Established 1996


Canada Roars Back in Wild One; Tops U.S. 7-4

Ottawa, Ont. – Less than 13 minutes into their New Year’s Eve tilt before a record crowd of 20,223 at Scotiabank Place, the U.S., on goals from Kevin Shattenkirk, Jimmy Hayes, and Jim O’Brien, held a 3-0 lead over host Canada. 

The building was quiet; the crowd totally out of the game.

But big-time players step up when things look bleak and Canada’s John Tavares did just that, striking for a pair of goals roughly two minutes apart to cut the U.S. lead to 3-2.

After the second goal the Canadians celebrated extremely close to the U.S. bench and U.S. forward Eric Tangradi, seated, fell for the bait, reaching out with his stick and clipping Canadian Chris DiDomenico in the face. In the nastiness that followed Canadian agitator Stefan Della Rovere rammed James van Riemsdyk into the camera area between the benches, leaving the UNH star shaken up.

Suddenly, with the Canadians under their skin, the U.S. lost their composure. Just 57 seconds later, and in a manner eerily similar to last winter’s semifinal loss to Canada, the U.S. took a crucial too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.

Canada, smelling blood, cashed in on the opportunity quickly as Jordan Eberle beat U.S. goaltender Thomas McCollum to even the score at 3-3. The three Canadian goals had come within a span of 3:15, and the momentum had swung back to Canada.

Just 37 seconds into the second period, Canada made it 4-3 on a disputed Zach Boychuk goal – the penalty timekeeper may have been a few seconds slow on the uptake.

U.S. defenseman Jonathon Blum managed to tie it back up for the U.S., scoring a power play goal from a scrum in front of the net at the 3:40 mark.

At  the 6:56 mark Cody Hodgson scored a power play goal to give Canada a 5-4 lead. The goal would turn out to be the eventual game winner. Canada would add a pair of empty netters in the game’s final minute to account for the final margin of victory.

”It was a great hockey game,” said U.S. head coach Ron Rolston. “The pace and emotion throughout rivaled any game I’ve been a part of. We’re obviously disappointed with the outcome. We’ll be ready to play Slovakia on Friday.” 

-- Canada is now 26-5-3 vs. the U.S. in World Junior Championship play.

Canada, with the win, earns a bye into the semis. On Saturday they will play the winner of Friday’s Russia-Czech Republic matchup.

The U.S. must play a quarterfinal match against Slovakia on Friday (7:30 pm). If they win that, they will face Group B champ Sweden on Saturday.

The U.S. could get another crack at Canada – but it would have to be in the gold medal game.

-- The Canadian power play was 4-for-7 -- the Tavares’ goal that started the comeback, the Eberle goal that made it 3-3, the Boychuk goal that put them ahead 4-3, and the Hodgson goal that put them up 5-4 were all on the power play.

The U.S. was 2-for-5 on the power play.

-- Canadian goaltender Dustin Tokarski kicked out 23 of 27 shots. U.S. goaltender Thomas McCollum stopped 24 of 29. Late in the second, Tokarski came up with the save of the game, robbing Colin Wilson.



The “Other” World Junior Championships

As longtime readers of these pages know, the World Junior Championship underway in Ottawa, Ont. is just the topmost of a number of World Junior Championships in the sport.

To be specific, there are four other WJCs, three of which were played earlier this month. We’ll tell you about some of the players – the ones with stateside connections.

--- In the Div. I-A WJC, held in Switzerland, the big gun was France’s Stephane de Costa, a Merrimack recruit currently playing for the Sioux City Musketeers (USHL). An ’89 from Paris, de Costa led all scorers at the tournament with a 4-9-13 line in five games. For purposes of comparison, in the USHL de Costa has played 14 games with a 9-7-16 line.

--- In the Div. I-B World Junior Championship, held in Denmark, a number of players from stateside amateur teams took part.

* Patrick Divjak, an ’89 F with the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL), played for Austria.

* Nicholas Jensen, an ’89 F with the Bismarck Bobcats (NAHL), played for Denmark.

* Oliver LauserRoleIdsen, an ’89 D and a freshman at St. Cloud State (WCHA), also played for Denmark.

* Attila Pavuk, a ’91 F at the Hoosac School was the only prep player we found on any WJC roster. Pavuk had a goal and an assist for the Hungarian junior team.

* Scott Winkler, a ’90 F with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders (USHL), played for Norway. Winkler, who was playing midgets for Russell Stover a year ago, was a Dallas Stars 3rd round pick in June, and is a Colorado College recruit. .

* Denys Petrukhno, a late ’89 D with the Springfield Jr. Blues (NAHL), played for the Ukraine.

-- In the Div. II-A WJC, held in Romania, ’92 F Pijus Rulevivius of the Chicago Mission Midget Majors competed for Lithuania.

-- The Div. II-B World Junior Championship hasn’t started yet, but we already have the Great Britain vs. Mexico tilt (Sun. 1/11/09) circled on our calendar. Too bad we won’t be anywhere near Logrono, Spain, where this year’s tournament will be held. In this, the lowest WJC classification, you traditionally find some unbelievably lopsided scores. The field, in addition to the two countries already mentioned, includes China, Croatia, Spain, and the Netherlands.

Stateside players who are scheduled to compete in the tournament are:

* John Connolly, a ’91 D from the Texas Renegades (WSHL) and a native of Paisley, Scotland, will be playing for Great Britain.

The Netherlands boasts four players currently playing over here, and they’ll bring some size to the team. They are:

* 6’2” Mitch Bruijsten, an ’89 F with Sioux City (USHL).

* 6’3” Mike Dalhuisen, an ’89 D with Lincoln (USHL).

* 6’0” Carolus Nagtzaam, a ’90 F with the Alaska Avlanche (NAHL)

* 6’3” Martijn Oosterwijk, a ’90 G with the Tampa Bay Bolts (SEJHL).  

 We’ll check back in, later in January, and let you know if there are any bizarre results from the Div. II-B World Juniors.



The U.S. trounced Kazakhstan 12-0 tonight at the World Junior Championship in Ottawa, Ontario.

The U.S. outshot the Kazakhs, 61-10. Thomas McCollum had the shutout for the U.S, playing in his third straight game. He had to make one save in the first, two in the second, and seven in the third. (It doesn’t look like Josh Unice is in head coach Ron Rolston’s plans for this tournament.)

Kazakhstan has lost all three games they have played here. Prior to tonight, they had lost  9-0 to Germany, 15-0 to Canada. They have been outscored 36-0.

Let us tell you who scored. We’ll start with the guys who had two or more points – there are 10 such players. They are: Aaron Palushaj (2g,2a), James van Riemsdyk (1g,2a), Ian Cole (1g,2a), Kevin Shattenkirk (3a), Colin Wilson (2g), Matt Rust (1g,1a), Mike Hoeffel (1g,1a), Jordan Schroeder (2a), Cade Fairchild (2a), and Jim O’Brien (2a). Mitch Wahl, Drayson Bowman, Jimmy Hayes, and Danny Kristo each added a goal. A few guys had just one assist. And three U.S. skaters – defensemen Jonathon Blum and Teddy Ruth; and forward Tyler Johnson – had zero points. We kid you not. Nothing. Zippo. Nada.

The U.S. will face Canada on New Year’s Eve (7:30 pm). Both teams go into the game with identical 3-0 records. The team that wins gets a bye to the semis. The loser advances to the quarterfinals on Friday (1/2/09) and will have to play three games in four days in order to win gold next Monday.

The situation is identical in the other pool, with Russia and Sweden, both 3-0, facing each other Wednesday afternoon (12/31/08; 2:30 pm).


Billett to BC

New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) goalie Brian Billett has committed to Boston College for the fall of ’10. He’ll enter as a true freshman.

Billett, currently in the 11th grade in high school, is 6’1”, 180 lbs. and a 3/19/92 birthdate. Boston College’s interest in the Kennebunk, Maine native ratcheted up around the time the Eagles’ staff began to realize that recruited goalie Brandon Maxwell, from the U.S. Under-18 Team, was looking toward the OHL.

BC head coach Jerry York came in to watch Billet Dec. 18 at the Exeter Invitational, a 4-1 loss to the Boston Jr. Bruins, and gave his seal of approval. The wheels were in motion. Yesterday, Billet visited the Heights and committed.

Earlier, Maine and Northeastern had Billett in on a visit.

Billet, who has represented New England at both the Select 15 and Select 16 Festival, played last season with North Yarmouth Academy and the Seacoast Spartans. He started this season with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Empire League team, but was brought up to the EJHL team when the Monarchs released ’88 goaltender Pontus Hansson, the University of Maine recruit from Sweden who was struggling; and traded Connor Shannon to the Green Mountain Glades.

That was on Nov. 1. Since then, Billett has started 11 of  the Monarchs’ 12 games, posting a 9-1-1 record with a .923 save percentage and a 2.37 gaa.

“Brian has a lot of composure, competitive drive, and maturity,” says Monarchs GM/head coach Sean Tremblay. “He’s a big kid and well put-together. And he plays big – he uses his size extremely well. He tracks pucks well, and is strong on his angles. He needs to continue to work on his mechanics, but he’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever seen.”

-- Boston College is still looking for defensemen and have been keeping tabs on 6’4”, 182 lb. Jarred Tinordi (U.S. Under-17 Team), 6’2”, 195 lb. Philip Samuelsson (Chicago Steel), 6’1”, 200 lb. Patrick Wey (Waterloo Black Hawks), and 6’3”, 190 lb. R.J. Boyd (Cushing Academy). 



U.S. Squeaks Past Czech Republic

The U.S. National Junior Team edged the Czech Republic, 4-3, before a crowd of 19,847 (temporarily Czech) fans tonight in Ottawa, Ont.

The U.S. took a 4-1 lead at 3:43 of the third on Jordan Schroeder’s second goal of the game, but the Czech Republic notched two goals to make things dicey at the end.

The U.S. prevailed though, and on Tuesday will face Kazakhstan, which was beaten today by Canada – a 15-0 decision, no less.

Schroeder (2g,1a), James van Riemsdyk (1g,1a), Kevin Shattenkirk (2a), Colin Wilson (a), Matt Rust (1g), and Jonathon Blum (1a) were the U.S. scorers.

Shots were 27-27. Thomas
McCollum had 24 saves for the U.S.

In other games, Russia topped Finland, 5-2. and Sweden beat Slovakia, 3-1.


Beantown Spring Classic Dates

The Sixth Annual Beantown Spring Classic is scheduled for Wed.-Fri. March 18-20 at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass.

The tournament will consist of two divisions:

-- The Draft Division – for players born between 1989-91 -- will consist of four teams, each of which will play three games over two days. Ten forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies will be named to each team. Players will be selected from EJHL, midget, prep, and high school teams from New England, New York, and New Jersey. Games will consist of two 25-minute periods.

-- The Pre-Draft Division – for players born between 1992-93 -- will consist of four teams, each of which will play three games over the course of the tournament. Twelve forwards, six defensemen, and two goalies will be named to each team. Players will be selected from the same pool general pool – and geographical region -- as the older players. Games will consist of two 25-minute periods.

There are no tryouts.


U.S. Thumps Germany in Opener

Ottawa, Ont. -- The U.S. National Junior Team rolled over Germany, 8-2, in opening-day action today at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Jordan Schroeder (1g,3a), Colin Wilson (1g,2a), James van Riemsdyk (2g), Drayson Bowman (2g), and Mitch Wahl (2a) were the big guns for the U.S. Tyler Johnson and Matt Rust added a goal apiece. Kevin Shattenkirk, Mike Hoeffel, Jim O’Brien, and Ryan McDonagh each picked up an assist.

Thomas McCollum kicked out 16 of 18 shots to earn the victory.

The U.S. outshot Germany, 46-18.

In other action: Sweden topped Finland, 3-1; Russia beat Latvia, 4-1; and Canada had no problem with the Czech Republic, coming out on top by an 8-1 score.

U.S. Results/Schedule:
Fri. Dec. 26 – U.S. 8, Germany 2
Sun. Dec. 28 – vs. Czech Republic, 7:30 pm
Tues. Dec. 30 – Kazakhstan, 7:30 pm
Wed. Dec. 31 – Canada, 7:30 pm
Fri. Jan. 2 – Quarterfinals
Sat. Jan. 3 – Semifinals
Mon. Jan. 5 – Medal Round 



Velischek Shines for Delbarton

We took a break from the prep tournaments to head over to Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena on Saturday to watch Delbarton defenseman Alex Velischek go up against Catholic Memorial.

Velischek and Delbarton beat CM handily, coming out 5-1 winners.

After the game, Catholic Memorial long-time coach Bill Hanson, never one to mince words, was livid over his team’s performance. Unfortunately, we missed the best quotes because we were at the other end of the hall talking to Delbarton coach Bruce Shatel.

However, Hanson did say that, “In 25 years, I have never seen such a lackadaisical performance from a Catholic Memorial team.” And that was the kindest thing he said.

So look for CM to come out with a little bit of a snarl when they take the ice against St. Sebastian’s tonight at Harvard’s Bright Arena, a 7:00 pm start.

But getting back to Saturday’s game, Delbarton, winners of the New Jersey High School private division championship last March, is simply a better team than CM.

And there was no player on the ice close to Velischek in ability. A 6’0”, 200 lb. LD,  Velischek will be following the footsteps of his father, former Providence College and NHL defenseman Randy Velischek, when he joins the Friars next fall. (The Friars could use Velischek right now, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

Before Saturday, we hadn’t seen Velischek play in 2½ years, since the 2006 Select 16 Festival, where he was a standout despite being saddled with a bad hockey birthdate – he’s a 12/17/90.

We can tell you that Velischek is still a standout. He has good feet, pivots well, and, while not a burner, is an agile strong skater who was able to carry the puck through the entire Catholic Memorial squad. He makes crisp passes, has a strong shot, and showed excellent decision-making skills.

This is Velischek’s draft year, and from what we saw, he looks to be a middle round pick. He could nudge up a bit higher if scouts get a chance to see him defend against some bigger, stronger forwards.

Hotchkiss will be visiting Delbarton on Tuesday Jan. 6, facing off at 4:30 pm at Aspen Ice in Randolph, NJ. If Mac Bennett is back on the ice for Hotchkiss by then, scouts will have a chance to see the two best draft-eligible prep defensemen in the Northeast going head-to-head.

Delbarton has some other interesting players, such as 6’3”, 205 lb. junior forward Charles Orzetti, a Yale recruit who is a big body, a project. We thought junior forward Kenny Agostino was very good, and worked well with fellow junior Michael Ambrosia. On the blue line, 6’1” sophomore Matt Killian has potential.

For CM, we liked the play of junior forward Derek Colucci. Senior forward Billy Carey was noticeable, too. The defense was pretty porous.  


Delbarton is still in New England. Yesterday, they defeated Moses Brown.Today they face off against Bishop Hendricken (12:45 pm; Schneider Arena, Providence College).



Hebron Atop Season’s First Div. II Prep Poll

Hebron Academy, which has outscored opponents 31-3 thus far, sits atop the first USHR Div. II prep poll of the season.

Due to the fact that the entire Barber Tournament – and the final day of the Brooks-Pingree Tournament, too -- was wiped out by the weekend’s snowstorm, the statistical sample is a little small.

Bubbling under: Brunswick.

Next Div. II poll will be released on Mon. Jan. 12, 2009

USHR Div. II Prep Poll – 12/23/08



Tonight in Kingston, Ont., the U.S. National Junior Team topped Russia, 5-1, in its final tune-up for the 2009 World Junior Championship.

Aaron Palushaj, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, scored a natural hat trick in the first period.

Also in the first period, the U.S. outshot Russia, 15-0, and that is not a misprint. For the game, the U.S. outshot Russia 40-17.

U.S. scorers were Palushaj (3g), Eric Tangradi (3a), James van Riemsdyk (1g,1a), Colin Wilson (1g,1a), Matt Rust (2a), Jonathon Blum (1a), and Jordan Schroeder (1a).

Guelph Storm goaltender Thomas McCollum kicked out 16 of 17 shots.

On Monday, the U.S. topped Latvia, 13-2, in an exhibition game.

The U.S. opens tournament play on Fri. Dec. 26 vs. Germany (3:30 pm), then follows with games against the Czech Republic (Sun. Dec. 28, 7:30 pm), Kazakhstan (Tues. Dec. 30, 7:30 pm), Canada (Wed. Dec. 31, 7:30 pm). Quarterfinals are on Fri. Jan. 2, semis on Sat. Jan. 3 and medal games are on Mon. Jan. 5 All games will be played at the Scotia Bank Place Arena in Ottawa. U.S. games will be televised by the NHL Network.

2009 U.S. National Junior Team:

Goaltenders (2):
Thomas McCollum (Guelph - OHL), Josh Unice (Kitchener - OHL).

Defensemen (7):
Jonathon Blum (Vancouver – WHL), Ian Cole (Notre Dame), Cade Fairchild (Minnesota), Blake Kessel (UNH), Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin), Teddy Ruth (Notre Dame), Kevin Shattenkirk (BU).

Forwards (13):
Drayson Bowman (Spokane – WHL), Jimmy Hayes (BC), Mike Hoeffel (Minnesota), Tyler Johnson (Spokane – WHL), Danny Kristo (Omaha Lancers – USHL), Jim O’Brien (Seattle – WHL), Aaron Palushaj (Michigan), Matt Rust (Michigan), Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota), Eric Tangradi (Belleville – OHL), James van Riemsdyk (UNH), Mitch Wahl (Spokane – WHL), Colin Wilson (BU).

Blum is the team’s captain, with Shattenkirk and Wilson as alternates.

Head Coach: Ron Rolston (U.S. Under-18 Team). Assistant Coaches: Nate Leaman (Union College) and P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo - USHL). Goalie Coach: Jeff Blashill (Indiana – USHL). Video Coordinator: Ken Martel (USA Hockey).



Rhinos New #1 in USHR Div. I Prep Poll

Taft, winners of the Lawrenceville Tournament over the weekend, remain undefeated at 5-0-0 and move up a few notches to take over the top spot in this week’s USHR Div. I Prep Poll.

KO’d from the top ten this week: South Kent, Westminster, and Hotchkiss.

Taking up residency: Nobles, Gunnery, and Winchendon.

Bubbling Under: Berkshire.

USHR Div. I Poll – Dec. 22, 2008


There's No Place Like Home

Salisbury School junior goaltender Andy Iles -- an Ithaca, NY native -- has committed to Cornell for the fall of '10.

Iles has been the top-recruited goaltender in the east this fall, with Boston College, UNH, Harvard, and Providence College all joining Cornell in making their pitch for Iles.

Last winter, many observers felt that Iles was the top '92 goaltender -- or at least in the top two -- and deserved to be picked for this year's U.S. Under-17 Team in Ann Arbor. His lack of size -- he's 5'9", 165 -- was a factor in the decision to pass on him, and go with 6'2" Willie Yanakeff and 6'1" Jack Campbell.

Iles, a 1/30/92 birthdate in his second year at Salisbury, has not allowed more than three goals in a game yet this season. Yesterday afternoon, at the Flood-Marr, he took his first loss of the season, a 3-0 decision to Nobles. All three goals came in a three-minute span in the second -- two were bombs, just great shots; the other a rebound.

With a winter storm headed toward New England, please keep an eye on the Prep News section of this site for updates. The 2008 Barber Tournament, due to start Friday, has been canceled already.


Goals… Assists… Saves -- Nyet!!

At this time of year, we tend to get a lot of e-mail from parents or players asking us to “correct” the scoring on such-and-such a goal or to print the “correct” number of saves for such-and-such a goalie.

Sorry – can’t do it.

For those who are new to USHR, we want to point out that the box scores you see here are uploaded directly to the site by the competing schools. The coaches have the official game sheets in hand, and, if they see any obvious mistakes, generally correct them before uploading. Sometimes, they make corrections later, usually after double-checking with   players, assistant coaches, and/or looking at game film. They are pretty good about this. They like to get things right.

Other times, as in the case of a faulty upload, a box score can appear in which everything looks a little wonky – or the points get counted twice in the scoring leaders. In those cases, please do let us know something is wrong, and we will correct it.

It is simply goals, assists, and saves that we would prefer not hearing about. It’s just not our domain. It’s the coaches’ domain. They don’t mess with our articles, we don’t mess with their box scores, and life is good. Enjoy the games!


12/12/08 Note: We wrote the following stories on Friday 12/12 – four days ago – and thought we had posted it. Must have been distracted by ice storms and Ponzi schemes. Anyway, here it is, better late than never. The info is still good.

Working Quickly

-- Twenty years ago tonight, on Dec. 12, 1988, Harvard junior RW C.J. Young set an NCAA record when he scored three goals in a span of 49 seconds in a 10-0 win over Dartmouth. The fact that all three goals were short handed made it particularly remarkable. Young would finish the game with five goals, and Harvard would finish the season with the NCAA title.

We don’t know what the fast hat trick record is for prep school, but an alert reader took note of the box score of Trinity-Pawling’s 8-3 win at Albany Academy Wednesday afternoon. In the first period, Trinity-Pawling junior Travis Ritter, a Fair Lawn, NJ native, scored three goals in a span of 53 seconds. The first two were even-strength goals; the final one came on the power play.


Quinnipiac freshman goaltender Nick Pisellini, whose father back home in Illinois is gravely ill and awaiting a transplant, is taking a leave of absence from Quinnipiac.

Pisellini has really blossomed this season, and been far more the Quinnipiac staff expected. The 18-year-old freshman (and how unusual is that?) has a 6-2-1 record, a 1.38 gaa, and a 1.38 gaa in a little over 600 minutes played. His play relegated senior Bud Fisher to #2 status.

On Tuesday, the 6’1” Pisellini was added to the roster of the Chicago Steel (USHL), the team he has played for the last two seasons. If he suits up for them tonight, he will not be eligible to return to the Bobcats until the start of next semester. Obviously, Quinnipiac fans hope Pisellini does indeed return at the start of next semester, or at least next fall. But, due to Pisellini’s age, they have to be concerned about the OHL as well.

Pisellini, whose older brother Gino played for Plymouth (OHL) and is now with Wheeling (ECHL), was reportedly urged by his parents to stay at Quinnipiac.

The Steel traded Matt Delaney to Motor City (NAHL). The goalie staying with the Steel is Hudson Stremmel, a ’91 from Reno, Nevada, who has actually played very well for a younger goalie in the league. Last season, Stremmel had no team to play for, so stayed home in Reno and devoted himself to goalie-specific workouts. This season, Stremmel made the Steel and, until Pisellini came along, was their #1. Stremmel has a 3.27 gaa to go with an .891 save percentage.


There’s a new hockey tournament on the block. Next weekend, Fri.-Sun. Dec. 19-21, the First Annual Boston Jr. Rangers AAA Hockey Tournament will facing off at the Mark Bavis Arena in Rockland, Mass.

The tourney will feature four midget AAA teams and four junior teams. The midget teams are Team Maryland, Boston Jr. Rangers, CP Dynamos (from the Albany, NY area), and Team Comcast. The junior teams are the Springfield Olympics, NJ Rockets, the Jersey Hitmen (Empire), and New England Stars.

Here’s the schedule:
Boston Junior Rangers Tournament


Bennett on the Shelf

NHL scouts looking forward to watching Chris Kreider going 1-on-1 against Mac Bennett in Saturday’s night’s Andover-Hotchkiss Flood-Marr Tournament are out of luck.

Kreider will be there but not Bennett, who injured his knee in the first period of Hotchkiss’ 7-2 loss at the Gunnery last night. After limping off the ice, Bennett did not return for the rest of the period. He took one shift in the second – but no go.

Needless to say, the odds on Hotchkiss winning a third straight Flood-Marr title have taken a hit. 


Defensemen Bryce Aneloski and Joey Lavin have jumped ship at Providence College, currently at the bottom of Hockey East and carrying a 3-12-1 overall record into the Christmas break. Aneloski, a 6'2" freshman, returned to Cedar Rapids (USHL). Lavin, a 6'3" sophomore, has joined Omaha (USHL. Aneloski played in all 16 games so far and was minus-1. Lavin dressed for 12 games, and was a healthy scratch four times. He’s minus 10, worst among defensemen, and has only one assist. 


UNH Planning for the Future

5’9”, 170 lb. RD Eric Chevrier, a ’93 on the Toronto Marlies Midget Minor squad, has committed to UNH for the fall of ’11 (at the earliest – he’s a sophomore in high school).

Chevrier, who is looking at a number of top New England prep schools for next year, is a hard-nosed, strong, gritty defenseman in the mold of a Mick Mounsey. He has good feet, and both moves the puck and shoots it well. Most importantly, he’s a defensive leader who excels without the puck, and is very tough to play against.

 The University of Maine was also very interested.

12/15/08 Updated

A Big Man for UMass

Big Hartford Jr. Wolf Pack (AJHL) defenseman Luke Curadi, all 6’5”, 250 lbs. of him, has committed to UMass.

Curadi is an interesting story, in that he was a relatively unknown Connecticut high school player a year ago, playing for Notre Dame – West Haven, where he is currently a senior.

Curadi is raw – he won’t be ready for college hockey until the fall of ’10 at the earliest -- but he’s attracting a lot of attention. Having appeared on Central’s Player to Watch list as a C player in October, NHL scouts have been making the trek to watch him play. There’s a very good chance he will get drafted in June. It’s hard to say where exactly, but his enormous size and toughness make him intriguing. His feet are a little heavy, but he’s also a teenager carrying a lot of weight. His skating stride is very good. And his stock is rising -- he has made steady improvement.

In 29 games, Curadi has a 5-10-15 line with 94 pims. A left shot, he’s a 5/14/91 birthdate and hails from Cheshire, Conn. He was at Cedar Rapids’ camp over the summer.

Curadi comes from a military family. His father, a helicopter pilot, will be leaving for Afghanistan in January. Back in the day, he played a bit for Fort Wayne (IJHL) and even tried out for the 1980 Olympic Team at tryouts held at the now-defunct Danvers (Mass.) Twin Rinks.

Quinnipiac was also interested in Curadi.

A Note to the Hockey Community

A memorial service for Bob Crocker, Jr., 47, who passed away suddenly on Nov. 24, will be held this Wednesday, Dec. 17 in Cohasset, Mass.

Bob, Jr. was the son of Bob Crocker, Sr., the dean of New England pro scouts, and Ann Crocker, of Centerville, Mass. The family will be receiving visitors from 9:45-10:45 a.m. at the Second Congregational Church, which is at 43 Highland Ave., Cohasset. A memorial service will follow at 11:00 am.

Here are directions to the church:

Please note: Burial will be private.  The family suggests in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made in Bob’s name to the American Heart Association, P.O.  Box 3049, Syracuse, NY 13220 (



Salisbury Tops Season's First USHR Div. I Prep Poll

Salisbury sits atop the first USHR Div. I prep poll of the 2008-09 season. However, the statistical sample is quite small. With a deluge of tournament games coming up, things could look very different by the time the next poll comes out (that will be on Monday night Dec. 22).

USHR Div. I Prep Poll -- 12/15/08



This is probably no big surprise to anyone but 5’11” Salisbury RD Danny Biega will be joining his brothers at Harvard next fall. It’s official now.

Biega, a Montreal native in his second year at Salisbury after coming down from the Lac St. Louis Lions Midget AAA squad, will be at Harvard with both brothers, junior defenseman Alex and sophomore forward Michael, for one season. After that he and Michael will be Crimson teammates again the following year.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. For Harvard fans who have yet to see Danny, we should tell you he’s a different kind of player. Whereas Alex has the happy feet, loves to zing quick and hard passes, and has a lot of flash to his game, Danny is more of a traditional d-man – he’s gritty, tenacious, and thrives on going into the dirty areas and battling opposing forwards. But he also has a good stick, and offensive skills that are perhaps a little overlooked. Last season, as a junior, he was Salisbury’s leading scorer among defensemen with a 4-13-17 line in 25 games.

Biega is a late ’91 – 9/29/91, to be exact – so he isn’t eligible for the NHL draft until 2010.

Many schools wanted Biega, who is a co-captain at Salisbury this season, but weren’t able to get far. It came down to Boston College, which offered a full scholarship, and Harvard, which offered the opportunity to play with his brothers.

There’s a fourth and final brother in the pipeline, and that’s Mark Beiga, a 5’9” defenseman who, like his brothers before him, is playing for the Lac St. Louis Lions Midget AAA. Mark, though, is just 14. He’s a ’94, the youngest player on the team. We haven’t seen him play, but we can tell you that you don’t play in the Quebec Midget AAA League as a 14-year-old without having some serious talent.


As long as we’re on the subject of serious talent, we are expecting that Andy Iles, an Ithaca, NY native and Salisbury’s junior goaltender, will be making his decision soon. The five schools on his list: BC, UNH, Cornell, Harvard, and Providence College.


EJHL Tournament KO'd

The night of ice, heavy rain and snow that hit New England has wiped out this weekend's EJHL/Empire League Tournament in Fitchburg, Mass.

Power at the Wallace Arena is knocked out.

This is a major logistical headache for a lot of teams. Not only were teams already in Fitchburg, or en route, but now all games involving EJHL and Empire League teams will have to be rescheduled for later in the season. The Fitchburg schedule was larded with cross-divisional matchups. Now, the distance between teams is making rescheduling complicated at best.



Root for Yale

6’0”, 182 lb. Taft senior center Jesse Root has committed to Yale, and will arrive in New Haven for the fall of ’10, after a year in the USHL.

Root, who is in his third year at Taft, is an 11/23/89 birthdate from Pittsburgh, PA. He’s the Rhinos’ leading scorer so far in the (very young) season with a 4-2-6 line in two games.

Root is a little bit of an underrated player. He’s playing center right now, but would be just as effective on the wing. He’s a smart player, has a real nose for the net, gets to the good scoring areas effectively, and has a deceptively good shot. He’s solid in all facets of the game, and has gotten continually better. He’s one of Taft’s tri-captains this season. 


Something New for Holy Cross

Something new is coming to Holy Cross: hockey scholarships.

No player on the current team has a scholarship, but starting next fall, the Crusaders will have 12 scholarships, the maximum allowable under Atlantic Hockey rules. The reason you may not have heard about this change – a significant one -- is because the Holy Cross athletic department has issued no release on it. And nor will they. For reasons that are not entirely clear to us, publicly acknowledging this change in policy would violate some aspect of the school’s privacy rules.  

At any rate, this change will be a huge help to Holy Cross, particularly in going after the skilled U.S.-born kids who are looking for a top academic school -- and a scholarship, too.

As for the class of ’09, it’s up to four with the addition of defenseman Brendan Baker of Edina High School, a key player on last winter’s Minnesota State High School Tournament. It struck us that Baker would have been 15, an impressionable age, when Holy Cross shocked the University of Minnesota in the West regional of the 2006 NCAA Tournament in Grand Forks. People in Minnesota – many thousands of them – are very aware of the fact that the Gophers have never beaten Holy Cross.


Ice Storm Affecting Games

An ice storm warning has been posted for Central Mass, including the Fitchburg area where the Junior Huskies EJHL Tournament is getting underway.

Driving conditions have the potential to become extremely dangerous. The warning is in effect until 7 am Friday.

Tonight's Monarchs-Bridgewater game has been scratched. The players will not be travelling to Fitchburg. The two teams will make up this league game sometime in 2009.


Rice, Malden Catholic Steal the Show

Yesterday’s First Annual Garrett Reagan Hockey Summit, a day-long jamboree at the New England Sports Center featuring 60 Massachusetts high school hockey teams (48 of which were boys' teams), lived up to its promise, and then some.

First off, the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association did a top-notch job running this thing. The day was broken up into two sections, with an hour’s break in between to allow the players to listen to the guest speakers. This typist used the time to take a break from the rink, get a little fresh air, and head down the road to the Borders Café, thus missing BC head coach Jerry York, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, and Babson head coach Jamie Rice. But those who were there filled me in: Rice, with a powerful motivational speech, stole the show.

What about the teams?

The best we saw – by far -- was the Chris Serino-coached Malden Catholic squad, which has plenty of returnees from the team that lost to Reading, 3-0, in the Super 8 championship game this past March. Catholic Memorial wasn’t at the jamboree, so we’ll have to wait and see on them, but unless they have significantly retooled, the smart money says Malden Catholic takes it all this year. Yesterday, the Lancers came out skating and didn’t let up, forcing the pace, moving the puck quickly and smartly and just pinning their opponent, Needham, deep in their end for most of the 24-minute mini-game. Obviously, Serino can coach, and he has players who can play. We really liked senior center Craig Carbonneau and junior RW Andrew Cerretani – those two key the attack . Small sophomore forward Michael Vecchione has real talent, too. Alex Minter, also a sophomore forward, has potential. Tony Serino, the coach’s son, notched a nice goal. On defense, junior Roo Adams stands out. He has size, and he can skate with the puck. This team was a lot of fun  to watch. They do everything quickly (sometimes a little too much so!), and get behind defenses nicely. Their goaltender, senior John Carbonneau, is also very good.

What about last year’s Super 8 champions, Reading? Well, the line that carried them last  March -- Rob Toczylowski, Michael Lozzi, and Patrick Kiley – has graduated and moved on. It appears to us that the Rockets will have a difficult time repeating. That said, goaltender Jeff Weyer, who was outstanding last season, right up through a sensational 3-0 blanking of Malden Catholic in the title game, is back. He’s a legit goaltender – exhibits just a ton of composure – and should be watched by junior and college recruiters, or a prep school looking for a PG goaltender.

Springfield Cathedral has two players who jumped out at us -- senior power forward Dan Fenton and Keith MacDonald, also a senior forward. We can't imagine anyone in the western half of the state knocking off Cathedral.  

Arlington Catholic junior John Humphrey was another forward who impressed us. He just moves the puck decisively and smartly.

Wachusett Regional had a big junior d-man named Chris Lane who could go end-to-end and, given his strength, overpower opponents. However, the pace of their game, against Holliston, was unbearably slow, making a real read impossible. Kudos go to Holliston's left-shot senior defenseman Jackie Hepfinger. Holliston lacks a girl's program, so she's skating with the boy's team. She couldn't outmuscle opposing forwards around the crease, but she compensated well, and made a couple of nice passes to start the play up ice.     

We didn’t notice any one player as a standout, but the Lincoln-Sudbury team deserves mention. They skated well as a team, moved the puck smartly and simply, and made their opponent, Dedham, look like they were standing still. When we think of Mass high school hockey Lincoln-Sudbury never jumps to mind. But times do change.  

A player we will almost certainly be hearing from down the road is St. Peter-Marian 14-year-old freshman center Garrett Hehir, a big, strong kid for his age who just looks like a player, he has that bearing. Unfortunately, there is no one close to him in talent on his team (they were blanked by Newton North). It will be interesting to see him in a setting in which he’s forced to do things quickly. Something tells me that will happen for the kid – and probably fairly soon.

There were a lot of teams here. We wanted to see Burlington High and check in on sophomore forward Joey Yeadon, but missed them. We missed Xaverian, which was too bad because we would have liked to have seen senior d-man Andrew White. We missed BC High, and they have a goalie worth watching in Sam Morata. A lot of picking and choosing was required, as there were always five games going on at once. And you had to be quick on your toes, as the games consisted of just two 12-minute periods (look for the length of the games to be extended a bit next December).

What we really liked about this event was that everyone seemed to be having a good time. There was a real sense of community, and a nice buzz in the air. Massachusetts high school hockey has taken a hit over the past 15 years or so (we won’t get into that topic right now), but the interest has never died, and it surfaced a bit this past March when Reading became the first public school to win a Super 8 title in the tournament’s 18-year history.

For Mass high school hockey to take another step toward energizing the base (as they say these days), it is essential that the Super 8 be scrapped. Just open the tournament up, and follow the lead set by Minnesota, whose tournament is one of the truly special events in American amateur sports because it forces teams to run a lengthy gauntlet just to get out of their section and make it to the state quarterfinals at the Excel Center. Fans love David-and-Goliath games, and they get them in Minnesota. We need them here, too. But, because of a decision by the MIAA nearly two decades ago, we don't get them. Instead, we have a closeted committee ordain eight teams – well, ten technically -- as being better than all the rest. The fact that those hand-picked teams are the best, or at least close to it, is beside the point -- make them earn it. Instead, after segregating them from everyone else, we throw in a double-elimination system that virtually guarantees that the Goliaths will emerge year after year. Great for CM fans, but totally boring and predictable for everyone else. And that’s why Reading vs. Malden Catholic this past March was such a kick. But people in the hockey community should not read too much into what happened last winter -- the current system is flawed. 

Mass high school hockey is not dead. It just needs people with vision to step forward, grab hold of the reins, and shake things up a bit. If it's fun, kids will stick around and want to be a part of it. In Massachusetts we have hundreds of kids with virtually no chance of playing college hockey rushing off and spending thousands of dollars to play juniors when they could be having the time of their lives playing for their school and community – for free. That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially in this economic downturn. All the kids we saw yesterday looked like they were having fun, and you can be sure a lot of socializing goes on when you bring over a thousand hockey players to one venue! The Mass State Hockey Coaches Association deserves a lot of credit for coming up with this idea – and then successfully pulling it off.



U.S. Junior Team Named

Here is the U.S. roster for the World Junior Championship, to be held in Ottawa, Ont. Dec. 26-Jan. 5. (Sorry we didn’t post it earlier.)

The U.S., which came in fourth last winter, will play a pair of exhibition games, the first on Sun. Dec. 21 vs. Latvia and on Tues. Dec. 23 vs. Russia. Both games will be in Kingston, Ontario, at the new K-Rock Centre, at 7:00 pm. We can’t tell you what a K-Rock is, but suspect it might be a bad radio station.

The U.S. opens tournament play Dec. 26 vs. Germany (3:30 pm), then follows with games against the Czech Republic (Sun. Dec. 28, 7:30 pm), Kazakhstan (Tues. Dec. 30, 7:30 pm), Canada (Wed. Dec. 31, 7:30 pm). Quarterfinals are on Fri. Jan. 2, semis on Sat. Jan. 3 and medal games are on Mon. Jan. 5 All games will be played at the Scotia Bank Place Arena in Ottawa. U.S. games will be televised by the NHL Network.

2009 U.S. National Junior Team:

Goaltenders (2):
Thomas McCollum (Guelph - OHL), Josh Unice (Kitchener - OHL).

Defensemen (7):
Jonathon Blum (Vancouver – WHL), Ian Cole (Notre Dame), Cade Fairchild (Minnesota), Blake Kessel (UNH), Ryan McDonagh (Wisconsin), Teddy Ruth (Notre Dame), Kevin Shattenkirk (BU).

Forwards (13):
Drayson Bowman (Spokane – WHL), Jimmy Hayes (BC), Mike Hoeffel (Minnesota), Tyler Johnson (Spokane – WHL), Danny Kristo (Omaha Lancers – USHL), Jim O’Brien (Seattle – WHL), Aaron Palushaj (Michigan), Matt Rust (Michigan), Jordan Schroeder (Minnesota), Eric Tangradi (Belleville – OHL), James van Riemsdyk (UNH), Mitch Wahl (Spokane – WHL), Colin Wilson (BU).

Head Coach: Ron Rolston (U.S. Under-18 Team). Assistant Coaches: Nate Leaman (Union College) and P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo - USHL). Goalie Coach: Jeff Blashill (Indiana – USHL). Video Coordinator: Ken Martel (USA Hockey).

Of the 22 rostered players, 18 are ‘89s, and four – Johnson, Kristo, Schroeder, and Wahl --- are ‘90s.

One player – Van Riemsdyk – will be playing in his third WJC. Blum, Cole, Fairchild, Rust, Schroeder, and Wilson will each by playing in their second. Schoeder, being a ’90, will have a chance to play in his third WJC next season.)

Of the 22 rostered players, eight are from major junior, one from the USHL, and 13 from college. (Five from Hockey East, four from the CCHA, and four from the WCHA. Minnesota is the only school with three players on the team. UNH, BU, Michigan, and Notre Dame are sending two players apiece. Wisconsin and BC are each sending one.)

Minnesota (6), Michigan (3), California (2), and NY (2) are the only states sending more than one player. The states sending one player are Pennsylvania, Washington, Mass., Colorado, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, NJ, and Conn. (Wilson is listed as Conn. but grew up in Calgary.)

There are not a lot of surprises in the lineup. If you had picked the team at Lake Placid in August it would have looked pretty similar to the group actually chosen. All the players who were picked were guys who had a strong August camp. Teddy Ruth would be an exception -- but only because he was injured and didn’t play in August. Basically, no skaters came out of nowhere and won spots based on their play this fall. No surprises. Goaltending was the area that was most wide open, but the guys chosen were two of the three older kids at the camp – all OHL players. Jeremy Smith was the other ’89 OHLer in the mix in August, but was shaky early in the camp.



Founders’ League Jamboree Notes

-- Wed. at The Taft School; Watertown, Conn.

After spending 5-6 hours running back and forth between Taft’s two rinks, we break it down this way: the league has four or five really good teams, a couple of teams not far behind, one decimated powerhouse, and a couple of teams that will have to really claw to get wins.

In short, this could be a fun league to follow this season, as things look pretty wide open. No single team’s talent level is so high that they can be considered the favorite, or even a playoff team. It’s easy to be wowed by the high-end kids when watching games in a setup like Wednesday’s, and don’t get us wrong -- stars are great to have. But  this could be a year where a team’s overall depth could push them over the top. Goaltending as always will be key, and there are a lot of good ones in this league.

Here’s how we see it:

1. Hotchkiss:

The Bearcats always have goaltending – it’s a tradition -- and this season looks to be no different. Cab Morris, a 6’1” ’91 from the Chicago Mission Under-16s, was flawless in his 25 minutes. And 6’1” 9th grader Jay Williams, a ’93 from Virginia who we saw over the summer in St. Cloud, looked good in his 25 minutes. Williams, let it be noted, stoned Choate’s Mark Goggin on a penalty shot. On defense, one-man breakout Mac Bennett, a Michigan recruit and 11th grader, is back. A new d-man who will help is PG George Russell, out of New Canaan, HS. Up front, 5’11” Derek Deblois, who led Hotchkiss in scoring as a soph, is back for his junior year. Look for Bennett to get him the puck – a lot. A player to keep an eye on: 6’3” Petr Placek, a late ’92 sophomore from the Czech Republic -- the Bearcats are casting their net wide these days.

2. Salisbury:

They looked sharp. In 5’9” ’92 goaltender Andy Iles, they have the league’s best netminder, and in 6’0” senior RD Danny Biega – a tenacious, savvy player – they have the league’s best blueliner. That’s a nice foundation for new head coach Andrew Will to build upon. And behind Biega, they have skilled junior Brandon Russo, plus Billy Fitzgerald and Victor Hesleton – that’s a solid group of four. Unfortunately Salisbury junior d-man Tim Smith injured his knee recently, and looks to be out of action for the entire season. Up front, Salisbury took a hit over the summer, losing their three top underclassmen as Adam Pawlick went to the USHL and the two ’92 Californians – Matt Nieto and Shane Sooth – went to Ann Arbor. Salisbury’s top line yesterday consisted of senior Frankie Drolet, a Brown recruit, centering ’90 junior Kyle Hughes, the team’s leading returning scorer, and clever junior Max Edson, a ’92 from the LA Selects Midget minors. Edson makes plays -- and finishes. Depth up front will be an issue with this team, but they won’t be allowing many goals. Against Avon they managed to keep the puck in the Winged Beavers end for most of the 25-minute mini game, but the game still ended 0-0. Snipers are needed. Big ’93 winger Jack Barre is a bit of a project now, but could pay dividends before long. New RC Kyle Armstrong, another Quebec native, will be a solid two-way centerman. Sophomore Gunnar Hughes had the OT game winner vs. Pomfret last weekend. If they get a strong second line together, they will be very tough to beat.

3. Taft:

If the Rhinos can get a full season of top-flight play out of 6’1” junior goaltender Steve Racine they could go a long way. Junior Michael Petchonka will be there to push him. Both goalies pitched shutouts yesterday against, respectively, Deerfield and Westminster. On the blue line, we think 6’1” senior Matt Herskovitz is underrated and 5’9” junior Thomas Freyre is an excellent prep player who we see starring at a school like Middlebury. In other words, if he were a few inches bigger, he’d be a pro prospect. Up front, senior Robbie Bourdon has a real nose for the net. Look for him to score a ton this season. At the jamboree, he scored all of Taft’s goals (that would be two in total). Earlier this week, we wrote of Bourdon’s linemate, 5’11” PG Erik-Lars Hansen. A PG from Minnesota, Hansen has sense and patience, and will get Bourdon the puck. ’93 freshman Corbin McGuire is very talented, a pleasure to watch. Taft has a lot of quick forwards who move the puck well. They could bounce back big this year.

4. Deerfield:

Losing Alex Killorn – did you notice he’s leading Harvard in scoring? -- will be tough. The two key returnees up front, 6’4” LC Antoine Laganiere and 6’0” speedy winger Andrew Ammon, will have to carry more of the load on offense, really crank it up a notch. And others will need to step up behind them. We’re just not entirely sure who those others will be, as the Big Green failed to score a goal in 50 minutes of play, first against Taft, then against Hotchkiss. A big plus will be the return of 6’2” RD Nick Lovejoy, who missed a year with an injury. And the goaltending should be excellent. We expect junior Casey DeSmith, a transfer from Berwick who had a great fall playing for the Cape Cod Whalers – and looked excellent yesterday – to be the main man. But Peter Johnson, a PG from the Blake School who will be playing lacrosse at Yale, will push him.

5. Choate:

The Wild Boars look like the dark horse team this season. Their leading scorer, Bruins seventh round pick Mark Goggin, is back, as are Joel Goodsell and Billy Rivellini, the team’s #2-3 scoring forwards from a year ago. And the cherry on top is the young stud of the Founders League ’93-born freshman Philippe Hudon, a Quebec native who won’t be graduating until 2012, but has BU, BC, and Harvard lining up already. At 6’1”, Hudon has size, skill, and plays hard. He really competes -- very tough along the wall and in the trenches. A future star. Not in the same category as Hudon, but another newcomer who will add offense is Dan Linell, a crafty 5’8” sophomore from Long Island. Choate’s D is young, very young, and that could be a problem. All eyes will be on ’93 RD Michael Paliotta, who has already been invited to the NTDP next year and has Michigan and a host of other schools watching him. Obviously, Paliotta has a lot of upside, but he’s still unproven. We suspect he’ll be fine, though. By the way, Choate’s top power play unit, with Paliotta and Hudon, is skating two ‘93s. In net, junior Nick BonDurant was one of the better goalies in the league last season, though on occasion he’d have a bad game. If he can become a little more consistent, and the young d-men mature, Choate could sneak up. 

6. Kent:

Losing the Daniels twins to graduation hurts, so we’ll have to see who can step up a bit. Up front, we expect 5’10” senior Paul Cinquegrana, who mans the point on the PP, to be the team’s top point producer. 6’4”, 210 lb. senior Mike Domsodi is big and strong, and an OK skater, but needs to show that he can finish. 6’0”, 200 lb. senior LD Nick McIntyre anchors the blue line, and is the fulcrum of the team’s offense. McIntyre, by the way, is another player in the league we feel is underestimated, and we look for him to take another step forward this year. Head coach Matt Herr has brought in a pair of goalies – both juniors – so we’ll have to see how things develop there.One is a 6’2” native of Italy named Marco De Filippo and the other is a 5’9” Long Island native named Matt Madrazo, who we saw rob Choate’s Goodsell. Kent also has a batch of young forwards and defensemen who could make an impact as the season goes along. We think this team might need a month to get its bearings, but could look pretty good by January. 

7. Westminster:

Having one of the league’s leading returning scorers on your team is a good place to build from and Westy will be looking to 6’1”, 183 lb. Yale recruit Joey Campanelli to lead the attack. A new player who caught our eye was 5’10” junior LC Daniel Hnatko, a ’91 who played in the Provincial League last year. Hnatko plays the point on the power play, wins draws, and looks to be a very well-rounded player. Another new forward we noticed was 6’3”, 211 lb. sophomore forward Nick Schell. Given his size, he was hard to miss. He’s a project. Right now, he has a hard time getting his feet moving but that should change. Westminster actually has a batch of young players who could be good in time. Depth in the form of players who can really help right away is a concern. However, in senior goaltender Charles Corsi they are very solid in net. Corsi is a proven commoditiy. He’s pretty underrated – and he’s pretty consistently good.

8. Avon:

The Winged Beavers top forward, Yale recruit Brad Peltz, spent most of the past month in the hospital with a viral infection. He’s out of the hospital, but he might not be suiting up until after Christmas. So, between sickness, graduation, players leaving school early for the USHL and the NTDP (and even another prep school), the Winged Beavers have been grounded – with a mighty thud. What we saw on Wednesday at Taft bore absolutely no resemblance to the machine we saw in Salem, NH last March. Even though we expected it, it was a little shocking to actually see. So let’s run down the damage. Among the players who graduated were Cam Atkinson (BC), Danny New (Providence), and Paul Lee (Dartmouth). Leaving early for the NTDP was defenseman Brendan Rempel (Harvard). Leaving for the USHL was defenseman Lee Moffie (Michigan), forward Patrick Mullane (BC), and goaltender Parker Milner. Max Fenkell left too, seeking more playing time at Exeter. Avon’s offense did not look good on Wednesday. Against Salisbury, the Winged Beavers had a hard time keeping the puck in the offensive zone for any sustained period of time. They came up empty on a 5-on-3, failing to even get any great shots against Iles. Definitely not the scary power play we have become so accustomed to. After the top line of Stefan Demopoulos, Quinn Smith, and K.J. Teifenwerth, Avon is really in rebuilding mode. On defense, things are not that much better. We felt 6’4” Patrick MacGregor could turn out to be their top d-man, though some prefer 6’2” senior Charles Vasaturo. Looking toward the future, we liked what we saw of 6’0” sophomore RD Michael Flynn, a ’93 birthdate. A pleasant surprise was the play of sophomore goaltender John Jackson, a ’92 from North Carolina. Rest assured that head coach John Gardner and aide de camp Bill Maniscalco – no moss grows on those guys -- are already well along in the rebuilding process. Some teams will really enjoy beating Avon this season, but the defending prep champions will also find a way to win games – just not enough of them.

 9. Trinity-Pawling:

’92 LC Brandon Moore, a junior, is their most-skilled player by far. He can scoot. If he committed himself to getting physically involved and playing both sides of the puck, he could help this team a great deal. 

10. Loomis-Chaffee:

We thought senior goalie Craig Naclerio did a really good job in the late game against Salisbury. Salisbury appeared to be holding back a little, working the puck around, but the play was still in the Loomis end an awful lot. Naclerio allowed three goals, but faced a lot of shots, too. Loomis has the youngest player in the league in ’94 freshman forward Steve Picard. He wouldn’t make the roster on most of the teams in the league, but that’s OK – this is a good opportunity for him to learn playing against top players.

Top Founders’ League Returning Players
(consider this a pre-season all-star team):

Andy Iles, Jr. G, Salisbury
Danny Biega, Sr. D, Salisbury
Mac Bennett, Jr. Hotchkiss
Derek Deblois, Jr. F, Hotchkiss
Antoine Laganiere, Sr. F, Deerfield
Joey Campanelli, Sr. F, Westminster
Mark Goggin, Sr. F, Choate
Robbie Bourdon, Sr. F, Taft

Top Newcomer:

Philippe Hudon, Fr. F, Choate 



White Picks Sioux

6’2”, 195 lb. Des Moines (USHL) forward Matt White is heading to North Dakota.

An 11th grader, White is penciled in for the fall of ’10. Other schools in the hunt for White included BC, BU and a host of WCHA schools.

In 14 games with Des Moines, White has a 3-3-6 line with 14 pims. He was a member of the U.S. Junior Selects team that won gold at last month’s World Jr. A Challenge in Camrose, Alberta. A native of McMurray, PA, White played for the Pittsburgh Hornets before heading to Des Moines last fall as a 10th grader.

He’s a 10/21/91 birthdate, meaning he is not eligible for the NHL draft until 2010. And, if he continues developing, he could go high.

“He didn’t play a lot last year,” says his coach, J.P. Parise. “But he’s coming along and developing. He’s willing to do anything to get better. Now he has the size and strength and is winning the 1-on-1 battles along the wall. He’s blossoming. His vision is getting better. He’s making plays. There’s a lot of upside there.”



McColgan to Suit Up

The Kelowna Rockets (WHL) web site is announcing that 15-year-old LA Junior Kings Midget Major AAA forward Shane McColgan will be suiting up for the Rockets Dec. 16 game at Red Deer.

A Manhattan Beach, California native, McColgan will be the first ’93 U.S. kid to actually appear in a WHL game. The Rockets made him their first round pick (#13 overall) in this past spring’s WHL Bantam Draft.

6’2” Dallas Stars Midget Minor forward Colin Jacobs officially signed with the Seattle Thunderbirds a couple of months ago, though we haven’t heard any word about his appearing in a major junior game anywhere soon.

At any rate, having two of the top three U.S. ’93-born kids go major junior is not good for U.S. college hockey. It’s not good for the U.S. National Team Development program, either.

The third ultra high-end U.S.-born ’93 is Little Caesar’s 5’6”, 150 lb. forward Rocco Grimaldi, a Calfornian whose family moved to Michigan several years ago. The OHL wants Grimaldi, and the NTDP doesn’t want to lose him. Nor do any of the schools that are interested in him. And, as a nearly 4.0 student, Grimaldi’s choice of schools will be large. He’s already visited Notre Dame.

Speaking of Notre Dame, ’93-born Chicago Misson defenseman Robbie Russo, currently playing for the Chicago Mission, is the first player to accept an invitation to join the NTDP next fall.


Pereira’s Pick

South Kent School sophomore LW Mike Pereira has committed to UMass for the fall of ’10.

Pereira, who is 5’10” and 170 lbs., is the younger brother of BU sophomore forward Joe Pereira, meaning the two brothers will be able to face off against each other for one season.

An 11/24/91 birthdate from West Haven, Conn., Pereira was the leading scorer for South Kent last season, as he and his linemates Jeff Silengo, a UNH recruit; and Wade Megan, a BU recruit, all finished within a point of each other.

In 36 games, Pereira had a 28-25-53 line.

Geoff Marottolo, Pereira’s coach at South Kent, says “Mike is pure goal scorer and he gets his goals from his flat-out speed. He’s never afraid of attacking the net. He’s just going to get bigger and stronger as the years go by. He’s explosive.”

Pereira chose UMass over BU and Providence College.


Cecere Makes His Pick

5’11’’, 185 lb. Northwood School LD Nick Cecere has committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for either the fall of ’10 or ’11.

Cecere, who grew up in Western New York before his family moved to West Des Moines, Iowa, is a hard-nosed, physically strong defenseman who visited UNO the weekend before Thanksgiving, when the Mavericks swept Michigan State. Cecere, who played for the Russell Stover midget minors before heading off to Northwood last year, first became familiar with UNO while attending the Mavericks summer hockey camp.

”Competitiveness is (Nick’s) best asset,” says Northwood head coach Jeff Matthews. “He plays with a great deal of intensity. On top of that, he has speed, quickness, strength, and  a strong shot. He rarely loses battles, and he keeps it simple.”

Des Moines drafted Cecere in last spring’s USHL draft. His father played college hockey at Elmira College.

Cecere has a 1-3-4 line in 13 games.


Berkle’s Stock Rising Fast

Northwood’s leading scorer this season is 6’3”, 175 lb. PG Adam Berkle, a RW who at this time last year was playing for LaSalle College High School in suburban Philadelphia.

LaSalle, a private high school coached by Wally Muehlbronner, won the Mount St. Charles Christmas Tourney last year and capped off the season by winning the Pennsylvania high school title. Jim Sutow, a Northwood alum and an assistant on Muehlbronner’s staff, recommended two players as potential PGs to Northwood head coach Jeff Matthews – Berkle and forward Adam Schmidt. The latter’s plans to attend Northwood changed when he went to the Sioux City Musketeers tryout camp over the summer -- and wound up making the team.

Berkle, who also played for the Valley Forge Minutemen Under-18 team that lost to Shattuck in the national semis in Buffalo this past April, went to Northwood. Matthews had never seen him play.

Now Berkle, who has gained 12 pounds in the weight room, going from 163 to 175, has an 8-13-21 line in 13 games played. He is getting increasing interest from Hockey East schools, and pro scouts (he’s a 8/1/90 birthdate, so is draft-eligible for the second time).

“He reminds me a bit of Chiasson with his puck protection skills,” says Matthews. “He’s really good along the wall and in the corner. He uses his body, plays big, and is physical. He’ll win battles for loose pucks in the corner, then protect the puck all the way to the net. He can finish, and in every game he’s been competitive. He hasn’t had a bad game yet.”

“I think he’ll only get better," Matthews adds. "The learning curve is huge and he’ll put more muscle on his body.”