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Blues Return To Owens Center, Battle Peoria This Weekend

St. Louis Jr. Blues (5-5-1, 11 pts) vs. Peoria Mustangs (11-3-1-1, 24 points)

VENUE: Owens Center, Peoria, Illinois 

GAME DATES AND TIMES:  Two-game set. Saturday, January 2 at 6:45 pm CT and Sunday at 1:15 pm CT.

WHERE TO FOLLOW: All Jr. Blues games are streamed live and in high definition on www.hockeytv.com (subscription required). Follow our Twitter @JrBluesHockey for live updates.

NOTES RETURN TO OWENS: These will be the third and fourth games that the Jr. Blues have played at the Owens Center in the last 30 days. The Blues took on the Oregon Tradesmen in Peoria Dec. 4-5 due to a lack of suitable ice in St. Louis. The Notes dropped a 5-2 decision Friday night before winning 4-2 on Saturday afternoon. 

CARLSON EARNS STAR OF THE WEEK: Goaltender Owen Carlson picked up Bauer/NA3HL Central Division Star of the Week honors for his performance between the pipes: he stopped all 18 shots he faced making a relief appearance on Friday before turning aside 32 of 34 Tradesmen shots Dec. 5. Forward Vinny Servizzi was honored as an Honorable Mention selection on the back of his three goals scored in the series.

EXCELLENT SERV-ICE: Vinny Servizzi has netted five goals in the last four games. The former Chaminade Collegiate Prep is enjoying a historic start to his time sporting the Note. His four-game goal streak is the longest to start a Jr. Blues career since the 2015-16 season. That year, Zach Mitchell found the back of the net in ten consecutive games before receiving an NAHL call-up to Brookings.

SCOUTING THE MUSTANGS: Peoria has been the strongest team in the Central Division over the last 10 games. The Mustangs are 8-2 in that span. Peoria currently sits in second in the division, trailing Rochester by six points for the top spot. Goalie Cole Walter ranks in the top 3 in the division with a 1.70 GAA. Walter has proven to be one of the most durable goalies in the NA3HL. He currently ranks fourth in the league with 740 total minutes on the ice. He ranks third in the league with three shutouts. The Mustangs won eight straight from Nov. 14 to Dec. 19. Ethan Chesney paces the team with 16 points. He and Connor Bennett have each netted eight goals this season. 

JUNIOR NOTES: Watch the Jr. Blues social media pages for information on games that will be rescheduled in 2021. The Jr. Blues can be found on Facebook @STLJrBlues. The team is also on Instagram @stljrblues and now on TikTok @stljrblues. On behalf of the entire Jr. Blues team, coaching staff, support staff, and family, we wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and, most importantly, safe new year!

#JRBLUES#

JR. BLUES HIRE ZANABONI AS NEW PLAY-BY-PLAY VOICE

AFFTON – The St. Louis Jr. Blues are happy to announce that Joey Zanaboni will serve as the team’s new play-by-play voice for the remainder of the 2020-21 season. A native of St. Louis, Zanaboni has served as the voice of the Johnson City Cardinals (St. Louis Cardinals Advanced Rookie affiliate) as well as the University of West Florida, St. Mary’s University (Texas), and the River City Rascals.

“We are excited to bring Joey on board,” said Blues GM and head coach Chris Flaugher. “He has an impressive resume, professional experience, and ideas that will benefit the Jr. Blues program.”

Zanaboni takes the broadcast reins from Kevin Gier, who served as an assistant general manager, PA announcer, commentator, and media director with the team from 2013-2020. This will be Zanaboni’s first season in the North American Tier III Hockey League (NA3HL). 

“I am very excited about and humbled by this opportunity with the Jr. Blues,” said Zanaboni, who will also begin duties as the team’s media director. “The chance to work with a special program like this does not come around very often. I will bring my very best work to each and every Blues broadcast.”

Zanaboni began his professional career as an announcer with the River City Rascals of O’Fallon, MO in 2014. His resume includes six seasons in professional baseball and six years of calling collegiate athletics at Coahoma Community College (MS), West Florida, and St. Mary’s. He served as the lead voice of the 2019 NJCAA Men’s Soccer National Championship as well as the 2018 and 2019 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championships.

As the voice of the Johnson City Cardinals in 2019, he called the team’s run to a historic twelfth Appalachian League title. Highlight reels of his work have been featured by USA Today, CBS Sports, and Barstool Sports, and his football play-by-play appeared in Season 2 of the hit Netflix docuseries Last Chance U. He continues to work locally with his alma mater St. Louis University High, handling soccer and basketball commentary for the Jr. Billikens.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to continue to grow as a broadcaster,” said Zanaboni. “I am eager to enhance my hockey play-by-play skills, and I look forward to working with Chris, his great staff, and all of these talented players.”

The St. Louis Jr. Blues return to action at Peoria January 2nd. Start time is slated for 6:45 pm. The team resumes its Affton Ice Rink schedule at 4 pm on Saturday, January 9th vs. Rochester. All NA3HL games are broadcast live through Hockey TV with home teams responsible for individual streams. Visit https://www.stljrblues.org and https://www.hockeytv.com for details and the full Jr. Blues broadcast schedule. For the latest news, follow the team on Twitter @JrBluesHockey. Media inquiries: zanaboni.blues@gmail.com.

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BROWN COMMITS TO PLAY COLLEGE HOCKEY

By Kevin Gier, St Louis Jr. Blues

 

            One could easily argue that, since joining the club in 2012 at the age of 16, Chris Brown was the St Louis Jr. Blues. He was one of the leaders both on-ice—wearing first the A and then the C in 2014-15—and off it, a popular figure amongst the staff and his teammates.

            “As a young kid, we always used to go to their games,” said the 6’, 180lb 20-year-old from Oakville, MO. “Being able to play for [the Jr. Blues] meant the world. It made juniors fun and it made hockey fun.”

            And now, Brown is taking the next step in his hockey career: he has committed to play college hockey at Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. The Ice Bears recently moved up to Division I of the ACHA, and boast a history and level of support that are amongst the best in the nation for club hockey.

            Brown said of his decision, “I had a couple NCAA Division III offers and a few other ACHA Division I offers, but they just weren’t the right fit for me. Missouri State just felt like home, especially with some of the guys they have there and some of the other guys they have coming in.”

            In 122 total games during his tenure in St Louis, Brown scored seven goals and added 37 assists, with a lifetime plus-minus rating of +2. He was a defenseman’s defenseman: accountable in his own zone, able to move the puck when needed, and a fixture on special teams. During his three trips to the playoffs, Brown scored one goal and notched six assists—four of which came during the 2016 Silver Cup Finals.

            Head coach Chris Flaugher said of Brown’s play, “Chris was the kind of player we could rely on to do anything we asked of him. His play speaks for itself, and we were incredibly proud to see him move on. Missouri State can be proud that they’re getting a great player and a great person.”

            All that talent and leadership could not be hidden for long, and it was in the middle of the 2014-15 season that the Jr. Blues got a call from another set of Jr. Blues, this time located up Interstate 55. The Springfield Jr. Blues of the NAHL were in need of a defenseman, and in keeping with St Louis’ organizational philosophy, they were only too happy to move Brown up, even though it meant parting with their captain. In two seasons with Springfield, Brown played 42 games and recorded two assists, before returning to Missouri to finish out his junior career.

            “It’s a quicker game: you have to think quick, you have to play with speed,” remarked Brown on his time in Tier II junior hockey. “It helped me to hone my skills and develop myself more as a player.”

            While at MSU, Brown plans to major in pre-law. In addition, he won’t be the only athlete named Brown matriculating to Springfield this fall: his older brother Matt recently signed a letter of intent to play baseball for the Bears.

            Chris, who also played baseball at St John Vianney High School outside St Louis (where his father is head coach), said that the chance to be in school with his brother again is what he’s most looking forward to at college.

 

Photo credit: Gina Hamlin

JR. BLUES ALUM KLAESNER COMMITS TO PLAY COLLEGE HOCKEY

The St Louis Jr. Blues, proud members of the NA3HL, are pleased to announce that Alex Klaesner (St Charles, MO) has committed to play college hockey at Lindenwood University in St Charles, MO. The Lions are the defending ACHA Division I national champions.

            Having joined the Jr. Blues in 2014, the 6’, 210 lb forward has been a regular leader both on the scoresheet and off the ice. This season was the second straight year Klaesner either led or tied for the team scoring crown, posting 56 points in 2015-16 (33G, 23A) after a 42 point 2014-15 campaign (21G, 21A). He was also an assistant captain in those two seasons.

            Klaesner also was named to the NA3HL Midwest Division Top Prospects team this year, scoring one goal and adding an assist in his three games.

            Commenting on the move, Jr. Blues head coach Chris Flaugher said: “Alex was a great player for our program. He was a heart and soul player for 3 years and will be tough to replace. Alex had several college options and chose a school that is a good fit for him. Not only is LU getting a player that gives it his all, they are getting a great person. On behalf of the Jr. Blues organization and staff, we'd like to thank Alex for his dedication to the Jr. Blues.”

JR. BLUES’ MADDOX SIGNS NAHL TENDER WITH FAIRBANKS

The St Louis Jr. Blues, proud members of the NA3HL, are pleased to announce that forward Sam Maddox (Sappington, MO) has signed an North American Hockey League tender with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

            The 5’11”, 170lb forward has played the last three seasons for the Jr. Blues after playing youth hockey for the Affton Americans, serving as club captain this year. This season has seen him emerge as a top-line talent, scoring at more than a point-per-game clip (19G, 31A, 50P in 46 games) as he led the Jr. Blues to the Midwest Division title and a berth in the Silver Cup Playoffs.

            St Louis head coach Chris Flaugher commented on the move, “We are very excited for Sam and his tender agreement with Fairbanks. Sam joined our club 3 years ago as a sophomore in high school. To be able to see him grow and develop as a player during his time here and earn an opportunity to play for such a historic NAHL program in Fairbanks is incredible. Fairbanks is getting a dedicated player that works very hard and all around great person.”

            Maddox is the second St Louis player to sign an NAHL tender this year, joining defenseman Joe Nolan (Springfield Jr. Blues): in addition, three other Jr. Blues players received mid-season call-ups to NAHL clubs, and a fourth served as an emergency goaltender. Maddox also becomes the 14th NAHL tender from an NA3HL club this season.

Metro takes care of St. Louis early, wins 7-3

A four-goal first period deficit cost St. Louis, which could not recover and fell to Metro, 7-3.

Jacob Drinkard had two goals and two assists to lead Metro. Drinkard scored the first of his two goals at 14 seconds into the first period to make the score 1-0 Metro. Graham Day picked up the assist. Drinkard\’s next tally made the score 2-0 Metro with 8:13 left in the first period. Cam Schwartz assisted on the tally.

Metro\’s penalty kill was spotless, allowing no goals on three St. Louis power plays. Metro kept St. Louis\’ goalie busy throughout the game, and Jacob Weatherly made 44 saves on 51 shots.

Metro additionally got points from Schwartz, who also finished with one goal and two assists. Metro also had goals scored by Kevin Shand, who had two and Stefan Boskovic and Devin Kelly, who scored one goal each. Other players who recorded assists for Metro were Chase Sereno and Jason Recchia, who contributed one each and Mathias Tellstrom and Matt Dempsey, who each chipped in two.

St. Louis forced Metro goalie Austin Kane to work between the pipes, taking 34 shots.

Metro\’s Kane stopped 31 shots out of the 34 that he faced. Metro totaled 11 minutes in penalty time with three minors and one major and went 0-for-2 on the power play. St. Louis incurred 16 minutes in penalty time with three minors.

Texas beats St. Louis 4-2 after comeback scare

St. Louis tried its best to erase a three-goal deficit, but Texas would not be denied the victory and hung on to win, 4-2.

A goal by Zack Andersen put Texas up 4-1 in the third period, but St. Louis pulled to within two on Joe Nolan\’s tally 18:39 into the third period.

Texas was led by Bryan Whelan, who tallied three goals. More assists for Texas came via Hunter Frado and Kyle Galloway, who each chipped in one and George Hansen and Ryan Dunner, who contributed two each.

St. Louis also got points from Tomas Loeffelman, who also had one goal and one assist. In addition, St. Louis received assists from Dominic Caito, who had one and Chris Brown, who had two.

Texas\’ Brandon Perrone stopped 22 shots out of the 24 that he faced. Texas incurred six minutes in penalty time with three minors. St. Louis\’ starting goalie, Jacob Weatherly, made eight saves and finished with the loss before he was taken out in favor of Zach Young, who stopped eight shots. St. Louis incurred four minutes in penalty time with two minors.

St. Louis holds on for 4-3 win against Twin City

Twin City tried to dig itself out of a two-goal hole, but St. Louis held on for a 4-3 victory.

A goal by Brian Schumacher put St. Louis up 4-2 in the third period, but Twin City pulled to within one on Fritz Belisle\’s tally 19:31 into the third period.

St. Louis was led by Schumacher, who had one goal. Schumacher scored 3:33 into the third period to make the score 4-2 St. Louis.

St. Louis also had goals scored by Sam Maddox, Teddy Cardinale, and Ezekiel Estrada, who each put in one. Other players who recorded assists for St. Louis were Tomas Loeffelman, who had two and Chris Brown and Joe Nolan, who each chipped in one.

Twin City forced St. Louis goalie Jacob Weatherly to work between the pipes, taking 35 shots.

Twin City was led by Jay Paul, who grabbed one goal and one assist. Paul scored 14:35 into the second period to make the score 2-1 Twin City. Nicholas Campbell provided the assist. Twin City also got points from Belisle, who also registered one goal and one assist. Luc Kreuser also scored for Twin City. More assists for Twin City came via Ben Hersman, Jared Erickson, and Yannick Zehnder, who contributed one each.

St. Louis\’ Weatherly stopped 32 shots out of the 35 that he faced. St. Louis incurred 10 minutes in penalty time with five minors. Nathan Siclovan made 25 saves for Twin City on 29 shots. Twin City incurred 12 minutes in penalty time with six minors.

St. Louis boosted by Weatherly’s play in net, beats Nashville 3-1

A stellar performance between the pipes by Jacob Weatherly helped St. Louis defeat Nashville, 3-1.

With the win, St. Louis avoided elimination to make the series score 1-2 in the best of three series.

St. Louis was led by Sam Maddox, who racked up one goal. Maddox scored 16:50 into the second period to make the score 2-0 St. Louis. Brian Schumacher assisted on the tally.

St. Louis also got points from Alex Klaesner, who also registered one goal and one assist to lead the team in points. Tomas Loeffelman also scored for St. Louis. More assists for St. Louis came via Joe Nolan and Ezekiel Estrada, who contributed one each.

Nashville\’s penalty kill was spotless, allowing no goals on three St. Louis power plays. Nashville kept St. Louis\’ goalie busy throughout the game, and Weatherly made 35 saves on 36 shots.

Nashville was led by Peter Cabala, who scored the team\’s only goal. Cabala scored on the power play 12:18 into the third period to make the score 2-1 St. Louis. Nashville earned a power play opportunity when Klaesner was put in the box for too many men.

St. Louis incurred eight minutes in penalty time with four minors. Nicholas Ottenbacher made 26 saves for Nashville on 28 shots. Nashville incurred six minutes in penalty time with three minors.

Nashville blows out St. Louis, 3-0

Nashville had a two-goal lead after two periods and cruised the rest of the way en route to a 3-0 win over St. Louis.

With the win, Nashville avoided elimination to make the series score 1-1 in the best of three series.

Nashville got the win thanks to a great game by Trent Kulczyk, who had one goal and two assists. Kulczyk scored 18:10 into the first period to make the score 1-0 Nashville. Kyle Van Wyk assisted on the tally.

Nashville excelled on the penalty kill, not giving up a single goal in three chances. Nashville\’s offense rang up 31 shots on St. Louis\’ net.

Nashville also got points from Michael Redmon, who also tallied one goal and one assist and Van Wyk, who also racked up one goal and one assist. Logan Orem also scored for Nashville. More assists for Nashville came via Peter Cabala and Nathan Rieman, who each chipped in one.

St. Louis stifled Nashville\’s power play, and did not give up a single goal while down a man.

Nicholas Ottenbacher made 19 saves for Nashville on 19 shots. Nashville totaled 33 minutes in penalty time with four minors and one major and went 0-for-4 on the power play. Zach Young rejected 28 shots on goal for St. Louis. St. Louis ended with 35 minutes in penalty time with five minors and one major. St. Louis ran into serious disciplinary problems during the contest, and Hayden Smer was ejected from the game.