Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Hockey's Headwaters

Hockey’s Headwaters: Riley Barber gets NHL call

Riley Barber made his NHL debut at the Verizon Center in Washington. -- ALAN SAUNDERS

Welcome to Hockey’s Headwaters, your place to keep track of Pittsburgh born and trained hockey players skating out of town. Here is Hockey’s Headwaters for the week ending Feb. 26, 2017.

HEADWATERS PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Pittsburgh native Riley Barber made his NHL debut last Friday, becoming the seventh Pittsburgh trained player to skate in the league this season and the first to make his debut.

It’s been a tough year for Barber, who got off to a red-hot start before missing significant time due to an upper-body injury.

As a sixth-round pick, there aren’t unlimited opportunities to make it to the NHL, and at 23, Barber’s clock was ticking. But he came back strong, scoring three goals in his first weekend back on the ice in mid-February and was called up for the Capitals’ game against the Edmonton Oilers Feb. 25.

Barber skated 9:56 and had two shots on goal in his first game and had quite the contingent of fans at the Verizon Center, with many family and friends making the four-hour drive to Washington.

Thanks to my family for making it to my first NHL game. It was a night I’ll never forget. @capitals

A post shared by Riley Barber (@riley_barber_) on

Barber played the next night in Nashville before being sent back down the to the AHL, where he played for the Hershey Bears against Bridgeport on Feb. 26. Two days later, he was back in the NHL, sting up against the New York Rangers.

“Got to play a couple shifts with Backstrom and Ovi and that was kind of a dream come true…” – @rileybarber94 is back up #CapsNYR pic.twitter.com/erFuWCzF0E

Here’s whats going on elsewhere in the hockey world.

J.T. Miller (Pittsburgh Hornets) scored a goal for the New York Rangers at Toronto Feb. 23. In four games last week, he was a plus-6, making him a plus-20 on the season, second-best on the team.

Vince Trocheck had a goal for the Florida Panthers on the road against the St. Louis Blues Feb. 20. … Columbus Blue Jackets forward Brandon Saad (Pine-Richland) had a pair of assists against the Islanders Feb. 25.

Shaler and Robert Morris alum Zac Lynch scored two goals and added an assist for the Manchester Monarchs. In 31 ECHL games this season, Lynch now has exactly 31 points, with 15 goals and 16 assists.

Wheeling Nailers forward Cody Wydo (Robert Morris) scored three goals (two on the power play) and also added an assist. Wydo now has seven goals in his last seven games.

Forward Patrick Gaul (Pittsburgh Hornets) had a goal and an assist for South Carolina. … Atlanta Gladiators forward Tyler Murovich (Mt. Lebanon) had two assists against Orlando on Feb. 24. … Wichita Thunder forward David Friedmann (Robert Morris) added two assists in a game against Cincinnati on Feb. 22. … Quad City Mallards defenseman Alexander Kuqali had two assists. … Derik Johnson had two assists for the Reading Royals.

Joe Harcharik (Robert Morris) had a goal and two assists for the Fayetteville FireAntz, including a game-winning power-play goal against Columbus Feb. 25. P

Peoria Rivermen forward Jeff Jones (Robert Morris) also had a power-play game-winner, scoring against Evansville Feb. 25 and also had two more assists for a three-point week. …  Forward Aaron Clarke (Robert Morris) scored a goal and added an assist for the Pensacola Ice Flyers.

Defenseman Nilan Nagy (Canon-McMillan) had the game-winning goal in a pivotal Game 5 for Ujpest in the MOL Liga playoffs Feb. 2.. He also added an assist as Ujpest defeated Dunaújvárosi in seven games.

Manchester Storm (EIHL) forward Cody Cartier (Robert Morris) had three assists. … Aalborg (Metal Ligaen) defenseman Andrew Blazek (Robert Morris) added two assists.

NWHLNWHL: Buffalo Beauts goaltender Brianne McLaughlin (Robert Morris) played her final home game Feb. 26, stopping 33 shots in a 4-2 loss to the Connecticut Whale. McLaughlin is retiring at the end of the season. The Beauts have two more games, both of which will be on the road.

CWHL: Kristen Richards (Robert Morris) recorded an assist over two games , but her Brampton Thunder were eliminated from the CWHL’s Clarkson Cup playoffs by the Montreal Canadiennes. Richards finished the regular season with a goal and two assists in 24 games. Teammate Jessica Vint (Robert Morris) had eight goals and seven assists in 17 games.

Ohio State defenseman Matt Miller (Moon) had an assist against Michigan Feb. 24. It was Miller’s seventh point of the season, but four of them have come in the freshman blue liner’s past five games for the No. 13 Buckeyes.

Yale sophomore center Andrew Gaus (Wexford) had an assist at Quinnipiac Feb. 24. He has four points in his last four games. … RIT women’s hockey forward Reagan Rust (Pens Elite) had two assists against Mercyhurst Feb. 24.

OHL

OHL: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds forward Alex Gritz (Pens Elite) scored the game-winning goal in a 5-2 victory over the North Bay Battalion Feb. 26. The goal is Gritz’s second of the season and first since Oct. 19.

OJHL: Trenton forward Connor Quinn (Quaker Valley) had a goal and an assist in an a 7-2 win over Markham Feb 24. Teammate Austin Tonkovich (Canon-McMillan) added an assist. The Golden Hawks will face the Newmarket Hurricanes in the first round of the OJHL playoffs.

CCHL: Brockville Braves forward Dustin Rinaldo (Pens Elite) scored two goals in the first period of a 7-4 win over Hawkesbury Feb. 24. … Kemptville 73’s forward Adam Alavi (Peters Twp) had a pair of assists.

NOJHL: Elliot Lake Wildcats forward Nick Long scored the overtime game-winner in a 4-3 victory over Blind River Feb. 24. The goal was Long’s eighth of the year. He also had an assist in the game.

Johnstown Tomahawks forward Dalton Hunter (Latrobe) had two assists against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Feb. 24. … Teammates Logan Stork (Upper St. Clair) and Roman Kraemer (Serra) also had assists in that game. On the other side, Knights forward Paul Maust (Mars) had a goal in that game. The next day, he scored the game-tying goal late in the third period and again in the shootout, but the Tomahawks ended up winning both games. Maust now has points in four straight.

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