Tag Archives: Nigel Nelson

Nelson Commits to MSOE

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Nigel Nelson has committed to play college hockey for the Milwaukee School of Engineering!

Nelson, 21, recorded 6 goals and 8 assists for the Jr. Blues in 51 appearances after a brief stint in Fairbanks to begin the season. Overall in three NAHL seasons, Nigel suited up in 171 games and tallied 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) between the Topeka Roadrunners, Fairbanks Ice Dogs, and the Jr. Blues.

“Nigel found his role on the team and excelled in that position,” head coach Tyler Rennette said. “His experience was beneficial on the ice and in the locker room. We wish Nigel the best of luck next season at MSOE.”

The MSOE Raiders play out of Milwaukee, WI and are part of the Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA). The Raiders currently have one Jr. Blues alumnus on their roster (Kevin Shand) and four NAHL alumni in total. Nelson is the 16th Jr. Blues player to make a college commitment this season.

Jr. Blues, Jets Split Series to Finish Regular Season

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues split their final regular season games against the Janesville Jets this past weekend. On Friday the Jr. Blues fell to the Jets 4-2, but bounced back with a big 4-3 overtime victory on Saturday night. The Jr. Blues finished the 2018-19 NAHL season with a 33-22-4-1 record for 71 points and a 3rd place finish in the Midwest Division.

Friday’s game had major implications in the divisional standings. If the Jr. Blues won both games over the weekend against the Jets and the Minnesota Magicians lost both of their games against the Chippewa Steel, then the Jr. Blues would finish in 2nd place and earn home ice in the first round of the playoffs. The Jets, however, would have different plans as to how the weekend would go.

The Jets opened up the scoring early in Friday’s contest and took a 1-0 lead into the 1st intermission. Caden Villegas would score his 9th goal of the season to open the 2nd period and tie the game up momentarily. Janesville would add two more goals in the 2nd period to take a 3-1 lead into the 2nd intermission. A 3rd period strike from defenseman Sam Sterne cut the deficit to 3-2, but the Jets would regain their two goal lead and never look back. With the 4-2 loss, the Jr. Blues sealed their 3rd place finish. Jack Williams picked up the loss in the contest, stopping 17 of 20 shots. Henry Graham made his debut in relief of Williams and stopped 11 of 12.

With the playoffs set in stone, Saturday’s contest became a game of pride and bragging rights as we honored our 12 senior players before the game. Ryan Murray, Sam Sterne, Cade Groton, Nikita Kozyrev, Nigel Nelson, Brendan Aird, Braden Stewart, Ben and David Schmidling, Max Brainin, Brandon Puricelli, and Nick Techel all suited up for their final junior hockey games of their careers. After this season, many of them will continue their play at NCAA Division 1 or Division 3 schools, while others will turn to the ACHA to continue their careers.

With emotions high, the Jets once again struck first to take a 1-0 lead early. But the Jr. Blues would not let this game get away from them. Caden Villegas scored his 2nd goal in as many games and his 10th of the season to tie the game 1-1. Ben Schmidling would prove that his timing is impeccable as he gave the Jr. Blues their first lead of the weekend with 0.1 seconds left in the opening period. At the intermission the Jr. Blues led 2-1 and had the momentum squarely in their corner.

Nick Techel would contribute a goal early in the 2nd period to increase the lead to 3-1 and seemingly put the game away for the Jr. Blues. But the Jets would battle back with a goal in the 2nd and a goal in the 3rd to tie the game 3-3. 60 minutes would prove to not be enough time to determine a winner, and the game would head to overtime. In overtime Graham would save the Jr. Blues from a penalty kill early in the extra frame, and Max Brainin would send the crowd home happy with his 20th goal of the season with less than :20 left in overtime for a 4-3 Jr. Blues win.

Henry Graham stopped 28 of 31 shots to earn his first NAHL victory on Saturday night while defenseman Kobe Pane made his Jr. Blues and NAHL debut as well. Both players are currently signed to tenders for the 2019-20 season.

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • The Jr. Blues will face off against the Minnesota Magicians in the 1st round of the playoffs. Games 1 and 2 will be in Minnesota on April 12th and 13th, while Games 3 and 4 will be in Springfield on April 19th and 20th. Game 5 would be back in Minnesota on April 21st. Games 4 and 5 are both if necessary.
  • Brandon Puricelli finished the 2018-19 season with 30 goals and 50 assists for 80 points. He set the Jr. Blues record for assists in a season and ranks 2nd in points in a season. Puricelli finished the season on a 14 game point streak and finished 4th in points in the NAHL.
  • With his overtime goal, Max Brainin reached the 20 goal plateau for the first time in his career. The goal also gave the Jr. Blues four 20+ goal scorers this season after having none last season.
  • Brendan Aird had 4 assists on Saturday night giving him 11 points overall in his time with Springfield (22 GP; 1 G, 10 A).
  • Ben Schmidling finished up his 2018-19 campaign with 1 goal and 2 assists on the weekend to bump his total points on the season to 68 (37 goals, 31 assists). Ben finished 3rd in the NAHL in goals and is currently on a 10 game point streak.

Schmidling Leads Jr. Blues to Split with Steel

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues split their weekend series with Chippewa Steel with a heartbreaking overtime loss on Friday, and a 3rd period come from behind victory on Saturday. After 56 regular season games the Jr. Blues sit in 3rd place in the Midwest Division with a 30-21-4-1 record for 65 points. 

Friday could not have started out better for the Jr. Blues as Caden Villegas, Nigel Nelson, Nikita Kozyrev, and Max Brainin all scored in the 1st period to lead 4-0 at the intermission. The next five goals of the game, however, would all be from the Steel. Despite leading 4-2 with less than five minutes to play in the 3rd period, Springfield allowed Chippewa to score twice in the final three minutes of regulation to force overtime.

From there the Steel capitalized on a missed opportunity by the Jr. Blues and scored just past the halfway mark of the extra frame to win 5-4. Jack Williams made 23 stops in the loss which is his second overtime loss of the season.

Saturday began with trepidation as the Steel outshot the Jr. Blues 13-7 in the opening period. Max Brainin would briefly give the Jr. Blues a 1-0 lead just past the halfway point of the 2nd period, but the Steel would answer to tie the game 1-1 heading into the break. The Steel would then take the lead on a goal 1:26 into the 3rd period and controlled the pace of the game for the next 10 minutes. But Ben Schmidling would answer for the Jr. Blues, and in a big way.

Schmidling would tie the game up 2-2 on the power play just over eight minutes into the 3rd period, and would strike again with less than five minutes to play to give the Jr. Blues the 3-2 edge. Janis Voris would seal the deal the rest of the way to earn his 8th win of the season.

Springfield and Chippewa will face off against each other for the final time this weekend in Springfield, it will be the 7th and 8th consecutive games between the two teams. Friday’s contest starts at 7:05 pm and Saturday’s contest begins at 6:05 pm.

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • The loss on Friday was the first loss this season for the Jr. Blues after they were leading heading into the 3rd period. Their record is now 23-0-1-0 when leading after 2 periods.
  • Ben Schmidling now has 32 goals this season, which ranks 3rd in the NAHL behind Carson Briere (41) and Logan Jenuwine (54).
  • With his 4 assists on the weekend, Brandon Puricelli now has 72 points this season. He sits in 6th in goals (27), 4th in assists (45), and 5th in points (72).
  • The Jr. Blues have seen 3 players eclipse the 100 point mark for their NAHL careers this season (Puricelli, Schmidling, Kozyrev), and are poised to accept a 4th player to that club: Max Brainin. Currently, Brainin has 97 career points in 122 games split between the Jr. Blues and the Northeast Generals.
  • Nick Techel’s younger brother, Samuel, dressed for both games this past weekend and recorded no points and finished with a +1 rating.
  • With the Minnesota Magicians sweep of the Janesville Jets, the Jr. Blues sit comfortably in 3rd place five points behind Minnesota and six points ahead of Janesville.
  • The Jr. Blues are 7-2-1-0 in their last 10 games, the 2nd best record in the division in that span (Fairbanks: 8-2-0-0).

Groton, Nelson Lead Jr. Blues Past Magicians, 4-1

Richfield, Minnesota – The Springfield Jr. Blues began their weekend series against the Minnesota Magicians with a 4-1 victory on Thursday night. Cade Groton and Nigel Nelson each had a goal and an assist in the victory, while Janis Voris stopped 25 of 26 shots to earn his 5th win of the season.

Springfield opened the scoring 2:31 into the game on the captain Groton’s 2nd goal of the season to give the Jr. Blues a 1-0 lead over division leading Minnesota. The home team would strike on the power play a little more than five minutes later to knot the game up 1-1 heading into the 1st intermission.

From there it would be all Springfield as the Jr. Blues struck gold three times in the 2nd period. Caden Villegas tallied his 5th of the season, and his first since committing to Union College this week, to give the boys in blue a 2-1 lead. Ben Schmidling and Nelson would then score less than 30 seconds apart to give the Jr. Blues a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the 3rd period.

Despite quality scoring chances for both teams in the 3rd period the final score would be 4-1. New faces in Lukas Kuchera and Philip Mass each tallied an assist in their first games wearing the shield. Aaron Swanson had two assists in the victory, Giovanni Carabelli had one assist, and Brandon Puricelli extended his point streak to nine games with an assist.

With the victory the Jr. Blues have now won three in a row against the Magicians and seven of their last ten overall. Springfield’s record is now 21-16-3-1 for 46 points and are tied with the Janesville Jets for 3rd place in the Midwest Division.

A rematch between the two teams is set for tonight at 7:15 pm CST at Richfield Ice Arena in Richfield, MN. Catch all of the action live on HockeyTV, and make sure to follow our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest news and updates.