Cornell men’s hockey senior forward Jeff Kubiak has signed with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers — AHL affiliate of the New York Islanders — on an amateur tryout contract for the remainder of the season, and an additional one-year contract for through 2017-18, the team announced Tuesday morning.
Missing 10 games in his senior season may not have been the final campaign Kubiak was hoping for, but the alternate captain was a leader both on and off the ice for the Red during his four years on East Hill. He made his name as a play-maker, pacing his class with 61 points, thanks to a whopping 46 assists in addition to 15 goals. He managed 17 points this past season despite appearing in only 25 games.
Kubiak exploded at the outset of his junior year, when he led the team with 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists), en route to appearing in every contest. The center began his third season hot, with nine of his 27 points coming on a six-game points streak. His cohesive combination with current sophomores Mitch Vanderlaan and Anthony Angello made the “JAM” line the most productive on the team.
Cornell scored 79 goals over the course of the 2015-16 season, but perhaps none was more memorable than Kubiak’s overtime winner to topple Providence — the then-undefeated, nationally-ranked No. 1 defending champions — in the first round of the Florida College Hockey Classic.
Kubiak is the fifth member of the senior class to sign with a professional organization, and the third to report to the AHL. Defenseman Patrick McCarron signed with the Grand Rapids Griffins, forward Matt Buckles with the Springfield Thunderbirds and Mitch Gillam as the sole ECHLer with the Orlando Solar Bears. Forward Jake Weidner is the lone member to go international, signing with the Iserlohn Roosters in Germany.
As a part of the Sound Tigers, Kubiak enters the Atlantic Division of the AHL. Most notably, that division is home to fellow Cornellians in Buckles on the Thunderbirds, Reece Willcox ’15 and Cole Bardreau ’13 on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and Brian Ferlin ’15 on the Bruins, who the Sound Tigers took on Friday night.
The Sound Tigers currently sit at fifth in their division with a 44-26-3-1 record in the midst of a playoff race. The roster bolsters several ex-collegiate hockey players, such as Quinnipiac’s Travis St. Denis and Devon Toews — whom Kubiak saw plenty of — as well as products of Penn St., Michigan St. and Boston College, among others.
Kubiak is eligible to make his debut this Friday, when the Sound Tigers take on Buckles and the Thunderbirds on the road.