Fischer Wins Mr. Hockey
Apple Valley High School defenseman David Fischer was named winner today of the Mr. Hockey Award, presented annually to the top senior in Minnesota.
Fischer, who's 6'3", 195 lbs., is big, skates smoothly, sees the ice well, and has good hands. A Gopher recruit, he had a line of 6-31-39 for Apple Valley this winter.
The official voting is not released but there was a lot of public sentiment in the state for Holy Angels forward Jay Barriball, and some for Breck forward Jordan Fulton as well.
The ten finalists, in alphabetical order, were:
Jay Barriball, F, Holy Angels
David Fischer, D, Apple Valley
Michael Forney, F, Thief River Falls
Jordan Fulton, F, Breck
David Grun, F, White Bear Lake
Kyle Medvec, D, Apple Valley
Joey Miller, F, Wayzata
Nick Oslund, F, Burnsville
Andy Sackrison, F, St. Louis Park
Carl Sneep, D, Brainerd
For the record, finalists are always named in February, and the award is given out the day after the state tournament ends.
Austin Lee of Bloomington Jefferson was earlier awarded the Frank Brimsek Award, given annually to the state’s top senior goaltender. That award is given out in mid-February. Lee is a Princeton recruit.
Goodbye to BU
U.S. National Team Development Program forward Greg Squires, who had committed to Boston University last season, has had the offer pulled off the table by the Terriers due to academic problems that were imperiling the player's chances of getting through the NCAA clearinghouse.
Squires, who was slated to attend BU in the fall of ’07 after a season in the USHL, will likely be looking to hook on with another school when his academics improve.
After the Christmas holidays, as the forward realized his future at BU was in the past, his game, which is built around speed, quickness, and 1-on-1 skills, suffered as well. He was later moved down to the Under-17 Team.
3/30/06 Updated (see below)
Ineligible Player Causes Forfeit at Nationals
At the Under-18 Nationals in Rochester, NY the Greater Boston League Bruins tournament-opener overtime win, a 4-3 decision over the Chicago Chill, has been awarded to the Chill by forfeit.
The game goes into the books as a 1-0 win, and wipes out Alex Curran’s overtime goal – as well as everything else in the game.
The GBL Bruins used an ineligible player, D.J. Fimiani, in the game. Fimiani, a top forward at BC High, where he was graduated from in ’05, started this season at Phillips Exeter Academy, but was expelled. After the holidays he joined the Walpole Jr. Stars (EJHL).
According to USA Hockey rules, a player cannot be dual rostered on both a midget team and a junior team after Jan. 1 of any given season. Fimiani clearly was.
According to Mass hockey vice-president and EJHL commisioner Dan Esdale, the rule is one year old. “(Fimiani) slipped through the cracks. They didn’t realize he was ineligible because of his playing juniors. The rule used to be that couldn’t be rostered on two national-bound teams.”
While at BC High, Fimiani played for GBL Bruins coach John “Flash” Flaherty.
Flaherty was behind the bench last September 24 when the GBL Bruins played the Mid-Fairfield Blues to a farcical 1-1 tie in the Junior Bruins shootout in Marlborough, Mass. USA Hockey reportedly looked into that, but nothing was done as the tournament was not USA Hockey sanctioned.
The Nationals, of course, are sanctioned by USA Hockey, and it’s a major event on their calendar.
The GBL Junior Bruins won the Under-18 Nationals in Marquette, Michigan two years ago. Featuring a number of top prep players, but not Fimiani, they bounced back this afternoon with a 2-0 win over the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, a shutout for Colorado College recruit Richard Bachman.
Update, 11:00 pm -- GBL Bruins coach John Flaherty called to say that Fimiani, a third-year player with the team, was specifically told by Mass Hockey that he could play in the tournament. Specifically, Flaherty said that Fimiani, after being expelled by Exeter, asked him if he could play juniors with the Walpole Stars and still be eligible for Nationals.
Flaherty says he and GBL Bruins GM Pat Bohan took the question to Mass hockey, specifically to Esdale and registrar Mike Cheever and was assured that Fimiani could indeed play in Nationals.
"Fimiani would not have gone to Walpole if it would have jeopardized his chances of playing in Nationals, Flaherty said. "They don't remember the conversation now, but Esdale and Cheever knew (that Fimiani was playing in the EJHL) and said he could also play (in Nationals). Supposedly they talked to someone in Colorado Springs. Fimiani asked first and he was told, 'Yes, you can.' Fimiani was screwed by Mass Hockey. They gave him the wrong info."
Flaherty said that all this suddenly became an issue because the South Boston Shamrocks, representing Massachusetts in the Under-18 Tier II championships in Pittsburgh, had brought four ineligible players with them. Just prior to the start of South Boston's first game, it was brought to their attention that the four players on their roster who had played in the Empire Jr. B league (after Jan. 1) were ineligible. They didn't dress, so no game had to be forfeited.
Flaherty said that he got a call from Esdale between the first and second period telling him that Fimiani was ineligible. Flaherty sat Fimiani the rest of the game.
"There was no intent to deceive on our part. We did our homework and we were out here in good faith. We were told he could play. Mass Hockey should have told us he couldn't play."
Lake Makes His Pick
St. Sebastian's 5'6", 182 lb. junior winger Eric Lake has committed to Northeastern for the fall of '08.
Lake, a native of Arlington, Mass. -- as is Northeastern head coach Greg Cronin -- initially appeared headed to Providence College.
A 12/17/88 birthdate, Lake had an excellent year at St. Sebastian's. Playing on a line centered by Doug Rogers, and with Steven Rogers on the opposite wing, Lake finished with a 25-29-54 line, which made him the ninth highest scorer in Div. I preps this season.
Lake is quick, hard-nosed, skilled and never stops skating. An exciting player to watch, he works for his points, and doesn't mind taking a beating to get to the net. He could be a very good player for the Huskies, someone cut from the same cloth as Jason Guerrero.
Taylor Out at Yale
Yale University head coach Tim Taylor, after 28 years behind the Eli bench, was relieved of his duties this afternoon.
Yale AD Tom Beckett offered Taylor the opportunity to be reassigned within the athletic department.
Yale, which was 10-20-3 this season, finished their season two weeks ago with a loss in the ECAC quarterfinals to Dartmouth. Taylor's last win came on March 4, in the longest game in NCAA history, the Bulldogs' 5 OT win over Union.
Taylor, who coached 825 ECAC games -- more than anyone in league history – as well as the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team, is one of the classiest gentlemen in the game, a teaching coach who cared greatly for his players and the game. Taylor also was one of the hardest-working men in hockey. At any age when many coaches begin to kick back and relax, Taylor was still hitting the road, and could be found in rinks all over Canada and the U.S.
We're not going to pretend to know everything that’s going on down in New Haven, but, on the surface at least, this doesn’t look like it was handled well by Yale. Taylor, a '63 Harvard grad, served Yale very well -- and for a long time.
If Yale is going to look to alums, Keith Allain and Dave Baseggio would top the list.
Allain, a 1980 grad, started his coaching career in the mid-80’s on Taylor’s staff at Yale and has coached pro for over 15 years, the last eight as a goaltending coach with the St. Louis Blues. Allain was also an assistant under Taylor with the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team. When Allain was named head coach of the 2002 U.S. National Junior team, he immediately turned to Taylor to assist him at the evaluation camp.
Last month, Allain was an assistant coach on Peter Laviolette’s staff at the Torino winter games.
Bassegio, another of Taylor’s former players, was a defenseman and captain of the ’89 team. He’s winding up his first year as head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL) after serving four years there as an assistant. Bassegio lives in Branford – he wouldn’t even have to move.
We like to think that if someone like Allain and Baseggio got the job, they would immediately ask Taylor to come on board as an assistant. However, this probably wouldn't happen, due to the awkwardness of it. Still, Taylor has been around and, like his contemporary Grant Standbrook, knows what a player looks like. Plus he has a lot of teaching left in him.
We definitely think the idea of Taylor being “reassigned” within the athletic department is a poor idea, a waste of a great resource, both to Yale and the hockey world.
However, it wouldn't be the first time it's happened at Yale, as former football coach Carm Cozza was forced out in a similar situation and then given a desk job in the athletic department.
Chace Goal Gives US the Bronze in Sledge Hockey
Last week in Torino, Italy, the U.S. Sledge Hockey Team topped Germany 4-3 to win the bronze medal at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games.
Former Cardigan Mountain School and New Hampshire Junior Monarch (EJHL) forward Taylor Chace scored the game-winning goal with 3:07 remaining in the third period.
Canada topped Norway for the goal medal.
Hendricken Wins RI
Bishop Hendricken (21-0-0) capped off an undefeated season by beating Mount St. Charles 5-1 to take the Rhode Island state championship Saturday night at Schneider Arena.
On Friday night, in the first game of the best-of-three series, Hendricken had blanked the Mount, 4-0.
Saturday’s win brought Bishop Hendricken its first state title. Since 1980, Hendricken had reached the finals 12 times, only to lose 12 times to the Mount.
Rhode Island was the last major state to finish its high school season.
Here are some recaps from other states:
Massachusetts: BC High edged Catholic Memorial, 2-1, in the Super 8 final at TD Banknorth Garden. It was the Eagles’ first Super 8 championship since 2002, as the last three championships had been won by CM. BC High got goals from Jeff Sullivan and Joe Capuano, while Mark Donovan kicked out 22 of 23 shots.
New Jersey: Delbarton topped Seton Hall Prep, 3-1, in the title game at the Meadowlands. The key to the win was senior goalie Jeff Leone, who kicked out 31 of 32 shots. The loss was the first in the year for Seton Hall Prep, which outshot Delbarton 32-16.
Connecticut: Notre Dame-Fairfield came from behind to defeat top-seeded Hamden, 4-2, at Yale’s Ingalls Rink. Hubert Morin had 34 saves and his brother, Sam Morin, had two goals. The win gave coach Marty Roos his seventh state title (and second at ND-Fairfield).
New Hampshire: At Manchester’s Verizon Arena, Hanover topped Berlin, 6-3, giving coach Dick Dodds his fifth title in 24 years behind the Marauders bench (and third in the last four years). This year’s teams included Dodds’ sons Trevor and Patrick, and his nephew, Cody.
Maine: At the Colisee in Lewiston, Cheverus won its second straight Class A title with a 3-1 win over Lewiston.
New York: Williamsville North shut out Aquinas, 1-0.
Ohio: At Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Parma Padua Franciscan edged Sylvania Northview, 6-5.
Vermont: In the first period, Essex scored three goals in a span of less than two minutes and went on to top Bellows Free Academy, 5-1, at Gutterson Field House. Essex has now won the Metro Championship for the fourth time in seven years, and the eleventh time overall.
Wisconsin: The University School of Milwaukee topped Fond du Lac Goodrich, 5-1. We believe it's the first time a private school has won the Wisconsin state title.
Michigan: Brighton topped Dearborn Unified, 6-2, in the title game at Compuware Arena in Plymouth.
Alaska: At the Big Dipper Arena in Faribanks, South Anchorage edged Dimond, 2-1.
North Dakota: Fargo South won their third state title with a 2-1 win over Grand Forks Red River at Ralph Engelstad Arena. Paul Weisgarber scored both of South’s goals and was named the state’s outstanding senior player.
Welch Gets the Call
Former St. Sebastian’s and Harvard defenseman Noah Welch was called up by the Pittsburgh Penguins from Wilkes Barre-Scranton (AHL) and made his NHL debut in a 4-3 win over the Islanders Friday night, picking up one assist. On Sunday night, Welch scored his first NHL goal in a 6-5 Pittsburgh loss to the Montreal Canadiens. Welch also picked up his second assist of the season.
Albany, NY native and former Avon Old Farms and NTDP defenseman Matt Lashoff (Kitchener -- OHL) has signed a three-year entry level contract with the Boston Bruins beginning with the 2006-07 season. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
In AHL deals, Merrimack senior defenseman Rob Lalonde from Williamsville, NY has signed an Amateur Tryout Offer (ATO) with Lowell of the AHL. Lalonde a 6’4” 215 lb. stay-at-home defenseman, finished the year at Merrimack with 0-3-3 line in 32 games.
Minnesota-Duluth’s leading scorer, Tim Stapleton, a 5’9”, 170 lb. forward from LaGrange Highlands, Ill. has signed an ATO with Portland (AHL). Stapleton recently completed a stellar collegiate career with the Bulldogs, posting a 63-89-152 line in 162 games.
RPI senior Kevin Croxton has signed an ATO with Springfield (AHL). Croxton, a 6’4”, 215 lb. power forward from Alberta, led the Engineers in scoring this season and posted a career 57-86-143 line in 147 games.
Beantown Spring Classic Standouts
Thursday was the big day at the Beantown Spring Classic, with all teams in action twice at the New England Sports Center. Arranged by birth year, those who stood out for us were the following.
There weren’t a lot of ‘86s here, but, of those that were, 5-9/170 lb. Green Mountain Glades defenseman Barry Goers, was the best. Quick. Mobile. Moves the puck.
Our top ’87 here was Michael DelMauro, a 6-1/190 lb. junior forward from Deerfield Academy. A 10/30/87, DelMauro plays hard, and with a chip on his shoulder, sees the ice well, has a shot, and can skate.
Two other ‘87s really stood out:
2. Jordan Krusch, F, 6-1/212, Hebron – Senior from Quebec has the gift of hands and vision to match. Very dangerous anywhere near the net. Just needs to shed some weight and gain quickness.
3. Asher Hirshberg, F, 6-1/205, Syracuse Stars – Power forward. Very consistent.
Salisbury 6’0”, 180 lb. junior defenseman Kevin Quick was our top ’88 here. Smooth skater with great first step. Poise. Strong in all areas.
The other ’88 standouts:
2. Austin Smith, F, 5-11/150, Gunnery -- A late ’88 from Texas who is currently just a sophomore at Gunnery. A lot of observers weren’t familiar with him, though they are now. Put himself on the map. Great skater, can really fly. Finds open ice well. Skinny thing -- just 150 lbs.
3. Nick Bonino, F, 5-11/170, Avon Old Farms – Junior at Avon. Very smart. Great feel for game. Excellent stick.
4. Ben Smith, F, 5-11/195, Westminster – Played his customary strong game -- solid in all areas. Played on a line with Austin Smith and Nick Pitsikoulis, his Westminster linemate.
5. Austin Mayer, F, 5-11/185, Walpole Stars – Smooth skater who can make a pass or finish.
6. P-O Michaud, F, 5-10/165, Portland Jr. Pirates – Good stick, good skater. Will be a nice Div. I player when he fills out a bit.
7. Cory Schneider, F, 5-10/175, Northwood – Junior at Northwood. Smart player.
8. Toby Heaslip, D, 5-10/190, NJ Hitmen – Excellent skater. A totally offensive defenseman. Plays like he'd prefer being up on the wing.
9. Matt Pedemonti, F, 5-10/160, Hebron – Very good stick. Excellent in traffic. Definitely on the slight side. Played on a line with Hebron teammate Jordan Krusch, and they generated a lot of offense.
10. Ryan Craig, F, 6-0/170, Tri-City Eagles – Bit of a sleeper from Baltimore-Washington area.
11. Adam Houli, F, 5-11/175, Gunnery – Consistently noticeable. Junior at Gunnery.
Note: Yes, Matt McCollem was here, but he wasn’t on his game yesterday.
Our top ’89 was Stevie Moses, 5-9/165 lb. from the Junior Bruins Empire League team. A great skater with quickness, stick skills, and a nose for the net.
2. Matt Bourdeau, F, 6-2/195, New England Jr. Falcons – Great upside. Power forward.
3. Robbie Vrolyk, F, 5-7/150, New England Jr. Falcons – Quick, clever, and sneaky. Great hands.
4. Jason Bourgea, F, 5-9/175, St. Paul’s – Consistently involved in attack. Makes things happen.
5. Keith Bombaugh, D, 6-2/205, Lawrence Academy – Has size and poise. Keeps it simple. Moves puck out of zone effectively.
6. David Boehm, F, 5-10/160, Junior Bruins – Sees the ice well. Excellent offensive instincts.
7. Michael Daly, D, 5-11/180, St. Paul’s – Solidly built and mobile defenseman.
8. Doug Kublin, D, 5-11/170, Syracuse Stars (EJHL) – Good defensive defenseman.
9. Jimmy Gaudet, D, 6-1/180, Hanover HS – Will spend his senior year of high school with the NH Jr. Monarchs – look for a big step forward.
Our top ’90 was 6’1, 170 lb. Junior Bruins (Empire) forward Matt Zarbo. Has size, skating ability and puck skills. High upside. Didn’t get invited to this week’s NTDP camp, but he should have.
A few ‘90s listed on the rosters, like Mike Cichy, couldn’t make it. Other top ‘90s worth keeping an eye on for the future – and we won’t even try to rank them -- were the following:
Bass Chadwick, F, 6-1/165, Portland Jr. Pirates
Derek Arnold, F, 5-8/140, Junior Bruins
Jordan Messier, F, 5-11/170, Junior Bruins
Joey Dillon, D, 5-10/165, Junior Bruins.
It’s impossible to pick any one player out of this group. They all have the potential to be outstanding.
John Henrion, F, 6-0/185, Junior Bruins – Strong all around. The most complete ’91 forward here.
Zach Dahrooge, F, 6-2/170, Junior Bruins – There’s a lot of upside here. It will be interesting to see what he becomes when he grows into his body.
Kyle Quick, D, 5-9/145, Wheatfield Blades – Younger brother of Salisbury defenseman Kevin Quick. Excellent skater with good acceleration – just like his brother.
Michael Chiasson, D, 5-9/150, Las Vegas Outlaws – Very smooth skater is highly poised for his age – turns 15 next week. The son of the late NHL defenseman Steve Chiasson, who died in a 1999 car crash while with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Minnesota State Tournament Standouts
Here are 24 players who stood out for us at the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament at the Xcel Center March 8-11. All of the below players, arranged by team, fall somewhere along the continuum stretching between being top NCAA Div. I prospects/NHL draft picks to those worthy of getting a look-see from junior teams.
Chris Hickey, F, 6’0”, Jr., Cretin-Derham Hall – Excellent shot. Good release. Good velocity. Raw. Hardworking. Good skater. Solid USHL prospect.
Ben Kinne, F, 5’10”, Sr., Cretin-Derham Hall – Hardworker. Sees the ice well; makes good decisions. Plays both ways. Skills all good, but not great. Had 46 points on season.
Ryan McDonagh, D, 6’1”, Jr., Cretin-Derham Hall – Wisconsin recruit. Smart, steady D. Makes the simple plays. Smooth skater. Has some bite to his game – plays with jam.
Derek McCallum, D, 6’0”, Sr., Hill-Murray – Good poise. Skates well. Handles puck well. Good shot from point. A QB on the blue line. Going to the U on a baseball scholarship, but definitely a USHL/Div. I candidate if he were to choose hockey. Our top defenseman in tournament.
Mike Hoeffel, LW, 6’2”, Jr., Hill-Murray – Looked sluggish. Nothing seemed to be going his way. He’d make a move in traffic, but couldn’t finish it off. Had a difficult time creating time and space for himself. Gopher recruit.
Brian Skarda, RW, 5’11”, Sr., Hill-Murray – Good skater. Good puck skills. Plays with energy and jam. Decent ability to finish. Good USHL prospect.
Nick Larson, C, 6’2”, Jr., Hill-Murray – Had a very good first game. Probably best Hill-Murray player, winning faceoffs and getting things done along the wall. Good puck skills. Good shot. A good sign : work ethic stayed with him even though his production tailed off. A Gopher recruit.
Gabe Guentzel, D, 5’11”, Sr., Hill-Murray – Very steady. Plays within himself. Good mobility. Will need a couple years in USHL.
Nick Pryor, D, 5’10”, Fr., Hill-Murray – Young. Didn’t play much, so can’t comment. Wisconsin recruit.
Brian Arrigoni, F, 5’9”, Sr., Hill-Murray – Good speed and quickness. Good energy. Has good skills. On small, side, but he can finish. Good USHL prospect.
Tyler Christiansen, F, 6’0”, Eagan – Gets around ice well. Good feel for the game. Always around the puck. Tries to make things happen. Works hard. Only player on team that really jumps out at you.
Danny Sinn, F, 6’3”, Sr., Blaine – Big. Strong on skates. Effective down low.
Jack Paul, F, 5’9”, Jr., Minnetonka – Good anticipation. Worked hard in corners and along wall.
Erik Peterson, F, 5’8”, Sr., Minnetonka – Small, skilled player. Good speed and quickness. Competes hard. Works.
Jared Smith, D, 6’0”, Sr., Grand Rapids – Skates well. Good poise with puck, and feel for game. Tries to make things happen. Good breakout pass. Solid shot from point.
Patrick White, C, 6’1”, Jr., Grand Rapids – In the first game, vs. Roseau, he had four goals and every single one of them was a highlight goal. Was a man among boys in that game. Definitely the best single game of the tournament. Wasn’t quite the same the next night. Big, strong strapping kid. Strong on skates. Good balance. Has extra gear. Took good shots, and placed them well. A known prospect coming into the tournament, he raised his profile significantly. Our top forward here.
Joe Stejskal, D, 6’2”, Jr., Grand Rapids – Played physically. Broke puck out well. Solid offensively and defensively.
Rob Bordson, F, 6’1”, Sr., Duluth Marshall – Had a good feel for game. Tried things. Good energy. Good puck skills. Good shot. Skating is good, but should get better – a little raw.
Bob Gulsch, F, 6’1”, Jr., Duluth Marshall – Quick to the puck. Good playmaker. Strong shot with quick release. Effective down low.
Jordan Schroeder, F, 5’8”, Fr., St. Thomas Academy – Decent tournament – not great. Can fly. Has puck skills. Didn’t get as much done offensively as he is capable of. Very dangerous from tops of circles down. Quick snap shot. Still young.
Ben Hanowski, F, 6’2”, Fr., Little Falls – Good puck skills. Uses his size to gain position. Good hockey sense and feel. Good shot. Skating is decent -- will improve with added strength. Works hard offensively. Young.
Jared Fespler, F, 5’9”, Soph., Little Falls – Can really skate. Very shifty. Good puck skills. Good in traffic. Very good shot. A sparkplug. Looked like he could take control of game, but didn’t. (Note: A number of Little Falls players had the flu.) Young – best hockey is ahead of him.
Drew LeBlanc, F, 6’2”, Soph., Hermantown – Does everything well. Has size. Has good puck skills. Has a good sense and feel for the game. Worked hard. Put himself on the map here. Another young player to watch.
Michael Forney, F, 6’2”, Sr., Thief River Falls – North Dakota recruit was injured in first game.
Monarchs Win EJHL Championship in OT Thriller
Worcester, Mass. --- A Greg Holt goal at 17:52 of overtime lifted the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs to a 6-5 win over the Boston Junior Bruins in the 2006 EJHL championship game here tonight.
The game, the third year in a row the two teams met in the title game, was a treat for fans, with wild swings of momentum and a huge effort by both teams.
After a fairly even first period, which ended with the teams tied at 1-1, the Monarchs came out and totally dominated the second, scoring three unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead after two periods. In the third, the Junior Bruins came out with a vengeance, scoring three straight goals to tie it at 4-4. With 1:45 left the Monarchs scored what looked like the game winner, but with 42 seconds left and the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, the Bruins scored to tie the game at 5-5 and send it to OT.
The winning goal was one of those things that seem to only happen late in OT, when players are exhausted mentally and physically. The Bruins were breaking the puck out of their end but the puck carrier didn’t have total control and as the disc was bouncing out toward the blue line, the Monarchs’ Ian O’Connor dove and kept the puck in the zone, hooking it back into the Junior Bruins end, where Dan Bartlett and Greg Holt picked it up and broke in alone. Junior Bruins goaltender Chris Rossi, who had come up with some big saves over the course of the game, had no chance. And that was the game.
Early on, there were indications that this was going to be worth the money. In the first period, the Monarchs came out and had the territorial edge in the early minutes, but it was the Junior Bruins who got on the scoreboard first, as Kory Falite, on the goal line, spotted defenseman Ed Shea flying down the slot and hit him with a perfect pass. 1-0, Junior Bruins -- but it only took 13 seconds for the Monarchs to counterpunch as Dan Bartlett, who would have a great game, banged home the rebound of a Joe Walchessen shot to tie the game at 1-1.
The Junior Bruins Patrick Kimball, a force all night, hit the crossbar with five minutes left in the period.
The second period was totally dominated by the Monarchs, who forechecked like mad and proved extremely difficult to handle, both through center ice and down low. By the 8:34 mark, the regular season champions had built up a 4-1 lead. First, Shane Farrell banged home the rebound of a Matt Germain shot. Then Patrick Bowen drilled a low, hard shot from the left point. Then, skating 4-on-4, Bartlett came down the right side, executed a nifty toe drag and snapped off a nice accurate shot that seemed to catch Junior Bruins goaltender Chris Rossi by surprise, beating him high glove side.
At that point, with his team suddenly down by three, Junior Bruins head coach Peter Masters called a time out to settle his guys down. It worked, as the Junior Bruins held the Monarchs scoreless the rest of the period -- not an easy task, as the Monarchs weren’t sitting on their lead. Instead, they kept the intensity level up, kept pressuring, kept working, and looked more like a team that was trailing by a goal rather than ahead by three. The Monarchs outshot the Junior Bruins in the second, 18-5.
In the third period, the Junior Bruins, who were only skating three lines due to injuries, came out hard from the start, and just 52 seconds in, cut the Monarchs lead to two when Chris Donovan fed Bobby Butler, who snapped one from the slot.
At 4:49, the Junior Bruins made it a one-goal lead on a great individual effort by defenseman Billy Kasper, who carried it into the Monarchs end, played right through the d-man covering him, and beat Monarchs goaltender Ryan Simpson with a shot from right inside the left faceoff circle.
The comeback was completed at 10:51 when Kimball, on another great individual effort, came down the right side, shook the d-man covering him, and got off a great shot, beating Simpson cleanly from just outside the right faceoff dot. The game was tied at 4-4.
Neither team was playing for overtime here, and the game moved into the final, wild two minutes.
With 1:45 left, the Monarchs scored when the puck somehow emerged from a massive scrum and was sitting at the top of the crease. Denny Kearney swept in and lifted it over the crowd of players to give the Monarchs a 5-4 lead.
However, the Junior Bruins, who’d worked to tie it up once, were about to do it again, and with 51 seconds on the clock, Falite picked up the rebound of a Butler shot off the faceoff, put a deke on Simpson and tucked it past him to tie the game at 5-5 and send it into overtime.
In OT, the Monarchs' Tommy Breslin took a holding penalty 50 seconds in, but the Monarchs killed it. Neither team, though both were clearly tired, looked ready to pack it in. Just when it looked like a second overtime might be in the offing, O’Connor stretched out to keep the loose puck inside the blue line, hooking it back into the Bruins end where the Monarchs two most dangerous players, Bartlett and Holt, picked it up and broke in on Chris Rossi all alone.
For Holt, who scored the game winner, it was his second overtime goal in two nights, as he’d also had the game winner vs. the Walpole Junior Stars in Monday nights semifinal.
That was it. A great playoff game. As they say, there were no losers in this one.
With the win, though, the Monarchs regained the title from the Junior Bruins, who won last year’s championship game. The Monarchs also picked up their third championship in three years.
Afterwards, Monarchs coach Sean Tremblay said, “It was an exciting game, and just great for the league. When you have two heavyweights going at it, you’re going to have those big swings in momentum. Both teams just went at it. They (the Junior Bruins) are a hell of a good team. We gave them the chance to get back in it, and they capitalized. We bent, but didn't break. I have a few more gray hairs, though.”
Junior Bruins coach Peter Masters was proud of his team’s comeback. “To be down 4-1 to a team we hadn’t beat all year – and only skating three lines – it was more than just effort. They executed and scored when they had chances. That’s the sign of a big-time comeback.”
Masters was asked what he was looking for going into the third period. “We talked about playing better D,” he said, “but really that we had to play with desperation from the very start. We also got the D to jump up more. Those three things.”
”All our key guys stepped up,” Masters said. “And Rossi just got more confident as the game went along. He’s the most underrated goalie in New England.”
“The Monarchs,” Masters said, “have the ability to dominate and they certainly did that in the second period. They had a great season. They are coached well and the league MVP did it when he got the chance.”
NH Jr. Monarchs 6, Boston Jr. Bruins 5
EJHL Championship Game
@ Holy Cross; Worcester, Mass.
Tues. March 21, 2006
B -- Shea (Falite, Donovan) 6:19
NH -- Bartlett (Walchessen) 6:32
NH -- Farrell (Germain) 4:18
NH -- Bowen (Farrell) 6:04
NH -- Bartlett (Germain, Bowen) 8:34
B -- Butler (Donovan) :52
B -- Kasper (Rosen, Butler) 4:49
B -- Kimball (Donovan, Rosen) 10:51
NH -- Kearney (Germain) 18:15
B -- Falite (Butler, Driscoll) 19:18
NH -- Holt (O'Connor, Bartlett) 17:52
Penalties: NH 3, Jr. B's 3
Junior Bruins 18-5-11-9 = 43
Monarchs 12-18-11-7 = 48
Junior Bruins -- Rossi (42/48)
Monarchs --- Simpson (38/43)
MVP -- Greg Holt, Monarchs
F -- Dan Bartlett, Monarchs
F -- Pat Kimball, Junior Bruins
F -- Justin Bonitatibus, Stars
D -- Ed Shea, Junior Bruins
D -- Nick Jillson, Walpole Stars
G -- Ryan Simpson, Monarchs
League Regular Season Awards:
MVP -- Barry Almeida, Junior Falcons
Offensive MVP -- Greg Holt, Monarchs
Defensive MVP -- Barry Goers, Green Mt. Glades
Most Valuable Goaltender -- Ryan Simpson, Monarchs
Rookie of the Year -- Toby Heaslip, NJ Hitmen
Coach of the Year -- Sean Tremblay, Monarchs
Beantown Classic Gets Underway
The Annual Spring Beantown Classic gets underway today (Wed.) with practices, and one game this evening.
Tomorrow will be a big day, with all teams playing twice. The tournament wraps up on Friday.
Rosters are posted now at the Tournament’s web site.
Ditto for the schedule.
RPI head coach Dan Fridgen has resigned his position after 17 years at the school, including the last 12 as head coach.
Fridgen, a former assistant who took over from Buddy Powers in the fall of 1994, compiled an overall record of 211-193-38 and had eight winning seasons. His league mark was 116-116-31 – exactly .500.
RPI finished this season in a tie for sixth and made a first-round exit from the playoffs, losing in two games to Quinnipiac.
The statement from RPI didn’t offer up any specific reason - or reasons -- for Fridgen’s resignation.
From the statement, Fridgen’s quote was: “Rensselaer has offered me a tremendous opportunity over the past 17 years. My family and I are very thankful for all the experiences we have shared with some tremendous people in the program, on the campus, and in the community. I wish the team nothing but success.”
RPI athletic director Ken Ralph said the search for a new head coach would be “international.”
Assistant coach Frank Bretti will handle the day-to-day operations of the team until a new head coach is named.
RPI's next head coach could get some help with an upgrade of facilities. The locker room, the weight room, and the arena itself are all in need of care. The fan base is strong, and the students support the program.
The team returns 18 players, and will be solid in goal, young on the blue line, and a little thin up front.
Carle Leaves Denver for Pros
Defenseman Matt Carle will forego his senior year at
Former St. Lawrence senior forward John Zeiler, who left school in February, has signed an amateur tryout offer with last place
Alaska-Fairbanks senior defenseman Jordan Hendry has signed an ATO with
North Andover, Mass native Mark Pandolfo has signed an ATO with
In our last recap of pro signings we overlooked Bowling Green sophomore forward Alex Foster, who signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL). Foster, who was the leading scorer for the Falcons with an 11-40-51 line in 38 games, was assigned by the Leafs to the Toronto Marlies, their AHL affiliate. In four games with the Marlies, Foster has one goal, and no assists.
3/20/06 -- Updated -- In the first semi, the Monarchs topped Walpole 4-3 in OT, on a Greg Holt power play goal. In the nightcap, the Junior Bruins got goals from Kory Falite, Pat Kimball, and Nathan Lavner to top the Falcons, 3-1. Defenseman Jimmy Driscoll assisted on all three Junior Bruins goals.
EJHL Semifinals Tonight
Here's the schedule for the EJHL semis tonight at Holy Cross:
5:00 pm – New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. Walpole Stars
8:00 pm – Boston Junior Bruins vs. New England Jr. Falcons
The winners will meet in the championship game tomorrow night (Tues.) at 7:00 pm, also at Holy Cross.
Quarterfinal results, March 17-18 at Foxboro Sports Center:
Boston Jr.Bruins 4, Bridgewater Bandits 3
Boston Jr. Bruins 4, Bridgewater Bandits 2
(Jr. Bruins win series, 2-0)
Green Mountain Glades 4, Walpole Stars 2
Walpole Stars 3, Green Mountain Glades 2
Walpole Stars 3, Green Mountain Glades 1 -- mini-game
(Walpole wins series, 2-1)
NH Jr. Monarchs 6, Baystate Breakers 1
NH Jr. Monarchs 6, Baystate Breakers 2
(Monarchs win series, 2-0)
New England Jr. Falcons 3, Valley Jr. Warriors 0
New England Jr. Falcons 4, Valley Jr. Warriors 2
(Jr. Falcons win series, 2-0)
Wolanin to Take Over at Pomfret
Yale assistant coach Bruce Wolanin has been named the new head coach at the Pomfret School.
Wolanin takes over from Dan Driscoll, who was recently appointed head coach at the Berkshire School.
For Wolanin, Pomfret is home. He lives in the town, just a mile from campus. From 1992-95, Wolanin taught and coached (boys JV and varsity assistant) hockey at the school. Pomfret is also where he met his wife, Monique, a former director of admissions at Pomfret who now works down the road at the Marianapolis School in Thompson, Connecticut. The couple has two young boys.
Wolanin, a defenseman at Yale who graduated in 1991, and played pro for a year, was an assistant at Yale from 1995-98 and again from 2000 to present, a nine-year stint broken only by two years spent as an assistant at UConn while he attended graduate school there.
Of his years at Yale, Wolanin, 38, said, “It was a privilege to have coached at my alma mater. Plus I’ve been very lucky to have worked with two of the greatest hockey people in the game – Tim Taylor and C.J. Marottolo.”
Of his new job, Wolanin said, “The timing and situation are terrific. Coaching at prep school is not the same as coaching Div. I college hockey, but I’d like to bring some of the attitude and professionalism. I’m excited to join the prep coaching fraternity.”
Wolanin, who will also be Pomfret’s associate director of college counseling, was asked what he’ll be looking for in Pomfret players. “First and foremost,” he said, “I will be looking for good citizens who’ll contribute not just on the rink but in other aspects. I want players who want to get better and are willing to make sacrifices to get to the next level. I also want them to have fun. I want them to enjoy the game and be passionate about it.”
Wolanin is a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and attended Notre Dame in Wilcox, Saskatchewan, a well-known Canadian boarding school with a set up similar to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in this country. Wolanin was a member of the Notre Dame Hounds ’85-86 team that won the Canadian National Midget Championship. From that team, 14 players went on to play Div. I NCAA college hockey, with the best known being Rod Brind’Amour.
Wolanin is very much of a teaching coach, and passionate and articulate on the subject of player development. In the summertime, he runs a development camp with Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy.
Daccord Goes Out on Top
Brian Daccord, who in his three years behind the Brooks School bench guided his teams to three straight ISL/Eberhardt titles, has resigned the position.
The school never won a league title before Daccord’s arrival, and Daccord wanted to parlay the school’s success into more – like taking a shot at going Div. I.
”Brooks is a great school,” Daccord said. “For me, though, hockey is a priority, and they have other things that take precedent. And that’s OK by me.”
Daccord’s situation was always a little different than most prep coaches. In addition to coaching at Brooks, he also has a thriving business, Superskills Hockey, which operates out of a rink in Tewksbury, Mass. Daccord, a former goaltending coach for the Boston Bruins, and the author of an excellent book on the subject, has many top amateur and pro goaltenders under his tutelage.
“Coaching prep school takes time away from my family and business,” Daccord said. “You could say I wanted a bigger commitment by the school to the hockey program. If it can’t be the best it can be, then it’s probably not the best for me.”
Despite not being able to grow the program to the point he’d like, Daccord said, “Brooks was a great experience. I love the school. We had great success. The kids totally bought into the team concept, and we were able to create something pretty cool. The kids had a great experience. And I did, too.”
Brooks, which reached the Div. II Final Four earlier this month, will likely have a hard time reaching the level it did under Daccord. One major reason: star sophomore forward Bobby Farnham has been accepted at Phillips Andover.
In addition to our report on Jaime Sifers and Marvin Degon signing professional contracts we'd like to report on the following other recent signings:
Washington, DC native Stephen Werner has signed a two-year deal with his hometown Washington Capitals. Werner, who recently finished his senior year at UMass, has reported to Hershey (AHL) where he will play under an amateur tryout offer for the remainder of the season. Werner was a 3rd Round (#83 overall) pick for the Caps in 2003 NHL Draft. Terms of the two-year deal with the Caps were not released.
Former Colorado College senior forward Aaron Slattengren has signed an ATO with Iowa (AHL). In mid-February, Slattengren, who hails from Duluth, Minn., was ruled academically ineligible for the remainder of the season and at the time signed with Portland (AHL) where, in five games, he posted three assists before being released last week.
Chris Conner, a 5'8" senior forward from Michigan Tech, has also signed an ATO with Iowa (AHL). Conner, a sniper from Westland, Mich., put up some impressive numbers in his four-year career with the Huskies, posting a 69-60-129 line in 151 NCAA games.
UVM senior forward Jeff Corey has signed an ATO with the Toronto Marlies (AHL), joining teammate Sifers. Corey who hails from Boothwyn, Pa was the Catamounts third-leading scorer this season and finished his collegiate career with a 48-51-99 line in 135 games.
St Cloud, Minn. native Brandon Schwartz has signed an ATO with Binghamton (AHL) after completing a four-year collegiate career at Michigan Tech. Schwartz, a forward, was second on the Huskies in scoring behind Conner with a 10-16-26 line in 38 games.
UMass-Lowell forward Bobby Robins has also signed an ATO with Binghamton (AHL). Robins a 6'1", 200 lb. forward, recently completed a breakout senior season posting a team leading 13-18-31 line in 35 games for the River Hawks.
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks recently announced the signing of Bobby Ryan to a three-year entry level contract. Ryan, the second overall pick in the 2005 NHL draft, currently plays for Owen Sound (OHL) and was a member of the fourth place US team at this winter's IIHF World Junior Tournament. There is a good possibility that Michigan freshman defenseman, Jack Johnson, the third pick overall in last year's draft, may sign at the end of this season with the Carolina Hurricanes. Johnson was a teammate of Ryan's on the US junior team this past season.
NTDP Evaluation Camp Rosters
Here are the 48 invitees -- all '90 birthdates -- to the 2006 NTDP Evaluation Camp, which runs from Sunday through Tuesday in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
NAME -- POS. -- S/C -- HT/WT -- DOB -- HOMETOWN -- CURRENT TEAM
Michael Cichy, LW, L, 6-0/170, 07/08/90, New Hartford, CT/ Jr. Bruins Midget (Mass.)
Justin Florek, LW, L, 6-4/190, 05/18/90, Marquette, MI/ Marquette Midget Major
Tucker Hunter, LW, L, 6-1/175, 03/18/90, London, Ontario/ London Reps
Sean Logue, LW, L, 6-0/170, 11/16/90, Walpole, MA/ Xaverian H.S. (Mass.)
Jordy Murray, C, L, 5-9/150, 01/08/90, Faribault, MN/ Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep (Minn.)
Max Cook, C, R, 6-0/150, 06/03/90, Frankfort, IL/ Chicago Mission Midget Major
Kelen Corkum, C, R, 6-0/175, 07/17/90, Newburyport, MA/ Portland Jr. B Pirates
Colin Reddin, C, L, 6-0/170, 06/23/90, Corona Del Mar, CA/ LA Jr. Kings Midget Major
Robbie Czarnik, RW, R, 6-0/165, 01/25/90, Washington, MI/ Honeybaked Midget Major
Keegan Flaherty, RW, R, 6-0/165, 03/25/90, Duluth, MN/ Duluth East H.S. (Minn.)
Kevin McCarey, RW, R, 6-0/175, 03/24/90, Baldwinsville, NY/ Syracuse Stars (EJHL)
Anthony Schooley, RW, R, 5-11/170, 08/01/89, Romulus, MI/ Honeybaked Midget Major
Jordan Schroeder, RW, R, 5-8/155, 09/29/90, Prior Lake, MN/ St. Thomas H.S. (Minn.)
Zach Bogosian, D, R, 6-0/170, 07/15/90, Massena, NY/ Cushing Academy (Mass.)
Joe Gleason, D, R, 5-9/165, 03/30/90, Edina, MN/ Edina H.S. (Minn.)
Ryan Grimshaw, D, R, 6-0/165, 01/28/90, Rochester, NY/ Salisbury School (Conn.)
Ryan Hegarty, D, L, 6-1/180, 05/16/90, Arlington, MA/ Belmont Hill School (Mass.)
Kevin O'Neil, D, L, 6-2/200, 01/26/90, Dix Hills, NY/ New York Apple Core (EJHL)
Nick Pryor, D, L, 5-10/165, 09/06/90, Woodbury, MN/ Hill-Murray H.S. (Minn.)
Ian Ruel, D, R, 6-1/170, 01/31/90, Ann Arbor, MI/ Victory Honda Midget Major
Grant Scott, D, R, 6-2/200, 01/07/90, Sewickley, PA/ Shady Side Academy (PA)
Jack Hanna, G, L, 6-0/170, 04/30/90, Lino Lakes, MN/ Centennial H.S. (Minn.)
Nick Maricic, G, L, 6-2/185, 1/20/1990, Alta Loma, CA/ California Wave U-16
Jordan Tibbett, G, L, 6-0/170, 01/06/90, Indianapolis, IN/ Honeybaked Midget Minor
NAME -- POS. -- S/C -- HT/WT -- DOB -- HOMETOWN -- CURRENT TEAM
A.J. Jenks, LW, L, 6-3/185, 06/27/90, Wolverine Lake, MI/ Honeybaked Midget Major
Greg Burke, LW, L, 6-1/175, 05/16/90, Lee, NH/ NH Jr. Monarchs Midget
Ben Hanowski, LW, L, 6-1/170, 10/18/90, Little Falls, MN/ Little Falls H.S. (Minn.)
Stephen Rogers, LW, L, 5-11/165, 07/23/90, Watertown, MA/ St. Sebastian's H.S. (Mass.)
Cory Thorson, LW, L, 6-0/170, 07/04/90, Crystal, MN/ Armstrong H.S. (Minn.)
Patrick Gaul, C, L, 5-9/170, 02/27/90, Pittsburgh, PA/ Pittsburgh Hornets Midget Major
Brock Montpetit, C, R, 5-11/185, 04/03/90, Somerset, WI/ Somerset H.S. (Wisc.)
David Wohlberg, C, L, 6-0/170, 07/18/90, South Lyon, MI/ Honeybaked Midget Minor
Jacob Youso, C, L, 6-1/170, 06/08/90, International Falls, MN/ International Falls H.S. (Minn.)
Vern Cooper, RW, L, 5-8/160, 12/30/90, Sudbury, Ontario/ Sudbury Midget Major
Colin Moore, RW, R, 5-11/170, 05/21/90, Medfield, MA/ Belmont Hill School (Mass.)
Isak Quakenbush, RW, R, 6-4/210, 04/17/90, Fairbanks, AK/ Arctic Lions Midget
Vinny Saponari, RW, R, 5-11/165, 02/15/90, Powder Springs, GA/ Culver Prep. (Indiana)
Danny Heath, D, R, 5-11/165, 03/20/90, Glendale, AZ/ VOSHA Phoenix Mustangs
Ross Henry, D, R, 5-10/180, 07/02/90, Franklin, WI/ Team Illinois Midget Major
Sean Lorenz, D, R, 6-1/180, 03/10/90, Littleton, CO/ Colorado T-Birds Midget Major
Joe Marciano, D, R, 6-2/165, 01/19/90, Faribault, MN/ Shattuck-St. Mary's U-16 (Minn.)
Andrew Panzarella, D, R, 6-0/170, 02/13/90, Columbia, MD/ Washington Jr. B Capitals
David Warsofsky, D, L, 5-8/155, 05/30/90, North Marshfield, MA/ Cushing Academy (Mass.)
Steven West, D, R, 6-0/175, 02/23/90, Milford, MI/ Honeybaked Midget Major
Micah Williams, D, R, 6-1/175, 03/09/90, Valrico, FL/ Lawrence Academy (Mass.)
Garrett Beckwith, G, L, 6-1/170, 01/04/90, Parsippany, NJ/ New Jersey Devils Midget Minor
Michael Clemente, G, L, 6-2/185, 01/09/90, Great Falls, VA/ Washington Jr. B Capitals
Joe Phillippi, G, L, 5-8/160, 06/06/90, Shoreview, MN/ Hill Murray H.S. (Minn.)
Scrimmages are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. They are open to the public, at a price: $50 for everything, including all practices, or $20 for a day pass.
USHL Moving Eastward
The USHL's old Thunder Bay Flyers franchise, dormant for six seasons, is rising in Columbus, Ohio, which will become the only city in the US with an NHL and USHL franchise, plus a Div. I college hockey program.
Look for an announcement by the league as early as next week.
The Columbus Junior Blue Jackets will be owned by Cleveland Barons (NAHL) owner Tom Goebel in partnership with Columbus Blue Jackets President/GM Doug MacLean and Team Illinois Director of Hockey Operations/Midget Major head coach Jim Marchi. The latter holds the title to the Thunder Bay franchise. It is believed that Goebel, the owner of the highly successful Lakefront Bus Lines, will, as part of the plan, assume sole ownership of the franchise.
Goebel still owns the Cleveland Barons, and reports indicate that franchise will continue, though Goebel will likely be looking for local groups to operate it.
The general manager of the Junior Blue Jackets will be Don Harkins, currently director of player personnel for the Barons. No coach has been named, though Barons head coach Jack Fritsche is likely to get serious consideration.
Look for the Barons roster, which includes high-scoring Miami-Ohio recruit Carter Camper and sons of both Goebel and MacLean, to be protected by the Junior Blue Jackets. It's also reported that the Junior Blue Jackets will get three tenders, and will be picking fourth overall in this spring's USHL draft, plus have the fourth pick in each subsequent round.
The Junior Blue Jackets will play in the USHL's East Division, along with Cedar Rapids, Chicago, Green Bay, Indiana, and Waterloo. To balance the league into two six-team divisions, the Des Moines Buccaneers will move from the East to the West Division.
The Blue Jackets will play their games at Nationwide Arena, the home of the NHL team, and will be able to utilize the NHL club for some marketing help. Since Nationwide Arena, with 18,000 seats, is an expensive building to open, so look for a lot of games on weekend afternoons that the Blue Jackets are in town. For fans, it would provide the opportunity to watch a late-afternoon USHL game, go out for dinner, and come back and watch the NHL. Or head to Value City Arena to watch an Ohio State game.
It's believed the USHL will grow into a 16-team league within five years. The next city on the USHL docket is Grand Island, Nebraska, where an arena is in the works. Look for that city to join the league as early as the '07-08 season.
Degon Signs with Rangers
UMass senior RD Marvin Degon, an undrafted free agent, has signed a two-year contract with the New York Rangers.
Degon, who skated with the Rangers in practice this morning, left afterward with Rangers assistant GM Don Maloney for Philadelphia, where he will join the Hartford Wolf Pack, the Rangers' AHL afffiliate, for tonight's game against the Philadelphia Phantoms.
Degon, 6'0", 190 lbs., is a 2002 graduate of Cushing Academy. This season, he was UMass' leading scorer with a 10-19-29 line in 36 games. He was also the leading scorer among Hockey East defensemen.
-- Miami-Ohio hasn't traditionally gotten into taking younger players (and it doesn't seem to have hurt them any), but they now have a commitment from '90 RC Max Cook of the Chicago Mission Midget AAA program. Cook, who's 6'0", 152 lbs. (that will change), is a lanky, smooth-skating center with soft hands. One of the better forwards at last summer's Select 15 Festival, Cook will go to Miami in either the fall of '08 or '09. Miami also has a commitment from Cook's teammate, RD Matt Tomassoni, a 5'10", 162 lb. '89 who's a good skater, good puck-handler, and a tough competitor.
-- The Gophers have a commitment from Alex Kangas, who's had a great season with Sioux Falls (USHL), where in 26 games he has a 2.14 gaa and .930 save percentage. Kangas, who's 6'2", 180 lbs., is a 5/28/87 birthdate. Last season, he led Rochester Century HS to the state tournament. You may recall that he set a tournament record when he kicked out 50 shots in a 2-1 loss to White Bear Lake. Next season, goaltending incumbent Kellen Briggs will be a senior for the Gophers, while Jeff Frazee will be a sophomore.
-- U.S. Under-17 team LD Joey Lavin has committed to Providence College. Lavin, a Shrewsbury, Mass. native who played for the Junior Bruins Midgets before going to Ann Arbor, is 6'0", 180 lbs. and a 7/17/89 birthdate. He'll be a Friar in the fall of '07.
EJHL Playoffs Get Underway Tonight
The Eastern Junior Hockey League playoffs get underway tonight with a pair of play-in games at the Foxboro Sports Center in Foxboro, Mass.
5:00 pm -- Bay State Breakers (#4 South) vs. New England Jr. Huskies (#5 North)
7:30 pm -- Valley Jr. Warriors (#4 North) vs. New Jersey Hitmen (#5 South)
After tonight's play-in games, teams will be reseeded (#1 vs. #8, #2 vs. #7 and so on) for best-of-three weekend series at the home of the higher-seeded club.
Semifinals (single elimination):
Mon. March 20 at Holy Cross, 5 pm and 8 pm
Finals (single elimination):
Tues. March 21 at Holy Cross, 7 pm
Look for another New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs vs. Junior Bruins title tilt. The two rivals ran away and hid from the rest of the league, with the Monarchs finishing with a 38-4-3-0 record, good for 79 points; and the Junior Bruins finishing at 34-8-1-2, which gave them 71 points. The two clubs met each other four times in the regular season, tying each other 1-1 in the first meeting before the Monarchs took the final three (2-0, 5-4 in OT, and 4-0).
The Monarchs led the league with 227 goals scored, which was 50 more than their closest competitor (yes, the Junior Bruins) and allowed a league-low 107 goals, as Ryan Simpson finished with a 2.17 GAA and a .930 save percentage, both league bests.
The Monarchs had three of the top four scorers in the league in Greg Holt (69 points), Jason Williams (64 points), and Dan Bartlett (63 points).
For the record, the non-Monarch among the league's top four scorers is the Coyotes' Barry Almeida, who finished with 65 points and a league-high 37 goals.
Local Boy Makes Good
5'6", 165 lb. Tilton School LC/LW Brett Leonard, a South Burlington, Vt. native, will be playing for the University of Vermont in the fall of '07.
Next season, Leonard, who was the Vermont High School Player of the Year as a junior in '03-04 before going off to boarding school for two years, will be playing with the Green Mountain Glades (EJHL).
Leonard, an 11/26/86 birthdate, is small, fast, a good playmaker, and strong on the draw.
In 21 games for Tilton this season, he posted a 10-28-38 line.
Sifers Signs with Marlies
University of Vermont senior defenseman Jaime Sifers, a free agent, has signed an amateur tryout contract with the Toronto Marlies (AHL).
Sifers, a hard-hitting 5'11", 210 lb. native of Stratford, Conn., practiced this morning with the Marlies and will be in the lineup when the team host Hamilton Wednesday night.
A three-time captain at UVM, Sifers played 143 games for the Catamounts, and had a 15-55-70 line. Sifers, now 23, played prep school hockey at Taft, and graduated from there in 2002.
Northwood Wins Midwest Prep Invitational in OT
Culver, Ind. -- An overtime goal by junior defenseman Patch Alber lifted the Northwood School to a 4-3 win over Culver Academy in the Midwest Prep Invitational championship game today.
With just over a minute left in regulation, Jeff Harris had scored to put Culver ahead 3-2. Northwood, though, forced overtime when, with the goalie pulled and 32 seconds on the clock, Brett Hextall coverted a Tommy Capalbo goalmouth pass to tie the game at 3-3.
Culver had a 2-0 lead going into the third period, but Northwood scored twice in the first minute of play to make it a game -- one they would eventually win.
In the third place game, Shattuck beat St. Andrew's, 5-2. In the fifth place game, Gilmour topped Lake Forest Academy, 3-1. In the seventh place game, St. Francis beat Wyoming Seminary, 6-4.
Northwood 4, Culver 3 (OT)
C- Anthony Olson (Vinny Saponari)
C -- Kyle Ratkey (David de Kastrozza)
N- Nick Sheehan (Justin Benedict, Patch Alber)
N -- Mario Valery-Trabucco (Kelly Stokley, Alexander Mikolenko)
C -- Jeff Harris (Kevin Harris)
N -- Brett Hextall (Tommy Capalbo)
N -- Alber (Capalbo)
N -- Alex Petizian, 32 saves
C -- Marco Raimondo, 28 saves
Friday Midwest Prep Results
Culver, Ind. -- The Seventh Annual Midwest Prep Invitational got underway Friday. Scores were:
Culver 7, Lake Forest Academy 0
Northwood 6, Gilmour 1
St. Andrew's College 6, Wyoming Seminary 5
Shattuck-St. Mary's 7, St. Francis 0
Grand Rapids Upsets Hill-Murray
Class AA Semifinals at the Xcel Center:
Grand Rapids 3, Hill-Murray 2 -- Junior center Patrick White faked backhand and went forehand for the unassisted game-winner at 14:59 of the second period to lead Grand Rapids to an upset win over #1-ranked Hill-Murray. Grand Rapids scored all three of their goals in the second period -- on just three shots. For the game, Hill-Murray outshot Grand Rapids 24-14. Grand Rapids took nine shots in the first, three in the second, and just two in the third.
Cretin-Derham Hall 4, Blaine 2 -- Three unanswered goals in a 3:38 span of the second period lifted Cretin-Derham Hall into Saturday's title game. After taking only two shots in the first period, Cretin outshot their opponent 17-2 in the second. Junior Chris Hickey scored two goals, including the game winner.
Class AA Title Game
Sat. March 11, 2006, 7 pm at the Xcel Center
Grand Rapids vs. Cretin-Derham Hall
St. Thomas Wins in Two OTs
Class A Semifinals at the Xcel Center:
St. Thomas Academy 6, Hermantown 5 -- Senior center Jack Baer scored at 3:29 of the second overtime to lift St. Thomas Academy into the championship game. St. Thomas Academy had a 5-2 third period lead but allowed Hermantown to come back and tie it up at 5-5. In addition, Hermantown had a power play that spanned the last minute of regulation and the start of OT.
Duluth Marshall 6, Little Falls 0 -- Rob Bordsen had three goals and an assist to lead Duluth Marshall. Two of Bordsen's goals were shorthanded and one came on the power play.
Class AA Title Game
Sat. March 11, 2006, noon at the Xcel Center
St. Thomas Academy vs. Duluth Marshall
Northwood and Culver Advance
Culver, Ind. -- The Northwood School will face host Culver Academy in the championship game of the Midwest Prep Invitational Tournament on Sunday.
Culver 6, Wyoming Seminary 3
St. Andrew's 3, Lake Forest 0
Northwood 5, St. Francis 1
Shattuck-St. Mary's 3, Gilmour 2
Northwood 3, Shattuck-St. Mary's 2 (2 OT)
Lake Forest 6, Wyoming Seminary 3
Gilmour 6, St. Francis 1
Culver 3, St. Andrew's 0
Championship Game: Northwood vs. Culver
Third Place Game: Shattuck vs. St. Andrew's
Fifth Place Game: Lake Forest vs. Gilmour
Seventh Place Game: St. Francis vs. Wyoming Seminary
Cretin-Derham Hall Romps to State Championship
Class AA Championship Game
Xcel Center, St. Paul, Minn. --
Cretin-Derham Hall 7, Grand Rapids 0 -- Junior defenseman Ryan McDonagh (2g,1a) and junior forward Chris Hickey (2g) led the way offensively. Junior goalie Ben Hause only needed to make eight saves to earn the shutout. Cretin-Derham Hall lead 2-0 after two periods, and added five in the third.
St. Thomas Academy Tops Duluth Marshall for Class A Crown
Class A Championship Game
Xcel Center, St. Paul, Minn. --
St. Thomas Academy 4, Duluth Marshall 3 -- Trailing 3-1 going into the third, St. Thomas Academy scored three unanswered goals in a span of 2:04 to win the Class A state championship this afternoon. Senior Jack Baer, who scored the game-winner in the second OT of Friday's semifinal, was again the hero, scoring a game-winning breakaway goal with 5:43 remaining. Up until the middle of the third period Duluth Marshall seemed to have the game in hand, but let it get away.
Jack Paul, Jr., Minnetonka
Nick Larson, Jr., Hill-Murray
Matt Olson, Sr., Blaine
Chris Hickey, Jr., Cretin-Derham Hall
Ben Kinne, Sr., Cretin-Derham Hall
Patrick White, Jr, Grand Rapids
Derek McCallum, Sr., Hill-Murray
Jared Smith, Sr., Grand Rapids
Joe Steiskal, Jr., Grand Rapids
Ryan McDonagh, Jr., Cretin-Derham Hall
Reider Jensen, Jr., Grand Rapids
Ben Hause, Jr., Cretin-Derham Hall
Karl Gilbert, Sr., Hermantown
Drew LeBlanc, Soph., Hermantown
Jack Baer, Sr., St. Thomas Academy
Jordan Schroeder, Fr., St. Thomas Academy
Bob Gutsch, Jr., Duluth Marshall
Rob Bordson, Sr., Duluth Marshall
Michael Benedict, Jr., Thief River Falls
Ryan Hill, Sr., Hermantown
Kevin Jones, Sr., Duluth Marshall
Matt Letourneau, Sr., Duluth Marshall
Aaron Crandall, Soph., St. Thomas Academy
Jason Paul, Sr., Duluth Marshall
Under-18s Too Much for EJHL All-Stars
Foxboro, Mass. -- In the second matchup in two nights between the U.S. Under-18 Team and the EJHL All-Stars, the U.S. Under-18 Team again came out on top, this time by a 7-1 score.
The Under-18s were just too big, too strong, too fast, and too talented. And while they didn't really need it, they also got some help from the officials, who made some dubious calls in the second period that led to what felt like a period-long power play for the visitors from Ann Arbor.
The EJHL All-Stars hung in there in the first period, but had nothing in the tank after killing off the second period penalties, and the game was essentially over.
Blake Geoffrion (2g), Michael Carman (1g,1a), James O'Brien (1g,1a), Patrick Kane (2a), Kevin Mongomery (2a), and Trent Palm (2a) each had two points for the Under-18s.
U.S. Under-18 Team 7, EJHL All-Stars 1
US -- McBain (Kane, Carman) ppg 19:31
US -- O'Brien (Flynn) 6:36
US -- Geoffrion (Strait, Montgomery) ppg 11:50
US -- Carman (Kane, O'Brien) ppg 13:19
US -- Sweatt (Rakhshani, Palmer) ppg 19:43
US -- Geoffrion (Montgomery, Palm) 4:46
EJHL -- Heaslip (Holt) 5:41
US -- Wilson (R. Hayes, Palm) 19:41
Penalties: EJHL 8, US 7
SOG: US 13-20-17 = 50; EJHL 12-9-14 = 35
US: Palmer (34/35)
EJHL Meyers 1st and 2nd periods (28/33)
Ramirez 3rd period (15/17).
Minnesota Class A Quarterfinals
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.
Att: 4,869 (day session); 7,690 (evening session).
Little Falls 6, Mankato East/Loyola 5 -- Freshman forward Ben Hanowski scored his 32nd and 33rd goals of the season to lead Little Falls.
Duluth Marshall 4, Blake 2 -- Three different players scored as Duluth Marshall jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead en route to a 4-2 win. Jason Paul had 24 saves to hold off Blake's comeback attempt.
St. Thomas Academy 3, Orono 2 (OT) -- Despite outshooting Orono by a nearly 2-1 margin, St. Thomas trailed 2-1 entering the final minute of regulation. But with 38 seconds left in regulation, senior forward J.C. Blaisdell potted the tying goal. In OT, sophomore defenseman Tony Mergens knocked home the rebound of a Blaisdell shot at 4:06 of OT.
Hermantown 4, Thief River Falls 3 -- Hermantown senior Karl Gilbert scored a natural hat trick -- all three of his goals came in the final ten minutes of play -- to rally his team from a 3-1 deficit. Gilbert's third goal, the game-winner, came with just 37 seconds left on the clock.
University of North Dakota recruit Michael Forney, Thief River Falls' top scorer with 26 goals on the season, left the game with an injured shoulder with 11 minutes remaining in the second period.
Friday's Class A Semifinals at Xcel Energy Center:
Little Falls vs. Duluth Marshall, 11 am
St. Thomas Academy vs. Hermantown, 1 pm
Div. II Playoff StarsThe Div. II playoff games at Salem were hard-fought, compelling games. Congratulations to both Proctor and eventual champion Hebron. Both battled hard. Not surprisingly, four of the five players who jumped out at us over the weekend were from those two teams. It may lack symmetry, as it consists of four forwards and one defenseman, but it's our all-tournament team nonetheless.
Hebron's Jordan Krusch, who had a hat trick in Sunday's championship game, is our tournament MVP.
Jordan Krusch, Sr. F, Hebron, 5-1/205, 2/3/87, Kirkland, Quebec
Oleksandr Romanenko, Jr. D, Hebron, 6-1/195, 9/19/87, Kharkiv, Ukraine
Bobby Farnham, Soph. F, Brooks, 5-9/165, 1/21/89, North Andover, Mass.
Neil Ruffini, Jr. F, Proctor, 5-10/170, 3/14/88. Roswell, Georgia
Matt Pedemonti, Jr. F, Hebron, 5-9/175, 1/19/88, Enfield, Conn.
USHR Div. I All-Tournament Team and MVP
The USHR Div. I All-Tournament Team consists of three players from Salisbury, two from Taft, and one from Cushing.
Our Most Valuable Player Award goes to Salisbury senior defenseman Alex Biega, who led the 42 second blitz that turned a 3-2 Salisbury deficit into a 4-3 win in the third period of Sunday's championship game.
G -- Richard Bachman, Sr., Cushing
D -- Alex Biega, Sr., Salisbury
D -- Kevin Quick, Jr., Salisbury
F -- Will Ortiz, Sr., Salisbury
F -- Max Pacioretty, Jr., Taft
F -- Doug Jones, Sr., Taft
Kane Leads Under-18s Past EJHL All-Stars
Foxboro, Mass. -- Patrick Kane, who is expected to decide between BU, Michigan, and the London Knights (OHL) at the end of the season, had a pair of goals and an assist to lead the U.S. Under-18 Team to a 5-2 win over the EJHL All-Stars last night at the Foxboro Sports Center.
The three best EJHL forwards were Barry Almeida, Ian O'Connor, and Chris Donovan. Best EJHL defenseman was Barry Goers. Jimmy Driscoll also played well.
Ryan Simpson played well in net for the EJHL. Likewise, Brett Bennett for the Under-18s.
U.S. Under-18 Team 5, EJHL All-Stars 2
US -- Kane (Carman, Wilson) 4:42
EJHL -- Donovan (Bonitatibus, O'Connor) 10:50
US -- Carman (Kane, Wilson) 11:02
EJHL -- Schaser (Goers) 11:52
US -- O'Brien (Strait, Flynn) 12:04
US -- McBain (R. Hayes, Rogers) 13:06
US -- Kane (Rakhshani, O'Brien) ppg 17:26
SOG: US 13-21-18 = 52; EJHL 9-15-6 = 30
Penalties: US 0-1-8=9; EJHL 2-2-6=8
Goaltenders: Simpson (47/52); Bennett (28/30)
The two teams meet again tonight at 6:30, also at the Foxboro Sports Center.
Minnesota Class AA Quarterfinals
Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minn.
Grand Rapids 7, Roseau 4 -- Patrick White had four goals to lead Grand Rapids to a 7-4 come-from-behind win over Roseau. Grand Rapids was down 4-3, but scored the game's final four goals.
Hill-Murray 5, Minnetonka 4 -- Nick Larson had three goals -- including the game-winner -- and an assist to lead Hill-Murray. The first period of this game ened at 1-1, there was a seven-goal second period, and a scoreless third.
Cretin-Derham Hall 5, Eagan 2 -- Cretin-Derham Hall senior Ben Kinne (2g,3a) figured in all of his team's goals. Linemate Chris Hickey had a two goals and an assist.
Blaine 7, Lakeville North 2 -- Blaine got a hat trick from senior Matt Olson.
Friday's Class AA Semifinal Matchups at the Xcel Energy Center:
Blaine vs. Cretin-Derham Hall, 6 pm
Hill-Murray vs. Grand Rapids, 8 pm
Berkshire Names Driscoll New Head Coach
Pomfret School head coach Dan Driscoll has been hired as the new head coach at the Berkshire School.
Driscoll, 37, is a ten-year veteran of prep school coaching, having spent five years at Winchendon, where he won two Div. II titles, before moving on to Pomfret, where he has a co-head coach with Ted Kelley for three years. When Kelley retired two years ago, Driscoll assumed the main role.
Driscoll also served as director of admissions at Pomfret.
Driscoll, a Lynn, Mass. native and a ’91 graduate of UConn, played professionally in Europe after graduation. He and his wife, Dory, have five children, aged eight months to 11 years.
As for Berkshire hockey, Driscoll said, “I hope to continue the school’s rich tradition. As a school we’ll be looking for kids who can contribute to school life and be competitive Division I hockey players. We’ll be looking for good kids, from good families.”
Former Taft and Colgate forward Brad D’Arco will work as Driscoll’s assistant. D’Arco was an assistant at Berkshire this past season, and was an assistant at Brunswick before that.
A state-of-the-art two-rink complex is in the planning stages at Berkshire.
Recent Commitments-- 6’0”, 185 LC Matt McCollem, a junior at Belmont Hill has committed to Harvard for the fall of ’07. McCollem, who might be more suited to the wing at the next level, improved a lot from his sophomore year and, from the first game of the season, caused recruiters and proscouts to take notice.
McCollem, a 5/6/88 birthdate, is eligible for the June NHL draft. A Westford, Mass. native, he posted a 17-11-28 line in 29 games for Belmont Hill. His strengths are his size, skating ability, physical play, and his shot.
Other schools he considered were BU and BC.
-- As anticipated 6’0”, 175 RD Cody Goloubef, who had narrowed his final choice down to BU and Wisconsin, chose the latter.
Goloubef, Sam Gagner, and Brendan Smith were all teammates last season with the Toronto Marlies Midget Minor team, and now, starting in the fall of ’07, they’ll all be freshman at Wisconsin. Not a bad haul for Mike Eaves.
Golubef, an Oakville, Ont. native, played on the Under-17 Ontario squad at the World Hockey Challenge in Saskatchewan over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday.
One of the heaviest-recruited kids this season, Goloubef, a likely candidate for running the Badger powerplay someday soon, has a 9-29-38 line for the Milton IceHawks (OPJHL).
He’s an 11/30/89 birthdate and was drafted in the fifth of last spring’s OHL draft by Sarnia.
-- Justin Bonitatibus, a 6’0, 175 lb. LW with the Walpole Stars (EJHL), will be attending Merrimack this fall. Bonitatibus, a 12/16/85 birthdate who graduated from Arlington Catholic in 2004 and is in his second season with the Stars, has a 21-28-49 line in 42 games. He’s a hard worker who is good in the trenches and has a strong shot.
Rogers to Skate With Under-18 Team
St. Sebastian’s senior forward – and Harvard recruit – Doug Rogers will be joining the U.S. Under-18 Team when they skate against the EJHL All-Stars tomorrow (Wed.) and Thursday at the Foxboro Sports Center in Foxboro, Mass. Both games will face off at 6:30 pm.
In 26 games at St. Seb’s, Rogers posted a 21-34-55 line. Also joining the Under-18 Team for the trip will be defenseman Cade Fairchild and forward Ryan Hayes, both from the Under-17 Team. Chris Atkinson, though out for the year, is reportedly planning to rejoin his teammates in Foxboro.
EJHL All-Star Roster:
Goaltenders (2): Dan Meyers (Green Mountain); Ryan Simpson (NH Jr. Monarchs).
Defensemen (7): Patrick Bowen (NH Jr. Monarchs); Toby Heaslip (NJ Hitmen); Barry Goers (Green Mountain); Jimmy Driscoll (Boston Jr. Bruins); Mark Zarbo (Cap District); Jonathan Kearns (Bay State); Jesse Williams (Valley Jr. Warriors).
Forwards (13): Barry Almeida (NE Jr. Falcons); Dan Bartlett (NH Jr. Monarchs); Greg Holt (NH Jr. Monarchs); Jason Williams (NH Jr. Monarchs); Joe Cucci (Valley Jr. Warriors); Chris Donovan (Boston Jr. Bruins); Kory Falite (Boston Jr. Bruins); Alec Kirschner (NJ Hitmen); Paul Worthington (Green Mountain); Justin Bonitatibus (Walpole Stars); Ian O’Connor (NH Jr. Monarchs); Ian Schaser (Bridgewater Bandits); Patrick Cannone (NE Jr. Falcons).
General Manager: Dennis Himes (Green Mountain). Coaches: Andy Heinze (Valley Jr. Warriors); Mike Doneghy (Bridgewater), and Peter Masters (Boston Jr. Bruins).
St. Francis Wins Midwest Title
Vernon Hills, Ill. -- St. Francis HS (Rochester, NY) topped the National Sports Academy, 6-2, to win the 2006 Midwestern Prep Hockey League Championship.
St. Andrew's topped Gilmour Academy, 2-0, to take third place.
We'll add in more details as they become available.
Meanwhile, here are the league all-star teams.
Jared Smith, Sr. F, Gilmour Academy
Kyle Maggard, Sr. F, Gilmour Academy
Matt Jennings, Sr. F, Loyola Academy
Mike Schenfeld, Soph. D, Lake Forest Academy
Kyle Whitaker, Jr. D, Gilmour Academy
Richard Sillery, Sr. G, Gilmour Academy
Rudy Allen, Sr. F, St. Andrew's College
Ryan Durocher, Sr. F, National Sports Academy
Vinny Scasella, Jr. F, St. Francis
Chris Berrea, Jr. D, St. Francis
Robert Martini, Sr. D, St. Andrew's College
Steele DeFazio, Sr. G, Ridley College
Hebron, Salisbury Wear the CrownsSalem, NH -- Salisbury School, trailing Taft 3-1 going into the third, came back with a statement third period, scoring three unanswered goals to win, 4-3, and bring the school its first Div. I prep championship.
A Jordan Krusch third-period goal broke a 3-3 tie and lifted Hebron Academy to a 5-3 win over Proctor Academy and the Div II prep championship here today. Krusch (3g,1a) had a hand in every Hebron goal except for the empty netter in the final second.
For more, see the Prep Page.
Minnesota State Tournament Schedule
The sectionals are complete. Here is the schedule for the Minnesota State Tournament. Quarterfinals begin Wednesday and Thursday at the Xcel Center in St. Paul.
-- Wed. 3/9 Quarterfinals at the Xcel Center:
Mankato East vs. Little Falls, 11 am
Duluth Marshall vs. Blake, 1 pm
St. Thomas Academy vs. Orono, 6 pm
Hermantown vs. Thief River Falls, 8 pm
-- Fri. 3/10 Semifinals at the Xcel Center:
Winners of Wednesday's first two games, 11 am
Winners of Wednesday's second two games, 1 pm
-- Sat. 3/11 Championship Game at the Xcel Center, 12 pm
-- Thurs. 3/9 Quarterfinals at the Xcel Center:
Lakeville North vs. Blaine, 11 am
Cretin-Derham Hall vs. Eagan, 1 pm
Hill-Murray vs. Minnetonka, 6 pm
Grand Rapids vs. Roseau, 8 pm
-- Fri. 3/10 Semifinals at the Xcel Center:
Winners of Thursday's first two games, 6 pm
Winners of Thursday's second two games, 8 pm
-- Sat. 3/11 Championship Game at the Xcel Center, 7 pm
Prep Finals Tomorrow
In semifinal action in Salem, NH today, Taft edged Nobles, 3-2; and Salisbury squeaked by Cushing, 2-1 in OT. Salisbury and Taft will face off for the Div. I championship at 3 pm Sunday.
Preceding that, Hebron and Proctor Academy will meet in the Div. II title game. In today's semis, Hebron topped Vermont Academy, 3-1; and Proctor Academy scored a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over Brooks.
For more, see the Prep Page.
Atkinson Recovering from "Horrific" Injury
In the scariest injury fans, players, and coaches in attendance had ever seen, the jugular vein of U.S. Under-18 Team forward Chris Atkinson was sliced open in last Saturday’s game at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Atkinson, a University of Vermont recruit who played at the Salisbury School before going to Ann Arbor, was trailing the play when the skate of an upended teammate, who was tangled up with an RIT player, cut deeply into Atkinson’s neck and throat area.
“It was a violent kick, just horrific,” said Chris’ father, Mike Atkinson. “I knew right away it was bad. It was the worst thing…” His voice trailed off.
Atkinson lost a lot of blood and both his father and his coach, John Hynes, credit the work of Under-18 team trainer David Cotner, with a big assist from the RIT trainer and quick-arriving paramedics, as life saving.
“They saved his life,” the boy’s father said. “No ifs, ands, or buts. They got him to the hospital in six minutes from the time of the injury. They saved his life – that’s the bottom line.”
“If this happened somewhere else,” Atkinson's father said, “ it would have been a different story. The RIT people should be extremely proud. They were awesome.”
In the time between the injury and arriving at Strong Memorial Hospital, the 17-year-old forward never lost consciousness, his father said. “He fought it.”
As of today, Chris was getting up from his bed and walking around the hospital. He’s eating solid food. "He should be out today, that’s what they’re saying. He’ll go home for awhile, and then get out to Ann Arbor shortly afterward.”
"He’s getting healed,” his father said. “As for his playing future, it’s too early to speculate. Not this year, though. It’s too tender.”
Mike Atkinson was asked about neck guards, which are mandatory for young players in most hockey-playing countries.
“Maybe USA Hockey should change their stance on neck guards," he said. "It’s amazing these things don’t happen more. It’s so easy to do a flip out there.”
Hynes, who spent the first night at the hospital with his player, said “the kid’s attitude has been unbelievable. He’s a positive, upbeat type of kid which has helped his teammates deal with this.”
When Chris went down, “he didn’t freak out, he just held his neck,” Hynes said.
Cotner rushed onto the ice and applied pressure to the wound. “There was not a lot of time for wondering what to do,” Hynes said. “There was no panic by Dave. He was phenomenal. He did everything right.”
In the days since the injury, both the RIT men’s and women’s team have Atkinson in the hospital.
“The whole school should be recognized," the boy's father said. "I can't say enough about those guys." He cited Chuck Livingston, the EMT on call at the game; the ambulance squad; trauma surgeon Dr. Julius Chang; RIT athletic director Lou Spiotti, and many others.
"Plus there's been awesome support from the whole hockey community. We thank everyone who said a prayer or throught of us. Tell them that Chris is in good spirits. He has a great sense of humor, and he's upbeat. That's half the battle."
For those wishing to send a note, Chris Atkinson's home address is 852 Old Post Road; Kinderhook, NY 12106
Prep Semis, Finals on Tap
Here's the official schedule for this weekend's NEPSIHA semifinals and finals at the Icenter in Salem, NH. Festivities begin at 11 am Saturday. Driving directions are below.
Div. I Semifinal Matchups:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sat. March 4, 2006
Nobles vs. Taft, 3:30 pm
Cushing vs. Salisbury, 6:00 pm.
Div. I Championship game:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 3:00 pm
Div. II Semifinal Matchups:
Icenter, Salem, NH Sat. March 4, 2006
Hebron vs. Vermont Academy, 11:00 am.
Brooks vs. Proctor, 1:15 pm.
The Div. II championship game:
Icenter, Salem, NH, Sun. March 5, 2006 at 12:30 pm
From Boston, Take Route 93 North. Right after crossing the Mass/New Hampshire border, take Exit 1 (Rockingham Park Boulevard). After exiting, you will see a sign for Mall Road, which will take you up on an overpass. When you come to a traffic light, take a right. This is Mall Road (you will see the race track on your right). Very shortly thereafter, it comes to a T, take a left there (Rt. 38 South), go straight through two sets of lights, and you'll see the Icenter about a half-mile down on the right.
Driving Directions to the Icenter:
Mendelson First Head Coach at Marquette
The Marquette Rangers, an NAHL expansion team set to begin play this fall, have hired Leigh Mendelson to be the franchise's first head coach.
Mendelson has spent this season working as an assistant coach with the Green Bay Gamblers, who started the season slowly, but have now pulled to within four points of first place in their division, having gone 23-10-4 in their last 37 games.
Prior to that, Mendelson spent two years in Finland, coaching a junior team and studying at the Vierumaki Sports Institute with, among others, Erkka Westerlund, the head coach of the impressive Finnish squad that just won the silver five days ago in Torino.
Prior to going to Finland, Mendelson was an assistant coach in the ECHL and in the USHL, where he worked under Dave Hakstol at Sioux City (USHL) and Mike Hastings in Omaha. He's also had shorter stints coaching in the NAHL and the National Team Development Program. In addition, he's spent numerous summers coaching Atlantic District players at USA Hockey's Select Festivals.
We're Live Today
The New England prep quarterfinals are today and, for the second straight year, we'll be bringing you period-by-period updates of all the games, both Div. I and Div. II, both boys and girls, a total of 16 games.
The updates can be found in the boy's prep pages and the girls prep pages.
Best of luck to all.
High Seeds Rule
If you'd bet the favorites today, you'd have done well. All four Div. I prep quarterfinals were won by the higher seeded team.
If you add the eight boys and eight girls matchups together, the higher seeds won 13 of 16 games.
The most dramatic win, at least in boy's Div. I action, was Nobles' win over Belmont Hill, a game in which Belmont Hill, the fourth seed in the east, led by 4-1 nearly halfway through the game. With everyone thinking upset, Nobles dug deep and came up with four unanswered goals -- all even strength -- to take a 5-4 win and advance to face Taft in Saturday's semis.
The other three Div. I games were not as close: Salisbury topped Westminster, 5-1; Taft topped Avon, 4-1; and Cushing trounced Lawrence Academy, 8-2.
In Div. II action, Brooks, Proctor, Hebron, and Vermont Academy all move on to Salem for Saturday's semifinals.