Established 1996


Thursday at Nationals

Bensenville, Ill. --Ryan Santana notched a hat trick as the LA Selects topped the Junior Everblades, 6-2, in Thursday action at Nationals.

Team Illinois came from two goals down, scoring three straight, the final coming off the stick of Toby Heaslip 30 seconds into OT, to edge Detroit Victory Honda, 5-4. Dan Durham had a goal and an assist for TI and Michael Guzzo had a pair of goals for Victory Honda.

The Pittsburgh Hornets scored four first period goals off GBL Jr. Bruins netminder Steven Ritter. At the start of the second, he was replaced by Richard Bachman, who allowed a goal 1:57 in, but then shut Pittsburgh down the rest of the way as his teammates mounted a comeback but fell two goals short. Robbie Madore kicked out 36 of 39 for Pittsburgh.

Michael Gergen had two goals and an assist to lead Shattuck-St. Mary’s past the Chicago Chill, 6-3.

The Colorado Outlaws got goals from six different players and Michael Garman kicked out 26 of 28 in a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Saints.

The New Hampshire Junior Monarchs and the Philly Jr. Flyers played three periods and a 10-minute overtime, but couldn’t come up with a winner, settling for a 4-4 tie. For the Monarchs it was a “good” tie, as they trailed 3-1 at the end of one period. Paul Thompson had a pair of goals for the Monarchs.


Bensenville, Ill. --16 and Under results:

The Eastern Mass Senators topped the Indianapolis Checkers, 5-1, as John Jay stopped 34 of 35 and Jason Silvia had a pair of goals.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s topped the Wisconsin Fire, 3-1. Brian Volpei had two goals and Brett Bruneteau had a goal and an assist. Jason Horstman stopped 25 of 26 in the Shattuck net, while Wisconsin goalie Mark Guggenberger kicked out 41 of 44 in a losing cause.

Honeybaked, behind goals from five different scorers and a 22-save effort from Evan Jones, beat Team Illinois, 5-1.

Shane Harper scored six (!) goals in the California Wave’s 10-3 win over the Ellenton Eels.

A Ryan Miniaci goal with 1:35 remaining in regulation gave Mid-Fairfield a 3-2 win over the New Jersey Jr. Devils. Randy Wolcott kicked out 27 of 29 for the win. John Yancheck kicked out 37 of 40 in a losing cause.

A powerplay goal at 3:09 of OT by Locke Jillson gave the Alliance Bulldogs (Colorado) a 6-5 win over the Rochester Americans.




Yandle Set for UNH

Cushing Academy 6’2”, 203 lb. LD Keith Yandle will not be playing at Cushing in the upcoming season.

Yandle has been declared a senior at the Ashburnham, Mass. boarding school and is expected to graduate in June and join his brother at UNH in the fall.

In Central Scouting’ mid-term rankings for the NHL draft, released in January, Yandle was the top-ranked New England prep player. Avon goalie Jon Quick (UMass) and Salisbury defensemen Phillipe Paquet (Clarkson) are other prep players highly-ranked for the NHL draft… whenever that is.


In other Cushing news, the Penguins should get a boost offensively in the coming season from 6’3”, 170 lb. forward Alex Curran of the Fredericton (NB) Canadiens. Curran, who will be a PG, was the leading scorer in the New Brunswick Major Midget Hockey League this past season. Curran, a 1/10/87 birthdate, was drafted by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL in 2004, but chose to stay in midgets and preserve his college options.

A power forward with good hands and good feet, Curran is good in all three zones. He plays the body and has proven he can finish. Right now, though, he’s quite wiry and needs to get stronger. If he can do that he could be a very good college player – and his size certainly gives him pro potential as well.




The Future at Merrimack

As expected, Chris Serino officially resigned as both head coach and AD at Merrimack College today.

There has been talk of the beleaguered program dropping out of Hockey East and joining Atlantic Hockey. While that could happen, it’s not going to happen now. It’s too late in the game. Schedules have already been made up for next season so it would be impossible, logistically speaking.

As for the next coach at Merrimack, the name most prominently mentioned is Bruce Crowder. Two other names that are cropping up are Maine assistant Campbell Blair and Gene Reilly, who was an assistant on Crowder’s staff at Northeastern last season. Reilly is also a candidate to stay on at Northeastern under new head coach Greg Cronin.

Serino will be head hockey coach/AD at Malden Catholic High School next season. For Serino, it’s a return to his roots. A former Saugus (Mass.) high school star and a member of the Massachusetts High School Hockey Hall of Fame, Serino was later head coach at Saugus, and then went on to coach for several years of prep hockey at Northfield-Mt. Hermon before going on to UNH as an assistant coach.



Clark Cup Finals Face Off Tonight; Available on Pay Per View

The USHL championship series --- the Clark Cup --- gets underway at 7:00 pm CST tonight with Sioux City at Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids has rolled through the playoffs, sweeping Indiana and Chicago on their way to the finals.  Cedar Rapids also shared the regular season Anderson Cup with Omaha, both teams finishing with 89 points.  Sioux City earned their way to the final after knocking off two tough opponents, the Lincoln Stars and Tri City Storm , both three games to one.

Cedar Rapids is the favorite going into tonight’s action, but both teams are talented, quick, and have top scorers along with depth up and down the lineup. Both teams also have solid goaltending as well as blue liners who are mobile and can jump up into the play and contribute offensively.  Each team features a lineup with 15 Div. I college recruits. Sioux City is missing defenseman and UNH recruit Joe Charlebois, who went out in the first round of the playoffs. 

Watch It Live:

The whole series, which is best of five, is available via pay-per-view broadcast on your computer. All you need is a DSL or cable modem connection (and $6 per game). Go to prior to the game and click on the “Watch the Game Live” link to purchase.


Game #1 -- Fri. 4/29 – Sioux City at Cedar Rapids – 7:00 pm

Game #2 – Sun. 5/1– Sioux City at Cedar Rapids – 7:00 pm

Game #3 – Thurs. 5/5 – Cedar Rapids at Sioux City – 7:00 pm

Game #4 – Sat. 5/7– Cedar Rapids at Sioux City – 7:00 pm

Game #5 – Mon. 5/9– Sioux City at Cedar Rapids – 7:00 pm

College Commitments:

Cedar Rapids Roughriders (15)
Justin Abdelkader, Michigan State University 
Phillip Axtell, Michigan Tech University 
Greg Collins, University of New Hampshire 
Ray Eichenlaub, University of Miami-Ohio 
Billy Loupee, University of Miami-Ohio 
Shane Lovdahl, University of Alaska-Anchorage 
Alec Martinez, University of Miami-Ohio 
Zach Miskovic, St. Lawrence University 
Ted Purcell, University of Maine 
Rob Ricci, Merrimack College 
Alex Stalock, Univeristy of Minnesota-Duluth 
Gary Steffes, University of Miami-Ohio 
Brandon Svendsen, Bowling Green State University

Dan Tormey, Minnesota State 
Matt Vokes, Brown University

Sioux City Musketeers 15 College Commitments
Justin Bostrom, University of Minnesota
Chris Butler, University of Denver
Joe Charlebois, University of New Hampshire 
Corey Elkins, Ohio State University 
Steven Kampfer, University of Michigan
Nick Kemp, University of Minnesota - Duluth
Tim Kennedy, Michigan State University 
Peter Lenes, University of Vermont 
Louis Liotti, Northeastern University 
Dennis McCauley, Northeastern University
Josh Meyers, University of Minnesota-Duluth
Christiaan Minella, Notre Dame 
Jimmy Spratt, Bowling Green State University
Travis Turnbull, University of Michigan
Jeff Zatkoff, University of Miami-Ohio



Notre Dame Search

Four names have been prominent in discussions about the Notre Dame head coaching position, vacant since Dave Poulin stepped down on April 15:

They are:

** Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. He’s a Cornell alum who, in 1995, took over a Big Red program that had suffered through three straight losing seasons. He instantly turned things around and, in the ten years since, without the benefit of athletic scholarships, has put together a 199-103-34 record and has taken Cornell to the NCAA tournament five times. So he’s a hot property. As of yesterday, we were hearing reports from credible sources that Schafer had been offered the Notre Dame job-- at $200K a year for five years. Anything is possible in this world, but today we heard from other equally good sources that the actual offering of a contract was a rumor, so, until we hear otherwise, that’s how we’ll treat it. Still, from all we’ve heard, Notre Dame has him on their short list. Would he leave his alma mater? He’s definitely done all that’s been expected of him in Ithaca – and more – and it’s hard to see Cornell being able to match Notre Dame when it comes to coaches’ salaries.             

** University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia. We’ve been able to confirm that the Fighting Irish have Lucia, a Notre Dame alum (and three-year teammate of Poulin), on their short list. Old school ties can run deep, but it’s still hard to see Lucia leaving the U – where he has a couple of scary-good recruiting classes coming in over the next two years – to go back to South Bend, where hockey doesn’t enjoy the same big-time status that it does in Gopherland. However, like we said, anything’s possible in this funny old world.

** New York Islanders assistant coach Jeff Jackson. From 1990-96, he was head coach at Lake Superior State. Five of those six squads won thirty or more games and all reached the NCAA tournament. The Lakers also reached the NCAA championship game for three straight years, winning national titles in two of them (’92, ’94) and falling just short in ’93. Jackson has also led the National Junior team to a silver medal (’97), was an assistant coach on the 1998 U.S. Olympic team, and founded the U.S. National Team Development Program. With his broad résumé and the fact that the NHL is still in lock-out mode, Jackson is a very strong candidate for the Notre Dame position.

** U.S. Under-18 Team head coach Ron Rolston. His record as a head coach consists solely of this past campaign with the Under-18 Team, but the team played hard and parlayed that into a gold medal last week in the Czech Republic. Until heading out to Ann Arbor, Rolston had been a long-time assistant at Lake Superior State (five years), Clarkson (three years), Harvard (three years), and Boston College (two years). For what it’s worth, just before Thanksgiving the Under-18 Team came into South Bend and whipped the Fighting Irish, 7-2, in an exhibition game.




Glasser to Denver


5’10”, 180 lb. Matt Glasser, a left wing with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL), has committed to Denver for the ’06-07 season.

Glasser, a very fast, feisty, physical player with a good stick, led his team in scoring with a 25-24-49 scoring line in 62 games during the regular season. He added 10 points in 18 playoff games.The Oil Barons met the Camrose Kodiaks in the AJHL final, bowing in seven games.

A 1/11/87 birthdate, Glasser visited BU and Minnesota-Duluth. A good student, he was also going to visit Harvard after the season, but that never came about. Cornell was also said to be in the picture.



NTDP Tryout Camp

Here are our rankings of the players invited to the NTDP Evaluation Camp, held March 20-22 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

All the players, except for five ‘88s being watched as possible additions for the older team, were ‘89s tabbed for this fall’s Under-17 team.

The overall feeling is that the D was good, and the forwards were OK. That’s pretty much what scouts who watched the ‘89s during last summer’s select festivals felt. So, in that regard, not much has changed in seven months.

Among the d-men, Tristin Llewellyn (Indiana Ice) was not at the camp because of an injury. He’s expected to go to the OHL, anyway. Nick Petrecki was the top prospect on the blue line though he, too, is expected to go to the OHL. Derrick Pallis, another top D, is staying at Noble & Greenough. To the best of our knowledge, Cade Fairchild, Joey Lavin, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian Cole, and David Kolomatis have all committed to the NTDP.

Up front, there were no Kessels, Gerbes, or Skilles – ‘sure bet’ guys who jump out at you right away. Mike Hoeffel, though, appears closest. However, neither Hoeffel nor our #2-ranked forward, Jimmy Hayes, has accepted the program’s invitation. It appears Hayes, like Pallis, will stay at Noble & Greenough. The Hoeffel situation is more up in the air.To the best of our knowledge, Ryan Hayes, Brennan Vargas, C.J. Severyn have accepted NTDP invitations. Matt Rust and John Albert had accepted invitations in advance of the camp. James VanRiemsdyk was playing in the New Jersey high school finals and couldn’t attend the tryout camp. He has been offered a slot on the team, too.

There were six goalies in camp. Of the three we liked the most, none was a slam-dunk as a #1 guy. As far as we know, no goalie has been offered a slot yet.

Of the ‘88s, F/D David Fischer appeared to be the only one of the five who showed enough to get a shot with the older team in the fall. Not in attendance were ‘88s who appeared with the team at international tournaments. The NTDP already knows what those guys – forwards Sean Dolan (Indiana Ice) and Brian Day (Gov. Dummer); and defenseman Nigel Williams (TI Midgets) -- can do, and wanted to see what others could show.

Please remember that our comments should be taken in context. If we write, for example, that a player has “average hands” please remember that it’s relative to the top players of his age group.


1. Mike Hoeffel, 6-0/168, North Oaks, Minn., Hill-Murray HS --- Best forward in camp. A big strong power forward with soft hands. Surpassed expectations coming in. Made plays at top speed that no one else could make. A poised player who has the potential to be a top pro prospect. If he joins the program, he could be a big-time contributor.

2. Jimmy Hayes, 6-2/195, Dorchester, Mass., Noble & Greenough School -- A big-time prospect – plus he had a strong camp. He’s big, strong, skates well, and sees the ice. Good demeanor. Plays hard. Has a bit of everything, and, with an 11/21/89 birthdate, was the youngest kid in the camp, too.

3. Ryan Hayes, 5-8/161, Syracuse, NY, Syracuse Stars (OPJHL) -- The surprise of the camp. Scored in every game, and finished up as the scoring leader. Hayes is quick as a cat, skilled, dynamic and smart. An excellent playmaker, he can also bury it (he had nine goals). He’s not big, but he knows where to be. In other words, he’s not easily neutralized. He’s a darter, very good in open ice. Very smooth, very athletic.

4. C.J. Severyn, 6-0/165, Beaver, PA, Pittsburgh Hornets Midget Minor -- Tall, skinny Pittsburgh native has good size, speed, and offensive ability. Skilled power forward. Equal part playmaker and goal scorer. Good on the PK, too.

5. John Albert, Concord, Ohio, Cleveland Barons Midget Minor -- Was offered and accepted before camp. Was also coming offMid-Am regionals, hence was late arriving – and tired, too. So he wasn’t able to show his A game. Albert gets around the ice well, he’s shifty, and he creates offense. Has committed to Ohio State for ’07.

6. Justin Vaive, 6-3½/178, Oakville, Ont., Toronto Marlies Midget Minor -- Huge, can’t skate much, but has a big upside. He’s a true project. He’s big and strong, and works the corners well. Needs to work on his feet, but the program can help him there. He does a lot of little things well. Son of former NHLer Rick Vaive.

7. Matt Rust, 5-9½/172, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Honeybaked Midget Major -- Small, but does some really nice things. Very good early on, then hurt his shoulder and didn’t play last game at all. All a moot point because he was offered a spot on team last fall and accepted.

8. Brennan Vargas, 6-0/186, Coon Rapids, Minn., Coon Rapids HS -- Started off slowly on the wing. When moved to center he showed himself to be strong on the draws. Excellent passing ability. . A little heavy-footed and unengaging at times. Very good hockey sense, though. Worked the corners well. Kept the cycle running consistently. Needs to work on feet and be more aggressive. As mentioned, he’s an excellent passer, but should shoot more.

9. Daniel Smith, 6-3/194, Scottsdale, AZ, Phoenix Firebirds Midget Major -- Son of former NHLer Bobby Smith is a project. Just very raw, but has excellent hockey sense, good hands, and is a smooth, though not fast, skater. Was coming off mono so that has to be taken into consideration too. Got better as week went along. Will be huge – actually already is. Looks just like his dad, too.

10. Patrick White, 6-0/179, Grand Rapids, Minn., Grand Rapids HS -- Just OK on the first day, came on the second day, suffered a deep thigh bruise and didn’t play the third day. Strong skater. Good puck skills, good hockey sense, does everything well.

11. Mike Cieslak, Penfield, NY, McQuiad Jesuit HS -- Big raw, good speed, but puck skills average. He’s physical enough, but needs to show more jam in order to become an elite player. With his size, he could get there. His high school team won the NY state championship so he was a late arrival in camp. He, too, was tired, physically and emotionally, so he may not have been able to show his best game. However, he scored a few goals, and showed potential.

12. Anthony Maiani, 5-7/148, Shelby Township, Mich., Honeybaked Midget Minor -- A lot of observers liked him, but at 5’7’, he needs burning quickness, and he doesn’t have that. He does put up points, though. Best described as a lesser version of Ryan Hayes, if that’s fair. He’s smart, he moves the puck, and he gets it back. Perhaps the #2 small forward here. More playmaker than goal scorer. Younger brother of Ohio State freshman forward Dominic Maiani.

13. Ryan Schnell, 6-3/211, Cary, Ill., Team Illinois Midget Major -- Big and strong. Loves to hit. Steamrolls players – ask Nick Petrecki. Most physical forward in camp, but limited offensively. He’s an average skater – heavy-footed and knock-kneed. Didn’t do as much as was hoped, but may be OK anyway because of his size and physical play.

14. Jack Downing, 6-2/174, New Canaan, Conn., Taft School -- A bit of a project. A knock-kneed skater who needs to widen his base to become a premier power forward. Has excellent hands, can shoot it a ton, and is good in traffic. There are questions about his ice vision.

15. Patrick Johnson, 5-8/127, Verona, Wisc., Madison Memorial HS -- Son of Mark Johnson showed good puck skills and skating ability. Smart and creative, with excellent hockey sense. Made some great look-away passes. A little like James Marcou, but not quite as crafty. At 5’8”, 127, he’s small and plays small. Will be an excellent college player.

16. Matt Smyth, 5-10/165, Orlando, Fla., Markham Islanders Midget Minor -- Florida kid has excellent speed, can really fly, but his hockey sense and hands are just OK. Gets in on forecheck well. Probably going to the OHL anyway. Expected a little more.

17. Nick Palmieri, 6-1/214, Clinton, NY, Northwood School -- Sturdy, somewhat rigid player. Decent offensive skills. Engaged, but not a bruiser. A little slow, but got better as tryout went along. Has upside, but also has quite a way to go.

18. Andrew Glass, 5-10/175, Wrentham, Mass., Noble & Greenough School -- Showed some flashes with some nifty plays in tight, but overall had an average camp. Good, but not great skater. If he had higher top-end speed, and slightly better hands, it would be a different picture. He does, however, see the ice very well.

19. Josh Franklin, 5-11/198, Randolph, Mass., Noble & Greenough School -- Big strapping kid who uses weight and physical size to gain position on opponents. Tough to knock off puck. Good along the wall. Heavy shot. No jump in skating, though, and no offensive flair. Upside is limited as higher-skilled players are catching up to him in size and strength.

20. Dan Durham, 5-9/158, Chicago, Ill., Team Illinois Midget Major -- Quick, speedy waterbug. Would make excellent penalty killer. We don’t see him as being ready for the NTDP.

21. Jason Silvia, 6-0/190, Burlington, Mass., St.. John’s Prep -- Expected more. He can be aggressive and play with jam and go to the net, but didn’t show that here.

22. Ansel Ivans-Anderson, 5’10”/117 lbs. -- Decent, but definitely out of his league. Slight frame. Good speed.


1. Nick Petrecki, 6-2/198, Clifton Park, NY, Capital District Selects (EJHL): Wasn’t quite as good as we’ve seen him. Was a little scattered in his play. Tried to do too much. However, at 6-2/198, the package is great.

2. Cade Fairchild, 5-10/154, Duluth, Minn., Duluth East HS -- Outstanding. Started off just acclimating himself, but in second game really made his presence felt. A QB for the blueline. Backpedals nicely while surveying the ice. By far the most skilled offensive defenseman here. Smooth and poised, with puck skills and savviness. Jumps up into offense extremely well. A smooth skater, but not fast. Similar to Keith Ballard, but without the edge.

Note: The above two were the best defense prospects, hands-down. There’s a drop off after them. Also, the following five players could be ranked in any order. They’re all very close in ability.

3. Joey Lavin, 6-0/172, Shrewsbury, Mass., Boston Jr. Bruins Midget AAA -- Sees ice well. Poised. Skating and puck skills good. Defensive zone coverage is good. Most impressive was his poise and confidence.

4. Kevin Shattenkirk, 5-11/178, New Rochelle, NY, Brunswick School -- Very good. Makes good quick decisions. Likes to rush the puck. Plays with passion. Plus he has the tools, too.

5. Derrick Pallis, 6-0/149, Medfield, Mass, Noble & Greenough School -- Good. Has the tools, skating ability, and grit. A little risky with puck at times. Not really creative with puck once he gets into the offensive zone. A d-man who offers a little bit of everything.Very good N-S; needs a little work on his lateral movement.

6. Ian Cole, 6-1/202, Ann Arbor, Mich., Victory Honda Midget Major -- Didn’t play up to expectations. Had a few flashes, though, jumping up into the rush. Made some nice plays. Strong and steady on skates – sturdy would be a good word – but not a great skater. Defensively, he was solid, though not exactly eye-popping.

7. David Kolomatis, 5-10/165, Basking Ridge, NJ, New Jersey Rockets Jr. B -- Skates well and moves puck well. Needs to refine defensive zone play and also get more done offensively.

8. Colby Cohen, 6-2/176, Villanova, PA, Syracuse Stars (OPJHL) -- One of the bigger D in camp. Solid, steady, tough. Average offensively. A little undisciplined, but a big body that will play the physical game. A few too many cheap shots after the whistle.

9. Frank Grzeszczak, 5-8/155, Plantation, Fla., Honeybaked Midget Major – Good jump. Pops through holes nicely. Makes plays at top speed. A run-and-gunner. Aggressive for size. Started off with a bang, but then tailed off.

10. Ben Rosen, 5-10/180, Syosset, NY, Suffolk PAL Jr. B -- Didn’t play as well as expected.

11. Ted Ruth, 6-0/173, Naperville, Ill., Chicago Mission Midget Major -- Average vision and focus. No real dimension to game. Nothing special that allowed him to stand out from the pack.

12. Tommy Cross, 6-1/170, Simsbury, Conn., Simsbury HS -- Didn’t stand out from the pack, either.

13. Charles Vaughn, 5-11/160, Placentia, Calif., Honeybaked Midget Minor -- Wasn’t really that noticeable.


1. Brad Phillips, 6-1/145, Farmington Hills, Mich., Honeybaked Midget Major -- Solid. Needs to work on leg strength. Played his angles very well. Good size.

2. Kent Patterson, 6-0/176, Plymouth, Minn., Blake School -- All goalies these days are butterfly goalies, really, but he’s perhaps a hybrid, as he stands up more than the normal kid. Very, very steady. Thinks the game well. Started off slowly but got better as camp progressed.

3. Dayn Belfour, 5-11/173, Toronto, Ont., Streetsville Derbys (OPJHL) -- Plays like his dad, Eddie Belfour. Very confident, with quick feet, and flamboyance. He just looks like a goalie. He did, however, let in some untimely goals. A little bit all over the ice, too.

There was a dropoff in performance after those three. The remaining three goalies were John Yanchek (5-10/152, Hillsborough, NJ, New Jersey Devils Under-16), Mike Moser (Newport Beach, Calif., LA Jr. Kings Midget Minor), and Reid Ellingson (5-10/153, Cloquet, Minn., Cloquet HS). All show promise.




The ‘88s:

There were five ‘88s in the camp:


1. David Fischer, 6-3/174, Apple Valley, Minn., Apple Valley HS – A pleasant surprise. 6’3” D from Apple Valley is raw, but a good skater who plays with an edge. Has good offensive ability. Didn’t start playing D until high school. At the camp, he started out on D, then was moved up to forward, where he excelled. Look for him to be added as a forward on the older team, which as currently constructed is small up front.


1. Taylor Matson, 5-10/162, Mound, Minn., Holy Angels HS -- Hard-working kid who plays with an edge was easily the best ’88 forward in the camp. He moves his feet, has good puck skills. Probably wouldn’t add much to next year’s older team, mainly because he’s 5’10, 162 lbs. – and the team is already small with a number of players of his type.

The three Massachusetts kids – forwards Joe Whitney (Lawrence Academy), Brian Gibbons (Thayer), and Doug Rogers (St. Sebastian’s) – did not stand out.



Under-17s Top Soo in 7; Win Division Title

The U.S. Under-17 Team topped the Soo Indians, 4-2, last night in Ann Arbor to win the NAHL North Division playoffs.

However, since the NTDP isn’t allowed to send a team to the Robertson Cup/ Junior A championships, which start in Bismarck, ND tomorrow, the Soo will represent the Northern Division. The other three teams will be the South Div. winners Texas Tornado; the West Div. winner Fargo-Moorhead Jets; and the host Bismarck Bobcats.

After sweeping Fairbanks in the first round, the US took the first two games from the Soo to go up, 2-0. The Soo won the next three to take a 3-2 series lead. With a chance to clinch it at home Saturday night – it was the last Soo home game ever, as the franchise is relocating --the Soo were stopped in their tracks by US goaltender Brett Bennett, who came up with a 28-save shutout to tie the series at 3-3.

Last night, back in Ann Arbor, the U.S. took game seven. Patrick Kane (1g, 3a) keyed the U.S. attack, figuring in all his team’s goals. Bennett kicked out 18 of 20 to get the win in net.

Billy Sweatt had a big night, too, finishing with three points (2g,1a). Trent Palm had a goal and an assist; and Blake Geoffrion, Zach MacVoy, and Jamie McBain each had one assist.

Kane finished as the leading scorer of the NAHL playoffs, with a 7-8-15 line.

Bennett finished as the leading goaltender, with a 2.00 gaa and a .939 save percentage. He also had three shutouts.

Coach John Hynes saw his team’s success as the culmination of the work they started back at the beginning of the season.

“We did a ton of training in the early season, putting a lot into working on each player’s gaining of physical strength, and emphasizing nutrition and recovery. We did skating drills, situational drills, small games. There were no practices where the kids just went through the motions. We pushed them as far as they could go,” he said.

“It’s really nice to see how much each individual player improved. Their success is a tribute to their character and dedication. They responded to what we gave them.”


U.S. Tops Canada; Wins Gold at World Under-18 Championship

The U.S., behind stellar goaltending from Jeff Frazee and a four-point performance by Phil Kessel, topped Canada, 5-1, to win the gold medal at the 2005 IIHF World Under-18 Championship before 4,169 fans in Plzen, Czech Public today.

Frazee, who kicked out 48 of 49 (the U.S. was outshot, 48-32), finished the tournament with a tournament best .959 save percentage and a 1.33 gaa.

In addition to Kessel’s output, which gave him a tournament-best 9-7-16 line in the six games here, the U.S. got a pair of goals from Jason Lawrence. Nathan Gerbe (1g,1a) also had two points, as did Benn Ferriero (2a).

Two of the U.S. goals came on the power play, while the last U.S. goal, by Kessel, was an empty-netter.

Kessel scored first, taking a pass from Gerbe, splitting the D and beating Canadian goalie Carey Price for an even-strength goal at 6:33 of the first perid.

Canada’s Ryan O’Marra tied it up on the power play at 11:41, knocking home a rebound.

The U.S. went ahead 2-1 at the 16:19 mark with a power play goal, as Kessel got the puck to Lawrence, who had a wide-open net, and backhanded it home.

The U.S., despite being outshot in the period, 22-7, took their one-goal lead into the first intermission.

At about the four minute mark of the second period, Frazee kept Canada – then on the power play -- from tying it up with a big glove save.

Later in the period, with the U.S. on the power play, Lawrence got his second of the day, tipping a Peter Mueller blast under the glove hand of Price at 16:19 and giving the U.S. a 3-1 lead to take into the final period.

The U.S. would extend that lead to 5-1 at 6:21 of the third with an even-strength goal by Gerbe. Ferriero got the puck to Kessel behind the net. Kessel spotted Gerbe alone in front, and put it on his stick. Gerbe snapped it into the top corner.

With 6:12 remaining, Justin Mercier hit Canada’s Colton Yellowhorn from behind. The game was delayed 10-15 minutes as Yellowhorn was placed on a stretcher and wheeled off the ice. Mercier received a major and a match penalty. There was no word on Yellowhorn’s injury, but he was moving.

As for the ensuing five-minute power play, Canada was unable to take advantage. For the U.S., it was a punctuation mark on the work of thepenalty killers, who only gave up three power play goals in 45 chances in the tournament.

With about 2:30 left in regulation, Canada lifted their goalie, and Kessel scored from his own end of the ice.


The gold medal was the second the U.S. has won at the World Under-18 Championship, as they also won it all in 2002. Last spring, they came within a whisker of beating Russia for the gold, and had to settle for silver. Six players on that team – Frazee, Gerbe, Kesse, Jack Johnson, Zach Jones, and Skille – were back for a second shot this year, and pulled it off… The Under-18 Team will be landing back in Detroit at about 7:00 pm Monday.

Box Score: 

United States 5, Canada 1

Sun. April 24, 2005
Under-18 World Championship

Gold Medal Game

USA     2       1       2       --      5
CAN     1       0       0       --      1      

First Period – Scoring:  1, USA, Kessel (Gerbe, Ferriero), 6:33; 2,
CAN, O'Marra (Setoguchi), 11:41 (pp); 3, USA, Lawrence (Kessel), 16:19
(pp). Penalties: USA, Team (too many men on the ice), 3:53; USA,
Bailey (tripping), 8:58; USA, Jones (cross-checking), 10:55; CAN,
Bertram (interference), 15:56.

Second Period – Scoring: 4, USA, Lawrence (Mueller), 15:49 (pp).
Penalties: USA, Ferriero (tripping), 4:07; CAN, Neal (hooking), 10:26;
CAN, Bourdon (tripping), 14:54; USA, Fraser (slashing), 17:58; CAN,
Bass (interference), 17:58.

Third Period – Scoring: 5, USA, Gerbe (Ferriero, Kessel), 6:21; 6,
USA, Kessel (unassisted), 19:18 (en). Penalties: USA, Mueller
(highsticking), 1:12; USA, Mueller (roughing), 11:02; USA, Mercier
(major – checking from behind/match penalty), 13:48.

Power Plays – USA 2-3, CAN 1-7

Shots – USA 7-15-11—33, CAN 22-11-16—49

Saves – USA: Frazee (48, 60:00), CAN: Price (28, 59:22)



Sun. April 10: USA 8, Germany 2 (exhibition)

Thurs. April 14: USA 3, Slovakia 1

Sat. April 16: USA 3, Finland 0

Sun. April 17: USA 7, Switzerland 1

Tues. April 19: USA 4, Czech Republic 3

Fri. April 22: USA 6, Sweden 2 (Semifinal)

Sun. April 24: USA 5, Canada 1 (Gold Medal Game)



4/24/05  Updated 4/27/05


Hartzell to be Named New Head Coach at Sioux Falls

Look for Kevin Hartzell to be named this week as the new head coach of the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL).

Hartzell, a former Gopher forward from White Bear Lake, played in the USHL with the now defunct St. Paul Vulcans before starting his college career in 1978. In 1983, a year after being graduated from the U, he was named head coach of the Vulcans. Hartzell coached the Vulcans to five winning seasons in his six years there.

Hartzell’s last season coaching in the USHL was 1988-89, which is 16 years ago.

Recently, Hartzell has been working with the Minnesota High School Elite Program, which offers competitive games for Minnesota kids before the high school season begins. Last week, he was an assistant for the Minnesota team at the Chicago Showcase.

Hartzell has also contributed a column to the Minnesota-based weekly Let’s Play Hockey, where he’s been critical of junior hockey and has encouraged Minnesota kids to resist the call of the USHL – and to stay at their local high school.

Sioux Falls also reportedly offered the job to Alaska-Anchorage head coach John Hill, who turned it down.

Update,  4/27/05:

Sioux Falls has made it official that Hartzell will be the next Stampede coach. Also, Hartzell will be introduced to the community at a press conference Tues. May 2 at 3:30 at the Sioux Falls Arena.




US Tops Sweden; Advances to Gold Medal Game

Before a small crowd of about 500 spectators, the US Under-18 Team defeated Sweden 6-2 today and will move on to face the winner of Canada vs. the Czech Republic in the gold medal game on Sunday.

Today’s game marked the fourth meeting between the two teams this year -- and the US has won them all.This time, the key was solid goaltending from Jeff Frazee and strong special teams work, with the US converting their first two power plays and getting a shorthanded goal to build a 4-1 lead.The US also, for the most part, stayed out of the penalty box.

The first period was dominated by neutral zone play as Sweden was very effective early with their trap.The US generated very little offense and no real scoring chances but led 1-0 after the first period thanks to a Phil Kessel shorthanded goal.

The goal came at the 10:03 mark, with Jimmy Fraser off for boarding. Frazee kicked out a blast from the left point on a partial screen and the US cleared the puck the length of the ice where Kessel picked off a careless pass in Sweden’s zone and converted, firing a wrist shot high to the stick side of Swedish goalie Mattias Modig.For Kessel, who leads the tournament in scoring and goals, it was his second short-handed goal of the tournament.

The US opened the second period on the power play and it took just 45 seconds for the US to take advantage, as Kessel fed a beautiful pass to Peter Mueller, alone in the slot. Mueller went top shelf, beating Modig to put the US up 2-0.Dan Collins picked up the other assist.

Just two minutes later, the US went up 3-0 after Modig got caught out of position and Mueller out muscled two Swedish defenseman in front, knocking home the loose puck off assists from Ryan Stoa and Kessel.

At 9:34, a US defensive turnover behind their net cost them, as Sweden scored to make it a 3-1 game.After that, the Swedes seemed to get some life and had two great scoring chances on odd man rushes, but missed the net.Frazee also came up with a nice save on a Swedish shorthanded opportunity.

With Sweden down a man after a goalie interference call, the US converted again on the power play as a Kyle Lawson shot from the point deflected off a Swedish defenseman to put the US up 4-1. Nathan Gerbe and Jack Skille assisted on the goal.

A Gerbe even strength wrist shot through traffic made it 5-1 late in the second period, with Justin Mercier and Jimmy Fraser earning assists on the goal. Modig was yanked, and replaced in Sweden’s net by Jhonas Enroth.

In the third period, Frazee was tested early and often, coming up with some nifty saves. At 9:34, however, Sweden broke through, cutting the US lead to 5-2 when forwardNicklas Backstromfound himself all alone on the door step, and knocked home a rebound.

At 12:20 a Chad Rau wrap-around closed out the scoring. It was Rau’s first goal of the tournament. Gerbe pickedup an assist.


The US Under-17 Team lost 5-4 in OT last night and head up to the Soo trailing 3-2 in the NAHL playoffs.This will be the last game for the Soo at home as the Indians close out a 10-year relationship with the Tribe and will be moving after the season.  

Box Score:


United States 6, Sweden 2

World Under-18 Championship 


First Period  Scoring:  1, USA, Kessel (unassisted), 10:39 (sh). Penalties:
USA, Fraser (holding), 10:03; USA, Team (too many players on the ice),
15:28; SWE, Sunna (roughing), 20:00.
Second Period  Scoring: 2, USA, Mueller (Kessel, Collins), :45 (pp); 3,
USA, Mueller (Stoa, Kessel), 2:46; 4, SWE, Dahlberg (Molinder, Nilsson),
9:34; 5, USA, Lawson (Gerbe, Skille), 13:52 (pp); 6, USA, Gerbe (Fraser,
Mercier), 18:51. Penalties: SWE, Sunna (interference), 12:03; USA, Mercier
(tripping), 16:34.
Third Period  Scoring: 7, SWE, Backstrom (Morin), 5:06; 8, USA, Rau
(Gerbe), 12:20. Penalties: SWE, Molinder (interference), 7:38; SWE,
Hornqvist (boarding), 14:14; USA, Collins (slashing), 16:58; SWE, Dahlberg
(roughing), 19:10.
Power Plays  USA 2-5, SWE 0-4
Shots  USA 10-14-11‹35, SWE 8-12-14‹34
Saves  USA: Frazee (32, 60:00), SWE: Modig (18, 38:51), Enroth (11, 21:08) 


Canada Wins in OT; Will Face US on Sunday

Guillaume Latendresse scored at 5:29 of overtime to give Canada a 3-2 come-from-behind win and a berth in the gold medal game against the US on Sunday.

Latendresse was credited with the goal, but the shot came from the point, off the stick of Kristopher Letang and may have hit a Czech defender who was tangled with Latendresse in front.

Boston College freshman Dan Bertram opened the scoring with a power play goal in the first period.The Czechs scored two even strength goals in the second and headed into the final twenty minutes with a 2-1 lead.Canada tied the game on an unassisted power play by Thomas Pyatt early in the third. Goaltender Carey Price was the difference for Canada, stopping numerous opportunities by the Czechs who dominated the final ten minutes of regulation as well as the play early in OT.


Canada does not have one top scoring line like the US has with Phil Kessel, Peter Mueller, and Ryan Stoa.However, the Canadians have gotten balanced scoring from all four lines and are very solid on the blue line and in net.Jeff Frazee has been outstanding between the pipes for the US so on paper it shapes up as a terrific final.

If you have the dish, or live along the US-Canadian border, the game will be televised live by TSN.



Indiana Ice Name New Head Coach

The Indiana Ice (USHL) has named Dean Grillo as their new head coach.

Grillo, 32, who took over as interim head coach when Red Gendron was fired in mid-March, runs, along with his father, Chuck, the Minnesota Hockey Camps in Brainerd, Minn. He also has a brother, Rob, who scouts for the San Jose Sharks. His cousin, Roger Grillo, is the coach at Brown.

Grillo played in the USHL with Waterloo and went on to play collegiately for North Dakota.

Hired as an assistant will be Fort Wayne, Indiana native Fred Knipsheer, 36, who played in the USHL with Omaha before going on to St. Cloud State. Afterward, Knipsheer played pro, mostly in the minors, though he did play 28 games with the Boston Bruins.

Knipsheer, a real estate agent, has been coaching the Carmel (Ind.) High School team. Carmel is just outside of Indianapolis.

Unlike most USHL teams, Grillo will not be assuming the dual duties of coach/GM. Right now, the team has no general manager going into the May 12 draft – and the team has seven picks in the first four rounds.



Canada Tops Russia; Finishes First in A Pool

Canada, behind a Devin Setoguchi (Saskatoon Blades) hat trick topped Russia, 6-3, today to clinch first place in the A pool.

Russia scored first in the game, just 3:27 into the first, but Canada came back with four unanswered goals. In the third, Russia got a pair to briefly make it a one-goal game.

Richard Clune (Sarnia Sting) had a goal and two assists, and Thomas Pyatt (Saginaw Spirit) had a pair of assists. Adam Hobson (Spokane Chiefs) and Cal Clutterbuck (Oshawa Generals) also scored for Canada.

With the win, Canada earns a bye into Friday’s semis.


4/19/05  Updated


U.S. Edges Czech Republic, 4-3; Finish Atop B Pool

Plzen, Czech Republic – A Phil Kessel goal with 2:27 remaining in regulation has lifted the U.S. Under-18 Team to a 4-3 come-from-behind win over host Czech Republic before 7,263 fans here today.

The U.S. trailed 2-0 when Czech forward Jiri Tlusty scored at the 8:23 mark of the second period. It must have been a wakeup call because just 22 seconds later the U.S. started its comeback -- they would score three straight goals within a span of 8:11 -- when Jimmy Fraser tipped home a Jason Bailey shot, cutting the Czech lead to one.

Jack Skille, on a great individual effort with his team shorthanded, beat a Czech defender 1-on-1 and roofed one at 12:59 to tie the game at 2-2. Kyle Lawson set up the play with a brilliant pass off the boards to Skille. Both players had excellent games.

At 16:56 Benn Ferriero put the U.S. in front with an even-strength goal off a scramble in front of the net. Ferriero out-battled the Czech defender for the loose puck and and roofed it over Czech goalie Ondrej Pavelec for an unassisted goal that gave the U.S. a 3-2 lead.

However, the U.S. penalty woes finally caught up with them. With Taylor Chorney in the box for hooking, Michael Frolik tied the game back up at 3-3, which is where things stood after two periods.

Kessel’s game winner was the only goal of the third period. This, too, was a great individual effort as, from just inside the circle, he beat Pavelec high to the glove side.

The Czech Republic pulled Pavelec with 40 seconds left, but failed to score.

The U.S. outshot the Czechs, 33-29.



This was a great team effort, with players diving all over the place to block shots and passes. The U.S. never panicked when they fell behind 2-0, but played solid positional hockey and minimized mistakes. They played with confidence throughout the game.

The U.S. contained the Czech first line, which had no points and only three shots for the entire game. Each player on the Czech first line was -3 for the game.

The U.S. had to play most of the game without top defenseman Jack Johnson, who took a five-minute major and game misconduct at 8:19 of the first for a check to the head. Many felt the call was questionable.

The U.S., the only team to go undefeated in preliminary round play, gets a bye for the quarterfinals. They will next play Friday night in the semifinals, against the winner of Sweden vs. Czechoslovakia.

Canada won the A pool, with Sweden finishing second and Russia third. Canada will also get a bye for the quarterfinals and will play next on Friday in the semifinals, against the winner of the Czech Republic vs. Russia game.

The championship game is on Sunday.


Box Score

U.S. Under-18 Team 4, Czech Republic 3

Tues. April 19, 2005

Plzen, Czech Republic

USA       0                3                1                --                4

CZE        1                2                0                --                3

First Period - Scoring:1, CZE, Hanzal (Kudelka), 6:50. Penalties:

USA, Gerbe (cross-checking), :34; CZE, Ruzicka (holding), 7:08; USA,

Johnson (major - checking to the head/game misconduct); CZE, Fiala

(holding the stick), 14:31; CZE, Ruzicka (tripping), 16:17; CZE, Masek

(charging), 19:22.

Second Period - Scoring: 2, CZE, Tlusty (Kana, Rakos), 8:23; 3, USA,

Fraser (Bailey), 8:45; 4, USA, Skille (Lawson), 12:59 (sh); 5, USA,

Ferriero (unassisted), 16:56; 6, CZE, Frolick (unassisted), 18:03

(pp). Penalties: USA, Jones (tripping), 1:42; CZE, Ruzicka (hooking),

1:53; USA, Mueller (boarding), 9:36; USA, Mitera (slashing), 9:54;

USA, Chorney (roughing), 11:17; CZE, Pospisil (slashing), 11:17; USA,

Kessel (highsticking), 12:32; USA, Chorney (hooking), 17:16.

Third Period - Scoring: 7, Kessel (unassisted), 17:33. Penalties: CZE,

Ruzicka (hooking), 13:02.

Power Plays - USA 0-6, CZE 1-8

Shots - USA 9-10-14-33, CZE 9-12-8-29

Saves - USA: Frazee (26 saves, 60:00), CZE: Pavelec (29 saves, 59:20)

Final Preliminary Round Standings:

Pool A:

1. Canada (3-0-1)

2. Sweden (3-0-1)

3. Russia (3-0-1)

4. Germany (1-0-3)

5. Denmark (0-0-4)


Pool B:

1. United States (4-0-0)

2. Czech Republic (3-0-1)

3. Slovakia (2-0-2)

4. Finland (1-0-3)

5. Switzerland (0-0-4)            






U.S. Under-18s Thump Switzerland, 7-1

The U.S. moved to 3-0-0 at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship with a 7-1 win over Switzerland in Plzen, Czech Republic yesterday.

Phil Kessel led the way with five points (3g,2a). Nathan Gerbe (2g,1a) and Jason Lawrence (1g,2a) each had three points. Dan Collins notched the other US goal, his second in two games, off an assist from Jack Skille.

The U.S. outshot Switzerland, 62-21.

Switzerland’s only goal was a blooper that came when Swiss forward Adrien Lauper, on the PK, cleared the puck down to the other end. Problem was, it was on net – and bouncing -- and Frazee couldn’t handle it.

Frazee, by the way, is the second-leading goaltender with a .976 save percentage. He trails only Russia’s Ilya Proskuryakov (.979).

Kessel is the leading scorer in the tournament, with a 5-3-8 line in three games.


In spite of the US dominating play and outshooting the Swiss 21-6, the teams were, surprisingly, tied after one period with each team trading shorthanded goals.The US finally broke open the game midway through the second period, scoring three goals in an eight-minute span.The US was once again plagued by too many trips to the penalty box, having to kill off nine Swiss powerplays including two 5-on-3 advantages over the first two periods of play.

The US came out in the third and put the game away, scoring three more times while outshooting the Swiss 23-3 for the period.The difference? The US stayed out of the penalty box and the Swiss had major problems with the US speed up front and physical play on the blueline.

The US is off until Tuesday night when they play the host Czech Republic in their final preliminary game.This game will decide the first seed out of Pool B entering the medal round with the winner earning a bye into the semi final game on Thursday.Special teams will be critical in facing a talented Czech team that will have added incentive playing in front of the home crowd.

Here are the likely final standings for preliminary round play

Pool A: 1. Russia; 2. Sweden; 3. Canada

Pool B: 1. US/Czech; 2. US/Czech; 3. Finland

On Tuesday, if the US loses to the Czech Republic and finishes second in Pool B, they would likely face Canada in the quarterfinals, followed by a rested Russian team in the semifinals and then the winner of the Czech vs. Sweden-Finland winner in the finals. That's a very tough draw. Of course if they win Tuesday night, they are in the driver’s seat.

Box Score

U.S. Under-18 Team 7, Switzerland 1

Sun. April 17, 2005

Plzen, Czech Republic


USA133 -- 7

SUI100 -- 1

First Period - Scoring:1, USA, Kessel (Lawrence), 6:13 (sh); 2, SUI,

Lauper (unassisted), 14:13 (sh). Penalties: SUI, Steinmann (charging),

3:24; USA, Mueller (checking from behind), 3:24; USA, Mueller

(misconduct), 3:24; USA, Fraser (holding), 5:54; SUI, Grossmann

(interference), 7:58; SUI, Grossmann (hooking), 11:45; SUI, Schoop

(elbowing), 13:41; USA, Jones (holding), 15:57; USA, J. Johnson

(charging), 18:21; USA, Skille (interference), 19:43.

Second Period - Scoring: 3, USA, Gerbe (unassisted), 10:23 (pp); 4,

USA, Kessel (Stoa, Mueller), 11:03; 5, USA, Collins (Skille), 18:24.

Penalties: USA, Fraser (holding the stick), 3:54; SUI, Gailland

(tripping), 4:44; USA, Mitera (holding the stick), 4:57; USA, Stoa

(slashing), 7:38; SUI, F. Lemm (hooking), 8:56; USA, Mercier

(charging), 12:04; USA, Skille (slashing), 14:23.

Third Period - Scoring: 6, USA, Lawrence (Kessel, Gerbe), 1:08; 7,

USA, Kessel (Lawrence), 5:57; 8, USA, Gerbe (Kessel), 11:29.

Penalties: SUI, Chiesa (cross-checking), 6:50; SUI, Heynen (slashing),


Power Plays - USA 1-7, SUI 0-9

Shots - USA 21-18-23-62, SUI 6-12-3-21

Saves - USA: Frazee (20 saves, 60:00), SUI: Berra (55 saves, 60:00)




Frazee Blanks Finland, 3-0

The U.S. Under-18 Team, behind a 37-save shutout from Jeff Frazee, shut out Finland 2-0 yesterday.

The U.S., now 2-0-0 in the tournament, got goals from Phil Kessel, Dan Collins, and Peter Mueller.

Frazee was named the U.S. Player of the Game.

From what we gather, it was an excellent team effort for the Under-18s, who played with energy throughout. Once again, they were very strong on the PK.The few times the US defense got caught flat-footed or up ice, Frazee came up big.The toughest Finn pressure came in the first half of the second period. Frazee also made some very good saves in the third period. Frazee, Mueller, Jack Skille, Ryan Stoa, and Jack Johnson were strong. Justin Mercier had a strong game on the fourth line and on the PK. Was noticeable all night. Kessel and Nathan Gerbe worked hard and played with a lot of energy but not much to show for it. Taylor Chorney made some very nice plays but got caught a few times on the back line.

1st Period Notes:


US dominated play throughout the period. Kessel, Gerbe, and Jason Lawrence created numerous opportunities. Johnson great defensive effort with a huge hit early. Tight US defensive effort took away the neutral zone.Forced the Finn forwards wide, all shots from the perimeter.No real scoring chances for the Finns in the period.

US first goal: Jack Johnson great breakout pass sent Kessel in on a 2-on-1 with Stoa.Stoa drove hard to the net creating the US opportunity as Kessel’s pass across to Stoa hit the Finn defenseman covering him. The puck caromed behind Finland’s goalie, Tuukka Rask, who, by the way, is one of the top goalies for the upcoming draft.

Chorney took a bad late penalty – tripping – at the 20:00 minute mark.

2nd Period Notes:

Johnson strong again in his own zone throughout the period. Finns adjusted well and came out strong in the first ten minutes, putting pressure on the US.Frazee came up with several excellent saves to keep the score 1-0.

After killing off the penalty to Johnson, the US turned up the heat and made the score 2-0 as Collins knocked home a loose puck off a Brandon Gentile shot from the point. Skille earned the second assist on the goal.Collins had injured his shoulder midway through the Slovakia game and didn’t practice the day before the game. The line of Chad Rau, Collins, and Skille created several excellent scoring chances late in the period but could not convert.

3rd Period Notes:

Chorney got caught flat-footed and Skille coming back took down the Finnish forward with a slash denying a breakaway.Could have been a penalty shot. US followed with an aggressive penalty kill: no shots by the Finns. Finland hit the goal post on a breakaway at 12:50.

US defense getting caught up ice. Getting beat off the boards.US conditioning a problem here?Finns winning face offs, cycling well. Frazee again making some nifty saves.

Bad penalty in the third as Fraser lost his stick and was called for holding. The call negated a US PP as Finns had an elbow call at the same time.

Skille again great individual efforts, tireless worker.

Gerbe playing with a lot of energy but not much to show for it.

The US made it 3-0 off a defensive turnover at the 11:03 mark. The puck came out from the corner on a Benn Ferriero pass to Mueller who one-timed it in from the slot. The Finn goalie never saw it!

Great save by Frazee on an odd man rush with about five minutes left. Penalty to Johnson who got caught up ice.


Sweden upset Canada, 2-1, Saturday as the Canadians continue to struggle offensively.Up next for the US is Switzerland this afternoon. The U.S. is heavily favored in that one.


Box Score

U.S. Under-18 Team 3, Finland O

Sat. April 16, 2005

Plzen, Czech Republic



First Period:

Scoring: 1, USA, Kessel (J. Johnson), 18:37. Penalties: FIN, Lahti (cross-checking), 6:25; USA, Mueller (hooking), 12:04; USA, Chorney (tripping), 20:00.

Second Period:

Scoring: 2, USA, Collins (Skille, Gentile), 12:42. Penalties: USA, J. Johnson (cross-checking), 10:08.

Third Period:

Scoring: 3, USA, Mueller (Ferriero), 11:33. Penalties: USA, Skille (slashing), 4:09; USA, Fraser (holding, 8:32; FIN, Peltomaa (elbowing), 8:32; USA, J. Johnson (tripping), 15:11; FIN, Huhtala (roughing), 16:28.

Power Plays: USA 0-2, FIN 0-5

Shots: USA 11-12-9-32, FIN 8-19-10-37

Saves: USA: Frazee (37, 60:00), FIN: Rask (29, 60:00)




Smith To Be Named New Head Coach at Canisius

Mercyhurst associate head coach Dave Smith will be named the new head coach at Canisius College.

Smith, a 36-year-old Ontario native, has just completed his third season on Rick Gotkin’s staff at Mercyhurst. Prior to that he was an assistant at Bowling Green for two years, and at Miami for two years.

As a player, he starred at Ohio State in the late ‘80s, and is still one of the school’s all-time leading scorers. In his four years with the Buckeyes, he put up a 57-83-140 line.

A New York Rangers farmhand, he also played six years of minor pro hockey.


Poulin Steps Down at Notre Dame

Notre Dame head coach Dave Poulin has stepped down from coaching, and will become an assistant AD for fundraising at his alma mater.

Poulin, who played for Notre Dame from 1978-82, went on to a 13-year NHL career with Philadelphia, Boston, and Washington.

In 1995, he went directly from playing in the NHL to coaching Notre Dame. In his ten seasons, the Fighting Irish only finished over .500 two times.




Back at It

We all need a few days break, and that’s what this typist took. However, I’m back at it and even though it’s the offseason (whatever that means in 2005!) there’s still plenty of news to cover – old news, current happenings, and things that will be happening in the future -- so check back often.



U.S. Under-18s Get Underway Today

The U.S. begins play in the IIHF World Under-18 Championship today with a game against Slovakia. The U.S. should win this one.

Meanwhile, here are some numbers to chew on: only 12 of the original 23 players brought in last year to join the NTDP and play for the Under-17 Team are on the final roster for the current World Under-18 Team. If this pattern holds, and we’re not suggesting it will or won’t, joining the Under-17 Team means any given player (but particularly one from the bottom half of the lineup) has a 50/50 chance of actually getting to play in the World Under-18s, the prize all the kids are playing for. Some don’t make it because they shouldn’t have been picked for the program in the first place, either their potential was overestimated, or they had off-ice troubles. Some didn’t make it simply because, in the minds of the staff, they didn’t develop enough to make an impact at the World Under-18’s. Of course, some players weren’t given anywhere near as much ice time of others. Those players may well have had a happier time, and gained more confidence, has they remained with their high school, prep team, etc.

In an effort to beef up the Under-18 team this year four players were added last fall, for one year. Of those, only defenseman Kyle Lawson will play a large role in the Czech Republic. Forwards Justin Mercier and Andreas Vlassopoulos and Jason Bailey will be special teams/4th line players.

Anyway, these are the guys who spent the 2003-04 season with the Under-17 team, but didn’t make it to the finish line in Plzen, Czech Republic. Listed first is where each player started the season, plus where he finished it.


Billy Blasé - U18 to U17. (Note: Backup goalie on the U17 team.) Next Year: uncommitted.


Erik Felde - USHL. Next Year: USHL. (Note: Moved to forward in USHL.)

David Inman - U18 to U17. Next Year: Yale

Chad Morin - U18 to U17. Next Year: undecided.

Mike Stuart- U18 to USHL. Next Year: Brown


Scott Birnstill - USHL. Next Year: USHL

Chris Cahill - U18 to prep school. Next Year: prep school

John Kemp - U18 to Midgets. Next Year: uncommitted. (Note: disciplinary removal)

Nathan Lawrence - USHL. Next Year: USHL (Note: disciplinary removal)

Zach MacVoy - U18 to U17. Next Year: Michigan

Nick Foligno – OHL (Note: Foligno would have been taken to the World Under-18s if his team, the Sudbury Wolves, hadn’t made the OHL playoffs.)

The big question one can take from this is how much does the NTDP owe the players for leaving home and signing on for a two-year stint in Ann Arbor? What is the program’s commitment, and what is the players’?It varies from player to player, and a lot of people have strong feelings on it. It’s a tough question, and one worth thinking about.


U.S. Opens with a Win

Plzen, Czech Republic – Today,the U.S. Under-18 Team topped Slovakia, 3-1, in their opening game at the IIHL World Under-18 championship here.

Peter Mueller (1g,1a) and Phil Kessel (1g,1a) led the U.S. scorers. Shattuck defenseman Taylor Chorney scored the first U.S. goal of the tournament.

Jeff Frazee kicked out 24 of 25 to pick up the win.

The US dominated play but a rash of penalties hampered the US effort.

Chorney opened the scoring at the 18:00 mark of the first period, firing a shot over the shoulder of Slovak goalie Vladimir Kovac.

In the second period, at 4:58, Kessel made it 2-0, putting in a loose puck off a scramble in front of the net.At 13:53 of the period, just after Slovakia closed the gap on a power play goal, Mueller made it 3-1, putting home a rebound of a Jack Johnson shot from the point.After that, the US had numerous chances to break the game open but were denied on a great effort by Slovak goalie Kovac, who made 47 saves in a losing effort.Frazee wasn't tested often but did come up with some big saves late in the third period. Mueller, Kessel, and Jack Skille had very strong games.Johnson and Kyle Lawson were very involved on the blue line. The US killed off nine of 10 power plays in the game.

Up next for the US is Finland on Saturday night.

Mueller, who turns 17 today, was named player of the game for the U.S.

In other early action, Canada struggled, but held on to defeat Germany, 2-1. Sweden-Russia and Switzerland-Czech Republic are later.


Slovakia010 -- 3

USA         120 -- 1

First Period - Scoring:1, USA, Chorney (Mueller, Stoa), 18:00. Penalties: USA, Mitera (roughing), 4:33; 6:13, USA, J. Johnson (roughing); SVK, Mihalik (interference), 7:02; SVK, Drabek (interference), 9:56; USA, Lawrence (elbowing), 10:20.

Second Period - Scoring: 2, USA, Kessel (unassisted), 4:58 (pp); 3, SVK, Bliznak (Brnak, Mikus), 9:10 (pp); 4, USA, Mueller (J. Johnson, Kessel), 13:53 (pp). Penalties: SVK, Marcinko (cross-checking), 3:11; USA, Collins (highsticking), 6:10; USA, Gerbe (slashing), 8:31; USA Lawrence (roughing), 11:23; SVK, Brnak (interference), 11:23; SVK, Mihalik (holding), 13:17; USA, Bailey (Charging), 14:26; USA, Chorney (slashing), 17:07.

Third Period - Scoring: None. Penalties: USA, Ferriero (tripping), 1:26; USA, Skille (roughing), 10:48; USA, Gerbe (10 minute misconduct), 13:39; USA, Gentile (roughing), 14:02; SVK, Klejna (highsticking), 16:39; SVK, Bohunicky (checking from behind), 18:00; SVK, Bohunicky (10 minute misconduct), 18:00; USA, J. Johnson (slashing), 18:13; USA, Mitera (roughing), 18:56.

Power Plays - USA: 2-6. SVK: 1-12.

Goaltending - USA: Frazee (25 shots, 24 saves). SVK: Kovac (50 shots, 47 saves).



Sioux Falls’ Kaufman Axed

Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) head coach/GM Mark Kaufman, whose team finished out of the playoffs this season, has been fired.

Kaufman, in the second year of a two-year contract, lifted his team from a 15-42-3 record in his first season, to a 27-28-5 this season. It made no difference, though. The team again finished fifth and failed to make the playoffs.

The Stampede will begin their search for a new coach immediately, and they have a good candidate there already in Chris Imes, who was brought in as an assistant in March. The USHL draft is on May 12 and the Stampede holds three of the first 15 picks.

Kaufman, an intense, Keenan-style coach alienated players (particularly the younger ones), their parents, and team ownership with his harsh style.

There are now two USHL teams searching for a new head coach, as Sioux Falls joins the Indiana Ice, who last month fired Red Gendron. 



More Mass Madness

Last night, Barnstable High School varsity hockey coach Michael Nugnes violently attacked a referee during an adult league game at the Tony Kent Arena in South Dennis, Mass.

Twenty minutes afterward, Nugnes, 36, was led out of the rink in handcuffs, arrested, and charged with assault and battery.

Today he resigned from his coaching position at Barnstable High.

The incident occurred after referee William Ahern called a penalty against Nugnes, who let the referee know exactly how he felt about the call. After the penalty expired, police report, Nugnes continued to taunt the referee. When Nugnes returned to the ice, he jumped over the boards, tripped Ahern down from behind, jumped on top of him, ripped off his helmet, and slammed his head repeatedly on the ice until players were able to pull him off.

Ahern, 48, was treated at – and released from -- Cape Cod Hospital.

We did a little digging of our own in the Cape Cod hockey community. As for the actual incident, several players said that the jawing between Nugnes and Ahern had actually started prior to the penalty call, and reported that the ref was yapping at the player as well.

Regardless, it amounts to the same thing: the 36-year-old coach snapped – and nobody knows why. He's extremely lucky that he didn't kill the guy. 

“I don’t get it,” a Barnstable resident who knows Nugnes said. “I don’t know why he did what he did. I’ve never seen anything like that from Mike. I do know he deeply regrets what he did.”

Nugnes coached Sandwich High before moving to Barnstable, where he replaced former BU star John Danby. Larry Nickulas, who played at Merrimack and is the father of former Cushing/UNH/and current minor pro player Erik Nickulas, was Nugnes’ assistant coach at Barnstable.

Nugnes, who is intense, has no history of getting game misconducts, or being out of control on the bench. He's committed a lot of time to working for the Barnstable Youth Hockey program, running all their clinics.

Nugnes and his wife have one son, an 11-year-old goalie and lacrosse player who, believe it or not, broke his leg playing lacrosse today.

Look for this story in the Boston papers tomorrow morning. And look for the usual question to be asked: why is there so much adult hockey violence in Massachusetts? It’s bad everywhere, but in Massachusetts it seems to be a plague. Not a month goes by without something happening. It has to stop.



U.S. Under-18 Team Departs for World Championship

The U.S. National Under-18 Team left today for Fussen, Germany, where they play an exhibition game Sunday before continuing on to Plzen, Czech Republic for the2005 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, which gets underway on April 14.

The 22-man roster includes 16 current U.S. National Under-18 Team players, along with two members of the U.S. Under-17 team -- G Joe Palmer and D Erik Johnson – and four players from outside the program: D Taylor Chorney (Shattuck-St. Mary’s), F Dan Collins (Plymouth -- OHL), F Benn Ferriero (Gov. Dummer Academy), and F Chad Rau (Des Moines – USHL).

Nick Foligno would have been added as well but his team, the Sudbury Wolves, advanced in the OHL playoffs so he’s not available.

Members of the Under-18 team not invited to join their teammates on the trip were goaltender Billy Blasé, D Chad Morin, D David Inman, and F Zach MacVoy. Two other players who started the season with the Under-18 team, D Mike Stuart and F Chris Cahill, left the team in the fall.

We tend to think that leaving players home because of performance is an iffy proposition, mainly because most of the players are only 17. All four kids being left behind have committed two years of their life to the National Program. Their reward, then, is to see kids from outside sweep in and take their position? If their grades are below 2.0 or they are playing way below expectation that's one thing. However, if they are working hard but simply haven't developed as much as the staff had hoped.... well, maybe the staff has to take some of the blame for that, too. Maybe they overestimated the player's skill in the evaluation process, maybe some players were put in a better position to improve than others. We don't pretend to have the answers, but we wonder how team chemistry will be this year. We also wonder what effect this will have on future recruiting. We know that MacVoy has reason to feel slighted. The three forwards being added are solid players, but they are not impact players, a la Zach Parise a couple of years back. 

Last year, under coach John Hynes, the guys replaced were either injured or marginal and were replaced with true impact guys -- Kessel, Gerbe, Skille, and Jack Johnson from the Under-17s. Those players were brought up right after Christmas so they could jell with the team. The only outside player, Cory Schneider, was brought in late as both goalies were hurt. Also, the goalie position is a different kettle of fish. Last year's team, despite its youth, were silver medalists, losing to Russia, 3-2, in the championship game.

U.S. National Under-18 Team Schedule
2005 IIHF World Under-18 Championship

Sun. April 10 -- USA vs. Germany (exhib.) -- 6:30 pm there/12:30 pm here
Thurs. April 14  -- Slovakia vs. USA  -- 3:00 pm/9:00 am
Sat. April 16 -- USA vs. Finland -- 7:00 pm/1:00 pm
Sun. April 17 -- Switzerland vs. USA -- 7:00 pm/1:00 pm
Tues. April 19 -- USA vs. Czechoslovakia -- 7:00 pm/1:00 pm
Thurs. April 21 – Quarterfinals -- TBA
Fri. April 22  -- Semifinals -- TBA
Sun. April 24 – Finals -- TBA

The U.S. will play in the B pool, with host Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia, and Switzerland. Canada, Denmark, Germany, Russia, and Sweden will make up the A pool.


Goaltenders (2): Jeff Frazee, Joe Palmer.

Defensemen (7): Taylor Chorney, Brandon Gentile, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Zach Jones, Kyle Lawson, Mark Mitera.

Forwards (13): Jason Bailey, Dan Collins, Benn Ferriero, Jimmy Fraser, Nathan Gerbe, Phil Kesssel, Jason Lawrence, Justin Mercier, Peter Mueller, Chad Rau, Jack Skille, Ryan Stoa, Andreas Vlassopoulos.

Head Coach: Ron Rolston. Assistant Coaches: John Lilley and Nate Leaman (Union College).



Smith Commits to BC

Westminster School forward Ben Smith has committed to Boston College for ’06.

Smith, a 5’11”, 190 lb. RC, is currently a junior at the Simsbury, Conn. boarding school. A 7/11/88 birthdate,, he’s a native of Avon, Conn., which is just down the road.

After completing his freshman and sophomore years at Westminster, Smith decided to leave for juniors, signing with the Junior Bruins (EJHL) and enrolling in Hopkington (Mass.) High School. Around Thanksgiving, while he was leading the Junior Bruins in scoring, he was also missing prep school – and so returned to Westminster, where his siblings also attended school.

Smith is a well put-together, hard-working competitive player who is equally good at both ends of the ice. At Westminster this season, he had a 20-26-46 scoring line.

For Smith, his college decision has for a while involved BC on one hand, and the Ivies – particularly Harvard and Yale – on the other.



Cronin to be Named?

Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) head coach Greg Cronin interviewed with Northeastern University AD Dave O’Brien yesterday. Reliable sources have indicated that Cronin is the frontrunner for the position and that he could be named the new head coach of the Huskies by the end of the week, just in time for the spring signing period.

Also in the mix is assistant coach Gene Reilly. If Cronin decides for any reason to turn the Northeastern job down, Reilly could get the position. If Cronin decides to take the Northeastern job, there’s a good chance Reilly could be asked to stay on as a Huskie assistant. Reilly and Cronin both worked, at different times, for Shawn Walsh at Maine and both later moved on to the AHL, Reilly to the Ottawa Senators organization and Cronin to the NY Islanders.

Cronin, an intense hockey coach and serious fitness guru, has been with the Islanders since 1998, first as a fitness coach, then as an assistant with the NHL club, then as an assistant coach/director of player development. In 2003, he was named head coach of the Sound Tigers. The team had a good season (41-23-12-4) last year, helped along by goaltender Wade Dubielewicz, the AHL rookie of the year. This year’s club is young, particularly on the blue line, and currently sits at the .500 mark (34-34-4-1). With 12 days left in the season, the Sound Tigers are out of playoff contention.

Cronin, 41, is an Arlington native who graduated from BB&N and Colby College (’86).

Cronin started his coaching career in 1987-88 as an assistant at Colby, then became a grad assistant at Maine before moving on to Colorado College for three years as an assistant. In 1993 he returned east to join Shawn Walsh’s staff at Maine. From Dec. 1995 to December 1996, Cronin served as an interim head coach while Walsh, one of Cronin’s major influences, was undergoing treatments. After that, he joined Jeff Jackson and Bob Mancini at the inception of the NTDP.

Cronin has organizational connections to Northeastern, as Jim Madigan and Jay Heinbuck are both Islanders scouts. According to everything we could dig up, Cronin was highly regarded by the Islanders staff.

We don’t know what Cronin’s contract situation is with the Islanders, though we do know it’s an uncertain time for those working in pro hockey.

Cronin also has a personal reason for looking into the Northeastern job, which may be a major impetus: His father, Donny Cronin, was captain of Northeastern hockey in the 1958-1959 season.



Smoke Signals at Merrimack

The Merrimack College hockey team, according to reliable sources, voted unanimously last night to ask head coach Chris Serino to resign. In addition, the players indicated that, if necessary, they would take their grievance to school president Richard Santagati (they can’t take it to the AD, as Serino is serving as the interim AD).

Clearly, something has to give here.

Merrimack finished its 16th straight losing season – and seventh under Serino -- last month, finishing with an 8-26-2 overall record. More significantly, they finished 1-22-1 in Hockey East.

Also telling was the fact that the Warriors didn’t win a single game after December, finishing up with 14 straight losses.

The mood around the program is, not surprisingly, at a low point.

After the season, Serino fired popular 21-year assistant Stu Irving, a defenseman who was a member of the silver-medal winning 1972 U.S. Olympic team and then played in the minors for 11 years before coming to Merrimack in 1984, five years before the school even entered Hockey East.

Serino’s other assistant, Mike Doneghey, a former Merrimack goalie (1989-93) who has been on Serino’s staff for six years, left to take a job as head coach of the Bridgewater Bandits (EJHL). Doneghey, you may recall, was the interim head of Merrimack through the majority of the 2001-02 season, as Serino was undergoing the treatments that enabled him to beat throat cancer.

As of now, Merrimack has hired no assistants to replace Irving and Doneghey.

For a while now, we’ve been hearing rumblings about former Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder possibly being the next Merrimack head coach. As far as we can tell, that’s pure speculation, and it does seem to be jumping the gun a bit. However, it’s begun to take on a life of its own -- and there does seem to be logic to it.



Green Mountain Glades Tier II 16-and-Under Champs

Richmond, Va. – An Ian Toof goal with 32 seconds remaining in regulation lifted theGreen Mountain Glades to a 4-3 win over the Darien (Ill.) Huskies in the Tier II 16-and-Under national championship game Sunday.

The Glades’ Mark Collins had two goals in the game, and finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with a 6-5-11 line.

The Glades’ Tyler O’Brien was the tournament’s leading goaltender, finishing with a .966 save percentage.



South Boston Shamrocks Tier II 18-and-Under Champs

Richmond, Va. – The South Boston Shamrocks topped the Mid-Fairfield Blues, 5-2, to win the Tier II 18-and-Under national championship Sunday.

Greg Collins (1g,3a), Nick Coskren (2g), Mark Flaherty (1g,1a), and Corey Griffin (1g) led the way for Southie. John Mori (2g) and Sean Backman (2a) paced the Mid-Fairfield attack.

Dan Beauregard kicked out 37 of 39 for South Boston, while Jon Quick stopped 30 of 35 at the other end.

South Boston outscored their opponents here, 56-8, and went 6-0-0. Collins (6-16-22) and Coskren (11-6-17) were the leading scorers in the tournament.

Leading goaltenders (100 minutes minimum) were, based on save percentage, 1) Rikky Bustin (South Boston) .9432) Ryan McInerney (Chicago Huskies) .932and3) Dan Beauregard (South Boston) .924



In OT, St. Louis Wins National 14-and-Under Title

Bensenville, Ill. – Andrew Freund scored 19 seconds into overtime to as the St. Louis Blues edged Shattuck-St. Mary’s, 3-2, and won the 14-and-Under title on Sunday.

It was Freund’s second goal of the game. Also scoring for St. Louis was Mikey Hilgendorf.Patrick Rogan and Jordy Murray scored for Shattuck.

In net, the Blues’ Jeff Larson kicked out 26 of 28 for the win. Shattuck’s Morgan Clark stopped 24 of 27 in a losing cause.

The Wave’s Mitchell Wahl finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with a 5-10-15 line in four games. Right behind Wahl were David Toews (Shattuck), Sean Logue (St. Louis), Phillip McRae (St. Louis), and defenseman Brett Kostolansky (Shattuck).

Leading goaltenders (100 minutes minimum) were, based on save percentage, 1) Erick Cinotti (NJ Rockets) .9392) Ryan Purdy (Calif. Wave) .937and3) Morgan Clark (Shattuck) .910



Mid-Fairfield Takes 16-and-Under Title in OT

Bensenville, Ill. – Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored at 1:15 of OT to top the California Wave, 3-2, and give the Mid-Fairfield Blues the 16-and-Under title Sunday.

Max Pacioretty (2g,1a) and Mark Arcobello (1g) also scored for the Blues. The Wave’s big producers were Shane Harper (2g) and Colin Long (1g,2a).

In net, Mid-Fairfield’s Randy Wolcott kicked out 27 of 30 for the win. For the Wave, Jason Sands stopped 40 of 44 in a losing effort.

The Wave’s Shane Harper finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with a 10-5-15 line in six games. Teammate Charles Stretch (5-8-13) was right behind him. Other leading scorers were Brett Bruneteau (Shattuck), Colin Long (Wave),Max Pacioretty (Mid-Fairfield), Brian Volpei (Shattuck), Kevin Piespney (Honeybaked), Kevin Shattenkirk (Mid-Fairfield), Josh Stone (Mid-Fairfield), and Ryan Letts (Wave).

Shattenkirk was the leading scorer among defensemen at the tournament (4-4-8).

Leading goaltenders (100 minutes minimum) were, based on save percentage, 1) Brad Phillips (Honeybaked) .9312) Ben Hause (Wisconsin).9293) Randy Wolcott (Mid-Fairfield) .925and 4) Josh Sands (Wave) .922



Shattuck, in a Romp, Wins 18-and-Under Nationals

Bensenville, Ill. – Shattuck-St. Mary’s thumped the Los Angeles Selects, 7-0, in the Tier I 18-and-Under championship game Sunday afternoon.

Leading the attack forShattuck were Tyler Ruegsegger (5a), Michael Gergen (1g,3a), Jonathan Toews (2g,1a), Kyle Okposo (2g), and defenseman Taylor Chorney (1g,1a).

In net, Bryce Eberwein made 22 saves for the shutout. Shattuck outshot LA, 47-22.

Gergen finished as the leading scorer in the tournament, with a 7-6-13 line in six games.He was followed by teammates Toews (4-5-9), Ruegsegger (2-7-9), Okposo (5-2-7),Pittsburgh’s Dane Hetland (3-4-7), and LA teammates John Kemp (2-5-7) and Derrick Burnett (2-5-7).

Toby Heaslip of TI was the leading scorer among defensmen (4 gp, 3-3-6).

Leading goaltenders (100 minutes minimum) were, based on save percentage, 1) Andrew Ross (Colorado) .9372) Mike Garman (Colorado) .9243) Richard Bachman (GBL Jr, Bruins) .9244) Robby Madore (Pittsburgh) .920 and 5) Bryce Eberwein (Shattuck) .912.



Isn’t This Fun?

The Springfield Jr. Spirit is the host team at the Tier II 18-and-Under National Championship, being held this weekend in Springfield, Missouri.

They’re not doing very well.

They’ve played three games so far and have:

… a 20-1 loss to Darien, Ill Huskies. Shots: 93-7

… a 19-1 loss to Port Huron. Shots: 61-11

… a 15-0 loss to South Boston. Shots: 62 -11

That’s an aggregate score of 54-2 and an aggregate shot total of 216-29.

Is this concept of a host team a good idea? Is there perhaps another way of doing things?

What teams are playing well at the Tier II Nationals? Well, the two best teams, the South Boston Shamrocks and the Mid-Fairfield Blues, have a batch of top prep players.

** The South Boston Shamrocks are 4-0-0 and have outscored their opponents, 39-3. Key players include Greg Collins (Thayer), Anthony Aiello (Thayer), Nick Coskren (St. Seb’s), Brian Gibbons (Thayer), and Colin Young (St. Sebastian’s). Three of those players have Div. I commitments in hand, two more will before long.

The Shamrocks’ leading scorer is Thayer’s Greg Collins, who’ll be taking a PG year at Salisbury before going on to Providence College in ’06. Collins, in four games, has a 4-10-14 line.

** The Mid-Fairfield Blues are 5-0-0, and have outscored their opponents, 26-7. Among the key players are Jon Quick (Avon), Sean Backman (Avon), John Mori (Avon), Rob Tesar (Avon), Kyll Tyll (Trinity-Pawling), Brendan Milnamow (Taft), Dillon Rioux (Avon), and Joe DeBello (Avon). There are five kids there who have already committed to Div. I schools.

The team’s leading scorer is Backman, a Yale recruit for ’06 who has a 9-2-11 line in five games. USHR Prep Player of the Year Quick is in net and has a .935 save percentage and a 1.61 gaa.


Zifcak Leaves Worcester Academy for Assumption

Kevin Zifcak, who coached Worcester Academy into the prep school Div. II Final Four this season, has been rewarded with the head coaching job at Assumption College.

The 31-year-old Zifcak played his college hockey at Bowdoin, then coached two years at Bridgton Academy, followed by the last six at Worcester.

Zifcak will continue to teach math at Worcester.



Mid-Fairfield to Face the Wave for 16-and-Under Title

Bensenville, Ill. – In semifinal action last night, the Mid-Fairfield Blues pounded on Shattuck, 9-0, and the California Wave edged Honeybaked, 2-1.

The Mid-Fairfield Blues (5-0-0) will face off against the Wave (4-1-0-1) in the 16-and-under title game Sunday at 11:30 am CST.

Semifinal Game #1

Mid-Fairfield 9, Shattuck 0: Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (3g,1a) led all Mid-Fairfield scorers. Forwards Alan Ferraro (1g,2a), Doug Martin (1g,2a), Marc Arcobello (2g), Jack Downing (1g,1a), and Rence Coassin (1g,1a) also put up numbers.

Semifinal Game #2:
California Wave 2, Honeybaked 1:
A Colin Long short-handed goal at 8:06 of the second turned out the be the game winner in this one. CJ Stretch, on the power play, had scored the other Wave goal just 3:04 earlier. Austin Saber scored a power play goal for Honeybaked in the first which gave his team a 1-0 lead they relinquished in the second. In net, Justin Sands kicked out 28 of 29 for the Wave and Brad Phillips stopped 22 of 24 for Honeybaked.

Final Round-Robin Games

Mid-Fairfield 4, Team Illinois 2: Jeremy Dwyer (2g), Rence Coassin (2a), Josh Stone (1g), and Marc Arcobello (1g) led the offense and goaltender Randy Wolcott came out with 22 stops on 24 shots for the win. Thomas Healy (2g) and William Allen (2a) led the TI scorers. In net, Randy Wolcott kicked out 22 of 24 for Mid-Fairfield. Gary Fakes kicked out 38 of 42 for Team Illinois.

Shattuck 5, New Jersey Devils 2: Brian Volpei (twogoals,one an empty-netter), Peter Lompado (1g,1a), and Brett Bruneteau (1g,1a) led the Shattuck attack and goaltender Jason Horstman kicked out 24 of 26 for the win. John Yanchek stopped 39 of 44 for the Devils.

Honeybaked 8, Rochester Americans 2: Spencer Heichman (1g,2a), Eric Alexander (2g), Anthony Maiani (1g,1a), Kevin Piespney (1g,1a), and Aaron Palushaj (1g,1qa) led the Honeybaked offense. Honeybaked outshot Rochester, 36-16. There were a lot of penalties in this game, particularly in the third period. A batch of majors and minors were called against Rochester at the final buzzer, to Honeybaked’s Joshua Kesler, and to Rochester’s Ryan Flanigan, Daniel Frawley, and Cory Blackburn.

California Wave 5, Wisconsin Fire 3: CJ Stretch had a goal and three assists to lead theWave attack. Shane Harper (2g) and Jonathon Blum (1g,1a) also contributed to the cause. Leading the way for Wisconsin were Alex Gerke (2g) and Brock Montpetit (1g,1a). Wave goaltender Kyle McMahon kicked out 23 of 26 for the win.



LA Selects to Face Shattuck for 18-and-Under Title

Bensenville, Ill. – In semifinal action last night, the LA Selects topped the Pittsburgh Hornets, 5-2, and Shattuck-St. Mary’s thumped the Chicago Chill, 6-1.

The Los Angeles Selects (5-0-0) will face off against Shattuck-St. Mary’s (4-1-0) in the 18-and-under title game Sunday at 2:00 pm CST.

Semifinal Game #1:
Los Angeles Selects 5, Pittsburgh Hornets 2: Ronald Vineyard (1g,1a), Ryan Santana (2a), and John Kemp (2a) all had multiple point games while goaltender Tim Krauss kicked out 23 of 25 for the win. For the Hornets, who were widely outshot, Phillip Tetzlaff stopped 36 of 41.

Semifinal Game #2:
Shattuck 6, Chicago Chill 1: Tony Mosey (1g,2a), Kyle Okposo (1g1a), Drew Pierson (2a), and Taylor Chorney (2a) led the Shattuck scorers. Tysen Dowzak, Angelo Esposito, Michael Gergen, and Tyler Ruegsegger had a goal apiece. Shattuck outshot the Chill, 38-14. Steven Caple had 13 saves for Shattuck; Thomas Speer had 32 for the Chill.

Final Round-Robin Games

Los Angeles Selects 3, Team Illinois 2: LA got goals from three different players – Anton Volokov, Derrick Burnett, and Johnny Stoddard -- and goaltender Tim Krauss kicked out 27 of 29 to lead the Wave. TI goalie Pat McGann stopped 33 of 36 in the loss.

Pittsburgh Hornets 5, Buffalo Saints 3: Nick DeCroo (2g),Nick Tabisz (1g1a), and Dane Hetland (2a) led the Hornets’ point producers. For the Saints, the guys were Andrew Lepore (1g,2a) and Brent Alexin (1g,1a).

Shattuck 5, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers 3: Jonathan Toews (2g,1a), Michael Gergen (1g,1a), Kyle Okposo (1g,1a) led the Shattuck attack, which outshot the Junior Flyers 58-19. Shattuck’s Bryce Eberwein kicked out 16 to get the win, and the Flyers Ken Wochele had 53.

Chicago Chill 3, Colorado Outlaws 2 (OT): Michael Seidel scored at 5:16 of OT to give the Chill a 3-2 win. Daneil Nelson and Bill Maday also scored for the Chill. In the Colorado net, Mike Garman was once again strong, kicking out 35 of 38 shots.



Friday at Nationals


Team Illinois 6, GBL Junior Bruins 4: Team Illinois scored four goals in the first period en route to a 6-4 win over the Junior Bruins. Dan Ryan and Tim Gilbert each had two goals for TI, and Matt Cook had two (both shorthanded) for the Junior Bruins. The Junior Bruins were outshot 49-27. Pat McGann kicked out 23 of 27 for the win, while Richard Bachman stopped 43 of 49 in a losing effort. There was a dustup after the game, with TI’s Tom Wingel, and the Junior Bruins’s Tom Bardis and Keith Yandle each getting fighting majors. Bardis also got a major for leaving the bench. A batch of misconducts and six minors were called as well.

|Chicago Chill 4, Pittsburgh Hornets 3 (OT):
Marc Rogers scored the game-winner in OT for the Chill, and Michael Seidel chipped in with two goals. David Spadacene had a pair for the Hornets.

Buffalo Saints 2, Junior Everblades 1: Matt Rang and Matt Bessing scored the goals for the Saints, and Jarrod Etengoff kicked out 16 of 17 in the net. Everblades goaltender Brent Tilseth kicked out 35 of 37 in a losing cause.

Colorado Outlaws 3, Junior Flyers 1: Andrew Ross kicked out 29 of 30 shots to lead the Outlaws to victory.

LA Selects 8, NH Jr. Monarchs 5: Goals were scored by…. well, just a whole batch of different players.

Shattuck-St. Mary’s 6, Victory Honda 2: Michael Gergen had two goals and an assist to lead Shattuck past Victory Honda. Shattuck outshot their opponents 40-15.



Wisconsin Fire 3, Indianapolis 2: Garrett Grimstad, Tom Kleidon, and Seth Soley scored the Wisconsin goals, and Ben Hause made 20 saves to pick up the win.

NJ Devils 4, Alliance Bulldogs (Col.) 3: David Conte scored the game-winner in OT and Andrew Balysky had a goal and two assists to lead the Devils. John Yanchek stopped 24 of 27 for the win.

Honeybaked 6, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 2: Honeybaked took a 4-1 first period lead and never looked back. Leading the scoring parade were Kevin Piespney (1g,2a), Spencer Heichman (1g,2a), Christian Steingraber (3a), and Charles Vaughan (1g,1a). Brad Phillips had 19 saves for the win.

Rochester 5, Ellenton Eels 1:
Mike Cieslak and Ryan Flanigan each had a goal and two assists.

Team Illinois 5, Eastern Mass Senators 2:
Tom Healey (2g) and Willliam Allen (3a) led the way for TI.

Mid-Fairfield 5, California Wave 4 (OT):
Josh Stone scored at 4:32 of OT to give Mid-Fairfield the win. It was the second goal of the game for Stone, who also added an assist to the cause. Others putting up numbers were Jeremy Dwyer (1g,1a) and Max Pacioretty (2a). Jonathon Millhouse had two goals for the Wave. Mid-Fairfield outshot the Wave, 52-43. Randy Wolcott (43/39) was in net for Mid-Fairfield, and Jason Sands (52/47) for the Wave.



Bourque Leaves BU for the Q

Freshman forward Chris Bourque has left Boston University for the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL).

While rumors of Bourque’s going to Moncton, which owns his rights, have come up with varying degrees of frequency ever since he was lighting it up at Cushing Academy, things have heated up since BU was eliminated by North Dakota in the NCAA regionals last Friday.

BU coach Jack Parker is unavailable for comment until after the Bourque family makes their statement.

Bourque, who was drafted in the second round by the Washington Capitals last summer, had, in 35 games with BU, a 10-13-23 line with 50 pims. He was the Beanpot MVP. He was a unanimous pick for the Hockey East All-Rookie team. He played with the U.S. National Junior Team.

Bourque can not play for Moncton right now, as they are in the playoffs and rosters are frozen. Fellow Massachusetts ’86 Adam Pineault, who played on youth teams with Bourque, is with Moncton right now.

Moncton is owned by petroleum king Robert Irving, and will be hosting the Memorial Cup next spring. Moncton was extremely aggressive in courting Pineault, and the same held true in the case of Bourque, whom they drafted in June 2003, taking a flier in the 13th round (#204 overall). The GM there is Allan Power.

Bourque has never made a secret of the fact that he didn’t care for the academic life, though reports are that he did a passable job in his first semester. Before the recruiting process even started, Boston University was aware of the academic issues, and the possibility that such a scenario as this might eventually unfold. But they got a player who was a high-skill impact freshman, someone who, his name aside, adds allure to the college game -- and there’s just not that many of those players around. It would have been nice to see what he could have done over the course of a college career, but we’ll never get that chance now.

Bourque’s father, Hall of Fame defenseman Ray Bourque, a Montreal native, played in the Q. All reports have consistently maintained that the elder Bourque wanted his son to have the one thing he never got – a college education.



Great 8 Faces Off Tonight

The 2005 Ted Brill Great 8 Festival starts tonight at 6:00 pm CST at Wakota Arena in South St. Paul, Minn. The tournament runs through Sunday.

Great 8 Rosters

Bracket with Game Times



Standing Out

Some of the players – and this is not a complete list by any means – standing out at Nationals are:

Team Illinois: Defenseman Nigel Williams, and forwards Dan Durham and Ryan Schnell have all played well. Defenseman Toby Heaslip has been scoring a ton.

Shattuck-St. Mary's: You’ve heard of all the stars. Zach Harrison is a second-tier player, but emerging.

Colorado Outlaws: Both goalies, Mike Garman and Andrew Ross, have been good. Brad Sellers, a big mobile D, is also one to keep an eye on. Ditto for forward Gavin Hanson, an ’86. 

Buffalo Saints: Forwards Alex Durinka and Brent Alexin are long, lanky, have quick hands, and light feet.

NH Jr. Monarchs: Forwards Paul Thompson, Dennis Kearney, and Joey Gaudet have been standouts. For the next level, Gaudet needs to work on his skating.

Victory Honda: Forward Ben Ryan hasn't been scoring, but he looks like he will be shortly. Forward Michael Guzzo has been showing a nice finishing touch. Victory Honda is a bit banged up and was playing just 3-4 d-men yesterday.

Pittsburgh Hornets: Defenseman Nick Tabisz has been solid.

GBL Junior Bruins. Goaltender Richard Bachman has been excellent. Forward Steve Silva has shown a really good stick and has created a lot of offense for the team. Tom Bardis has played well up front. Keith Yandle and Derek Pallis have been good on the blue line.



Shattuck-St. Mary's: Brian Volpei has scored a ton of goals, but his skating needs to catch up to his scoring ability. Brett Bruneteau has been excellent.