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NWHL To Open Season in Lake Placid

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Here are some photos from inside the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, NY. The NWHL will open its season there today.

Saints Lose To Colgate in OT

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By Aaron Todd <atodd@stlawu.edu> —

Skylar Podvey scored an extra attacker goal with one minute and 20 seconds remaining in the third period to force overtime and give the Saints a point in the ECAC Hockey standings in a 3-2 overtime loss to fifth-ranked Colgate on Friday night at Class of 1965 Arena in Hamilton, New York.

Colgate’s Kalty Kaltounkova scored a 4-on-3 power play goal on a blast from the left circle at 2:46 of overtime to extend the Raiders’ winning streak to five straight games.

After Colgate took a 2-0 lead with just over four minutes to play in the first period on a pair of goals by Eleri MacKay in a span of just 1:54, Rachel Bjorgan scored her first career goal in the final minute of the frame to send the Saints to the locker room trailing by just one.

Lucy Morgan made 32 saves in regulation, including 14 in the third period, to keep St. Lawrence in striking range and set up Podvey’s late-game heroics.

“What a great effort by our team,” said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells ’92. “We get the point for the 60-minute tie and had two great chances to win it early in overtime. In three days, our team has grown much more than I ever anticipated. You can’t create the intensity of a game and the emotions that go with it. It felt good to all of us to get cranked up and play the way we did.

“Colgate does such a good job controlling the puck and making plays. There is a reason they only have one loss. Lucy kept us hanging around and Sky got us the goal with a great shot to tie it.”

Eleri MacKay gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead with six minutes to play in the first period, taking a pass from Delani MacKay right in front of the goal and going forehand-backhand before flipping it into the net.

Less than two minutes later, Eleri MacKay scored her second goal of the game — this time on the power play — off a feed from Sydney Bard at the right side of the net. MacKay took the pass and swept a shot around Morgan just inside the far post.

Bjorgan scored her first career goal with just 20.5 seconds to play in the first period, cutting around a defender and lifting a backhand past Colgate goaltender Kayle Osborne’s blocker side.

Podvey’s goal came on a hard wrist shot from the top of the left circle to the far post. Bjorgan and Anna Segedi earned assists on the play.

Taylor Lum had an opportunity to win the game for the Saints in the first minute of the overtime period, getting two bids on net on a breakaway, but Osborne was able to stop the rookie forward on both shots to prevent St. Lawrence from getting the win.

Morgan finished the game with 35 saves, while Osborne stopped 16 shots for the Raiders. St. Lawrence (0-2-0 overall, 0-1-0 ECAC Hockey) was 1-for-6 on the power play, while Colgate (9-1-1, 5-0-0) was 2-for-4.

The two teams will square off again on Sunday at 2 p.m. at Appleton Arena.

(St. Lawrence Women’s Hockey Photo)

Kayla Meneghin and Brooke Wolejko to Compete in NWHL Bubble Season

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Plattsburgh State women’s hockey alumnae Kayla Meneghin (Clifton, N.J./The Gunnery) and Brooke Wolejko (South Windsor, Conn./St. Lawrence University) will be competing in the upcoming National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) bubble season at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., starting on Saturday, Jan. 23. 

Meneghin, a forward, is entering her third season in the NWHL and her first campaign with the Buffalo Beauts, while Wolejko is set to commence her second season as a goaltender for the Connecticut Whale.

“All of us in Cardinal Country wish Kayla and Brooke the best of luck in the NWHL season,” Plattsburgh State head women’s ice hockey coach Kevin Houle said. “Kayla was an impactful player for all four of her years in a Cardinal uniform and a three-time All-American. Brooke had a great season in her one year with the program.”

Meneghin, who tallied 86 goals and 102 assists for 188 points in 117 games played for Plattsburgh State from 2014-18, was a three-time American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-American. Meneghin, who ranks fourth in NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey history in career points, fifth in career assists and sixth in short-handed goals (11), was a member of Cardinal teams that played to a 107-8-5 record and claimed three NCAA Division III national championships (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17). 

Meneghin joins the Beauts this season after playing two seasons for the Whale. Last year, she tallied four goals and four assists for eight points in 14 games played. Meneghin has played in 24 games in the NWHL.

Wolejko played her senior season at Plattsburgh State in 2017-18 after beginning her career at NCAA Division I St. Lawrence University. In her season with the Cardinals, Wolejko played to a 10-2-1 record while ranking first in NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey in both goals against average (0.95) and save percentage (.962). She recorded 342 saves and six shutouts over 13 games played.

Wolejko is entering her second season with the Whale. Last season, she finished fourth among NWHL goaltenders in save percentage (.914) and set the team record for saves in a season (458). Wolejko recorded at least 45 saves five times and helped the Whale to a victory over the Beauts in the 2020 Isobel Cup Play-In Game. 

Kayla Meneghin and Brooke Wolejko to Compete in NWHL Bubble Season

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Plattsburgh State women’s hockey alumnae Kayla Meneghin (Clifton, N.J./The Gunnery) and Brooke Wolejko (South Windsor, Conn./St. Lawrence University) will be competing in the upcoming National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL) bubble season at the 1980 Rink-Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y., starting on Saturday, Jan. 23. 

Meneghin, a forward, is entering her third season in the NWHL and her first campaign with the Buffalo Beauts, while Wolejko is set to commence her second season as a goaltender for the Connecticut Whale.

“All of us in Cardinal Country wish Kayla and Brooke the best of luck in the NWHL season,” Plattsburgh State head women’s ice hockey coach Kevin Houle said. “Kayla was an impactful player for all four of her years in a Cardinal uniform and a three-time All-American. Brooke had a great season in her one year with the program.”

Meneghin, who tallied 86 goals and 102 assists for 188 points in 117 games played for Plattsburgh State from 2014-18, was a three-time American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) All-American. Meneghin, who ranks fourth in NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey history in career points, fifth in career assists and sixth in short-handed goals (11), was a member of Cardinal teams that played to a 107-8-5 record and claimed three NCAA Division III national championships (2014-15, 2015-16, 2016-17). 

Meneghin joins the Beauts this season after playing two seasons for the Whale. Last year, she tallied four goals and four assists for eight points in 14 games played. Meneghin has played in 24 games in the NWHL.

Wolejko played her senior season at Plattsburgh State in 2017-18 after beginning her career at NCAA Division I St. Lawrence University. In her season with the Cardinals, Wolejko played to a 10-2-1 record while ranking first in NCAA Division III women’s ice hockey in both goals against average (0.95) and save percentage (.962). She recorded 342 saves and six shutouts over 13 games played.

Wolejko is entering her second season with the Whale. Last season, she finished fourth among NWHL goaltenders in save percentage (.914) and set the team record for saves in a season (458). Wolejko recorded at least 45 saves five times and helped the Whale to a victory over the Beauts in the 2020 Isobel Cup Play-In Game. 

Elmira College Alum Jamie Huntley-Park ’09 to Serve on Historic All-Female Officiating Crew during Abbreviated 2021 NWHL Season

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Jamie Huntley Headshot

ELMIRA, N.Y. — Miracle. A word that can be interpreted many different ways by various people, but to the hockey world, that word can only be associated with what transpired at Lake Placid, New York, during the 1980 Winter Olympics: The Miracle on Ice. 

Fast-forward 41 years later, and Lake Placid will once again be the stage for another historical hockey moment as the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL), in partnership with USA Hockey and the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), will feature a 10-person all-female officiating crew for an abbreviated 2021 season and Isobel Cup playoffs at the historic Herb Brooks Arena. Of the 10-person crew, Elmira College will be represented by former women’s ice hockey standout Jamie Huntley-Park ’09. 

The all-female officiating crew is a historic moment for professional hockey. According to the NWHL, “while the league has had all-female officiating crews work games before, there has never been an all-female officiating initiative of this scale.” 

A 10-year officiating veteran, Jamie has traveled the globe working some of the world’s best women’s hockey games. She’s officiated multiple International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) games and has served as an official for the NWHL since the league’s inception in 2015. Now, Jamie will add this momentous experience to her long list of hockey accomplishments. 

“It is pretty amazing to see the growth of women’s hockey over the years,” said Jamie. “When I saw there was going to be an all-female officiating crew to work the NWHL season, I was pretty blown away. I am particularly excited to be a part of such an amazing group of female officials.”

Although she’s officiated significant games throughout her career, this experience will certainly be unlike any other. In order to protect players, coaches, staff and officials from the threats of COVID-19, Jamie, along with the nine other female officials and six NWHL teams, will head inside the NWHL “bubble” in Lake Placid for a slew of games over a 12-day period from January 25 through February 5. 

“I know all of the officials attending this season and have been fortunate to work with a majority of them in the past,” added Jamie. “There are three girls that I would call family. That is how close we all are.

“Jackie Spresser, Kendall Hanley and Alicia Hanrahan are my go-to girls with just about anything, whether hockey related or not. We talk just about every day and they have been such great friends, mentors and sisters to me. I have known them for almost my entire officiating career and Kendall was my teammate in college.”

Jamie Huntley Officiating IIHF

Jamie, along with fellow officials, will depart their homes on January 21 for Lake Placid. For Jamie, she will make a cross-country flight from San Diego, California, where she works as a detective for the San Diego Police Department. 

In a normal year, balancing duties as a detective and a hockey official is challenging enough, but adding COVID-19 restrictions into the mix has certainly complicated matters for the native Californian. 

Preparation for officials under COVID-19 restrictions has been a challenge, and Jamie has not been immune to such obstacles. In Southern California, there are no hockey games taking place and games haven’t happened in the area in several months, so on-ice preparation has been sparse. 

However, Jamie has found ways to stay ready for this officiating opportunity.

“Most of my preparation has been staying in shape off the ice and the occasional opportunity to skate on my own to be comfortable on my skates,” said Jamie. “I’ve been dialing in on my rule knowledge for the specific league, eating healthy and getting rest.  When I get there, I will do what I can in my hotel room to get rid of the jet lag and continue to review the rules.”

As has been the case in other professional sports that have implemented similar “bubble” environments, the players, coaches, staff members and officials will sacrifice time away from their families, while others will see an extended break from their current place of employment. Yet, the sacrifice of all those involved will go towards the greater good of enhancing the profile of the NWHL, the sport of women’s hockey, and maybe more importantly, women’s sports in general.

statement released by the NWHL on December 22, 2020, announced that the Isobel Cup Semifinals and Final will air live exclusively on NBCSN on February 4-5. The significance of this broadcast cannot be understated, as it will serve as the first-ever women’s professional hockey games to be televised on a major national network in the United States. 

“It is a big opportunity for these talented athletes to show everyone just how great women’s sports, in particular hockey, really is,” stated Jamie. “It allows all those fans who can’t attend the games to be able to enjoy the semifinals and finals as well. I believe this is one step in the right direction for this professional league and women’s sports in general.

“It will continue to grow like it has been, and the more eyes on the sport and athletes, it will continue to grow whether it is fans or kids wanting to play hockey.”

NWHL’s exposure on a major national network will certainly be a defining moment for women’s hockey, and Jamie will play a significant role in the league’s ability to pull off such an endeavor. Over the 12-day span, she will find herself officiating big games and in high-pressure situations, but that is nothing new to her. 

Throughout her hockey career, Jamie has been in the spotlight. During her tenure with the Soaring Eagles, she helped the Purple and Gold qualify for three NCAA Division III Tournaments and clinch back-to-back ECAC West titles. 

Jamie Huntley CelebrationWhere the lights shine the brightest, she’s skated. Jamie was part of the 2008 NCAA third-place team and assisted on a go-ahead goal for EC in the 2009 NCAA national title game, one that ended in a runner-up finish for the Elmira women. That season, she was voted as an ECAC West All-Conference Second Team recipient, as she graduated with 79 career points on 40 goals and 39 assists. 

As an official, Jamie has a wealth of experience in big games, including on the international stage. In 2019, she served as an official at the IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Espoo, Finland. She officiated a bevy of contests, including the Bronze Medal matchup between Canada and Russia. 

Even with a multitude of accomplishments on the ice, serving as an official for the 2021 NWHL season and playoffs will certainly be a special moment in her journey through the hockey world.

“I would say this is one of the most significant moments in my hockey career,” said Jamie. “This is history being made for the sport, for these athletes, and it is a special moment to be a part of.”

Historic is a common theme throughout Jamie’s story. It’s a phrase overused in sports all the time, yet historic doesn’t seem to fully encompass the significance of what is taking place at Lake Placid in less than a week. 

So, to all the NWHL players, coaches, staff members, and yes, even the officials that will take part in this momentous event, remember the encouraging words from legendary Team USA head coach Herb Brooks prior to the miracle on ice.

“Great moments are born from great opportunity. 
And that’s what you have here, that’s what you’ve earned here… 
This is your time.”

Beauts Off To Lake Placid–For Their “Miracle” Season

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Photos and Story By Janet Schultz, NYHOL

NWHL Heading to the Bubble

by Janet Schultz, NYHOL

While the NHL has managed to schedule games in their buildings with no fans and little media; the NWHL has been working for the past several months on playing a shortened season in a Bubble. They accomplished that goal and headed off to Lake Placid to play on the “Miracle” ice. Fans can watch on Twitch, put themselves in the stands in cardboard and be watch as women’s hockey takes on another historical moment in its short five years.

The Beauts held a Zoom press conference, which this writer is getting used to slowly, last week.

First among the announcements is that due to her employment commitment, Team Captain and leading scorer Taylor Accursi will be unable to head to Lake Placid.

“We will all have to step up and score goals. She is a key player but we are all going to have to deal and step up,” said Erin Gehen.

The teams will be housed on one floor of a Lake Placid hotel; food brought to them, they going directly to the arena and back to the hotel, for the entire time.  The league is committed to protecting players, coaches and staff with regular testing and strict COVID protocols.

Buffalo Beauts Head Coach Pete Perram is ready, and so are the Beauts.
Looking at the roster, Perram and GM Nate Oliver have fulfilled a need to improve defense and gain depth through the draft and signings. Perram feels that the core group of players, along with the goaltending are the best in the League.

Newcomer Carly Jackson will be an important part of that core.

“I will bring confidence, trust and a solid, stable evidence back there,” said Jackson. “I am focusing on playing with new teammates and getting a rhythm going.”

The Beauts goaltending trio of Jackson with Caty Flagg and veteran Kelsey Neumann  has been amazing in practice, according to Jackson. 

“We have clicked and bounce ideas off each other as well as compete against each other. We are a good goaltending trio,” concluded Jackson.

With the signing of Brittany Colten the Beauts roster is set.

New Yorker’s on this year’s Beauts squad include: Forward Emma Ruggiero, in her second season with the Beauts. She played 10 of 24 games last season and was the recipient of the 2019-20 NWHL Foundation Award; Jordan Juron ( enters her fourth year with the NWHL after playing last season with the Boston Pride and previously for Buffalo in 2017-18 and 2018-19, she returned to Buffalo in November 2020 and finally Erin Gehen in her second season as a Beaut after an outstanding career with Buffalo State College and the WNYGVIH League.

The team has been together for the past six weeks in Buffalo.

“We struggled to get together, with players in Canada and the US.,” said Coach Perram. 

“One of the things that shocked me the most is the intensity of practice once we did get together. We have been experiencing ups and downs, players in and out, but each practice has been top notch and players are 100 percent dedicated to the goal,” said Perram.

“I didn’t need to motivate them, they have a large compete level.”

One thing is the Beauts have gained some fans at the Border.

“Because they went back and forth so much and there is so little traffic, the Border patrol got to know them and had conversations with the players and told them that they were now fans,” said Coach.

The question is are they ready for a possible nine games in 13 days. A schedule many players have not seen unless they took part in international tournaments. (Or for Erin Gehen who played in the Western New York Girls Varsity Ice Hockey League).

Alternate Captain and all-star defender Mary Jo “MJ” Pelletier explained she is mentally prepared and has been conditioning herself on and off the ice for the strenuous schedule. 

“Recovery after a game will be the  key element in Lake Placid,” said MJ, with Coach Perram agreeing.

“Player commitment on the recovery side is important and we have been very careful to prepare the players for that,” said Coach Perram. 

“From coaching it is interesting. The league has allowed for additional players which helps us protect them. It will be 20 player rosters giving us flexibility in preparing for back to back games.

“We have been doing a lot of homework, watching video and preparing for the opposition,” he concluded.

“While the team was physically practicing in three different areas it didn’t take us long to have the chemistry fall into place when they got together on the ice in Buffalo,” explained Gehen. 

“Everyone is ready for Lake Placid.”

For those of us that understand, the return of Brooke Stacey to the ice is a highlight. Brooke Stacey is returning after delivery a baby, C-section, late in the Fall. 

“I am super excited to be back. It was hard to be in self-isolation due to pregnancy, but necessary. I have been on the bike five days a week and putting in a lot of effort in the gym to prepare me for practices,” said Stacey.

She was proud to announce that both Baby and Mom are doing great! 

“This season has been a long time coming. We have been all training in our separate areas and are excited to get together to practice together,” said Lisa Chesson.

“Lake Placid will be a different experience. It will be special for all of us, and we will take it all in.” said Chesson.

More noticable for fans is they won’t be there. The noise from the crowd, the people walking around down near the concession stand, kids going in and out of the other arena. It will be much quieter in Lake Placid. 

“I agree Buffalo is big city for fans but we will just go into the games, we will have our family and some famous people “in stands.,” said Gehen.

“It will be different but our game plan doesn’t change. We create our own momentum and we will create our own noise,” said Gehen. 

This season the Beauts will be strong on the powerplay with a core of returning players and Chesson, who is a great contributor to power play. Along with that Coach feels they will move the puck fast and their communication as a team is an important factor in the play. Another strength are the rookies.

“All the rookies bring something special and are looking forward to play,” said Whitney Dove who comes into the2020-21 seasonas a rookie.  

“All the players coming out of college are just happy to continue their careers and that brings something special to the teams,” said Dove.

Fans should watch for a tremendous group of leaders, including Alternate Captains Pelletier and Chesson. With that said most of the Beauts have served as captains at one time in their career which provides the team with lots of leadership.

“Plus Chesson’s international experience will also add to the season,” said Nate Oliver, general manager.

While this may be one of the most challenging seasons in NWHL history, it will also be an unforgettable one.

“We will be all together to go through it.  We will say we have been down this journey together and I can say ‘I have been’ there,” said Coach Perram.

While the players are too young to remember the “Miracle on Ice,” they are not removed from it. For many they have parents who did experience it, for others they have played or at least visited Lake Placid. 

“For me to be on the same bench as Herb, you can’t replace it and will be the coolest experience,” said Coach Perram.

“I started my national career in Lake Placid and you get goosebumps walking into that arena,” said Chesson.

Even this writer had the experience to walk out on the ice as a photographer when the NYS Girls High School Varsity Finals were held there. And yes, even she got emotional.

For the fans, tune into Twitch and be part of the history. The semi-finals and finals will also be covered on NBC Sports, another stride for women’s ice hockey.

For scheduling details, rosters and other news from Lake Placid, go to www.nwhl.zone.

Syracuse Women Return to Ice

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by Janet Schultz, NYHOL

The Syracuse Women’s Ice Hockey Team will return to the ice at home Friday and Saturday, January 22 and 23 against #2 in the CHA, Robert Morris.

While COVID seems to throw a curve in all ice hockey at all levels, the Orange are playing but minus their Head Coach Paul Flanagan. Flanagan is in non-Syracuse related COVID protocol for Friday nights game, but plans to be behind the bench on Saturday.

Stepping into the HC position is Brendon Knight, who has had head coaching experience prior to Syracuse, but who told media members today (Wednesday, Jan. 20) that he and Flanagan are in constant communication and that over the nine years he has been an Associate Head Coach, he and Flanagan share the duties and feels all will run smooth.

“This happens often at this level of hockey, especially when Head Coaches are coaching national teams,” said Knight.

Players agree according to Captain Jessica DiGirolamo.

“The team respects both coaches and we have good conversation with both of them and they both give great advice,” said DiGirolamo.

“We have been practicing this week with one coach and with both of them being good communicators Coach Knight is an extension of Paul’s coaching,” said Abby Moloughney, a junior forward.

While they agree the coaching issue is not going to be an problem, Robert Morris will be bringing with them a very disciplined team that has a good powerplay and outstanding goaltending. Add in the fact that they have played four games to this point and the Orange had their only scheduled game in the New York to Lindenwood postponed due to COVID at Lindenwood.

Two players are returning from injuries including Shelby Calof and Maddy Beishuizen. Still out from ankle surgery is Abigail Schauer.

Coach Knight emphasized that the team has been practicing, and while it has gotten a little stale just practicing, they have been anxious to get back on the ice and had a very good week of practice.

“We will keep things simple, and just get back into the flow of things,” said Knight. “We haven’t seen much of a drop-off even after being off for three weeks.”

DiGirolamo agrees.

“During the game I will do the little things I do and I am not afraid to step up and block a shot,” she said.

“It has been disappointing with the cancellations, but we will stay focused and disciplined,” she continued.

Moloughney, who has been described as the heart and soul of the team, has kept up her mental and physical game by getting to the rink early, spending time with teammates and putting in extra practice time when she can.

“I know if I work hard, my team is right behind me,” she emphasized.

Robert Morris is the team to be dealt with historically. Moloughney scored three goals in the series against Robert Morris last season and while the team knows this is a big game, she plans to remain calm and focused.

“I know the Robert Morris players and so I know what to expect. I will use that knowledge in the game,” she said.

They will hit the ice this weekend knowing that two of their alums are playing in their first professional women’s hockey games.

Allie Olnowich will skate with the Metropolitan Riveters and Lindsay Eastwood has signed with the new NWHL team, Toronto Six.

“They worked hard and it was not hard to work hard for them,” said Moloughney. “We will replicate what they do, knowing they moved on with their positive attitudes. We will follow that.”

While no fans are allowed in the stands, supporters of the Orange can go to their website, click on the schedule and then the icon to watch live.

Game time is 7 pm Friday and 3 pm Saturday.

The Orange will then head out on the road to Mercyhurst on January 29 and 30, RIT on February 2 before returning home February 5  and 6 to Mercyhurst.

USA Hockey Winter Meeting Update

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COVID SAFETY AND ADAPTATIONS; BUILDING A MORE WELCOMING COMMUNITY; AND PLAYING RULES ARE FOCUS OF USA HOCKEY WINTER MEETING
 
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Hockey’s 2021 Winter Meeting, which took place virtually over four days (Jan. 14-17) last week, included wide-ranging discussions focused largely on efforts around COVID-19 safety and adaptations for the remainder of this season and into the 2021-22 campaign; on-going initiatives around building a more welcoming and inclusive environment in hockey; and rule change proposals for the 2021-22 season that will be voted on during USA Hockey’s Annual Congress this June.

“It’s been an extremely challenging time for everyone involved in USA Hockey and we’ve come together to meet the challenges in such a positive way,” said Jim Smith, president of USA Hockey. “We have a lot of continued work in front of us, but the focus on risk mitigation related to COVID to help ensure the safety of our participants, and transitioning to continue the education and engagement of our players, coaches, officials and overall membership through virtual means, has been inspiring.”

VIRTUAL EDUCATION The enormous undertaking in shifting coaching and officiating education to a virtual environment was reviewed during the meeting, and while the desire to return to in-person education was evident, many positives have come out of the virtual events, including reduced costs and the ability to engage with people from across the country. 

BUILDING A MORE WELCOMING COMMUNITY USA Hockey leaders were engaged in a presentation focused around being an active inclusive agent of change during a Town Hall session and also participated in a program around building advocates. 

“Our continued focus is on education and engagement as it relates to diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “It was great to see the participation and discussion that took place and we’ll continue to work together with the wide variety of stakeholders in our sport as we move forward.”

RULE CHANGE PROPOSALS Discussion around rule change proposals was prevalent through the Winter Meeting. The formal vote on proposed rule changes will take place during USA Hockey’s Annual Congress, which is set for June 9-13. USA Hockey considers rule changes on a four-year cycle. 

OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST • It was noted that the 2021 USA Hockey Youth, Girls, High School and Women’s Senior National Championships were moved back to the end of April and beginning of May. 

• The second annual Game On – Empowering Women in Hockey Together leadership conference will be conducted virtually on Feb. 19 and Feb. 26. Registration information will be available later this month and more information can be obtained here. 

• The Level 5 Coaches Symposium, which was slated to take place in Duluth, Minn., last summer but was postponed due to the pandemic, is planned for August 19-22, 2021, in Duluth. To register, click here. 

• USA Hockey’s Annual Congress is set for June 9-13 in Denver, Colorado. 

• Kelleher gave a special thanks to those that have been involved on the front lines in helping communities get through the pandemic. 

Krueger and Zimmerman Claim Atlantic Hockey Weekly Awards

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WEST POINT, N.Y. – The Atlantic Hockey Association announced Tuesday that Army West Point seniors Mason Krueger and John Zimmerman have been named the conference’s Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week respectively. 

Krueger was an offensive force centering the Black Knights’ top line this week, posting three goals and an assist in Army’s two games against LIU. On Saturday, Krueger netted his first career hat trick in Army’s 5-3 win over the Sharks at Tate Rink. Following Colin Bilek’s hat trick a game prior, the pair became the first Army duo since 2007 to record hat tricks in consecutive games. Krueger also became the first Black Knight to complete a natural hat trick since Mark Duebe in 2011. 

Leading Army’s top defensive pair, the senior captain Zimmerman contributed on both the offensive and defensive ends for the Black Knights. Entering the weekend with two assists, Zimmerman recorded three helpers in the series against LIU. 

(West Point Hockey photo)

Saints Women’s Hockey To Open Season Wednesday at Clarkson

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By Aaron Todd <atodd@stlawu.edu> —

The St. Lawrence University women’s hockey team will open its season with a non-league game at Clarkson at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, ending the longest stretch between games in program history.

When St. Lawrence announced its three-semester plan to reduce campus density during the COVID-19 pandemic, head coach Chris Wells ’92 decided to ask his players to take courses in the spring and summer semesters, rather than in the fall and spring. As a result, most of the team came to campus for the first time this academic year on January 3.

After a period of quarantining and small group work, the team recently started to practice as a full team.

“We just finished up our first full week of practice as a team and it’s been good to be back,” said Wells. “We’re looking forward to jumping right into the games. We’re coming late to the party, everybody that we’ll be playing was here last semester and they had to grind out practice and a lot of canceled games. We’re fortunate that we’re able to come back and jump right into games as the protocols were already set in place and a lot of people learned what worked and what didn’t work, and we’re able to slide right in here and get right after it.”

The schedule this year will be a sprint to the finish. With just three other schools in ECAC Hockey fielding teams, the Saints will play each team four times, twice at home and twice on the road. The conference schedule consists of six straight weekends with back-to-back games against the same conference opponent. The series against Colgate will be home-and-home affairs, held on a Friday/Sunday schedule. The Saints will play Quinnipiac back-to-back in the same location on a Saturday/Sunday schedule. And the ECAC Hockey contests with Clarkson will consists of a pair of mid-week games and a home-and-home weekend series to be held on February 12-13.

“One of our goals at the beginning of every year is to finish in the top four, so we’ve achieved that already without playing a game,” joked Wells. “The biggest thing that we’ve talked about as a team is that we’ve all been sitting around for 9-10 months, so let’s go have some fun. If we win some games, great, if we don’t, we’re still going to have some fun. A lot of people aren’t able to do what they like to do right now, and we’re fortunate enough to do what we love to do.”

This season marks the second straight year that the women’s hockey team has had an unusual start. Last season, the team spent the first semester practicing and playing games across town at SUNY Canton, as renovations to Appleton Arena were underway.

“Certainly the players coming back have experienced a lot of the changes to the schedule in a blink of an eye, and I think all the kids that are here this year have done a good job bringing a lot of enthusiasm and energy,” said Wells. “We’ll be able to use a lot of the enthusiasm from the young kids and the experience of the returners to get ourselves to a place where I think we’ll be pretty happy when the season’s over.”

While the Saints lost their top scorer in Kayla Vespa ’20 to graduation, sophomore forwards Anna Segedi, Shailynn Snow and Julia Gosling all notched more than 20 points last year as rookies. Senior captain Skylar Podvey, who leads all the Saints’ returners with 43 career points, along with sophomore Rachel Teslak, who ranked fourth on the team with seven goals and fifth with 11 points last year, will look to anchor the blue line.

Lucy Morgan, a Third-Team All-ECAC Hockey and ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team selection last season, returns as one of three experienced goaltenders for the Saints. Morgan started 25 games last year, posting a 1.83 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. Jaimie Rainville started six games last season, while Caitlin Whitehead started five.

After opening the season on Wednesday, the Saints will begin the ECAC Hockey season at Colgate on Friday at 5 p.m. and will host the Raiders in their home opener on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Jimmy Poreda Signs Professional Contract With Lazer HT

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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. – Plattsburgh State men’s ice hockey alumni Jimmy Poreda (Tonawanda, N.Y./Connecticut Jr. Rangers) has signed a professional contract with Lazer HT of the Suomi-Sarja ice hockey league in Finland. 

“Jimmy went above and beyond what was expected of him at Plattsburgh State,” men’s ice hockey head coach Steve Moffat said. “He epitomized what a student-athlete is by being a fantastic student and someone who was always volunteering in the community. All of that translated to success on the ice. He was the first guy on the ice and the last off. He was one of the hardest working student-athletes we had on the ice and in the gym — he really took care of himself. He was a professional, and all of that has enabled him to sign his first professional contract and I think he will have a few more contracts after this. We could not be more proud of what Jimmy accomplished here in his three years at Plattsburgh State and we wish him all the best.”

In his three years as a goaltender at Plattsburgh State, Poreda played to a 27-25-5 record with 1,607 saves, a .919 save percentage, a 2.41 goals against average and seven shutouts over 61 games played (58 starts). Poreda had a career year as a sophomore in 2018-19 when he played to an 11-8-1 record with career bests in goals against average (1.88), save percentage (.935) and shutouts (3). In 2019-20, Poreda garnered career highs in saves (621), games played (24) and minutes played (1,407:40).

For his play on the ice, Poreda earned All-State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Second Team honors in 2018-19. He was also named the SUNYAC Goaltender of the Week nine times, including four times in 2019-20.

Poreda, a three-time American Hockey Coaches Association (AHCA) Krampade All-American Scholar, graduated summa cum laude with bachelor’s degrees in business administration and business management. In addition he minored in accounting, global supply chain management, international business, athletic coaching and personal training over his three years at Plattsburgh State.

For his academic prowess, Poreda was the men’s sport recipient of the Richard D. Semler Award, which is awarded to the Plattsburgh State male and female seniors with the highest cumulative grade-point averages through the fall semester of their senior year. In addition, Poreda was named to the Dean’s List in each of his semesters at Plattsburgh State and was a three-time SUNYAC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll honoree.

Poreda also made an impact on the SUNY Plattsburgh community. He was a leading member of the SUNY Plattsburgh Unified Intramurals Club, a member of the Plattsburgh Young Athletes Club and was the men’s ice hockey community service leader during 2019-20. For his community involvement as well as his academic and athletic success, Poreda was one of 13 student-athletes across all levels of college hockey to be nominated for the 2020 Hockey Humanitarian Award. In addition, Poreda earned Plattsburgh State men’s ice hockey’s Matthew “Matty” Thomson Award for Community Service in each of his three years in Cardinal Country. 

Poreda is the second member of the 2019-20 Plattsburgh State men’s ice hockey team to sign a professional contract, joining forward Ryan Kuhn (Wheatfield, N.Y./Niagara University). Kuhn signed with the Fayetteville Marksmen of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in March of 2020.

(SUNY Plattsburgh Hockey Photo)

Clarkson’s Giguere Honored By ECAC Hockey

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ALBANY, N.Y. — ECAC Hockey has announced its women’s weekly award winners, and Elizabeth Giguere (Clarkson) was honored for the week ending January 17, 2021.

Player of the Week: Elizabeth Giguere

Giguere (Sr. – Quebec City, Que.) recorded seven points in Clarkson’s three games this weekend, scoring four times and adding an assist in each contest. Her first point in Monday’s game against LIU was a big one, as it lifted her past former teammate Loren Gabel as the all-time points leader for the Golden Knights. 

Amerks Sign Blujus To AHL Contract

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The Rochester Americans announced today that the team has signed defenseman Dylan Blujus to a one-year American Hockey League contract for the 2020-21 season.

Blujus, 26, joins the Amerks after spending the last six seasons with the Utica Comets and the Syracuse Crunch, recording 82 points (20+62) in 274 career appearances while also adding two assists in six Calder Cup Playoffs games. The Buffalo, NY, native also skated in 21 contests with the Jacksonville Icemen (ECHL), tallying seven points (1+6).

His best season came as a rookie during the 2014-15 campaign when he notched 22 points (4+18) in 67 games to finish second among Crunch defensemen in scoring.

Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-3, 203-pound blueliner played four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) with the Brampton/North Bay Battalion, where he produced 119 points on 17 goals and 102 assists in 256 career games. In his final campaign in the OHL, Blujus led all Battalion defensemen with 26 helpers and ranked second among blueliners with 30 points, helping the team to its first regular-season division title.

Blujus was originally a second-round selection (40th overall) of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2012 NHL Draft.

Rochester is slated to open its 65th season in the American Hockey League on Friday, Feb. 5. The 2020-21 regular-season schedule is still being determined and will be announced when it becomes available.

Saints Fall To Clarkson

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By Aaron Todd <atodd@stlawu.edu> —

Nicholas Trela gave the St. Lawrence University men’s hockey team a 1-0 lead with a goal in the final second of the first period, but No. 12/13 Clarkson scored one goal in the second period and another in the third to defeat the Saints 2-1 in an ECAC Hockey contest at Appleton Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Zach Teskos tied the game for Clarkson just 10 seconds into the second period, and Luke Mobley gave the Golden Knights the lead less than four minutes into the third period.

St. Lawrence (3-2-2 overall and in ECAC Hockey) and Clarkson (8-6-1, 3-3-1) are now tied for second place in the ECAC Hockey standings with 11 points, three points behind Quinnipiac.

“What we’ve done in the first six games is everything that’s in the rear view mirror and you’re not living on that, you’ve got to be in the moment, and tonight was supposed to be another good step forward and we didn’t do that tonight,” said Charles W. Appleton II Head Men’s Hockey Coach Brent Brekke. “So I think it’s a good learning moment for our guys, that you can’t things for granted, what you’ve done in the past. That’s not good enough. It’s what’s in front of us that’s important, and we’ve got to learn from that.”

Trela got the Saints on the board first with an unassisted goal on an offensive zone faceoff. With St. Lawrence starting a power play with just 1.5 seconds left in the period, Trela won the faceoff in the left circle and lifted a shot top shelf past Clarkson goaltender Ethan Haider with just 0.9 seconds on the clock.

But the lead was short-lived; Tsekos took a feed from Grant Cooper in the high slot and sent a low shot through a screen that St. Lawrence goaltender Emil Zetterquist didn’t get quite enough of, as the puck slid just over the goal line to tie the game just moments after the second period began.

Mobley put Clarkson ahead for good at the 3:46 mark of the third period, scoring on a rebound after a shot by Josh Dunne was saved by Zetterquist. Cooper picked up the secondary assist on the play.

Haider made 30 saves for Clarkson, while Zetterquist stopped 34 shots for St. Lawrence. The Saints were 1-for-4 on the power play and held Clarkson scoreless in two power play opportunities.

The Saints will face Colgate three times this week, hosting the Raiders on Thursday at 5 p.m., then playing a pair of games in Hamilton on Saturday and Sunday.

(Saints Photo)

Sabres, National Grid Announce “Teamwork For Safety” Program

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National Grid will donate $25 to 100 Club of Buffalo for every Sabres assist this season

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Sabres are partnering with National Grid this season to support local first responders with the Teamwork for Safety program. For every team assist the Sabres register this season, National Grid will be donating $25 to the 100 Club of Buffalo. The donations will provide support for members of local law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services and their families.

“It’s been a long offseason, but throughout our first responders have never stopped keeping our community safe,” said Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams. “As we prepare to drop the puck tomorrow night, the Sabres players and organization are proud to join National Grid in supporting first responders and their families.”

This season’s donations will help further 100 Club of Buffalo’s mission to provide service to first responders and their families. Since 1957, the 100 Club has provided cash assistance to families of police officers killed in the line of duty, and has grown to also offer scholarships, educational assistance, and various awards to the members and families of the police, fire and emergency medical service agencies of Western New York.

“National Grid appreciates the dedication of our first responders,” said National Grid Regional Director Ken Kujawa. “And when the Sabres score the Teamwork for Safety program will prompt a celebration that extends beyond the ice. That’s because it recognizes the ultimate team players in our communities, those who selflessly and tirelessly step up and put the needs of others ahead of their own, each and every day.”