Thursday, December 29, 2011

Post Holiday Break Update, Part 1

Following the holiday break and a pleasant road trip to western North Dakota, the blog is now back to active status. There's been a decent amount of noteworthy activity in the land of Sioux hockey, and we'll look to tackle it all over the course of the next several days. There are a few recruit profiles left to complete, there are two significant international tournaments going on, and with a big nonconference series coming up against Harvard, the posting should become pretty regular during the next week or so. Hopefully everyone had a great holiday season, and here's the first round of updates and links:
  • Derrick LaPoint scored his first professional goal last Friday in the Reading Royals' (ECHL) 6-4 victory over Greenville. LaPoint currently has five points (1G, 4A) in 24 games with Reading. He's also played in five AHL games this season-four with the Syracuse Crunch and one with the Peoria Rivermen.
  • Brady Murray recently returned from injury to make his season debut with HC Lugano of the Swiss National League. He has registered seven points (3G, 4A) in eight games and recently signed a contract extension that will keep him in Lugano through the 2013/14 season with an option for an additional year.
  • Michael Forney of the Colorado Eagles has been as hot as anyone in the ECHL lately, recently being named the league's Player of the Week. Forney produced six points (3G, 3A) and was a +7 in helping the Eagles to a 3-0 record over the course of the week. He is currently riding a nine game point streak during which he has recorded 14 points (8G, 6A) to go along with a +11 rating. For the season Forney has 27 points (12G, 15A) and a +9. Also helping Colorado earn at least one point in 11 of its last 12 games has been Aaron Schneekloth, who leads all ECHL defensemen with 28 points (11G, 17A) in 30 games. Jake Marto, meanwhile, has rejoined Colorado after a 12 game run with St. John's (AHL).
  • The 2011 Spengler Cup, one of the oldest invitation-only hockey tournaments in the world, is currently taking place in Davos, Switzerland. Former Sioux defenseman Robbie Bina is taking part with his EHC Wolfsburg (Germany Tier I) squad, and earlier today they eliminated Team Canada 3-2 (SO) to advance to the semifinals. Travis Roche was originally chosen to participate for Team Canada, but was forced to back out due to injury.
  • Derek Forbort is currently in Alberta representing Team USA in the 2012 World Junior Championships. In their tournament opener Team USA trounced Denmark 11-3, with Forbort notching two assists. The Americans were upset 4-1 Wednesday afternoon by an offensively gifted Finland team, despite outshooting the Fins 38-24. Team USA has an off day today before concluding preliminary round play against the Czech Republic Friday (2:30 CST) and Canada Saturday (7:00 CST).
  • Recruits Luke Voltin and Keaton Thompson will be taking part in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge beginning today in Windsor, Ontario. The United States of Hockey put together a very nice preview of Team USA, including brief scouting reports of all players. Team USA kicks off their tournament today at 6:00 CST, and all games can be viewed live over the internet at Fast Hockey. This has become a high-profile showcase event for players still two to three years out of their draft year, and among those taking part will be highly-regarded prospects Nathan MacKinnon and Aaron Ekblad. Ekblad is just the second player ever to be granted exceptional player status by the OHL (John Tavares was the first), which allowed him to play in the league at the age of 15.
  • Recruit Drake Caggiula is currently participating in the Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge in Smith Falls, Ontario. The tournament, which consists of all-star teams from several Canadian junior A leagues, concludes tonight at 6:00 CST when Caggiula and his OJHL North teammates take on Quebec for the tournament championship. Caggiula has a goal and an assist in four tournament games. He's also gone two-for-two in shootouts, including the game winner in the semifinal game earlier today. The game can be viewed live via Neulion.

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