And tomorrow’s starting goalie will be …

… Chris Carrozzi.

Who, you might ask?

Carrozzi is a Winnipeg Jets prospect and a 2008 sixth-round draft pick (154th overall) of the former Atlanta Thrashers. He was assigned to the Colorado Eagles to start the season but wasn’t getting much playing time, appearing in only one of the Eagles’ first 17 games. Coincidentally, that game was a 6-2 victory by the Reign in Colorado on Nov. 5.

Reign coach Jason Christie said that the Jets will assign Carrozzi to Ontario and Dustin Carlson will back him up against the Stockton Thunder. Jean-Francois Berube remains sidelined by an upper-body injury and did not practice Tuesday; Christie said that Berube will resume skating tomorrow.

Not much stands out about Carrozzi on the surface. The 21-year-old was stuck with a 6.00 goals-against average in his only appearance this season. Last season, he backstopped 47 games for the Gwinnett Gladiators, going 16-20-2-4 with a 3.23 GAA, which ranked 21st in the league.

But considering the Gladiators missed the playoffs altogether, Carrozzi’s 2010-11 numbers — which included two shutouts — aren’t awful. His junior career with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors culminated with OHL Goaltender of the Year Honors in 2009-10, after a 19-10-5/2.36/.916 season. Carrozzi signed his entry-level contract with the Thrashers after that season.

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Kuemper named Goaltender of the Week

On the same day the Minnesota Wild officially re-assigned him to AHL affiliate Houston, Darcy Kuemper has been Named Reebok Hockey ECHL Goaltender of the Week for November 21-27.

The 21-year-old was 2-0-0 with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .961 save percentage. Kuemper stopped 38 shots in a 4-2 win at Bakersfield on Saturday and carried the momentum into Sunday, when he turned aside 35 shots in a 2-1 victory over the Condors in Ontario. He backstopped a Reign penalty-kill unit which denied the Condors on 13 of 14 odd-man chances. Bakersfield’s only power-play goal came during on a 6-on-3 attack with 1:02 left in Sunday’s game.

The last Reign netminder to win goalie of the week honors was Kellen Briggs, for the week Nov 8-14, 2010.

Darcy Kuemper is promoted, and it could last a while.

The Minnesota Wild have re-assigned Darcy Kuemper to the Houston Aeros, their American Hockey League affiliate. It’s the second promotion for the rookie goalie this season, who spent one weekend with the NHL club but did not play.

Kuemper is leading the ECHL in goals-against average (1.74) and save percentage (.941) while going 7-1-0, accounting for all but two of the Reign’s nine wins.

While his first promotion was brief, Kuemper could be up for a while longer this time. According to a report on the Finnish website iltalehti.fi, the Aeros are losing their backup goalie, Dennis Endras, to HIFK of the Finnish League. Endras had been backing up Matt Hackett. The Aeros are planning to issue an official release tomorrow.

The Reign host the Stockton Thunder on Wednesday. Goalies Jean-Francois Berube and Dustin Carlson remain on the active roster, though Berube missed two games against the Bakersfield Condors over the weekend with an “upper-body injury.” The injury is not believed to be a concussion, and coach Jason Christie said that Berube is day-to-day.

More in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin.

Reign 2, Bakersfield 1.

Matt Tassone and Geoff Irwin scored the goals and Darcy Kuemper was Darcy Kuemper, making the easy saves look easy and the hard saves look easy while barely missing out on a shutout. He stopped 35 of 36.

Kuemper and the Reign should be glad they survived a night in which they were short-handed nine times, including all of the final 1:58. Bakersfield cashed in during a 6-on-3 shift when Justin Pender scored with 1:02 left but that was it for the Condors, who have lost eight in a row.

Check out the game story in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Bulletin. A few notes that won’t make the print edition:
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Reign 4, Stockton 2.

The Reign probably won’t frame Tuesday’s victory and hang it on a wall, but it could serve as a good jolt in the arm. (The team actually has some framed photographs of victory scenes hanging around their locker room, so the cliche works.)

Despite getting pushed around for the better part of three periods, and playing sloppy, turnover-prone hockey on occasion, they left CBBA with a series-opening 4-2 win. Chris Cloud had a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” — a goal, assist and fight — and the line of Geoff Irwin, C.J. Stretch and Derek Couture dominated the Thunder all night, combining for three goals, four assists and a plus-4 rating.

Stretch in particular was being draped all night, but still managed to shed the defense for a goal and two assists — both primary assists from behind the net on goals by Irwin.

“It’s frustrating for him,” Couture said. “Teams are going to look at his stats, see that Stretch is leading the team in points and play hard on him. … He fought through it.”

On a night when the Reign were outshot 37-23, the final score could have been quite a bit higher. But Darcy Kuemper heated up as the game went along, stopping 35 of 37 shots – including 16 in the final 20 minutes.

J.D. Watt had two assists, defenseman Chris Huxley played a solid defensive game and finished plus-3, and Shayne Neigum delivered a spirited bout with Stockton’s Jordan Foreman in the third period.

Plenty more details in tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin. A few notes that won’t make the paper:

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Darcy Kuemper on his big NHL weekend.

Darcy Kuemper didn’t dress for the Minnesota Wild against the Kings or the Ducks during his two-day NHL recall last weekend. If anything, the real-world equivalent of Kuemper’s experience might be akin to a “take-your-kid-to-work” day.

But if you’ve ever taken your children to work (and you have a cool job), or if you’re young enough to remember going to mom or dad’s workplace, you’ll know that it can be a cool experience. Kuemper certainly played it cool when I asked him about it after the morning skate.
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Kuemper is back, flu bug, other notes from practice.

Goalie Darcy Kuemper was back for practice Tuesday, after
spending the weekend with the Minnesota Wild for games against the Kings and
the Ducks. Kuemper didn’t play for the Wild but he got to experience the NHL
for two days, and will “probably” get the start tomorrow against Stockton,
Reign coach Jason Christie said.
 

Philippe Seydoux (flu) was the only player not on the ice.
Apparently the flu has hit a few players, as road trips to Alaska always have
potential to turn a slight cough into a mild epidemic. No word yet on Seydoux’s
availability for tomorrow.

Got our first look at Tristan King, the Dallas Stars prospect
who was assigned to the Reign prior to the Alaska trip. King, who had one goal
and two assists in the three-game series, “is a player that has just got to
push himself a little bit, Christie said. “His skill is something that he’s -
that’s what he’s got, but he’s got to come in and play both ends of the ice
hard.”

King skated with Brady Calla and Matt Tassone over the
weekend, but not Tuesday.

Dylan Yeo was wearing a red (non-contact) jersey and
participated in nearly all aspects of practice, but it doesn’t look like he’ll
be back tomorrow. If that’s the case, expect defenseman JP Cote to wear a
letter again – just not the captain’s “C” he wore in Alaska. The team didn’t
have an “A” to stitch on the road sweaters; otherwise Cote would have worn one.
He’ll get one tomorrow with the Reign at home.

Pick up tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin if you want to read about the emergence of the team’s leading scorer.

Here were the line rushes and defense pairs in practice:

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Darcy Kuemper recalled by Wild.

Puck drop is less than two hours away in Alaska, but here’s a brief update on Darcy Kuemper, who was officially recalled by the Minnesota Wild on Saturday and added to their NHL roster prior to today’s game in Anaheim …

Courtesy of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,

Darcy Kuemper got to watch tonight’s game from
the press box with injured Mike Lundin and Stoner. In a neat thing, the
Wild recalled Kuemper from ECHL Ontario (Calif.) so he can take the ice
during the Wild’s optional morning skate Sunday at Anaheim’s Honda
Center.

That means Kuemper, 21, the Western Hockey League’s Player and Goalie
of the Year last season, will earn his first NHL paycheck and a day’s
per diem before being reassigned — likely Monday.

So give it 24 hours. Unless Josh Harding or Niklas Backstrom is injured in the Ducks-Wild game tonight, Kuemper could be back soon.

Reign 4, Stockton 2.

The Reign had a full week off since their last game and the practice seemed to pay off. They never trailed in their 4-2 win Friday, getting goals from Steven Tarasuk, C.J. Stretch, Matt Tassone and Francois Brisebois. Darcy Kuemper allowed a pair of breakaway goals to Ian O’Connor but made all the routine saves, and one amazing save in the final minute, among his 21 stops.

The power play finished 2-for-4 on the goals by Tarasuk and Stretch — the first goal of the year for both players — after going 2-for-22 to start the season. Dylan Yeo had two assists and Tassone, Tarasuk, Brisebois, Stretch, Brady Calla and Chris Huxley (making his Reign debut) had one assist each. Huxley was paired with Vincent LoVerde and both defensemen finished plus-2 for the game.

Christie had words of praise for Huxley, as well as a strong overall forechecking effort that stifled Stockton at even strength.

Derek Couture fought Garet Hunt in the first period (advantage: Couture), Shayne Neigum fought O’Connor in the second period (advantage: O’Connor), and Stretch nearly came to blows with Jordan Fulton late in the first period. A scrum just after the final horn sounded was broken up before it could fully materialize.

J-F Berube gets the start tomorrow.

Check out tomorrow’s editions of the Sun and Daily Bulletin for more. Here’s the official scoresheet.

New defenseman (#16) and other notes.

Chris Huxley was the co-captain at Harvard University last year. He played on the Crimson’s top defensive pair with a recent NHL draft pick, Danny Biega. He once was presented an academic/athletic excellence award (the John Carlton Memorial Award) by former Boston Bruin Johnny Bucyk.

Now, he’s just a number. Number 16 in the line of defensemen who have been under contract to the Reign since July 1, and number (TBA) in your program tomorrow night against the Stockton Thunder.

“He’s one of those durable guys that can come in and have a little offensive side to him,” coach Jason Christie said. “He’s a competitor.”

Huxley will give the Reign six defensemen — three full pairs — for the first (and only) time since the opening weekend of the regular season. Pat Bowen isn’t ready to be rushed into game action and Philippe Seydoux still doesn’t have his P-1 (work) visa. Christie hopes both players will be ready to go by next week.

A few more notes:
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