Army West Point Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie: Part of something special

Photo Credit: Army West Point Athletics

Army West Point Hockey Associate Head Coach Zach McKelvie has a distinguished career as one of the most complete defenders to play at Army West Point, a leader off the ice during his time as a cadet athlete, and as an elite human, of the type that Brian Riley and his staff go out of their way to bring on campus. That campus visit is how he was sold on the idea of coming to West Point. As he said, “at the time I was playing for the Bozeman Ice Dogs in the North American Hockey League, then Coach Riley and his staff had called me and invited me for a visit.. as soon as I came on campus I was sold.” He values service to others and being a person that plays for those around him, rather than playing with them. Head Coach Brian Riley has talked about this value before, and it is one that is at the center of Army Hockey culture, and arguably part of what West Point tries to teach the value of to the thousands of future leaders that go on to lead the American Soldier on a yearly basis.

He also is forever thankful to the Boston Bruins for waiting for him for two years. Jim Benning and Peter Chiarelli trekked to Brian Riley’s office and noted their delight in McKelvie as a person and a player. He ended up playing for a short time as a professional, finishing on the ice as he is off it, a champion. He won the Kelly cup with the Alaska Aces in 2014. McKelvie credits the Bruins, and the numerous supporters he had, as he said, “for them to stick with me while i was taking time off from hockey… was something special”, and “It means a tremendous amount to me that they stuck with me.”

One thing McKelvie, and Riley drive home continuously to all professional teams, and recruits is that their cadet athletes can play professionally upon graduation. Thanks to a recent policy change, Army has its previous captain, Dominic Franco playing at the AHL level for the Rochester Americans. Zack hopes to see Trevin Kozlowski benefit from that. The All American goaltender has offers from multiple teams, and is continuously honing his skills in net at Tate Rink before he graduates. Should Kozlowski return, he will be a graduate assistant for the team next year. Like a very famous West Point Graduate, Mike Krzyzewski, Trevin has jokingly taken to being called Coach K. Both possess an uncanny ability to lead others, and mentor the team, and regardless of where Trevin ends up, the mark he left on Army Hockey is an indelible one that will inspire many who come to West Point after Trevin graduates in May. As McKelvie said of what Trevin brings to any group off the ice “he’s going to make any organization’s culture better.”

As for McKelvie, he is the lead recruiter for Riley’s group, and takes pride in what he does. He finished his career on the ice as a champion, and likes recruiting players with winning backgrounds. Two commits to Army West Point that could be there this fall won the Dineen Cup with the Jersey Hitmen playing for their NCDC team in the USPHL. Two integral players in turning around Army West Point as a program, Tyler Pham and Mike Preston, finished their time as Clark Cup Champions with the Indiana Ice. There are numerous examples of the value of winning in building a group. As Zach said, “I don’t think skill can replace guys that know how to win.” He noted the influence of his former colleague and current AIC Head Coach Eric Lang in saying “he taught me how to connect with players… he’s definitely shaped my recruiting philosophy, and I think his influence is still felt here.”

That same philosophy of finding good humans and people, combined with the natural restrictions Army West Point has, helped McKelvie and his twin brother (and former assistant, and now head coach at Bethel University at the Division three level) Chris find Colin Bilek, the second best goal scorer in the country this past season. As Zach noted, Chris said to him upon first seeing him play with the Northeast Generals, “‘ “we are not going to lose games with this kid.” Zach praised the honesty of Bryan Erikson and Matt Dibble of the Generals, and positively talked about Erikson noting the value Bilek brings, ” nobody was recruiting Colin, and I give Bryan a ton of credit for pushing us to keep watching him.” His relationship with the Generals is common across the league, especially in the East Division. He praised the North American Hockey League, calling it an “honest league” that develops its players well for their next step in life, both on and off the ice.

As for the decision McKelvie made to come back and be a coach at Army West Point “It took me less than a day to decide that I want to be a part of the program and it was a perfect decision to go back to West Point.” The lead recruiter for this team shares a passion for the success of everyone, and embodies the culture that the Riley family has worked for many decades to build.

To sum up what McKelvie thinks of the entire group that took the Black Knights program to new heights this season, he said of the team success this year, “everybody played an equal part.” Expect McKelvie to tell incoming recruits of all of the success that this senior class had, and further build the tradition at Army West Point. With the recruiting dead period projected to end potentially as early as June, he will be back recruiting players around the country, especially in the NAHL, where the Black Nights find a lot of quality players, like Bilek, that often can be overlooked by other schools. The team will soon gather for their year end awards banquet where the senior captains from this historic group will announce the leaders for next season.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Liam McCanney: Humility and growth on and off the ice

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Current Northeast Generals’ forward Liam McCanney did not know much about junior hokey before Bryan Erikson (current head coach of the Generals, and at that time was also the general manager too) offered him a spot on his NAHL team. As Liam said ” I was pretty shocked.” when Erikson offered him a spot on the team’s camp roster via a tender with a chance to earn a main roster spot that fall . From there, as Liam said of the journey which has him on the verge of earning a scholarship to play Division One College hockey, of his time in juniors “I never really knew what juniors were… I really didn’t think I was going to go play juniors…. Here we are now. “

On the ice, McCanney has consistently developed year-over-year for the Generals, contributing in previous seasons 12 points, 32 points, and then this year 33 points. He models his game after a center on his favorite team, the Philadelphia Flyers. He tries to bring the same traits to Attleboro that Travis Konecny brings to the Flyers. As Liam said, him and Konecny each provide some defensive chops, and know how to throw checks around. On his own abilities Liam said ” “I’ve got a little grittiness to myself as well.”

On his game, Erikson the following of Liam’s journey

“This is Liam’s third year with us. He had grown so much as a player and a person. He has always had excellent speed and has worked hard. But he was able to improve how to use his speed, create deception and more separation from defenders. Each year he has developed his scoring ability. First year he was more of a hard forechecker who blocked shots and finished every hit. Since then he has kept those traits and improved them while also learning to drive to the back post more in order to generate goals. He is now a threat to score a goal on every shift. Just a great kid who does everything we ask, kills penalties better than most kids in the league, understands what it takes to be successful and puts the work in to reach his goals. Liam is a world class kid and hockey player that will make some team look very smart for grabbing him.”

Personifying the “world class kid” Liam is, we asked what people should know about him. He could have said anything he wanted, but chose arguably the most humble answer, simply saying ” I don’t even know what to say about myself.” The mere fact that he choose to adress that question in that fashion speaks volumes to his humility and willingness to play for others on the Generals more than play with them.

Going forward, Liam is not yet sure what he wants to study in college, but knows business and criminal justice are at the top of the potential majors list under consideration. He could change his mind from that, as he is open to more career choices as well.

Of the type of home he wants to go to, he wants one with a similar loyalty to what Erikson has showed him for the past three seasons. Liam said that of an ideal coaching staff that he is looking for ” “one that takes the time to help each player get better as a player and as a person.”

Like his roommate, Jonathan Young, McCanney is focusing on the day-to-day of helping his team get to the playoffs more than obsessing over which schools will and will not talk to him. The list of teams interested is growing, and McCanney’s desire to earn a playoffs matchup similar to his first year in juniors remains. He wants to earn the right to face Johnstown in the first round and to get a chance to experience the electric atmosphere at Johnstown’s games in the playoffs one more time. To get there, they will have to win the vast majority of their remaining games against the Black Bears of Maryland. As he said of the team’s approach, starting this weekend, “we’re going to play every game like it is our first round.”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Danbury returns the favor, defeating the Northeast Generals 8-3: Now What?

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Tonight, the Generals came up on the wrong side of an 8-3 result against the Junior Hat Tricks of Danbury. The Generals got off to a good start, scoring the first two goals before the Junior Hat Tricks put together a superb second period, and handed them the same fate they were given by Bryan Erikson’s group last Friday night .

Erikson had this to say on a positive takeaway from this tough game.

” Only real positive we take is that it’s clear when we play simple smart hockey we win. When we play individually and selfishly we have periods like the 2nd. A loss is only real bad if you don’t learn from it. And the way the boys battled I think they got the message.”

In that second period, the Generals conceded goals in different ways, all brought on, in part by a Jr. Hat Tricks team able to get to the dangerous areas of the ice. Hugo Haas fought valiantly, but had to face a lot more top end chances than he did a night ago, and he could not save his team tonight. With that said, his ability to battle and stay calm was a constant even in the face of the force of the offense coming against him.

Going forward, Erikson stressed the need for a short memory, saying

” Continue to work and just focus on the next game. It’s 1 loss. Lose by 12 or lose by 1 they count the same. Only bad loss is one you don’t get anything out of and we have smart enough guys to get that message.”

He added ” back to work.”

This week, Erikson and his staff will work on further honing the transition game and winning battles along the walls. Over these last two games, Danbury outplayed the Generals in both of those areas, and for the Generals to make a playoff run, they have to be ready next week. They play the Black Bears of Maryland next weekend, and will look to get back to their recent winning ways as they battle for a playoff spot.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Generals grow into 6-1 win over Jr. Hat Tricks: Now what

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Tonight, the Northeast Generals were the better team against the Danbury Junior Hat Tricks. With the amount of games in hand Maryland and Danbury have, the Generals have to get as many points as they can down the stretch to have a chance to make the NAHL playoffs.

Initially, the Junior Hat Tricks came out with a strong push. Hugo Haas made one of his 44 saves early on a breakaway that would have altered the course of the game a mere 1:17 into the the game. From that point, despite getting outshot, the Generals slowly and methodically took control of the game.

As Head Coach Bryan Erikson said of Haas and his team ” Hugo bailed us out early but the boys turned it on and Gordon came up huge with a goal on a great play from Matt Yeager and Kyle Schroeder. Sign of a team getting better is leading after one after being out played…Hugo is just so good and calm in net. Such a luxury to have him back there and not worry about those types of breakdowns in front of him. He was just great in net but that save in the first set a tone for our guys that they could be aggressive and he would have their backs.”

Tonight, the fourth line was the catalyst for the Generals. They model their game on Erikson’s style of playing a tough, physical brand of hockey that moves the puck forward with a purpose. Ryan Gordon’s two goals to open the scoring ledger for the Generals proved decisive, and the fourth line, for Erikson were the first standouts tonight as he said ” That line was our best line by a lot. Matt Yeager was so good on the forecheck tonight and on the wall in the D zone. He made a ton of good plays. Kyle Schroeder was a beast as usual, going a million miles an hour, finishing hits all over the ice. And Ryan Gordon just keeps getting better. He has earned everything he has gotten. He has simplified his game, which has a ton of skill in it, to become a more 200 foot guy. And he is good in tight. Real happy for him and the rest of that line. A huge reason we have been on a little bit of a roll.”

In addition to the fourth line, Erikson took the time to praise some of his other skaters who still brought a lot to the group, even if they did not put up the gaudy numbers of some of their teammates. As he said, again giving his team all of the credit for their work ” Kyle Schroeder of course. But Matt Sutter made some huge hits, and took some huge hits and just keeps going. I thought some of our 00’s weren’t as good as usual but they got pretty dirty tonight. Tyler Cooper is a good example of a guy that didn’t have his A game but kept his feet moving and created offense. Jonathan Young wasn’t at his best but was still a monster on the forecheck and PK. He did some real good and simple things. When the hands aren’t working or are off you can still affect the game with your legs and your stick. Same goes for Liam McCanney and Hunter Olson who were hard to play against tonight.” All of those players had a hand in limiting quality looks for Danbury. Despite outshooting the Generals, the Junior Hat Tricks had less high quality looks than Erikson’s group did.

Finally, while Erikson noted the value of the team’s work in practice on improving transitions through the neutral zone, and finished with one thing to build on in the series finale against the Jr. Hat Tricks tomorrow night. As he said, the team did a good job with their flow through the neutral zone and drawing defenders out of position. That territorial advantage contributed to Gordon’s Goals, Adam Smith’s two goals, and a lot more of the success of the team tonight. For them to repeat this result tomorrow, or improve on it, Erikson noted that ” We need to be better through the neutral zone and harder on our sticks. We also have to limit the odd man rushes. They do a great job of pushing guys behind our D and we need to have a much better F3 on the forecheck and D that are more aware of when to pinch and when to back off.” Throughout Danbury’s early push, the Generals were giving them too much opportunity to waltz into the zone, and get good looks. For the finale tomorrow night, keep an eye on how the Generals limit their turnovers, and create flowing hockey the other way.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Sixten is a Gen: More on Sixten Jennersjo Tendering with the Generals

Recently, the Northeast Generals got a commitment from Sixten Jennersjo to join their group next year. The Long Island University commit will further refine his game under the tutelage of Bryan Erikson in the 2021-2022 season. The path just to get him to come to Attleboro was tough. As Erikson said of the process to get him to pick the Generals, it was” very very competitive. He was very sought after. As all good players are. And we were happy he decided to join us.”

Playing for the U18 team this year at Mount St. Charles Academy, he has 39 points in 23 games. What stands out for Sixten as a player is his vision. He projects as a high-level two way forward who can score points in many ways, and one that, like Erikson’s group he has now, focuses on doing the needed work to get better each day.

From his U18 coach Matt Plante ” Sixten is developing into a pure goal scorer and is really just starting to scratch the surface of his potential. Sixten possesses a lethal shot and release, for sure one of his biggest assets. He is also evolving into a very well-rounded player. He is proving to be very responsible in all 3 zones and is someone we can utilize in all situations, even strength and on special teams. He understands how to play with structure and how that benefits his game and the consistency of implementing good habits and attention to doing the little things well continues to grow in his game. Sixten works hard on refining all the intricate little details in his game. As he continues to mature mentally and physically and think the game faster as well as becoming more explosive and adding another step to his game physically his upside is tremendous. We certainly feel that Sixten has the potential to have a significant impact at the Division 1 college level and possibly beyond that depending on how he continues to develop. For as good as Sixten is on the ice and putting the puck in the net he’s an even better person off the ice. He is an absolute pleasure to work with. He’s very respectful, intelligent, inquisitive and he is very honest with himself, his teammates and his coaches. We all enjoy his sense of humor too.”

Given the pair of tenders that have already committed to the Generals before Sixten, forward Jared Scott and defenseman Patrick Geary, both of whom are drawing Division One interest, and Sixten’s addition, Erikson already is getting in place a talented group that will look to build on their accomplishments from this season. All three of them are expected to move on to play at the Division One Level one day.

With veteran netminder Hugo Haas in net, and the scores of returning scorers they have coming back, the Generals should garner some attention of the league early on next season, if they can keep building and improving to finish out this one. General Manager Matt Dibble, and Erikson already have a deep roster coming back, and Sixten’s addition gives them another competitor ready to put his best foot forward as he develops into the goal-scoring, defensibly responsible forward that Plant, Erikson, Dibble, Long Island, and many more see that the Ekero, Sweden native can be. With the group’s ability to bond relatively fast, the sense of humor that Sixten has also projects to be a welcome addition to the group for next season.

The Generals head on the road to face off against the Jr. Hat Tricks of Danbury twice this weekend as both teams are trying to gain ground in their playoff race.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Jonathan Young- A dependable Northeast General looking for his NCAA home

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Family, honesty, and growth. If you could string together three words that describe the most important things to North East Generals’ forward Jonathan Young, those three sum up the values of one of the most consistent players on the Generals. Young is so humble about his NAHL career, he did not even realize that he was about to hit the 100 point milestone until his mom Karen told him a few days before he did it against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.

Young enjoys being only an hour away from his family in New Hampshire. They attend his games whenever possible. Young’s singular most favorite food is Karen’s chicken parmesan (it would be his last meal, if he could eat anything). As homemade chicken parmesan is considered to be reliably a source of strength and comfort for those who enjoy it, Young’s consistency this year has been a source of comfort to Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson. Under his tutelage Young has turned himself into a reliable, and dependable two way forward who models himself on the game of his favorite player on his favorite team, Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins. Now he is in the final stretch of figuring out where he will play next year. As of now, all of the schools interested in him are Atlantic Hockey schools, which all play a rugged game chock full of players with the upside, potential, skill and talent like Young’s. On choosing his school, Young said it best on where he wants to go saying he would like to be “somewhere I’ll play… and somewhere where I can set myself up for the rest of my life.” He is undecided on a major but has interest in being an entrepreneur following his hockey career, and plans on taking business classes as part of his academic journey in college.

On how Erikson has helped him grow, Young said “I’ve probably never played for a coach like him before.” Young will forever cherish his experience with the Generals program as great. He is looking to join a college with a similar feel to the Generals. He wants to play for whichever school will give him the best chance to thrive, and an atmosphere that feels like home to him, similar to what Erikson and the Generals have done for him. He praised the #CommitJYoung campaign started by current General Manager Matt Dibble. Every time Young dazzles on the ice, the team highlights it with the hashtag. In most any other year, most players with Young’s pedigree would have some sort of scholarship offer in hand and a commitment made. He acknowledged how tough the extra year of eligibility for all players who played the college game this year has made things for players with a 2000 birth year. With that said, he and the Generals are undeterred in helping him find his next home. When he was also the general manager Erikson saw the future potential in Young that colleges are seeing now. In addition, Erikson was effusive and detailed of his growth saying the following

“Jonathan was always a player I coveted. Big, can skate and can rip the puck. The one knock on him was that he was just a goal scorer. That he didn’t use his size. And I felt with the way we emphasize the forecheck he could thrive in those areas of his game that needed work. But I think as he matured so did his game. I also believe that the relationship he has with the organization has helped him. He trusts us. We asked him to change his game a little and he bought in completely. He is now very very physical, has learned to be a great penalty killer, is a weapon on the Power Play and is a guy I rely on in the defensive zone. Those are parts of his game that he maybe wasn’t forced to do before. But he has come here and worked so incredibly hard both on and off the ice to improve. I am so proud of him as a person. Just a wonderful kid that craves knowledge. Always reading, always wanting to get more knowledgeable about whatever the topic is, space, science, history, habit building you name it. Just a curious kid that works hard at everything and you are seeing that hard work pay off with his production on the ice. He is not only going to be a very successful division 1 hockey player he is going to be an extremely successful person.”

As for what Young wants to accomplish with the Generals in his final games of junior hockey. He still sees potential in a group looking to extend its win streak to five this weekend in their two game road trip to Danbury. As he said of this group, featuring a team that has spent most of its year on the road “I think we could do something special this year.”

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Here come the Generals: Northeast earns home sweep with 5-1 win over Danbury

Photo Credit-Patrick Garriepy-Patrick Garriepy Photography

Every coach we have interviewed has articulated a version of what Northeast Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson came right out and said tonight, of his general coaching philosophy.

“All of the blame should go to me and all the credit should go to the players.”

Tonight, there was plenty of credit to go around for all as Erikson’s group, the Northeast Generals look to be trending in the right direction. They earned a 5-1 win tonight over the Junior Hat Tricks of Danbury in a needed win to get back into the playoff hunt. AIC recruit Hugo Haas finished with 34 saves on 35 shots faced. He kept his group in the game, even making 16 saves in a sterling third period to secure the win. As Erikson said about Hugo’s play,” there’s the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings in the building and hopefully they like what they saw. “Haas was, as his head coach said ” in control” all night, and the only goal he conceded came on a net-front deflection on the power play. After that, the Junior Hat Tricks could not solve the Opava, Czech Republic native’s abilities in net.

As to the players in front of Haas, tonight’s result kind of dovetailed with Erikson, and his staff’s mission to help get players on their last year of junior hockey a commitment in the college ranks. The staff is currently working to get its scoring leader Jonathan Young a Division One scholarship, and is running the #CommitJYoug hashtag on Twitter to highlight his achievements. Tonight, he had his 14th goal of the campaign, and was plus two, as the Generals did not give up a goal at even strength. He plays a defensively responsible game, and brings some physical power to his game that will play well initially on a bottom six role next season at the next level. His path in junior hockey, including winning the Dineen Cup with the Islanders Hockey Club at the NCDC level of the USPHL, has been a long and winding one. His resolve to keep focusing, as Erikson likes to do ” on the next game.” is a reason why Young stands on the cusp of playing at the next level.

Multiple other uncommitted players scored tonight. Ricky Boysen put home his third goal in two games, and has steadily provided the Generals another two way presence that focuses on consistent development. The Generals had five different goal scorers tonight, and Boysen’s line was one of the more noticeable groups on the ice tonight.

Quietly, from the back end, Alexander Tertyshny put up two assists and played the brand of hockey AIC will soon see. He played an intelligent game, and helped Haas by leading his defense in limiting shot quality, if not the volume of them.

Going forward, Erikson credits the hire of Matt Dibble as the General Manager for the suceess of the Generals as of late. Dibble’s additions to the team, combined with the striaght forward philosophy of his group, and the buy in of the players for the recent sucess of the team. While they have a way to go in order to make the playoffs, Erikson sees the bigger picture. He runs a program built around good people. As Erikson said, his” focus is on us getting better everyday…. my job is to get kids to be really good college hockey players and really good people.. I want them to be impact people.”

The impact people in this program, that have finally had a home weekend after playing their last 32 games on the road, combined with its leadership are how this group will progress the rest of the season. If the Generals stick to what works for them, playing a relentless puck-hunting style of offense with a sound system on the back end, they still have time to make things interesting in their division. The next chance to do so comes on the road April 9 against the same Danbury team.

The Northeast Generals head to their next goal after an 8-3 win

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy- Patrick Garriepy Photography

The Northeast Generals of the North American Hockey League have to elevate their game. They are on the outside looking in for a spot in the Robertson Cup playoffs this spring, and have begun to elevate their game to a playoff level. A team that played 27 straight games on the road, finally got to play in front of a small home crowd at the New England Sports Village against another battling team, the Danbury Junior Hat Tricks 8-3.

For Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson, the line with Jonathan Young on it was his best. David Andreychuck put home two goals, Johnathan Young also added one, and was, for Erikson the best player on the ice. The team is currently running a #CommitJYoung campaign to implore the Division One schools in need of a power forward with the ability to put up points in bunches. He lived up to the campaign tonight, and has plenty of accolades in his NAHL career to merit more consideration.

As Erikson said ” To me Jonathan Young was the best player on the ice. And he has been for a while. He plays so hard every shift, hits, kills penalties, and scores. He is a great skater has an NHL shot. We feel we have a few D1 kids on this roster that aren’t committed but Jonathan Young is an absolute stud that is not only a D1 hockey player but a very GOOD D1 hockey player. Our kids have success at the next level that is proven. He will be no exception.”

Of his team, they have begun to gel recently towards the end of their time playing 27 road games in a row before returning home. They have come back a couple of times as they did tonight, going 2-0 down before putting home six unanswered goals on the road to their 8-3 win.

Erikson kept it simple and said ” I just think we are becoming more mentally tough. It’s been a long year with road game after road game. Guys are still bought in completely and we just focus on the next goal. That is all we ever talk about. The next goal.”

Of Rickey Boysen and Andreychuck, the Generals with two goals, Erikson said ” Ricky Boysen has been great for me for 2 years. Had a short handed goal and a power play goal , just an absolute gamer. Battled injuries this year and just keeps going. Finishes hit, blocks shots, you name it he does it. David Andreychuk is a very very good hockey player. Smooth, works hard, tons of skill and great vision.”

For tomorrow, the Generals will have some things to work on, these are areas of improvement the staff will focus on, according to Erikson who said of what needs to improve,” Discipline. We need to be more disciplined in our forecheck, in the D zone and in the neutral zone. I thought we were sloppy. I think we need to focus on the small things and we will have success. We have 7 out of 8 points in our last 4 games. Trending in the right direction and just need to stay focused on the little things.”

Regardless of the improvements, which Erikson and his staff will stress, the growing strength of this team is clear. Saying that a group is focused only on the next goal is often considered a cliché. Erikson’s group has bought into that in a year with so many things going on, in the middle of the pandemic. They are all truly focused on the next goal, which is beating Danbury tomorrow night.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Alexander Tertyshny: Learning, growing, and leading

Photo Credit: Patrick Garriepy- Patrick Garriepy Photography

Alexander Tertyshny has been on a unique path in his hockey life. The son of Flyers defenseman Dmitri, he never got to know him as Dmitri passed away in a tragic boating accident shortly before Alexander was born, following a breakout rookie season in the league, but still has left a legacy Tertyshny is following on. Like his father, Alexander is a puck moving defender with an ability to make others around him better. One thing that stands out about his father’s ascent to the NHL was his persistence. Dmitri took a spot on the Flyers with his play and earned a full season in the biggest league in the world.

Initially, Alexander did not want to play hockey, the first day his family put skates on him he cried. That did not last long, as he soon wanted to skate around with his friends. Before too long, he, like Dmitri ended up at defense. He enjoys the cerebral aspect to being a defender, and having the versatility to impact so many parts of the game. For inspiration and guidance, he still watches Dmitri’s games and to this day continues to learn from his father. He has spent most of his life in America, summering in Chelabyinsk, as his mom soon had help from his grandmother to raise Alexander after his father’s accident.

In his time in Pennsylvania, Alexander always knew that he would play hockey. He saw his first college hockey game in the 2013 National Championship between Yale and Quinnipiac in Pittsburgh. He remembered the speed and environment. As for his family, well they always wanted him to go the college route. As Alexander said “the deciding factor was… my mom said that Dmitri wanted to raise him in the states, get a college education, and be set for life beyond college hockey.” In addition he added that, “I kind of want to inspire more Russian players to get over here.”

After his high school career ended at Choate Rosemary Hall, he went back to his father’s hometown and put together two superb years (one full season, and one partial season) for the MHL team in his family’s hometown Belye Medvedi. They are the developmental juniors team associated with Traktor Chelabyinsk in the KHL, the program that produced current Washington center, Evgeni Kuznetsov. There, he drew the attention of many teams in the college game, but chief among them was American International College. He praised the work of former Associate Head Coach, Stephen Wiedler in building the needed trust over multiple seasons, starting after his time at Choate Rosemary Hall was finishing during his time in the MHL.

The best example of this is in how they communicated. Wiedler did not know the popular social media app, Whatsapp was the best way to communicate with Alexander, and after some time downloaded it in and learned a new app to communicate with a recruit for a school he is not still at . He now is an assistant at Vermont.

As to why he is joining AIC, Alexander noted a lot of reasons, but they centered around the ascendancy of the program, combined with its strong international background. He noted that alumnae Patrik Demel reached out to him on joining AIC, among others. As Alexander said ” AIC is just full of really good guys.” He also noted similar paths to play in the KHL that alum Janis Jaks took, combined with the feel of the campus. It all fit for him, so he decided to become a Yellow Jacket.

Like his father, Alexander likes to control the pace of the game, and set the tone for his team on the ice. During his time with the Northeast Generals, he has done that, playing a leadership role for the group since he got to the team in a trade deadline deal with Corpus Christi. While he can play the forward position, his home, as the Generals realized, is on the blue line. The assistant captain will not always fill the net with goals, but can score a highlight reel goal when needed, and often provides a good breakout pass to get his team going towards the net. He will have to work to earn a spot in the top six next year, but is more than ready for the challenge. His ascent up the prep ranks, junior ranks, and his journey in life have all prepared him for this next step.

Of Alexander, Generals Head Coach Bryan Erikson said many great things, including

” Alexander is one of the best kids I have ever coached. Just a happy kid that makes those around him excited to play. He is obviously a very talented player but it’s his energy and positivity that is so valuable and why he is such a great leader. On the ice his skating and vision are elite. He sees the ice so well and puts his teammates in a good position at all time’s. He has a great stick and gaps and it allows him to transition up the ice so quickly. Really proud of the kid he is and the player he is turning into. I think Coach Lang has a great one coming his way in the fall!”

Erikson went on to discuss his off ice background

” [Alexander is] just an amazing kid that I will forever have in my life. He is just a wonderful person that I care so much about. His life hasn’t been the easiest and he’s still the happiest kid in the room. And it isn’t an act. He lets me scream at him at time’s always knowing I have his back. It’s the best thing a coach can have, the trust of a player to coach them and know you are looking out for them as a player and a person.”

Alexander said this of the Generals, and Erikson

” I absolutely love Bryan Eriskon.. cannot thank him enough for everything he’s done for me as a player and as a person.. he is definitely someone I am proud to play for. I owe a lot to Brian.. and definitely want to maintain a great relationship.”

For the rest of the year, the goal of Alexander and Erikson is the same, to get the Generals on the right track to head to the NAHL playoffs. When the year is over, the two will stay in touch and Tertyshny will prepare for the next step in his life of joining the Yellow Jackets. In a year, he will be joined by his goaltender, Hugo Haas. The two are best friends and often spend time together outside of the rink. While on the ice, their battles are often a split decision. Off the ice, all in good fun, the story is the same. Tertyshny thinks he is better in NHL and FIFA games, while Haas has the edge in Rocket League (this part about video games was Alexander’s recollection).

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.

Hugo Haas on why he chose AIC, and more

Photo Credit Patrick Garriepy- Patrick Garriepy Photography

Hugo Haas has come a long way just to play in the North American Hockey League for the Northeast Generals. The Opava, Czech Republic native has always had goaltending on his mind. His father, Rotislav was his inspiration. He had a 17 year career playing across different professional leagues in Europe, culminating in finishing with the team he now coaches goaltending for, the Augsburg Panthers in the DEL, the top professional German Ice Hockey . When Hugo discussed his style of goaltender he tries to be like, he shared something his father told him that he takes to heart. The saying, as Hugo noted is “stealing is bad, but stealing with your eyes is a good thing.” That is, Haas is inspired by other goaltenders, of which he watches many on a daily basis, and tries to play his own game in the process. He wants to develop his game and his off ice skills with time, and enjoys the steady grind of improving his game. Hockey has been his life, but he knows that playing college hockey will give him not only a better chance to make the NHL, but he appreciates being able to get his degree.

As he said on the opportunity to be seen and develop. “Just the exposure that it has… Obviously you have an education to it..its a little different than Europe.. I think it’s a good route to develop”, Haas is undecided on what he wants to do for a major yet, but is looking forward to begin that internal process of deciding soon, given that he just announced his decision to come to AIC today. He did note that, unlike the European system, he appreciates being able to earn a degree along with playing hockey instead of having to choose between the two when his junior hockey career is complete.

Haas was methodical about choosing where to play. On why he will be a Yellow Jacket, he said “ I just liked the way that they overall presented themselves.” He praised the international history of the program, and their European connections. He felt that the school does a good job working with players from all around the world, and he also is a teammate of Alexander Tertyshny who will join AIC next year. Haas plans to join the program for the 2022-2023 season. He called Alexander his best friend, and noted the frequent friendly competitive battles the two have during practice. Head Coach Eric Lang has talked about the growth of the program being in part because of “players recruiting other players,” with Hugo, that could also extend the saying to recruits recruiting other recruits.

As to how he came to the North American Hockey League, and is playing for the Generals this and next year, Head Coach Bryan Erikson said, that “I first saw tape of him from one of his Coaches Mike McCarthy and then I saw him play in a showcase over here. Wanted to get him over last year but he had visa issues. So we got him over here for this season and we were not disappointed! What jumps out at you when you watch Hugo for the 1st time or 50th time is his composure. He is just so calm no matter what is going on around him. He is such a calming influence on the game. He is aggressive with his positioning and he plays the puck and passes it better than most D men. That’s what jumped out and still continues to impress me.”

This year, he has been a calming presence in net for a Generals team looking to go on a run late in the season to earn a playoff spot in their division. Erikson may have set the team on the right path in that regard, as he used a timeout as a reset when the team was trailing the Johnstown Tomahawks 4-1. The team quickly scored two goals to get back in the game, and then Tertyshny scored the next two to give the Generals two badly needed points. Haas played his best, and did not concede another goal, putting up 26 saves on the day, and the Generals won 5-4.

As to the pressure of being in net, well, Haas thrives on it. He enjoys the mental challenge of being in net all game, and sees the game pretty well. His ability to stay calm in net, combined with his positioning are two things that stand out when watching him. One reason he can also handle the puck so well is because of his background. He did not play goalie full time until he was 12, and he attributes his puck handling prowess to that consistent development.

One adjustment Haas has made this year is to North American rinks. Since coming over to the NAHL, he has gotten used to increasing workloads (the width on North American rinks is 15 feet shorter than rinks in Europe, leading to faster paced, higher shot total games) and facing high shot volumes. In a way, he embodies Eric Lang’s quote on preparing for the Atlantic Hockey Tournament after a 49 day pause in between games, “pressure is privilege.”

He has another year to lead the Generals, regardless of how this year finished, and given that they will have at least two high impact players coming from the National Champion (Premier and Elite) Charlotte Rush program in the USPHL, combined with Haas in net, and a developing group around him, next year in Attleboro Massachusetts for Hugo presents an opportunity for him to finish his junior hockey career as a part of a veteran team looking to improve from whatever this year’s result is.

For this year, Haas will finish playing with one of his best friends, looking to help the Generals go on a late run to the playoffs, in two years, 94.6 miles away from Attleboro the two will be together again, playing Division One College Hockey on their path to earn a degree, and further hone their skills together for a staff with similar values to the ones Erikson and his staff preach and practice.

Donate: To help us cover more games and tell more stories not found elsewhere about all of college sports, especially under represented athletes everywhere across the college sports landscape like unique untold stories across college hockey. Please click the below link and consider donating what you can. If you do, I will list you in every story about we write as a supporter of crowd-funded journalism that can truly be free for all at this link:paypal.me/Seamorepsorts

Your donation will help expand what content we can offer and how many stories we can tell.