Tag Archives: Brian Rigali

Jr. Blues Alumni Report – March 13th, 2019

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues are proud of the accomplishments that our alumni have made this season. With many seasons having already ended, or will be ending soon, we take a look at the performances of this past week from the NCAA and beyond.

We begin this week’s alumni rundown with our eyes set on the ECHL. Ross Olsson signed his first professional contract last week for the Worcester Railers and made his debut this past Saturday against the Norfolk Admirals. In a 6-1 victory for the Railers, Olsson scored his first professional goal and got in his first professional fight. Olsson recently graduated from Endicott College where he put record numbers offensively. 

The NCAA is entering the final stretch as conferences are in the midst of their playoff tournaments. Continuing his superb season, Dryden McKay helped Minnesota State to a Quarterfinal sweep of Alabama Huntsville in the WCHA playoffs this past weekend. McKay earned an Honorable Mention for both the WCHA Goaltender and Rookie of the Week honors after allowing just two goals on 32 shots. McKay has a stellar 21-6-2 record with a 1.72 GAA and a .928 SV% on the season. He leads all freshman goaltenders in wins, GAA, SV%, and shutouts, and ranks 2nd among all goaltenders in GAA and 7th in SV%.  

The UCONN Huskies upset the #2 ranked Massachusetts Minutemen on Saturday night, 4-3. Brian Rigali scored his 5th goal of the season and added his 6th assist in the programs first ever victory over a team ranked that high (previous highest ranked team was #3). Max Kalter would join his fellow Jr. Blues alum on the scoresheet with his 10th assist of the year in the season finale for UCONN, who did not make the playoffs.

While Stefanos Lekkas didn’t lead his team to victory in their season finale, he did lead them to a 2-2 tie against UMass-Lowell. Lekkas stopped 28 of 30 shots to earn his 3rd tie of the season, he currently holds a 12-19-3 record with a strong 2.27 GAA and a .930 SV%. The junior from Elburn, IL is ranked 5th in the nation in SV% and in the top 20 in GAA.  

Our final highlight of the weekend goes to Ryan Leibold, a freshman at Holy Cross. On Saturday, Leibold scored his 4th goal of the season in a 3-2 loss to Robert Morris. In 33 games this season Leibold has 4 goals and 5 assists.

Here is a recap of other alumni around the hockey world:

  • Tim Santopaolo, F: 6 G, 6 A in 14 GP (Watertown Wolves, FHL)
  • Nicholas Belger, F: 21 G, 31 A in 32 GP (Stony Brook Univ., ACHA)
  • Josh Bell, F: 19 G, 16 A in 27 GP (Missouri St., ACHA)
  • Michael Davies, F: 16 G, 14 A in 39 GP (EHC Linz, EBEL)
  • Zachary Tyson, F: 6 G, 20 A in 29 GP (Hobart College, NCAA DIII)
  • Joey Lupo, F: 11 G, 13 A in 25 GP (Amherst College, NCAA DIII)
  • Luke Radetic, F: 14 G, 9 A in 26 GP (Univ. of St. Thomas, NCAA DIII)
  • Joey Sardina, F: 10 G, 10 A in 28 GP (Lake Forest, NCAA DIII)

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).