Tag Archives: Bradley Marek

2020 NAHL Draft: Jr. Blues Pick Six

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that we selected six players in yesterday’s 2020 NAHL Entry Draft. 

We opened up the 2020 Entry Draft by selecting forward Bradley Marek with the #5 overall pick. Marek, a native of Big Rapids, MI, is no stranger to The Nelson Center as he appeared in 31 games for the Jr. Blues during the 2017-18 season, scoring 8 goals and adding 9 assists. After Springfield, the Michigan State commit played parts of two seasons with the Central Illinois Flying Aces before playing this past year with the Youngstown Phantoms. In 143 USHL games Marek has recorded 22 goals and 16 assists, while overall in his junior career he has registered 30 goals and 25 assists. 

Our second selection in the draft and the #42 overall pick was used on defenseman Christian “C.J.” Zins. The Princeton, MN native is coming off a strong season for St. Cloud Cathedral where he notched 8 goals and 10 assists in 24 regular season games, adding 5 assists in 6 playoff appearances. In three seasons with St. Cloud, Zins put up 21 goals and 41 assists in 73 games. Zins played his youth hockey for the Minnesota Blizzard and additionally signed a tender with the Granite City Lumberjacks of the NA3HL earlier this year. 

With our third selection and #59 overall pick, we drafted forward Ethan Wolthers. The native of Valencia, CA played this past season in the BCHL for the Wenatchee Wild, scoring 7 goals and 8 assists in 47 games. The UMass-Amherst commit appeared in 56 games for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders during the 2018-19 season, registering 7 goals and 7 assists. Wolthers played his youth hockey for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks Tier-1 program alongside current Jr. Blues forward and fellow UMass-Amherst commit Jonathan Panisa. 

The third round of the 2020 NAHL Entry Draft gave us two picks and with the #72 overall pick we selected forward Zac Sirota. Sirota, a native of Vaughan, Ontario, Canada, played for the Markham Royals in the OJHL last season, scoring 21 goals and 24 assists in 47 games. Sirota has played parts of four seasons in the OJHL, two with Markham and just over one season with the Milton IceHawks. Sirota has appeared in 163 games in the OJHL with 46 goals and 59 assists on his resume.

After our selection of Sirota late in the third round, we had to wait until the sixth round for our next pick. With our fifth pick of the day and the #140 overall pick, we selected forward Grady Friedman. The native of Portland, ME appeared in 21 games for Northfield Mount Hermon School (NHMS) this past season, scoring 9 goals and 9 assists. Friedman played for Kent School prior to NHMS while also competing for the Maine Moose youth program. In 107 career USHS-Prep games, Friedman tallied 24 goals and 39 assists. 

Our final pick of the day came in the seventh round as we selected forward Connor Bennett with the #167 overall pick in the draft. Bennett, a local product from Rochester, began his junior career with the Peoria Mustangs in 2018-19. Last season Bennett played in 47 games for the Mustangs and scored 16 goals with 24 assists, increasing his junior career totals to 27 goals and 45 assists in 94 games, all in the NA3HL.

Marek, Zins, Wolthers, Sirota, Friedman, and Bennett join Liam Svensson, Grayson Valente, and Austin Spiridakis, who were drafted in May in the Supplemental Draft, to wrap up our 2020 Draft Class. In addition to the nine players selected between the two draft phases, we also tendered eight players this year: Daniel Rozsival, Brian Craven, Jacob Zwirecki, Riley McAlese, Zachary Simon, Dylan Roebuck, Max Ruoho, and Cameron Bauer. 

Congratulations to our 2020 Draft Class and our 2020 Tenders, we look forward to seeing all of you at Main Camp in August!

Jr. Blues Alumni Breakdown

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have advanced over 100 players onto college and professional hockey in the last 25 years. We’ve picked out a handful of alumni who have been excelling this season on and off the ice for this week’s Jr. Blues Alumni Breakdown.

Dryden McKay nabbed his fourth WCHA Goaltender of the Week award after going 1-0-1 for the MSU-Mankato Mavericks against the Michigan Tech Huskies. McKay, a freshman, stopped 57 of 60 shot in two games started and ended with a .950 save percentage and 1.38 goals against average. McKay turned aside 24 shots in Friday’s contest, and an additional four shooters in the shootout victory. On Saturday the Downers Grove, IL native made 33 saves in a 3-2 overtime win. He is now 17-5-2 over all with a 1.87 GAA and a .923 save percentage this season. McKay currently leads all freshmen goaltenders in minutes played (1477:55), wins, goals against average, and shutouts (3).

Stefanos Lekkas, to his own credit, has been playing equally as well for the University of Vermont Catamounts as of late. After going 1-1-0 against University of New Hampshire he was named the Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week. Lekkas, who is from Elburn, IL, stopped 57 of 59 shots he faced over the weekend. He denied 26 shots in a 1-0 defeat on Friday before making 31 saves in a 4-1 victory on Saturday. On the season Lekkas is 12-14-2 with a 2.26 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

Facing off with Lekkas was a fellow Jr. Blues alum in Mike Robinson. Robinson led the UNH Wildcats to a 1-0 victory on Friday behind a 29 save shutout, his fourth of the season. In Saturday’s 4-1 defeat Robinson turned aside 37 of 41 shots. In 25 games played this season he is 10-8-7 with a 2.25 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

Not to be outdone or forgotten, Tommy Nappier is continuing to win for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The St. Louis, MO native is 11-1-2 with a 1.60 GAA and a .946 save percentage for the #2 team in the nation. Over the weekend Nappier kept 29 of 30 shots out of the net in a 4-1 victory over Wisconsin.

McKay, Lekkas, Robinson, Nappier, and Devin Cooley have not only been topping our alumni list each week, but they’ve also been ranking at the top or near the top of statistical categories for all goalies in the NCAA. Nappier has the highest winning percentage in Division 1 Men’s Ice Hockey (.857), while McKay sits at sixth (.750) and Cooley is 15h (.654).

All five are in the top 20 for goal against average: Nappier is second (1.60), McKay is seventh (1.87), Cooley is 14th (2.08), Robinson is 19th (2.25), and Lekkas is 20th (2.26). Nappier is also second in the nation in save percentage (.946), while Lekkas is fifth (.931), Cooley is 8th (.929), McKay is 15th (.923), and Robinson is 16th (.923).

Here is a quick recap of a few more of our alumni:

  • Max Kalter had 2 assists for UCONN (NCAA); he now has 6 goals and 7 assists in 28 games played.
  • Brian Rigali had 1 goal and 1 assist for UCONN (NCAA); he now has 4 goals and 5 assists in 23 games played.
  • T.J. Friedmann scored his first NCAA goal for Quinnipiac on Feb. 2nd against Clarkson University. He has four assists in 23 games as well.
  • Kelly Klima has four points in his last five games (2 goals, 2 assists) and has at least one point in 13 of his 20 games played this season (8 goals, 9 assists) for the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL).
  • Kevin Loppatto is currently on loan to IF Bjorkloven in HockeyAllsvenskan (Second League) in Sweden. He has 1 goal in three games played with the team. Loppatto had put up 16 goals and 13 assists in 33 games for Vannas HC in Sweden’s Division 1 League (Hockeyettan, Tier Three).
  • Evan Fear was traded to the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL by the Green Bay Gamblers. In 24 appearances this season, Fear is 10-9-4-0 with a 3.33 GAA and a .899 save percentage. He has three USHL Goaltender of the Week awards this season (10/22/18, 12/10/18, and 12/31/18).
  • Mike McKenna is now on his second AHL team this season (Belleville Senators, Lehigh Valley Phantoms) and his 14th AHL team overall (Norfolk, Milwaukee, Omaha, Portland, Lowell, Albany, Binghamton, Peoria, Springfield, Syracuse, and Texas). McKenna has played in 470 AHL games and holds a career line of: 228-176-25 with 27 shutouts, a 2.71 GAA, and a .913 save percentage. He has appeared in two Calder Cup Finals (Syracuse Crunch and the Texas Stars).
  • Luke Radetic has 13 goals and 9 assists for University of St. Thomas (NCAA D3) in 23 games.
  • Bradley Marek has 6 goals and 4 assists in 41 games for the Central Illinois Flying Aces (USHL).

Jr. Blues Alumni Rewind

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues announced this week that current goaltender Jack Williams was ranked #9 on the NHL Central Scouting List for North American goaltenders. Williams, a Michigan State University commit, is continuing the tradition of excellent play by current and former Jr. Blues players. Here is a recap of some of those players.

Mike Robinson posted his second shutout of the year in a 5-0 win for the University of New Hampshire against Merrimack on Friday night, making 25 saves. On the year, he has .920 save percentage and 2.26 goals against average. He’s helped the Wildcats to a 6-1-1 mark in their last eight games. Robinson was named the Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

Trevor Stone is continuing to stay hot for the Air Force Academy. On Saturday, Stone scored both goals in a 2-2 tie with Sacred Heart. Stone has 3 goals in his last four games, and has 7 goals and 2 assists on the season.

Tommy Nappier is having perhaps one of the most underrated seasons in the NCAA. In 13 games played, Nappier has a 9-1-2 record with a 1.78 GAA and a .940 save percentage. Nappier helped the Buckeyes defeat Penn State this past weekend stopping 24 of 28 shots.

Let’s take a look at other alumni from around the world of hockey:

Josh Lammon (F): Mercyhurst Univ. Captain; 8 goals, 9 assists in 26 games played

Joey Sardina (F): Lake Forest College; 7 goals, 9 assists in 19 games played

Mike Crowley (F): SUNY-Cortland Assistant Captain; 2 goals, 13 assists in 18 games played

Bradley Marek (F): Central Illinois Flying Aces; 6 goals, 4 assists in 35 games played

Erich Fear (D): Univ. of Denver; 1 goal, 1 assist in 18 games played

Devin Cooley (G): Univ. of Denver; 8-4-1, 2.08 GAA, .929 SVS%

Off the Ice:

Kyle Jennings played for the Jr. Blues during the 1997-98 and 1998-99 seasons. He amassed 4 goals, 6 assists, and 46 penalty minutes in 44 games played. After leaving hockey due to a string of concussions, Jennings turned to a different career path: music. Jennings released his debut album “Shine” in 2004, and has released two more albums since then, “Long Black Cadillac” in 2008 and “American Vinyl” in 2016.