Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues 2019-20 season is underway and while we are focused on a Robertson Cup Championship, we want to make sure we give our alumni the recognition that they have earned. Here is our weekly Alumni Report.
After a summer that included a trip to St. Louis to take part in the Blues Development Camp, Pat Curry has started his senior season at Boston University in prime form. After one game played he has 2 goals and 1 assist and is tied for the lead in points for the Terriers. The Schaumburg, IL native was named the “Captain” of the team this year after posting career bests in goals (13) and assists (13) during last season’s campaign. In 108 NCAA games played, Curry has 22 goals and 28 assists.
Kevin Loppatto has continued to impress while playing over in Europe. In 6 games for Bodens HF of the Swedish Division 1 league Loppatto has 3 goals and 4 assists and is a +3. Last year while playing for Vannas HC the Atlanta, GA native put up 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in 36 games. In a short 3 game call up to IF Bjorkloven of the Swedish Allsvenskan (top hockey league in Sweden), Loppatto scored 1 goal.
We turn our attention to goaltenders (naturally) as we look at what Jack Williams is doing in the USHL. The 2018-19 Jr. Blues Top Prospects representative is currently playing for the Muskegon Lumberjacks and has appeared in two games for the Michigan team. He currently sports a 0-1-0 record with a 2.85 GAA and .895 SV%. Williams is a Michigan State University commit and was listed on last season’s NHL Central Scouting List for North American Goaltenders.
Last season the NCAA saw several goaltenders put on stellar performances. Five of those goaltenders (Tommy Nappier, Dryden McKay, Stefanos Lekkas, Devin Cooley, and Mike Robinson) are Jr. Blues alumni. Nappier, a junior at Ohio State University this season, was named the B1G Ten Goaltender of the Year and was a 2019 Mike Richter Award semifinalist. McKay earned National Rookie of the Year and WCHA Goaltender Champion honors during 2018-19 for Minnesota State Mankato.
Lekkas, a senior at the University of Vermont, started in all 34 games for the Catamounts and recorded the highest single season save percentage in school history (.930). Lekkas earned Big East Second Team honors and was a semifinalist for the 2019 Mike Richter Award.
Cooley suffered an injury shortened season at the University of Denver but still managed to post a 11-6-2 record with a 1.85 GAA and .934 SV%. It was the second highest single season save percentage in Pioneer history and Cooley alongside fellow netminder Filip Larsson received team MVP honors. In the summer Cooley participated in both the Toronto Maple Leafs and Chicago Blackhawks development camps.
Mike Robinson and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats did not have a good season overall in 2018-19, but the 2015 San Jose Sharks draft pick put up a respectable 11-12-8 record with a 2.85 GAA and .917 SV%. Additionally, Robinson posted 5 shutouts on the season which was 5th best in the nation and 2nd best in Hockey East.
Joining those five players in the NCAA this season will be Garrett Nieto (Union), Evan Fear (Quinnipiac), and George McBey (Alabama-Huntsville). With Michael Corson backing up Cooley in Denver, the Jr. Blues currently have 9 alumni goaltenders on NCAA Division 1 rosters.
In addition to the players we have highlighted this week, here is a quick rundown of other alumni:
- Fabio Hollentstein – 9 GP, 3 G, 14 PIM (HC Thurgau – NLB)
- Nathen Viberg – 2 GP, 1 G, 2 A (Illinois State – ACHA)
- Ricards Bernhards – 7 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 4 PIM (Zemgale – Latvia)
- Artjoms Lapiks – 6 GP, 1 G, 6 PIM (Karlskrona HK J20 – SuperElit)
- Josh Bell – 6 GP, 1 G, 7 A (Missouri State – ACHA)
- Juraj Ovecka – 3 GP, 1.33 GAA, .966 SV% (HK Skalica – Slovakia2)
- Nolan Turi – 7 GP, 1 G, 6 A (Metro Jets – USPHL)
- Matthew Cassidy – 5 GP, 1 G, 3 A (Youngstown Phantoms – USHL)