Afterthoughts: Tyler Roberson plays 20 minutes for 1st time in 6 games in Tyler Lydon’s absence

first_img Comments Even if it was at the expense of an injury to arguably Syracuse’s best player, Tyler Roberson got a chance.In any of the five games prior to Monday night’s contest against Eastern Michigan, the senior forward didn’t play 20 minutes. In that span, he only scored 11 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.Against the Eagles, though, Roberson shed his orange warmup top late in the first half and played almost the entire second half, to the tune of 25 minutes in which he scored 10 points, secured eight boards, dished out two assists and blocked one shot.Even if it’s just for now, Roberson felt normal again.“It’s definitely different. I’m not going to say it’s something I’m used to,” Roberson said of his recent playing time after the Orange’s 105-57 blowout of the Eagles. “I just gotta make adjustments, and it’s not my decision, so I gotta play as hard as I can while I’m out there and try to help the team.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textRoberson’s first bucket on Monday came via an emphatic two-handed slam while being fouled. He missed the foul shot, which he did five times in seven tries, but flashed the Roberson of old that’s capable of asserting himself in the paint.The reason for Roberson’s benching is simple: he hasn’t been rebounding the ball like he’s shown he can and, of Syracuse’s four big men, Roberson is the most offensively challenged. But without Lydon for the entire second half due to a strained right Achilles tendon, Roberson got his opportunity to take a mid-range jumper, finish around the rim and sky over opponents to grab rebounds, resembling the monster that took over last year’s game at Duke.“It felt good to be playing a lot. I think I did some good things,” Roberson said. “I obviously made some mistakes, but that happens in the game of basketball. I think I traveled once down there, but other than that I think for the most part I finished almost every time. I did miss miss some free throws, but like I said it happens.”When asked how he thought Roberson played in extended minutes, Jim Boeheim simply said, “I don’t know.” That was his same answer regarding whether Lydon will be good to go against St. John’s on Wednesday. If the sophomore is still resting his injury, Roberson may be in line to factor heavily for the second game in a row, to potentially show the repertoire he hasn’t been able to very much as of late.“Not much I can complain about,” Roberson said, “until I go back and watch film and see how I can improve.”***MORE COVERAGE:What we learned from Syracuse’s win over Eastern MichiganSyracuse shreds Eastern Michigan’s familiar 2-3 zone with ball movement and 3-pointersGallery: The best sights from SU’s winThe Final Word: Beat writers discuss Syracuse’s blowout winJohn Gillon on Twitter trolls: ‘If I really suck, we can meet up any time and play one-on-one’Graphical breakdown of the gameSyracuse fans react to blowout winSuperlatives from the game — big moment, stud, dud, highlight, lowlight Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on December 20, 2016 at 11:25 am Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidmanlast_img read more

After overcoming an injury and the thought of leaving school, Tia Thevenin is ready to reach new heights

first_img Published on January 25, 2017 at 11:57 pm Contact Tomer: tdlanger@syr.edu | @tomer_langer Tia Thevenin should have been taking in the beaches and enjoying the time with her family at their Jamaica vacation home. Instead, the summer getaway was filled with confusion, heated discussion and tears.The bubbly Syracuse track and field hurdler was several months removed from a difficult first year at her new school. She had torn the muscle connecting her gluteus maximus to her hamstring and couldn’t walk or sit or play, so she redshirted. She just wanted to leave.“I’m alone at Syracuse, not many people understand,” Thevenin remembered. “I’m away from my family, and I don’t like that. I’m hurt, and I don’t think I’m going to get better … (There was) a lot of self doubt.”About two weeks ago, Thevenin ran the 60-meter hurdles in 8.32 seconds, breaking a school record set 17 years earlier by Veronica Tearney, then Dyer. Tearney is now a director of strength and conditioning and close friend of one of Thevenin’s mentors, Roxanne Woodley.Had Thevenin left school and returned home to Canada, the record run would have never happened. Rehabbing the torn muscle physically was long and drawn out, but the mental toll presented the most difficult obstacle. Now that she’s fully healed, Thevenin’s poised to take Syracuse, and herself, to new heights.“This year’s been really good to me, training-wise, competing,” Thevenin said. “That era is over.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs a high school freshman, she attended an informal track practice before the season to see which group she’d fit in with best. Coaches didn’t see a great fit and assigned her to the hurdling group that Woodley volunteer coached for.Woodley had no words the first time she saw Thevenin run because she looked like a “cat in water.” Thevenin didn’t compete her freshman year because she needed more training. By the following school year, she understood the hurdling techniques, like knowing her lead leg and when to take off.“Selfishly, being a former hurdler, I wanted to hold onto her,” Woodley said. “I didn’t want to send her over there (to other units of the track team) because this is my little secret right here.”To this day Thevenin doesn’t know why she started and continued as a hurdler, given her good flat speed. But she won her first race and by the end of senior year, she made the Canadian World team. Then, she and Danielle Delgado became the only two hurdlers for Syracuse.Ally Moreo | Photo EditorWarming up pre-meet in the spring of her freshman year, she tore her muscle. Tape-marked lines usually tell runners where to go, but hers weren’t lined up correctly. She ran out of an exchange zone during a relay practice and felt a pain in her leg.The rehab dragged to prevent injury aggravation. The lack of clear improvements frustrated Thevenin. After fully healing physically, Thevenin still didn’t trust her leg to hold up under the stress.“I think she ended on a real bad note that year,” Syracuse track-and-field assistant coach Dave Hegland said. “And she puts pressure on herself, she has really high expectations and it’s natural to doubt yourself in the process when you’re young like that.”While injured, Thevenin called Woodley and expressed her concern. Was Syracuse the right choice? Would she run at a high level again? Could she even enjoy it?Around that time, Woodley said, Thevenin wanted to go home.“She was emotionally, mentally burnt out,” Woodley said.Woodley stressed that leaving now wouldn’t be the right choice. Part of the issue, the former coach thought, was Thevenin clinging on to things from back home and not fully immersing herself at SU. Injuries prevented Woodley from running in college. She didn’t want Thevenin passing up an opportunity that she knew was perfect for her.Thevenin’s parents weren’t keen on the idea of their daughter leaving Syracuse, either. They both agreed that for a number of reasons, some unrelated to her running career, Thevenin needed to stay.Patricia Thevenin, Tia’s mother, said her daughter didn’t really know how to handle the struggles and setbacks popping up at SU.“She was so used to doing well, so used to being one of the best,” Patricia said. “… I told her, you have to prepare yourself for disappointment.”After talking with those closest to her, Thevenin decided to stay. She credits her parents with not imposing their decision and allowing her to figure things out for herself. She competed her sophomore year and won a few meets early on in the season.But she still doubted herself. She had visualized in rehab the process of running. She sometimes overthought the situation and anxiety prevented her from running naturally. Her real breakthrough came over the summer, at Olympic trials.“I remember we were on the warm up track, my coach and I, and I was doing hurdle starts and I just felt good,” Thevenin said, emphasizing the last word. “Then I said, ‘After this race is over and done with … I’m going to work this summer to make sure that I always feel like I’m ready to go.’”Thevenin finished 12th. She felt upset and wanted to do better, but remained hopeful because all the runners who finished ahead of her had more experience than she did.Now her short-term goal is to win the NCAA championships, though she keeps the 2020 Olympics in the back of her mind. The goals are so affixed in her head that she’s sometimes forgotten to celebrate her accomplishments along the way. While everyone, including Woodley and Tearney, congratulated Thevenin after breaking the school record, she was unsatisfied and annoyed she hadn’t run at a national standard.When Thevenin ran in her freshman year of high school, she needed to believe in the path she was on, even though she had no idea why coaches picked hurdling. Four years later, Thevenin drew again on her ability to keep the faith.“In my whole being I thought, ‘No, I can’t do this. I can’t come back.’ And …” Thevenin said, her voice trailing off and a smile creeping across her face. “I did.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse closes out regular season with 2-0 win at Penn State

first_img Published on February 25, 2017 at 4:56 pm Contact Jake: jafalk@syr.edu Syracuse (15-12-5, 14-4-2 College Hockey America) closed out its regular season with a 2-0 win against Penn State (9-20-5, 8-10-2) Saturday afternoon in University Park. It’s the Orange’s fourth straight win to end the season.With less than a minute left in the first period, Savannah Rennie scored her ninth of the season  She has a goal in three of the last four games and recorded at least one point in the last four. Neither team scored in the second period.With 55 seconds left in the game, Emily Costales sealed the win for the Orange with an empty netter, assisted by Rennie and Allie Munroe. Syracuse won four games this season against Penn State by a combined total of 14-3.Senior Jessica Sibley did not play for the second consecutive game. Senior Heather Schwarz returned to the lineup and finished plus-one on the day. With the 14 save shutout, Abbey Miller extended the Syracuse record for shutouts in a season to eight.After earning a first-round bye, Syracuse will play as a No. 2 seed Friday night at Buffalo’s Harbor Center in the semifinals of the CHA Tournament. SU will face the highest remaining seed left from the two quarterfinal games played on Thursday.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

UConn ends the careers of Syracuse greats Alexis Peterson and Brittney Sykes

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 20, 2017 at 11:33 pm Contact Tomer: tdlanger@syr.edu | @tomer_langer STORRS, Conn. — Alexis Peterson and Brittney Sykes did their signature high-five after the game in front of TV cameras on the far end of the court. They then wrapped arms around each other and walked shoulder-to-shoulder down toward the SU bench as the small contingent of fans, many family and friends, cheered behind them.The careers of eight-seeded Syracuse’s (22-11, 11-5 Atlantic Coast) two best players had just ended in a disappointing, 94-64, loss to top-seeded Connecticut (34-0, 16-0 American Athletic). The same team ended their season last year. Through a heavy loss, the two found each other, sharing their last moment as SU teammates together.“We wanted to go out how we came in,” Peterson said after the game. “That was just to embrace everyone and embrace our crowd and embrace each other.”Peterson was the star point guard who kept elevating her level of play each season. Sykes was a Top 10 guard in her recruiting class who had to battle back through multiple ACL injuries. This was the first season the two had played together when both were at their peaks.The hype started as early as last season. When Sykes found out that her fifth year had been approved. When head coach Quentin Hillsman told her that SU would have the best backcourt in America if she returned.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe duo took off from there. They led the ACC in scoring, piloting Syracuse to wins where they’d outscore the other team themselves, like in the win over then-No. 14 Miami.SU had the pressure of staying relevant, of remaining successful after last year’s run to the national title game despite the loss of five seniors. Sykes and Peterson shouldered that load and kept the Orange moving.“Life savers. They saved our lives,” Hillsman said. “When you have players that come in and play that way, they just save your program. They really elevated our program to another level.”The two played off each other all year, knowing when one had to take over the game and how their strengths worked together.Peterson said she got lost in the moment in last year’s national title game. After the first quarter today, she was SU’s best and really only consistent scoring option, as she finished with 25 points. Noticing that, Sykes and Peterson made the decision to switch roles in the third quarter. Sykes would be the one bringing the ball up the court and she’d feed Peterson in spots to score.“They’re very skilled in the backcourt,” UConn head coach Geno Auriemma said. “As individuals, they make a lot of great plays.”The two had the utmost trust from Hillsman. With that came the highest of expectations, and many instances when he would yell at them after slipping up. The two would shoot each other a look, knowing they had each other’s back despite that.With a little less than four minutes remaining, Sykes was subbed out. She didn’t realize it would be her last time walking off the court until she embraced Hillsman by the scorer’s table. As tears welled in her eyes she made her way down the SU bench, hugging every coach and player along the way.One minute later Peterson was subbed out and went through the same routine. The last player at the end of the bench this time was Sykes. The duo that led Syracuse embraced then, and as the game ended, were the last two SU players to walk off the court.They didn’t achieve their highest goal of winning a national championship. But they pioneered SU to new heights. And through the trials and tribulations of this year and the game, they left Gampel Pavilion the same way they came into the season: together.“We’re America’s best backcourt,” Sykes said. “We will forever be America’s best backcourt.” Commentslast_img read more

Syracuse reportedly hires former Dayton coach Allen Griffin to replace Mike Hopkins

first_imgSyracuse has reportedly hired Allen Griffin as an assistant coach to replace Mike Hopkins, CBS Sports reported Sunday afternoon.Griffin, who served as an assistant coach at Dayton for five seasons, played for Jim Boeheim from 1997-2001. Griffin averaged 10.8 points and 6.5 assists per game in his senior season as a captain and starting point guard for the Orange.Griffin played professionally until 2003, when he returned to SU as an administrative assistant to Boeheim. In 2005, Griffin took his first coaching job as an assistant at St. Francis (New York College). He also coached at Providence and Hofstra before moving to Dayton’s staff.Prior to the 2011 season, it came down to Griffin and Adrian Autry Sr. for a spot as an assistant coach on Syracuse’s staff. Now, both will coach together. Comments AdvertisementThis is placeholder text Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 2, 2017 at 4:15 pm Contact Matt: mcschnei@syr.edu | @matt_schneidmanlast_img read more

Beat writers pick unanimously again for Syracuse’s matchup with St. Bonaventure

first_img Published on December 22, 2017 at 10:14 am Facebook Twitter Google+ Syracuse (10-1) took down Buffalo on Tuesday night, 81-74, and will play its second-straight game in the Carrier Dome against St. Bonaventure (9-2) tonight. The game tips off at 7 p.m. and will be the second-to-last nonconference game for the Orange.See who our beat writers predict in the matchup here:Matthew Gutierrez (11-0)Bonafide ThreatSyracuse 72, St. Bonaventure 66The Bonnies, coming off back-to-back 20-win seasons, are the real deal. A favorite in the Atlantic 10, they pose as a legitimate threat to upset the Orange come Friday night. St. Bonaventure returns four starters from last season, including guards Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley, a pair that scored more points last year than any returning duo in the nation and combine to average 35.7 points per game this season for a 9-2 team. But while the Bonnies beat Maryland and Buffalo, Syracuse will come away with a win to improve to 11-1 because the Bonnies don’t have the size to compete on the boards with SU. That doesn’t bode well for the visitors.Tomer Langer (11-0)Bonnies and ClydeSyracuse 75, St. Bonaventure 71AdvertisementThis is placeholder textSyracuse has had a habit of playing to the level of its competition this year — it struggled to put away teams like Iona and Buffalo, but had an impressive win against Maryland as well — and I think that continues on Friday. The Bonnies beat Maryland this year and pose threats that could exploit the Orange’s weaknesses. St. Bonaventure ranks 17th per Kenpom.com at forcing turnovers, doing it on 24.1 of possessions, while Syracuse is a middle of the pack team at protecting the ball. But I don’t think Tyus Battle gets shut out the way he was on Tuesday when he scored just 13 points, and SU does just enough to escape with a win.Sam Fortier (11-0)BonniesvoyageSyracuse 70, St. Bonaventure 68The Bonnies are small but make up for it by playing quick and toughening up on defense (ninth in steal percentage). They’re also the eighth-best team in the country at getting to the free-throw line and hit 38.4 percent of their 3s, which is a recipe to beat the Orange’s zone. St. Bonaventure’s two star guards, Adams and Mobley, are senior leaders for one of the more experienced teams in the nation. The Orange shouldn’t and won’t sleep on the Bonnies, and the resiliency displayed against Georgetown and Buffalo still pushes SU over the edge for me in this one. Commentslast_img read more

Softball: Jenkins finds her power for Wisconsin in freshman season

first_imgWhile this season has not proved as triumphant as last year for the Wisconsin softball team, the Badgers have many reasons to be optimistic about their future.The biggest reason, however, is freshman Kelsey Jenkins.After losing four key seniors from last year’s team that recorded the second-most wins in school history, the 2015 Badgers have had to rely on multiple freshman to take on big roles — with Jenkins carrying possibly the heaviest load of them all.The freshman third baseman has emerged as one of the team’s most dangerous hitters and has had a stellar first season at the plate thus far, hitting for a .322 batting average and leading the team in home runs with two.As good as she has been all season, she has been even better as of late. Jenkins was red hot last week against Green Bay and Illinois, hitting .500 with two home runs and nine RBIs over five games.Following her hot hitting, Jenkins moved from second to cleanup in the batting order. Jenkins said that the move was a big confidence booster, but felt weird at first because she was never a power hitter in high school.“I’ve never really hit fourth batter before,” Jenkins said. “It’s kind of like a confidence booster to stick a little five-five freshman in the four-hole and think that she’s going to do something. It’s been fun transforming into a power hitter.”Wisconsin head coach Yvette Healy spoke earlier this week of how impressed she’s been by Jenkins and how much potential for greatness the Tucson, Arizona native has.“She is really coming along,” Healy said. “This weekend at Illinois she had a couple of home runs and she has really been on a tear the month of April — knock on wood — but it has been fun to see her come along and come into her own, and I think she is going to break a lot of offensive records.”Healy also noted that when she recruited Jenkins out of Arizona, she was drawn to her eye at the plate in addition to her slugging ability.Jenkins leads the team with 36 walks this season, 11 more than Chloe Miller, who is second on the team with 25 walks.“She just looked like a freshman that knew how to take a lot of walks early in the season,” Healy said of Jenkins. “She has got a great eye.”Jenkins said Healy and assistant coach Randy Schneider’s positive coaching style played a big role in her decision to go across the country to come play softball at Wisconsin.“Coach Healy and Coach Schneider are so positive and fun, and it’s great to play under coaches who always believe that you’re the best player,” Jenkins said. “They’re always chanting like, ‘Come on! You’re the best! You’re the best!’ and it’s very positive hearing that when you step in the batter’s box.”Jenkins is also fortunate to have senior star outfielder Marissa Mersch as a teammate who she can learn from. Mersch, who is second on the team this year in RBIs and batting average, was a large contributor as a freshman as well.Back in 2012, Mersch started 32 games for the Badgers, stealing seven bases and tying for first in triples in Big Ten single-season play.According to Mersch, the biggest difference she noticed between high school and college games was how much work was needed in order to be successful.“Coming in freshman year is a lot different than high school ball and travel ball,” Mersch said. “You have to put a lot more work into it, doing film, meeting with coaches, doing all those extra things.”However, if anyone can handle that transition, Mersch believes it’s Jenkins. Mersch agrees with her coach, saying that Jenkins has what it takes to be special.“Kelsey is swinging a really hot bat and I’m really proud of her,” Mersch said. “Everything is mental and she has so much potential, and I know she’s going to do great things at Wisconsin.”As Jenkins continues to draw high expectations, the grounded freshman is still concerned about improving at “the little things,” which would explain why one of her goals this season is to bunt for a hit at least once.While she’s is still aiming to master a bunt, it’s safe to say that she has certainly gotten the whole college softball thing down pretty quickly.last_img read more

Draft Day: Former Badgers Kaminsky, Dekker selected in first round

first_imgNot only was Kaminsky Wisconsin’s first lottery pick since 2004 — when Devin Harris was selected fifth overall — both he and Dekker became the first Wisconsin NBA draft selections since the Milwaukee Bucks selected Jon Leur in the second-round of the 2011 draft with the 40th overall pick.Kohlbeck: One-and-done wins, but the Wisconsin method is way more funThe talk around college basketball “one-and-done” players and “four-year” players is reaching its highest watermark in the history of the Read…The last time UW had a player selected in the first-round was 2007 when Alando Tucker was taken 29th overall by the Phoenix Suns.Wisconsin junior forward Nigel Hayes took over the university’s official Twitter account during the draft and offered an excited congratulations for his former teammates. CONGRATULATIONS TO @dekker ON BEING DRAFTED BY THE @HoustonRockets! Loved the time you’ve spent here. Best of luck on the pros! #NBADraft— UW-Madison (@UWMadison) June 26, 2015Kaminsky, a 7-1 forward from Lisle, Illinois, was the consensus National Player of the Year, winning all major awards including the Wooden Award. He led the Badgers in every major offensive category including points (18.8), rebounds (8.2), assists (2.64), blocks (57), field goal percentage (54.7) and 3-point percentage (41.6). In the pros, he’s expected to stretch the floor as a big man and help defend on the perimeter.After a breakout NCAA Tournament as a key cog in the Badgers’ title-game run, Dekker forewent his senior season and declared for the draft. The 6-9 forward from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, will use his athleticism as an NBA swingman.Two Wisconsin players had been drafted in the same year eight times, the most recent being 1995 when Michael Finley and Rashard Griffith were taken. When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke Frank Kaminsky’s and Sam Dekker’s names into the microphone at the Barclays Center during the first round of the NBA Draft in New York Thursday night, he wasn’t just making two life-long dreams come true — he was making history.For the first time ever, two players from the University of Wisconsin were drafted in the first round of the NBA draft when Kaminsky was selected with the No. 9 overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets and Dekker by the Houston Rockets with the No. 18 overall pick.last_img read more

Badgers leading Team USA into 2016 World Cup of Hockey

first_imgThe 2016 World Cup of Hockey, a.k.a. the NHL’s response to the International Olympic Committee’s banning NHL players from the 2018 Winter Olympics, begins Sept. 17.Some of the best players from around the world will take to the ice, clad in their respective country’s colors in attempt to win the first edition of the tournament since 2004.This includes Team USA, a tough, bump and grind team that, while slower than most of the other squads, will be able to throw around the smaller skaters that comprise them. Luckily for Badgers fans, this team includes four former Wisconsin men’s hockey players, one of whom will serve as captain, another as an assistant captain and a third as part of the team’s leadership committee.Captain Joe Pavelski — CenterTwo seasons at the University of Wisconsin culminated in a national title during the 2005-06 season for Joe Pavelski. Afterward, he joined the San Jose Sharks for the 2006-07 season, where he quickly established himself as a key player after seeing limited action as a rookie due to a leg injury.The Plover, Wisconsin native has always been a balanced scorer who’s steadily improved with age. Pavelski spent his first few seasons progressing from a 40-point scorer to the mid-60s range. After the 2012 NHL lockout, however, a new Pavelski emerged that’s pushed on 80 points in the past three seasons.Credit his mindset for that, which also makes Pavelski the perfect choice for captain — he has a high work rate, puts the team first and is always willing to do the dirty work.While not the biggest player, his constant drive to do what’s best for the team often leads him to the front of the net. Look for the first-liner to frustrate goalies when he parks himself in front of the crease to setup a screen, and don’t be surprised if he scores on a redirection or putback.Assistant Captain Ryan Suter — DefenseDavid Stluka/UW Athletic CommunicationsThe Madison, Wisconsin native spent only the 2003-04 season at UW before jumping ship for the pros. His first seven seasons, spent with the Nashville Predators, proved unfruitful so when he had the chance, Ryan Suter joined the Minnesota Wild ahead of the 2012-13 season.Since 2008-09, Suter has never dipped below 30 points thanks to his passing skills and hockey IQ. Last season, he recorded a career-high 51 points and established himself as one of the premier offensive defensemen in the NHL.While not a standout in any specific area, Suter is an all-around above average player who can handle large chunks of ice-time. Over the years his play-reading skills have developed as a result, making him a reliable choice on the second or third line for Team USA.Suter also draws from his international experience. He played in the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics and every level of the Internaional Ice Hockey Federation World Championship from 2002 to 2009.Ryan McDonagh — DefenseRyan McDonagh left UW after three seasons in 2010 to sign a professional contract with the New York Rangers and spent only half a season in the American Hockey League before being called up to the Blueshirts full-time. The St. Paul, Minnesota native has since made himself a staple of the Rangers as a hard-nosed defenseman who makes smart reads on plays.His large frame often buys him time on the puck and helps him to force opponents off it. McDonagh is known for blocking shots and the occasional big hit, a pure shutdown defenseman, but he is no stranger to offensive play.The current Rangers captain has averaged just under 37 points over the past three seasons by making efficient passes from the blue line to set up teammates. Though, when he needs to he can net the puck as well and tallied 31 goals in that same time.McDonagh is the type of defenseman you want on your team and could be a first-pairing while also a focal point of one of Team USA’s powerplay units. He will be taking on a leadership role as a member of Team USA’s leadership committee after he was named to the position by John Tortarella, his former Rangers coach and Team USA’s coach.Derek Stepan — CenterDerek Stepan’s time at UW lasted for only two seasons from 2008-10, but he will long be remembered as one of the top forwards to leave the school.After joining the New York Rangers alongside fellow Wisconsin teammate McDonagh, Stepan carved a career out of being an undersized, agile center. Despite that lack of size, the playmaking ability has not abandoned Stepan in the NHL.The Hastings, Minnesota native has consistently ranked among the Rangers’ top scorers and has never dipped below 44 points in his career. Stepan is assist-heavy in that respect, but can pot an important goal when needed to — ask the Washington Capitals.Stepan does have some noticeable limitations though. His size prevents him from posting in front of the goal for screens and he can be defensive liability at times when in his own end. But the good outweighs the bad, and Stepan could very well find himself on the second-line as well as a powerplay line.While he won’t be under the microscope like Patrick Kane or Zach Parise, Stepan might just pop up at the right moment to steal the spotlight.last_img read more

Men’s hockey: Luke Kunin notches second Big Ten Star of the Week award

first_imgThe former recruiting classes of former Wisconsin men’s hockey coach, Mike Eaves, are finally starting to make headlines on the biggest stage as sophomore Luke Kunin earned his second Big Ten Star of the Week honor of the season Tuesday. The award came after Kunin’s three points, two goals and one assist led the Badgers to a 7-4 win Saturday over Michigan University and an unfortunate 4-1 loss on Sunday.Men’s hockey: Badgers dominate offensively on the road, improve to 4-2The University of Wisconsin men’s hockey team impressed in upstate New York this weekend, sweeping their two-game weekend against No. Read…The sophomore has been one of the most dominant forces in the Big Ten this season, getting his first Big Ten Star of the Week award for his five-point effort in a weekend sweep of Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University. Despite an almost equally as impressive freshman campaign, Kunin has really flourished this season under the direction of new head coach Tony Granato, playing more aggressive and finishing more of his opportunities.The 15th overall pick in the 2016 early NHL Draft to the Minnesota Wild has seen stark rises in efficiency this season, going from .145 shot percentage to .186, best on the team, and currently sitting only seven goals behind his season totals from last year. While Kunin is two points behind senior Grant Besse, the sophomore is the team leader in goals at 11 and an emerging star in a program that seems to be returning to its former glory.Goldsobel: Jurusik and Kunin named top NHL draft prospects, but need to prove worthWisconsin men’s hockey is not what it once was. It seems so long ago that they were one of the NCAA’s Read…The performance and award couldn’t have come at a better time for Kunin or the team as Michigan was the first conference series for Wisconsin and, if he can produce at an all-conference level against a dominant Wolverine front, then there is no reason to expect he won’t do it against other Big Ten teams going forward.The Badgers, once again, play one of the toughest schedules in college hockey this year with three teams in conference ranked in the NCAA top 12 and all three of those teams, Ohio State University, Minnesota University and Penn State University, facing Wisconsin in the final three weekends of the year. UW will need every bit of scoring to return to the top of the conference for the first time since 2013 and Kunin is the largest part of that cog.last_img read more