Tag Archives: Nicholas Belger

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 a long list of alumni who have played collegiate and professional hockey. We’ve highlighted a few of the spectacular performances for this week’s Alumni Roundup.

Dryden McKay (Minnesota St. Mankato) has been named an Honorable Mention for the WCHA’s Goalie and Rookie of the Week after stopping 45 of 48 shots in the Mavericks’ sweep of Michigan Tech over the weekend. McKay has a 9-4-1 record in his first season with Mankato with a .917 save percentage and a 2.13 GAA.

McKay’s teammate in Springfield, Grant Meyer, had quite the weekend as well. Meyer, in his second season at Canisius College, helped the Golden Griffins sweep the University of North Dakota with a goal in both games. In 16 games played this season, Meyer now has 4 goals and 12 assists which is 3rd best on the team.

Tommy Nappier has continued his stellar season at Ohio State with an impressive 29 save shutout of Michigan State on Saturday. With the victory, Nappier’s record improves to 7-1-2 on the season with a 1.54 GAA and a .947 save percentage. He has three shutouts on the season and ranks second in the nation in both GAA and save percentage.

Not to be outdone by his predecessor, Mike Robinson nabbed Hockey East Top Performer for his efforts this past weekend. Robinson recorded 24 saves in a 2-1 OT victory Merrimack, and stopped 13 of 14 in 40 minutes of work against Yale. He has a 5-5-5 record this season with a 2.10 GAA and a .926 save percentage and has one shutout this season.

It’s been the year of the goalie as far as Jr. Blues alumni go, as five former netminders rank in the top 30 in save percentage with three sitting in the top ten. But that’s not to say that forwards and defenseman haven’t been contributing as well.

  • Tim Santopaolo has scored 18 goals and 12 assists in 14 games for Svegs IK of Sweden’s Division 2 league
  • Nicholas Belger has 15 goals and 14 assists in 18 games for Stony Brook University in the ACHA
  • Josh Norman has 13 goals and 15 assists in 36 games for the Rockland Nationals of the CCHL
  • Kevin Loppatto has 16 goals and 8 assists in 23 games for Vannas HC in Sweden’s Division 1 league
  • Josh Bell has 11 goals and 13 assists in 15 games for Missouri State University in the ACHA.

Springfield Jr. Blues Alumni Report #7

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.

Nick Niedert (2002-03); Reading Royals, ECHL

Nick Niedert (Hudson, IA) played for the Jr. Blues in the early 2000’s and has since played for numerous teams in his 14-year professional career. While mainly backstopping teams in lower minor hockey leagues, Niedert has broken into the ECHL ranks in the past. But it was his performance on Saturday night that took the hockey world by surprise. Neidert, 36, stopped an ECHL high 38 shots to beat the Adirondack Thunder 2-1. It was Niedert’s first ECHL win in 1,032 days, and his 5th ECHL win overall.

Nicholas Belger (2013-14); Stony Brook University, ACHA

Nicholas Belger (Yorktown, NY) played in Springfield during the 2013-14 campaign and played 18 games in total for the Jr. Blues. Belger played two seasons at SUNY-Plattsburgh before transferring to Stony Brook University this season. In 14 games for the Seawolves Belger has 13 goals and 10 assists, which lead the team.

Devin Cooley (2016-17); University of Denver, NCAA

Devin Cooley (Los Gatos, CA) played for the Jr. Blues in the 2016-17 season posting a 3.05 GAA and a .909 save percentage in 10 games played. Cooley split that season in Wenatchee of the BCHL before moving onto the University of Denver in the NCAA. Now in his second season with the Pioneers, Cooley has put up outstanding numbers. In 11 games Cooley has a 2.08 GAA and a .933 save percentage for #7 Denver. Of goalies who have played at least 500 minutes so far this season, Cooley has the 7th best GAA and 11th best save percentage.