Tag Archives: Sam Craggs

Jr. Blues Alumni Recap – March 27, 2019

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have many alumni playing at the collegiate and professional levels. However, many of those college seasons have run their course, and professional seasons are beginning to wind down. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have highlights to deliver to you, here is our weekly Alumni Recap.

The best freshman goaltender in NCAA Division 1 hockey this season has been Dryden McKay. Despite allowing two goals to Bowling Green during the WCHA Championship game this past weekend, the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks rallied to win 3-2 in overtime. McKay’s record now sits at 24-6-2 with a 1.66 GAA, a .931 SV%, and 4 shutouts. The Downers Grove, IL native was named a Semi-Finalist for the Mike Richter Award handed out annually to the most outstanding goaltender in Division 1 hockey, McKay was the only freshman nominated.

McKay and eight other alumni will be competing in the NCAA Tournament set to start this weekend. Tommy Nappier will look to show that Ohio State’s loss in the Big Ten tournament was a fluke as they play the University of Denver. Nappier’s 12-3-3 record with a 1.91 GAA and .934 SV % helped him nab the Big Ten Goaltender of the Year Award as well as being named a Semi-Finalist for the Mike Richter Award.

On the opposing bench will be a number of Jr. Blues alumni as Denver has four players who spent time here in Springfield, IL. Devin Cooley, Les Lancaster, Erich Fear, and Michael Corson are all current players on the Pioneers roster with Lancaster and Fear both having played the most out of the group this season.

Quinnipiac is set to take on Arizona State in the Sun Devils NCAA Tournament debut, and two Jr. Blues alumni will be there. TJ Friedmann and Matthew Cassidy both are currently on the Quinnipiac roster; Friedmann has 3 goals and 4 assists on the season while Cassidy has yet to find the scoresheet.

Bowling Green hero Sam Craggs will look to lead the Falcons past Minnesota Duluth in their opening round matchup. Craggs has 8 goals on the season including a double overtime game-winning goal against Northern Michigan to send Bowling Green to the WCHA Championship game. And moving full circle, McKay and the Mavericks will play the Providence Friars to start the tournament.

As we switch to professional we take a look at the ECHL. Alex Jaeckle notched his first professional point with an assist in the Norfolk Admirals 5-3 win over the Jacksonville Icemen last friday. Jaeckle is now the 8th alumni to score his first professional point this season, (Olsson, Crowley, Hovanec, Lammon, Kalter, and the Klima brothers).

Jr. Blues Alumni Report – March 19th, 2019

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have a history of moving players onto collegiate and professional leagues around the world. This season alone we have seen 6 players sign professional contracts once their college season ended, bringing the total count of alumni currently playing professionally to 32. We also had 39 alumni on NCAA Division I rosters and 36 on Division III rosters. Here is a recap of just a few of our alumni.

We will begin this week’s alumni report with news on players turning pro. Josh Lammon began his professional career with the Florida Everblades this past weekend. Lammon recently concluded a four-year career with Mercyhurst University, where he played 144 career games and tabbed 74 points (35g-39a). The Jackson, Michigan, native missed only six games in his NCAA Division I career with the Lakers and played in every game over his final two seasons. He helped guide Mercyhurst to the Atlantic Hockey Association regular-season championship in his junior season in 2017-18. Since joining the Everblades, Lammon has appeared in 3 games and notched his first career professional point, an assist.

Not to be outdone by his alumni counterpart, Max Kalter joined the professional ranks when he signed with the Kansas City Mavericks this past weekend. Kalter joins the Mavericks who are affiliated with the NHL’s Calgary Flames and the AHL’s Stockton Heat.  Kalter ended his UConn career having played in 135 career games with 19 goals and 41 assists. Much like Lammon, Kalter scored his first professional point (an assist) and has appeared in 2 games for the Mavericks.

Forwards get all the glory, but defenseman need the spotlight from time to time as well. Alex Jaeckle signed a professional contract with the Norfolk Admirals this past week, the defenseman from Canisius College has played in two games for the Admirals and has yet to record a point. A native of St. Clair Shores, Mich., Jaeckle appeared in 113 games during his four-year career with the Golden Griffins, recording six goals and 22 assists for 28 points.

We switch from college careers ending, to college careers still rising. Dryden McKay earned the WCHA Goaltender of the Week award after he went 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals against average and a .981 save percentage as Minnesota State swept its WCHA Semifinal series vs. No. 20 Lake Superior State. McKay stopped 51-of-52 shots and helped keep the visiting Lakers off the scoreboard in all eight power play situations for the weekend. He had 20 saves in Friday’s 2-1 victory, and put up 31 saves in Saturday’s series-clinching 2-0 win. For the year, the Downers Grove, Ill., native’s record stands at 23-6-2 with a 1.65 GAA, .932 sv% and 4 shutouts. This is McKay’s fourth Goaltender of the Week award in 2018-19. He also earned Rookie of the Week honors on Oct. 15.

Sam Craggs had an eventful last few days both on and off the ice. On Saturday night Craggs scored the game-winning goal in double overtime to give Bowling Green a series sweep of Northern Michigan and propel the Falcons into the WCHA Tournament Finals. The goal gives the sophomore from Elmhurst, IL 8 goals on the season and 11 in his NCAA career. But that wasn’t the end to Craggs accomplishments this week. Craggs was listed as one of 84 athletes to receive the WCHA Scholar Athlete Award. To be eligible for the award the student must have a 3.5 GPA and have completed one year of residency at their current institution.

While Devin Cooley, Erich Fear, and Les Lancaster didn’t score in overtime, they did help the University of Denver advance to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff in other ways. Cooley has a 10-6-2 record this season for the Pioneers with a 1.89 GAA,  a .933 SV%, and 4 shutouts despite missing a substantial amount of time to injury. Fear has played in 33 games this season and has 1 goal, 1 assist, and is a +2. Lancaster, who transferred from Mercyhurst, has played in 32 games and has 4 goals, 4 assists, and is a +3.

We wrap up our alumni report with hockey in the northeast. Patrick Curry had a goal in Boston University’s 3-0 victory over UMass-Lowell, a goal and an assist in their 6-4 loss on Saturday, and an assist in the series clinching 4-1 win on Sunday. The Terriers will now face off against the #3 seed Northeastern this Friday. The winner of that game will face the winner of Boston College vs. Massachusetts for the Hockey East championship game on Saturday. Curry is in his junior season at Boston University and has 13 goals and 12 assists in 37 games played.

Jr. Blues Alumni Report

Springfield, Illinois – The Springfield Jr. Blues have been a member of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) since 1993 and have had alumni play college hockey and in professional leagues around the world. Here are a few alumni performances from the past week that we have chosen to spotlight.

Three goaltenders earned player of the week honors in three different conferences. Dryden McKay (Minnesota State-Mankato) has continued to impress as he was named the WCHA Goaltender of the Week. McKay, a freshman, stopped 26 of 27 shots in two wins over Alabama Huntsville this past weekend. In Saturday’s 4-0 win McKay stopped all 12 shots for his third career shutout. The Downers Grove, IL native currently has a 16-5-1 record with a 1.91 GAA and a .921 save percentage for the Mavericks.

Shifting to the east coast, Stefanos Lekkas was named the Hockey East Player of the Week after backstopping Vermont to a victory and a tie against #9 Providence. The Elburn, IL native made 33 saves in a 3-1 win on Friday, and made 46 saves in a 1-1 tie on Saturday. On the weekend Lekkas made 79 saves, posted a 0.98 GAA and a .975 save percentage. Overall Lekkas is 11-13-2 with a 2.36 GAA and a .929 save percentage for the Catamounts this season.

We would be remiss if we didn’t include Tommy Nappier in our Alumni recap as well. Nappier, a sophomore at Ohio State, was named the Big Ten #3 Star of the Week after leading the Buckeyes to a 2-0 win on Saturday against Notre Dame. Nappier turned aside all 30 shots that he faced to earn his fourth shutout of the season and his 10th win of the season. With just one loss on the season, Nappier’s 1.64 GAA and .945 save percentage both rank second in the nation.

But don’t think that it’s just goalies who are making strides since leaving Springfield. Boston University forward Patrick Curry scored two goals on Friday night against #3 UMass. Curry, who is from Schaumburg, IL, is in his junior season at BU and in 25 games played this season he has 9 goals and 8 assists.

Here are more alumni who have been playing well this season:

  • Russell Jordan (F) – 4 goals, 6 assists between Pensacola and Birmingham (SPHL)
  • Sam Craggs (F) – 4 goals, 4 assists in 29 games; Bowling Green St. Univ. (NCAA)
  • Coale Norris (F) – 6 goals, 6 assists in 28 games; Ferris State (NCAA)
  • Max Kalter (F) – 6 goals, 5 assists in 26 games; Univ. of Connecticut (NCAA)
  • Kelly Klima (F) – 7 goals, 8 assists in 17 games; Norfolk Admirals (ECHL)
  • Jack Summers (D) – 7 assists, +3 in 20 games; Univ. of Michigan (NCAA)

Springfield Jr. Blues Alumni Report #6

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.

Kevin Klima (2014-15) Norfolk Admirals, ECHL

Kevin Klima (Tampa, FL) played 21 games for the Springfield Jr. Blues during the 2014-15 season and went on to play three seasons in the QMJHL. In September, Klima scored his first professional goal during the NHL preseason for the Arizona Coyotes. He is currently playing for the Norfolk Admirals (ECHL) where he has 3 assists in 6 games. His brother, Kelly, is also on the Admirals roster.

Sam Craggs (2015-16) Bowling Green State University, NCAA

Sam Craggs (Elmhurst, IL) is currently playing for Bowling Green State University in the NCAA. In his second season at BGSU, Craggs has 2 goals and 2 assists in 11 games played. After playing for Springfield during the 2015-16 season, Craggs played in the USHL for Youngstown and Waterloo before attending BGSU.

Max Kalter (2013-14; 2014-15) University of Connecticut, NCAA

Max Kalter (Highland Park, IL) is in his senior season at the University of Connecticut and is an Assistant Captain. Kalter was also an Assistant Captain for the Jr. Blues during the 2013-14 season before playing in the USHL for the Sioux City Musketeers in 2014-15. Through 9 games this season, Kalter has 2 goals and 1 assist.