EJHL Dominates at HNIB
At the Hockey Night in Boston All-Scholastic Tournament title game yesterday, the EJHL crushed the Mass Privates, 8-2.
Actually, the EJHL crushed everyone they played, outscoring their opponents 32-8 over the four-game tournament. The Coyotes line of Colin McDonald-Keith Johnson-Mark McCutcheon was unstoppable, and the second line of Ken Porter (Cap District)-Ryan Cruthers (Apple Core)-Garrett Summerfield (Cap District) was not far behind. Apple Core's Steve Birnstill was outstanding on the blue line.
In the third place game, New York/Mid-Atlantic beat New England, 10-4. In the fifth place game, Mid-West/New England topped the ISL, 9-5. In the seventh place game, the Junior Selects topped the Mass Public/Catholics, 7-3.
Ryan Cruthers (EJHL) 6-3-9
Colin McDonald (EJHL) 4-5-9
Ken Porter (EJHL) 2-7-9
Mark McCutcheon (EJHL) 4-4-8
Chris Meyers (Mass Privates) 4-4-8
Barry McLaughlin (ISL) 3-5-8
Nolan Boike (Mass Public/Catholics) 3-5-8
Eric LaFreniere (New England) 3-5-8
Jim Tselikis (New England) 2-6-8
Top Goalies (gaa is computer on a per period basis):
Allen Barton (EJHL) .44
David Leggio (EJHL) .66
Nevin Hamilton (EJHL) 1.00
Scott Tomes (Jr. Selects) 1.00
Matt Gluck (NY/Mid-Atl) 1.25
Phil Greer (Mass Public/Catholics) 1.25
Colin McDonald (EJHL) and Chris Meyers (Mass Privates)
CC Lands a Top Minnesota High School Defenseman
5'10", 175 lb. LD Jack Hillen of Holy Angels, currently an 11th grader, has verbally committed to Colorado College. The plan is for Hillen to arrive at the Springs in the fall of 2005, after a year of juniors. There is, however, a small chance that Hillen could come directly from high school, depending on circumstances.
Hillen, who helped lead Holy Angels to a third-place finish in the Minnesota State High School Tournament earlier this month, and was named to the All-Tournament team, made his final choice from between CC and Harvard.
Hillen made his unofficial visit to CC two weekends ago (the weekend after the state tourney), and got to watch CC play a pair against Alaska-Anchorage. After deciding on CC, Hillen scratched his plans to make an unofficial visit to Harvard.
Hillen, who had a 9-34-35 scoring line and a +81 in 31 games this season, is a highly-skilled offensive defenseman who plays very well in his own end, is an excellent skater, has strong passing skills, and a good accurate shot.
Hillen was named to US Under-17 Select Team that was chosen at last summer's Select 16 Festival and went to the Czech Republic in August.
A Hard-Working Man
Merrimack senior goaltender Joe Exter, as many of you may have heard or read, has made great strides in his recovery over the last ten days, and yesterday was moved from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Center.
For much of the time since the accident, which was three weeks ago tonight, Exter was in an induced coma in order to allow pressure on the brain to go down. There were times over the first two weeks when the brain pressure would spike scarily, threatening the brain stem, which controls most of life's vital functions. Then the swelling would go down, but soon come back up again. At several points, it was unsure whether the 24-year-old would even make it.
Now, Exter is walking short distances, and talking, though in a whispery voice. There's a long road ahead, but Exter, from what we know about him and will touch on in this article, appears to have the inner fire and determination necessary to overcome major obstacles.
There's been a lot written about Exter in recent weeks, and much of it mentions his work ethic and determination, the two major attributes that allowed Exter to elevate his craft to the point he did this season when, on a Merrimack team that finished six games under .500, the Cranston, RI native posted a .915 save percentage and a 2.91 gaa. In other words, Exter stole games games for his team. Pro scouts noticed and it was highly probable that, if not for the March 7 tragedy, Exter would have signed a free agent contract and been in training camp with an NHL team this coming September.
How did Exter become the goalie he became? For answers to that question, we need to go back to his pre-Merrimack days.
In 1992-93, Exter, who turned 14 during the season, began to get notice when he was playing for the New England Generals, a tourney team that was loaded with top kids like Tom Poti, Nick Gillis, Peter Metcalf, and Bobby Allen, who all would form the core of the great Cushing Academy teams in the years to follow.
Long-time Cushing head coach Steve Jacobs went down to watch him play. "I liked the way he moved, his technique, and how confident he was," he recalled.
Exter arrived at the Ashburnham, Mass. boarding school as a freshman in the fall of '93. He was 5'11", 145 lbs. He played six games that first season, and went 6-0 with a 1.50 gaa. "I remember how upset he was over just getting partial time as a freshman," Jacobs said. "He just wanted to play."
In his sophomore year, '94-'95, Exter played in a strict rotation with senior Mark Northrup. In his 19 starts, Exter went 16-2-1 with a 1.89 gaa. This was the Cushing team that reached the prep finals, only to lose a 2-1 decision to Hotchkiss, which got a superb performance from junior goaltender J.R. Prestifilippo. Northrup was between the pipes that day, as Exter's turn had come up the day before, when the Penguins beat Deerfield in the semifinals.
In Exter's 11th grade season, '95-96, Cushing had one of the great all-time prep teams, going 35-1, their only loss coming in February when Andover goaltender Greg Berard (52 saves) topped the Penguins in Ashburnham. In the prep finals, Cushing avenged that loss, crushing Andover, 7-1, and winning the prep title. For the season, Exter posted a 1.67 gaa and a .945 save percentage.
"Joe went about his business real hard. He had such a great passion and the will to learn more and more and work harder and harder. And he was determined, too," jacobs said. "On top of that, he had great mental maturity and confidence in his ability. If he gave up a goal he never made excuses -- he just put it behind him and played. People respected him for that.
"He was the kind of kid that anyone who came in conctact with him liked."
The summer after his junior year, Exter went to the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) camp, but decided to come back to Cushing for his senior year.
In '96-97 Cushing no longer had Poti, C Ryan Moynihan, and LW Jayson Philbin, but Allen, Gillis, LW Heath Gordon and others were still on hand. The Penguins went 28-3-2, but were upset in the quarters by an Exeter Academy team that, with Russ Bartlett, Geoff Koch, Colin Sheen, and Matt Carney, had still bowed twice to Cushing in the regular season. That season, Exter played all but two games, going 26-3-2 with a 1.45 gaa and seven shutouts. He finished his Cushing career with a 83-6-3 overall record and a 1.65 gaa. He owns Cushing records in just about every goaltending category.
However, the attention he was getting from Div. I schools at the time was underwhelming. "With a lot of the schools," said Jacobs, "it was like, 'Yeah, we like him, but..." The trepidation from a lot of Div. I recruiters stemmed from the fact that Exter, who at times had six future Div. I defenseman playing in front of him, not only didn't get a lot of shots, but got few quality shots. Coaches seldom got to see him in a situation of adversity.
Interestingly, Merrimack, then coached by current Chicago Black Hawks scout Ron Anderson, came right out and made him an offer. Exter, though, like many kids, had his sites higher -- BC, BU, and the like.
But when those schools didn't come knocking, Exter decided to go major junior, and signed with the Erie Otters (OHL), who had recruited him hard. There was a local connection as Erie was then coached by former BU defenseman Dale Dunbar, a Winthrop, Mass. resident who just a few years earlier had started his coaching career as an assistant at Catholicm Memorial. Erie did not work out well. Exter, playing behind Patrick Dovigi, was the #2 guy, getting only four starts and going 0-4-0 with a .860 save percentage and a 4.13 gaa. When Erie traded for 6'5" Sudbury Wolves goaltender Steve Valiquette, an LA Kings draft pick, in Dec. of 1997, Exter was the odd man out. Around Christmas, he returned home to contemplate his future. He finished out the season with the Boston Bulldogs, Mike Addesa's independent junior team
In the spring of 1998, Chris Serino took over as head coach at Merrimack. Philbin, Exter's old teammate at Cushing, was a sophomore at Merrimack at the time, and put in a strong word with the new coach on Exter's behalf. In time, Serino, who knew Exter from his days as an assistant at UNH, would offer Exter, but wanted him to play a full season of juniors before coming to Merrimack where, because of his major junior stint, he would also have to sit out one-year-plus at the beginning of the 2000-01 season before being cleared by the NCAA to suit up.
In the fall of 1998, Exter went out to the Waterloo Blackhawks (USHL), and immediately found himself in a squeeze for playing time with Nate Nomeland, who would go on to Princeton, and Mike Walsh, who would go on to Clarkson. Head coach Scott Pionk, now assisting with the Hermantown (Minn.) HS varsity, had three goalies he felt good about, but only needed two. Meanwhile, back east in Biddeford, Maine, the EJHL's Great Northern Snow Devils (now the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), were struggling, and needed someone steady in net. Pionk was going to move either Exter or Walsh and when he spoke to Exter about going back east, Exter was enthused. He already had his college deal, and just wanted to play regularly somewhere.
"The kids looked up to Joe," Pionk recalls. "We had a bad loss one day and afterward I just shut the door to the locker room and said it was time to clear the air. Joe stood up and went right after our captain, basically telling him that he was part of the reason we were struggling. 'We need you,' was basically what Joe was saying to him. That was Joe being a leader for us."
Brian Meisner, then Waterloo's assistant coach, said, "He had a great maturity level -- just way beyond everyone else on the team. He was also one of the hardest-working guys I've ever coached. Even when things weren't going his way, he believed in himself."
In January of 1999, Exter, who in 14 games with Waterloo posted a 4.30 gaa and a .868 save percentage, came back east. Snow Devils head coach Sean Tremblay put Exter in net full time and the team, which had been limping along, went on a 17-3 run the rest of the way before losing a 4-OT game to Walpole in the playoffs.
"The confidence of the Snow Devils just shot up after he arrived," recalled Tremblay. "He was great in the locker room. He didn't speak a lot, but it was always really meaningful when he did."
As far as his goaltending was concerned, Tremblay said, "He was a very mechanical goalie, very square to the puck, a very good paddle-down goalie. But his work ethic was amzaing. Anything that would make him a better goalie he would do, and that's why he's continually gotten better each year."
When Exter got to Merrimack in the fall of '99, and had to sit out the year, he just kept working at his game.
"At Merrimack," says Tremblay, "I noticed that his athleticism came more to the forefront. He just kept adding to his arsenal. He had the mental side of it down, and he just kept getting better and better."
"He was so close to fullfilling his dream," Tremblay added. "He was definitely going pro. Nothing was going to deny that kid."
Great 8 Gets Underway
The Great 8, which features 136 of the top high school seniors in the state of Minnesota, gets underway this evening at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul, Minn. The first game is at 6:00 pm.
Mount Makes it 26 in a Row
Providence, RI -- Corey Goglia figured in every goal (2g,3a) tonight to lead Mount St. Charles to a 5-3 win over La Salle and its 26th consecutive Rhode Island title.
Goglia, a senior center who was held to one assist in the first two games of the series after averaging three points a game during the regular season, was named MVP.
"My kids, they never let the old man down. I love them all,'' said Mount coach Bill Belisle after the game.
A taut, well-played game played before a roaring sellout crowd of over 3,000 at Providence College's Schneider Arena, appeared to be headed to overtime. But Goglia cleanly won an offensive zone faceoff and then tipped defenseman Nick Jillson's point shot through the legs of La Salle goaltender Chris Rossi for the winning goal with 3:24 left.
In the final minute, with Rossi pulled, Goglia won a defensive zone draw and then worked the puck up the boards to center Shane Farrell, who hit the empty net.
Mount opened the scoring at 1:53 of the first period on a goal by Tufts-bound RW Brian Bailey, set up by Goglia, with the teams skating 4-on-4.
La Salle answered at 3:22 on the power play when sophomore RW Garrett Peters blasted a 40-foot slapshot through Mount goalie Ryan Hatch after a pass from Steve Lombardi.
The Rams grabbed the lead 23 seconds later when senior LW Eric Hogberg scored on a rebound of sophomore center Nick DelGallo's shot. Peters, an offensive force throughout the series, also received an assist.
Goglia tied it for Mount at 9:59, cashing in the rebound of Mike O'Malley's shot from the point.
In the second period, La Salle grabbed the lead on a 15-footer by junior defensemen James Connell after a pass from senior RW George Sparrow on the power play at 1:19.
Mount's senior LW Michael Mallette tied it at 9:53 from the slot after a slick pass from Goglia in the left corner. Jillson, a standout throughout the series, also received an assist.
That set the stage for the third period, and the latest chapter of Mount history.
Polich to CC
5'8", 160 lb. LC Brandon Polich of the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) will be at Colorado College this coming fall.
Polich, a 5/20/82 birthdate, hurt his shoulder and missed the second half of last season. However, he came back strong this season and is currently tied for eighth in the USHL scoring race (17-42-59 in 57 gp). Polich is a playmaker, with great hands.
A native of Osseo, Minn., he's the son of Mike Polich, who played for Herb Brooks at the University of Minnesota in the early '70s and later played in the NHL, mostly with the Minnesota North Stars.
Other schools interested in Polich were Minnesota-Duluth, UNO, and Merrimack.
Florida Goalie ECAC Bound
6'0", 170 lb. goaltender John Hallas of the Tampa Bay Jr. Lightning Midget AA squad, who we described in these pages last July as the biggest surprise of the U.S. Select 17 Festival in St. Cloud, will be going to St. Lawrence as a redshirt freshman this fall.
Hallas, a 7/10/85 birthdate, is a true Floridian who started playing hockey at age 10 after seeing kids play a little three-minute game between periods at a Tampa Bay Lightning game (now at least we know why people were going to Lightning games back then). When his parents bought him some hockey gear and took him to youth team tryouts, it was discovered there were no goalies. Hallas volunteered. His parents shelled out for the Jim Park "The Puck Stops Here 2" video and he learned from that. The rest is history.
The first real exposure for Hallas came at last year's Chicago Showcase, but it wasn't until after the Select 17 Festival that he got inquiries from college and junior coaches. However, Hallas' parents had never really heard of junior hockey, and by the time they'd gotten a line on it, junior teams had their rosters set, and, anyway, Hallas was enrolled back at St. Petersburg HS.
Hallas sent out tapes, along with copies of his profile -- and the USHR article, too -- to coaches in the northeast.
St. Lawrence assistant Chris Wells got the package, studied it, and contacted Tim Army, who coached the Southeastern team Hallas played for at the Select 17s. Army, currently the head coach of the Portland Pirates (AHL) told Wells that he thought Hallas should play juniors and try for a Div. I scholarship.
Hallas, though, visited SLU last month, watched them beat Yale and Princeton, and really liked the school. Saints head coach Joe Marsh gave the goaltender the option of playing juniors for a year and coming to SLU in the fall of 2004, or coming in on an academic scholarship and redshirting. Hallas, who has 1400 SATs and attends an international baccalaureate high school, opted, despite interest from a dozen or so EJHL, USHL, and NAHL teams, to go directly to St. Lawrence.
When Hallas' clock starts running in the fall of 2004, SLU's current goaltending tandem of Kevin Ackley and Mike McKenna will be seniors.
We believe that when and if Hallas gets in a game for the Saints, he will become the first native-born Floridian to go directly from that state to a Div. I college hockey program (though if we're wrong, we hope readers will let us know). Defenseman Noah Babin, a native of Palm Beach Gardens, on the state's east coast, and a current Green Bay Gambler (USHL) will be suiting up for Notre Dame this fall. Babin lived in Florida until the ninth grade, when he moved to Michigan to play youth hockey. Babin then played two years in the NTDP.
Mount Rebounds; Forces Decisive Third Game
Providence, RI -- Mount St. Charles beat La Salle, 3-1, tonight, tying Rhode Island's state championship series and forcing a decisive third game on Monday night at Schneider Arena.
Rebounding from a third-period defensive collapse that cost them Friday's night's game, Mount got big games from senior defensemen Chris Kane and Mike O'Malley and junior Nick Jillson. Besides taking care of their own end, the three were active in the offensive zone, joining the rush and moving in from the point to test La Salle G Chris Rossi (31 saves.)
"We were an aggressive, desperate, proud team tonight,'' said assistant coach Dave Belisle after the game. "This team usually plays better with our backs against the wall.''
Jillson opened the scoring at 11:15 of the first, roofing a 25-footer from the slot after taking a pass from Matt Czerkowicz.
Junior C Shane Farrell made it 2-0 at 12:27 of the second, poking in a rebound after Jillson led a rush into the La Salle end.
Eighteen seconds later, O'Malley's 60-footer appeared to hit a La Salle defenseman's shin pad and bound past Rossi.
La Salle broke the shutout in the third period when RW Garrett Peters netted his eighth goal in six playoff games. Peters, an '87, blasted a 30-footer over the shoulder of Mount G Ryan Hatch with 1:59 left.
Mount will shoot for its 26th straight championship on Monday at 7 p.m.
Mount Streak on the Line
Providence, RI -- La Salle Academy stunned Mount St. Charles with three goals on consecutive shots in a 3:49 span in the third period to win the first game of Rhode Island's best-of-three championship series, 3-2, tonight at Providence College's Schneider Arena.
A La Salle win tomorrow night would shatter Mount's 25-year title streak.
With Mount (19-1) up by two and seemingly in complete control, La Salle (16-4) grabbed the momentum at 4:34 of the third when sophomore RW Garrett Peters finished off a two-on-one with senior LW Eric Hogberg by sliding the puck through the legs of Mount senior G Ryan Hatch.
Energized by the goal, the Rams tied it 1:21 later when Mount gave up another two-on-one. Senior RW George Sparrow passed the puck across to senior C Craig Houle, who steered it past Hatch at 5:53. Sophomore D Cody Wild also assisted on the play.
At 8:23 La Salle notched the winner on another uncharacteristically sloppy play by Mount. After senior LW Steve Lombardi threw a 55-footer at the net from the right boards, Sparrow slipped away from a defenseman in front and poked the rebound between Hatch's pads.
Junior G Chris Rossi made 19 saves for La Salle but was not severely tested in the closing minutes.
Game two is tomorrow (Sat. 3/22) night at 7 o'clock.
Here is the updated list of signed USHL tenders. Players with a red asterisk before their name are new since the last time we posted the list.
Mike Lundin, D, Apple Valley, MN. (Apple Valley HS) 9/24/84
Jeff Hazelwood, F, Dublin, CA (IMG Academy) 7/24/85
*Chad Costello, F, Johnston, IA (Team Illinois Midget AAA) 7/22/86
Sean Garrity, F, North St. Paul, MN (North St. Paul HS) 7/23/85
Nate Dey, F, Maplewood, MN (North St. Paul HS) 2/14/85
Jeff Lerg, G, Livonia, MI (HoneyBaked Midget AAA) 4/9/86
Brett Motherwell, D, Novi, MI (HoneyBaked Midget AAA) 9/11/86
Travis Turnbull, F, Chesterfield, MO (St. Louis Jr. Blues Midget AAA) 7/7/86
Justin Johnston, D, Grosse Pte. Woods, MI (Honeybaked Midget AAA) 3/26/86
*Brandon Harrington, D, Rochester, MN (Rochester Lourdes HS) 5/22/85
Cody Lampl, D, Ketchum, ID (Dallas Stars Midget AAA) 6/19/86
Jeff Prough, F, Dearborn, MI (HoneyBaked Midget AAA) 4/20/86
*Eddie Del Grosso, D, Las Vegas, NV (Las Vegas Outlaws Midget AAA) 2/28/86
Chris Zarb, D, Waterford, MI (Little Caesar's) 1/11/85
*Peter MacArthur, F, Clifton Park, NY (Northwood School) 6/20/85
Kevin Regan, G, South Boston, MA (St. Sebastian's) 7/25/84
Note: All teams are allowed three tenders this season. Trading tenders is allowed. Topeka traded one of their picks to Sioux Falls -- that's the only trade so far.
Six Junior Blues Players Suspended
The Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL) suspended six players yesterday, the day after their arrests by Springfield, Ill. police for underage drinking at a city party on Monday night.
Suspended for six games by coach Nick Pollos were defensemen Chris Bolognino and Don Rankin; and forwards George Cademartori, Kyle Belgarde, and Billy Vacala. Defenseman Matt Montes was given a four-game suspension.
Montes was given just four games because he was not drinking alcohol, but was cited by police becase he lived at the residence where the party was held. Reportedly, forwards Derek Pallardy and Alex Semenov (along with Montes, Rankin, and Vacala) also live at the residence, but were not charged by police. The four players who were suspended for six games will miss the last four regular season games, plus the first two playoff games. Since the first round of the playoffs is a best of three series vs. the first-place Texas Tornado, those four might be done for the season.
NTDP Tryout Camp Review
Last week's NTDP invitation-only tryout camp featured a group that may be richer in high-end talent than any other year in the program's six-year history. And while we're leery of making big pronouncements, because so much can happen between cup and lip, we wouldn't be at all surprised to see five -- and possibly more -- NHL first rounders emerge from this group. Not only was there high-end talent, but there was depth, too, most notably on the blue line. There were d-men at the camp who, in a normal year, would have been shoo-ins to make the team, but, due to numbers, won't this time around.
Let's start with the blue line then. The kids who are already committed to the program all shined. 6'0", 170 lb. Jack Johnson (Shattuck) was phenomenal, scoring on his his first shift and, in general, imposing his will on the game, 6'0, 177 lb. Andrew Andricopoulous (Tabor Academy), and 6'1", 198 lb. Joey Ryan (Valley Jr. Warriors -- EJHL) were big timers, too, with the latter showing more of an offensive game than when playing in the EJHL (these games, by the way, were ridiculously high scoring).
Steve Spade, who's been offered a spot in the program but hasn't yet made his decision, was invited, but did not come as his team, the Georgetown Raiders (OPJHL) are in playoffs. If Spade opts for Ann Arbor, there will be four more spots on the blue line to fill. If he goes to the O, there will be five.
Who are the top remaining candidates?
One defenseman who clearly stood out and is almost certain to be offered a spot is 5'11" Jon Ammerman (Moorhead HS). You don't see many kids of this age zipping tape-to-tape passes up the middle, but Ammerman can do it consistently. Very good vision from the blue line.
5'11" Zach Jones (Chicago Chill Midget AAA), the younger brother of North Dakota Fighting Sioux d-man Matt Jones is, like his brother, an excellent skater. He also competes and plays physically. Has good all-round skills, but it's his skating that sets him apart.
Another standout is 6'2" Mark Mitera (Little Caesar's Midget AAA). Mitera was kind of wiped, arriving at camp late because Caesar's won the states up in Marquette on Sunday night and it took a long, night-time drive to get him to Ann Arbor in time for the last two days of camp. He's a big project-type kid, but has pro potential down the line.
Another big project-type kid who, like Mitera, could payoff down the line is 6'3" Mike Stuart (St.Paul's School). Stuart's feet are slightly on the heavy side, but that's par for the course with players of his size and age, and will improve. Stuart, a Rome, NY native, showed confidence, and tried things out there.
5'11" Brandon Gentile ( Little Caesar's Midget Minor) is just a very good solid D. While not as high-end as the aforementioned, Gentile, who projects to be a top college player, might be a little more complete as of now.
6'5, 228 lb. Devereaux Heshmatpour (Vaughan Vipers --OPJHL) is a bit of a wild card. He has some selfish tendencies on the ice, which probably come from his being one of the most ballyhooed young players to come out of Ontario in a while. Heshmatpour, however, while another project, is also one that could come with an enormous payoff somewhere down the line. You simply don't find many kids of this size at this age. On top of that, Heshmatpour practically has an NHL shot already. He blasted a goal from outside the red line, causing jaws to drop. Heshmatpour's parents, by the way, are both American.
6'5", 213 lb. Joe Finley (Edina HS) had everyone's attention in practice but got rattled during games. Finley's major problem is that he just has not grown into his body, thus pivoting is difficult. He had his hands full with the high-end forwards here. On the flip side, finding kids of this size/age who can get up and down the ice, much less pivot, is rare. They are still growing into their bodies. What makes Finley intriguing, besides the fact that he could grow to be as big as Zdeno Chara, is the fact taht he has great hands and a great shot. He needs to play more aggressively and his sense is average. All in all, Finely is a player whose progress should be followed closely. He's very slow twitch, hence appears sleepy and lethargic. The question for the NTDP is can a player like this be ready quickly enought to help win the World Under-18s, which, increasingly, has become the yardstick by which Colorado Springs measures the program's success.
Finally, there's the case of Chad Morin of the Syracuse Junior Crunch (OPJHL). Morin, 5'11" and 176 lbs., is the cousin of former NTDP defenseman J.D. Forrest, and a phenomenal prospect, to boot. However, he's just an '88. While he has the talent to come next year, he doesn't have to. The NTDP has never had an underage d-man in the program, but Morin could be a first. On the other hand, it wouldn't kill him to play in the provincial leage for another year and then come to Ann Arbor as one of the top D's in the fall of 2004.
So, in sum, on defense you have three commits -- Johnson, Andricopoulos, and Ryan. Then there's Spade, who, if he comes, rounds out the top four on the blueline. After that the NTDP staff has some tough choices to make. For us, Ammerman, Jones, Mitera, Stuart, Gentile, Morin, Heshmatpour, and, as a total long shot, Finley are the strongest candidates. Out of those eight, the remaining four -- maybe five, if the NTDP staff chooses to take in nine d-men -- will be chosen. Much will have to do with mixing types of players in proper proportion.
As expected, let's dispense with the kids that have already committed to the program. 6'0", 180 lb. Jack Skille (Verona HS), 6'1", 212 lb. Scott Birnstill (NY Apple Core), 5'5", 146 lb. Nathan Gerbe (River City Lancers), 5'10", 163 lb. Phil Kessel (Madison Midget AAA) were all excellent, as expected. 6'1", 197 lb. Bobby Ryan (HoneyBaked '87) was sick but played, though not to his accustomed ability.
Skille shined -- he skates well, and is a strong two-way player with power forward potential if he grows another inch or so, has excellent skill, plays with jam and grit, and goes to the net hard. Birnstill, injured himself (again -- he's been injured most of season), but showed he's a power forwad who can fire it -- just a great release. His inactivity this season showed itself, as he was a hair on the slow side, but the upside is undeniable. Gerbe, again, no surprise. He's played a number of games with the Under-17 team on a fill-in basis this season and is now in the USHL with River City. Gerbe will need no time to acclimate himself to a higher level of play because he's already there. He's just a hard-working, fearless, go-getter type who can shoot the puck, and plays far bigger than 5'5". The only minus is that he's not a burner. Certainly will be a great college player, but is he the next Brian Gionta? Only time will tell. Kessel is tall, lanky and can fly. He's extremely elusive, is a great offensive player, has a ton of skill, but over time will have to become more physical. As mentioned above, Ryan was sick but, when he was well enough to play, he showed flashes. Ryan has size, hands, sense, and a big upside. There are reports circulating that indicate, while committed to the NTDP, he may still opt for the O. At any rate, he projects to be an extremely high pick there -- if he chooses that route.
6'2", 187 lb. Ryan Stoa (Bloomington Kennedy) and 6'0", 176 lb. Peter Mueller, the '88 wunderkind (Breck) were exceptional.
Stoa has a huge upside. He's tall, rangy, and has a long stride. Defenseman Zach Jones hit him hard in the first game and it just lit a fire under him, really brought out the best in his play. A smooth skater, Stoa gets the puck a lot, makes plays, has a sense of the game, and finishes.He does coast at times, and he certainly needs to add grit to his game. If you remember Jeff Taffe and Barry Tallackson at similar ages, then Stoa is a cross between the two. He plays with less jam than Taffe, but is more energetic than Tallackson.
Mueller may be the best underage player ever to show up at a NTDP tryout camp -- Ryan Whitney included. Despite being a year younger than all the other forwards, Mueller was the best player on the ice at times. He has deceptive speed and he's big and powerful enough to just burn past players. Was paired on a line with Kessel for awhile, and they were unstoppable. Mueller can drive through checks, and then dish it. He has a shot, too. In short, the eighth grader has skill to spare and is a superstar in the making. He's a 14-year-old now, but is a man-child. Currently 6'0" and 176 lbs., he could be 6'2 or so down the road.
The above-mentioned were, in our opinion, the top seven forwards in camp.
Probably the most pleasant surprise in camp was 5'10", 162 lb. Nick Foligno (Central Penn. Panthers Jr. B). Foligno is a good skater, smart, always around the puck, always making good plays, and always noticeable. A well-rounded player, Foligno didn't draw raves like the aforementioned players, but was such a well-rounded player that we can't see him not making the team. In many ways, Foligno recalls Eric Nystrom at the same age. Foligno is the son of former NHLer Mike Foligno.
5'10", 171 lb. Chris Cahill (Andover Academy) was consistently good -- a shifty, deceptive forward with good speed, playmaking ability, a good shot, and work ethic.Played with energy, toughness, made things happen, and competed. .
6'1", 192 lb. Zach McVoy (Little Caesar's Midget Minor) is a gritty, engaging, well-rounded player with size. He's also smart, has good hands and can make a play. Has a wide-based stride and comes up a little short in the speed/quickness department.
5'9" Jimmy Fraser (HoneyBaked Midget AAA) is just hard to deny. He's tough, plays hard and with determination, and is always around the puck. On top of that, he's skilled and can score. The only negative is that he's not very big. .
5'9", 177 lb. Jason Lawrence (Boston Jr. Bruins -- EJHL) is another smallish player who had an excellent camp. Small, shifty energy guy with good skills. Goes hard. Makes plays. Gritty and tough. A bit of a shit disturber. Always around puck. Good but not great speed.
6'0", 181 lb. Dan Collins (Syracuse Jr. Crunch -- OPJHL) Played better as week went along. Has size, speed, a great shot, and is a good passer. Doesn't have great hands, so if he's going to beat a defender 1-on-1, it will be with his speed.
Finally, we come to the case of John Kemp (LA Jr. Kings Midget AAA). At 5'7", 174 lbs., he is, to put it bluntly, short, slow and quite overweight. That's the negative. The plus is that he has incredible hands and the kind of vision that enables him to slow the game to a crawl. No one in the camp could match his poise, sense, and puck skills. Just a great playmaker, absolutely uncanny. Made some jaw-dropping passes. Kemp is intriguing, but he's also a risk, and presents a dilemma for the NTDP staff. He could be something special, but it's no sure thing.
For those of you who saw the name of forward Tommy Mannino (Leamington Flyers -- WOJHL) on the invite list, he didn't show because his team was in the playoffs. However, he didn't notify anyone on the NTDP staff that he wasn't coming, thus leaving vacant a spot that could have instead gone to another candidate. In other words, don't look for Mannino on next year's Under-17 Team.
Anyway, the above-mentioned skaters showed the best -- or are simply the top candidates, however one wishes to look at it. As we mentioned above, this '87 group is very deep, and a handful of players at the camp that we haven't even mentioned are good enough so that, in a normal year, they would be strong candidates. These things are cyclical -- and those are the breaks.
Let's finish with the camp's weak point: goaltenders. The best by far was Jeff Frazee, out of Holy Angels (Minn.), who at 5'11", 198 lbs. is carrying too much weight, and in warmups looked horrible. However, Frazee, once the games begin, and in a totally unflashy manner, simply stops the puck. And that, after all, is what goaltenders are meant to do. After Frazee, however, there was a dropoff. 5'11" Billy Blase (Taft) was solid, moving well, and showing good anticipation. 5'11" Brennan Poderzay, out of tiny Ely HS up on the Iron Range, showed excellent athleticism and made some major league saves, but also let in some very soft goals.
Goaltending -- in particular, finding one more -- is a source of concern. Look for the NTDP staff to be out there searching for additional candidates.
Billy Blase, 5'11", Taft School
Shane Connelly, 5'8", Culver Military
Eric Beeler, 5'9" Southern Ice Lightning Midget AAA (Nashville, Tenn.)
Jeff Frazee, 5'11"/198, Holy Angels HS
Brennan Poderzay, 5'11", Ely HS (Minn.)
Peter Cox, 5'11"/190, St. John's-Shrewsbury HS
Andrew Andricopoulos, 6'0"/177, Tabor Academy
Brandon Gentile, 5'11"/180, Little Caesar's Midget Minor
Devereaux Heshmatpour, 6'5"/228, Vaughan Vipers (OPJHL)
Jack Johnson, 6'0"/170, Shattuck-St. Mary's
Jonathan Kearns, 5'11"/183, Team Illinois Midget AAA
Chad Morin, 5'11"/176, Syracuse Junior Crunch (OPJHL) -- '88 birthdate
Steve Spade, Georgetown Raiders (OPJHL) -- team was in playoffs
Joe Ryan, 6'1"/198, Valley Junior Warriors (EJHL)
Zach Jones, 5'11"/166, Chicago Chill Midget AAA
Mark Mitera, 6'2", Little Caesar's Midget AAA
Mike Stuart, 6'3"/203, St. Paul's School
Hunter Thunell, 6'1"/168, Phillips Andover Academy
Mike Weber, 6'1"/191, Pittsburgh Penguins Jr. B
Tim Filangieri, 6'0"/184, NY Bobcats Jr. B
Jon Ammerman, 5'11"/172, Moorhead HS
Joe Finley, 6'5"/213, Edina HS
Ryan Turek, 6'0"/160, HoneyBaked Midget AAA
Zack Bearson, 5'11"/181, Team Illinois Midget AAA
Scott Birnstill, 6'1"/212, NY Apple Core (EJHL)
Chris Cahill, 5'10"/171, Phillips Andover Academy
Dan Collins, 6'0"/181, Syracuse Junior Crunch (OPJHL)
Robbie Dee, 6'0"/162, Breck
Nathan Gerbe, 5'5"/146, River City (USHL)
Dustin Fulton, 5'11"/183, Breck -- '86 birthdate
Jordan Fulton, 6'0", Breck
Jason Lawrence, 5'9"/177, Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL)
Zach McVoy, 6'1"/192, Little Caesar's Midget Minor
Sean O'Connor, 5'9", Little Caesars Midget AAA
Jack Skille, 6'0"/180, Verona HS
Ryan Stoa, 6'2"/187, Bloomington Kennedy HS
Bobby Ryan, 6'1"/197, Honeybaked '87
Benn Ferriero, 5'10"/164, Governor Dummer Academy
Nick Foligno, 5'10"/162, Central Penn Panthers Jr. B
Bobby Butler, 5'11"/158, Marlboro HS (Mass.)
Jimmy Fraser, 5'9", HoneyBaked Midget AAA
John Kemp, 5'7"/174, LA Jr. Kings Midget AAA
Phil Kessel, 5'10"/163, Madison Midget AAA
Tommy Mannino, Leamington Flyers (Western Ontario Jr. B) -- No Show
Peter Mueller, 6'0"/176, Breck -- '88
Tommy Schmicker, 6'2"/212, Deerfield Academy JV
Ben Ketchum, 5'10"/165, Greenwich HS (Conn.)
All of the above are '87s with the exception of forward Dustin Fulton, who's an '86; and defenseman Chad Morin and forward Peter Mueller, both of whom are '88s.
A Bulldog for the Black Bears
5'9", 185 lb. LD Bret Tyler of the Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) has made his college decision -- it's the University of Maine.
Tyler made his final choice from among Maine, UNH, and UMass-Amherst. Interestingly, Tyler, an 11th grader, took his unofficial visit to Maine the weekend before last and watched the Black Bears get swept by the Minutemen. Another school that tried to get into the picture was North Dakota, but Tyler, a Maynard, Mass. resident, never visited, wanting to stay closer to home.
This season, Tyler was the EJHL Defenseman of the Year and a First Team All-Star. He was the league's leading scoring defenseman with a 13-27-40 line in 38 league games. In 72 games overall (the Junior Bruins play in a ton of tournaments), Tyler was 27-57-84 with 163 pims and a +58.
A 6/28/85 birthdate, Tyler has already played three-and-a-half years with the Jr. B's, first joining them as a 14 year old midway through the '99-00 season. Right away, he stood out because he's intensely competitive, a real bulldog who plays hard and physically -- he'll level opponents who have six inches on him. This season, Tyler just exploded offensively, becoming so adroit at picking his spots that he essentially became a fourth forward -- and at the same time was the best defenseman in his own end. He also logs a ton of minutes.
Last spring, he was the first pick in the USHL draft, selected by Topeka, but elected to stay with the Junior Bruins. USHL teams will come calling again this spring, but it's likely that Tyler, who's certain to be a big favorite with Maine fans, will stay with the Junior Bruins.
Long Island Top Prospects Game
The New York Islanders are sponsoring a Top Prospects Game comprised solely of the best Long Island kids -- '82s to '87s -- playing junior and midget hockey.
Included are familiar names like Northeastern recruit Steven Birnstill and BU recruit Kevin Schaeffer, both defensemen playing for EJHL champs Apple Core. And while twenty of the players on the game's rosters play for the Apple Core junior team, there are 30 others who don't.
The game is at 6:40 pm tomorrow (Wed. March 19) at the Rinx in Hauppauge, NY.
2003 HNIB All-Scholastic Schedule & Rosters
This year's Hockey Night in Boston All-Scholastic Tourney will take place March 25-30 at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
The first two days, Tues.-Wed. March 25-26 -- feature practice games. Regular games will be played on Thurs.-Fri. March 27-29. Playoffs are on Sunday the 30th.
The invited players are all seniors and first year PGs, as well as juniors who will be 18 years old by September 15, 2003.
Twenty-two of the 24 New England players listed on Central Scouting's Mid-term Rankings have committed to being there.
Click on the link below for the schedule and rosters, which are pretty complete -- though not yet totally finalized.
Rocha Leaving Berkshire
Berkshire School head coach Larry Rocha announced in an e-mail to his players on Friday that he is leaving the school at the end of the current academic year.
Rocha has been head coach at Berkshire for the last seven years, since 1996-97, when the school asked him to turn around a dismal program that had gone 6-20-1 in the season before he arrived. Rocha worked hard, logged hours and miles, attracted top players such as Gabe Gauthier, Nick Tsiantar, Jamie Carroll, and Jeff Pietrasiak, and turned the program into a winner.
Rocha's best two seasons were 2000-01, when Berkshire (25-5-6) shocked Taft in the quarters, but lost to Cushing in the semis; and the following season, 2001-02, when, behind goalie Jeff Pietrasiak, the Bears upset Deerfield in the quarterfinals before bowing to St. Sebastian's in the semifinals.
This past season, Rocha brought in Mike Cohen and Rob Bellamy. However, the situation for hockey was less advantageous than in previous years, as the school had an interim headmaster who, it appears, may have reined in the hockey program. Rocha offered USHR a no comment on that particular aspect.
"I saw coming to Berkshire as a challenge. I have met that challenge and accomplished the goals set forth by the school," Rocha said. "Now, I am exploring other opportunities. I have contacted a number of college coaches looking for an opportunity to get back to coaching at the college level."
It's also possible, though we're speculating, that other prep schools may have complained that Rocha was too active in his recruiting, which, while a negative in prep hockey, is anything but in the college ranks.
A 1979 St. Anselm's grad who put in for that school's head coaching job when it became available a year ago -- Ed Seney got the job instead -- Rocha started his coaching career immediately after graduation when he went to Penn State and worked as a coach while getting his Ph.D., afterward moving on to coaching and teaching in prep schools.
As for the direction Berkshire is now taking with its hockey program, we have no idea. We're still waiting for a callback from from Berkshire AD Ed Hunt. We have not heard anyone's name mentioned in connection with the job.
Sertich to Retire
Michigan Tech head hockey coach Mike Sertich, 56, will announce his retirement at a press conference at the school's Houghton, Mich. campus at 10:30 EST this morning.
The just-completed season was Sertich's third as head coach of the Huskies. He took over in November 2000, after Tim Watters, with Tech's record at 1-7-1, was fired nine games into the season. Under Sertich, the team went 7-17-3 the rest of the way. In '01-02, Tech finished 8-28-2, and this season finished 10-24-4.
Sertich's glory years came at Minnesota-Duluth, where he coached 18 years (1982-2000) and had immediate success, leading the team to three consecutive NCAA appearances in his first three years after moving up from top assistant. Bill Watson, Matt Christensen, Tom Kurvers, Jim Johnson, Norm Maciver, Brett Hull, Rick Kosti, and Bob Mason all starred for the Bulldogs in this era.
In his first three years, Minnesota-Duluth, comprised of players he'd recruited, reached the 1983 NCAA quarterfinals, then the 1984 NCAA title game, where they lost to Bowling Green in 4 OTs, then the 1985 NCAA semifinals where they beat BC, 7-6 in OT, to finish third. Despite another strong season in 1985-86, the year Hull notched 52 goals and the team went 26-13-3, the Bulldogs were KO'd in the WCHA playoffs by Denver. Seven years later, in 1992-93, the team captained by Derek Plante and also featuring Chris Marinucci and Brett Hauer, reached the NCAA West Regional.
Sertich, raised in Virginia, Minn., on the Iron Range, played his college hockey at Minnesota-Duluth and, after graduating in 1969, immediately went into coaching, joining head coach Gus Hendrickson at Grand Rapids (Minn.) High School, where the two built a dynasty in the early to mid-1970's. Their success caught the atttention of UMD, which hired both of them. After Sertich spent seven years as Hendrickson's top assistant, he was elevated to the head job in the spring of 1982, at age 35.
"You know, my dad died when he was 61 and never got to retirement," Sertich said in a statement. " I have a wonderful wife, three terrific children, and six grandchildren to enjoy. I'll miss coaching, no question about it, but I feel in my heart that the timing is right."
Sertich is retiring with nearly three years remaining on a five-year contract signed in Jan. 2001.
A national search for a replacement is underway.
Michigan Tech's assistant coaches are Pete Wilkinson (six years) and Mark Maroste (two years).
Chelmsford (Mass.) High head hockey coach Jack Fletcher has been relieved of his coaching duties by Chelmsford School superintendent Richard Moser.
Fletcher, however, will stay on as the school's athletic director.
The official statement from Moser's office refers to the long-time coach's stepping down as "a voluntary decision on Jack Fletcher's part to concentrate on his primary role as athletic director," but adds the following: "At the same time, our high school and central office administration will be exploring the paramenters of an athletic director's job description that will avoid any future conflict an athletic director may experience with coaching responsibilities or personal interests."
For more on the controversy surrounding Fletcher, please scroll down to the USHR news of March 11, one week ago.
Apple Core EJHL Champs
Worcester, Mass. -- Tonight at Holy Cross, Apple Core topped the Walpole Stars, 5-4, to win the 2003 EJHL championship.
Apple Core, trailing in the third period, tied it up with 6:36 remaining on a Jon Pelle power play goal, Tom Collingham and Pat Oliveto assisting.
Thirty-seven seconds later, Ryan Hodkinson scored the eventual game winner, putting Apple Core up 5-4, with assists going to defenseman Kevin Schaeffer and C.J. Tozzo.
Walpole had one final flurry, though, as Eric Thomassian sent Valdis Sustko in alone with 30 seconds on the clock, but Apple Core goaltender Allen Barton came up with a great save. As the seconds wound down, Walpole had a few other whacks at the puck but couldn't push the tying goal home.
So the title goes to Henry Lazar's Apple Core squad, which also won the regular season title. Last year, Apple Core lost to the Monarchs in the title game.
The game was pretty even, with Walpole outshooting New York, 27-26.
In the first period, Apple Core went up 1-0 when Collingham tipped home a Steve Birnstill shot from the point, with Pelle picking up an assist.
A few minutes later, Sustko, who was on fire the past two nights, tied it up 1-1 on the power play when he got the puck on the right boards and walked across, ripping one by Barton. Thomassian and Paul Dufault picked up assists on the goal.
Apple Core went up 2-1 before the end of the period when Ryan Cruthers ripped one top shelf, assists going to Collingham and Joe Coiro.
In the second period, there was only one goal, as Walpole's Obi Aduba make a nice backward diagonal pass to Scott McDougall who was in alone and went five hole, tying the game at 2-2.
In the third, Cruthers notched his second of the game, on the powerplay, to put Apple Core up 3-2. Hodkinson picked up an assist on the goal.
McDougall got it right back for Walpole, scoring his second straight goal and tying the game at 3-3. After Thomassian ripped one, McDougall was there to drill home the rebound.
Walpole got their only lead of the game when Thomassian beat his man, creating a 2-on-1. Thomassian ripped off a shot, Barton made the save, but Greg Collins was there to put the rebound home to give Walpole a short-lived 4-3 lead.
Then, as mentioned above, Pelle and Hodkinson went to work, tallying goals 37 seconds apart and giving Apple Core the title.
After a one-year hiatus, Catholic Memorial is once again the Mass. Super 8 champion, knocking off previously undefeated BC High 3-2 last night at the Fleet Center.
Catholic Memorial, despite being outplayed most of the game, picked up the win when junior forward Vic Pacella tipped a Bryan Goodwin wrist shot past BC High junior goalie Joe Grossman with 3:11 left.
CM, which was outshot 23-12 by the Eagles over the first two periods, managed to enter the third period tied 2-2 -- largely due to the play of sophomore goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson.
In the third, CM, a young team, stepped up its attack -- the shots on goal were 10-10 for the period -- and managed to pot one. Because of that, and the stellar play of Mahoney-Wilson (31 saves on 33 shots) the crown returns to the Knights West Roxbury campus.
For Catholic Memorial, it's their 10th Super 8 title in the 13-year history of the tournament. CM had won it for five straight years prior to being knocked off by BC High last year.
BC High came into the game boasting a 22-0-0 record and a 36-game winning streak dating back to the middle of last season. In that time, the Eagles have beaten CM six straight times, including a Super 8 win a week earlier at Tsongas Arena in Lowell. For those unfamiliar with the Mass. Super 8 setup, in which CM and BC High have now met in the finals for five straight years, it's a double elimination tournament. However, two years agao, the Super 8 committee changed the rules, making it double-elimination until the finals, at which point it becomes a one-game, winner-take-all deal. Thus, this year BC High and CM each finished Super 8 play with identical records, each having lost to the other.
BC High, which got a goal and an assist from both senior Matt Greene and junior Steve Smolinsky, finishes the season (22-1-0). CM, which got a goal and an assist from junior Ryan Masucci, finishes 15-5-3.
-- In the Div. I final, Springfield Cathedral upset St. John's-Shrewsbury, 2-1, to win its first Div. I title. St. John's-Shrewsbury, which was playing for its third Div. I title in five years, and had handily beaten Cathedral twice during regular season play, once again outplayed Cathedral, outshooting them 28-18, but this time came up short.
Cathedral scored both its goals in the first 3:35 of play, and left the rest to Cathedral's senior goaltender, Kevin Robar, who stopped 28 of 29, allowing only a Brad Baldelli goal midway through the second period.
Apple Core, Walpole Advance to Finals
Worcester, Mass. -- N.Y. Apple Core, behind two goals apiece from C.J. Tozzo and Mike Arcieri, topped the New England Coyotes, 7-2, in a hard-htting affair here tonight, and will advance to Monday night's EJHL title game. Apple Core will face the Walpole Stars who, behind four goals from Valdis Sustko and a 36 save effort from Dan Ramirez, topped the Junior Bruins 5-2 in the nightcap.
In the first game, Tozzo got Apple Core going early, knocking home a rebound on a 3-on-1 rush just 51 seconds into the game. Two minutes later Garett Vassel notched an unassisted goal, and Arcieri added a power play goal to make in 3-0. Providence recruit Colin McDonald put the Coyotes on the board before the end of the period, making it 3-1 after one.
The only goal in the second came when Northeastern-bound defenseman Steve Birnstill snuck in nicely from the point, took a pass from Tom Collingham and put it past Coyotes' goaltender Joe Wichowski to put Apple Core up by 4-1.
In the third, the Coyotes' Ed Chlanda busted down the left side and snapped one short side that beat Apple Core goaltender Allen Barton to cut the New Yorkers' lead to 4-2.
That was as close as the Coyotes would get, as Apple Core reeled off three straight, with defenseman Louis Liotti scoring and then Tozzo and Arcieri each picking up their second.
Barton up 38 saves for the win.
In the Walpole-Jr. Bruins nightcap, Sustko scored a goal in the first and second periods, and then added two in the third.
His first, on the power play, came off the tip of a Joe Rooney shot with 1:20 remaining in the first, and put Walpole up 1-0.
In the second, a good up-and-down period with each team taking 14 shots on goal, Sustko notched another powerplay goal to put the Stars up 2-0.
In the third, UMass-Lowell recruit Josh Notini put the Junior Bruins on the board, tipping home a shot to make it 2-1.
A minute later, however, Sustko got his third straight when defenseman Jay Bletzer ripped a pass across the slot and Sustko neatly deflected it off the crossbar and into the net, putting Walpole up 3-1.
After the Junior Bruins peppered Walpole goalie Dan Ramirez during a power play, Walpole, back at full strength, added another when CC recruit Eric Thomassian deked Junior Bruins goalie Kyle McNulty and buried a backhander to make it 4-1.
The Junior Bruins cut it to 4-2 when Mikael Zettergren stickhandled down the left side and slid it across to Jarret Scarpaci, who banged it home on the open side to make it a 4-2 game.
With the goalie pulled, Susko picked up his fourth goal of the game, ripping one from the red line.
Despite losing, the Junior Bruins outshot Walpole 38-29. Ramirez kicked out 36 of 38 for the Stars, while McNulty kicked out 24 of 28 for the Junior Bruins.
Monday's title game is at 7:00 pm, at Holy Cross.
Clarkson Names Roll New Head Coach
George Roll was named Clarkson's new head coach today.
Roll, who on Sunday led Oswego State (23-6-1) to its first SUNYAC championship in 12 years, will be leading the Lakers into the NCAA Div. III quarterfinals and a matchup with Wentworth tomorrrow, so he's probably not focusing on Clarskson just yet.
Roll beat out three other finalists for the job: Lake Superior State assistant Jimmy Roque, Los Angeles Kings Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Greg Drechsel, and Boston College assistant Ron Rolston. All, like Roll, are former Clarkson assistants.
Roll, 40, was an assistant at Clarkson from 1989-96 before taking the Oswego State job.
A Chicago native -- Blue Island, Illinois, to be specific -- Roll played his college hockey at Bowling Green, where he captained the 1984-85 team and racked up 50 points in 39 games. As a junior, he was a member of the team that, on March 24, 1984 in Lake Placid, beat Minnesota-Duluth in four OTs to win the NCAA title game, 5-4, over Minnnesota-Duluth. Others on that team included such familiar names as Gary Kruzich, Wayne Wilson, Dave Ellett, and Gary Galley. The head coach was Jerry York, and his assistant at the time was Buddy Powers who, by the way, is a candidate for the vacant Wesleyan job.
We do not know right now what Roll plans to do as far as hiring assistants is concerned.
CM Makes it Back to Super 8 Title Game
A low, hard shot from the left point by Catholic Memorial junior defenseman Steve McClellan broke open a 2-2 game at the 4:49 mark of the third period and propelled Catholic Memorial to a 6-2 victory over Hingham HS in a Super 8 semifinal at Walter Brown Arena tonight.
The win eliminates Hingham. The tournament's #4 seed ends the season 19-4-1. CM (14-5-3) will meet undefeated BC High (22-0-0) at the Fleet Center Sunday night at 7:30 in a rematch of last year's final, won by BC High, 2-0.
This game was actually pretty tight for two periods.
In the first, junior forward Vic Pacella put CM up 1-0, knocking home a rebound of his own shot at 6:51.
Senior captain Garret Daigler got it right back for Hingham, taking a nice pass from sophomore LW Mike Genovese and roofing an unstoppable shot over CM junior goalie Brian Mahoney-Wilson at the 9:48 mark. Genovese, along with older brother, Greg, a right-shot center, and Daigler were the best line for either team, and a constant threat, but this would be the only goal they'd score all night.
In the second, CM struck first again, going up 2-1 when senior forward Mike Dorsey picked a Hingham clearing pass up off the boards and ripped one from the top of the right faceoff circle at the 4:58 mark.
The Harbormen tied it up again when junior forward Bryan Wilbur picked up a puck off the wall, cut in off the left wing and wristed one past Mahoney-Wilson at 9:55.
The teams went to their respective locker rooms tied 2-2 after two periods.
In the third, CM unloaded. After McClellan's game-winner gave CM the lead for good, the Knights went up by two when junior center Corey Quirk knocked home a rebound to make it 4-2.
Late in the period, a pair of Hingham defensive breakdowns led to a couple more CM goals, a shorthanded unassisted tally by Dorsey, his second goal of the game, and a goal by junior RW Steve Owens.
Somehow, CM, which many observers felt was undeserving of the #2 seed in this tournament, and which is certainly the least talented Knights team we've seen in a very long time, is going back to the Fleet Center. However, they will be facing #1 seed BC High, which is 22-0-0 this season and has a 36 game winning streak going back 14 months, to Jan. 14, 2002, when they lost to CM. Since then the Eagles have beaten CM six straight times, most recently Sunday at Tsongas Arena.
For the record, CM has won 45 of 54 games since the inception of the Super 8. Sunday will mark the sixth straight time that BC High and CM have met in the Super 8 Final. For the record, Arlington Catholic (1997) was the last school other than those two to win the tourney
McDonald EJHL MVP
6'2", 190 lb. New England Jr. Coyote RW Colin McDonald has been named MVP of the Eastern Junior Hockey League in a vote of the league coaches. McDonald, who's going to Providence College in the fall, led the league in scoring with a 28-30-58 line in 34 games.
McDonald, a Wethersfield, Conn. native, was also named top forward. Top defenseman in the league goes to Bret Tyler of the Boston Jr. Bruins, who, with a 13-27-40 line in 38 games played, was also the league's top scoring D. Top goalie in the league goes to N.Y. Apple Core's Allen Barton, who posted a .930 save percentage and a 1.81 gaa in 25 games played. And Rookie of the Year goes to BC-bound Joe Rooney, who, with 53 points in 36 games, was the league's fourth-leading scorer, trailing only McDonald, Paul Dufault, and Brian Pouliot.
The EJHL quarterfinals are completed, with the best game coming Sunday when the Coyotes eliminated the defending champion NH Junior Monarchs, 1-0, on an OT goal by defenseman Nick Barnych. The Coyotes' Joe Wichowski stopped all 27 shots he faced for the shutout, while the Monarchs' Phil Lauderdale took a tough loss, kicking out 50 of 51.
For the semis, the teams have been reseeded according to the final regular season standings. Here is the remaining playoff schedule:
Sun. March 16 at Holy Cross
1:00pm #1 Apple Core vs. #4 NE Coyotes
4:00pm #2 Walpole Stars vs. #3 Jr. Bruins
Mon. March 17 at Holy Cross, 7:00 pm
In addition, the EJHL All-Stars have been named -- and here they are.
EJHL First Team All-Stars
D-Bret Tyler-Jr. Bruins
G-Allen Barton-Apple Core
EJHL Second Team All-Stars
F-Matt Byrnes-Jr. Bruins
D-Steve Birnstill-Apple Core
D-Jake Pence-Jr. Bruins
G-Nevin Hamilton-Jr. Bruins
F-Ryan Hodkinson-Apple Core, Paul Dufault-Stars
D-Jason Ortolano-Monarchs, Kevin Schaeffer-Apple Core
G-John Sterbling-Lock Monsters, Dan Ramirez-Stars
The Tragic Accident
We just want to say that our thoughts and prayers -- like everyone else's in the hockey community -- are with Joe Exter and his family. It's hard for all of us to avoid thinking about the accident. It's something our minds keep bringing us back to -- indelible images that we will never, ever shake.
Our thoughts are with Patrick Eaves as well. Eaves, who visited Exter in the hospital, is extremely shaken by this, and, according to sources, is getting help from a chaplain at BC and others.
As regards the intent to injure call, if the hit was an accident, then there was no intent to injure. It's as simple and logical as that. The only reason there's currently any discussion of it is because referee Jeff Bunyon called it, thus giving it legitimacy. But it's fair to say that Bunyon was extremely shaken by Exter's injury and the subsequent mayhem and -- quite understandably -- may not have been thinking clearly when he entered the penalty on the game sheet after the game had ended. The chronology in the Hockey East report released today certainly indicates that Bunyon was confused over what exactly to call after the game. (After the game, and as part of the review of the game report, Bunyon noted that the penalty was not even included at the time it was called and added, at the bottom of the list of penalties, "5 Rough DQ int. to injure." There is, of course, no five minute roughing penalty in NCAA hockey.)
As for the 'intent to injure' call, Bunyon made a mistake, for nobody that we've spoken to who's been around hockey for any length of time really thinks this to be the proper call.
Strangely, today's Hockey East report seems to be saying that 'intent to injure' really implies nothing of the sort. The report seems to say that Eaves got the penalty not because of any intent but, rather, simply because Exter was injured.
This is Orwellian double-speak and, at best, a semi-exoneration.
And it's not Hockey East's fault, really, but rather the NCAA's for writing a misguided rule that only allows penalties to be increased after the fact, not decreased. Where's the logic, justice, and fair play in that? Can you imagine if our criminal justice system tried to operate in such a fashion?
What is unfortunate is that the "intent to injure" call of Friday night will stay on the books forever, and, because it can't be struck, is a tag that Eaves, just 18, will have to live under for the rest of his life. It's also something that Bunyon is likely struggling with, too. And it's making it difficult for everyone else trying to come to grips with this situation.
We think the focus should now be on Joe Exter's struggle. But if the NCAA can increase penalties after the fact, they must also allow penalties to be reduced under appropriate circumstances. And if ever there were an appropriate circumstance, this is it.
Brennan to BC
U.S. Under-17 Team RD Mike Brennan has committed to Boston College. An 11th grader in his first year at the NTDP, Brennan will arrive at The Heights in the fall of '04.
Brennan is 5'11", 182 lbs., and an excellent skater who moves the puck well. He gets raves from all who've coached him for his demeanor in the locker room., where he's described as a future Mark Messier type, a kid who can wear the "C". He's small for a pro defenseman, and doesn't have the huge offensive upside to offset that, so it's likely he'll stay at BC for the full four years, and simply be a good solid, dependable D for the Eagles.
He joins 6'3", 205 lb. LD Todd Perry of the Brockville Braves (COJHL) as Boston College defense recruits for the fall of '04.
A native of Smithtown, NY (it's on Long Island), Brennan was also recruited by UNH and others. He made his unofficial visit to BC in January.
In 2001-02, Brennan split the season between the NY Apple Core junior and midget squads.
He's a 1/24/86 birthdate and a right shot.
Gasparini Out as Coach; Remains GM
Sioux Falls Stampede ownership, which has seen the team lose six straight and 11 of 12, has relieved Tony Gasparini of his coaching duties while elevating assistant Ted Belisle to the head job.
It's a desperation move that ownership hopes will light a fire under the USHL franchise, currently 21-25-6 and in a tie with the Chicago Steel for the last playoff spot. The Stampede have eight games remaining in the regular season, while the Steel have nine.
The Stampede boasted a winning percentage of better than .700 over the first three years of the franchise, and Gasparini, in his second year as head coach after serving as an assistant for two years under Bob Motzko, worked tirelessly and brought in many key players. Last year, Gasparini, in his first season as head coach, led the Stampede to a 35-21-5 record, though they were swept by eventual champion Sioux City in the first round of the league playoffs.
"I take full responsibility for where we are at right now," said Gasparini, adding that he felt fortunate to be retained as GM and looked forward to getting out on the road and evaluating players.
"It's in my blood. I'll just keep working."
"I gave it my all," he added. "This wasn't a result of not being passionate or working extremely hard."
Asked if there were things he would have done differently, Gasparini said, "Definitely. I would have been more of a disciplinarian, for one thing. There are others, too, but I'd just be going through all the old cliches."
It's been a roller coaster month for Gasparini, as 10 days ago, his first child, Mario, was born. "I'll take a few days with my family," he said, "and then I'll be out on the road."
Belisle, who at 26 is two years younger than the man he's replacing, is a former Bemidji State captain who was hired by the Stampede just last May. He is an interim head coach. A national search will get underway shortly for a permanent head coach, not that there's really such a thing as a permanent head coach.
Fletcher Under Inquiry
As his players chase a Massachusetts Super 8 title, Chelmsford High hockey coach/AD Jack Fletcher watches from the sidelines, having been been put on paid leave while police and school administrators investigate possible wrongdoing.
What's known is that in the early morning hours on March 1, Fletcher placed a call to the Chelmsford Police Department. While town police chief Raymond McCusker is remaining mum on the nature of the call, which was recorded, the Lowell Sun is reporting that sources have said that the coach asked the officer on duty at the time to change part of a police report concerning his son, Todd Fletcher, a Chelmsford star forward and a UMass-Lowell recruit.
The younger Fletcher had been held by police following what was reported to be a rowdy house party on February 20. Sources indicated that Todd Fletcher, along with other students, had been drinking alcohol at the party, a violation of MIAA rules. The MIAA is the governing body of Mass. high school sports.
Fletcher was a healthy scratch in Chelmsford's 5-1 first-round loss -- Mass. uses double elimination -- to BC High on Sun. March 3. Amidst a lot of speculation, Jack Fletcher refused comment, saying it was simply a family matter. Sources now say that Todd Fletcher agreed to the one-game suspension for being in the presence of alcohol, but appealed the penalty for actual consumption, which is two weeks. Reportedly, those are school-imposed penalties, as the MIAA lets member schools decide on their own pushishments for alcohol use.
The younger Fletcher returned the next game, and #8 seed Chelmsford, despite being outshot 32-17, blasted #5 seed Austin Prep, 8-2
On Saturday March 8, Chelmsford Superintendent of Schools Richard Moser decided to put Fletcher, a Chelmsford alum who has headed up the hockey program since 1976, on leave. The following night, the coach watched from the stands as his son scored a goal and helped lead Chelmsford to a 2-1 win over Arlington HS.
Chelmsford is being coached by assistant Tom Gallagher.
At 8:15 tonight at BU, Chelmsford (17-8) faces Hingham HS in an elimination game. If Chelmsford, which only once before reached the Super 8, survives, they will reach the state semis for the first time in school history.
(Note: Chelmsford lost, 2-1, to Hingham, which goes on to face Catholic Memorial Thursday night, with the winner to face undefeated BC High in the Super 8 title game at the Fleet Center Sunday night.)
Another MAAC School Drops Hockey
Iona College has dropped varsity men's hockey. Along with the recent decision by Fairfield University to drop the sport, the MAAC is down to nine schools going into next season.
Iona, which is in New Rochelle, NY, is coached by Frank Bretti, an Iona grad. His assistants are Rob Haberbusch and Jason Fairman.
Most of the players on the team are products of Canadian Tier II teams. Americans include freshman forward Jamie Carroll, who played at the Berkshire School and has 25 points on the season; and freshman defenseman Ryan Swanson, a Maple Grove, Minn. native who played for the Lincoln Stars (USHL) last season and is leading the Iona d-men in scoring with 18 points.
Iona, 11-21-2 this season, finished in eighth place and picked up the final spot in the MAAC playoffs. The program's last game could come on Saturday night, when the Gaels travel to Erie, PA to face Mercyhurst, the MAAC regular-season champion, in a single elimination quarterfinal game.
Dey Named Mr. Hockey
6'2", 190 lb. North St. Paul RW Nate Dey was named Mr. Hockey for 2003 today.
The nine other finalists for the award, given annually to the top high school senior in Minnesota are, in alphabetical order:
Brent Borgen, F, Mahtomedi; Sean Garrity, F, North St. Paul; Ben Gordon, F, International Falls; Ryan Hawkins, F, Eden Prairie; Jimmy Kilpatrick, F, Holy Angels; Mike Lundin, D, Apple Valley; Brad Peterson, F, Bloomington-Jefferson; Garret O. Regan, F, Hill-Murray; and Scott Thauwald, F, Rochester Mayo.
Last month, White Bear Lake's Jon Anderson was named winner of the Frank Brimsek Award, given to the state's top goaltender.
The Mr. Hockey award is only open to seniors. The Associated Press also gives out a player of the year award, and it's open to players from all grades.
Day, a 2/14/85 birthdate, will play for the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) next season and then St. Cloud State. .
Dey plays with poise. That, along with his size, strength, skating ability, and shot make him a solid pro prospect. He's a cerebral player, too, is patient, has good hands, and a great release.
In 25 games, Dey had a 33-30-63 line.
Going into the season, Dey was not considered a strong candidate for the award.
2002 Gino Guyer, F, Greenway
2001 Marty Sertich, F, Roseville
2000 Paul Martin, D, Elk River
1999 Jeff Taffe, F, Hastings
1998 Johnny Pohl, F, Red Wing
1997 Aaron Miskovich, F, Grand Rapids
1996 Dave Spehar, F, Duluth East
1995 Erik Rasmussen, F, St. Louis Park
1994 Mike Crowley, D, Bloomington Jefferson
1993 Nick Checco, F, Bloomington Jefferson
1992 Brian Bonin, F, White Bear Lake
1991 Darby Hendrickson, F, Richfield
1990 Joe Dziedzic, F, Minneapolis Edison
1989 Trent Klatt, F, Osseo
1988 Larry Olimb, D, Warroad
1987 Kris Miller, D, Greenway
1986 George Pelawa, F, Bemidji
1985 Tom Chorske, F, Minneapolis Southwest
Anoka New Minnesota State Champs
St. Paul, Minn. -- Anoka, trailing Roseville late in the second period, came from behind to win the 2003 Minnesota State High School hockey championship before 17,163 at the Excel Energy Center last night.
Roseville, a high-powered offensive team, dominated the first period and got their only lead of the night when Brandon Svendsen fed Andy Carroll, who made a nice 1-on-1 move and fired a wrister over the shoulder of Anoka junior goalie Kyle Olstad at the 11:41 mark.
In the second, Anoka, a physical, banging team that can also skate, began to slow down Roseville and, as a result, began to get some good scoring opportunities. Roseville goalie Jerad Kaufmann stopped both Andy LaHoud and Ben Hendrick on good opportunities before Hendrick, along the right boards, got a pass to Andrew Johnson in the slot. Johnson held it until Kaufmann went down and then snapped off the wrister that tied the game 1-1 at 12:51.
In the third, it was all Anoka, as Roseville slowed completely, the result of being hit all over the ice. Their forecheck totally disappeared, too. Anoka, meanwhile, was still skating hard. They finally took the lead when, on the power play, senior defenseman Tim Manthey, who had a great tournament, fired a shot from the point that senior forward Craig Chapman deflected past Kaufmann for the game winner at 8:42. In the final minute of play, Anoka added an empty-netter to set off the victory celebration.
This was a good game between two senior-laden teams that played hard. As we alluded to above, Anoka hits and plays aggressive team defense. By not allowing their more offensively-gifted opponent a chance to get into a flow, they picked up momentum as the game progressed and gave themselves a chance to win.
After that it was up to the forwards to pop in a couple, which they did.
On top of that, Olstad was solid in the Anoka net. Sean Fish, Johnson, and Hendrick were excellent up front. On D, we already mentioned Manthey, but should also add junior Matt Sorteberg.
For Roseville, senior forwards Svendsen and Pat Eagles stood out.
Anoka coach Todd Manthey, by the way, has had this group for years -- ever since a bunch of the current seniors were playing squirts for him, and then straight through after that. When they were bantams, Anoka was not considered among the state's iron -- Eden Prairie, White Bear Lake, and Roseville were -- but it's undeniable that they've grown together over the years. The team's win here was proof of that.
Class AA All-Tournament Team:
Josh Frider, F, Moorhead
Kevin Huck, F, Holy Angels
Ben Hendrick, F, Anoka
Sean Fish, F, Anoka
Andy Carroll, F, Roseville
Pat Eagles, F, Roseville
Tim Manthey, D, Anoka
Dustin Mercado, D, White Bear Lake
Jack Hillen, D, Holy Angels
Neil Carlson, D, Roseville
Kyle Olstad, G, Anoka
Jerad Kaufmann, G, Roseville
Warroad Class A Champs
St. Paul, Minn. -- It wasn't easy, but heavily favored Warroad came from behind to top Simley, 3-1, yesterday before a crowd of 5, 063 at the Excel Center. The win gave Warroad their third championship since Minnesota went to the two-class system ten years ago. It was also their third since Cary Eades took over as coach in 1994.
Ten minutes into the second period, Warroad, ranked #1 in Class A practically all season, trailed, 1-0, for the simple reason that Simley senior goaltender Troy Davenport was once again outstanding. By that point in the game, Davenport had already kicked out all 27 shots he faced, challenging shooters, using his quickness, and maintaining poise and focus.
Warroad's Tony Selvog finally solved the senior goaltender at 11:39 of the second. In the third, senior forward James Knudsen banged home the rebound of a shot with 3:37 remaining in regulation to put Warroad up, 2-1. Junior Gabe Herren added an empty-netter with 24 seconds left for the 3-1 final.
On the game, Warroad outshot Simley, 35-14. Simley got roughly half their shots early in the third period, when, for a stretch, they applied some pressure. The rest of the game, however, belonged to Warroad.
Davenport made 32 saves on the game. In the three games here, 2-1 and 3-2 OT wins and then yesterday's loss, Davenport stopped 91 of 96 shots.
For Warroad, Selvog and sophomore forward T.J. Oshie were the two most impressive players. In addition, Herren, sophomore D Erick Olimb, junior D Andrew Hasbargen, and senior goalie Jeremy Sorrels played well also. Warroad is a young team, and will be right up there again next year.
Class A All-Tournament Team:
Dave Perry, F, Fergus Falls
Drew Walters, F, Hibbing
Adam Hoaglund, F, Simley
Josh Duncan, D, Rochester Lourdes
Brad Kern, D, Hibbing
Josh Duncan, D, Rochester Lourdes
Dan Ohmann, D, Simley
T.J. Oshie, F, Warroad
Tony Selvog, F, Warroad
Gabe Harren, F, Warroad
Andrew Hasbargen, D, Warroad
Ryan McClure, G, Orono
Troy Davenport, G, Simley
Superior Gains Back Title
Superior won its 11th Wisconsin State Tournament championship Saturday night, beating New Richmond, 3-1, just one year after bowing to Stevens Point in the title game.
The winning goal, off the stick of Phil Karaba, came just 17 seconds into the third period. Superior (20-3) won every single game they played against Wisconsin high school competition this season. Their three losses all came to Minnesota high school teams.
New Richmond goaltender Matt Page made a name for himself in a losing cause, making 31 saves on 34 shots. In the tournament's three games, Page kicked out 104 of 109 shots.
Minn. Class AA: Defending Champs Upset
St. Paul, Minn. -- In semifinal action, Roseville defeated Eden Prairie, 4-1; and Anoka upset defending champs Holy Angels, 2-1, before 18,297 fans here at the Xcel Energy Center yesterday. Roseville and Anoka will face off in the Minnesota State High School Class AA title game tonight at 7 pm CST. It is the first time the two teams have ever reached the finals. We're picking Roseville to win it all, by two or three goals.
Here are recaps of yesterday's action.
Anoka 2, Holy Angels 1:
Anoka scored on Holy Angels senior goaltender Ben Luth on their first two shots of the game -- the first of which was a good goal, and the second of which wasn't. After the second goal, which came just 5:45 into the game, Luth was lifted in favor of sophomore Jeff Frazee, who was excellent the rest of the way, stopping 18 of 18 shots. However, Anoka was stingy on defense, and forechecked much better than Holy Angels.
Anoka got good performances from a number of players. First off, junior goalteder Kyle Olstad was solid, kicking out 13 of 14 shots. Up front, senior Ben Hendrick worked for everything he got. In addition, both of the LaHoud twins played well, as did senior forwards Sean Fish and Andrew Johnson. On defense, Tim Manthey was a standout.
For Holy Angels, Frazee, as mentioned, was excellent, while sophomore defensemen Jared Hummel and junior defenseman Jack Hillen also both played well.
Roseville 4, Eden Prairie 1:
Roseville was simply bigger, stronger, and faster. They moved the puck with authority, won the 1-on-1 battles, had the better power play and were better getting back on defense, too.
Roseville is a deep squad. The three standouts were senior forwards Pat Eagles, Brandon Svendsen, and Andy Carroll, all of whom were heavily involved in the play. Other standouts for Roseville -- all senior forwards -- were Collin Cody, Mike Sertich, and Blake Twardowski.
In goal, senior Jerad Kaufmann was strong, kicking out 15 of 16 shots.
Minn. Class A: It's Warroad and Simley in Title Game
St. Paul, Minn. -- Warroad soundly defeated Orono, 5-2; and Simley topped Rochester Lourdes, 3-2 in double OT, before 7, 491 fans here at the Xcel Energy Center yesterday. Warroad and Simley will meet today in the Class A title game at noon CST. We're picking Warroad to win it all, in a cakewalk.
Here are recaps of yesterday's action.
Warroad 5, Orono 2:
Warroad struck for two goal in the first 49 seconds of play and then just cruised to an easy victory. Linemates T.J. Oshie, a sophomore, and Tony Selvog, a senior center, were superb for Warroad, with Oshie scoring twice and Selvog picking up four assists. The third member of that line, junior LW Gabe Harren, had two goals and an assist.
Senior forward Jonathan Skoog played well for Orono.
Simley 3, Rochester Lourdes 2 (2 OT):
A double OT win usually connotes a nailbiter of a game, but this was one boring contest -- just horrible. Lourdes wasn't up for this game, playing passively until midway through the third period, when, down 2-1, they woke up and, with 24 seconds on the clock and the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, managed to tie up the game and send it into extra sessions, where they lost.
The hero for Simley was senior forward Adam Hoaglund, whose backhander, which didn't have a lot on it, won it at the 8:00 mark of the second OT. It was the second straight game in which Hoaglund scored the game winner in OT. Senior forward Mike Bailey had both of Simley's other goals.
Simley is a solid team, worked harder than Lourdes, and played well in their own end. There are no real standouts on the squad. If any one player stood out, it was senior goalie Troy Davenport, who stopped 29 of 30 against St. Louis Park in Wednesday's quarterfinal, and stopped 30 of 32 yesterday. Today at noon, in the finals, he gets to go up against powerful Warroad. For Simley to have a chance, Davenport will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat.
Minn. Class AA: Holy Angels, Anoka, Eden Prairie, Roseville Advance
St. Paul, Minn. -- Yesterday, in Class AA quarterfinal action from the Xcel Energy Center, Holy Angels, Anoka, Eden Prairie, and Roseville all won and will advance to today's semis.
Here are notes from yesterday's games.
Holy Angels 5, Moorhead 2:
Defending state champs Holy Angels struck for three goals in a 47 second span late in the first period and went on to top Moorhead, 5-2. The most impressive player for Holy Angels was senior forward Jimmy Kilpatrick. Junior forward Mike Taylor had a strong game, too, scoring the game's nicest goal when he came down the right side, appeared to be going to his backhand, but then, with a defender all over him, pulled it across and fired it home on his forehand to give Holy Angels the 3-0 lead they took into the first intermission. Senior forward Kevin Rollwagen also played well for Holy Angels, as did defenseman Jack Hillen. Once again, sophomore Jeff Frazee was stellar in goal, stopping 19 of 21.
For Moorhead, we liked senior forward Bryan Becker and sophomore defenseman Jon Ammerman.
Anoka 4, Duluth East 3:
A Ben Hendrick goal with 17 seconds left in regulation lifted Anoka to a 4-3 win over Duluth East. This was a huge individual effort as Hendrick, off the draw, poked it between the legs of the Duluth East center, then got tripped. From his knees, he managed to get off a tough angle shot that beat Greyhounds goalie Jake Maida five-hole.
The play only happened because Duluth East had iced the puck, causing the faceoff in their own end.
Duluth East outplayed Anoka for most of this game and got good performances from sophomore forward Rob Johnson, who figured in all of the Greyhounds' goals (2g,1a). Duluth's d-men looked good, too, notably senior John Jacques, and juniors Chris Johnson and Phil Johnson.
Senior defenseman Tim Manthey played very well for Anoka.
The shots in the game were pretty even. The difference, really, was that Anoka simply cashed in on their opportunities.
Eden Prairie 3, Lakeville 2:
Despite the close score, this wasn't much of a hockey game. Lakeville, of course, features junior goaltender Brandon O'Brien, who last week made 78 saves to lead his team to a five OT 3-2 win over Rochester Century in the Section 1AA final and hence a slot in the big show.
O'Brien was good again yesterday, stopping 23 of 26 shots.
However, Eden Prairie had far more talent than their opponent, outclassing Lakeville all over the ice, and outshooting them 26-11. Lakeville just mucked it up, hoping to slow down Eden Prairie while O'Brien did the rest. It didn't work, and had the unfortunate effect of turning the game into a slow, messy affair -- no flow whatsoever.
Top players for Eden Prairie were sophomore forward Chad Rau; and senior forwards Ryan Hawkins and Dave Watters.
Roseville 4, White Bear Lake 3:
The last game of the day -- and the best. Roseville is fast, explosive, they pass well, and they move to open ice smartly. They did a good job getting it to the open guy in the slot for one-timers. The game featured good, up-and-down action and quick transitions, a little too quick for the bigger and more physical White Bear Lake Bears.
Standing out for Roseville, who were actually outshot by White Bear Lake 24-19, was their large group of talented senior forwards: Collin Cody, Brandon Svendsen, Andy Carroll, Mike Sertich, and Pat Eagles. All played well. Svendsen was the hero, notching the tying and then winning goal, both coming early in the third period.
Senior goaltender Jerad Kaufmann came up with some big saves for Roseville, particularly late while protecting the one-goal lead.
For White Bear Lake senior forward Lance Malark, who can make a play or finish, had a good night. WBL senior defenseman Dustin Mercado played well, too. 6'2" RD Chris Anderson is clearly a very good prospect. Goalie Jon Anderson, the winner this season of the state's Frank Brimsek Award as top senior goaltender in the state, was OK, but not at top form.
Warroad vs. Orono, noon
Rochester Lourdes vs. Simley, 2 pm
Holy Angels vs. Anoka, 7 pm
Eden Prairie vs. Roseville, 9 pm
In Class A, we're picking Warroad and Lourdes. In Class AA, we're going with Holy Angels and Roseville.
Roll Leading Contender at Clarkson?
The list of candidates for the Clarkson College coaching job has been whittled down to four. They are: Lake Superior State assistant Jimmy Roque, who interviewed two weeks ago; Los Angeles Kings Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Greg Drechsel, who interviewed one week ago; Oswego State head coach George Roll, who interviewed on Monday; and Boston College assistant Ron Rolston, who'll arrive in Potsdam this coming Sunday and interview on Monday.
All of the candidates resumes include stints as an assistant at Clarkson and at least one other Div. I program.
Word on the street is that Roll is the leading candidate. Roll, an '86 Bowling Green grad, was named SUNYAC coach of the year earlier this week after leading Oswego State to a 21-5-1 record and the league regular-season title. Oswego State hosts Plattsburgh State in a best-of-three series starting tomorrow night.
Interim Clarkson coach Fred Parker was also interviewed, but has reportedly withdrawn his name from consideration. Both Colorado College assistant Norm Bazin and Craig Laughlin, former Clarkson and NHL forward now serving as a TV analyst for the Washington Capitals, interviewed via telephone but are not in the final mix.
Look for Clarkson to make a decision sometime this month.
HNIB All-Scholastic Schedule
This year's Hockey Night in Boston All-Scholastic Tourney will take place March 25-30 at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass.
There will be two divisions. The East Division will consist of: Mass Privates, Mass Publics/Catholics, ISL/Preps, and New England. The West Division will consist of: Midwest/Northeast, EJHL All-Stars, Junior Hockey Selects, and NY/Mid-Atlantic.
Tuesday March 25 (Practice Games)
5:00 pm -- Mass. Privates vs. ISL/Preps
6:45 pm -- Mass Publics/Catholics vs. New England
Wednesday March 26 (Practice Games)
3:15 pm -- EJHL vs. Junior Selects
4:45 pm -- Midwest/Northeast vs. NY/Mid-Atlantic
Thursday March 27
2:15 pm -- NY/Mid-Atlantic vs. EJHL All-Stars
4:30 pm -- Midwest/Northeast vs. Junior Hockey Selects
6:45 pm -- New England vs. ISL/Preps
9:00 pm -- Mass. Privates vs. Mass Publics/Catholics
Friday March 28
2:15 pm -- EJHL All-Stars vs. Junior Hockey Selects
4:30 pm -- New England vs. Mass Publics/Catholics
6:45 pm -- Midwest/Northeast vs. NY/Mid-Atlantic
9:00 pm -- Mass. Privates vs. ISL/Preps
Saturday March 29
11:00 am -- New England vs. Mass. Privates
1:15 pm -- Mass Publics/Catholics vs. ISL/Preps
3:30 pm -- EJHL All-Stars vs. Midwest/Northeast
5:45 pm -- NY/Mid-Atlantic vs. Junior Hockey Selects
Sunday March 30
9:00 am -- East Div. #4 vs. West Div. #4
11:15 pm -- East Div. #3 vs. West Div. #3
1:30 pm -- East Div. #2 vs. West Div. #2
3:45 pm -- East Div. #1 vs. West Div. #1
Minn. Class A: Warroad, Orono, Lourdes, Simley Advance
St. Paul, Minn. -- Yesterday, in Class A quarterfinal action from the Xcel Energy Center, Warroad, Orono, Rochester Lourdes, and Simley all won and will advance to the semis on Friday. There, Simley will play Rochester Lourdes, and Warroad will meet Orono.
Here are notes from yesterday's games.
Warroad 4, Fergus Falls 1:
No game, really. Warroad was just the far superior team, outshooting Fergus Falls 32-10. The top player in the game was Warroad senior Tony Selvog, who notched his 36th and 37th goals of the season, the latter coming with Warroad a man down. For Fergus Falls, junior goaltender Clay Nestor did a nice job in a losing effort, stopping 28 of 32 shots.
Orono 2, Princeton 1:
A close game. Princeton had size, but no players who really stood out for us. Orono had the higher skill level. Junior forwards Glenn Ylitalo, Pat Dynan, and Josh Pauer all played well. On defense, we liked sophomore Trip Standa.
Rochester Lourdes 2, Hibbing 1 (OT):
Lourdes totally dominated the first period, making the Hibbing players look like deer caught in the headlights. But, then, starting with the second period, Hibbing just took over and outworked Lourdes.
But Lourdes won the game anyway, when junior defenseman Josh Duncan, Lourdes' top player, sent forward John Brunkhorst in all alone for a breakaway goal at 1:46 of overtime.
The top player for Hibbing was junior forward Drew Walters.
Simley 2, St. Louis Park 1 (OT):
Simley senior goaltender Troy Davenport was the difference here, beating a St. Louis Park team that was superior in every phase of the game but still came up short on the scoreboard when Simley senior forward Adam Hoagland scored at 3:42 of overtime.
Davenport, who gained confidence as the game moved along, faced a lot of quality shots from close range and was particularly good on low shots. The one goal that got by him -- he faced 30 shots -- was up high.
For St. Louis Park, junior forwards David Martinson and B.J. Bayers were the standouts.
Johnson a Bear
Over the weekend, 6'3", 190 lb. Taft forward Todd Johnson committed to Brown University for the fall of 2004. An 11th grader from Riverside, Conn., Johnson, a power forward, posted a 12-17-29 line this season with the Big Red, who dropped a 3-1 decision to St. Sebastian's in the prep semis on Saturday. Before joining Taft last year, the right-shot LW played for the Brunswick School, a Div. II prep school in Greenwich, Conn.
Johnson, a 8/1/85 birthdate, joines defensemen Paul Baier (Deerfield) and David Robertson (U.S. Under-18 Team); and goaltender Adam D'Alba (Chicago Steel -- USHL) as entering freshmen in '04.
New England Prep Sports Online
Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed an ad on the front page of this site for New England Prep Sports Online (NEPSO).
This is a brand new service, just starting out, and is totally independent of the U.S. Hockey Report. We have no stake in it -- be it fiduciary, editorial, or otherwise. .
However, readers of the Hockey Report may see similarities in appearance between the two sites, which shouldn't be surprising -- the company behind NEPSO did the U.S. Hockey Report redesign last fall, and got the inspiration for NEPSO in the process.
NEPSO is owned and operated by Noah Cutler, 31, a 1990 graduate of St. Mark's School, where he played baseball. Cutler and New England Prep Sports Online will be covering all prep sports with the exception of hockey. While that's a lot to cover, Cutler and company have the technological savvy to pull it off.
"While developing the datasbase-driven version of USHR, it dawned on me that the concept of a sports data-driven website could be extended beyond the realm of hockey," Cutler said. "This realization led to the development of NEPSO. Now, prep parents, student-athletes, college recruiters, pro scouts, and others can view real-time stats and news reports for all prep sports."
If the coaches of all the other prep sports are as diligent in reporting box scores as a lot of the hockey coaches, NEPSO will be a valuable site for a lot of people.
IMG Hockey Academy of Bradenton, Florida, has its first Div. I recruit, as center Jeff Hazelwood, a native of Dublin, California (it's near San Jose) committed over the weekend to play for the the University of Maine in 2004.
Next season, Hazelwood will play for the Chicago Steel (USHL). The IMG hockey program, now in its second year competing at the Tier I Midget AAA level, is coached by Wil Nichol, who was an assistant with the Steel last season.
A 5'10", 165 lb. '85 birthdate, Hazelwood is fast, skilled, difficult to knock off the puck, and an excellent playmaker. In addition, he plays tough, physically, and with a lot of energy.
IMG Academies is a sports-based boarding school run by the International Management Group, a mega sports agency. If sports agents running a boarding school sounds strange to you, well, it does to us, too. At any rate, IMG Academies sprang from the renowned Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, which has been going strong since the late '70s. In the mid '90s, IMG started adding other sports to the mix and now have academies for golf, soccer, baseball, basketball, and, of course, hockey.
Minnesota State Tournament Quarterfinals
The 2003 Minnesota State High School Tournament gets going at the Xcel Center in St. Paul with the Class A quarterfinals on Wednesday and the Class AA quarterfinals on Thursday. Semifinals for both classes will take place on Friday, with the title games to follow on Saturday.
Wednesday March 5 -- Xcel Center
Fergus Falls (11-13) vs. Warroad (24-1-1), noon
Princeton (21-7) vs. Orono (24-3), 2 p.m.
Hibbing (13-10-4) vs. Rochester Lourdes (21-3-3), 7 p.m.
Simley (17-10-1) vs. St. Louis Park (20-7-1), 9 p.m.
Thursday March 6 -- Xcel Center
Holy Angels (25-1-2) vs. Moorhead (20-2-5), noon
Duluth East (14-10-4) vs. Anoka (22-4-1), 2 p.m.
Eden Prairie (21-3-3) vs. Lakeville (13-13-2), 7 p.m.
Roseville (23-3-2) vs. White Bear Lake (21-6-1), 9 p.m.
Apple Core Wins EJHL Regular Season Title
In the closest race ever, New York Apple Core won the EJHL regular season title by finishing with a 31-6-0-1 record, good for 63 points. Right after Apple Core came Walpole, with 61 points; The Junior Bruins, with 60, and the New Hampshire Monarchs, with 59.
League playoffs begin tomorrow. There will be four separate two-game series. Two wins, or a win and a tie, allow a team to move on to the semis. If two teams split their two-game series, there will be a sudden-death mini game right after the ice ice is cut.
The matchups are #1N Jr. Bruins vs. #4S Capital District Selects; #2N NH Jr. Monarchs vs. #3S New England Jr. Coyotes; #1S Apple Core vs. #4N Boston Harbor Wolves; and #2S Walpole vs. #3N Lowell.
All playoff games will take place at Holy Cross College; Worcester, Mass.
Tuesday, March 4
4pm Monarchs vs. Coyotes (postponed until Thurs. 3/6 at 1 pm at NESC, Marlboro, Mass.)
7pm Apple Core vs. Harbor Wolves
Thursday, March 6th
1pm Monarchs vs. Coyotes (at NESC; Marlboro, Mass. --rescheduled from Tues. 3/4)
4pm Walpole vs. Lowell
7pm Jr. Bruins vs. Selects
Sunday March 9th
1pm Monarchs vs. Coyotes
4pm Walpole vs. Lowell
Monday March 10th
7:30pm Apple Core vs. Harbor Wolves
Tuesday March 11th
7:30pm Jr. Bruins vs. Selects
Sunday March 16th
1:00pm Semi-Final 1
4:00pm Semi-Final 2
Monday March 17th
Deerfield Wins Prep Title in OT
Salem, NH -- A Dan Travis goal 49 seconds into overtime lifted Deerfield Academy to a 3-2 win over St. Sebastian's and the 2003 New England prep title. .
The game, a tense clasic played before a packed house, with great performances on both sides, was decided when Big Green senior center Danny Shribman wheeled behind the net with the puck and found Travis alone in front. Travis whistled a shot past St. Seb's goalie Kevin Regan and Deerfield, which has reached the postseason numerous times in recent years, finally won a title for retiring head coach Jim Lindsay, who was coaching his last game after 17 years behind the Deerfield bench. With this win, he hands the reins over to assistant Brendan Creagh.
In the Div. II title game, Proctor got two goals and an assist from junior Josh Robertson in a 4-1 win over St. George's. The win brought head coach Mike Walsh his fourth straight Div. II title, three with Tilton, and now one with Proctor.
There will be more on these games later this evening, in the USHR prep section.
St. Seb's, Deerfield Advance
Salem, NH -- St. Sebastian's and Deerfield have advanced to the NEPSIHA prep title game, and the storyline is a good one: fans of the Arrows will be cheering for their school to become the first Div. I prep school to ever win three consecutive titles, while fans of the Big Green will be cheering for retiring head coach Jim Lindsay, in his final game behind the Deerfield bench, to win his first prep title.
Today, Deerfield topped Cushing 6-3; and St. Sebastian's beat Taft, 3-1. For more on the games, please go the the USHR prep section.
Tomorrow's title game is at 3:00 pm, after the Div. II semi, which pits Proctor Academy against St. George's. Proctor head coach Mike Walsh will be going for his fourth straight Div. II title. He won three with Tilton before moving over to Proctor this season.
NTDP Camp Final Rosters Set
On Sat. March 8th, the 2003-04 National Team Development Program hopefuls will arrive in Ann Arbor, Mich. for the annual four-day invitation-only evaluation camp.
There will be 46 players on hand, all '87s except as noted below. In our opinion, this is the deepest class in four years, since the '83s
Here is the list of invited players.
Billy Blase, Taft School
Shane Connelly, Culver Military
Eric Beeler, Southern Ice Lightning Midget AAA (Nashville, Tenn.)
Jeff Frazee, Holy Angels HS
Brennan Poderzay, Ely HS (Minn.)
Peter Cox, St. John's-Shrewsbury HS
Andrew Andricopoulos, Tabor Academy
Brandon Gentile, Little Caesar's Midget Minor
Devereaux Heshmatpour, Vaughan Vipers (OPJHL)
Jack Johnson, Shattuck-St. Mary's
Jonathan Kearns, Team Illinois Midget AAA
Chad Morin, Syracuse Junior Crunch (OPJHL)
Steve Spade, Georgetown Raiders (OPJHL)
Joe Ryan, Valley Junior Warriors (EJHL)
Zach Jones, Chicago Chill Midget AAA
Mark Mitera, Little Caesar's Midget AAA
Mike Stuart, St. Paul's School
Hunter Thunell, Phillips Andover Academy
Mike Weber, Pittsburgh Penguins Jr. B
Tim Filangieri, NY Bobcats Jr. B
Jon Ammerman, Moorhead HS
Joe Finley, Edina HS
Zack Bearson, Team Illinois Midget AAA
Scott Birnstill, NY Apple Core (EJHL)
Chris Cahill, Phillips Andover Academy
Dan Collins, Syracuse Junior Crunch (OPJHL)
Robbie Dee, Breck
Nathan Gerbe, River City (USHL)
Dustin Fulton, Breck
Jordan Fulton, Breck
Jason Lawrence, Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL)
Zach McVoy, Little Caesar's Midget Minor
Sean O'Connor, Little Caesars Midget AAA
Jack Skille, Verona HS
Ryan Stoa, Bloomington Kennedy HS
Bobby Ryan, Honeybaked '87
Benn Ferriero, Governor Dummer Academy
Nick Foligno, Central Penn Panthers Jr. B
Bobby Butler, Marlboro HS (Mass.)
Jimmy Fraser, HoneyBaked Midget AAA
John Kemp, LA Jr. Kings Midget AAA
Phil Kessel, Madison Midget AAA
Tommy Mannino, Leamington Flyers (Western Ontario Jr. B)
Peter Mueller, Breck
Tommy Schmicker, Deerfield Academy JV
Ben Ketchum, Greenwich HS (Conn.)
All of the above are '87s with the exception of forward Dustin Fulton, who's an '86; and defenseman Chad Morin and forward Peter Mueller, both of whom are '88s.