Soo Eagles News - Hockey News January 23, 2015

Soo Eagles an opportunity for coach and player

By Randy Russon – Hockey News North

It’s part of a never-ending search to try to improve the hockey team.

And at the same time, it allows the coaching and scouting staff the opportunity to evaluate a player up close.

Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League are known for bringing in select players from lower-level programs over the course of the season. The usual process involves bringing in a player for a week of practice to see how he measures up with those already on the Eagles roster.

After three days of practice, if the Eagles like the player in question, they can either sign him for the rest of the season, tender him for the following campaign or put him on their list of prospects for the annual NAHL draft.

“It gives us the opportunity to take a really close look at a player and have our staff evaluates him,” said Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo.
“And it also gives the player the opportunity to practice with us and see how he fits in at the NAHL level.”

One such player who will head to Sault Ste. Marie to skate and practice with the Eagles before the end of the month is Jacob Hernandez, a 1995-birth-year forward with the Detroit Fighting Irish of the Midwest Jr. Hockey League.

In just 23 games with Detroit thus far this 2014-2015 MWJHL season, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound Hernandez has 19 goals, 12 assists, 31 points and has racked up 104 penalty minutes.

“You just know never know when you are going to find a diamond-in-the-rough,” reasoned Tom Farnquist, the reputable chief scout of the NAHL Eagles.

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News January 23, 2015

Eagles have eye on second spot

By Randy Russon – Hockey News North

First place may be out of reach for the Soo Eagles but finishing second will mean home-ice advantage come playoff time.

To be sure, with 21 games to play in the regular season, finishing second in the North Division of the North American Hockey League is the goal for the Eagles.
Heading into a road game against the Michigan Warriors on Friday, the Eagles are tied with the Keystone Ice Miners for second spot in the North Division with 41 points apiece, 20 points back of the first-place Janesville Jets.

Forward Mitch Vanderburg, who is second on the Eagles in scoring with 17 goals, 16 assists, 33 points in 33 games, knows the Soo needs every win it can get heading into the stretch run of the 2014-2015 campaign.

“We can’t afford to let up,” said Vanderburg, a skilled speedster who plays the game with an edge. “We aren’t very far ahead of the teams that are behind us.”
Indeed, just behind the Soo and Keystone in the North Division standings are the three other clubs in the six-team North — Springfield Jr. Blues and Johnstown Tomahawks have 36 points apiece and Michigan has 34.

Four teams will make the playoffs in the North and at this stage of the season, just seven points separate second place from sixth.

“Every game is like a playoff game now,” said Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo. “At the end of the season, two pretty-good teams in our division are going to miss the playoffs.”

“Right now we are tied for second place and right now I would say that finishing second is a goal for our team,” said Eagles associate coach Alex Sawruk. “Finishing second would give us home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs and that is something to aim for.”

Next home games for the Eagles are Friday, January 30 (7:30) and Saturday, January 31 (7:00) when they play host to first-place Janesville at Pullar Stadium.

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News January 16, 2015

Soo Eagles Alumni Update

By Randy Russon – Hockey News North

This is the fifth season of existence for the Soo Eagles under the current ownership regime that includes coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo.

Through two seasons in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League and now in their third term as members of the North American Hockey League, the Eagles have moved more than 25 players on to the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Ontario Hockey League ranks.
Following is a 2014-2015 season update on a handful of Eagles alumni.

Brian Depp. A 1991 birth-year forward, Depp is in his junior year of Division 3, NCAA hockey with Elmira College and has 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points in 10 games this season. Depp was a member of the Eagles 2010-2011 NOJHL championship squad.

Jake Paterson. A 1994 birth-year goalie and another member of the Eagles 2010-2011 NOJHL title team, Paterson is in his fourth full season with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit. Paterson, who has signed with the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League, has a record of 10-10-1, a 3.32 goals against average and .910 save percentage for Saginaw thus far this OHL season.

Tyler Marble. A 1992 birth-year goalie who starred for the Eagles during their first season in the NAHL, Marble missed the entire 2013-2014 campaign with a shoulder injury. Now in his first season at the Division 1, NCAA level with Colorado College, Marble recently won his third game of the 2014-2015 campaign with a 35-save effort in a 3-2 exhibition victory over USA Hockey’s national development team.

Jared Van Wormer. A 1992 birth-year forward, Van Wormer won the NAHL scoring championship in 2012-2013 as captain of the Eagles. Now a sophomore with Division 1, NCAA Ferris State, Van Wormer has 3 goals, 2 assists, 5 points in 14 games this season.

Mike Sabatini. A 1995 birth-year forward, Sabatini spent the past two seasons in the NAHL with the Eagles. Now a freshman with Division 1, NCAA Canisius College, Sabatini has 1 goal, 2 assists, 3 points in 12 games this season. Of note, Sabatini is a former OHL draft pick of the Soo Greyhounds.

Scott Cuthrell. A 1994 birth-year forward who was a point-per-game performer with the Eagles last season, Cuthrell is now a top-line freshman with Division 3, NCAA Nichols College. In 9 games thus far this season, Cuthrell has 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points.

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News January 05, 2015

Eagles exchange Euro defencemen

By Randy Russon

Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League have dealt Latvian-born defenceman Kristofers Bindulis to the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League and replaced him with Slovakian-born defender Patrik Koch.

Bindulis, who has a 1995 birth date, was in his second season with the Eagles. In 28 games this 2014-2015 season, he had 1 goal, 5 assists, 6 points.

The 6-foot-1, 190 pound Koch, who was born in 1996, played in 23 games with Des Moines this season and had 3 goals, 4 assists, 7 points.

“We did our homework on Patrik and watched a lot of tape on him,” Eagles coach-general manager Bruno Bragagnolo told “We really like what he can do from an offensive standpoint.”

The Eagles, who are in second place in the NAHL North Division with 37 points from a record of 18-16-1, are in Springfield for games tonight and Saturday. The Jr. Blues are tied for fifth in the North with 30 points from a record of 14-16-2.

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News January 05, 2015

Eagles swoop to road sweep

By Randy Russon

Buoyed by the goal-scoring of Mitch Vanderburg and backed by the goal-tending of Jack Berry, Soo Eagles fashioned a weekend road sweep of the Springfield Jr. Blues.

The back-to-back victories to begin 2015 lifted the Eagles record to 20-16-1 and kept them in sole possession of second place in the North Division of the North American Hockey League.

On Friday, Vanderburg scored three goals and Berry made 39 saves in a 5-3 Soo triumph over Springfield.

On Saturday, Vanderburg scored again and Berry stopped 35 more shots as the Eagles upended the Jr. Blues 4-1.

Vanderburg — who is a nephew to former Ontario Hockey League scoring star Mike Wolak (Kitchener Rangers, Belleville Bulls, Windsor Spitfires) — now has 15 goals, 15 assists, 30 points in 26 games since the Eagles acquired him via the Amarillo Bulls earlier this season.

For the season, Vanderburg has 17 goals, 16 assists, 33 points in 30 games.

Soo Eagles News - Hockey News December 19, 2014

Mitch Vanderburg named North Division’s Second Star

Soo Eagle’s forward, Mitch Vanderburg was named North Division’s Second Star, for the week ending December 14, 2014.

The 1996 birth year player, from Milford, Michigan, netted two goals and had three assists on Saturday night, in the Eagle’s wild 9-8 victory over the Michigan Warriors.


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Our Mission

The Soo Eagles are committed to developing a tradition of academic growth, athletic skills, leadership, self-esteem, self discipline, integrity, teamwork and sportsmanship.  We will provide this opportunity through the NAHL Tier Two Junior Hockey League as well as having the players involved in the community of Sault Ste. Marie in many projects.