Lincoln Stars Take USHL Title
The Lincoln Stars, who for the past several years have had to watch teams with inferior regular season records blow past them in the playoffs, got it right this year, knocking off host River City 5-1 before 3,868 tonight to win their first Clark Cup championship since 1997.
Lincoln, which also won the league's regular-season title, won the series three games to one. Dan Irmen had a pair of goals (the second being an empty-netter), while David Backes (shorthanded), Ethan Graham, and Chris Porter had single tallies. John Snowden had a pair of assists.
River City, by pouring it on in an attempt at a third-period comeback, outshot Lincoln 36-29.
Phillipe Lamoureux kicked out 35 of 36 shots for the winners, while Dominic Vicari stopped 24 of 28 for River City.
Lincoln's Ryan Potulny finished as the leading post-season scorer, posting a 6-11-17 line in 10 games. Irmen, with a 8-6-14 line, wasn't far behind.
Lincoln's goaltending duo of Lamoureux and Nate Ziegelmann combined to lead all playoff goaltenders in both GAA and save percentage.
Update: Irmen has been named tournament MVP.
Guyer Steps Down at Greenway
Pat Guyer has retired as boys hockey coach at Greenway (Minn.) High School after 13 years behind the bench.
Guyer's best season was 2000-01, when his son, Gino, and Andy Sertich were lighting it up. The Raiders (22-6-0) finished third in the Class AA state tournament that year.
Guyer will do some scouting for the Lincoln Stars (USHL), where his son, Andrew, plays. He'll also have some time to watch Gino, who'll be going into his sophomore season at the University of Minnesota.
Greenway assistant Gary Orhn is expected to be named next head coach.
Greenway, from where Guyer graduated in 1981 before going on to play at Minnesota-Duluth, is a small Class A school with a rich hockey tradition. They choose to play up.
Stuart to NTDP
6'3", 205 lb. RD Mike Stuart, a Rome, NY native who played prep hockey this past season for St. Paul's School, has accepted an invitation to the join the National Team Development Program.
Stuart, a 2/16/87 birthdate, is the seventh defensemen to commit to the program for next year. The other six are Andrew Andricopoulos (Tabor Academy), Jack Johnson (Shattuck-St. Mary's), Joey Ryan (Valley Jr. Warriors -- EJHL), Devereaux Heshmatpour (Vaughan Vipers -- OPJHL), Mark Mitera (Little Caesar's Midget AAA), and Zach Jones (Chicago Chill Midget AAA). In addition, an invitation is out to Steve Spade (Georgetown Raiders -- OPJHL). However, the Saginaw Spirit, which holds the #1 pick for next month's OHL draft, have made Spade a generous offer and, barring the unusual, that's where the 6'2" Rochester, NY native will be playing next season.
This will mark the third straight season an American has been chosen #1 overall in the OHL draft. Last year, it was Syracuse, NY native Robbie Schremp (Mississagua) and in 2001 it was Patrick O'Sullivan (also Mississauga).
Thelen on Track
6'3", 205 lb. U.S. Under-17 Team defenseman A.J. Thelen, who received his senior status in January and is on track to graduate from high school in June, signed his National Letter of Intent with Michigan State on April 16th.
Thelen, a 3/11/86 birthdate from Savage, Minn., will enter Michigan State this fall and play as a 17-year-old freshman.
Thelen is one of four 17-year-old freshman who'll be matriculating at Div. I schools in the fall. The others are forward Adam Pineault, who's going from the U.S. Under-18 Team to Boston College; defenseman Jonathan Sigalet, who's going from Salmon Arm (BCHL) to Bowling Green; and defenseman Wes O'Neill, who's going from Green Bay (USHL) to Notre Dame.
By contrast, this season, there was only one 17-year-old freshman, Michigan goaltender Alvaro Montoya -- and he wasn't too shabby (43 gp, 2.33, .911).
U.S. Lays an Egg
Tampere, Finland -- Just in case you missed the wire service stories from the IIHF World Championships, the U.S. National Team, featuring 12 NHLers, lost to Denmark today, 5-2.
To say that this is one of the biggest upsets in the history of the world championships is understating the case: the last time the Danes even played in this tournament was 1949, when they lost 47-0 to Canada.
Denmark jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead. All three goals -- two were on breakaways -- came at the expense of Buffalo Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller. At 14:12 U.S. coach Lou Vairo lifted Miller and inserted Chris Rogles, the former Clarkson goaltender now playing in Europe. Rogles was also victim to a breakaway goal.
Jim Fahey and Kelly Fairchild scored the U.S. goals.
The U.S. outshot Denmark, 55-12.
Note: Denmark's coach is Mikael Lundstrom, a Swede who reportedly started his international coaching career in Kuwait. In case you were wondering, Kuwait is indeed a member of the IIHF. The country has a two-rink complex in Dubai. One, the home of the Kuwait Falcons, is an Olympic sheet with a seating capacity of 1,600. The Falcons play teams from... well, just Bahrain and Jordan, as far as we know. Kuwait played in the IOC's Winter Asian Games in 1999, but didn't do very well, getting outscored 79-1 in just two games. One Kuwaiti player, a forward from Kuwait City named Outaibah Hamadah, came to the U.S. and played club hockey for the University of Oregon Ducks before graduating in 1999.
Pittsburgh Forge Win NAHL Crown
Due to fan apathy -- or poor marketing -- the Pittsburgh Forge will be moving to Toledo next season, so there probably won't be a ticker tape parade in the parking lot at the Island Sports Center, but let it be noted that the Forge knocked off the Texas Tornado, 4-2, last night to take the 2003 Robertson Cup.
The Forge, who also had the league's best regular-season record (43-9-4), won the series three games to one, and move on to the Junior A National Championship in Sault. Ste. Marie, Mich. Fri.-Sat. May 2-3.
Mercyhurst-bound Jim Gehring, the playoff scoring leader, paced the Forge with a hat trick. Chris Lawrence, also a Mercyhurst recruit, at least until Michigan State coach Rick Comley decided he wanted him instead, had a goal and two assists. Pittsburgh, trailing 1-0 after one period, scored three second-period goals to put the game away.
Goaltender Peter Mannino, a Denver recruit for 2004, had 21 saves on 23 shots.
Randolph Ousted at Duluth East
Duluth East coach Mike Randolph has been let go by the school's administration, who declined to renew his contract, bringing to a close a 15-year era that included state championships in 1995 and 1998, eight state tournament appearances, and a 308-83-10 record.
The administration, specifically principal Laurie Knapp and director of school operations Bruce Watkins, made the announcement in a news release that read, "After careful consideration, Duluth East High School administration and Duluth Public Schools administration have opted not to renew Mike Randolph's contract as head coach for the East boys hockey team.... Our decision is made in the best interest of student athletes, East High School and (independent school district) 709."
That was the extent of Knapp or Watkins' comment.
"It's a shock," Randolph, 51, told the Duluth News Tribune. "This came out of nowhere for me. It's pretty tough to deal with."
On Tuesday night, Randolph said, he was asked to retire, with the school offering to provide a celebration that would send him out on a high note.
"I couldn't do it, because I wanted to keep coaching," Randolph said. "I wasn't going to lie."
The administration's decision, and subsequent lack of comment, has left people in the area speculating as to reason -- or reasons -- Randolph was let go. Earlier in the season, there were questions surrounding team fundraising, which involves selling Christmas wreathes. If a player raised money for the team, and was later cut, he was allowed to keep the money.
While an ill-advised practice, it doesn't appear that that alone would have gotten Randolph cashiered.
Most speculation in the Randolph case appears to center around parental unhappiness with players being cut, specifically players transferring into the school, a practice that is not only allowable in Minnesota, but has long been part of the hockey landscape. Parents of the last cut or two, though, are generally less than enthusiastic over seeing a transfer student grabbing a spot that could have gone to their child.
Randolph, who was not given any specifics regarding his release, acknowledged to the News Tribune that there had been issues with some parents whose sons were cut from the team this season.
"Most parents have been very supportive of me," Randolph said. "I've been coaching 15 years, and I've had the unfortunate task of dismissing a large number of kids over those 15 years. You can't have 25 guys on the roster, and you can't have eight goalies dressing. That's just life."
Both of Randolph's assistants, Larry Trachsel and Terry Johnson, told the News Tribune that they had no intention of coaching at the school without Randolph.
Randolph has never had a losing season at East. This past season, the team got off to a poor start, going 3-8-4, but then went 11-4-0 down the stretch and made the state tournament. The final won-lost record of 14-12-4 was the worst of Randolph's tenure. Randoph's two best seasons were 1996-98, when the Greyhounds lost just one game each season.
Randolph will continue with his job teaching fourth grade in a Duluth elementary school.
Top New England, Minnesota Prospects
By clicking on the links below, you'll be brought to our final lists of New England and Minnesota college-eligible prospects. There are over 165 players on the New England list and over 125 on the Minnesota list. Each encompasses students in the 8th (very rare) to 12th grades, and includes PGs.
When we say "prospects," we're thinking of major conference Div. I prospects. A good number of players on the list are already committed of course, but there are a good number that are still available, even in this era of early commitments. Anyway, every listed player has shown us something that we think makes them worthy of a close look by Tier I and college recruiters, whether for next year, or, in the case of younger players (or players who simply need more time), for the years ahead.
We've tried to keep the lists as short as possible. In the fall, we'll peel off the names of the players who have moved on, and build the list up again. There are a number of players who are not on the list now, but are pretty close. We just want to see where their game is at in the fall before making a decision. We don't like putting players on the list and then dropping them off. It's going to happen sometime, anyway; we just don't want it to happen a lot.
We're missing some stray pieces of info on some players -- birthdates, etc. -- so if anyone has them, please feel free to e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The lists are Excel documents. If you are planning to print them out, they are each four pages long.
U.S. Under-18s Bow to Russia; Finish in Fourth Place
Yaroslavl, Russia -- The U.S. Under-18 Team fell to Russia, 6-3, in the bronze medal game before 5,900 fans here today, finishing the World Under-18 championship in 4th place.
Russia, which boasts 5-6 players that could go in the first two rounds of June's NHL draft, never trailed in today's game, leading 3-2 after the first period and 4-3 after the second. Leading scorers for Russia were Evgeny Malkin and Alexander Ovechkin (neither of whom are draft-eligible until 2004). Both had two goals, though Ovechkin's second was an empty-netter with two seconds remaining.
T.J. Hensick scored two of the U.S. goals today, and assisted on the third, by Shattuck's Drew Stafford. Hensick (6g,4a) finished the six-game tournament as the leading U.S. scorer, followed by Stafford (3g,3a). The team as a whole scored 15 goals here, an average of 2.5 per game, and allowed the same number. The biggest concern for the U.S. going into the tournament was a lack of depth up front, and it turned out to be a well-founded fear. Besides Hensick,and Stafford, only one other U.S. forward, Robbie Earl (2g,2a) was able to score more than two total points in the tournament, and only one other U.S. forward was able to score a goal -- Steve Mandes, who had two (one an empty-netter). Eight forwards did not score a single goal here, and four forwards -- Josh Sciba, Mike Brown, Kevin Coughlin, and Dusty Collins -- did not register a single point. By contrast, all 12 Russian forwards scored at least a single point here, and 11 of them contributed at least a goal. Ditto with the Canadians.
Second-guessing is easy, but perhaps Chad Kolarik, defensive shortcomings aside, should have been on the roster.
Russia outshot the U.S. 36-35 today. Mike Brown, of the OHL's Saginaw Spirit, had 30 saves on 35 shots for the U.S., while Rustan Sidikov stopped 32 of 35 U.S. shots.
Canada won the gold, topping Slovakia, 3-0. Anthony Stewart (Kingston/OHL) scored in the firrst period; Shawn Belle (Tri-City/WHL) scored in the second, and Ryan Getzlaf (Calgary/WHL) scored in the third. Ryan Munce (Sarnia/OHL) had 25 saves for the the shutout.
Pineault Recuperating in Moscow Hospital
While his teammates face off against Russia in Tuesday's bronze medal game, U.S. Under-18 forward Adam Pineault will be recuperating in a Moscow hotel room from an appendectomy.
Pineault began feeling some minor pain on Saturday, the day before Sunday's semifinal against Canada, but figured it was a slightly pulled muscle and played through it.
After the U.S. overtime loss to Canada, the pain was worse. Pineault went to the U.S. team doctor, who realized a hospital was needed.
Through the help of the U.S. embassy, Pineault was driven by ambulance from Yaroslavl to Moscow, a four to five hour trip.
The surgery was successful. It's uncertain, however, whether Pineault will be able to come back to the U.S. with the team on Wednesday or will have to stay in the Moscow hospital for a day or two more. If it's the latter, someone from the team will stay to escort him back.
Appendectomies are common procedures with no long-term effects.
A Coach for Sioux Falls
Mark Kaufman has been hired as coach/GM of the Sioux Falls Stampede, and will be introduced at a press conference this afternoon.
Kaufman, 42, who was fired in December from his head coaching position with the Kalamazoo Wings (UHL), coached the now-defunct Rochester Mustangs from 1988-92, then joined Ferris State as an assistant for a year. From there he went to assistant coaching positions with the Kansas City Blades (IHL), the San Jose Sharks (NHL), and the Kentucky Thoroughblades (AHL). From 1998-02, he was head coach of the Richmond Renedgades (EJHL). From there, he moved on to the UHL, but after a poor start to his first season, was fired in early December. Back in the '80's Kaufman was also an assistant with U.S. International University, before that school pulled the plug on its hockey program. When Kaufman was in the San Jose organization, he was on Kevin Constantine's staff. Kaufman, a Pittsburgh native, and Constantine worked together at Rochester in the late '80s.
Kaufman joins a number of recent USHL hires -- e.g. Bob Ferguson, Dave Siciliano, and P.K. O'Handley -- as former USHL coaches who've gone off to the pros or major junior and then returned.
Kaufman was also reported to be in the running for the head coaching job with the Everett Silvertips, an expansion team entering the WHL this fall. The GM in Everett is Doug Soetaert, the former NHL goaltender who was the KC Blades GM when Kaufman was an assistant there. Soetaert has yet to name a head coach in Everett, but you can scratch Kaufman's name from the list. .
The Planet Returns
Former NHL defenseman Al Iafrate is making the complete cycle. Iafrate, who played for the Compuware Midgets in 1982-83, will be their new head coach for the 2003-04 season.
Iafrate, now 37, was a first-round NHL draft pick (4th overall, by Toronto) in the 1984 NHL draft. A 6'3", 240 lb. defenseman, Iafrate played on the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team before going on to play for Toronto, Washington, and Boston, from where he retired in 1994 due to a knee injury. Two years later, he made a comeback, and played two more NHL seasons, with San Jose, before hanging them up for good.
Iafrate twice won the hardest shot competition at the NHL all-star weekend, and his 105.2 MPH shot in 1993 is still a record.
Iafrate replaces Don Elland, who's moving from Michigan to the Southwest U.S, where Elland's wife, who just had a baby, hails from.
Canada, in OT, Tops U.S. Under-18s in Semis
Yaroslavl, Russia -- In semifinal action, the U.S. Under-18 team bowed to Canada, 2-1, before 3,900 fans in overtime here today.
The U.S. will play for the bronze medal on Tuesday at 7 am. EST. They will face Russia which, in the other semi today, lost to Slovakia 2-1 in two OTs.
In today's game, after a scoreless first period, the U.S. got on the board first when T.J. Hensick, the leading scorer for the U.S., scored an even-strength goal at the 11:56 mark of the second, with an assist going to Drew Stafford (Shattuck-St. Mary's).
Canada, though, scored a crushing goal with one second left in the period as Jeremy Colliton (Prince Albert -- WHL) scored off a pass from Jeff Carter (Sault Ste. Marie -- OHL).
The third period was scoreless.
Canada picked up the game-winner when Alexandre Bolduc (Rouyn-Noranda -- QMJHL) scored at 3:38 of OT, just 15 seconds after a U.S. power play expired.
Mike Brown (Saginaw -- OHL) had 35 saves for the U.S.
Ryan Munce (Sarnia -- OHL) had 33 saves for Canada
Top Prep Goaltender Commits to BC
Phillips Andover Academy goaltender Cory Schneider has committed to Boston College.
Schneider, the most-coveted goalie in the East, made his final pick from between BC and Harvard. Cornell, where the goaltender's father attended school in the Ken Dryden era, was also in the picture, with Schneider making an unofficial visit there last month. Schneider also made an unofficial visit to Boston University last fall. Numerous other schools were interested, too, but those four are the ones Schneider focused in on. However, in the end it was BC and Harvard.
Right now, it's unclear exactly when Schneider will arrive at BC. He will be a senior at Andover in the upcoming season, so it could well be in the fall of '04. However, it could also be in the fall of '05. Obviously, whether Matti Kaltiainen turns pro is a major factor here. Kaltiainen, a Boston Bruins draft pick, would be a senior in 2004-05, while Joe Pearce would be a soph. Three is too many, so that's one scenario under which Schneider might want to play juniors for a year and come in for the fall of '05. The X factor here is how well Kaltiainen plays next season and, as a result how interested (or uninterested) the Bruins are in his leaving a year early early. That, of course, won't sort itself out for quite a while. The bottom line, though, remains -- Schneider will be playing his college hockey at Boston College.
Schneider, in 23 games for Andover, posted a 1.68 gaa and .946 save percentage last season. That would be approximate, as all prep goaltending stats are.
Scheider is 6'2", 190 lbs. and is a native of Marblehead, Mass. He's a 3/18/86 birthdate.
Tech Search Narrows
It's beginning to look more like a sure thing that the next Michigan Tech head coach will be an alum.
Meanwhile, the alum short list is getting shorter, as Boston College assistant Ron Rolston has withdrawn his name from consideration and will be staying at the Heights.
Is Marc Maroste the frontrunner? We don't know, but we do know that athletic director Rick Yeo wants to keep Maroste on the coaching staff, whether or not he actually gets the head job.
Rolston, a 12-year Div. I assistant at Lake Superior State, Clarkson, Harvard and now Boston College, withdrew his name from consideration because he wasn't comfortable with the idea that, were he to win the job, he would have been required to hire as his assistant a man with whom he had been competing against for the head job.
To compete against Wisconsin, Minnesota, Denver, CC and the like, Rolston felt it important that he would have been able to bring in his own staff.
The list right now looks like:
-- Maroste, a 1985 graduate who has just completed his second season as a Tech assistant. Prior to that he served as the school's manager of recreation. Before that, he was a long-time pro player in Germany.
-- Jamie Russell, who was a teammate of Rolston's at Tech in the late '80s, is completing his fourth season as an assistant at Cornell. Russell was an assistant at Ferris State for five years before that.
-- Graham Wise, a 1974 Michigan Tech graduate who has been coaching at York University in Toronto for sixteen years. Wise played for John MacInnes in the glory years of Michigan Tech hockey.
Green Bay Gambler coach Mark Osiecki, a Wisconsin grad who we mentioned earlier as a possible candidate for the Tech job, has also pulled his hat out of the ring. He is no longer a candidate, and will be staying a Green Bay.
Compuware, Danville to USHL
Look for both the Compuware Ambassadors and Danville Wings to move from the NAHL to the USHL in time for the beginning of play in September.
NAHL commissioner Larry Pedrie said he had received official notification from Danville, but not yet Compuware, notifying him that they had resigned from the league. Officials throughout both leagues, however, expect Compuware to make their NAHL exit official at any moment.
Both Compuware and Danville play in arenas that meet Tier I seating capacity requirements. An earlier requirement that teams applying for Tier I status must have drawn 60,000 or more in the previous season was dropped at USA Hockey's winter meetings.
It's been a tough week for the NAHL, to put it mildly. Just before this latest blow, two franchises, the Chicago Freeze and Capital Center, went into mothballs, and a third, Pittsburgh, because Pittsburghers failed to come out to watch the team which finished the regular season with the league's best record and is up 1-0 in the Robertson Cup finals, got its ticket punched for a franchise move to Toledo, Ohio.
However, according to Pedrie, the NAHL's application for Tier I status is still on course.
Right now, though, not counting the U.S. NTDP, which plays a full schedule in the league, there are six franchises for next season: Toledo, the Soo, Cleveland, Texas, Springfield (Ill.) and Springfield (Mo.), the latter of which doesn't currently have an arena large enough for Tier I status, anyway. The minimum number of teams in a Tier I league is six, so if one of those franchises goes under, Tier I hopes could go down with it. The NAHL franchise that's been discussed for awhile for Milwaukee is, according to Pedrie, still a go for the fall of 2005 -- at least for now.
Another question is how, or whether, this will affect the U.S. NTDP plans in any way. The NTDP plays a full 56-game schedule in the league. (This year, 43 of those games were played by the Under-17 Team with the remaining 13 being played by the Under-18 team.)
In the big picture, what's devastating here to the NAHL is the fact that this was a league that, when founded in 1976, consisted of four Detroit area teams (Paddock Pools Saints, Detroit Jr. Wings, Fraser Highlanders, Wayne Chiefs) and one outside team, the Cleveland Barons. In a number of subsequent years, particularly before the league began to bloom in the late '80s, there were only Michigan teams in the NAHL. Now, with Compuware's exodus, the NAHL has lost its homeland to the USHL. Now, instead of NAHL teams with large numbers of Michigan players, Detroit area fans will now be seeing the Green Bay Gamblers, Des Moines Buccaneers and the like cutting a swath through the Compuware Sports Arena -- and that's a major change with implications that are yet to be fully felt.
Pedrie, who walked into a difficult situation when he took over the NAHL at a time last year when the USHL was making its Tier I powerplay, has his hands full now just to stop the bleeding.
Brown Blanks Finland; U.S. Advances to Semis
Yaroslavl, Russia -- Saginaw Spirit (OHL) goaltender Mike Brown kicked out all 35 shots he faced to lead the U.S. Under-18 Team to a 2-0 win over Finland before 600 fans here today.
With the win, the U.S. (3-0-1) clinched first place in their pool, which allows them a quarterfinal bye. On Sunday, at 11 am EST, the U.S. will face the winner of Saturday's Canada-Sweden quarterfinal.
After failing to connect on four first-period power play opportunities, the U.S. got one on the fifth try when center T.J. Hensick connected at 15:24 of the second, with assists going to Shattuck wing Drew Stafford and defenseman Ryan Suter.
It was the only goal the U.S. would need. After Finland pulled goaltedner Eero Kilpelainen, who kicked out 41 of 42 shots, Steven Mandes added an empty netter with 34 seconds remaining.
In their four preliminary round games, the U.S. outscored opponents 11-7. Russia (4-0-0) won the B pool, outscoring opponents 27-8. Russia will face the winner of Saturday's Slovakia-Czech Republic quarterfinal.
Earl Leads U.S. Past Sweden
Yaroslavl, Russia -- A Robbie Earl goal with 31 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the U.S. to a 3-2 win over Sweden at the World Under-18 Championship today. The goal, Earl's second of the day, was assisted by Michael Bartlett and T.J. Hensick.
Hensick's assist was his second of the day. Hensick leads U.S. scorers with a 2-3-5 line.
The U.S. entered the second period trailing 1-0, but Earl scored a power play goal 21 seconds in to tie the game at 1-1. Defenseman Matt Hunwick picked up an assist on the play.
The U.S. went ahead at the 3:47 mark on another power play goal, this one by Ryan Suter. Assists went to Hensick and Hunwick.
21 seconds later, Sweden, on Loui Eriksson's second goal of the game, knotted the game at 2-2, and that's where it stood until Earl's game winner over 35 minutes later.
The U.S. outshot Sweden, 30-25. Chris Holt had 23 saves for the U.S. The game was played before 1,200 fans.
The next, and last, round-robin game for the U.S. comes Thursday against Finland. If Finland beats Slovakia later today, the U.S.-Finland game will be for first place in the B pool. First place finishers get a bye directly into the semis.
(Update: Finland has lost to Slovakia, 4-3, so any one of three teams -- US, Slovakia, and Finland -- could win the pool, and get the bye. The U.S., though, has their destiny in their own hands, as they can finish first with a win over Finland and it won't make any difference what Slovakia does.)
MacArthur a Terrier
5'10", 180 lb. LC Peter MacArthur of the Northwood School will be heading to Boston University in the fall of '04.
MacArthur, the leading scorer (40-44-84 in 41 games) as an 11th grader at Northwood this past season, will be spending his senior season in the USHL, playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks.
MacArthur, who has speed and a strong sense of the game, is an excellent passer. He's very strong on faceoffs and loves taking the big draw in the defensive zone.
A 6/20/85 birthdate from Clifton Park, NY, MacArthur played for the Junior Ice Hawks Midget AAA (Glens Falls, NY) and Shenendehowa HS before heading up the mountain to Northwood.
MacArthur visited BU the weekend of the Hockey East final, and said that being able to play in the Beanpot was a major factor in his choice. Other schools that talked to MacArthur were UNH, Union, RPI, Clarkson, and Bowling Green.
MacArthur will join forwards Chris Bourque and Brian McGuirk and defensemen Dan McGoff and Matt Lashoff in the class coming in to BU in the fall of '04, when the Terriers new rink is scheduled to be completed.
Two NAHL Franchises to Fold
The Chicago Freeze and the Capital City Pride, spilling red ink, are on the block. It is possible that a buyer (or buyers) could step forward and relocate one (or both) of the franchises, but nobody has shown up yet and prospects look bleak.
If no buyer steps forward, the franchises will fold or become dormant.
In other NAHL business, the Pittsburgh Forge, who haven't drawn well despite their recent success, are likely to relocate to Toledo, Ohio; and the Cleveland Barons may be relocating as well, likely to another building in the Cleveland area.
U.S. Under-18s Bounce Back
Yaroslavl, Russia -- After blowing a 3-0 third-period lead and having to settle for a 3-3 tie with Belarus on Saturday, the U.S. Under-18 team got it right today, taking a one-goal lead into the third period against Slovakia today and holding it -- neither scoring or allowing a goal -- and skating off with a 3-2 win.
T.J. Hensick was the offensive star today, assisting defenseman Nate Hagemo's goal at the 5:00 mark of the first period to give the US a 1-0 lead, and then, after Slovakia tied it up at 2-2, scoring the game winner at 15:20 of the second with an assist going to Adam Pineault.
All three U.S. goals were even strength, while both of Slovakia's came on the power play. The US outshot Slovakia 27-15. Chris Holt had 13 saves for the U.S.
On Saturday, the three-goal third period comeback by Belarus was helped along by the fact that the U.S. took six minor penalties in the period while Belarus only took two
The U.S., which outshot Belarus 29-18, got goals from Drew Stafford, Steve Mandes, and Hensick. Mike Brown had 15 saves for the U.S.
Note: The U.S. games here are among the worst attended, with approximately 500 on hand for Saturday's game and 800 at today's, so it doesn't appear that Russian hockey fans are flocking to the rink to cheer against the U.S. Obviously a U.S.-Russia game would be a draw. In Russia's 6-3 win over Canada on Saturday the attendance was announced as 9,100.
The U.S. continues round-robin play with a game against Sweden tomorrow.
A Double Eagle
5'11", 180 lb. LD Brian O'Hanley of BC High has committed to Boston College.
O'Hanley, who graduates this spring, will take a PG year at the Salisbury School, then arrive at the Heights in the fall of '04.
A native of Quincy, Mass., Hanley was a major force behind BC High's success this season, as the squad went undefeated until getting edged, 3-2, by Catholic Memorial in the Super 8 title game and finishing the season 22-1-0. BC High won the 2002 Super 8 Title.
O'Hanley, a 12/18/84 birthdate, is a poised player with the puck and boasts a strong shot. His strong offensive skills make him a candidate to run the BC powerplay sometime in the future. O'Hanley, though strictly a defenseman, was the leading overall scorer at BC High this season, with a 21-20-41 line in 23 games.
Apart from coach Jerry York (BC High '63), there are no Double Eagles currently at Boston College. It's within the realm of possibility that, before long, there could be two, as O'Hanley's teammate at BC High, 5'8" junior center Matt Greene, is getting interest from a number of Hockey East schools -- BC included.
A Native Son for the Falcons
6'2", 190 lb. power forward James Unger of the Topeka ScareCrows (USHL) has committed to Bowling Green.
Unger, a native of Garfield Heights, Ohio, played for the Cleveland Barons Midget AAA program before going to Topeka last year as an 11th grader. Unger, a 1/8/85 birthdate, will enter Bowling Green this fall as a true freshman.
A number of schools were talking to him -- Michigan State, Ferris State, Miami, Denver, Northeastern -- but they all wanted him to play another year of juniors. Only Bowling Green pulled the trigger for next season.
Unger is a big, strong kid who owns the walls. When he was moved from right wing to center halfway through the season at Topeka, he caught fire, finishing with 19-26-45 line, and 113 pims, in 57 regular season games. His shot is very accurate, but weak -- if he can add some power he could put up numbers at the Div. I level. Unger is very good defensively, and a huge help down low. He finished the season with a +20.
Hartzell in Mix?
Another name reportedly in the mix for the Sioux Falls Stampede job is that of Kevin Hartzell, who coached the now-defunct Twin City Vulcans (USHL) from 1983-89, posting a 195-83-8 line over that six-year span.
Hartzell, a forward, also played for the Vulcans in the late seventies before going on to play for the Golden Gophers from '79-82, Brad Buetow's first three years.
Hartzell has been out of hockey at the higher levels since the late '80s, though he has stayed involved coaching in the White Bear Lake, Minn. youth program. Hartzell's son was the goalie on the White Bear Lake team that won the Minnesota State Bantam Tournament this past season.
When they purchased the Sioux City Musketeers a couple of years ago, the Sioux Falls ownership group hired Dave Siciliano, who had been out of the USHL for seven years. So there is a precedent at work here. Hartzell, however, has been gone 14 years, and that's a long time.
U.S. Under-18s No Powerhouse
Due to the concern of parents over the advisability of travel in this uncertain time, it was not known a week ago if the U.S. would even be sending a team to the World Under-18 Championships in Yaroslavl, Russia and, if they did, which parents would allow their kids to go.
However, USA Hockey stepped up security arrangements for the two-week trip and the team, accompanied by two security professionals, will be departing today and opening play against Belarus on Saturday.
In the end, only two NTDP players, goaltender Wylie Rogers and forward J.D. Corbin, are being held out of the tournament due to their parents' concerns.
As for the biggest names from outside the program, head coach Moe Mantha and staff went 0-for-4.
It was hoped that Patrick O'Sullivan could have joined the team, but his agent, Patrick Morris of Newport Sports Management, counseled against it and O'Sullivan is staying home.
It was also hoped that '86 forward Rob Schremp (Mississauga -- OHL) and '85 forward Danny Fritsche (Sarnia --OHL) could make it, but both were injured in their respective teams' recent playoff series.
It was also hoped that University of Michigan goaltender Alvaro Montoya would be able to join the team, but the Wolverines have a game tomorrow in Buffalo, NY, and perhaps one on Saturday, too.
Obviously those four are difference-makers and, given the level of play at the tournament, the team the U.S. is sending is very thin. They will need a genuine miracle to pull off a repeat of last April's first-ever gold medal win for the U.S. -- and significant divine intervention to win a silver or bronze.
Despite last year's second-place finish, the Russians are still the team to beat, and the Czech Republic will be extremely tough, too. Both will be heavily reinforced versions of the squads the U.S. faced in early November at the Four Nations Tournament in Sweden. If the U.S. faces either, it won't come until crossover play.
Mantha likes the perseverance of the team he's taking over, but, he said, "It will be interesting to see how they will be treated by the crowd. We get whistled anyway. But if we get whistled even more than normal, I'm just hoping they can stay focused."
Mantha has added three players from outside the program, goalie Mike Brown of the Saginaw Spirit (OHL), defenseman Kyle Klubertanz of Green Bay (USHL), and forward Drew Stafford of Shattuck St. Mary's. (The latter is coming off Shattuck's 5-4 win over Team Illinois in Sunday's National Tier I Midget Championship in Laurel, Maryland, where he was outstanding throughout the tournament.)
The roster is set, and will consist of 12 forwards, eight defensmen, and two goaltenders.
The forwards are: Stafford, Robbie Earl, T.J. Hensick, Michael Bartlett, Jake Dowell, Steve Mandes, Dusty Collins, Mike Brown, Kevin Porter, Josh Sciba, Kevin Coughlin, and Adam Pineault.
The eight defensemen going are Klubertanz, Ryan Suter, Jeff Likens, Matt Hunwick, David Robertson, Casey Borer, Nate Hagemo, and Matt Cohen.
Goaltenders are Brown and Chris Holt.
(In case the above is a little confusing, yes there are two Mike Browns on the team, a forward and a goalie.)
Two players, defenseman Bob Selden and forward Ryan Maki, are injured and won't be making the trip. Selden has a separated shoulder and Maki has a broken wrist.
The team is also young, with three '86s -- Porter, Hagemo, and Pineault.
A notable omission from the team is Chad Kolarik, who led the Under-17 team in scoring, and until very recently appeared to have his ticket punched for the trip to Yaroslavl. However, the coaches felt that his overall game -- read defense -- wasn't ready.
Mantha's assistant coaches at the Under-18s will be Ken Martel and David Quinn.
The U.S. is in the B Pool and plays the following round-robin schedule:
Sat. 4/12 -- Belarus, 11 am EST
Mon. 4/14 -- Slovakia, 11 am EST
Tues. 4/15 -- Sweden, 7 am EST
Thurs. 4/17 -- Finland, 7 am EST
Crossover play (the A pool consists of Russia, Czech Republic, Canada, Switzerland, and Kazakstan) begins on Sat. April 19, except for the first-place finishers who get a bye until the following day. The championship game is on Tues. April 22.
The IIHF web-site offers realtime updates of all the games:
New Commitments for BU, Union
Walpole Stars (EJHL) 5'11" right-shot center Eric Thomassian, who was slated to go to Colorado College as a walk-on this fall, will instead be going to Boston University, where he will have an athletic scholarship. Thomassian, who is a good playmaker with excellent vision, played 38 games for Walpole, posting a 15-37-52 line and serving as team captain.
Thomassian, a 4/4/83 birthdate from Rye, NY, played at Deerfield and with NY Apple Core before going to Walpole this past season.
-- New Hampshire Monarchs (EJHL) 6'1", 205 lb. LD Jason Ortolano committed to Union College yesterday. Ortolano, a Carteret, NJ native, was initially committed to Princeton, but didn't get through admissions in December. Afterward, he was recruited by Union, RPI, and Ferris State. Ortolano was also recruited by BC and CC as a walk-on. Earlier, he'd been recruited by Northeastern and Yale. In 35 games with the Monarchs, Ortolano had a 13-13-26 line with 72 pims. He's a 3/14/83 birthdate.
Top NAHL Goalie to Denver
6'1" Pittsburgh Forge (NAHL) goaltender Peter Mannino has committed to Denver University for the fall of '04.
Pittsburgh posted the league's best regular-season record this season, and Mannino had a lot to do with it, playing 45 of the Forge's 56 games and posting a league-leading 1.87 gaa and .922 save percentage. In Pittsburgh's opening-round two-game sweep of Lansing, Mannino kicked out 58 of 59 shots.
Mannino, a 2/17/84 birthdate from Farmington Hills, Mich., played for the Cleveland Barons Midget AAA team before going to the Forge.
Sioux Falls Search
The Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) search for a new coach now appears to be wide open, as the top three guys on the team's wish list have all reportedly turned the job down.
Jeff Jackson was initially #1 on the team's wish list, but that was unrealistic. More likely for Jackson is the Sudbury Wolves (OHL) job, which became vacant when the Wolves lost 12 of 15 down the stretch and fired 62-year-old Bert Templeton, the second-winningest CHL coach of all time.
Mark Kaufman, who was fired in December from his head coaching position with the Kalamazoo Wings (UHL), has reportedly turned down the job -- or is at least keeping his options open a bit longer.
Kaufman coached the now-defunct Rochester Mustangs from 1988-92, then joined Ferris State as an assistant for a year. From there he went to assistant coaching positions with the Kansas City Blades (IHL), the San Jose Sharks (NHL), and the Kentucky Thoroughblades (AHL). From 1998-02, he was head coach of the Richmond Renedgades (EJHL). From there, he moved on to the UHL, but after a poor start to his first season, was fired in early December. Back in the '80's Kaufman was also an assistant with U.S. International University, before that school pulled the plug on its hockey program. When Kaufman was in the San Jose organization, he was on Kevin Constantine's staff. Kaufman and Constantine worked together at Rochester in the late '80s.
If Kaufman were to take the Stampede job, he would join a number of recent USHL hires -- e.g. Bob Ferguson, Dave Siciliano, and P.K. O'Handley -- as former USHL coaches who've gone off to the pros or major junior and then returned. However, it looks like Kaufman wants to stay in the pro game.
Warroad High School coach Cary Eades was in the picture for the Sioux Falls job, but no longer -- he'll be staying at Warroad. Last month at the Xcel Center Warroad won their third Class A title since Eades took over in 1994.
There are two prominent names who have interviewed for the job. They are:
David McAuliffe, 37, who was an assistant at Michigan State for the last ten years before being let go a few weeks ago so Rick Comley could bring in Brian Renfrew, who was on his staff at Northern Michigan. A former Spartan defenseman, McAuliffe started his coaching career at Western Michigan. McAuliffe visited Sioux Falls a couple of weeks ago.
John Hill, 42, currently head coach at Alaska-Anchorage. Hill just finished his second year at UAA and it was a train wreck, as the Seawolves won their opening game and then went 0-28-7 the rest of the way. Hill, a UAA alum, coached the now-defunct Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) from 1989-91, then was an assistant at his alma mater, then worked with Don Lucia at both CC and Minnesota. Hill has not been fired by UAA, but if he is, he'd certainly want to be covered -- hence his interest.
Ohio State assistant Casey Jones was reported to have interviewed for the job, but has chosen to stay put in Columbus.
There's a good possibility other top college assistants will be interviewed, which is a far better thing than running through ex-pro coaches.
Pence to UMass-Lowell
Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) 6'1", 185 lb. RD Jake Pence, who was committed to Army, will instead be playing for UMass-Lowell next season.
Pence, who was recruited by Army out of Owattona HS in Minnesota and then placed with the Junior Bruins for a year of seasoning, called the Army staff the week before last and told them that he had had a change of heart.
While a number of Div. I schools expressed interest, only Lowell had scholarship money left, so that's where Pence will be heading. A 12/13/83 birthdate, Pence is an excellent skater, strong passer, and has a bomb of a shot. In 37 regular season league games with the Junior Bruins, he had a 7-20-27 line.
-- New Clarkson coach George Roll will be bringing in Junior Bruins goaltender Kyle McNulty in the fall. McNulty, who is a top student and is going to Clarkson on an academic scholarship, will compete for playing time with freshman Dustin Traylen, who played 13 games in the #2 role behind senior Mike Walsh, and junior Dan Weinrieb, who was on the roster but didn't see any playing time.
McNulty, who's from Wakefield, RI, went to Hotchkiss and then played for Waterloo (USHL) before coming to the Junior Bruins. In 40 games, McNulty hada 2.43 gaa and .900 save percentage.
Maroste Frontrunner at Tech?
As Michigan Tech begins its search for a new head coach to replace recently retired Mike Sertich, the following men, according to our sources, are the early front runners. In alphabetical order, they are:
Newell Brown, Associate Head Coach, Columbus (NHL)
Bob Mancini, Scout, Edmonton Oilers (NHL)
Marc Maroste, assistant coach, Michigan Tech
Mark Osiecki, Head Coach/GM, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL)
Ron Rolston, Assistant Coach, Boston College
Jamie Russell, Assistant Coach, Cornell
Dave Siciliano, Head Coach/GM, Sioux City (USHL)
We have heard from a reliable source that Michigan Tech AD Rick Yeo is leaning toward an hiring an alum -- and that Maroste, currently in place as an assistant coach, is the leading candidate. Maroste, 40, is a 1985 graduate and has just completed his second season as a Tech assistant. Prior to that he served as the school's manager of recreation. It's reported that Yeo likes Maroste's passion for Tech hockey.
However, Maroste's two years as a Div. I assistant pale next to the service time of Rolston and Russell, the two other alums on the above list. Rolston has 12 years of experience as a Div. I assistant -- at Lake Superior State, Clarkson, Harvard and BC. Russell, completing his fourth season at Cornell, was an assistant at Ferris State for five years before that. The two were teammates at Tech in the late '80s.
A totally different report we've heard is that Brown, who coached Tech from 1990-92 and is currently associate head coach with Columbus (NHL), is #1 on Yeo's list. Brown, 41, left Tech to coach Adirondack (AHL) and in recent years has also been an assistant with the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Given that Brown is just a step from a NHL head job, it seems unlikely that he'd give that up to return to Houghton, but one never knows.
Another top candidate in the pro game is Mancini, currently an Edmonton Oilers scout. Mancini, 45, coached Tech from 1992-96 (including the last two seasons the Huskies finished .500 or better) before leaving to start up the U.S. National Team Development Program with Jeff Jackson. However, he kept a house in the Houghton area and moved back there last season with his wife and young son.
USHL candidates are Osiecki and Siciliano. Osiecki has coached at Green Bay for six years, and before that was an assistant at the University of North Dakota. Siciliano's experience has been strictly in the junior ranks, having coached the now-defunct Thunder Bay Flyers (USHL) in their best years. After coaching the Owen Sound Platers (OHL) for a couple of seasons, he returned to the USHL last season and won a league title for Sioux City.
Tech hockey took a nosedive when Yeo hired former Huskies defenseman Tim Watters to replace Mancini in 1996. Watters, whose only coaching experience after retiring as an NHL player was a single year as a Boston Bruins assistant, was chosen over far more experienced candidates -- notably former Tech forward Mel Pearson -- and the results were disastrous. Watters was finally replaced by Sertich early in the 2000-01 season.
Pearson, an '81 graduate who was an assistant at the school from 1982-88, is in his 15th season as an assistant to Red Berenson at Michigan. Look for him to stay out of the Tech job hunt --besides being jilted last time around, there's a good chance that Berenson could retire in the not-too-distant future.
Moody Takes over at Berkshire
Alex Moody, who has coached the Brooks School for the last four seasons, has been named the new head coach of the Berkshire School.
Moody was hired at Berkshire by Larry Piatelli, the school's new headmaster and Moody's coach/teacher/advisor at Governor Dummer in the late '80s. Moody, a goaltender, played four years at GDA, graduating in 1989 and moving on to the now-defunct Madison Capitols (USHL), where he played for current CC head coach Scott Owens. From there, Moody went on to Colby College, where he played for Charlie Corey and Scott Borek. After graduation, Moody got into coaching, initially as an assistant at Austin Prep. After that, he went west to Shattuck-St. Mary's, where he worked with Andy Murray before the latter moved on to the LA Kings. It's fair to say that Moody has had a potpourri of coaches from whom he learned the tricks of the trade -- and we didn't even include his youth hockey coach, Joe Yannetti, who's currently director of pro scouting for the Chciago Black Hawks.
Moody, 32, takes over for Larry Rocha, who stepped down last month at Berkshire. "Rocha did a wonderful job with the program," said Moody. "He's a good man, and I credit him for taking the program to where it is today."
Best of the Great 8
Listed below is the team chosen to represent Minnesota at the Chicago Showcase Tournament later this month. As always, the team, selected out of last weekend's senior-only Great 8 Tournament at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul, consists exclusively of players who have not yet committed to a school for next season.
To our eyes, the top unclaimed Div. I forward prospect was Andy Carroll (Roseville). Dave Watters (Eden Prairie) and Tom May (Eagan) also stood out. Best Div. I prospect on defense was Jake Obermeyer (Chaska).
Here's the whole team:
Goaltenders (2): Troy Davenport (Simley); Dan Tommasoni (Hibbing).
Defensemen (6): Jake Obermeyer (Chaska); Mike Lundin (Apple Valley); Garret Raboin (Detroit Lakes); Dan Ohman (Simley); Tim Manthey (Anoka); Dustin Mercado (White Bear Lake).
Forwards (12): Dave Watters (Eden Prairie); Andy Carroll (Roseville); Jeff Budish (Edina); Evan Kaufmann (Armstrong); Tom May (Eagan); Tony Selvog (Warroad); Matt Stendahl (Forest Lake); Sean Fish (Anoka); Josh Frider (Moorhead); Ryan Hoehn (Waseca); Jesse Vesel (Hibbing); Brandon Vossberg (Cretin).
Not at the Great 8, of course, were the Minnesota high school seniors finishing out the season in the USHL. That list includes Garrett O. Regan (Hill-Murray/Waterloo); David Marshall (Buffalo HS/Chicago Steel); Jimmy Kilpatrick (Holy Angels/Green Bay); Brad Peterson (Bloomington-Jefferson/Green Bay); Andrew Guyer (Greenway/Lincoln); Brent Borgen (Mahtomedi/Lincoln); Ben Gordon (IF/Lincoln); Ryan Hawkins (EP/Sioux City); Corey Carlson (Greenway/River City); Tim Hartung (Eastview/Tri City); Kevin Huck (Holy Angels/Sioux Falls); and Scott Thauwald (Rochester-Mayo/Sioux Falls).
Under-17 Team Taking Shape
The NTDP has commitments from nine more players for next season's U.S. Under-17 Team. Three are defensemen; six are forwards -- and all are '87s.
The defensemen are 6'5" Devereaux Heshmatpour (Vaughan Vipers -- OPJHL), 6'2" Mark Mitera (Little Caesar's Midget AAA), and 5'11" Zach Jones (Chicago Chill Midget AAA). They join Andrew Andricopoulos (Tabor Academy), Jack Johnson (Shattuck-St. Mary's), and Joey Ryan (Valley Jr. Warriors -- EJHL) to bring the number of committed defensemen to six. If Steve Spade (Georgetown Raiders -- OPJHL) opts for the NTDP over the OHL, he'd make seven
The forwards who've recently committed are 5'10" Chris Cahill (Phillips Andover Academy), 5'9" Jason Lawrence (Boston Jr. Bruins -- EJHL), 6'1" Zach McVoy (Little Caesar's Midget Minor), 6'2" Ryan Stoa (Bloomington Kennedy HS), 5'10" Nick Foligno (Central Penn. Panthers Jr. B), and 5'9" Jimmy Fraser (HoneyBaked Midget AAA). They join previously committed forwards Scott Birnstill (NY Apple Core -- EJHL), Nathan Gerbe (River City -- USHL), Jack Skille (Verona, Wisc. HS), Bobby Ryan (HoneyBaked '87), and Phil Kessel (Madison Midget AAA). That brings the number of committed forwards to eleven. In addition, Peter Mueller, an '88 from the Breck School, has been offered, but has yet to make a commitment.
No goaltenders have been selected.
USHR Prep All-Star Teams
First All-Star Team:
G -- Cory Schneider, Jr., Andover
D -- Sean Sullivan, Sr., St. Sebastian's
D -- John Doherty, Sr., Andover
F -- Brian Boyle, Sr., St. Sebastian's
F-- Chris Bourque, Jr., Cushing
F -- Kenny Roche, Sr., St. Sebastian's
Second All-Star Team:
G -- Kevin Regan, Sr., St. Sebastian's
D -- Sean Hurley, Sr., Northfield-Mt. Hermon
D -- Chris Murray, Sr., Cushing Academy
F -- Eric LaFreniere, Sr., Exeter
F -- Boomer Ewing, Soph., Cushing
F-- Dan Shribman, Sr., Deerfield
Gerry Pollastrone, Soph. F, Salisbury
Keith Yandle, Fresh. D, Cushing
Matt Nelson, Soph. F, Nobles
Matt Germain, Soph. F, Northfield-Mt. Hermon
Chris Cahill, Fresh. F, Andover
Mike Stuart, Soph. D, St. Paul's
Colin Young, Fresh. D, St, Sebastian's
Chris Murphy, Soph. F, St. Sebastian's
Ben Smith, Fresh. F, Westminster
Doug Rogers, Fresh. F, St. Sebastian's
Brian Strait, Fresh. D, Northfield-Mt. Hermon
Corey Toy, Fresh. D, Hotchkiss
USHR Player of the Year: Brian Boyle
It's long been obvious to everyone that St. Sebastian's senior Brian Boyle, a 6'6", 225 lb. left-shot center from Hingham, Mass., has exceptional tools -- tremendous size, great reach, and a blazing shot that he can snap off quickly.
However, it wasn't until this season -- actually about three weeks in -- that all the aspects of his game coalesced, and he was able to reach the level of consistency that college recruiters and pro scouts had been waiting for. In particular he upped his physical game, and started delivering big checks with increased regularity. Teams started to give the big guy even more room, and as a result he was totally dominating at times, like on Sat. Feb. 15, when he scored four goals in a 5-0 win over Governor Dummer.
Boyle, a Boston College recruit and a likely first-round NHL draft pick, finished the season with a 32-31-63 line in 31 games played, and a +37. He's a 12/18/84 birthdate.
St. Sebastian's fell a game short of a three-peat, but this is the third straight year the Arrows have had the USHR Player of the Year. In 2001, it was defenseman Noah Welch, and in 2002 it went to forward Mike Morris.
USHR Defenseman of the Year: Sean Sullivan
At 5'11", 184 lbs., St. Sebastian's left-shot defenseman Sean Sullivan, a Braintree, Mass. native, is not as physically prepossessing as several other top prep defensemen, but he makes up for it in every way possible. An extremely quick, mobile defenseman, Sullivan is excellent when it comes to defensive zone reads and is also an excellent passer who wastes no time in efficiently moving the puck up ice.
Sullivan led all prep defensemen in scoring with a 9-30-39 line in 31 games played, but if his numbers were half that, he'd likely still get this award. He's that good in his own end, he competes, and he's smart. Sullivan had a +59 on the season, but more remarkable, considering how competitive and involved in the play he is, is the fact that he took only two minor penalties all season. He's also a big-game player, as anyone who saw the prep final vs. Deerfield can attest to.
A 3/29/84 birthdate, Sullivan is going to Boston University.
USHR Coach of the Year: Jim Lindsay
In his last game behind the Deerfield bench, Jim Lindsay, after a number of near-misses, won his first Div. I prep title when Deerfield edged St. Sebastian's, 3-2 in overtime, on Sunday March 2 in Salem, NH.
Lindsay, then, is the USHR Coach of the Year.
Lindsay, in his 15-year career, won eight Flood-Marr Tournament titles, a tournament record. All eight championships have come since 1990, including five in the last six seasons.
Lindsay, of course, has sent scores of players on to college hockey, and a good number on to the pro game as well. He will be staying on at Deerfield, where he works in the admissions office, but, as we reported back in December, has turned the team over to his assistant, Brendan Creagh.
There are a couple of other coaches we wish to acknowledge.
Hotchkiss hockey, under head coach Damon White, returned to the forefront this year, making the playoffs as the third seed in the west. Sure, they got demolished down at Taft in the quarterfinals, 11-2, but those things happen. Hotchkiss was thin up front and that, really, was what kept them from going further. They were strong in goal, strong on the blue line, played well as a team, and had good chemistry. All in all, they did all that could possibly have been expected of them, and, in our opinion, quite a bit more.
A year ago, Phillips Andover struggled -- and that's being charitable. This season, coach Dean Boylan brought in some players to complement the two key returnees, goaltender Cory Schneider and defenseman John Doherty. New to the school were a couple of good PGs and a batch of new freshmen and sophomores, all of whom were immediately put into important roles and responded well. Andover was in contention for a playoff spot virtually all season, but fell short at the end. Still, the difference between this and the season before was night and day.
Buckeyes Land Power Forward
6'1", 205 lb. forward Matt McIlvane of the Chicago Freeze (NAHL) has committed to play for Ohio State. McIlvane, currently a junior in high school, will join the Buckeyes in the fall of '04.
McIlvane, a 11/2/85 birthdate from Naperville, Ill., played for the Team Illinois Midgets before joining the Freeze this season. A big, strong power forward who plays both ends of the ice, McIlvane was the the second-leading scorer for the Freeze during the just-completed regular season, posting a 23-33-56 line in 53 games.
A center with the Freeze, he projects more as a wing for Div. I play.
McIlvane played on the Under-18 Select team that went to the Czech Republic last August.
Also in the hunt for McIlvane were Wisconsin, Denver, Notre Dame, and Michigan State, though we believe most, if not all, of those schools wanted him for the fall of '05.
Rustlers Auction Fetches Big Bucks for Jersey
The Wichita Falls Rustlers (AWHL) are the junior hockey attendance leaders in the U.S., averaging 5,298 per game through the end of the regular season. That puts them ahead of the USHL's River City Lancers (4,910 avg.) and Lincoln Stars (4,608 avg.)
There's money to burn in Wichita Falls, not surprising given the fact that the Texas city of 103,000 sits near the Texas-Oklahoma border, right in the middle of oil country. How much money? Well, last month the Rustlers held an on-ice auction of their third jerseys after a Saturday night game, and raised $47,000 for a local hospital. That averages out to better than $2,000 per jersey. And we're talking amateur players here, teenagers whose fame extends about as far as the city limits -- and no farther.
Most incredibly, the jersey of goaltender Peter Foster, an '83 from Canton, Michigan and a former HoneyBaked kid, fetched a cool $6,000.
This is Peter Foster we're talking about, not Patrick Roy. And that $6,000 figure is no misprint. Without doing any research, we feel safe in reporting that this is a record for an active Jr. A player in the U.S.
After Foster, the second-highest winning bid for a Rustlers jersey was the $3,800 that goaltender Bryan Panik's sweater fetched. Clearly, in Wichita Falls, goaltenders are king.
Wichita Falls head coach/GM Brian Meisner attributes Foster's popularity, and the high price his jersey fetched, to the fact that the goaltender, the son of former NHLer Dwight Foster, is moving on to play for the Air Force Academy next season. Since much of the team's fan base comes from nearby Sheppard Air Force Base, the nation's largest training facility for the U.S. Air Force, Foster's college choice put him over the top, popularity-wise. Foster, for his part, was reported to be 'dumbfounded' by the amount his jersey fetched.
For a recent game against the Tupelo (Miss.) T-Rex, the team drew 7,300, a highlight of which was the Airplane Toss. In this event, also for charity, fans buy paper airplanes and try to throw them from the stands through the sunroof of a pickup truck parked at center ice. If your airplane hits the target, you get a chance to win the truck. Nobody won.
Earlier in the season, the club held a Teddy Bear Toss. After the first Rustlers goal, 2,500 teddy bears littered the ice. This is not to be confused with a Hotchkiss-Taft game.
The Rustlers are an expansion team, and played their first 24 games on the road while their new arena was being completed. They finally got in the buidling on Jan. 3, went on a tear, and finished the regular season with the league's best record. Since the new arena opened about the time Texans put away their footballs, it's a little hard to say exactly how much of the Rustlers' attendance can be attributed to the novelty factor. The team, however, is plowing ahead, and is making plans to double the number of luxury boxes by the year after next.
The teams deserves credit for getting kids (and grownups, too) on the ice. After home games anyone who has a pair of skates is free to take the ice for a post-game skate. The team offers Hockey 101 classes and all sorts of youth clinics, which is all for the good -- as is raising money for charity.
For the record, no other AWHL teams come close to the Rustlers in atendance. Billings and Central Texas average over 2,000 fans a game while Bozeman, Fairbanks, and Bismarck average better than 1,000 per home date. The remaining AWHL teams each average under one thousand fans.
One for This Fall
6'1", 175 lb. Pittsburgh Forge (NAHL) left-shot center Michael Handza has committed to Denver University for this fall. A native of Glenshaw, Penn., near Pittsburgh, Handza, a 12/29/83 birthdate, has excellent passing skills to go along with his size. He was injured early in the season, but has played in 40 games with the Forge and has a 12-21-33 line. Handza is a product of the Pittsburgh Penguins Jr. B team.
Robertson to Northeastern
6'0", 190 lb. Proctor Academy RW Josh Robertson has committed to Northeastern University. Robertson, currently in the 11th grade, will arrive on St. Botolph St. in the fall of '04.
Robertson led Proctor to the Division II Prep title in early March, scoring six points in a semifinal win, then adding three more in the title game. In all, he figured in nine of his team's 12 goals.
Robertson has good size, is a smooth skater, has a good stick, an accurate shot, and excellent offensive awareness. He's a 8/25/84 birthdate and eligible for this June's NHL draft. He was ranked 148th in Central Scouting's Mid-Term Ranking of North American skaters.
Before going to Proctor this season, he had played at Whitman-Hanson, a Mass. Div. II high school, putting up monstrous numbers. Robertson is expected to return to Proctor for his senior season, though he's getting a lot of attention from junior teams.
Other schools in the hunt for Robertson were BC, BU, UNH, and UMass.