Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have been successfully moving players onto the NCAA and professional hockey since 1993, and we are proud of the more than 150 Alumni actively playing around the world! From the CCHA to the ECHL and beyond, here is today’s Alumni Report!
Stop us when this begins to sound familiar: Dryden McKay helped the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks to a weekend sweep as they remain the #1 ranked team in the nation. McKay, a Senior from Downers Grove, IL, stopped 21 of 22 in the Mavs overtime victory on Friday and then turned aside 25 of 26 in their victory on Saturday en route to his 7th CCHA Goaltender of the Week honor. He now has a 31-4-0 record with a 1.24 GAA, .936 SV%, and 9 shutouts. McKay leads the nation in wins, second in GAA, and fourth in SV%; in his career he holds the record for NCAA shutouts and is third in all time wins (106). There are quite a few trophies that could make their way into McKay’s trophy case including CCHA Goaltender of the Year, the Mike Richter Award, and the Hobey Baker Award – keep an eye out in March and April to see if he’s able to capture the Triple Crown! (McKay Pictured Above)
From Mankato, MN to Saul Ste. Marie, MI, our next spotlight is on Junior forward Brandon Puricelli who has acclimated nicely since returning to the lineup after missing 12 games. The native of Ellisville, MO picked up 2 goals and an assist for the Lakers in their weekend sweep of Bowling Green in their CCHA regular season finale. He now has scored 10 goals and added 8 helpers in 21 games this season for Lake State, improving his overall NCAA totals to 19 goals and 16 assists in 61 games between Minnesota-Duluth and Lake State. Puricelli played here in Springfield for parts of three seasons between 2016-2019, totalling 57 goals and 75 assists in 134 games. He was named the 2018-19 NAHL Midwest Division MVP & Forward of the Year, as well as the Jr. Blues MVP at our Team Awards Banquet.
We transition away from the NCAA and travel to Kiruna, Sweden where veteran forward Ricards Bernhards is continuing to light the lamp for Kiruna AIF in the Swedish hockey league HockeyEttan. Bernhards, a native of Riga, Latvia, scored a goal in each game this past week for Kiruna as he now has 12 goals and 13 assists in 40 games so far this season. He is now in his 5th professional season where he’s split time between Zemgale (Latvia) and Kiruna AIF. Bernhards played 28 games here in the 2016-17 season where he tallied 5 goals and 8 assists.
Our final spotlight takes us to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA as netminder Tommy Nappier secured a victory in his lone start for the Penguins this week. Nappier, a native of St. Louis, MO, turned aside 28 of 31 shots as the Penguins defeated the Bridgeport Islanders 5-3 on Saturday. His record has now improved to 8-6-3 with a 2.91 GAA and .897 SV%. Nappier played here in Springfield during the 2015-16 season where he appeared in 39 games before playing four years at Ohio State University, earning B1G Best Goaltender honors during the 2018-19 season. Nappier is one of two Jr. Blues alumni goaltender currently in the Pittsburgh Penguins system (Stefanos Lekkas – Wheeling Nailers ECHL).
These aren’t the only Alumni who had stellar weekends! Here are the rest of our Alumni who excelled on the ice!
Patrick Curry 1 G Grand Rapids Griffins AHL
Stefanos Lekkas 1-1-0 Wheeling Nailers ECHL
Ross Olsson 3 G Worcester Railers ECHL
Christian Simeone 1 A Utah Grizzlies ECHL
Russell Jordan 1 G Florida Everblades ECHL
Brennan Blaszczak 2 G Pensacola Ice Flyers SPHL
Timothy Faulkner 1 A Evansville Thunderbolts SPHL
Radim Matus 1 G Orli Znojmo ICEHL
Les Lancaster 1 G, 1 A Ilves Liiga
Sandro Aeschlimann 1-0-0 HC Davos NL
Bradley Marek 2 G Ferris State NCAA
Coale Norris 1 G, 1 A Bowling Green NCAA
Aaron Swanson 1 G St. Thomas NCAA
Caden Villegas 1 A Union NCAA
Todd Goehring 3 G Sacred Heart NCAA
Will Gavin 1 A Air Force NCAA
Brian Rigali 1 G AIC NCAA
Jordan Muzzillo 1 A Alaska-Fairbanks NCAA
Ben Schmidling 1 G St. Norbert NCAA DIII
Brendan Aird 1 A St. Norbert NCAA DIII
Riley Doyon 1 G, 1 A Aurora NCAA DIII
Dylan Rauh 1 A Aurora NCAA DIII
Ryan Murray 1 A Hamline NCAA DIII
Nathan Solis 1 G Saint Mary’s NCAA DIII
Reed Stark 1 G UW-Superior NCAA DIII
Justin Brandt 1 A Tufts NCAA DIII
Josh Sarlo 1-1-0 Tufts NCAA DIII
Cade Groton 1 G Hamilton NCAA DIII
Mark Leach 1 A Saint Anselm NCAA DIII
Mason McCormick 1 G, 1 A Waterloo Black Hawks USHL