Atlantic Hockey

Coast To Coast: Postseasons And Pro Signings

Coast To Coast: Postseasons And Pro Signings

AIC continues to be the class of the Atlantic Hockey and Minnesota State fights in the Frozen Four, while many CCHA and AHA grads go pro.

Apr 7, 2022 by Jacob Messing
Coast To Coast: Postseasons And Pro Signings

Coast To Coast is FloHockey’s monthly, cohesive news on North American hockey and live-streaming partnerships.

As college hockey prepares for the NCAA championship final, postseasons are either underway or nearing across North America and excitement is exponentially growing hand-in-hand with storylines, players to watch, and new contracts.

AIC Continues To Lead Atlantic Hockey 

American International spent March claiming its fourth consecutive regular season Atlantic Hockey title en route to a third consecutive postseason championship and berth to the National Tournament (excluding the canceled 2020 National Tournament).

The Yellow Jackets faced a deep, NHL-caliber program in No. 1-overall seed Michigan, where they would ultimately fall in a 5-3 game.

Atlantic Hockey Coach of the Year, Eric Lang, has crafted a perennial national stage program and is continuing to create noise and bring attention to the conference. With 11 graduates or seniors on the 2021-22 roster, there will be some annual turnover, but the changes to NCAA eligibility will give the program a chance to recoup some losses and continue to build on their success of the past four years.

CCHA Checkpoints And Contracts

The Minnesota State Mavericks made their fourth straight National Tournament appearance, and are awaiting intrastate rival Minnesota in the Frozen Four—their second straight trip to the semifinals event.

The winner books a trip to the championship game and the Mavericks’ wait is long overdue. Head coach Mike Hastings was named the Spencer Penrose winner as NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year and has built annual contenders out of the Mavericks. 

Joining the Mavericks on the national stage from the revitalized CCHA, the Michigan Tech Huskies lost 3-0 to Minnesota Duluth in the first round. The Huskies’ experience led them through a handful of nationally ranked weeks and an at-large bid to the National Tournament. The returning cast got a taste and coach Joe Shawhan will look for another bite in 2022-23.

ECHL Entry-Levels

Ten players out of Atlantic Hockey have signed deals with various ECHL teams. From Mercyhurst, Steven Ipri joined the Wichita Thunder. From Sacred Heart, Dakota Raabe joined the Utah Grizzlies and Rourke Russell joined the Adirondack Thunder. From American International, Justin Young joined the Allen Americans and Chris Van Os-Shaw joined the Indy Fuel. 

From Niagara, Zac Hermann joined the Cincinnati Cyclones and Chris Harpur joined the Orlando Solar Bears. From Canisius, Joey Matthews joined the Greenville Swamp Rabbits, and Austin Alger and Cory Thomas both joined the Idaho Steelheads. From Bentley, Luke Orysiuk joined the Trois-Rivières Lions. And lastly, from RIT, Dan Willett joined the South Carolina Stingrays.

In the CCHA, 13 alumni have signed up with the ECHL since the conclusion of their 2021-22 seasons. Justin Misiak and Tommy Parrottino of Michigan Tech, along with Peter Thorne of St. Thomas all joined the Idaho Steelheads.

Ferris State grads Liam McDougall and Ethan Stewart respectively joined the Cincinnati Cylcones and Tulsa Oilers, respectively. Northern Michigan alumni Bo Hanson and Garrett Klee joined the Wheeling Nailers and Kansas City Mavericks. Out of Bowling Green, Gabriel Chicoine and Sam Craggs joined the Maine Mariners and Toledo Walleye.

Lastly, Bemidji State saw three grads sign with the ECHL, with Bradley Johnson joining the Trois-Rivières Lions, Tyler Kirkup signing with the Reading Royals, and Ethan Somoza going to the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

AHL Amateurs

Five CCHA players have signed AHL contracts for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. Aforementioned forward Trenton Bliss signed with the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings affiliate). Also out of Michigan Tech, defenseman Michael Karow signed with the Texas Stars (Dallas Stars affiliate).

Coming out of Bemidji State, forward Owen Sillinger signed with the Cleveland Monsters (Columbus Blue Jackets affiliate) and forward Alex Ierullo signed with the Ontario Reign (Los Angeles Kings affiliate).

Northern Michigan alum, defenseman Trevor Cosgrove, signed with the Bridgeport Islanders (New York Islanders affiliate. 

NHL Newbies

While 35 recent college players have signed NHL contracts, only two have come out of the CCHA, both coming from Michigan Tech. Defenseman Colin Swoyer signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, but has joined AHL affiliate, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Forward Brian Halonen has officially signed an NHL deal with the New Jersey Devils, but has also joined their AHL team first, already registering a goal in two games with the Utica Comets. 

The stepping stones of college hockey programs continue to rise up and create a sturdier path to professional hockey. While the statistical majority—large majority—of NCAA players don’t ultimately earn professional contracts, the numbers of NCAA-turned-NHL players are steadily climbing.

Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.