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Top Quebec Prospects Opting for Preps?

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s central scouting came out today with its final rankings for the league’s June draft.

Three of the top eight ranked players will be heading to New England prep schools this fall – barring any late changes of mind.

-- 5’10½”, 157 lb. RC Louis Leblanc of the Lac St-Louis Lions (Quebec Midget AAA) is ranked #2 overall and is scheduled to enroll at Salisbury as an 11th grader – though he could accelerate -- in the fall. Vermont has offered Leblanc for ’08 or ’09, and reportedly Clarkson has too. BU is very bullish on Leblanc, and BC is in the picture, too. And since he’s a strong student, Harvard is said to be a possibility. A 1/26/91 birthdate, Leblanc is a dynamic C/LW with speed, competitiveness, hands, and an edge to his game.

In 40 games, Leblanc had a 31-18-49 line  with 72 pims. He’s told the teams drafting high in the Q that he’s NCAA bound.

-- 6’2”, 190 lb. LC Steven Anthony, who played at Holderness before going back to his native Halifax and playing for the Dartmouth Subways (Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League) this past season, is returning to the prep ranks, this time to Lawrence Academy. Anthony, a 3/21/91 birthdate, visited Lawrence in mid-April and made an unofficial to Boston University the next day. In addition to BU, the other schools onto Anthony are BC (for ’09), UNH, Vermont, and Maine. Right now, the Boston schools look to be the frontrunners. Anthony will be enrolling at Lawrence as a junior, but, like Leblanc, has taken enough grade 11 classes in Canada so that with some summer school he could accelerate.

Anthony is ranked #3 overall, though reports are that the Saint John (New Brunswick) Sea Dogs have said they will take him #1 overall. They are pulling out all the stops, pressuring the family, but they are not one of the richer teams in the league so Anthony can’t be enticed with the mega-money Quebec was able to toss at Angelo Esposito a couple of years ago.

In 35 games, Anthony had a 33-31-64 line to help lead the Subways to the league title. He and Steven Whitney could make one dynamic duo for Lawrence Academy in the upcoming season.

Anthony is also an outstanding pitcher, and played in the Canada Games. He was all-league in baseball at Holderness.

-- 5’10½”, 186 lb. RD Danny Biega of the Lac St-Louis Lions (Quebec Midget AAA) is ranked #8 overall and, along with Leblanc, is scheduled to enroll at Salisbury as an 11th grader. Biega, the brother of Harvard defenseman Alex Biega and Harvard recruit Michael Biega, is a 9/26/91 birthdate, so look for him to stay at Salisbury for the full two years. Some observers feel he could be the best of the three brothers. He’s a strong student, so could wind up at Harvard as well, meaning there’s a good chance all three brothers could play there together (for one year). Biega, in 39 games with Lac St-Louis, had a 8-18-26 line.


-- He’s not going to a New England prep but 5’8½”, 165 lb. John Esposito, the brother of Angelo, is ranked in the third round. Esposito, a late ’91 and a left shot center, played in Saskatchewan for the Notre Dame Hounds this season. Currently a ninth grader, he’ll be in the 10th next year, but may accelerate and graduate in ’09. He’s a smart player, with really good hands. He, too, is a strong student, and reportedly has his eyes on Harvard.

-- 6’2”, 191 lb. Jessyko Bernard, a sophomore at Cushing this past season, is ranked high in the second round. Bernard, a 4/11/91 birthdate, is a Moncton, NB native.

-- 6’2” goaltender Jake Williams, a sophomore at Northfield-Mt. Hermon this season, is listed in the 9th through 12th round grouping. A ’90, Williams is from Montreal. 



Stars to be Realigned

The Foxboro Stars (EJHL) have changed their name to the South Shore Kings, in an effort to integrate the youth program, a Mass. powerhouse, with the junior team.

Jack Sweeney, who has been coach/GM for the past seven seasons, will remain in his current position.

The South Shore Kings play out of the  Foxboro Sports Center, as does the junior team. Sports Center management owns both.

“They want to create an identity from top to bottom,” Sweeney said. “It’s the same direction a lot of other programs have taken.”

New uniforms will be introduced by the EJHL summer showcase in August.

Of the South Shore Kings youth organization, Sweeney said, “It’s a fantastic feeder system.”

Jerry Buckley, former BC forward, current player agent, and Eastern Hockey Federation president, reports that the South Shore Kings ’95, ’97, and ‘99 teams all won their respective league titles. Neil Shea, another former Boston College forward and current Colorado Avalanche scout, is either a head or assistant coach on all three teams and has sons on each. The word has been out for at least a couple of years on the oldest, 11-year-old Brandon. People who keep up on the pee-wee world report that he is one of the top handful of kids at his age level in the country. 


Minnesota: Players ‘R’ Us

In Central Scouting’s Final Rankings of North American players, released yesterday, there were 29 players listed from the state of Minnesota. That’s more than three times as many as the next two states on the list – Massachusetts and Michigan, each of which have nine. 

We have theories about why Minnesota is so successful, and we believe it starts with the state’s eschewing AAA hockey – and its attendant pressures -- in favor of community-based hockey. In a town setting, players are less likely to be pigeon-holed and more likely to gain confidence playing in all situations and, if they are good enough, eventually becoming top prospects. Minnesota players certainly seem less rushed than players elsewhere. Every year, a number of Minnesota kids get drafted, often quite highly, who a couple of years earlier were virtual unknowns. Somehow, they arrive. And it’s hard to argue with the numbers. 

An NHL scout in Minnesota we talked to claims that the Fall Elite League, instituted six years ago, has been a huge help. “Before,” he said, “you’d notice the late bloomers emerge in the second half of the season. Now you see them emerge earlier.”

“The proximity of the USHL and the chance for the better Minnesota kids to play there before and after (their high school season) has helped, too.”

“Last year,” he added, “there were a lot of very high end kids from Minnesota. This year, there are not a lot of high end kids anywhere – not just in Minnesota. Basically, it’s a bad draft with a lot of ‘good’ players.” 

Here, then, are the U.S. players on Central’s list, arranged by state. It’s true that some players listed under one state may have spent their formative years elsewhere, but we believe this number to be statistically insignificant.  

Minnesota (29): #11 Ryan McDonagh, #22 Mike Hoeffel, #23 Patrick White, #38 James O’Brien, #56 Nico Sacchetti, #65 Jake Hansen, #86 Drew LeBlanc, #92 John Lee, #95 Joe Stejskal, #109 Nick Larson, #116 Ben Blood, #118 Jordy Christian, #130 Taylor Mattson, #132 Jeffrey Foss, #136 Joe Beaudette, #140 Tyler Kieffer, #144 Tyler Johnson, #149 Andrew Conboy, #152 Baylor Dieter, #176 Brandon Martell, #179 Brennan Vargas, #186 Brandon Bahnemann, #189 Cade Fairchild, #197 Matt Reber, #203 Brian Schack, #209 Justin Braun, #7-G Mark Guggenberger, #10-G Reid Ellingson, #12-G Kent Patterson.  

Massachusetts (9): #63 Matt Marshall, #87 Andrew Glass, #100 Paul Carey, #113 Cameron Lanoue, #138 Josh Franklin, #143 Barry Almeida, #165 Joey Lavin, #206 T.J. Syner, #22-G John Muse.

Michigan (9): #37 Ben Ryan, #81 Ian Cole, #101 Aaron Palushaj, #114 Corey Tropp, #134 Tristin Llewellyn, #167 Matt Rust, #1-G Jeremy Smith, #9-G Brad Phillips, #18-G Brian Hogan.

New York (7): #2 Patrick Kane, #21 Nick Petrecki, #34 Kevin Shattenkirk, #66 Nick Palmieri, #173 Ryan Hayes, #184 Justin Vaive, #210 Ryan McKiernan.

Connecticut (6): #12 Tommy Cross, #16 Max Pacioretty, #70 Drew MacKenzie, #89 Nick Bonino, #119 Jack Downing, #133 Ben Smith.

Illinois (5): #27 Billy Sweatt, #32 Ted Ruth, #158 Billy Maday, #161 Tommy Wingels,  #11-G Scott Darling.

Pennsylvania (4): #25 Colby Cohen, #93 Eric Tangradi, #105 C.J. Severyn, #19-G John Murray.

(3): #97 Travis Erstad, #99 Blake Kessel, #207 Josh Turnbull.

Ohio (3): #122 John Albert, #200 Carter Camper, #15-G Josh Unice.

New Jersey (2): #3 James vanRiemsdyk, #29 T.J. Brennan.
California (1): #17 Jonathon Blum.

Colorado (1): #36 Drayson Bowman.

New Hampshire (1): #78 Paul Thompson

Oregon (1): #199 Brad McCabe.

Missouri (1): #208 Patrick Maroon.



Mutch Resigns Under Haze of Allegations

Boston College women’s hockey coach Tom Mutch resigned his position yesterday amidst allegations of sexual misconduct between him and a freshman forward on the team. 

BC released a statement from athletic director Gene DeFilippo that read, “An allegation of inappropriate conduct has been raised involving Boston College women’s hockey coach Tom Mutch. The university takes any such matters very seriously. As a result, the Athletics Department began an investigation of the alleged incident as soon as it was brought to our attention. Coach Mutch subsequently submitted his resignation, and his resignation was accepted.”

Mutch, 39, played at Northeastern in the late ‘80s and, after a minor pro career, returned there as an assistant on the staff of Ben Smith. When Smith was hired by USA Hockey as  head coach of the women’s national program, Mutch went with him and served as an assistant on the gold-medal winning women’s team at the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan.

Mutch is married to the former Laurie Baker, a player on that team. They have a baby daughter.

Afterward, Mutch returned to the men’s game for five years, as an assistant with the Omaha Lancers (’98-00), Nebraska-Omaha (’00-02), and Northeastern (’02-03). In 2003, the Canton native was hired as head coach of the BC women’s program, and brought the  program from the dumps to, just last month, the Women’s Frozen Four.

Over Mutch’s four years, the program took steps forward every year, going from 6-22-3 to 10-20-4 to 20-11-4 to – this past season -- 24-10-2 and the program’s first-ever NCAA appearance. On March 16, the Eagles lost to Minnesota-Duluth 4-3 in double overtime  at the Frozen Four semis in Lake Placid, NY.

For more details we direct you to today’s Boston Herald story. The Herald gave the story the full tabloid treatment – page one, pictures of coach and player, and much more – quite possibly more than you want to know. The Globe ran it on page one of the sports section, but did not go into details or even name the player, though they could have, as she is over 18. All major network TV stations in Boston are giving this story extensive coverage.  



NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings Released

NHL Central Scouting has released its final rankings and they can be found here:

North American Skaters

North American Goaltenders

European Skaters

European Goaltenders

We haven’t added up all the numbers, but we can tell you that two of the top three players ranked are U.S. players – Pat Kane and James vanRiemsdyk -- and 12 players in the first round.

In addition, the top ranked goaltender – Jeremy Smith (Plymouth Whalers – OHL) – is an American.

The first round of the draft, from Columbus' Nationwide Arena, will be held on the evening of Friday June 22 at 7:00 pm to accomodate network TV (Versus, TSN). Subsequent rounds (two through seven) will get underway at 10:00 am on Sat. June 23 (no network TV)   

The Chicago Blackhawks won the draft lottery earlier this month and hold the #1 pick.



Like Father, Like Son

Taft 6’2”, 185 lb. junior forward Kevin Nugent has committed to Notre Dame for the fall of ’08 or ’09.

A 3/1/89 birthdate from New Canaan, Conn., Nugent was Taft’s third-leading scorer this season with a 7-15-22 line in 23 games.

Taft coach Dan Murphy is high on Nugent’s hockey sense, saying, “In the 11 years I have been coaching prep hockey, Kevin is one of the smartest players I have worked with to date. He is extremely effective in all situations on the ice.”

Nugent’s father, Kevin, a 6’5” wing, was a 129-point scorer in his four years at Notre Dame (’74-78), good for 24th all-time with the Fighting Irish.



Fitzgerald Nixes Merrimack

Seventeen-year NHL veteran Tom Fitzgerald was offered the Merrimack assistant’s job, but decided against it. 

Other than that, things are quiet on the Merrimack job front – or lips are sealed, anyway. We’ve heard a couple of other names, though: current Holy Cross assistant Albie O’Connell and current Babson assistant Jason Smith. We believe there may be a couple more.

As for Fitzgerald, he hasn’t been idle since his retirement a year ago. A Billerica, Mass.  native and first-round draft pick who played his college hockey at Providence, Fitzgerald finished his career with the Bruins in 2006 and made a name for himself on two fronts right off the bat. He worked as an analyst for Bruins telecasts on NESN and, though just a rookie on the job, looked like he’d been doing if for quite a while -- he was clear and concise in his explanations. In addition, Fitzgerald worked as a volunteer assistant at UMass-Lowell on the staff of Blaise MacDonald, also a Billerica native – the two families go way back. From all accounts, his work at UMass-Lowell, well received by the players and the rest of the coaching staff, gave Fitzgerald, a natural leader, instant credibility in the coaching fraternity.

Fitzgerald, though, has young kids and hitting the skyways and highways as a full-time assistant after a lengthy NHL career is just not something you see many guys doing, particularly guys who played through the ‘90s and into the 21st century – the era of escalating salaries. There is always an exception to every rule, though, and Northeastern has Shawn McEachern.



Alabama-Huntsville Names Finalists

The University of Alabama-Huntsville (CHA) has named the five finalists for the head coaching job vacated by Doug Ross, who is retiring.

The candidates are:

Tom Carroll, current head coach of New England College and former Notre Dame assistant.

Doc DelCastillo, University of Nebraska-Omaha assistant.

Tim Christian, Lake Superior State assistant.

Danton Cole, Bowling Green assistant.

Lance West, Alabama-Huntsville assistant

Ross is retiring after a long career at the school, beginning when he took over the club program in 1982 and led it to a couple of national championships. That, in turn, led to hockey being given varsity status by the school. At various times, the Chargers have been in Div. I and Div. II, but since the 1998-99 season have been Div. I.

Alabama-Huntsville didn’t have a very good regular season record this year, finishing 13-20-3 and coming in last in the CHA. However, they got hot at the right time, and won the league championship and an automatic NCAA berth. In the Midwest regionals they took #1-ranked Notre Dame to two overtimes before bowing, 3-2.


U.S. Edged by Russia; Settles for Silver

Alexey Cherepanov, whose last-second goal in the semis sent Russia to today’s gold medal game, came up with another big goal today, breaking a 4-4 tie at 11:52 of the third period to lead Russia past the U.S., 6-5, in the gold medal game of the 2007 IIHF Under-18 World Championship in Tampere, Finland.

After Cherepanov’s game-winner, Russia added another as Egor Averin beat U.S. goaltender Josh Unice 5-hole to go up 6-4 at the 17:45 mark.

Unice was pulled with 40 seconds on the clock and, with six seconds remaining, Colin Wilson scored to pull the U.S. within one. Too little, too late, though.

The U.S. had the early lead in this one, going up 2-0 on goals by C.J. Severyn and Vinny Saponari, the latter shorthanded. After Saponari’s goal, at 6:13, Russian goalie Alexander Pechurskiy – who’d only faced three shots -- was pulled and replaced by Vadim Zhelobnyuk.

The goaltending on both sides was subpar in the first, as a total of five goals were scored on 14 shots – seven for each team.

Russia came back from the 2-0 deficit to tie it with goals at 7:44 and 11:33 of the first. The U.S. went ahead 3-2 on a Colin Wilson goal at 18:27, and that’s how the first period ended.

In the second, Russia regained the lead with a pair of goals in the first eight minutes to make it 4-3. The second goal came on a strange sequence of events, as the U.S. thought they had scored at one end, but hadn’t. Meanwhile, the Russians carried the play back up ice -- and scored. The play was reviewed and upheld, as it was ruled that the U.S. did not score – and Russia did. The U.S. would get the next goal, though, tying it up at 4-4 when James vanRiemsdyk beat Zhelobnyuk at the 10:37 mark.

It would stay a 4-4 game for over twenty minutes, but the U.S. would get no closer. Finally, Cherepanov, Russia’s top scorer here and a sure-fire first round NHL draft pick in June, put Russia ahead for good.

The U.S. outshot Russia in the game, 36-24. The shots were tied at 7-7 after the first. In the second, the U.S. outshot Russia, 13-9, and in the third the U.S. held a 16-8 edge in shots.

Unice stopped 18 of 24 shots in the U.S. net. Zhelobnyuk did a good job for Russia, coming in in relief and stopped 30 of 33 in 52 minutes plus playing time.

U.S. scorers: Colin Wilson (2g,1a); James vanRiemsdyk (1g,2a); Jordan Schroeder (2a), C.J. Severyn (1g), Vinny Saponari (1g), Matt Rust (1a), Brennan Vargas (1a), and Cade Fairchild (1a).


In the bronze medal game, Sweden hammered Canada, 8-3.

It was close for a while, and it looked like the game might be going to the third period tied at 2-2 but Sweden’s Mikael Backlund, who had a hat trick in the game, beat Canadian goaltender Trevor Cann with just one second left in the second period.

In the third, Sweden poured it on, scoring five goals.

For the game, Sweden outshot Canada, 47-25.

Directorate Award Winners: 
Best Goaltender: Josh Unice (U.S.)
Best Defenseman: Kevin Shattenkirk (U.S.)
Best Forward: James vanRiemsdyk (U.S.)

Media All-Star Team:
Goaltender: Josh Unice (U.S).
Defensemen: Viktor Hedman (Sweden); Kevin Shattenkirk (U.S.)
Forwards: Alexey Cherapanov (Russia); Steven Stamkos (Canada); James vanRiemsdyk (U.S.)

U.S. Results/Schedule
April 12 -- Russia 5, U.S. 3
April 13 – U.S. 9, Germany 1
April 15 – Canada 3, U.S. 2 (shootout)
April 17 – U.S. 8, Latvia 0
April 19 – Quarterfinals: U.S. 7, Slovakia 2
April 20 – Semifinals: U.S.4, Canada 3 (shootout)
April 22 – Gold Medal Game: Russia 6, U.S. 5

US lines:
Jordan Schroeder -Colin Wilson-James vanRiemsdyk
Ryan Hayes – John Albert-Justin Vaive
Jimmy O’Brien-Patrick White- Vinny Saponari
Brennan Vargas - Matt Rust - Jimmy Hayes
C.J. Severyn

Defense pairings:
Kevin Shattenkirk-Tommy Cross
Teddy Ruth-Ryan McDonagh
Cade Fairchild-Ian Cole
A.J. Sturges

Final Standings:
1. Russia
2. U.S.
3. Sweden
4. Canada
5. Slovakia
6. Switzerland
7. Finland
8. Germany
9. Czech Republic*
10. Latvia*

* The Czech Republic and Latvia have been relegated to the 2008 Under-18 Division I  



Speedy Engineer

RPI has a commitment – for ’08 -- from 5’10”, 180 lb. LW Christian Morissette of  St. Andrew’s College.

A 12/30/88 birthdate from the Montreal suburb of Beaconsfield, Quebec, Morissette was the leading scorer at St. Andrew’s, a prep school in Toronto’s northern suburbs. In 50 games, Morissette had a 39-46-85 line.

RPI has been on him for a while, but interest really picked after he helped lead St. Andrew’s College to the championship of the Midwest Prep Hockey League Championship last month.

Morissette is an excellent skater, with great lateral ability to go with his speed, and high-end offensive skills.



Two For Hockey East

We have a couple more commitments for this fall. They are

-- LW/LC Danny Vranek of Eden Prairie High School has committed to UNH. Vranek, who is 5’6”, 160 lbs. and a 1/18/89 birthdate, had a 29-23-52 line in 24 games this season.

Vranek, who has excellent speed and good 1-on-1 skills, stood out at the recent Great 68. He’s a puck hound-type who appeared ticketed to the USHL – Sioux Falls holds his rights – before UNH jumped in.

A co-captain at Eden Prairie, Vranek is actually a Florida kid, having left his Tampa Bay area home to live with relatives in Minnesota beginning in his sophomore season. He started out his hockey career playing roller hockey before moving to the ice.

-- LD Doug Kublin of NY Apple Core (EJHL) has committed to UMass. Kublin, who is 5’11”, 175 lbs. and a 5/15/89 birthdate, is from upstate New York and played in the Syracuse Stars organization before heading to Apple Core this season.

He’s a simple, steady defensive defenseman who doesn’t make many mistakes. He’s a good passer who will jump up into the play every now and then.



vanRiemsdyk Lifts US into Gold Medal Game

A James VanRiemsdyk shootout goal lifted the U.S. over Canada, 4-3, in a semifinal matchup at the World Under-18 Championship in Tampere, Finland today. 

For the U.S., this was payback, as Canada had pinned a shootout loss on them in Sunday’s preliminary round game. However, today, Canada twice held leads they couldn’t hold. The second time Canada gave up the lead, just 1:36 into the third period, a vanRiemsdyk power play goal tied up the game at 3-3, thus making overtime – and the shootout – possible.

In Sunday’s gold medal game (11:00 am EST), the U.S. will be playing Russia, who made it into the final when their big gun, Alexey Cherepanov, scored a power play goal with just one second remaining in regulation to give his team a 5-4 win over Sweden.

As for the U.S.-Canada game, the U.S. scored first and led 1-0 after one period on an even-strength goal by Vinny Saponari from Kevin Shattenkirk and Jimmy O’Brien at the 19:45 mark.

An Ian Cole interference penalty with four seconds left in the first carried over to the second and Canada took advantage, as Zac Boychuk scored just 52 seconds in.

Canada went ahead 2-1 when Boychuk struck again at the 4:35 mark.

The U.S. tied it up at 2-2 when Shattenkirk scored a powerplay goal at 9:55, with assists going to Jordan Schroeder and vanRiemsdyk.

Less than two minutes later, at 11:14, Canada regained the lead, going up 3-2 on a goal off the stick of Wisconsin recruit Kyle Turris. Angelo Esposito picked up an assist on the play.

Early in the third period – just 44 seconds in – Canada’s Steve Stamkos took a hooking penalty and, on the ensuing power play, the U.S. cashed in, with vanReimsdyk scoring the game-tying goal, and assists going to Cade Fairchild and Schroeder.

The shootout, a three-man affair, came after a ten-minute overtime. Turris led off for Canada, but U.S. goaltender Josh Unice forced him to shoot wide. Ryan Hayes then led off for the U.S., but shot wide. Steve Stamkos was up second for Canada, but Unice came up big, sprawling to make the save. vanRiemsdyk went second for the U.S. and beat Canadian goaltender Trevor Cann five-hole. On Canada's final attemp, Unice stayed right with Boychuk and made the save that propelled the U.S. into Sunday's gold medal game

For the game, the U.S. outshot Canada, 45-31.

Shattenkirk was named player of the game for the U.S.

-- In today’s relegation games, Germany beat the Czech Republic, 6-3, in a shocker; and Finland topped Latvia, also by 6-3.

U.S. Results/Schedule

April 12 -- Russia 5, U.S. 3
April 13 – U.S. 9, Germany 1
April 15 – Canada 3, U.S. 2 (shootout)
April 17 – U.S. 8, Latvia 0
April 19 – Quarterfinals: U.S. 7, Slovakia 2
April 20 – Semifinals: U.S. 4, Canada 3 (shootout)
April 22 – Gold Medal Game: Russia vs. U.S. (11:00 am EST)


US lines:
Jordan Schroeder -Colin Wilson-James vanRiemsdyk
Ryan Hayes – John Albert-Justin Vaive
Jimmy O’Brien-Patrick White- Vinny Saponari
Jimmy Hayes- Matt Rust - Brennan Vargas
C.J. Severyn

Defense pairings:
Kevin Shattenkirk-Tommy Cross
Teddy Ruth-Ryan McDonagh
Cade Fairchild-Ian Cole
A.J. Sturges


U.S. Under-18’s KO Slovakia; Advance to Semis

The U.S. Under-18 Team defeated Slovakia, 7-2, in a semifinal matchup at the 2007 World Under-18 Championship at Tampere, Finland today.

With the win, the U.S. advances to tomorrow’s semis and a rematch with Canada, which on Sunday defeated the U.S., 3-2, in a shootout.  

In today’s game, the U.S. broke out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of even-strength goals early in the first period and never looked back, leading 2-1 after the first, and 5-2 after the second.

The big gun for the U.S. today was BU recruit Colin Wilson (2g,2a). Others with multiple points were Patrick White (1g,2a), Cade Fairchild (3a), Ian Cole (2g), Jordan Schroeder (1g,1a), Jimmy O’Brien (1g,1a), and James vanRiemsdyk (2a). Vinny Saponari and Teddy Ruth each added an assist. 

Josh Unice was in net and kicked out 19 of 21 shots. Slovakia used two goalies. Zdenko Kotvan was yanked when the U.S. went ahead 4-1 at 9:47 of the second, and was replaced by Jaroslav Janus.

The U.S. outshot Slovakia, 51-21.

-- In the other quarterfinal, Russia edged Switzerland, 4-3 in OT, to advance to the semifinal round for the first time since 2004.

Switzerland almost pulled off a big upset here, leading 3-2 late in the game. However, with 4:12 remaining  Nikita Filatov scored off a faceoff to send the game into OT.

Filatov, Russia’s leading scorer, struck again at 6:37 of overtime, dispatching Switzerland.

This was a surprisingly even game. Russia had a slight edge in shots on goal, 31-30.

Russia will face Sweden in tomorrow’s other semi.

U.S. Results/Schedule
April 12 -- Russia 5, U.S. 3
April 13 – U.S. 9, Germany 1
April 15 – Canada 3, U.S. 2 (shootout)
April 17 – U.S. 8, Latvia 0
April 19 – Quarterfinals: U.S. 7, Slovakia 2
April 20 – Semifinals: U.S.vs. Canada
April 22 – Medal games


US lines:
Jordan Schroeder -Colin Wilson-James vanRiemsdyk
Ryan Hayes – John Albert-Justin Vaive
Jimmy O’Brien-Patrick White- Vinny Saponari
Brennan Vargas - Matt Rust - Jimmy Hayes
C.J. Severyn

Defense pairings:
Kevin Shattenkirk-Tommy Cross
Teddy Ruth-Ryan McDonagh
Cade Fairchild-Ian Cole
A.J. Sturges


USHL Playoffs Underway

The 2006-07 USHL postseason got underway last night with one game, as Cedar Rapids easily handled the Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets, 8-0.

All series, which are best of seven affairs, will be underway by Thursday night. All 12 league teams will be in the playoffs this season.

The Des Moines Buccaneers are the defending champs.

In the East Division:
#1 Waterloo Black Hawks vs. #6 Chicago Steel
#2 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders vs. #5 Ohio Jr. Blue Jackets
#3 Indiana Ice vs. #4 Green Bay Gamblers

In the West Division:
#1 Omaha Lancers vs. #6 Des Moines Buccaneers
#2 Tri-City Storm vs. #5 Sioux City Musketeers
#3 Lincoln Stars vs. #4 Sioux Falls Stampede


The Waterloo Black Hawks won the league’s regular season.

The league’s leading scorer was Rich Purslow (Des Moines), who had a 27-55-82 line in 60 games. Purslow’s 82 points were the league’s highest total since Thomas Vanek had 91 (in just 53 games) in 2001-02.

Rounding out the scoring leaders were Phil DeSimone (Sioux City), Jacob Cepis (Cedar Rapids), Jared Brown (Lincoln), James Marcou (Waterloo), Carter Camper (Lincoln), Aaron Palushaj (Des Moines), Mark Olver (Omaha), and Ben Ryan (Des Moines).

Cepis was the leading goal scorer, with 34.

Leading goaltenders, going by save percentage, were Jerry Kuhn (Sioux City, .921), Kent Patterson (Cedar Rapids, .913), Matt Lundin (Sioux Falls, .912), Drew Palmisano (Omaha, .910), and Matt Dalton (Des Moines, .909).

Lincoln’s Stu Bickel lead the league in penalty minutes with 215. Brandon Bollig (Lincoln) and Taylor McReynolds (Green Bay) also had 200 or more penalty minutes. 


U.S. Under 18s Trounce Latvia, 8-0

The U.S. Under-18 Team rolled over Latvia, 8-0, in their final preliminary round game at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Rauma, Finland today.

The game lacked meaning, as the U.S. – win, lose, or draw -- was locked into third place in Group A.

Justin Vaive (2g,1a), Patrick White (2g), Ryan Hayes (1g,1a), Colin Wilson (1g,1a), and Jordan Schroeder (2a) all had multiple point games for the U.S. Single goals were scored by James vanRiemsdyk and C.J. Severyn. Nine different players contributed a single assist – pretty much everyone got into the scoring parade here.

The U.S. outshot Latvia 57-19, and didn’t let up, either -- the shots on goal in the third period were 28-2.

Josh Unice, who is leading the tournament's goaltenders with a .954 save percentage, picked up the shutout for the U.S. Latvia used two goaltenders – each allowed four goals.

All of the U.S. goals except one were even-strength goals. The U.S. led 4-0 after one, 5-0 after two, and 8-0 at the final buzzer.

Patrick White was named player of the game for the U.S.

The U.S. finished third in its division, behind Canada and Russia, and will crossover to face Slovakia, the second-place finisher in Group B, in a quarterfinal game on Thursday April 19th (11:30 am, EDT) in Tampere, Finland. Russia will play Switzerland in the other quarterfinal. Group winners Canada, which topped Russia 5-2 today, and Sweden both receive a bye into the semis.

The winner of Thursday's US-Slovakia game will face Canada in Friday's semifinal (11:30 am, EST).

It’s hard to believe, but both host Finland and the Czech Republic will be playing in the relegation round. Germany and Latvia, against whom the U.S. picked up their two wins, will also be playing in the regulation round.

Final Preliminary Round Standings:

Group A:
1. Canada - 11 pts.
2. Russia - 9 pts.
3. USA - 7 pts.
4. Germany - 3 pts.
5. Latvia - 0 pts.

Group B:
1. Sweden - 8 pts.
2. Slovakia - 7 pts.
3. Switzerland - 6 pts.
4. Finland - 5 pts.
5. Czech Republic - 4 pts.

U.S. Results/Schedule
April 12 -- Russia 5, U.S. 3
April 13 – U.S. 9, Germany 1
April 15 – Canada 3, U.S. 2 (shootout)
April 17 – U.S. 8, Latvia 0
April 19 – Quarterfinals: U.S. vs. Slovakia (11:30 am EST), and Russia vs. Switzerland.
April 20 – Semifinals
April 22 – Medal games


US lines:
Jordan Schroeder -Colin Wilson-James vanRiemsdyk
Ryan Hayes – John Albert-Justin Vaive
Jimmy O’Brien-Patrick White- Vinny Saponari
Jimmy Hayes - Matt Rust -Brennan Vargas- -
C.J. Severyn

Defense pairings:
Kevin Shattenkirk-Tommy Cross
Teddy Ruth-Ryan McDonagh
Cade Fairchild-Ian Cole
A.J. Sturges



Cushing Names New Coach

It’s official -- Hebron Academy head coach Rob Gagnon has been formally named the new head coach at Cushing Academy.

Gagnon, a three-sport athlete at Avon Old Farms in the early ‘90s, captained the soccer, hockey, and baseball teams in his senior year at Avon, and was recruited by Div. I schools in all three sports. A native of South Windsor, Conn., he was twice named Avon’s athlete of the year.

Gagnon attended UNH and played for Dick Umile’s squad for four years (’94-98).

After graduating from UNH, Gagnon worked as an executive recruiter for six years, was a volunteer assistant under his old coach, John Gardner, at Avon Old Farms, and was head coach for the Northern Connecticut Wings (Nick Bonino and Matt Pedemonti were two of his top players there) and also was an assistant at Conard High School in West Hartford.

At Hebron, Gagnon made his mark in his very first year, as Hebron went 23-9-2 and won the Div. II championship in ’05-06.

Gagnon put together another strong Hebron team this past season, going 25-8-0, but the Lumberjacks bowed to Vermont Academy, 4-1, in the semis at Salem, NH.

Gagnon is still under contract to Hebron and will be helping them find his successor as well as finishing out all aspects of his contract. On July 1, he will officially take over at Cushing. Bill Troy, who, by the way, is running the Boston Marathon today, will continue on as assistant coach, and Steve Jacobs will continue to recruit for Cushing until Gagnon arrives on the scene.

Gagnon will be assistant director of admissions at Cushing, essentially the same position he held at Hebron.

“I have a tremendous respect for what Steve Jacobs has done at Cushing,” Gagnon said. “And I want him to understand my appreciation for having talked with me throughout this process. Those are some huge shoes to fill, but I am confident that I can bring to Cushing  a record of  success both from winning a Div. I prep championship as a player at Avon Old Farms, winning a Div. II championship as a coach at Hebron, and competing at a high level in college. I learned a lot from John Gardner and Dick Umile and other coaches I played for and I hope to bring that with me to Cushing.”

“I know that in taking over the Cushing job, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to continue the success. I know I can do it with the support of Bill Troy and the rest of the Cushing staff. “

Troy, a 17-year-assistant under Jacobs, has moved over from admissions and has been named Cushing’s co-athletic director (with Jennifer Horgan) effective May 1. At that time, current AD Wayne Sanborn will be taking another position at the school, that of executive director of facilities management and planning. The head coaching job was initially offered to Troy, but he never came to terms with the school.

”I look forward to working with Bill Troy because he is a great man,” Gagnon said. “He will be the backbone of the program while I get acclimated. He advocated for me to get the job.”

“I am extremely honored to be working at Cushing and I owe it all to Hebron Academy as they gave me the opportunity to be a head coach in prep school. They were great to me. They really supported me. I’ll also miss the relationship I had with the kids there.”

Gagnon said that he’ll be working with Hebron’s headmaster and AD in an effort to come up with a quality coach for the program as soon as possible. “I’ll be making calls to find the right person.” Gagnon said.

Gagnon, who is 32 years old, is single. An appealing aspect to his new job is the fact that Cushing is far closer to Gagnon’s family in Connecticut than Hebron. “I look forward to having my mom and dad at the games -- wearing Cushing hoodies!” he said.

Gagnon was asked about how Cushing will do, given that both Ryan Bourque and Dave Warsofsky will be headed to the national program.

”While losing two good players in Bourque and Warsofsky, there are still 17 returning players who played a role in Cushing’s success. Some of those are good younger players who will now get a chance to step in and show why they are at Cushing.”

Gagnon has proven that he has an eye for evaluating players, as the kids he brought with him to Hebron instantly turned that program around. He has a ton of credibility and is very well-connected in the hockey world. While the hiring process at Cushing certainly stretched out longer than anyone really wanted, at the end of the day they got their man, and the hockey program is in very strong hands.


NTDP Tryout Camp Review

Here’s our report from last month’s NTDP tryout camp. Sorry about the delay – there was a lot of info to pull together and type up.

Next season’s Under-17 Team looks to be really strong in goal, and on the blue line. Seven defensemen have been invited and committed, so things are largely set there. Seven forwards have also been committed, and one other, Jeremy Morin, is being recruited hard. The remaining spots will likely be filled by the end of this summer’s Select 16 Festival. There is no Phil Kessel up front in this class, but there are some very nice prospects. For various  reasons, a lot of players who tried out played below their regular season form. Much of this was due to the fact that a larger than usual number of players were coming in from midget/high school/junior playoffs and arrived in Ann Arbor late and tired, and never really got it going.

In addition to the ‘91s, several ‘90s were brought in for a look, because the program needs to be prepared in the event players leave over the summer. The ‘90s are covered at the end.

The ‘91s are arranged by position. The first seven forwards listed are all committed to the program, and are arranged alphabetically. The eighth forward listed, as mentioned above,  is currently being actively recruited by the program. The ninth and tenth forwards listed were invited but turned the program down.  The remaining forwards are listed as “Others”. Some are very much in the mix for a slot on the team; others aren’t.

The defensemen are listed in a similar manner, with the seven committed players listed first, followed by “Others.”

Hope that explains things! 

’91 Forwards:

Ryan Bourque, 5’6½”, 144, 1/3/91, Topsfield, Mass., Cushing Academy – Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Very good awareness. Small, and not overly dynamic, but very smart and cerebral. Simply knows how to be effective. Skills are very strong, and he played with an edge. A true offensive presence. He’ll get stronger in time.

Chris Brown – 6’1”, 181 lb., 2/3/91, Flower Mound, TX, Honeybaked Under-16. Invited (early) to the NTDP, and has accepted. Big, strong power forward who can finish. Solid fundamental base for his game translates to big upside. He’ll be a solid college player, and quite possibly a whole lot more. 

Jerry D’Amigo – 5’11”, 184, 2/19/91, Binghamton, NY, Binghamton Jr. A Senators (AJHL) -- Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Quick, gritty, high-energy winger. Always on the puck. A hound. Physically cut. Tenacious forechecker. Good along the walls.

Kyle Palmieri – 5’9”, 163, 2/1/91, Montvale, NJ, NJ Devils Under-16 –  Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Gritty, with good puck skills, and work ethic. Showed character blocking shots and going into the corner, which was noteworthy considering his lack of size. Not a pretty skater. Didn’t have a particularly good camp, but was noticeable in flashes. Bounced back the next week at Nationals.   

Kenny Ryan, 5’11”, 191, 7/10/91, Franklin, Mich., Honeybaked Under-16 -- Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Strong in all aspects of the game, solid fundamental skill base, and smart. Has the foundation on which to build. Like Brown, he has a great deal of upside. We’d give him a B for his play at the camp, but an A for what he could become. A leader type – future captain material. Will be an impact player for the NTDP. Committed to Boston College after camp.

Drew Shore, 6’0”, 185, 1/29/91, Cherry Hills Village, Colorado, Honeybaked Under-16 --  Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. A playmaking center, Shore was a pleasant surprise, distributing the puck and showing good hockey sense. It’s hoped he’ll develop into a key player because this is not a strong group of forwards up the middle. Big, protects puck well, makes plays, and can stickhandle. Good in tight and in the corners. Beat guys with his passes. Also, he worked hard – really came to play. Skating not great. 

David Valek (injured; unable to participate) 3/19/91, Chelsea, Mich., Honeybaked Under-16 -- Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted.

Jeremy Morin, 5’11½”, 172, 4/16/91, Auburn, NY, Syracuse Stars (EJHL) -- Invited to the NTDP, but hasn’t committed yet. Extremely skilled with puck, and smart. Great release and velocity. A pure goal scorer. Skating just average, though added strength could smooth it out. He has a dimension to his game, and definite upside. Started camp well, but faded a bit. 

Steven Whitney, 5’6”, 151, 2/18/91, Reading, Mass., Lawrence Academy -- Was invited to the NTDP, but declined invitation. The sparkplug. An offensive dynamo. Doesn’t have flat-out speed, but has explosiveness – that great first step. Does everything fast and hard. Makes plays at speed, and can shift gears and slow it down. Total rink rat. Shifty. Really fun to watch. Not much missing but size and play away from puck. One of the top four forwards here.

John Henrion, 5’10½”, 178, 1/19/91, Holden, Mass., Boston Jr. Bruins (Empire League) - -- Was invited, but declined invitation. Arrived late – early Monday morning -- as his team won Empire League tournament. Was fatigued, totally gassed. Couldn’t really put it together and show what he’s capable of.  He’s a competitor, and can shoot the puck.


Sam Alfieri, 5’9”, 160, 3/10/91, Buffalo, NY, Shattuck-St. Mary’s Under-16 --  Smart, intelligent with puck, but not a great skater. Tough evaluation because he got there late. Wasn’t particularly aggressive. A bit sleepy. Great 1-on-1 skills. Overall, his play was inconsistent. Had some flashes, though, where he was quite noticeable. Has a hard shot, with a quick release.

Tyler Brickler, 5’9½”, 153, 1/27/91, Riverwoods, Ill., Chicago Mission Under-16 – Good puck skills, with good speed and quickness. Ran around a bit too much. Did a couple of nice things, but was overmatched physically.

Zach Budish, 6’2”, 213, 5/9/91, Edina, Minn., Edina HS – Big, strong power forward  uses size well, is good in tight and in corners. There was concern over his slow feet and inability to make plays, which are related. A project, but there’s upside – the NTDP staff will likely be mulling this one over. A lot of varying opinions on this player. Where some see upside, others see a kid who might be less of a factor when put up against bigger/stronger/ faster/ older kids. The  bottom line is that he underachieved in camp. Everett (WHL) owns his rights.

Ryan Daugherty, 6’0”, 177, 4/16/91, Allen, Texas, Dallas Alliance Under-16 – Good offensive skill, though he didn’t use his linemates that well. A power forward and a bow-legged skater, he showed flashes, but overall he didn’t play that well. However, the following week, he was the most dominant forward for his Alliance team at Nationals. 

Tyler Maxwell, 5’8”, 163, 4/13/91, Redondo Beach, Calif., LA Selects Under-16 –He can skate and can also score goals. Noticeable whenever he was out there. Excellent offensive player. Worked hard. Not really dynamic, though, which could hold him back..   He’s definitely in the mix for a spot, though.   

Nick Oliver, 6’0”, 187, 5/4/91, Roseau, Minn., Roseau HS – Works extremely hard, and a great character player. Has a good shot. But he didn’t get a lot done. The problem is his skating, which is not good.

Tyler Pitlick, 5’11”, 162, 11/1/91 – Centerville, Minn., Centennial HS – Started out slowly, but got better as camp moved along. Overall, though, didn’t play up to his ability, which is top-shelf. Has speed, plus a good stick, and instincts. Strong on the puck. Despite subpar camp, we expect he’ll be very much in the mix for a spot on the team. Nephew of Lance Pitlick.

Zach Tatrn, 6’1½, 218, 2/14/91, Lower Burrell, Pa., Pittsburgh Predators – Power forward with size and strength, but lack of overall quickness hurt him. Some split opinions on this player, particularly in relation to stick skills and competitiveness. Also, can he get faster? After all, he’s carrying more weight than most players of his age/size. . His play was very in-and-out, quite inconsistent.

Kevin Lynch, 6’0”, 168, 4/23/91, Grosse Point Woods, Mich., Honeybaked Under-16 – Underachieved at camp, but will get continued looks. Skating average, but has offensive tools, which he showed during regular season.

Dakota Eveland, 5’6”, 142, 9/2/91, Anaheim, Calif., LA Selects Under-16 – Small, frail-looking, but good little player. Smart. Wicked skilled. Excellent stick, and can finish. Awkward skater, though, and not dynamic enough for NTDP purposes.

Cody Murphy, 5’9½”, 168, 4/22/91, Highwood, Ill., Team Illinois Under-18 – Showed speed and bursts of 1-on-1 skill. A buzzsaw. Grinds it out. Strong on the puck. Competes and thinks it OK. Had a tough camp, though. Like several players here, he was in playoffs, and drove through the night to get too Ann Arbor for at least a portion of the camp.

A.J. Treais (injured; unable to participate), 2/4/91, Bloomfield, Mich., Little Caesar’s Under-16.

Ryan Walters, 5’10”, 168, 7/30/91, Rosemount, Minn., St. Thomas Academy – Underachieved, like a lot of the Minnesota kids here. Was dominating during regular season at STA. He’s not quick or particularly fast, but is a smooth skater. Smart, with good puck skills, and a nice release. If he’s not completely on his game, he can look pretty average and lackadaisical, though..

Matt White, 6’1”, 172, 10/21/91, McMurray, Pa., Pittsburgh Hornets Under-16 – Has size, and can skate. Authoritative with puck. Doesn’t always pay full price to make the play, but at least he makes plays. Could work on becoming a little quicker.

Joe Zarbo, 5’11”, 157, 8/10/91, Grand Island, NY, Rochester Americans – Two-way forward with good hands. Didn’t have a great camp, but worked hard.

’91 Defensemen:

Tyler Amburgey, 6’1”, 208, 5/6/91, Rowlett, TX, Texas Attack Under-18 -- Invited to the NTDP, and accepted. Big, strong defensive d-man needs to work on feet, but they’re getting better. Keeps game simple, moved puck well. Had a decent, but not great, camp. He’s physically mature, hence quite noticeable. Not sure about his upside, though his size alone gives him an edge.

Richie Crowley, 6’0”, 166, 5/9/91, Canton, Mass., Thayer Academy -- Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Was invited to the NTDP early. Had an awful camp. For whatever reason, he just didn’t get it done. 

Cam Fowler, 6’1”, 184, 12/5/91, Northville, Mich., Honeybaked Under-16 -- Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. A no-brainer. Just a special player. Strong, poised. Excellent skater – just so smooth. That said, he didn’t have a great camp, at least by his standards. Tried to do too much. Notre Dame recruit.

Bjorn Krupp, 6’0½”, 170, 3/6/91, Atlanta, Ga., TPH Thunder --  Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Great skater with great natural ability but needs more education in the game. Son of former NHLer, Uwe. However, he grew up in Europe with his mother and didn’t start playing hockey until he moved across the pond four years ago and began living with his father. Great big feet. Bomb of a shot. Strong. Physically ready. Great upside.

Nick Mattson, 5’11½”, 146, 10/25/91, Chanhassen, Minn., Chaska HS -- Invited to  the NTDP, and has accepted. Best defenseman in the camp. His head’s always up; he sees the ice well. Similar in style to Cade Fairchild. Kind of a rail, quite thin. Instincts are great, a real natural. Excellent showing. A couple of WCHA schools have offered full rides already.

Beau Schmitz, 5’9”, 190, 3/26/91, Howell, Mich., Belle Tire Under-16 -- Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Hard-working, explosive skater who likes to carry puck.. Very tough to play against, and smart, too. Mean. Aggressive. Had an excellent camp.  Committed to Ferris State.

William Wrenn, 5’11¼”, 176, 3/16/91, Anchorage, AK, LA Selects Under-16 --  Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Didn’t have a particularly great camp, but was OK. Made some plays the second night. Had a high number of touches. Tough kid. Really good feet; skates well. Polished. Moves puck well and has a strong  shot. Blocks shots, too. Will get bigger and stronger. Got KO’d with concussion at Nationals but will be fine.


Sam Calabrese, 5’9½”, 160, 3/18/91, Park Ridge, Ill., Team Illinois Under-18 --  Intelligent; creative with puck. Just has a very good hockey mind. Arrived late, as TI was in playoffs. A dominant player at midget level. Strength is an issue.

Ben Hughes, 5’11”, 163, 7/23/91, Jacksonville, Fla., Shattuck-St. Mary’s Under-16 – Has only been playing hockey a few years. Pace was too much. Worked hard, made good first pass, but that was about it.

Paul Phillips, 5’10½”, 183, 7/16/91, Darien, Ill., Chicago Chill Under-18 – Didn’t look as good as he did when playing for his midget team, where he had an excellent year. Things didn’t click for him at camp. He tried to do things, but guys closed on him and shut down passing lanes. Seemed a little out of sync. 

Brendan Rempel, 6’1”, 184, 4/24/91, Willington, Conn., Pomfret School – Rough around the edges, but there’s something there. Tall, gangly kid with soft hands and long stick. Played well. Smart. Gets high marks for potential, but right now he’s pretty raw. 

Phillip Samuelsson, 6’1”, 182, 7/26/91, Scottsdale, Ariz., PF Chang’s Under-16 – Did everything too slowly. Limited upside. He was over his head. Son of Ulf Samuelsson.

John Ramage, 6’0”, 175, 2/7/91, Chesterfield, Missouri, St. Louis Amateur Blues Under-18 – Strong, rugged and can really shoot it, even if his shot is a little wild. Son of former NHLer Rob Ramage. Not polished. Skating is short and choppy. Average hands at best. Prototypical defensive defenseman has size and strength. There’s upside, but it will take time.

Nate Schmidt, 5’11”, 183, 7/16/91, St. Cloud, Minn., St. Cloud Cathedral HS – Played with a broken arm, had a cast all weekend. Hard-working lunch pail type. Skates well, has good puck skills and a shot. Strong offensively, but needs to take more care in his own end. That, of course, can be taught.

David Shields, 6’3”, 207, 1/27/91, Rochester, NY, Rochester Americans Jr. B – Wasn’t a factor.

Brad Walch, 5’11½”, 189, 1/24/91, Saginaw, Mich., Honeybaked Under-16 – Defensive defenseman. Solid skater. Stay-at-home D. Didn’t have a great camp but was reportedly suffering from the flu.

'91 Goaltenders:

6’2”, 185  lb. ’91 goaltender Adam Murray is already in the program, having joined mid-season, and will be joined next season by Brandon Maxwell.

Brandon Maxwell, 5’11”, 168, 3/22/91, Winter Park, Florida, Cambridge Hawks Minor -- Invited to the NTDP, and has accepted. Played his angles well. Square to the shooter. Good textbook goalie – very sound technically. Very competitive.

Hudson Stremmel, 5’11”, 165, 7/24/91, Reno, Nevada, California Northstars Under-18 – From non-traditional hockey area. Played midget major in a weak league. Very raw.

Clay Witt, 6’0½”, 196, 8/24/91, Brandon, Fla., Boston Jr. Bruins (Empire League) – Has the skill and makeup. Possibly the best ’91 goalie after Murray and Maxwell.

Jeff Teglia, 5’10½”, 176, 6/24/91, Bloomingdale, Ill., Chicago Mission Under-16 –  All over the place, but he does manage to stop the puck. Kind of a throwback – an old-school goalie who relies on his athleticism. Challenged shooters well.  

C.J. Motte, 5’10”, 164, 12/10/91, St. Clair, Mich., Honeybaked Under-16 --
Was inconsistent.


Forward -- Michael Fink, 5’10½, 167,
7/7/90, Minnetonka, Minn., Hopkins HS – So offensively gifted, but had disappointing camp. He’s a goal scorer who just couldn’t score. An excellent prospect, nonetheless.

Defenseman -- Seth Helgeson, 6’3, 200, 10/8/90, Faribault, Minn., Faribault HS --  Struggled a bit at camp, but mainly because, playing at Faribault HS, he’s way behind the curve. However, his upside is huge, and he’ll get there. Committed to Gophers for ’09.

Goaltender-- Joe Cannata, 6’1”, 200, 1/2/90, Wakefield, Mass., Boston College HS – The NTDP has decided to go with five goalies, of whom three will be ‘90s. Cannata, a Merrimack recruit, has been invited and will be leaving BC High for Ann Arbor, where he will compete for playing time with Michael Clemente and Nick Maricic.


Michael Cichy having left the program in February, the Under-18 team had a slot for a skater, and decided to go with a defenseman. Last week, 5’9”, 160 lb. Dave Warsofsky, a BU recruit who was invited to the NTDP a year ago but decided to return to Cushing for his sophomore season, came out for a close look at the program. He has been offered a spot on the Under-18 Team for this fall, and has accepted it.



Bowkus Fired on Eve of Playoffs

The Indiana Ice (USHL) fired head coach Jack Bowkus yesterday, prior to the team’s final regular season game. Jack’s brother, John, an assistant with the team, was also fired.

In 59 games this season, Bowkus had a 26-28-5 record. 

Scott McConnell, 28, former University of Denver forward and the grandson of Bob Johnson, was retained as assistant head coach.

Charlie Skjodt, 50, the older brother of owner Paul Skjodt and a former major junior and minor pro forward, has been hired as head coach for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs. Indiana trounced Ohio 7-2 in last night’s game.

Indiana has gone through three head coaches in three years – Red Gendron, Dean Grillo, and now Jack Bowkus.



Canada Beats U.S. Under-18s in Shootout

Canada, behind a shootout game-winning goal from Zac Boychuk, edged the U.S. 3-2 at the World Under-18 Championship tonight in Rauma, Finland.

The U.S. had a 2-1 lead with under four minutes left in regulation, but a Colton Gillies goal with 3:37 remaining tied the game at 2-2, sending it into a five-minute overtime, followed by a shootout.

The U.S. outshot Canada, 44-34. Trevor Cann kicked out 44 of 46 for Canada, and Josh Unice stopped 31 of 34 for the U.S.

Canada got out to a first period lead, as Luke Schenn scored an even-strength goal at the 8:45 mark.

In the second period, a James vanRiemsdyk even-strength goal at the 5:00 mark tied the game at 1-1. Defenseman Ryan  McDonagh picked up an assist on the play.

In the third period, the U.S. went on top 2-1 when Justin Vaive scored an even-strength goal at 13:35, with assists going to Jimmy O’Brien and Ryan Hayes.

And that was it for the U.S. scoring. Cann barred the door for Canada, setting up the shootout game-winner.

Team Canada consists largely of the best available players from teams that either didn’t qualify for the post-season or were eliminated in the first round. Eight players are from the OHL, six from the WHL, five from the QMJHL, one from the BCHL (Kyle Turris – Burnaby) and one from the NCAA (Dion Knelson – Alaska-Fairbanks).

Team Canada and Russia are both undefeated in preliminary round play and will face each other Tuesday in a battle for first place in Group A. The U.S. will play Latvia, which they should win, in which case they will clinch third in their group.

Mark Katic was named the game’s top player for Canada; Kevin Shattenkirk was named the USA’s best of game. 

 U.S. Results/Schedule
April 12 -- Russia 5, U.S. 3
April 13 – U.S. 9, Germany 1
April 15 – Canada 3, U.S. 2 (shootout)
April 17 -- Latvia -- 9:00 am EST
April 19-20 – Playoff round
April 22 – Medal games


US lines:
Patrick White-Colin Wilson-James vanRiemsdyk
Ryan Hayes - Jimmy O’Brien-Justin Vaive
Jimmy Hayes -John Albert- Jordan Schroeder
Brennan Vargas-Matt Rust- Vinny Saponari
C.J. Severyn

Defense pairings:
Kevin Shattenkirk-Tommy Cross
Teddy Ruth-Ryan McDonagh
Cade Fairchild-Ian Cole
A.J. Sturges


Founders League All-Stars

Here is the official 2006-07 Founders League All-Star Team, as picked by the league’s coaches. Avon, Salisbury, and Hotchkiss finished at the top of the league, and were allotted three players apiece. All other schools were allotted two. Traditionally, coaches tend to reserve their votes for seniors, and this year is no exception. That, in conjunction with the allotments, makes the  all-star team designation a bit of a misnomer, but no matter – these guys played well, and deserve credit.

David Gal - Loomis Chaffee – F – Sr.
Matt Irvine – Loomis Chaffee – G – Sr.

Nick Pitsikoulis – Westminster – F – Sr.
Tommy Cross – Westminster – D – Jr.

Andrew Margolin – Taft – G – Sr.
Bobby Kramer – Taft – F – Sr.

Nick Bonino – Avon Old Farms – F – Sr.
Brian Malchoff – Avon Old Farms – D – Sr.
Ken Trentowski – Avon Old Farms – D - Sr.

Michael Biega – Salisbury – F – Sr.
Kevin Quick – Salisbury -  D – Sr.
Brian Gibbons – Salisbury – F – Sr.

John Yanchek – Hotchkiss – G – Jr.
Andrew Irving – Hotchkiss – F – Sr.
Mark Znutas – Hotchkiss – D – Sr.

Jon Esposito – Trinity-Pawling – F – Sr.
Billy Sabia – Trinity-Pawling – F – Sr.

Dan Colvin – Kent – F – Jr.
Justin Daniels – Kent – F – Jr.

Greg Manz – Choate – F – Sr.
Connor Goggin – Choate – D – Jr.

Alex Killorn – Deerfield – F – Jr.
Matt Lovejoy – Deerfield – D – Sr.


Under-18s Crush Germany, 9-1

The U.S. had an easy time of it at the World Under-18 Championship this afternoon, scoring five goals in the first period en route to a 9-1 trouncing of Germany before a crowd of 1,244 in Rauma, Finland

The U.S., which outshot Germany 48-33, was led offensively by Jimmy Hayes (1g,2a), Jordan Schroeder (2g), Ian Cole (2g), Matt Rust (2g), John Albert (1g,1a), James vanRiemsdyk (2a), Colin Wilson (2a), and Brennan Vargas (2a). In addition, Cade Fairchild had a single goal and Justin Vaive, Tommy Cross, Kevin Shattenkirk, C.J. Severyn, and Ryan Hayes each had one assist. In other words, pretty much everyone got into the act.

Josh Unice got the start in today’s game and kicked out 32 of 33 shots. The German starter, Andreas Tanzer, allowed seven goals in the 20 shots he faced and was pulled after John Albert’s goal at 9:06 of the second. His successor, Timo Pielmeier fared better, kicking out 26 of 28 shots the rest of the way.

The U.S. went 4-for-9 on the power play; Germany was 0-for-8.

"We received a good effort throughout the lineup today," U.S. head coach Ron Rolston said. "Today's game again showed how important special teams are in the tournament." 

Rust was named player of the game for the U.S.

U.S. Results/Schedule

April 12 -- Russia 5, U.S. 3
April 13 – U.S. 9, Germany 1
April 15 – Canada, 11:30 am EST
April 17, Latvia -- 9:00 am EST
April 19-20 – Playoff round
April 22 – Medal games


US lines:
Jimmy Hayes-Colin Wilson-James vanRiemsdyk
Vinny Saponari- Jimmy O’Brien-Justin Vaive
Patrick White-John Albert- Jordan Schroeder
Brennan Vargas-Matt Rust-Ryan Hayes
C.J. Severyn

Defense pairings:
Kevin Shattenkirk-Tommy Cross
Teddy Ruth-Ryan McDonagh
Cade Fairchild-Ian Cole
A.J. Sturges



Russia Tops U.S. Under-18s in Opener

The U.S. fell to Russia, 5-3, in each team’s opener at the 2007 IIHF World Under-18 Championship before a crowd of 1,639 in Rauma, Finland tonight.

University of Minnesota freshman forward Jimmy O’Brien scored a pair of goals for the U.S., including a 5-on-3 power play tally three minutes into the game to give the U.S. an early 1-0 lead. Ryan McDonagh and Justin Vaive picked up assists on the goal.

Russia would score the next two, one late in the first and one early in the second to go up 2-1.

With 2:20 left in the second Jordan Schroeder tapped home a rebound of a Kevin Shattenkirk point shot. Colin Wilson also picked up an assist on the goal, which came on the power play.

In the third period, Russia moved ahead 4-2 with a pair of even-strength goals. O’Brien then cut Russia’s lead to 4-3 with an even-strength-goal at the 14:38 mark, tipping home a Vinny Saponari pass.

Russia added an empty-netter with 27 seconds remaining.

The U.S. outshot Russia 46-32. Thomas McCollum stopped 28 shots for the U.S. and Vadim Zhelobnyuk stopped 43 for Russia.

The U.S. fell short on the power play, going 2-for-14 while Russia went 2-for-9.

“We squandered some great opportunities tonight,” said U.S. head coach Ron Rolston. “We can’t ask for more chances on the power play. We just need to bear down and cash in when the time comes. Russia is a good hockey team and their netminder played well tonight. We will work on a few things tonight and in the morning to be more successful against Germany tomorrow.”

O’Brien (2 goals) was named the U.S. Player of the Game, while Zhelobnyuk (43 saves on 46 shots) got the award for Russia. The big guns for each team, James Van Riemsdyk and Alexey Cherepanov, were kept off the board.

U.S. Results/Schedule

April 12 -- Russia 5, US 3
April 13 – Germany, 9:00 am EST
April 15 – Canada, 11:30 am EST
April 17, Latvia -- 9:00 am EST
April 19-20 – Playoff round
April 22 – Medal games


US lines:

Jordan Schroeder-Colin Wilson-James vanRiemsdyk
Vinny Saponari- Jimmy O’Brien-Justin Vaive
Patrick White-Matt Rust-Ryan Hayes
Jimmy Hayes-John Albert-Brennan Vargas
C.J. Severyn

Defense pairings:
Kevin Shattenkirk-Tommy Cross
Teddy Ruth-Ryan McDonagh
Cade Fairchild-Ian Cole
A.J. Sturges

Thomas McCollum got the start in net. Josh Unice is the other U.S. goaltender.

All players are from the NTDP except McCollum (Guelph Storm-OHL), Cross (Westminster School), McDonagh (Cretin-Derham Hall), O’Brien (University of Minnesota), and White (Grand Rapids HS).

All are ‘89s except for Saponari and Schroeder, who moved up from the Under-17 Team.

O’Brien, the youngest player in the NCAA Div. I play this season, is the first collegian to play for the U.S. in the World Under-18s.

Fairchild, Ryan Hayes, O’Brien, vanRiemsdyk, and Wilson are returnees from last season’s gold-medal winning team.   
In today's other games, the Czech Republic topped Switzerland, 4-2; and Canada topped Germany, 7-3. Linemates Steve Stamkos (Sarnia Sting) and Jamie Arniel (Guelph Storm) each had a goal and two assists.  


MacKenzie a Catamount

6’1”, 195 lb. Taft School junior defenseman Drew MacKenzie has committed to the University of Vermont for the fall of ’08.

MacKenzie, a 12/17/88 birthdate, is a New Canaan, Conn. resident.

At Taft this season, he had a 3-10-13 line in 23 games.

His coach at Taft, former Maine defenseman Dan Murphy, said that “Drew is an outstanding skater, and possesses an excellent skills set. He defends extremely well, makes a great first pass coming out of the zone, and is also excellent in the neutral zone with being able to make a lethal counterattacking pass.”

”He has the potential to be a #1-2 defenseman at the college level. Drew will bring all these attributes to UVM along with a rapidly-improving offensive game.”

UMass was also recruiting MacKenzie.



Squires Finds a Home

5’6”, 170 lb. Indiana Ice (USHL) forward Greg Squires has committed to Western Michigan for this fall.

Squires, a 7/6/88 birthdate and a native of White Plains, NY, played at the Brunswick School in 2003-04 before being selected to the National Team Development Program. In his first season in Ann Arbor, he had a 10-13-23 line in 55 games with the Under-17 Team. The following year, he started the season with the Under-18 Team (19 points in 35 games) but finished it with the Under-17 Team (10 points in 23 games).

While with the NTDP, Squires was previously recruited by Boston University and committed to the Terriers for this coming fall. However, Squires didn't take care of business academically, and was unable to get through the NCAA clearinghouse. He needed time to mature, both on and off the ice.   

This season with Indiana, Squires, who is quick and skilled with strong 1-on-1 skills, has a 12-20-32 line in 53 games.



Fall Tournament Info

The Marquette Electricians Fall Classic will be held later this year, beginning on Thurs. October 4th and concluding on Sunday the 7th.

The tournament organizers didn’t want to go up against the NAHL or USHL – and want scouts from those leagues, as well as college recruiters, to be free to make the trip to the Upper Peninsula, which, even without the hockey, is definitely worth a visit when the leaves are turning, or anytime for that matter.

As for the USHL, those who’ve become accustomed to traveling to Des Moines for the Buc Bowl, a 17-year tradition, will have to get used to something new, as the USHL will be rotating its pre-season tournament around the league, switching cities every two years.

Now known as the USHL Fall Classic – couldn’t they have come up with something a little catchier? – it will be held this fall in Sioux City, Iowa from Thurs. Sept 27 to Sat. Sept. 29.

All USHL teams will be participating.

The tradition of a USHL pre-season tournament began back in the 1980s when the Bob Ferguson-coached Sioux City Musketeers hosted the Corn Bowl at the old Municipal Auditorium. When Ferguson was hired at Des Moines in 1990, he took the tournament along with him and the Buc Bowl was born.


Fall Beantown Classic Expanding

The Third Annual Fall Beantown Classic, scheduled for Thurs.-Sun. October 18-21, will be significantly larger than its predecessors.

Sixteen teams will compete in the Under-18 division, and 16 teams will compete in an Under-16 division.

In addition, there will be several other teams on hand, though they won’t be playing in a division. The U.S. Under-17 Team will make the trip and play a pair of games, one against the Boston Junior Bruins (EJHL) and one against the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL).

The tournament will take place at the Whittemore Center at UNH, and the Ice House in Exeter, NH (formerly known as the Rinks at Exeter). The tournament hosts are the Boston Junior Bruins. The contact person is Peter Masters.

Twelve teams have already made tentative commitments to the Under-18 division. They are:

Boston Junior Bruins (Empire)
Anaheim Junior Ducks
Texas Attack
Chicago Mission
Dartmouth Subways
Pictou Weeks
Victory Honda
Little Bruins (split season)
Pittsburgh Hornets
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers
Belle Tire
Northwood (Junior Team)

Six teams have made tentative commitments to the Under-16 division. They are:

Belle Tire
LA Selects
Texas Attack
Victory Honda
Philadelphia Jr. Flyers
Chicago Mission

The 2006 tournament was won by the LA Junior Kings, who beat Team Illinois 3-1 in a classic tilt.

In 2005, CYA beat Shattuck-St. Mary’s in a shootout. 



Merrimack Banking on Cannata

Merrimack College has received a commitment from Boston College High School junior goaltender Joe Cannata for the fall of ’08.

Cannata, a 1/2/90 birthdate from Wakefield, Mass., played his 9th and 10th grade seasons at BB&N before transferring to BC High this season. It worked out very well for the Eaglets as Cannata led his team to the Super 8 title, allowing only four goals in five Super 8 games, among them a 1-0 23-save shutout of Catholic Memorial in the crossover game at Harvard’s Bright Arena. In 20 regular season games, Cannata allowed just 23 goals.

Cannata, who’s 6’1, 200 lbs., may return to BC High next season, though juniors is an option as well. Also, Cannata was out at the NTDP evaluation camp a couple weeks ago, one of a few ‘90s being looked at, and the only one of whom was a goalie. Despite playing in the Super 8 finale that Sunday night, Cannata was able to head out to Ann Arbor early Monday morning, and did well. There’s no real role for him out there, as the program already has two goalies. But if someone departs, or the program decides to go with five netminders, they at least know what he’s capable of. 

BC and UNH also had some interest in Cannata, but couldn’t offer the opportunity to step in and compete for time right away. 

One of Cannata’s classmates at BC High is forward John Heffernan, also an ’08 recruit for Merrimack. Heffernan, it should be noted, scored the only goal in Cannata’s 1-0 Super 8 shutout of CM.



Dries Commits

Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL) forward Danny Dries has committed to the University of New Hampshire for this fall.

Dries, a 5’11”, 170 lb. native of Lake Orion, Michigan, north of Detroit, is a left shot wing. He’s been injured a couple of times this season, once early, and has played for two teams. He started the season with Ohio Junior Blue Jackets (USHL) but was injured and didn’t see game action until November. After six games with Ohio, where he had a 1-2-3 line with 22 pims, he was injured again, and traded to Cedar Rapids on January 12. With Cedar Rapids he’s played 21 games and has a 12-2-14 line and 70 pims.

If you prorated his stats to 54 games, he’d have 30 goals. For a point of reference, the USHL’s leading goal scorer right now – Bowling Green recruit Jacob Cepis – has 32.

So Dries can score. And he scores because he plays a lot of the game inside the dots. He’s involved, has a good stick, and is one of those guys the puck seems to follow around.

Last season, Dries played for both Traverse City (NAHL) and Victory Honda Midget AAA. The year before, he was with Compuware. He’s a 4/12/88 birthdate. 



The Next Brian Rafalski?

Maybe HIFK Helsinki is the stepping stone to the NHL for former Div. I college defensemen who stand 5’10”, were undrafted, and couldn’t even find a home in the AHL.

In the fall of 1999, Brian Rafalski, who’d played four years in Europe after graduating from the University of Wisconsin in 1995, joined the New Jersey Devils as a 26-year-old rookie and is still going strong.

Last week, the Florida Panthers signed Cory Murphy, a former Colgate defenseman (class of ’01) to a two-year contract.

Murphy, the MVP of the Finnish Elite League, has played for the last two seasons for HIFK Helsinski, Rafalski’s old team.

Murphy, a native of Kanata, Ontario, has put in six seasons overseas since graduating from Colgate. He’ll be a 29-year-old rookie this fall.

Florida head coach/GM Jacques Martin reported that there were 3-4 other teams pursuing Murphy.  “We’ve been looking for a power play specialist,” he said.

This season, Murphy, in 45 games, posted a 13-37-50 line with a +17.

At Colgate, Murphy finished his four-year career with 111 points. He’s third all time among Colgate defensemen.  



These Guys are Gone

While watching the Frozen Four, keep in mind that there’ll likely be a few underclassmen among the four teams who will be signing an NHL deal sometime next week.

Best bets – underclassmen only -- are Boston College junior goaltender Cory Schneider, (Vancouver, 1st round, 2004); North Dakota sophomore forward Jonathan Toews (Chicago, 1st round, 2006); Maine freshman forward Teddy Purcell (free agent); Maine sophomore goaltender Ben Bishop (St. Louis, 3rd round, 2005); Michigan State sophomore forward Justin Abdelkader (Detroit, 2nd round, 2005); North Dakota sophomore forward T.J. Oshie (St. Louis, 1st round, 2005).

Here are the underclassmen who have, to date, signed NHL contracts. There are also, of course, a slew of seniors, both drafted and undrafted, who have signed ATOs (amateur tryout agreements) with AHL clubs. We have not included them in the following lists. These are the guys for whom $$$ were put on the table. Because of the current CBA, the underclassmen are the ones with the leverage.

NHL Signings – 2006-07 Underclassmen

 April 2 -- Trevor Smith, F, UNH sophomore, NY Islanders (free agent)
 April 2 –  Andrew Gordon, F, St. Cloud State junior, Washington (Washington, 7th round, 2004)
March 30 -- Shawn Weller, F, Clarkson junior, Ottawa (Ottawa, 3rd round, 2004)
March 30 -- Jon Quick, G, UMass sophomore, Los Angeles (LA, 3rd round, 2005)
March 28 -- Ryan Dingle, F, Denver junior, Anaheim (free agent)
March 27 -- Jack Johnson, D, Michigan sophomore, Los Angeles (Carolina, 1st round, 2005)
March 25 –  Darcy Campbell, D, Alaska-Fairbanks junior, Columbus (free agent)
March 22 -- Jack Skille, F, Wisconsin sophomore, Chicago (Chicago, 1st, 2005)
March 22 -- Steve Wagner, D, Minnesota State junior, St. Louis (free agent)
March 21 -- Torrey Mitchell, F, Vermont junior, San Jose (San Jose, 4th round, 2004)
March 21 – Joe Piskula, D, Wisconsin junior, Los Angeles (free agent)
March 20 – Mark Letestu, F, Western Michigan freshman, Pittsburgh (free agent)
March 19 -- Mason Raymond, F, Minn-Duluth sophomore, Vancouver (Vancouver, 2nd round, 2005)
March 19 -- Matt Niskanen, D, Minn-Duluth sophomore, Dallas (Dallas, 1st round, 2005)
March 16 – Steve Pinizzoto, F, RIT sophomore, Washington (free agent)
March 15 -- Kyle Greentree, F, Alaska-Fairbanks junior, Philadelphia (free agent)
March 15 -- Jonathan Matsumoto, F, Bowling Green junior, Philadelphia (Phila., 3rd round, 2006)
March 8  -- T.J. Fox, F, Union sophomore, San Jose Sharks (free agent)

NHL Signings – 2006-07 Seniors

March 28 – Andrew Joudrey, F, Wisconsin senior, Washington (Wash., 8th round, 2003)
March 27 -- Sean Sullivan, D, BU senior, Phoenix (Phoenix, 9th round, 2003)
March 26 -- Noah Babin, D, Notre Dame senior, Carolina (free agent)
March 21 -- Brian Elliott, G, Wisconsin senior, Ottawa (Ottawa, 9th round, 2003)
March 20 -- Reid Cashman, D, Quinnipiac senior, Toronto (free agent)
March 19 -- Jon Landry, D, Holy Cross senior, Columbus (free agent)
March 17 -- Sean Collins, D, Ohio State senior, Washington (free agent)
March 16 –  Kevin Westgarth, F, Princeton senior, Los Angeles (free agent)



Big Green Star Leaves School

Dartmouth freshman center T.J. Galiardi, a likely second or third round pick in June’s NHL draft, has left school due to academic problems.

A Calgary, Alb. native and who played for the Calgary Royals (AJHL) before matriculating at Dartmouth, Galiardi was an impact freshman for the Big Green, finishing the season as the team’s second-leading scorer -- behind David Jones -- with a 14-17-31 line in 33 games.

Galiardi’s numbers made him the second-leading freshman scorer in the ECAC, trailing only Quinnipiac’s Brandon Wong, who is two years older than Galiardi.

A strong skater with size and reach – he’s 6’2”, 172 lbs. – Galiardi is a playmaker with finishing ability. He sees the ice well, is creative, and has the puck skills to execute what he sees in front of him.

A 4/22/88 birthdate, Galiardi is ranked #33 among North American skaters in Central Scoutings Mid-term Rankings.

“Right now T.J. will wait for the draft, see who drafts him, and then follow the development path that team wants,” said Matt Keator, president of Olympic Sports Management and Galiardi’s advisor. “That could mean the AHL, or he could go to Europe, or he could redshirt a year and go back to college, or he could go major junior.”

“Right now, though, he’s flown to Minnesota where he’ll be training for the next couple of months to get stronger and quicker.”


Nash to Cornell

6’1”, 175 Salmon Arm (BCHL) forward Riley Nash has committed to Cornell and will be arriving in Ithaca this fall.

Nash, the last top '07 recruit to make up his mind -- a real throwback -- was also recruited by North Dakota, Denver, UNH, and Michigan. However, he’ll be taking his game to Cornell, where he will join his older brother Brendan, a freshman defenseman.

Nash, who was 42-53-95 in 66 games played, finished the season as the 10th leading scorer in the league – he was the only rookie in the top 30 -- and was named the BCHL’s Interior Conference Rookie of the Year.   

A 5/9/89 birthdate, Nash was ranked #99 on Central Scouting’s mid-term rankings of North American skaters, six slots ahead of his brother. 

A right shot center, Nash has size, skating ability, and quickness for his size. What sets him apart is his playmaking ability – he can really distribute the puck.

Nash played the ’05-06 season for the Thompson Blazers (Midget AAA) out of Kamloops and was named to the 2006 Pacific Under-17 Team.



Eagles Not Resting on Their Laurels

Honeybaked Midget minor forward Kenny Ryan has committed to Boston College for the fall of ’10.

Currently a ninth grader, the 6’1”, 190 lb. Ryan had been heavily recruited all winter by Notre Dame, Michigan, and Boston College.

Ryan, who will join the NTDP next season, didn’t pull those schools’ names out of a hat – he had personal connections to all three.

The Notre Dame connection was through his father, K.C., who went to Notre Dame on a football scholarship in 1976 but, in spring practice before his sophomore year, blew out his knee and never was able to play on the Joe Montana-led Notre Dame national championship team of 1977, though he has his championship ring.

The Michigan connection – besides growing up in Franklin, Michigan – came through his two brothers who attend the school. His oldest brother, Ross, currently a senior, was a punter for the Wolverines football team.

The BC connection came through former Eagle forward Doug Brown, who was coaching young Kenny in a spring clinic or league a couple years back and tipped his younger brother, (BC assistant coach) Greg to the kid’s potential.

So Ryan turned down the school his dad attended, turned down the school his brother’s attended, and struck out on his own.

Ryan was one of the top forwards at last summer’s Select 15 Festival and was among a number of 91’s invited to join the ‘90s for the Under-17 Select Tournament in Rochester in August.

This season, Ryan was a standout on a team loaded with standouts such as Cam Fowler, Kevin Lynch, Drew Shore, Brad Walch, Chris Brown, and David Valek, all of whom were invited to the U.S. NTDP tryout camp a couple weeks ago.

Ryan is a very complete, well-rounded player who does everything well. He has a quick stick, a strong sense of the game, he competes hard, he anticipates well, and he is considered to be a strong leader – captain material.  

So far, a pretty great week for the Eagles. The big test -- North Dakota -- comes tomorrow night. We imagine young Kenny Ryan will be watching, cheering for the Eagles. However, unless he accelerates, there is not a single member of the current BC squad that will be there when he arrives at the Heights. They will have all graduated. Think about that one.


Merrimack Assistant Resigns

Merrimack College assistant coach Marty Quarters has resigned , citing a desire to return to the Midwest – he’s a Detroit native – and return to either scouting or coaching at the junior level. 

Quarters said his leaving Merrimack is an amicable parting. “Mark (Dennehy) knew I wanted to get back to the Midwest,” he said.

Quarters, who has been in coaching for 14 years, spent two years at Merrimack. Before that he was an assistant coach/recruiting coordinator for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) for three years. He also spent three years with the Cleveland Barons (NAHL), plus several years with the Little Caesar’s and Honeybaked organizations in Michigan.



2006-07 EJHL Awards

Here are the USHR picks for the top players in the Eastern Junior Hockey League this season.

Top Forward:

Paul Thompson,
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (’88) – EJHL leading scorer with 83 points in 44 games

Runners Up:
Dennis Kearney, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (’88)
T.J. Syner, New England Falcons (’88)
Steven Moses, Boston Junior Bruins (’89)

Players to Watch:
Forwards Jeremy Morin, Syracuse Jr. Stars (’91), and Jesse Brown, Syracuse Jr. Stars (’90).

Top Defenseman:

Ryan McKiernan, Jersey Hitmen (’89)

Runners Up:
Eric Baier, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (’88)
Cameron Burt, New England Jr. Huskies (’87)

Top Goaltender:

Scott Darling, Capital District Selects (’88) – led league in save percentage

Runners Up:
Wes Vesprini, Boston Junior Bruins (’88)
James Mello, New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (’88)
Nick Eno, Green Mountain Glades (’89)



Whitney to Return

Lawrence Academy sophomore forward Steven Whitney has turned down an invitation to join the U.S. National Team Development Program.

Whitney will be staying at Lawrence, which for the last two seasons has made it to the prep playoffs, but has twice been KO’d in the quarterfinals.  

A native of Reading, Mass., Whitney, an explosive, shifty 5’6” right wing,  was one of the outstanding forwards at the recent evaluation camp in Ann Arbor, Michigan. 

Whitney had a 23-30-53 line at Lawrence this season.

We'll have a recap of the NTDP camp before the end of the week.


Top 25 From Minn. State Tournament

It’s taken awhile to put this together, but here it is: 25 players that stood out for us at the Minnesota State High School Tournament, played March 7-10.

This is not a ranking, but rather an alphabetical list. In putting it together, we were looking for players with the potential to play in the USHL and beyond. That was our sole criteria.

Nine of the 25 players are from Class A (Orono, Blake, Little Falls, and Albert Lea were defeated in the quarterfinals. In the semis, Duluth Marshall edged St. Thomas Academy, 3-2 in double overtime; and Hermantown got by Warroad, 4-3. In the final, Hermantown topped Duluth Marshall, 4-1, to finish the season undefeated.)

Sixteen players are from Class AA (Woodbury, Hill-Murray, Edina, and Blaine were all defeated in the quarterfinals. In the semis, Roseau beat Rochester Century, 3-1; and Grand Rapids needed overtime to top Burnsville, 4-3. In the final, Roseau beat Grand Rapids, 5-1.)

Not a single metro team made the finals in either conference.

For most players, we’ve supplied both full-season stats and state tournament stats.

Top 25 Players:

Tyler Barnes, junior forward, Burnsville
5’11” left shot forward… ’90 birthdate…. 29-25-54 in 31 games… Very skilled, good stick... Came through at key times in the tournament -- a goal and assist vs. Blaine; two goals vs. Grand Rapids… A difference maker. 4-3-7

Sam Carr, senior defenseman, Roseau
6’1”, 214 lbs… ’89 birthdate… 11-13-24 in 31 games… Dependable, steady, and played a ton of minutes. 0-2-2

Jack Connelly, senior forward, Duluth Marshall
5’8”, 150 lb. ’89 birthdate… 37-40-77 in 31 games... Really skilled, but small… Skates well, has good stick, and makes plays. 1-5-6

Joe Faupel, sophomore forward, Rochester Century
’90 birthdate… 5’10”…Shoots left… 17-13-30 in 26 regular season games played… Was hero of Rochester-Century’s 6-5 OT win over Hill-Murray, scoring his team’s final four goals (he had an assist in the game as well)… Anticipates well… Has quick release… Sees the ice and makes good decisions…Creates traffic in front… Outworks opponents along the boards and in the corners. 4-1-5.

Jared Festler, junior forward, Little Falls
5’9”… Leading scorer in state with 71-54-125 line in 30 games… Lincoln Stars property… Works hard every shift… Excellent puck skills and playmaking ability… Very good speed and quickness… Dangerous anytime he was on the ice… Has ability to make highlight type plays. Committed to St. Cloud State. 2-2-4.

Chris Franks, senior defenseman, Burnsville
Right shot… 6’2”… 11-32-43 in 31 games… Capable of carrying the puck coast-to-coast… Demonstrated endurance and stamina… Effectively uses his reach and size… Strong shot from the point… Can step up into the play… Hockey sense a question mark.

Garrett Grimstad, senior forward, Rochester Century
6’0”, 190 lb. late ’88 birthdate… right shot RW… 21-47-68 in 31 games… With his skill, we expected a little more, though he was OK (leading point getter on his team)… He’s with the Green Bay Gamblers now. 0-6-6

Bob Gutsch, senior forward, Duluth Marshall
Left shot… 6’1”… 23-34-57 in 31 games… Quick to the puck… Excellent play maker in the zone (give and go)… Strong, quick shot… Effective around the net. 1-4-5

Ben Hanowski, sophomore forward, Little Falls
6’2”… Second-leading scorer in state with 40-71-111 in 30 games… Feet need work, but he’s fine once he gets going… Strong on the puck… Power forward has a knack for scoring and making plays around the net... Works well with Festler… Good upside. Omaha Lancers property. 2-1-3

Nathan Hardy, senior goaltender, Hermantown
5’11”… ’88 birthdate…. Was 19-0-2 with three shutouts and a 1.85 gaa and .930 save percentage during regular season….Very steady… Came up with some big time saves in final vs. Duluth Marshall… In tournament, he allowed just seven goals and had a .914 save percentage.

Chad Huttel, senior defenseman, Hermantown
5’10” right shot d-man… 18-34-52 in 31 games… Ran the power play… Logged a ton of ice time…Very strong on the puck, and smart. 1-3-4

Ryan Knutson, junior forward, Rochester Century
Right shot... Twenty-five regular season games played (22 goals, 7 assists)… Nice touch around the net… Excellent stick handler in traffic… Physical player… Soft hands… Effective at using his outside speed and drives hard to the net… USHL rights owned by Cedar Rapids. 0-2-2 w/ six minors.

Tyler Landman, sophomore forward, Roseau
5’8”, 175 lb. ‘90 birthdate… Solid centerman… 28-26-54 in 31 games… Pretty smart; dependable, too… Good all-around player. Scored a pair of goals to lead Roseau to 5-1 win over Grand Rapids in the title game. 2-2-4

Nick Larson, senior forward, Hill Murray
Right shot… 6’2”… 31-30-61 in 29 games… Excellent skating skills… Demonstrates patience with the puck… A good player but, all things considered, didn’t accomplish all that much here… Missed consolation game due to back injury… Mr. Hockey Award finalist… Omaha Lancers own his rights… Gopher recruit for ’08. 1-0-1

Drew LeBlanc, junior forward, Hermantown
Shoots left… 6’0”… 31-59-90 in 31 regular season games… Creative with the puck… Can stick handle in traffic… Foot speed is a concern… Good anticipation… Playing for the Chicago Steel now. 4-4-8

Michael Lee, sophomore goaltender, Roseau
5’11”… ’90 birthdate… Took over goaltending job midway through season and helped lead Roseau to title… Had a bunch of shutouts down the stretch… Calm, steady, and takes up a lot of net… Very controlled, wasn’t all over the place. Allowed seven goals against; .951 save percentage.

Aaron Marvin, senior forward, Warroad
6’2”… 31-40-71 in 31 games… Big strong kid who will play very physically at times… Shows energy in bursts… Decent puck skills put doesn’t appear to be natural scorer… Mr. Hockey Award finalist… Committed to St. Cloud State… Playing for Tri-City Storm right now. 1-5-6

Dustin Moser, junior forward, Roseau
Listed as 5’9”, but appears smaller… ’89 birthdate…14-20-34 in 28 games… Good stick; very skilled. 3-1-4

Aaron Ness, sophomore defenseman, Roseau
May ’90 birthdate… Shoots left… 5’10”… 13-38-51 in 31 games… Special player… Smart… Best defenseman in tournament… Anticipates well -- effective at turning the play at the defensive blueline…Effective at digging the puck out in the corners… Quick to headman the puck… Quick to step-up into the offensive play… Committed to Gophers right after tournament… Sioux Falls holds his USHL rights. Father, Jay Ness, was a defenseman at North Dakota in early ‘80s. 0-3-3

Nick Oliver, sophomore forward, Roseau
Right shot… 6’2”… May ’91 birthdate... 12-14-26 in 31 games… Brings a physical aspect to the game… Supports the play and handles the puck well in traffic… Quick release with accurate shot… Son of Roseau coach… Committed to St. Cloud State… Invited to NTDP evaluation camp. 3-1-4

Jon Schreiner, junior defenseman, St. Thomas Academy
Shoots right… 6’1”… 28 games played during the regular season (7 goals, 17 assists)… Strong, low and accurate shot on net from the point… Quick snap shot… Effective transition game; gets up the ice quickly… Impacted the games here. 0-5-5

Joe Stejskal, senior defenseman, Grand Rapids
Right shot… 6’2”… Twenty-eight games played during the regular season (14 goals , 19 assists)… Physical player with clean mid-ice checks… Sticks with his check… Effective at breaking out the puck… Dartmouth recruit. 0-2-2

Ian Stauber, senior defenseman, Duluth Marshall
Right shot d-man… 6’1”, 180 lbs… Skates well, logged a lot of minutes… Very steady. 0-0-0

Kurt Weston, senior forward, Roseau
Shoots left… 6’0”… 25-24-49 in 31 games… Quick… Excellent in traffic… Creative with the puck… Supports the play… Strong on his skates and effective in tight… Hockey sense a question mark. 2-5-7

Patrick White, senior forward, Grand Rapids
Right shot… 6’1”… 18-31-49 in 24 games… Excellent puck handler… Aggressive at pressing the play in the offensive zone with good outside speed and strong upper body strength… Effective in traffic… Supports the play… Shut down by Roseau in the title game… Mr. Hockey Award finalist… Gophers recruit. 3-1-4


2006-07 AJHL Awards

Here are the USHR picks for the top players from the Atlantic Junior Hockey League this season.

Top Forward:

Tom DeRosa, Northern Cyclones (’87).  49-65-114 in 44 games.   

Runners Up
Patrick Cullen, Washington Jr. Nationals ('89)
P-O Michaud, Portland Jr. Pirates (‘88)
Scott Birnstill, NY Bobcats (‘87)

Player to Watch: forward Mark Anthoine, Portland Jr. Pirates ('90)

Top Defenseman:

John Carlson, New Jersey Jr. Rockets (‘90) -- UMass recruit for '09 had 12-38-50 line in 44 games.

Runners Up
Kevin Miller, Boston Bulldogs (‘87)
Bill Day, Washington Jr. Nationals (‘88)

Player to Watch: defenseman Andrew Panzarella, Washington Jr. Nationals ('90)

Top Goaltender:

Ross Mackinnon, Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack (‘87) -- Led the league in save percentage (.918) and finished with the second most saves. He got peppered nightly.

Runners Up
Matt Buchan, Boston Jr. Bulldogs (‘86)
Taylor Anderson, Walpole Express (‘87)