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4 posts categorized "Elite League"

September 11, 2012

Hockey | NAHL Showcase to feature 129 Minnesotans

Posted by: Feldman

The Austin Bruins begin their 2012-13 North American Hockey League season in just more than 24 hours. All 24 NAHL teams will converge on the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine for the annual junior hockey showcase.

The Bruins open their season at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday against Amarillo (Texas). Here's my Bruins/Showcase preview from today's Austin P-B print edition. By the way, Bruins coach Chris Tok had some nice things to say about former Rochester John Marshall forward Zach Johnson. Tok mentioned Johnson as one of three young forwards who have stuck out in camp so far. Tok said Johnson has done a nice job at center, opening up space for his linemates and setting them up for scoring chances.

Here's a link to the Showcase website, where you can find schedules and Internet broadcast information.

According to Let's Play Hockey, this year's Showcase will feature 129 players from Minnesota, including five from Rochester -- Johnson and Drew Anderson (Century) from the Austin Bruins; goalie Brock Kautz (Century) from the Janesville (Wis.) Jets; defenseman Rory Vesel (Lourdes) from the Bismarck Bobcats; and defenseman Alec Brandrup (Lourdes) from the Coulee Region Chill (Onalaska, Wis.). Another former standout Big Nine Conference/Section 1 forward, Eric Carlson of Albert Lea, will play for Janesville this season.

Janesville will face Austin on Saturday, the final day of the Showcase, at 7 p.m. Vesel and Brandrup both play for Central Division teams, so they'll play in and against Austin often during the regular season.

Here's a link to Let's Play Hockey's list of the 129 Minnesotans who will play in the Showcase.

The Showcase is well-attended by college coaches and scouts, and professional scouts. This year's Showcase will feature far more than just the 24 NAHL teams. There will be 36 teams from the North American Prospects Hockey League competing at the Tier I 18U major midget level and 16U midget minor levels. Eight teams from the Upper Midwest High School Elite League will play this weekend, too, as will all six 18U midget major teams from the Tier I High Performance Hockey League (Compuware, CYA, Honeybaked, Little Caesars, Mission and Team Illinois).

September 09, 2012

H.S. Hockey | Funk, Samuelson off to good start in Elite League

Posted by: Feldman

Rochester has boys hockey players skating in the Upper Midwest Elite League this fall, for the first time in four years. The Lourdes trio of forwards Alex Funk and Jason Samuelson, and defensman Karl Krecke are all members of Team Southwest.

Elite League play got underway this weekend, and while Krecke sat out to rest an injury, Funk and Samuelson made a splash. 

Funk had five points in two games, while Samuelson had two points, as Team Southwest won all of its games over the weekend. It beat Team Northeast, 10-6, on Saturday, then beat the Colorado Rampage U18 AAA team, 8-5, on Sunday.

Team Southwest actually went 3-0 on the weekend, including a 5-3 victory against Team North on Saturday morning, though according to the scoresheet from that game, none of the Lourdes players dressed for that game.

Funk had two assists and Samuelson had one in Saturday's victory against Team Northeast.

Funk really stuck out on Sunday, though. He scored twice in an 11-second span early in the third period, then added an assist late in the period as Southwest scored six times in the final 20 minutes to rally for the victory.

Funk was spotlighted by MnHockeyHub.com after his standout day.

Results and standings for all Elite League teams can be found here.

September 05, 2012

Local hockey | Emptying my notebook

Posted by: Feldman

Lots of hockey notes that I've let build up that we need to get to here. Now that all of our high school fall sports previews are out of the way, I can get back to some hockey stuff that I've been meaning to get to for, in some cases, months!

Here we go ...

• John Marshall boys coach Jay Ness didn't really celebrate the Fourth of July this summer. He did his celebrating a week or so later, when he spent a few days in Sault Ste Marie, Mich. Ness was there to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of Lake Superior State University's 1992 NCAA Division I hockey championship. It marked the school's second national title in four years, and it would go on to win another, in 1994. Ness played on the 1994 team, as well, as a senior. He finished his four-year LSSU career with 24 goals and 38 assists for 62 points. That '92 LSSU team was coached by Jeff Jackson, now the head coach at Notre Dame. Among the star players on that team: Brian Rolston, who has played more than 1,200 games in the NHL, including 241 with the Minnesota Wild. Rolston had 46 points for the '92 Lakers championship team; Ness had 19 that year (nine goals, 10 assists).

• As things change here at the P-B, my duties are expanding to include coverage of the North American Hockey League's Austin Bruins. The coverage of our local and area high schools won't suffer; but you'll probably notice more blog posts and, if you follow me on Twitter (@PBFeldy), more tweets about the Bruins and the NAHL this season. You likely won't see many stories on the Bruins appear in the actual Rochester print edition; my coverage will be mainly for the Austin edition of the P-B (yes, we put out a separate edition each day in Austin). The stories I do write on the Bruins, I'll link to them here, because ...

• Two former Rochester high school players will be playing really close to home this season. John Marshall's Zach Johnson and former Century standout Drew Anderson have made the Austin Bruins' roster. In addition to this blog, you can keep up with the Bruins on their web site.

• Four current Rochester Lourdes players have been selected as featured players in this year's Minnesota Hockey Hub/Breakdown Sports 2012-13 High School Hockey Guide. Defensemen Karl Krecke and Griff Slightam, and forwards Jason Samuelson and Alex Funk will be the first Eagles players to be featured in the book. We'll link to the book here when it becomes available for purchase. Funk, Samuelson and Krecke begin play in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League this weekend.

A bunch of former Lourdes players are still playing and/or are in new places this fall:

• Two of the team's leading scorers from last year, forward Landon Farrell and defenseman Justin Dewitz, will play AAA midgets with Russell Stover this season.

• Former all-state defenseman Rory Vesel is back for his second season with the NAHL's Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats. Vesel was just starting to play very well last year when he suffered a broken jaw and missed a couple of months. We'll get to watch Vesel a bunch this year, as the Bobcats are in the same division as Austin.

• Former Lourdes defenseman Alec Brandrup is playing close to home, too. He's with the Coulee Region Chill of the NAHL. Coulee Region is based in Onalaska, Wis.

• Another former Eagles d-man, Pete Spratte, will be a freshman at Lake Superior State University this fall. LSSU plays in the CCHA, which will merge into the new-look WCHA after this season. That means Spratte will get to play in Mankato each season, against MSU, Mankato, and former Rochester Mayo standout Charlie Thauwald. Former La Crescent star Eriah Hayes is a senior at MSU, Mankato, this year.

• Ex-Eagles netminder Nick Heimer is a freshman again. Heimer was offered a spot recently at Hamline University and he accepted. I'm going to try to get in touch with Nick in the coming days to find out what he thinks of finally playing college hockey and just how he ended up at Hamline.

• Former Lourdes forward Tyler Voigt will return to Tufts University for his second season of Division III hockey.

• Ex-Lourdes standout F Brandon Bahnemann will be a senior at St. Thomas this year. The 2007 Lourdes grad started his college hockey career at Division I Bentley University, but transferred back closer to home and will close his college career this season.

• Mankato West grad Tyler Bruggeman, the goalie who backstopped the Austin Bruins to the NAHL Central Division championship series last spring, will play college hockey at Division III St. Scholastica in Duluth.

• Former Rochester Century goalie Brock Kautz will play in the NAHL, too, with the Janesville Jets.

• Former Century d-man Connor Faupel will play with the Portage Terriers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League again this season. Faupel helped the team win the Turnbull Cup, the league's playoff championship, last season and advance to the Royal Bank Cup, the tournament that crowns Canada's Junior A champion.

• Century's Dalton Travis is on the Rochester Ice Hawks opening-day roster. I'm guessing he's doing a before-and-after deal, where he'll play with the Hawks until the high school season starts, then return to them after the high school season ends. I haven't confirmed that, yet, but I'd bet that's the case.

• Red Wing native Ryan Kesti is entering his third season with Northern Michigan University. Kesti lettered for the first time last year, when he had two points in 34 games.

• Byron's DJ Vold is a key returning forward for the Granite City Lumberjacks of the NA3HL. The 'Jacks won the NA3 title last year, in addition to winning the league's Central Division championship.

That's a fairly comprehensive list of area players who are playing in college, juniors or elsewhere this fall. I haven't scoured all college and junior rosters yet, so this isn't complete, but, if you know of former Rochester or area players who are competing in juniors, college or pro hockey, let me know. I'll start compiling a more comprehensive list soon.

July 19, 2012

High School Hockey | 3 from Rochester make Elite League

Posted by: Feldman

The rosters for the Upper Midwest High School Elite League were released today. Play in the high-caliber fall boys hockey league begins in September.

Rochester has three players in the league this fall, all from four-time defending Section 1A champion Lourdes. Forwards Alex Funk and Jason Samuelson, who combined for 140 points last season, and defenseman Karl Krecke, are all on Team Southwest. That team is coached by Reed Larson and Steve Olinger.

Funk, Krecke and Samuelson will all be seniors this fall.

Two other Section 1 players are in the UMEL, both from Lakeville South: Forward Patrick Lauderdale is on Team Southeast; and D Cameron Jackson is on Team Northwest.

All of the rosters can be accessed by going to this link and clicking on the team you wish to look at.

Defending Class AA state champion Benilde-St. Margaret's has six players in the UMEL, including state tournament star Grant Besse, who scored all five of the Red Knights' goals in the state title game. He led the Elite League with 35 points last fall.

Defending Class A champion St. Thomas Academy has the most players in the league, with nine.

The Lourdes trio are the first players from a Rochester school to play in the Elite League since five Lourdes players (Taylor Funk, Cole Peterson, Tyler Voigt, Pete Spratte and Charlie Hexum) all played in 2008. Mayo's Charlie Thauwald played in the Elite League in 2007.