They haven’t exactly played the iron of the league, but the surprise team thus far in the USHL is the Indiana Ice. With a 5-2 road win at Chicago last night, Indiana has moved into second place in the Eastern Division. In the win, Indiana’s third straight on the road, five different players scored for the Ice.
The Ice this season are lead by Nebraska-Omaha recruit Eddie Del Grosso, an ‘85 offensive defenseman from Las Vegas who, in eight games, has a 6-7-13 line and +6, making him the second-leading scorer in the league. Key to the Ice's early success has been a balanced scoring attack from the three forward lines and improved special team play.Also, the surprising play of Nick Bailen, a 5'10”, 170 lb. ‘89 right-shot D from Fredonia, NY has helped stabilize the blue line. In five games played, Bailen is tied for the team lead with a +6 and has chipped in three assists while playing on the PP and PK units.Highly-touted ‘89 LD Tristin Llewellyn is off to a slow start this season. In six games, the Michigan recruit has no points and is -2.Indiana's offense will get an additional boost when Bowling Green recruit Todd McIlrath returns soon from a shoulder injury suffered in the Buc Bowl.
The Indiana franchise, in their second season in the USHL, is averaging over 5,000 fans a game at home, and last season drew a USHL record 14,892 to one game.
For Chicago, Wyatt Russell made his USHL debut in goal, turning aside 36 of 40 shots in the loss.Russell shook off some early game jitters and, after letting in three goals on the first seven shots, settled in and played very well.An ‘86 from Pacific Palisades, California, Russell's father Kurt portrayed Herb Brooks in "Miracle" and his mother is Goldie Hawn.
Pomfret Post-Turkey Fest
On Sat. Nov. 26, the Pomfret School will host a six-team tournament at the school’s Connecticut campus.
In addition to Pomfret, the participants are: Bridgton, Governor Dummer, the Gunnery, Lawrence Academy, and South Kent.
Games will consist of two 25-minute halves.
Here’s the slate:
8:00 am – South Kent vs. Pomfret
9:45 am – GDA vs. Lawrence Academy
11:30 am – Gunnery vs. Bridgton
1:15 pm – GDA vs. South Kent
3:00 pm – Bridgton vs. Pomfret
4:45 pm – Gunnery vs. Lawrence Academy
Good News/Bad News for Pioneers
Not only did Denver lose to the University of North Dakota in Friday’s rematch of last April’s NCAA championship game, but they also lost star freshman left wing Brock Trotter for the entire season.
In the first period, Trotter’s Achilles tendon was cut straight through by the skate blade of North Dakota defenseman Matt Smaby.
Trotter, who had five points in four games, may be able to receive a medical redshirt for this season, will not be able to skate again until next summer.
The good news for Denver? 6’0”, 170 lb. LC Jesse Martin of the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) has committed to the Pioneers for ’07-08.
Martin, the leading scorer in the AJHL when he went down with a concussion on October 1st, will be back in the lineup for Thursday’s game at Camrose.
In addition to Denver, Martin made official visits to both Boston University and Dartmouth.A lot of other schools tried to get into the picture. After one September game, the ’88, who played midgets in Alberta last season, had 11 schools talking to him.
Martin’s team his currently the #1 ranked team in the Canadian Jr. A rankings, sporting an 18-1-0 record.
-- 6’4”, 195 lb. Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) defenseman Eric Gryba, an ’88 from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has narrowed his college choices to North Dakota, Michigan, and Boston University. Gryba, in 11 games has an 0-3-3 line and a +1 for the Gamblers, currently in last place in the East Division with a 3-8-0 record. The Gamblers have traded 6’5” Wisconsin recruit John Mitchell --a native of the Badger state – to Indiana. Mitchell only had one assist for the Gamblers. In return, Green Bay gets forward Chris Nugent.
-- 6’1”, 200 lb. Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) forward Trevor Lewis, an ’87 from Murray, Utah, will be picking one of the following: Boston College, Maine, Michigan, Ohio State, and Bowling Green. Lewis, with a 10-3-13 line and a +8 is the leading scorer for Des Moines, currently holding down first place in the East Division with a 6-2-1 record.
-- The Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) have waived former Taft and NTDP goaltender Billy Blasé. In seven games, Blasé had a 5.34 GAA and an .846 save percentage.
-- The Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, who waived UMass recruit Nick Grasso, an ’88 from Long Island, before the start of the season, have now added him back to the lineup. Grasso made his first appearance of the season in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Des Moines.
Who Is Jocelyn Guimond, Anyway?
Rochester Institute of Technology sophomore goaltender Jocelyn Guimond may have been an unknown in college hockey circles last week, but no more.
On Friday, RIT hosted St. Lawrence and, despite being outshot 68-15, skated off with a 3-2 win.
Guimond, in kicking out 66 saves, was vaulted into the NCAA record book, tying the record for number of saves by a winning goaltender. Two others have pulled off the feat before him. On Feb. 26, 1955 Ed Hornstein of Providence College kicked out 66 in a 4-3 win over Clarkson. And on Dec. 29, 1973 Don Cutts of RPI stopped 66 shots in an 8-2 win (defense!) over Boston University.
As for RIT itself, it’s not a record. That belongs to Marty Reasoner, who made 75 saves in a mid-‘70s game. Reasoner is the father of both the Edmonton Oiler forward of the same name, and Boston College backup goaltender Adam Reasoner.
Anyway, back to Guimond, who put an exclamation point on RIT’s first month as a Division I hockey school with a performance his coach, Wayne Wilson, described as “outstanding.”
“The sheer volume of shots was impressive,” Wilson said. “Usually, a goalie might face two or three Grade A attempts in a game. Jocelyn had at least five really key saves. Maybe even eight. It was hard to tell because he just made it look so simple. He gave everyone on the bench a real comfort level. It was one of those nights where the puck must have looked like a beachball to him.”
The following night, RIT came back to earth with a 6-3 loss to the Saints. Guimond was in net again, and stopped 37 of 43. “A solid performance,” said Wilson, “but he was a little fatigued.”
Guimond, a 23-year-old sophomore, sat out his freshman year – and the first game of this season -- because, as a 17-year-old, he had played five minutes of one game for Sherbrooke of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Eventually, the native of St. Edouard de Lotbiniere, Quebec, made his way to the BCHL, where he played for the Powell River Paper Kings and the Williams Lake Timberwolves. A number of teams – Maine and CC, to name two – were interested, but were scared off by the fact that he had played major junior and would have to sit a year.
RIT, which only offers financial aid, had no such concerns, so Guimond, who was thinking of going to the University of Guelph to study criminal justice, wound up at RIT, where he studies the same thing.
He’s doing well in the classroom, too, pulling down a 3.92 GPA.
U.S. Junior Team Projected
Here’s how we see this year’s junior team shaping up. Players whose names are in bold and capitalized are the prime candidates. Players whose names are in blue are bubble players. Players in italics are long shots.
Cory Schneider is the #1 guy, but after him it’s pretty wide open for the #2 slot.
*CORY SCHNEIDER, ’86, Boston College (NCAA). A lock. Struggled at last year's WJC, but has the experience. 3gp, 3.26, .896
Jeff Frazee, ‘87,Minnesota (NCAA). International experience – he won a gold medal at the World Under-18s in April – may give him the edge. He’s in a rotation with Kellen Briggs. 2gp, 2.88/.900
Ben Bishop, ’86, Maine (NCAA). Has forced himself into the picture. 4 gp, 1.73/.929
Jonathan Quick, ’86, UMass-Amherst (NCAA). 1gp, 2.00/.931
Billy Sauer, ’88, Michigan (NCAA). 4 gp, 2.20/.922
Jeff Zatkoff, ’87, Miami (NCAA). 3 gp, 1.35/.940
Jeremy Duchesne, ’86, Halifax (QMJHL), 12 gp, 2.18/.922
Ian Keserich, ’86, Ohio State (NCAA). No playing time behind Dave Caruso – zero minutes so far.
The seven (or eight) defensemen chosen will likely come from the ten players whose names are capitalized.
JACK JOHNSON, ’87, Michigan (NCAA). A lock. Rocketed out of the chute. And who says you have to attend the summer junior camp? 5 gp, 2-6-8
*BRIAN LEE, ’87, North Dakota (NCAA). A lock. Off to a great college start. 6 gp, 1-4-5
*NATE HAGEMO, ’86, Minnesota (NCAA). A lock if his health (shoulder) allows it. 3 gp, 0-0-0
MIKE BRENNAN, ’86,Boston College (NCAA). Should have been there last year. Solid start to the season. 3 gp, 0-1-1
ERIK JOHNSON, ’88, NTDP U-18. Outstanding early campaign. A probable top 10 pick in the upcoming NHL draft. 13 gp, 5-9-14
MARK MITERA, ’87,Michigan (NCAA). Very solid in the early going. Finally some size again on the US blue line at the WJC. 5 gp, 0-3-3
MICHAEL SAUER, ’87,Portland (WHL). Missed camp due to injury; won't hurt his chances.6 gp, 3-5-8 (+8)
TAYLOR CHORNEY, ’87, North Dakota (NCAA). Solid start but lack of points surprising on talented UND team. 6 gp, 0-0-0
MATT LASHOFF, ’86, Kitchener (OHL). Will early season injury cost him a spot? Playing now. 3 gp, 0-1-1
KEITH YANDLE, ‘86, Moncton (QMJHL). Too much of a wild card? Numbers in the Q are terrific. 15 gp, 5-9-14 (+11)
Chris Butler, ’86,Denver (NCAA). Making the most of his opportunities. A solid long shot.4 gp, 1-2-3
Brandon Gentile, ’87, Michigan State (NCAA). Injured and yet to play a game this season.
Zach Jones, ’87, North Dakota (NCAA). Steady as always. Next year. 6 gp, 0-0-0
Kyle Lawson, ’87, Tri-City (USHL). Next year, perhaps – this year, he'll play in the Viking Cup this year instead. 10 gp, 2-2-4 (+3)
Matt Niskanen, ’86, Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA). Has struggled in the early going for the Bulldogs. 4 gp, 0-1-1
A.J. Thelen, ’86, Prince Albert (WHL). Had a bad camp. Does USA Hockey have a short or long-term memory? 13 gp, 2-5-7 (-7)
Some others, like Joe Finley (North Dakota), Tim Kunes (BC), and Jack Hillen (CC) will be watched, but are very much long shots.
We expect the ten forwards whose names are in caps to make the team. After that, it will be a tough call.
*CHRIS BOURQUE, ’86, Hershey (AHL). A lock. Might be in the nation’s capital before Xmas for struggling Caps. 7 gp, 2-6-8
*PHIL KESSEL, ’87, Minnesota (NCAA). A lock. Not quite the start with the Gophers many predicted, but it's early. 4 gp, 1-3-4
*KEVIN PORTER, ’86,Michigan (NCAA). A lock. Finishing early this season. 5 gp, 5-1-6
BOBBY RYAN, ’87,Owen Sound (OHL). A lock. Among Americans, only Schremp has better numbers coming out of the O. 9 gp, 6-19-25
JACK SKILLE, ’87,Wisconsin (NCAA). A lock. Solid two-way play continues. 4 gp, 2-0-2
BLAKE WHEELER, ’86 Minnesota (NCAA). A lock. Strong start after terrific summer camp. 4 gp, 2-1-3
PETER MUELLER, ’88,Everett (WHL). Highly probable. After a slow start finding his groove. 11 gp, 3-11-14 (+3).
*ROBBIE SCHREMP, ’86,London (OHL). Highly probable (skill-wise, he’s a mortal lock). Eye-popping start in the O after strong showing in Edmonton’s camp. 8 gp, 11-21-32 (Yes those numbers are correct!) Last night he was kept pointless for the first time this season and was a –3.
T.J. OSHIE, ’86,N. Dakota (NCAA). Highly probable. Solid summer camp and off to the best college start here. 6 gp, 3-5-8
TOMMY FRITSCHE, ’86,Ohio State (NCAA). Our money’s on him. Should have been there last year.4 gp, 2-5-7
Nate Gerbe, ’87,BC (NCAA). Our money’s on him, too. Picked up at BC where he left off at last year's World Under-18s. 3 gp, 1-1-2
*Adam Pineault, ’86,Moncton (QMJHL). An incumbent. 4 gp, 2-3-5
Jordan LaVallee, ’86,Quebec (QMJHL). Very much in mix, but back injury makes him a question mark. Great pre-season camp with the Thrashers. 2 gp, 0-2-2
Geoff Paukovich, ’86,Denver (NCAA). If they go with some grit and toughness, not scoring. 4 gp, 0-0-0
*Shawn Weller, ’86,Clarkson (NCAA). Solid start, but definitely on the bubble. Will they replace a returning player? 4 gp, 2-0-2
Justin Abdelkader, ’87, Michigan St. (NCAA). Will get a long look. Had a good camp, but it’s more likely next year will be his year.3 gp, 1-0-1
Nathan Davis, ’86 Miami (NCAA). Has a chance. 4 gp, 0-2-2
Chad Kolarik, ’86, Michigan (NCAA). Has a slight chance. Solid all around play thus far just isn't quite enough. 5 gp, 0-3-3
Domenic Maiani, ’86, Ohio State (NCAA). Has a slight chance. 4 gp, 0-3-3
Ryan Stoa, ’87, Minnesota (NCAA). Wasn’t invited to summer camp. Long shot this year; a sure thing next year. 4 gp, 1-0-1.
Dan Collins, ’87,Plymouth (OHL). Should have a chance, but not sure if he will get one. An added member of US Under-18 Gold Medal team last spring, but wasn’t invited to summer tryout camp. #9 in OHL scoring. 11 gp, 13-9-22 and a +7 (+/-) to boot.
Brandon Dubinsky, ’86, Portland (WHL). A long shot. Is it tough to make this team or what? 10 gp, 5-9-14 (+1)
Nick Foligno ’87, Sudbury (OHL). Back from injury after very solid start, but a long shot. Has international experience with NTDP. A Favorite with USA. 9 gp, 4-7-11
Chad Rau, ’87,Colorado College (NCAA). A long shot, at least for this year. Also wasn’t at summer tryout camp. Excellent faceoff man and just has a knack for scoring.Member of US U18 Gold Medal team.If he keeps up his level of play, could get a long look in November. 6 gp, 3-1-4.
Jimmy Fraser, ’87, Harvard (NCAA). A long shot. Late Ivy start hurts his chances as a role player. 0 gp.
Bryan Lerg, ’86,Michigan State (NCAA). A long shot. Solid all around play but probably just misses out. 3 gp, 1-3-4
Michael Gergen, ’87, Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA). A long shot. 4 GP, 2-0-2.
Steve Zalewski, ’86, Clarkson (NCAA). A long shot. 4 gp, 0-2-2
* Previous Team Member
BOLD & CAPITALIZED - Projected to Make Team
Blue -- Bubble Players
Italics – Long Shots
Estey Makes His Choice
6’1”, 185 lb. LW Andrew Estey of the Alberni Valley Bulldogs (BCHL) has committed to Union College for next season.
Estey, a 9/3/86 from Fredericton, NB, played two years at the Salisbury School before taking a year in the BCHL.
A power forward who posted a 12-12-24 line in 27 games last season, Estey came up big in the playoffs for Salisbury. He had some Div. I interest at the time but the bigger schools had questions about his foot speed, and suggested a year in juniors.
Estey has gotten off to a great start in the BCHL, where he is tied for fifth in the league in scoring with a 10-16-26 line in 18 games.
Bemidji State and Northern Michigan were also in the picture for Estey.
St. Paul’s Jamboree Schedule
The St. Paul’s Thanksgiving Jamboree, featuring St. Paul’s, Taft, Tabor, and Canterbury, is scheduled for Sun. Nov. 27 and Mon. Nov. 28 at the school’s Concord, NH campus.
Each school will play three scrimmages -- two on Sunday, and one on Monday. All scrimmages will be three periods.
Here’s the schedule:
Sun. Nov. 27
10:00 am – St. Paul’s vs. Taft
12:00 pm – Tabor vs. Canterbury
3:30 pm – Taft vs. Canterbury
5:30 pm -- St. Paul’s vs. Tabor
Mon. Nov. 28
10:00 am – Taft vs. Tabor
12:00 pm – St. Paul’s vs. Canterbury
Big Score for BU
The Boston University Terriers staff of Jack Parker, David Quinn, and Mike Bavis has hit a home run in the recruiting war, getting commitments from U.S. Under-17 Team defensemen Colby Cohen and Kevin Shattenkirk.
Shattenkirk, a 5’11”, 180 lb. right shot who played last season for the Brunswick School in Greenwich, Conn., was our #1-ranked defenseman at this past summer’s Select 16 Festival in Rochester, NY. We found him to be excellent in all areas of the game, and smart, too. He doesn’t run around, he plays physical but clean hockey, and he makes intelligent decisions. In addition, he’s very focused, and reads plays well. The University of Michigan offered Shattenkirk a full scholarship early, but BU was always in the picture, too, and won out in the end.
The younger brother of Princeton defenseman Keith Shattenkirk, the New Rochelle native is a 1/29/89 birthdate. In 15 games with the Under-17 team, he as a 4-0-4 line with six penalty minutes.
Cohen, a 6’2”, 180 lb. right shot who played last season for the Syracuse Stars (OPJHL), was our #3-ranked defenseman at the Select 16s. He’s big, physical, and has a good stick, which he used to make a number of nice outlet passes. Right now, he’s a little raw compared to a player like Shattenkirk, but, like Shattenkirk, he has two years in the NTDP in front of him. The Denver Pioneers were also in on the hunt for Cohen.
A native of Radnor, PA, Cohen is a 4/25/89 birthdate and, in 14 games, has a 3-1-4 line with 25 pims.
The commitments of Shattenkirk and Cohen, in combination with the earlier commitments of Tristin Llewellyn (Michigan), Nick Petrecki (BC), and Ian Cole (Notre Dame), should open up the logjam of ’89 d-men as schools were waiting to see where the big guns would commit before moving in on the next group, which will include the likes of Under-17 Team defensemen Teddy Ruth and David Kolomatis.
Shattenkirk and Cohen will arrive at BU in the fall of ’07.
Shady Side/Berkshire Thanksgiving Schedule
The Shady Side Academy/Berkshire School Thanksgiving Tournament will be held Fri. Nov. 25 to Sun. Nov. 27 at the Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, PA.
Friday Nov. 25
8:00 am -- Wyoming Seminary vs. Berkshire School
10:15 am -- Nichols School vs. Shady Side Academy
12:30 pm -- St. Andrews College vs. Culver Academies
4:30 pm – Berkshire School vs. Shady Side Academy
6:45 pm – Culver Academies vs. Nichols School
9:00 pm -- Wyoming Seminary vs. St. Andrews College
Saturday Nov. 26
8:00 am – Shady Side Academy vs. Culver Academies
10:15 am -- Berkshire School vs. St. Andrews College
12:30 pm – Nichols School vs. Wyoming Seminary
6:45 pm – McKnight Division 1st Place vs. Gregory Division 2nd Place
9:00 pm -- Gregory Division 1st Place vs. McKnight Division 2nd Place
Sunday Nov. 27
8:30 am -- McKnight Division 3rd Place vs. Gregory Division 3rd Place
11:00 am – Championship Game
McKnight: Berkshire, Wyoming Seminary, and St. Andrew’s College
Gregory: Shady Side, Culver, and Nichols.
Tessier and Toews Back in the U.S.
Top ’90 prospects David Toews and Kelsey Tessier, expelled from Shattuck-St. Mary’s earlier this month for cheating, will be joining the Colorado Outlaws midget AAA program.
Toews and Tessier were standouts on Shattuck’s 14-and-Under squad that was runner-up last spring at nationals, and both are sought after by top NCAA programs as well as major junior.
Toews, a crafty, smooth-skating forward is a 5’10”, 190 lb. native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He’s the younger brother of University of North Dakota freshman – and Shattuck grad -- Jonathan Toews. In the spring, the younger Toews was selected by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL Bantam Draft.
Tessier, 5’9” and 165 lbs. is a skilled heady player from Moncton, NB who is expected to go extremely high in next spring’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft. Tessier, though only a ’90, is expected to represent Team Atlantic at the World Under-17 Challenge over the Christmas/ New Year’s break.
The Colorado Outlaws organization is directed by Brad Buetow, former University of Minnesota, U.S. International University (R.I.P.), and Colorado College head coach.
As of about ten days ago it looked like the two players were headed for the Boston Junior Bruins Empire League team, coached by Chris Masters, but the deal couldn’t get made. Tessier even practiced with the team a week ago Friday. In addition, Toews looked at the LA Selects Midget AAA squad.
Both Tessier and Toews are in the 10th grade.
Big Winger For Warriors
6’4”, 200 lb. Sioux Falls Musketeers RW Matt Jones has committed to Merrimack College for next fall.
Jones, a 1/13/86 birthdate from Kentwood, Mich., near Grand Rapids, is a big, strong power forward who came up through the West Michigan Warriors and Grand Rapids Jr. B programs, then went to the Green Bay Gamblers for ’04-05, but was cut in pre-season and moved to the Soo Indians (NAHL), where he had a strong second half, and returned to the USHL this season.
Jones has decent hands and skating ability, and will provide a presence in front of the net, where he’s pretty tough to move and will get his share of rebound goals.
In ten games this season, Jones has a 2-4-6 line with 28 pims.
Other schools showing interest were Notre Dame and Lake Superior State.
Midget AAA Head Coach Subject of Police Investigation
Capital Centre Pride Midget AAA head coach John Bowkus has become the subject of a Michigan State Police investigation into events at the team’s October 11th practice.
Allegedly, player on the Pride were ordered to remove their gloves and helmets and go at it while other players looked on.
A retired police officer watching his six-year old grandson play on an adjacent rink in the Summit in Dimondale, Mich., just outside Lansing, happened to see what was going on, and reported it. Two other eyewitnesses corroborated the account of the retired officer, Bob McClean, who described what he saw as “orchestrated brutality.”
The mother of one of the fighters has filed a formal complaint.
The case is expected to be presented to the Eaton County prosecutor next week.
A coach who encourages minors to engage in assault – on or off the ice – could face misdemeanor charges.
Bowkus has been suspended indefinitely by Jim Cain, the president of the Capital Centre Pride organization and the owner of the arena.
In addition, the Michigan Amateur Hockey Associated (MAHA) is investigating the matter.
Department of Real Life
If you’re thinking of leaving school after your junior year in order to sign a pro contract, consider the case of former Cornell forward Shane Hynes, now playing with the Portland Pirates (AHL).
This morning the big right wing got up nice and early and, along with teammate Kent Huskins, the former Clarkson defenseman, arrived at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Scarborough, Maine at 7:00 am to greet sleepy-eyed Mainers... and sign donuts or something.
This is what players mean when they say that, after college, hockey becomes a job.
Viking Cup Tryout Roster
Forty-two players from the U.S. junior ranks -- all ‘87s and younger – have been invited to try out for the team that the U.S. will send to the Viking Cup Dec. 26-Jan. 2 in Camrose, Alberta.
The evaluation camp will be held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Burnsville, Minnesota. The final roster will consist of 22 players.
Of the 42 players invited to Burnsville, 29 are from the USHL and five are from the EJHL. The NASL and AJHL are each sending four players.
Of the invited players, 26 are ’87 birthdates and 14 are ‘88s. Two – Nick Petrecki and Tristin Llewellyn – are ‘89s.
G Brian Foster (Des Moines Buccaneers); G Bryan Hogan (Lincoln Stars); G John Murray (Sioux Falls Stampede); G Alex Stalock (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders); D Jon Ammerman (Tri-City Storm); D Jeremy Dehner (Green Bay Gamblers); D Drew Dobson (Waterloo Black Hawks); D Steven Kampfer (Sioux City Musketeers); D Dan Lawson (Chicago Steel); D Kyle Lawson (Tri-City Storm); D Tristin Llewellyn (Indiana Ice); D Chad Morin (Sioux City Musketeers); D Nick Petrecki (Omaha Lancers); D Corey Toy (Omaha Lancers); F Zach Bearson (Waterloo Black Hawks); F Zach Cohen (Tri-City Storm); F Sean Dolan (Indiana Ice); F Brian Keane (Chicago Steel); F Trevor Lewis (Des Moines Buccaneers); F Tony Lucia (Omaha Lancers); F James Marcou (Waterloo Black Hawks); F Justin Milo (Indiana Ice); F Kyle Okposo (Des Moines Buccaneers); F Andrew Rowe (Sioux City Musketeers); F Gary Steffes (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders); F Ryan Thang (Sioux Falls Stampede); F Ryan Turek (Omaha Lancers); F Chris Vande Velde (Lincoln Stars); F Shea Walters (Green Bay Gamblers).
G Ryan Simpson (NH Jr. Monarchs); F Bobby Butler (Boston Jr. Bruins); Scott Halpern (Bay State Breakers); Ian O’Connor (NH Jr. Monarchs); Danny Rossman (Valley Jr. Warriors).
G Bryce Christianson (Fairbanks Ice Dogs); F Carter Camper (Cleveland Barons); F Adam Cardwell (Wichita Falls Wildcats); F Joel Sauer (Billings Bulls).
D Ryan Criscuolo (Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack); D Justin Porpora (NY Bobcats); Tony Romano (NY Bobcats); F Rem Vanderbeek (New Jersey Rockets).
The head coach of the Viking Cup squad will be P.K. O’Handley, head coach of the Waterloo Black Hawks. His assistants will be Al Bloomer, an associate coach with the Billings Bulls, and Bob Crawford, head coach and founder of the Connecticut Clippers Jr. B. Crawford also founded the Clippers organization. The tryout camp coach will be Sean Tremblay of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs.
Auffrey Leaves Badgers for OHL
6’2”, 200 lb. sophomore RW Matt Auffrey has left Wisconsin, signing today with the Kitchener Rangers (OHL).
Last weekend, Auffrey played in just one of the two games against St. Lawrence – the Badgers’ first two games of the season. He dressed on Saturday, playing on a line with senior Nick Licari and freshman Ben Street. The Badgers’ big guns were spread across the team’s other three lines.
Last year, in his freshman season, Auffrey broke his wrist in a late October game against Wisconsin, but still appeared in 25 of the Badgers 41 games. He finished the season with a 3-5-8 line.
Auffrey came to the Badgers from the National Team Development Program, where he was close friends with Matt Lashoff, who left the NTDP for Kitchener, where he is now in his third season. Lashoff and Auffrey are both upstate New York kids. Lashoff is from the Albany area; Auffrey is from the Syracuse area.
The Kitchener Rangers drafted Auffrey, an ’86 playing for the Syracuse Jr. Crunch, in 2002. Auffrey instead went to the NTDP. He committed to the Badgers in the fall of 2002, while still in the 11th grade.
Auffrey, a power forward who has been held back by his skating, was selected by Anaheim in the sixth round (#172 overall) of the 2004 NHL entry draft.
OHL Lowers Boom on Mantha, Spitfires
Ex-NHL defenseman and U.S. NTDP head coach Moe Mantha has been suspended from his current position as GM/head coach of the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) as a result of nasty fights in practice and a hazing incident.
The suspensions are heavy. For starters, Mantha, 44, has been banned as general manager for one year. In addition, he has been banned as coach for 25 games for making players strip on the team bus Sept. 9. And then, on top of that, he got an additional 15-game ban from coaching as a result of fights in practice between Spitfires third-year player Steve Downie, 18, and rookie Akim Aliu, 16.
In total, Mantha has been banned from coaching in the league for 40 games. His suspension as GM runs through both the regular season and the playoffs should Windsor, now 2-8-0 and in a state of implosion, happen to get that far.
On top of all that, the Spitfires organization has been fined $35,000.
All punishments were meted out by OHL commissioner Dave Branch.
Reportedly, the hazing incident, a ritual known as the ‘hot box’, involved having the team’s rookies strip and then cramming them into the tiny bathroom on the team’s bus. There were five players involved in the incident, but only four were inside the lavatory.
The fights likely stemmed from the hazing incident. Downie, a Philadelphia Flyers first round draft pick this summer, left the team after the fights of Sept. 28, and has demanded to be traded. Downie had been suspended by the Spitfires for five games and ordered to undergo counseling; Aliu was suspended for one game.
Observers said that during practice on Sept. 28, after Downie and Aliu had already fought twice, Downie came off the bench, tapped the rookie on the shoulder and then, when Aliu turned around, cross-checked him in the face. Aliu, the Spitfires’ #1 draft pick in the spring, lost three teeth and suffered facial wounds. Branch concluded that Mantha and his staff could have prevented the escalating violence, but didn't.
Branch has ordered the Spitfires, whose team president, Steve Riolo, was on the bus during the hazing incident, to make a psychologist available to any player who wants counseling.
“I conclude that the lack of leadership and what transpired were dishonorable and prejudicial to the well being of the league and its players,” said Branch.
No word is available on who will take over as GM/coach during Mantha’s suspension. Whoever it is has some serious damage to repair.
Big Win for the Colonials
The Robert Morris University Colonials scored three unanswered goals in the third period en route to a big 5-2 win at Western Michigan University Saturday night.
It was the Pittsburgh school’s first win over a school from one of the four major conferences. To top it off, on Sunday afternoon, the Colonials, now in their second year as a Div. I hockey school, rolled into Ann Arbor and edged the U.S. Under-18 Team, 6-5.
But as for Saturday’s big win, RMU head coach Derek Schooley, who skates one senior, three juniors, 13 sophomores, and three freshmen, said. “I feel really good for our players. They were ecstatic.”
Schooley, who said he had fielded “about 50” congratulatory calls by lunchtime Monday, wanted to keep the spotlight on his players, and off himself. But we wouldn’t let him. After all, Schooley is a Western Michigan alum, having played defense for the Broncos from 1990-94.
“I was proud to take Robert Morris University into a place where I spent four great years and come out with a win,” he said.
It appeared that was all we were going to get out of Schooley, but then he quickly added, “It was exciting.”
An interesting sidebar to the whole story is the fact that the game marked the first time two former Western Michigan players who had gone on to become head coaches had faced each other from across the ice. Broncos head coach Jim Culhane was a Broncos defenseman from 1983-87.
Western Michigan is a cradle of coaches, as right now there are 14 Div. I coaches who passed through the Kalamazoo school, as players, coaches, or both. If any other school can lay claim to such a large number, let us know. We don’t think there is one.
Here’s the roll call: The current staff at Western – Culhane and assistants Chris Brooks and Brendan Kenny – are all former Bronco players. Michigan State assistants Brian Renfrew and Tom Newton both were at Western – Renfrew as a player and Newton as an assistant coach. Cornell assistant Mike Schafer was an assistant at Western – and his assistants with the Big Red, Brent Brekke and Scott Garrow, were both players there, with Garrow also serving a stint as assistant coach. Colorado College assistant Joe Bonnett was a player for the Broncos. St. Lawrence assistant Chris Wells was an assistant at Western, while Brown assistant Danny Brooks was there as a volunteer assistant on the staff of Bill Wilkinson, who coached the Broncos for 17 years, and is now at Wayne State.And at Robert Morris, Schooley hired former Western player Marc Fakler as one of his assistants.
So there you have it. In Kalamazoo, they make more than just breakfast cereal.
The Boston Jr. Bruins and New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs went into their Saturday night EJHL tilt at Hooksett, NH undefeated and, after a 1-1 tie, they’re still undefeated.
Goaltending was the story of the game, as Ryan Simpson (36 saves), the EJHL’s top goaltending prospect, was matched every step of the way by the Junior Bruins’ Chris Rossi (37 saves).
The Monarchs had more Grade A chances and had the edge in play for the first two periods. The Bruins came on in the third, when they scored their one goal, and in OT. Overall, agood, solid game, with not much to separate the two squads.
The schools in the picture for Simpson, an ’88 from Bow NH who played at St. Paul’s before joining the Monarchs as an 11th grader last year, are Cornell, Dartmouth, BC, Providence, and Clarkson. The big question now is whether he will go to college next season or take another year in juniors. Simpson leads the EJHL in both save percentage (.958) and GAA (1.28).
Monarchs forward Dan Bartlett, who has 16 points in 11 games for the Monarchs, should be making a college decision soon. Princeton, Yale, and Union are the schools in the picture.
This season, the Valley Junior Warriors, under coach Andy Heinze, are mounting a challenge to the Jr. B’s/Monarchs hegemony of the past couple seasons.
Goaltender Stephan Parry, an ’86 from Clearwater, Florida who played in Michigan for Chris Coury last season, has given the Valley Warriors solid goaltending, posting a .919 save percentage and a 2.35 GAA while playing all 11 games for the 9-1-1 Warriors, whose only loss was a 3-2 decision to the Bay State Breakers on Oct. 2.
Northeastern recruit Joe Cucci is leading the attack for the Valley Warriors, with a 7-9-16 line.
The middle tier of the EJHL consists of the Green Mountain Glades, Bay State, the Bridgewater Bandits, and the New Jersey Hitmen. Below that group, all teams are under .500.
Founders League ADs OK Early Pond Hockey
Founders League Coaches John Gardner (Avon Old Farms) and Damon White (Hotchkiss) presented a proposal to the league’s ADs asking for a change to the rule that bans students using sticks and pucks at their schools rinks prior to the official mid-November start of practice.
Gardner and Damon asked for open hockey, monitored by faculty, to be allowed on Founders League campuses on Saturday evenings and Sundays starting October 1st. Gardner and Damon pointed out that it was unfair that, for example, basketball players can go into the gym any time they want and shoot around, but hockey players can’t do likewise.
The ADs agreed, but shot down October 1st, and substituted October 15.
The proposal will now go to the headmasters, who will vote on it next month.
If the headmasters give it a thumbs-up, one year from now, on October 15, 2006, students will be able to skate with sticks, pucks, and full equipment at Founders League rinks. Rules will stipulate that these Saturday-Sunday sessions must be open to all students who wish to participate, and that no coaches be present. In addition, the sessions will be monitored by faculty.
Having open hockey in October will also give kids who opt to play fall sports instead of split-season midgets a chance to get their legs under them in advance of the mid-November commencement of hockey tryouts. This would allow them to start tryouts on more or less equal footing with the kids who choose to play midget hockey off-campus in the fall.
It may also give students less of a reason to bypass fall sports in favor of playing midgets every weekend.
Status Quo – for Now
The #1 issue at the fall prep hockey coaches’ meeting concerned whether or not to tinker with the current setup for determining who makes the eight-team NEPSAC Div. I hockey playoffs. And while there is sentiment for change, it won’t come this season.
Last spring, Steve Schwartz, who tracked every Div. I prep team’s game results for the purposes of compiling polls and projecting post-season seedings for this publication, wrote a lengthy proposal that appeared in the USHR News ofMay 25th. In its simplest terms, Schwartz suggested a couple of improvements to the criteria: 1) totally eliminating games vs. Div. II opponents from the formula, and 2) giving greater value to a team’s strength of schedule.
NEPSIHA president Patrick Dennehy circulated the proposal to the coaches, in the spring and again prior to the meeting, hoping to spur some discussion -- and possible action.
Northfield-Mt. Hermon coach Josh Brandwene, whose team may have been affected last season by its tough schedule, added a proposal of his own, taking the Schwartz/USHR proposal one step further by adding another calculation – the record of a given team’s opponents’ opponents – in order to put an even finer point on the calculation.
A vote was taken on whether to make refinements in the strength of schedule calculations, and the final tally was seven for it, seven against it, and three abstentions. Those who voted against it, and abstained, cited the fact that eliminating games against Div. II opponents from the calculations would not be fair to teams that have traditionally scheduled opponents from the Div. II ranks – especially with the season so close, and schedules set.
However, armed with the calculations of the upcoming season (as well as seasons past), all this will be revisited in the spring meetings.
-- Another thing that will be discussed in the spring is the possibility of introducing league playoffs. Right now, headmasters appear reluctant to expand the current NEPSIHA playoffs, but there are some prep coaches interested in exploring opening up the playoff experience to a greater number of players than currently take part.
League playoffs would be a means to that end.
One scenario being discussed calls for trimming a couple of games off the schedule, and replacing them with league playoffs on the final Friday-Saturday of the regular season. The big question of course, is this: Would automatic invitations to the NEPSIHA playoffs go to the league playoff winners? Regular season champs? And, if so, would this result in less worthy teams making the playoffs – in other words, would it undo exactly what the current calculations are designed to do?
Note also that the independents – Andover, Bridgton, South Kent – would have to get into leagues in order for the whole thing to work.
Two to Brown
Goaltender Dan Rosen of the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) and forward Aaron Volpatti of the Vernon Vipers (BCHL) have committed to Brown for next fall.
Rosen, a native of Syosset, NY and a Suffolk PAL product, is a 2/26/87 birthdate. Standing 5’11 and 160 lbs., Rosen is quick, and technically sound. He’s also a proven goalie in his second USHL season.
Last year, Rosen played in 25 games and had a 3.35 gaa and a .904 save percentage. This year, he’s started all five of Green Bay’s games and has a 2.83 gaa and a .909 save percentage.
Volpatti is a 6’1”, 190 lb. 20-year-old left wing out of Revelstoke, BC (sounds Goth to us). He’s big, tough, aggressive banger who can skate.He’s also a leader type (he’s one of the captains in Vernon) who’ll block shots and bring a lot of grit and intangibles to the game.
He’s in his third year with the Vipers, and in nine games to date, has a 2-6-8 line with 12 pims.
Vipers associate head coach Bernie Pimm said, “To be honest, I’m not sure if the NCAA is ready for Aaron Volpatti. His hits are clean, his hits are hard, and his hits hurt. You ask any kid in our league who is the player they hate playing against the most and Aaron will be at the top of every list.”
6’4”, 195 lb. Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) defenseman Eric Gryba is looking at the University of North Dakota, Boston University, and Ohio State. Gryba, and Des Moines’ Kyle Okposo, look to be the top two USHL kids available for next June’s NHL draft.
South Kent School’s Tony Morrone, a5’10” forward who was the second-leading scorer in the New England prep ranks last winter – he finished with five fewer points than Union freshman Augie DiMarzo – is looking at Maine and Boston University.
U.S. Under-18 Team 6’2” defenseman Trent Palm is looking at Boston University, Providence, Harvard, and Ohio State.
Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) forward Phil DeSimone appears to be Hockey East bound – he’s looking at Boston University, Northeastern, Providence, UMass, and UNH.
Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) forward Steve Silva – ex of Tabor Academy – also appears Hockey East bound, with UNH, Northeastern, Providence, and Vermont all in the picture.
U.S. Under-18 Team forward James O’Brien, an ’89, is looking at Wisconsin, Michigan, Colorado College, and Minnesota.
5’11”, 180 lb. Shattuck-St. Mary’s RW Tyler Ruegsegger has committed to Denver for the fall of ’07.
Ruegsegger, a native of Lakewood, Colorado, is currently a senior at Shattuck. Before joining the Pioneers, he’ll play a year with the Omaha Lancers (USHL), who took him in last month’s futures draft.
A 1/19/88 birthdate, Ruegsegger has a 1-4-5 line in five games this season. Last year, he had a 26-54-80 line in 64 games, finishing as the fourth leading scorer for Shattuck, trailing only Jonathan Toews, Michael Gergen, and Kyle Okposo.
Ruegsegger is highly competitive, winning a huge percent of battles for loose pucks. He has great offensive instincts and is particularly dangerous from the tops of the circles down.
A member of the Select Teams that went overseas from both the 16 and 17 Festivals, Ruegsegger picked Denver over Yale, Princeton, Colorado College, and Providence.
-- Michigan Tech has a commitment for the fall of ’08 from Honeybaked Midget AAA RW Anthony Schooley, a 8/1/89 birthdate from Romulus, Michigan.
Schooley, a pure goal scorer with excellent hands and speed, will play the next two seasons in the USHL with the Waterloo Black Hawks, who drafted him in last month’s futures draft.
Schooley, who’s 5’10”, 175 lbs., had a 40-31-71 line with the Honeybaked ‘89s last season.
Under-18s Have Big Shoes to Fill
The U.S. Under-18 Team, which has started out its season going 7-0-0 – as they should -- vs. NAHL teams, has its first two college matchups this weekend, at Northern Michigan tonight and Lake Superior State tomorrow.
To say they have big shoes to fill is an understatement. Last year’s team, with the likes of Phil Kessel, Peter Mueller, Jack Skille, Nathan Gerbe, and Ryan Stoa up front; Jack Johnson, Mark Mitera, and Erik Johnson on the blue line, and Jeff Frazee in goal, was by far the best Under-18 Team this country has ever put together – and this typist has seen ‘em all. They went to the World Under-18 Tournament in April as prohibitive favorites and cruised through the field, going 6-0-0 and outscoring their opponents, 28-8. Coach Ron Rolston, who inherited the team after coming over from Boston College, was in the right place at the right time, but, truthfully, last year's Under-18 Team could also have won with Kate Moss behind the bench. They were indeed that good.
For this year’s Under-18’s to win the World Under-18s will require a Herculean effort, as the personnel is nowhere near as good. However, coach John Hynes, whose attention to detail is superlative, and who was an assistant to Mike Eaves when the U.S. won its first gold medal at the Under-18s (with a team less talented than last season’s), knows what this year’s team has to do to succeed internationally, and has a program in place for them. Whether they have the talent and depth to reach the height of last season’s team, though, is a whole different question. If it happens, it will be an impressive achievement. Time will tell, and there’s plenty of it between now and April. Tonight and tomorrow, though, are the first two real tests of the season.
Check it Out
It’s pushing 80 degrees in Boston, but the college hockey season has arrived, with eight (for real) Division I games tonight. A new college hockey website that could wind up being the college hockey website is Adam Wodon’s College Hockey News, which can be found at www.collegehockeynews.com
Adam writes well on the subject of college hockey, knows his stuff, and brings clarity to a wide range of topics. On top of that, he’s an excellent TV analyst.
Check it out.
A Defenseman for Tech
6’1”, 180 lb. defenseman Deron Cousens of the Penticton Vees (BCHL) has committed to Michigan Tech for the fall of ’07.
Cousens, a 3/21/87 birthdate, is a native of Georgetown, Ont. and played last season in the Provincial League with the Huntsville Otters, where he was named North Division rookie of the year and a league all-star. In 47 games with the Otters he had a 6-33-39 line.
With Penticton this season, he has five assists in eight games.
Wehrs Makes His Choice
5’9”, 165 lb. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL) LD Kevin Wehrs has committed to the University of Minnesota.
Wehrs, a 4/7/88 birthdate from Plymouth, Minn. who played at Wayzata High School before electing to spend his senior year in the USHL, has excellent hand skills – his passes are consistently tape-to-tape -- and vision. He’s small, but physically strong, and feisty. He plays with an edge.
Wehrs, who played on the Under-18 Select Team that went to Slovakia and the Czech Republic in August, was heavily recruited. In addition to the Gophers, St. Cloud State, UNH, and BU were also in the picture. Wehrs is a strong student, and Princeton, Yale, and other Ivies were also considered.
Depending on players leaving early for pro, etc. Wehrs could start playing for the Gophers as early as next fall.
At Wayzata HS last season, Wehrs had a 13-19-32 line in 23 games.
Gagner Rumor Unfounded
There’s a rumor going around that ’89 forward Sam Gagner of the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) has committed to the University of Minnesota.
It’s not true. Gagner has not made a commitment.
However, he has taken unofficials to a good number of schools, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Miami, Notre Dame, BC, BU, and Harvard. With his family moving back from Toronto to the Twin Cities, the western schools – Minnesota, included -- would seem to have the edge, but there’s still a way to go.
EJHL, Prep Players in USHL
For those keeping track of such things, there are eight former New England prep players in the USHL this season: Steve Silva (Tabor/Green Bay); Sean Backman (Avon/Green Bay); Brett Bandazian (Choate/Lincoln); Corey Toy (Hotchkiss/Omaha); Sean Coffey (St. Sebastian’s/Sioux City); Billy Blasé (Taft/Sioux City); Pasko Scarica (Milton/Waterloo); and Mike Borisenok (Albany Academy/Waterloo).
There are also eight former EJHL players in the USHL this season: David Strathman (Valley Jr. Warriors/Cedar Rapids); Rich Purslow (NY Apple Core/ Des Moines); Brian Foster (NH Jr. Monarchs/Des Moines); Sergio Somma (Cap District/Green Bay); Nick Petrecki (Cap District/Omaha); Mike Spillane (Vermont Glades/Omaha); Christian Jensen (NJ Hitmen/Waterloo); J.C. Velasquez (Valley Jr. Warriors/Sioux Falls).
-- The Annual New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Tournament takes place this coming weekend, with 12 of 14 EJHL teams in action at the Monarchs twin-rink barn in Hooksett, NH. The two EJHL teams that won't be on hand are the Boston Junior Bruins and the Bay State Breakers. The tournament starts Saturday afternoon at 1 pm, and continue through Monday.
-- The Atlantic Junior Hockey League is hosting a Columbus Day Weekend showcase this weekend at the Iorio Arena in Walpole, Mass., with games Saturday through Monday.
Some future tournaments in New England include:
The Valley Junior Warriors Tournament. Nov. 11-13 at Valley Forum, Lawrence, Mass.
Top Gun Midget Tournament. Nov. 11-13 at Salem, NH.
Beantown Fall Classic. Nov. 18-20 at UNH and the rinks at Exeter, NH.
New England Huskies Showcase. Dec. 9-11 at Fitchburg, Mass.
Nodl a Sleeper
New St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko may have a steal in 6’1”, 195 lb. forward Andreas Nodl, a recent Huskies commitment. Nodl, who played on the Austrian World Junior Team last winter, came over to Sioux Falls before the start of the ’04-05 season on the recommendation of fellow countryman Thomas Vanek. Vanek, you may recall was brought to both Sioux Falls and the Gophers by Motzko, so there’s a connection there. Nodl, who was stifled under Mark Kaufman’s defensive system with the Stampede last year, finishing with 16 points in 44 games, scored a third-period hat trick in his team’s season-opening 6-3 win over Lincoln. The team has only played three games but, with a 4-2-6 line, Nodl leads the USHL in scoring. Nodl, a 2/28/87 birthdate, is a strong skater with excellent hands and a bomb of a shot.
Shattuck Rocked by Expulsions
Shattuck-St. Mary’s hopes to repeat as U.S. Tier I Midget AAA champs has taken a hit as its two young star forwards, ’90 birthdates David Toews and Kelsey Tessier, have been expelled from the Faribault, Minn. boarding school for cheating.
Toews and Tessier, both 10th graders, were standouts on Shattuck’s 14-and-Under squad that was runner-up last spring at nationals, and both are big-time NCAA prospects already in the sights of Div. I schools across the country.
Toews, a crafty, smooth-skating forward is a 5’10”, 190 lb. native of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He’s the younger brother of University of North Dakota freshman – and Shattuck grad -- Jonathan Toews. In the spring, the younger Toews was selected by the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL Bantam Draft.
Tessier, 5’9” and 165 lbs. is a skilled heady player from Moncton, NB who is expected to go in the Top Five of next spring’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft.
Right now, the immediate hockey future of both players is unknown. Their situation is complicated by the fact that they are subject to Hockey Canada’s strict new rules governing Canadians playing in the U.S. Basically, both kids got a waiver to play in the U.S. because Shattuck is a boarding school and they were students there last year, so in effect they were grandfathered. The two players cannot play for another team that is part of USA Hockey without another waiver from Hockey Canada, which is highly unlikely to happen, assuming the families would even apply. The two players could, technically, play for a U.S. boarding school outside the USA Hockey system – a New England prep, for instance – but that’s pretty unlikely, too.
In addition, Canadian midget teams have a complicated system that limits the number ofslots available to underage players, most of which have already been spoken for. It’s within the realm of possibility that both Toews and Tessier may have to play bantams for the remainder of this season.
Calls to Shattuck coach Tom Ward seeking comment were not returned.
Team Illinois Cruises at Marquette
Team Illinois edged the Chicago Chill, 3-2, to take the championship game of the annual Marquette Electricians Midget AAA Tournament over the weekend.
With the win, Team Illinois finished 6-0-0 and outscored their opponents 30-7, while the Chill went 5-1-0 and outscored their opponents 34-11.
To get to the finals, TI edged the host Electricians, 4-3, while the Chill beat the Pittsburgh Hornets, 6-1.
The tournament’s offensive MVP went to Scott Pulak of the host Electricians. Pulak led all goal scorers at the tournament and finished with a 7-4-11 line. TI’s Tommy Wingels also had 11 points (6 goals, 5 assists). Right behind them were Michael Embach of the Chill and Dan Otto of TI, each with 10 points.
The tournament’s defensive MVP was Ryan Lowery of Team Illinois.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s, last year’s champions, did not enter this year’s tournament, which featured 20 teams, from the LA Jr. Kings in the west to the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers in the east.
Champions of the West Add Native Son
5’10”, 180 lb. LC Matt Rust of the U.S. Under-17 Team has committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of ’07.
Rust, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native, made his final choice from between Notre Dame and Michigan.
An excellent playmaker, Rust is good in traffic, taking and making passes while keeping his feet moving. He’s a smooth skater and strong on his skates, so he doesn’t get knocked off the puck much. A finesse player, he has a good sense of where to go on the ice, and he can finish, too. He doesn’t seem fazed by physical play, and is good in all three zones.
Last season, Rust, a 3/23/89 birthdate, played for the Honeybaked Midget AAA squad where, in 50 games, he had a 16-24-40 line.
Mid-Fairfield President vs. Peter Masters
On Wednesday, USHR received a letter from Peter Russo, the president of Mid-Fairfield Youth Hockey, responding to our article on the game last Saturday night between the midget AAA squads from his organization and the GBL Junior Bruins.
The letter, however, was composed as a direct response to quotes made in the article by Boston Junior Bruins Shootout tournament director Peter Masters. We told Russo that we would be glad to run the letter, but felt that printing it without giving Masters a chance to respond to the charges being levied against him would be unfair.
Masters has completed his response. Here are the two letters, with Russo’s first.
As President of Mid Fairfield Youth Hockey it is my duty to respond to the recent accusations made by Peter Masters, tournament director for the Boston Jr. Bruins Tournament in Marlborough.I would like to specifically address some of his more outrageous and misleading statements about our AAA Midget team.
Last Saturday this tournament, while under his direction, was running 3 hours behind schedule.Peter Masters approached both our coach, Chris Kiene, and the opposing coach and asked them to play a 24 minute game.Mid Fairfield had already clinched a spot in the crossovers and with only 9 players left to play, were determined to safely and responsibly complete the game and advance to the semi-finals on Sunday.At no point prior to this game or during, did Chris Kiene instruct his players to “throw the game.”I fully support, as does our entire organization, the coaching standards, practicesand decisions made by Chris Kiene.His accomplishments and those of these players speak for themselves.It is not only embarrassing but unconscionable for Peter Masters to accuse last year’s Tier 1 National Champions of such an act.Our organization does not accept what Peter Masters has said to be true, nor should we have to be a scapegoat for his own personal frustration.
My number one priority as President is to assure the safety of my players.It is my understanding that all Midget games should be no less than 36 minutes, and, be a minimum of 3-12 minute stop-time periods.If a game should run late, the 3rd period may be adjusted.So, was this even a legitimate game to play from the beginning?Peter Masters has made a mockery of this game.His slanderous comments and actions during the game and those written in his recent article are nothing more than a tactic to embarrass a premier organization and coach, and a talented bunch of players.What was Peter Masters trying to forge as an outcome during this questionable game from the start?A more violent match that would give his spectators a greater show…?
Mid Fairfield has supported this tournament for years and has sent 4 teams to this tournament this year already.Let me also address another situation that one of our Midget Minor teams encountered this past weekend, again in Marlborough.Our team played 2 games of a 3-game guarantee.Peter Masters asked them to wait to see if they would advance to the next day.He made them stay around until 12:00 midnight, only then telling them that they could go home, that they would not be playing the game, and that the team that was advancing was already in the crossovers.This tournament director made my families stay all day and, ultimately, have to pay for an extra night’s stay in a hotel.
To summarize, Peter Masters has chosen the wrong road to travel on.As both President and a parent, I am appalled by the extreme direction that he has taken this.Over the years Mid Fairfield has come to rely on the high level of competition, professionalism and game guarantee that has come from attending this tournament.The hockey community should now be questioning the abilities of Peter Masters to run a tournament of this caliber.I would expect no less than a full retraction of his statements and, more importantly, an apology to my coach and players.We have not only respectful players on this team, but ones that are envied and looked favorably upon by coaches, educators and parents.I will not stand for anyone, certainly Peter Masters, to speak about them in the way he has chosen.He should be ashamed and embarrassed by his attempts to tarnish their success. Hopefully, others will see that his efforts should not be tolerated nor accepted, and that his voice is so counterproductive.I am proud of our Midgets and their dedication to this sport.
Peter G. Russo
President, Mid Fairfield Youth Hockey
I am very disappointed that Peter Russo, President of Mid Fairfield Youth Hockey, a strong program with a history marked with great successes, would choose to respond to the recent USHR post as he did.
I have had nothing but respect for the Mid Fairfield program and players for many years.I know many of their players and parents personally and would love to have them be a part of the Bruins organization.I have no ax to grind with Peter Russo, as I have never met him, nor with his coach, whom I met for the first time at the tournament, but I feel I must respond to set the record straight since he chose to make his comments public.
First, I must correct some of Mr. Russo’s glaring factual inaccuracies.
1) While the game was started later than the scheduled 9:20 P.M., it was not 3 hours late, but started about 10:40 P.M.As a courtesy to the Mid Fairfield Midget Major Team, we have always given them a late game on Friday, a
mid-afternoon game on Saturday and a late game again on Saturday night.This has been done for years to accommodate many of their players who are in prep schools and are required to attend classes on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning until about noon.It’s always been understood that in having this accommodation, if there was a delay on Saturday, their last game would have a later start time.
2) I approached neither the GBL nor Mid Fairfield coach to change the game format.Both head coaches from GBL and Mid Fairfield came to me and asked for a shootout or a shorter game.They felt that since it was late they would like to finish as quickly as possible.Based on their request, I allowed the game to go off as one 25 minute period instead of two 25 minute periods, with one minor modification.Every goal that was scored would count twice because they were only playing half a game.This was explained to both coaches and the Portland Pirates coach, and they all agreed that this was fair.
3) Contrary to what Peter Russo wrote Mid Fairfield had not yet qualified for the Sunday cross over.The Portland Pirates, GBL Bruins and Mid Fairfield all had four points; this game would determine the two to advance.Portland, who had been waiting around since 1 P.M., was hoping the chips would fall their way.Both GBL and Mid Fairfield, however, could advance if their game ended in a tie.On the other hand, if their game had a winner, the team to advance would depend on the first tie breaker, goals against.
4) Mid Fairfield was not trying to advance to the semi-finals.They were trying to advance to Sunday’s early morning “sweet sixteen”.The winners of the “sweet sixteen” games would then get a spot in the mid-morning quarter finals.
5) I counted the players on the ice for Mid Fairfield.They had two lines plus. If my memory serves me correctly, it was 13 players plus a goalie, not 9 players as stated by Mr. Russo.I have double checked this with scouts who were there, and they concur.
6) Mr. Russo stated that I made slanderous remarks in “my article”.To what article is he referring?This is the first I have written about the event.
7) Other, more blatant inaccuracies stated about one of his other Mid Fairfield teams won’t be commented on here because that has nothing to do with the issue at hand.
Second, Mr. Russo has neither met me nor called me to discuss anything having to do with hockey in general or this incident specifically.Since he was not at the tournament and received information second-hand, wouldn’t it have been better to call me for a private conversation before issuing his statement, wherein he publicly attacked me?So, having set the facts straight, I’d like to have him explain a few of his quotes
1) “Our organization does not accept what Peter Masters has said to be true, nor should we have to be a scapegoat for his own personal frustration.”
Why would I make this up?What personal frustration are you talking about?
2) “It is my understanding that all Midget games should be no less than 36 minutes…So, was this even a legitimate game to play from the beginning?”
Aside from the fact that your coach requested this shortened game, what does this have to do with the mockery your players made of the game?
3) “What was Peter Masters trying to forge as an outcome during this questionable game from the start?A more violent match that would give his spectators a greater show…?”
What does that mean or have to do with anything?What everyone should hope for is the all-out honest effort of every player to play his best.
4) “The hockey community should now be questioning the abilities of Peter Masters to run a tournament of this caliber.”
Why?I have been running high level and high volume tournaments for years and have never had a problem with game-fixing before.How is that my fault?
Third, if Mr. Russo had called me to discus the situation, I would have answered all his questions, giving him the correct facts and logistics of the entire night.I could have given him the names of the scouts who had stayed and witnessed his team’s play.I also would have asked him a few questions of my own.
1)Why would I go to both coaches, twice in the first 10 minutes of play, to talk about what was happening on the ice?
2) Why would the Portland team keep their rooms for the night and show up to watch a game at 10 P.M.?How would you explain both the Portland parents and players moaning and groaning in the stands, calling the game a joke if they didn’t see the same thing I saw?I’ve seen a few disgruntled fans at a game, but never an entire team and all the parents.
3) Why would I pull the 3 & 0 Junior Bruins out of the Sunday games, giving their spot to the Portland team, unless I felt, as tournament director, it was the only way to try to right a wrong?
4) Of what benefit would it be to college and junior scouts to confirm what I’d claimed as fact when interviewed by Chris Warner if it wasn’t true?
5) Why hasn’t one GBL or Mid Fairfield parent called to take me to task for lying in the public forum of the
6)Why would I ever try “to embarrass a premier organization and coach, and a talented bunch of players"?
Does that make any sense?What could I possibly gain by doing that?
In summary, the truth is that while a game was being played something funny was going on.Everyone in the building knew it.In this small community the word about the game spread rapidly.Chris Warner called for my views.I told him what I saw, and I stand by it.It is my opinion that Mr. Russo, who was not at the game, and who did not call me or any of the impartial independent college and junior scouts, nor the referees for comment, is trying to put a spin on the truth.His response in the USHR article to the hockey community does not address the real issue, but has attacked me professionally, by questioning my ability to run a tournament, and personally, by calling me, in a veiled way, a blatant liar out to hurt kids, parents and two well-respected youth organizations.I think in the court of public opinion it is he who will be seen as the one who “has chosen the wrong road to travel on”.
Coach Darren Turcotte, whose Southern Ice Lightning Midget AAA squad, based in Nashville, Tenn., was forced to close on September 20 (see USHR News, Sept. 21), says he’s managed to place his players in other programs he feels comfortable with.
“I’m happy everyone is getting hooked up somewhere,” Turcotte said. “As for myself, I have to get a few financial things cleared up and then move on.
Turcotte’s squad has spread out across the country in a kind of hockey diaspora. Among the destinations are Grand Rapids, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; Marquette, Michigan; San Jose, California; and Amsterdam, Holland.
A few kids remain undecided about where to go next.
‘90s Shine at Junior Bruins Shootout
One of the bright lights of last weekend’s Boston Junior Bruins shootout was 14-year-old forward Sean Logue of the GBL Bruins who, by the way, did not play in the Saturday night fiasco. Logue, whose father Ed, was an offensive lineman at Boston College, was born in Waltham, Mass. but grew up in Maryland and Missouri, played on the St. Louis 16-and-Under squad coached by Basil McRae and featuring superb forward Phillip McRae, who is now with the U.S. Under-17 team as an underager.
Logue, who’s already 5’11”, 175 lbs., has moved back to Massachusetts. A November 1990 birthdate who’s only in the 9th grade, Logue will be playing for Xaverian High School this season. A smooth skater with size, quickness, hands, and exceptional poise, Logue is good enough to play in the USHL next year, or join his former teammate in Ann Arbor. Logue was unable to play in the Select 15 Festival over the summer due to a wrist injury.
-- Another ’90 forward who stood out at the Junior Bruins Shootout was 6’0”, 152 lb. RC Max Cook of the Chicago Mission. Excellent hands. Great passer. Great vision. Very, very skilled. Cook is right up there with Logue.
-- 5’7”, 150 lb. LD David Warsofsky of the GBL Bruins – he didn’t play in the Saturday night fiasco either -- was another excellent ’90 on hand. A great skater, he can go with the puck. Warsofsky, who’ll be going to Cushing this season, is in the mold of former Boston College defenseman Marty Hughes, though perhaps faster than Hughes was at the same age.
Unlike Logue, Cook and Warsofsky were seen at the Select 15 Festival.
-- 5’11” forward Mike Cichy, of New Hartford, Conn. and the Boston Junior Bruins (Empire Jr. B) squad, another outstanding ’90, and one of the top forwards at this past summer’s Select 15 Festival, has the attention of Notre Dame, Michigan State, UNH, Boston College, and others.
-- Twelve of the 14 EJHL teams were on hand. Only the New England Falcons and New England Huskies were not at the tournament. It’s still early, but of the teams participating, it looks like the Junior Bruins and Monarchs will fight it out for the top again. The expansion Syracuse Stars, will struggle, as their two best prospects, 5’11” forward Kevin McCarey and 6’3” LD Kevin O’Neill are also both ‘90s, and it’s tough to win in the EJHL when your best players are both only 15 year old. The Cap District Selects will struggle, too. This could be the weakest team coach Jim Salfi has ever had. There are also very few players on the team from the greater Albany area, which we hope is just a hiccup, and not indicative of the future of hockey in the Capital District.
Notes From Around
The schools in the picture for 5’10”, 160 lb. US Under-18 Team forward Pat Kane, the leading scorer of last year’s Under-17 Team, are BU, Michigan, Michigan State, and Miami. Kane, a Buffalo, NY native who’s been a leading scorer at every level he’s played at, is only a junior in high school, and will likely play in the USHL next year. He was the first player taken in the USHL Futures draft earlier this month, by the Omaha Lancers.
-- Union College defenseman Phil McDavitt will not be playing hockey at Union this season, though he will be staying at the school for the academic year, and hopes to transfer to a NESCAC school for next season. “It was his decision,” said Union coach Nate Leaman. “He said he didn’t like worrying every night about whether he’d be in the lineup or not. He’s a phenomenal kid. Whatever Div. III program gets him is going to be extremely lucky.”
-- Mike Vaskivuo, the leading scorer at the Westminster School last year, gave it a shot with the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL), but to no avail. Instead, he’ll be taking a PG year at the South Kent School, which was his fallback position.
-- Matt Lindsay, former Deerfield Academy and Williams College forward, and the son of former Deerfield coach Jim Lindsay, is moving up the coaching ladder himself. He’llbe a volunteer assistant at Colorado College this season. Lindsay worked for the last two years as an assistant for Mark Taylor at Hobart College. Taylor was an assistant at UMass-Lowell with current CC assistant Norm Bazin. Philippe Roy, a defenseman at Clarkson from 1996-2000, takes Lindsay’s position at Hobart. Roy, a St. Leonard, Quebec native, retired from pro hockey after playing last season in France.
6’2” goaltender Marc Cheverie, who was the MVP of the Sask Midget AAA League last season while playing for the Notre Dame Hounds, and is now playing for Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL), has narrowed his college choices down to Cornell, North Dakota, Denver, and Michigan State, with others trying to get into the picture as well. Cheverie, a Halifax, Nova Scotia native, has a 2.31 gaa and a .922 save percentage in five games with the Clippers. He’s the younger brother of Evan Cheverie, a forward at Miami-Ohio from 1998-2002 and now with the Long Beach Ice Dogs (ECHL).
Cushing senior goalie Richard Bachman, who along with current UMass freshman Jon Quick, were head and shoulders above all other New England prep goalies last season, has Cornell, Boston College, Colorado College, and Harvard on his short list.
Former Northwood, University of Wisconsin, and New York Rangers goalie Mike Richter, who is completing his undergraduate degree at Yale this year, will be a volunteer goalie coach for the Eli who, truth be told, had difficulties in goal last season.
In Like Flynn
6’3,” 215 lb. RW Ryan Flynn of the U.S. Under-18 Team has committed to the University of Minnesota.
A Lino Lakes, Minn. native, Flynn played for Centennial HS before heading to Ann Arbor a year ago, was also recruited by Boston College, Harvard, and Wisconsin.
Flynn’s game is a combination of power and finesse. He’s still a little bit raw, but as he gets smoother he could be quite a force. He and teammate-to-be Kyle Okposo played on a line together at the Select 17 Festival in St. Cloud this summer and were virtually unstoppable.
Flynn made his official visit to the U on Tuesday.