Sunday, May 29, 2005

Larman part of Knights CHL championship

Drew Larman came to the London Knights early in the Ontario Hockey League season from the Sarnia Sting and had his season extended into late May.

Sarnia didn't qualify for the playoffs and London dominated the OHL from wire to wire en route to their first OHL Robertson Cup title and then Sunday night, a Canadian Hockey League Memorial Cup championship on their home ice.

Larman, a 20-year-old Canton native, was an integral part of the Knights run to their dual championship. Larman tallied two goals against the Kelowna Rockets in the Memorial Cup round-robin on May 23 after totalling just 13 goals in 70 regular-season games.

"It (felt) pretty good to be able to contribute offensively and getting those two goals was huge, especially to get it started because we were struggling a little bit in the beginning," said Larman in the London Free Press, who tied it 1-1 at 7:16 of the first period.

His second goal came seven minutes into the third period, giving the Knights a 4-1 lead.

The Knights beat Sidney Crosby and the Rimouski Oceanic in the opening game and championship game of the Memorial Cup. Kelowna and the Ottawa 67's also fell to London. The final was a 4-0 shutout for the Knights.

The trade from Sarnia wasn't expected, but proved to be a turning point for Larman's season.

"I was a little nervous coming in, especially to a team already 10-0," Larman said in the same Free Press story of the Knights' record at the time of the trade. "I didn't want to shake things up too much, but it didn't take too long for me to get comfortable."

Larman is eligible to return to the OHL next season as an overage (20-year-old) player.

Another Michigan native, Sterling Heights defenseman Frank Rediker, was hurt much of the year and didn't see any action in the OHL playoffs or Memorial Cup. His career may be done, but he has an overage option next season as well. Rediker came to the Knights at the 2004 OHL trade deadline from the Windsor Spitfires, the team that took him in the first round of the 2001 OHL Priority Selection.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Lerg garners top junior, goalie honors

Omaha Lancers goalie Jeff Lerg, a Livonia native, has been named the USA Hockey/Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year as well as USA Hockey's Junior Player of the Year.

While setting a new United States Hockey League (Junior A Tier II) record for wins in a single season with 36, Lerg helped the Lancers to a share of the 2004-05 regular-season championship. In addition, the USHL honored him with the 2005 USHL Player of the Year and Goaltender of the Year awards.

Lerg also earned All-USHL First Team honors, was named to the 2005 Prospects/All-Star Game and led the league in wins and goals against average (2.16). He was named Itech/Goalies World Goalie of the Month in both November and February and Player of the Week on Sept. 29. In addition, Lerg boasted six shutouts and a .916 save percentage in 52 games and was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Lancer team.

In his rookie season (2003-04), Lerg was named to the All-USHL Second Team and the USHL All-Rookie Team and received Player of the Week honors twice as he recorded 24 wins in 35 games with four shutouts and a 2.20 GAA. Prior to joining the Lancers, he played for the HoneyBaked organization in Michigan.

Lerg signed a National Letter of Intent with Michigan State University of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association last fall and will join the Spartans for the 2005-06 season.

He is the son of Ken and Jane Lerg.

The recipient of the Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Award is chosen from the pool of goaltenders that annually attends the USA Hockey National Goaltenders Camp and the USA Hockey Select 16 and Select 17 Festivals.

The USA Hockey Junior Player of the Year Award is presented annually to the most outstanding American-born player in junior hockey. Chosen by a blue-ribbon panel of junior coaches and administrators, criteria for the award also includes having played for a U.S.-based junior team.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Mantha hired to run Spitfires

Former Saginaw Spirit head coach and general manager Moe Mantha has been hired to fill the same dual position with the Windsor Spitfires.

Mantha was introduced at a press conference at Windsor Arena this morning.

Last summer, Mantha was named head coach of the rejuvenated World Hockey Association's Detroit Gladiators, but the WHA never got off the ground. He coached the Spirit the latter half of the 2003-2004 season and also has experience with the London Knights and the U.S. National Team Development Program.

Mantha has also spent time as a head coach in the American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League and over 650 games played in the National Hockey League.

“We look forward to having Moe Mantha guide the Spitfires," Windsor president and owner Steve Riolo said. "I believe that we have the right person to build a very competitive program for our organization and the Spitfires fans. He offers a wealth of experience from all different levels of hockey.”

Mantha is married to wife Kathy and they have three children, Ashley (19), Devin (16) and Brody (12).

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Michigan teams participate in CSHL Draft

The five Michigan teams in the Junior B Central States Hockey League have released their draft lists from Sunday's CSHL draft.

All lists are in alphabetical order.

David Adams, Commerce, Livonia Midgets
Reid Allison, Flint, Compuware Midgets
Antony Bain, Pinckney, Livonia Midgets
Adam Bolton, Metamora, Lapeer HS
Josh Brown, Grand Blanc, Flint Powers HS
Gorman Casey, Rochester, Minn., Rochester High School
Mike Crowder, Flint, Flint Powers HS
Anthony Francis, Grand Blanc, Livonia Midgets
Joshua Jean, Saginaw, Flint Midgets
Charles Margosian, Sterling Heights, Lakeland Midgets
Blake Miller, Hancock, Hancock HS
Christopher Noonan, Portage, West Michigan Warriors
Nick Podgorski, Metamora, Lapeer HS
Peter Radecki, Hancock, Hancock HS
Bruce Simms, Montrose, Flint Powers HS
Ben Warda, Oxford, Compuware Midgets
Nick Williams, Davison, Davison HS
Randy Wills, Davison, Flint Kearsley HS

Joe Battaglia, Joliet, Ill.,Chicago Flames AAA
Brandon Dault, Mattawan, Mattawan HS
Clayton Gallup, Rockford, West Michigan AAA
Zach Grover, Kentwood, East Kentwood HS
Jonathan Gulch, Temperance, Toledo Chiefs Midget Minor AA
Matt Harris, Okemos, Capitol Center Pride AAA
Joe Hess, Ada, Capital Center Pride AAA
Adam Hull, Kentwood, Southern Ice Lightning AAA
Erik Jansen, Lindenhurst, Ill., Barrington Red Wings AA
Trevor Jewell, Muskegon, Florida Everblades AAA
Max Keagle, Elkhart, Ind., Southern Ice Lightning AAA
Bill Krueger, Pewaukee, Wis., Team Powerade AAA
Steve Mankowske, Green Bay, Wis., Green Bay Gamblers AAA
Tony Martin, Laotto, Ind., Indy Checkers AAA
Kevin Mixon, Ft. Meyers, Fla., Florida Everblades AAA
Tad Norris, Snowmass, Co., Aspen HS
Zach Root, Grand Rapids, Capital Center Pride AAA
Andrew Sobiech, Mooresville, NC, Southern Ice Lightning AAA
David Solway, Green Bay, Wis., Green Bay Gamblers AAA
Shawn Steggles, Kentwood, East Kentwood HS
Kyle Tejchma, Fruitport, Indy Checkers AAA
Derek Thocker, Grand Ledge, Soo Indians AAA
Nolan Tuma, Greenfield, Wis., Wisconsin AAA
Isaac Viau, Cheboygan, Cheboygan HS
Chris Waterstradt, Tulsa, Okl., Tulsa Blues Jr. B
Brett Wysopal, Chicago, Ill., Chicago Chill AAA

Sal Asaro, St. Clair Shores, St. Clair Shores Midget A
Chad Bazin, Troy, Troy HS
Austin Brown, Bloomfield, Birmingham Unified
Steve Chandonais, St. Clair Shores, St. Clair Shores Unified
Ryan Compeau, Oakland, East Side Falcons
Mike Dohko, Sterling Heights, Belle Tire Midget A
Matt Grassley, Grosse Pointe Woods, St. Clair Shores Midget AA
Chris Harvey, Waterford, Waterford Kettering HS
Robert Howe, Bloomfield, Birmingham Unified
Nick Kenney, Wixom, Walled Lake Western HS
Robert Laing, Waterford, Compuware Midgets
Stephen Luongo, Ann Arbor, Huron HS
Jason Maltese, Shelby, St. Clair Shores Midget AA
Doug Miller, Lake Orion, St. Clair Shores Midget A
Eric Miras, Brighton, Howell HS
Mike Murray, Romeo, HoneyBaked AAA
Darren Narr, Beverly Hills, Birmingham Unified
Steve Parry, Clearwater, Fla., Belle Tire Midget A
Christopher Sarnowski, Fraser, St. Clair Shores Midget A
John Schruga, Shelby Township, Detroit Trackers AAA
Brad Townsend, Davisburg, Lakeland Midget AA
Brett Traub, Shelby, Troy Midget AA
Jon Valantege, Shelby Township, Troy Midget AA

Chris Bartholomew, New Carlisle, Ind., John Adams HS
Colin Brown, Grosse Pt. Woods, North HS
Kenny Cobb
, Grosse Ile, Grosse Ile HS
Mike Fogg
, Clarkston, Clarkston HS
Dan Koslowski
, Livonia, Franklin HS
Dan L'Esperance
, Brighton, Brighton HS
Reece McCabe
, Canton, Canton HS
Rob McTavish
, Northville, Northville HS
Justin Petterle
, Allen Park, Cabrini HS
Justin Stadler
, Livonia, Churchill HS
Tim Taylor
, Southgate, Anderson HS
Justin Tonti
, Livonia, Churchill HS
Kevin Vlazny
, Ann Arbor, Dexter HS
Shawn Wilson
, Riverview, Riverview HS

Jake Butchback, Marysville, Belle Tire AAA
Evan Carpenter, Clawson, Royal Oak Blades
Chris Giebe, Overland Park, Kan., Russell Stover HS
Chad Hammer, Roseville, East Side Falcons
Alex Handley, Clarkston, Clarkston HS
Graham James, Oxford, Detroit Trackers AAA
Jonathon Juliano, Macomb, Belle Tire AAA
Adam Krefski, Lake Orion, Marquette Electricians
Zak Lewis, Colorado Springs, Co., Colorado Rampage
Scott Luther, Southlake, Tex., Alliance Bulldogs
Anthony Martin, South Bend, Ind., Team Indiana
Anthony Oddo, Warren, Compuware AAA
Todd Orlando, Clinton Township, St. Clair Shores Midget AA
Steve Popp, Dearborn Heights, Crestwood HS
Jay Sandy, Napparwe, Ind., Team Indiana
Brett Storm, Livonia, Catholic Central HS
Nick Stroup, Fairhaven, Port Huron AA
Bryan Wallerman, St. Clair Shores, St. Clair Shores HS
Mitch Washer, Leonard, Motor City Chiefs AAA
Tom Whalin, Madison Heights, Royal Oak Blades
Matt Wiegand, Dearborn Heights, St. Clair Shores Midget AA

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Spirit ink top three 2005 draft picks

The Saginaw Spirit have signed forwards Zack Torquato, Anthony Soboczynski and Thomas Craig to OHL contracts. Torquato was Saginaw's top pick, third overall, in the May 7 draft while Soboczynski and Craig were selected in the second round.

Torquato, a 15-year-old native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, signed last week and has his new head coach excited.

“We feel he’s a great fit for our club and has the character and determination that we hope to see in every Saginaw Spirit draft pick," Bob Mancini said.

Torquato, 6-foot and 185 pounds, played with the Stratford Cullitons Junior B team during the 2004-05 season and had 34 goals and 75 points in 47 games while being named the Midwestern Junior Hockey League's rookie of the year. He was also fourth in league scoring.

“Anthony and Thomas are great additions to our roster," said Mancini on his second-round picks. "They both bring the much needed elements of size, skill, skating and hockey sense to the future of the Saginaw Spirit.”

Soboczynski was chosen 21st overall and is a 15-year-old, 6-foot-1, 185-pound winger from London, Ontario. Craig was chosen 23rd overall. He is a 16-year-old, 6-foot-2, 215-pound forward from St. Louis, Missouri.

All three are expected to attend Spirit training camp this fall.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Michigan players taken in NAHL draft

The Alpena IceDiggers and Traverse City North Stars participated in their first NAHL Entry Draft and each team selected five players during yesterday's conference call.

Alpena took Zach Barron (St. Louis Jr. B), Alex Handley (Clarkston High), Keith Manowske (Green Bay AAA), Tim Okicki (Cleveland Jr. B) and Ian Slater (Madison Capitals AAA).

The North Stars drafted Lucas Dubay (Quad City Jr. B), Kyle Jendra (Chicago Chill AAA), Daniel Lawson (Chicago Chill AAA), Jarrett Rush (Cobourg Cougars - OPJHL) and Mark Thompson (Davison High).

Other state players drafted by NAHL member teams:

Billings - Sam Ectles (Marquette AAA)

Bozeman - Shawn Hunwick (Victory Honda AAA)

Cleveland - Joe Greener (Soo AAA)
Cleveland - Mike Hull (HoneyBaked AAA)
Cleveland - Anthony Schooley (HoneyBaked AAA)

Fairbanks - Toby Brune (Soo AAA)

North Iowa - Shaun Fulton (Belle Tire AAA)
North Iowa - Austin Rugal (Belle Tire AAA)

Springfield (IL) - Brad Reck (Little Caesars AAA)

Springfield (MO) - Oliver Saint-Victor (Detroit Trackers AAA)

Texarkana - Kerry Bence (Belle Tire AAA)
Texarkana - Todd Pococke (HoneyBaked AAA)
Texarkana - Myles Williams (Soo AAA)

Texas - Andrew Rowe (Mona Shores High)

Youngstown - Tony Yearego (Belle Tire AAA)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Black Bears move to Big Bear Arena

After playing their first two seasons in St. Ignace at the Little Bear East Arena, the Northern Michigan Black Bears are moving into the Soo Indians' old digs, the Big Bear Arena in Sault Ste. Marie.

The Black Bears are members of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League.

Click here for the Black Bears' Web site.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

IceDiggers tender two more players

The Alpena IceDiggers have signed defensemen Evan Carrick and Eric Roman to tenders for the 2005-06 season.

Carrick (5-foot-11 and 185 pounds) is from Belle River, Ontario. This past season, he played for the Sun County (outside Windsor) Panthers major midgets and recorded 15 goals and 35 assists in 45 games. In 2003-04, he played for the Sun County midget minor team and had four goals and 35 assists and was invited to the Ontario Under-17 Camp.

Carrick, born April 22, 1988, is the youngest player protected by the IceDiggers to date.

Roman (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) is from Orchard Lake St. Mary's Prep School. He was team captain of St. Mary's last season and led the Eagles to the 2005 Michigan High School Divison III state championship. He was also invited to participate in the 2005 Prospects Tournament in Toronto.

Friday, May 13, 2005

USHL draft yields state-bred talent

The USHL held their annual entry draft yesterday and several prominent Michigan hockey players were selected by the 11 teams.

Defenseman Chad Morin of the U.S. National Team Development Program, based in Ann Arbor, went to the Clark Cup runner-up Sioux City Musketeers with the eighth pick of the first round. Soo Indians forward Ray Kaunisto went to the Clark Cup champion Cedar Rapids RoughRiders with the tenth pick of the first round. Kaunisto has committed to Northern Michigan for the 2006-2007 season.

Other players with Michigan ties with round and (overall pick):

2 (17) - Ben Ryan, F, Des Moines (Victory Honda AAA)
2 (19) - Frank Grzeszczak, D, Sioux City (HoneyBaked AAA)
2 (20) - Chad Langlais, D, Lincoln (Cranbrook Kingswood H.S.)

3 (25) - Patrick Tiesling, F, Sioux Falls (Marquette Electricians AAA)
3 (30) - Dustin Gazely, F, Sioux City (Compuware AAA)

4 (37) - Jon Madden, F, Indiana (Howell H.S.)
4 (38) - Derek Roehl, F, Lincoln, (Youngstown Phantoms - NAHL)
--Roehl is a Clinton Township native.
4 (40) - Kyle Page, D, Indiana, (Victory Honda AAA)
4 (43) - Scott Wietecha, D, Cedar Rapids (Victory Honda AAA)

6 (59) - Cody Reichard, G, Indiana (Capital Centre Pride AAA)

7 (71) - Michael Guzzo, F, Chicago (Victory Honda AAA)

8 (83) - Andrew Rowe, F, Sioux City (Mona Shores H.S.)

9 (92) - Brian Hogan, G, Lincoln (Catholic Central H.S.)

14 (110) - Matt Jones, F, Sioux City (Soo Indians - NAHL)

15 (119) - Travis Paeth, F, Waterloo (Mona Shores H.S.)
15 (122) - Bobby Reiners, D, Lincoln (Cranbrook Kingswood H.S.)

16 (128) - Tony Yearego, D, Indiana (Belle Tire AAA)

18 (150) - Harrison Niemann, F, Indiana (Catholic Central H.S.)
18 (152) - Anthony Schooley, F, Waterloo (HoneyBaked AAA)
18 (155) - Stephen Balint, F, Lincoln (Chilliwack Chiefs - BCHL)
--Balint is a Grosse Ile native.

20 (172) - Kevin Piepsney, F, Indiana (HoneyBaked AAA)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

NAHL commish hypes IceDiggers and North Stars

NAHL commissioner Mike Santos recently chatted with the fine people at and offered his take on the future of the NAHL with a heavy emphasis on the new Michigan teams in Alpena and Traverse City and what may happen in Sault Ste. Marie.

Read the interview here.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Clark Cup Finals featured Michigan natives

Sioux City’s Michigan Connection:
from L-R, Jimmy Spratt, Steven Kampfer,
assistant coach Marty Quarters, Corey Elkins and Jeff Zatkoff
Photo by Robert Meyer

The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders and Sioux City Musketeers went to a deciding Game 5 in the USHL Clark Cup Finals and the RoughRiders prevailed last night with a 4-1 win on home ice.

Sioux City won Game 4 Saturday night at home, 2-1 in overtime after Cedar Rapids took a 4-3 double-overtime win in Sioux City in Game 3. The teams split Games 1 and 2 in Cedar Rapids.

Both teams featured Michigan natives and all but one are college-bound.

For the Muskies, goalies Jimmy Spratt and Jeff Zatkoff are both Chesterfield natives and both will play for CCHA schools this fall. Spratt is off to Bowling Green while Zatkoff will play at Miami-Ohio.

Defenseman Steven Kampfer, a Jackson native, will attend Michigan in the fall of 2006 and forward Corey Elkins, from West Bloomfield, is going to Ohio State this fall.

On the RoughRiders' side of things, forward Justin Abdelkader (Muskegon) will head to Michigan State in a couple months and will be joined in the CCHA by Rochester's Alec Martinez, a defenseman, and West Bloomfield's Billy Loupee, a forward, as both will head to Miami. Another Cedar Rapids player, forward Gary Steffes (Grand Blanc) will head to Miami next fall.

Hulking Cedar Rapids forward Phil Axtell (6-foot-5 1/2, 260 pounds) is on his way to Michigan Tech in 2006 after playing from 2002-2004 with the Marquette Electricians midget major team up north.

Cedar Rapids forward Jon Grabarek is the lone Michigan player (Sterling Heights) not committed to the NCAA next year.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Whalers draft Petrecki, Spirit nab Torquato

In last Saturday's OHL Priority Selection, the Plymouth Whalers and Saginaw Spirit both made a splash in the first round by drafting blue-chip prospects.

The Whalers, at ninth overall, took defenseman Nick Petrecki while six picks earlier, Saginaw nabbed forward Zack Torquato.

Torquato will be in mid-Michigan this fall while Petrecki is reportedly 50-50 at this point as he told the Whalers, and the rest of the OHL, he'll stay home in New York this upcoming season with his Capital District Selects (EJHL) team.

Read about Saginaw's draftees here and Plymouth's here.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Indians end season, franchise with 5-2 win

Tornado repeat as NAHL champions

The Soo Indians closed out their ten-year run in the North American Hockey League with a 5-2 win over the host Bismarck (N.D.) Bobcats in the Gold Cup consolation game Saturday afternoon.

Though maybe a tad bittersweet, it was a win nonetheless.

"I think the guys just decided they were going to take advantage of this opportunity," Soo coach Joe Shawhan told the Bismarck Tribune. "It was nothing fancy, the guys just made good plays. They had good jump and good emotion."

Marty Gurnoe, Kellen Chamblee and Matt Jones scored power-play goals for the Indians and Ryan Ward and Drew Satterley (empty-net) completed the scoring.

Troy Redmann made 33 saves for the win.

"I think we lost a little confidence over the last couple days, but we know we're a pretty good hockey team," Shawhan said. "The guys were disappointed that we couldn't have done better here, but we're fortunate that things worked out this way. It was great to go out on a winning note."

In the Gold Cup championship game Saturday night, the Texas Tornado repeated as national champions with a 6-1 win over the Fargo-Moorhead Jets.