Jr. Blues Alumni Report – Jan. 15th, 2020

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have moved over 350 players onto the NCAA and more than 150 onto professional teams in our illustrious history. From Division 1 to the American Hockey League (AHL), here is this week’s Alumni Report!

We start this afternoon by recognizing a career first: Patrick Smyth notched his first NCAA goal on Saturday night for Army-West Point. The 6’4” 220 lbs. forward from Toledo, OH is in his first season with the Black Knights and has appeared in 20 games so far. The goal, which was also his first NCAA point, came during a three-goal barrage by the Black Knights against Air Force and wound up being the game-winning goal. Smyth joins Daniel DiGrande, Brandon Puricelli, Ben Schmidling, Nigel Nelson, Max Brainin, Brendan Aird, Nick Techel, and Nikita Kozyrev who all scored their first NCAA goal this season as well. 

From a career first to setting career highs we move to the WCHA to focus on Dryden McKay. McKay helped lead the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks to a sweep of Ferris State this past weekend. On Friday he turned aside all 19 shots that he faced to record his 7th shutout of the season, and then on Saturday stopped 25/26 to pick up his 19th win. For the 2019-20 campaign he now has a stat line of 19-2-1, 1.14 GAA, .950 SV%, and 7 SO (leads the nation in all four categories). His shutout on Friday was his 11th of his career which now puts him into 10th place on the WCHA All-Time Shutout List. Additionally, his 1.35 GAA last season is the lowest mark within WCHA play in conference history. 

In Division 3 hockey, Kyle Meeh had a phenomenal weekend for Saint Mary’s and earned MIAC Men’s Hockey Athlete of the Week honors. On Friday night the senior from Fenton, MO scored 2 goals in a 5-4 loss to St. Thomas. The 6’2” 192 lbs. defenseman then added 3 assists in Saturday’s 4-1 victory as he is now second on the team in points. Meeh, who played parts of three seasons with the Jr. Blues, has now appeared in 87 games for the Cardinals and has registered 58 points (25 goals, 33 assists). This is Meeh’s second weekly honor this season, and he has earned MIAC All-Rookie Team (2016-17) and First Team All-Miac (2017-18, 2018-19) honors as well. 

Moving out east, we first spotlight forward Jeffrey Skinner whose play this past weekend earned him NEHC Player of the Week honors. The sophomore forward from Katy, TX tallied three goals over the weekend for UMass-Boston in their weekend split with Skidmore and Hobart. In Friday night’s contest Skinner scored 2 goals in the Beacons 5-1 victory over Skidmore, and then on Saturday he scored again in their 6-2 loss to Hobart. He is currently on a 7-game point streak in which he has recorded 6 goals and 6 assists. On the season he now has 8 goals and 7 assists in 11 games. 

And last but not least, Nikita Kozyrev has earned SUNYAC Rookie of the Week honors after an impressive three game stretch last week. Kozyrev, a native of Tallinn, Estonia, tallied five points in a 1-1-1 week for the Buffalo State Bengals, scoring in each game. The 5’8” 154 lbs. forward netted two goals and an assist in a 6-2 win at Chatham last Tuesday and then had a goal and an assist in a pair of games against SUNY-Canton over the weekend. Kozyrev is pacing the Bengals in scoring this season with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists) in 13 games, which also leads all rookies in the SUNYAC and ranks sixth among Division 3 freshmen. 

Jr. Blues Highlights: