The East Coast Hockey League has provided some definite surprises and
plenty of action so far this season. The most improved team thus far
would definitely be the Arkansas RiverBlades as they have registered 8
wins in only 11 games and are solid between the pipes as Jeff Salajko
leads the league in save percentage. However, the Southwest Division is
led, as usual by the Louisiana IceGators, sans John Spoltore. They have
10 wins in their first 14 games and are led on offence by Jay Murphy and
Bruce Richardson. Mobile and Pensacola have also vaulted themselves
near the top of the division with strong showings as of late. The Ice
Pilots had a 7 game winning streak snapped on Friday and the Mysticks
tallied 7 points last week alone.
The Southeast Division, however is a tighter race for first with South
Carolina at the top after ringing off a 6 game winning streak that was
snapped last Friday against Charlotte. Greenville also has a solid
squad but have struggled slightly out of the gate, recording 7 wins and
6 losses. Augusta sits at 5 wins and 5 losses and is led by the red-hot
Scott Morrow, who has 11 points in his last 5 games. Tallahassee has
struggled and sit at the bottom of the division. They are led, however
by Brent Cullaton, who is tied for the league lead with 22 points.
Dayton and Peoria have jumped ahead of the pack in the Northwest
Division with 19 and 17 points, respectively. The Bombers have received
solid backstopping from Alex Westlund, who leads the league with a 1.69
GAA. The defending Kelly Cup Read more »
It has been said that youth brings enthusiasm to a hockey team. While
this is true, youth cannot make up for experience. That’s something the
Northern Michigan University Wildcats lost a lot of after last season.
In fact, three of its five leading scorers from the 1999-2000
campaign-Roger Trudeau (17 goals, 8 assists, 25 points), Bryan Phillips
(6-14-20) and J.P. Vigier (9-11-20)-are no longer there.
Can the team be just as solid with the players they have coming back?
Head coach Rick Comley, one of the most honest coaches in college hockey
or any sport for that matter, is not sure experience equals solidity.
“I’m not so sure those two things go together,” says coach Comley, in
his 25th season with NMU and the only coach in their history. “There’s
no question with a senior goaltender and six returning defensemen that
we can be solid. The question is will we be?”
Indeed a very good question. Suppose one of those players goes down?
Suppose one of them isn’t performing up to their potential? What then?
That’s where, if your Northern Michigan, you hope that the experience
you gain from each game and each practice adds to the players
repertoires…in a hurry.
“It’s something we work on in practice, trying to give all of the
freshman and sophomores more opportunities, chances and ways to get
experience,” says NMU team captain and senior defenseman Mike Sandbeck.
“We have to keep everyone involved, because everyone has good days and
bad days. We have to keep everyone focused.”
Focus will be no problem in goal, with Marquette nat Read more »
Notebook — 11/16/2000
Utah Grizzlies Update
The Utah Grizzlies broke even this weekend. First, they smoked the Vipers
4-2 in Detroit on Friday, but the following evening maintained vanilla
status quo by falling to Grand Rapids by the identical score. It’s been a
break even road tour, and the Grizzlies have gone 3-3-0. But after Thursday’s
game at Milwaukee, the Grizzlies will finally head back home after their
weary road-trip still nursing a winning record (currently they are 8-6-0).
Once there, Utah will surely try to put more fuel in the gas tank and gear-up for a
tenacious home stand.
Top Utah Scorers
Jackman still Progressing
Read more »
Espen Knutsen`s site www.espenknutsen.net is up and running. Created by Tom Mehlum I believe related to the Norwegian Ice Hockey League. Knutsen`s site features game articles etc… but the real question is …. will he last long enough in the NHL to stay online for some time? and will he pave the way for young Norwegian gunners Tore Vikingstad(ST.Louis/Leksand), Patrick Thoresen(Storhamar) and tough defender Anders Myrvold (Springfield-AHL) to follow his footsteps!
There is an impressive array of both quality and quantity
available this year from the OHL for the 2001 NHL Draft,
particularly at center and defence at the high end. There is
considerably more depth when compared to the 2000 crop.
It’s still early and no doubt things will change as the young
players log more and more games and begin to adjust, improve,
and emerge, but here are the preliminary returns for the Top 20
as the season passes the quarter-pole :
1. JASON SPEZZA C, No Team – Awaiting a trade from the IceDogs,
it will be interesting to see how Spezza fares in a different
environment. What can I say about this much talked about
prospect without sounding redundant? Probably nothing.
Has size and a superstar quality skill-set, vision, and hockey
sense which makes him an offensive scoring machine, especially
on the power-play. Does not have superstar quality speed or
acceleration. Has a good, accurate shot with a quick release on
the wrister, not so quick on the slapper.
2. STEPHEN WEISS C, Plymouth – A great skater who can carry the
puck to openings and sees the ice well. Elusive. Has great
anticipation. Can run a power-play from the half-boards, and his
speed on the penalty-kill enables him to forecheck aggressively
and get back into his zone in plenty of time. Will play defence
deep in his own zone. Not quite prototypical size but he will go
to the boards to battle for the puck when he has to, can keep
his feet when being hit, but is at his best picking up the puck
as the third man in. Ju Read more »
He’ll hit you. He’ll crunch you. He’ll make you see double. It
shouldn’t be any surprise that Soo Indians defenseman Jared
Nightingale’s favorite player is St. Louis Blues hulking icon Chris
Pronger. It’s precisely who he models his game after.
Not that he needs to anyway. You see, he’s from a talented family of
hockey brothers who have big aspirations – possibly one of the most
talented and toughest trio of hockey-playing brothers to come out of
Michigan since Lansing’s Kelly, Kevin and Kip Miller.
Jared is prepping himself in the North American Hockey League (NAHL)
right now, while brothers Adam and Jason (both of whom also played for
the Soo Indians) currently play in the college ranks at Lake Superior
Born and raised in Cheboygan, the three brothers were raised in a good,
wholesome, deeply religious family, which has molded them into a group
of fine young men.
Soo Indians head coach Joe Shawhan has seen and coached all three boys
and would love to coach more of them.
“There was definitely a solid, growth environment in their family,” says
Shawhan. “I give their parents so much credit for allowing their kids
to chase their dreams of playing hockey.”
While Jason and Adam have taken their games to the next level, Jared
aspires to do the same.
“My goal is to play Division I hockey,” says the 18-year-old Jared.
“God’s been good to us, especially in the ways our parents raised us,
and it’s leading us all in positive directions.”
Jared says it was an indoor rink in Cheboygan that he playe Read more »
There are very few teams in college hockey that can boast about having
this little problem: two of the top 10 goaltenders in their league and
not sure who to start on any given night. Yes, opponents will feel very
sorry for them. Yeah, sure.
Playing at Ferris State University’s Wink Arena, this season (or against
them at any time) won’t be an easy task with the likes of goalies Vince
Owen (13-8-2, 2.18) and Phil Osaer (8-8-0, 2.95)-call them the “O’s”
(and no Cal Ripken doesn’t play on defense in front of them). But, the
defensive corps for the Bulldogs is strong too, with six defensemen
returning. In other words, don’t expect to put the biscuit in the
basket too many times against the ‘dogs, unless they don’t show up to
the rink one night.
Ferris head coach Bob Daniels, a former goalie himself, maybe sounds a
bit worried, but he’s got to be smiling and salivating on the inside.
If your team has no scoring punch, the Bulldogs will surely leave you
Coach Daniels feels good about this year’s goaltending and defensive
unit and knows they can go a long way.
“I am truly most confident with our goaltending situation, no question,”
said Daniels, in his 7th year with Ferris State. “We could start either
goalie on any given night and the kids feel confident. Any team with
quality goalies, especially two, will help you finish at or near the top
of the league. If you don’t have it, you’ll finish no better than
But, with two good goalies, what about a controversy? Won’t that
situation unsettle both goalies, kind Read more »
In this part I take a closer look at a player, who tries to fill the gap after Keith Primeau in Carolina. It’s a player with nearly the same size and the same leadership qualities. It’s Josef Vasicek.
Josef grew up in a small city of Havlickuv Brod, where he started to play hockey. He was only 5 and he soon became the young star of this provincial city. As long as Josef visited elementary school, everything was OK. But the city of Havlickuv Brod was too small for his talent. Josef had respectable talent and was one of the best players in the country at pee-wee age, but he wasn’t the top talent like Milan Kraft among the 1980 born. Compared to Milan, Josef didn’t have the chance to play hockey for the same time as Milan, as he is 9 months younger (born 09-12-1980). But he could take advantage of his good size. He was taller than most of the guys his age and because of his workouts he had enough strength to use it to his advantage. Josef developed his no-fear style and great play in front of the opponent’s net. The scouts of HC Slavia Praha recognized this fact as the team broke into the Czech Elite league in 1994. The new team wanted to build a solid core of bantam aged players, who were playing in the smaller cities, to have a good base for the future. Some players were supposed to step into the Elite team after their stint with Slavia’s midget and junior teams. Josef, called “Pepa” like all Josefs was one of those players. Slavia fought its way to the elite midget league, ELHD, and Josef contributed for both the Slavia Praha midgets and the Under-16 team. Mil Read more »
The National U-20 team appeared once again in the German Four Nations Tourney in Fussen that featured a USHL (USA) all star club made up of primarily 18 year olds as well as National U-20 team (Under 20) from Germany and Switzerland and were sent home packing.
Norway started with a 9-2 loss to Germany followed by a 10-2 blasting by the more physical US team and a 7-1 defeat by the more experienced Swiss.
The National Team was included up and comers Patrick Thoresen (Storhamar) and Lars Nagel (MS) but were simply overmatched. The National Junior Team is preparing for the World Junior B tourney also in Fussen, Germany later in December. While the prognosis is not good for a move up to Group A there is still a shot and much pressure lies on the shoulders of Thoresen and Nagel.
Full Roster Norwegian National U-20
GOALTENDERS CURRENT CLUB
Halvor Haarstad Evjen (Frisk Asker)
Mats Johansen (NTG/Lillehammer)
Kim Brandvold (Manglerud/Star)
Marius Fredriksen (Stjernen)
Anders Helgesen (Stjernen)
André Høibyhagen (Vålerenga)
Ola Johannessen (Lillehammer)
Svein Magnus Melgaard (NTG/Lillehammer)
Petter Skolla (Manglerud/Star)
Jonas Andersen (Sparta Sarpsborg)
Morten Bakkene (Frisk Asker)
Bjarte Bjønnes (Sparta Sarpsborg)
Anders Fredriksen (Tingsryd (SWEDEN)
Lasse Fredriksen (Furuset)
Peter Lorentzen (Stjernen)
Lars Peder Nagel (Manglerud/Star)
René Sethereng (Frisk Asker)
Eirik Skadsdam Read more »