Union Hockey alumni Josh Jooris ’13 and Keith Kinkaid ’11 are getting a chance to prove their talents at the NHL level this year.
In 31 games with the young, but talented, Calgary Flames, Jooris has totaled 14 points on nine goals and five assists, ranking him in the top-15 for rookie scorers in the NHL this year.
The defining moment of Jooris’ strong season, thus far, is the game in which he recorded his first career NHL hat trick against the Arizona Coyotes back in early December. The Flames won the game handily, with a score of 5-2, and Jooris was certainly to thank. His second goal of the night turned out to be the game-winner for the Flames, as he notched a shot past Coyotes’ goaltender Mike Smith and broke a 2-2 tie midway through the second period.
The Flames are currently tied with defending Stanley Cup Champions Los Angeles Kings for eighth place in the Western. If the Flames can maintain their strong play throughout the remainder of the season, there is a very good chance Jooris will have the opportunity to display some of his magic in the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring.
Jooris’ former Union teammate, Keith Kinkaid, has seen his fair share of ice-time in the NHL, as well. On Dec. 9, the injury-plagued New Jersey Devils called up the 25-year-old goaltender from Farmingville, N.Y., to make his first NHL start.
Despite an impressive 37-save effort by Kinkaid, he and the Devils unfortunately lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the top teams in the NHL. The Devils were also missing a significant number of their core players due to injury, including Travis Zajac, Dainius Zubrus, Ryan Clowe, Patrick Elias and Mike Cammalleri, along with top-defenders Adam Larsson and Bryce Salvador.
Kinkaid was just over three minutes away from securing his first NHL win when Blackhawks’ all-star defenseman Duncan Keith evened the score at 2-2.
“Kinkaid looked sharp right from the start, dealing with shots through traffic and making some big stops,” wrote Rich Chere, a writer at NJ Advance Media, in his postgame column.
Just 10 days later, Kinkaid earned his first NHL victory when he led the Devils to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday, Dec. 19.
While he is listed as the Devils’ backup goaltender, Kinkaid has posted some impressive numbers. He has a 1-3 record with a .913 goals-against average and a 2.54 save percentage in four starts this year.
The Union community wishes these two former Dutchmen the best of luck with the remainder of their seasons and looks forward to watching them grow as rising stars in the NHL.