Jr. Blues Alumni Report – Jan. 8th, 2020

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues are currently in our 27th season in the North American Hockey League (NAHL), and in that time we have seen nearly 1000 players come through the doors of the Nelson Center. Over 350 alumni went on to play NCAA hockey at either the Division 1 or 3 levels, while just over 150 players went on to play professional hockey around the world. Here is this week’s Alumni Report!

We begin with forward Max Brainin this week, as the Buffalo Grove, IL native secured a career first over the weekend. Brainin, a freshman at St. Norbert College, scored his first career collegiate goal in Saturday night’s 7-2 victory against the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Brainin added two assists in the contest, one going to fellow alum Ben Schmidling who had a goal and an assist as well. Brainin has 1 goal and 4 assists in 13 games played for St. Norbert where he is joined by fellow alums in Schmidling, Brendan Aird, and Chase Mickelson. 

Dryden McKay had a bounce-back weekend for the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks, leading them to a weekend sweep of Alaska-Fairbanks. On Friday night the sophomore netminder turned aside all 7 shots he faced to pick up the win and the shutout, his 6th shutout this season and 10th of his career. He followed up his Friday performance with a 15 save performance on Saturday in the Mavericks 3-1 victory. Overall on the weekend he stopped 22/23 shots and picked up two wins. McKay, a native of Downers Grove, IL, has a 17-2-1 record with a 1.20 GAA and .947 SV%. He currently leads the nation in wins, shutouts, goals-against average, and save percentage. 

Sticking with NCAA players, we move to UMass-Boston where Jeff Skinner is helping the Beacons find their footing as the new years begins. Skinner, a sophomore forward from Katy, TX, had a stellar weekend as he compiled 1 goal and 4 assists. On Friday Skinner netted 3 assists as UMass-Boston routed Albertus Magnus 9-2. On Saturday he found the back of the net once and added a helper despite the Beacons being defeated 6-2. Through 10 games played Skinner has 5 goals and 7 assists for 12 points, tied for 5th most on the team. 

We transition from the world of collegiate hockey to the realm of professional hockey as we look at Matteson Iacopelli who has really found his stride in the last couple of weeks. After riding a 5 game point streak that was snapped just before the new years, Iacopelli tallied 3 goals and 1 assist in 2 games this past weekend for the Kalamazoo Wings. On Friday night the Brownstone, MI native had a goal and an assist in a 6-2 loss to Toledo, before adding 2 goals on Saturday in a 6-3 loss to Fort Wayne. For the season Iacopelli has 10 goals and 11 assists in 29 games, his 21 points are third most on the team. 

Our final spotlight this week is once again on goaltender Janis Voris. Voris, a native of Riga, Latvia, secured his first KHL win and shutout on Saturday night as his Dinamo Riga club defeated Barys Nur-Sultan 1-0. Voris stopped all 25 shots he faced. On Monday night, however, Voris learned firsthand how fickle professional hockey can be as Dinamo Riga was rocked by Jockerit 7-0. Voris allowed 7 goals on 26 shots in two periods of action before being relieved in the 3rd period. Voris has appeared in 4 games this season for Riga and has a 1-2-0 record with a .892 SV% and 3.18 GAA with one shutout. 

Alumni Highlights: