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Late Sweden Goal Sinks Under-18s

An Andre Peterrson goal with 16 seconds left in regulation lifted Sweden to a 5-4 win over the U.S. in preliminary round action today at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia.

Earlier in the third, at the 11:24 mark and with the score knotted at 4-4, Danny Kristo was awarded a penalty shot but failed to convert.

Sweden took a 1-0 first period lead, but the U.S. was able to tie it up on a Jordan Schroeder goal -- Ryan Bourque picked up the assist -- with just 39 seconds left in the period.

In the second, the U.S. took a 2-1 lead on a Colin Moore goal at 3:26, and then built the lead to 3-1 when Jeremy Morin found the back of the net at the 14:29 mark.

Sweden, however, would come back with two late second-period goals, allowing them to take a 3-3 tie into the second intermission.

In the third, the U.S. got the lead back on a David Wohlberg goal, going up 4-3 at the 3:50 mark. Sweden, though, would tie it up at 4-4 midway through the period.

For the game, Sweden outshot the U.S., 29-25. Jacob Markstrom got the win for Sweden, while Joe Cannata took the loss for the U.S.

Defenseman Aaron Ness had a pair of assists for the U.S.

The U.S., now 2-1, faces Finland in their final preliminary round game on Friday.

In other action, Germany edged Slovakia, 5-4; Switzerland defeated Belarus, 4-2; and Russia beat Canada, 4-2. In the latter game, Russian star winger Nikita Filatov was assessed a major/game misconduct for butt ending in the first period, but his team prevailed anyway.  

U.S. Schedule:

Thurs. April 10 – Denmark (Exhib.) W, 5-0
Sun. April 13 – Switzerland  W, 7-2
Mon. April 14 – Belarus  W, 5-2
Wed. April 16 – Sweden  L, 4-5
Fri. April 18 – Finland
Sun. April 20 – Quarterfinals
Mon. April 21 – Semifinals
Wed. April 23 – Medal Games



Ivy Bound

6’0”, 180 lb. Deerfield Academy junior LW Andrew Ammon has committed to Princeton for the fall of ’10.

Ammon, a native of Ashburn, Virginia, is a swift skater, physical, hard-hitting, and extremely competitive. In 25 games he posted an 18-16-34 line, making him the third-leading scorer on the team, trailing only Alex Killorn and Antoine Laganiere.

Ammon, who is a 5/2/90 birthdate, will play a year of juniors before matriculating at Princeton.

Yale and BU were other schools that had interest. 


Andover sophomore LD Bennett Carroccio has committed to Yale for ’10. Carroccio, who attended the NTDP evaluation camp last month, was Andover’s leading scoring among defenseman this past winter with a 4-14-18 line in 27 games.

Andover, which caught fire down the stretch, reached the quarterfinals of the prep playoffs before bowing to St. Paul’s.

A native of New York City and a 10/14/92 birthdate, Carroccio is in his second year at Andover.



Schmitz Leaves NTDP for the OHL

U.S. Under-17 Team defenseman Beau Schmitz has said goodbye to the NTDP, having signed with the Plymouth Whalers (OHL) for next season.

It’s not really a big surprise. Over the winter, Schmitz reneged on his commitment to Ferris State, which was made over two years ago. So the handwriting on the wall was writ large.

Schmitz, who is 5’10”, 185 lbs., is an offensive defenseman who is also very good in his own end. He’s a hard-nosed type who plays with an edge – he led the Under-17 Team in penalty minutes. His skating is excellent.

A Howell, Michigan native, Schmitz was a member of the Belle Tire Midget Minor team that won the 2007 Nationals. One of his teammates on that squad was Michigan State recruit Zach Golembiewski, who was the third-leading scorer on the U.S. Under-17 Team this past winter.

The Whalers drafted Schmitz, even though he had already committed to the NTDP, in the first round (#19 overall) of last year’s OHL draft.

At the time, Whalers President/GM Mike Vellucci said, “I’d say taking Schmitz was a risky pick. I know he wants to play a year with the U.S. team, but we’ll keep on him and see what happens. We had him rated as the top overall pick, so it was hard to turn him down when we picked at 19.”

Golembiewski, who was also drafted by Plymouth last spring (5th round), is rumored to be headed to the Whalers as well.



Digging Deeper

In perusing Central Scouting’s Final Rankings, released late last week, we were struck by the number of highly-ranked kids out of Canadian Tier II leagues. In all, 18 are listed, with seven of those come in the top 50 – so there’s quality as well as quantity.

In last June’s NHL draft, Burnaby Express (BCHL) center Kyle Turris, chosen by Phoenix #3 overall, headed a list of 15 Tier II players who heard their name called in Columbus’ Nationwide Arena.

Contrast that with the 2000 NHL Draft, when six Tier II kids were drafted, with only one coming in the top four rounds (that would be Newmarket’s Max Birbraer, who skated this season for the Cardiff Devils in England). 

We picked 2000 arbitrarily, so there may well have been years when even fewer kids were drafted out of Tier II. The bottom line is that the Tier II numbers in Canada are going up, which should bode well for college hockey.


Central’s Final Rankings further illuminate what has been obvious all season: from an American perspective, it’s a down year.

Last June, ten Americans were chosen in the first round alone. This year, it may take a couple rounds to get to that number.

And for the NTDP, it’s a much different picture than last year: Of the top 16 U.S.-born skaters ranked by Central last week, merely two – Colin Wilson and Danny Kristo – played in the Ann Arbor program.   

That means 14 of the top 16 U.S.-born skaters played somewhere other than the NTDP.

As for goaltenders, the #1-ranked North American goaltender, Guelph’s Thomas McCollum is an Amherst, NY native. 

For purposes of contrast, of the first 50 players selected in last June’s NHL draft, 18 were Americans and, of those, eight were current or former NTDP players. Two of those, you will recall, went #1-2 overall -- Pat Kane and James vanRiemsdyk. There were three others – Kevin Shattenkirk, Ian Cole, and James O’Brien – selected in the first round alone. Billy Sweatt, Teddy Ruth, and Colby Cohen were selected in the second round.

At any rate, it’s not shaping up as a great draft year for the NTDP, and not much better for Americans as a whole. We hope it’s just cyclical, and not an indicator of a significant downturn.

Anyway, here are some videos for your enjoyment. The first features a slick move by Sarnia’s Steven Stamkos, the likely #1 overall pick.

The second and third feature Roseau’s Aaron Ness, one of the top-ranked U.S. kids.

Steven Stamkos OHL Skills Competition ‘07

Aaron Ness – Roseau vs. St. Cloud Tech

Aaron Ness – Roseau vs. Warroad


A Blast from the Past

If you have some extra time today and want to study Central’s Final Rankings over the past 11 years, here is the link to the archive. 

Central Scouting Final Rankings Archive



Gamblers Have Their Man

The new head coach of the Green Bay Gamblers will be St. Louis Bandits (NAHL) head coach Jon Cooper. However, don’t look for an announcement right away: the Bandits are in the playoffs, so the hiring is being kept on the QT.

Look for it to become official after the Bandits conclude the post-season. Given that Cooper’s squad blitzed the opposition in the regular season with a 47-9-2 record, and has won six of their first seven playoff games, they are a good bet to make it to the Robertson Cup championship game on May 4th. They will be defending their title.

Yesterday, Cooper was named the NAHL’s Coach of the Year for the second time.

Also on Friday, Cooper, who is also the Bandits’ GM, was named one of the five finalists – the only one from hockey – for the USOC’s Developmental Coach of the Year Award.

Last August, Cooper coached the U.S. Under-17 Select Team to a second-place finish at the Five Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic.

Cooper has coached the Bandits – the franchise moved from Texarkana to St. Louis in 2006 -- for five seasons. Before joining the Bandits, he was the head coach of the 2001-02 Honeybaked Midget AAA squad which went 67-7-1. Before that, Cooper led the Metro Jets (CSHL) to a national Jr. B title.

Suffice to say, he’s had success everywhere he’s been.

Cooper was born in Prince George, BC and played for the Notre Dame Hounds. He attended college at Hofstra, playing both hockey and lacrosse. In addition, he earned his law degree in 2003.

About 50 of Cooper’s former players have gone on to play Div. I college hockey, and five have been selected in the NHL draft.

Everybody we spoke to on Friday had a positive reaction to this hire. The Div. I assistants gave him a thumbs-up, which is significant because a big part of a USHL coach’s job involves interacting with them.
Cooper was almost certainly the #1 choice of the Gamblers from the get-go. The other two finalists were Luke Strand and Kevin Patrick, both former Gamblers’ assistants. 



McGroarty Suspended

Lincoln Stars head coach Jimmy McGroarty has been suspended for tonight’s playoff game against the Omaha Lancers and fined $1,000 by the USHL office.

With 22 seconds left in the opening game of the series on Tuesday night in Omaha, and Lincoln trailing the Lancers, 5-0, a scrum broke out in the Omaha end. McGroarty reportedly waved Kevin Murdock, the Stars’ backup goaltender, to skate the length of the ice and fight Omaha goaltender Drew Palmisano, who, less than half a minute from a shutout, was not even involved in the scrum.

Murdock was assessed a two-minute minor for crossing the red line. No concurrent penalty was assessed to McGroarty, as the on-ice officials had their hands busy and weren’t looking at the Lincoln bench. The gross misconduct was added after the game.

The fine and suspension, said USHL president Gino Gasparini, “is contingent on a gross penalty for directing a goaltender to get involved in an altercation.”

USHL Director of Hockey Operations Scott Brand had initially levied a two-game suspension against McGroarty. Brand, in his role of supervisor of officials, was reported to be in attendance at the game

“I rescinded (the suspension) down to one game because it’s a playoff situation,” said Gasparini, who allowed that McGroarty sending Murdock down the ice “could have fueled the situation bad, but he was grabbed by a linesmen and ref so he didn’t get to where he wanted to go.”

There is a long history -- and no love lost -- between these teams. Yes, McGroarty an assistant at Omaha for five seasons. More recently, though, a 2-0 Lancers win on Dec. 8 featured a line brawl that was started when Lincoln’s #1 goalie, David Reekie, speared Omaha forward Travis Novak. Shane Madolora, Omaha’s goaltender that night, took exception and, in the ensuing battle, fought Reekie at center ice.

On another front, while Gasparini said it didn’t really factor into his thinking, there are some pretty obvious parallels between the situation Tuesday in Omaha and what happened in the QMJHL on March 22 when Quebec Remparts goaltender Jonathan Roy, under orders from his father Patrick, skated the length of the ice and pummeled his counterpart in the Chicoutimi net.

In both instances, the losing team was getting hammered and had no chance to get back into the game. In both instances, the goalie on the short end of the score (who also happened to be the team’s #2 goalie) went after the winning team’s #1 goalie. The big difference was that in the Quebec-Chicoutimi game Roy actually reached the other end of the ice. He was suspended for seven games while his father, who was caught on tape waving him into battle, was given a five-game suspension.

What happened in the QMJHL had repercussions – basically, it turned into a national, or at least provincial, issue. That wouldn’t happen in the USHL, which doesn’t get anything remotely close to the national media attention in the U.S. that major junior teams north of the 49th parallel do in Canada. Still, you can be sure that the USHL wanted to cut off any such scenario at the pass, and send notice to the league’s coaches and goaltenders.

McGroarty, we believe, actually got off with a very light penalty.

-- In case you missed it, the following will give you a good sense of what happened in Chicoutimi last month – and the subsequent fallout.

Roy family show: Quebec vs. Chicoutimi, 3/22/08

The fallout

The other goalie



NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings Released

NHL Central Scouting has released its final rankings for the 2008 NHL Entry Draft 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 the top-ranked U.S.-born skater is Peterborough Petes (OHL) RD Zach Bogosian, who is at #2. Bogosian, from Massena, NY, played at Cushing Academy before heading to the O. The #1-ranked goaltender, Thomas McCollum of the Guelph Storm (OHL) is also an American, hailing from Amherst, NY.

This year’s draft will take place at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa. The first round will take place on Fri. June 20 starting at 7:00 p.m., EST and the subsequent rounds -- two through seven -- will begin at 10:00 a.m., EST Sat. June 21.

The Tampa Bay Lightning hold the first overall selection and are followed in the top five by the Los Angeles Kings, Atlanta Thrashers, St. Louis Blues and the New York Islanders.



Knott Takes Over Musketeers

Todd Knott has been named the new head coach/GM of the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). He will replace Dave Siciliano, who retired last month.

An assistant with Des Moines for the last three years, Knott, a 29 year-old native of Red Lake Falls, Minn., served as interim head coach of the Buccaneers after Regg Simon resigned at the end of February.

Before going to Des Moines, Knott was head coach/GM of the Fargo-Moorhead Jets (NAHL). In 2004, under Knott, the Jets went 36-17-3 and won the league’s West Division title.

A forward, Knott played in the USHL in 1998-99, with the Lincoln Stars, and played his college hockey at Bemidji State.


Canada Smokes Russia, 8-0; Wins Gold

Canada, which doesn’t usually shine at the World Under-18 championship due to the fact that most of their top players are with their major junior teams in the playoffs, had no trouble this time around, smoking Russia, 8-0 to take the gold medal today.

Canada silenced the large pro-Russian crowd early, taking a 5-0 lead after one on a pair of Jordan Eberle goals. Canada added two more goals in the second, and one in the third.

Canada, which had lost to Russia, 4-2, in the preliminary round, also got goals from Nicolas Deschamps, Corey Trivino, Brayden Schenn, Tyler Cuma, Brandon McMillan and Taylor Hall.

Jake Allen, picked up this second shutout here, kicking out all 29 shots he faced.

Canada, coached by Pat Quinn, consisted of major junior players with the sole exception of  Trivino, a forward with Stouffville (OPJHL) and a Boston University recruit.


U.S. Tops Sweden in Bronze Medal Game

BC recruit Brandon Maxwell kicked out 42 of the 45 shots he faced to lead the U.S. to a 6-3 win over Sweden in the bronze medal game of the IIHF World Under-18 championship today in Kazan, Russia.

Sweden outshot the U.S. 45-23 in the game. The U.S. led 2-1 after one, and 5-3 after two.

Maxwell, who was named the US player of the game, finished the tournament with a 4-1 record, a 2.21 gaa, and a .926 save percentage.

Top point producers today were Robbie Czarnik (2g,1a), Jeremy Morin (2g), Danny Kristo (1g,1a), and Aaron Ness (2a). Ryan Bourque also had a goal, and Philip McRae, Kyle Palmieri, Ryan Grimshaw, Vnny Saponari, and Jordan Schroeder each had one assist.

Czarnik and Morin led the U.S. scorers at the tournament, each finishing with eight points. Dave Warsofsky finished with seven points, and Ness had six.

U.S. Results:

Thurs. April 10 – Denmark (Exhib.) W, 5-0
Sun. April 13 – Switzerland  W, 7-2
Mon. April 14 – Belarus  W, 5-2
Wed. April 16 – Sweden  L, 4-5
Fri. April 18 – Finland  W, 4-3
Sun. April 20 – Quarterfinals -- vs. Germany  W, 4-1
Mon. April 21 – Semifinals – vs. Russia  L, 1-3
Wed. April 23 – Bronze Medal Game – vs. Sweden  W, 6-3



A ’93 for the Irish

5’9”, 160 lb. RD Robbie Russo, who played up on the Chicago Mission Midget Minor squad this season, has committed to Notre Dame for the fall of ’11.

Russo, one of the top few defensemen of his age group – if not the guy -- is a smart, puck-moving defenseman who, in 31 league games, had a 2-5-7 line. Russo, who also was considering Miami-Ohio, is a teammate of ’92 forward T.J. Tynan, a Notre Dame recruit for ‘10 or ’11.

Russo is a 2/15/93 birthdate.


Bucs’ Surprise Choice

The Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) named J.P. Parisé as their new head coach today.
Parisé, 66, has been at Shattuck-St. Mary’s for the past decade, serving as both a head coach and director of hockey operations for most of that time. Over the past couple of years his role has been reduced to that of simply director of prospect evaluation. So perhaps the move to the USHL is a welcome challenge

Parisé, a 14-year NHL vet, is no stranger to coaching. After his playing career – mostly spent with the Minnesota North Stars -- ended, he spent eight years in the North Stars organization, both as an assistant with the big club and as a head coach of their top affiliate in Salt Lake City.

Parisé is the father of New Jersey Devils (NHL) forward Zach Parisé and Lowell Devils (AHL) goaltender Jordan Parisé. Both his sons played at Shattuck before going on to the University of North Dakota.

In addition to hiring Parisé, the Buccaneers hired Scott McConnell as an assistant coach. McConnell, 29, is a former University of Denver forward who, for the past two years, has been an assistant with the Indiana Ice.

-- In other USHL news, Sioux Falls Stampede head coach Kevin Hartzell has been given a multi-year extension to his contract.

Hartzell has a 112-53-15 record in his three years at Sioux Falls. From 1983-89, Hartzell was the head coach of the St. Paul Vulcans (USHL). He has led his teams to the Clark Cup finals in five of his nine seasons as head coach. Twice, in ’84 and ’07, he’s won it all.

-- Former University of North Dakota defenseman Jason Herter has been hired as an assistant with the expansion Fargo Force (USHL). Herter joins his former Fighting Sioux teammate, Chad Johnson, on the staff of Dean Blais. Herter, 37, was most recently the head coach of the Russell Stover Midget AAA team, based in suburban Kansas City.

The Fargo Force will be playing in the $25 million 5,000 seat Urban Plains Center in South Fargo, which, by the way, was hit by vandals over the weekend, causing $500,000 damage.

The Oct. 31 construction deadline is not expected to change.

The vandals took control of a couple of cranes on the site, and went to work. Investigators said they could have done far more damage if they had been more adept at using the cranes. And when all was done, they scrawled “Yeah” on the side of the building. Must have been English majors.



Under-18s Edge Finland, 4-3

A Danny Kristo goal at 1:16 of the first period proved to be the game-winner as the U.S. wound up preliminary round action with a 4-3 win over Finland tonight at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia.

With the win the U.S. clinched second place in Pool B and will crossover to face Germany in a quarterfinal matchup on Sunday. In the other quarterfinal, Canada will meet Finland. Sweden and Russia earned byes.

The U.S. scored 53 seconds into today’s game, and midway through the period had a 3-1 lead. In the first, the U.S. outshot Finland, 19-5. About halfway through the second, Finland got a goal to cut the U.S. lead to one. That, however, would be as close as Finland would get.

BC recruit Brandon Maxwell kicked out 20 of 23 shots to earn the win. The U.S. outshot Finland, 35-23.

The U.S. scorers were: Kristo (1g,1a), Robbie Czarnik (2a), Jordan Schroeder (g), Kyle Palmieri (g), Justin Florek (g), Ryan Grimshaw (a), David Warsofsky (a), Ryan Bourque (a) and Aaron Ness (a). 

In other action today, Canada blanked Slovakia, 6-0; Sweden shut out Switzerland, 7-0; and Russia trounced Denmark, 10-1.

U.S. Schedule:

Thurs. April 10 – Denmark (Exhib.) W, 5-0
Sun. April 13 – Switzerland  W, 7-2
Mon. April 14 – Belarus  W, 5-2
Wed. April 16 – Sweden  L, 4-5
Fri. April 18 – Finland  W, 4-3
Sun. April 20 – Quarterfinals -- vs. Germany
Mon. April 21 – Semifinals
Wed. April 23 – Medal Games



River Hawks Assistant Rausch Resigns

Kenny Rausch, a seven-year UMass-Lowell assistant, has resigned from his position. 

Rausch, also the River Hawk’s recruiting coordinator, came to Lowell from Niagara, where he had served three years on Blaise MacDonald’s staff before coming along to Lowell with his boss.

It’s unknown exactly what circumstances led to the departure of Rausch, a ’95 Boston University graduate. A call to MacDonald went unreturned.

UMass-Lowell doubled their overall win total this past season, going from 8-21-7  to 16-17-4. They finished seventh in Hockey East with a 10-13-4 league record.

Chris MacKenzie is still with the program.

Former Northeastern assistant Shawn McEachern’s name has been mentioned in connection with the vacancy.



Make That Three

Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) interim head coach Todd Knott resigned his position with the team this week, only to be offered the head coaching position afterwards.

Knott, who has been with the Buccaneers since 2005, didn’t go for it, and is out the door, looking for a position elsewhere.

When head coach Regg Simon, in his third year behind the bench, resigned in late February, Knott took over as the team’s interim head coach for the final 15 games of the season. Knott went 4-9-2 and the Bucs finished the season with a 14-40-6 record, 11th in the 12-team league.

The team’s new local owner, Shawn Edwards, told the Des Moines Register this week that he’ll be starting a coaching search and will be going after “the biggest fish.”

The trouble with that? The word around the league is that Edwards is a difficult owner to work with. So we’ll see exactly who he gets.

Des Moines now joins the Green Bay Gamblers and the Sioux City Musketeers as franchises in the market for a new head coach.



We Didn’t See This One Coming

University of Minnesota 14-year assistant coach Mike Guentzel has resigned his position with the Gophers.

A Gophers defenseman and team captain in the early ‘80s, Guentzel, now 45, started his coaching career in the USHL, as an assistant with the St. Paul Vulcans in 1986. Three years later, he was named the Vulcans’ head coach/GM. From there, Guentzel moved on to the Omaha Lancers. Twice, and in back-to-back seasons, he was named USHL coach of the year.

Reportedly, Guentzel will go into private business – for now, anyway. But it’s probably safe to assume he’ll be back coaching somewhere very soon. Of all the coaching candidates out there, Guentzel is the one with the highest profile, and his name is certain to come up a lot in the coming weeks and months.


Iron Ranger Bound for the Green Mountains

Hibbing High School 5’9”, 170 lb. forward Anthony DeCenzo has committed to the University of Vermont for either ’09 or ’10.

DeCenzo is an excellent stickhandler and skater who sees the ice extremely well. He needs to add strength before arriving in Burlington, and for that – and the additional experience – he will be playing in the USHL next season. 

This season, DeCenzo had a 33-25-58 line in 27 games played. The Bluejackets reached the final of the sectionals, but fell to Duluth Marshall. After the season, he played 12 USHL games with Tri-City, and scored one goal.

A senior at Hibbing High and a 8/25/90 birthdate, DeCenzo is the son of head coach Mark DeCenzo, who played college hockey at Michigan State. His uncle, Mark Pavelich, was a member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Team and played in the NHL, mostly with the New York Rangers.

Forgive the digression, but did you know that when Hibbing High was built in the 1920’s that it cost nearly $4 million? It was a boom time and, with what appeared to be a limitless amount of iron ore coming out of the local mines, the town reaped the benefits. The high school, imposing from the outside, has some eye-popping details on the inside, like a grand marble staircase inside the front entrance, with brass hand railings, and hand-painted murals on the wall. Most impressive is the auditorium, which was modeled after the long-departed Capitol Theatre in New York City. Basically, what Hibbing has is a scaled-down version of the 5,300 seat Capitol, with 1,800 velvet-covered seats, cut-glass crystal chandeliers imported from Belgium, and one of only two Barton pipe organs in the U.S. If there’s a better high school auditorium anywhere, it’s news to us (not that we’ve studied the issue in depth).  

Hibbing High’s most famous grads, however, are not hockey players. Bob Dylan is a grad, class of ’59, and his high school band, the Golden Chords, played in the auditorium. NBA Hall of Famer Kevin McHale was a 1976 grad of Hibbing High. Originally, hockey was his sport, but a hugh growth spurt – he’d eventually grow to 6’10” – helped Hibbing High’s basketball coach to convince him to toss the skates. It seems to have worked out for him.

Now, we haven’t even touched on the Greyhound Bus Museum, which is also in Hibbing. We’ll save that for a rainy day. Maybe by then we’ll have a Fung Wa bus museum to write about. They could build it out by the Allston-Brighton toll booths.


Alberta Blueliner UNH-bound

6”1”, 200 lb. RD Connor Hardowa of the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) has committed to UNH for the fall of ’09.

Hardowa, who will be returning for his third season with the Saints in the fall, is a blue collar type, a defensive defenseman. He can pitch in offensively, however. At Spruce Grove, he was 11-31-42 in 60 regular season games, and 1-5-6 in 15 playoff games.

A native of Edmonton, Hardowa is an 11/15/88 birthdate, so he’ll be turning 21 early in his freshman season in Durham. He’ll be part of the freshman class that includes forwards Ryan Bourque, John Henrion, Matt White, and Greg Burke.


Tonight (Tues.) in Alberta, the Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Camrose Kodiaks will battle for the AJHL title in a seventh and deciding game. Camrose, the defending league champion, was up three games to one, but Fort McMurray came back, winning the last two and tying up the series at 3-3.

The Kodiaks’ leading scorer is 6’5” Denver recruit Joe Colborne, a ’90 who could go in the first round of June’s NHL draft. Colborne has 15 points in 17 playoff games.

RPI recruit Allen York has a 1.99 gaa and .930 save percentage for Camrose.

Fort McMurray’s leading scorer, Brown recruit Jack Maclellan, an ’88, also has 15 points in 17 playoff games.  

The winner of tomorrow’s seventh game will move on to face the Penticton Vees, the BCHL playoff champion, in the Doyle Cup staring April 18. And the winner of that series moves on to the Royal Bank Cup, which starts May 3rd in Cornwall, Ontario.

Penticton, which swept Nanaimo to take the league title, is loaded, with at least eight Div. I recruits. The Vees’ leading playoff scorer is Dallas Stars draft pick Austin Smith, a Colgate recruit who played at the Gunnery last season. Smith has an 11-11-22 line in 15 playoff games. Other college-bound members of the Penticton squad are Zac Dalpe (Ohio State), Brett Hextall (North Dakota), Eric Kroshus (Harvard), Trevor Nill (Michigan State), Cory Schneider (Ohio State), Devon Krogh (Ohio State), and goaltender Alex Evin (Colgate).

Penticton is coached by former USHL and St. Cloud State assistant Fred Harbinson.


In Game #7, York kicked out all 32 shots he faced to lead Camrose to a 2-0 win. Colborne and Alex MacLeod scored the goals. Camrose moves on to face Penticton in the Doyle Cup, beginning Friday. 



U.S. Under-18s Handle Belarus

The U.S. had no trouble with Belarus today, outshooting them 44-21 and outscoring them 5-2 in second-day action at the IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia.

Five different goal scorers came through for the U.S.  Phil McRae (1g,1a), Jordan Schroeder (1g,1a), Vinny Saponari (2a), David Wohlberg (g), Jeremy Morin (g), Justin Florek (g), Aaron Ness (a), Ryan Grimshaw (a), and David Warsofsky (a).

Brandon Maxwell kicked out 19 of 21 shots for the win.

Belarus actually scored first in the game, but the U.S. came back with four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead into the third. Belarus was able to cut the lead to 4-2 but Florek added an empty-netter late in the period to make it a 5-2 final.

In other action today, Slovakia topped Denmark, 5-2; Russia beat Germany, 6-2; and Finland defeated Switzerland, 5-3.

The U.S. is in action again on Wednesday, vs. Sweden.

U.S. Schedule:

Thurs. April 10 – Denmark (Exhib.) W, 5-0
Sun. April 13 – Switzerland  W, 7-2
Mon. April 14 – Belarus  W, 5-2
Wed. April 16 – Sweden
Fri. April 18 – Finland
Sun. April 20 – Quarterfinals
Mon. April 21 – Semifinals
Wed. April 23 – Medal Games



Condon to Princeton

6’2”, 187 lb. Belmont Hill junior goaltender Mike Condon has committed to Princeton for the fall of ’09.

Condon, who took over as Belmont Hill’s #1 goalie this season after the graduation of Matt Gedman, was the single biggest factor in his school’s 22-7-3 season, which ended with a loss to Avon Old Farms in the NEPSIHA semifinals. And they get him back next year.

A native of Needham, Mass., Condon was a workhorse, playing 1,632 minutes and posting a .931 save percentage. He was unbeatable in the first half of the season, had a bit of a dip in January, but got hot again for the stretch run.

Condon, a 4/27/90 birthdate, will enter Princeton when current Tigers #1 goaltender Zane Kalemba will be a senior, and Alan Reynolds, who played five games this season, will be a junior. 



Suspended Indiana Players Back in Lineup

Indiana Ice forwards Greg Squires and T.J. Syner, who had been suspended indefinitely by the team last week, returned to the lineup for last night's playoff game. 

The two players, who will answer felony theft charges when they appear in court April 29 in Indianapolis, were kept off the scoresheet, though the Ice, named the USHL’s top franchise last week, trounced the Chicago Steel, 7-2, to even up their playoff series at 1-1.

Squires and Syner were arrested last Tuesday afternoon and charged with the theft of over $500 from the Van Maur’s clothing store in the Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis.

Both players were allowed to play the following night, with Squires notching three points.

After that game the two players were suspended indefinitely by the team. They sat out the final two regular season games, as well as Thursday’s opening game of the playoff series, a 4-3 Indiana loss.



U.S. Under-18s Get Off on the Good Foot

The U.S. Under-18 Team topped Switzerland 7-2 today in opening day action at the 2008 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Kazan, Russia.

Jeremy Morin (2g,1a), Phil McRae (2g), Ryan Hegarty (2a), Danny Kristo (g), Colin Moore (g), Justin Florek (g), Vinny Saponari (a) and David Warsofsky (a) were the U.S. point producers.

The U.S. outshot Switzerland, 34-18. Joe Cannata kicked out 16 shots for the win.

The U.S., now 1-0, faces Belarus tomorrow. (The U.S. is in a pool with Belarus, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland. The other pool has Canada, Denmark, Germany, Russia, and Slovakia.)

There were three other games today. Canada trounced Germany, 9-2; Sweden beat Belarus, 6-2; and Russia topped Slovakia, 6-4.

U.S. National Under-18 Team

GOALTENDERS (2):  Joe Cannata (Wakefield, Mass./U.S. Under-18); Brandon Maxwell (Winter Park, Fla./U.S. Under-17).

DEFENSEMEN (7): Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y./U.S. Under-18); Ryan Hegarty (Arlington, Mass./U.S. Under-18); Sam Lofquist (Faribault, Minn./U.S. Under-18); Sean Lorenz (Littleton, Colo./U.S. Under-18); Aaron Ness (Roseau, Minn./Roseau High School); Nick Pryor (Woodbury, Minn./U.S. Under-18); David Warsofsky (Marshfield, Mass./U.S. Under-18).

FORWARDS (13): Ryan Bourque (Boxford, Mass./U.S. Under-17); Robbie Czarnik (Washington, Mich./U.S. Under-18); Patrick Gaul (Pittsburgh, Pa./U.S. Under-18); Justin Florek (Marquette, Mich./U.S. Under-18); Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn./U.S. Under-18); Kevin McCarey (Baldwinsville, N.Y./U.S. Under-18); Philip McRae (Chesterfield, Mo./London Knights (OHL); Colin Moore (Medfield, Mass./U.S. Under-18); Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y./U.S. Under-17); Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J./U.S. Under-17); Vinny Saponari (Powder Springs, Ga./U.S. Under-18); Jordan Schroeder (Prior Lake, Minn./U.S. Under-18); David Wohlberg (South Lyon, Mich./U.S. Under-18).

Head Coach: John Hynes. Assistant coaches: Tim Taylor, Joe Exter, and John Wroblewski.

U.S. Schedule:

Thurs. April 10 – Denmark (Exhib.) W, 5-0
Sun. April 13 – Switzerland  W, 7-2
Mon. April 14 – Belarus
Wed. April 16 – Sweden
Fri. April 18 – Finland
Sun. April 20 – Quarterfinals
Mon. April 21 – Semifinals
Wed. April 23 – Medal Games


Hurlbut Named Saints Assistant

Former St. Lawrence University defenseman Mike Hurlbut, a volunteer assistant with the Saints for the last six years, has been named full assistant, replacing Chris Wells, who last week was named head of the school’s women’s program.

A 1989 St. Lawrence grad, Hurlbut was a first-team All-American as a senior. He went on to play 14 years of pro hockey, mostly in the AHL.

Hurlbut is a native of Massena, NY, which is about 30 miles north of the St. Lawrence campus.


Green Bay Talk

 We’re hearing six names being bandied about in connection with the vacant Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) head job. They are:

-- Former Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) head coach/GM Regg Simon.

-- Current St. Louis Bandits (NAHL) head coach/GM Jon Cooper.

-- Current Houston Aeros (AHL) assistant Luke Strand. Strand, a Wisconsin native, is a former assistant coach/assistant GM with the Gamblers.

-- Wisconsin-Stevens Point head coach Wil Nichol. Nichol, a former Chicago Steel (USHL) head coach/GM, just completed his first year at Stevens Point, his alma mater.

-- University of Wisconsin assistant Kevin Patrick. Patrick, who has ten years under his belt as a Div. I assistant (Union, Bowling Green, and Wisco) served as an asst. head coach/asst. GM at Green Bay in 1997-98, when Mark Osiecki held the top job.

-- Air Force Assistant Mike Corbett. A native of Green Bay, Corbett has also served as an assistant with the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL) and head coach at Butte and Billings (AWHL).      


DelCastillo Cites Family

Despite reports covering everything from player revolt to sexual harassment accusations, the man in the center of the storm, Doc DelCastillo, who resigned yesterday morning after one year as head coach of the Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks (CCHA), said that the only reason he was heading south was because of family considerations.

“I have five daughters,” the 39-year-old native of Minnesota said. “And a sixth is on the way. It’s difficult to say this, because people are always saying they are putting family before career. It’s time to prove it for me.”

We asked DelCastillo about the reports of a player revolt.

“At times the players bucked the change,” he said, “but that’s part of the process whenever there’s a new coach.”

Asked about the reports of sexual harassment being filed against him, DelCastillo simply said, “That’s not true.”

“This is for my family,” he added. “One hundred percent.”

“I was only here for a year, but I loved it and I wish the program the best of luck. People here have been very supportive.”

DelCastillo will be returning to Minnesota. “I hope,” he said, “that I am provided with an opportunity to stay in hockey in the Midwest. Right now, I don’t have a job.”

Forrest Karr, the 32-year-old former Notre Dame goaltender who is now the AD at Alaska-Fairbanks, has elevated Nanooks four-year assistant coach Dallas Ferguson to the position of interim head coach.

Karr said he would like to have a permanent replacement by May 10, which coincides with the end of the school calendar.

If Karr decides to go back to the same well as before, the finalists for the job last spring were, in addition to DelCastillo, St. Cloud assistant Eric Rud, Wisconsin assistant Kevin Patrick, and Wade Klippenstein, a Nanooks forward and assistant coach who is now assistant coach/assistant GM of the Prince George Cougars (WHL).


It’s Official: Will Next Head Coach at Salisbury

Whatever green card problems Andrew Will was going through are over, and the former Union defenseman and Div. I assistant will be leaving Upper Canada College for bucolic Salisbury, Conn.

Salisbury Headmaster Chisholm S. Chandler, quoted in a school press release, said, “We are delighted that Andrew has accepted our offer to join the faculty at Salisbury School.  He is a superb teacher and coach, having served at Upper Canada College with distinction for the last four years. Andrew has worked in an all-boys environment at UCC, has demonstrated expertise as an English teacher, and brings his experiences as a college assistant at Union and RPI as well as the leadership of his own team at the independent school level.   All of these factors were important factors in this decision.  Without question, Andrew will embrace the challenges of this opportunity with great energy and enthusiasm.”

“Will will have two exceptional assistants in Matt Corkery and Nate Riddell. Corkery had a very successful 20-year tenure as the head coach at Salisbury and took the reins once again this past season as the interim head coach, leading the team to a 16-5-4 record and a seventh consecutive playoff appearance.  Riddell, a former Bowdoin College captain and leading player, is extremely well liked by players and respected for his knowledge of the game.

“We could not be more pleased with the outcome of the search process.  Andrew will be a terrific leader of our hockey program in the years ahead.”


For more on Andrew Will, please see the USHR News of 1/29/08


DelCastillo Out at Fairbanks

Doc DelCastillo has reportedly resigned -- or is about to do so – after one year as head coach of Alaska-Fairbanks.

We’ve heard a couple different reasons for this turn of events and, since efforts to reach DelCastillo tonight were unsuccessful, and no one’s saying anything on record, we’ll hold off until we know more.

DelCastillo, 39, was an assistant at St. Cloud State for four years and Nebraska-Omaha for five before being named head coach at Fairbanks last June, replacing Tavis MacMillan. DelCastillo, a St. Paul, Minn. native and father of five, also coached for six years in the USHL.

The Nanooks finished this season 8-16-4 in the CCHA, in a tie with Lake Superior State. They were 9-21-5 overall. During and after the season, several key underclassmen – junior D Tyler Eckford, freshman D Landon Novotny, and freshman D Jeff Penner -- left the program to turn pro.


St. Lawrence, Northeastern, and Minnesota-Duluth are Div. I programs already looking to fill assistant coaching vacancies.

You can add Lake State to the list, as Joe Shawhan, an assistant for the last three seasons under Jim Roque, has been cut loose. Shawhan said Roque didn’t want him back. When the Lakers were struggling earlier this year, there were calls for Shawhan to take over the program. (Shawhan not only was a goalie for Lake State, and later radio analyst, but he’s also a local boy who coached the Soo Indians for years.) Word on the street is that Roque may have felt Shawhan was after his job. At any rate, there’s now an opening up there on the Upper Peninsula, where it may still be snowing.



Zucker, Plus Other Recent Commitments

Compuware Midget Minor LW Jason Zucker, a ’92 birthdate from Las Vegas, Nevada and the object of heavy attention from a number of schools, has decided on the University of Denver.

He’ll matriculate in the fall of ’10.

Zucker made his final choice from between Michigan, Miami, and Denver.

Zucker, whose father is in casino construction, has an older brother, Adam, who played midget hockey. Starting out in roller hockey, Zucker went on to play youth hockey in both Los Angeles and Las Vegas, then moved to Michigan for the past season to join the Compuware organization. He was coached there by former University of Maine player Todd Jenkins. (The Black Bears also recruited Zucker hard.) 

Look for Zucker, who was a standout at the NTDP Evaluation Camp a couple of weeks ago, to join the Under-17 team this fall.

An excellent skater who can block shots, Zucker has a great stick, can score highlight reel goals, finish checks, and, generally, make those around him better.

In 30 regular season league games with Compuware, he had a 17-21-38 line. Overall, in 72 games, he had a 46-56-102 line.


Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) defenseman Matt Crandell has committed to Michigan State for the fall.

Crandell, a late ’88 who played at St. Cloud Cathedral, is in his second USHL season. An assistant captain, he played in all 60 of the Musketeers games and posted an 8-21-29 line.

Crandall, who is 5”10 and 190 lbs., is a smart, puck-moving defenseman. He has very good on-ice awareness and defensive instincts. He closes the gap well, and is tough to beat 1-on-1.
An excellent student, Crandell had the spot at Michigan State open up for him when Mike Ratchuk left school early to sign with the Philadelphia Flyers last week.


We got a little behind on commitments, but we have a few others from the past week or so, guys we’ve previously mentioned in these pages.

EJHL leading scoring defenseman Andrew Himelson, from the league champion Jersey Hitmen, has committed to Clarkson. Himelson, who’s 5’10” and 172 lbs. is a 2/24/90. In 45 regular season games, he posted a 16-33-49 line. In six playoff games he added six more points.

Himelson is from Monroe, NY, which is well up the Hudson, and not an area many Div. I players have come out of. Himelson played his youth hockey for the Hudson Valley Polar Bears, based in Newburgh, NY. He went on to play for Monroe-Woodbury High School and the New Jersey Devils midget minor team.

Also committing to Clarkson is Northwood School forward Jake Morley, who’s from Ogdensburg, NY, about 30 miles west of Potsdam.

Morley, a 6’2”, 205 lb. power forward and ’88 birthdate, is the third player off the Northwood team to be recruited to Clarkson. Morley will join 6’4” forward Julien Cayer at Northwood this fall. 6’5” defenseman Nik Pokulok will follow in the fall of ’09.


Avon Old Farms junior forward Brad Peltz has committed to Yale for either ’09 or ’10. Peltz, who is 5’10”, 165 lbs., put up a 12-19-31 line for the prep champions, who went 28-1.

Peltz, who will be one of the top returning scorers for the Winged Beavers next season, is a 10/2/89 birthdate from Mount Kisco, NY.


’92 RC John Parker of the New Jersey Rockets (AJHL) has committed to UMass-Amherst for the fall of ’10.

Parker, who is 5’10” and 170 lbs., was one of the youngest players in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League this season, only turning 16 mid-way through the season.

A Green Brook, NJ native, Parker posted an 18-17-35 line, appearing in all 44 games for the AJHL regular season champions.   

 For the second straight year, UMass-Amherst has recruited a player off the Rockets. Last season, it was 6’2” defenseman John Carlson, now playing for the Indiana Ice (USHL). Carlson will be arriving in Amherst in ‘09.  Carlson, a ’90, is expected to go as high as the second round of June’s NHL draft.



Nationals Recap

On Sunday in Buffalo, NY, Shattuck-St. Mary’s won the 2008 Tier I 18-and-Under title with a convincing 5-1 win over Team Illinois.

Jordy Murray (2g,1a) led the way with three points, while Eli Zuck (1g,1a), David Carle (1g,1a), Emerson Etem (2a), and Kyle Murphy (2a) each notched two points. Luke Greiner scored one goal, and Brett Kostolansky and Derek Stepan each added an assist.

Geoff Sadjadi kicked out 17 of 18 shots for the win. Troy Grosenick stopped 34 of 39 shots in the Team Illinois net.

Stepan, a Wisconsin recruit, finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with a 6-7-13 line in six games. On a points-per-game basis, Mid-Fairfield’s Cam Atkinson and Patrick Mullane, both Boston College recruits, did better. Atkinson was 9-3-12 in four games, while Mullane was 2-9-11, also in four games. 

Top goaltenders – among those who played more than one game -- were Andrew New of the Phantom Fireworks (1.33/.950) and Grosenick (2.00/.930).

-- Also on Sunday in Buffalo, Little Caesar’s edged the South Shore Dynamos, 4-3 to win the 2008 Tier I 16-and-Under title.

Jake Goldberg, Nick Sierra, Justin DeMartino, and Stephen Obarzanek each scored one goal for Caesar’s.

For the Dynamos, Matt Harlow had a pair of goals, and Charlie Coyle had one goal and two assists.

In goal, Caesar’s Michael Houser picked up the win, stopping 16 of 19. Houser had an excellent tournament, finishing as the top goaltender (1.16/.954). Right behind him was Mid-Fairfield’s Andy Iles (1.76/.936).

Harlow (5-6-11 in six games) finished as the tournament’s leading scorer. Following him were DeMartino (5-5-10 in six games), Obarzanek (5-5-10 in six games), Coyle (5-4-9 in six games), TI’s Daniel DeSalvo (5-3-8 in four games), the Colorado Thunderbirds’ Nick Shore (4-4-8 in five games), and Caesar’s Rocco Grimaldi (5-3-8 in six games). Right now, Grimaldi is the consensus top ’93 in the country.

-- The 2008 Tier I 14-and-Under title was decided on Sunday in Hackensack, NJ, and Little Caesar’s won that, too, blanking the Chicago Mission, 2-0.

Goal scorers for Caesar’s were Dominick Shine and Kacper Guzik. Jeremy Shur stopped all 23 shots he faced for the win. The Mission’s Garret Sparks kicked out 33 of 35 in a losing effort.

Caesar’s went 6-0-0 in the tournament.

The leading scorer for the tournament was Cason Hohmann of the Texas Attack. Hohmann, a ’93, posted a 7-10-17 line in five games. In fact, of his team’s 20 total goals, Hohmann figured in all but three of them.

The second-leading scorer in the tournament finished with just nine points.  



USHL Playoffs Get Underway Tonight

The USHL playoffs – i.e the Clark Cup -- begin this week, with a different quarterfinal series starting each of the next four nights.

The matchups are:

West Division -
#1 Omaha Lancers vs. #4 Sioux City Musketeers (game #1 tonight)

#2 Sioux Falls Stampede vs. #3 Lincoln Stars (game #2 tonight)

East Division - 
#1 Indiana Ice vs. #4 Chicago Steel (game #1 Thurs. night)
#2 Waterloo Black Hawks vs. #3 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (game #1 Fri. night)

The USHL playoffs have reverted to a simpler playoff format this season, with each of the three rounds of playoffs to be best-of-five. The quarterfinals will be all wrapped up by April 19th. Semifinals are scheduled for April 22-30. The final round will run May 2-11.

Odds and ends:

-- Omaha finished the regular season with 91 points, the best overall record in the league. Indiana had the second-best overall record, finishing with 84 points.

-- Omaha scored the most goals, 224, and allowed the least, 139.

-- The Green Bay Gamblers finished in the league basement.

-- Jack Connolly of the Sioux Falls Stampede and John Kemp of the Indiana Ice finished in a tie for the league regular season scoring title, with 72 points. Connolly had 26 goals to Kemp’s 13. Both players leapfrogged over Indiana’s Greg Squires who, along with teammate T.J. Syner was -- according to an Indiana Ice statement -- suspended indefinitely “pending review of the arrests,” whatever that means. The two players, who are scheduled to appear in court April 29th on felony theft charges, were not in uniform when their teammates clinched the top spot in the East Division Friday night.

-- Two players in the league broke the 200-minute mark in penalties, Tri-City’s Pierre-Paul Lamoureux (244 minutes) and Lincoln’s Brandon Bollig (211 minutes).

Omaha’s Andrew Conboy finished a disappointing fifth in the PIM’s race, with 188 minutes, behind both his teammate, Chris Hepp, and Des Moines’ Andrew Panzarella.

-- Omaha’s Keir Ross finished as the league’s +/- leader, with a +38.

-- Omaha’s Matt Thurber finished the season with 14 goals – and six of them were shorthanded tallies.

-- Top save percentage among league goalies went to Lincoln’s David Reekie, with a .935 mark in 38 games. Reekie also had the top goals against average, with a 2.01 mark.


NTDP Evaluation Camp

The annual National Team Development Program Evaluation Camp, held at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube Sun.-Tues. March 23-25, showcased most of the top ‘92s in the country. What follows is our take on the camp. It’s a consensus look, drawn from the observations of those watching the closest, from the beginning of camp to the very end.

The players below are listed in alphabetical order. Keep in mind that all these players are excellent prospects, and any comments we offer must be considered within that context. In other words, if a player’s skating, to use one example, is getting criticized, remember that the reference point is not the average player, but the top players of his age group, or even current NHLers back when they were the same age. All of these kids are good prospects. And some who don’t get invited to the National Program will turn out to be better than some who do. That’s the nature of the beast. Players just improve at vastly different rates.

Formal invitations – except those to Merrill and Moffatt – have not been issued yet. However, the top players have a pretty good idea as to where they stand… and the ones on the bubble don’t, but at least they know they’re on the bubble.

Goaltenders (4):

The two Michigan goalies – Jack Campbell (Honeybaked Under-18) and Willie Yanakeff (Honeybaked Under-16) – may have the edge in the battle for the two spots due to their combination of size and technical ability. However, many feel that Andy Iles (Salisbury School) is the most ready right now, and that will certainly factor into any decision the NTDP makes. Mac Carruth (Chicago Fury Under-18) had a rough camp - - just didn’t play well.

Defensemen (16):

The camp did nothing to ease concerns about the depth on the blue line among the ‘92s. Adam Clendening showed himself to be the top puck-moving d-man among the group. Jarred Tinordi and Derek Forbort were the top big guys. Kevin Clare and Kevin Gravel are both solid. Stephen Johns and Michael Gunn drew a range of opinions – some were intrigued by their potential, others less so. Brandon Russo could be hovering around the edges of the picture. Ben Marshall, Frankie Simonelli, and Bennett Carroccio will likely get consideration, too. Others previously dismissed as NTDP material may force their way back into the picture. Slots have to be filled and the program will likely cast a wide net as they continue their search into the summer months.

The defensemen, in alphabetical order:

Evan Accettura, Victory Honda Under-18 – Has size, and skates well. Hockey sense limited. OK in most areas of game, but not strong in any one area. Inconsistent. More of a reactionary player.
Bennett Carroccio, Phillips Andover Academy –  Showed better than expected. Pretty good in all areas, though great in none. Consistent. Tough to play against. Good in 1-on-1 situations. Limited upside, though.
Kevin Clare, Jersey Hitmen – Really solid. Does everything well. Good size, skates well. Had to get back to the Hitmen, who were preparing for Nationals.
Adam Clendening, Toronto Marlies – Came in late but proved to be the most gifted offensive defenseman in camp. Skates very well; also moves the puck very well. Not quite a Warsofsky or Fairchild, but the best candidate for running the power play.  
Michael Gunn, Compuware Under-16 – 6’2” and skinny, a bit of a Bambi. Some feel his skating is technically poor, others feel it will be OK as he gains strength. Not very aggressive. Makes good first pass. Some see a lot of upside; others don’t. A lot of observers see wildly different things in this player. 
Kevin Gravel, Marquette Electricians Under-18 – Interesting -- a bit of a sleeper. Has size, can skate, but needs to work on quickness and agility. Projects as a good two-way d-man at next level.
Derek Forbort, Duluth East HS – Excellent agility for a big, gangly kid. Soft hands. Makes good first pass. Strong in own end. Will be a solid two-way defenseman.
Stephen Johns, Pittsburgh Under-18—Wildly varying opinions. Has size, mobility, a good shot, and is physical. Has the tools but there are questions about his hockey sense.
Ben Marshall, Mahtomedi HS – Until recently he was a small forward, but now a small defenseman – he’s 5’8” or so. Has limited sense of how to play his new position. He can really skate, though. Turns on a dime.
Kevin McMorrow, Park Rapids HS – Just OK. Does everything well, but not outstanding in any one area. Has size at 6’2” but didn’t really assert himself. Lacks dimension.
Jeffrey Pauluk, Bloomington Jefferson HS – Good, small D – 5’6”, 140 or so. Smart, moves puck well. Lacks explosiveness.
Michael Reardon, Noble & Greenough – Very average camp.
Joe Rubbelke, St. Paul Johnson HS – Showed flashes. Played a too-reserved game. Hung back a bit. Not dynamic enough. 
Brandon Russo, Salisbury School – Small, but well-put together. Very solid on skates. Good skills. Good shot. Makes some high-risk decisions.
Frankie Simonelli, Team Illinois Under-16 – Nothing exceptional, but got better as week went along. Some observers liked more than others.
Jarred Tinordi, Washington Jr. Nationals – Big, raw, with a ton of upside. Played a safe, reserved game.

(Little Caesar’s Under-18 defenseman Jonathon Merrill, who was not at camp, is the only blueliner who had a slot on the team locked up in advance. He’s the one elite d-man. Naturally, the NTDP needs others to emerge.)

Forwards (26):

Very good as a group, but  no one jumped out as a sure-fire first rounder in the Kane/Kessel/Mueller/ VanReimsdyk mold.  That said, it’s a solid group all around. Luke Moffat, Jason Zucker, Austin Watson and Nick Bjugstad look like obvious picks. Chasen Balisy and Matt Nieto were nipping at their heels. Billy Arnold, Jared Knight, Brandon Saad, Emerson Etem, Shane Sooth, Phil Lane, and T.J. Tynan had strong camps. That’s 13 players right there.  Jacob Fallon, Max Gardiner, and Nick Shore drew a range of opinions, but are also very much in the picture. That’s 16 players – like we said, a deep group.   

The forwards, in alphabetical order:

Bill Arnold, Noble and Greenough – Soft hands, and strong on his skates. Has a nice low center of balance. Fearless. Has a strong sense of the game. Very good now, with a lot of upside…needs to shed pounds.
Chasen Balisy, Toronto Jr. Canadiens – Only played in a couple of games. Smart player with nice hands. Good, not great, skater. Very aware. Understands game. Makes plays.  
Nick Bjugstad, Blaine HS – Can skate, can handle the puck, and does a lot of the little things well. The foundation is in place. Rugged physique. Great upside.
Connor Brickley, Belmont Hill – A little spotty, but showed some flashes.
Emerson Etem, Shattuck St. Mary’s – Only in camp for two games. Showed speed and quickness. Just an excellent skater. Strong puck skills, too. Good shot. Vision average to OK – different opinions there. Creates opportunities with speed and aggressiveness to the net.
Jacob Fallon, Texas Attack Under-16 – Outstanding skill set, but got lost in fast-paced situations. Good in neutral ice. Distributed puck very well. Competed and got better as week went along. Smart player with strong sense of game. A little small. Mixed opinions on him.
Max Gardiner, Minnetonka HS – Could be good power forward in the long run, but has a long way to go. He’s 6’2”. His legs are lanky, and he hasn’t grown into his body at all. Feet are heavy. Struggled with pace the first day – a Chinese fire drill -- but got better as week went along.  
Colton Hargrove, Texas Attack Under-16 – Power forward skates well. Likes to hit and score. Good skills. OK hockey sense. Quite raw.
Christian Isackson, St. Thomas Academy – Disappointing camp. Sees ice well, smart, and has soft hands, but lack of speed neutralized him. 
Jared Knight, Compuware Under-16 – Good feisty, hard-working player who has physical strength and can also make plays. Smart. Played well at both ends. Got better as week went along.
Phil Lane, Rochester Alliance Under-16 – Does everything at top speed. A power forward type, physical and strong on skates. Good size at 6’1” or so. Could develop into a scorer. Very noticeable.
Alex Lippincott, Cleveland Under-18 – Just OK – kind of blended in. Not very noticeable. Good size.
Jeff McMinimy, Texas Attack Under-16 – Skates very well, handles puck well, and fights through checks. Good shot, with a quick release. A little one-dimensional. Hockey sense a question mark.
Michael Mersch, Team Illinois Under-16 – Thinks the game, has good hands, and works exceptionally hard. Good size. A mucker type. Feet are heavy. Knock-kneed skater. Was effective on small sheet, less so on Olympic sheet.
Luke Moffatt, Compuware Under-16 – Already offered a slot, last fall. The big guy. The one reservation about him is his tendency to overhandle the puck and his failure to use his linemates effectively.
Matt Nieto, Salisbury School – Has speed, vision, and plays with an edge. Had a strong camp.
Bryan Rust, Honeybaked Under-16 – Hope this doesn’t come off wrong, but he’s a poor man’s Matt Rust. Showed flashes, but not dynamic enough.
Brandon Saad, Pittsburgh Under-18 – Strong on puck. Sees ice well. Has a strong shot. Tough to knock off puck. Good size – he’s 6’2”. Solid, gritty player in the Jack Skille mold, though his skating is not as good as Skille’s. Scored two goals in first game.
Nick Shore, Colorado Thunderbirds Under-16 – Lack of speed was a factor. Had hamstring injury, which certainly didn’t help. Thinks game extremely well, though, and got better as week went along. Moved to center on last day, and showed very well. Good hands, good release to shot.
Andrew Sinelli, Honeybaked Under-16 – Just OK. Blended in, didn’t stand out in any way.
Shane Sooth, Salisbury School – Not a good skater but his puck skills and sense of the game are very strong. Good along wall, and has a nice scoring touch around net. He’s 6’1” so is still growing into body. Got better as camp went along.
Colten St. Clair, P.F. Chang’s Under-18 – Good skater. Good with puck. Competed. General feeling was that his game lacked a dynamic quality and that he didn’t show a lot of creativity. A lot of flashes, but didn’t put it all together.
K.J. Tiefenwerth, St. Anthony's HS – Disappointing camp. Not noticeable.
T.J. Tynan, Chicago Mission Under-16 – Quick, great hands, shifty, great in shootout. Small at 5’7”, 140 but helped himself a great deal here. Competes.
Austin Watson, Compuware Under-16 – Didn’t do much first game but had five goals in the second game. In other words, very noticeable some times, then invisible for long stretches. That said, he’s obviously a very good player. Tall at 6’2”, lanky, cerebral, poised. Great shot. Could lurk less and work harder. Has the tools; a lot of upside.
Jason Zucker, Compuware Under-16 – Excellent skater, can really go. Nice low center of gravity. Makes plays at a high pace. Goes to net. Gets into open areas. Creative. Wins 1-on-1 battles. Blocks shots. Very, very noticeable throughout the camp. Put himself on the map in a big way.


Top USHL Scorer Arrested

Indiana Ice forwards Greg Squires and T.J. Syner have been arrested, charged with the Tuesday afternoon theft of over $500 from the Van Maur’s clothing store in the Castleton Square Mall in Indianapolis.

The players, who are both 19, had allegedly tried to conceal the clothing under the clothes they were wearing, but were nabbed by store security. Squires is alleged to have had a pair of $190 Diesel jeans on, and Syner is alleged to have been wearing a pair of Burberry shorts and a shirt, together worth $290.

On Wednesday, the night after the arrest, Squires went out and scored three points (2g,1a) as Indiana, which holds onto first place in the USHL’s East Division, edged the Ohio Blue Jackets, 4-3, in Columbus, Ohio.

Squires, in 58 games, has a 24-46-70 line, which ties him for the league lead in scoring with Sioux Fall’s Jack Connolly. He’s a Western Michigan recruit. Before coming to Indiana, Squires, a White Plains, NY native, had played in the NTDP and had been briefly committed to Boston University before the offer was withdrawn.

Syner, who’s from Springfield, Mass. and played for the New England Falcons (EJHL) before going to Indiana, is a UMass-Amherst recruit.

Indiana plays two games this weekend, then goes into the playoffs.



U.S. Names Squad for World Under-18s

USA Hockey has named its 22-man roster for the IIHF World Under-18 Championship, which will take place in Kazan, Russia, April 13-23.

Only two players are coming in from outside the program: defenseman Aaron Ness of Roseau (Minn.) High School, and forward Phil McRae of the London Knights (OHL).

Two players, forwards Vinny Saponari and Jordan Schroeder, played on last April’s silver medal winning Under-18 Team.  

Four players on the team, goaltender Brandon Maxwell and forwards Ryan Bourque, Jeremy Morin, and Kyle Palmieri, are ‘91s who started this season on the Under-17 Team before joining the Under-18 Team after Christmas.

All other players on the team are ’90 birthdates.

John Hynes is the head coach. Tim Taylor, Joe Exter, and John Wroblewski will serve as assistants.

The U.S. will be in a pool with Belarus, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland. The other pool has Canada, Denmark, Germany, Russia, and Slovakia.

U.S. National Under-18 Team

Joe Cannata (Wakefield, Mass./U.S. Under-18); Brandon Maxwell (Winter Park, Fla./U.S. Under-17).

Ryan Grimshaw (Rochester, N.Y./U.S. Under-18); Ryan Hegarty (Arlington, Mass./U.S. Under-18); Sam Lofquist (Faribault, Minn./U.S. Under-18); Sean Lorenz (Littleton, Colo./U.S. Under-18); Aaron Ness (Roseau, Minn./Roseau High School); Nick Pryor (Woodbury, Minn./U.S. Under-18); David Warsofsky (Marshfield, Mass./U.S. Under-18).

Ryan Bourque (Boxford, Mass./U.S. Under-17); Robbie Czarnik (Washington, Mich./U.S. Under-18); Patrick Gaul (Pittsburgh, Pa./U.S. Under-18); Justin Florek (Marquette, Mich./U.S. Under-18); Danny Kristo (Eden Prairie, Minn./U.S. Under-18); Kevin McCarey (Baldwinsville, N.Y./U.S. Under-18); Philip McRae (Chesterfield, Mo./London Knights (OHL); Colin Moore (Medfield, Mass./U.S. Under-18); Jeremy Morin (Auburn, N.Y./U.S. Under-17); Kyle Palmieri (Montvale, N.J./U.S. Under-17); Vinny Saponari (Powder Springs, Ga./U.S. Under-18); Jordan Schroeder (Prior Lake, Minn./U.S. Under-18); David Wohlberg (South Lyon, Mich./U.S. Under-18).

April 10 – Denmark (Exhib.)
April 13 – Switzerland
April 14 – Belarus
April 16 – Sweden
April 18 – Finland
April 20 – Quarterfinals
April 21 – Semifinals
April 23 – Medal Games



Siciliano to Retire After Season

Sioux City Musketeers (USHL) head coach/GM Dave Siciliano will be retiring at the end of this season.

Siciliano, who announced his retirement at a press conference in Sioux City yesterday, is in his 15th year coaching in the USHL and eighth with Sioux City. He is the all-time leader in wins for the Musketeers, going 272-158-44 to date, and guiding them to the Clark Cup and Tier I national championship in 2002.

Before taking over in Sioux City, Siciliano spent seven seasons coaching the Thunder Bay Flyers (USHL), leading that franchise, now the Ohio Junior Blue Jackets, to a 249-77-10 record.

As those numbers indicate, Siciliano, while in Thunder Bay, built a league powerhouse. The 1988-89 team, which included future University of North Dakota and NHL forward Greg Johnson, was one of the dominant teams in USHL history. Not only did they win the Anderson and Clark Cup championships, the Flyers also claimed the Centennial Cup (now the Royal Bank Cup), which goes to the Tier II Junior A National Champions in Canada.

Siciliano also coached four years of major junior between 1996-2000, first spending a couple of years as head coach of the Edmonton Ice (WHL) and then taking over as head coach in Owen Sound for two seasons.

Siciliano broke the 500-win barrier in the USHL this season.  His all-time record in the league is 521-235-54, not including playoff games.

“In the history of this league there have been a select few coaches who have had a tremendous impact on the evolution of this league to what it is today. Dave is certainly at the top of that list,”said USHL president Gino Gasparini. “He has not only impacted players, he has impacted other coaches and the team and league operations with his professionalism.”

Siciliano will be leaving Sioux City and returning to his hometown of Thunder Bay.

The Musketeers have yet to name Siciliano’s successor.



Wells Takes Over Saints Women

St. Lawrence University assistant coach Chris Wells has been named the Saints new women’s coach, replacing Paul Flanagan, who has been hired as the head coach at Syracuse University, which is starting a new women’s Div. I program.

Wells, who has been on Joe Marsh’s staff for eight years, will be taking over a women’s program that has had a lot of success, with six NCAA appearances in the last nine years.

A ’92 grad of St. Lawrence, Wells, also an excellent golfer, went on to play a couple of years of pro hockey in England. He started his coaching career as an assistant at Colgate, spending four years with the Red Raiders (’94-98). After a year at Western Michigan (’98-99), Wells returnined to his alma mater. In total, he has 13 years experience as a Div. I assistant.

Wells is also the director of St. Lawrence’s summer athletic programs.