Four Minutemen On Opening Night NHL Rosters
Oct. 1, 2013
AMHERST, Mass. - Four UMass hockey alumni have earned spots on opening night National Hockey League rosters. With the 2013-14 NHL campaign starting up this week, former Minutemen Justin Braun (2006-10) and Matt Irwin (2008-10) are entering their fourth and second seasons, respectively, with the San Jose Sharks, Jonathan Quick (2005-07) is back with the Los Angeles Kings and Mike Kostka (2004-08) is beginning his first year with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The four, all active in the NHL last season, are among UMass' total of nine NHL alumni all time.
Name: Justin Braun
Entering his fourth year with the San Jose Sharks, Braun had seven assists over 41 games during the regular season in 2013 and reached the postseason for the third time in his NHL career with San Jose. The defenseman played in 28 games in 2010-11 and 66 in 2011-12. As a senior with the Minutemen in 2009-10, he was named a second team All-American, to the New England All-Star Team, to the Hockey East All-Conference First Team and was selected as the New England and Hockey East Defensive Player of the Year.
Name: Matt Irwin
Irwin was named the 2012-13 San Jose Sharks' Rookie of the Year after registering 12 points on six goals and six assists over 38 games last season. He also appeared in 11 playoff games for the Sharks and had one assist in postseason competition. Irwin made his NHL debut on Jan. 20, 2013 in the Sharks' season opener, a 4-1 win over the Calgary Flames and was on the ice for 19:06, including 51 seconds on the power play. Irwin turned pro following his sophomore season at UMass and was named an AHL All-Star with the Worcester Sharks in 2011-12.
Name: Mike Kostka
After a successful rookie campaign with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2012-13, Kostka signed with the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks during the offseason. The defenseman made his NHL debut on Jan. 19, 2013 and helped the Toronto down the Montreal Canadiens, 2-1, in the teams' season opener on Hockey Night In Canada. Kostka saw 23 minutes of ice time in the contest, the second-most of any player for Toronto, and picked up an assist just four minutes, 51 seconds into his NHL career. He finished the year with eight assists in 35 games for the Maple Leafs and appeared in one postseason contest before being sidelined with an injury. Kostka, who won the Calder Cup with the Norfolk Admirals in 2011-12, was a Hockey East All-Conference Second Team selection and served as team captain as a senior in 2007-08.
Name: Jonathan Quick
Widely regarded as not only one of the top netminders, but one of the top players currently in the NHL, Quick has appeared in over 280 games with the Kings and led the Los Angeles to the Western Conference Finals for a second straight year in 2012-13, boasting a postseason goals-against average of 1.86 and a .934 save percentage. The Conn Smythe Trophy winner became the first Minuteman to win the Stanley Cup in 2012. That same season he earned an NHL All-Star nod and was awarded the ESPY for NHL Player of the Year. The goaltender made his NHL debut on Dec. 6, 2007, and currently holds a career GAA of 2.32 and a .914 career save percentage. Quick, who turned pro following his sophomore season at UMass, led the Minutemen to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in 2006-07 and garnered second team All-America status.