VENUE: Schwan Super Rink, Blaine, Minn.
GAME TIMES: December 16 vs Binghamton Jr. Senators (25-1-0-1, 51 pts) at 6:15 PM, December 17 vs New England Stars (15-2-3-3, 36 pts) at 1:15 PM, December 18 vs Yellowstone Quake (21-1-0-1, 43 pts) at 12:35 PM (all times Central)
WHERE TO FOLLOW: All Jr. Blues games are streamed live on HockeyTV.com (subscription required). On Twitter, follow @JrBluesGameday for live updates.
SHOWCASE LOWDOWN: The NA3HL Showcase is an annual event held at the Schwan Super Rink, an eight-rink complex located in Blaine, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul. At the Showcase, all 48 of the NA3HL’s teams play three intersectional games in front of hundreds of junior, college, and university scouts from across the United States and Canada. This year, the NA3HL has elected to schedule teams based on the divisional standings ending the week of November 28, ensuring balanced and exciting competition. The showcase also includes several informational seminars for college-bound players, covering topics such as the application process, academic requirements, and NCAA compliance regulations.
WHO’S HOT FOR THE JR. BLUES: The power play was on song in the Jr. Blues’ 5-4 overtime win at Peoria on Saturday, as Daniil Ovchinnikov (St. Petersburg, Russia) and Nick Balestra (Ballwin, Mo.) both scored twice with the man advantage.
A FULL SCHEDULE: The Jr. Blues will leave on Wednesday, December 14th following a practice at Affton to head to the Showcase. Following a night’s stop-over in Waterloo, Iowa, they will arrive in Minnesota on Thursday the 15th, where they will have a practice at one of the Super Rink’s Olympic-sized sheets, as they are scheduled to play two games on the wider surface. They will also visit the campus of Saint John’s University-College of Saint Benedict in Collegeville, Minn., and have several more casual team activities including a visit to the Mall of America. Following the end of the Showcase on Sunday, players will be released to go home for the holidays.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS: December 30th marks this year’s annual Brendan’s Buddies game, which will also be the Jr. Blues’ second charity jersey auction of the year. Read more about the game and the cause here.
SCOUTING THE JR. SENATORS: Marking their first year both in the NA3HL and in New York (they played last year as the NA3EHL’s Wilkes-Barre Miners), the Jr. Sens have taken very well to their new surroundings, losing just two of their 27 games. Five Jr. Sens (Tyler Uravage, Dominik Bogdzuil, Conor Landrigan, Ryan Reifler, and Jeremy Wilber) are amongst the top 10 in league scoring, while goalie Sal Lauretta is sixth in the league with a 1.87 GAA. However, their leading scorer Bogdzuil will be unavailable at the Showcase, as he is representing his native Lithuania at this year’s IIHF Division II-A World Junior Championships in Estonia.
SCOUTING THE STARS: Hailing from Tyngsboro, Mass., the Stars currently sit second in the Coastal Division, eleven points adrift of leaders Long Beach. Eleven Stars players are in double-figures in terms of points, led by Ryan Paul with 31 points (16 G, 15 A). Like the Jr. Senators, the Stars also played last year in the old NA3EHL, which merged fully into the NA3HL this season.
SCOUTING THE QUAKE: After a dramatic turnaround last season which saw the Quake go from the foot of the Frontier Division table to the Silver Cup Finals, the boys from Cody, Wyo. have solidified their position as the team to beat out West, entering the showcase having won nine of their last ten games. They bring quite a bit of experience to the table, with only one of their top ten scorers being a rookie. Also like the Jr. Senators, the Quake have a junior international, in the form of Spanish forward Pablo Pantoja.
JUNIOR NOTES: Two new players and one old friend will be joining the club on the bus to Blaine. Cory Robinson, a forward who played last season with the St Louis Selects U18 AAA club in the NAPHL, is a new acquisition for the Jr. Blues: he has been allocated squad number 21. Also, due to injuries in the defensive corps, blue-liner Evan Green has been called-up from the STL Prospects U18 AAA team as an affiliate player for the weekend: his squad number has yet to be assigned. Finally, Ryan Hempel, whose promising season for the Jr. Blues was cruelly cut short by injury, is traveling with the club as a supporter.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE JR. BLUES: On behalf of the entire St. Louis Jr. Blues organization, players, and staff, we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas. We hope to see you back at Affton for the Cincinnati series starting December 29, and continuing into 2017.