Up North with the Thunder 10/1

Lots of news out of Glens Falls as the Thunder prepares to open training camp tomorrow:

Five players have been invited to training camp:

Caleb Cameron: 24-year-old forward attending his first professional camp after four years at R.I.T.

Jack Ceglarski: forward who made his pro debut with the Indy Fuel after finishing his senior year at SUNY Geneseo, appearing in 5 games and going scoreless.

Evan Neugold: center who is entering his second pro season after splitting last season in the SPHL with Columbus and Knoxville.

Nick Niedert: veteran journeyman goaltender who spent last season with Danbury in the FHL.  Since turning pro in 2004, he has played with 25 different teams in 8 different leagues. (If I counted right.  There were a few repeats on his resume.)

Mark Petaccio: second year pro forward who spent last season with four different teams after playing one year collegiately in Canada.

The first official player assignment came Sunday, as goaltender Nic Riopel was reassigned by Tampa Bay to the Thunder.  Riopel is under an AHL contract with Syracuse, and will be entering his second season as the official #3 goaltender on the Crunch depth chart.  The 28-year-old is no stranger to Glens Falls–he started his pro career with the Adirondack Phantoms in the 2009-10 season, making 10 appearances in net and going 4-6-0 with a 3.35 GAA and .893 save percentage.  The former Flyer 5th rounder would appear in 11 games for the Phantoms in 2010-11, but spent a majority of the season in ECHL Greenville.  After spending two seasons overseas, he returned to North America with Norfolk and Rapid City in 2015-16 before spending all of last season with Kalamazoo.  In 32 games for the Wings Riopel went 18-12-1 with a 3.13 GAA and .899 save percentage.

Four Thunder players–Tim Boyle, Pierre-Luc Mercier, Desmond Bergin, and Tim Harrison–are currently in Binghamton’s training camp.  Terrence Wallin was briefly at Crunch camp, but was released before Syracuse began their preseason slate.

For those who missed it…I have made a few guest appearances over on Raw Charge, the Tampa Bay SB Nation blog, educating Tampa/Syracuse fans about their unofficial affiliation:

-Back in August, a brief history of hockey in Glens Falls;

-Over the weekend, a two part series on the Thunder forwards and defensemen.

Finally, a sad note…

Just 15 days after he was honored by having the Cool Insuring Arena press box named for him, Dave Strader lost his battle with cancer earlier today.  A native of Glens Falls, Strader was the original voice of the Adirondack Red Wings in the late 1970s/early 1980s, then later would announce games for several NHL teams before joining NBC.  He was most recently the voice of the Dallas Stars before his diagnosis.

 

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Camping Updates 9/27

Following up on Sunday’s updates:

Syracuse and Utica both released their full camp rosters on Tuesday afternoon, with some interesting additions to both:

-The Crunch have invited veteran forward Jason Akeson to camp on a tryout, and also signed former Thunder forward Ty Loney and winger Troy Bourke to AHL contracts.  Thunder signee Terrence Wallin is in camp on an invite as well.

-Utica received the services of former Devil Reid Boucher, who cleared waivers earlier in the day.

-Also in Utica: The Aud is getting an updated name as part of their renovations, The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium.  The first event after renovations are completed will be Utica College’s home opener in late October, with the Comets to follow on November 1st.

After a split Monday with Ottawa and the Islanders, New Jersey finally made their first round of cuts to Binghamton Tuesday afternoon:

-Ben Thomson, Scott Wedgewood, and Bracken Kearns were placed on–and later cleared–waivers, while Mackenzie Blackwood, Brandon Baddock, Nathan Bastian, Brandon Gignac, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Kevin Rooney, Blake Speers, Yaroslav Dyblenko, Josh Jacobs, Michael Kapla, and Colton White are en route to the Southern Tier.  First day of camp will be on Thursday, with game action 24 hours later against the Penguins, who start their preseason against Hershey at home tonight.

Rooney was recalled to New Jersey on Wednesday, and is in the lineup on the 4th line as the parent Devils face Washington in their final preseason tuneup.

Sunday Funday Update 9/24

AHL camps are opening for business!

I always looked forward to when New Jersey–and Carolina too–would make their first round of cuts.  That meant it was almost time for my hockey season to truly begin.

Sigh…but not this time around.

Anyway…the show goes on for the rest of the league.

Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and Vancouver have all made their first round of cuts to their respective affiliates:

To Syracuse: Connor Ingram, Michael Leighton, Mat Bodie, Matt Spencer, Alex Gallant, Carter Verhaeghe, Kevin Lynch, Reid McNeill, Shane Conacher.  Jamie McBain is currently on waivers and will join this group once he clears tomorrow at noon.

To Rochester: Eric Cornel, Vaclav Karabacek, Steve Moses, Kevin Porter, Brycen Martin, Casey Nelson, Devante Stephens, Jason Kasdorf, Jonas Johansson, Adam Wilcox, Kyle Criscuolo, Hudson Fasching, C.J. Smith, Brendan Guhle.

To Utica: Michael Carcone, Yan-Pavel Laplante, Evan McEneny, Zack MacEwen, Griffen Molino, Ashton Sautner, Jordan Subban, Alexis D’Aoust, Aaron Irving, Brett McKenzie, Carter Bancks, Wacey Hamilton, Jaime Sifers, Danny Moynihan, Anton Cederholm, Mackenze Stewart.

New Jersey has yet to make any assignments to Binghamton.  The Devils will have two split squad games on Monday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders and in PEI for the Kraft Hockeyville matchup with Ottawa.

As for the camps themselves:

Syracuse kicks off their camp on Tuesday afternoon at the War Memorial. The Crunch will start their preseason slate on Saturday afternoon in Rome against Utica, then host the Comets on Sunday, October 1st.

Rochester will start their camp Monday afternoon at the Blue Cross Arena. They will take on Toronto Friday night at RIT, followed by a rematch on Saturday at HarborCenter in Buffalo.

Utica’s camp will begin this week (no dates available at press time), with the home and home series against Syracuse their only two preseason games scheduled.

No official information on when Binghamton’s camp will open is available.  They too have two preseason tilts, a home and home series with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton starting Friday in Pennsylvania, then finishing Sunday afternoon in the Southern Tier.

Meanwhile, another player has joined the fold in Adirondack:

On Friday, the Thunder acquired the rights to defenseman Desmond Bergin from Quad City for the ever popular future considerations.  Bergin will be starting his second professional season after spending all of last year with Greenville.  In 60 games, the native of Natick, MA scored 7 goals and assisted on 19 others.  He was traded by the Swamp Rabbits to Quad City for Jack Nevins on August 14th.  Before turning pro, he played collegiately at Harvard and spent one season in the USHL.

Preseason Wrap

And now, a brief summary of everything that happened over the last four days:

-On Thursday, the Devils kicked off their two game schedule with a 4-1 win in Wilkes-Barre over the Penguins.  Four different Devils–Jan Mandat, John Quenneville, Ben Sexton, and Ty Loney–would all score while on the power play.  Mackenzie Blackwood drew the start and stopped 23 of 24 shots to pick up the win in net.

-Add two from New Jersey to the training camp roster on Friday, as Nick Lappin and Joe Blandisi were sent down.

-On Saturday, six players were released from their tryout deals: goaltender Andy Iles, defensemen Connor Hardowa and Alexander Kuqali, and forwards Ty Loney, Joe Pendenza, and Brian Ward.

-Sunday afternoon the Devils finished out their preseason schedule on a high note, shutting out Hartford 2-0 in Connecticut.  Ken Appleby stopped all 26 Wolfpack shots, while Brian Gibbons and Rod Pelley each scored.  Karl Stollery added two assists.

Coming up this week: once rosters are finalized and those that need to come down clear waivers, I will post that and get you set up for how I’ll be covering everything this season.

Tuesday Updates…

Two days into Albany’s training camp, and already there has been some movement:

-On the first day of camp, four players ended up back on recall to New Jersey: defensemen Vojtech Mozik and Karl Stollery, and forwards Blake Pietila and Blake Coleman.  While Stollery was the extra defenseman in Monday’s 4-3 loss to the Islanders in Brooklyn, Coleman and Pietila played on the fourth line with Rod Pelley, while Mozik was paired with rookie Steve Santini.

-Earlier today, forward Brian Gibbons, who was in camp with New Jersey as a tryout, officially signed a 1 year AHL contract.

-Also today: Coleman, Pietila, Mozik, and Stollery were all sent down to Albany, along with Pelley and defenseman Brandon Gormley, who had stayed behind as an extra after the first round of cuts Saturday.

With two games left in New Jersey’s preseason, the parent Devils have a total of 30 players remaining in camp: 4 goaltenders, 17 forwards, and 9 defensemen.

Welcome to October!

First, a PSA to everyone who started whining for October as far back as April…it’s here.  So SHUT UP TILL NEXT SUMMER!

Okay, now that I got that out of my system, let’s get to the task at hand, shall we?

-Albany’s training camp will officially open for business on Monday morning in Troy.  Why at the practice rink and not the Times Union Center?  Well…between the Professional Bull Riders Tour and the annual circus visit coming in over the next two weeks, there’s no ice to practice on.  So…the wait for the official game ice continues till at least Columbus Day.

As for who will be in camp?  Yesterday, 8 players were given invites:

Patch AlberA local product (born and raised in Clifton Park), the defenseman split last season between Missouri and Adirondack, where he posted 30 assists in 66 games.  He has yet to make his AHL debut, only playing in the ECHL (also played in Elmira for a season and a half) upon completing a four year career at Boston College.  He re-signed with Adirondack during the offseason.

Mathieu Brodeur: You may remember this defenseman from his two game stint for the Devils late last season.  Outside of those two games, he spent all of last season with Adirondack, scoring 9 goals and assisting on 21 others in 70 games.  He also made 12 playoff appearances, scoring twice.  He is slated to return to Adirondack for his second season.

Connor Hardowa: A native of Edmonton, the defenseman spent last season in Utah (ECHL), picking up 13 points (3 G, 10 A) in 43 appearances.  He has little AHL experience, appearing in 2 games for Abbotsford in 2012-13 upon finishing his collegiate career at New Hampshire, and 5 games for Texas in 2014-15.  He has an ECHL deal with Manchester.

Andy Iles: The goaltender spent last season with three different ECHL teams (Atlanta, Brampton, and Cincinnati), going 19-14-4 with a 2.93 GAA and a save percentage of .898.  He also has yet to make his AHL debut, and is under contract with Elmira.

Alexander Kuqali: You may remember Kuqali as one of New Jersey’s invites during the Prospects Challenge in Buffalo a couple of weekends ago.  I had said earlier he could be a possibility if extra bodies were needed.  He is under contract with Florida (ECHL, not the Panthers).

Ty LoneyThe token former Penguin of the group (there’s always at least one!), he split last season between Wheeling and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, picking up 6 assists in 31 games for the Pens, and 7 goals/11 assists in 28 games for the Nailers.  He appeared in 5 games for Norfolk (when they were still AHL) in 2014-15 after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Denver.  He is under contract with Adirondack.

Joseph Pendenza: The center has spent his professional career split between Milwaukee and Cincinnati.  Last season, he scored 10 goals in 29 games for Cincinnati, and picked up 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 45 games for the Admirals.

Brian Ward: The only true rookie of the group, he made his professional debut at the end of last season, picking up one game with Charlotte upon completing 3 years with St. Lawrence.  He has an ECHL deal with Adirondack.

-Before New Jersey plays their fifth preseason game against the Rangers at The Rock, the first wave of cuts were announced:

Back to their respective junior teams: goaltender Evan Cormier (Saginaw); defensemen Colby Sissons (Swift Current) and Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie); and forwards Nathan Bastian (Mississauga), Brandon Gignac (Shawinigan), and Mikey MacLeod (Mississauga).

To Albany: goaltenders Ken Appleby and Mackenzie Blackwood; defensemen Josh Jacobs and Vojtech Mozik; and forwards Brandon Baddock, Blake Coleman, Brian Gibbons, Ryan Kujawinski, Jan Mandat, Max Novak, Blake Pietila, John Quenneville, Kevin Rooney, Ben Sexton, and Ben Thomson.

To Albany, once they pass through waivers: defensemen Brandon Gormley, Andrew MacWilliam, Reece Scarlett, and Karl Stollery; and forward Carter Camper.

Notables still up in New Jersey: Nick Lappin (after I witnessed his two goal performance Monday night in Newark, not shocked), Joe Blandisi, Seth Helgeson to name a few.  Rod Pelley was part of Saturday’s morning skate group, but expect him back in Albany shortly.

But the most important news of the week?  The River Rats are making a comeback!  Well…sort of.  The Devils announced on Thursday that on November 26th (vs. Rochester) and March 25th (vs. Providence), the team will be wearing River Rat sweaters as part of special Throwback Nights.  The jerseys will be signed and auctioned off after the second contest.

Back to Work!

Tomorrow, a new season begins.

Earlier today, New Jersey released their full training camp roster:

Goaltenders: Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, Mackenzie Blackwood, Ken Appleby, Evan Cormier, Anders Lindback (PTO).

Defensemen: John Moore, Andy Greene, Jon Merrill, Ben Lovejoy, Damon Severson, Brandon Gormley, Yohann Auvitu, Steve Santini, Seth Helgeson, Reece Scarlett, Andrew MacWilliam, Karl Stollery, Vojtech Mozik, Josh Jacobs, Colton White, Colby Sissons (tryout).

Forwards: Beau Bennett, Taylor Hall, Mike Cammalleri, Adam Henrique, Reid Boucher, Jacob Josefson, Travis Zajac, Luke Gazdic, Kyle Palmieri, Brian Gibbons (PTO), Devante Smith-Pelly, Nick Lappin, Pavel Zacha, Vernon Fiddler, Blake Coleman, Michael McLeod, Ben Thomson, Miles Wood, John Quenneville, Ben Sexton, Carter Camper, Rod Pelley, Sergey Kalinin, Brandon Baddock, Ryan Kujawinski, Blake Pietila, Jan Mandat, Kevin Rooney, Max Novak, Brandon Gignac, Nathan Bastian, Joe Blandisi, Blake Speers.

Notice one big name missing from this list?  For the first time in quite a long time, no Patrik Elias.  Kind of sad for me, considering I still remember him as a River Rat nearly 20 years ago (yeah, I’m old).

A few names to keep an eye on for possible Albany roster spots:

-Gibbons, another former Penguin, spent all of last season in Hartford, picking up 23 points (6 goals, 17 assists) in 63 games.  He has 66 games worth of NHL experience with Pittsburgh in 2013-14 and Columbus in 2014-15, scoring 5 goals.

Sexton was signed to an AHL contract earlier this afternoon.  He spent last season with Providence, appearing in 29 games and picking up 5 points (4 goals, 1 assist).  Prior to joining the Bruins, he spent four years at Clarkson.

-Sissons was the only tryout from the Prospects Challenge to earn an invite to camp.  But with his age (18), don’t expect to see him anytime soon.

-But two signings today may affect the Albany roster late this season or the beginning of next season: Blake Speers and Colton White both signed entry level contracts.  They will return to Sault Ste. Marie in the OHL if they don’t crack New Jersey’s roster.

Everyone will report tomorrow for photos, physicals, first media meetings, etc.  Friday will see the first day on ice, in preparation for Monday’s preseason debuts at home and in Montreal.