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Clarence’s Remers Leading Bengals Attack

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By Warren Kozireski —

Buffalos State senior forward Zach Remers left home at 16 years of age to pursue his dream of playing hockey. After four seasons at various levels with the Wilkes Barre-Scranton junior program, he returned home to play for the Bengals.

Fast forward four more years and he is in his final year playing college hockey. But it has all gone as most would hope.

He has stood among the top-six scorers on the team in each of his first three campaigns and this year entered Thanksgiving weekend atop the scoring chart and tied for seventh nationally with six goals over the first six games. That also put him second in goals in the SUNYAC conference.

And he has been consistent with at least one goal in four of those six games.

“Zach is a senior, he wants to play pro hockey and he knows where he’s at,” Buffalo State head coach Steve Murphy said. “We’re trying to put him in positions to succeed and obviously it’s up to him, but he’s off to a good start this year.

“He’s an undercover skater, he’s quick and has learned a lot. I’ve been real hard on him for four years because you see potential in guys and he’s had to learn to roll with that a bit. He knows what we expect of him now and he’s just taken off.”

Remers was recently switched and was playing on a line with Estonia natives junior Vadim Vasjonkin and freshman Nikita Kozyrev and the unit has found chemistry. With 67 career points heading into the Skidmore Tournament, Remers was just six points away from joining the top-12 scorers in program history.

“They are so easy to play with, makes the game so simple and it’s a lot of fun,” Remers said about his new line-mates. “It really rallies up the bench and stuff and gets everyone going, so it’s been good so far.

“Things are clicking and you just keep driving the net and playing with those guys makes it so easy; just do the simple things and sometimes it works out in your favor.”

Remers had 67 points over his first 79 collegiate contests and is more than aware that this is his last trip around the SUNYAC.

“When you play at places you kind of reminisce about the four years. It’s bittersweet…and I’m definitely going to miss it after this year, but I’m just trying to enjoy it as it goes along.

“I’d love to play after this (pro); I’m just trying to get through this year and not try to think about it too much, play my game and at the end of the season, we’ll see what opportunities present themselves.

“It would be a dream for me to play professional hockey—it’s been quite the journey as my family would tell you.”

Elmira Trio Sweep UCHC Weekly Awards

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The nationally-ranked Elmira College women’s ice hockey team swept all three United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) North Division weekly awards for the first time this season, as announced by the league office on Tuesday.

Sophomore forward Mary McCafferty ’22 was named UCHC Player of the Week for the first time as a Soaring Eagle. First-year forward Kelly Matthews ’23 received Rookie of the Week honors, while junior Elizabeth Hanson ’21 was crowned the Goalie of the Week.

McCafferty logged her first multi-point game of the season on Friday, November 29, when the Soaring Eagles defeated Lake Forest, 3-0, in the opening round of the Lake Forest Invite. The Wall Township, New Jersey, native netted the game-winning goal in the second period, before dishing out a long assist that led to EC’s last goal in the final 14 seconds of the contest.

In the second period of the win over the Foresters, Matthews posted her first collegiate point with a goal that extended Elmira’s lead to 2-0. After a shot from the slot was saved, the rookie from Abington, Massachusetts, was positioned perfectly on the backside of the crease to finish the play before the goalie could slide to the post.

Spurring the Soaring Eagles to the win from the other end of the ice was Hanson, who improved to 3-0-0 with her third shutout in as many starts. The Stoughton, Massachusetts, product made a single-game career-high 31 saves and held the Foresters without a goal on two power-play opportunities. With the win, Hanson finished the weekend as the only qualified goalie in the country with a flawless 0.00 goals-against average and 1.000 save percentage. She’s also tied for first nationally in shutouts.

Ranked No. 8 in the latest edition of the U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO) national poll, Elmira wraps up the 2019 portion of the schedule this weekend with two non-conference bouts. The first on Saturday, December 7, will pit the Purple and Gold against the Amherst Mammoths at 3:00 p.m. inside the Murray Athletic Center Ice Arena.

Manhattanville’s Bradley Is UCHC Rookie of the Week

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Freshman forward Noah Bradley (Lancaster, Pa./Philadelphia Revolution (EHL)) of the Manhattanville College men’s ice hockey team was selected as the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) Rookie of the Week, the conference announced.

Bradley played an essential role in the Valiants come-from-behind victory over Connecticut College on Saturday evening, Nov. 30, as Manhattanville defeated the Camels at home at Playland Ice Casino in Rye, N.Y., by a score of 3-2. The Crimson and White scored all three of those goals with less than 12:00 remaining in the third period. Bradley assisted on the first Valiant goal 8:08 into the third, and scored the first of his collegiate career to tie it at 2-2 at 14:33 into the period.

This is the first honor of Bradley’s career. He and the rest of the Valiants return to action this weekend for a pair of UCHC matchups in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., at Wilkes University (12/6) and King’s College (12/7).

Cortland Duo Win NEWHL Weekly Awards

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Cortland sophomore forward Amanda Gaffney (Williamsville/Amherst Knights) and sophomore goalie Emily Steen (Windom, MN/Windom H.S.) have been honored by the Northeast Women’s Hockey League (NEWHL) for the week ending Dec. 1. Gaffney was chosen as the NEWHL Player of the Week and Steen is the league’s Goalie of the Week.

Gaffney scored four goals in a two-game road sweep at Lebanon Valley over the weekend as the Red Dragons improved to 6-1-1 on the season.

In a 5-0 win on Saturday, Gaffney recorded her first career hat trick, including the game-winning goal midway through the first period. The following afternoon she netted the game winner 13 seconds before the end of the first period in a 3-0 victory. For the season, Gaffney has scored eight points on five goals and three assists.

In her first two career starts, Steen posted back-to-back shutouts in the sweep at Lebanon Valley. She turned aside three shots in Saturday’s victory and followed that with eight saves on Sunday.

The NEWHL is in its third season of existence in 2019-20. The conference consists of Cortland, Buffalo St., Oswego, Plattsburgh and Potsdam – all previously members of the ECAC West – along with 2019-20 additions Canton and Morrisville.

Cortland (6-1-1 overall, 4-1-1 NEWHL) travels to Oswego for a league matchup Wednesday at 7 p.m. and hosts nationally top-ranked and defending national champion Plattsburgh Friday at 7 p.m.

NYS-Native Sarlo Named USHL Forward of the Week

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STARS FORWARD SCORED THREE GOALS AND TALLIED THREE ASSISTS THIS WEEK

The United States Hockey League (USHL) announced Tuesday that Christian Sarlo has been named the Forward of the Week for Week 9 of the 2019-20 season.

Sarlo scored three times and registered three assists in three games this week for the Stars, leading them to a 2-1 record while adding a +4 rating.

“It’s definitely nice,” Sarlo said. “It’s just a lot of hard work and we’re all doing our work out here. There was a lot of team success and we took a step in the right direction, so it was a pretty good week.”

The Penn State commit lit the lamp once and notched two assists in Lincoln’s 6-4 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers Wednesday night. Sarlo was on the ice for four of the Stars goals, assisting Josh Groll’s opening tally, as well as scoring the empty-net goal to secure the victory for his team.

On Saturday night at home against Tri-City, Sarlo continued his rampant stretch of offense. He deflected a shot from Travis Treloar past Storm goaltender Joe Sharib in the first period, giving the Stars a 2-1 lead. He picked up assists on Robert McCollum’s first goal in the USHL and a second-period goal from Treloar.

The 18-year-old winger would pot his fifth power-play goal of the 2019-20 campaign late in the third period for his second goal of the game.

“What I love about Christian is his consistency in who he is and how he goes about his business on a day-to-day basis,” Stars GM/head coach Cody Chupp said following Saturday’s game. “That’s what junior hockey is about is finding that consistency. He’s, in that aspect, mature beyond his years. He’s a world-class kid that truly cares about his own development and cares about the success of our team. That shows, not just on the weekends where he’s getting rewarded for that work that he puts in, but every day is really the big component.”

In 50 games with the Chicago Steel last year, Sarlo scored once on the man-advantage. His five PPGs this season lead the Stars and are tied for third-most in the USHL. The Lynbrook, NY native has 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists) in 20 games this season in Lincoln. Sarlo’s linemates, Josh Groll and Treloar, are right behind him in points with 22 and 21, respectively. This marks the first time in 2019-20 a Stars player has been recognized as the USHL Forward, Defenseman or Goalie of the Week.

New York Raptors Report

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By Michael Meyers —

The New York Raptors recently hosted a Thanksgiving Classic Tournament at Hommocks Park Ice Rink in Larchmont, NY.

The Raptors played the Southern Connecticut Storms. The Raptors defeated the Storms, 6-5. The Raptors are now 1-0-0 for the season.

                                                                       

Buffalo, NY Native Evancho Wins Player of the Week

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A full slate of games over the Thanksgiving week resulted in a number of standout performances by Atlantic Hockey players. Our PSE Event Housing Weekly Awards showcase just a small sample of those performances, so congratulations to Zach Evancho as one of the Award Winners for the Week.

Player of the Week

Zach Evancho – Army West Point
Senior, Forward – Buffalo, NY/Buffalo Jr. Sabres

Zach Evancho led both the league and the country in scoring last week, registering seven points in three Army victories. His seven points came on three goals and four assists while also finishing with a plus-6 rating. Evancho’s week started with an empty-net goal in Tuesday’s 4-1 win at AIC. Then, following Thanksgiving, the senior forward had consecutive multi-point efforts in a road sweep of Canisius. He had a hand in six of the seven Black Knight goals scored in the two games, scoring a goal and adding three assists in the dramatic 4-3 win on Friday, then followed that with a goal and an assist on the third-period game-winner in the 3-2 victory Saturday.

Amerks Weekly Report

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**This Week’s Storylines**

OVERVIEW

With Saturday’s 3-2 win over Cleveland, the Amerks closed out the month of November on a 10-game point streak (8-0-1-1) while also earning 30 out of a possible 40 points through their first 20 contests of the campaign. Additionally, Rochester has picked up points in 15 of the last 17 contests overall, going 11-2-2-2 over that span. Rochester enters the week three points behind the Toronto Marlies for the top spot in the AHL’s North Division going into Wednesday’s rematch at The Blue Cross Arena. The Amerks open a season-long four-game homestand this week, beginning with a rematch against the Toronto Marlies on Wednesday before a hosting the defending Calder Cup champion Charlotte Checkers on back-to-back nights this weekend.

OGLEVIE MAKING UP FOR LOST TIME

After an injury-riddled rookie season limited him to just 28 games, Andrew Oglevie has certainly made up for lost time in his second season with the Amerks. In just two months’ time, Oglevie has already surpassed his goal (5), assist (5) and point (10) total from last season and now paces the Amerks with nine goals and 16 points while tied for third in assists. Oglevie, who’s one of just three skaters to appear in all 20 games this season, enters the week riding a career-long seven-game point streak, including goals in five of six games over that span. His best performance came this past Saturday when he recorded his first pro hat trick by scoring all three goals in Rochester’s 3-2 road win at Cleveland. The second-year pro scored once in each period while single-handedly outscoring the Monsters to push the Amerks’ point streak to 10 straight games. He’s also netted the game-winning goal in three of his last six appearances.

NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER

The month of November was a productive one for the Amerks, who collected at least one point in all 10 games while posting an 8-0-1-1 record, the second-best mark in the league over that span behind only the Milwaukee Admirals. Rochester began the month with back-to-back wins before reeling off five straight victories between Nov. 13 and Nov. 23, marking the team’s longest stretch since a five-game win streak from Oct. 10 to Oct. 19 of last season. Second-year forward Andrew Oglevie led all Amerks skaters with a team-high 12 points (7+5), including his first career hat trick in Rochester’s 3-2 win at Cleveland to close out the month. Goaltender Andrew Hammond also posted his best month of the season thus far, going 4-0-1 with four straight wins to open the month, including a pair of shutouts. The veteran netminder finished the month with a 1.59 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.

STREAKING INTO DECEMBER

With a point on Wednesday, the Amerks will push the point streak to 11 games, their first since Oct. 12 to Nov. 10 during the 2009-10 season. In each of the last three seasons, Rochester has posted three different 10-game point streaks, with two of the three coming prior to the Christmas break. With three points on Saturday, both Oglevie (7+3) and Kevin Porter (2+7) extended their point streaks to a career-long seven games, while rookie forward Brett Murray pushed his to five games as he has one goal, six assists and a pair of multi-point efforts during that span. Porter, who appeared in his 500thAHL game this past Friday, produced his first three-assist effort on Saturday since Feb. 10, 2017 with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Murray, meanwhile, begins the week tied for sixth in scoring among all AHL rookies with 14 points (3+11) in 14 games while being held off the scoresheet only four times this season. Saturday night, goaltender Jonas Johansson improved his record to an AHL-best 6-2-2 while also upping his win streak to four games as he made 24 saves. Hammond, the other half of Rochester’s goaltending tandem, boasts a 7-1-2 record on the season while his seven wins are tied for 10th among all netminders. In his last six starts, Hammond has posted four wins, two shutouts, a 1.59 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage.

THE BEST OFFENSE IS A GOOD DEFENSE

The Amerks come into the week owning three of the AHL’s top point-producing defensemen in Zach RedmondCasey Nelson and Lawrence Pilut, all of whom have been mainstays on Rochester’s blueline this seasonThe start of the 2019-20 season is just a different chapter in the same story for the 31-year-old Redmond, who’s averaged nearly a point-per-game through his first 17 games of the season. The reigning Eddie Shore Award winner and two-time AHL All-Star is currently tied for 12th in scoring among all defensemen with 13 points and is tied for 10th with a team-high 11 assists. Nelson’s three goals this season are tied for 19th-most by a defenseman while his team-best plus-14 on-ice rating is tied for fourth in the league among all active blueliners. Since returning from the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 3, Pilut has registered seven points (1+6) over his last seven games.

WORKING OVERTIME

Rochester’s 3-2 overtime loss last Friday to Toronto was the eighth game so far this season that went beyond regulation for the Amerks, the most behind only Hartford. The Amerks, who tied an AHL record during the 2017-18 season with 29 overtime games, are 3-2 in the bonus period this season and show a 1-2 record in the shootout.

SHOOTING GALLERY

One of the biggest factors attributed to Rochester’s early season success is the fact that the Amerks have outshot their opponents in all but four games so far this season, including a season-high 50 shots in Springfield back on Oct. 27. The Amerks come into the week ranked ninth in the AHL in total shots (675) and are averaging 33.35 shots per game, the most behind only the Iowa Wild and San Antonio Rampage. Going into the Nov. 15 matchup against Binghamton, the Amerks were the only team in the league to have outshoot their opponent through the first 14 games of the 2019-20 campaign.  

MALONE ON THE MOVE

Third-year forward Sean Malone posted a career-long seven-game point streak earlier this season, which was the third-longest in the AHL this season. After being held without a point in his first four games of the 2019-20 campaign, the West Seneca native has responded by recording four goals and six assists dating back to Oct. 19, a span of 13 games. Malone has already equaled last season’s four-goal output in less than half the games and is on pace to match his career-high 22 points he set during his rookie season in 2017-18. 

Amerks To Collect Toys For The Pirate Toy Fund During Next Four Home Games

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Fans that donate a new, unwrapped toy will receive a voucher for the Jan. 8 game against Binghamton


(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans announced the team will collect toys for thePirate Toy Fund during each of the next four games. The 2019-20 season marks the seventh straight year in which the Amerks have hosted a Toy Drive in partnership with the Pirate Toy Fund.

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The Toy Drive will take place beginning with Rochester’s home game on Wednesday, Dec. 4 against the Toronto Marlies and will continue through Wednesday, Dec. 11 when the Amerks host the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. All four games are set for 7:05 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena.

Fans are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys in the Pirate Toy Fund donation boxes in front of The Blue Cross Arena Box Office, located in the lower atrium, prior to each of the four games. Any fan that donates a toy will receive a complimentary ticket voucher to the Amerks home game on Wednesday, Jan. 8 against Binghamton.

The toys collected will then be distributed to children at the annual Toy Giveaway, hosted by Monroe County, on Sunday, Dec. 15 at The Blue Cross Arena. Last year’s event provided toys to more than 5,000 children across the Greater Rochester Area.

Individual game tickets for the 2019-20 season start at just $16. Amerks 2019-20 Season Ticket Memberships, which start as low as just $14 per game, are on-sale now. Full-season ticket member benefits include, but are not limited to, Riverside Club VIP Room access with Amerks Alumni, family meet and greet and annual Skate with the Players event, an exclusive preseason Ice Breaker Party and much more. For more information, visit www.amerks.com or call 1-855-GO-AMERKS.

About the Pirate Toy Fund

The Pirate Toy Fund is the only nonprofit organization in the country dedicated to distributing new toys year-round to children-in-need throughout the Greater Rochester region. Founded by local children’s entertainer, Gary The Happy Pirate, the Pirate Toy Fund has distributed over 250,000 toys since 1995 and continues to actively pursue new avenues to expand our mission.

Honoring The Past: A Closer Look at Hockey’s Sesquicentennial Jerseys

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By Melissa Burgess, GoGriffs.com contributor —


The Griffs will pay tribute to the college’s sesquicentennial, as well as the rich history of the Canisius hockey program, with new retro-inspired jerseys, to be worn at select games this season.

The jerseys, which feature components that mimic pieces of historic Griffs uniforms, were designed by a team of Canisius hockey-aligned community members, including head coach Trevor Large and the Barnett family (Tom, ’79), who also helped design last year’s third jersey.

“Tapping into their creativity was very helpful,” Large said. “They’re alums, they’re friends of the program. They have lots more ideas planned, and this just happened to be the one that we chose this year.”

“We took that [the sesquicentennial] as inspiration, and tried to collect ideas from everything that Canisius hockey has worn,” Large said. “We have a strong history and tradition here, and we tried to showcase that in as many areas as we could.”

The jersey’s design features a primarily “vintage white” coloring; the crest incorporates the arched “Canisius” wordmark, which has appeared on Griffs’ hockey and other athletic jerseys in years past. The retro Griffin logo – carrying a hockey stick – which was worn by the first Canisius varsity hockey team, also appears on the front along with the Atlantic Hockey patch.

Canisius’ sesquicentennial logo adorns the right sleeve of the jersey, while player numbers are printed in a similarly-styled badge on the left sleeve.

Striping along the shoulders of the jersey and on the socks mimic the original socks worn by Canisius’ first-ever hockey team from the 1950s. Brown pant shells, meant to mimic leather pants worn by teams in the college’s history, feature a bright blue and gold Griffin logo in another homage to the team’s history, rounding out this vintage-inspired style.

“We wanted to have an homage to everything that we’ve worn before,” Large said. “We looked for inspiration from lots of different jerseys, and lots of symbols that we’ve used in the past.”

“I’m really proud of what was put together,” he added. “It’s something that’s fun in the game of hockey. We get to do these things, and it’s a little extra-good feeling as we get into a rivalry.”

The Griffs will debut their new threads on Friday night as they kick off a weekend “Battle of the Bridge” series at home against the Niagara Purple Eagles (7:35 p.m. Friday; 4:05 p.m. Saturday).

A big rivalry game provides the perfect backdrop to introduce the new uniforms, but after this weekend, Griffs fans will have plenty of other chances to see the team in action in the new threads over the course of the season.

“These jerseys will be seen a lot as we get into the next month or so, in terms of the home games on our schedule,” Large said. “The next few months, I’d assume we’re wearing them … not every weekend, but close to it.”

For fans and alumni who are hoping to get a jersey of their own: stay tuned.

“We’re working on it,” Large said. “The plan is to do a re-order. With enough buzz, anything’s possible.”

Select Griffs’ game-worn jerseys will also be auctioned off later in the season (likely in February), giving fans a unique opportunity to own a piece of Canisius hockey history while supporting the program.

“This one is special,” Large said. “So, I know the lucky few that will get one, hopefully it’s the lucky many, will wear them with pride when they’re at the LECOM Harborcenter and elsewhere.”

And although this season is still in its infancy, the Griffs crew is already nearly finished designing next season’s third jersey, with Large and company picking out colors and finalizing the details.

“We’re trying to push the limits on what jerseys look like,” Large said. “It’s fun for the guys, it’s fun for everybody that’s worn a Canisius jersey before.”

“Something we want to do moving forward is to keep having an influx of new, fresh, clean, modern jerseys,” he added. “We’re trying to play on our history and tradition as well as what’s new for the program, and how we can move forward together.”

Rochester’s McCabe & Perna Step Into Regular Roles On Geneseo Blueline

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By Warren Kozireski —

Division III Geneseo has won the last two SUNYAC titles and advanced to the NCAA quarterfinals and semi-finals over the past two seasons led largely by a group of defensemen who transferred in from Division I programs.

After the departure of three of those blueliners, Rochester area products Teddy McCabe (Webster) and Chris Perna (Pittsford) have stepped into regular roles and helped the second ranked nationally Knights try to three-peat as SUNYAC champs with a 3-0-1 start.

McCabe, a senior, has waited for this opportunity. He saw action in only four games as a freshman after arriving from the Cumberland Grads of the CCHL in Ontario, seven as a sophomore and 11 last season as a junior. He earlier played for the Jr. Sabres (2013-14) after winning a Section V high school hockey championship with Webster-Thomas as a junior in 2012-13.

“He’s got a lot of, I guess the word would be stick-with-it-ness,” Geneseo head coach Chris Schultz said. “He could have packed it in two years ago, but he’s smart enough to know that if he’s patient and does put his work in that he’s going to be in a situation like he is now. He understood that the players playing in front of him were a couple of All-Americans, but it’s a testament to his character and his long-term view of the situation.”

The 6’2” 190 lb. McCabe netted his first collegiate goal Feb. 2, 2018 and already had two assists over the first four games this season.

His younger brother, Craig, is a freshman defenseman for the Fredonia Blue Devils this season and picked up his first collegiate point with an assist in his first game against Morrisville. Sister Molly is also a freshman on defense this fall with SUNY Cortland.

“Sometimes it doesn’t always go to plan, but we had some of the best defensemen in the league here over the last couple of years and it almost makes it a little sweeter trying to get my time senior year,” McCabe said.

Perna, sophomore, benefitted last season from an NCAA rule change allowing team to dress an extra player and he played in 27 contests; many as the seventh defenseman. He scored four goals with eight assists as a freshman and already has registered five points in four games this season including three goals with two coming on the power play.

“He really surprised us last year,” Schultz said. “We knew he’d come in and be a good player for us, but we didn’t know he would be able to come in and make as much of an impact as he did. And now…we had to fill two spots on that power play unit that put up a lot of points (last year) and they are doing a bang-up job.”

“Last year I was just lucky to be in the line-up,” Perna said. “Coming in I didn’t expect to play, but luckily the NCAA made a rule that you could dress an extra player so I was fortunate to benefit from that.

“I’m just fortunate to be playing on the power play with (Webster-Schroeder’s Conlan) Keenan and (Andrew) Romo (Romano) and some of the best guys in the country obviously makes it super-easy. Definitely not taking it for granted.

“Last year at my exit meeting Coach Schultz and some of the captains told me I was going to have a bigger role, so I just tried to work out this summer as much as I could and get ready for the year. I think it’s going well so far.”

The 6’0”, 190 lb. right shot played two seasons for the Panthers in Pittsford where he was the team Rookie of the Year before one season of junior hockey each with the Jr. Amerks, Jr. Sabres, CCHL split between Hawkesbury and Cumberland and the Rochester Monarchs.

Both had their sights on playing in Geneseo for quite a while.

“I was fortunate to be able to live at home and play in front of my parents all the time,” Perna said. That’s the main reason I came here; it’s great hockey, it’s close to home and my parents love coming to every game.”

“Unlike a lot of the guys around here, I’m from Rochester so I knew about the success and about the school growing up and I kind of made it a goal,” McCabe said about his decision to play for the Knights. “There were some bumpy roads hockey-wise around 17-18 years old, but I stayed true to myself and found a way to get here.

“You grind it out, take what you can get, keep working hard and eventually it works out.”

Happy Thanksgiving!

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From our gang at NY Hockey OnLine to all of our followers, have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving. Enjoy your day. And take a moment to think about what you are Thankful for. Best Wishes.

Future New York Rangers: Joey Keane

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By Warren Kozireski —

Only 18 games into his professional hockey career with the Hartford Wolf Pack in the American Hockey League and 2018 New York Rangers third round draft choice Joey Keane already is looking comfortable.

The 6’0”, 187 lb. right shot defenseman led the team in goals with six and was tied for third on the team in assists with six. All but three of those points came at even strength.

As of Nov. 21, he stood fourth among all AHL rookies in scoring and was seventh among all blueliners.

“It’s been great,” Keane said after a November 22nd game. “The team is having success and that’s usually when the players have success.

“You’re playing against bigger, stronger guys so you have to be harder everywhere and you can’t really have any off games or you’ll be exposed, so you just have to show up every night.

“We do have some older guys like (Vincent) LoVerde and (Nick) Ebert on the back end, so just watching how they simplify the game so I just try to take after that and implement that into my game.”

Drafted one year after his initial eligibility at 18 years old in 2017, Keane used that as motivation for his best offensive campaign with 12 goals and 44 points in 62 games with Barrie in the Ontario Hockey League. He earned Third-Team All-Star honors and led all blueliners in the league with a +45 plus/minus rating.

The Chicago native has already had a four-game point streak and a pair of two-game goal scoring runs in his young pro career.

The Rangers are building quite the stockpile of defensemen in their top-ranked system with three already on the NHL roster turning 22 next year in Adam Fox, Ryan Lindgren and Libor Hajek; Tony D’Angelo turning 25 while Jacob Trouba and Brady Skjei both will be 26 years old.

Add former first round draft picks K’Andre Miller (U. Wisconsin) and Nils Lundkvist (Sweden) along with second rounder Matthew Robertson (Edmonton-WHL) along with several others and Keane will need to battle for a roster spot.

“We have a lot of good “D”, so you have to be on your game every night or else there are guys who can replace you. I don’t really think about it; just go out and play hockey.”

(nhl.com photo)

Cornell Men’s Hockey Off The Crossbar: Squad Goal Of Pouring It On Pays Dividends

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ITHACA, N.Y. – One of the most compelling things about sports – especially the particular brand of parity that college hockey boasts – is how sometimes an excellent team effort results in a loss or how a sub-par showing ends up a victory. Year after year, teams that manage to be the most consistent seem to be the ones who win the most hardware. But championship teams also seem to have a knack for managing a way to salvage victories in games when they haven’t been at their best.
 
Off to the program’s best start in 48 years, the 8-0 Cornell men’s hockey team has certainly looked the part of a contender for both ECACHockey and national titles. Scoring depth has become an obvious storyline for the Big Red, which now has 13 goal-scorers in its first eight games. Last weekend, the team managed to overcome slow starts in both of its game to record victories over Quinnipiac, 2-1, and Princeton, 5-1.
 
The win over the Bobcats was particularly noteworthy, because it was just the second one-goal game of the season for the Big Red. Cornell isn’t just winning games, it’s winning most of them fairly handily. Five of the eight have come by three goals or more (and none of those have been inflated by empty-net tallies).
 
While it’s true that margin of victory doesn’t amount to bonus points, it is indicative of a positive trend for Cornell this year. Too often in recent seasons has the Big Red gained a lead only to fade as the final buzzer neared. There’s a common misperception that Mike Schafer ’86, Jay R. Bloom ’77 Head Coach of Men’s Hockey at Cornell, wants his team to go into a shell when it has a late lead. It’s actually the last thing he wants. The goal is to continue proficiency in the areas that make the team so good in the first place – puck possession and a stifling forecheck.
 
This year’s squad has excelled at that. The result has been some of the aforementioned comfortable victories.
 
“It just seems like once we get one, we can taste blood. We just kind of keep pressing and keep pressing, and it just ends up breaking teams’ will,” said senior forward Jeff Malott, one of the Big Red’s tri-captains. “We haven’t had crazy good starts (to games). We haven’t made a living off of breaking their will right away. It just seems like when we play our game, teams have a hard time maintaining pressure for more than the first period. Because we’re so deep and we’re so tenacious and detail-oriented, over a matter of three periods it’s hard for a team to compete with that.”
 
Added Schafer: “I think they’re hungry. They have a little more of a killer instinct than some teams I’ve had in the past. They see that opportunity to go (up) 1-0, 2-0 and then get to that third goal, which is always critical.”
 
What makes the third goal critical is the frequency in which it leads to a victory. Exhibit ‘A’: Cornell has yet to yield more than two goals in any of its eight games to date. Looking further back, the Big Red has only lost five games in which its scored at least three goals over the past six seasons (once each of the last three years; twice in 2015-16; none in 2013-14 or 2014-15).
 
Perhaps a statistical byproduct of the Big Red’s ability to pour it on once it has a lead, Cornell has been particularly dominant in second periods this year. The Big Red has scored 20 of its 36 goals to date in the middle frame. That’s an average of 2.50 goals per second period, by far highest in the nation in any period (Harvard comes in a 2.0 in the first and third periods; Boston University ranks second in second periods at 1.77).
 
“I’ve never noticed (that), to be honest,” junior forward Tristan Mullin said after the Big Red put up a four-spot in the second period on Saturday to pull away from Princeton. “I think (it’s) just being able to come back in after a period and adjust to what the other team is doing and kind of working the small things that we weren’t doing in the first period. It’s just bearing down on it.”

Around The League

•  ICYMI, freshman forward Ben Berard was named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Week on Monday. It was the third time in the four weeks of the Big Red’s season that it laid claim to the award. Junior goaltender Matthew Galajda was a very strong candidate for the league’s MAC Goaltending Goalie of the Week, matching eventual winner Frank Marotte, of Clarkson, in stopping 47 of 49 shots in two victories over the weekend. The difference ended up being a slightly better goals against average for Marotte, due to the extra minutes afforded by an overtime game.
 
Still, Galajda’s efforts weren’t overlooked by teammates this weekend. Sophomore forward Michael Regush asked members of the media who they were waiting to speak with after Friday’s win over Quinnipiac, and was told it was Galajda.
 
“I’d want to talk to him, too, after the way he played,” Regush said.

•  Harvard freshman goaltender Mitchell Gibson, who ranks second in the nation in goals against average (1.49) and save percentage (.955), was removed from Friday’s game at Rensselaer due to injury, according to The Crimson.
 
“It looked like [Gibson] tweaked something,” head coach Ted Donato told The Crimson. “I don’t think it’s of the major variety, but … agility and flexibility is such a key factor. He wasn’t able to play at the same level, and we were able to get him out of there.”

Alumni Update

•  Matt Moulson ’06 may not be in the NHL anymore, but his presence still exists with the new wave of stars – specifically former Buffalo Sabresteammate Jack Eichel. Now the captain of the Sabres, Eichel had a particularly rough outing last Thursday against Carolina, then got some words of wisdom via text from his former teammate.
 
“Matt Moulson was all over me to start shooting the puck,” Eichel told The Buffalo News. “So I figured I’d start shooting a little more.”
 
It certainly worked. Eichel scored four goals in the Sabres’ 4-2 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.
 
Meanwhile, Moulson continues to play on an AHL contract with the Hershey Bears. He ranked second on the team in scoring with 12 points on five goals and seven assists through 20 games.
 
•  Dwyer Tschantz ’18 is back in the ECHL with the Maine Mariners, with whom he posted 16 points in 50 games last season. The Mariners picked up Tschantz on loan after he started the year with three points in five games with the SPHL’s Knoxville Ice Bears – where he was a teammate of classmate Hayden Stewart ’18.

Polls Prose

•  The Big Red remained second in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls this week, staying behind Minnesota State – which swept its home series over the weekend against Alaska Anchorage. North Dakota continued its move up, ascending to third after a home sweep of St. Cloud State.
 
One thing of note is just how close Cornell is the #1 spot in the USA poll. The Big Red pulled even with the Mavericks at 17 first-place votes apiece and trailed by just three voting points.
 
•  The biggest thing that has hampered Cornell in the Pairwise Comparison Ratings over the last couple years has been a lack of wins against other teams toward the top of the rankings. These types of victories result in a Quality Win Bonus (QWB), which is a bump in points in the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) – which is essentially the mathematical backbone of the Pairwise.
 
While still early, the Big Red is not only doing fine with the QWB. It’s among the nation’s leaders at .0116, which trails just Minnesota State’s .0118. Cornell is 3-0 against other teams in the top 20 of the RPI, which includes road victories against Clarkson (#8, Nov. 15) and Michigan State (#12, Nov. 1 and Nov. 2). The Spartans once again got another boost last weekend with a victory and a tie at home against Notre Dame (#5).

Off The Crossbar is a weekly-ish notebook about the Cornell men’s hockey team written by assistant director of athletic communications Brandon Thomas, who is in his ninth season as his office’s primary contact for the team following a stint as the team’s beat writer at The Ithaca Journal. He can be reached at brandon@cornell.edu.