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RPI Men’s Hockey Announces Year-End Awards


TROY, N.Y. – The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) men’s hockey team has announced its year-end team awards and eight student-athletes have been recognized as voted on by the players, coaches and staff.

The team’s highest honor is the Most Valuable Player and it was presented to senior captain Ture Linden. Senior defenseman Jake Johnson was named the Best Defensive Player, while goaltender Jack Watson earned Tom Freshman honors. Sophomore defenseman Jack Agnew earned Most Improved Player while the Scholar Athletic award went to graduate student and captain Linden Marshall.

Junior Rory Herrman collected the Community Service Award, senior Jakub Lacka was the Most Inspirational Player and senior Ottoville Leppanen earned the Unsung Player Award. Top Forward went to Linden, Top defenseman went to Johnson and Watson earned Top Goalie honors.

In a school record 44 games for the Engineers this season, Linden led the team with 39 points on 20 goals and 19 assists. Recording 111 shots, he was a +4 with five power play tallies, two game-winners and 26 blocks at the defensive end of the ice. Playing in all 22 ECAC Hockey games, he registered 12 goals and eight assists for 20 points and was a +8.

Johnson, who was chosen as the Best Defensive Player, contributed at both ends of the ice, picking up two goals and 14 assists for 16 points in 40 contests. Post a +5 rating, he was assessed 13 minor penalties for 26 minutes, while blocking 50 shots at the defensive end of the ice. He led a defensive core that allowed 2.53 goals per contest, including 2.59 goals in conference play.

In 19 games, Watson posted a 9-9-0 mark with a 2.39 goals against average and a .922 save percentage, recording three shutouts. He made 519 saves in 1103:15 minutes. In 10 ECAC Hockey contests, he went 5-4-0 with a 2.32 goals against average and a .928 save percentage. Agnew played in 41 games for the Engineers, recording his first five collegiate points on a goal and four assists. Producing a +4 rating from the blue line, he had 36 shots and a team-high 55 blocks at the defensive end of the ice.

A finalist for the Unsung Hero Award and RPI’s nominee for the ECAC Hockey Student-Athlete of the Year, Marshall had a 3.8 cumulative grade point average, finishing both his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering as well as a Master’s Degree in Supply Chain Management. On the ice, he went 9-13-3 in 26 games (24 starts) between the pipes, posting a 2.53 goals against average and an .895 save percentage.

Herrman played in 33 games for the Engineers, recording three goals and three assists for six points. Winning 46.5% of his face-offs, he 26 shots and was a -2, with three minor penalties for six minutes and 19 blocks defensively. Lacka was the team’s fourth-leading scorer, picking up eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points. He had 68 shots and was even for the season. Collecting three power play goals, he had one game-winner.

Leppanen led the Engineers in assists with 21, while scoring nine goals for 30 points, which was good for second on the team. Registering 65 shots, he was a +1, with a power play goal, a shorthanded goal and a game-winner. In 20 league games, he had three goals and 10 assists for 13 points with a +7 rating.

The Engineers went 18-23-3 during the 2021-22 season, including a 10-12-0 mark in ECAC Hockey play. RPI dropped a tightly contested best-of-three playoff series at Harvard, 2-games-to-1, with two of the contests going to overtime.

(RPI Men’s Hockey Photo)

WNY Native Allison Attea Returns To The Beauts For 2nd Season


BUFFALO – The Beauts have brought back one of their city’s native daughters. Defender Allison Attea has signed a 1-year contract to play a sophomore season with her hometown team in 2022-23. The 23-year-old left-handed shooter was a Beauts’ fourth-round draft selection (19th overall) in the 2021 PHF Draft.

“I had a fantastic experience last season playing for the Beauts,” said Attea. “It’s a great atmosphere at the rink each day and I loved playing for my hometown of Buffalo. Returning for another season was an easy decision for me.”

Attea played in 16 of the Beauts’ 20 regular-season games as a rookie last season, missing some time due to injury. As one of the team’s better defensive defenders, she went 0-2-2 for scoring during that time. Attea also put 17 shots on goal, blocked eight opposing shots, and was responsible for five takeaways.

“Attea really excelled in her rookie season,” said Beauts head coach Rhea Coad. “She is a very smart, skilled defender. We love how aggressive her game is, and we feel she can really hone her offensive game too. Attea has one of the hardest shots in the league. She is always continuing to push herself too.”

Attea played her NCAA career with Holy Cross. She suited up for 111 NCAA games for the Crusaders, with 86 of them being at the Division I level. Across her four seasons with Holy Cross, she amassed eight goals, 12 assists, and 20 points. Primarily a stay-at-home defender, the 5-foot-7 Attea led all Holy Cross skaters in blocked shots during the 2019-20 (51) and 2020-21 (43) seasons.

With one PHF season now under her belt, Attea is primed to pick up where she and the Beauts left off… and then some.

“I’m confident in the upcoming season,” she said. “Our team made good strides during last season, and we expect to be a very competitive team this coming season. We have unfinished business  – it’s time to bring the Isobel Cup home!”

Beauts Kremer, Orlando, Vinkle and Klienbach 2022 PHF Award Winners


BUFFALO – Four 2021-22 Beauts players were recipients of major honors during the 2022 Premier Hockey Federation’s Awards Show. Defenders Dominique Kremer and Elena Orlando, as well as forwards Cassidy Vinkle and Grace Klienbach each were winners, while goaltender Carly Jackson (Goaltender of the Year) and rookie forward Anjelica Diffendal (Newcomer of the Year) were both finalists for their respective award categories.

“The Beauts are exceptionally proud of all of our award winners and nominees,” said Beauts GM Nate Oliver. “It is amazing to see Dom, Lando, Vink, and Grace each individually recognized for their tremendous work both on and off the ice. The awards bestowed upon our players are not only well deserved and celebratory, but they are also indicative of the culture we have built within the Beauts, the talent we possess, and our plans for the long haul to be a championship-winning hockey club. Surrounding ourselves with quality individuals is all part of achieving success, and Dom, Lando, Vink and Grace are some of the highest quality individuals that you could ever hope to meet.”

Kremer – an alternate captain for the Beauts – brought home the PHF’s Defender of the Year award. She was also a nominee for the league’s Most Valuable Player award. While playing in her second season for the Beauts, Kremer led the entire PHF in goals (6) by a defender while playing for the team that scored the least amount of goals in the league. Kremer tied for the Beauts team lead in goals (6). Her 11 points (6-5-11) placed her at fifth in the league for scoring amongst blueliners. Meanwhile, her 16 blocked shots during the regular season tied her for 10th among all skaters in the league. Kremer was selected to the 2022 PHF All- Star Showcase as well.

This year’s Denna Laing Award was given to Beauts blueliner Elena Orlando. This particular award (previously known as the Perseverance Award) goes to the player who most exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to her sport. It is named after Denna Laing, who won the league’s first Perseverance Award and played with the Boston Pride in the 2015 -16 season before suffering a serious injury.

The 2021-22 PHF season was Orlando’s seventh season in the league. An original player from the league’s inaugural season in 2015-16, Orlando played in her 100th career regular season game on Feb. 6, 2022. She has not missed a game since the 2016-17 season, and her consecutive game streak currently stands at 86 games (regular season and playoffs combined). The 2021-22 season was also Orlando’s first as a Buffalo Beaut, following five previous seasons with the Connecticut Whale and one for the Metropolitan Riveters.

Vinkle was voted the “Second Star” by PHF fans as one of the Fans’ 3 Stars award. Playing in her first PHF season, Vinkle was an alternate captain for the Beauts and one of the team’s top players. Playing in 19 of the team’s 20 regular season games, she went 3-4-7 in scoring. Vinkle also led the Beauts in shots on goal with 61. A physical and aggressive player, she also led the team in penalty minutes with 30. Vinkle was selected to the 2022 PHF All-Star Showcase too.

The Beauts third and final award winner for the night was veteran forward Grace Klienbach, who was Buffalo’s recipient of the PHF’s Foundation Award – an award that is annually bestowed upon a player from each of the league’s teams for being the individual most actively applying the core values of hockey to her community.

Klienbach won the award for the second season in a row but this time with a different team. Similarly to Orlando, Kleinbach played her first season with the Beauts in 2021-22 following three seasons with the Connecticut Whale. She won the award with the Whale in 2020-21.

On a daily basis, Klienbach develops youth hockey players alongside her husband Shane Morrissey and their 14/94 Hockey program. She coaches Philadelphia’s Little Flyers U14 Tier 2 Girls and recently led the team to a national championship back on April 4. In honor of her receiving the Foundation Award, PHF sponsor Principal made a donation of $10,000 to the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware – a charity selected and supported by Klienbach.

It is worth noting that recently signed Beauts forward Mikyla Grant-Mentis was the “First Star” recipient for the Fans’ 3 Stars award, but accomplished this while still a member of the Toronto Six. Grant-Mentis signed with the Beauts on May 9, 2022.

Helen VanDamme: A 2021-22 Tyler Putnam Winner

Helen Van Damme


Helen VanDamme was one of 21 recipients of the 2021-2022 Tyler Putnam Award. She was the only female to win the award at ceremonies held at the Webster Country Club in Webster, NY.

A member of the Rochester Girls Edge hockey team, VanDamme began playing the game when she was four years old. Interestingly, she the sport didn’t appeal to her so she quit the game for year.

“But I went back after just one year and have been playing it ever since,” said VanDamme, who continued by stating the main reason for returning. “My brother was also playing the game.

“He really loved the game. Plus, we were always at the rink with his games, so I decided to go back to playing.”

As a youth VanDamme played for the Grizzlies and at Webster before joining the Edge.

This past season she played for the 16U Edge team. But she has had a lot of great memories playing hockey.

“My best memory was winning the State’s as a member of the 14U team,” recalled VanDamme, the daughter of Sigmund and Dawn Van Damme. “It was my last year of playing at the 14U level.

“We struggled a bit at the beginning of that season. We played really well at the end to win it all.

“We went to the Nationals with the 19U team last year. We won there as well. They were all great experiences.”

VanDamme has found that hockey has been a great growing experience for her.

“When I focus on hockey, it helps me take my mind off of other things that may be happening in my life,” remarked VanDamme, who has a sister, Vivian and brother, Gunner. “I’ve also made so many good friends since playing hockey.

“I would have never known many of them were it not for hockey. It gives me a goal in my future, something that I can work towards.”

As a junior in high school, VanDamme is beginning to look into colleges and continuing her hockey career, while pursuing a career in business.

How did she feel about being one of the Putnam Award winners?

“I was very happy winning it,” answered VanDamme, a junior at Mendon High School in Pittsford, NY.  “I think it was a cool experience.

“Winning it was a validation for me that hard work pays off. And it makes me want to work even harder.”

One of VanDamme’s idols growing up has been Kendall Coyne.

“She’s very inspirational,” remarked VanDamme, who also plays field hockey for her high school varsity team. “She is so fast and she is so dedicated to the game.”

Van Damme has also been very impressed with the growth of the game for girls and women in general.

“I helped at tryout this past year for the younger girls,” remembered VanDamme. “It was so cool to see how many younger girls were there.

“The growth of the game for girls is really cool. The game is really growing.

“We had buddies (ages 10 and 12 year-olds) this year on our team. That was really great to help these younger girls get better at their game.

“That’s why I would like to come back someday as a coach in this game. I want to help to continue the growth of this game.”

(Janet Schultz Photography, NY Hockey OnLine)

Sparse Year For New York Born Players As Final Rankings For 2022 NHL Entry Draft Released


By Warren Kozireski —

National Hockey League Central Scouting released their final rankings for the 2022 Entry Draft to be held in Montreal July 7-8 and it will be a sparse draft for late 2003-2004 New York born players compared to previous drafts.

Marcellus, NY native Seamus Powell is listed 169th among North American skaters; a three position drop from the midterm rankings after his one goal, 13 assist season in 58 games with the U.S. National Development Team Program. That would project him to one of the final two rounds of the seven round draft.

A 5’11”, 166 lb. defenseman is committed to Boston University for the 2023-24 campaign. His older brother Eamon, a fourth-round selection by Tampa Bay in the 2020 draft, was a sophomore defenseman with Boston College.

Rockville Centre native Jeremy Wilmer is another name to watch. Undrafted last year after averaging almost one point per game in his second year with the USNDTP, scouts may not be able to ignore his 5’7”, 141 lb. frame after he posted 25 goals and 98 points in 60 games with Tri-City in the USHL this past season.

One other state connection is Clarkson 2023-24 commit and current Warroad High (MN) center Daimon Gardner is slotted 97th—four spots ahead of the midterm rankings. A big body at 6’4”, 201 lb. already, he has scored 45 goals with 38 assists in 30 high school games this season.

Projected as a fourth-round pick, he will move from the USHL to Chilliwack in the BCHL this fall.

Barring any trades between now and the draft, Buffalo owns three first round selections—their own at 9th overall, Vegas’ 16th overall in the Jack Eichel trade and wherever the Florida Panthers slot ends up after the playoffs from the Sam Reinhardt deal.

The New York Islanders have the 13th overall first round selection while the New York Rangers will wait until the end of their playoffs to see where they are slotted.

There Will Be A Game Five As Amerks Lose To Comets


BY WARREN KOZIRESKI — ROCHESTER, NY — Looking for their first second round playoff series win since 2004, Rochester allowed three second period goals over a ten-minute span as Utica skated to a 4-0 victory to even the series 2-2 and set up the deciding Game Five Thursday night in Utica.

Using a stifling forecheck to limit Rochester to only 11 shots over the first two periods, the Devils’ Nolan Foote opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period.

“They played like a team with their backs against the wall and we didn’t and that’s what we need to do,” defenseman Jimmy Schuldt said.

On multiple occasions the Devils intercepted cross-ice breakout passes throughout most of the first two periods limiting offensive rush chances by Rochester.

“We have to read that…usually if you can move your feet, there is going to be an open guy on breakouts,” Schuldt said. “Whether tat’s the cross-ice guy and if they take that away it could be the middle guy or back to your defense partner or up the strong side.

“They threw different things at us and I think we didn’t adapt as well as we could have.”

A.J. Greer netted his tied-for-the-AHL lead fifth and sixth goals in the second—the first off the leg of diving defenseman Casey Fitzgerald—before Chase De Leo added a power play marker on the two-man advantage with Ryan Scarfo and Peyton Krebs in the box for holding the stick and a faceoff violation respectively.

Rochester did manage some third period momentum spending almost eight minutes of five-on-four power play time plus another two minutes with the goalie pulled during four-on-four.

Arttu Ruotsalainen slammed home his AHL leading seventh playoff goal after a feed from Casey Fitzgerald with four minutes remaining and Mark Jankowski redirected a feed from JJ Peterka in the final minute to make the final score respectable.

The fifth and deciding game is in Utica Thursday at 7pm with the winner advancing to the best-of-five division finals against Laval, who defeated Syracuse 3-2 in overtime Tuesday night.

“They’ve been the best team in the American Hockey League and not just our division almost all year,” Rochester head coach Seth Appert said about Utica. “They’re a great team with a lot of pride, they believe they are a Calder Cup contender.

“It’s a five-game series for a reason; our mission stays the same; we have to win three of the five. We’ve done a great job putting ourselves in position to win a series against the best team in the league…for what should be a heck of a game five.”

Veteran Goaltender Re-Signs With The Beauts


BUFFALO – Goaltender Lovisa “Lollo” Berndtsson has re-signed with the Beauts on a 1-year contract for the 2022-23 PHF season. The 33-year-old netminder returns to the club for her second straight season. She saw action in seven of Buffalo’s 20 games this past season.

“I really enjoyed my first season in Buffalo with the team, our staff, and everybody around us, ” said Berndtsson. “Last season I came back from double hip surgery and my off-season was pretty short. Therefore, I feel like I want to give myself a fair chance with a full off-season and one season already behind me in the PHF. And of course, I want the Beauts to win the Isobel Cup!”

In her PHF debut against the Connecticut Whale on Dec. 19, 2021, Berndtsson turned aside 40 of the 43 shots she faced in a Beauts 3-1 loss. She would end up making 145 saves from the 166 shots she faced in her seven games. Berndtsson finished the 2021-22 season with a .886 save percentage and a 4.36 goals-against average. Arguably her finest performance came during a 1-0 road game loss to the eventual Isobel Champion Boston Pride when she allowed just the one goal and turned aside 39 shots.

“We are very excited to have Lollo back,” said Beauts head coach Rhea Coad. “She contributes not only her stellar goalie skills, but her accomplished pro career is highly valued. Lollo ’s dedication makes her a lovable teammate and a key ingredient to our success. ”

Berntdsson has played at the professional level for 15 seasons, primarily for Djurgårdens IF in Sweden’s SDHL. She backstopped Djurgårdens to the SDHL’s championship title during the 2016-17 season. Her career regular-season record from Sweden is 96-78-0 with a 2.31 GAA and a .915 SV%. 

Berndtsson is also a 3-time member of the Swedish Women’s National Team. She played in the 2017 Women’s World Championship in Plymouth, Michigan.

Entering into her 16th pro season, Berndtsson feels that she is dialed in now more than ever.

“Now that I can go 100-percent right from the start, a big focus will be to rebuild my strength again and increase my power,” said Berndtsson. “I feel like I wasn’t at the same level I’ve been before in those areas. Hopefully, that will take my game to the next level for the 2022-23 PHF Season!”

Amerks Top Comets Again In OT To Take A 2-1 Series Lead


BY WARREN KOZIRESKI — ROCHESTER, NY — Four overtime games in the 2022 postseason for Rochester and four 4-3 victories—this time in front of the first playoff sellout since 2000—as Arttu Ruotsalainen scored a power play goal 1:39 into overtime after a perfect cross-ice pass from Peyton Krebs for the game-winner and a two-games-to-one lead in their best-of five playoff series against the Utica Comets.

Amerks nemesis A.J. Greer scored his fourth goal in three games to stake Utica to a 1-0 lead, but Buffalo native Sean Malone tied it later in the period diving to poke home the rebound from a Jimmy Schuldt shot.

“I was going to do whatever it took to get to that puck; great shot by Jimmy–I actually thought he was going to pass it,” Malone said.

Two minutes later Rochester took a 2-1 lead as JJ Peterka found Lukas Rousek alone in front of the net.

“As soon as the puck came, I turned my head and saw Rousek back door; glad it worked out,” Peterka said.

But the Devils’ Fabian Zetterland scored a disputed power play goal midway through the second to tie the game 2-2.

Brandon Biro redirected a pass from Peterka past Utica goaltender Akira Schmid for his professional playoff goal with five minutes remaining in the second, but Utica’s Aarne Talvitie was credited with the tying goal as Jack Quinn kicked the puck in after a goal-mouth scramble with two minutes remaining in the second.

With 15 seconds left in a scoreless third period, Utica defenseman Robbie Russo was penalized for checking Rochester captain Michael Mersch in the head leading to the power play overtime game-winner.

Rochester was again playing with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

“You don’t like it as much when you have a forward get hurt…because you don’t how long overtime is going to be, so you start spin in your head how you can manage this,” Rochester head coach Seth Appert said.

“I keep joking around that I didn’t know how many shifts I had left in me because we go back-to-back overtimes and both buildings are hot, but it’s just great to be a part of—great game,” Malone said.

Rochester will try to end the series Tuesday night on home ice. Game five, if necessary, is in Utica Thursday.

In the other North Division semi-final, Laval is at Syracuse for the fifth and final game of their 2-2 series for the right to advance to the division final.

(Amerks Hockey Photo)

Weisbeck Named Amerks’ Winner of IOA/American Specialty Person of The Year Award For 2021-22 Season


(Rochester, NY) – The Rochester Americans announced that assistant athletic trainer Kent Weisbeck has been named the Amerks’ winner of the IOA/American Specialty Person of the Year Award for the 2021-22 season.

A person wearing glasses

Description automatically generated with medium confidenceCurrently in his remarkable 36th season with the Amerks, Weisbeck has had to overcome several health issues over the last few seasons to continue his passion of treating and caring for the Amerks players, even amid a global pandemic.

Weisbeck has also played an integral role the last few years in providing exceptional treatment as well as assisting in the administration and enforcement of the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols, allowing the organization and league to continue operating in a safe and effective manner.

Over his 35-plus seasons with the Amerks, Weisbeck has worked more than 2,500 games, earned two Calder Cup rings (1987 and 1996) and has worked in the Calder Cup Finals on five other occasions.

On March 10, 2019, Weisbeck reached an unprecedented professional milestone, working his 2,500th game with Amerks. Prior to the game against Binghamton, the organization honored him with a plaque and custom jersey commemorating his career achievement.

During the 2016 offseason, the longtime member of the Amerks organization was honored by the Professional Hockey Athletic Trainers Society/Society of Professional Hockey Equipment Managers (PHATS/SPHEM) with the Career Achievement Alumni Award in recognition of his dedication and excellence in his field. In August of 2016, Weisbeck was inducted into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016. Since 1997, a special section at the center of Frontier Field’s Walk of Fame has been designated to Rochester’s sports legends. These individuals (fans, players, management and media spanning Rochester’s sports history) are those who have made a monumental impact on the community through their achievements in the Rochester-area sports scene.

During the 2009-10 season, his 25th consecutive year of service to the organization, “Snacky” became the first-ever athletic trainer in the 66-year history of the franchise to be inducted into the Amerks Hall of Fame. He was honored as the 48th member of the prestigious club, joining former Amerks head coach Randy Cunneyworth and defenseman Jim Wiemer as part of the Class of 2010.

Weisbeck worked one day in the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres, but the rest of his hours, days and years have been in Rochester.

Weisbeck has twice had the distinction of serving as a trainer at the AHL All-Star Classic. His first time on the bench came during the 2000 All-Star Classic hosted in Rochester at The Blue Cross Arena. He was also selected as head athletic trainer for the Western Conference All-Star team for the 2011 AHL All-Star Classic in Hershey. He was selected by the American Hockey League based upon his many years of excellence and dedicated service to the AHL and the City of Rochester.

Beauts Sign Merrimack Captain Courtney Maud


BUFFALO – The Beauts have signed their first player from the 2022 NCAA graduating class. Merrimack College captain and Georgetown, Ontario, Canada native Courtney Maud has signed a 1-year contract with the team. The 5-foot-6 center played the past five seasons for the Merrimack Warriors and now begins her professional career.

“I decided to sign with (Buffalo) because I know I will be a great addition to the positive culture that the Buffalo Beauts organization lives by,” said Maud. “I strongly believe in a team-first mentality, and working together towards a common goal. As a player who is committed to the importance of positivity and teamwork, I cannot wait to contribute my energy, and learn from my teammates and coaches. ”

Maud played 145 NCAA Division-1 games for Merrimack from 2017-18 through 2021-22. In that time she achieved totals of 19 goals, 23 assists and 42 points. Maud wore the “C” as a team captain in her fifth season for the Warriors and was an alternate captain in 2020-21. She set career highs in assists (9) and points (14) during the 2021-22 season – the final campaign of her collegiate career.

“Courtney is a solid add to our overall depth at center,” said Beauts GM Nate Oliver. “We had been in talks with her for some time now, and were eager to sign her once PHF Unrestricted Free Agency opened. Courtney is very strong down low. She likes to set up shop in front of the net to put home rebounds and screen the goalie – she is very difficult to move or outmaneuver. Her personality and her character fit very nicely with the culture we have built.”

Beauts fans can expect a certain level of cohesiveness that will exist between Maud and her “new” teammates. She played with current Beauts Dominique Kremer and Mikyla Grant-Mentis at Merrimack, and now rejoins them both in Buffalo at the pro level.

“I’m so excited to be playing on the same team as Courtney again,” said Kremer. “She will bring speed, energy and depth to the Beauts. She left a great legacy at Merrimack, and I’m sure she’ll do the same here in Buffalo.”

Maud is excited to show the fans what she is all about:

“Beauts fans can expect to see that I will bring intense speed, grit, and hard work to every game,” said Maud. “I am a 200-foot hockey player and love to work hard in every zone of the ice. Look out for number 42!”

Reigning League MVP Grant-Mentis Signs With Beauts


BUFFALO – One of the most electrifying stars in women’s hockey today has returned to the team where she began her professional career. The Buffalo Beauts have announced that Mikyla “Buckey” Grant-Mentis – the reigning PHF Most Valuable Player – has signed as a free agent with the team on a 1-year deal. Grant- Mentis was a late-season addition to the Beauts during the 2019-20 season but has played the past two seasons as a member of the Toronto Six. During her time in Toronto, she has become one of the most dominating players in the PHF.

“Buffalo was the team to give me my first opportunity to play in the PHF,” said Grant-Mentis, “so choosing to make a professional change to the Buffalo Beauts at this point in my career is an excellent opportunity for me to fine-tune my skills and bring them to an entirely new level on and off the ice. I feel great pride joining a team with good history, a team where all members have mutual respect and value everyone’s contributions.”

Following her first entire professional season in 2020-21, Grant-Mentis became the most decorated player in PHF history for a single season. She was awarded the 2021 Most Valuable Player, Newcomer of the Year, Foundation Award, and Fans’ Three Stars awards after going 5-4-9 in six regular-season games during the pandemic-shortened Lake Placid season. Grant-Mentis followed that up by dominating much of the PHF during the recent 2021-22 season. She was among the league’s leaders in goals (13), assists (17), and points (30) during the regular season, and did so in only 19 games. Grant-Mentis finished the season as a solid +25 for plus/minus and averaged 1.58 points per game.

“The opportunity to add such an elite player like ‘Buckey’ rarely comes along in professional sports,” said Beauts GM Nate Oliver. “We are extremely excited that she is returning to Buffalo and will be a Beaut once more. There aren’t many athletes who can take over a game the way that ‘Buckey’ can. She is just a tremendous hockey player who truly loves the game and plays it with a fiery passion. We feel very fortunate that she believes that the Beauts are the right fit for her.”

With 20 goals, 22 assists, and 42 points in 27 career PHF regular-season games, Grant-Mentis has averaged 1.56 points per game. Her penchant for scoring was something she had honed during her NCAA Division-1 career at Merrimack College. Grant-Mentis never scored less than 23 points in a season for the Warriors. She set career highs for assists (22) and points (34) during her junior 2018 -19 season. Grant-Mentis followed that up with a career-high of 20 goals in 33 games as a Merrimack senior in 2019-20. In total, she scored 117 points (56 goals and 61 assists) in 137 games with the Warriors and is the program’s all-time leading point scorer, all-time assists leader, and second all-time in goals.

Grant-Mentis would proceed to join the Beauts later in the 2019-20 season after her time with Merrimack and went 3-2-5 in three games for Buffalo (regular season and playoffs combined).

More than two seasons later, Grant-Mentis is poised to further blossom within Buffalo’s hockey community.

“My aspirations are the same as they’ve always been: to win and be a role model for young black hockey players who look like me,” she said. “On top of that, I want to be a part of Buffalo’s great hockey community.”

NEHDA 2011’s Win 2010 AAA Tournament!


Congratulations to the NewEdge Prospects 2011 AAA Tournament Team for winning the U12 AAA Tournament in Syracuse, NY. This NEHDA team was the only 2011 birth year team in the 2010 AAA tournament! The team was led by Coach Dave Garofalo and Coach Jeff Topor. NEHDA Prospects (most of which train in NEHDA’s Elite Development Programs) consisted of;

Jax VanThof, Henry Baudo, Brayden Garofalo, Noah Topor, Ray Sember, Ryan Garsin, Brady Weiermiller, Cole Koomen, Bryce Norman, Graeme Hill, Emerson Reynold, Carson Schubmehl
and Colton Walters.

(NEHDA Photo)

Beauts Sign Blue Liner Jess Healey


BUFFALO – The Buffalo Beauts significantly bolstered their blue line both offensively and defensively by adding veteran Jess Healey. The 5-foot-4 defender from Edmonton, Alberta was one of the best defenders in Sweden’s SDHL from 2018-19 through the 2020-21 seasons. She now brings her game to the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) by signing a 2-year contract with Buffalo.

“I decided to sign with the Beauts because I got an awesome feeling from the staff, the team, and the program,” said Healey. “I felt welcomed right away, and I am drawn to the culture and identity of the team. I also have never lived or explored out east so I was excited to have this opportunity to live somewhere I have never been before. I love how professional this program is and how well they take care of the players. This is definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”

Healey played in Sweden for HV71 from 2018-19 through 2020-21. She served as an alternate captain in her first and third seasons with the team and wore the “C” in the 2019-20 campaign. In 105 regular-season games for HV71 Healey tallied 21 goals, 58 assists, and 79 points. She led all blueliners in scoring for HV during her first season with the club.

“Not only is Heals talented offensively but in the defensive zone she is an absolute tank,” said Beauts GM Nate Oliver. “Off the ice, she excels at CrossFit, yoga, and rock climbing, and she is just an elite physical specimen of a person. Combine that strength with her topnotch hockey IQ and her ability on the ice, and she can really box out opponents and shut them down.”

Internationally Healey played for Team Canada at the 2014 IIHF Women’s U18 World Championship. Tallying a goal and an assist in five games, she helped Canada to the gold medal over the United States. At the collegiate level, Healey played 141 NCAA Division-I games for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. She scored 11 goals, 19 assists, and 30 points in her four seasons with the Bulldogs. Healey comes from a longtime hockey family, as her brother Josh plays in the American Hockey League for the Milwaukee Admirals, and her grandfather Rich played for the Detroit Red Wings in the early 1960s.

“As far as my game goes,” said Healey, “Beauts fans can expect to see a physical, fast, offensive defenceman! I love to block shots and take care of the D-zone but I also love to chip in offensively when I can. I am a smaller player so I take pride in playing physical and winning my battles. ”

Amerks Win Opener Over Belleville In OT


By Warren Kozireski

Rochester, NY — Storytellers couldn’t have written a better script with a player nicknamed R2 (Arttu Ruotsalainen) scoring the overtime winner on May 4th as Rochester defeated Belleville in Game One of the best-of-three first round playoff series. It marked the Amerks first overtime win since 2004 and broke a six-game postseason overtime losing streak.

6.000 fans sounded like 10,000 as Rochester battled back from a 3-0 second period deficit with three unanswered goals in the third period to force overtime, where defenseman Josh Teves danced at the blueline before delivering a shot on goal that was tipped home.

“I saw Teves with the puck at the point and I tried to battle at the front of the net and…I’m not even sure that it hit me, but I don’t even care; it went in and I went crazy,” Ruotsalainen said.

Fourth liner Lukas Rousek started the comeback after taking a perfect feed from JJ Peterka after Brandon Biro absorbed a center-ice hit to get the puck in the zone.Then the Amerks defenseman had success jumping up into the play as first Jimmy Schuldt made it a one goal game at 13:19 and Casey Fitzgerald tied it at 16:03 after a great toe-drag in the slot following an extended offensive zone shift.

Rochester goaltender Aaron Dell, celebrating his 33rd birthday, made 24 saves including ten in the extra session.

“It would have been an easy game to go away against a team that physical and that demanding and down by three…but we said if we get one (goal) in the first seven or eight minutes (of the third), the place is going to blow the top off and that what will help us create the momentum we need to come back,” Rochester head coach Seth Appert said about the atmosphere at Blue Cross Arena.

Rochester will try to win their first playoff series since 2005–with Ryan Miller and Jason Pominville on the team–in Game Two Friday night or Game Three Sunday, both in Belleville.

Note: Rochester rookie forward Linus Weissbach left the ice with a lot of assistance on his first shift of the game after a hit by Belleville forward Mark Kastelic that sent him hard into the boards near the penalty boxes. He is expected to miss a considerable amount of time according to Appert.

(Rochester Amerks Photo)