Jr. Blues Alumni Report – Dec. 4th, 2019

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues are the oldest franchise in the North American Hockey League (NAHL) and have moved over 350 players onto the NCAA and nearly 150 players onto professional hockey. Here is this week’s Alumni Report!

If you were to guess that we would be starting this week by talking about Minnesota State goaltender Dryden McKay, you would be correct. The Downers Grove, IL native stopped 64/66 shots over the weekend in the Mavericks sweep of Minnesota Duluth to improve his record to 11-1-1and earn WCHA Goaltender of the Week honors. McKay has been impressive to say the least this season: his 1.14 goals-against and 3 shutouts both lead the NCAA while his .954 save percentage and 11 wins are both tied for 2nd. The weekly award is McKay’s 4th of the season and his 10th WCHA weekly award overall (2 – Rookie, 8 – Goaltender). 

From one Division 1 standout to another, we recognize Tommy Nappier for earning Big Ten 3rd Star of the Week. The St. Louis, MO native pitched a 23-save shutout against Michigan State over the weekend to improve his record to 7-4-1 with a Big Ten leading 1.97 GAA and a .936 SV% which is good for 2nd best in the conference. The junior standout had been in a short skid before the game this past weekend, having lost three consecutive starts against fellow Big Ten members Notre Dame and Penn State. The shutout was Nappier’s first this season and his 8th career shutout for the Buckeyes. Additionally, the award was his 7th career weekly award and his 3rd award this season. 

Switching over to Division 3 hockey we look east at goaltender Kameron Limburg. Limburg, a native of Howell, MI, is a senior at Westfield State University and earned MASCAC Goaltender of the Week honors after leading the Owls to a 6-2 victory over Johnson & Wales. In the contest Limburg stopped 32/34 shots, he now has a 1-0-1 record this season with a 2.40 GAA and .928 SV%. Limburg played extensively in his sophomore campaign for the Owls as he appeared in 24 games, but has only started  in three games over the course of last season and this season to date. 

Moving forward, we start with Brian Rigali at the University of Connecticut. Rigali earned HockeyEast Top Performer honors after recording four points in UCONN’s sweep of Miami over the weekend. On Friday, the Libertyville, IL native had a career-high three assists in the Huskies 6-4 win and then tallied his 4th goal of the season to help complete the sweep in a 4-3 victory, the first home sweep for UCONN since 2016. Rigali, a junior, has accumulated 11 goals and 11 assists in 76 NCAA games played. 

At St. Norbert College a trio of alumni had a phenomenal Saturday night. Ben Schmidling, a native of Hockessin, DE, recorded his first career NCAA goal and first career NCAA hat trick on Saturday night in a 8-2 victory over Neumann. Max Brainin, a native of Buffalo Grove, IL, tallied his first career NCAA assist on Schmidling’s first goal. Brainin spent two seasons in Springfield and amassed 99 career points with the Jr. Blues. Defenseman Brendan Aird, a native of Orland Park, IL, assisted on two of Schmidling’s goals for his first two career NCAA assists. St. Norbert currently has four Jr. Blues alumni on it’s roster: Schmidling, Brainin, Aird, and Chase Mickelson. 

Speaking of firsts, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire forward Nick Techel tallied his first collegiate goal this past weekend. The freshman from Wausau, WI had an assist in Friday’s 6-1 victory over Plattsburgh and scored a goal on Saturday night in the Blugolds 4-3 victory over Middlebury College. In 9 games played this season Techel has 1 goal and 3 assists and is a +3 overall.  

Our final spotlight this week is once again Matthew Cassidy, a forward for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. Cassidy, who had played at Quinnipiac University last season, has been on fire for the Phantoms as he recorded 3 assists on Saturday to give him 16 total points (6 goals, 10 assists) on the season. On Sunday, the Medford, NJ native declared his commitment to play for Ohio State University and resume his NCAA career. 

Alumni Highlights: