Ex-Hockey Players Get Feet Wet in Baseball's Rookie Leagues
Back in early June, we wrote of three hockey players picked in that month's major league baseball draft.
Two, 6’2”, 200 lb. RHP Mark Rogers of Orr’s Island, Maine and Mt. Ararat HS and 6’3”, 220 lb. RHP Jay Rainville of Pawtucket, RI and Bishop Hendricken HS, went very high, while a third, 6’6”, 215 lb. RHP Andy Gale of Phillips Exeter Academy and Durham, NH, went much lower, mainly because he announced he would be attending the University of North Carolina -- unless he received a hefty signing bonus.
Rogers and Rainville have both completed their first season of pro baseball.
Rogers, a rare Maine public school ice hockey player good enough to make the New England team and compete at USA Hockey’s Select Festivals, is a natural athlete. Despite being scouted infrequently due to spring’s late arrival in Maine, he was picked in the first round -- #5 overall – by the Milwaukee Brewers in June’s draft. Sporting a 95 miles per hour fastball, Rogers’ numbers in high school this past spring were 8-0 with a0.16 ERA. He also had 10 walks and 142 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched.
After signing, Rogers was assigned to the Brewers’ rookie league team in Arizona. He finished the summer with an 0-3 record and a 4.72 era in nine games. On the plus side, he struck out 35 in 26 innings.
Rainville, a Providence Journal all-state defenseman as a sophomore, didn’t play hockey last winter, choosing to concentrate on baseball. Last spring, he didn’t give up an earned run for Bishop Hendricken while averaging 13.5 strikeouts a game. In June’s draft, he was rewarded by being taken #39 overall by the Minnesota Twins.
Assigned to the Twins’ rookie league team, the Gulf Coast League Twins, Rainville, who has a heavy fastball that can hit the mid-90s, was 3-2 with a 1.83 era in eight games. In 34 plus innings, he struck out 38.
Gale, the son of Rich Gale, the former major league pitcher and recent Red Sox pitching coach, was picked in the 43rd round, a bit of an eye-opener since in early spring he was being projected to go somewhere between the second and fifth rounds. The signability issue threw teams off. Gale, a physical defenseman at Exeter, will, as we mentioned, pitch at UNC. He will be eligible to reenter the baseball draft after his junior year in college.
Petrecki Top Prospect at Blaine
We didn’t make it out to Blaine, but the coaches and scouts we spoke with felt that Capital District Selects (EJHL) 6’2”, 195 lb. LD Nick Petrecki was the top prospect in the tournament – hands down. Petrecki, whom we wrote about at the Junior Monarchs tournament a couple of weeks ago, is a 15 year old from Clifton Park, NY who has great size, excellent feet, very good hands, a nasty streak and, while he still has a lot to learn, has tremendous upside. Petrecki, a 7/11/89 birthdate, is represented by Bobby Orr. Both Boston College and Boston University have a full scholarship waiting for him. He's also currently rated as the #1 prospect by OHL Central Scouting for May's OHL draft.
The rest of the tournament? Well, we covered the EJHL a couple of weeks ago, so we’ll stick with the NAHL here. And, with the exception of a batch of the kids on the U.S. Under-17 Team -- who played one good game and three poor games – there wasn’t much in the way of high-end players in the WHL. “None,” said one Div. I coach. “There were some good players and by that I mean guys who could be role players at the Div. I level. But there were no great players who could be impact guys at the Div. I level. I didn’t see any diamonds in the rough.”
One player closely watched was 6’6” Texas Tornado goalie Ben Bishop, who you’ll see on Central Scouting’s list. A number of schools were watching him closely. Bishop , a late ’86 from St. Louis, moves well for his size and is putting up excellent numbers.
6’1” ’85 Tyler Ludwig, back on D, was solid fort he Texas Tornado. .
5’10” ’88 Derek Roehl, an ’88 from Michigan playing for Youngstown, is a player likely to be plucked by a USHL team after this season.
Tom Dickhudt, a 20-year-old who once played in the NTDP, was a standout for Fargo-Moorhead, who went undefeated at the tournament. Dickhudt, who’s from Woodbury, Minn., is 6’0”, 214 lbs. He’s strong, experienced, and has good skills. 5’10” Chris Myro, ‘an ’85 forward formerly of Eden Prairie, also did a good job for Fargo-Moorhead..
5’11” Michigander Brad O’Shell of Youngstown was actually in the USHL with Sioux City last year. He’s an ’87 who could easily return to that level with a good season.
5’10” JC Velasquez of the Central Texas Marshalls, an ’85 formerly with Little Caesar’s, had a good weekend.
The Bismarck Bobcats hada couple of good players in 5’10” Scott Paul, an ’86 from Duluth who had three shorthanded goals in one game, and Jacques Lamoureaux, of the Grand Forks, ND Lamoureauxs. A battling mucker/grinder type with skill and competitiveness, Lamoureaux is an ’86..
5’11” forward Andrew Goberstein, a Chicago kid and an ’85, played well for Santa Fe, as did Minnesotans Drew Akins, an ’85 forward from Shorewood, and 6’2” defenseman Bryan Plaszcz of Apple Valley.
The Billings Bulls also had a number of players worth keeping an eye on. Coach Mike Aikens shrewdly used late USHL cuts in assembling this team.
There are a handful of committed NAHL players that we haven’t commented on, mainly because they are all set college-wise. 6’3” LW Ray Kaunisto of the Soo Indians, an ’87,will be playing at Northern Michigan next season. 5’7” LC Jacob Cepis, a crafty late ’87 with Cleveland, will be playing for Bowling Green commencing in the fall of ’06. Committed for next year are a pair of 20-year-olds. 5’9” RW Brad Cooper of Texas, the league-leading scorer in the NAHL, will be playing for Providence College. RW Alex Semenov, a 6’0” Russian with Springfield, will be playing for Merrimack. .
The above list is somewhat more impressionistic than complete. This was a large tournament, with 30 teams and roughly 700 players. A lot of players were seen, all by somebody, but few by everybody.
The NAHL won three quarters of the head-to-head matchups with EJHL teams, taking 33 of the 44 games. Many were blowouts; others were close. Of the latter, there were 17 one-goal games, 10 won by the NAHL and seven by the EJHL. The NAHL outscored the EJHL by 196-108, an average score of NAHL 4.45, EJHL 2.45. The worst day for the EJHL was the second day, when they went 0-for-11.
It’s early still, but the iron of the NAHL appears to be Texas and Fargo-Moorhead. A strong second group would include Youngstown, Santa Fe, and Billings. Texarcana and the Jr Blues also looked good.
The EJHL went 4-13 against those seven clubs. Apple Core beat Santa Fe in a shootout on Friday. The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, not intimidated by the physical play of Texas and riding a hat trick from Dan Bartlett, upset the Texas Tornado 3-2 on Friday. The Junior Bruins beat the Springfield Jr. Blues 5-4 on Saturday. The New England Huskies
No EJHL teams had a winning recordvs. the NAHL, but the Junior Bruins, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, Baystate Breakers, and the Valley Jr. Warriors had the most success in head-to-head-competition vs. the seven top NAHL teams mentioned above.
Under-18 Team Banged Up
The U.S. Under-18 team coming east for a pair of weekend games at Harvard and Brown is pretty banged-up.
Phil Kessel, who’s been out with a wrist injury since the Oct. 8-9 weekend, will be on the shelf again. There’s concern about ligament damage, which could lead to Kessel missing the World Junior Championship, which beings Dec. 26 in Grand Forks, ND.
Concerning Kessel’s injury, Under-18 head coach Ron Rolston said, “We’ve had a couple of different opinions. We’re trying to figure out the best plan of action.”
Nathan Gerbe, who’s been out with a sprained shoulder for a couple of weeks, will miss this weekend’s games. He’s expected back for the Under-18 Four Nations Tournament Nov. 8-12 in Ann Arbor.
Andreas Vlassopoulos has a groin injury and will also be out this weekend.
On defense, Mike Stuart, who’s been out since the beginning of October after a skate cut on his arm became infected, probably won’t be back in the lineup until early December.
Jack Johnson, who missed last weekend’s games at Manhattanville College due to disciplinary reasons, will be back in the lineup this weekend.
The Under-18 Team plays at Harvard on Saturday (7 pm) and at Brown on Sunday (2 pm).
The Under-18 Team will be adding Gov. Dummer forward Benn Ferriero to the lineup, both to have another healthy body, and to take a look at the Essex, Mass. native for possible inclusion on the US roster for the IIHF World Under-18 Championship next April.
Clarkson freshman forward Shawn Weller received NCAA clearance to play at approximately 3:00 pm this afternoon and will make his college debut when the Golden Knights host Niagara at 7:00 pm tonight.
Bradford to the Heights
Omaha Lancers 5’10”, 160 lb. RC Brock Bradford, the USHL’s leading scorer, made his college choice earlier tonight.
It’s Boston College.
Bradford, a native of Burnaby, BC, will arrive at the Heights next September, less than 11 months from now.
Bradford, who joined the Omaha Lancers on Sept. 18 after starting the season with the Coquitlam Express (BCHL), had narrowed his college choices quite a while back to Denver, Minnesota, and Boston College.
Bradford, a 1/7/87 birthdate, is a straight A student who could have gone to any school in the country. His sister plays hockey at Colgate.
Bradford, in nine games with Omaha, has a 5-11-16 line. For details on his style of play please scroll back to the USHR news of Sept. 20. Suffice to say, he has the qualities that should make him a Hobey Baker candidate somewhere along his college career, which is likely to last the full four years. It can be argued that he’s a more valuable recruit than Phil Kessel, the last top recruit available for next year, simply because the latter is unlikely to still be in college after a year or so.
Bradford made his official visit to Boston College back on September 16, and visited the University of Minnesota on Tuesday of this week.
Bradford, who played in the World Under-17 challenge with current Eagle freshman forward Dan Bertram, is eligible for next June’s NHL draft.
The addition of Bradford gives Boston College one of the best recruiting classes in the school’s history for next fall. Up front, Bradford joins top recruits Nathan Gerbe (US Under-18) and Benn Ferriero (GDA). On defense, Tim Filangieri (Waterloo), Tim Kunes (New England Jr. Falcons), and Brett Motherwell (Omaha) are all big time college prospects. Anthony Aiello (Thayer) is solid, too.
Big Man for the Huskies
6’3”, 208 lb. LW Dennis McCauley of the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) has committed to Northeastern.
McCauley, who is from Billerica, Mass., played for Billerica HS before going to the USHL. He’s a big, physical, nasty type who is difficult to move from in front of the net. His skating is better this season – a little slow off the mark, but once he picks up speed he’s OK. He’s a north-south player – you won’t see anything fancy out of him.
His shot is good.
McCauley had a 12-9-21 line in 58 regular season games last year, his first in the USHL. He also had 176 penalty minutes, which tied him for first in the league with Lincoln forward Jared Boll. McCauley can throw haymakers with anyone in the USHL, for what that’s worth at the NCAA level.
This year, he has a 5-3-8 line in eight games, good for a 12th place tie in the league scoring race. Other schools interested in him included Vermont, Providence, UMass-Lowell, and North Dakota.
League-leading scorer Brock Bradford of the Omaha Lancers visited the University of Minnesota yesterday. It was the last of his three official campus visits. Denver and Boston College are the other two schools in the picture. Bradford will soon be making his choice from among the three.
Green Bay Gamblers coach Mark Mazzoleni was suspended for one game by the league after throwing a water bottle at referee Nick Suhy in the waning minutes of a Friday loss at Indiana, the Gamblers sixth defeat in their first seven games.
Mazzoleni was already angry because Indiana broke a 3-3 tie with 2:06 remaining on a Tomas Klempa goal which Mazzoleni felt had been kicked into the net.
Green Bay then pulled their goalie and Indiana scored again at 19:02. At that point, Mazzoleni gave the water bottle the heave ho – and got the heave ho himself.
Assistant coach Luke Strand coached Saturday and the Gamblers, behind a four point night from Blake Wheeler, came back from a 2-0 deficit to edge Indiana 5-4 in a rematch at Green Bay.
Bowling Green Moves Quickly Over Sick Photo
Bowling Green head coach Scott Paluch indefinitely suspended seven of his players yesterday, a day after the local Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune showed Paluch a photograph of a Bowling Green player, lying face down, nude, and apparently unconscious. The player’s body was covered with profanity and racial slurs written with a colored marker.
Paluch and BG AD Paul Krebs declined to discuss the photo at the news conference at which the suspensions to Ryan Barnett, Steve Brudzewski, Bryan Dobek, Mike Falk, Don Morrison, Brett Pilkington, and Alex Rogosheske were announced.
On Monday, the Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune received the photo from an anonymous sender. The envelope had a Canadian postmark.
The photo showed eight men, five of whom are current Falcon players. The identity of three men is unknown, so that means at least two players who didn’t appear in the photo were also suspended. The photo was reportedly taken in April 2003.
“It’s unacceptable,” Paluch said. “We’ll get to the bottom of it.”
The players could also face disciplinary actions from the university. Due to the fact that racial slurs were written, it’s even possible this could be prosecuted in a real court as a hate crime.
The above is the news, and it certainly looks like Paluch and the Bowling Green administration acted quickly and decisively, which is good.
But here’s a question for the players – and any player who finds himself in a similar situation. Why, particularly after seeing the fallout from the Vermont hazing incident of a few years ago, and the drastic fallout from that, would you even think of doing something like this?
There are literally thousands of kids who’d love to be playing for a major conference Div. I school, and if you’ve made it – like the BGSU 7 -- you can be sure that somewhere along the line a lot of hard work has gone into developing your game to the point where you are a Div. I player.
Why throw it all away? Why, assuming you’re not on a full scholarship, would you blow your parent’s money? Why disappoint the young fans who flock to games and look up to you? Why disappoint your coach, who put his faith in you? And your teammates who weren’t involved, and the school you represent? Why turn off the pro scouts who are as disgusted by this as any normal person would be? Why risk having this follow you for the rest of your life? Why risk being thought of as, at best, a borderline psychopath? Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
If any one person reading this ever finds themselves in a situation such as the Bowling Green players did, here’s what to do: get away from there as fast as you can. If other people want to ruin their lives, that’s one thing. You should do the smart thing, For the rest of your life, you’ll be glad you did. Remember your goals in life, be true to them,and get the hell out of there.
St. Paul’s Jamboree Set
The St. Paul’s School Thanksgiving Jamboree is scheduled for Sun.-Mon. Nov. 28-29. The participating schools this year will be host St. Paul’s, Taft, Tabor, and Canterbury. All games are scrimmages.
Sun. Nov. 28:
10:00 a.m.: St. Paul’s vs. Tabor
12:00 pm: Canterbury vs. Taft
4:00 pm: Taft vs. Tabor
5:45 pm: St. Paul’s vs. Canterbury
Mon. Nov. 29:
10:00 am: Tabor vs. Canterbury
12:00 pm: St. Paul’s vs. Taft
You Can Have it All
On Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm, at Walter Brown Arena, the Boston University Terriers will play an exhibition game against a squad comprised of former BU stars to benefit the Travis Roy Foundation and the Mark Bavis Leadership Foundation.
BU will be going up against a loaded team, featuring some top-flight NHL stars. The ex-Terriers will include Tom Poti, Chris Drury, Shawn Bates, Dan LaCouture, Jay Pandolfo, Tony Amonte, Scott Lachance, Mike Sullivan, Joe Sacco, Rick DiPietro, Mike Grier, Scott Young, Shawn McEachern, Chris O’Sullivan and others. This is not exactly an old-timers game.
Coach Jack Parker and staff are a little worried that with the Patriots going up against the New York Jets in a battle of the undefeated down in Foxboro at 4:00 pm, and the Red Sox meeting the Cardinals at Fenway in Game #2 of the World Series at 7:00 pm, that this game might get lost in the shuffle.
Don’t let it. We’re here to remind you that you can have it all. With a 1:00 pm faceoff, you can watch the BU game, and then head around the corner to T’s Pub and watch the Pats and the Sox. If you are one of the lucky ones holding World Series tickets why not warm up for the ballgame with some hockey? There is no need to miss anything. If it’s your cup of tea, you can even head out to the river in the morning and watch the Head of the Charles, one of the world’s premier rowing – and party -- events. Any way you look at it, on Sunday Boston will be the place to be -- and the BU game promises to be an Event.
Tickets are on sale now. For more info, call the Walter Brown Arena ticket office at (617) 353-4628. For those who like to wait until the last moment, tickets will also be available at the box office starting at 10:30 am Sunday.
Clarkson Associate Coach Treated for Melanoma
Clarkson associate head coach Greg Drechsel has been diagnosed with malignant melanoma.
A week ago, Drechsel, 38, had a cancerous mole removed from the top of his left foot at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.
The Clarkson players were told Tuesday night of Drechsel’s medical situation. Drechsel was behind the bench for last night’s exhibition game win over Western Ontario.
Drechsel will know more – specifically, whether the cancer has spread or not – after tests are completed over the next two weeks. But he said he was optimistic, pointing out that the surgeon classified his melanoma as being “more on the moderate side.” Drechsel, who will be helped by the fact that he’s in good health otherwise, said doctors plan to test the area with dye to see if it’s spread.
Drechsel, 38, was a left wing at Colgate from 1984-88. After his playing career, he served as an assistant at Clarkson, Miami, and Denver before joining the Los Angeles Kings organization as a scout, then moving up to assistant director of amateur scouting. When George Roll took over at Clarkson last year, he brought Drechsel, who lives in Potsdam with his wife and two young daughters, back for his second tour of duty.
In other Clarkson news, Golden Knights 6’1”, 188 lb. freshman LW Shawn Weller still has not received a verdict from the NCAA board reviewing his appeal of the clearinghouse decision that declared the S. Glens Falls, NY native ineligible for NCAA competition. The NCAA notified Clarkson on Wednesday that they would need another week to come up with a decision in the case, which pushes the date to Oct. 27.
In the meantime, Weller, a partial qualifier, can practice with the Golden Knights, but not play in games.
Notes: Junior Monarchs EJHL Tournament
The New Hampshire Junior Monarchs Fall Classic got underway in Hooksett, NH yesterday, and we were there. So were many others, like Andy Heinze, whose Valley Jr. Warriors are the most-improved team in the league. Heinze has only carried over 3-4 players from last year’s team, classic addition by subtraction. Among the raft of newcomers is quick, skilled 6’0” forward Danny Rossman, an ’87 who left Cushing Academy early and now gives the Warriors the go-to guy they’ve been lacking in recent years. The Warriors, who came into yesterday’s action 7-2-0 in league play, took a double dip yesterday, but not without a fight. In the late game, Warriors d-man Will Schaetzl, ex-of BB&N, beat Monarchs goaltender Brian Foster from inside the left point with less than a minute in regulation, forcing overtime. The Monarchs, the defending EJHL champs, came back to win it in OT when RC Scott Crowder, son of Northeastern coach Bruce, snapped one off a couple of minutes in… The Monarchs don’t appear as strong as last year’s squad but in UNH recruit Foster and ’88 Ryan Simpson they have a pair of quality goaltenders, so they’ll be in every game. Yesterday, 6’0”, 195 lb. RW Joe Milo, who played for St. Louis (USHL) last season, was noticeable throughout. BU recruit Chris Higgins (injury) and Maine recruit Matt Duffy (fighting) were scratches…The Junior Bruins look like the iron of the EJHL, but their undefeated record went up in smoke yesterday morning when the Green Mountain Glades edged them 2-1. The difference maker? Glades 6’3” goaltender Dan Meyers, who had 33 saves including three great glove saves. Meyers, an ’85, played for the Mercer Chiefs Midgets last season… Cap District ’89 LD Nick Petrecki, who is already 6’2, 195 lbs., has NHL writ large upon him, which is perhaps why Bobby Orr is serving as the family advisor. Petrecki, from outside Albany, has good feet, good hands, a nasty streak, poise, and here’s hoping he goes the NCAA route. Last we heard, BC was positioning itself at the front of the line… The Junior Bruins could have as many as 13 kids on their squad go Div. I. Seven are already committed, two more -- ’88 forward Ben Smith and ’87 forward Bobby Butler -- will be shortly, and then there are about four or five more to keep an eye on a little farther down the line. As for Smith, Providence, UNH, Harvard, and Yale are in the picture, with BC the wild card, hovering on the periphery, likely deciding whether or not to pounce. As for Butler, UNH and Northeastern are in the picture, along with Ivies such as Harvard, Cornell, and Brown… The former Springfield Pics/Jr. Whalers/New England Coyotes have a new name – the New England Junior Falcons. They also have a new/old home, as they have returned to the Springfield Olympia for the first time since 1973-76, the first years of Gary Dineen’s program. So they’ve gone full circle. One constant is Dineen. The godfather of New England junior hockey and one of the game’s class guys, he’s still hard at work… The big story on the Falcons is the play of 6’3”, 195 lb. RD Matt Generous. An ’85, Generous is bigger, stronger, and faster than a year ago. He’s also physical, competes, and has been named team captain. From his first shift, it was clear that he’s taken a huge step. Yale, Princeton, and Northeastern are onto him… The Falcons also have a couple of big PGs from St. Paul’s. 6’4” RW Nick Snow is an ’85 who could be this – or next -- year’s Ryan Weston. 6’3” RD Nick Jones is a solid d-man who, if he improves his agility and skating a notch, could go Div. I. Jones is an ’84 so he has to prove it this year… The Walpole Jr. Stars have a strong first line of5’10” LW Matt Fairchild,6’1” LC Jordan Virtue, and 6’2” RW Matt GilroyVirtue and Gilroy are ‘84s and Fairchild an ’85. Fairchild has Ivy grades and good speed, scoring a nice unassisted goal after a rink-length dash. Virtue is the team’s most-complete forward. He has size, sees the ice, and made consistently nice passes. He’s likely to be playing Div. I somewhere next year. ’88 center Casey Terreri, the nephew of former PC and NHL goalie Chris Terreri, is an excellent skater and future college prospect. Ditto for ’88 LW Austin Mayer. ’86 goaltender Brian Mahoney-Wilson, moving up from Catholic Memorial, showed serious quickness between the pipes… We were able to catch one game from the tournament’s four-team midget field, a tilt between the high-skill Boston Junior Bruins Midget AAA squad and a much older Detroit Belle Tire squad coached by indefatigable Chris Coury, who came close, but did not get thrown out of either of his team’s games yesterday. The Midget AAA Jr. B’s are loaded with good young local talent. RC John Henrion, a Worcester-area kid, is only a ’91, just 13 years old – and right in his element. He’s a player you’ll be hearing a lot of over the coming years. LC Mike Cichy, a ’90, also stood out. Among the “older” kids, the standouts were 6’0” LD Joey Lavin, one of the better ’89 defenseman in the country. A smooth skater and poised defender, Lavin could crack the blue line ofmost EJHL teams, but the Junior Bruins are too deep. There’s no need to rush him anyway -- midgets are fine. A little behind Lavin but also an excellent prospect is 5’11” LD Edwin Shea, also an ’89. The top two ‘88s on the team are 6’4”, 220 lb. defenseman Matt Kronk, the team’s imposing physical presence, and 5’9” forward Nathan Lavner, the team’s leading scorer... One team we didn’t see was Apple Core, who won’t begin action until today. Another is the Baystate Breakers. Due to the fact that there are 11 teams in the EJHL this season – an uneven number – one team will take a bye at each of the three major tournaments. In addition, we didn’t see the Boston Harborwolves, who were here…The tournament continues today and tomorrow.
Weller in Limbo... Still
The Clarkson hockey team left for Detroit today and a Saturday-Sunday non-conference series vs. Wayne State.
Staying back in Potsdam once again was 6’1”, 188 lb. freshman LW Shawn Weller, who was expecting a verdict yesterday on his attempt to get through the NCAA clearinghouse. The NCAA board reviewing the appeal is now saying they’ll have a final decision this coming Wednesday (Oct. 13).
Currently, Weller, a S. Glens Falls, NY native, has “partial qualifier status,” meaning he can practice with the Golden Knights, but not play in games.
In news relevant to this, Weller has just been added to the Omaha Lancers (USHL) protected list. That would be one option if the NCAA appeal fails, and Weller decides to take another shot at college in ’05-06. The other option, of course, would be to go to the OHL. The Ottawa Senators picked Weller in the third round (#77 overall) of June’s NHL draft.
Bucchino Leaves UNH
UNH sophomore goaltender A.J. Bucchino has left UNH for the USHL, From there he hopes to land a spot with another Div. I college and play regualarly.
Last season, as a freshman, Bucchino only played one game for the Wildcats. This year, he played neither of the school’s first two games.
Junior Jeff Pietrasiak was in net for UNH’s opening game last Friday, a 5-1 win over Ohio State in the Icebreaker Tournament. The following night, freshman Kevin Regan leapfrogged over Bucchino and got the start in a 4-2 Wildcats win over St. Lawrence.
Bucchino, a Bow, NH resident who played for Avon Old Farms before leaving for Des Moines (USHL), saw the handwriting on the wall, and decided to leave school.
Notes From Around
Omaha Lancers’ center Brock Bradford, second to teammate Trevor Smith in the USHL scoring race, is keeping things close to the vest, but Denver, Minnesota, and Boston College are still the schools in the hunt, though we’re hearing he’s likely to stay west… U.S. Under-18 Team center Phil Kessel, who had to sit out a game earlier this month for violation of school rules, is most open to Minnesota and Michigan, though many think Wisconsin is still in there… We’re looking for Shattuck wing Kyle Okposo to wind up with the Gophers.
Former Clarkson defenseman Matt Nickerson, now in the Q with Victoriaville, has 39 pims in 11 games to date, which puts him among the league leaders, though far from the top. That spot belongs to Halifax rookie LW Kevin Cormier, who has 60 pims in ten games…. Moncton center Adam Pineault, ex of BC,has a 4-6-10 line in 10 games. He’s not the leading American scorer in the league, though, as Quebec LW Jordan LaVallee, an ’86 like Pineault, has a 7-9-16 line in in 10 games. Quebec center Josh Hennessy, an ’85, has a 5-8-13 line in 10 games… Jimmy Sharrow, formerly of Cardigan Mt. and the NTDP, is the leading scorer among U.S. d-men in the league with a 4-5-9 line in 10 games… Max Gratchev, a Quebec rookie who previously played for Thayer and Catholic Memorial, has a 1-3-4 line in nine games… In the OHL, Gerald Coleman, who plays for the London Knights, the CHL’s #1-ranked team, is the league’s top goalie with a 1.75 gaa and a .947 save percentage…Robbie Schremp (5th); Patrick O’Sullivan (8th); Bobby Ryan (15th); Ryan Callahan and Dan Collins (tied for 25th) are all among the league leaders in scoring. American-born rookies putting up good numbers are Patrick Davis and Nick Foligno… Goaltenders Neil Conway (Owen Sound) and Aaron Rock (Saginaw) have each played just two of their team’s games to date… In the WHL, ’85 LW Aaron Bader, a Minnesotan in his fourth season in the league, has a 3-4-7 line in five games… Zach FitzGerald, also an ’85 from Minnesota in his fourth season in the league, has 22 pims in six games.
First NTDP Selection for ‘05-06
5’9” LC Matt Rust of Honeybaked Midget AAA has been named to the US National Team Development Program for next fall. He’s the first player selected.
Last season, Rust played for the Dave Liimatta-coached Honeybaked Bantam team, which won the national championship, beating the California Wave in the title game in April. Rust, in 70 games, posted a 51-48-99 line.
Rust told us that going to Ann Arbor has long been a goal of his. “It’s close to my home (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and my family,” he said. “I’m happy and really excited about next year.”
We ranked Rust the #3 forward at the Select 15 Festival in August, though on pure skill he could have been #1.
“I’m not big,” Rust says, “but I play as physically as my size permits. My hands are good, and my speed is good. I need work on my shooting. I consider myself a good team player.”
We should also add that Rust, another small, skilled player in the Dwight Helminen-TJ Hensick mold, thinks the game well and has the ability to get both get open and find open players. At the Marquette Electricians tournament two weeks ago, we saw him score one eye-popping goal, stepping around several defenders as he cut to the net and buried it.
Rust, a 3/23/89 birthdate, is currently a sophomore in high school. His parents are a Michigan/Michigan State couple, so, as he said, “the Michigan schools are high on my list. I’m also interested in the Boston schools and other schools out east, like Maine. But I don’t have any top five list or anything. I don’t want to rush things.”
A Goalie for the Badgers
5’9”, 167 lb. Chicago Steel (USHL) goaltender Shane Connelly has committed to the University of Wisconsin.
Connelly, a Cheltenham, PA native who played at Culver Academy before joining the Steel last season, is small but very quick side-to-side.
Last season, Connelly played 37 games with the Steel, posting a 2.51 gaa and a .917 save percentage (tied for seventh-best in the league). This season, in just three games, all losses for the Steel, Connelly has a 3.04 gaa and a .899 save percentage.
Connelly was on the Under-17 and Under-18 US select teams that competed in Europe the past two summers.
Other schools in the picture for Connelly were Colorado College and Bowling Green.
Former NHL goaltender Phil Myre, currently Ottawa’s goaltending coach, found a lockout job as a goalie coach with the Indiana Ice (USHL). “The lockout’s been good to me,” Indiana GM Josh Mervis said. The Ice hired former Albany River Rats coach Red Gendron over the summer.
Weller Ineligible for Season Opener; Possibly Longer
The Clarkson hockey team left this morning for a pair of opening weekend games at Providence College and UMass.
Staying back in Potsdam, NY was 6’1”, 188 lb. freshman LW Shawn Weller, who has been unable to get through the NCAA clearinghouse. While Weller sweated things out, a last-minute appeal for a waiver Clarkson was making on his behalf to an NCAA board was being reviewed in Kansas City.
This afternoon, the board made its decision, granting Weller “partial qualifier status,” meaning he can practice, but not play in games.
In effect, the board neither upheld – nor overturned – the clearinghouse ruling.
NCAA rules permit Clarkson to make one additional appeal, which could come as soon as next Thursday, when the NCAA board that handles these things meets again. In the meantime, Weller’s wait continues.
A native of S. Glens Falls, NY, Weller, who played for the Cap District Selects (EJHL) last season, was a third-round draft pick (#77 overall) in June’s NHL draft.
Last month Vermont forward Torrey Mitchell, a Hotchkiss grad, was unable to get through the NCAA clearinghouse. He did, however, get through on appeal and played in last weekend’s game vs. Maine. Of course, no two clearinghouse-related cases are identical, so it would be a mistake to draw any conclusion from that. .
Standbrook Stands Alone
Maine Black Bears assistant coach Grant Standbrook has fifty games on Jerry York, having coached 121 games as a head coach at Dartmouth from 1970-75 and then 1,163 more as an assistant at the University of Wisconsin (12 years) and Maine (17 years).
That gives Standbrook a total of 1284 college games -- and that number could grow significantly. Standbrook is in his mid-sixties, but that might not be a big deal: his mother, living back home in Winnipeg, is 100 and still clicking along.
Standbrook also took a year off to work as an assistant on the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team and coached in the Italian League in 1987-88.. A 1961 graduate of Minnesota-Duluth, Standbrook coached in the ‘60s at Coleraine High School on Minnesota’s Iron Range, where former Hotchkiss school head coach Jeff Kozak was one of his stars. Naturally, Standbrook recruited Kozak to Dartmouth.
York Minus Ten and Counting
Next month, Boston College head coach Jerry York will slip into second place on the all-time list of number of NCAA games coached. Going into the season, the triple Eagle (York played at BC High, then BC, and is now starting his second decade behind the Eagles’ bench) has 1234 career games to his name and is just ten games behind now-retired Jeff Sauer. York is on schedule to catch him on Nov. 27, when BC plays at Northeastern.
At that point, only Ron Mason will be ahead of York. When Mason retired from Michigan State in 2002, he’d logged 1,387 games. York goes into the season with 1234. Over the last four years BC has averaged 38-43 games per season. We figure that at that pace, York can be expected to pass Mason and stand alone on the summit late in the ’07-08 season.
Who else among the current coaches could reach the 1,387 mark? In handicapping the field, we operated under the assumption that the coaches we consider the top candidates-- and we stuck with Div. I guys – would stay on as Div. I coaches for years to come. There’s not entirely realistic, of course. Pro hockey, if it ever comes back, can always exert a pull. And what if pee wees start committing to colleges? Hell, a bunch of these guys could go right off the grid, and wind up in the wilds of Montana, never to be seen from again.
We give Michigan State’s Rick Comley the best chance. With 1224 games coached, he’s only ten games behind York, and he’s also two years younger, so he has time on his side. Chances: 85%
BU’s Jack Parker has a very good chance. He goes into the season 110 games behind York. He and York are contemporaries – both are 59. Parker wold need about seven years to reach Mason's mark. We don’t see that happening, particularly if Parker has to endure any more seasons like last year. Chances: 50%
Minnesota head coach Don Lucia is the top candidate among the middle generation of Div, I coaches. Already at 683, he’s only 46, so if he can average 40 plus games a year, highly likely at a perennially strong program like the U, then he’ll have the same number of games under his belt a year or two prior to the age that York and Parker are now. Chances: 60%.
Denver’s George Gwozdecky has a good chance. He’s up to 699 (including 97 in DIII with Wisconsin-River Falls), though he's 51, five years older than Lucia. If he coaches into his 60s, a la Red Berenson and Tim Taylor, he could make it. Chances: 45%
Dartmouth’s Bob Gaudet, 45, g raduated from college in ’81, just like Lucia, and has been a Div. I head coach for 16 years, one fewer than Lucia. However, he’s coached exclusively at Ivy League schools, which play fewer regular-season games – and don’t tend to go deep into the postseason.. (That’s why Yale’s Tim Taylor has coached 26 years but has only been behind the bench for 66 more games than Gwozdecky has in 18 seasons.) Those two things explain why Gaudet is at 488 games, nearly 200 behind Gwozdecky and Lucia. However, things change. Maybe Gaudet winds up coaching a powerhouse Hockey East program, drinks from the fountain of youth when he’s in his 60s and keeps kicking the tire. The bottom line: the most fair way to look at this record is simply not to look at it -- and turn instead to the number of seasons coached. And on another day, perhaps we’ll do that. Chances: 10%
Then there’s the most recent generation.
Enrico Blasi, a ’94 Miami grad, was coaching his alma mater five years after he graduated. He’s 32, he’s had success, he has 192 games under his belt already, and he has a good chance of someday joining Mason, York, Parker et al at the top of the heap. Chances: 30%
Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon, 34, took over as head coach at Union in ’98-99, four years after he’d graduated from Harvard. He goes into this season with 202 games under his belt. Like Blasi, he’s on course. Chances: 30%.
Rand Pecknold was a head coach within four years of graduating from Connecticut College in 1990. He took over Quinnipiac in 1994, has coached 315 games in ten years, and recently received an extension. Quinnipiac will find it harder to get far in the postseason when they move into the ECAC. Chances: 20%
Here We Go Again
Once again, even before baseball’s regular season reached its conclusion, college hockey returned yesterday afternoon with Maine trouncing Vermont 7-1 at a sold-out Gutterson Field House. Seven different players scored for Maine, and junior Jimmy Howard kicked out 21 of 22. Going back to the Hockey East tournament at the Fleet Center in March, Maine has played four straight games (and six of seven) in which they’ve held their opponent to one or fewer goals.
Yesterday, 25 minor penalties were called, primarily obstruction-related. Over the summer, officials promised they would be cracking down. However, having heard such promises from the NHL, we didn’t put much by it. It’ll be something to keep an eye on, though. We hope it’s for real.
U.S. Kids in Major Junior
By our count, there are 102 U.S. natives in major junior, up from 87 last year, Of those 102, there isa total of 27 in the WHL. 58 in the OHL, and 17 are in the QMJHL.
Included among the 101 players are 24 rookies, denoted with an asterisk.
We’ve included dual citizens, of which we know of four.
These names are taken from each team's roster, which vary from 21 to 26 players. Each team has a handful of players who haven't (as of noon Oct. 1) seen action due to injury, coach's decision, release, or whatever. Their names are preceded by a # sign.
Western Hockey League
#Aaron Roberge, RC, 2/9/85, Post Falls, ID
Nathan Grochmal, RW, 3/1/86, Yorba Linda, CA
Moises Gutierrez, RW, 7/20/86, Anchorage, AK
Ray Macias, RD, 9/18/86, Long Beach, CA
Tommy Maxwell, RW, 11/19/85, Spokane, WA
*#David Lehman, RC, 6/25/87, San Clemente, CA
Joey Perricone, G, 6/6/87, San Juan Capistrano, CA
Brandon Dubinsky, LC, 4/29/86, Anchorage, AK
C.J. Jackson, RW, 1/5/86, Tacoma, WA
*Cameron Cepek, RD, 1/12/88, Huntington Beach, CA
*Michael Sauer, RD, 8/7/87, Sartell, MN
Dustin Byfuglien, RD, 1/8/85, Roseau, MN
*#Chase Laukhuf, RW, 2/3/86, Bedford, TX
*Pierre-Paul Lamoureux, LD, 7/5/87, Grand Forks, ND
Aaron Bader, LW, 7/23/85, Faribault, MN
Ben Van Lare, LW, 12/29/87, Richardson, TX
Nate Thompson, LC, 10/5/84, Anchorage, AK
Zach FitzGerald, LD, 6/16/85, Duluth, MN
*Seth Compton, LC, 4/12/88, West Richland, WA
Derek Ryan, RC, 12/29/86, Spokane, WA
*#Michael Senseman, RW, 10/28/87, Portland, OR
Sean Zimmerman, RD, 5/24/87, Spokane, WA
Michael Szczachor, LW, 1/31/86, Coppell, TX
Jason Beeman, RW, 7/2/85, DiamonD Bar, CA
Tim Kraus, RC, 2/21/87, Garden Grove, CA
Jason Reese, LC, 1/28/88, Gresham, OR
*#Tommy Tartaglione, G, 3/29/88, Harbour City, CA
Ontario Hockey League
Steven Spade, RD, 12/10/87, Rochester, NY
#Thomas Samaris, G, 2/6/86, Brooklyn, NY
*Luke Lynes, LC, 11/28/87, Ellicott City, MD
Nick Duff, LD. 12/12/85, Novi, MI
*Chris Greene, RW, 9/24/85, Massena, NY
Sean O’Connor, RW, 1/31/87, Trenton, MI
Jacob Heller, RD, 2/13/85, Skokie, IL
Brian Lee, LD, 7/5/84, Berrien Springs, MI
Chad Loikets, RD, 5/28/87, Yorkville, IL
Derek Merlini, RD, 7/6/85, Clinton Township, MI
Ryan Callahan, RW, 3/21/85, Rochester, NY
Mick Okrzesik, LD, 1/21/85, Houston, TX
*Jack Combs, RW, 1/26/88, St. Louis, MO
Patrick Davis, LW, 12/28/86, Detroit, MI
#Matt Lashoff, LD, 9/29/86, Albany, NY
Devereaux Heshmatpour, RD, 2/15/87, Toronto, Ont.,Canada
Eric Pfligler, G, 5/22/85, Palatine, IL
#Chris Gravelding, D, 12/7/87, Clinton, NY
Robbie Schremp, LC, 1/7/86, Fulton, NY
#Frank Rediker, LD, 3/15/85, Sterling Heights, MI
Gerald Coleman, G, 4/3/85, Romeoville, IL
Patrick O’Sullivan, LC, 2/1/85, Winston-Salem, NC
Scott Zimmerman, LW, 6/2/87, Rochester, MI
Adam Abraham, RD, 3/27/87, Grosse Point Park, MI
*Colin Hanley, RW, 6/10/87, East Moriches, NY
Bobby Ryan, RW, 3/17/87, Collingswood, NJ
*Bobby Sanguinetti, RD, 2/29/88, Lumberton, NJ
*Neil Conway, G, 1/17/88, Concord, OH
*Payton Liske, LW, 11/28/88, Fonthill, Ont., Canada
Patrick Kaleta, RW, 6/8/86, Angola, NY
Aaron Dawson, LD, 3/11/85, Peoria, IL
Dan Collins, RW, 2/26/87, Carthage, NY
Mike Martinelli, RC, 1/22/86, West Chester, PA
Gino Pisellini, RW, 8/5/86, Itasca, IL
Tim Sestito, LW, 8/28/84, Rome, NY
*#Tom Sestito, LW, 9/28/87, Rome, NY
John Vigilante, LW, 5/24/85, Dearborn, MI
Mike Letizia, LD, 2/15/85, Chicago, IL
Ryan McGinnis, LD, 3/3/87, Fenton, MI
*#Justin Garay, G, 2/16/87, Monaca, PA
Gary Klapkowski, RW, 2/13/85, Pittsburgh, PA
Taylor Raszka, LW, 10/22/86, Petersburg, MI
*Scott Fletcher, RD, 1/12/88, Haslett, MI
Mike Brown, G, 3/4/85, Baldwinsville, NY
#Aaron Rock, G, 7/5/87, Wheaton, IL
*Adam Abrahamson, RW, 2/14/86, Livonia, MI
#Danny Fritsche, RC, 7/13/85, Parma, OH
Drew Larman, RC, 5/15/85, Canton, MI
*Steve Savor, RW, 7/1/88, Cooper City, FL
David Pszenyczny, LD, 2/18/85, Sterling Heights, MI
Erik Schwanz, RD, 2/18/84, North Lakeport, MI
*Nick Tuzzolino, RD, 1/19/86, E. Amherst, NY
Sault Ste. Marie:
Matt Puntereri, LC, 6/17/85, Wampum, PA
*Nick Foligno, RC, 10/31/87, Sudbury, Ont., Canada
Toronto St. Mike's:
Tyler Haskins, RC, 5/26/86, Madison, OH
#Michael Cox, RW, 3/17/86, Fraser, MI
Tommy Mannino, RW, 2/19/87, Farmington Hills, MI
Mike Weber, LD, 12/16/87, Pittsburgh, PA
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Jimmy Sharrow, RD, 1/31/85, Framingham, MA
James Pouliot, LW, 8/12/87, Manchester, NH
Bobby Gates, LD, 1/16/84, Providence, RI
Derek Bailey, LW, 4/18/85, Boston, MA
#Colby Gilbert, LW. 10/26/85, Auburn, ME
*Adam Pineault, LC, 5/23/86, Holyoke, MA
#Adam Blanchette, RD, 2/21/86, Berlin, CT (inj.)
Prince Edward Island:
Josh Hennessy, LC, 2/7/85, Rockland, MA
Jordan LaVallee, LW, 5/11/86, Corvallis, OR
Andrew Andricopoulos, RD, 4/1/87, Beverly, MA
Evan Shaw, LD, 3/24/84, Naragansett, RI
Kevin Coughlin, RW, 4/23/85, South Boston, MA
Joey Ryan, RD, 10/19/87, Stoneham, MA
*Max Gratchev, LW, 9/26/88, Stoughton, MA
Jean-Michel Bolduc, LD, 2/27/85, Portland, ME
Jeremy Duchesne, G, 10/17/86, Maryland
Matt Nickerson, LED, 1/11/85, Old Lyme, CT