The league announced their first round of player cuts from across the Southern Professional Hockey League on Monday. Teams were required to cap their rosters at 22 players. We have the complete list of cuts provided to us by the league.
Overall, the pace of training camp is slowing down as teams begin preparations for opening weekend, beginning on Friday night.
Player cuts – Logan Colyer (D), Joey Ftoma (D), Cory Simons (G)
Evansville Thunderbolts – Mike Campos
Monday was a slow day for the Thunderbolts, with the team doing a morning skate, then attending meetings and going out into the community in various downtown restaurants in Evansville – the kind of public relations work needed in advance of the season.
The team dropped their roster to 21 players on Monday, saying goodbye to goalie Joel Eisenhower, forwards Alexander Carlsson & George Holt, and defensemen Taylor Cutting & Preston Kugler.
Fayetteville Marksmen – Brad Harrison
Fresh of some intense scrimmages and a thrilling overtime exhibition win against Roanoke, the Marksmen now turn to trim down their roster with the first round of cuts.
The Marksmen cut ties with four forwards and two defensemen and placing another, Felix Boucher on suspension. Defensemen released were Sam Kent and Brice Martin while the forwards released in Fayetteville were Joey Davis, Anthony Petrella, Jake Rosen, and Derek Makimaa.
As of now, Fayetteville’s roster is comprised of 12 forwards and six defensemen as well as a pair of goalies.
Unless there are further additions, that sets the main goal up this week in Fayetteville to simply narrow down its forwards and enter the season with its existing six defensemen.
Player cuts – Declan Conway (F), Jon Lovorn (D)
Knoxville Ice Bears
Player cuts – David Higgs (D), Kyle McNeil (F), Alex Pommerville (D)
Macon Mayhem – Brad Harrison
The Mayhem’s approach going into the second and final week of training camp is two-fold as far as roster management goes. Not only are they out to trim the number down before Friday’s season opener against Pensacola, but it’s also an effort to find the best players if it means bringing in fresh blood to compete for roster spots.
Late last week, Justin Levac, Brandon Parrone, and Brandon Fehd were added with Sam Wilbur joining the fray on Monday, one day after the Mayhem made their initial first round of cuts. Wilbur, listed as a center, made his pro debut last year with Tulsa in the ECHL, playing in 12 games.
Forwards Corey Sherman, Cody Brown and Brandon Wahlin were released on Sunday along with defenseman Richard Coyne and goalie Christian Pavlas.
Pavlas, however, may have done enough to impress Thomas during his time in Macon should one of the Mayhem’s top two goalies, Jordan Ruby or Gordon Defiel, become injured or loaned to the ECHL.
“He’s one who really impressed me,” Thomas said. “He came in and worked hard and I have full confidence in him down the road if we lose a goalie.”
One challenge for Macon going into this week – figuring out the right defensemen to retain. Currently, nine are on the roster, a number that’ll obviously have to be reduced by Wednesday’s final roster deadline.
“We have a lot of d-men here,” Thomas said. “We’ve got some hard decisions to make.”
Up front, Jake Trask, Stathis Soumelidis and Caleb Cameron along with John Siemer have stood out, according to Thomas with Michael Chemello also being among the top newcomers.
“He’s a guy we knew a little bit about,” Thomas said of Chemello. “He’s looked really good.”
While much can change between now and opening night as the Mayhem fine-tune scoring lines and defensive pairs, one group that was on the ice together early on in camp was Trask, Soumelidis and Cameron.
It’s a chemistry that Soumelidis is excited about.
“We have a lot of forwards returning, there is really nothing new from what we did last year,” Soumelidis said. “It helps for sure, it’s always easy to play with guys you know, knowing your personalities.”
Pensacola Ice Flyers
Player cuts – Austin Frank (D), Mac Jansen (F), Brandon Mounce (G), Brandon Vuic (F)
Peoria Rivermen – Anna Headley
The Peoria Rivermen on Monday took headshots and took the ice twice – one in the morning and an afternoon session. The night before, the list of first roster cuts was released. Two goaltenders, Braeden Ostepchuk and Cody Porter, were cut, with another, Greg Dodds, being suspended by the team for failing to report to camp. Also on the list of cuts were forwards Chris Magi, Drake Hunter, and Tommy Mahoney, as well as defenseman Jake Hamilton.
On the injury front, goaltender Storm Phaneuf has yet to be medically cleared to play and has been placed on injured reserve. The roster moves bring the Rivermen roster down to 21 men; on Wednesday two more players will need to be cut prior to the season opener in Moline against the Quad City Storm on Saturday.
Quad City Storm – Anna Headley
The Quad City Storm took team headshots and had an after-practice meeting on Monday. Twenty players took the ice, as Vladimir Nikiforov and Nicola Levesque did not skate.
Goaltender Matt Leon, who relieved Chris Paulin in net on Saturday, forward Anthony Contillo, and defenseman Ondrej Misovic were released in the first round of cuts on Sunday.
Forward Phil Bronner was acquired in a trade with the Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs on Monday in exchange for future considerations. Bronner last season appeared in 49 games for Roanoke, scoring seven times but adding 16 assists in the regular season. He was held off the scoresheet in his two playoff appearances.
Two-way forward Mitchell Mueller, who calls himself “More of a grinder in the corners and stuff”, said having Dave Pszenyczny as coach was a large part in his decision to sign with the team. “I like having a coach who was just a player recently because he knows what it’s like, he knows the grind of this league. I like the area and I think it’s cool to come to a new team and be a part of something big here,” said Mueller.
Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs – Mike Campos
Goaltender Ryan Mulder was the lone player released by the team at cutdown time, but it was not the lone player move today. Forward Phil Bronner was dealt by coach Dan Bremner to his former teammate, Dave Pszenyczny, and his Quad City Storm. Bronner, a physical, grinding forward and a popular locker room guy, played in 84 games for the Dawgs over the past two seasons, scoring 12 goals and 22 assists while racking up 86 penalty minutes.
The player moves drop the Dawgs’ roster to 20 players, with forward Maxime Guyon expected in camp soon.
While Bremner hasn’t finalized his forward lines, some patterns are emerging. Former Peoria teammates Michael Economos and Jordan Carvalho have been skating together. Also, Colin Murray and Cody Dion have seen time as a pairing which would be one of the biggest forward lines in the league – both forwards stand at 6’4″. Finally, look for Eric Witzel and Jeff Jones to pair up as well.
Finally, a fun fact… Dion’s pet fish has his own Instagram account. Clifford (The Big Red Fish), a betta, currently has 278 followers on his own social media account.
View this post on Instagram
Clifford, however, is still a Peoria fish – he’s currently staying with Dion’s former Rivermen teammate Ben Oksroba. Hopefully, fish and proud papa will be reunited in the Star City soon.
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