Greetings, puckheads -- The Blog is back from wind-swept Minnesota, drained from delightful and evidently inexhaustible nephews, but determined to soldier on, so he's trying to catch with a few notes from over the weekend, which was pretty much the start of pucks in these parts and many locations elsewhere. (By the way, the bartender at the wedding reception The Blog hit was former St. Cloud State and Tacoma Sabercats goaltender Brian Leitza, who played against UAA in the WCHA and the old Anchorage Aces of the now-defunct WCHL -- yes, hockey is a small world).
Anyhow, road split for the Aces -- not bad. UAA won its own tournament, so that's an unbeaten (1-0-1) start, even though giving up the game-tying goal with a tick left Saturday had to be piercing. (More on those clubs later in the week).
On the college scene, freshman winger Casey Bailey of Anchorage last Friday scored the first goal in Penn State's Division I history and fired a game-high seven shots on goal in a 3-2 OT loss to American International University. Penn State won 4-3 in OT the next night for the first win in school history -- remember, the bench boss there is former UAF coach Guy Gadowsky. From the small world department, AIC has a senior forward named Steve Mele -- since his hometown is listed as the Bronx, guessing he's the brother of Aces winger Tommy Mele, who started his ECHL career with 2-2--4 totals in two games. Oh, and former UAA forward Justin Kirchheval plays for Penn State too.
Also in college, Notre Dame goaltender Steve Summerhays opened with 22 saves in a 1-0 win over Maine at the Ice Breaker tournament in Kansas City, Mo., and followed that up with 28 stops in a 3-2 win over Nebraska-Omaha. Dating back to last season, that's three bagels in his last seven games for Summerhays, a junior. Anchorage's Austin Withrich furnished a helper against Omaha.
Colorado College, laden with Alaskans, got a goal from senior captain William Rapuzzi of Anchorage in Friday's 5-4 win over Clarkson, then got 1-1--2 totals and the game winner from Rapuzzi with a minute left in Saturday's 5-4 win. In the season opener, Rapuzzi was joined in the lineup by true freshman Hunter Fejes of Anchorage (he had an assist Saturday for his first college point), sophomore winger Scott Wamsganz of Anchorage and Jfreshman ared Hanson of Palmer. Minnesota bum-rushed Michigan State twice over the weekend -- Friday's only goal for Michigan State in a 5-1 loss came from Tanner Sorenson of Anchorage.
Quick pro notes -- Tim Wallace of Anchorage, who played in the NHL last season, had a power-play goal for AHL Charlotte in a season-opening 3-1 win at Houston on Saturday and a power-play helper in a 4-3 shootout loss at Texas on Sunday. Also, former Aces winger Tyler Ruegsegger (Aces still own his ECHL rights and have him under contract) played both weekend games for AHL Abbotsford and had an assist Saturday. The Heat swept Peoria, the Aces' former affiliate.
In women's hockey, Wisconsin forward Alev Kelter of Eagle River owns 4-1--5 totals in six games -- apparently she's moved from defense to the wing. Jordan Smelker of Anchorage, who plays at Rensselaer, is in 1-3--4 in four games and has hit the 50-point mark in her career -- she's a junior. Also, Tori Hickel of Anchorage, a freshman at Northeastern is 1-1--2 in 4 games.
The Blog will keep trying to catch up during the week. Probably give you a rundown of the Alaska connections in the AHL and ECHL. For now, though, serious laundry needs doing.