Given the number of times Alex Auld has changed locales over the last seven years, it’s no surprise his travels are now taking him to Europe.
Salzburg, to be exact.
EC Red Bull Salzburg — the four-time Austrian League champion — recently announced the 31-year-old Auld has signed on for the 2012-13 campaign.
(Red Bull is same team that employed Marty Turco before he signed a late-season deal with the Boston Bruins. It’s currently coached by longtime NHL bench boss Pierre Page and features ex-NHLers Shawn Hunwick and Rob Davison.)
“Alex Auld is a highly talented goalie and a strong character,” Page told the team website. “He believes in the Red Bull Hockey Model and that his stint in Salzburg will help him to take another step in the right direction.”
Once a promising young netminder (he was Vancouver’s team MVP in 2005-06), Auld has spent the last few years bouncing around the NHL.
Since 2006-07 he’s gone from Florida to Phoenix to Boston to Ottawa to Dallas to New York (Rangers) to Montreal, then back to Ottawa last season — where he fell out of favor after the Sens acquired Ben Bishop.
Auld has a 91-88-2-32 record in 237 career NHL games with a .904 save percentage and 2.80 GAA.
The fun in goal for the Columbus Blue Jackets just jumped another level.
Starting goalie Steve Mason was injured this morning thanks to taking a shot off his head in practice and with the Blue Jackets only having backup goalie Allen York at their disposal, they were in desperate need of a goalie for tonight’s game against Detroit. The Columbus Dispatch’s Shawn Mitchell reports that the Blue Jackets have their answer in the form of University of Michigan goalie Shawn Hunwick.
Hunwick was signed to an amateur tryout deal and will back up York for tonight’s game. Depending on Mason’s health, it could turn into a full-fledged contract for the 5’7″ 166-pound goaltender.
Going from college to the pros immediately is something we’ve seen this year with St. Louis’ Jaden Schwartz and soon with Minnesota’s Jason Zucker, but playing goal is an entirely different monster.
As it is, York is the fourth-string goalie for the Blue Jackets, but thanks to injuries to Mark Dekanich and Curtis Sanford he was rushed to the show. Now Hunwick arrives as their fifth option. If you were wondering why the Jackets are the NHL’s worst team, it’s a mix of bad injury luck and bad management.
In the college sports world, you won’t find two programs that draw your attention more than Michigan and Notre Dame and the same applies when it comes to college hockey.
Michigan’s legacy as one of the top programs led by a legendary coach in Red Berenson is well known through all levels of hockey. The Wolverines, ranked 10th by USCHO, take on the relative new kids on the dominating block in coach Jeff Jackson’s Fighting Irish. Notre Dame is ranked 7th in the nation and this coaching battle helps make tonight’s match-up (7:30 p.m. ET) the must-see game on the NCAA schedule.
Michigan heads into South Bend unbeaten in their last nine games (7-0-2) and have just gotten New Jersey Devils prospect Jon Merrill back from a team-imposed suspension. In four games the defenseman has four assists. That’ll do, kid.
Leading the way for the Wolverines is Coyotes prospect (and former Team USA World Junior gold medalist) junior Chris Brown, freshman and Stars prospect Alex Guptill, and senior Devils prospect David Wohlberg. Brown leads in points while Guptill and Wohlberg are tops in goals scored and now they all play on a line together.
The man to watch in goal for Michigan is Shawn Hunwick, brother of Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick. Hunwick led Michigan to the National Championship game last year before falling in overtime to Minnesota-Duluth and he’s been rock solid again this season.
Notre Dame is looking to right the ship after being swept last weekend by Western Michigan. Having to deal with the Wolverines won’t be easy, but they have the weapons to counterattack.
The Fighting Irish are led by Blue Jackets third round pick and sophomore T.J. Tynan with 31 points. Tynan’s performance this season should have Columbus heads turning as he’s been huge all year long. He along with Isles prospect, and fellow sophomore, Anders Lee have been Notre Dame’s best players this season as Lee leads the team with 14 goals. Having Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan and undrafted senior Billy Maday give the Irish a fearsome foursome to watch offensively. Unfortunately the Irish will be without Sheahan tonight as he’s serving a suspension for delivering a head shot last weekend.
In goal is where things get a bit nervous for Notre Dame as starter Mike Johnson has had his ups and downs. When he’s good, he’s very good, but when he’s off the Irish offense has to step up big to help out. Considering that Johnson faces just barely over 20 shots per game, staying sharp behind a tough Irish defense can be difficult.
The University of Minnesota-Duluth can finally call themselves champions of men’s hockey.
Minnesota-Duluth defeated Michigan in the national championship game 3-2 with a thrilling overtime victory. Minnesota native Kyle Schmidt scored the game-winning goal thanks to a great pass from Travis Oleksuk at 3:22 of overtime.
In a game that was back and forth and saw both teams deliver great goals and great saves, ultimately it was Minnesota-Duluth’s destiny as Kenny Reiter made 22 saves to lead the Bulldogs to victory. Semifinals hero for Michigan Shawn Hunwick did everything he could to lead the Wolverines, but ultimately fell short after saving 35 shots in the loss.
Michigan’s Ben Winnett scored in the first period to get the Wolverines a lead after one, but in the second, UMD roared back.
Oleksuk was the night’s hero scoring a goal to tie the game in the second period while adding an assist on the game-winning goal. Max Tardy scored his first goal of the season on the power play for UMD in the second period to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1. Jeff Rohrkemper would knot things up late in the second scoring his third goal of the year. After a scoreless third the teams headed to overtime where Schmidt would end it for the Bulldogs.
The national championship was Minnesota-Duluth’s first for their men’s team in their history. Their women’s team won the NCAA title last year. Just like that, all of a sudden Duluth, Minnesota is college hockey’s version of title town. The school that once was home to NHL Hall of Famer Brett Hull can now claim their first title and the fans in Duluth couldn’t be prouder.
It’s not a true Frozen Four without at least one surprise and tonight, the University of Michigan and goalie Shawn Hunwick (brother of Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick) made sure that they had one more upset in the bag for college hockey fans this year. Michigan upset North Dakota 2-0 tonight thanks to Hunwick’s 40 saves and shutting out the Fighting Sioux and their high octane, NHL prospect loaded team.
The Wolverines got a first period goal from Ben Winnett and then an empty net goal late in the third from Scooter Vaughn to seal the victory. Michigan fell back upon a stingy defensive plan to stifle the Sioux attack. While the Sioux were able to get tons of shots on goal and control the attack zone for large parts of the game, Michigan stayed intense blocking passing lanes and getting in the face of Sioux puck carriers. For Michigan, they’ll be aiming to win their tenth National Championship on Saturday night. Their opponent is one that’s really stepped up their play in the NCAA Tournament.
Minnesota-Duluth was able to hold off a third period rally by Notre Dame to take out the Fighting Irish 4-3 to advance to their second ever National Championship game. Hobey Baker top ten finalist Jack Connolly scored what turned out to be the game winning goal early in the second period. Carolina Hurricanes prospect Justin Faulk had three assists for UMD as did forward star Justin Fontaine.
Bulldogs goalie Kenny Reiter helped make the result stand up for UMD despite giving up a shorthanded goal to Calle Ridderwall in the third that cut the lead to 4-3. Reiter stopped 31 shots to help lead the Bulldogs to the first National Championship game since 1984. That year, UMD lost to Bowling Green in quadruple overtime. That Bowling Green team featured future NHL’ers Rob Blake and Garry Galley. Caps GM George McPhee was also a key player on that team. If UMD were to win the National Championship, it would be their first men’s hockey title. UMD’s women’s team won the national championship last season.
The National Championship game will be Saturday night at 7 p.m. ET from Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.