Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues are proud to have moved over 100 players onto NCAA and professional hockey during our tenure in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Here are a few whose play this past week has turned heads around the hockey world.
In what has become the ‘weekly alumni goaltender recap’, we once again start off with a goalie who is grabbing the spotlight. Devin Cooley, a soph. at Denver, was named the NCHC Goaltender of the Week after leading the Pioneers to a 1-0 victory over then-No. 4 Minnesota Duluth. The win was Cooley’s first game back from injury and illness and was his 9th win of the season. The Los Gatos, California native earned his third shutout of the season and now has a 1.93 GAA and a .929 save percentage on the season.
This week we’ll dive into how our forwards and defensemen have been performing lately in all levels of college and professional hockey. Kelly Klima, who is currently playing for the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals, has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last four games. The rookie forward now has 12 goals and 11 assists in 24 games this season after participating in training camp with the Arizona Coyotes.
Coale Norris, a soph. at Ferris State University, had the game-winning goal on Friday and an assist on Saturday against Alaska Anchorage. In 32 games this season Norris has 7 goals and 9 assists for the Bulldogs.
Sam Craggs had 2 goals and 1 assist in a blowout win for Bowling Green over Alaska-Fairbanks. He now has 6 goals and 5 assists on the season. Patrick Curry scored a goal against both Harvard and UCONN for Boston University last week. Curry, a junior, now has 11 goals and 8 assists for the Terriers in 29 games.
It’s important to take time to recognize our alumni in Division III and in the ACHA as well.
- Patrick Flynn, F: 2 G vs. Skidmore; 4 game goal streak. (Babson College, NCAA D3)
- Bryan Hovanec, F: 2 G, 3 A vs. Chatham & Stevenson. (Lebanon Valley Co., NCAA D3)
- Nicholas Belger, F: 3 G vs. Syracuse; 9 points (3 G, 6 A) in last 4 games (Stony Brook, ACHA D1)
- Josh Bell, F: 3 G in two games vs. Arkansas; 5 goals in last three games. (Missouri St., ACHA D1)
- Joey Lupo, F: 2 G, 1 A vs. Middlebury. (Amherst, NCAA D3)
- Chase Mickelson, F: 1 G, 1 A in two games vs. Finlandia. (St. Norbert, NCAA D3)
Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have been a member of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) since 1993 and have had alumni play college hockey and in professional leagues around the world. Here are a few alumni performances from the past week that we have chosen to spotlight.
Three goaltenders earned player of the week honors in three different conferences. Dryden McKay (Minnesota State-Mankato) has continued to impress as he was named the WCHA Goaltender of the Week. McKay, a freshman, stopped 26 of 27 shots in two wins over Alabama Huntsville this past weekend. In Saturday’s 4-0 win McKay stopped all 12 shots for his third career shutout. The Downers Grove, IL native currently has a 16-5-1 record with a 1.91 GAA and a .921 save percentage for the Mavericks.
Shifting to the east coast, Stefanos Lekkas was named the Hockey East Player of the Week after backstopping Vermont to a victory and a tie against #9 Providence. The Elburn, IL native made 33 saves in a 3-1 win on Friday, and made 46 saves in a 1-1 tie on Saturday. On the weekend Lekkas made 79 saves, posted a 0.98 GAA and a .975 save percentage. Overall Lekkas is 11-13-2 with a 2.36 GAA and a .929 save percentage for the Catamounts this season.
We would be remiss if we didn’t include Tommy Nappier in our Alumni recap as well. Nappier, a sophomore at Ohio State, was named the Big Ten #3 Star of the Week after leading the Buckeyes to a 2-0 win on Saturday against Notre Dame. Nappier turned aside all 30 shots that he faced to earn his fourth shutout of the season and his 10th win of the season. With just one loss on the season, Nappier’s 1.64 GAA and .945 save percentage both rank second in the nation.
But don’t think that it’s just goalies who are making strides since leaving Springfield. Boston University forward Patrick Curry scored two goals on Friday night against #3 UMass. Curry, who is from Schaumburg, IL, is in his junior season at BU and in 25 games played this season he has 9 goals and 8 assists.
Here are more alumni who have been playing well this season:
- Russell Jordan (F) – 4 goals, 6 assists between Pensacola and Birmingham (SPHL)
- Sam Craggs (F) – 4 goals, 4 assists in 29 games; Bowling Green St. Univ. (NCAA)
- Coale Norris (F) – 6 goals, 6 assists in 28 games; Ferris State (NCAA)
- Max Kalter (F) – 6 goals, 5 assists in 26 games; Univ. of Connecticut (NCAA)
- Kelly Klima (F) – 7 goals, 8 assists in 17 games; Norfolk Admirals (ECHL)
- Jack Summers (D) – 7 assists, +3 in 20 games; Univ. of Michigan (NCAA)
Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have over 90 alumni playing in higher junior hockey leagues, college hockey, or professional hockey. Here is a recap of some of our alumni.
Tommy Nappier (2015-16) Ohio State University, NCAA
Tommy Nappier (St. Louis, MO) started off his 2018-19 season at Ohio State University with a 3-0 shutout over Arizona State University. Nappier stopped all 27 shots sent his way by the Sun Devils for his first win of the season. Ohio State is now 2-0-0 on the season and will next play on Friday October 20 against the University of Massachusetts at home. Nappier is in his second season at Ohio State after playing in the USHL for the Chicago Steel and the Omaha Lancers.
Coale Norris (2015-16) Ferris State University, NCAA
Coale Norris (Oxford, MI) scored two goals this past Friday night for the Ferris State University Bulldogs against the Western Michigan University Broncos. His two goals lead the team in scoring to start this season, and he will look to build momentum this weekend against the Mercyhurst Lakers. Norris played for the Jr. Blues during the 2015-16 season before playing for the Youngstown Phantoms in the USHL. He is joined at Ferris State by fellow Jr. Blues alumni Ethan Stewart (Rockford, IL) who has no points yet on the season.
Josh Bell (2015-16; 2016-17) Missouri State University, ACHA
Josh Bell (St. Louis, MO) is currently tied for the team lead in points for the Missouri State Ice Bears with 13 points (6 goals, 7 assists). Bell is in his third season at Missouri State after playing parts of two season with the Jr. Blues. Bell had a two goal game against Central Oklahoma on September 29th, and a three point game against the University of Oklahoma on September 27th. Missouri State is off until November 1st against the University of Colorado.