Category Archives: IIHF World Championships

CANTLON: HARTFORD WOLF PACK WEEKEND PREVIEW 

CANTLON: HARTFORD WOLF PACK WEEKEND PREVIEW

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT The Hartford Wolf Pack will get a solid test of the resurgence in their play tonight as they play host to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The AHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins now sit in second place in the Atlantic Division and fourth overall in the conference with a record of 15-7-1-0. The Baby Penguins also have a two-game winning streak.

“They are a very good team,” Pack head coach Keith McCambridge said. “They have a lot of balance. They sit where they are in the standings for a reason. For us, it’s about playing the right way as we have of late, and play with consistency and make sure we’re also collecting points along the way with getting eight-out-of-a possible-ten points in our last five games. That helps us along with learning and growing (as a team) and helps impact our play.”

McCambridge gave his players a maintenance day off on Thursday.

The Wolf Pack record stands at 10-12-3-2 (25 points) putting them in seventh place, just two points behind the Hershey Bears and one point behind the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Continue reading

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: DEC. 4

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: DEC. 4

  1. Sean Day tallied four assists/points and posted a plus-two rating in three games during the week. He established a single-game OHL career-high with three assists and tied a single-game OHL career-high with three points on Nov. 30 vs. North Bay. The Rangers’ third-round pick (81st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has recorded a point in seven of the last nine games (one goal, eight assists), in 11 of the last 14 games (three goals, 12 assists), and in 15 of the last 19 games (four goals, 15 assists). He ranks second on Windsor in assists (16) and is tied for fourth on the team in points (20) this season. In addition, he leads team defensemen in goals (four), assists, and points in 2017-18. Day also ranks 10th among OHL defensemen (min. 20 games played) in points per game this season (0.87), and he is tied for 11th among OHL defensemen in assists in 2017-18.
  2. Lias Andersson tallied two points (one goal, one assist) and recorded three shots on goal on Nov. 28 against Rogle. Andersson has recorded five points (two goals, three assists) over the last three games. The Rangers’ first-round pick (seventh overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has registered a goal/point in five of the last eight games, tallying nine points (five goals, four assists) over the span. Andersson has also tallied 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his last 12 SHL games with Frolunda, as well as 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 20 SHL contests with Frolunda this season. Among SHL players younger than 20 years old, Andersson ranks second in goals (seven) and points (13) in 2017-18. Andersson also ranks third on Frolunda in goals and ranks fifth on the team in points this season.
  3. Ty Ronning tallied two goals/points and registered 20 shots on goal in three games during the week. Ronning registered a goal, led all skaters with eight shots on goal, and was selected as the game’s First Star on Dec. 1 at Prince George. The Rangers’ seventh-round pick (201st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has recorded a goal in 15 of the last 19 contests (20 goals, nine assists over the span). Ronning has registered 26 goals in 29 games with Vancouver in 2017-18, and he has recorded at least one goal in 19 of the 29 contests. He leads the Giants in goals (26), points (38), plus/minus rating (plus-11), and shots on goal (158) thus far this season. In addition, Ronning leads the WHL in shots on goal and is tied for second in the league in goals in 2017-18.

  • Ryan Gropp registered three goals/points in three games during the week, and he posted his first career multi-goal/point game in the AHL by recording two goals on Dec. 2 at Toronto. The Rangers’ second-round pick (41st overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has tallied four goals/points in the last four games and five points (four goals, one assist) in the last six contests. 
  • Vince Pedrie registered two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-two rating on Dec. 1 at Rochester. Pedrie has tallied an assist/point in four of the last six games (one goal, four assists over the span). He has recorded seven points (two goals, five assists) in 14 AHL games this season, and he leads Wolf Pack defensemen in points per game in 2017-18 (0.50). 
  • Vinni Lettieri tallied a point in two of three games during the week (one goal, one assist). Lettieri has registered a point in 13 of his last 20 games, tallying 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) over the span. He leads the Wolf Pack in goals (nine) and power play goals (five), and ranks second in points (16) in 2017-18. In addition, Lettieri ranks sixth among AHL rookies in goals and is tied for ninth among AHL rookies in points this season. 
  • Peter Holland made his debut with the Wolf Pack on Dec. 1 at Rochester, and he recorded his first assist/point with Hartford on Dec. 2 at Toronto. Holland, who was acquired by the Rangers from Montreal on Nov. 30, has registered 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 22 AHL games in 2017-18. 
  • Brandon Crawley recorded two assists/points, including his first career AHL assist, on Dec. 1 at Rochester. 
  • Gabriel Fontaine registered his second career AHL goal/point on Nov. 29 vs. Springfield. The Rangers’ sixth-round pick (171st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has also posted a plus-three rating over the last three games. 
  • Alexandar Georgiev started all three games for the Wolf Pack during the week, and he made at least 30 saves in two of the three contests. He has made 30 or more saves in four of his last five starts.
  • Dawson Leedahl was reassigned to Hartford from the Greenville Swamp Rabbits on Nov. 30, and he posted a plus-two rating while making his AHL debut with the Wolf Pack on Dec. 1 at Rochester. Leedahl registered 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in 18 ECHL games with Greenville this season prior to being reassigned to the Wolf Pack.

  • Alexei Bereglazov tallied his first assist/point of the season in the KHL and posted a plus-three rating in 25:51 of ice time to help Metallurg earn a 4-3 win on Dec. 3 against Barys. He has averaged 22:16 of ice time per game in 10 games with Metallurg in 2017-18. 
  • Tim Gettinger tallied two points (one goal, one assist) in three games during the week, and he registered the game-winning goal on Dec. 3 at Ottawa. The Rangers’ fifth-round pick (141st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has recorded a point in seven of the last eight games (six goals, four assists over the span), and he has tallied a goal in six of the eight contests. Gettinger has recorded 29 points (15 goals, 14 assists) and a plus-13 rating in 28 games with Sault Ste. Marie this season. He ranks fifth in the OHL in shots on goal this season (116). In addition, Gettinger leads Sault Ste. Marie in shots on goal ranks third in goals, ranks fourth in points, is tied for fourth in plus/minus rating, and is tied for fifth in assists in 2017-18. 
  • Brandon Halverson stopped 36 of 38 shots he faced in his only appearance of the week with Greenville on Dec. 1 against Orlando. The Rangers’ second-round pick (59th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has made 30 or more saves in nine of his 12 ECHL appearances this season.
  • Adam Huska stopped 26 of 27 shots he faced to earn his third consecutive win on Nov. 28 against Northeastern. In addition, Huska allowed one goal in a game for the fourth consecutive contest. The Rangers’ seventh-round pick (184th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has only allowed one goal in five of his last seven appearances, posting a 3-3-1 record, along with a 2.00 GAA and a .924 SV% over the span.
  • Dominik Lakatos registered a goal while skating in his second game this season with HC Benatky nad Jizerou in the Czech Republic. The Rangers’ sixth-round pick (157th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has tallied two points (one goal, one assist) in two games with HC Benatky in 2017-18.
  • Tyler Nanne registered a power play goal and posted a plus-one rating on Dec. 1 against Wisconsin. The Rangers’ fifth-round pick (142nd overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has tallied three points (one goal, two assists) in the last three games, as well as four points (one goal, three assists) in the last six games. Nanne has registered six points (two goals, four assists) and has posted a plus-two rating with the University of Minnesota this season. He is tied for first among team defensemen in goals and ranks third among team defensemen in points in 2017-18.
  • Tarmo Reunanen tallied an assist while making his season debut with SaPKo on Dec. 2. SaPKo is a team in the Mestis league in Finland. The Rangers’ fourth-round pick (98th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft registered nine assists in 42 games with TUTO in Mestis during the 2016-17 season.
  • Igor Shesterkin stopped 28 of 30 shots he faced and earned a win on Nov. 29 against Avangard. The Rangers’ fourth-round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has posted a 19-0-1 record, along with a 1.57 GAA, a .941 SV%, and 4 SO in 20 KHL appearances this season. Over the last two seasons with SKA, Shesterkin has posted a 50-4-2 record, along with a 1.62 GAA, a .938 SV%, and 12 SO in 59 appearances. He ranks second in the KHL in SV%, ranks fourth in GAA, and is tied for sixth in shutouts this season.
  • Patrik Virta tallied two assists, recorded four shots on goal, posted a plus-two rating, and won 13 of 20 faceoffs (65.0%) on Nov. 29 against KooKoo. The Rangers’ seventh-round pick (207th overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has recorded 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) in 27 games with TPS in Liiga this season. Virta has tied a Liiga career-high in assists in 2017-18. He ranks third on TPS in assists and is tied for third on the team in points this season.
  • Sergey Zborovskiy recorded an assist/point in all three games during the week (three assists over the span). The Rangers’ third-round pick (79th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft has registered a point in four of the last five games (one goal, three assists), and he has recorded 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 21 games with Greenville this season. Zborovskiy is tied for first among ECHL rookie defensemen in points in 2017-18.

“His seemingly near-effortless skating ability has improved. He is stronger, faster, and more powerful than he was last season. He is also processing the play better in both directions.”Rangers Amateur Scout Peter Stephan on Sean Day

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

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

CANTLON: WOLF PACK’S JENSEN HEADS TO KHL

Wolf Pack’s Jensen Heads to KHL

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT The exodus has begun.

The Hartford Wolf Pack’s leading scorer, Nicklas Jensen, who registered 55 points and was the second highest goal-scorer in the AHL with 32 goals. Jensen was the Pack’s only representative to the AHL All-Star game and was the team’s MVP as voted on by the players. Jensen has made the decision to leave for greener pastures in the KHL according to a press release from Jokerit Helsinki.

Jensen, who wore number 13 in Hartford, and another ex-Pack (when they were the CT Whale) and New York Rangers draft pick, Tim Erixon, who’s still playing with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL playoffs, have both signed with Salavat Yulaev Ufa in southwest Russia, near Kazakhstan. But that’s not all…Then both players were traded to the Finnish based KHL team Jokerit Helsinki for a fellow Dane Philip Larsen who played with Vancouver this year and his KHL rights which were held by Jokerit and financial compensation.

But that’s not all…

****UPDATE****

(Since Howlings first published this story, we have received clarification from Jokerit Helsinki. – “All we can say is that Jokerit has acquired Jensen’s rights and that no deal has been signed,” Ilro Keurulainen, the Media Communications Coordinator for the team told Howlings).

Right after being signed, both players were then traded to the Finnish-based KHL team, Jokerit Helsinki for Philip Larsen, a fellow Dane. Larsen played with the Vancouver Canucks this past season and his KHL rights were still held by Jokerit.

Jensen is a five-year AHL vet. Like many Europeans who come to the States, he waited to see where he was after five years. The decision becomes whether to pursue staying in North America or head back to Europe where there is usually better money, a different schedule and to be closer to home. Jensen was Vancouver’s first round pick in 2011 and was acquired by the Rangers along with a sixth-round draft pick and Emerson Etem on January 8th last year.

Helsinki is the capital of Finland. The team plays at the Hartwell Arena which seats over 13,000.

Jensen and Larsen will likely be teammates in for Denmark in Pool A of the 2017 IIHF World Championships to be held this year in Paris, France and Cologne, Germany in a couple of weeks.

These two signings boost the count to five AHL’ers who have signed to play in Europe next season. To date, that list includes, Reto Berra (Springfield to HC Fribourg-Gotteron Switzerland-LNA), Joel Vermin (Syracuse to HC Lausanne Switzerland-LNA) and Chad Billins (Utica to Linkopings HC Sweden-SHL).

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK HEAD TO SYRACUSE TO CRUNCH BEFORE XMAS

PACK HEAD TO SYRACUSE TO CRUNCH BEFORE XMAS

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

CROMWELL, CT – The chill of winter that permeates the air declares the holidays and the heart of the hockey season.

Before departing for the annual holiday break to spend time with family and loved ones, the Pack still have one more game to play on the road.

The Wolf Pack record stands at 9-14-3-1 (22 points) which has them last in the Atlantic Division, next to last in the conference, and 29th out of 30 teams in the AHL. The Pack is in Syracuse to battle the Crunch who, at 16-7-0-3 (35 points), are first in the North Division, second in the conference and third overall in the AHL. They will cross sticks at 7:00 pm Wednesday night at the War Memorial, their second meeting in over a week.

“It was a good weekend with good back-to-back games, but a far cry from where we want to be. They’re not that much different than Hershey. They have pretty good depth as far as skill players, and like Hershey, we won’t have the benefit of the last line change, so that will be a test. We just have to keep playing like we have been,” Pack head coach, Ken Gernander said. “It was very good that we got more scoring than we have on a night-by-night basis. I was happy with our weekend overall we did a lot of good things and even after looking at the video (after the game), there was a lot of positive reinforcement in our efforts.”  Continue reading

CANTLON: (FRI) UCONN WIN IN FINAL 2016 HOME GAME

 VS. 

BY: Gerry Canton, Howlings

HARTFORD, CT On the strength of two Tage Thompson goals and 22 saves from Adam Huska, the UConn Huskies defeated the UMASS-Amherst Minuteman 3-1 at the XL Center Friday night before a crowd of just 3,949.

UConn’s record improves to 6-6-6 overall (4-3-3-2 HEA) while UMASS-Amherst  drops to 4-9-2 overall (2-7-1 HEA).

The Huskies will play next in Prescott Valley, Arizona as they take part in the Sun Devil Classic on December 30th against the St. Cloud St. Huskies. The Huskies return home on January 7th where they will go head-to-head with Yale University in their first meeting ever between the two programs.

“We talked about finishing the first half on a high note and play a solid 60 minutes. We played well for 40 and change,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We played well in the first and second, but in the third (period) we took some penalties. I’m proud of the guys that we held on and found a way to win.” Continue reading

(FRI) COLUMBUS TORTORELLA’S DEFEAT RANGERS 4-2

post-game-notescapturebox-scorecapture   Game Summary                           NYR: H. Lundqvist (L) CBJ: S. Bobrovsky (W)              Event Summary

team-notes

        ON POINT – Two Rangers defensemen (Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei) have tallied 11 or more assists through the first 18 games of one season for the first time since 1993-94 (Brian Leetch and Sergei Zubov). In addition, three Rangers defensemen (McDonagh, Skjei, and Nick Holden) have recorded eight or more assists through the first 18 games of one season for the first time since 1996-97 (Leetch, Bruce Driver, and Alexander Karpovtsev).

        KILL ZONE – New York was 2-for-2 (4:00) on the penalty kill in the game. The Rangers have not allowed a power play goal against in six of the last seven games, and have killed off 19 of their opponents’ last 20 power play opportunities (over an eight-game stretch), dating back to Nov. 3 vs. Edmonton (95.0% over the span).

        SHUTTING THE DOOR – The Rangers limited their opponent to fewer than 30 shots on goal for the 11th time in 18 games this season. In addition, New York has held its opponent to fewer than 25 shots on goal in five games in 2016-17.

        Michael Grabner tallied a goal, recorded two shots on goal, and posted a plus-one rating. As of the conclusion of tonight’s game, Grabner leads the NHL in even strength goals (11) and plus/minus rating (plus-17), and he is tied for second in the NHL in goals (11) this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last Ranger prior to Grabner who registered 11 or more even strength goals through the team’s first 18 games of one season was Rod Gilbert in 1971-72 (13 goals). Over the last 20 seasons (since 1996-97), Grabner is one of six Rangers who have registered 11 or more goals in the team’s first 18 games of one season (Rick Nash – 2014-15; Marian Gaborik – 2009-10; Brendan Shanahan – 2006-07; Jaromir Jagr – 2005-06; Theo Fleury – 2000-01). He is also one of six NHL players who have tallied at least 11 even strength goals through the first 18 games of one season since 2005-06 (Alex Steen – 2013-14; Rick Nash – 2010-11; Alex Ovechkin – 2009-10; Alex Semin – 2008-09; Simon Gagner – 2005-06). All of Grabner’s 14 points thus far this season have been primary points (a goal or the primary assist on a goal).

        Mika Zibanejad tallied a goal in the contest. He has registered a point in four of the last five games, recording five points (two goals, three assists) over the span. Zibanejad has notched a point in 11 of 18 games this season. Continue reading

CANTLON: (WEDNESDAY) HUSKIES CAGED BY BOBCATS 5-2

UCONN    VS.  Quinnipiac_Bobcats.svg

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HAMDEN, CT UConn Huskies hockey program, relatively new to the Divison One experience, still have a few miles to go before proving they can compete with elite college hockey.

The Quinnipiac Bobcats, the fourth-ranked team in the nation. displayed their speed and puck possession skills while outshooting the visiting Huskies 43-31 beat UConn 5-2 Wednesday night at the High Points Solutions Arena.

“It certainly wasn’t the result we wanted,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said afterward. “I was proud of the fight in our guys. We showed some fight in facing some adversity. We didn’t execute some plays that cost us our guys competed hard.”

The second period saw the Huskies show flashes of being competitive playing against the more experienced Bobcat program, but Quinnipiac struck like lightning.

The Huskies used their powerplay to get back into the game early in the second period at 2-1.  Kasperi Ojantakanen’s quality scoring opportunity was stopped by the Bobcat’s Chris Truehl in net, but he was unable to control the rebound. Spencer Naas got to the puck and had three chances at it with the third time being the charm scoring his second goal of the season at 1:44.

Quinnipiac answered back two minutes later, reestablishing a two-goal lead.

Thomas Aldworth, a speedy player from Texas, swung in from the left wing side and moved to the right and put a perfect wraparound into the goal for his second of the season at 3:43 past freshman netminder Adam Huska who answered the call playing against one of Division I’s premier hockey programs.

The Huskies clawed back with one of their few effective rushes. The Huskies had Evan Richardson put a strong backhand shot on Truehl that he saved. Karl El-Mir was right there on the right wing side of the doorstep and using his forehand, flipped the puck into the open side of the net at 9:17 for his second of the season.

UConn gave up the center of the ice far too much and Quinnipiac made them pay for it. Bobcats established a three-goal lead 1:44 later.

Bobcat defenseman Brogan Rafferty roared through center-ice after taking a short pass from K.J. Tiefenworth, and went in on a clean breakaway and beat Huska with a backhand shot through the five-hole after extending himself as he tried to poke-check  the puck at 11:01.

The Bobcats’ Connor Clifton sped through the neutral zone and wired one over Huska’s left shoulder for a 5-2 lead.

“We have a very active D-corps and we want to make plays in the neutral zone and we don’t want to have guys sit back and we did that well tonight,” Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold said.

The Bobcat defense wasn’t too shabby either. They limited Tage Thompson to just one shot on goal.

“He’s a tremendous hockey player and we were fired up and played like we do against a Boston College,” Pecknold said.

The Huskies played too passively and gave Quinnipiac quality chances. They went to the locker room up 2-0 in part because UConn’s 6’5 defenseman, David Drake, was injured on the game’s first shift after being drilled by Scott Davidson behind the net suffering an upper body injury.

The first goal saw Andrew Taverner launch one from the left point that sailed over Huska’s right shoulder, after being completely screened.  UConn’s Joseph Masonius and QU’s Scott Davidson battled in front of Huska providing the screen.

Huska kept things close stopping Derek Smith and Davidson from the left point an right wing respectively.

Tommy Schutt and Connor Clifton had back-to-back shots on the same shift turned aside by the 6’3 Slovak freshmen.

Right after the first goal, the Huskies’ Maxim Letunov was hit with a major and game disqualification for drilling Chase Priskie into the end boards. It caused a big gash on his forehand and he did not return.

UConn also had to deal with Jeff Wight going down with a season-ending upper body injury on the first shift causing UConn to play short two of their natural centers for most of the game.

After the penalty was assessed to Letunov, the UConn PK weathered the storm. Tim Clifton and Luke Shiplo had good bids, but Huska kept the door closed.

“We did a great job killing the five-minute major,” Cavanaugh said. “We rebounded pretty well and they didn’t get a whole lot on it (the penalty).”

The best UConn chance of the period came on the kill with Thompson setting up Ben Freeman for two whacks, but Truehl stayed steady on both.

The Bobcats stayed on the puck deep in the UConn end after the Huskies won the draw. The Bobcats’ Davidson got to the loose puck, controlled it and put in into the front of the net. Craig Martin fanned on his first shot but stayed with it and while falling down, he got his stick on the puck and flipped it over Huska’s left shoulder for the 2-0 lead.

“The biggest problem we had was breaking the puck out of the zone. That was our biggest issue and we wound up giving them (chances). When that happens, they get riding time in the offensive zone and we get tired playing defense and can’t get any energy to create any offense,” remarked Cavanaugh.

NOTES:

Very classy gesture initiated by Pecknold. Both teams gathered at center ice after the game in honor of Bruce Marshall. The former UConn head coach who was close to Pecknold passed away suddenly in New Hampshire on Sunday.

Letunov with the game disqualification will be suspended for the game on Friday against AIC at the XL Center. He could face further discipline from Hockey East.

Quinnipiac is now 3-1-0 and was coming off a 3-2 OT win over Maine in Orono.

UConn came (2-1-2) off a pair of ties last weekend 4-4 against Colgate and 1-1 with AHA member R.I.T.

Huska was big in the R.I.T. game, his first collegiate start with 36 saves. He was stellar last season with Green Bay (USHL). Huska led the league with a 1.97 GAA and played for the Slovakia World Junior team where he put on a show in a memorable 48 save performance against Russia and another against the Czech Republic.

Thompson with four goals and six points paces the offense for UConn.

Quinnipiac lost a significant number of their NCAA Finalist squad.

Quinnipiac now leads the series with UConn 17-11-2. The Bobcats have won the first three major D1 meetings. They won this one 5-2, in 2014 they prevailed 4-1 and last year there was a wild, feisty 6-2 game at the XL Center with four powerplay goals.

Quinnipiac features four players from Alberta and five who played junior hockey in BC and Alberta.

Quinnipiac has had college hockey for 41 years and is in their 19th season of Division I.

College recruiting notes: UCONN got a commit next year from Zac Robbins who plays currently with Cedar Rapids (USHL).

UConn got a commitment for next year from Zac Robbins who plays currently with Cedar Rapids (USHL).

Quinnipiac got a future recruit for 2020-21 in Paul Fletcher out of the Dallas Stars Triple AAA program, who will play at Selects Academy program at South Kent Prep this winter.

Yale has secured a commitment for next season from Greenwich native Phil Kemp who is currently with the USNDTP (USHL). Kemp went to Brunswick Prep school and has a good shot of being on the US WJC team for the tourney to be held starting Boxing Day in Montreal and Toronto. He withdrew his commitment from Brown University and, according to Chip Malafronte of the New Haven Register, is a third generation Yale athlete. His grandfather played with President George H.W. Bush in late 1940’s on the Yale baseball team.

Matt Tugnutt, son of former NHL’er Ron Tugnutt, has committed to Sacred Heart University next fall. He currently plays for Kemptville (OJHL).