Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday Evening Post

  • The Los Angeles Kings took a 1-0 series lead over the New Jersey Devils last night in the Stanley Cup Finals by way of a 2-1 overtime victory. None of the former Sioux taking part in the Finals figured into the scoring, but Matt Greene and the Kings are now just three wins away from hoisting the Cup. The Kings have yet to lose on the road this postseason, but the Devils are not in unfamiliar territory as this is the third time in four postseason series they've dropped game one. New Jersey sports a 1-3 record in series opening contests but is 11-4 in all other games. Game two is scheduled for Saturday night (7:00 CDT) in New Jersey.
  • A little more info was released regarding Matt Frattin's season-ending knee injury. Damien Cox of the Toronto Star tweeted last night that Frattin will most likely not be ready for fall camp as his surgery requires four months of post-procedure rehab. He's apparently already had surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
  • An interesting nugget from this offseason game plan for the Chicago Blackhawks: Jonathan Toews is one of just three NHL forwards to have a double digit + rating each of the past five seasons. Pavel Datsyuk and Alex Burrows are the others.
  • The agent of Lee Goren says that the former Sioux All-American will most likely either be re-signing with Skelleftea or moving to Rogle, another Swedish Elite League club (info from this Swedish article). Goren and Skelleftea advanced to the league finals this past season, where he suffered a concussion that caused him to miss the last several games of the series. Earlier this season, he expressed his desire to perhaps play a few more years in Sweden (last bullet point on the post).
  • Former Sioux standouts Zach and Jordan Parise are scheduled to join a host of other stars for a charity hockey game in Minneapolis in a few weeks. The proceeds will go to Defending the Blue Line, an organization that helps military families pay for hockey expenses.
  • The USHL announced its All-USHL First and Second Teams today, and two Sioux recruits earned recognition. Fargo Force goalie Zane Gothberg, who was also a co-recipient of the league's Goaltender of the Year award, and Green Bay Gambler defenseman Jordan Schmaltz were each named to the First Team. This is the second consecutive season Schmaltz has made the First Team, and both he and Gothberg are expected to arrive in North Dakota this fall.
  • The recruit profiles for the incoming class of freshmen and transfers have been updated to reflect their performances during the 2011-12 season. The profiles for the recruits anticipated to arrive in 2013-14 and beyond will be updated shortly. You can find all of them on The Recruits page.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday Evening Post

Game one of the Stanley Cup Finals is set to begin in about an hour, so here are a few more links for some pre-game reading:
TJ Oshie's hit on LA's Dustin Penner has drawn quite a buzz from the hockey world, and with just one round to go it ranks as the No. 1 hit of the playoffs according to this video countdown:


Around the WCHA, Etc...Minnesota picked up a new goaltending recruit today...Alaska-Anchorage added a few more players to what has become a large incoming class...Michigan Tech has unveiled the first of three new sweaters it will wear this upcoming season...Minnesota's Mariucci Arena will undergo some improvements over the summer...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday Evening Post

On the eve of the Stanley Cup Finals, there's plenty of good reading material out there relating to hockey's most grand showcase. Here are some links of note, along with a few other news items:


The USHL announced its 2011-12 All-Rookie Team today, and though three defensemen made the cut, Lincoln blueliner and North Dakota recruit Paul LaDue was not one of them. LaDue had a fantastic first USHL season with the Stars and, while I certainly do not want to take anything away from the three outstanding players who received recognition, LaDue's numbers make a pretty strong case for inclusion:

Paul LaDue
Eddie Wittchow
Nick Seeler
Mike Matheson

Perhaps the league is taking the same approach with the All-Rookie Team as it did when it awarded the Rookie of the Year to Taylor Cammarata over Kevin Roy. Roy was hands-down the top rookie in the league this year, but the USHL opted to spread the wealth by naming Cammarata the Rookie of the Year even though they tabbed Roy as both the Forward of the Year and the Player of the Year. If the league applies the same logic to its All-USHL & All-Rookie teams, we might very well see LaDue wind up on one of the All-USHL teams.


Matt Frattin's deep playoff run with the AHL's Toronto Marlies has come to an early end due to a knee injury suffered while scoring the series-clinching empty net goal against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals. The postseason's leading goalscorer (10) will have to undergo surgery to repair the knee. Video of the play can be viewed at the bottom of this post.


Two days are in the books for UND recruit Jordan Schmaltz and the rest of the participants in the 2012 NHL Draft Scouting Combine. The first four days consist of player interviews, but the real fun begins Friday when the fitness testing kicks-off.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Coffee

First and foremost, here's to all of those who have given their lives while serving this great country. The selfless sacrifices that so many have made should never be forgotten. Here's a great blog, Mitch's Journey, that I've been following detailing one man's experience in serving our country. For those that are Twitterfied, you can follow the journey @mitchmartinson.
  • Brock Nelson recently received some recognition from Hockey's Future as he was given the nod as the organization's Most Improved Prospect and the top candidate to have a breakout season in 2012-13. HF also rated its top 10 drafted NCAA forwards, and Danny Kristo & Corban Knight both made the list.
  • Chris VandeVelde and the Oklahoma City Barons may have fallen short in the AHL's Western Conference Finals, but that didn't stop Hockey's Future from issuing high praise to the former Sioux. 
  • The NHL Scouting Combine kicks off today, and incoming freshman Jordan Schmaltz is expected to take part. Here's a bit of what the highly-touted prospect can expect at the combine.
  • Around the WCHA...There have been some interesting happenings in the situation of Wisconsin Badger defenseman and Anaheim draft pick Justin Schultz. It's long been expected that the All-Everything Badger rear guard would forgo his senior year of eligibility in order to sign a professional contract, but rather than signing with the Ducks he has instead opted to utilize the same clause in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement that allowed Jason Gregoire to become a free agent signee of the Winnipeg Jets last summer. According to Bucky's Fifth Quarter, there may be some tampering allegations forthcoming...New Minnesota State head coach Mike Hastings feels that Mankato is the right place for him...There will be twists abound in Badgerland during Wisonsin's last season in the WCHA...CC tends to struggle in the second half of the season...Former Sioux and current St. Cloud State assistant Steve Johnson, the father of North Dakota recruit Luke Johnson, is in the mix for Nebraska-Omaha's vacant associate head coach position...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Recruit Profile: Mitch MacMillan

Photo-CH Inc.
Previous Team:  St. Cloud State (NCAA)
Anticipated Arrival at UND:  2011-12 Spring Semester
Position:  Forward
Birthday:  November 24, 1989
Hometown:  Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
Height:  6' 0"
Weight:  185 Lbs.
Shoots:  Left

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • He registered five assists in 14 games for St. Cloud State prior to transferring to North Dakota at semester break.
  • As an NCAA freshman he appeared in 28 games for St. Cloud State, producing four goals and two assists.
  • Playing alongside his brother and current Fighting Sioux forward Mark MacMillan, he had a record breaking season with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League. He established single-season franchise records for goals (61) and points (93) en route to earning BCHL All-Star honors, and he was awarded the Vern Dye Memorial Trophy as the Coastal Conference's Most Valuable Player. Overall, he appeared in 59 regular season games and produced 93 points (61G, 32A). His 61 goals led the league, and he became the first BCHL player since current Ottawa Senator Kyle Turris to score 50 goals in 50 games or less. In the postseason he recorded 12 points (7G, 5A) in 13 games.
  • He split the season between the BCHL's Cowichan Valley Capitals and Alberni Valley Bulldogs, registering 55 points (33G, 22A) in 60 regular season games.
  • Playing for the BCHL's Powell River Kings, he appeared in 52 games while producing 17 points (8G, 9A).
  • He played for the Summerland Sting of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League, notching 47 points (26G, 21A) in 50 regular season games and three goals in six postseason games. He also went scoreless in one appearance with Powell River (BCHL).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Recruit Profile: Clarke Saunders
Previous Team:  University of Alabama-Huntsville (NCAA)
Anticipated Arrival at UND: 2012
Position: Goaltender
Birthday:  September 19, 1989
Hometown:  Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Height:  6' 3"
Weight:  200 Lbs.
Shoots: Left

Profiles & Press Clippings:
  • As a sophomore he played for the Alabama-Hunstville Chargers, posting a 3.72 GAA and .906 Save %. He led the team to its only two victories of the season, including a 44 save gem against Nebraska-Omaha. He also registered two fifty-plus save performances on the season, a 1-1 tie against Air Force (55 saves) and a 2-1 loss against Minnesota-Duluth (52 saves).
  • The UAH freshman recorded a 3.80 GAA and .898 Save % in leading the Chargers to their only four wins of the season. He established a school record by recording 58 saves in a 2-1 overtime victory against Nebraska-Omaha, and during the second period of that game he set another school record by saving all 25 shots he faced.
  • While playing for the Brockville Braves (CJHL) he recorded a 2.31 GAA and .915 Save % while going 31-7-1 in 39 regular season games. His 31 wins broke the franchise record for most wins in a season, a record he had previously set in 2007-08 (29 wins). He also had a 2.53 GAA and .897 Save % in 12 postseason appearances, and he was a member of the CJHL All-Stars in the 2010 Battle of Ontario. He finished his CJHL career with 81 victories, the third most in league history.
  • He went 18-10-2 while posting a 2.75 GAA and .894 Save % in 37 regular season games with Brockville. He appeared in six playoff games, going 4-2 with a 3.66 GAA and .907 Save %. He was named to the CJHL All-Star team that took part in the 2009 Battle of Ontario, and he also became the first goaltender in franchise history to score a goal.
  • In his first full season with Brockville he went 29-15-3 in 49 regular season games, producing a 3.16 GAA and .892 Save %. His 29 wins established a new franchise record, one that he would later break in 2009-10. In nine postseason games he went 3-4 while registering a 4.74 GAA and .870 Save %.

Devils and Marlies Advance, SCF Links

The New Jersey Devils advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals last night by defeating the New York Rangers 3-2, winning the Eastern Conference Finals against their cross-river rivals four games to two. During the postgame festivities, captain Zach Parise and his Devils teammates opted not to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy. Parise said he wanted to touch the trophy, but a quick poll of his teammates showed that most didn't want to risk incurring any bad luck.

While it's taken a little time for Parise to get into his first-ever Stanley Cup Finals, the former North Dakota star says it has been worth the wait. Travis Zajac, meanwhile, was outstanding in the faceoff circle last night, winning 70% (14/20) of his draws. Zajac has taken the second most draws (340) this postseason, winning 56.5% of them, and both he and Parise remain viable candidates to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Parise, Zajac and the rest of the Devils will meet Parise's former college roommate Matt Greene and the Los Angeles Kings in the Finals, thus ensuring that at least one former Sioux will have his name engraved on The Cup. The names of nine Sioux currently reside on The Cup as players, which is the second highest total among NCAA schools. Should the Devils defeat the Kings, North Dakota and Boston College would move into a first place tie with Wisconsin. Here are the NCAA leaders, based on the info at College Hockey Inc:

# of Players 
Wisconsin 11
North Dakota 9
Boston College 9
Michigan 7
Michigan State 7
Minnesota 7
Minnesota-Duluth 6
Boston University 6

Game one of the Finals will take place Wednesday night in New Jersey, and here are few links to get you ready for the action:


Matt Frattin and the Toronto Marlies eliminated Chris VandeVelde, Taylor Chorney and the Oklahoma City Barons last night, winning the AHL Western Conference Finals four games to one. They will now take on the Norfolk Admirals, who are about as hot as a hockey team can be. Dating back to February 5th, Norfolk closed out the regular season by winning its final 28 games and has gone 11-3 during the playoffs. The only team with a better postseason record than the Admirals? Toronto, who went 11-2 in advancing to the Calder Cup Finals.

Frattin continued his goal scoring barrage, netting two more in Toronto's 3-1 series-clinching victory last night. He leads all players with 10 postseason goals, and his 13 points (10G, 3A) rank second. VandeVelde recorded the lone marker for the Barons, finishing the postseason with a team-high six goals. Getting back to Frattin's performance, he had an empty-net goal last night that was about as impressive as an ENG can be. Watch the determination, strength, and balance as he fights off a Baron defender to ice the series:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Morning Coffee

After a couple of weeks off, it's time to do some catching up. Perhaps a lot of this is old news to some of you, but hopefully there are a few links that will be of interest. Since the last post...
  • UND announced its incoming class of freshmen (and a transfer) for the 2012-13 season. It's a very promising mix of talent that should blend nicely with a strong group of returnees. Also worth remembering is that in addition to the six newcomers, we will also get our first glimpse of Colten St. Clair, Mitch MacMillan (eligible Spring semester), and a healthy Rocco Grimaldi. All of this is enough for Inside College Hockey to rank North Dakota third in its very early preseason rankings.
  • Incoming freshman goaltender Zane Gothberg was named the USHL's Co-Goaltender of the Year. The Fargo Force goalie was the league's regular season leader in Save % (.921) and Shutouts (7) while finishing second in Goals Against Average (2.22). Additionally, his playoff GAA (1.78) and Save % (.942) led the league. He shared top goaltender honors with Green Bay's Ryan McKay. 
  • Former Sioux associate head coach Cary Eades was named the head coach and general manager of the USHL's Sioux Falls Stampede. This is Eades' second stint in the USHL, having previously served as the HC/GM of the Dubuque Fighting Saints for a very successful two-year tenure in the early 1990's. Eades is a flat-out winner, and expect him to achieve big things in South Dakota, where he'll surely help grow the sport in a state with a promising future on the ice.
  • Chuck Schwartz of Bucky's 5th Quarter attended USA Hockey's Central District Midget Festival, and in his individual notes he says UND recruit Chris Wilkie was "one of the best players" at the event. Wilkie is anticipated to arrive on campus in the fall of 2014 and will play for the USNTDP's Under-17 team this upcoming season. Everything I've heard/read about Wilkie has been very positive - lots of skill, welcomes the physical game, incredible motor, tremendous work ethic.
NHL Playoff Update:
  • Matt Greene and the Los Angeles Kings advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals after eliminating the Phoenix Coyotes in five games. Greene, who has his sights firmly set on the Cup, will be making his second trip to The Finals. The former Sioux captain was a member of the Edmonton Oilers when they came up just short against Carolina in the 2006 Finals, losing in seven games.
  • Greene and LA's ecstasy, of course, is the agony of Dave Tippett and the Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix made a strong run to the Western Conference Finals but a sluggish start to the series was too much to overcome against a strong Los Angeles team. Regardless of how the season ended, Tippett and the Coyotes should be proud of their season, which was forged from an uncertain and chaotic situation. Tippett and Coyote GM Don Maloney have somehow made it work in the desert, while a trio from Phoenix's staff has international roots that run deep.
  • The New Jersey Devils are one win away from joining Los Angeles in the Stanley Cup Finals as they lead the New York Rangers three games to two in the Eastern Conference Finals. Former Sioux Zach Parise and Travis Zajac have played lead roles in New Jersey's fantastic playoff run, sharing the team lead with seven goals apiece, a total that is eclipsed league-wide only by Philadelphia's Claude Giroux and Daniel Briere, who have eight each. The Devils will look to eliminate New York tonight (7:00 CDT).
  • Parise, whose DNA is riddled with hockey smarts, is the second leading scorer for the Devils during the postseason with 14 points (7-7). He is among a trio of Americans looking to become the first US-born captain (and just the second ever) to win The Cup since the Dallas Stars' Derian Hatcher hoisted sport's greatest trophy in 1999. Despite (and perhaps, because of) New Jersey's extended playoff run, Parise's impending free agency status remains attractive fodder for the media. The Detroit News ponders what Red Wing life would be like with Parise and Ryan Suter in the fold, but might New Jersey's postseason success be enough to keep him a Devil? The Star Tribune, meanwhile, examines the potential of Parise returning to Minnesota.
  • Life is good for Zajac, who is third on the team with 12 postseason points (7-5). His strong playoff contributions are a bit of a redemption story following an injury-plagued regular season.
AHL Playoff Update:
  • Matt Frattin and the Toronto Marlies have taken a three game to one series lead over Chris VandeVelde, Taylor Chorney and the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL's Western Conference Finals. Frattin has been fantastic in the postseason as he is tied for the league lead with eight goals, while VandeVelde is T-5th with five. Frattin, who possesses a nice arsenal of offensive weapons, is part of the contingent of Toronto "Young Guns" leaving its mark on the AHL Playoffs. Game five takes place tonight in Toronto at 6:00 CDT.
  • St. John's was swept by Norfolk in the Eastern Conference Finals. Jason Gregoire and Jake Marto did not appear in the postseason for the IceCaps. 
USHL Playoff Update:
  • Jordan Schmaltz was The Last Man Standing among North Dakota recruits, and he stood for as long as he could. Schmaltz and the Green Bay Gamblers defeated Waterloo Wednesday night in the decisive game five of the USHL's Clark Cup Finals, thereby capping a tremendous USHL career for the incoming UND defenseman. He finished the postseason T-1st in +/- among defensemen (+10) and he was T-2nd among blueliners in points (2-5-7). The next question regarding Schmaltz is where he will be selected in June's NHL Entry Draft. Here are a few draft prospect profiles from Last Word on SportsHockey Prospectus (#46), and NHL Mock Draft.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Chris VandeVelde's Back to Back OT GWG's

Chris VandeVelde of the Oklahoma City Barons became just the second player in AHL playoff history to score overtime game-winners in back-to-back games, and the first to do so since 1983. The Barons have now won three consecutive overtime games and with a three to one series lead, they are one victory away from taking on the Toronto Marlies and Matt Frattin in the AHL's Western Conference Finals.

VandeVelde displayed a lot of patience with the puck on each of his overtime goals, waiting out San Antonio goaltender Jacob Markstrom before finding an opening and exploiting it. Markstrom, by the way, is one of the top prospects in the Florida Panther organization.

In his postgame interview VandeVelde was asked when he last scored an OT game-winner and whether he'd ever done it in consecutive games. He said he didn't recall, but I believe his previous OT game-winner came during his sophomore season at North Dakota when he scored in the extra session against Minnesota-Duluth. Check out the video of his two goals and his postgame interview below:

Game 3 OT Goal (~2:40 into the highlight package):

Game 4 OT Goal:

Game 4 Postgame Interview:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday Evening Post

  • The men's and women's hockey teams both announced their team awards recently and the team MVP's are Brock Nelson and Jocelyne Lamoureux. Here are the full listings of the men's award winners and the women's award winners.
  • The National Collegiate Hockey Conference announced the hiring of Joe Novak as its Director of Hockey Operations earlier this week. Novak was previously the assistant athletic director for the Air Force Academy and he has an extensive background in ice hockey officiating.
  • The NCHC is also close to announcing the Target Center as the host for its postseason tournament. As the home of the NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves the Target Center is a non-ice hockey venue, but with the passage of the Minnesota Viking stadium bill, the downtown arena will be receiving a facelift in the near future.
  • The College Hockey News recently published a Q& A with NCHC commissioner Jim Scherr.
  • Most of you certainly know by now that USNTDP defenseman-extraordinaire Seth Jones has opted to play in the CHL following his signing with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League. Jones had narrowed his choices down to the WHL and North Dakota, but under the guidance of his father, did not make a commitment until he was 100% sure of his intentions. The way Jones handled the recruiting process is very admirable and I hope he has a splendid career in Portland and beyond.
  • The Litter Box Cats, a Florida Panther blog, recently profiled Ryan Johnson in its chronicling of all of the franchise's former players. 
  • Hockey's Future considers Sioux defenseman Derek Forbort to be a promising prospect for the Los Angeles Kings.
NHL Playoff Update:
  • After dispatching the St. Louis Blues with a four game sweep, Matt Greene and the Los Angeles Kings became the first team to advance out of the NHL's conference semifinals. Greene played a big role in the series, producing a point in each of his four games. His current four game point streak is the longest of his professional career, and through two playoff rounds he has an identical stat line to that of the Kings' big midseason pickup Jeff Carter (9 Games: 1G, 3A, +3 rating). Also, The Hockey Writers put together a nice feature to help you get to know the Kings a little bit better.
  • Los Angeles' opponent in the Western Conference Finals will be the Phoenix Coyotes, coached by former Sioux Dave Tippett. The Coyotes eliminated the Nashville Predators Monday night and will now take on the red-hot Kings, but facing obstacles is nothing new for Tippett and his Desert Dogs. The Coyotes and Kings begin their series Sunday in Phoenix.
  • Tuesday night the suddenly delightful New Jersey Devils defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 3-1, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2003 with a 4-1 series victory. Zach Parise says the Devils kept their cool against Philly, and it ultimately paid off. Parise is savoring his first opportunity to play in the conference finals, but the Devils know they are only halfway home and that there is a lot of work yet to be done. New Jersey will open the Eastern Conference Finals Monday night against either Washington or the New York Rangers.
  • Heading into the week, Parise and teammate Travis Zajac (T-5th with 10 playoff points) were among those on Puck Daddy's Conn Smythe Watch List.
AHL Playoff Update:
  • Matt Frattin and the Toronto Marlies advanced to the Western Conference Finals after winning their series against Abbotsford 4-1. Frattin scored four goals in the series and now has seven points (5G, 2A) in eight playoff games.
  • Oklahoma City leads its series with San Antonio two games to one, with game four heading to overtime as I type this post. Chris VandeVelde has a goal in each of the last two games for OKC, including the overtime game-winner in game three, while Taylor Chorney is looking for his first playoff point. Should Oklahoma City prevail, they would take on Frattin and the Marlies in the Western Conference Finals.
  • St. John's (Jason Gregoire, Jake Marto) currently leads its series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton three games to two. Game six will take place Friday night. Gregoire and Marto have yet to play in the postseason. 
USHL Playoff Update:
  • The Lincoln Stars, featuring recruits Luke Johnson and Paul LaDue, were eliminated from the Clark Cup playoffs following a 6-2 loss to Waterloo Monday night.
  • Jordan Schmaltz is the last Sioux recruit standing this season, as he and the Green Bay Gamblers advanced to the Clark Cup Finals following their sweep of the Indiana Ice in the Eastern Conference Finals. Schmaltz had one point in each of the Gamblers' three wins over Indiana, and he is currently riding a four game point streak during which he has amassed four points (1G, 3A) and a +6 rating.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Morning Coffee

  • UND held its annual Night of Champions award program last week and junior forward Jocelyne Lamoureux was named the 2011-12 Female Athlete of the Year. Also earning recognition were Brad Eidsness, the Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and Michelle Karvinen, the Female Rookie of the Year.
  • In the latest episode of UND Sports TV former Sioux Brad Malone talked about his first season in the professional ranks while Danny Kristo discussed his decision to return to North Dakota for his senior season. The Malone segment opens episode 32.2 and Kristo's segment comes at the 2:00 minute mark of episode 32.3 on this page
  • The Rat Trick, a Florida Panthers blog, ranked its top 20 forwards from the 2011-12 season, and Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews both made the list.
NHL Playoff Update:
  • Following Friday night's 1-0 victory over Nashville, Dave Tippett and the Phoenix Coyotes are one win away from advancing to the Western Conference Finals. The Coyotes hold a 3-1 series lead and will look to finish off the Predators Monday night when the series returns to Phoenix for game five.
  • With a commanding 3-0 series lead, the Los Angeles Kings will look to sweep their way into the Western Conference Finals when they host game four against TJ Oshie and the St. Louis Blues this afternoon. Matt Greene, who Blues coach Ken Hitchcock says is among a trio of Kings defenders who is "no fun to play against," is among the postseason leaders in shorthanded ice time, and the Kings' penalty killing unit has been perfect in killing all 14 of St. Louis's power play opportunities in the series.
  • The New Jersey Devils will attempt to take a 3-1 series lead on Philadelphia when they host game four tonight. Zach Parise says the Devils' playoff run has been a blast, while teammate Patrik Elias says this edition of the Devils has an ingredient that's been missing in recent years, and part of that is due to the versatility of guys like himself and Parise. Backhand Shelf considers Parise to be New Jersey's leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy, while the outstanding New Jersey Devils blog In Lou We Trust takes a deeper look at Travis Zajac's impressive postseason performance.
AHL Playoff Update:
  • Oklahoma City evened its second round series against San Antonio at one game a piece via a 5-4 OT win last night. Chris VandeVelde staked Oklahoma City to a 1-0 lead in the first period with his first goal of the playoffs. The series resumes Monday night in San Antonio when VandeVelde and Taylor Chorney will look to help the Barons take a 2-1 series lead. If you want to see VandeVelde's goal, go to the 0:25 mark of the following game recap video:
  • After dropping the first game of their second round series against Abbotsford the Toronto Marlies have bounced back with two straight wins to take a 2-1 series lead. The Marlies won last night's game three by a 4-1 margin, and former Sioux Matt Frattin scored the game-winner for the second straight game. He now has six points (4G, 2A) in six playoff games, and you can check out his latest goal right here:
  • St John's (Jason Gregoire, Jake Marto) leads their series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2-1, with game four scheduled for this afternoon.
USHL Playoff Update:
  • Lincoln split a pair of games with Waterloo over the weekend and now trail the Black Hawks 2-1 in the best-of-five Western Conference finals. Sioux recruits Luke Johnson (1G, +1) and Paul LaDue (1A, +2) each chipped in on the Stars' 4-3 victory Friday night, while Waterloo bounced back with a 5-0 shutout last night. The Stars will look to extend the series to a decisive fifth game when the two teams play game four tomorrow night in Waterloo.
  • Green Bay defeated Indiana 3-2 Friday night to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference finals. Sioux recruit Jordan Schmaltz continued his stellar postseason play by contributing an assist and a +3 rating. Schmaltz is second among all USHL defensemen in both +/- rating (+9) and points (2G, 3A) during the postseason. The Gamblers will go for the sweep this afternoon.