Tag Archives: junior hockey

Springfield Jr. Blues Host Hockey Camp

The Springfield Jr. Blues hosted a hockey camp this week for children ages 9-18 at The Nelson Center.

Springfield Assistant Coach, Josh Dallmann, and Learn to Skate Coordinator and Power Hockey Instructor Jenn Fortin teamed up to teach the children for several hours each day. The instructors worked on and off the ice.

On-ice time included working on passing, shooting, stick handling, puck handling, skating, and hockey skills.

Off-ice, the teams worked on plyometrics, stick handling, and explosion training.

The coaches were assisted by Springfield Jr. Blues players, Sam Sterne and Sam Swanson for the week! 

NAHL Showcase Schedule Released

The NAHL has released the 16th annual Showcase schedule for 2018. The Showcase is held September 19-22nd at the Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.

All 24 of the NAHL teams will play four regular-season games at the Showcase, which has been called the ‘Greatest Show on Ice.’

The schedule for the Springfield Jr. Blues is as follows:

Wednesday, September 19th: @ 7:30 pm (CST) against Maryland Black Bears

Thursday, September 20th: @ 8:00 pm (CST) against Northeast Generals

Friday, September 21st: @ 1:30 pm (CST) against Odessa Jackalopes

Saturday, September 22nd: @ 1:00 pm (CST) against Johnstown Tomahawks

All 48 NAHL Showcase games will be broadcast live and in HD through HockeyTV, the official broadcast provider of the NAHL.

Springfield Announces Pre-Season Games

The Springfield Jr. Blues have announced their much-anticipated pre-season schedule for the 2018-2019 season.

The Shreveport Mudbugs, the 2018 Robertson Cup winners, will play on Springfield’s home ice September 7th and 8th, during the pre-season. Friday September 7th, the game will start at 7:05, with the puck dropping at 6:05 on Saturday the 8th.

The Shreveport Mudbugs are part of the NAHL South Division, and do not usually meet with Springfield during the regular season.

Springfield will visit Shreveport first, with games over Labor Day weekend on Shreveport’s home ice.

The Springfield Jr. Blues will also play the University of Illinois hockey team on Saturday, September 15th at 6:05, giving fans an extra game this pre-season. The official season opens for Springfield at home on September 28th.

Tickets for all pre-season games will be just $5.00 at the door each night, for all fans.

2018 Main Camp In The Books

Over 120 players from around the world came to Springfield over the weekend, looking to score a spot on the Springfield Jr. Blues team. Many of the players from the 2017-18 team were also in attendance.

There were six teams of players who skated for three days (2-4 games per player) in front of the team coaches and scouts, and in the end, only 30 players were selected.

Main Camp was invitation-only event, while Draft Camp, which took place in May, is open to anyone 16-20 years of age.

While coaches have selected their roster and players have been notified, the official list will not be released to the public until later in the summer.

NAHL is Represented in the 2018 NHL Draft

Released by the NAHL:
It was a banner day and one the NAHL will long remember as the 2018 National Hockey League (NHL) Draft wrapped up its second day on Saturday, June 23rd at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
In all, nine players that play or have previously played in the NAHL were taken in the draft. It is the most players taken with NAHL experience since the 2010 NHL Draft when the NAHL had 16 players with NAHL experience selected, which included those from the NTDP team when they were members of the league until 2009.
“This is part of the continuing evolution of the North American Hockey League. Players are getting more exposure, more opportunities for advancement, and as a result more and more of them are worthy of consideration by NHL teams during the draft,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “Having our coaches at the event was a great experience for everyone and we are thrilled at how the weekend went. We continue to see incredible numbers of NHL scouts at our events and because our players are competing at such a high level, we have been able to enjoy continued success at the NHL Draft. We congratulate all those players selected.”
The list of those selected included Lone Star Brahmas goalie Mitchell Gibson, who was the NAHL Goaltender and Rookie of the Year this past season. Gibson was the first American-born goaltender selected in the 2018 NHL Draft when the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals selected him #124 overall in the 4th Round.
“I knew Washington was a possibility, but you never know. It really is a dream come true. After this past year, I had a lot of confidence in my game and myself. I was real excited to get an opportunity with Lone Star in the NAHL this year,” said Gibson, who attended the draft with his parents.
The 6’1/186 lbs. native of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Harvard University, tied an NAHL single-season record with 11 shutouts in 2017-18. Gibson also finished the regular season leading in the NAHL in goals against average (1.59) and save percentage (93.5%), which were both the lowest numbers in the league since the 2014-15 season. He was also 2nd in wins with 26 and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for one of two NAHL Selects teams.  The last goalie to win both the NAHL Goaltender of the Year and NAHL Rookie of the Year honors in the same season was current Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck, who did it in 2011-12 with the Odessa Jackalopes.
In the 7th round, Janesville Jets forward Jakov Novak heard his name called by the Ottawa Senators with the 188th overall pick in the 7th round. The NAHL Most Valuable Player and Forward of the Year from the 2017-18 season put together a remarkable season for the Jets. Novak, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Bentley University in the fall, led all NAHL players in scoring during the regular season with 73 points in 56 games played. That included 32 goals, which also tied for the NAHL lead. He also led the NAHL with a +41 rating during the regular season, showing his talent at both ends of the ice. Novak (6’3/200) was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, where he improved his NHL Draft stock by recording four points in two games for one of the two NAHL Selects teams. In his two-year NAHL career, he has recorded 101 points in 108 career regular season games.
“I’m honored to be part of such an unbelievable organization and beyond excited for what the future holds,” said Novak. “Honestly, I’m at a loss for words. I’m super excited and can’t wait to get things going. Training camp starts Monday.”
Janesville Jets Owner and President Bill McCoshen, who is also the NAHL’s Chairman of the Board, attended the Draft and offerered his thoughts about Novak getting drafted, as well as, the NAHL’s big day. “You may not finish here, but it is a great place to start and increase your development and move on. It is obvious that players in the NAHL are getting noticed. I think the level of our coaching is a main reason more and more guys are getting committed to NCAA schools and drafted by NHL teams.”
“When Jakov was selected I cheered. To have a kid like Jakov develop like he did in a one-year period was incredible. His development was spectacular. He put in the work off the ice to get stronger and faster and everything worked,” said McCoshen.
The other seven NAHL players drafted were all recent players in the league and include (alphabetical):
Paul Cotter, F, Brookings Blizzard (Vegas Golden Knights, Round 4/#115): The native of Canton, Michigan, led the Blizzard in scoring during the 2016-17 regular season with 60 points, which included 28 goals and 32 assists. His 60 points was tied for 6th among all NAHL players and earned him NAHL Rookie of the Year honors. Cotter committed to Western Michigan during his year in the NAHL and will play for the Broncos in 2018-19.
Mikael Hakkarainen, F, Brookings Blizzard (Chicago Blackhawks, Round 5/#139): The native of Espoo, Finland had an incredible rookie season for the Blizzard in the NAHL in 2015-16. Hakkarainen, who is committed to play at Providence College this upcoming season, recorded 40 points in 54 regular season games and was named to the All-NAHL Rookie 2nd Team in 2015-16.
Cole Koepke, F, Minnesota Wilderness (Tampa Bay Lightning, Round 6/#183): The native of Hermantown, Minnesota joined the Wilderness in the NAHL towards the end of the 2015-16 season. In total he played in 17 games, which included nine during the regular season and eight more during the Robertson Cup Playoffs. Koepke will be playing at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in 2018-19.
Brandon Kruse, F, Brookings Blizzard (Vegas Golden Knights, Round 5/#135): Kruse is a great ladder of development success story, who rocketed up the draft board after his one season in the NAHL with the Blizzard in 2016-17 and then an incredible rookie season in the NCAA this past year at Bowling Green. The native of Saline, Michigan, had 46 points in 59 games played for the Blizzard in 2016-17 and also committed to Bowling Green. During his freshman season at Bowling Green in 2017-18, he recorded 33 points in 41 games played.
Jake Kucharski, G, Austin Bruins (Carolina Hurricanes, Round 7/#197): Kucharski had climbed the ladder of development, which dates back all the way to the Esmark Stars 16U team of the NAPHL during the 2015-16 season. The native of Erie, Pennsylvania, then went onto the NAHL the following season in 2016-17 with the Austin Bruins. Kucharski played in 34 games and posted a goals against average of 3.31 and a save percentage of .894. He is committed to play at Providence College during the 2019-20 season.
Ivan Prosvetov, G, Minnesota Magicians (Arizona Coyotes, Round 4/#114): Prosvetov spent the entire 2016-17 season with the Minnesota Magicians in the NAHL. He also played in the 2017 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament where he first caught the eye of NHL scouts. During the 2016-17 season in the NAHL, the native of Moskva, Russia, played in 44 regular season games and posted a goals against average of 2.52 and a save percentage of .928.
Nathan Smith, F, Aberdeen Wings (Winnipeg Jets, Round 3/#91): Smith, who is committed to play NCAA Division I hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato this upcoming season, played in the NAHL for a small portion of the 2016-17 season. The native of Hudson, Florida, recorded two points in four games with the Wings.

Forward Ethan Stewart Commits to Ferris State

Rockford, Illinois native, and Springfield Jr. Blues fan favorite, Ethan Stewart has committed to play D1 college hockey at Ferris State University.

“As a coach I can’t say enough about this kid,” said Head Coach Tyler Rennette. “Stewart came to the rink everyday with a smile on his face and worked his tail off. This commitment is well deserved,  Ferris State is getting a first class kid.”

Stewart has played 60 games this season, scoring 17 goals, and 30 assists for a total of 47 points. Stewart had one game winning goal this season and is looking strong in the post season.

Springfield Forward Dylan Rauh Commits

Forward Dylan Rauh, originally from Aurora, CO has committed to play NCAA hockey at Aurora University in Illinois.

Rauh joined the team right at the trade deadline, playing 23 games for Springfield in the regular season, giving the team three goals, six assists, for a total of nine points. His entire regular season gives him 61 games played, eight goals, and 13 assists for 21 points.

In the post season, with two games played, Rauh has had one assist.

In a league centered around growth and development, Head Coach Tyler Rennette gets excited when a player commits to a college and will continue to play hockey.

“Dylan has been great for our team since joining us at the deadline. He plays with a lot of energy and is a great role model for the younger players. He will be a great college hockey player and Aurora is lucky to have him next fall,” said Coach Tyler Rennette.

Weekend PLAYOFF Preview: Springfield at Janesville

The playoffs are finally here and your Springfield Jr. Blues are feeling confident going into the weekend with two games on the road against the Janesville Jets.

*Please note the Official Watch Party is at Cooper’s AlleySide for these both games against Janesville starting at 7pm each night*

Be sure to mark your calendars for Friday 4/20 and (possibly) Saturday, 4/21. Your Springfield Jr. Blues are home for their home game of the post season. Be sure to come out on Friday for Happy Hour with $1. Coors Lite drafts from 5:30 until 6:45, with the puck drop at 7:05. We will also have $2 Blue Moon, Give-Aways, A Live Band, and Jersey Auction!

SPRINGFIELD JR. BLUES

 Tale Of The Tape:

Record: (3rd in Midwest)

Top Scorers: Ethan Stewart (60 GP,  17 G- 30 A -47 Pts.), Nikita Kozyrev (57 GP, 15 G- 27 A -43 Pts.), Max Branin (57 GP,  17 G- 23 A -40 Pts.)

Forward To Watch:

Ethan Stewart Springfield forward Ethan Stewart has logged 47 points this season with Springfield. He has 17 goals and 30 assists, making him our highest scoring skater this year. He has six power play goals and one game winning goal.

Manning The Blue Line:

Jordan Muzzillo:  Springfield defenseman Jordan Muzzillo has logged 28 points this season, with 6 goals and 20 assists. He has one power play goal and two game winning goals. 

Between The Pipes:

Evan Fear: Goaltender Evan Fear sports a save percentage of .875 this season, with 2.39 GAA. His shootout save percentage is 0.929. He is 19-11 so far this season for the Springfield Jr. Blues, and he will look to stay hot this weekend!

Schedule for Round 1 of the Robertson Cup Playoffs

Game 1 | Friday, April 13 | Janesville Ice Arena | 7:00 p.m. CST
Game 2 | Saturday, April 14 | Janesville Ice Arena | 7:00 p.m. CST
Game 3 | Friday, April 20 | Nelson Center | 7:05 p.m. CST
*Game 4 | Saturday, April 21 | Nelson Center | 6:05 p.m. CST
*Game 5 | Monday, April 23 | Janesville Ice Arena | 6:00 p.m. CST
*if necessary

Season Series (Springfield 4-8-1-1)

Sat 9/16 | Jets 5 @ Jr. Blues 3
Fri 11/10 | Jr. Blues 3 @ Jets 1
Sat 11/11 | Jr. Blues 4 @ Jets 5
Sat 12/9 | Jr. Blues 4 @ Jets 1
Fri 1/5 | Jets 2 @ Jr. Blues 0
Sat 1/6 | Jets 3 @ Jr. Blues 2
Fri 1/12 | Jr. Blues 1 @ Jets 2
Sat 1/13 | Jr. Blues 4 @ Jets 5 (OT)
Sat 1/27 | Jets 3 @ Jr. Blues 0
Fri 3/2 | Jets 0 @ Jr. Blues 1 (OT)
Sat 3/3 | Jets 6 @ Jr. Blues 3
Wed 3/28 | Jr. Blues 2 @ Jets 1 (SO)

Forward Max Brainin makes NAHL Bauer Star of the Week

Springfield forward Max Brainin has a lot to be excited about this week! After finishing strong with three points over the weekend against the Coulee Region Chill, Brainin is headed to the playoffs with Springfield, and then was named the Bauer Hockey Midwest Division Star of the Week.

From the NAHL website:

Midwest Division Star of the Week: Max Brainin, forward, Springfield Jr. Blues

Winners of their last eight straight, one of the hottest teams entering the 2018 NAHL Robertson Cup Playoffs is the Springfield Jr. Blues. That hot play continued this past weekend as the Jr. Blues picked up a weekend road sweep of the Coulee Region Chill. Forward Max Brainin, 19, had three points in the two wins for the Jr. Blues and was also a +3. On Friday, the 6’0/190 lbs. native of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, had a goal in a 4-3 win over the Chill, and then on Saturday he had the game-winning goal and an assist in a 3-2 win. For the season, Brainin finished 3rd in team scoring with 40 points in 57 regular season games. “Max has really elevated his game the last few weeks. He is committed to the team game and with that he has had a ton of individual success. We will be counting on him to continue his strong play in the playoffs,” said Jr. Blues head coach Tyler Renette.

Springfield Hangs On for a 4-3 Win

The Jr. Blues jumped out to a 3-0 lead and held on for a 4-3 win against the Chill on Friday. The loss was the 7th in a row for Coulee Region. The Jr. Blues got goals from Brandon Puricelli, Max Brainin, and Patrick Smyth to take a 3-0 lead early in the 3rd period. The Chill mounted a comeback with goals from Sam Dabrowski and Andrew McGlynn, but a goal from Springfield’s Sam Swanson secured the win. Connor Zilisch had the other goal for the Chill. Jurja Ovecka made 31 saves in the win, while Mitchell James made 31 saves in the loss.