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Puricelli, Jr. Blues Earn Divisional Awards

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Brandon Puricelli has been named the Midwest Division Forward of the Year and Most Valuable Player! Additionally, Puricelli was named to the All-Midwest Division Team and the Jr. Blues were named the Midwest Division Organization of the Year!

Puricelli, 21, recently committed to continue his hockey career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. In 59 games this season Puricelli scored 30 goals and added 50 assists to lead not only the team in points, but finished 4th in the entire league. His 50 assists set a single season Jr. Blues record for assists, and he finished just 4 points shy of the record for most points in a season.

Puricelli is the 32nd Jr. Blues player to earn an end of the year award (Divisional or League) in the 26 seasons that Springfield has fielded a team in the NAHL. He is the first to earn one of these honors since Stefanos Lekkas earned a spot on the All-Division team in 2013-14.  

We are proud to announce that the Jr. Blues have earned the Midwest Division Organization of the Year for the first time in franchise history! The support from the Springfield and surrounding areas has been overwhelming and the Jr. Blues would like to thank all of the fans, sponsors, billets, and players for all of their hard work and effort this past season.

Jr. Blues and Pilots Split Final Series

Topeka, Kansas – The Springfield Jr. Blues ended the 2018 calendar year in Topeka, KS for their 4th and final series against the Pilots this season. It would prove to be a weekend filled with the unexpected, and would leave the Jr. Blues in the 4th and final playoff spot with a 12-14-2-1 record.

Friday December 21st: Jr. Blues 5 – Pilots 2

Friday proved to follow the trend of road teams winning in this season’s series as the Jr. Blues jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the 1st period and never looked back. Nick Techel scored his 8th goal of the season to open the offense for the Jr. Blues and just three minutes later Ben Schmidling would continue his solid play of late with his 12th goal.

Despite a 2nd period tally by the Pilots, the Jr. Blues would score three 3rd period goals to ground the Pilots 5-2. Caden Villegas, who just recently returned from a call up to the USHL’s Central Illinois Flying Aces, scored his 3rd of the season 1:36 into the final frame. Brandon Puricelli would add his 19th goal with just under five minutes left in regulation, and Aaron Swanson would score his first goal with Springfield to seal the deal.

Jack Williams made 24 saves in his 9th win of the season and third win against Topeka. In addition to his goal, Ben Schmidling added two assists and Max Brainin had three assists in Springfield’s most dominant performance since November 17th against Topeka.

Saturday December 22nd: Jr. Blues 0 – Pilots 7

Saturday showed that the NAHL has enough parody to shock everyone. After a dominant performance on Friday, the Jr. Blues came out looking for the sweep of Topeka and two much needed points. But McLean Dorr and the Pilots would have very different ideas.

Topeka opened up the scoring 2:45 into the game and would add a second momentum changing goal just :20 later to lead 2-0 three minutes into the 1st period. From there, five different Topeka players would score on both Williams and backup Caleb Hannon to shutout the Jr. Blues 7-0. It’s the first time this season that Springfield has been held off the score sheet, and the third game against Topeka that has seen one of the teams left without any goals (October 6th and November 17th).

Williams took the loss in the game, his 9th of the season, while stopping 8 shots. Hannon, who took over in the 1st period and played all of the 2nd period, made 9 saves.

By the Numbers:

  • After 8 games played against each other, Springfield and Topeka each have 4 wins. Each Friday game was won by the road team, and each Saturday game was won by the home team.
  • While Friday’s proved to be closer, hard fought games, Saturday’s showed to be a chance for the home team to flex their offensive muscles. Despite more goal being scored during the opening games than the second games (26 on FRI and 24 on SAT), the home teams outscored the visitors on Saturday’s 22-2.
  • Brandon Puricelli scored his 19th goal and added his 12th assist during Friday night’s contest for a total of 31 points on the season. In 28 games played this season Puricelli  has already eclipsed his point total from last year (24 in 27 games).
  • Max Brainin had three assists on Friday and has 18 assists and 28 points overall on the season.
  • Ben Schmidling had one goal and two assists on Friday and now has 27 points on the season.

Up Next:

The boys are off for the Holidays, but will be home at the Nelson Center on January 4th and 5th to face off against the Minnesota Magicians. Make sure to check out our Facebook, Twitter, and website for more information on upcoming events, player news, and more!

Puricelli, Panisa Earn Bauer Hockey Weekly Awards

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) and Jonathan Panisa (Irvine, CA) have been given weekly honors by the league.

Brandon Puricelli earned the Midwest Division 2nd Star of the Week after his performance on Saturday night. Puricelli scored two goals and added two assists for a four point performance against the Topeka Pilots. He now has 14 goals on the season which is tied for the most in the NAHL. The game was Puricelli’s fifth multipoint game of the season and his second in a row.

Jonathan Panisa was named an Honorable Mention for his four point performance this past weekend. On Friday night Panisa scored the lone goal for Springfield, his third of the season and his first since October 5th against Topeka. During Saturday’s shutout over Topeka, Panisa assisted on three goals and his first multipoint game of the season.

Congratulations to both young men for their outstanding performances over the weekend! The Jr. Blues will host the Janesville Jets this weekend. Celebrate the holidays with your favorite hockey team only at the Nelson Center!

Weekend Preview: Minnesota Magicians

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues are preparing for a weekend trip to Minnesota to take on the Magicians on Friday and Saturday. The two game set will be the first meeting of the year between the teams and the first of 10 games throughout the season.

Springfield Jr. Blues (4-3-1-0; 9 pts, 4th in Midwest)

Ben Schmidling (St. Joseph, MO) leads the way offensively for the Jr. Blues with four goals and six assists through eight games. Rookie Ryan Reid (Phoenix, AZ) leads the defensive corps with two goals and four assists, while Sam Sterne (Batavia, IL) leads the team with a plus-7 rating. Caleb Hannon (Buffalo, NY) has been solid in between the pipes for Springfield as he is currently 2-0-1-0 with a 1.33 GAA and a .956 save percentage.

Minnesota Magicians (5-3-0-0; 10 pts, 2nd in Midwest)

Minnesota has been led by an outstanding early performance from Ethan Haider who is 4-2-0-0 with a 1.67 GAA and two shutouts on the season. Matthew Stanton, four goals and four assists, and John Keranen, five goals and one assist, lead the way offensively for the Magicians.

Catch the games live on HockeyTV Friday at 7:15 pm and Saturday at 7:00 pm. Make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for player news, game updates, and event information.

Techel, Brainin Named Midwest Division Stars of the Week

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud member of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce that Nick Techel earned Midwest Division 2nd Star of the Week and Max Brainin earned an Honorable Mention.

Nick Techel (Wausau, WI) is in his first season with Springfield after playing last year with the Soo Eagles of the NOJHL. Through the first eight games of the season, Techel has scored three goals and two assists including two goals in Friday’s game against Topeka and one assist in Saturday’s game. Techel is the second Springfield player to have earned the 2nd Star of the Week honor already this season as Ben Schmidling (St. Joseph, MO) earned the honor in week one. 

Max Brainin (Buffalo Grove, IL) earned Honorable Mention this week after scoring twice in Saturday’s game and added an assist in Friday’s game. Brainin is in his second season with Springfield and has been an integral part of a veteran forward group that has been leading the team on and off the ice.

Springfield will look to continue their offensive momentum this weekend against a strong Minnesota Magicians team that already has two shutouts on the season. Catch the games live on HockeyTV Friday at 7:15 pm and Saturday at 7:00 pm.

Jr. Blues Blank Topeka to Split Series

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues shutout the Topeka Pilots 3-0 on Saturday night to split the weekend series and improve their record to 4-3-1-0. The Jr. Blues still sit in 4th in the Midwest Division but are just one point behind the Janesville Jets and Minnesota Magicians who are tied for 2nd place.

Saturday’s game was offense heavy in the 2nd period again as the Jr. Blues scored three times during the period. Max Brainin (Buffalo Grove, IL) scored 2:47 into the second frame for his first goal of the season, assisted by Nick Techel (Wausau, WI) and Ryan Reid (Phoenix, AZ). Brainin would strike again with a little less than five minutes left in the period to increase the lead to 2-0. Ben Schmidling (St. Joseph, MO) and Max Osborne (Anchorage, AK) assisted on Brainin’s second goal.

But the offense wasn’t through yet. With just :08 left in the period, Ryan Reid scored his second goal of the season from Ben Schmidling and Nick Techel to put the Jr. Blues ahead 3-0 heading into the second intermission.

That would be all the scoring Caleb Hannon (Bufallo, NY) would need, however, as he shut the door on Topeka to earn his first shutout and second win of the season.The 19-year-old Taft School alumni also made a huge save on a penalty shot in the 2nd period that would have tied the game. Hannon improved his Goals Against Average (GAA) to 1.33 which is good for 6th best in the NAHL.

The Jr. Blues travel to Minnesota this weekend to square off with the Magicians on Friday and Saturday. The Magicians have been paced by goaltender Ethan Haider, who has four wins and a 1.67 GAA. The Jr. Blues will look to solve Haider and the Magicians and climb higher in the standings and you can watch the games live on HockeyTV.

Make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for player updates, league news, and event information.

Jr. Blues Rally Late, Come Up Short

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues late rally came up short against the Topeka Pilots last night and Topeka won 5-4. The Jr. Blues now sit at 3-3-1-0 and remain in 4th in the Midwest Division.

Springfield opened the scoring on Nick Techel (Wausau, WI) second of the season with :07 left in the 1st period to head into the 1st intermission leading 1-0. The 2nd period saw four unanswered goals by Topeka in 10 minutes to shift momentum completely in their favor.

The 3rd period started similarly to the 2nd as Topeka padded their lead just :20 into the frame to make it 5-1. But the Jr. Blues refused to roll over for the 1st place Pilots as they scored three goals in 1:11 to bring the game within one, 5-4. But that was all the offense the Jr. Blues could muster as Topeka held off the rally to claim the victory.

Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) extended his point streak to six games, Giovanni Carabelli (Shelby Township, MI) scored his third goal of the year, Jonathan Panisa (Irvine, CA) scored his second goal in a Jr. Blues jersey, and Techel added a second goal in the 3rd period to give him two on the evening and three on the year.

Tonight’s game will be our Scheels Family Night, Scheels will be in attendance to hand out coupons and a Family Fun Pack Giveaway. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and puck drop is at 6:00 p.m.

Make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for player updates, news, and upcoming events.

Jr. Blues Knock Off Brown Bears

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues knocked off the Kenai River Brown Bears on Saturday night, 3-2. The Jr. Blues took three out of four possible points on the weekend and currently sit in 4th in the Midwest Division with a 3-2-1-0 record.

Giovanni Carabelli (Shelby Township, MI) started the scoring off in the 1st period with his second goal of the season and gave the Jr. Blues a 1-0 lead heading into the first break. Jonathan Panisa (Irvine, CA) scored his first NAHL goal in the 2nd period in just his second game with the team to put the Jr. Blues back on top, 2-1. 

Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) extended his point streak to five games and scored the would be game winning goal on the power play to extend the lead to 3-1 heading into the 2nd intermission. Caden Villegas (Plano, TX) recorded his first point as part of the Jr. Blues and Nikita Kozyrev (Tallinn, Estonia) notched his fifth assist of the season during the game.

Kenai River scored once in the 2nd period and again in the 3rd period to draw the game close, but Jack Williams (St. Louis, MO) shut the door on any ideas of a comeback to pick up his second win of the season. Williams stopped 27 of 29 shots including an outstanding save on a Brown Bears player who had walked in all alone on a breakaway in the 1st period.

The power play scored for the fourth straight game for the Jr. Blues and their sixth goal already on the season. To this point, the Jr. Blues have scored a power play goal in every game except one game during the showcase and look to add to the momentum this weekend against the Topeka Pilots.

Friday night’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday night’s game starts at 6:05 p.m. Topeka currently sits tied for 1st in the South Division but are coming off being swept by the Amarillo Bulls over the weekend.

Make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for player news, game updates, and event information.

2018-19 Opening Weekend Celebration

Springfield, Illinois – The 2018-19 home schedule for the Springfield Jr. Blues kicks off this weekend as the boys in blue battle the Kenai River Brown Bears. The Jr. Blues sport a 2-2-0-0 record heading into the weekend, while the Brown Bears currently sit atop the Midwest Division at 4-2-0-0.

The Jr. Blues are led by twin brothers Ben and David Schmidling of St. Joseph, MO who both currently have five points on the season. Returning forwards Max Brainin, Brandon Puricelli, and Nikita Kozyrev all have three points themselves to help pace the team offensively. Between the pipes Jack Williams has a 1-1-0-0 record to this point and has already committed to Michigan State University to play college hockey. Rookies Ryan Reid and Braden Stewart showed well in Blaine, Minnesota during the showcase and look to continue building on that momentum this weekend.

Friday night will be the first home game at the Nelson Center this season and adult tickets will be $6 at the door, or two for $10. There will be a happy hour before the game, starting when doors open at 6 p.m. and lasting until 6:45 p.m, Coors Light drafts will be $1 and Blue Moon drafts will be $2.

Saturday night will be the first Kids Club game this season, kids will be able to sign up for the Kids Club at the game Friday night. The fee for Kids Club is $20 and includes admission vouchers for all Kids Club games, two buddy passes, free post game skate rentals, a special Jr. Blues gift for each member, and an invitation to a Kids Club only party during the season. After the game there will be a post game skate where fans can interact with and meet the players. 

Make sure to follow our Facbeook and Twitter pages for player news, game updates, and more information on upcoming events.

Jr. Blues Lose in Showcase Finale

Blaine, Minnesota – The Springfield Jr. Blues finished off the 2018 NAHL Showcase Saturday afternoon against the Johnstown Tomahawks losing 3-1. The Jr. Blues only goal was scored by Spencer DenBeste (Marquette, MI) and they finished the Showcase with a 2-2-0-0 record.

Johnstown opened the scoring five minutes into the 1st period when Chad Merell scored on a odd man advantage beating George McBey (Dallas, TX) for his fifth goal of the season. The 1st period tally would be the only offense for either team until :37 into the third period when Mitchell Hale scored his third goal of the season for the Tomahawks and the score was 2-0. Chad Merell scored a shorthanded breakaway goal just after the halfway mark of the period to increase their lead to 3-0.

The Springfield Jr. Blues would get on the board with 5:39 left in the game when Spencer DenBeste broke up Carter MacPhail’s shutout on the power play. Brandon Puricelli (St. Louis, MO) and Nikita Kozyrev (Tallinn, Estonia) assisted on the goal. The goal was the second in as many days for the Lake Superior State University commit, however, the Jr. Blues were unable to complete the comeback and Johnstown held on for the victory.

George McBey played well in net for the boys in blue, stopping 33 of 36 shots sent his way. Special teams proved to be an important factor in the game, as the Jr. Blues penalty kill was perfect going 9-for-9. The power play generated the only offense, but also surrendered an important shorthanded goal in the 3rd period that proved to be too much for the Jr. blues to overcome. 

The Jr. Blues will be back in town next Friday against the Kenai River Brown Bears as they kick off their home schedule at 7:05 p.m. The Brown Bears are currently 3-2-0-0 and are tied for 1st in the tightly contested Midwest Division.

Make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter pages for information on upcoming games and events.