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NY Bobcats take the turkey at Eastern League Thanksgiving Showcase

12/05/2013, 4:45pm MST
By Tom Robinson - Special to

The New York Bobcats beat three South Division opponents during the Eastern Hockey League’s Thanksgiving Showcase Friday through Sunday in Tewksbury, Mass. to extend their winning streak to four games and move into the Central Division title race.

The Bobcats moved over the .500 mark for the first time this season and closed the gap on the second-place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights to one point with a game in hand.

Center Corey Kennedy was honored as the league’s Defensive Player of the Week for his play on faceoffs and as a penalty killer while going plus-3 and helping the Bobcats allow just three goals in three games.

The New Hampshire Junior Monarchs also won three games with the help of a shutout by goalie Brenden Cain.

The Eastern Hockey League will have a Christmas Showcase Dec. 20-22 in Simsbury, Conn.

METRO SHOWDOWN: The Metropolitan Junior Hockey League’s top two teams met in Richmond on Saturday and went to a shootout that the host Generals won 2-1 over the Boston Junior Rangers.

The Mullen Division-leading Generals have the most standings points in the league while going 18-4-0-2. They got 31 saves from Tucker Murphy and a decisive shootout goal from Cameron Durham.

Mike Robinson made 37 saves for the Francis Division-leading Rangers, who are 17-1-0-2 for the league’s best winning percentage.

TOP SCORER: Lane King continues to pile up assists to separate himself from the pack as the top scorer in the Minnesota Junior Hockey League. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound, 20-year-old is a forward for the Great Lakes Division-leading Marquette Royals. King has scored in all 23 games since a scoreless opener and has 11 goals and 52 assists. He has at least four assists five times.

TOP GOALIE: Austin Brihn, the American West Hockey League’s leading goalie statistically, made 34 saves Saturday to lead the Helena Bighorns to a 9-0 shutout of the Yellowstone Quake.

Brihn has a 1.73 goals-against average and .942 save percentage for the first-place Bighorns. He has split time with Alex Lazarski throughout the season, including each playing four games in the current eight-game winning streak. In Brihn’s four games during the win streak, he has stopped 105 of 109 shots.

USHL LEADERS: Zeb Knutson had five goals and three assists in three United States Hockey League wins by the Sioux Falls Stampede. Knutson scored the game-winning goal Nov. 27 on his league-leading eighth power-play goal in a 3-0 win over the Lincoln Stars. He assisted on all three goals Friday in another 3-0 win over the Dubuque Fighting Saints.

The 19-year-old Minnesota State University, Mankato recruit from Sioux Falls then became the first USHL player in the Tier I era (since 2002) to have a pair of four-goal games in the same season. He added an assist to the four goals in a 10-4 win over Team USA.

Knutson is on a seven-game scoring streak with 16 points during that time to move to fourth in the league in points (28) and second in goals (17).

Waterloo Black Hawks goalie Cal Peterson won three games in 72 hours, including his first shutout of the season with 21 saves Friday in a 3-0 win over the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Peterson, a 2013 National Hockey League draft pick by the Buffalo Sabres, moved into a tie for the USHL lead in goaltending wins with 11.

COLLEGE COMMITMENTS: The United States Premier Hockey League Premier Division’s top goalie, Sean Lawrence of the Boston Junior Bruins, has committed to Quinnipiac University. The 18-year-old from Granite Bay, Calif. is 18-4-2 and leads the division with a 1.88 GAA and .940 save percentage. Quinnipiac reached the national championship game last season.

Lawrence’s teammate, forward Brian Bowen, has committed to the University of Vermont. The 18-year-old from Littleton, Mass. has 12 goals and 12 assists and is plus-14 in 27 games.

Cooper Marody, a forward with the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks, has committed to play at the University of Michigan. The 16-year-old from Brighton, Mich. is tied for second on the team with 16 points in 23 games.

Cedar Rapids defenseman Charlie Curti has committed to defending NCAA Division I champion Yale University. Curti, a 17-year-old from Mound, Mich., has three goals and eight assists while going plus-5 in 19 USHL games.

Will Johnson, a forward with the North American Hockey League’s Minnesota Magicians, has committed to the Air Force Academy. The youngest player on the Magicians at 17, Johnson, from Santa Barbara, Calif. is second on the team with six goals in 23 games.

ONE-TIMERS: Walpole Express goalie Kyle Shapiro scored a goal in an exhibition game against the New England Wolves that was part of the EHL Thanksgiving Showcase. … David Carle is leaving his position as assistant coach of the USHL’s Green Bay Gamblers Jan. 1 to become a University of Denver assistant, replacing Steve Miller, who is leaving to prepare for his new role as head coach/general manager of the Madison Capitols, a 2014-15 USHL expansion team. … Michael Bigelbach assisted on the game-winner in two of three wins and scored in all three games as the Minot Minotauros extended their NAHL winning streak to six games. … The Central Division-leading Peoria Mustangs have won 14 straight and are now tied for the second-best record in the North American 3 Hockey League at 20-5.

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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08/25/2015, 3:30pm MDT
By USA Hockey

No one has ever said that officiating, and especially officiating ice hockey, was easy. Rule knowledge, communication skills, fitness, skating and a natural presence are just some of the skills necessary to be a successful official.  Some possess more of these skills and those are the officials who advance to higher levels. But regardless of the level achieved or the skill set the official possesses, the one quality that should be equal among every official is a high level of integrity.

The national official staff members, along with our volunteer referees-in-chief and local supervisors, have heard growing concerns over a decreasing level of integrity among our youth hockey officials. It’s sometimes said that no one is holding them accountable. A portion of this perception is likely a typical “blame the officials” mentality, but some anecdotal evidence suggests there is also some merit to this concern. That’s alarming to USA Hockey, as it affects the credibility of our entire program, along with every member it represents. The blunt truth is this: even one official who isn’t on the up and up can and will damage the credibility of all officials who do take pride in the integrity of their work.

Whether we like it or not, officials are under a microscope, and by the nature of the business, are held to a very high standard. When we signed up for this officiating gig, we committed ourselves to represent the game of hockey, USA Hockey, our local group of officials and ourselves as people of integrity who accept the responsibility and guardianship of enforcing the rules in a fair and consistent manner. Most importantly, we must remember that the game is bigger than all of us and that the game itself is what we serve. Those who lose sight of that not only compromise the competitive fairness of the games, they also make life more difficult for all of the officials by damaging the credibility of the officiating community.

An example of this type of unacceptable behavior occurred last season. A Level 2 adult official tended to work his games with a chip on his shoulder. He often created confrontation with coaches, alienated his younger partners with inaccurate advice and disregarded their help in attempting to get some calls and rule applications right. Even though the help they were providing was correct, he chose to maintain his incorrect position that affected the outcome of several games. He also tended to identify certain players and single them out for various infractions and/or on-ice lectures as a means of emphasizing his authority.

Once the trends were identified, concerns were voiced by several parents and coaches to the local assigner and supervisor, who acknowledged they had never seen the official’s work, but would keep throwing him out there working the same teams and levels that had expressed concerns regarding his attitude. This included intentionally assigning him a playoff game involving the coach who was the most vocal in expressing concerns. This official was then instructed to “throw the coach out if he says anything.”

That playoff game went without a hitch – a tight 2-1 game with a couple of close off-side plays and maybe an icing or two missed. In the post-game dressing room, the official in question, in the presence of his partners and the officials scheduled to work the next game, said, “It’s always a great day when you can make one or both of the coaches mad. It’s too bad the white team coach didn’t want to play along today.” The partners sat there in silence until finally a 12-year-old Level 1 official who was working the next game said, “I don’t think that’s right. We’re not supposed to bait coaches.”

The official got dressed quickly and left the room without saying another word. Kind of ironic that it was the innocent 12-year-old that seemed to “get it” and instill a sense of accountability among those in the room. Imagine how any 12-year-old player feels on the ice when they see the official(s) displaying an attitude that is simply not to the standard the game deserves. And yes, more often than not, they can see through those who do not have the level of integrity expected.

Fortunately, these types of officials are few and far between. But they do exist and to simply stick our heads in the sand and not address the concern is irresponsible. Each of us, as officials, has an obligation to behave in a professional manner at all times and take our role seriously. We have made a commitment to approach each game with the understanding that the game is about the players and we should be invisible until the players require us to appear as a result of infractions that occur. Respect is a two-way street and simply putting on the sweater with the USA Hockey crest suggests respect is warranted, but only if supported by your actions.

USA Hockey has an obligation to create a non-threatening environment that promotes respect for officials and an opportunity for officials to improve through education and evaluation. USA Hockey does this through playing rules, points of emphasis, zero tolerance policies and comprehensive education programs for officials, coaches, parents and players.

In return, the game expects USA Hockey officiating members to bring a professional image to every contest and an attitude that creates a positive environment and makes the game better. We realize everyone makes mistakes – it’s part of the game. However, laziness or unprofessional behavior is unacceptable and being creative in rule enforcement and not holding players/coaches accountable for infractions will only make the next team of officials’ jobs much more difficult and set them up for failure.

The reality is that the game official must always hold themselves to the highest level of integrity and behavior both on and off the ice. Maybe that’s fair, or maybe not, but it is the expectation we are required to meet.

As we head into the 2015-16 season, ask yourself if you are willing to meet that expectation. If the answer is yes, welcome back and we look forward to a great season.

The Northstars Never Miss a Trip To Eagle River

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By Greg Bates - Special to

The Bloomington, Ill., team played their in fifth straight Pond Hockey Championships in 2015

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