At the upper levels of his hockey career – UAA and Long Island University in NCAA, Rapid City and Norfolk in the ECHL – forward Tanner Schachle of Wasilla has generally racked modest numbers.
But even grinders grab glory sometimes.
Schachle furnished an assist for Norfolk in Friday’s 7-4 home loss to Trois-Rivieres, which came on the heels of Wednesday’s two-goal, one-assist outburst in a 7-5 home win over Trois-Rivieres. And Schachle is 3-2—5 in the last four games, which gives him 4-4—8 totals in 25 games for the Admirals since he was traded from Rapid City, coached by former Alaska Aces captain Scott Burt, early this season.
Also in the ECHL Friday, there was Alaskan-on-Alaskan crime of sorts. Orlando Solar Bears winger Hunter Fejes of Anchorage scored the only goal of the three-round shootout to lift his club to a 7-6 win at Savannah. Fejes scored on Ghost Pirates goaltender Isaiah Saville of Anchorage, who can buy puck luck of late.
Saville, who made 40 saves, including six in overtime and two on three shootout attempts, saw his winless streak stretch to 16 games (0-12-4) – he hasn’t won since Dec. 8. At 4-15-6 with a 3.33 goals-against average, Saville still is rocking a strong .914 save percentage.
On Norfolk’s goalie front, the club earlier this week waived Michael Bullion of Anchorage.
Fejes, meanwhile, on Wednesday delivered a goal and a season-high seven shots on goal in Orlando’s 5-4 OT loss at Jacksonville. Fejes is 7-9—16 in 20 games since being declared cancer-free.
One final ECHL note: Winger Cam Hausinger of Anchorage on Friday played his first game on the circuit since Dec. 31 in Wheeling’s 2-1 home loss to Iowa. Hausinger spent a month with the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals in the interim, though he played in just one game, which was his debut on the circuit one step below the NHL.
Sticking with the pros, and moving to the Southern Professional Hockey League, Drake Glover of Anchorage scored a goal for the Fayetteville Marksmen in Friday’s 4-3 OT loss at Evansville. He owns 1-2—3 totals in his three-game point streak. His season totals are 16-10—26 in 32 games. Two of those goals are shootout winners, which the SPHL, unlike pretty much every other pro league on the planet, for some reason counts as actual goals.
Also in the SPHL Friday, Cayden Cahill of Anchorage and the Peoria Rivermen had an assist in a 6-0 win at Quad City to boost his season totals to 9-14—23 in 29 games.
On the junior front, Friday night proved a rough one for Alaska’s three entries in the North American Hockey League – the Anchorage Wolverines, Kenai River Brown Bears and Fairbanks Ice Dogs all fell, and fell hard, on the road.
The Wolverines absorbed a 7-0 beatdown at Springfield, where they were outshot 38-18. That came one night after they bagged a 4-3 overtime win in Springfield, courtesy of defenseman Trent Powell of Soldotna’s game-winning strike. He also had an assist, which pushed his point streak to five games (1-5—6). Powell, who is committed to Long Island University, owns 8-15—23 totals in 37 games.
The Ice Dogs’ defeat came 6-2 at Janesville, where they were outshot by a jaw-dropping 53-17, or better than a 3-to-1margin. Still, Billy Renfrew of Fairbanks had a power-play assist, which came one night after he had a power-play goal and two helpers in a 5-4 OT loss against the Minnesota Wilderness. Renfrew leads the circuit in power-play goals (12) and power-play points (23), and he is second in shooting percentage (28.6 percent). He owns 18-23—41 totals in 31 games, and his 18 goals have come on just 63 shots. Most of Renfrew’s goals – 14 of 18 – have come on special teams, with those 12 power-play markers and two short-handed scores.
Kenai River fell 5-1 Friday on the road against the Chippewa Steel.
Fairbanks (23-16-4, 50 points) sits second in the eight-team Midwest Division while fifth-place Kenai River (21-19-2, 44 points) and sixth-place Anchorage (18-15-6, 42 points) are below the playoffs cut – the top four finishers in the division qualify for the Robertson Cup tournament.
The NAHL plays a 60-game season, which means Anchorage has 21 games left, and Kenai River has 18 remaining, to climb into a playoff spot.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. Hockey League, forward Colin Kessler of Anchorage can finally exhale. The Vermont commit snapped his 21-game goal drought and nine-game point drought with one goal, one assist and a plus-3 rating for the Sioux City Musketeers in Friday’s 7-2 win over Des Moines. He’s 4-9—13 in 35 games.
Anchorage’s Bret Link scored a goal for the Fargo Force in a 7-4 win at Waterloo to run his point streak to four games (2-5—7) and give him points in seven of the last eight games (4-7—12). He’s 14-24—38 in 36 games and tied for second in the league in plus-minus at plus-27. Link only six times in those 36 games has been a minus, and he’s been plus-2 or better in 10 games.
Link’s teammate, rookie forward Mac Swanson of Anchorage, was held off the scoresheet Friday. Still, he has been credited with an additional assist in a recent game, which turned his production that night into a career-best five points (all helpers). Swanson owns 8-28—36 totals in 32 games, which ties him for second in the league in rookie scoring, trailing only Mack Celebrini of the Chicago Steel, who with league-leading 24-23—47 totals in 31 games is touted as the possible No. 1 pick overall in the 2024 NHL Draft.