Mark Bedics, | October 17, 2013

MIH Weekend Preview

It’s safe to say that when Rensselaer goalie Jason Kasdorf sees something, he goes after it. Whether it’s a puck out in front of the net or the girl of his dreams, there is no stopping Kasdorf.

In hockey, last year as a freshman, Kasdorf was dominant in net, never allowing more than three goals in a game all year en route to a 14-5-2 record, a school-record 1.62 goals-against average (which was also fourth-best in the nation) and a .935 save percentage, which was second-best in school history and seventh nationally. For his efforts, Kasdorf was named the ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year, while also taking home the ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week twice in addition to being named the ECAC Rookie of the Week three times.

As for the girl of his dreams, well, Kasdorf married his wife Stacey just a little more than a month ago.

“Stacey is my older sister’s [Selena] best friend,” Kasdorf said. “Because of that I knew her for a while before we started dating. I talked with my sister about what she thought about me asking Stacey out on a date, and she was all for it. I was looking for someone not just to date, but someone I thought I could one day marry.  She had everything I wanted in a wife, and when I was playing in Des Moines [in the United States Hockey League] and was so far away, it really made me realize that she was the one.”

He comes to the rink every day with a strong sense of purpose, focus and buy-in to his habits. These traits allow him to make great improvements to his game.
-- Seth Appert 

For his sophomore season, the business administration major is back in the net for the Engineers, hoping for even more success, although things have changed now that he is a married man.

“I am eating a lot better and am healthier, that’s for sure,” Kasdorf said. “It’s really nice to have your best friend with you all the time. She is very supportive, encouraging and able to provide help with anything I need.”

On the ice, Rensselaer got off to a mixed start last weekend with a 6-0 shutout win against Sacred Heart, the day after they had beaten the No. 1 team in the nation, and then had a 7-2 loss to perennial power Boston College. Last season, the 2011 sixth-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets didn’t post his first shutout until February 1.

“The first game was great, and we really couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season,” Kasdorf said. “The second game against BC, we started off very well and we were able to limit their shots. However, BC is a great offensive team and they were able to take advantage of even our little mistakes.”

His coach has no doubts Kasdorf will continue to improve as his career progresses.

"Jason has the right combination of confidence, work ethic and humility,” Rensselaer head coach Seth Appert said. “He comes to the rink every day with a strong sense of purpose, focus and buy-in to his habits. These traits allow him to make great improvements to his game."

The Engineers, who came into this season ranked 15th in the nation, are hoping those improvements will take them to the NCAA tournament, a place where they have landed only once in the last 18 years, despite a tradition that includes the 1954 and 1985 NCAA championship trophies.

“We have high expectations for ourselves,” Kasdorf said. “We don’t look at the rankings – we know that if we work hard in practice and play hard in games that the results will take care of themselves. Making the NCAAs would be huge for our program, not only for me and my teammates and coaches but for all of our supporters. We have awesome fans, some of whom have been season-ticket holders for many years, so it would be great to do it for them as well.”

Unfortunately Kasdorf suffered an upper body injury at practice and will not be able to play this weekend. The extent of the injury at this point is unknown.

• Notre Dame’s Steven Summerhays and Denver’s Sam Brittain were the only two goaltenders to finish the first full weekend of the season unscathed in terms of goals allowed. Brittain registered 53 saves in two shutouts of Merrimack (4-0 and 1-0), while Summerhays collected 44 saves in the Fighting Irish’s 4-0 and 3-0 sweep of Western Michigan. For Denver, it was the first time in the 65-year history of the program that it opened its season with two shutouts. While for Notre Dame, it was the first time they have started a season with two shutouts in its 46-year history.

• Northeastern is 2-0-0 for the second consecutive season. The last time the Huskies started the year 2-0-0 in consecutive seasons came during the 1993-94 and 1994-95 campaigns. They play a home-and-home with Holy Cross this weekend looking to go 4-0 to start the season for the first time since 1993-94 when two of the wins included a sweep of Illinois-Chicago.

• Wisconsin sophomore forward Nic Kerdiles opened the scoring last Saturday with a goal and collected two assists last Friday, both against Northern Michigan. He now has points in each of his last 14 games dating back to last season. The Badger record for single-season scoring streak is 21 set by current UW head coach Mike Eaves from Nov. 12, 1977 through Feb. 3, 1978. He will look to extend the streak at Boston College on Friday. Two of the last five meetings between the two schools have come in the NCAA championship game (2006, 2010).

• The arrival of Matt Carey gives the St. Lawrence Saints a brother act in the lineup for the ninth consecutive season and bodes well for older brother Greg. Brothers George and Gunnar Hughes played together for the Saints in 2012-13 and 2011-12, Sean and Kyle Flanagan and Pat and Matt Raley were teammates in 2010-11, Derek and Jared Keller played together from 2007-08 to 2009-10,  and Mark and Paul Wallmann played for the Saints from 2004-05 to 2006-07. Other brother acts who have played together for the Saints have included the Lappins...Pete and Tim from 1984-85 to 1988-89 and Mike and Chris in 1990-91 and 1991-92, the Harneys, Jake and Justin from 1996-00, the Muir twins, Mike and Sean from 1998-02, plus Eric and Martin Lacroix in the 1990s, Bill and Mike Gerrie and Dean and Dick Popiel in the 1980s. The good news for Greg Carey?  In five of the brother pairings since 1986, one has been an him a good chance to repeat. Pete Lappin was a two-time All-American, Mike Lappin earned All America as a senior as did Justin Harney, Sean Flanagan and George Hughes.

Boston College junior forward Johnny Gaudreau (43G, 56A) is one point away from hitting the century mark for his career. … Nebraska Omaha’s Ryan Walters picked up where he left off from last season. The leading returning scorer in the nation with 52 points on 22 goals and 30 assists, picked up three assists in his team’s weekend split from a season ago. … Honoring the memory of Scott Winkler, who passed away shortly after completing his senior season and graduating last spring, Colorado College will pay tribute to the former team member during an on-ice ceremony prior to this week’s series finale with Minnesota-Duluth. … Only four players on Boston University’s roster have more than four career goals at the Division I level. … Clarkson opens its 23rd season at Cheel Arena in Potsdam this weekend hosting RIT in a two-game series. The Green and Gold have posted a 239-116-41 all-time record at Cheel since 1991 and have gone 13-7-2 in their first 22 official season openers in the building. … Niagara will play 13 of the next 15 games on the road, starting with a five-game road trip that begins with Robert Morris on Saturday, Oct. 19. … Sacred Heart’s win against UMass-Lowell was the first time SHU had ever played the No. 1 ranked team in school history, and SHU’s win Wednesday night against Bentley gave them as many wins as they had all year in only three games this year (2-1). … Friday’s game against Boston U. is the 2,000th all-time in the history of the Rensselaer hockey program.