Established 1996
 
 

11/26/08

Bob Crocker, Jr. Passes Away Suddenly at Age 47

Bob Crocker, Jr., who worked 15 years as an NHL equipment manager, suffered a ruptured artery due to an enlarged heart and died suddenly on Monday afternoon.

Crocker, 47, lived in Hurst, Texas, with his wife, Diane. In recent years he had been an executive for SGS Hardware, a national manufacturer of hinges, locks, and doorknobs.

Crocker was also the equipment manager for the 1996 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team that competed in Lillehamer, Norway. He started his career with the Hartford Whalers, moved on to the Boston Bruins, and then the San Jose Sharks. He was also an able trainer, and assisted in that capacity at each stop.

He is the son of Bob and Ann Crocker of Centerville, Mass. Crocker, Sr., a scout with the Los Angeles Kings who has spent his whole life in hockey -- from college coach to NHL front office – is known widely to readers of these pages. Bob reports that the outpouring of support he and his wife have received from the hockey community has been enormously uplifting.

A memorial service will be held in Scituate, Mass. at a date and time to be announced. 

Update:

The Crocker family will receive visitors on Wed. Dec. 17 from 9:45-10:45 a.m. at the Second Congregational Church, 43 Highland Ave., Cohasset, Mass. A memorial service will follow at 11:00 am.
 

 

11/29/08

Ithaca is Gorges... Really

5’10”, 170 lb. Notre Dame Hounds (SJHL) LW John Esposito has committed to Cornell University for next fall.

Esposito, a skilled player with a good stick and vision, is a Montreal, Quebec native and the younger brother of Angelo Esposito, the former Shattuck-St. Mary’s forward and 2007 NHL first round draft pick now playing for the Montreal Junior (QMJHL).

The younger Esposito is in his third year at the Wilcox, Sask boarding school, and is the leading scorer among the league’s ’91 birthdates with a 12-12-24 line in 26 games. (We should point out that Esposito’s younger teammate, ’92 birthdate Jaden Schwartz, a Colorado College recruit, is the league’s fifth leading scorer with an eye-popping 17-21-38 line in 22 games. And Jaden’s older brother, Rylan, also a Hound and a Colorado College recruit, leads the league in scoring. CC could have used both Schwartzes in last night’s 4-1 loss to the Air Force Academy...but we digress.)

Getting back to Esposito, he’s a 10/28/91 birthdate, was drafted in the fifth round of the 2007 QMJHL draft, by the Victoriaville Tigers, and played on last winter’s Quebec Under-17 Team.

Vermont and Boston University were reported to be the two other schools also recruiting Esposito.

-- In case you missed it, Cornell also got a commitment this week from highly-touted 6’1”, 190 lb. RD Mathieu Brisson.

Brisson, the leading-scoring defenseman in the Quebec Midget AAA League, plays for College Charles Lemoyne and was named last week to the Quebec Under-17 Team that will represent the province at the World Under-17 Challenge in British Columbia Dec. 27-Jan. 4.

Brisson, a Montreal native, is a strong skater who projects to be a key player on the Big Red power play sometime after he arrives there, which will be the fall of ’10.

A 3/9/92 birthdate, Brisson was projected by the Q’s Central Scouting to go #8 overall in June’s draft. His NCAA aspirations spooked teams however, and he dropped to the second round where he was selected by Prince Edward Island. 



11/24/08

Another Top Québec Forward for BU

6’2”, 195 lb. Des Moines (USHL) RW Yasin Cissé has committed to Boston University for the fall of ’10.

Cissé just returned to Des Moines after spending last week in his native Montreal at the tryouts for the Québec Under-17 Team. A standout at the camp, Cissé was selected for the team and will be representing his province at the World Under-17 Challenge in British Columbia Dec. 29-Jan 4. BU assistant Mike Bavis watched him in Montreal, while assistant David Quinn was out in Des Moines the week before.

A 3/11/92 birthdate, Cisse played last season for the Lac St. Lions Midget AAA squad, where he was a teammate of Harvard recruit Louis Leblanc. Cissé was projected by the Québec Major Junior Hockey League’s Central Scouting as the #4 overall pick for last spring’s QMJHL draft. However, he made his USHL/NCAA intentions known so slid to the fifth round, where he was selected by the Moncton Wildcats. In other words, BU will have to keep recruiting him until the day he shows up on campus.

Cissé is a big, strong power forward with good hand skills and hockey IQ. He’s still on the raw side, but keep in mind that he is 16, extremely athletic, and still growing. If he successfully works on his strength and lifts his skating a notch, he could be an elite NHL prospect for the 2010 draft.

If you’re looking for a key factor in Cissé’s choosing BU look to the fact that one of his teammates at Des Moines is BU recruit – and fellow Québec native – Alex Chiasson. A number of WCHA schools had been courting Cissé, but BU is where he wanted to go.

Cissé, like our next president, is mixed race, with an American mother and a father who is African-born though now a Canadian citizen. Cisse’s family has a summer place in Gloucester, Mass. (as does BU head coach Jack Parker.) 

Cissé had a hip flexor at the start of the season, so missed the USHL Fall Classic in Sioux City. His first game with Des Moines came on Nov. 1. He has appeared in six games and has an 0-3-3 line with 15 pims (that includes one fighting major).   



11/24/08

He'll Stay Around Town


6’1”, 189 lb. U.S. Under-17 Team LD Kevin Clare has committed to the University of Michigan for the fall of ’10.

Clare chose Michigan over Vermont and UNH. Earlier, he had interest from BC and BU.

A 3/13/92 birthdate from New Rochelle, NY, Clare played for the Jersey Hitmen (EJHL) before going to Ann Arbor.

A fourth round pick of Erie in last spring’s OHL draft, Clare is a solid, steady defenseman -- not a flashy type, but more a physical, smart defenseman who makes a good first pass out of the zone. He’s a smooth skater, and reads plays well. In 16 games, he’s 0-2-2 with 16 pims. 
 


11/19/08

Shattuck of the East?

Rice Memorial High School, a parochial school in South Burlington, Vermont that already has a traditional high school team, is looking to go a step further, adding an elite midget AAA team that would play a 50-60 game schedule starting next fall.

Damian DiGiulian, a former Kent School and Hamilton College forward who went on to play minor pro and served as an assistant at the University of Vermont for nine years, will be heading up the program at Rice Memorial. Currently, DiGiulian, a 38-year-old native of Branford, Connecticut, is doing color for ESPNU’s Hockey East slate and is also working as a volunteer assistant on Bill Beaney’s staff at Middlebury College.

“This is all in the very early stages,” DiGiulian said, “but our goal is to have an elite level prep midget program on top of the current high school team.”

DiGiulian said he had spoken with Tom Ward, the head coach/director of hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary’s,the Faribault, Minn. boarding school that has produced national championship midget programs on a near-perennial basis.

”You have to look at them as the model,” DeGiulian said. “While each school, state and program is different, Shattuck -- as far as the whole package is concerned -- shines the brightest. They are the model. We will tweak it for our own situation.”

Unlike Shattuck, Rice Memorial lacks the ability to board students, so local billeting will be required. Rice Memorial also lacks an on-campus rink, though that is not an impediment as Cairns Arena, a two-sheet facility which Rice Memorial’s varsity calls home, is just two miles down the road. 

Besides hockey, DiGiulian points out, “(Rice Memorial) is a terrific school in an  awesome city.”  

The program will be looking for top players from across Canada and the U.S. And, at a tuition of a little under $8,000 a year, Rice Memorial can undercut traditional boarding schools.

DiGiulian was non-commital as far as exactly who Rice Memorial would be playing, citing ongoing dialogue between the school, the Vermont Amateur Hockey Association, and USA Hockey.

However, the fact that they are planning a midget program, and the proximity of Quebec to Vermont indicates that the Quebec Midget AAA League, a feeder for the QMJHL but also the source of top college prospects like Louis Leblanc, Yasin Cisse, Danny Biega and others, may be able to offer the program some competition. There are numerous international midget tournaments and showcases in the Montreal area.

The school could also operate as an independent program, playing a mix of top midget AAA teams and New England prep schools.

Or they could combine the two approaches, playing tournaments north of the border as well as New England prep and midget programs.

“We’re researching everything right now,” DiGiulian said. “We’re being as proactive as is possible because we are aiming to do everything the right way.”

Could this program take off? Could Rice Memorial become the Shattuck of the East? It could indeed, though it’s easy to say that because, back in the early ‘90s this typist, like many others, hadn’t even heard of Shattuck-St. Mary’s. As a matter of fact, the first time I heard of the school was upon learning that former Wisconsin defenseman Craig Norwich was trying to start up a hockey program there. I couldn’t quite see how Shattuck, a former military school with no hockey tradition, was going to fit into the rich fabric of the Minnesota state high school hockey system, which was actually Shattuck's initial approach, utilizing a co-op type deal with Faribault High School. It just all seemed like a long shot. But then Shattuck switched to the midget approach, and things started to come together pretty quickly.  Today, Shattuck’s record of success speaks for itself. So, yes, with a lot of hard work, DiGiulian’s program, which has the total support of the Rice Memorial administration, could make a mark. It’s certainly a story we’ll be following with interest.

 


11/18/08

Clendening Next to Go?

When Boston College lost recruited goaltender Brandon Maxwell to the OHL ten days ago the news did not exactly come out of left field. The rumors had been circulating for months and only reached a crescendo when the goaltender’s rights were traded from Erie to Windsor on Nov. 6. The rest is history. 

Lately, the same sort of rumors have been swirling around U.S. Under-17 Team RD Adam Clendening, a North Tonawanda, NY native and a Boston College recruit for the class of ’10. And this time, Boston College might be less patient with the notion of being strung along by a player who has his sights set on major junior. As a matter of fact, if the Eagles’ staff hasn’t already moved beyond Clendening, they are perhaps a millisecond away from doing so -- totally. When you are the defending national champion, you have the bully pulpit, and might as well use it.

Clendening, for those who haven’t seen him, is a headsy 5’11”, 165 lb. puck-moving defenseman who played last season for the Toronto Marlies Midget Minor squad. He  projects as a player who could run the power play with aplomb, be it in college or the O. With the Under-17 Team Clendening has been, according to player personnel director Ryan Rezmierski, “happy to be here. Everything he’s getting from the program, he’s eating up with a spoon.”

However, Clendening and his family also attended the London Knights-Plymouth Whalers game on Saturday. This is noteworthy socially as London rookie forward Christian Thomas was a teammate of Clendening’s on the Marlies last season, coached by Christian’s father, former NHLer Steve Thomas. Clendening also lived with the Thomas family. But it also suggests Clendening may be looking ahead to next season, as London is the team that drafted Clendening in the fifth round of May’s OHL draft. And GM Mark Hunter approaches the NTDP the way Sarah Palin approaches an afternoon at Nieman Marcus.

Looking for elucidation, we spoke to Clendening’s Toronto-based adviser Ian Pulver, but heard nothing along the lines of  “Adam loved his visit to Boston College… loved the coaches… loved the city” that is standard talk in such situations. We heard nothing even close to it, suggesting that sometimes words not spoken resound the loudest. When pressed as to Clendening’s intentions vis a vis Boston College, Pulver simply said, “There are no guarantees in this world.”

Look for Clendening to leave the NTDP after this season and sign with London, who will be on the hook for $50,000 to USA Hockey, a price that certainly didn’t deter Hunter when he swooped down to the Select 16 Festival in Rochester, NY in late June and bagged forward Jared Knight, who a month or two earlier had committed to the NTDP where, of course, he would have been Clendening’s teammate this season. 

  


11/18/08

Brother Act

6’2”, 180 lb. Noble & Greenough School sophomore LW Kevin Hayes, the younger brother of Boston College freshman RW Jimmy Hayes, will be following his brother to the Heights.

Assuming Jimmy stays at BC all four years, the brothers will overlap for one season, 2011-12.

Hayes, a Dorchester, Mass. native and a 5/3/92 birthdate, made his final choice from between Boston College and Boston University. Reportedly, brother Jimmy pushed for him to come join him at the Heights.

Earlier, UNH and Harvard were in the picture. 

Interestingly enough, the University of Minnesota tried to get into the mix for Hayes last summer, a sign that, with former Omaha Lancers head coach/GM Mike Hastings on board as an assistant with the Gophers, the school might be spreading its geographical base. Hayes, however, told the Gophers that he really wanted to stay around the Boston area, and that was as far as things went.

Hayes’ stock shot up quite dramatically over the summer. He always had hands and hockey sense, but his skating held him back. However, even as he was sprouting up, adding several inches over the last year or so, his skating got better. Usually, growth spurts are detrimental to a kid who has skating issues. Hayes seemed to flip that around, actually getting better as he grew. He’s still not a pretty skater, but he does get there. Some observers feel that, with his vision, he projects to be a better player than his brother who, of course, was a second round pick of Toronto in June’s draft and notched a hat trick and added an assist in a four-point effort vs. UNH on Saturday night, so we’ll see about that. No matter what, it will be fun to watch the competition.

The Indiana Ice drafted Hayes in the third round of the USHL Futures draft last month.

In his freshman season at Nobles, Hayes posted an 8-5-13 line in 29 games. 
  

 


11/17/08

Mid-Fairfield Wins New England Under-18s

The Mid-Fairfield Blues rolled through the competition, outscoring their opponents 49-3 as they won all five games they played at the New England Under-18s over the weekend.

In yesterday’s title game, Mid-Fairfield, coached by Chris Kiene, blanked the Seacoast Spartans, 7-0.

Here’s the whole squad, along with their winter teams. They will be representing the New England District at Nationals, scheduled for April 2-6, 2009 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Goaltender (1): Andy Iles (Salisbury).

Defensemen (5): Danny Biega (Salisbury), Thomas Freyre (Taft), Tim Kiene (Avon), Brandon Russo (Salisbury), Charlie Vasaturo (Avon). 

Forwards (9): Joey Agliato (Canterbury), Robbie Bourdon (Taft), Chris Buquicchio (Kent), Stefan Demopoulos (Avon), Andrew Flynn (Berkshire), Blake Forkey (Avon), Kevin Goumas (Canterbury), Sean Murray (Canterbury), Mike Sinsigalli (Taft).

In the midget minors, the Connecticut Wolves emerged as champions, knocking off Mid-Fairfield, 5-3.



11/14/08

Preps Start… Sort of

The New England temperatures will be in the 60’s this weekend, but we can, at long last, get going with a little bit of prep school hockey action.

The game to watch this weekend will be Cushing vs. Northwood Sunday afternoon (2:00 pm) at UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.

This marks the second straight season that Cushing has opened vs. Northwood, and if Penguins second-year coach Rob Gagnon has anything to do with it, it will become an annual affair.

Last year, the two schools played to a 1-1 tie.

While Northwood has been playing for several weeks and has eight or so games under their belt, Cushing just started practicing as a team a few days ago. Nonetheless, they’ll be ready, and looking to get back to the playoffs, which they missed last season for the first time in ages.

Here’s how Cushing will look:

The top line will consist of PG Mike Bosco centering for junior Mike Conderman on the left side and, playing his off wing, Conor Sheary on the right side.

With Brian Maguire and Josh Bernard lost to graduation, and Torin Snydeman and Jessyko Bernard having left early for, respectively, the USHL and the Q, Conderman will be the leading returning scorer.

Bosco, who’s 5’8”, 153 lbs. and a ’90 birthdate from Paradise Valley, Arizona, played for P.F. Chang’s last season. He’ll be expected to be a key contributor to the attack.

Sheary played extremely well this summer, and hopes to carry it into the regular season. Gagnon feels he could develop into a Broc Little type of player, which, translated, means a lot of points.

The second line is an all-senior line consisting of tri-captains Kenny Simon, Neil Lavanchey, and Casey Brugman.

The key pairing on defense will consist of seniors Grant Telfer and Zach Bradanick. A lot is expected of 6’3” junior defenseman R.J. Boyd as well. 

There are three ‘93s on the team in defensemen Julian Ciocco (younger brother of former Berkshire/BCHL/UNH forward Josh Ciocco) and Corey Scammon; and forward Collin Bourque (no relation).

The goaltender on Sunday will be 6’3” Marcus Calvanico, a ’90 birthdate and a junior from Flower Mound, Texas. Last season, Calvanico only got one start for Cushing, and that was early in the season, during the California trip.

If you wish to see Cushing's roster, it's been posted to USHR.

Northwood you know a little something about, as we wrote about their appearance at the fall Beantown Classic three weeks ago. We’ll get to know them a little better this weekend.

Before facing off against Cushing, Northwood will face the Gunnery School tomorrow night (Sat. 11/15) at Union College’s Achilles Center. Game time is 6:45 pm, right after the conclusion of the Union-Princeton game, which starts at 4:00 p.m.

The Gunnery roster has also been posted to USHR.


Note:

Exeter will host Bridgton Academy tomorrow (Sat. 11/15) at 4:00 pm. Exeter, behind four goals from 6’1” senior Ryan Williams, topped the New England Stars, 10-3, on Wednesday.



11/11/08 updated


It’s Official: Maxwell Gone


For a couple of weeks now rumors that U.S. Under-18 team goaltender Brandon Maxwell, a Boston College recruit for next fall, would turn major junior have been floating around.

The rumors picked up a little more steam over the weekend, when Maxwell’s OHL rights were traded from the Erie Otters to the Windsor Spitfires. This prompted the Boston College staff to ask Maxwell for a definitive answer concerning his future. Would he be coming to Boston College? 

The answer: no.

Next season, Maxwell, represented by the Orr Hockey Group, will be playing in the OHL. 

He could very well be playing for them before them -- and soon. We don’t really see what's in it for him, though. There are good reasons he’d be better off staying put with the Under-18 Team. First off, Windsor is 19-2-0 and has an overager, Andrew Engelage, in net. And Engelage is playing extremely well. If Maxwell went to Windsor and struggled, he’d sit… in his draft year. On the other hand, if he stays with the U.S. Under-18 Team, he’ll play in a regular rotation, and have an opportunity, in April, to compete in the World Under-18 championship, the most prestigioius showcase for his age group. Another impediment would be USA Hockey’s policy of asking up to $50,000 from CHL teams looking to sign a player off the NTDP. (Players today, on joining the NTDP, are required to sign a contract that stipulates a player is on the hook for up to $50,000, payable to USA Hockey, if he wishes to jump to major junior.) 

However, if he wants to go badly enough, and Windsor wants him right now, they'll probably get him.   

Maxwell is a dual citizen. He was born in Florida, where his father, a former OHL player, was training horses. But he grew up in Ontario, where he played minor hockey in Cambridge. His father is now an assistant coach with the Guelph Storm (OHL), so there has always been talk that he might wind up there.

In return for Maxwell, Erie gets big forward Andrew Yogan, a Florida native; and a second round pick in the 2009 OHL draft.

Update: 

The release fee for Maxwell is $10,000, not $50,000. The $50,000 figure went into effect with the '92 birthdates, and Maxwell is a '91. Also, it's looking like Maxwell will be in Windsor before the end of the month. He wants to be there right now.  


 


11/8/08 updated

Rats, GBL Advance to U-18 Final


The Neponset Valley River Rats, trailing the Central Mass Outlaws 1-0 with a minute and a half left in tonight’s game, pulled their goalie and scored two goals -- both by Kevin Sullivan -- with the extra attacker on, taking a 2-1 win and a slot in Sunday afternoon’s Massachusetts Under-18 championship game in Foxboro, Mass.

Derek Deblois assisted on the first goal and Steven Whitney assisted on the second. The second goal was not actually needed, as a tie would have been sufficient to put the Rats into the final. However, with both semifinal games  going on nearly simulaneously, no one knew that, and Rats coach Scott McDougall kept the extra attacker on. With the score now tied at 1-1, and the extra attacker still on for the Rats, the Outlaws just missed the empty net. If the Outlaws had scored -- and then held on for the final minute -- the Rats would have been eliminated. Instead, they missed, the play play turned back up ice on a 2-on-1, and Whitney got it to Sullivan who made the whole thing academic by burying it for the 2-1 win. 

The River Rats will play the GBL Jr. Bruins who, in the other late game, made it to championship Sunday via a 3-3 tie with the Cape Cod Whalers.

In the early games Saturday, the Whalers topped Central Mass, 4-1, and GBL beat Neponset, 6-3.

Friday night, Neponset’s Wade Megan, off a pass from Sullivan scored a goal literally at the final buzzer to take a 6-5 win from the Cape Cod Whalers in a barn-burner.

The River Rats went up early, 2-0, on a pair of Steven Whitney goals. Cape Cod came back with a pair of power play goals to tie it at 2-2. Megan put Neponset up, 3-2. Cape Cod scored a pair to go up, 4-3. On one shift, the River Rats came back with two goals to go up 5-4. But Cape Cod, in the final minute of the period, tied it at 5-5. Then, at the horn, Megan struck for the game winner.

The goal was initially waved off by the referee, but after conferring with his linesmen, the referee reversed himself and counted it as a goal. Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with the Whalers and their fans. However, a later look at the video revealed that it was the right call.   

The title game is Sunday at 1:00 pm at the Foxboro Sports Center. The winner represents Massachusetts at the Nationals in April.

The Patriots are playing Sunday in Foxborough, so leave extra time if you are driving to the game. 



11/8/08


U.S. Junior Selects Advance to Title Game

In Camrose, Alberta tonight, the U.S. Junior Select Team, behind a pair of goals from defenseman Matt Donovan, defeated Canada East, 5-1, in semifinal action at the 2008 World Junior A Challenge.

The U.S. took an early lead, going up 1-0, just 1:28 into the game when
Josh Balch tipped home a Lee Moffie point shot.  After Canada East tied the game, Donovan scored at 13:51 to give the U.S. a 2-1 lead. Max Nicastro picked up an assist on the goal.

Josh Birkholz put the U.S. up, 3-1, at 7:40 of the second, with Matt White assisting. The U.S. made it 4-1 when David Gerths scored a power-play goal at 15:52, with Mike Cichy and John Moore picked up assists. .

In the third, the U.S. extended the lead to 5-1, the final margin of victory, when Donovan, on a one-timer off a Craig Smith pass, scored his second goal of the game with 3:07 left on the clock.  

"The team stuck to the game plan and got better as the game went on," said U.S. head coach Mark Carlson. "We are happy with the team's hard work and very excited to be playing for the gold medal."

The US outshot Canada East, 30-24, in the game. The U.S. was 1-for-4 on the powerplay, while Canada East was 0-for-6.

The U.S. Junior Selects will face Canada West, 4-1 winners over Belarus tonight, in the gold-medal game of the World Junior A Challenge tomorrow (Sun. 11/9) at 8:00 p.m. EST at the Edgeworth Centre in Camrose, Alta. If you can get it, the game will be on TSN2.


11/9/08


U.S. Wins Gold at World Jr. A Challenge

The U.S. trounced Canada West, 7-1, in tonight’s World Jr. A Challenge championship game before a crowd of 2, 712 at the Edgeworth Center in Camrose, Alberta.

The win gave the U.S. their first title in the tournament, and ended Canada West’s two-year run as champs.

The U.S. dominated Canada West – the tournament’s home team -- from beginning to end, outshooting them 29-13.

Twelve different players scored at least one point for the U.S. Let’s name ‘em: Mike Cichy (1g,1a), Danny Kristo (1g,1a), Matt Donovan (2a), Craig Smith (2a), Lee Moffie (g), David Gerths (g), Max Nicastro (g), Josh Birkholz (g), Josh Balch (g), John Moore (a), Pat Mullane (a), and Greg Burke (a).

Mike Lee kicked out 12 shots for the win. Lee, who started all but one game, finished the tournament with a 4-0-0 record, a 1.75 gaa and a .933 save percentage.

Four of the seven U.S. goals came on the powerplay. Canada West’s lone goal was also a powerplay tally.

The key to the U.S success in the tournament was special teams work. The U.S. finished the tournament with the top PP (7-for-22, 32%) and the top PK (20-for-22, 91%).

"I really liked the composure of our team throughout the tournament," said U.S. head coach Mark Carlson. "The guys stuck to our game plan and were rewarded with the championship, which is something special." 

Mike Cichy, with ten points (5g,5a) in five games, finished as the tournament’s leading scorer. The North Dakota recruit, a native of New Hartford, Conn., was also named MVP of the tournament. 

The tournament all-star team consisted of Cichy, Smith, and Jaden Schwartz (Canada West) up front; Donovan and Andrew MacWilliam (Canada West) on the blue line; and Lee in net.

 

11/9/08

Komm-pletely Perfect

Branden Komm was terrific this afternoon, kicking out a barrage of shots -- 45 by our count – in leading the GBL Junior Bruins to a 6-0 win over a strong Neponset Valley River Rats team in the Mass. Under-18 championship game this afternoon in Foxboro.

The GBL Junior Bruins will be representing the Mass. District at Nationals, scheduled for April 2-6, 2009 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Komm, a Williamsville, NY native and a new 11th grader at Northfield-Mt. Hermon School, barred the door right from the start as his team was outshot 19-9 in the first period, but came out of it with a 1-0 lead on a Chris Brown goal. In the second, the GBL Bruins were again outshot, this time by a 16-12 margin, but defenseman Grant Telfer scored the first of his three goals of the day, enabling the GBL Bruins to take a 2-0 lead into the final period. And once there, instead of sitting on the lead, they exploded for four goals, good for the final 6-0 margin of victory.

The difference in the game, though, was Komm, a 6’0”, 187 lb. 3/19/91 birthdate, and an agile, quick goaltender who cuts down angles well and shows excellent reflexes. He played big, giving the Rats, featuring players like Mac Bennett, Wade Megan, Derek Deblois, Steven Whitney, Kevin Sullivan, and Jake Goldberg, little to shoot at.

The offensive hero for GBL was Telfer, a senior defenseman at Cushing, who notched a hat trick. Brown, a senior forward at St. Sebastian’s, had a pair of goals. And new Cushing senior forward Mike Bosco – an Arizona native -- had a goal and an assist.

Scoring:
  
1st Period:
GBL -- Brown (Francois Drolet, Kyle Huges)

2nd Period: 
GBL -- Telfer (Mike Conderman) PPG

3rd Period:
GBL -- Telfer (Bosco) PPG
GBL -- Brown (Jake Turrin) SHG
GBL -- Bosco (Andrew White, Zach Bradanick) PPG
GBL -- Telfer (Jay Haseley) PPG
 
In the Under-16 Division, a Ryan Callahan OT goal lifted the Valley Jr. Warriors to a 2-1 win over the Eastern Mass Senators.  Connor MacPhee and Aidan Hartigan assisted on the game winner.


11/6/08

U.S. Junior Selects Blitz Russia, 8-2, in Quarters

The U.S. Junior Select Team, behind a four-point night from Mike Cichy, topped Russia, 8-2, in quarterfinal round action at the 2008 World Jr. A Challenge in Camrose, BC.

The U.S. had a 4-0 lead after one. Cichy scored his second goal midway through the second to put the U.S. up 5-0 before Russia got on the board in the final minute of the period.

The U.S. finished the game 3-for-6 on the powerplay; Russia was 0-for-7.

The U.S. outshot Russia 44-37.

As mentioned above, Cichy had two goals and two assists. Others with multiple points were Pat Mullane (1g,2a), David Gerths (1g,2a), Craig Smith (1g,1a), and Josh Birkholz (1g,1a). Single goals came off the sticks of Matt Donovan and Greg Burke. One assist apiece went to Nick Larson, Darren Rowe, Lee Moffie, Dave Makowski, Rocco Carzo, and Max Nicastro

Mike Lee had his second consecutive start in net and kicked out 35 of 37 shots.

The U.S. advances to face Canada East in Saturday’s semifinal (4:00 pm MST). The U.S. defeated Canada East, 5-3, on Wednesday.



11/6/08

A Forward for the Minutemen


5’7”, 167 lb. forward Peter DeAngelo of the Boston Advantage Midget AAA program has committed to UMass-Amherst for the fall of ’10.

Currently, DeAngelo, a ’91 from Milford, Mass. who is strong and quick on the puck, has a team-leading 10-15-25 line in 20 games for the Advantage, coached by Joe and Tim Lovell.

DeAngelo has been with Lovell’s Hockey for several years. Drafted in the 2007 USHL Futures Draft, he will be playing for the Waterloo Black Hawks next season.

 DeAngelo, his teammates, and many, many other players will be in action this weekend at the Valley Warriors Classic in Haverhill, Mass.

Here’s a link to the schedule:

Valley Warriors Classic



11/6/08

U.S. Junior Selects Face Russia Tonight

The U.S. Junior Select Team will be facing off against Russia tonight (4:00 pm MST) in the quarterfinals of the 2008 World Jr. A Challenge in Camrose, BC.

Each team split their two preliminary round games. 

The U.S., in their opening game against Germany Tuesday night, held a 2-0 lead early in the second, but had nothing more to offer. Germany scored the next five goals to take the game, 5-2. Mike Cichy and David Gerths scored for the U.S., and Joe Howe stopped just 23 of 28 shots.

Last night, the U.S. had better luck – sort of, topping Canada East, 5-3. However, Mark Carlson’s troops knew before the game that, in order to get a bye into the semis, they would need to win by at least four goals – and they fell just one goal short. The win, however, was a decisive one, as the U.S. outshot Canada East, 44-24. Craig Smith (2g,1a) and Danny Kristo (2g) led the way for the U.S. Mike Lee kicked out 21 shots. For Canada East, RPI recruit Brandon Pirri had a goal and an assist. Pirri, by the way, has seen his draft stock shoot up this season, as he’s been lighting it up for the Streetsville Derbys (OPJHL) since the start of the season.

As for Russia, they bombed Belarus, 10-4 on Monday, and then lost a controversial game to Canada West on Tuesday night.

Trailing 1-0 after one period, Canada West was able to get back into the game when Russia was called for nine consecutive penalties in the second period, seven of which were minors. Canada West enjoyed a pair of full two-minute 5-on-3 power plays. Observers we spoke to described it as blatant hometown officiating. For the record, the entire three-man crew hailed from Western Canada. All three are WHL officials. 

In the third, Canada West, the tournament’s “home team,” added two more power play goals, and the game dissolved into predictable nastiness at the end. After the final horn, the Russians refused to line up for the post game ceremony, skating off the ice. The Russian goalie made an obscene gesture – with his hockey stick -- toward the fans at the Edgeworth Center. Reporters who had gathered for post-game comments were blocked by Hockey Canada from getting comments from the Russians. Finally, a Russian spokesman did emerge and said, “No comment.” So there you have it -- not a negative word concerning the officiating.

For Canada West, which had previously lost to Belarus, 4-3 in a shootout, in a game in which they were outhustled and outplayed, the game against Russia was a must win if they were to avoid playing in the quarters. And win, they did, even if it was tainted.

The big stud for Canada West was Dylan Olsen, of the Camrose Kodiaks, a 6’2”, 195 lb. defenseman who is the most highly-coveted of the available NCAA prospects in Canada, as well as a potential high draft pick in June’s NHL draft. Where he’ll fall in the NHL draft will have to wait. As for college, we can tell you that it looks like it’s down to either Denver or North Dakota. Olsen, who is as physical as he is large, can also see the ice, move the puck, and even score, as he did Tuesday night, driving to the net.

Anyway, getting back to the U.S. and their prospects for advancing to Saturday’s semifinals, bear in mind that they could be facing an indignant-with-good reason Russian squad. However, they also could be facing a Russian squad that has already thrown iin the towel, deflated by circumstance.

Check back later.


 


11/4/08 updated

Back in the USA

Former Salisbury goaltender Anthony Borelli, who started the season with the Penticton Vees (BCHL) is back in the US, and looks to be headed to the Lincoln Stars (USHL), who own his rights in the U.S. 

The 5’9”, 170 lb. Borelli, who graduated from Salisbury in June, appeared in 10 games with Penticton and posted an 8-2-0 won-lost record and a 2.10 gaa and .914 save percentage.

Last week, Borelli was part of a five-player, eight-team deal that sent him to the Winkler Flyers (MJHL). Borelli refused the trade, electing not to report to the Southern Manitoba team, and is in limbo while Lincoln tries to come to an agreement with Winkler, who have his Canadian rights -- and first rights. 

"He's not in Lincoln," said Stars head coach/GM Jimmy McGroarty. "The deal has not been finalized. He won't be practicing or anything until Winkler trades his rights."

Winkler, meanwhile, has gone with plan B, and have their old goaltender, Dayn Belfour, back. Belfour had been playing most recently in the Provincial League.

Borelli, a 3/24/89 birthdate, is from Grand Island, NY, a suburb of Buffalo.


 


11/4/08 updated

A Big Get for the Terriers


6’4”, 187 lb. RW Alex Chiasson of the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) has committed to Boston University for the fall of ’09.

Chiasson, probably the top remaining uncommitted prospect for next season, has been followed by a lot of schools for a long time, but made his final choice from between Vermont and BU. Earlier, Michigan and BC had been in the picture as well.

A native of Lorraine, Quebec and a 10/1/90 birthdate, Chiasson is an advisee of Phil Lecavalier and a third round pick of Val d’Or in the 2007 QMJHL draft, but it’s considered highly unlikely that he will take that route. We’re mentioning it right up top because we know BU fans, burnt several times, are nervous about such possibilities.

His head coach at the Northwood School last season, Jeff Matthews, says that the family actually approached Northwood when looking for a place for their son to play. While at Northwood, Chiasson was an A student.

An “A” player on Central Scouting’s most recent list, Chiasson is an extremely competitive player who will do anything to win, even block shots with his head, as he did last February while playing for the Northwood School against Cushing. The shot split his helmet right up the back, and gave him a few stitches, too. But he was OK to play again the next day, and did.

In the offseason, Chaisson, currently a true 12th grader, worked hard improving his strength and skating, and it showed right off the bat at the USHL Fall Classic at the end of September. There was that little extra jump. The thing to know about Chiasson is that – in addition to his size and competitiveness – the puck simply follows him around. He has hands.

“His puck protection is amazing,” says Matthews. “He’s great along the half-wall and in the corners.”

As for the NHL draft, Chiasson is projected to go no lower than the third round.



11/4/08

Garrett Reagan High School Hockey Summit

Fifty Massachusetts high school hockey teams will descend upon the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass. on Sun. Dec. 7th for the First Annual Garrett Reagan High School Hockey Summit.

The kick off to the Mass. high school hockey season, named for the longtime Hingham High School coach who died unexpectedly this past June, just months after stepping down from 26 years behind the bench, will feature mini-games galore – 25 of them, to be precise, and each consisting of two 12-minute periods.

This is a really good take -- being able to see that many teams in a single afternoon is just a great scouting opportunity.

Both Super 8 finalists – defending state champ Reading and runner-up Malden Catholic --  will be there. Both Div. I finalists – defending champs Needham and runner-up Westford – will also be there. And then there are 46 others including BC High, Hingham, Xaverian, St. John’s Prep, Waltham, Arlington Catholic, Burlington and many more.

Among the speakers at the summit, presented by the state hockey coaches association in conjunction with the MIAA, will be BC head coach Jerry York, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, Babson head coach Jamie Rice, and BC women’s coach Katie King.   

The schedule is below. Also included in the event are twelve girls teams, who will be playing six mini games in the early part of the afternoon on rinks #2-3.


Garrett Reagan Hockey Summit

New England Sports Center; Marlboro, Mass.
Sun. Dec. 7, 2008


Rink 1:

12:10 pm -- Hingham vs. BC High
1:10 pm -- Marshfield vs. Framingham
2:10 pm -- Holliston vs. Wachusett Regional
4:30 pm -- Westford Academy vs. Reading
5:30 pm -- Waltham vs. North Quincy
6:30 pm -- Marlboro vs. Westwood

Rink 2:

4:20 pm -- East Boston vs. Dartmouth
5:20 pm -- Burlington vs. Braintree
6:20 pm -- Newton North vs. St. Peter’s Marian

Rink 3:

4:20 pm -- Plymouth North vs. Wilmington
5:20 pm -- Franklin vs. Arlington Catholic
6:20 pm -- Hudson vs. Weston

Rink 4:

11:40 am -- Duxbury vs. St. John’s Prep
12:40 pm -- Xaverian vs. Central Catholic
1:40 pm -- Falmouth vs. Springfield Cathedral
4:30 pm -- Needham vs. Malden Catholic
5:30 pm -- Dedham vs. Lincoln Sudbury
6:30 pm -- Nashoba Regional vs. Watertown

Rink 5:

11:50 am -- Wakefield vs. Chelmsford
12:50 pm -- Medford vs. Bridgewater Raynham
1:50 pm -- Attleboro vs. Whitman- Hanson
4:20 pm -- Old Rochester vs. Medway
5:20 pm -- Newton South vs. Rockport
6:20 pm -- Arlington vs. Canton
7:20 pm -- Billerica vs. Walpole


 


11/4/08

USHL Selects Get Going Tonight

The 2008 U.S. Junior Select Team plays its opening game tonight (vs. Germany, 4:00 pm MST, 6:00 pm Eastern) at the World Junior A Challenge in Camrose, Alberta, 70 miles southeast of Edmonton.

Here’s the link to Hockey Canada’s website. They have a corner of their website set aside for the tournament, so you can follow the games there. They’ll be offering live scoring. (They were going to be offering webcasts, but, according to their web site, ran into “technical difficulties.”)

2008 Jr. A Challenge; Camrose, Alberta

With six teams in the tournament, each team plays just two preliminary round games. After tonight’s game vs. Germany, the U.S. will play Canada East tomorrow. Quarters are on Thurs. Nov. 6; semis are on the Sat. Nov. 8, and medal round games are on Sun. Nov. 9.

 
2008 United States Junior Select Team:

Goaltenders (2):
Joe Howe (Waterloo, ‘90); Mike Lee (Fargo, late ‘90).

Defensemen (7):
Matt Donovan
(Cedar Rapids, ‘90); Seth Helgeson (Sioux City, late ‘90); Dave Makowski (Green Bay, ‘89); Lee Moffie (Waterloo, ‘90); John Moore (Chicago, late ‘90); Max Nicastro (Chicago, ‘90); Darren Rowe (Cedar Rapids, ‘89).  

Forwards (13):
Josh Balch (Des Moines, ‘90); Josh Birkholz (Fargo, ‘91); Greg Burke (Cedar Rapids, ‘90); Rocco Carzo (Des Moines, ‘90); Mike Cichy (Tri-City, ‘90); David Gerths (Lincoln, late ‘90): Danny Kristo (Omaha, ‘90); Nick Larson (Waterloo, ‘89); Pat Mullane (Omaha, ‘90); Nick Oddo (Cedar Rapids, ‘90); Craig Smith (Waterloo, ‘89); Matt White (Des Moines, late ‘91); Robbie Vrolyk (Sioux Falls, ‘89).

Head coach: Mark Carlson (Cedar Rapids). Assistant coaches: Todd Knott (Sioux City) and Bliss Littler (Omaha). 


 


11/4/08

Four Nations Cup Videocasts


The U.S. Under-18 Team begins play tonight at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, NY, facing off against Switzerland at 8:00 pm EST.

Live videocasts of the games will be provided on the USA Hockey website.

Here’s the link:

2008 Four Nations Cup


Here’s the U.S. schedule:

Tues. Nov. 4 – vs. Switzerland, 8:00 pm
Wed. Nov. 5 – vs. Finland, 8:00 pm
Fri. Nov. 7 – vs. Sweden, 4:00 pm
Sat. Nov. 8 – Third Place Game, 4:00 pm
                       First Place Game, 8:00 pm

And while you’re at it, be sure to check out the U.S. women’s team, as well. Their games are also being videocast on the site.



11/3/08

Taft Forward to Colgate

5’9”, 162 lb. senior forward Robbie Bourdon of the Taft School has committed to Colgate for next fall.

Bourdon, a left shot who played both wings, was the leading scorer at Taft last season, posting a 16-17-33 line in 23 games.

“That’s a lot of points in the Founder’s League,” says Dan Murphy, his coach. “(Robbie) has great stick skills. Great hockey sense. He can shoot it a ton for his size. He is also quick to the puck.”

Bourdon, who is from Ile-Bizard, a part of the city of Montreal, attended Cardigan Mountain before going to Taft. He’s the younger brother of Melissa Bourdon, a former star goaltender at Williston-Northampton and UNH, and now an assistant for the Manhattanville women.

Bourdon, a 4/23/90 birthdate, made his final choice from between Colgate and Union.

 


11/3/08

Johns Makes His Pick

6’4”, 205 lb. RD Stephen Johns of the U.S. Under-17 Team has committed to Notre Dame for the fall of ’10.

Johns made his final pick between Boston College and Notre Dame. Earlier, Miami had been in the picture as well.

A really large – and very athletic -- defenseman, Johns has tremendous upside. He’s physical but he also adds an offensive dimension, as he can skate with the puck and has a great shot. He needs to work on his decision-making.       

A 4/18/92 birthdate, Johns is from Wampum, PA, about 40 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. Before joining the NTDP this season, Johns played for the Pittsburgh Hornets Midget AAA team.



11/2/08

Prep Pages

Just a reminder: the '08-09 USHR Prep Pages are now open. Click on “Leagues” above, and then “Prep Boys” and then “2008-09.”

Coaches have started uploading their schools’ schedules. Avon Old Farms, Kimball Union, Loomis-Chaffee, Middlesex, New Hampton, North Yarmouth Academy, Northfield-Mt. Hermon, South Kent, St. Mark's, Worcester Academy, and Wyoming Seminary make up the first 11 schools to get their schedules up there. And we thank them. Look for many more over the next week or two.

We will endeavor to keep you updated on what schedules have been posted.

Note that we have also led off the November Prep News with all the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year’s Tournament schedules.


Prep Note:

6’5” ’91 defenseman Joe Carrabino, listed by Central Scouting as a “C player” on the bureau’s recently released Players to Watch list, has been asked to leave Avon Old Farms. We’ve been told his dismissal was for “bullying,” and that said bullying led to a kid winding up with a broken leg. Some scouts might not think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Anyway, if you need to see Carrabino, he is now enrolled at the Millbrook School.


 

Around the Rinks

Paul Dore, who scored the game-winner with 52 seconds left to lead KUA to a 4-3 win over Salisbury in the Elite 8 Championship, is a senior the Wildca
Paul Dore, who scored the game-winner with 52 seconds left to lead KUA to a 4-3 win over Salisbury in the Elite 8 Championship, is a senior the Wildcats will be counting on heavily as they go for a record 4-peat. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
 
With Justin Hryckowian and Nick Capone taking their senior seasons in the USHL, classmate and UVM recruit Lucas Mercuri is Salisbury's leading returni
With Justin Hryckowian and Nick Capone taking their senior seasons in the USHL, classmate and UVM recruit Lucas Mercuri is Salisbury's leading returning scorer. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
 
Kent's Aidan Cobb, now a senior, committed to Cornell after helping lead Kent to the Large School Championship last March.
Kent's Aidan Cobb, now a senior, committed to Cornell after helping lead Kent to the Large School Championship last March. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)