Back Where He Started From
Joe Cucci, who committed to Merrimack College back when Chris Serino was head coach, but got wooed away by Northeastern in the period between Serino’s departure and current head coach Mark Dennehy’s arrival, is finally headed to Merrimack a year and a half later.
Cucci, an Illinois native who played for the Valley Junior Warriors (EJHL) and started his college career this fall at Northeastern, has left that school and will enroll immediately at Merrimack. He will appeal to the NCAA in order to play at Merrimack next fall (he never got into a game at Northeastern), but if that doesn’t go his way, he will join the Warriors at this time next year.
Cucci, a 5’11”, 160 lb. forward from Illinois, is an ’86 birthdate. At the EJHL level, he was a proven scorer, and clearly Merrimack hopes he can do the same in Hockey East.
This Joe Cucci, by the way, is not to be confused with the Joe Cucci, who played D at Avon Old Farms and is now a junior at Bentley (Atlantic Hockey). They are two different people. If you don't believe us, ask their mothers.
Local Boy Makes GoodSioux City Musketeers (USHL) 5’11”, 190 lb. forward Kevin Lohry has committed to Princeton for next fall.
Lohry, a 9/3/87 birthdate who is in his second year with the Musketeers, is an interesting story in that he is actually from Sioux City, having grown up there and played high school hockey in the city.
He’s a great penalty killer, has offensive ability, and is a real competitor. He’s played a real part in first-place Sioux City’s reemergence.
In 22 games, Lohry has a 5-14-19 line with a plus 17.
The University of Vermont Catamounts have received a commitment from big Chicago Steel (USHL) defenseman Dan Lawson.
Lawson, 6’3” and 230 lbs., is in his second year from the Steel. A defensive defensmean with some offensive potential, Lawson is a local boy, too, having played his midget hockey with the Chicago Chill.
A 6/28/88 birthdate, has a 5-4-9 line in 25 games. In addition to Vermont, Lawson, an excellent student, had a number of Ivys interested in him.
Marquette Coach Mendelson Fired
Marquette, an expansion team, has an 11-19-2 record.
Marquette Coach Mendelson FiredMarquette Rangers (NAHL) head coach Leigh Mendelson has been fired. We have no other information right now.
US Under-17s Host Four Nations Cup
The US NTDP Under-17 team will be hosting their second international tournament this year at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube, opening Four Nations Cup play tonight vs. Germany and following that up with games against Sweden on Dec 30th and Finland on Jan 1st. All games will have a 7:00 pm start. John Hynes' Under-17 team has struggled this season to put all facets of its game together on a consistent basis, going 5-17-2 in NAHL competition. However, in international play the team went 2-2 in November’s Four Nations Cup, dropping a tough 5-4 OT decision to a strong Russian team in the finals.
Mahoning Valley's Eric Ringel has been added to the US U17 roster for the tournament. Ringel, who hails from Hinckley, Ohio, is a 6'0", 175 lb. defenseman who, in 32 games, has a 7-6-13 line. This past summer at the Select 16 Festival, Ringel played for Team Black, and was solid at both ends of the ice.
Germany Upsets US at World JuniorsLeksand, Sweden – Germany, on a goal by an uncovered Mercel Muller at 1:51 of OT, upset the U.S., 2-1, in opening day action at the World Junior Championship here.
The win was the first for the Germans over the U.S. in 26 years, since the 1980 World Junior Championship. For the Ron Rolston-coached U.S. squad, coming off two straight subpar showings at the WJC, it’s an inauspicious start to the event.
The U.S. failed to capitalize on their opportunities today, and the power play was particularly feckless, scoring one goal in ten tries, a third-period goal by Peter Mueller.
The Germans did a very good job forcing the U.S. to resort to dump-ins, and, though the U.S. outshot the Germans 39-16, the majority of the shots were from the perimeter, allowing German goaltender Sebastian Stefaniszin good looks.
University of Minnesota freshman Kyle Okposo, who was passed over for the junior team last year, had a strong game for the U.S.
“Sure, it’s disappointing,” said Rolston, “but it’s a long tournament. We didn’t capitalize on our chances and their goaltender and team played a solid game. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow night against Canada.”
It's actually not a long tournament at all. It's quite short. Tomorrow, the U.S. plays Canada (1:30 EST); on Saturday they face Slovakia; and then they finish preliminary round play with host Sweden on Sunday.
Imes Fired; Poapst HiredThe Chicago Steel (USHL) have fired head coach Chris Imes and replaced him with former Colgate and NHL defenseman Steve Poapst.
Poapst, 38, finished his playing career last spring. This season he began his coaching career with the Chicago Mission ’93 Bantam Minor team.
So this will be a bit of a jump.
The Steel are 4-17-1. Jason Koehler remains as GM, and Jon Waibel will stay on as an assistant.
Poapst will make his debut Friday night when the Steel host the Chicago Blue Jackets (2-18-5), currently tied for the worst record in the USHL.
12/27/06 Canada Too Much for U.S. at World Juniors
Canada Too Much for U.S. at World Juniors
Mora, Sweden – Canada, behind a pair of goals from Jonathan Toews, one on the power play and one on a penalty shot, defeated the U.S. 6-3 here today.
The U.S., winless in two attempts, now has a couple days off before winding up the preliminary round this weekend with games vs. the Czech Republic and host Sweden.
Once again, the U.S. struggled on the power play, going 0-for-7.
If you are looking for positives, the U.S. outshot their opponents for the second straight day. Also, the U.S. did a good job controlling play down low, scoring three even-strength goals against arguably the best defensive core in the tournament. The U.S. team kept coming back but mistakes, bad penalties and bad decisions cost them this game. The penalty killing was unimpressive, too. On top of all that, it’s just very difficult to win this tournament heavily playing just seven forwards and four defensemen.
“I was proud of our effort overall,” said U.S. head coach Ron Rolston “We battled back and kept coming until the end. I told our guys afterward to stay positive and stay together. This team has not yet reached its potential and we’ll work hard in practice the next two days to work on some areas that need to be addressed.”
Happy HolidaysWe want to take this moment to thank our subscribers and wish them all the best during this holiday season. Needless to say, our subscribers are our greatest asset. Without them, the U.S. Hockey Report could not exist.
Please drive safely this time of year, and take the time to enjoy your family and friends.
Next week, we’ll be back into the swing full time, with a full smorgasbord of articles, box scores, polls, etc.
Calabrese to Notre Dame
Notre Dame continues to land the top young players in the U.S. The latest verbal commitment Jeff Jackson has received comes from Team Illinois Midget AAA puck moving defenseman Sam Calabrese, a 3/18/91 birthdate from Park Ridge, Ill.
Calabrese, who’s 5’11”, 160 lbs., is an excellent skater who sees the ice well and can adroitly handle the puck.
He’ll arrive at South Bend in the fall of ’09.
Brunswick Tops First Div. II Poll
Brunswick Tops First Div. II Poll
The first USHR Div. II Prep Poll of the season is out, and sitting on top of the woodpile is the Brunswick School.
For the full poll go to:
USHR Div. II Prep Poll - Dec. 19
Undefeated Hotchkiss Tops USHR Div. I PollThe Hotchkiss School, which defeated Salisbury for the second time in two weeks to win the Flood-Marr tournament yesterday, tops this week’s US Hockey Report Div. I Prep Poll.
Note: For purposes of seeding for the NEPSIHA playoffs, tournament games decided after the five minute mark of overtime go into the books as a tie. Hence, Hotchkiss has a 5-0-2 record and Salisbury is at 5-2-1. We’ll go back into the poll and change that, but right now we just wanted to send out an FYI.
We’ll be doing our first Div. II prep poll tomorrow night.
USHR Div. I Prep Poll – Dec. 18
Hotchkiss, Taft PrevailThe big prep extravaganza weekend came to a close this afternoon with Hotchkiss edging Salisbury, 4-3, in 2 OTs, to take the 42nd Annual Flood-Marr Tournament.
Down in Jersey, the 59th Annual Lawrenceville Tournament was won by Taft, who edged Choate, 4-3.
For more on these games – and many, many others, both boys and girls – please check the U.S. Hockey Report’s prep pages.
Kessel Diagnosed With CancerCBS4, Boston’s CBS outlet, reported on the late news tonight that Boston Bruins 19-year-old forward Phil Kessel was due to be operated on today at Mass General Hospital for testicular cancer.
Testicular cancer, which strikes 8,000 American men – usually young men – a year, is one of the most curable forms of cancer. Cyclist Lance Armstrong and Red Sox 3B Mike Lowell are two of the more notable athletes to beat the disease. In hockey, RPI senior forward Kirk MacDonald sat out all last season as he recovered from the disease. MacDonald is back in the Engineers lineup this season.
Kessel, from Madison, Wisc., left the University of Minnesota after his freshman season when he was selected by the Bruins in the first round (#5 overall) of last summer’s NHL draft.
Muse Done With Musing
Noble & Greenough senior goaltender John Muse has made his college pick and it’s the Boston College Eagles.
Muse, a 5’10½”, 165 lb. native of Falmouth, Mass., has gotten off to a terrific start this season, having allowed just one goal in 3½ games. By our calculations that’s a 0.28 gaa. His save percentage is .991.
On Nov. 29, Muse stopped 23 of 24 shots at Pomfret. On Dec. 2, Belmont Hill fired 46 shots at him and came up empty. On Dec. 6, he shut out Tabor on 34 saves. Last Friday, he played a half-gave vs. St. Mark’s, kicking out all nine shots he faced.
Muse was offered a scholarship by UMass last summer. In addition to Boston College, Harvard, and Princeton were also recruiting him.
Muse, an 8/1/88 birthdate, is eligible for next June’s NHL draft.
When exactly Muse arrives at BC is up to Cory Schneider, who is currently a junior. If Scheider returns to the Heights for his senior year, Muse will play in the USHL -- Indiana owns his rights -- for a season. If Schneider, drafted in the first round by Vancouver in 2004, turns pro, then Muse would be at BC next fall.
Earl to Retire After Season; Successor NamedTom Earl, currently in his twentieth season as head coach of the Westminster School, will retire from his coaching position at the end of the season.
Earl, 59, who says he has “new challenges he wants to pursue,” will remain as the school’s business manager, but is handing over the coaching reins to Tim Joncas, his assistant for the past three seasons. Joncas, who is also the assistant director of admissions at Westminster, played for Earl, graduating in 2000. In his senior year at Westminster, Joncas was a captain not only in hockey, but in soccer and lacrosse, too. At Trinity College, Joncas was co-captain of the hockey team and won the coaches award for outstanding leadership.
Earl, an Ontario native, played college hockey at Colgate where he was an All-American his senior year. Professionally, he made his name with the New England Whalers of the WHA, and won a league championship as a rookie. Earl, a right wing, was one of the core members of the squad from 1972-77, which also included Tom Webster, Larry Pleau, Tim Sheehy, Ted Green, Tommy Williams, Paul Hurley, Rick Ley, Brad Selwood, and was coached by former BU head coach Jack Kelley. After playing a couple of seasons in Boston, the team moved to the Hartford Civic Center in 1975, and later became the Hartford Whalers/Carolina Hurricanes.
Earl earned his MBA while with the Whalers and when his playing career ended in 1977, he was hired on as assistant hockey coach and business manager at Westminster. Earl became head coach at Westminster in 1986, taking over from Peter Briggs.
As head coach, Earl was able to coach both of his sons. The youngest, David, will graduate this year.
Westminster, which has the smallest male enrollment in the Founders League, has set a high standard for consistency. While Westminster has not exactly been loaded with stars over the year, they have always managed to be successful, mainly through being a well-coached, fundamentally sound squad. They rarely beat themselves, and practically always gave other teams fits.
Westminster headmaster Graham Cole said, “We readily attribute the lion’s share of credit for our success to Tom Earl, a man blessed with enormous stores of knowledge of the game, leadership ability, integrity, and sportsmanship. To me, he represents all the best of the game of hockey and Westminster athletics.”
Westminster athletic director Dennis Daly added, “Tom exemplifies excellence as a mentor, as an educator, and as a coach. His hockey team always represent the very best of Westminster’s ‘grit and grace.’”
”I am hopefully,” Daly added, “that Tom will assist the athletic department in some capacity in the future.”
Montgomery Jumps to OHL6’1”, 185 lb. Ohio State freshman defenseman Kevin Montgomery has ended his college career after 17 games, leaving the Buckeyes to sign with the London Knights (OHL).
The Knights, currently in first place in their division with a 22-6-1 record, drafted Montgomery in the fifth round of the 2004 OHL draft.
Last summer, London was pursuing Montgomery hard, and for a while it looked as if Montgomery was going to sign with them then. London, of course, has Montgomery’s NTDP teammate, Pat Kane, on their roster – and Kane is leading the league in scoring.
Montgomery is an offensive defenseman but solid in his own end, too. An ’88 who was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fourth round last summer, Montgomery had a 1-4-5 line with Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are 5-9-4.
First USHR Div. I Prep Poll a Free-for-allWe certainly didn’t expect the first USHR Div. I prep poll of the 2006-07 season to be missing Salisbury, Avon Old Farms, and Lawrence Academy… but it is, and we suspect all those teams are in a pretty bad mood right now. Might not be the best time to be facing them. So who’s #1? You could probably make a pretty good argument for any one of our top 4-5 teams to be in that spot, and you wouldn’t get too much of an argument here. Between the small statistical sample and the early-season upsets we present this poll with a strong feeling that things could look a lot different next week.
Speaking of next week, we’ll have our first Div. II poll of the season on Dec. 19, a week from tomorrow.
USHR Div. I Prep Poll: Dec. 11
Back for a Second Tour of Duty
6’1” Air Force defenseman Chris Hepp, who played for the Omaha Lancers the past two seasons (and was the captain last season), has left the Air Force and is back with the Lancers.
Hepp, a freshman from Burnsville, Minn. and a 6/21/87 birthdate, will do a 4-2-4 and resurface at another NCAA school.
In 18 games for Air Force this season, Hepp has an 0-5-5 line.
Ouimet the Warrior
A late ’86 birthdate, Ouimet has a knack for the net and move the puck well to open guys. He’s a well-rounded, experienced, cerebral type with good speed.
Ouimet the Warrior5’11” forward Francois Ouimet, who plays for Vaudreuil in the Quebec AAA junior league, has committed to Merrimack College for next season. Ouimet, a right-shot center who can also play wing, has a 34-36-70 line in 29 games to date.
With Teammates Like This…
5’11” Lincoln Stars (USHL) RD Ryan Lowery, a Colorado College recruit for fall ’08, was badly injured in a fight at practice last week.
Reportedly, Lowery’s teammate 6’1” forward Kyle Folmer was able to throw Lowery to the ice hard enough to pop out the defenseman’s shoulder. After getting Lowery’s jersey over his head, Folmer pounded away, breaking his teammate's jaw.
This happened at a captain’s practice. No coaches were on the ice.
Lowery’s jaw is wired shut. That should heal in due time. Of greater concern is Lowery’s shoulder, which will get looked at again right after Christmas. The ’88, who played last season with Team Illinois and was Lincoln’s #1 selection in the 2005 Futures Draft, could miss some serious time – possibly the rest of the season.
Folmer hasn’t missed a game.
U.S. Junior Team Named
U.S. Junior Team Named
The U.S. National Junior Team 22-man roster has been named. Eight members of the team are returnees from last year’s squad – Taylor Chorney, Jeff Frazee, Nate Gerbe, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Brian Lee, Peter Mueller, and Jack Skille. Fifteen members of the squad played for head coach Ron Rolston at the National Team Development Program. (The seven who didn’t are Jeff Zatkoff, Chorney, Brian Lee, Sean Zimmerman, Justin Abdelkader, Trevor Lewis, and Kyle Okposo.)
Goaltenders (2): Jeff Frazee (Minnesota); Jeff Zatkoff (Miami).
Defensemen (7): Taylor Chorney (North Dakota); Erik Johnson (Minnesota); Jack Johnson (Michigan); Kyle Lawson (Notre Dame); Brian Lee (North Dakota); Jamie McBain (Wisconsin); Sean Zimmerman (Spokane – WHL).
Forwards (13): Justin Abdelkader (Michigan State); Mike Carman (Minnesota); Jim Fraser (Harvard); Blake Geoffrion (Wisconsin); Nate Gerbe (Boston College); Patrick Kane (London – OHL); Trevor Lewis (Owen Sound – OHL); Peter Mueller (Everett – WHL); Kyle Okposo (Minnesota); Jack Skille (Wisconsin); Ryan Stoa (Minnesota); Bill Sweatt (Colorado College); James vanRiemsdyk (U.S. Under-18 Team).
Head Coach: Ron Rolston. Assistant Coaches: Nate Leaman and Phil Housley.
We did OK on our picks – two-for-two on the goalies, and six out of seven on the blueline. Of the forwards, we missed on three -- Bobby Ryan, Nick Foligno and Chad Rau. We’re a little surprised returning players Mark Mitera and Ryan were left off but applaud the decision in theory. When was the last time the US left off three first round NHL draft picks (Mitera, Ryan, and Foligno)?
Sean Zimmerman is the type of player the US has lacked on the blueline the past few years. He'll bring a bigger stay-at-home D presence to the US squad, similar to what Corey Potter and Mark Stuart offered in the past. While we criticized the fact that Zimmerman was not on the original invite list to Lake Placid in August, he did become a late add to the camp after both Johnson's backed out. Some observers feel the team needs two of these type of players, but one is better than zero.
Blake Geoffrion was a big, but pleasant surprise for the physical fourth liner role. Again, not the prototypical guy for the US, but I'm glad to see his selection. Geoffrion, who has a 1-3-4 line in 15 games) is one of three Badgers on the team, not bad for a team with a 5-9-2 record.
Foligno who is having a very good year and is the captain for Sudbury, still wasn't as big of a surprise as Chad Rau was. We figured Rau was a lock based on his solid offensive play (5-10-15 +3) and outstanding face off ability. Rau won a gold medal with Rolston at the World Under-18s and at the Four Nations in Sweden. It may have come down to Jimmy Fraser or Rau.
2007 IIHF World Junior Championship Schedule
Dec. 26-Jan. 5
Leksand and Mora, Sweden
Wed. Dec. 20 -- US vs. Czech Republic (ex.) 3:30 p.m. local/9:30 a.m. EST
Fri. Dec. 22 -- US vs. Switzerland (ex.) 7:00 p.m. local/1:00 p.m. EST
Tues. Dec. 26 -- US vs. Germany 3:00 p.m. local/9:00 a.m. EST
Wed. Dec. 27 -- US vs. Canada 7:30 p.m. local/1:30 p.m. EST
Sat. Dec. 30 -- US vs. Slovakia 5:00 p.m. local/11:00 a.m. EST
Sun. Dec. 31 -- US vs. Sweden, 5:00 p.m. local/11:00 a.m. EST
Tues. Jan. 2 -- Quarterfinals, TBD
Wed. Jan. 3 -- Semifinals, TBD
Fri. Jan. 5 -- Gold and Bronze medal games, TBD
12/5/06 Massie Chooses Lowell
Massie will receive a full scholarship.
Massie Chooses LowellCushing Academy junior goalie T.J. Massie has committed to UMass-Lowell for the fall of ’08.
A 5’11, 170 lb. native of Lexington, Mass., Massie is a 5/3/90 birthdate. He has a 3-0-0 record and a .898 save percentage in prep action this fall.
U.S. Junior Team to Be Announced Tonight
Tonight, USA Hockey will announce the US roster for the upcoming World Junior Championship to be held in Mora and Leksand, Sweden, Dec 26-Jan 5.
Coaching the US entry this year will be current US Under-18 National Team Development Program (NTDP) head coach Ron Rolston, whose team won a gold medal two years ago at the World Under-18 Championships.
A lot of pressure will be on the US team this year after disappointing back-to-back fourth place finishes following the first US gold medal in WJC play in 2004. The USA Hockey brass, which has continually touted the NTDP as a “model” development program for international play, might start to receive some heat from the USA Hockey membership and US hockey media with another disappointing finish at the WJC. USA Hockey commits an enormous amount of resources and money to the NTDP and it has paid dividends for USA Hockey in gold medals in the World Under-18 Championships but, other than in 2004, has failed to come up big on the vastly more important WJC stage.
This year’s core group of players will be NTDP “graduates” along with a mix of players who have a lot of international experience wearing the red, white and blue. One player Rolston will most assuredly be without is Phil Kessel, who has made the transition to the NHL and is playing for the Boston Bruins, though his minutes, which vary greatly, are directly proportional to his attention to his defensive responsibilities. At any rate, we expect few, if any, real surprises in the team selection, with only a few spots such as the 7th defensive position and the final 2-3 forward spots to be in question. So here, then, is our guess at the roster, which is not necessarily the same thing as who we think should be on the squad.
Jeff Zatkoff (Miami) and Jeff Frazee (Minnesota). In addition to the defensive lapses that have plagued the US squad in key games the past two years, inconsistent goaltending has been the other bugaboo. Going into this year’s WJC, goaltending is the biggest area of concern for Rolston and his staff.
Zatkoff (2.26 GAA and .919 Save Pct) has been solid all year, playing the majority of games between the pipes for the #4-ranked Red Hawks and posting a 13-5 record. He should be a lock for the team and the #1 netminder going into preparation for the tournament.
Frazee will likely earn the other spot, but we see some late red flags with his probable selection. This season Frazee has split time with Kellen Briggs for the #1 ranked Gophers and has posted a 1.98 GAA and .896 Save Pct. However, while playing behind one of the best defensive core groups in the nation, Frazee’s save percentage is somewhat of a concern. He’s been inconsistent in his last few starts, including his worst performance of the season Nov 24th against Michigan State. In that game, Frazee let in four goals on only 17 shots. He was bypassed by Don Lucia this past weekend when Briggs was in net both nights against Mankato.
On the outside looking in is Alex Stalock who has performed well in net for the struggling Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. In 15 games, Stalock has 4-8-3 record with a 2.68 GAA and .904 save pct. Stalock has international experience with USA Hockey but probably will be the standby goalie if either Frazee or Zatkoff come up lame and are unable to attend the WJC. Yale sophomore Alec Richards (2.78 GAA and .896 save pct) has been very good in net for the resurgent Bulldogs until this weekend when he lost to Clarkson and was pulled after two periods in a loss to St. Lawrence Saturday night. So he’s a real long shot.
The two ‘88s who attended the US Junior Camp in Lake Placid, Brett Bennett and Joe Palmer, don’t appear to have much of a chance of heading to Sweden. Bennett has yet to appear in a regular season game for the Terriers, and Palmer has struggled in his freshman campaign for the disappointing Ohio State Buckeyes. However, Palmer is coming off his best performance of the season Saturday, when he kicked out 39 of 40 shots in a win over Michigan State. Overall, though, he’s been very inconsistent, posting a 3.01 GAA and .884 Save Pct.
Since USA Hockey doesn’t have a scouting group to speak of, it’s doubtful anyone from USA Hockey has paid much attention to Dan Rosen this season. Rosen, a freshman at Brown has been stellar in net since taking over the #1 spot and leads the nation in both save percentage with a .958 and goals against average with a paltry 1.37. In his seven games in net, Rosen has also given up only one even-strength goal in 394 minutes of play. Rosen’s only losses this season were 2-1 to Clarkson, and 1-0 to 17th ranked Dartmouth.
We don’t see either ‘89 goalie from the current US Under-18 team or any emerging players from the US junior ranks this year making a late splash. Also, aside from John Murray, an ‘87 from Lancaster, PA playing for Kitchener Rangers (OHL) there isn’t much in the major junior ranks either. Murray has been very steady as the #1 goalie for Kitchener. In 22 games, Murray has posted a 2.34 GAA and .921 save percentage. However, the question is: “Has anyone from USA Hockey been up there to see him play?
Rosen’s and Murray’s likely omission from consideration speaks to the difference between how Canada and the US select their teams. Canada holds a summer camp (as does the US) and then relies on its scouts to help select players to attend their final pre- tournament December camp prior to final selections being named. The US team doesn’t have a “scouting” staff per se, and does not even attempt to operate a week long pre tournament December selection camp since most of the US players are coming from the college ranks and will be in the midst of exam finals and scheduled team games until just before the Christmas break. Then again, the few Canadians attending US colleges seem to make it to the Canadian camp as required.
We see returning players Erik Johnson (Minnesota), Jack Johnson (Michigan) and Mark Mitera (Michigan), Brian Lee and Taylor Chorney (North Dakota) plus Notre Dame freshman Kyle Lawson and probably Wisconsin freshman Jamie McBain or North Dakota’s Zach Jones as the 7th and final defenseman.
Lawson has been a key player on the upstart Fighting Irish this season, had a good junior camp, and his close ties with Rolston and many of the other players along with his past international experience, makes him a sure bet to make the team. McBain has also played extremely well for a freshman in the WCHA, seeing key time in all situations. His defensive zone coverage has improved under Mike Eaves and his familiarity playing on a big sheet, along with his international experience, is a huge plus.
Michigan State’s Mike Ratchuk has also had a very good start but probably misses out this year to either Jones or McBain, who are stronger defensively. The other player worth mentioning is BU freshman Brian Strait, who had a good WJC camp and has been steady for the Terriers.
One deciding late factor for Rolston could be how well Jones looked against Rolston’s Under-18 team at North Dakota this past weekend. We’re sure endorsements by Jeff Jackson and Mike Eaves on their respective defenseman (Lawson and McBain) will also carry a lot of weight in the decision process. Of note, while their selections are not in question, Jack Johnson and Mark Mitera struggled in their only game this year on an Olympic sheet, both going -4 in an 8-2 loss to the Gophers. However, the Gophers can make any defenseman look bad. Also, reportedly, Brian Lee has struggled a bit defensively with the Sioux, who have underachieved as a team this season. As in recent years, improved defensive play is an absolute must if the US team is to challenge for a gold medal this time around.
While we don’t see any junior players getting the nod in goal or on defense, forward is another matter and several major junior players are likely to be on the US squad this year including Peter Mueller (Everett -- WHL), Nick Foligno (Sudbury -- OHL), Bobby Ryan (Owen Sound -- OHL) and, especially since Kessel won’t be going, Pat Kane (London -- OHL). Returning players from college likely include Jack Skille (Wisconsin) and Nate Gerbe (Boston College), along with Ryan Stoa and Kyle Okposo (Minnesota), Justin Abdelkader (Michigan St), Chad Rau (Colorado College), and Jimmy Fraser (Harvard). We’d be very surprised if any of the above 11 – or at least 10 of them -- aren’t named to the squad. After that, we see Mike Carman (Minnesota) and Trevor Lewis (Owen Sound OHL) as the favorites followed by Rhett Rakhshani (Denver), Billy Sweatt (Colorado College) and Benn Ferriero (Boston College). Carman has three short-handed goals already this year and could play a key role killing penalties and fitting in well on a fourth line. Lewis’ scoring ability will be hard to overlook, plus it’s hard to bypass a first round NHL draft pick (17th overall) who has very solid numbers in the OHL with a 15-24-39 scoring line in 29 games. Rakhshani (3-10-13 in 13 games) and Sweatt (3-7-10 in 11 games) have very similar numbers and it will be hard to overlook either based on their early play as freshmen playing key roles on their college teams. Ferriero has put up some good numbers in his sophomore campaign (7-6-13 line) and he’s a favorite of Rolston’s. Also, let’s not forget Under-18 team forward James vanRiemsdyk, who is playing excellently. He would appear to have a good chance. Ryan Hayes, also on the current Under-18 team, may have a chance, too, though a very slim one.
Rolston bears watching. He absolutely hates being criticized or second-guessed, and, on the world stage, that almost comes with the territory. If he can keep it together, it’s possible the players can as well. We doubt that the players will be as dissension-ridden as last year’s group, but it’s a pressure-packed situation so one never knows until things start going wrong.
BU Players Attacked; Schaeffer Seriously Injured
According to an article in today’s Daily Free Press, the Boston University student newspaper, senior defenseman Kevin Schaeffer was severely injured in an assault outside of an Allston, Mass. apartment building early Sunday morning.
Schaeffer, who was treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has a broken orbital bone and other small fractures and will be out of action for an undetermined amount of time.
Defenseman Sean Sullivan and goaltender John Curry suffered concussions and black eyes in the attack. A member of the BU women’s lacrosse team who was part of the group was also hit by a baseball bat and suffered a broken jaw.
Police were called to the crime scene, and Schaeffer and Sullivan were taken by ambulance to Brigham and Women's.
According to reports there was an argument during a party at the house.
The attack, according to coach Jack Parker, “was retaliation for a bit of an altercation that took place earlier – like 15 minutes earlier – between one of our guys and two other guys that we don’t know. They were walking home and it arose on the street. Those guys who were involved went home and then the guys went into a house down the street and came back with bats and hammers and whatever else – billy clubs.”
The Free Press reported that two men jumped Sullivan and then hit Schaeffer in the face with a baseball bat. Schaeffer’s eye is swollen shut now.
”We don’t know what the eye damage is yet,” Parker said.
LA Jr. Kings Win Beantown Classic
Here are the results from today’s playoff games at the Beantown Fall Classic.
Sun. Dec. 3, 2006:
@ The Rinks at Exeter
7:30 am – 15 vs. 14: Pittsburgh Hornets 4, Dartmouth Subways 4
7:40 am – 13 vs. 16: Belle Tire 7, Pictou Weeks 2
9:10 am -- SEMIFINAL -- Group A 1st vs. Group B 1st -- Team Illinois 3, Northwood 1
9:20 am -- SEMIFINAL -- Group C 1st vs. Group D 1st -- LA Junior Kings 3, Victory Honda 2
10:10 am – 9 vs. 10: Shattuck-St. Mary's 3, LA Alliance 1
10:20 am – 11 vs. 12: Boston Junior Bruins (Empire) 4, Chicago Mission 1
11:50 am – 5 vs. 6: Chicago Young Americans 1, Texas Attack 1
12:10 pm – 7 vs. 8: Dallas Stars 1, Chicago Chill 0
1:40 pm – Bronze Medal Game: Northwood School vs. Victory Honda
3:00 pm – Gold Medal Game: LA Jr. Kings 3, Team Illinois 1
@ UNH Whittemore Center
10:00 am – Cushing Academy 5, Tilton 2
12/2/06 Updated 10:20 pm
Saturday at the Beantown; Plus Playoff Matchups
Here are the results of the games played today at the Beantown Fall Classic, plus playoff matchups.
Sat. Dec. 2, 2006:
@ The Rinks at Exeter
Chicago Young Americans 5, Dartmouth Subways 2
LA Jr. Kings 3, Belle Tire 2
Chicago Chill 1, Northwood 0
Shattuck-St. Mary’s 2, Boston Junior Bruins (Empire) 0
Team Illinois 4, Texas Attack 3
LA Allliance 3, Pictou Weeks 1
Boston Harbor Wolves (EJHL) 4, Green Mountain Glades (EJHL) 3 (OT)
Dallas Stars 6, Chicago Mission 3
LA Jr. Kings 7, Dartmouth Subways 1
Victory Honda 7, Pittsburgh Hornets 2
Chicago Young Americans 3, Belle Tire 2
@ UNH Whittemore Center
Dallas Stars 8, Pittsburgh Hornets 6
Chicago Mission 4, Victory Honda 1
Sun. Dec. 3, 2006:
@ The Rinks at Exeter
7:30 am – 15 vs. 14: Pittsburgh Hornets vs. Dartmouth Subways
7:40 am – 13 vs. 16: Belle Tire vs. Pictou Weeks
9:10 am -- SEMIFINAL -- Group A 1st vs. Group B 1st -- Team Illinois vs. Northwood
9:20 am -- SEMIFINAL -- Group C 1st vs. Group D 1st -- LA Junior Kings vs. Victory Honda
10:10 am – 9 vs. 10: Shattuck-St. Mary's vs. LA Alliance
10:20 am – 11 vs. 12: Chicago Mission vs. Boston Junior Bruins (Empire)
11:50 am – 5 vs. 6: Chicago Young Americans vs. Texas Attack
12:10 pm – 7 vs. 8: Dallas Stars vs. Chicago Chill
1:40 pm – Bronze Medal Game
3:00 pm – Gold Medal Game
@ UNH Whittemore Center
10:00 am – Cushing Academy vs. Tilton
Milan to Dutchmen
Union College has a commitment from Penticton (BCHL) goaltender Corey Milan.
Milan, an ’86 from Great Barrington, Mass. and the Northwood School, is in his third year in the BCHL, and has a 2.60 gaa (tops in the league) and a .911 save percentage (third in the league) for first-pace Vees.
Milan, who’s 5’10 and 155 lbs., will be taking the roster spot vacated when oft-injured Union freshman Shaun Williams, formerly with the Chicago Steel (USHL), retired two weeks ago.
Friday Results from the Beantown Fall Classic
Here are today’s results from the Beantown Fall Classic, currently underway at The Rinks at Exeter, as well as the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center.
Fri. Dec. 1, 2006:
@ The Rinks at Exeter
Northwood 5, Shattuck-St. Mary’s 2
Boston Junior Bruins (Empire) 4, Chicago Chill 3
Victory Honda 4, Dallas Stars 1
Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) 2, NH Monarchs (EJHL) 1 -- Josh Stone GWG, Wes Vesprini 43 saves
Pittsburgh Hornets 4, Chicago Mission 1
Team Illinois 6, Pictou Weeks 5
Texas Attack 3, LA Alliance 2
@ UNH Whittemore Center
Texas Attack 7, Pictou Weeks 3
LA Alliance 3, Team Illinois 3
Belle Tire 4, Dartmouth Subways 4
LA Jr. Kings 3, Chicago Young Americans 3
Northwood 4, Boston Junior Bruins (Empire) 2
Shattuck-St. Mary’s 1, Chicago Chill 1
Midget A: Pictou Weeks (Nova Scotia), Anaheim Junior Ducks (LA Alliance), Team Illinois, Texas Attack.
Midget B: Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Northwood School, Chicago Chill, Boston Jr. Bruins (Empire).
Midget C: Belle Tire, LA Jr. Kings, Chicago Young Americans, Dartmouth Subways (Nova Scotia).
Midget D: Dallas Stars, Chicago Mission, Pittsburgh Hornets, Victory Honda.
The Portland Jr. Pirates vs. Walpole Express Game will not be played Sunday at the Beantown Fall Classic. It has been moved to Iorio Arena in Walpole. Starting time is Sunday at 12:40 pm.