Tag Archives: Nikita Kozyrev

Kozyrev Commits to Buffalo State College

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that forward Nikita Kozyrev has committed to play collegiate hockey for Buffalo State College!

Kozyrev, 20, recently completed his third season in the NAHL and his second with the Jr. Blues. In 51 games played this past season Kozyrev tallied 20 goals and 25 assists and earned his 100th career NAHL point. In 157 career games between Springfield and the Minnesota Magicians, Kozyrev scored 45 goals and 64 assists for 109 total points.

“Nikita is a speed player with great hands and works extremely hard,” coach Tyler Rennette said, “Buffalo State is getting an excellent player and we wish him the best of luck next season.”

Buffalo State College plays in the State University of New York Athletic Conference in Buffalo, New York. The Buff State Bengals have 3 NAHL & 5 NA3HL alumni on their 2018-19 roster. Kozyrev is the 4th Jr. Blues player to announce a college commitment since the season ended. 

Jr. Blues Split in Minnesota, Will Host Two Games in Springfield

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues battled back after a Friday night loss to win in overtime on Saturday. Brandon Puricelli had two goals on Friday, Max Osborne had four assists overall, and Nick Techel scored five minutes into overtime on Saturday to send the series back to Springfield tied 1-1. Game three will be on Friday at 7:05 pm and game four will be on Saturday at 6:05 pm.

The 2019 Robertson Cup Playoffs started off rough for the Jr. Blues as the Magicians scored the first goal of the series less than two minutes in. They would add two more goals in the 2nd period and lead 3-0 halfway through the contest. Nikita Kozyrev broke up Minnesota’s shutout bid with two minutes left in the 2nd period on a scramble in front of Ethan Haider. After forty minutes of playoff action, the Jr. Blues trailed 3-1.

The 3rd period would be filled with chances for both sides as the realization of playoff implications began to loom. Minnesota scored early into the 3rd period to make it 4-1 and took a commanding lead before Brandon Puricelli would do his absolute best to bring the Jr. Blues even scoring twice in the final frame. Despite a hard fought contest and plenty of opportunities, the Magicians held on for a 4-3 victory and a 1-0 series lead.

As the Jr. Blues started game two on Saturday, the hope of two home playoff games began to shrink. The Magicians opened the scoring just over seven minutes in and led 1-0 at the intermission for the second consecutive game. This time, however, the Jr. Blues would come out hot in the 2nd period. 

Ben Schmidling would tie the game up late in the 2nd period on a rebound in front of the net and Caden Villegas would bury a 2-on-1 feed just three minutes later to give the Jr. Blues a 2-1 lead heading into the 2nd intermission. Giovanni Carabelli extended the lead on a redirected shot from Blake Finley halfway through the period to make it a 3-1 contest. The Magicians would storm back with two goals of their own in less than three minutes to tie game 3-3 and force a sudden death overtime.

The overtime period was filled with fast-paced, back and forth action that saw both Jack Williams and Jack Robbel make timely and crucial saves. But 4:30 into the extra frame Nick Techel would score off a feed from Max Osborne and beat Robbel under the bar to give the Jr. Blues a 4-3 overtime victory and even the series, 1-1.

With the victory on Saturday, the Jr. Blues are now guaranteed two home games this weekend in Springfield, IL. Both games will be held at the Nelson Center with Friday’s game starting at 7:05 pm and Saturday’s game starting at 6:05 pm. Tickets are already available for purchase for Friday’s game, and tickets for Saturday’s game will be released shortly. 

 

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • Brandon Puricelli had three points on the weekend (2 G, 1 A) to extend his point streak to 16 games dating back to February 23rd against the Brown Bears.
  • Nick Techel’s overtime goal gave the Jr. Blues their first playoff victory since the 2011-12 season.
  • Max Osborne had 4 assists on the weekend and is currently tied for the 3rd most points in the playoffs so far.
  • Jack Williams picked up the victory on Saturday night for his first NAHL playoff win.

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).

Jr. Blues Split with Steel, Clinch Playoff Berth

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues split their weekend series with the Chippewa Steel and in the process clinched a berth in the 2018-19 Robertson Cup Playoffs. The Jr. Blues have now made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and this berth marks the 15th time the Jr. Blues have made the postseason dance.

The Jr. Blues started the weekend off in the right direction by scoring five power play goals en route to a 7-4 victory over the Steel. Ben Schmidling notched his first hat trick of the season, Nikita Kozyrev scored twice, and Brandon Puricelli had four points to lead the Jr. Blues to their 29th win of the season. Jack Williams stopped 12 of 16 shots to earn his 19th win of the season.

Saturday would not fall the same way, however, as Chippewa scored the first four goals of the game and never looked back in a 6-2 upset. Ben Schmidling had a goal and an assist and Brandon Puricelli scored as well as Janis Voris picked up the loss. The loss snapped a four game winning streak for Springfield as they remain in 3rd place in the Midwest Division.

The Jr. Blues and the Steel will face off again this weekend in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin for games five and six of an eight game stretch between the two clubs. Both games can be watched live on HockeyTV.

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • Ben Schmidling had 6 points over the weekend (4 goals, 2 assists) and now sits in 12th in the league in scoring with 55 points. His second goal on Friday gave him 100 career points in the NAHL, the second Jr. Blues player to eclipse the century mark this season.
  • Brandon Puricelli is on a hot streak as of late. In his last 8 games Puricelli has 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) which has helped propel him to 5th in the league in scoring with 68 points.
  • Max Brainin has 51 points on the season (17 goals, 34 assists) and is 5 points shy of reaching 100 NAHL points in his career.
  • Springfield sits in 3rd place with 62 points, just four points behind 2nd place Minnesota and 10 points behind 1st place Fairbanks.

Puricelli, Schmidling(s) Lead Jr. Blues to Sweep of Steel

Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues marched into the Chippewa Area Youth Arena over the weekend for the first time in franchise history and swept the Chippewa Steel. After earning four out of four points, the Jr. Blues now sit in sole possession of 3rd place in the Midwest Division with a 28-20-3-1 record for 60 points.

Friday started out in the right direction for Springfield before Chippewa turned the contest into a nail biter. Ben Schmidling and Max Brainin would each score in the 1st period to give the Jr. Blues a 2-1 lead heading into the intermission. The 2nd period would begin well as Nikita Kozyrev pushed the lead to 3-1 on a feed from Brandon Puricelli and Nick Techel. But the Steel would score twice in the final two minutes of the period and the game was tied 3-3 at the break.

Jack Williams would shut the door the rest of the way as he stopped all 11 shots in the 3rd period despite plenty of opportunities for the Steel. Kozyrev would break the deadlock at the 17:50 mark of the 3rd period and give the Jr. Blues a much needed win, 4-3. It was the 8th time this season that the Steel lost a game in the final 10 minutes of regulation.

Heading into Saturday’s contest the Jr. Blues needed both points to keep pace with the Janesville Jets. Brandon Puricelli and the Schmidling twins (Ben and David) would ensure that the Jr. Blues would not come away empty handed.

Puricelli opened the scoring on Saturday just under 10 minutes in, but the Steel would score the next two goals in the game to lead 2-1 late in the opening period. That’s when captain Cade Groton would score his 3rd goal of the season to tie the game 2-2 heading into the break. The fire was sparked and the Jr. Blues would take control of the game from that point on.

Lukas Kucera would break the tie just 2:31 into the 2nd period, his 3rd goal of the season. Ben Schmidling would score six minutes later to make it 4-2, and Max Osborne would extend the lead again just three minutes later. After 40 minutes of action the Jr. Blues were on top 5-2.

Two goals by the Steel in the 3rd period were accompanied by a power play strike from Max Brainin and the final score was 6-4. Janis Voris made 25 of 29 saves to earn his 7th victory. Puricelli had four points on the weekend including a Gordie Howe hat trick on Saturday (goal, assist, fight). B. Schmidling had four points as well (2 goals, 2 assists), and D. Schmidling had three points (3 assists). Nikita Kozyrev ended the weekend with three points (2 goals, 1 assist) and Max Brainin now has 47 points on the season after picking up two points (2 goals).

Jr. Blues Notes:

  • Brandon Puricelli has 25 goals and 38 assists for 63 points this season. It’s the highest season point total since Kyle Cook had 70 points in 2011-12.
  • Ben Schmidling is continuing to stay hot as he has 5 goals and 4 assists in his last 7 games. Schmidling is in his 3rd NAHL season (Janesville, Johnstown) and has 98 career points (46 goals, 52 assists).
  • Noah Marino made his Springfield and NAHL debut over the weekend. He picked up his first junior point with his assist on Ben Schmidling’s 2nd period goal on Saturday.
  • Streaking: Techel is currently on an 8 game point streak (2 goals, 8 assists); Puricelli has points in 6 straight games (4 goals, 11 assists); Kozyrev is on a 6 game point streak (8 goals, 4 assists); and D. Schmidling is on a 3 game point streak (4 assists).
  • It was the 4th weekend sweep this season for the Jr. Blues. All four sweeps have been within the division (Minnesota, Fairbanks, Kenai River, and Chippewa). The Jr. Blues have been swept twice (Minnesota and Janesville).
  • With the Fairbanks sweep of Minnesota, the Ice Dogs are now in 1st place with 66 points. The Magicians have 64 points, the Jr. Blues have 60, and the Jets have 59.

Puricelli Earns Midwest Division Star of the Week

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 Bauer Hockey Midwest Division Star of the Week, and that forward Nikita Kozyrev was named an Honorable Mention!

Puricelli, 21, played a key role in the Jr. Blues weekend split with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs. After tallying a goal in Friday night’s 7-2 loss, Puricelli scored two goals and added an assist in Saturday’s 4-1 victory. The Ellsville, MO native now has 24 goals and 35 assists for 59 points on the season which ties him with Brad Belisle of the Aberdeen Wings for 6th best in the NAHL. He now has 11 points (3 goals, 8 assists) in his last four games. Puricelli was also a participant in this year’s Top Prospects Tournament where he had two assists in two games for the Midwest Division roster.

Kozyrev, 20, has been a lightning rod of productivity since the Christmas break. He is currently on a four game point streak as well, tallying 9 points (6 goals, 3 assists) in that span. On the season Kozyrev has 14 goals and 19 assists in 41 games played which is on pace to tie or break his personal best 47 points set last year. The Tallinn, Estonia native now has 100 points in the NAHL spread out over three seasons, two with Springfield.

Congratulations to Brandon and Nikita for their excellent play this past weekend!

Puricelli Leads Jr. Blues to Split with Ice Dogs

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues had a whirlwind weekend against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs, losing Friday night before bouncing back to win on Saturday. The weekend results drop the Jr. Blues to 4th place in the Division as we currently have a 26-20-3-1 for 56 points.

While the Jr. Blues were flying high from their previous series against the Brown Bears, the Ice Dogs came into town and won convincingly 7-2 on Friday evening. Fairbanks scored first and often as Springfield would be unable to keep pace with them throughout the evening. Brandon Puricelli and Reed Stark each scored for the Jr. Blues while Jack Williams took his 12th loss of the season.

In front of a packed house on Saturday the Jr. Blues looked to make up for a disappointing series opener. Puricelli tallied three points (1 goal, 2 assists) while Kozyrev had two goals himself to lead the Jr. Blues to a 4-1 victory. A complete turn around from the night before, the Jr. Blues scored first and led all night long as the Ice Dogs were unable to complete the sweep or garner any traction against the Jr. Blues. Williams picked up his 17th win of the season as he stopped 38 of 39 shots in the contest.

With 56 points Springfield is one point behind Janesville for 3rd place in the NAHL Midwest Division. The next eight games for Springfield will be against Chippewa, four at home and four away, and could have major implications on the standings.

Kozyrev Earns 2nd Star of the Week

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that Nikita Kozyrev has been named the Bauer Hockey Midwest Division 2nd Star of the Week! Additionally, Brandon Puricelli was listed as an Honorable Mention for his play over the weekend as well.

Kozyrev, 20, scored in each period for the Jr. Blues on Saturday night to earn the first hat trick of the season for the team in a 8-0 rout over Kenai River. On Sunday Kozyrev scored the opening two goals of the contest in the first four minutes of the game before adding an assist late to bring his weekend total to 6 points. Kozyrev, who is in his second season in Springfield, has 7 goals in his last five games.

Puricelli, 21, didn’t score any goals over the weekend but he did tally 7 assists between Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday Puricelli assisted on all three of Kozyrev’s goals, while on Sunday he assisted on both of Kozyrev and Techel’s goals. Puricelli is now in his 3rd season in Springfield and he has 21 goals and 34 assists in 47 games played.

Congratulations to Nikita and Brandon for being recognized for their outstanding play this past weekend! Make sure to stay up to date with all of the news and information on the Jr. Blues by following our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages!

Jr. Blues Split Series with Jets

Janesville, Wisconsin – The Springfield Jr. Blues fell to the Janesville Jets 4-2 on Saturday night, slipping back down to 4th place in the Midwest Division. Nikita Kozyrev and Giovanni Carabelli each had a goal in the contest, the fourth consecutive weekend split for the team.

Janesville jumped out in front in the 1st period before a late tally by Kozyrev tied the game 1-1 heading into the 1st intermission. Carabelli scored just past the halfway point of the 2nd period to tie the game 2-2, but the Jets would quickly score two goals late in the period to lead 4-2 at the break.

Despite opportunities, the Jr. Blues were unable to make the comeback in the 3rd period. Jack Williams stopped 26 of 30 shots in the loss, while Cole Brady made 27 of 29 shots in the win. Nick Techel and Brandon Aird assisted on the Jr. Blues first goal, while Aaron Swanson and Sam Sterne assisted on the second goal.

In the Division:

In what was once an insurmountable lead has now dwindled to just two points for the Minnesota Magicians, as the Fairbanks Ice Dogs are within striking distance after a weekend sweep of the Magicians. The Jr. Blues, for their part, are now within 8 points of the division leaders, a huge step forward after sitting in 5th place and nearly 20 points back at the beginning of January. Although there are no more games left with Minnesota, Springfield plays Kenai River and Fairbanks at home the next two weekends before playing eight straight against the Chippewa Steel.