New England Prep Playoff Picture
With roughly a month to go before the playoff participants are announced, it seems like a good time to take a close look at the NEPSIHA Division I playoff picture and see who is in good shape, who is on the bubble and what to be looking for over the next several weeks.As we have noted before, there are three criteria that factor into playoff rankings.NEPSIHA gives each criterion equal weight, and, as we will see, creates some interesting possibilities as the season moves forward.The three criteria are:
1. Winning percentage in all NEPSIHA (D1 and D2) games;
2. Winning percentage in all NEPSIHA D1 games; and,
3. % of D1 games against teams with at least a .500 record TIMES the winning percentage in those games.
Only teams with a D1 winning percentage of .500 or better are eligible for the playoffs.The third criterion makes it impossible for a team to pad its schedule with weak sisters and sneak into the playoffs with high winning percentages.To its credit, NEPSIHA requires teams to play good teams and beat them in order to get into the playoffs.
The other key fact to keep in mind is that there are only eight teams in the playoffs: four from the West and four from the East.That means that there will be good teams that do not make the playoffs. Until and unless NEPSIHA expands to a 12 or 16 team format, that is an inevitable outcome.
So how do teams stack up as of January 24?Let’s look at the West first.There are currently 10 teams with records of .500 or better, but we’re going to focus on just the top six: Avon, Canterbury, Choate, Deerfield, Salisbury, and Taft.(A cautionary note here: our tabulations are unofficial.We believe we have complete records of all games played, but the NEPSIHA official seedings are based on games submitted to NEPSIHA.We’re confident that we are extremely close, but remember that we don’t seed the teams, NEPSIHA does!)
Avon is the clear leader for the number one seed right now, with Taft and Salisbury in a close battle for the 2nd spot.Canterbury has the current edge for the final playoff position, but Choate and Deerfield are still very much in the mix.How do the numbers look?For each team, we list the three percentages associated with each of the three (equally-weighted) criteria and each team’s total score, as we calculate it.
1. Avon: 2.358 (.929 + .929 + .500)
2. Taft: 2.091 (.818 + .818 + .454)
3. Salisbury: 2.042 (.875 + .875 + .292)
4. Canterbury: 1.801 (.767 + .767 + .267)
5. Choate: 1.591 (.591 + .591 + .409)
6. Deerfield: 1.560 (.714 + .692 + .154)
You can see that Taft’s success against better teams gives it the current edge over Salisbury; you can also see that Deerfield’s struggles against teams with winning records has it in jeopardy of missing the playoffs, despite its very strong overall record.Conversely, Choate is in the playoff hunt ONLY because it has a relatively good score for the third criterion. Deerfield has a slightly easier schedule remaining, but they need to win some games against top teams in order to climb back into the mix.Canterbury has a somewhat easier schedule than either Choate or Deerfield; if they keep winning, they will create a difficult hurdle for any team trying to sneak into that fourth spot.
What about the East?Well, to put it mildly, the battle for the playoffs in the East is wide open.As of today, 11 teams have records above .500 and that means there are opportunities for the top contenders to gain -- or lose -- points for quality wins.It also means that there will be more games up for grabs among the East teams and a losing streak could devastate a team’s playoff hopes.Conversely, if a team gets hot and picks up some quality wins, it can easily jump up in the playoff rankings.Here is how the top six sit today:
1. Thayer: 1.932 (.861 + .821 + .25)
2. Cushing: 1.844 (.781 + .781 +.282)
3. Exeter: 1.827 (.750 + .692 + .385)
4. Nobles: 1.801 (.706 + .688 + .407)
5. Andover: 1.749 (.750 + .708 + .291)
6. Tabor: 1.585 (.718 + .700 + .167)
Can it be any tighter?So what do we look for over the next few weeks to determine whether these teams’ playoff chances are rising or falling? First off, all of these teams have a number of tough games remaining.Cushing plays NMH (also above .500) and Exeter next week.Exeter has a relatively easy overall schedule, but its remaining games against Cushing, NMH and Andover will be crucial.Tabor does not play a D1 game again until February 5, but its finishing stretch is a killer.Its chances will rise or fall on how it does against Cushing, NMH (2 games), Andover and Thayer.Thayer and Nobles each face tough challenges down the stretch.Andover has perhaps the toughest remaining schedule of anyone.In short, any one of these six teams could make the playoffs…. and any one of them could miss out.A surprise team (St. Paul’s, for example) could get on a roll and sneak in.
There is something else to watch for as well…and we’ll be watching this closely.There are some teams on the edge of a .500 record.Where they fall will affect the playoff rankings.Will Gunnery climb back above .500?Berkshire?St. Sebastian’s?Keep an eye on those clubs; if they become .500 teams, that third criterion will affect quite a few clubs and the rankings could get turned upside down.
It will be an interesting – and exciting -- stretch run.
Prep Playoff Picture
We are now on the doorstep of a fabulous February.The battle lines for the NEPSIHA Division I playoff run cannot be any clearer.We know that there are currently two six-team battles in the East and West, but the shape of the battles is quite different. Remember that the playoff seedings are based on three equally-weighted criteria. The three criteria are:
1. Winning percentage in all NEPSIHA (D1 and D2) games;
2. Winning percentage in all NEPSIHA D1 games; and,
3. % of D1 games against teams with at least a .500 record TIMES the winning percentage in those games.
So what do the numbers look like?In the West, the top six teams are the same as last week, and barring a dramatic collapse and/or late rush by some team, we don’t expect that to change between now and the end of the season.There was a change in the rankings from last week.Salisbury jumped to the number 1 seed slot and AOF and Taft are tied for the 2nd spot.Canterbury has a slim lead for the last playoff position, but their lead over Choate and Deerfield has narrowed. We present each team’s score, with the sum of its rankings in each of the three categories in parentheses.(The three categories are: NEPSIHA winning percentage; D1 winning percentage; and strength of schedule/quality wins.)
1. Salisbury: 6 (1 + 1 + 4)
2. Taft: 7 (3 + 3 + 1)
AOF: 7 (2 + 2 + 3)
4. Canterbury: 13 (4 + 4 +5)
5. Choate: 15 (7 + 6 + 2)
6. Deerfield: 16 (5 + 5 + 6)
In the East, the playoff race could not be tighter.Any of the top six teams could secure a playoff berth with a good month, but no team has much margin for error.The rankings this week have Cushing on top.Thayer and Andover are a very close second and third.Nobles vaulted over Exeter for the final spot and Tabor closed the gap, though the Seawolves still sit in 6th place.Here are the numbers:
1. Cushing: 7 (3 + 2 + 2)
2. Thayer: 9 (1 + 1 + 7)
3. Andover: 10 (2 + 3 +5)
4. Nobles: 13 (4 + 5 + 4)
5. Exeter: 13 (6+ 6 + 1)
6. Tabor: 16 (5 + 4 + 7)
It is a quiet week in the West in terms of key games for the playoff race.There are some key games coming up this week.But, in the East, there is plenty of action.Keep your eyes on: Andover at Deerfield (Wed. 2/2), Thayer at Nobles (Wed. 2/2), Belmont Hill at Andover (Fri. 2/4), Thayer at Governor Dummer (Sat. 2/5), Tabor at NMH (Sat. 2/5).
Salisbury New #1 in USHR Div. I Prep Poll
Avon, which has been #1 in the USHR Div. I Prep Poll since the start of the season, has been dropped to #2 after giving up a 2-0 third period lead at Choate Saturday night, and losing a 3-2 decision.
The new #1 team is Salisbury.
Gong Show at Canisius
Since the so-called player revolt that led to the firing of Canisius College head coach Brian Cavanaugh back on December 10th, . the players have been running the show. They’ve also been getting themselves into a load of trouble, and making a mockery of the school’s hockey program.
An article in today’s Buffalo News by reporter Bucky Gleason details the problems.
The firing came as a result of a rift between the seniors on the team and Cavanaugh, with the players going over the head of AD Timothy Dillon and right to an administrator unhappy with Cavanaugh. She axed the 24-year veteran coach on the day of a game against Mercyhurst and with the team, then 6-2-0 in league play, just one point behind first place Sacred Heart in the Atlantic Hockey league.
Without a head coach -- assistant coaches Clancy Seymour and Stephen Fabilli are running the team – the Griffs have gone 2-3-0 in subsequent league games. And that’s the good news.
Here, then, is the bad news:
Collins a Future Friar
Thayer Academy senior forward Greg Collins has committed to Providence College for the fall of ’06.
Collins, a Hingham, Mass. native, plays LW on Thayer’s top line, which also includes center Brian Gibbons and RW Pierce Norton (also a Providence College recruit).
Collins, who is 5’10”, 180 lbs. and a 2/13/86 birthdate, has an 11-27-38 line in 19 games for Thayer this season. He’s come a long way since the beginning of last season. He’s a smart, efficient player who moves the puck well, and plays the point on the power play.
Collins will take a PG year in boarding school before enrolling at Providence.
Notes: Des Moines forward Ryan Raven will replace Indian forward Todd McIlrath in the USHL All-Star Game. McIlrath tore his ACL and is out for the season… The dominant team in the Midwest Prep Hockey League this season is St. Andrew’s College of Aurora, Ontario. St. Andrew’s is 9-0-0 in league games to date… There is no snow in the forecast for Boston – aka Buffalo East – for the rest of the month --- all four days.
Atlantic Junior Hockey League All-Star Game Rosters
The Atlantic Junior Hockey League All-Star game is scheduled for this Sunday, January 30th, at the Salem, NH Icenter. Faceoff is at 2:00 pm.
Goalies: Dan Beauregard (Boston Bulldogs); Casey Tuttle (Portland Jr. Pirates). Alternate: Patrick Street (Hartford Jr. Wolfpack).
Defense: Ryan Adler (Boston Bulldogs); Jacques Perreault (Boston Bulldogs); Chris Apostolakes (Northern Mass Cyclones); Brett Carriere (Northern Mass Cyclones); Francois Gagnon (Portland Jr. Pirates); John McCrillis (Hartford Jr. Wolfpack); Avi Meyers (Hartford Jr. Wolfpack).
Forwards: Greg Costa (Boston Bulldogs); Joe Fernald (Boston Bulldogs); Igor Karlov (Boston Bulldogs); Jim Koehler (Boston Bulldogs); Tom Kerwin (Boston Bulldogs); Mark Hanscom (Northern Mass Cyclones); Steve Salemi (Northern Mass Cyclones); Dennis Callahan (Northern Mass Cyclones); Dan Tuttle (Portland Jr. Pirates), Craig Houle (Portland Jr. Pirates), Eric Sefchik (Portland Jr. Pirates), Andrew Lettllier (Portland Jr. Pirates); Casey Olsen (Hartford Jr. Wolfpack).
Coaches: Mike Addessa (Boston Bulldogs); Bill Flanagan (Northern Mass Cyclones).
Goalies: Kevin Bendel (NJ Rockets); Chris Molinaro (NY Bobcats). Alternate: Kris Norbo (Washington Jr. Nationals).
Defense: David Kolomatis (NJ Rockets); Brett Aimone (NJ Rockets); Jordan Behler (NY Bobcats); Justin Porpora (NY Bobcats); John Giacobbo (Philadelphia Little Flyers); Josh Cohen (Washington Jr. Nationals); Tim Schlagenhauf (Washington Jr. Nationals).
Forwards: Nick Lampson (NJ Rockets); Shawn Saunders (NJ Rockets); Rem Vanderbeek (NJ Rockets); Michael Del Mauro (NJ Rockets); Vladimir Nikiforov (NY Bobcats); Frank Rizzo (NY Bobcats); James Marcou (NY Bobcats); Jason DeLuca (NY Bobcats); Mike Cappola (NY Bobcats); Pat Moriarty (NY Bobcats); Anthony Romano (NY Bobcats); Nick Grasso (NY Bobcats); Eric Tufman (Philadelphia Little Flyers); Robert Bushman (Washington Jr. Nationals).
Coaches: Aleksey Nikiforov (NY Bobcats); Dan O'Brien (NJ Rockets).
Playoff Picture Corrections
Any good journalist wants to get everything correct, and we’re no different.The good folks at NEPSIHA contacted us yesterday and told us that they do their calculation slightly differently than we surmised.We added up the values for each of the three equally weighted criteria and came up with a score for each team.It turns out that NEPSIHA calculates a rank for every team in each category and adds up each teams rank to get a score for every D1 team.So, for example, if a team ranked third in overall NEPSIHA winning percentage, fourth in D1 percentage and sixth in the strength of schedule/quality wins category, its score would 13 (3 + 4 + 6).
This approach can yield different results than our approach.Each method treats the three categories equally, but because NEPSIHA just calculates rank, it doesn’t matter if two team’s winning percentages are very close together or far apart; all that matters is their relative ranking.What difference can it make?Last year, if the method we used were employed, the playoff participants would have been the same but the seedings would have been different in the East.Will it make a difference this year?It’s too early to tell, but we’ll be checking and will keep you posted.
So what do the numbers look like under the Rankings methodology?In the West, the top 6 teams are the same and there is no real difference in the current seedings.We present each team’s score, with the sum of its rankings in each of the three categories in parentheses.(The three categories are: NEPSIHA winning percentage; D1 winning percentage; and strength of schedule/quality wins.)
1. Avon: 3 (1 + 1 + 1)
2. Salisbury: 8 (2 + 2 + 4)
Taft: 8 (3 + 3 +2)
4. Canterbury 13 (4 + 4 +5)
5. Choate: 16 (7 + 6 + 3)
Deerfield: 16 (5 + 5 + 6)
In the East, however, the NEPSIHA method does change the rankings.This approach helps Andover and hurts Exeter and Nobles, at least for now.This could all change.
1. Andover: 9 (3 + 3 + 3)
Cushing: 9 (2 + 2 + 5)
Thayer: 9 (1 + 1 + 7)
4. Exeter: 10 (3 + 5 + 2)
5. Nobles: 13 (6+ 6 + 1)
6. Tabor: 20 (5 + 4 + 11)
Worcester Academy Remains Atop USHR Div. II Prep Poll
Worcester Academy once again sits atop the USHR Div. II Prep Poll. Please click below for the full poll.
Apple Core Wins Northwood Tournament
NY Apple Core (EJHL) won its fifth Northwood Tournament title with a 4-2 win over the NY Bobcats on Sunday. In the championship game, held between two Long Island-based teams, Apple Core’s Gerard Heinz, Joe Coiro, Billy Keenan, and Mike Karwoski each scored one goal as Apple Core came back from an early 2-0 deficit. Apple Core goaltender Mathias Lange, who earlier this month committed to RPI, allowed only six goals in five games. Karwoski, a Yale recruit for both hockey and lacrosse, was named MVP of the tournament, which this year featured 26 teams.
MVP: Mike Karwoski, Apple Core
G – Jason Rafuse, North Country CC
D – Ryan Adler, Boston Bulldogs
D – Justin Porpora, NY Bobcats
F -- Vladimir Nikiforov, NY Bobcats
F -- Nick Lampson, NJ Rockets
F – Rich Purslow, Apple Core
Complete Game Scores:
Apple Core Major 6, North Country Community College 1
Northern Mass. Cyclones 4, Philly Jr. Flyers 2
Detroit Compuware 3, NJ Hitmen 0
NY Bobcats 6, Belle Tire 3
Northwood 10, NJ Titans 0
Philly Little Flyers 6, Springfield Jr. Pics 0
Detroit Compuware 5, Philly Jr. Flyers 0Chicago Mission 8, Philly Little Flyers 3
Northwood 6, Laconia Leafs 0
NSA 3, Portland Jr. Pirates 2
Boston Bulldogs 3, Suffolk PAL 3
NJ Rockets 3, Chicago Mission 1
Apple Core Major 3, Northern Mass. Cyclones 1
NJ Rockets 6, Central Penn Panthers 0
NJ Titans 7, Springfield Jr. Pics 3
Boston Jr. Bruins 7, Shawnee Americans 1
Apple Core Minor 4, Washington Jr. Nationals 1
Dallas Stars 4, Boston Jr. Bruins AAA 1
Laconia Leafs 7, Central Penn Panthers 1
Portland Jr. Pirates 3, Shawnee Americans 1
Boston Jr. Bruins 5, Belle Tire 1
NJ Rockets 3, Laconia Leafs 2
Chicago Mission 3, Northwood 1
Apple Core Major 3, Compuware 2
NY Bobcats 4, Boston Jr. Bruins 1
Dallas Stars 3, Washington Jr. Nationals 2
Springfield Jr. Pics 3, Central Penn Panthers 2
Northern Mass Cylcones 3, North Country CC 1
Portland Jr. Pirates 2, Belle Tire 1
NY Bobcats 4, NSA 2
Boston Jr. Bruins AAA 4, Suffolk PAL 2
Philly Little Flyers10, NJ Titans 3
NJ Hitmen 6, Philly Little Flyers 2
Suffolk PAL 4, Washington Jr. Nationals 3
Boston Jr. Bruins AAA 3, Apple Core Minor 2
A winner vs. B winner: Apple Core Major 4, NJ Rockets 0
C winner vs. D winner: NY Bobcats 3, Boston Bulldogs 2 (OT)
Final: Apple Core Major 4, NY Bobcats 2
6’1”, 195 lb. LD Ian Cole of Ann Arbor, Mich. and Detroit Victory Honda Midget AAA, has committed to the National Team Development Program for next season.
Cole is a big, skilled defenseman with nice hands, but his greatest asset is his hockey sense. His vision is excellent. If there’s an area in which he needs to continue to improve it’s his skating – his feet could be a little quicker. Nonetheless, he, along with Nick Petreckiof the Cap District Selects and Travis Llewellyn of the Indiana Ice are probably the top three ’89-born D in the country. Petrecki will be visiting the NTDP this week, and will also swing by the University of Michigan for an unofficial look around.
A 2/21/89 birthdate, Cole is the second player named to next season’s Under-17 Team. In October, 5’9” LC Matt Rust of the Honeybaked Midgets committed to the NTDP.
Winged Beavers Remain at #1 in USHR Div. I Prep Poll
Avon Old Farms squeaked past Northfield-Mt. Hermon 1-0 in their last game, on Wednesday. But a win is a win and the Winged Beavers stay at #1 for yet another week.
Jan. 24 USHR Div. I Prep Poll
Two Sons of Crim
Andover’s Steve Rolecek and Taft’s Jack Christian will be headed to Harvard University in the fall.
Rolecek, a 5’10”, 185 lb. RW from Bedford, NH, is an excellent skater who works hard and is always around the puck. A 2/13/86 birthdate, he’s played 14 games this season and has a 10-12-22 line. He’s Andover’s captain.
Christian, a 6’2”, 212 lb. RD from Wilton, Conn., is a big, strong defensive defenseman who skates well and has good instincts. A 5/31/87 birthdate, he has an 0-3-3 line in 12 games for Taft. He’s a co-captain of the Rhinos.
Avon Old Farms speedy senior RW Chris Davis has committed to playing for Toot Cahoon at UMass this fall. Davis, a 9/10/86 birthdate from Simsbury, Conn., is the second leading scorer – 10-19-29 in 14 games played – for the defending prep champions and #1-ranked team in New England.
6’2” Tabor goaltender Steven Ritter, who helped lead the Seawolves to the New England prep championship game against Avon last March, has committed to Providence College. Ritter, a 12/31/86 birthdate and a native of Tenafly, NJ, is a senior and in his second year at Tabor. Boston University had also been watching Ritter closely.
Joey Gaudet, a 6’2”, 190 lb. right-shot forward from Hanover (NH) High School, will be headed to Dartmouth College in the fall of 2006. Gaudet, who will be playing for Bob Gaudet, his father, at Dartmouth, has size and good hands. He’s a senior in high school now. Next year, he’ll likely play for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) or in the USHL.
NY Apple Core (EJHL) goaltender Mathias Lange has committed to RPI. Lange, an import who played for the Austrian Junior National Team, is a 4/13/85 birthdate from Klagenfurt, Austria. Yale and Harvard were also interested in the goaltender. Lange, 5’11” and 180 lbs., has played 31 games so far this season and has a 2.56 gaa and a .914 save percentage.
6’0”, 195 lb. Belmont Hill senior defenseman Brian McCafferty will be heading to Harvard. McCafferty, one of the more heralded young d-men in New England – he’s an ’86 – back when he was a freshman at Belmont Hill, suffered a football injury in his sophomore year and missed the whole season. Last year he came back, getting stronger as the year progressed. This season, his senior year, he’s had an excellent season, contributing hugely to Belmont Hill’s success. He’s the team’s third-leading scorer with a 7-8-15 line in 16 games played. McCafferty is a Lexington, Mass. native whose older brother, Kevin, played football at Harvard and also skated with the hockey team -- for three games -- in his four years there. He graduated in 2002.
Rory Farrell, a big, smooth-skating stay-at-home defenseman with Des Moines (USHL), has committed to Union College for the fall. Farrell, 6’4” and 210 lbs., is a native of Westfield, Mass. and played for the New England Jr. Coyotes (EJHL) and the Cleveland Barons (NAHL) before landing in Des Moines. This is his second year with the Bucs. In 32 games he as a 2-8-10 line and a team-leading 72 pims.
Chris Clackson, a 5’11”, 190 lb. LW with the Chicago Steel (USHL) has committed to Western Michigan for the fall of ’06. Clackson, a 1/27/87 birthdate from Pittsburgh, PA, is a hard-nosed, physical forward. He’ll be joining his bother, Matt, at Western. Matt, who leads the Steel with 163 pims in 34 games, is a couple of years older and will be arriving at Western this fall. Chris and Matt are the sons of Kim Clackson, who played two years in the NHL – with Quebec and Pittsburgh. Clackson senior was an enforcer who in 106 NHL games, had zero goals and 370 pims.
EJHL Adds an Expansion Team
The Syracuse Junior Crunch franchise, currently a member of the Ontario Provincial League, will be leaving that loop and joining the Eastern Junior Hockey League this fall.
The team’s principal owner and GM will continue to be Don Kirnan. The head coach will be Travis Howe, who is the grandson of Gordie Howe. Currently living in the Philadelphia area, Howe has been helping run the Howe Hockey School in their many locations. He’s considered to be a good, up-and-coming hustling-type coach.
Last year, there was talk that Rochester would be joining the EJHL. That’s been put on hold. Syracuse is an hour closer to New England, so the Syracuse franchise makes more sense in terms of travel time. Also, Syracuse is close enough to Rochester and Buffalo that players from those cities would, despite the travel time, still be interested in playing for the Crunch.
The EJHL, which feels they have pretty much tapped out the market for players in eastern Mass., feels that Syracuse is good for the league because of the number of quality players in upstate New York who want to stay home, yet have the opportunity to play in the EJHL at the same time.
Syracuse brings the number of EJHL teams to 14. The only other area the league is considering for expansion is into Fairfield County, Connecticut. Currently, there’s no junior team within a 45 minute radius of the center of the county, which also happens to be one of the richest counties – maybe the richest county --in the US.
BU Gets a Goalie
U.S. Under-17 goaltender Brett Bennett has verbally committed to Boston University for the fall of 2006.
Bennett, a native of Williamsville, NY, a Buffalo suburb, played last year in Michigan with the Don Harkins-coached Honeybaked ‘88s, which bowed to the Buffalo Saints -- backstopped by Michigan recruit Billy Sauer – in the title game of the midget minor nationals.
Bennett, a 3/8/88 birthdate, is a quick, athletic butterfly goalie who, at 6’1” takes up a lot of net, whether up or down.
With the NTDP, Bennett has played 14 games, has a .904 save percentage, and a 2.86 gaa.
In the recently-completed World Under-17 Challenge, Bennett played two games, with the numbers inflated by one sub-par game vs. Ontario, and had a .826 save percentage and a 4.00 gaa.
Youngest USHL Player Commits to Michigan
6’1”, 178 lb. LD Tristin Llewellyn of the Indiana Ice – the only ’89 in the USHL – has verbally committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of ’07.
Llewellyn, currently a sophomore in high school, is perhaps -- along with Cap District Selects (EJHL) LD Nick Petrecki --the top ’89 prospect among defensemen, at least in this country.
Llewellyn has size, is a smooth skater, handles the puck with confidence, and has a nasty edge. Has the makings of a very high NHL draft pick, and would be taken at the top of the OHL draft if he had decided to choose that route.
A 5/2/89 birthdate, Llewellyn, an Ann Arbor native, has, in 26 games, a 1-5-6 line and 62 pims.
Hilltoppers Still King of the Hill
Unbeaten and untied Worcester Academy is still holding down the top spot in the USHR Div. II poll for this week.
No Surprise: Avon Still #1
Avon Old Farms continues to hold on to the top spot in the USHR Div. I prep poll. For the full list, click below.
Okposo to Gophers
Shattuck-St. Mary’s 6’0”, 195 lb. RW Kyle Okposo has, as expected, committed to the University of Minnesota for the fall of ‘06.
A 4/16/88 birthdate, Okposo is physical, sees the ice, can make a pass, and can finish -- his shot is strong and accurate. He plays with passion and power, and is extremely dynamic. On the power play, he plays the left point, and will drift down low to convert a pass. His competitive instincts come naturally. His dad played on the Nigerian national soccer team, went to the University of Minnesota and is a chemist. There was talk of Okposo, an 11th grader who’s a good student, possibly accelerating, which would put him in school next fall. In addition to Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Harvard all, at one time or another, pushed hard for him. He appeared ticketed to the U, though.
Okposo, a St. Paul, Minn native, has a 31-24-55 line in 38 games played this season. He is eligible for the 2006 NHL draft.
Herr to Take Over at Kent
The Kent School has hired Matt Herr, a former University of Michigan forward who played on both the 1996 and 1998 NCAA champion Wolverine squads, to be their next head coach, commencing with the 2005-06 season.
A 28-year-old native of Hackensack, NJ and a 1994 graduate of Hotchkiss, Herr will replace Paul Brown, who has coached the Kent varsity for the last six years.
Herr, who captained the Wolverines in his senior year, joined the Washington Capitals organization after his 1998 graduation. While he played parts of several seasons in the NHL, mostly with Washington, he spent most of his pro career in the AHL.
Herr, who is currently playing pro hockey in Germany, will join the Kent faculty in the history department. His wife, Laura, who has a law degree, will also be joining the Kent faculty.
The Kent position will be his first coaching job.
The Kent hockey program has not done well in quite a while, as AD Todd Marble has, according to reports, concentrated the school’s athletic resources in football. For the last three years, Brown has sought to rebuild the hockey team by recruiting players from all over the country and Canada. Even so, the team has won only one game this year.
“I am disappointed to be leaving at this point,” said Brown. “I have worked hard to build a competitive team and feel we are definitely headed in the right direction with the underclass player here now.”
EJHL All-Star Results
Boston, Mass. --The first of the two games played at BU’s Walter Brown Arena, the EJHL Futures Game (‘86s – ‘89s), was the crisper and more entertaining of the two contests tonight. Standouts for the South included ’88 forwards Barry Almeida and Tyler Fernandez from the Falcons, and the Junior Bruins line of Garrett Peters--Bobby Butler--Kory Falite. On D, Cody Wild and Jan Svrcek played well for the South. For the North, the standouts were forwards Sergio Somma, Danny Rossman, Vincent Grana, plus the Monarch’s line of Ian O’Conner-Dan Bartlett-Jason Williams. On defense, big ’89 Nick Petrecki of Cap District was a standout, a future star. In net, all the goalies were solid, though best was the Huskies’ Justin Wakefield, who had 15 saves in a shutout half.
Futures Game: South 3, North 1
1st Half (25 min.):
N – Sergio Somma (Austin Mayer, Brett Noll) 20:52
S – Garrett Peters (Cody Wild, Kory Falite) 22:43
S – Brian Haczyk (Ryan Stelzer, Bryan Potacco) 22:54
2nd Half (25 min.)
S -- Wild (Mike Harr, Matt Fitzgibbons) 17:28
SOG: North 25, South 24
S – D.J. DelBuono 25:0010/9
S – Justin Wakefield 25:0015/15
N – Ryan Simpson 25:00 12/10
N – Mike Spillane 25:00 12/11
The regular all-star game was a little lackluster. Again, the goaltending was good. Both the Junior Bruins Chris Rossi and Apple Core’s Mathias Lange were perfect. Also good were A.J. Drago of the Hitmen, who let in a soft goal on the first shot he faced but then kicked out the next 14. The Junior Bruins Nevin Hamilton was also good. Up front, no one was exactly on fire. For our money, the two best were Chris Higgins of the Monarchs and Mike Karwoski of Apple Core. On the blue line, Matt Generous of the Falcons and Jim Driscoll of the Junior Bruins had strong games.
All-Star Game: South 3, North 3
N – Mike Thomson (Ben Wahler, Jeff Pappalardi) 1:28
S – Mike Karwoski (unn.) 4:59
N – Jim Driscoll (Nikita Kashirsky, Matt Gilroy) 14:19
S – Joe Milo (Scott Crowder) 17:24
N – Ryan Ginand (Driscoll, Pat Kimball):19
S – Milo (Crowder, Higgins) 16:06
SOG: North 33, South 29.
Penalties: North, 2 minors; South, 1 minor
N – Charlie Lockwood20:007/5
N – Chris Rossi20:0012/12
N – Nevin Hamilton20:0010/9
S – Brian Foster20:008/6
S – A.J. Drago20:0015/14
S – Mathias Lange20:0010/10
Indiana GM Mervis Resigns
Josh Mervis has resigned from his position as general manager of the Indiana Ice (USHL). Head coach Red Gendron will assume Mervis’ GM duties.
Mervis reportedly didn’t see eye-to-eye with team owner Paul Skjodt on hockey decisions, but declined to comment on that.
The Ice were bought by Skjodt from the Mervis family last year, and the franchise – formerly the Danville Wings -- was relocated to Indianapolis over the off-season. For Mervis, the Indiana post was a one-year position, as he planned on returning to Illinois after the season. The Mervis family owns the former Rochester Mustangs (USHL) franchise, which has been in mothballs since 2002. The as-yet-unnamed team will join the USHLin the fall of ’06. Ground will soon break on a new two-sheet 4,000-seat arena on the University of Illinois campus. The arena is being financed by a three-way partnership between the city, the university, and the Mervis family.
“I was brought in to transition the team from Danville to Indiana,” Mervis said. “Now I’m going to go on and get the USHL team my family owns up and running for ’06. The Indiana franchise is in great shape now. My work here has been great practice for what I have to do in Champaign. I’m a start-up guy.”
Mervis, since Dec. 1, has brought in a number of new players to Indiana, including goalie Pat Watson (a Merrimack recruit), D Mike Stuart (a Brown recruit), and two Czechs, forward Michal Borovansky, who played for the Czech Republic at the recently-concluded world junior championship, and forward Milan Gulas, who was the last cut for that team.
The Ice are in fourth place in the USHL East Division with a 12-18-3 record.
NHL Central Scouting Mid-Term Ranking
The NHL’s Central Scouting Service has released its Mid-Term Ranking of North Americans for this June’s NHL draft.
There’s no surprise at #1 – Sidney Crosby. Following Crosby is LW Benoit Pouliot of Sudbury (OHL). The top-ranked American, coming in at #3, is Owen Sound RW Bobby Ryan. NTDP defenseman Jack Johnson is slotted at #5.
Following is a list of all US players ranked. There are 108 Americans -- 97 skaters and 11 goalies -- out of a total of 270 (240 skaters plus 30 goalies).
There are 22 players listed from Eastern prep schools; 10 from Minnesota high schools; two from Shattuck-St. Mary's, and one from Upper Canada College. Outside of the Minnesota kids, there are no players listed from a U.S.high school team. Of the 22 Eastern prep players, six are from outside the U.S. and thus are not on the list below. Those players are Philippe Paquet (Salisbury); Shea Guthrie (St. George's); Mike Vaskivuo (Westminster); Andrei Uryadov (South Kent); Gavin Carson (Hotchkiss); and Andrew Estey (Salisbury).
Most American junior players listed below -- 28, to be precise -- are from the USHL. There are also seven from the EJHL, and three from the NAHL.
3. Bobby Ryan, RW Owen Sound (OHL)
5. Jack Johnson, LD, US Under-18
9. Jack Skille, RW, US Under-18
10. Matt Lashoff, LD, Kitchener (OHL)
11. Ryan Stoa, LC, US Under-18
16. Brian Lee, RD, Moorhead HS (Minn.)
23. Dan Collins, RW, Plymouth (OHL)
24. Patrick Davis, LW, Kitchener (OHL)
25. Michael Sauer, RD, Portland (WHL)
29. Justin Abdelkader, LW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
33. Joe Finley, LD, Sioux Falls (USHL)
37. Matt Niskanen, RD, Virginia HS (Minn.)
45. Nate Hagemo, RD, University of Minnesota (NCAA)
46. Ray Macias, RD, Kamloops (WHL)
47. Jason Bailey, RW, US Under-18 *dual citizen
48. Tim Kunes, LD, New England Jr. Falcons (EJHL)
49. Devereaux Heshmatpour, LD, Oshawa (OHL) *dual citizen
52. Christian Hanson, RW, Tri-City (USHL)
53. Keith Yandle, LD, Cushing Academy
57. Chris Butler, LD, Sioux City (USHL)
60. Nick Tuzzolino, RD, Sarnia (OHL)
68. Chris Vande Velde, LC, Moorhead HS (Minn.)
70. Jon Rheault, RC, Providence College (NCAA)
72. Robby Dee, LW, Breck (Minn.)
73. Nathan Davis, LC, Miami-Ohio (NCAA)
77. Phillip Axtell, LW, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
80. Benn Ferriero, RC, Gov. Dummer Academy
81. Tom Gorowsky, RC, Sioux Falls (USHL)
82. Andrew Thomas, RD, University of Denver (NCAA)
83. Zach MacVoy, RW, US Under-18
88. Pasko Skarika, LD, Milton Academy
89. Justin Mercier, C/LW, US Under-18
90. Paul Stastny, LC, University of Denver (NCAA)
92. Zach Jones, LD, US Under-18
94. T.J. Hensick, RC, University of Michigan (NCAA)
95. Tom Mannino, RW, Saginaw (OHL)
100. Sean Zimmerman, RD, Spokane (WHL)
101. Drew Fisher, LC, Moorhead HS (Minn.)
102. Kyle Kucharski, LC, Phillips Andover
103. Matt Connors, C/RW, Apple Core (EJHL)
105. Tommy Fritsche, LW, Ohio State (NCAA)
108. Taylor Chorney, LD, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
109. T.J. Oshie, RC, Warroad HS (Minn.)
110. Ryan McGinnis, LD, Plymouth (OHL)
111. Nick Kemp, RC, Sioux City (USHL)
115. Steve Birnstill, LD, Northeastern (NCAA)
117. John Mitchell, LW, Green Bay (USHL)
120. Peter MacArthur, LW, Boston University (NCAA)
125. Cody Wild, LD, Junior Bruins (EJHL)
129. Zach Bearson, RW, Waterloo (USHL)
130. Matt Duffy, RD, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
133. Mike Brennan, RD, Boston College (NCAA)
135. Tim Miller, LW, Omaha (USHL)
142. Michael Gergen, LW, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
144. Jason Lawrence, C/RW, US Under-18
145. Tim Filangieri, LD, Waterloo (USHL)
146. Jimmy Fraser, RF, US Under-18
151. Nick Fanto, LW, Omaha (USHL)
152. David Inman, RD, US Under-18
154. Andrew Andricopoulos, RD, Quebec (QMJHL)
161. Chris Hepp, RD, Omaha (USHL)
165. Garrett Suter, RD, Green Bay (USHL)
178. Adam Abraham, RD, Mississauga (OHL)
179. Anthony Aiello, LD, Thayer Academy
181. Pat Cullity, LD, Berkshire School
182. Mike Testwuide, RW, Waterloo (USHL)
186. Colin Young, LD, St. Sebastian’s
191. Chad Rau, RC, Des Moines (USHL)
192. Ray Kaunisto, LW, Soo (NAHL)
194. Jared Hummel, RD, Holy Angels (Minn.)
195. Kyle Lawson, RD, US Under-18
197. Brandon Gentile, LD, US Under-18
198. Alec Martinez, LD, Cedar Rapids (USHL)
200. David Meckler, RC, Waterloo (USHL)
202. Michael Montgomery, RW, Centennial (Minn.)
203. Eric Bigham, RW, Benilde-St. Margaret’s (Minn.)
205. Tim Kennedy, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
206. Brendan Milnamow, LD, Taft
207. Mike Stuart, RD, Indiana (USHL)
210. Chris Mueller, RC, Michigan State (NCAA)
212. Jared Boll, RW, Lincoln (USHL)
213. Nathan Gerbe, LC, US Under-18
216. Zach Cohen, LW, Tri-City (USHL)
217. Steve Silver, RD, Cleveland (NAHL)
218. Chris MacPhee, RW, Gov. Dummer Academy
221. Alex Berry, RW, Junior Bruins (EJHL)
223. Tim Kraus, RC, Vancouver (WHL)
224. Tommy Schmicker, LW, Deerfield
228. Ryan Raven, RW, Des Moines (USHL)
231. Pat Brosnihan, RW, Worcester Academy
232. Dennis McCauley, LW, Sioux City (USHL)
233. Matt Generous, RD, New England Jr. Falcons (EJHL)
234. Steve Rolecek, RC, Phillips Andover
236. Andrew Estey, LW, Salisbury School
238. Matt Germain, LC, Northfield-Mt Hermon
239. Jack Christian, RD, Taft
240. Kyle Koziara, RD, Cushing Academy
7. Ben Bishop, Texas (NAHL)
8. Jeff Frazee, US Under-18
9. Jordan Pearce, Lincoln (USHL)
13. Joe Fallon, University of Vermont (NCAA)
14. Jonathan Quick, Avon Old Farms
18. Drew O’Connell, Waterloo (USHL)
19. Jeremy Duchesne, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
24. Jeff Zatkoff, Sioux City (USHL)
26. Billy Blasé, US Under-18
27. Brian Foster, NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)
28. Alec Richards, Breck (Minn.)
The Price is Right for BC
Matt Price, a 5’10, 170 lb. LC with the Milton Icehawks (OPJHL), considered by many to be the top available college prospect in Ontario, has committed to Boston College for the fall of ’06.
A 7/3/88 birthdate, Price is a very good skater who uses a long stick and handles the puck well. He wins draws, makes plays, and knows where to go both with and without the puck. He is also hard-working, tenacious, and can handle himself physically.
In 33 games to date, Price has a 9-18-26 line with 20 pims. Last season, playing for the Oakville Rangers (OMHA), Price had a 46-38-84 line in 57 games. In June, he was drafted in the sixth round of the OHL draft by the Ottawa ‘67s.
Reportedly, Price was seriously interested in Michigan, but the Wolverines didn't respond to a family advisor-imposed deadline. UNH was also in the picture.
The CHL has completed rosters for the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Vancouver, BC on Wed. Jan. 19. Of the 40 players -- all eligible for June's NHL draft -- selected by NHL scouting staffs to play in the game, six are American:
6’2”, 191 lb. right shot LW Patrick Davis of the Kitchener Rangers and Detroit, Mich. (12/28/86 DOB); 6’2”, 180 lb. RD Raymond Macias of the Kamloops Blazers and Long Beach, California (9/18/86 DOB); 6’1”, 224 lb. RW Bobby Ryan of the Owen Sound Attack and Collingswood, NJ (3/17/87 DOB); 6’1”, 195 lb. RW Dan Collins of the Plymouth Whalers and Carthage, NY (2/26/87); 6’2”, 198 lb. LD Matt Lashoff of the Kitchener Rangers and Albany, NY (9/29/86 DOB); and 6’2”, 198 lb. RD Michael Sauer of the Portland Winter Hawks and Sartell, Minn. (8/7/87 DOB).
Ryan, by the way, is currently third in the OHL in scoring, with a 23-36-59 line in 39 games played, trailing only Corey Perry and Dylan Hunter -- both ‘85s – and one point ahead of fellow American Robbie Schremp, who has played fewer games. Will Ryan, who backed out of his commitment to the US National Program in the summer of 2003 to sign with Owen Sound, be invited to play for the US Under-18 team in the IIHF World Championship in April? Two summers ago, there were harsh words spoken by then-NTDP coach Moe Mantha, who took a stand against allowing Ryan -- and others who’d reneged on their signed commitment to the NTDP – to suit up for the U.S. in international competition. Mantha is gone now, but will bygones still be bygones?
NAHL All-Stars Picked
The NAHL All-Stars, listed below, will face off against the defending Jr. A national champion Texas Tornado at the Dr. Pepper Center in Frisco, Texas on Tues. Feb. 8.
Goaltenders (3): Riley Gill (Texarcana); Jason Kearny (Soo); Andrew Strickler (Fargo-Moorhead).
Defensmen (6): Sean Erickson (Springfield Spirit); Mike Mayra (Billlings); Bryan Plaszcz (Santa Fe); Clay Rehm (Bismarck); Matt Shouneyia (Cleveland); Mark Zarbo (Youngstown).
Forwards (12): Pat Galivan (Texarcana); Eric Giosa (Toledo); John Goebel (Cleveland); Ryan Hawkins (Minnesota); Kyle Kramer (Wichita Falls); Nick Larson (Central Texas); Kyle Laughlin (Youngstown); Bill Leahy (Bozeman); Pat Lee (Springfield Jr. Blues); Brandon Marino (Helena); Mike Phillipich (Fairbanks); Dain Prewitt (Fargo-Moorhead);
Coaches: Todd Knott (Fargo-Moorhead); Bob Mainhardt (Youngstown).
USHL All-Star Rosters Finalized
The rosters for the 2005 USHL Prospects/All-Star Game, to be held Tues. Feb. 8 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND, are as follows:
Goaltenders: Jordan Pearce (Lincoln); Jeff Lerg (Omaha).
Defensemen: Brett Motherwell (Omaha); Chris Zarb (Tri-City); Nate Prosser (Sioux Falls); Chris Butler (Sioux City); Brian Kilburg (Tri-City): Kyle Kuk (Tri-City).
Forwards:Tim Kennedy (Sioux City); Dan Riedel (Lincoln); Dennis McCauley (Sioux City); Tim Miller (Omaha); Chad Rau (Des Moines); Tom Gorowsky (Sioux Falls);Christian Hanson (Tri-City); Justin Abdelkader (Cedar Rapids); Jared Boll (Lincoln); Corey Carlson (Omaha); Justin Bostrom (Sioux City); Nick Kemp (Sioux City).
Goaltenders: Drew O’Connell (Waterloo); Jimmy Spratt (Sioux City).
Defensmen: Tim Filangieri (Waterloo); Kevin O’Connor (Omaha); Aleks Jerofejevs (Sioux Falls); Tom Sawatske (Lincoln); Keith Roeder (Chicago); Joe Finley (Sioux Falls).
Forwards: Ted Purcell (Cedar Rapids); Tomas Klempa (Indiana); John Mitchell (Green Bay); Phillip Axtell (Cedar Rapids); Brock Bradford (Omaha); Trevor Smith (Omaha); Todd McIlrath (Indiana); Matt Vokes (Cedar Rapids); Blake Wheeler (Green Bay); Zach Bearson (Waterloo); T.J. Fox (Chicago); David Meckler (Waterloo).
The rosters are selected by the USHL in conjunction with the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. An average of 12 to 15 players (of the above 40) are specifically selected by Central Scouting.
Worcester Academy Tops Div. II Poll
St. George's has dropped out of the top spot in this week's USHR Div. II Prep poll -- and Worcester Academy has moved in.
Avon Still #1 in USHR Div. I Prep Poll
Avon Old Farms may have lost 1-0 down at Taft yesterday, but are still holding onto the top spot in the USHR Div. I poll, albeit by a thin thread.
AJHL Showcase Next Weekend
The Atlantic Junior Hockey League will be holding its first showcase Jan. 15-17 in Portland, Maine.
Games will be played at the Biddeford Arena and the Portland Civic Center.
The eight-team AJHL consists of the Boston Bulldogs, Hartford Junior Wolf Pack, New Jersey Rockets, New York Bobcats,Northern Mass. Cyclones, Philadelphia Little Flyers, Portland Junior Pirates, and Washington Junior Nationals.
The link below will take you to the tournament schedule page on the league’s website. If you go to the home page, you can find each team’s roster and stats.
Beantown Classic and HNIB to go Head-to-Head Again
The Beantown Classic and Hockey Night in Boston have gone head-to-head in August, but never in March. That will change this year, as the Beantown Spring Classic is scheduled for Wed. March 23 through Sat. March 26, with games to be played at BU and the New England Sports Center in Marlboro. The Beantown Classic, run by the Masters family, will consist this year of two four-team divisions: a Draft Division (’84-’87), and a Pre-Draft Division (’88-90). In addition, there were will be a two-team division for girls.
Lance LoFaro has scheduled Hockey Night in Boston’s All-Scholastic Tourney from Thurs. March 24 to Easter Sun. March 27.
-- The EJHL Playoffs get underway – all games are tentatively set for Holy Cross -- with a pair ofplaydown games on Mon. March 14 (#7 seed vs. #10; #8 vs. #9).Quarterfinals will take place Tues through Fri. March 15-18. The semis will be on Sunday the 20th and the final will be on Monday the 21st.
-- The Massachusetts high school final is scheduled for March 20th at the Fleet Center – or whatever they’ll soon be calling it . We’re assuming it will be Catholic Memorial vs,. BC High again, but if those two teams play the way they did at BC’s Conte Forum last night, a game won by CM, 5-3, it’s possible neither will be there. Pointless penalties by CM, really shaky goaltending by BC High… and perhaps the two weakest teams from both schools that we’ve ever seen. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean any other school is good enough to knock them off. It just means there’s a slim chance, a little window of opportunity, like the one Toll Gate climbed through when they knocked off Mount St. Charles last March.
EJHL All-Star Rosters Announced
The Eastern Junior Hockey League All-Star game will be held Thursday, Jan. 13 at Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena. Faceoff is set for 8:40 PM and will have three 20-minute periods. Earlier, at 7:00 pm, there will be a Future Stars game consisting of two 25-minute halves.
The Boston Harbor Wolves are hosting the games. The rosters below are tentative.
-All Stars North-
Forwards: Ryan Ginand (Junior Bruins), Pat Kimball (Junior Bruins), Alex Berry (Junior Bruins), Mark Roebothan (Valley Junior Warriors), Joe Cucci (Valley Junior Warriors), Jeff Pappalardi (Capital District Selects), Jordan Virtue (Walpole Jr. Stars), Matt Gilroy (Walpole Jr. Stars), Ben Wahler (Bridgewater Bandits), Mike Thomson (Boston Harbor Wolves), Mickey Rego (New England Huskies), Chris Donovan (Junior Bruins)
Defensemen: Jim Driscoll (Junior Bruins), Topher Bevis (Junior Bruins), David Strathman (Valley Junior Warriors), Drew Reynolds (Capital District Selects), Steve Coon (Capital District Selects), Nick Jillson (Walpole Jr. Stars)
Goaltenders: Nevin Hamilton (Junior Bruins), Charlie Lockwood (Bridgewater Bandits), Chris Rossi (Junior Bruins)
Coaches: Peter Masters, Jr. (Junior Bruins), Henry Lazar (New York Apple Core)
-All Stars South-
Forwards: Chris Higgins (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Scott Crowder (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Joe Milo (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Mike Karwoski (New York Apple Core), Rich Purslow (New York Apple Core), Bill Keenan (New York Apple Core), Kevin DeVirgilio (Bay State Breakers), Robert Nowinski (Bay State Breakers), Chris Margott (Bay State Breakers), Paul Worthington (Green Mountain Glades), Will Ryan (Green Mountain Glades), Alec Kirschner (New Jersey Hitmen)
Defensemen: Matt Duffy (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Jamie Fritsch (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Andrew Linard (Bay State Breakers), Barry Goers (Green Mountain Glades), Tim Kunes (New England Jr. Falcons), Matt Generous (New England Jr. Falcons).
Goaltenders: Brian Foster (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Mathias Lange (New York Apple Core), A.J. Drago (New Jersey Hitmen).
Coaches: Sean Tremblay (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Andy Heinze (Valley Jr. Warriors)
-Future Stars North-
Forwards: Dan Bartlett (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Jason Williams (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Ian O'Connor (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Austin Mayer (Walpole Jr. Stars), Dan Rossman (Valley Jr. Warriors), Sergio Somma (Capital District Selects), Cass Buttafuoco (New York Apple Core), Timothy King (Bay State Breakers), Nate Bostic (New England Huskies), Vincent Grana (New England Huskies), Ken Brandt (Valley Jr. Warriors), Ryan Leary (Valley Jr. Warriors)
Defense: Tim Geverd (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Nick Petrecki (Capital District Selects), Jesse Williams (Valley Jr. Warriors), Eric Scovill (Valley Jr. Warriors), Andrew Stevenson (Walpole Jr. Stars), Brett Noll (Bridgewater Bandits)
Goaltenders: Ryan Simpson (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Mike Spillane (Green Mountain Glades)
Coaches: Jim Salfi (Capital District Selects), Jack Sweeney (Walpole Jr. Stars)
-Future Stars South-
Forwards: Garrett Peters (Junior Bruins), Kory Falite (Junior Bruins), Bobby Butler (Junior Bruins), Barry Almeida (New England Jr. Falcons), Tyler Fernandez (New England Jr. Falcons), Patrick Cannone (New England Jr. Falcons), Matt Fitzgibbons (Junior Bruins), Brian Haczyk (New Jersey Hitmen), Josh Newburg (New Jersey Hitmen), John Morea (New Jersey Hitmen), Bryan Potacco (New Jersey Hitmen), Tommy Lange (Boston Harbor Wolves)
Defensemen: Cody Wild (Junior Bruins), Mike Harr (Junior Bruins), Gerard Heinz (New York Apple Core), Mike Mortimer (New England Jr. Falcons), Ryan Stelzer (New England Jr. Falcons), Jan Svrcek (New England Huskies). Note: Mickey Dudley (New England Jr. Falcons) was named to the team but replaced due to injury.
Goaltenders: D.J. DelBuono (Valley Jr. Warriors), Justin Wakefield (New England Huskies)
Coaches: David McCauley (Bay State Breakers), Brad Holt (Green Mountain Glades)
1/6/05 Updated 1/7/05
Ukraine ‘87s in Town
HC Druzhba ’78, comprised primarily of ’87-born players who will make up the Ukraine’s National Under-18 Team, are in the Boston area through Monday, and will be scrimmaging once daily.
Yesterday, the squad, which also includes one ’85, two ‘88s and five ‘89s, topped the Boston Harbor Wolves 3-1 in a morning game played at Nobles. This afternoon at 5:00 they’ll be facing off against the Belmont Hill varsity. Technically a scrimmage, the game will be played with referees and will consist of three 15-minute stop-time periods.
Here’s the schedule:
Thurs Jan. 6 – Belmont Hill (@ Belmont Hill) 5:00 pm
Fri. Jan. 7 -- Junior Bruins Midget AAA (@ BU) 7:00 pm
Sat. Jan. 8 – Cap District Selects (@ Harvard) 1:30 pm
Sun. Jan. 9 – Arlington High School (@ BB&N) 5:15 pm
Mon. Jan. 10 -- St. Sebastian’s (at St. Seb’s) 12:45 pm -- Note new start time!!
We didn’t catch yesterday’s game, but we’re told that the two high-end players are 6’2” defenseman Pavel Kozhokin (wearing #10), 5’11” forward Egor Egorov (#16). Behind them, 6’0” F/D Aleksandr Mikolenko (#12) and 6’2” forward Maksim Podkosov are also strong players. 6’4” defenseman Daniil Gurev did not play yesterday, but is said to be very good, as well.
Those are just the best ’87 born players. There is also a batch of younger players.
Then there are the two girls: 5’9”, 136 lb. forward Elizaveta Ryabkina (#17) and 5’9”, 143 lb. ’89 forward Viktoria Mikolenko (#14). As far as we know, both will be playing today. Ryabkina has scored a pair of goals on the North American tour, but Mikolenko, who’s just 15, has yet to register a point in seven games – so she’s due.
The man behind the tour is Gene Kinasewich, a ’64 Harvard grad out of Edmonton, Alberta who starred on some of the powerful Cooney Weiland-coached Harvard teams of the early ‘60s, where he was teammates with long-time Yale coach Tim Taylor, not to mention Godfrey Wood, Ike Ikauniks,Dave Johnston, and others. Kinasewich, one of 14 children of Ukranian immigrants who settled in Alberta, is traveling with the team. He has been battling cancer for the last couple of years.
There is an excellent article about Kinasewich on the team’s web site, as well as information on coach Ivan Pravilov, an article about the girls, the team’s history, etc There’s some good reading there. We recommend it highly. There’s also basic stuff like roster, stats, etc.
Here’s the link:
Druzhba '78 topped Belmont Hill yesterday, 2-1. Today, ten of the players are going out to western Mass. to visit the Berkshire School, where the above-mentioned girl, Elizaveta Ryabkina, was offered a scholarship last year. Berkshire has a strong English as a Second Language program, as does Lawrence Academy, where some of the Druzhba players will also interview. As for Ryabkina, she could step in right now and contribute to any Div. I women's college hockey program in the country. This is a great opportunity for some of these kids -- the Ukraine, as you may know, is suffering from high unemploymment and poverty.
Please note the change of the starting time for Monday's game at St. Sebastian's. The new starting time is 12:45 pm.
Sauer Picks Michigan
Chicago Steel 6’1” goaltender Billy Sauer has committed to Michigan and has accelerated his studies – he started this season as a junior in high school -- so that he can go there next fall and step in to fill Al Montoya’s shoes. That, of course, is assuming that Montoya turns pro.
If Montoya doesn’t turn pro, Sauer may return to the USHL for another year.
Sauer made his final choice from among BU, BC, and Michigan. All three schools asked if Sauer would be interested in accelerating.
A native of Rochester, NY and a 1/6/88 birthdate, Sauer has a .912 save percentage and a 2.59 gaa in 17 games for the Steel.
Sauer put himself on the map by leading the Buffalo Saints Midget Minor team to a national championship in April, then followed that up with an outstanding performance at the Select 16 Festival in Rochester last summer.
Sauer first came to the Steel camp as a 14-year-old and was one of the top four goaltenders at that time. This fall, as a 16-year-old coming out of midget minor he had no problem winning a spot. He’s currently in a rotation with Wisconsin recruit Shane Connelly.
ESPN Gives the Lowdown on U.S. World Junior Flop
In a hard-hitting article that examines the U.S. junior team’s difficulties at this year’s World Junior Championship, ESPN the Magazine writer EJ Hradek questions USA Hockey’s whole approach to the annual tournament.
Hradek argues that the US was sunk before the tournament even began because of ineptitude among the higher-ups in USA Hockey. We’ve written about this problem before, specifically how USA Hockey executive director Doug Palazzari lacks not only the ability, but also the leadership qualities the job requires. Hradek not only points the finger at Palazzari, but others, too.
The confusion and lack of accountability at the top, Hradek points out, had a trickle-down effect and led to junior team player selections being made by “a large, unnecessary group of people” whose interaction was characterized by “bickering and infighting.” Again, Hradek points fingers.
By way of comparison, Hradek shows how Hockey Canada, under Bob Nicholson and full-time scout Blair Mackasey, has its house very much in order.
Hradek also reported bickering between the assistant coaches – Mike Hastings and David Quinn. However, a source close to the scene told us that he saw no evidence of this. Hastings and Quinn, remember, were both in Omaha together in the not too distant past - the former with the Lancers and the latter at UNO. Hradek also mentioned a lack of preparedness by the coaching staff, mentioning that four skaters were sent out for the opening faceoff of overtime in yesterday’s bronze medal game– à la the NHL -- when five were required.
There’s more. You might want to read it. Here is the link:
Perry Leaving BC for the OHL
6’3”, 215 lb. Boston College freshman defenseman Todd Perry has left the Heights to join the Barrie Colts (OHL).
Perry, who played for the Brockville Braves (CJHL) last season, has only appeared in three of Boston College’s first 15 games.
Perry, an Ingleside, Ontario native, was originally drafted in the first round (#9 overall) of the 2002 OHL draft by the Sarnia Sting. However, he didn’t report to Sarnia, choosing to stay in Tier II and maintain his NCAA eligibility. The following spring, he was returned to the draft pool. Though he’d already committed to the college route, Barrie took a flyer on him, taking him in the 12th round of the 2003 OHL draft.
A 12/13/86 birthdate, Perry is eligible for June’s NHL draft. The fact that he wasn’t playing -- in combination with the fact that it is his draft year – led him to leave BC.
Perry will be in uniform when the Colts host the Plymouth Whalers on Thursday night.
It’s 2005, and Avon is Still #1
The undefeated and untied Avon Old Farms Winged Beavers, who return to action on Wednesday at Pomfret, hold the top spot in this week’s USHR Prep Poll.
In looking at the schedules and trying to do some projecting, it’s hard to see Avon, Salisbury, or even Deerfield collapsing. Which means that there could be a battle for just one spot in the playoffs out west.
In the east, things are murkier. Exeter is undefeated, but we’re not totally sold on them yet – this week will tell a lot. Nobles and Thayer are both very solid. Cushing has lost to the two teams ranked above them (Exeter; Nobles), but has beaten all the teams that they should beat. Andover, which gets Chris Cahill back for Wednesday’s game, has to demonstrate the ability to win consistently. Ditto for NMH. Tabor needs to come to play every game. And GDA is capable of making a run. In short, the east is shaping up to be much more wide open.
Nobles, Jr. Falcons Today's Tournament Winners
Today at Cushing Academy, Noble and Greenough topped Cushing 2-0 to win the annual Edward G. Watkins Tournament. Junior wing Ryan Maguire scored both goals -- the second an empty-netter -- and sophomore goaltender John Muse kicked out 31 shots to pick up the shutout.
Down at Tabor Academy, the New England Junior Falcons topped Upper Canada College, 4-2, to take the title of the Joshua H. Weeks Invitational.
For more on both tournaments please check the Prep News Page.
Toews Opts for NCAA Route
Shattuck-St. Mary’s star senior forward Jonathan Toews, a 6’1”, 180 lb. ’88-born left-shot center from Winnipeg, Manitoba, has opted for the NCAA route and will commit to the University of North Dakota.
For pretty much the whole time Toews has been at Shattuck the question was whether or not Toews, who was picked #1 overall by the Tri-City Americans in the 2003 WHL Bantam Draftwould go major junior. Most observers felt he would go major junior, but if he opted for college it would only be to the Fighting Sioux, which doesn’t exactly suffer from a shortage of Shattuck kids.
Toews is a smooth skater who swoops around the offensive zone like a California condor. He has soft hands and can carry the puck like it’s glued to his stick. His shot is excellent. This is another big get for North Dakota.
Toews, an April ’88 birthdate, is eligible for the 2006 NHL draft.
Esposito Headed East?
6’1”, 170 lb. Angelo Esposito, an ’89 left-shot right wing from Montreal who is Shattuck’s star of the future, has reportedly narrowed his college choices to BU, UNH, and Wisconsin, though it’s strongly felt that BU has the inside track.
An early top candidate for the 2007 NHL draft, Esposito (no relation to Phil, by the way) has size, speed, acceleration, and great hands. But he’s also only 15 years old and the youngest player on the team.
Esposito, who projects better than any other ’89 forward we’ve seen, is a smooth, strong skater with explosiveness and an extra gear he uses to go wide on d-men.