VENUE: Schwan Super Rink, Blaine, Minn.
GAME TIMES: December 17 vs Texas Jr. Brahmas (20-2-0, 40 pts) at 4 PM, December 18 vs New Ulm Steel (11-7-4, 26 pts) at 1:45 PM, December 19 vs Yellowstone Quake (21-2-2, 44 pts) at 9:30 AM (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 42 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: Mark Capkovic was named the Bauer/NA3HL Midwest Division Star of the Week for his impressive performances in the Jr. Blues’ sweep of Peoria, as he recorded four assists and finished the weekend +3.
A FULL SCHEDULE: The Jr. Blues will leave on the morning of Friday, December 15 to drive up to Minneapolis/St. Paul. Arriving later that day, they will then trek over to the campus of the University of Minnesota for their first of two practices at Ridder Arena, home of the Golden Gophers’ women’s hockey program. Following a skate on Saturday, they will then go on several team activities before beginning their game schedule on Sunday afternoon. Following their game on Tuesday morning, the team will then bus back to St. Louis, and all players will be released for the holidays.
SCOUTING THE JR. BRAHMAS: The men from North Richland Hills, Tex. currently sit first in the South Division, having won twenty of their last 21 games. Leading the club offensively are forwards Kyle Cole (16G, 22A) and Hunter Bersani (14G, 18A), while goaltenders Carson Munson and Tyler Myers both have goals-against averages under 2.00. Both Bersani and Myers have seen stints this year with NAHL clubs: Bersani with the Jr. Brahmas’ NAHL parent the Lone Star Brahmas, while Myers has dressed for the Corpus Christi IceRays. The last time these two clubs met was in the 2016 NA3HL Silver Cup Finals, where current NAHL goaltender Brandon Perrone backstopped the Brahmas to a 4-2 win over St. Louis.
SCOUTING THE STEEL: Based roughly two hours west of the Twin Cities in New Ulm, Minn., the Steel lie second in the West Division six points adrift of leaders Granite City. They have a balanced, veteran attack led by Alex Nagel with 29 points (11G, 18A) and Kirk Coppock with 26 (14G, 12A), while rookie Ryan Kenny boasts a .946 save percentage between the pipes. Like the Brahmas, the last time the Jr. Blues met the Steel was in the 2016 Silver Cup Finals: there St. Louis came out on top 4-3.
SCOUTING THE QUAKE: Last year’s Silver Cup semi-finalists also are entering the showcase on a hot streak, with 14 of their last 15 games being wins, and lead the Frontier Division by nine points over Helena. Mason Stewart leads the league in points with 54, although Cole Stewart (no relation) is not far behind with 52, and veteran forward Ian Doner has 24 goals, two back of the league leader in that category. Goaltender Reid Waszczenko’s numbers shouldn’t be overlooked either, with a 1.70 goals-against average and four shutouts. St. Louis and Yellowstone met each other at last year’s Showcase as well, with the Quake running out 7-2 winners.
JUNIOR NOTES: You’ll hear a familiar voice at the Showcase, as Jr. Blues Director of Media Kevin Gier has been named to the broadcasting staff for the 2017 NA3HL Showcase. He will be on the call for all three Jr. Blues games in Blaine.
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 Peoria series starting January 6, and into 2018.