Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite.
Postseason hockey is being played in leagues across North America. The Black Hawks are well represented by alumni playing all over the professional map. In this edition of Where Are They Now, we provide a quick summary to get you caught up with some of the Hawks who have the chance to win a championship this spring.
– Three former Waterloo forwards have appeared during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
– Joe Pavelski is pushing his first year as the San Jose Sharks’ captain past 82 games. It has been another rock-solid season for the player who led Waterloo to the Clark Cup in 2004. He has now played in every Sharks game for five consecutive seasons. This is the third straight year he has notched at least 35 goals and 70 or more points. Pavelski’s scoring success has extended into the playoffs, where he has three goals and an assist in three games, lifting San Jose to a 2-1 series lead against the L.A. Kings. Game Four is Wednesday night in northern California.
– Craig Smith followed Pavelski to Waterloo, the University of Wisconsin, and the NHL. Now his statistics are even starting to look similar. Smith played in each of the Nashville Predators’ 82 games this year, after achieving that distinction for the first time in 2014/15. It was his third consecutive season across the 20-goal line. For good measure, his first playoff goal this spring was the winner against the Anaheim Ducks on April 17th. However, two nights later, Smith left Game Three of the series early in the first period. His status for Game Four Wednesday is unclear.
– J.T. Brown and the Tampa Bay Lightning have aspirations to return to the Stanley Cup Finals. For that to happen, the Lightning may have to win without Brown for the short term. Blocking a shot early in Game Two against the Detroit Red Wings on April 15th, he sustained an upper body injury and has been off the ice since. Tampa Bay leads the series three-games-to-one, with Game Five slated for Thursday. After coming to the forefront as a quiet but effective contributor during the Lightning’s 2015 playoff run, Brown played in a career-high 78 games with a career-high 22 points during the 2015/16 regular season.
– A dozen former Hawks are on the playoff rosters of six different Calder Cup playoff squads. The Bridgeport Sound Tigers lead the way with four alumni. Two Calder Cup opening round series begin Wednesday, both including former Hawks: Mark Naclerio and the Providence Bruins meet the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins and Vince Hinostroza’s Rockford IceHogs battle the Lake Erie Monsters.
– No matter who is in net for Bridgeport, it will be a goalie who has been cheered by the home crowd at Young Arena. The Sound Tigers have three former Waterloo goalies on their playoff roster: Stephon Williams, Parker Milner, and Eamon McAdam. Of the group, Williams played the most AHL regular season games, making 29 appearances. Forward Tyler Barnes spent much of the year in the ECHL, but joined the Sound Tigers near the end of the regular season.
– The Ontario Reign are in their first AHL season, but they have players experienced in winning the Calder Cup. In 2015, Vince LoVerde was the captain of the AHL champion Manchester Monarchs. Fellow defenseman Nick Ebert was also among the players who made the move from New Hampshire to California. Jordan Samuels-Thomas is new to the organization and finished ninth in team scoring with 22 points.
– Brett Olson and Tony Turgeon also changed cities after the Florida Panthers altered their AHL affiliation, moving from San Antonio last season to Portland, Maine, for 2015/16. Olson accumulated 26 points in 67 appearances, while Turgeon played in 35 games.
– Brandon Montour ranked third among rookie AHL scorers with 57 points. That was second among league defensemen of all ages. Now the first-year pro hopes his success continues into the postseason as the first-year San Diego Gulls meet the Texas Stars.
– The best-of-seven first round of the ECHL’s Kelly Cup Playoffs is almost at an end. As ECHL playoff teams go, where you find one former Black Hawk, you generally find two. Ten alumni have hopes to be on a championship squad and eight of them are shuffled in among four clubs.
– The Manchester Monarchs won their division but are now on the brink of elimination against the Adirondack Thunder. Both sides feature players who won the Clark Cup in Waterloo. Peter MacArthur is the second-leading scorer overall so far during the Kelly Cup playoffs with a goal and five assists to his credit through four games for the Thunder. Meanwhile Matt Fornataro paces Manchester with four points. The Monarchs’ roster is also highlighted by Derek Arnold, while Gunnar Hughes skates for Adirondack.
– Former Hawks are also concentrated in the first round Eastern Conference series between the Toledo Walleye and the Reading Royals. Mike Marcou, Joe Sova, and Andrew Prochno never were Black Hawks teammates in Waterloo, but each patrolled the Young Arena blue line at different times. For good measure, forward Joe Rehkamp joins Sova with the Walleye against Marcou and Prochno for the Royals.
– In the ECHL Western Conference playoffs, Andrew Panzarella and Jon Puskar are on the ice for the Idaho Steelheads and Utah Grizzlies respectively. Panzarella played in 35 games during his first professional season; now he and the Steelheads have stolen home ice from the Allen Americans. Puskar and the Grizzlies are down 2-0 in their series against the Colorado Eagles, including a triple overtime loss on the road Sunday.
– The second round of SPHL Playoffs begin during the middle of this week. Steven Hoshaw (Fayetteville FireAntz) and Kyle Rank (Peoria Rivermen) each spent part of a year with the Black Hawks and are playing into the league’s semifinals. Meanwhile, Mike Montrose and Nick Grasso’s Macon Mayhem were ousted in the best-of-three first round.
Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite.