Tag Archives: Czech Republic

CANTLON’S CORNER: GILMOUR REBUILDING

CANTLON’S CORNER: Gilmour Rebuilding

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

CROMWELL, CT – The Hartford Wolf Pack were preparing for their first three-games-in-three-days in two weeks after a split on the road in Rochester and Utica last weekend.

For Keith McCambridge, he is happy the direction the team is taking.

“I don’t think we were up and down in the early part of hockey season; things take time to take shape. We’re excited about the energy in practice and in games. We’ve been able to pull some points out of some games, except Rochester. This all part of the development process. In Utica, we played a complete 200-foot game and were developing that identity.”

The Pack will face three Atlantic divisional opponents this weekend. They’ll take to the road to Bridgeport on Friday, Springfield on Sunday afternoon. Sandwiched in-between is a Hartford visit on Saturday to Hershey as part of hockey a holiday doubleheader with UCONN the first game at 3:00pm a non-conference meeting with RIT.  Continue reading

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK WEEKLY: November 6-12, 2017

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK WEEKLY: Nov. 6-12, 2017

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, CT The Wolf Pack (5-7-0-1, 11 pts., .423) played their third straight three-game weekend this past weekend and finished it on a high note, with a 4-2 win over the Springfield Thunderbirds on Sunday at the XL Center.  That was after a 5-3 defeat in Springfield on Friday night and a 5-0 home loss to Providence Saturday.  Dan DeSalvo had a goal and an assist in Sunday’s win, for his first multiple-point game with the Wolf Pack, and Alexandar Georgiev made 21 saves.  Joe Whitney scored twice, his first Wolf Pack multi-goal outing, Friday night. 

AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE STANDINGS

This week:

The Wolf Pack get another crack at in-state rival Bridgeport on Saturday night, a road game that faces off at 7:00 PM, and then it’s the first-ever matchup between the Wolf Pack and the new Laval Rocket on Sunday at the XL Center.  Faceoff for that game is 5:00. Continue reading

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD, FILIP CHYTIL

RANGERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FORWARD, FILIP CHYTIL

Rangers’ 1st rd pick in 2017 NHL Entry Draft signs 3-year, entry-level contract

BY: The New York Rangers

NEW YORK, July 14, 2017 – New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with forward Filip Chytil on a three-year, entry-level contract.

Chytil, 17, skated in 38 games with PSG Zlin in the Czech Extraliga this past season, registering four goals and four assists for eight points, along with 16 penalty minutes. Chytil was one of 21 players younger than 18 years old who played in the Czech Extraliga in 2016-17, and he ranked second among players younger than 18 years old in the league in games played, goals, and points during the season. He skated in two relegation games with PSG Zlin, recording two points (one goal, one assist). In addition, Chytil played two regular season games and one playoff game with PSG Zlin’s junior team in 2016-17.

The 6-2, 192-pounder has played in Zlin’s organization since the 2012-13 season. Chytil skated in 30 games with PSG Zlin’s U18 team during the 2015-16 season, registering 28 goals and 22 assists for 50 points, along with a plus-23 rating and eight penalty minutes, and he tied for 10th in the league in goals during the season.

Internationally, the Kromeriz, Czech Republic, native has represented his country at several tournaments. Most recently, Chytil registered five points (two goals, three assists) and two penalty minutes in five games at the 2017 IIHF World U18 Championship. In addition, Chytil helped the Czech Republic earn a gold medal at the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, tallying four points (three goals, one assist) in five contests. He also represented the Czech Republic at the 2017 Five Nations Tournament, registering three points (one goal, two assists) in four games, and at the 2015 World U17 Hockey Challenge.

Chytil was selected by the Rangers in the first round, 21st overall, of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

CANTLON’S CORNER: WOLF PACK OFF SEASON VOLUME 10

Cantlon’s Corner:

Wolf Pack Off Season Volume 10

BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

HARTFORD, CTAnother week of hockey activity and the Hartford Wolf Pack are right in the middle of it.

CONGRATS

The American Hockey League honored the Hartford Wolf Pack for its 2016-17 Team Business Services, with an award for excellence in community service among Eastern Conference teams. The award was announced Wednesday evening at a gala reception during the AHL Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting at Hilton Head, SC.

“We are extremely proud of our staff’s and players’ dedication to giving back to the Hartford-area community, and that it has been celebrated with this tremendous AHL honor,” Chris Lawrence, General Manager of the XL Center and the head of Wolf Pack Business Operations for Spectra said in a press release.

“With the amount of time and effort the entire league puts into the service aspect of our business, it’s a credit to everyone involved with the team to be recognized. We look forward to continuing to make a positive impact in the Capital region.”

The Wolf Pack’s community outreach program, under the leadership of Manager of Community Relations, Frank Berrian, has continued to grow numerous signature elements. The Wolf Pack’s “Read to the Rink” reading program, sponsored by ProHealth Physicians’ Healthy Me, involved several dozen area schools. The “Hockey in the Streets” effort once again brought the fun and healthy exercise of street hockey to the youngsters of Camp Courant throughout the summer.

The Wolf Pack’s annual “Bowl-a-Thon” in support of Special Olympics Connecticut raised over $13,000, and the team staff’s efforts at, “Holiday Light Fantasia” in December helped generate nearly $7,000 for the Channel 3 Kids Camp. Also, the Wolf Pack players as well as the team’s iconic mascot, Sonar, combined to make nearly 200 community appearances during the 2016-17 season. Those appearances ranged from school and hospital visits to youth hockey events, holiday toy deliveries, and all manner of community parades and celebrations.

The hard-charging, and ever present Sonar, who seems to work 480 days a year, was the biggest reason that award was presented. He is at various school functions during the regular season and the off-season as well. Sonar appears all throughout the greater Hartford community. Most recently, Sonar was at the Enfield Fourth of July celebrations this past weekend and does some great charity work too.

PLAYER AND COACHING MOVEMENT

The Pack has officially lost their leading scorer from last season, Nicklas Jensen.

In a team press release, Jokerit Helsinki’s (Finland-KHL) GM and former New York Ranger and NHL great Jari Kurri announced that the Danish forward agreed to a two-year deal with next season being an option year.

The 24-year-old forward led Hartford with 32 goals (second best in the AHL) and 55 points. Jensen came to the Wolf Pack in a deal trade with the Vancouver Canucks for Emerson Etem on January 8, 2016. In his brief tenure with the Pack, the one-time first-round selection by Vancouver in 2011, played very well offensively. Jensen is a swift skater with a very powerful shot and a quick release. He was the Pack’s lone AHL All-Star representative last season. Jensen earned one, seven-game recall by the Rangers last season.

His rights along with former Rangers prospect and CT Whale Tim Erixon were acquired in an April 20th KHL trade with Salavat Yulaev. Expect an announcement on Erixon’s signing in the coming weeks.

The AHL to Euro list gained five and lost one.

The latest was winger Mark Olver, the younger brother of ex-Pack, Darin Olver. He played with Tucson/Bakersfield last season joining the Condors at the trade deadline. Olver heads to his brother’s former team, Eisbaren Berlin (Germany-DEL). That move was announced by the Polar Bears GM and former New Haven Nighthawk, Stephane Richer. The two brothers will play against each other this season when they play ERC Ingolstadt.

Ex-Pack, Chad Nehring has left Binghamton (nee Belleville) and signed with Fischtown (Germany-DEL). Patrick Mullen, who split last year between Dynamo Riga (Latvia-KHL) and then left to sign with Rochester, goes to Linkopings HC (Sweden-SHL). William Wrenn of Toronto signed with HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL) and Evan Mosey of Rockford signed with Nottingham (England-EIHL).

Ex-Springfield Thunderbirds goalie Reto Berra, who, two months ago had signed in his native Switzerland with HC Fribourg-Gotteron (NLA) just after the season ended, executed his NHL exit clause to sign just a one-year, one-way deal for $700K with Anaheim/San Diego (AHL). Last season in Springfield, Berra made $1.5 million on a one-way deal. His Swiss contract will remain the same (minus the one year term) should he sign for next season.

A player signing can execute the clause in their contract by July 31st (just before Euro training camp opens) without penalty.

That makes 50 players who have signed in Europe and 26 of 30 AHL teams that have lost at least one player.

Adam Johnson, of the University of Minnesota-Duluth, was the 34th underclassmen from college hockey to sign a pro deal. He goes to Pittsburgh.

Johnson is 23-years-old and is classified as an academic junior. The numbers may be skewed, but that’s the world of college hockey today.

Cal Peterson, the goalie from Notre Dame, has also left. Peterson signed a three-year entry-level deal with Los Angeles paying $925K/$70K AHL. The Kings will have to compensate the Buffalo Sabres who originally drafted him with a 2018 draft pick.

Kyle Mackenzie and Josh Monk, both of Providence College, signed with the expansion Worcester (ECHL) team. Rhett Holland of Michigan State who played three games with Idaho (ECHL) after the college season ended has signed with HC Dynamo Pardubice (Czech Republic-CEL). He is the third Spartan to sign overseas.

That makes 154 Division I players have signed North American pro deals since the end of the college season (regular & postseason). Add in 20 from Division 3, and another 31 who completed or left school (Division I and III) and signed in Europe. The NCHC conference lost the most underclassmen at nine.

Schools who lost the most players were Minnesota-Duluth, Michigan Tech and Western Michigan University with six each. Boston College, Minnesota and Bowling Green lost five and Boston University saw four leave. They all were pure freshmen.

Ex-Pack and Thunderbird Dylan McIlrath, of the Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins, signed a one-year two-way deal with Detroit at $675K-NHL/$275K-AHL.

Former Sound Tiger and Avon Old Farms player goalie Parker Milner signs a one-year AHL deal with Hershey. He spent a portion of last season with Hershey and had a strong playoff run helping the South Carolina Stingrays to the ECHL Kelly Cup final before they were beaten by the Colorado Eagles.

Goalie Steve Michalek (Glastonbury/Loomis Chaffe) signs a one-year deal with Minnesota ($715K-NHL/$70K-AHL). He spent last year with the Iowa Wild playing 30 games with a record of 13-14-1-1 and a 2.63 GAA

Brody Sutter has left the Springfield Thunderbirds to sign with Manitoba.

Ex-Pack defenseman Matt Gilroy switches KHL teams leaving Spartak Moscow (Russia) to join Jokerit Helsinki (Finland). Vladimir Denisov goes from Traktor Chelyabinsk (Russia-KHL) to Dynamo Minsk (Belarus-KHL).

Jared Eng, formerly of Sacred Heart University (AHA) and who left after two years completed school and playing hockey in Canada at Simon Fraser University (BICHL). He leaves Bjorbo IF (Sweden Division-2) to play for KRS Heilongjiang (China-VHL) next year.

Peter Quenneville, the former QU Bobcat, goes from Aalborg Pirates (Denmark-DHL) to HC Dynamo Pardubice (Czech Republic-CEL) next season.

Ex-Pack Travis Oleksuk re-signs with HC Bolzano (Italy-AEHL).

John Dunbar, an ex-QU Bobcat, split last year with HC Mulhouse (France Division-1) and Norfolk (ECHL) signs with the Guildford Flames (England-EIHL) who were promoted to the top league starting this fall.

Former Springfield Falcon, Scott Barney, switches teams in the Asia League Ice Hockey (ALIH) going from the Beijing-based China Dragon, that’s leaving the league, to join Anyang Halla in South Korea.

Former New Haven Nighthawk Mark Morrison makes it to the NHL as an assistant coach with Anaheim after six years as an AHL assistant (four years in St. John’s two in Winnipeg with the Manitoba Moose). His resume includes stops all over the hockey map including the two farthest points in Canada. The first was Victoria (WHL) where he was the head coach/GM for five years and the aforementioned, St. John’s (AHL).

He also was a player/coach for ten years with the Scottish based Fife Flyers then playing in the British National League (BNL).

Some other coaching changes include former Beast of New Haven forward Herberts Vasiljves, who just retired from playing a few months ago, was named as the assistant coach for his native Latvia U-18 National Junior team.

Former Sound Tiger Jeff Hutchins was named the head coach for the British U-18 National Junior team. He will continue as assistant coach and Director of Player Development for the Fife Flyers (Scotland-EIHL).

Congrats to former AHL player, Jordan Smith. He lost his sight in one eye ten years ago which ended his pro career after just two seasons in Portland. It was his injury that ushered in the mandatory half visor rule. Smith was hired as an associate head coach with Sudbury Wolves (OHL). He was the head coach for Sault Ste. Marie (NOJHL) last season.

AHL SCHEDULE

Hallelujah! An early AHL schedule!

As promised, the AHL released the 2017-18 schedule. The release came a month earlier than usual to the delight of the sales staff of all 30 teams and their fans.

The Wolf Pack will open the regular season on October 6th at the XL Center against the Charlotte Checkers, the top affiliate of the Carolina Hurricanes. It’s the earliest opening for the Wolf Pack in some time and the first time Charlotte is back in Hartford since the 2010-11 season. The teams met four times that year going 2-2 each winning their home games. Charlotte now plays at the Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte having left last year from the Time Warner Cable Arena, the home of the NBA Charlotte Hornets.

Because of division realignment, Charlotte was finally airlifted out of the Western Conference and put back into the East where they belonged in the first place. Charlotte will have a new head coach making his debut that night, former Hartford Whaler, Mike Vellucci.

The Pack will be the home opener the following week for the Springfield Thunderbirds on Saturday, October 14th.and will meet them the most times this season, twelve (six home and six away). Bridgeport and Providence will face the Pack the second most in 2017-18 at ten times (five home and five away), and Charlotte eight times (four home and four away).

Hershey, Lehigh Valley, and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton will duel with the Wolf Pack six times (three home and three away).

Sadly, just two meetings (one home and one away) with the Canadian-based teams in the East from the North Division. They will all visit in the first month of the regular season (Toronto on Friday, October 13, Belleville on Friday, October 20 and Laval on Sunday, November 12).

The Pack home starting times for all Friday night games will start at 7:15 pm. Non-Sunday games start at 7:00 pm. On December 23rd, March 3rd and March 24th start time is 3:00pm. On Saturday, November 4th  and January 27th the puck will drop at 7:30 pm. All Sunday home games are 5:00 pm starts except March 4th when the game will begin at 3:00 pm.

The second longest AHL home opener is Bridgeport. They won’t be at the Webster Bank Arena until October 21st against the Laval Rocket, which is the Canadiens top farm team after their relocation from St. John’s. Laval, a suburb of Montreal, will open their new building, The Place Bell Centre, against Belleville on October 6th.

The longest home opener is a tentative one. on November 1

On November 1st the Belleville Senators will play in a renovated Yardmen Arena, which is undergoing a massive $20 million dollar makeover, against the Syracuse Crunch.

The complete AHL schedule team by team is HERE

MACCABIAH GAMES

Every year in Israel as a celebration of Jewish athletes and their skill level. For The Maccabiah Games, this is the 20th anniversary year, and ice hockey is an official sport. The games are ongoing. They started on July 4th and will end on July 17th.  The games feature just over 40 sports. The country has three hockey arenas. There’s one in Metula near the Lebanon border, Eliat, Ma’alot and a now a fourth new arena in Jerusalem that is to be christened in these games.

The hockey features a junior level of play. There’s an open division covering ages 18-39 and a Masters division for players over 40.

The American Open roster features three CT connections.

Current UCONN junior Max Kalter is on the team with a fellow Husky, from UCONN’s club hockey team (ACHA Division 2) in Benjamin Pulley. Sacred Heart University Pioneers (AHA) backup goalie Samuel Bernard-Boymel is the third player. The team’s assistant coach is former Wesleyan University (Middletown) player Casey Fratkin.

The US Junior team roster features one player with CT ties, Ethan Gorelkin of Choate Rosemary Hall (Wallingford).

The Canada’s open team features a former Sound Tiger training camp invitee, Aaron Berisha. He eventually went back to Canadian college hockey and played for former Nighthawk Trevor Steinburg at St. Mary’s University in Halifax last year.

In the Masters Division, former New Haven Nighthawks from the mid-80’s Brian Wilks now 51 is playing for Canada.

 

CRAWFORD: WOLF PACK EARNS AHL ACCOLADE FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE

WOLF PACK EARNS AHL ACCOLADE FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE

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Recognized with League Team Business Service Award

BY: Bob Crawford Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, July 7, 2017:  The American Hockey League has honored the Hartford Wolf Pack with its 2016-17 Team Business Services award for excellence in community service among Eastern Conference teams.  The award was announced Wednesday evening at a gala reception during the AHL Board of Governors’ Annual Meeting at Hilton Head, SC.

“We are extremely proud of our staff’s and players’ dedication to giving back to the Hartford-area community, and that it has been celebrated with this tremendous AHL honor,” said Chris Lawrence, general manager of the XL Center and head of Wolf Pack business operations for Spectra.  “With the amount of time and effort the entire league puts into the service aspect of our business, it’s a credit to everyone involved with the team to be recognized.  We look forward to continuing to make a positive impact in the Capital region.”

The Wolf Pack’s community outreach program, under the leadership of Manager of Community Relations Frank Berrian, has continued to grow numerous signature elements.  The Wolf Pack “Read to the Rink” reading program, sponsored by ProHealth Physicians Healthy Me, involved several dozen area schools, and the “Hockey in the Streets” effort once again brought the fun and healthy exercise of street hockey to the youngsters of Camp Courant throughout the summer.

The Wolf Pack’s annual “Bowl-a-Thon” in support of Special Olympics Connecticut raised over $13,000, and the team staff’s efforts at “Holiday Light Fantasia” in December helped generate nearly $7,000 for the Channel 3 Kids Camp.  Also, Wolf Pack players and Sonar, the team’s iconic mascot, combined to make nearly 200 community appearances during the 2016-17 season, ranging from school and hospital visits to youth hockey events, holiday toy deliveries, and all manner of community parades and celebrations.

In addition, a number of Wolf Pack game-night initiatives contribute significantly to supporting important causes.  Those game-oriented elements include such favorites as Xfinity “Chuck-a-Puck”, “Aetna Amateur Hockey” and Jefferson Radiology’s “Stick it to Cancer” Night and “Guns & Hoses Night”.

Season ticket information for the Wolf Pack’s 2017-18 AHL season can be found on-line at hartfordwolfpack.com.  To speak with a representative about all of the Wolf Pack’s many attractive ticketing options, call (855) 762-6451, or click here to request more info.

CRAWFORD: AETNA AND WOLF PACK CONTINUE TO GROW “AETNA AMATEUR HOCKEY” PROGRAM

AETNA AND WOLF PACK CONTINUE TO GROW “AETNA AMATEUR HOCKEY” PROGRAM

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Nearly 100 teams and over 1500 skaters participated during 2016-17 season

BY: Bob Crawford, Hartford Wolf Pack

HARTFORD, April 20, 2017:  The 2016-17 Hartford Wolf Pack season featured another banner year for the Wolf Pack’s “Aetna Amateur Hockey” program.

Featuring opportunities for amateur hockey teams of all age levels, from six and seven-year-old Mites to adult-league squads, to play full-length games before and after Wolf Pack home games at the XL Center, the Aetna Amateur Hockey program brought 96 teams to the XL Center ice in 2016-17.  That means that more than 1,500 players had the chance to show their skills on the same ice surface where the Wolf Pack players strive to make their way to the National Hockey League. Continue reading

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: FEB. 6 – FEB. 12

NEW YORK RANGERS PROSPECT REPORT: FEB. 6 – FEB. 12

BY: The New York Rangers

 

1) Ryan Gropp, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL) – Gropp posted a multi-point game in all four games last week, registering 13 points (seven goals, six assists) and a plus-10 rating in the four contests. Gropp recorded a hat trick, including the game-winning goal, on Feb. 7 at Victoria, and he concluded the week by registering four points (two goals, two assists) on Feb. 11 vs. Portland.

The Rangers’ second-round pick (41st overall) extended his point streak to a WHL career-high 12 games, and he has tallied 26 points (11 goals, 15 assists) and posted a plus-20 rating over the span. He has recorded a goal in each of the last six contests, registering nine goals over the span. In addition, Gropp has recorded a point in 17 of the last 18 contests, registering 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) and a plus-27 rating in those 18 games. During the 18-game stretch, Gropp has posted a plus-one rating or better in 16 different contests. Gropp leads Seattle in goals (22) and points (56), and he ranks second in assists (34) this season.

2) Igor Shesterkin, G, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL) – Shesterkin represented Russia at the 2017 Sweden Hockey Games last week, a four-nation tournament that includes teams from the Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, and Russia. The Rangers’ fourth round pick (118th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft made 23 saves on 24 shots while helping Russia defeat Finland, 2-1, on Feb. 9, and he was selected as the best goaltender in the tournament.

3) Sean Day, D, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) – Day registered two points (one goal, one assist) and a plus-four rating in three games during the week. The Rangers’ third round pick (81st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has recorded three points (two goals, one assist) and a plus-eight rating over the last six contests. Day has tallied 29 points (14 goals, 15 assists) and has posted a plus-18 rating in 49 OHL games this season with Windsor and Mississauga. He has established an OHL career-high in goals this season, and he is tied for third among OHL defensemen in goals in 2016-17.

  • Adam Tambellini registered his first career AHL hat trick on Feb. 10 at Springfield, recording all three of the Wolf Pack’s goals in a 3-2 win. The Rangers’ third round pick (65th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has notched five points (four goals, one assist) in the last five games and 11 points (five goals, six assists) in the last 12 contests. Tambellini is tied for second on the Wolf Pack in points (28) and is tied for third on the team in goals (11) this season. 
  • Nicklas Jensen recorded a point in each of Hartford’s two games last week (one goal, one assist), and he added to his AHL career-high in goals by tallying his 21st of the season on Feb. 11 at Hershey. Jensen has recorded a point in 21 of his last 25 games in the AHL, registering 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) over the span. He is tied for fourth in the AHL in goals this season, and he leads the Wolf Pack in goals and points (36) in 2016-17. 
  • Brandon Halverson stopped 32 of 34 shots he faced and earned a win on Feb. 10 at Springfield. The Rangers’ second-round pick (59th overall) in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has earned a win in three of his last four appearances, and he has made at least 30 saves in two of those four contests. 
  • John Gilmour tallied an assist on Feb. 11 at Hershey. He has notched five assists/points in the last four games and eight assists/points in the last 13 games.

 

  • Gabriel Fontaine, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL) – Fontaine notched an assist on Feb. 9 at Gatineau. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (171st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has tallied a point in six of the last eight games (one goal, five assists), as well as 12 of the last 15 games (10 goals, eight assists). Fontaine has registered 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) and a plus-16 rating in 46 QMJHL games this season (he recorded 20 goals and 25 assists for 45 points in 63 QMJHL contests in 2015-16).
  • Ty Ronning, RW, Vancouver Giants (WHL) – Ronning registered a goal and posted a plus-one rating on Feb. 8 at Prince George. The Rangers’ seventh round pick (201st overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has tallied a point in 11 of the last 20 games, recording 15 points (10 goals, five assists) over the span. He leads the Giants in goals (21) and points (43), and ranks third in assists (22) this season.
  • Tyler Wall, G, UMass Lowell River Hawks (NCAA) – Wall earned a win in both of his appearances/starts last week, posting a 2.00 GAA and a .902 SV% in the two contests. The Rangers’ sixth round pick (174th overall) in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft extended his winning streak to four games, and he has allowed two goals or fewer in three of the four appearances. Wall has posted an 18-8-1 record, along with a 2.20 GAA, a .914 SV%, and 1 SO in 27 appearances this season.
  • Sergey Zborovskiy, D, Regina Pats (WHL) – Zborovskiy tallied an assist and posted a plus-two rating on Feb. 10 at Edmonton. The Rangers’ third round pick (79th overall) in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft leads the WHL in plus/minus rating this season (plus-60). Zborovskiy has registered 29 assists and 35 points in 2016-17, both of which are WHL career-highs.

“I think I’ve become more of a reliable player defensively and more of a 200-foot guy. I think I’ve really grown a lot in that area this season, especially on the penalty kill. I’ve been doing that quite a bit. Just being good in my own zone and not cheating for offense and things like that.”Ryan Gropp

“He’s a quiet guy that goes about his business by himself, but right now he’s leading by example. When you see a guy like that … that’s definitely leading by example.”Seattle Thunderbirds Head Coach Steve Konowalchuk on Ryan Gropp

CANTLON’S CORNER: PACK LOOK TO KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE RUBBER PUCK

gerry-150x130BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings

GLASTONBURY, CT – The early season Hartford Wolf Pack misfortunes continue after the team dropped all three games this past weekend and are winless over their last eight games (0-6-2-0).

Much of what has plagued the team prior to their upstate New York trip raged on in contests with the Rochester Americans and the Utica Comets. The long bus ride home or sleeping in their own beds changed nothing as it was the same old, same old on Sunday afternoon/night at home against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

The Pack begins a stretch of three games over five days starting with tonight’s contest where they will get their first look at the new Springfield Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds feature the AHL’s “Player of the Week,” goaltender, Reto Berra, who over this past weekend went 2-0, allowed one goal on 52 shots and had a 0.50 GAA. The fourth place Thunderbirds, who trail the second-place Lehigh Valley Phantoms by just two points and a single point behind the Bridgeport Sound Tigers for third.

A reeling Wolf Pack are not eager to see that. 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).

FUEHRING: SWAMP RABBITS INK FORWARD ANGELO MICELI

New-Player-Angelo-Miceli

SWAMP RABBITS INK FORWARD ANGELO MICELI

Second-year pro played 29 games in the AHL last season

BY: Alan Fuehring, Greenville Swamp Rabbits

Greenville, SC The Greenville Swamp Rabbits, proud ECHL affiliate of the New York Rangers and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack, today announced the team has agreed to terms with forward Angelo Miceli for the 2016-17 season.

“Angelo is a dynamic centerman. He is very strong in the face-off circle and another potent offensive threat,” said Head Coach Brian Gratz. “He is coming off of a productive rookie season splitting time between the AHL and ECHL. His playmaking ability and high pace of play will add to our offensive depth. We are excited to have him on board.”

A second-year pro, Miceli spent his rookie campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization between the Brampton Beast and AHL’s St. John’s IceCaps. In 26 games with Brampton, he notched 20 points (7g, 13a) and six penalty minutes. In addition, the 22-year-old made his professional debut with St. John’s on Oct. 10, 2015, and went on to record four points (3g, 1a) in 29 AHL games.

“I’m really excited to get started in Greenville. I’ve heard great things about the organization, the city, and the fans,” Miceli explained. “I’m really looking forward to coming in and contributing.”

A Montreal native, Miceli was better than a point-per-game during four seasons in the QMJHL prior to turning pro. In 255 games with the Victoriaville Tigres, he produced 279 points (118g, 161a) and a +12 rating including a career-best 81 points (36g, 45) in 2012-13.

The 5’9, 176-pound center was initially selected by Victoriaville in the third round (#46 overall) of the 2010 QMJHL Entry Draft and served as an alternate captain during the 2014-15 season.

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