother, Mitchell (also heading to Yale) had five and four shots respectively and former prep school teammate at Salisbury Michael O’ Leary, who is committed to Notre Dame had three shots at Tri-City.

Games 3 and maybe 4 are in Tri-City Friday and Saturday.

The 98th edition of Canadian junior hockey’s Memorial Cup tournament is all set to start in Red Deer, Alberta on Friday night as the host team and city Red Deer Rebels (WHL) play the London Knights in the opening game.

The Rebels join WHL playoff champion Brandon Wheat Kings, QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and the OHL juggernaut winners of 13 straight games London Knights coached by Dale Hunter.

The tourney starts Friday and the NHL Network will air the games live with Red Deer in the Mountain time zone. Saturday Brandon plays Rouyn-Noranda and Sunday Red Deer plays Rouyn-Noranda at 7pm.

If you haven’t watched it you should it’s a fantastic view of some future NHL stars already drafted, those to be drafted and of course new names emerge.

ALLAN CUP

Congrats to the Bentley Generals coached by former Wolf Pack, Ryan Tobler, winning their second consecutive Canadian senior hockey title in beating the tournament host Southeast Praire Thunder in Steinbach, Manitoba.

The Generals also featured former Wolf Pack, Matt St fashion, who scored six goals in four games in the tournament. He played most of his season with Big Valley in the North Central (Senior) Hockey League and was added to the Bentley roster for the post season when Big Valley’s season ended.

Former Sound Tiger Adam Huxley was also on the team and he played for his hometown senior team Wainwright (SASHL) in the regular season and was also added for the playoffs.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK AHL OFF SEASON VOLUME 3

gerry-150x130WOLF PACK AHL OFF SEASON VOLUME 3

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT The minor league hockey map is changing again as the shifting sands continue.

On Tuesday, the AHL Board of Governors (BOG) met in Chicago and conditionally approved the sale of the Springfield Falcons to the Arizona Coyotes. They also approved the team’s relocation to Tucson, AZ where they will start play in the fall at the Tucson Convention Center (TCC).

The Rio Nuevo Board, which oversees the TCC, approved $3.2 million for use in renovation and upgrades to the TCC. It’s a mere formality. They will become the sixth member of the AHL Pacific Division with the release of conference alignments likely coming in July.

The Tucson City Council is expected to finalize a lease. Once it’s approved, that would be the second hurdle cleared on the way to a full approval from the AHL BOG.

The other sale on the agenda is that of the Portland Pirates.  However to a yet un-named investor group in Springfield was tabled for another two weeks before a vote would take place.

The sale of the Pirates is to an unnamed investor group in Springfield. That move was set aside for another two weeks before a vote will take place.

Two versions have emerged regarding the hold-up.

The first is that the Florida Panthers are steamed about the sale and expected to be in Portland as their affiliation agreement stipulated.  The Panthers are threatening to break the 30-30-30 balance of NHL and AHL teams and eventually the 30 ECHL teams in the new model minor league arrangement.

The other is the local investor group in Springfield needs more to show the financial capabilities for purchasing and maintaining the franchise.

One of the major principals in the sale is former Falcons owner, Charles Pompea, and the former Director of Hockley Operations, and the long-time face of Springfield hockey, Bruce Landon. There is also potentially MGM-Springfield, who will be begin running the Mass Mutual Center as of July 1st.

MGM Springfield needs a team as, Spectra, the soon-to-be former management company of the building, has no bookings of any kind scheduled beyond July 1st.

Meanwhile, Portland has already begun the process to gain entry into the ECHL in 2017-18, the same time when Worcester will make it’s entrance.

In a story, in the Portland Press Herald, (HEREthey identify the Pirates GM this past season Brad Church and C. Godfrey Wood, involved in hockey in the region going back to the WHA Whaler days. Cantlon’s Corner has learned through two sources that Wood’s business partners are none other than the Baldwin boys—Howard, Sr., and Howard, Jr.

The group made a bid for the Worcester (ECHL) franchise in the spring and were denied by the city. They tried again recently with the Portland (AHL) sale and according to a source, “were blown out of the water.” Another source, with long-time hockey connections, when confirming Baldwin and Wood were working together in a bid to gain an ECHL franchise for Portland, said, “there are no two better thieves than those two…look out Portland!”

The Baldwin’s left a trail a debt from their last run in Hartford. The trail was more than $3 million to banks, vendors, employees and even the State of Connecticut while running the CT Whale as Hartford Hockey, LLC and never repaid a dime of the money.

CALDER CUP PLAYOFFS

The Toronto Marlies have begun to demonstrate their offensive firepower in smashing Albany Devils 7-2 and 5-1 in the last two games to take a commanding 3-2 in the series. The Devils forced a game seven with a 4-1 win on Saturday.

In the 5-1 win, Milford native and Yale grad, Mark Arcobello, posted three assists and had five points in the last two games.

Andrei Soznikov’s two goals help engineer the 7-1 drubbing. Connor Carrick, William Nylander, Connor Brown and Sam Carrick have posted multiple-point games in the last two as the depth of the Marlies has been on full display.

What a difference a year makes. Despite a strong regular season for Albany, Yann Danis has been the backup this playoff series. After his spectacular run last spring with the Wolf Pack, he has played just one period in relief of starter, Scott Wedgewood. That appearance came in the 7-1 loss. Wedgewood went the distance in the game six win in Toronto and will likely start Game 7 in Albany on Monday.

Albany defenseman, Dan Kelly, was hit with a ten-game suspension for a wicked elbow to the head of Toronto’s Andreas Johanson in that 7-2 loss. Johanson had a brief stay in the hospital. Kelly’s is out for the rest of the series and will miss seven more playoffs games should Albany win and advance or the rest of the games will be served next season.

It’s the second longest suspension of the year. The longest went to the Ontario Reign’s Kurtis MacDermid, youngest son of former Whaler Paul MacDermid, who got twelve games for an illegal hit to the head.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins won Game 6 6-2 over the Hershey Bears on Friday night. That series will see a Game 7 at 5:00 pm on Sunday.

Game 5 Hershey with an intense third period, rallied past the Penguins with Zach Sill having a goal and two assists for the contest in the 5-3 win.  Ryan Bourque, the former Wolf Pack captain, tallied the empty net goal to seal the win.

Lake Erie looked to finish off and sweep Grand Rapids but was stunned as the Griffins rallied from a 4-1 deficit with a three-goal third period in Game Four to win 5-4. Anthony Mantha had a goal and an assist.

Five different Grand Rapids players scored with Andreas Antanasiou scoring the game-winner with 1:55 to go in regulation. The two teams hook up for Game 5 in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday, and the Griffins kept the series alive with a 6-1 drubbing of the Griffins to send it to a Game 6 on Monday night. A Game 7 would be played on Wednesday if it became necessary.

-The Pacific Division saw the Reign close out the San Diego Gulls with a 2-1 win. The Reign have former Wolf Pack center Kris Newbury on their roster. The Gulls feature ex-Pack Chris Mueller and Stu Bickel on their team.

The Gulls had a 3-0 shutout in the last game played on Sunday with Matt Hackett nephew of former Calder Cup Jack Butterfield playoff MVP goalie Jeff Hackett (Springfield 1990) pitching a shutout with 29 saves.

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Current and former Wolf Pack are making quite the impact at the Hockey World Championships.

The Pack’s Nicklas Jensen continues to play well as he showed down the stretch in Hartford’s failed playoff push.

On Friday, Jensen, who scored during regulation, tallied a dazzling goal in the shootout, to lead Denmark to a 3-2 win over Latvia.  In five games for the Danes, Jensen has four goals and five points.

Ex-Pack and Ranger, Nigel Dawes, is doing well for Kazakhstan. Dawes scored the team’s lone goal in a 3-1 loss to the Czech Republic on Friday. He has three goals and four assists (seven points) in five games. That puts Dawes in a five-way tie for the fourth spot in scoring to this stage in the tournament.

The best scoring defenseman in the tourney thus far is the Wolf Pack’s Raphael Diaz with six assists for Switzerland.

Ex-Sound Tiger, Nino Niederreiter, is right behind Diaz for the Swiss. Niederreiter has three goals and five points.

The best goalie to this stage in the tournament has been former Wolf Pack, Cam Talbot. In four games for Team Canada, Talbot has a 1.00 GAA and a spectacular 94.7 % save percentage.

RANGERS SIGNING

The much-heralded, right-wing and a third round pick (75th overall) in 2013, Pavel Buchnevich, inked an NHL entry-level deal with the Rangers.

The 21-year-old split the season with his hometown KHL team, several Cherepovets, before being traded to St. Petersburg. For the season, Buchnevich had 16 goals and 31 points in 58 games. St. Peterburg made it to the KHL Western Conference final of the Gagarin Cup playoffs.

In what might be a related story, Russian media reports have stated the Rangers have made an offer to former WolfPack/CT Whale defenseman, Pavel Valentenko. The Russian, who had a monster shot, but little control over it while in Hartford, split the KHL season with Avangard Omsk and Spartak Moscow. The expectation is that should Valentenko sign; he would return to Hartford once both sides agree to a deal.

While the Rangers are looking to getting younger in New York, they also want to add more depth on defense, perhaps Valentenko would have something to do Buchnevich, who does not speak any English.

ON THE MOVE

According to Czech media reports, Richard Nejezchleb is close to signing a deal with HC Litvinov in the Czech Elite League (CEL) for next season. Nejezchleb started last season with the Wolf Pack and scored only one goal in thirteen games before being reassigned on November 17th to Greenville (41-8-15-23).

Carl Klingberg, another ex-Pack playing in Russia, has left Torpedo Novgorod. His departure for the KHL, after last season, truly caught the organization off guard. According to reports, the Rangers are making overtures to him.

Former Wolf Pack/CT Whale Chad Kolarik goes from financially troubled EHC Kloten in Switzerland (LNA) to Adler Mannheim (Germany-DEL) next season.

Benoit Groulx, the highly successful QMJHL coach with the Gatineau Olympics, is making a second stab at coaching in the AHL. His first go was for two years in 2008-2010 with the Rochester Americans, but that didn’t end well. On Thursday, Groulx was named the new head coach for the Syracuse Crunch, the top affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

ARRAL: NWHL NEWS – SHENAE LUNDBERG SIGNS WITH CT WHALE

Lundberg Credit Troy ParlaNWHL NEWS: SHENAE LUNDBERG SIGNS WITH CONNECTICUT WHALE

Goaltender Was Traded From New York Riveters Last Season

BY: Savanna Arral, NWHL

Northford, CTShenae Lundberg has signed a contract with the Connecticut Whale for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Lisa Giovanelli announced Friday. Lundberg and the Whale agreed to terms on a one-year, $15,000 contract.

Lundberg was traded to the Whale last season from the New York Riveters, with whom she played one game and posted a .875 SV%. Lundberg played two games with Connecticut and averaged a .902 SV% and 2.67 GAA over the entire season.

“Last year’s team was able to create a great team atmosphere, which I was blessed to become a part of,” said Lundberg. “I think that the girls returning, along with myself, will be able to continue that tradition and show the newbies how to be a part of a great organization.”

“That, along with the new talent that will be coming on board, will allow us to do even better in the season and go even further in the playoffs,” she continued. “Fins up!”

The restricted free agency period began April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and lasts until July 31. The 2016 NWHL Draft is June 18.

About the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL)
The NWHL is the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The inaugural season began October 11, 2015, with the Founding Four: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale and New York Riveters. The Boston Pride became the first team in NWHL history to raise the Isobel Cup on March 12, 2016.

PHOTO BY TROY PARLA