Gagner Romps: the How and Why
Have you noticed who the leading scorer in the OHL is?
It’s none other than Sam Gagner. The London Knights’ ’89 has 31 points in nine games. Last weekend alone, he had 12 points – six Friday, three Saturday, and three Sunday. He was named OHL Player of the Week and has figured in 31 of his team’s 51 goals. His points per game average: 3.44.
Last year, Gagner played in the USHL for Sioux City, where he was the second-leading scorer on his team, and tied for 27th in the league. Gagner finished the season with an 11-35-46 line in 56 games played. His points per game average: .82
What does this say about the respective quality of play in the two leagues? If the OHL is a huge leap above the USHL, as the OHL desperately wants you to believe, should Gagner, an ’89, be able to waltz into the league as a rookie and put up numbers like that?
Don’t get us wrong, Gagner is an excellent player and will almost certainly be a first round draft pick come June.
However, the reason he is able to do what he is doing is two-fold. 1) He’s a year older, and has a year of USHL experience under his belt. 2) More significantly, the OHL has a serious depth problem, which means savvy forwards like Gagner can put up ridiculous numbers, just like Robbie Schremp (145 points) did last season.
The OHL is aware of its depth problem, though they won’t acknowledge it publicly. What it comes down to is simple mathematics. When you have one league that draws the bulk of its players from one province, and you are trying to stock 20 teams, you are simply going to run out of quality players. Most OHL teams, on average, have two strong lines, perhaps three solid d-men, and a strong goaltender. And, since CHL players 20 and under must play in either major junior or the NHL – they can not play in the AHL – kids like Gagner are likely going to be playing three years in the league. They are stuck there until 20, unless, like Sidney Crosby, they can make the jump directly to the NHL and be on the big club’s active roster.
Top 18-19-20 year olds in the US are, while junior eligible, already playing NCAA hockey, moving forward developmentally. They’re not banging around the OHL putting up big numbers by being able to skate circles around third and fourth liners, many of whom would have a difficult time cracking the top two lines at the Tier II level, or elite midget programs.
Americans in the OHL such as Matt Auffrey, David Meckler, Joe Grimaldi, Vladimir Nikiforov, Bobby Ryan, Trevor Lewis, Bobby Sanguinetti, Dan Collins, Jared Boll, Tyler Haskins, Tommy Mannino, Steve Spade et al are all playing against kids when they could be in college challenging themselves by playing against stronger, physically mature men.
As for Gagner, an ’89, he’s still a kid, and would be serving himself better by playing in the USHL. It’s a smaller league (12 teams, though it will be expanding), and it draws from a national pool, not just a provincial pool. If Gagner had stayed in the USHL for this season, he might have improved his point total over the 60-game USHL season to, at an absolute top, 90 points (only one USHL player in the last five years, Thomas Vanek, has reached 90 points). More realistic would be 75-80 points. Gagner will easily surpass that in the OHL.
Of course, the USHL doesn’t pay its players. And Gagner gets a generous package, worth a reported $300,000. The flip side: most OHL players don’t even make minimum wage.
The OHL, knowing that there just aren’t enough quality players in Ontario to stock all of its 20 teams, has ramped up its US recruiting. We saw the attention lavished on the Under-18 Team’s Patrick Kane who, by the way, is second in the league scoring with a 9-13-22 line. Kane turned down a full scholarship from BU, and got $200,000 from the Knights.
Sounds like a lot, but is it?
The government gets its cut, of course, but there’s plenty left to buy a nice car, which Kane did, and reportedly totalled. On the flip side, a college scholarship does not get taxed, and pays off in myriad ways both in the present, and for years down the line. Kane, of course, was offered a full by Boston University which, four years from now, will likely be worth… $200,000.
Just some thoughts for an autumn day. Life’s short. Make wise decisions, and you’ll reach your destination.
How would a championship series between the Memorial Cup winner and the Clark Cup winner go? It would certainly be competitive. Last year, such a game would have pitted the Des Moines Buccaneers vs. the Quebec Remparts. Quebec featured Russian Alexander Radulov, a first round draft pick, but one who was about to turn 20, leading the way offensively, a second round defenseman in Joey Ryan, and a future first rounder in Angelo Esposito. Des Moines had a pair of first rounders in Trevor Lewis and Kyle Okposo, a second rounder in defensman Jeff Petry and a couple of future standouts like Ben Ryan and Aaron Palushaj. It would have made for a nice seven-game series.
Would the three major junior leagues ever agree to such a series? Not in our lifetime. The CHL would have everything to lose, and nothing to gain.
And college hockey vs. the CHL? Please. If you stuck an NCAA team in the CHL it would be a mismatch. A good college team would have its way with a CHL team. There’s an age and physical maturity difference. The college kids are at least a couple of years older.
There are, however, people who persist in believing that the CHL is superior to NCAA hockey. Well, send the University of Michigan up to London, and that argument would be put to rest fast.
Such a game was once proposed, back in the early ‘90s, when Jeff Jackson was at Lake Superior State and Ted Nolan was coaching the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and Sherry Bassin was the GM. The two teams were each coming off great seasons, with Lake State having won the NCAA title and the Greyhounds having reached the Memorial Cup final (they’d win it all the next season)..
The two teams decided to meet and play in a game for a Soo charity. Before the game could get off the ground, however, OHL commissioner Dave Branch stepped in and nipped it in the bud, claiming he couldn’t allow the game to take place due to insurance issues. No one in his or her right mind ever believed that was the real reason.
Belmont Hill Thanksgiving Jamboree
On Saturday, Nov. 25, Belmont Hill is hosting a one-day jamboree featuring Belmont Hill, Gilmour Academy, Governor Dummer Academy, and Proctor Academy.
Here’s the schedule:
8:30 am – Belmont Hill vs. Gilmour Academy
10:00 am – Governor Dummer Academy vs. Proctor Academy
1:00 pm – Proctor Academy vs. Belmont Hill
2:30 pm – Gilmour Academy vs. Governor Dummer Academy
In case you missed it, Governor Dummer Academy has changed its name to the ultra-bland Governor’s Academy. The change came because some intellectual giants on the school’s board of trustees had too much time on their hands and, one would guess, no useful hobbies. So they began fixating on the fact that Dummer was a homonym for “dumber.” When this unnatural fixation got the better of them, they hired a marketing firm to lead them out of the thicket.
Naturally, a marketing firm is not going to say “do nothing.” They have to justify their hefty fees.
So it was that William Dummer, who nearly 250 years ago bequeathed the funds to establish Governor Dummer Academy, the country’s first independent boarding school, got thrown on the slag heap of history by a bunch of marketers.
How’s that for gratitude?
The school’s board of trustees, in turning their back on their legacy, sent out an unfortunate message, i.e. the superficial trumps the substantial. The focus groups said “change the name,” and change the name they did -- to something really, really bland.
It’s kind of sad. We’re trying to teach our kids to look deeply into things in their search for the truth, and to think for themselves. We’re trying to get them to look to history for its deeper lessons. We’re trying to get them to honor the traditions of the community that nurtures them.
And then something like this happens.
Kind of makes you wonder what good grownups are, doesn’t it?
Here at the Hockey Report, we’re sticking with Governor Dummer Academy, probably not forever, but certainly long enough to register a vote of protest.
By the way, the town of Dummerston, Vermont was also named after William Dummer. They have no plans to change its name.
NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch
The Central Scouting Players to Watch list has been released. It's what it is -- a preliminary list. Players are either ranked with an A, considered a potential top three round selection, or a "B" for a potential late round selection. Expect a lot of changes between now and June. Or, as someone (who?) wrote, "twixt cup and lip."
Here's the link:
October 2006: NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch
By the way, we have no idea what "B.C. High Irish" or "Taft Eagles" means. Somebody up at Central Scouting must be getting a jump start on Halloween with some Kickapoo Joy Juice.
Americans in the Dub
By our count, there are 37 Americans playing in the WHL this season. They are:
Brandon Wheat Kings: None
Ryan Letts, ’89 RW, Newport Beach, CA
Curtis Kelner, ’88 RD, Peoria, AZ
Chilliwack Bruins: None
Shane Harper, ’89 LW, Valencia, CA
Damir Alic, ’87 RC, Kent, WA
Jonathan Milhouse, ’89 RC, Yorba Linda, CA
Moises Gutierrez, ’86 RW, Anchorage, AK
Peter Mueller, ’88 RC, Bloomington, MN
C.J. Stretch, ’89 RC, Irvine, CA
Kevin Kraus, ’89 LD, Garden Grove, CA
Raymond Macias, ’86 RD, Long Beach, CA
Colin Long, ’89 RC, Santa Ana, CA
Tysen Dowzak, ’88 LD, Fergus Falls, MN
Kootenay Ice: None
Josh Gionfriddo, ’89 LW, Colorado Springs, CO
Randy King, ’87 RD, Salt Lake City, UT
Medicine Hat Tigers: None
Moose Jaw Warriors:
Joey Perricone, ’87 G, San Juan Capistrano, CA
Portland Winter Hawks:
Chip Petrino, ’90 RC, Vancouver, WA
Chris Francis, ’89 RC, Las Vegas, NV
Matt Sokol, ’89 RC, Los Angeles, CA
Tristan King, ’90 RC, Elk River, MN
Cameron Cepek, ’88 RD, Huntington Beach, CA
Michael Sauer, ’87 RD, Sartell, MN
Prince Albert Raiders:
A.J. Thelen, ’86 LD, Savage, MN
Prince George Cougars:
Elias Grossman, ’88 RD, Delta Junction, AK
Red Deer Rebels:
Alex Poulter, ’89 RC, Broomfield, CO
Pierre-Paul Lamoureux, ’87 LC, Grand Forks, ND
Morgan Clark, ’90 G, Highland Village, TX
Tommy Tartaglione, ’88 G, Harbor City, CA
Saskatoon Blades: None
Isak Quakenbush, ’90 RW, Fairbanks, AK
Derek Ryan, ’86 RC, Spokane, WA
Mitch Wahl, ’90 RC, Seal Beach, CA
Seth Compton, ’88 LC, W. Richland, WA
Drayson Bowman, ’89 LW, Littleton, CO
Sean Zimmerman, ’87 RD, Spokane, WA
Swift Current Broncos: None
Erik Felde, ’87 LW, Anchorage, AK
Jason Reese, ’88 LC, Gresham, OR
Tim Kraus, ’87 RC, Garden Grove, CA
Jonathon Blum, ’89 RD, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA
This ties into our story of a couple of weeks ago on Sam Gagner:
6’5’ Martin Hanzel, a first round draft pick of Phoenix in the 2005 NHL draft, played 19 games with Omaha and posted a 4-15-19 line after coming over from the Czech Republic late last January.
He went on to the Red Deer Rebels (WHL) this season and is currently leading the league in scoring with a 8-20-28 line in 16 games.
Cichy Steps Outside the Box
6’0”, 175 lb. LC Mike Cichy of the U.S. Under-17 Team has committed to the University of North Dakota for the fall of ’08.
Cichy is the first New Englander to commit to play for the Fighting Sioux since as far back as we can remember – and possibly ever. We’re stuck. If anyone knows of anyone preceding Cichy, let us know.
A 7/8/90 from New Hartford, Conn., Cichy played in the Minuteman Flames organization then spent two years in the Boston Junior Bruins organization. In the middle of last season, Cichy, who’d stood out at the Select 15 Festival, started receiving interest from top western programs like Notre Dame, Colorado College, Denver, and, of course, the University of North Dakota. Recently, the University of Minnesota got into the mix. In the east, Maine made a huge push recently. It appears though, that he felt his hockey future was in the west.
Last January, the Junior Bruins Empire League Team went out to Grand Forks for a tournament at Engelstad Arena and Cichy was able to see two Fighting Sioux games in that building, which, to understate things, can be an eye-opener. That played a role, as did Cichy’s friendship with Under-17 Team teammate Danny Kristo, also a North Dakota recruit for the fall of ’08.
Cichy was an in-line player who actually got on the ice relatively late, but worked really hard on his skating over the years, and improved remarkably. Like many kids who played inline, he’s creative with the puck. He’s excellent on draws and his shot is hard and accurate, with a quick release. He also has a great one-timer. He’s gritty and good in traffic. He’s pretty committed, too, as he’d travel nearly an hour and a half each way to get from Connecticut up to Massachusetts for practices and games.
Two years ago, Cichy was one of the two younger players on the Junior Bruins Midget AAA full-season team and finished with a 16-24-40 line in 59 games, which made him the 12th leading scorer on the team. He got better as the season went along, though, and last season the midget team joined the Empire League and Cichy was the third leading scorer on the team with a 67-55-122 line in 76 games, trailing only UNH recruit Stevie Moses, and David Boehm. Eleven of Cichy’s goals were game winners, so he can come up big with the game on the line.
Empire Jamboree Teams Announced
The Empire Junior Hockey League has announced the rosters for the two teams the league will be sending to the USA Hockey National Junior Jamboree in Blaine, Minn. on Mon-Tues. Nov. 13-14.
Forwards: Cory Kane and Derek Arnold (Boston Junior Bruins); Nate Sayer, Andrew Hildreth, and Ryan Walsh (NE Jr. Huskies); Nick Hartnett and Chad Warnock (Bay State Breakers); Seth McQuade, Jay Pietrasiak, and Cameron Robichaud (NH Jr. Monarchs); Ward Gleason (Valley Jr. Warriors); Dustin Rider (NE Jr. Falcons).
Defensemen:Tommy Monteiro and Joey Dillon (Boston Junior Bruins); Justin Stokes (NE Jr. Huskies); Eric Hines (NH Jr. Monarchs); Alex Hoffman and Jeffery Palmer (Bay State Breakers).
Goaltenders:Nick Therrin (NH Jr. Monarchs) and Andrew Roder (NE Jr. Huskies).
Coaches: Ryan Frew (NH Jr. Monarchs) and Jon Gardner (NE Jr. Huskies).
Forwards:Scott Estey and Greg Cicola (Brewster Bulldogs); Ryan Dove and Bryce Evason (Virginia Statesmen); Shane Viola (Tri-State Selects); Kurt Washnock and Nick Rostek (Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins); Matt Wilson and Josh LaRose (Syracuse Jr. Stars); Mike Muhs and Shane Stockton (Rochester Americans); Rob Carroll (Jersey Wildcats); Andrew Churchill (NY Applecore).
Defensemen:Mike Kavanaugh (Brewster Bulldogs); Alex Dzielski (Rochester Americans); Frank Wittman (Tri-State Selects); Dan LaBarbera (Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins); Sean Escobedo and Jesse Byam-Katzman (NY Applecore); Mitch Washer (Syracuse Jr. Stars).
Goaltenders:Carl Rappa (NY Applecore) and Joe Johansen (Rochester Jr. Americans).
Coaches: Chris Cosentino (NY Applecore) and Tony Maksymiu (Maksymum - Rochester).
McNamara Picks Colgate
Belmont Hill School senior RD Kevin McNamara has committed to Colgate.
McNamara, who is 6’0, 185 lbs. and a 7/28/88 birthdate, is a solid two-way defenseman who put up some pretty good numbers from the blue line last season. The Chestnut Hill, Mass. native was the third-leading scorer for Belmont Hill last season with a 7-16-23 line, trailing forwards Mark Dube (Army) by one point and Matt McCollem (Harvard) by two points. He
McNamara made his final pick from among Colgate, Cornell, UMass, and St. Lawrence.
His father, John McNamara, an assistant coach for Belmont Hill, also played Div. I hockey, at Boston College (’82-86).
Wonderland Wizards Pack It In
The Wonderland Wizards, a new Connecticut-based midget AAA squad, has folded up their tent for the season, the end result of an off-ice party that got out of hand.
The squad featured 12 Choate players. Even though the students had signed out for the weekend, five or six of them were put on full week restriction, meaning they can’t leave campus for a while.
Despite rumors to the contrary, no one was suspended or kicked out of the school.
“A part of ‘character’,” said Choate head coach Patrick Dennehy, “is how you behave off campus as well as on. I think the school handled it well. The kids involved needed to be disciplined.”
The party that “got out of hand” said Dennehy, was hosted by Fairfield County Choate parents.
”This was not a ‘Choate hockey event’ as some people are trying to portray it,” added Dennehy. “There were a lot more kids involved than just hockey players. It’s fair to add that some parents made a poor decision here.”
“The kids made bad decisions, too. The message we’re sending is that even if you are off campus, you are still responsible for your actions.
Players from Avon, South Kent, Williston, Canterbury, and Berkshire we’re also on the Wizards roster.
The Wizards – we saw them play last month -- were a solid squad. They had topped the Mid-Fairfield Blues, the defending district champs, 6-2, and were scheduled to travel to Massachusetts to play the Little Bruins this weekend.
Westminster’s Cross Makes His Pick
6’3”, 195 lb. Westminster School junior defenseman Tommy Cross has committed to Boston College for the fall of ’08.
Cross is a new player for Westminster this season, having played at Simsbury High School (the same Connecticut town Westminster is located in) for the past couple of seasons. The coach at Simsbury HS is his father, Tom Cross, who played hockey at Dartmouth from ’78-82.
Since he was playing high school hockey, Cross was not well known going into this summer’s Select 17 Festival in mid-July in St. Cloud, Minn. However, he had a great tournament, playing with a lot of poise, and his stock shot through the ceiling with both college recruiters and pro scouts.
Given that most NHL scouts hadn’t seen him until the summer, you can expect Westminster games to feature a good crowd of pro guys who want to see how he does over the course of the season. A 9/12/89 birthdate, Cross is eligible – by just three days -- for the June NHL draft.
The schools that recruited Cross, in addition to Boston College, were Boston University and Providence in Hockey East. The Ivies were also in the hunt, and Cross made unofficial visits to Harvard, Yale, and Dartmouth.
Cross will be leaving in a couple of weeks to join the U.S. Under-18 Team for the Four Nations Tournament in Sweden Nov. 5-12. He will take the roster spot vacated by Colby Cohen.
Cohen Finds a Home… and it’s Not Omaha
It looks like the Lincoln Stars staff has the faster fingers, for they were the first team to file an add claim for disaffected 6’3”, 195 lb. U.S. Under-18 defenseman Colby Cohen.
So, instead of the Omaha Lancers, like everyone assumed, Cohen will be heading down the road to Lincoln – and there’s no love lost between those teams.
Cohen, added late yesterday, is en route to Lincoln this morning, and is expected in uniform as the stars play a road game at Tri-City at 7:00 pm CST, the first half of a home-and-home weekend matchup with the Storm.
Engineers Add Speed
6’1”, 175 lb. North York Rangers (OPJHL) RW Ben Contini has committed to RPI, and will be arriving on campus next fall.
A 2/27/89 from Toronto, Contini played on that loaded Toronto Marlies Bantam Team of a couple of years ago, the squad with John Tavares (Oshawa – OHL), Sam Gagner (London – OHL), Brendan Smith (St.Mike’s/Wisconsin), Bryan Cameron (Belleville – OHL), Cody Goloubef (Oakville/Wisconsin), and others.
Contini, who can really fly, has a 9-5-14 line in 18 games thus far this season for North York, which is coached by former Colgate forward P.J. Yedon.
Contini made his final choice from between Princeton and RPI.
Lashoff To Make NHL Debut Tonight
The Boston Bruins have called up 6’2”, 205 lb. defenseman Matt Lashoff from Providence (AHL). The East Greenbush, NY native, who played for the Connecticut Yankees ’86 Team, Avon Old Farms, the U.S. Under-17 Team, and, for the past three seasons, Kitchener (OHL), will make his pro debut against the Canadiens at the Garden tonight.
Lashoff was the Bruins first-round pick (22nd overall) in the 2005 entry draft.
He will be the second U.S. born ’86 defenseman to make his NHL debut this season, following Phoenix’s Keith Yandle.
Yandle has stuck with the Coyotes, having played seven games with an 0-2-2 line.
Last year, Yandle, who would go on to be named top defenseman in the Q, and Lashoff were both bypassed by USA Hockey for the U.S. Junior Team, which finished fourth at the World Junior Championship in Vancouver, BC.
Hastings Irked by “Innuendo”
In reference to the Colby Cohen situation, Omaha Lancers head coach/GM Mike Hastings said last night that, “I have not talked to the kid or his dad – in no way, shape, or form.”
“People,” he added, in reference to all the rumors and speculation, “have assumed way too much here.”
As for reports that a deal had been made regarding the $10,000 release fee that USA Hockey requires from a junior team signing a player off the NTDP, Hastings said that was a “complete fabrication.”
“I have no idea,” he said, “where that came from.”
“We drafted him in the May draft (18th round)," Hastings said. "What I told him then was that I would never recruit him out of the National Program.”
At the time, Cohen, unhappy in Ann Arbor, was talking about leaving the NTDP.
“I told him,” said Hastings, “that if he was to come to the USHL, to consider Omaha. That’s why we drafted him.”
“I think people are assuming a lot here. (BU assistant) David Quinn said that he would like for the kid to stay in the NTDP. I only said that if he were to leave for the USHL, that I would like it to be here. That’s all.”
As for the current situation, Hastings said, “I have not spoken to the father or kid at all – I just haven’t.”
“It’s really hard for me to defend myself against innuendo, against something I haven’t done. People are saying wild things. People say that (Cohen) is already in town. He’s not. People even say he’s enrolled in school here!”
“You plug along,” Hastings added, as his 1-5-1 team was about to head out on the 11-hour bus trip to Northern Wisconsin. “Right now, I’m worried about Green Bay.”
Here’s a clarification as to the rules that a USHL team signing Cohen must follow:
First off, the release from USA Hockey, which was to be sent out via John Cowley, USA Hockey’s Junior Hockey Registrar, at around 2 pm yesterday afternoon, was delayed, as Cowley announced that Cohen was to be included in the regular drop/add list, which goes out to all junior teams each night, usually in the late night/early morning hours.
Once that email is received, the first team that emails back – provided they have cleared a spot on their roster – gets the player.
It’s kind of odd, a little like waiting for Ticketmaster to put tickets on sale for a highly-coveted show or sporting event. What it means is that any USHL team that wants Cohen has to have someone sitting in front of the computer, staring intently, fingers poised, at the exact moment the player is released.
Once the player is added, a roster spot must be cleared for the player. Omaha already has a spot, as Matt Moulakelis, a power forward and Merrimack recruit, was dropped by the Lancers and added by the Chicago Steel. Moulakelis is from the Chicago area.
The Steel made space for Moulakelis by shipping former NTDP forward Nathan Lawrence to the Texas Tornado (NAHL).
Cohen Saga Heats Up
By the end of the day, the Colby Cohen saga (see yesterday’s USHR News) may be resolved peacefully, or it may shoot off in unforeseen directions.
We have information, and allegations, we didn’t have earlier – and there’s more here than meets the eye.
The facts are: Cohen has told U.S. Under-18 coach Ron Rolston that he is leaving the NTDP. That’s old news. It’s final; he’s gone. The reason given is lack of ice time, but at the UNH game this typist attended, Cohen appeared to be on the ice far more than fellow d-man A.J. Sturges. After telling Rolston he was leaving the program, Cohen was reportedly given a chance to change his mind and stay with the NTDP, but declined.
As mentioned in yesterday’s report, the BU staff wanted their recruit to stay with the NTDP, so from that one can assume that the defenseman and/or his father are following a separate agenda, which probably doesn’t bode well for his future on the south bank of the Charles. Cohen maintains he still wants to attend BU.
Cohen is waiting for his official release from USA Hockey, which is due today (Wed.).
Once that happens, the defenseman is at the mercy of the USHL and its rules governing such situations. During the regular season, once a player has been dropped, any team can add him provided they have a space for him on their 23-man roster. A number of teams – even all 12 – can add him, provided they’ve cleared a spot. Cohen will then pick his team. He becomes their official property once he appears in a game with them.
So look for Omaha to make a trade – or simply drop a player – in order to clear a spot on their 23-man roster. If what we’re hearing is correct, a number of GMs will be adding him, and then each will try to sell Cohen on coming to their town.
Why don’t they just back off and let him go to Omaha? Cohen is a good player, but not a superstar – and he’s made it clear that Omaha is where he wants to be.
As you may have guessed, there’s controversy here. A number of USHL general managers – the exact number we don’t know – are up in arms, feeling that there has been tampering and collusion in this case.
Reportedly, when Cohen went in and told Rolston he was leaving the team, he also informed Rolston that he was planning on going to Omaha. Therefore, other GMs are claiming, the deal must have been arranged in advance, which is illegal. To make a deal with a player on a rostered team or a representative of that player – e.g. father, advisor – constitutes tampering, which is a violation of the rules governing USHL-NAHL player movement (Note: All 40+ NTDP players are rostered in the NAHL).
At any rate, today USA Hockey will simultaneously notify all USHL teams when Cohen’s release is granted – and we’ll see what happens. So stay tuned. There's more to this story.
Efforts to reach Omaha GM Mike Hastings or USHL commissioner Gino Gasparini were unsuccessful.
Following in the footsteps of former teammate Adam D’Alba, Brown 6’1” forward Seth Seidman has retired from NCAA hockey.
Seidman, a junior, told his teammates of his decision earlier this week.
Prior to coming to Brown, Seidman played at Milton Academy, but left after his sophomore year and spent two years in the National Team Development Program.
Seidman finishes his college career with a 2-2-4 line in 31 games (13 as a freshman; 18 as a sophomore).
5’5”, 150 lb. forward Matt Arhontas of the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) has committed to Princeton University.
Arhontas, an ’87 from Naperville, Ill., is in his third year with the Black Hawks. Last year, he had a 12-21-33 line in 55 games played.
10/24/06 Updated 2:30 pm
Defenseman Leaves NTDP
6’3” US Under-18 team defenseman Colby Cohen, a Boston University recruit, has left the NTDP and will be reporting to the Omaha Lancers (USHL).
We don’t know all the details, but it’s a situation that started to boil the weekend the Ron Rolston-coached Under-18 Team came east and played BC and UNH. Cohen, who was thinking of leaving the NTDP at the end of last season, anyway, was reportedly upset at his lack of playing time (though this typist was at the UNH game and thought Cohen saw a reasonable amount of ice time). Cohen’s father, reported to be very hands-on, was also upset, and pushing for his son to leave the program for Omaha, which had once held Cohen’s draft rights.
The situation continued percolating last week. USA Hockey, not crazy about seeing its players defecting, demanded a $10,000 transfer fee from the Lancers, but Omaha refused. We’re not sure how that got resolved, but we’re hearing that Omaha paid some, and perhaps Cohen’s father paid some.
Cohen rubbed at least some of his teammates in Ann Arbor the wrong way, though that lessened over time so it's hard to say if that factored into his leaving. At any rate, with Cohen's departure, the Under-18 Team is left with only six defensemen and an international tournament coming up in early November, so we’d expect a player to be added, if only to have a seventh D for the tournament.
This is the first defection from the Under-18 team this season. Several players left the NTDP the last time Rolston coached the squad, in ’04-05, and a bunch more would have loved to have gone elsewhere, but stuck it out.
Cohen’s arrival should help Omaha. The Lancers are 1-5-1 and have given up a league-high 29 goals. Omaha’s penalty kill – 72.6% -- is not good, either. This is highly unusual for a Lancers' team -- traditionally they play textbook team defense. As for blueliners, Lancers head coach Mike Hastings is highly regarded in the hockey world for his work with defensmen. Hastings' presence is the reason Nick Petrecki, who is expected to be a high first round pick in the June NHL draft, opted for the Lancers over the NTDP. So, from a hockey standpoint, it could help Cohen, who is a projected to go in the third or fourth round of the NHL draft.
Boston University assistant David Quinn, a former assistant at Nebraska-Omaha, and Hastings have a strong working relationship.
According to Quinn, Cohen has not yet officially received his release from USA Hockey. Quinn also said that BU made a successful effort to keep Cohen in the NTDP last spring, and would like for him to continue there. So there could be further developments here.
EJHL Select Team Named
The EJHL has finalized its roster for the USA Hockey National Junior Jamboree, to be held Mon.-Tues. Nov. 13-14 in Blaine, Minn.
Here it is:
Goaltenders (2): Chris Noonan (Syracuse Stars); Daniel Ramirez (Foxboro Stars).
Defensemen (6): Edwin Shea (Junior Bruins); Ryan McKiernan (Jersey Hitmen); Eric Baier (NH Jr. Monarchs); Josh Burrows (Junior Bruins); Ryan Blair (Foxboro Stars); Nicholas Del Rosso (Bay State Breakers).
Forwards (12): Paul Thompson (NH Jr. Monarchs); Matt Germain (NH Jr. Monarchs); Joe Brock (Bridgewater Bandits); Dennis Kearney (NH Jr. Monarchs); Jeremy Tejchma (Bridgewater Bandits); Ian O’Connor (NH Jr. Monarchs); Austin Mayer (NH Jr. Monarchs); Jake Coyle (Junior Bruins); Steve Moses (Junior Bruins); Justin Smith (New England Falcons); T.J. Syner (New England Falcons); Blake Page (Bay State Breakers).
Head Coach: Sean Tremblay (NH Jr. Monarchs). Assistant Coaches: Peter Masters (Junior Bruins) and Jim Hunt (Jersey Hitmen).
Eight players are already committed: Thompson (UNH), Brock (Holy Cross), Kearney (Yale), Mayer (Providence); O’Connor (Providence), Moses (UNH), Shea (BC), Baier (Providence).
Mark Concannon (Valley Jr. Warriors) was selected to the team, but will be unable to play due to injury.
Prep Auto Bids Voted Down
At yesterday’s New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association coaches meeting, the proposed Div. I automatic tourney bids proposed last spring were voted down.
The NEPSIHA tournament will use the same method of determining playoff contenders as last season.
The vote was close, though. Nine voted thumbs down on the autobid, eight voted to go with it, and three abstained.
There were twenty prep coaches at the meeting. No absentee ballots were allowed -- only coaches in attendance could vote.
NEPSIHA president Patrick Dennehy said that a major stumbling block was the fact that not all teams are in a league.
Also, he said, “We wanted to have a consistent way for determining league champions. Right now in the Founder’s League there’s a discrepancy in the number of home-and-home games. Plus there’s a discrepancy in league sizes.”
Right now, in the 10-team Founder’s League, each team plays a total of 14 league games in an unbalanced schedule that features each team playing five opponents twice, but four opponents just once.
As for the discrepancy in league sizes, the Founders, as just mentioned, has 10; the Keller has nine; the NEPSHC East, having just added Tilton, is now at seven; and the NEPSHC West has eight.
That’s it for now. In 2007-08, South Kent will likely join NEPSHC West, making that a nine-team loop .
Floating around untethered are Andover – so far they’ve successfully resisted efforts to get them into a league – and Bridgton, which would love to be in a league, but since most potential opponents consider the school too far to travel to, they aren’t. Currently, Bridgton plays a heavy road schedule.
One thing that you can look for in future years, possibly even ’07-08, is league playoffs. The proposals being tossed around would call for what are currently the final Wednesday and weekend of the regular season being reserved for league playoffs. NEPSIHA playoffs would follow.
-- The dates for this season’s NEPSIHA playoffs are Wed. Feb. 28 (quarterfinals at campus sites) and Sat-Sun. March 3-4 (semis and finals in Salem, NH).
-- Dennehy will complete his term as NEPSIHA president after this season. Yesterday, Northfield-Mt. Hermon head coach Josh Brandwene was named as Dennehy’s successor.
Lorenz Picks Fighting Irish
6’1”, 185 lb. U.S. Under-17 Team defenseman Sean Lorenz has committed to Notre Dame.
Colorado College, Denver, and Wisconsin were the other schools recruiting him.
Lorenz, a 3/10/90 birthdate from Littleton, Colorado, played last season with the Colorado Thunderbird Midget AAA squad.
A right shot, Lorenz has size, skating ability, thinks the game well, and competes hard. He’s an 11th grader and will arrive at Notre Dame in the fall of ’08.
Salisbury senior defenseman Kevin Quick, a Tampa Bay third-round draft pick, who, by the way, played very well at the Lightning’s rookie camp, has narrowed his college choices to Clarkson, Michigan, Ohio State, and Providence. He is currently taking his official visits and will make a decision in November.
Almeida Making Progress
New England Falcons (EJHL) Director of Hockey Operations Lincoln Flagg says the “best scenario” for BC recruit Barry Almeida’s return to game action is now early December.
Almeida, the league’s MVP last season, suffered an eye injury in early summer when a bottle tossed into a bonfire exploded. Almeida was temporarily blinded in one eye. In the not-too-distant past, in the era before laser eye surgery, Almeida’s blindness would have been permanent – and his hockey career would have been over.
Eye surgery takes time, and there are many steps. On November 2, Almeida, whose reattached retina is healing, will be checked again. If the doctor likes what he sees, the lens of the eye – which is now out – will be placed back in, and the blurriness Almeida lives with daily will disappear.
“There’s no need for him to come back until he’s a hundred percent comfortable,” Flagg says. “We want him fully healed. Barry has a great career in front of him.”
Almeida is out there skating with the Falcons at every practice.
Former Lawrence Academy goalie Seth McNary, who started the season with the Sioux City Muskeeters (USHL) has been released. He’s back east and will be playing for the Walpole Express (AJHL). McNary played one game for Sioux City, a 5-4 loss to Des Moines.
To take his spot, Sioux City has signed 6’1” Josh Robinson, a 12/1/89 birthdate from the Soo Indians Midget AAA. Robinson, from Frankenmuth, Michigan, played AA Midgets last season and was pretty much of an unknown until the Select 17s in July, where he was one of the top goalies, and gained a lot of attention. In five games with the Soo he has a 1.80 gaa and a .940 save percentage. The Musketeers selected him in the futures draft two weeks ago. In this case, the future came quickly.
Commitments Galore From Monarchs
Three players from the EJHL-leading New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs made college commitments this week.
-- 6’0”, 210 lb. center Paul Thompson, currently the league’s leading scorer, has committed to the University of New Hampshire for ’08.
Thompson, a first cousin of former UNH forward Mike Souza, made his final choice from between UNH, Providence, and Dartmouth.
Of all the EJHL players, Thompson’s stock has risen the most this season.
”He’s become a sure-fire NHL draft pick,” his coach, Sean Tremblay, says. “He’s growing, and he’s incredibly strong. He can go through you and he can really shoot it. More than that, he can place it. He’s getting better and better as he learns to play without the puck and keep his feet moving.”
Thompson, a true senior, is an 11/30/88 birthdate and a native of Derry, NH. He played for Pinkerton Academy as a freshman and sophomore. UNH assistant coach Scott Borek coached him two years ago at the Select 16 Festival.
In 11 games with the Monarchs, Thompson has a 13-10-23 line.
-- 6’1”, 180 lb. LD Jimmy Gaudet has committed to Dartmouth for ’08, which means both he and his brother, Joey, will be playing for their father, Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet.
Now, what we want to know is this: Is this a first? Has a NCAA Div. I head coach ever simultaneously coached two of his sons in college ? This typist can’t think of any. Anyone out there know of this happening before?
Tremblay points to Gaudet’s feet and stick skills as his strongest points. “He’s really improved this year. He’s a player who can run the power play.”
Gaudet, a 1/10/89 birthdate, is a true senior who attends Hanover HS and makes the one hour (each direction) drive every day. “That’s a true level of commitment,” says Tremblay.
A player who would have drawn interest from a number of schools, Gaudet bypassed the process and committed to Dartmouth quickly.
-- 5’10” forward Trevor Dodds has committed to Div. III champion Middlebury College. Dodds graduated in June from Hanover HS, where he played for his father, Dick Dodds, on the NH state champions.
Dodds is a good skater, with a good stick, intelligence, and playmaking ability.
Taylor to Wildcats
Long-time Yale coach Tim Taylor has signed on as a volunteer assistant with the University of New Hampshire, and has been on the ice with the Wildcats for the past two days.
“I just might move out of the way,” joked UNH coach Dick Umile. “It’s kind of unbelievable, isn’t it?”
How did this come to be?
Part of it is logistical: Taylor has a second home in Francestown, NH, a bit to the west of Manchester. And he still has a lot to give to the game.
Also, Taylor and Umile have always had a good relationship. UNH and Yale have met annually, a series that was Taylor’s idea.
“He’s a personal friend, a really good guy,” Umile said. “This came about in the summer. We were talking about things, and I told Tim we didn’t have a volunteer assistant. In the fall, I kind of threw the idea out there. And he really liked the idea.”
Taylor will have a flexible schedule, probably working a couple of days during the week and joining the team on weekends.
”He’s a great teacher,” Umile said. “Our whole organization is excited. He’s even met a couple of the faculty.”
As for Taylor’s role, Umile said that Taylor would work with everyone. “Scott Borek has the forwards, David Lassonde has the defensemen and goaltenders, and Tim will work with all of us.”
Americans in the Q
Nine QMJHL teams have American players – or at least American-born players -- on their rosters. There are 15 in total and they are listed below.
Nine of the team’s 18 leagues have no Americans on their rosters: the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Baie-Comeau Drakkar, Drummondville Voltigeurs, Moncton Wildcats, PEI Rocket, Rimouski Oceanic, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, Val-d’Or Foreurs, and the Victoriaville Tigers.
Also, there are Canadians -- and one Russian -- rostered on QMJHL teams that might be of interest to followers of New England prep hockey.
-- Former Thayer LW Max Gratchev, a late ’88 in his second year in the league, has played 12 games and has a 6-6-12 line. Gratchev is listed on Rimouski’s roster as being from Novosibirsk, Russia, which he is, of course. It's where he was born.
-- Forward Matt Eagles (Moncton) and defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk (Halifax), Maritimers who were at St. Paul’s as juniors two years ago, are now in their second year in the league. Bodnarchuk, drafted by the Bruins in June, is the seventh-leading scorer among league defensemen, averaging better than a point per game. Eagles, in nine games for Moncton, has a 6-1-7 line in nine games.
Two kids who seriously considered prep school for this season, but opted instead for the major junior route are:
-- ’89 Alexi Pianosi, an ’89 RD from Halifax, NS playing for Moncton. Pianosi was considering attending Salisbury.
-- ’90 Kelsey Tessier, a ’90 center from Fredericton, NB was considering Cushing Academy, but opted for the Québec Remparts, coached by Patrick Roy, instead. Tessier, you may recall, began last season at Shattuck-St. Mary’s but, along with David Toews, was expelled. At that time, both joined the Colorado Outlaws Midget AAA squad for the remainder of the season. Toews is back at Shattuck, a junior playing on the prep team.
Halifax '89 LW Daniel Smith, the son of NHL great Bobby Smith, a Nova Scotia native who is now the Mooseheads majority owner, is at least a dual citizen, as he was at the NTDP March tryout camp a couple of years ago.
Halifax '89 LW Yuri Cheremetiev is Russian born but played high school hockey in Massachusetts a couple of years ago.
Here are the QMJHL players listed as American-born:
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles:
Charlie Pens, LD, ’88, North East, Maryland
Joel Rechlicz, LW, ’87, Milwaukee, Wisc.
Chad Loikets, RD, ’87, Milwaukee, Wisc.
Jeremy Duchesne, G, ’86, Maryland
James Pouliot, LW, ’87, Manchester, NH
Garrett Peters, RW, ’87, East Providence, RI
Tom Michalik, RD, ’88, Andover, Mass.
Chris Tutalo, LW, ’87, Roscoe, NY
Andrew Andricopoulos, RD, ’87, Beverly, Mass.
Joey Ryan, RD, ’87, Stoneham, Mass.
Todd Chinova, RW, ’89, Stratford, Conn.
Saint John Sea Dogs:
Tommy Lange, LW, ’87, St. Louis, MO
Guillaume Durand, LD, ’88, Dayton, OH
St. John’s Fog Devils:
Keith Bombaugh, LD, ’89, Falmouth, Mass.
T.J. Brennan, LD, ’89, Willingbord, NJ
5’10”, 165 lb. C/LW Jared Festler of Little Falls HS, who as a sophomore last season was the second-leading scorer in the state of Minnesota, has committed to St. Cloud State.
Right now, Festler, an '89, is the leading scorer in the Upper Midwest High School League, a fall pre-season league which has become a big part of the Minnesota hockey landscape. Festler has a 9-14-23 line in 11 games played.
Festler helped lead Little Falls, which is right up the road from St. Cloud and also boasts a top prospect in ’90 forward Ben Hanowski, to the state tournament back in March.
A highly-skilled scorer, Festler gains much of his productivity from his tenacity. He’s a relentless type.
Festler will likely finish at Little Falls in ’08 and then spend a year in the USHL, arriving in St. Cloud in ’09.
St. Cloud State lost to Denver in 5-4 OT Friday night despite outshooting the Pioneers 50-23 (Denver goalie Glenn Fisher had a great night; the Huskies Bobby Goepfert didn’t), who let in some softies.)
The next night, St. Cloud was outshot by Denver but came away with a 5-2 win. Fisher, Friday nights start for DU – Fish on Friday, you know – was yanked after the fourth Huskies goal.
In head coach Bob Motzko, St. Cloud has one of the best recruiters in college hockey. Last year, coming off a losing season, the Huskies turned it around, going 21-15-4 and finishing right below Minnesota, Denver, Wisconsin, North Dakota, and CC. That’s a tough group to crack, but a few more highly-skilled recruits could push them back into perennial contender status.
6’2”, 210 lb. Scott Birnstill, once highly touted but pretty much forgotten after quitting hockey last winter, has surfaced this season with the New York Bobcats (Atlantic Hockey Junior League), where he’s being coached by Aleksey Nikiforov.
An ’87 left wing, Birnstill is leading the league with an 8-6-14 line in six games played. He also has 30 pims, the third-most in the league.
Birnstill, a Long Island native who came up through the Long Island Gulls system, played for the Apple Core EJHL team in '02-03, but missed most of the season with a kneee injury. In '03-4, he joined the U.S. National Team Development Program, but once again injuries -- and a lack of production -- plagued him. In ’04-05, he went to the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL), but failed to produce there as well. Last season, he returned to Apple Core's EJHL team -- and it looked like he’d reached the end of the line.
Birnstill is the younger brother of Northeastern senior defenseman Steve Birnstill.
Znutas Picks Crusaders
6’0”, 180 lb. Hotchkiss LD Mark Znutas has committed to Holy Cross for next season.
Znutas is an ’88 defensive defenseman from Emerson, NJ.
Another recent Holy Cross commit is 5’8” Joe Brock, the former Shattuck-St. Mary’s forward now playing for the Bridgewater Bandits (EJHL). Brock is an excellent playmaker and scorer. He’s not the greatest skater, but he sees the ice very well, and should be a key player for Paul Pearl’s team.
Holy Cross went 27-10-2 last season, winning the Atlantic Hockey regular season title as well as the league championship. They also beat five major conference Div. I teams, the most noteworthy being the infamous (in Minnesota, that is) 4-3 OT win over the Gophers in the NCAA regionals.
Yanks in the O
As readers of this page know, we’re not the greatest fans of US kids going major junior. And we really don’t understand kids leaving Div. I play to sign on in the CHL. With the USHL as strong as it is today, and the NCAA a significant notch above major junior, what’s the point?
Still, we thought you would like to know who the US kids in major junior are, and where they are playing. So we pawed through the rosters for you. If we missed anyone, let us know.
Next week we’ll do the same for the Q. And maybe the week after that we’ll do the Dub.
By the way, Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves once told this typist that in all the years he played in the NHL, numerous NHLers who had arrived in the NHL via the major junior route told Eaves, who won an NCAA title as a player at Wisconsin, that they were envious – that they wished they were playing in the NHL with a college degree already in their pocket. Eaves added that he never – not once – heard a college player say that they wished they had opted for the major junior route.
Those are words to think about.
Vladimir Nikiforov, ’87 RW, Hauppage, NY
Brian Lashoff, ’90 LD, Albany, NY
Eric Tangradi, ’89 LW, Philadelphia, PA
Matt Smyth, ’89 RW, Orlando, FL
Luke Lynes, ’87 LW, Ellicott City, MD
Aaron Rock, ’87 G, Wheaton, IL
Sean O’Connor, ’87 RW, Trenton, MI
Nick Palmieri, ’89 RW, Clinton, NY
Justin Garay, ’87 G, Monaca, PA
Patrick Moran, ’90 RD, Highland, MI
Joe Underwood, ’90 RD, Canton, MI
Thomas McCollum, ’89 G, Sanborn, NY
Peter Stevens, ’89 LD, Chester, NY
Matt Auffrey, ’86 RW, Evans Mills, NY
Dan Kelly, ’89 LD, Morrisonville, NY
John Murray, ’87 G, Lancaster, PA
David Meckler, ’87 RC, Highland Park, IL
Patrick Kane, ’88 RW, Buffalo, NY
Phillip McRae, ’90 LC, Chesterfield, MO
Kevin Bodker, ’90 RD, Chesterfield, MO
Tony DeHart, ’90 RD, Ballwin, MO
Barry Sanderson, ’90 RC, Dearborn, MI
Joe Grimaldi, ’86 RD, Ronkonkoma, NY
Owen Sound Attack
Colin Hanley, ’87 RW, East Moriches, NY
Bobby Ryan, ’87 RW, Collingswood, NJ
Trevor Lewis, ’87 RC, Murray, UT
David Kolomatis, ’89 RD, Basking Ridge, NJ
Bobby Sanguinetti, ’88 RD, Lumberton, NJ
Neil Conway, ’88 G, Concord, OH
Jack Walchessen, ’90 RW, Ortley Beach, NJ
Zach Bogosian, ’90 RD, Massena, NY
Jared Boll, ’86 RW, Crystal Lake, IL
Dan Collins, ’87 RW, Carthage, NY
Tom Sestito, ’87 LW, Rome, NY
A.J. Jenks, ’90 LW, Wolverine Lake, MI
Ryan McGinnis, ’87 LD, Fenton, MI
Frank Grzeszczak, ’89 RD, Plantation, FL
Jeremy Smith, ’89 G, Brownstown, MI
Kyle Jendra, ’89 G, Bolingbrook, IL
Tyler Haskins, ’86 RC, Madison, OH
Tom Craig, ’89 LC, St. Louis, MO
Jack Combs, ’88 RW, St. Louis, MO
Tom Mannino, ’87 RD, Farmington Hills, MI
Scott Fletcher, ’88 RD, Haslett, MI
Christian Steingraber, ’89 LD, Oregon, OH
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Anthony Perdicaro, ’89 LC, East Rockaway, NY
Nick Tuzzolino, ’86 RD, East Amherst, NY
Michael Swick, ’89 G, Wayside, NJ
Toronto St. Michaels Majors
Steve Spade, ’87 RD, Rochester, NY
Thomas Battani, ’89 RW, Armada, MI
Mike Weber, ’87 LD, Pittsburgh, PA
Crimson Add Grit
6’1, 195 lb. Indiana Ice (USHL) wing Michael Del Mauro has committed to Harvard for next season.
Del Mauro, an ’87 from Watchung, NJ, played as a junior at Deerfield Academy last season, posting a 13-19-32 line in 25 games.
A strong skater who drives hard to the net, Del Mauro is an intense competitor. He’s very physical. In prep play, he played on the edge, often going over it. Some of the things he got away with at Deerfield, he won’t get away with in the USHL -- he’ll have to drop the gloves.
Del Mauro will add grit to Harvard and be a crowd favorite at Bright Arena.
Yandle To Make NHL Debut Tonight
Former Cushing Academy defenseman Keith Yandle has been called up by the Phoenix Coyotes and will be in the lineup for tonight’s game at Detroit.
Yandle, who has been playing for the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate in San Antonio, is taking the roster spot of former Lake of the Woods High School defenseman Keith Ballard, who fractured his hand and could be out five weeks.
If Yandle plays well, he could easily stick for more than five weeks with the big club. Coyotes head coach Wayne Gretzky reportedly felt that Yandle was a #4-5 d-man coming out of training camp, but the squad has several backliners on one-way contracts, and they have to be given a shot to prove themselves worthy (or not, as the case may be.)
Yandle, who finished at Cushing in ’05, spent last season with Moncton (QMJHL) where, in 66 games, he had a 25-59-84 line (with 109 pims). He won the Emile Bouchard Trophy, given annually to the league’s top defenseman. Yandle, a fourth round pick of the Coyotes in 2004, turned 20 last month.
The Coyotes were pasted, 9-2, by the Red Wings. Every Phoenix defenseman except Yandle had a negative +/-. Yandle finished an even 0. No goals, no assists. One shot on goal. 19:57 of ice time.
UNH recruit Mike Borisenok, who was traded to the Junior Bruins by Waterloo last week, chose to stay in the USHL and was picked up by the Green Bay Gamblers.
The Gamblers made space by releasing forward Cole Holmes, a Mequon, Wisc. native.
First ’92 Commits – to Michigan, Natch
6’3” defenseman Jon Merrill, a ninth grader and 2/3/92 birthdate who is currently a freshman at Detroit Catholic Central High School, has committed to the Wolverines for, yes, the fall of 2010.
Also committing to the Wolverines is ’91 forward A.J. Treais, a 10th grader who’ll arrive at Yost in ‘09. Both players play for the Little Caesars’ ’91s.
Both players attracted interest from several schools, notably Miami, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, but didn’t follow up with visits. It was Michigan all the way. Both committed the same day.
The 14-year-old Merrill, who is recuperating from a wrist injury, is a smooth, beautiful skater with offensive skills – an Eric Johnson type.
Treais, a 2/4/91 birthdate is an offensive dynamo. A 5’8”, 150 lb. right shot, he notched 147 points in 67 games with the Caesars ‘91s last season. He moves the puck extremely well. He just finds the seams. Very dangerous in open ice -- quick and smart.
Downing, Malone Make Their Picks
6’2”, 195 lb. Omaha Lancers RW Jack Downing has committed to the University of Vermont for either ’07 or ’08.
Downing, a New Canaan, Conn. native, was a junior at Taft last season, where he posted a 10-12-22 line. He’s a strong skater, with a strong shot, and plays with an edge.
Other schools in the hunt for Downing, a 1/24/89 birthdate, were Miami and Michigan State.
6’1”, 208 lb. Sioux Falls Stampede LW Brad Malone has committed to the University of North Dakota for '07.
Malone, a Miramichi, New Brunswick native, was a junior at Cushing Academy last winter, where he posted a 9-34-43 line. He also played for the Atlantic Team at the World Under-17 Challenge.
Malone made his final pick from between Wisconsin and North Dakota.
A 5/1/89 birthdate, Malone is the cousin of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Ryan Malone. He's the nephew of Greg Malone, who played in the NHL for 12 years.
Malone and Downing are eligible for June’s NHL draft, and both are highly regarded by NHL scouts. Both appear to be good possibilities for the 2nd-4th rounds, with Malone the higher rated of the two.
Shady Side Academy Thanksgiving Classic Schedule
From Nov. 24-26 Shady Side Academy will be hosting their third annual Thanksgiving Tournament. Shady Side is in Fox Chapel, PA, 20 miles north of Pittsburgh. The tournament will be held at the school’s on-campus arena, the Rory McKnight Hockey Center.
Fri. Nov. 24
8:00 am – St. Andrew’s College vs. Stanstead College
10:15 pm – Albany Academy vs. Hoosac School
12:30 pm – Nichols School vs. Shady Side Academy
4:30 pm – Albany Academy vs. St. Andrew’s College
6:45 pm – Stanstead College vs. Nichols School
9:00 pm – Hoosac School vs. Shady Side Academy
Sat. Nov. 25
8:00 am – Nichols School vs. Albany Academy
10:15 am – Hoosac School vs. St. Andrew’s College
12:30 pm – Shady Side Academy vs. Stanstead College
6:45 pm – McKnight Div. 1st Place vs. Gregory Div. 2nd Place
9:00 pm -- Gregory Div. 1st Place vs. McKnight Div. 2nd Place
Sun. Nov. 26
8:45 am – McKnight 3rd Place vs. Gregory 3rd Place
11:00 am – Championship Game
The McKnight Div. consists of Albany Academy, Hoosac, and St. Andrew’s. The Gregory Div. consists of Nichols, Shady Side, and Stanstead College.
The Nichols School won this tournament in 2003. St. Andrew’s won in 2004 and 2005.
Shady Side will also be hosting this year’s Midwest Prep Hockey League Playoff Tournament Feb. 23-25, 2007.
Yale has a commitment for next year from 6’1”, 196 lb. wing Dennis Kearney of the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs (EJHL) .
Kearney, in his second year with the Monarchs, is currently the second-leading scorer in the EJHL with a 7-12-19 line in nine games. (Teammate Paul Thompson, with 21 points, leads the league.)
A native of Norwich, Vt., Kearney, a 1/27/88 birthdate, played for Hanover High before coming to the Monarchs. He’s a smart player who sees the ice well, and makes plays. Dartmouth was also interested.
The Monarchs, who have played only road games so far this season, lost their first game of the season Friday night, getting pasted 11-3 by the Bay State Breakers. The Monarchs lead the league with a 7-1-1 record.
Free Matt Nelson
You no doubt have read of the dustup outside of a convenience store in New Haven that resulted in the arrest of two Eli football players and three hockey players in the early morning hours of Sun. Oct. 1.
All five players, Yale starting quarterback Matthew Polhemus and sophomore Michael McLeod, and hockey players Brad Mills, Alec Richards, and Matt Nelson, were charged with breach of peace in the second degree.
Also busted in the fight was the window of a convenience store, Gourmet Heaven. It was a call from Mohamad Masaud, the night manager, that brought the police to the scene at 2:00 am.
So what happened? The usual dumb stuff -- a typical bar room fight that spilled onto the sidewalk. Basically, Mills, who was punched in the face, and one of the football players were fighting, and Richards was trying to break it up.
The police arrived and started getting things under control, ordering the combatants to sit on the curb – and not move.
At that point, Nelson, slightly tipsy, wandered up and started talking to his fellow hockey players.
The cops, clearly not in a good mood, arrested him, too.
Berkshire Jamboree Schedule
The Berkshire School will be hosting a jamboree on Mon. Nov. 27 at the school's Sheffield, Mass. campus. Four schools – Berkshire, South Kent, Winchendon, and Gunnery – will be taking part. The schedule is as follows:
9:00 am -- Berkshire vs. South Kent
10:45 am -- Winchendon vs. Gunnery
1:00 pm -- South Kent vs. Winchendon
2:45pm -- Berkshire vs. Gunnery
All games will consist of two twenty-five minute halves.
10/6/06St. Paul’s School Jamboree Schedule
Here’s the schedule for this year's pre-season scrimmages at the St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH.
Sun. Nov. 26:
10:00 am – St. Paul’s vs. Canterbury
12:00 pm -- Taft vs. Tabor
3:30 pm -- Taft vs. Canterbury
5:30 pm -- St. Paul’s vs. Tabor
Mon. Nov. 27:
10:00 am -- Tabor vs. Canterbury
12:00 pm -- St. Paul’s vs. Taft
NTDP in USHL?
The National Team Development Program could return to the USHL as a full-fledged league member as early as next season.
The USHL league office has discussed the issue with member teams, and talks are also going on with the NTDP.
“We have had conversations and we are still having conversations,” USHL commissioner Gino Gasparini said. “That’s about where we are right now. Drawing conclusions would be erroneous.”
Asked to describe the nature of the discussions, Gasparini said, “They are continuous, ongoing discussions. Right now, it’s early October. We’ll see where we are in a couple of months.”
There are a number of logistical issues. First off, the Under-18 team would be unable to play in the post-season because of the conflict with the World Under-18s. Of course, like Canada, the U.S. could choose to not play in that tournament.
On top of that, there is the question of balanced vs. unbalanced schedule? In one scenario, the Under-18 Team could play four games vs. USHL East Division opponents, and two vs. USHL West Division opponents. With that scenario, the Under-18s could continue to work in some college games. But playing a reduced USHL schedule in order to work in those college games, which we’ve always felt are not as valuable developmentally as they’re puffed up to be, the schedule slots would have to be filled by another team or teams. Some have suggested the Under-17s – or a combination of the Under-17s and Under-18s – could take up the slack. But that would affect the NAHL. Would the USHL be willing to compromise and let the Under-18s play a reduced USHL schedule, something they did in ’97-98 and then again in ’00-01?
What about the home/road split? Would it be 50-50, or would the Under-18s play the bulk of their games on the road? The Under-18 Team draws terribly in their home rink at Ann Arbor, usually playing in front of a couple hundred spectators -- mostly friends, family, and scouts.
For any of this to happen, it has to happen pretty soon, probably in the next couple of months.
In the ’97-98 season, the Under-18 Team played 24 games in the USHL and went 10-10-4. In ’98-99, they played a full 56-game regular season schedule and went 38-15-3. In ’99-00, they played a 58-game schedule and went 39-16-3. In ’00-01, they began playing colleges in earnest, and reduced their USHL slate to 24 games, going 10-8-6 in those games. In ’01-02, the Under-18s played, by our count, 16 games vs. USHL opponents. The following year, ’02-03, they only played seven games vs. USHL opponents. We don’t have records from those final two years – those were purely exhibition games.
For USA Hockey, getting the Under-18 Team into the USHL again would mean an overwhelming number of the top American players would be playing in one league. In addition, by eliminating the games vs. NAHL opponents, the Under-18 Team players would be playing a more challenging schedule than they currently play.
If done right, it would be a win-win situation.
Upcoming Junior Tournaments in New England
There are two junior tournaments in New England this weekend:
-- The Atlantic Junior Hockey League will be holding their annual Columbus Day Showcase Sat. Oct. 7-Mon. Oct. 9 at the Cyclones Arena in Hudson, NH.
All 12 AJHL teams will be on hand, and each team will play three games over the three days.
On Saturday, the games start at 11 am. On Sunday and Monday they start at 8 am.
-- On the exact same days, and about 20 miles away, the Empire Junior B League will be holding a showcase at the Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett, NH, with 17 teams. For a schedule, go to www.empirehockey.com and click on schedule in the left-hand column.
Next weekend, Fri. Oct. 13-Sun. Oct. 15 all 14 EJHL Teams will be in action at the annual New Hampshire Junior Monarchs Tournament in Hooksett, NH. All games are league games.
Here’s the Schedule:
Fri. Oct. 13:
1:30 pm – Junior Bruins vs. NE Huskies
3:30 pm – Green Mountain vs. Harborwolves
4:00 pm – Syracuse vs. Bay State
5:30 pm – Foxboro vs. Hitmen
6:00 pm – Bridgewater vs. Applecore
7:30 pm – Falcons vs. Warriors
Sat. Oct. 14:
11:00 am – Syracuse vs. Green Mountain
Noon – Foxboro vs. Bridgewater
1:00 pm – Monarchs vs. Huskies
3:00 pm – Falcons vs. Hitmen
4:40 pm – Applecore vs. Bay State
5:00 pm – Junior Bruins vs. Harborwolves
6:40 pm – Warriors vs. CD Selects
Sun. Oct. 15:
8:45 am – Junior Bruins vs. Applecore
9:50 am -- Bridgewater vs. Hitmen
10:45 am – Syracuse vs. CD Selects
11:50 am – Green Mountain vs. Falcons
12:45 pm – Monarchs vs. Foxboro
1:50 pm – Valley vs. Harborwolves
UNH Recruit Borisenok Traded
After the Buc Bowl, USHL teams trim their rosters down to the 23 players they will carry into this weekend’s season openers.
One victim was UNH recruit Michael Borisenok, a 5’7”, 155 lb. left-shot center who cleared USHL waivers and was traded to the Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL).
Borisenok played last season as a 17-year-old out of Albany Academy and probably arrived in the USHL prematurely. In 47 games, he had a 2-4-6 line. With the Junior Bruins, Borisenok, who has skill, can play on the top two lines and gain the confidence he needs.
Hayes #1 Overall Pick in USHL Futures Draft
The USHL Futures Draft is underway and U.S Under-18 Team forward Jimmy Hayes, a Boston College recruit, was made the #1 overall pick, by the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets.
Hayes, a late ‘89 who played at Nobles last season, is in the 11th grade and will age out of the NTDP after this season.
The #2 pick is Cushing Academy sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky, a BU recruit.
You can follow the draft live on a site set up by the USHL. The link:
The draft is for 16 and 17 year olds. It will run 12 rounds, with each team allowed to select a total of no more than 12 players (the actual number depends on how many players a team is carrying on its affiliate list entering the draft.)
Each USHL team carries a 23-man active roster. A team is allowed to keep 12 players on their futures list. ‘89s selected become the property of the drafting team for two years, while ‘90s can be held for three years.
The draft order is determined by a lottery and has nothing to do with last season’s final standings.
J.Lee a Pioneer
6’2”, 185 lb. Moorhead High School RD John Lee has committed to Denver for the fall of ’08.
A 1/16/89 birthdate, Lee is the younger brother of University of North Dakota sophomore defenseman Brian Lee.
Right now, Lee is playing with the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL), and will join the Spuds in November. He’ll return to the Black Hawks after the high school season and spend the entire ‘07-08 season in Waterloo.
Lee played very well for Waterloo in the Buc Bowl last weekend. He doesn’t have the offensive flash of his older brother, but he showed a lot of poise, competitiveness, and smarts. He has a good shot, too.
Buc Bowl Thoughts
First off, the college recruiters and NHL scouts who descended on Des Moines over the weekend were pretty happy to see all twelve USHL teams in action. Specifically, they were glad to finally see some games played at high tempos, in other words something akin to Div. I play. Some Canadian leagues are down this season – the Sask League, according to one veteran recruiter, was “barren.”
The Buc Bowl didn’t have any kids who created major buzzes, the way the Bucs’ Trevor Lewis and Kyle Okposo did last September.
With more and more players coming into the season with college deals already in their back pocket, the schools, most of whom had two guys here, were able to concentrate on an ever-smaller number of players.
This observer, one guy, tried to watch everybody – and do it in 1½ days which, of course, is impossible, though fun. So basically what we can offer you is an impressionistic snapshot, though one that is sure dramatically in the weeks and months ahead. Players new to the league that looked invisible in the Buc Bowl, may well blossom after Christmas. Others who come out of the chute hard might fade. We’ll see.
Buc Bowl games, particularly on the first day, are track meets, with players, pumped to be back on the ice and playing for real, going so fast that they forget the puck is there to make plays with. By the second day, kids are slowing it down a bit, and passes are beginning to connect. Meanwhile, coaches are fiddling with their teams – these are exhibition games, after all -- and nobody ever remembers who wins he Buc Bowl.
Some random thoughts, team-by-team:
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders:
5’9” Gopher recruit Kevin Wehrs, a LD and a returnee from last year’s team, is the guy who’ll lead this team, and the guy drawing your eye when he’s on the ice. Wehrs, who played at Wayzata HS a couple of seasons ago, is an ’88 with excellent puckhandling skills and great mobility – fun to watch… The two ‘88s going to Miami – 5’8” LC Andy Miele and 6’0” RW Tommy Wingels -- both played well. While Miele is a key returnee, Wingels is making the jump from TI Midgets AAA. He looks like he’ll have no problems at all… We didn’t get a good look at 6’2” LC Rob Bordson, an ‘88 from Duluth Marshall, as he sat the game we watched closest, but he did finish with three goals in two games… Bowling Green recruit Jacob Cepis, a LW, all 5’7” and 150 lbs. of him, is a key returnee from last year. As expected, he looked good… Dartmouth recruit, RD Evan Stephens, an ’87, played well. Nothing flashy – he won’t catch your eye like Wehrs – but he’s a poised, solid D for the Hanoverians… 6’0” LW Robin Bergman, an ’88 from Hammarby IF and Stockholm, Sweden, is strong on his skates, and showed some flashes, particularly when he drove to the net and stuffed in a highlight goal past Ian Keserich late in Friday’s win over Tri-City... LC Aaron Bogosian, an ‘87 out of Cushing, skated well and made a few plays… Big David Grun, a 6’1” RW out of White Bear Lake HS who’s committed to Minnesota-Duluth, drove to the net and looked strong... ‘88 LW Paul Zannette, a Niagara recruit out of Ontario, did a nice job moving the puck – could be a bit of a sleeper in the league… 5’10” RW Mike Seidel of the Chicago Chill midgets was noticeable – made a few nice passes…. 6’1” Kent Patterson, the highly-touted ’89 goalie out of the Blake School, kicked out 33 of 36 in his Friday start.
Both goalies looked very good: CC recruit (and Dallas fourth-round draft pick) Richard Bachman, an ’87 out of Cushing, and Robbie Madore, an ’88 from the Pittsburgh Hornets… On defense, 6’3”, 220 lb. left-shot Dan Lawson, an ’88 in his second year with the Steel, stood out… The forwards appeared pretty interchangeable. No one really jumped out in a big way, but they were very effective as a group. Don’t know if they can keep it up without a big go-to guy, but we’ll see.
Des Moines Buccaneers:
First off, Michigan recruit Aaron Palushaj, an ’89 right-shot wing, is just an outstanding prospect, strong on his skates, and a powerful, decisive player. Should be a fairly high draft pick come June… Des Moines other big star up front, Notre Dame recruit Ben Ryan, a late ’88, isn’t recovered from his summer injury yet… Those two will have to pick up where Okposo and Lewis left off last season… In net, Bryan Mountain, an ’88 out of Milton Academy, played very well… Good support by the D. Nice to have 6’3” RD Jeff Petry, a second-round NHL draft pick (Edmonton) and Michigan State recruit back for another season, as well as 5’11” Shane Sims, a fifth round pick (NY Islanders). Neither exactly dominated, but they looked pretty damn good paired up together out there.
Green Bay Gamblers:
They played with a lot of jump, a good up-tempo game that made them look more like a traditional Harvard team than any group Mark Mazzoleni had while in Cambridge… A solid group of USHL veterans up front – Sergio Somma, Stevie Silva, Justin Cseter, Shea Walters, Nick Tabisz, etc. will keep the Gamblers in contention… Of the newcomers up front, we noticed 5’11” RW Anthony Hayes, an ’89 out of Victory Honda and 6’0” RW Ryan Santana, a late ’88 from California who played for TI last season… On the blue line, 5’7” LD Kurt Davis, an uncommitted ’86, battled and played hard on both sides of the puck… The goaltending was a little uncertain.
6’3” LW Brendt Gwidt, drafted in the sixth round (Washington) out of Lakeland HS in Wisconsin, looked totally flummoxed by the pace… Quite the opposite with late ’87 RW Michael Del Mauro, out of Deerfield Academy and the Garden State — he was physical, involved, and just gets at it. Look for him at an Ivy school, like Harvard… 5’8” UNO recruit John Kemp isn’t the greatest skater, but he’s still pretty slick in tight quarters and is clearly as good as any playmaker in the league. You don’t lose that once you have it, and he has it… Kemp and St. Cloud recruit Garrett Roe will be the big returning point producers for the Ice… This observer was back East by Saturday night so missed Nobles goalie John Muse, who took a short break from private school life to see how he’d fare in the USHL. Did pretty well, kicking out 48 of 52 in a 4-1 loss to the Lancers on Saturday night. Look for Muse out here in ’07-08, likely with a commitment in pocket.
Didn’t show much offensive pop in the games we saw. Right wing Mike Kramer and center Jared Brown are their top two returning scorers, but neither are big timers. 6’3” returnee Brandon Bollig, an ’87, had a couple of goals over the weekend, so he might be providing some punch this season. Of the newcomers, ’88 center Carter Camper, a Miami recruit ex of Cleveland (NAHL) just needs to get his feet wet, and he should be fine. On the blue line, 5’8” Chad Langlais, an ’86 D, stands out. He’ll skate with the puck and run the power play. Defenseman Ryan Lowery, a CC recruit playing for TI last year, will be a big help. 6’0” Bryan Hogan, a late ’88 committed to Michigan, will have to have another excellent year in net.
Ohio Junior Blue Jackets:
They only have one USHL veteran, so it could be a long season, but the team was quite competitive here, even beating the Lancers, 3-2, on Friday. Their loss to Tri-City was a one-goal loss.
6’4”, 175 lb. LD Adam Comrie, just a ’90 played last season for the Montgomery Blue Devils Under-16s in Maryland, has a huge upside. He made mistakes, but he wasn’t shy about pushing the envelope and skating with the puck. Watching his game come along will be interesting.
Lost a shootout to Cedar Rapids, and were edged by the expansion Ohio Junior Blue Jackets, and won a game over Indiana. Nonetheless, this is a good team on paper, and will be good when the games count for real. A tough loss came when RW Travis Novak, a newcomer from Canmore (AJHL) committed to St. Cloud State, injured his knee on the first day. He’ll be out a while.
5’9”, 180 lb. LW Jarmo Jolila, an ’86 who’s a newcomer from Finland, showed offensive flair and toughness. He should be an excellent addition to Mike Hastings’ team.
’88 Dennis Urban, a 5’10” RD from the Mahoning Valley Phantoms (NAHL) has a nice shot, played well on the power play, and looked like a nice addition. 6’1” LD Will O’Neill, an ’88 out of Tabor Academy, a seventh round draft pick (Atlanta) and UNH recruit, was a little blitzed by the frenetic tempo of the first game and made a costly turnover in his own end. He’ll be fine, though.
The big story for Omaha could be 6’2”, 205 lb. Zach MacVoy, who’s signed on with the Lancers after a year at the University of Michigan. He looked happy and relieved to be somewhere where he won’t have to worry about his role on the team, and it showed. He played with jam and with skill, just dominating physically along the wall. He could wind up in Hockey East, maybe at Maine or Vermont. Right now, though, he should be the go-to guy and leader for Omaha, which has plenty of skill to spread around.
Sioux City Musketeers:
We thought 5’10” ’88 RD Alex Stuart, a rookie who played last year at Shattuck, was excellent. Great mobility. Great poise. And he’s uncommitted. Also uncommitted is 6’0 RD Mike Beck, an older (’86) USHL veteran whose conditioning hasn’t been the greatest in the past, but who looked focused and determined here. He’s an offensive defenseman, but he played physically, too.
6’2”, 205 lb. Max Pacioretty, a LW who was playing at Taft last season and is committed to Michigan, was galloping around the ice surface and just plastering kids. It looked like he was not only trying to drive kids through the end boards, but out of the building and onto I-35 south to Kansas City. Not shy at all. Pacioretty, from white collar New Canaan, Conn. was carrying a lunchpail, and it was filled with nails. And yes, he also had a couple of goals.
UNH recruit Phil DeSimone, an excellent skater, looked very good, like he wants to be the go-to guy on the team this season. He could be good for 70 points. He’s more a playmaker than a finisher, but did notch a goal here… 5’11” LC Travis Oleksuk, who played midget hockey in Thunder Bay, Ont. last winter, showed excellent playmaking ability. He’s going to Minn-Duluth… Another committed kid who stood out was sneaky 5’8” RW Dustin Gazley, who’s going to Michigan State… Also committed is 6’5”, 202 lb. LD Kyle Medvec, an ’88 who played for Apple Valley HS last winter and was drafted in the fourth round (Minnesota) in June. Medvec is a bit heavy footed – he definitely needs this year to adjust to a higher tempo before arriving at Vermont.
Sioux Falls Stampede:
5’11” Corey Tropp, a strong power forward who’s committed to Michigan State, was outstanding... 5’10” ’87 LD Sam Zabcowicz, who played for Texarcana (NAHL) last year and is committed to St. Cloud State, is a mobile, puck-moving D who looked right at home… ’87 LD – and Harvard recruit -- Chris Huxley didn’t play in Thursday’s game, so we didn’t get a really good luck at him. We don’t need to, though – he’ll be more than ready after a year in the USHL… Of the uncommitted players, the one watched most closely was 6’1” ’89 LW Brad Malone, ex of Cushing. He seemed to be adjusting, at times rushing shots and passes and other times waiting too long and still other times getting it right. It’s hard to say what his high end is. If he learns how to physically dominate, it could be quite high.
Former Maine goalie Matt Lundin struggled.
5’11” LW Calle Ridderwall, who played midgets last winter for the Chicago Chill and has committed to Notre Dame, was excellent. He’s an excellent skater, always moving, physically involved, tenacious, and a constant threat. He should really blossom over the course of the season…Ditto for 6’2”, 218 lb. RW Nick Oslund, a St. Cloud recruit and 7th round NHL draft pick (Detroit) who played at Burnsville HS last winter. He’s big and can just muscle his way to the net… 5’10” center Jesse Martin, a Denver recruit who played for Spruce Grove (AJHL) last winter, is another who will really help Tri-City. Martin, also a seventh round pick (Atlanta) snapped off a nice goal Friday, sliding in from the blue line and wristing the puck high into the net.
Tri-City games were particularly well attended because there is a slew of uncommitted – and good – players on the team. A lot to pick from. 6’0” defenseman Cameron Cooper, ex of Holy Angels, an active, involved, mobile, puck-moving D with good grades, should get offers quickly…. RW David Brownschidle, an ’89 from New Jersey in his second year in the USHL, will have a bigger role on the team this year. He’s a hard-working two-way winger and a good student – look for him to go Ivy.
6’3”, 199 lb. Matt Ambroz, also an ’87, and ex of New Prague HS, had a good weekend, as did 5’8” LC Mario Lamoureux, an ’88 who worked hard, was very involved, and has a quick stick. Both will be expected to put up points this season. Both are also good students. 6’0” LW Mike Pilot, an ’87, also worked hard, kept his feet moving, and had a couple of goals.
6’2” Goaltender Ian Keserich, ex of Ohio State and transfer eligible for next fall, was watched closely, and looked very good. Someone will grab him. It’s just a matter of when and how much.
Waterloo Black Hawks:
5’11”, 175 lb. RC Josh Turnbull, a Hayward, Wisconsin native and Badger recruit who played his high school hockey for Duluth East last season, was pretty impressive. Skated well, was involved physically, went to the net, and imposed his will on the game. Didn’t score, though he will in time.
Of the uncommitted players, we liked a couple of the ‘89s: 6’2”, 185 lb. RD John Lee, who played at Moorhead HS last winter (he’s the younger brother of Brian Lee) and 5’11” RW Craig Smith, who is also out of high school hockey, having played last winter for LaFollete HS in Wisconsin. It seems there are more good high school players coming out of Wisconsin now than any state other than Minnesota, which, of course, is in its own universe and not likely to be passed by any other state – at least in our life spans.
5’7” RW Matt Arhontas, an ’87 from Illinois, is uncommitted and worth watching. He’s a returnee and, along with 5’7” James Marcou (UMass), will be expected to put up numbers this season.
Waterloo’s ’86 goaltender Ryan Rondeau, who played for Canmore (AJHL) last season, was excellent in Thursday’s game vs. Sioux City.
Toy to Ohio State
Omaha Lancers (USHL) 6’1”, 200 lb. RD Corey Toy has committed to Ohio State for next fall.
Toy, beginning his third year with the Lancers, is a defensive defenseman who, last season, in 50 games, posted a 4-11-15 line with a +6 and 91 pims. Michigan and UNH were also interested in the Fairfax, VA native, but it was the Buckeyes who stepped up with the full scholarship.
An 8/9/88 birthdate, Toy played for the Hotchkiss School before heading west.