ECHL report: Gacek excels in debut
Alex Gacek shuffled between three ECHL teams in 2016-17, but he finished seventh in rookie goals and ninth in points by a first-year player in that league.
Gacek, a 2016 Miami graduate, scored 26 times and dished for 26 assists en route to a 52-point rookie campaign with South Carolina, Orlando and finally Atlanta.
Gacek started the season with South Carolina but was traded to Orlando on Dec. 29. On March 7 he was acquired by Atlanta at the trade deadline.
Gacek ended the season with a plus-11 rating and his shooting percentage was 18.7.
OTHER ROOKIES: Matthew Caito played just 23 games with Toledo during the regular season, but the defenseman scored eight times and added six assists.
Caito picked up his first pro hat trick vs. Fort Wayne on Nov. 25 as part of a five-game stretch in which he found the net seven times.
Caito also played with Grand Rapids (AHL) for 13 games before returning to Toledo for the playoffs, racking up nine more points in 17 games. He logged eight games with the Walleye at the end of 2015-16 following Miami’s season.
Defenseman Taylor Richart netted seven goals and picked up 13 assists in his first pro season.
Playing for Utah, Richart was limited to 48 games in 2016-17 but still finished second on the team in blueliner goals. He was tops among ex-Miamians in ECHL defenseman points with 20.
Defenseman Colin Sullivan made his pro debut with Atlanta this spring after wrapping up his season season in Oxford.
Sullivan earned his first career assist at Greenville on April 2.
LEADING AT INDY: Alex Wideman led all former RedHawks in ECHL points last season with 55.
He was tops on Indiana in assists (33) and shootout goals (3) and has already racked up 94 points in 128 games in the league.
Wideman played juniors in Indianapolis for two years prior to his Miami career, and now calls his former rink home.
MINORS MASTERTON: Alden Hirschfeld required season-ending brain surgery in 2015-16 but returned to post a career-high 49 points last season for Toledo.
Hirschfeld also set high marks in goals (23) and plus-minus (17).
After earning a promotion to AHL Grand Rapids, Hirschfeld collapsed on the bench as the result of a seizure on Jan. 8, 2016 and underwent a craniotomy on March 14, during which a malformation on his brain was removed.
MILESTONES: Gary Steffes needed two points to reach the 200 mark for his career entering the final game of the 2016-17 regular season.
His line in that contest: 1 goal, 1 assist, capped off by a clinching marker in a 4-2 win over Wichita.
Steffes also scored his 100th ECHL goal late last season and has rolled up 105 in four seasons in that league.
PLAYOFFS?! PLAYOFFS?!?! No former Miamian advanced to the championship series, but Kevin Morris and Matthew Caito both posted nine points as their respective teams qualified for the conference final.
Morris played 19 games with Manchester, scoring five goals and adding four assists, and defenseman Matthew Caito racked up a goal and eight helpers.
Dynasty team Allen was bounced in the second round, and Gary Steffes finished with three goals and three assists in that team’s postseason.
On deck: BoB takes a look at Miamians in other leagues.
A look at all RedHawks that appeared in ECHL games this season:
|Will Weber||Fort Wayne||D||67||3||6||9||4||76|
|Devin Mantha||Fort Wayne||F||25||2||4||6||2||2|
|Will Weber||Fort Wayne||D||8||0||0||0||4|