Rink and Run blog: Stapleton, Stalock, Cheverie, Ralph, Brown
Some Friday notes as the NCAA tournament prepares for the final game of the season Saturday with Wisconsin facing Boston College at Ford Field in Detroit.
Tim Stapleton has been returned to the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League after scoring two goals in six games with the Atlanta Thrashers. He has 58 points in 71 games with Chicago.
Alex Stalock's amazing rookie season with the Worcester (Mass.) Sharks has three games left in the regular season and he has a rookie franchise record 38 victories. The former Minnesota Duluth player will receive his AHL all-rookie team award Friday night at home as the Sharks meet Hartford. The Sharks lead the Atlantic Division at 48-23-3-3 for 102 points.
UMD recruit forward J.T. Brown finished the regular season as the scoring leader for Waterloo (Iowa) of the U.S. Hockey League. He had 34 goals and 43 assists for 77 points in 60 games. He finished third in league scoring and was one goal away from the goal-scoring leader. Brown had the only goal in a 2-1 opening playoff loss Wednesday at Green Bay. The best-of-five series resumes Friday in Green Bay.
Also from Brad Elliott Schlossman of the Grand Forks Herald: Ralph Engelstad Arena general manager Jody Hodgson says that if he gets his wish, the arena will not be changing anything, despite the State Board of Higher Education's ruling that North Dakota change its nickname and logo. Engelstad Arena is not part of the settlement with the NCAA and it is privately owned. The NCAA may not grant Englestad a regional if the logos stay, although Hodgson says he doesn't really care.
Also, as most folks know, Denver junior goalie Marc Cheverie, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association player of the year, signed with the NHL's Florida Panthers on Thursday and will forgo his final year of eligiibility. Cheverie, 23, from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, was a Florida seventh-round draft pick. Here's more from Mike Chambers of the Denver Post:
Goalie Marc Cheverie made it official Thursday: The heralded junior will forgo his final year of eligibility at the University of Denver to join the Florida Panthers.
Cheverie, who has been negotiating with the Panthers since DU was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on March 26, reached agreement with the NHL club on a two-year entry-level contract. He is the third Pioneer to leave the program early for the NHL in less than two weeks, and 15th since 2000.
Sophomore forward Joe Colborne and sophomore defenseman Patrick Wiercioch recently signed with Boston and Ottawa, respectively.
Florida selected Cheverie in the seventh round (193rd overall) of the 2006 NHL draft.
"We are very pleased to have reached a contract agreement with Marc," Florida general manager Randy Sexton said in a release. "He is very talented prospect who we believe will have a bright future in our organization."
Cheverie had a sensational junior season until the Pioneers lost their last three games, a stretch in which Cheverie allowed nine goals in less than seven periods. He finished 24-6-3 with 2.08 goals-against average and a .932 save percentage. He was named Western Collegiate Hockey Association player of the year and top-10 Hobey Baker Award finalist.
He leaves as Denver's all-time leader in career save percentage (.926) and shutout streak (223 minutes, 51 seconds). He is third in goals-against average (2.21) and fourth in shutouts (10).
"Marc established himself as the best goaltender in college hockey this season and is ready for professional hockey," DU coach George Gwozdecky said in a release. "He was our most valuable player the past two seasons and is one of the most competitive players I've coached."
Cheverie, unavailable for comment, is expected to graduate from in June.