Established 1996


Saturday at the Fall Elite League

On Saturday, after leaving the USHL Fall Classic, we moved north to New Hope, Minnesota to check out the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, where all eight teams were in action, including Shattuck-St. Mary’s, playing their first three games of the season (they won them all).

After the USHL, we found these games refreshing. The pace was fast. There were no “media timeouts,” or pushing and shoving after the whistle. The refs drop the puck and the players get after it. Is it too wide open? A few detractors feel so, but most people believe the league does what it is meant to do, i.e. give kids good competition in preparation for the high school season while allowing them to stay home and play other sports, and give scouts and recruiters an idea as to the skill level of the players.

As usual, there were high-end players on hand. Blaine 6’4” junior center Nick Bjugstad could be the top U.S.-born forward in June’s NHL draft. If the draft were held today, we’d take him over any of the U.S.-born forwards in the USHL. He has the earmarks of a potential first rounder, as does Warroad’s 6’4” center Brock Nelson, and 6’3” Minnetonka center Max Gardiner. 6’2” Minnetonka RD Justin Holl isn’t getting the attention those three forwards are getting, but has skill and, as the season goes along, could pass at least one of those guys in the draft rankings. Ditto for strong-skating 6’4” Cretin-Derham LD Mark Alt, who did not play the day we were there (football). In net, 6’1” Jacob Meyers of Benilde-St. Margaret’s and 6’2” Zane Gothberg of Thief River Falls are both draft eligible and will be followed closely over the winter.

We think there will be 10-15 players taken out of this league in next June’s NHL draft. And that’s not including Shattuck, from which 6’2” LW Jason Clark (Eden Prairie, Minn.) and 6’2” RW Joe Basaraba (Fort Frances, Ont.) will likely be the two highest picks.   

There are also plenty of good-looking prospects for the 2011 draft. And, of course, there are college prospects galore. We’ve tried to highlight some of them below in a team-by-team format. We have broken the players down into two groupls: “elite,” meaning they have a very good chance of getting drafted this June, or in the future; and “Div. I”, which explains itself.

And that’s it, in a nutshell.

Team Southwest

Troy Hesketh, D, 6-3/185, 7/5/91, senior, Minnetonka (Edmonton, 3rd rond, ’09 draft)
Justin Holl, D, 6-2/175, 1/30/92, senior, Minnetonka
Max Gardiner, C, 6-3/185, 5/7/92, senior, Minnetonka 
Jacob Meyers, G, 6-1/175, 1/12/92, senior, Benilde-St. Margaret’s

Div. I Prospects:
Dan Molenaar, D, 5-11/170, 5/7/93, junior, Eden Prairie
Max Everson, D, 6-0/180, 2/22/93, junior, Edina
Charlie Taft, RW, 6-2/180, 9/12/91, senior, Edina

A powerful team, with strength at all positions. Meyers, the best goalie on Saturday --Gothberg, Marks, and Harper also played well -- was terrific, kicking out 36 of 37 shots vs Northwest. Holl is lanky and physically undeveloped, but makes good passes, is good on the pp, and can skate a bit -- a lot of upside with him. Hesketh, a third round pick of Edmonton in June's draft, is not the flashiest type, but he's extremely confident, poised, and just a solid defender who can get the puck out of the zone.    

Team Southeast:

A.J. Michaelson
, LW, 6-0/165, 2/8/94, sophomore, Apple Valley
Christian Isackson, C, 6-0/175, 1/20/92, senior, St. Thomas Academy
Joseph LaBate, C, 6-4/170, 4/16/93, junior, Holy Angels
Max Gaede, F, 6-2/185, 3/27/92, senior, Woodbury (DNP)

Div. I:
Zach Schroeder
, RW, 5-9/150, 9/7/92, junior, St. Thomas Academy
Caleb Herbert, C, 5-10/175, 12/12/91, senior, Bloomington Jefferson
Joe Faust, D, 5-11/185, 11/15/91, senior, Bloomington Jefferson
Michael Zajac, LW, 6-2/200, 9/11/93, sophomore, Eagan
Justin Crandall, LW, 5-10/175, 4/5/92, senior, St. Thomas Academy

Another powerful team. We didn't see Gaede play Saturday (he was back on Sunday). He's a big strong kid who can skate. His game is power and physicality, not finesse -- and he's reported to be thinking about major junior. The knock on Isackson has been his skating, but it's come a long way. He has good (but not great) size, hands, and sees the ice well. Zach Schroeder, Jordan's younger brother, looks like a future Gopher to us. Very skilled, but lacks his brother's high-end speed or dynamic aspect. Michaelson, who can really go, is young -- just a '94 and a soph at Apple Valley. It will be fun to see how he develops. LaBate, tall and lanky as all get-out, is growing into his body. Needs to engage more. Herbert, Faust, and Zajac all look to be fine Div. I prospects. Looking at the numbers, this team has scored more goals than any other team in the tournament -- we saw a lot of skill spread over four lines. Crandall, by the way, leads the league in scoring with an 11-11-22 line in nine games. Along with his center, Herbert (6-14-20), and opposite winger Schroeder (5-10-15) that one line comprises three of the top four scorers in the league.    

Team Wisconsin:

Div. I:
Joe Fiala
, D, 6-3/185, 2/11/93, junior, Verona

Not a strong year for Wisconsin.

Team Northwest:

Nick Bjugstad, C, 6-4/185, 7/17/92. junior, Blaine
Jack Storo, LW, 6-3/190, 2/24/93, sophomore, Chaska

Div. I:
Scott Holm
, LW, 6-2/175, 10/18/91, senior, Wayzata
Tyson Fulton, RW, 6-0/185, 9/19/91, senior, Breck
Christian Horn, LW, 5-10/155, 6/11/93, sophomore, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Dan Harper, G, 5-10/180, 7/8/91, senior, Blaine

Bjugstad is the real deal - a very gifted player. Scored a couple of goals vs. North -- on one he just roofed it from the bottom edge of the faceoff circle, a big-time shot. Jack Storo is a kid we hadn't previously heard of. Just a soph, he will be highly recruited, if he isn't already. Harper kicked out 32 of 34 shots vs Southwest, a powerful team.

Team Northeast:

Ben Marshall
, D, 5-10/165, 8/30/92, junior, Mahtomedi
Mark Alt, D, 6-4/190, 10/18/91, senior, Cretin-Derham Hall (DNP)

Div. I :
Ben Bahe
, RW, 5-10/160, 1/10/93, junior, Hill-Murray 
Connor Reilly, C, 5-11/155, 10/1/91, senior, Holy Angels
Ryan Reilly, LW, 5-7/145, 10/1/91, senior, Holy Angels
Max Birkinbine, RW, 5-11/165, 1/5/93, junior, White Bear Lake

As we mentioned above, Alt didn't play because of football. The Reillys looked great -- they can skate and are consistently noticeable. Fun to watch, they'll be good college players. Ben Marshall can skate and is highly skilled, and for those two reasons alone is fun to watch. You don't want to stifle him, and take away what he does well, but he also holds onto the puck way too long. Sometimes it looks like he's playing keep away -- and then he totally runs out of options. Gopher fans will be hoping that Marshall learns -- before arriving at the U -- that a quick, short pass is soemtimes the best option.    

Team North:

Andy Welinski, D, 6-0/175, 4/27/93, junior, Duluth East

Div. I:
Willie Corrin, D, 6-3/175, 8/1/91, senior, International Falls (DNP)
Garrett Hendrickson, LW, 6-1/165, 6/29/92, junior, Virginia
Adam Krause, C, 6-2/180, 9/12/91, senior, Hermantown

Corrin didn't play, so can't say anything about him. Welinski, a '93, is the best prospect on the team, which was weak -- not much on the Iron Range this year. 

Team Great Plains:

Zane Gothberg, G, 6-2/178, 8/20/92, senior, Thief River Falls
Brock Nelson, C, 6-4/185, 10/15/91, senior, Warroad

Div. I:
Brett Hebel
, LW, 6-1/205, 3/15/92, senior, Warroad
Adam Knochenmus, RW, 5-9/165, 4/16/92, senior, Roseau
Tyler Larson, LW, 6-3/185, 11/21/91, senior, Moorhead
Logan Marks, G, 6-1/165, 1/21/92, senior, Moorhead

The strongest team Great Plains has had in the tournament. Nelson, who committed to North Dakota a couple of weeks ago, is a legitimate top two rounds guy. He's tall and lanky, has soft hands, and he can both make plays and finish. Played on the same line as Hebel and Knochenmus, probably the second best line here. At any rate, all three are in the top 10 in league scoring, with Nelson leading the way with a 7-10-17 line in nine games. The team was a little thin on the blue line, however. In net, Marks kicked out 46 of 50 in a strong performance vs. a very powerful Team Southeast.  

Shattuck-St. Mary’s:

Kirill Gotovets
, D, 5-11/187, 6/25/91, senior (Tampa Bay, 7th round, ’09 draft)
Jason Clark, LW, 6-2/183, 2/27/92, senior
Joe Basaraba, RW, 6-2/190, 5/2/92, senior
Div. I:
Geoff Ferguson
, D, 6-2/180, 1/8/92, senior
James Polk, LW, 6-0/175, 2/13/92, senior
Kenny Gillespie, RW, 6-1/190, 12/1/93, junior
J.P. LaFontaine, C, 5-9/170, 2/13/92, senior
Peter Traber, G, 6-2/180, 5/1/93, junior
Josh Little, C, 6-0/172, 9/15/91, senior
Anthony Greco, LW, 5-9/155, 9/30/93, junior
Danny Elser, C, 5-11/170, 3/18/93, junior

Shattuck was playing its first two games of the tournament on Saturday, whereas the other teams in the tournament already had six games under their belt. It was no problem, though. As we mentioned above, they went 3-0-0, outscored their opponents 20-9 and look like the early favorites for Nationals. Gotovets, a Belarus native drafted in June (7th round; Tampa Bay) and headed to Cornell next season, is a little out of control at times, but he certainly has skill and he definitely competes. Clark has the size-talent combination on this team -- he's very smooth -- and has the potential to go quite high in June's draft. Basaraba will get drafted, too, though later: he's a big, physical banger. Ferguson is a solid D -- a little heavy-footed for pro consideration -- who will play Div. I somewhere. Polk is an excellent skater, and there's a chance he will get drafted for that alone, though we'd like to see him more involved physically and on the score sheet. Gillespie is young -- almost a '94 -- and doesn't have very good hands, but we like him anyway. He's a tough energy guy who keeps his feet moving, and, through his relentless physical play, opens up space for his linemates. He's a junior, so has two years to refine his game. J.P. LaFontaine, who does everything well but nothing great, reportedly got his forehead split open on Sunday by the edge of his own helmet. He'll be OK, but has plenty of stitches to show. Elser is a bit of an enigma to us. He's a great skater, but at times is invisible out there. That said, he put up more points than any other player on his team over the weekend. Go figure. Everything we say about Elser we could also say about Greco. We'd just like to see them get at it harder. Two players we've seen play very well at other times -- Jimmy Mullin and Tanner Sorenson -- were no factor in Saturday's games, so we kept them off the above list. Consider it our unique form of punishment. As we said, this was the opening weekend for Shattuck. 

Here are their lines:
And defense pairings...

Goalies are Traber and Terenzio


In Corn Country, U.S. Under-18s Lay an Egg

With continued expansion, the USHL Fall Classic, held over the weekend in Sioux City, Iowa, is becoming increasingly challenging for one person to cover: with Youngstown and the NTDP coming on board this year, there are now 14 teams playing games in two different rinks. That will increase to 16 in a year or two. Speaking of the NTDP, though both the U.S. Under-18 Team and the U.S. Under-17 Team will be playing in the league this year, the Under-18s were the ones on hand in Sioux City. On paper, this year’s Under-18s (’92 birthdates) appear to be the deepest since the ‘88s. Even with two forwards – Jacob Fallon and Shane Sooth – suspended (for drinking) until Dec. 1, we expected to be impressed by this group. After all, there are no true “mistakes” on this team. Everybody can play.

But they laid an egg.

Right from the opening faceoff of Thurday’s opener vs. Tri-City, the U.S. Team played a lock-down defensive style. Maybe that’s the favored approach of new U.S. Under-18 Team head coach Kurt Kleinendorst, who has worked in the defense-first New Jersey Devils organization for the last eight years. However, we don’t think that running a 1-2-2 in a showcase tournament is conducive to player development, to say nothing of the fact that it’s deathly boring to watch. In the first game, vs. Tri-City, the weakest team in the league, the U.S. managed a 3-1 win. Despite the win, skilled forwards like Matt Nieto, Jason Zucker, Billy Arnold and others looked totally indistinguishable from 90% of the other forwards in the tournament. No creativity. None. About the only forward who was able to sneak a little creativity into the attack, and actually make himself noticeable, was Austin Czarnik. We truly understand Kleinendorst’s desire to establish the importance of team defense early in the season, but these kids looked like they were being punished…well, two actually were. From what we saw, we believe it would be far preferable for the NTDP forwards to be scattered throughout the rest of the league – at least the college recruiters and NHL scouts would be able to see what they could do. However, that’s a story for another day. Meanwhile, if things stay like this, we wouldn’t be surprised to see kids jump to major junior teams by Christmas. Or beg to be traded to another USHL team.

We didn’t see the Under-18 Team play Friday’s late game – we’ll wait until October and watch them again – but they lost to Sioux City, 2-1, in a shootout. The following night they lost to Des Moines, 4-2…and Des Moines is a weak team. Over the course of three games, the U.S. Under-18 Team scored a total of only six goals, three coming off the sticks of defensemen. Of the three goals scored by forwards, two were on the power play. In 180 minutes of hockey, only one U.S. forward (Zucker) was able to score an even-strength goal. Think about that one for a second.

In short, it was an embarrassment for the U.S. Team.

(Note: Because of the situation, we didn’t bother ranking the U.S. players below. It was just too inconclusive, particularly up front. Even though we have a pretty good sense of what those players can do from having seen them a lot in the past, we feel it wouldn’t be fair to try to slot them in with the players from the other 13 teams below. We’ll take another look at the team in a couple of weeks when they come east to play BC and BU, and see what we can learn then. That said, Zucker looks like the top forward right now, but that could change. We expect a lot of movement among the forwards. Also, keep in mind that there are seven late birthdates on the team, meaning defenseman Adam Clendening, and forwards Nieto, Nick Shore, Brandon Saad, Michael Mersch, and Czarnik will not be eligible until the 2011 draft. Finally, we feel that if the draft were to be held today, the first four players taken from the Under-18 Team would be blue liners – and we’ll talk about that in a minute.) 


Some players came to the Fall Classic and made statements. Connor Brickley was one those guys. While he was excellent at the Select 17 Festival in July, he took it up another notch here, playing like he was on a mission from his very first shift. In his opening-day game, a 4-2 win over Green Bay, the Des Moines forward, a Vermont recruit, used his speed, battered guys along the wall, scored a nifty goal in the final seconds of the period, and became the instant buzz among the NHL scouts. In the second period, he kept it up, but was pushed into the post, suffered a hip pointer, and was taken out of the game. He sat out Friday, but came back and played Saturday vs. the Under-18 Team. Brickley, who was passed over by the NTDP a couple of years ago, was reportedly determined to play in that one. And he scored the game’s first goal just 1:43 in, setting the tone as the Bucs went on to win 4-2. The last time we remember a prep player coming out here and making such a big impact in his first game was when Max Pacioretty came out here three years ago and took out both end boards and everything in between at the small rink in Des Moines.

Jaden Schwartz, a CC recruit who has played for the Notre Dame Hounds of Wilcox, Saskatchewan the past few years, is an impressive player. He’s only 5’10” but we can still see him going very high in the draft for the simple reason that he flat-out sees it. He finds the open man beautifully, his passes are tape-to-tape, and he can finish. He’s a point machine and, even though he’s on a poor team, he could still finish among the league’s leading scorers. Is he dynamic enough to play in the NHL at 5’10”? That remains to be seen. He’ll certainly be an excellent college player, and a potential Hobey Baker Award winner.

Nick Sorkin, a UNH recruit who was passed over in June’s NHL draft, continued to make a name for himself, and could go quite high his second time through the draft. At least one scout we have spoken to pushed his boss to draft him, but the team got cold feet due to the fact that Sorkin was playing midgets – in Maryland. There’s a lesson to be learned there – probably several. 

Brian Ferlin, who was playing in anonymity for the Jacksonville Ice Dogs last winter, put himself on the map at the Select 17 Festival in July, and was immediately scooped up by Cornell. He continued his strong play here.

Among those draft eligible for next June, those four, in our book, were the “A” forwards at the tournament. As we mentioned above, several NTDPer’s, despite what happened here, are also “A” forwards.

On the blue line, the U.S. Under-18 Team’s 6’4” Derek Forbort, a North Dakota recruit who was playing at Duluth East last season, was excellent. Unless something changes dramatically, Forbort will be the top American chosen in next June’s NHL draft. The Under-18 Team’s Jarred Tinordi, Stephen Johns, and Jon Merrill all look like players who will go in the top two rounds as well.

Kevin Lind, a Notre Dame recruit in his second year with the Chicago Steel: Aaron Harstad, a CC recruit in his second year at Green Bay; Nick Mattson, a North Dakota recruit formerly with the U.S. Under 18s; and Kevin Gravel, a St. Cloud recruit who was playing for the Marquette Rangers (NAJHL) last season are our other “A” players on the blue line.

After that, there is a large, motley group of d-men – our “B” group -- who could emerge in various ways. Some are intriguing for their size, and while a few will inevitably turn out to be duds, a few may also turn out to be prizes. Oleg Yevenka, the 6’7” Russian defenseman, certainly has a chance to be one of those. There are still nearly nine months before the draft. A lot can, and will, change.

The buzz among the NHL scouts when it came to goaltenders was 6’4” Jared Coreau, a Perth, Ontario native who played last season for the Peterborough Stars (OHA). Coreau, a Northern Michigan recruit, fills up a lot of net and makes stopping the puck look pretty easy. Coreau is the new kid on the block, and all the NHL guys were watching closely.  

Note: There were several players who we didn’t see that we would have liked to. Fallon and Sooth, of course, but also Yasin Cissé, the BU recruit who, for the second straight year has missed this tournament with an injury. Rightly or wrongly, the ’92 forward from Quebec is already developing a reputation as a frail player among NHL scouts.

6’2” Matt White, the 6’2” North Dakota recruit on Lincoln’s roster, was also out, so we missed him this time around. To avoid confusion we should tell you that the league’s “other” Matt White, the 5’9” UNO recruit who plays for Omaha, was really good here. He’s an ’89, though, so we expect him to be good.

2010 Draft Eligibles:

(* An asterisk before a player’s name indicates he was bypassed in last June’s draft)

“A” Forwards:

Connor Brickley, 2/25/92, 6-2/195, #20 Des Moines (Vermont)
Jaden Schwartz, 6/25/92, 5-10/180, #8 Tri-City (CC)
* Nick Sorkin, 6/30/91, 6-1½/166, #21 Waterloo (UNH)
Brian Ferlin, 6/3/92, 6-1/192, #16 Indiana (Cornell)

“B” Forwards:

Michael Parks, 2/15/92, 5-11/185, #61 Cedar Rapids (North Dakota)
Brendan Woods, 6/11/92, 6-2/180, #17 Chicago (uncommitted)
Scott Wamsganz, 4/27/92, 6-4/180, #16 Waterloo (uncommitted)
* Ludwig Karlsson, 3/31/91, 6-2/200, #25 Green Bay (uncommitted)
John McCarron, 4/16/92, 6-3/215, #9 Lincoln (uncommitted)
John Parker, 1/11/92, 5-11/178, #25 Indiana (UMass)
* David Gerths, 9/27/90, 6-0/195, #10 Lincoln (Notre Dame)
Alex Lippincott, 3/23/92, 6-1/182, #11 Fargo (Ohio State)

“A” Defensemen:

Kevin Lind, 3/31/92, 6-3/200, #7 Chicago (Notre Dame)
Aaron Harstad, 4/27/92, 6-2/183, #2 Green Bay (CC)
Kevin Gravel, 3/6/92, 6-4/175, #3 Sioux City (St. Cloud State)
Nick Mattson, 10/25/91, 6-1/177, #24 Indiana (North Dakota)

“B” Defensemen:

*Oleg Yevenka, 4/7/91, 6-7/230, #25 Fargo (uncommitted)
Mathieu Brisson, 3/9/92, 6-1/187, #52 Omaha (Cornell)
Brandon Carlson, 6/15/92, 6-2/200, #6 Des Moines (uncommitted)
Nolan Zajac, 8/1/92, 5-10/170, #44 Cedar Rapids (uncommitted)
*Andrej Sustr, 11/29/90, 6-6/195, #3 Youngstown (uncommitted)
*Jean-Laurence Beauchemin, 2/19/91, 6-4/187, #4 Youngstown (uncommitted)
*Alexander Kugali, 6/13/91, 6-2/225, #6 Indiana (uncommitted)
*Zach Palmquist, 12/9/90, 5-11/175, #17 Waterloo (Mankato)
*Brian O’Rourke, 4/4/91, 6-1/185, #28 Green Bay (Nebraska-Omaha)
*Justin Agosta, 10/9/90, 6-1/200, #19 Indiana (UNH)
*Luke Eibler, 3/21/91, 6-3/175, #18 Youngstown (Northeastern)
*Dan Senkbeil, 9/7/91, 6-4/185, #77 Youngstown (uncommitted)

Top Draft-eligible Goaltenders:

Jared Coreau, 11/5/91, 6-4/200, #33 Lincoln (Northern Michigan)
Willie Yanakeff, 4/30/92, 6-3/185, #37 Sioux City (Michigan State)
Cody Campbell, 2/25/92, 5-11/150, #29 Fargo (UNH)
Ryan McKay, 8/22/92, 6-0/196, #35 Green Bay (uncommitted)
Matt Skoff, 7/23/91, 6-1/175, #31 Sioux City (uncommitted)
Jeff Teglia, 6/24/91, 6-0/180, #1 Omaha (uncommitted)


2011 Draft Eligibles (all positions):

F - Seth Ambroz, 4/3/93, 6-3/205, Omaha (Minnesota)
F - Sam Warning, 9/29/92, 5-9/175, Cedar Rapids
F - Colten St. Clair, 11/22/92, 5-11/186, Fargo (North Dakota)
F - Cason Hohmann, 1/10/93, 5-7/150, Cedar Rapids (BU)
D - Jamie Oleksiak, 12/21/92, 6-6/215, Chicago (uncommitted)
D - Scott Mayfield, 10/14/92, 6-3/175, Youngstown (Denver)
D - Peter Hand, 8/27/93, 5-11/190, Chicago (Ohio State)
G – Matt Mahalak, 1/22/93, 6-2/185, Youngstown (uncommitted)


2012 Draft Eligibles (in other words, all three ‘94s at the tournament):

F -
Richard Zehnal, 8/22/94, 6-0/200, Sioux City (uncommitted)
F –
Brady Vail, 3/11/94, 6-0/196, Waterloo (uncommitted)
D -
Nick Ebert, 5/11/94, 6-0/180, Waterloo (uncommitted)


The best team here was the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Sure, they won the whole thing, but we would have tabbed them as the best team even if they had lost most of their games. They are a skating team with high-end talent in Montreal draft pick Mac Bennett, Warning, Hohmann, Parks, and Zajac. They also have a bunch of uncommitted kids who are pretty good, too, so the college guys will be ringing up head coach Mark Carlson a lot once again this winter.



Sacred Heart Candidates

Here, according to our best sources, are the six candidates to replace Sacred Heart coach Shaun Hannah, who resigned Sept. 9:

Lou Santini, Sacred Heart assistant
C.J. Marottolo, Yale University assistant
Bob Prier, St. Lawrence assistant
Stan Moore, Providence College assistant
Mike Corbett, Air Force assistant
Ben Syer, Quinnipiac assistant

Interviews will be conducted today and continue through Wednesday.
Sacred Heart opens the season with a home exhibition game vs. St. Thomas University of Fredricton, New Brunswick on Oct. 4 – just six days away. 


Justin “J.B.” Bittner
has been named as an assistant coach at Ohio State University.

Bittner, 27, a Pittsburgh, PA native and former forward and two-year captain at Ohio State, played three years of minor pro hockey before returning to Ohio State last season and serving as the Buckeyes’ video coordinator.

Steve Brent has been moved up to the #1 assistant’s role.

These moves came about as a result of Jason Lammers’ move to Colorado College, where he replaced Mike Guentzel, now head coach of Des Moines (USHL).


We are working on pulling together our notes from the USHL Fall Classic and the Minnesota Fall Elite League. We aim to have the former ready tonight, and the latter ready sometime tomorrow.  



Two NTDP D for BU

Boston University has commitments from a pair of NTDP defensemen: Adam Clendening of the U.S. Under-18 Team for the fall of ’10; and Alexx Privitera of the U.S. Under-17 Team for the fall of ’11.

-- Clendening, a 5’11”, 187 lb. right shot, is an excellent puck moving defenseman who sees the ice very well. He originally committed to Boston College last season, but was still interested enough in the OHL route that the BC staff backed off, figuring they would be better off putting their efforts into defensemen they felt certain would show up at the Heights.

Somewhere along the line, though, Clendening decided to get back into the NCAA picture, and Boston University has been recruiting him for some time.

However, the BU staff believes there is a slim chance that Clendening, from Niagara Falls, NY, might still go major junior. They are only certain of one thing: If Clendening follows through and plays college hockey, it will be for the Terriers. As with so many – too many -- college recruits these days, they may have to keep on recruiting him until September 2010.

--  Privitera, a 5’10”, 178 lb. right shot D, is a nice skater with a quick stick and the potential to run the power play down the line. A ’93 from New Jersey, he played with the North Jersey Avalanche and Bergen Catholic HS before joining the NTDP this fall.

Privitera chose BU over BC, Harvard, and Miami.


New England Fall Prep Leagues Gearing Up

The Western New England Fall Prep Elite Hockey League had its tryouts over the past weekend. Four teams were picked and the players chosen can be found at the link right here:


Game action gets underway this Saturday, Sept. 26 at Trinity College in Hartford with games at 6:30 pm and 8:15 pm.

On Sunday games will be at 1:15 pm and 3:00 pm.

The league will run through Nov. 14.

Prep coaches Matt Herr (Kent), Geoff Marottolo (South Kent), and John Gardner (Avon Old Farms) ran the tryouts on the ice, though four outside evaluators picked the players. Not one of the four teams has more than 25% of its players from any one school, which complies with NEPSAC rules. 

Not many college coaches were in attendance – this was only a tryout – but we asked one who was there what he thought. “I thought it was a good level of play," he said, "especially when you break it down to the four teams. Guys are getting enough ice. The pace of the games was good. It was quick, intense, easy to watch, and looked like it was  enjoyable to play in.”

"I like the whole setup because it’s so manageable for players and coaches, and it's great from a scouting perspective, too. It allows me to see the high-end prep players in one location before the season starts – and without running all over the place. It’s a win-win.”

We think the web site looks pretty good, too. Here’s the link to the main page:

Western New England Fall Prep Elite Hockey League


The Massachusetts-based New England Fall Prep Hockey League will also be getting underway for real this weekend, with games at both the Under-19 level (at Babson College) and the Under-18 level (at Salem, NH) scheduled.

The Mass League picked their players in the spring, and we posted rosters then. However, they are now official, and available on the league’s web site, along with schedules. All of that can be found here: 

New England Fall Prep Hockey League



Back At It

Some of this might be old news. If so, hang in there. We’ll have plenty of new stuff by the end of the week.

First off, we have some late college hirings. Jason Lammers, an assistant at Ohio State for the last three seasons, has been hired at Colorado College, where he will take the position vacated by Mike Guentzel, now the head coach at Des Moines (USHL).

Before going to Ohio State, Lammers, 34, spent one year as head coach at Geneseo State, his alma mater. And  a succesful year it was, too, as Lammers led his team to the NCAA Div. III tournament. Before that, Lammers put in his time as an assistant at Clarkson, Alaska-Fairbanks, and Princeton.


Phoenix Coyotes scout Keith Sullivan, who had pancreatitis in July, has been in Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center in Boston for the past week recovering from gall bladder removal, which was necessitated by the fact that cysts that had formed in the healing from the original attack and were pressing on the spine. Not fun. Sullivan will be recuperating at his Vermont home and hopes to be back at work in a month.


Mark Workman, 38, who has been an assistant at Brown for six years and before that was the head coach at St. Scholastica, his alma mater, for six years, has been hired as an assistant at Robert Morris Univeristy. Workman replaces Joe Shawhan, who has returned to Northern Michigan Univeristy, where he will work in the athletic department and as Director of Hockey Operations.


A Personal Note

I want to thank all of you in the hockey world who were aware of the illness of my younger brother, Nick, and, from spring through summer, included him in your prayers, thus providing comfort in a very tough time.

On Thursday, my brother died of lung cancer. He was able to die surrounded by family at his farm in Western Massachusetts, the place where he was happiest. My brother was not an athlete and most USHR readers would not have heard of him. He was both a biomedical engineer and an artist – a painter, to be specific. He was also a craftsman in both wood and metal. Last, but far from least, he was a family man and a wonderful father to three great kids.

USHR will be a little quiet for the next week or so. I will not have time to chase down stories, but if something important happens, I encourage readers to drop me an email. As time allows, I will try to get those stories in print, or at least make up for it very soon.  

Thank you.

Chris Warner
US Hockey Report



Philly Showcase Schedule
Here is the schedule for the MET/AJHL and 18U AAA combined showcase in West Chester, Penn. the weekend of September 18-20. All 24 MET Teams, seven AJHL teams, and ten 18U AAA teams will be on hand. The ten midget teams will be drawn from the Tier I Elite League and will consist of the five teams from the league's East Division (Boston Advantage, Buffalo Regals, Philly Jr. Flyers, Pittsburgh Hornets, Team Comcast) and five teams from the Detroit Division (Belle Tire, Compuware, Honeybaked, Little Caesar's, Victory Honda).

Met Kickoff Showcase:

AJHL/Philly AAA Showcase:



Hub City Tournament This Weekend

The Second Annual Hub City Junior Showcase is scheduled for this Friday and Saturday Sept. 11-12 at the Bridgewater Ice Arena in Bridgewater, Mass.

Teams from three leagues will be competing:

EJHL: South Shore Kings, Springfield Pics, and Bridgewater Bandits.
AJHL: Northern Mass Cyclones, Walpole Express, Portland Jr Pirates, and NJ Rockets.
Midget AAA: Boston Advantage, Boston Jr Rangers, and Rice Memorial.

For the full schedule please follow the link below:


Clarkson Recruits Charged

The Watertown (NY) Daily News is reporting that three Clarkson recruuits have been charged by the New York State Police with having sex with a 16-year-old girl without her consent.

All three will be arraigned this morning (Wed. 9/9) in Potsdam Village Court, charged with sexual misconduct and child endangerment, both of which are misdemeanor charges. The incident took place in early July at Clarkson’s summer hockey camp.

The three players are:

-- Defenseman Jordan Ciccarello of New Hartford, Conn. Ciccarello, who played at the South Kent School last season, is a recruit for this fall.

-- Defenseman Patrick McEachen of Stouffville, Ont. McEachen, who played for the Stouffville Spirit (OPJHL) last season, is also a recruit for this fall.

-- Forward Demetri Sakaris of Candiac, Que. Sakaris, a recruit for the fall of ’11, played for Vaudreuil-Dorion (LHJAQ) last season.

The players' status with the team has yet to be determined. The school is cooperating with the police and conducting its own investigation.



Whittet Makes a Statement

New Brown head coach Brendan Whittet has his first recruit – and it’s Berkshire School forward Jake Goldberg, who will arrive at Meehan Auditorium in the fall of ’10.

Goldberg, who is going into his senior year at Berkshire, is the kind of player Brown, which averaged under two goals a game last season, needs now. He’s a point producer, leading Berkshire in goals and total points with a 27-28-55 line in 33 games last winter.

The year before that, as a 10th grader, he posted a 21-17-38 line.

Goldberg, a 5’11”, 185 lb. native of  Langhorne, PA is a 6/21/91 birthdate who attended the Eaglebrook School before going to Berkshire. He’s a natural athlete and was All New England in three sports at Berkshire – football, hockey, and baseball.

On the ice, Goldberg’s strong points are his hockey sense and his ability to see the ice. When he’s on, he can dictate the pace of the game. If there’s an area of his game he could work on this season, it’s the physical part. He may be skilled, but he still has to establish a presence in the dirty areas of the ice.

But with added strength, that might come. The bottom line is that Whittet has gone after – and snagged – a skill player who can score goals. That’s a species that has become rare at Brown in recent years.


A Chip off the Old Blocks

The University of Vermont has hired alum Joe Gasparini as an assistant coach effective immediately.

He takes the place of Willie Mitchell, who has returned to Canada and private business.

Gasparini, 28, a forward for the Catamounts from ’02-06, comes from a hockey family. He is the son of Gino Gasparini, who coached the University of North Dakota for 16 years, winning three NCAA titles for the Fighting Sioux. The elder Gasparini, after concluding his coaching career, became USHL commissioner and president. Joe is also the younger brother of Tony Gasparini, who was the head coach at Sioux Falls (USHL), an assistant at Union College, and is currently a scout with the Los Angeles Kings (NHL).

A native of Grand Forks,  ND, Gasparini overcame a life-threatening illness as a teenager, but persevered and made the roster of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the fall of 2000. After two seasons there, he was recruited to Vermont by Mike Gilligan and his staff. In his final two seasons, he played for Kevin Sneddon and John Micheletto.

Gasparini is one of the few players to have made the All-Academic team in both the ECAC and Hockey East. (Vermont joined Hockey East in Gasparini’s senior season.)

In recent years, Gasparini has worked as a scout for Cedar Rapids and Fargo and has also worked for former Fighting Sioux Justin Duberman’s Achieve Sports Management, which is based in Chicago.

Vermont made their final pick from between Gasparini and Alex Todd, who played at Union when Sneddon and Micheletto were there, and in recent years has resurrected the hockey program at Div. III Castleton State College.


Woodchuck Classic Schedule

The Fifth Annual Woodchuck Classic, hosted by the Green Mountain Glades, is scheduled for Thurs-Sun. Sept. 10-13. A link to the schedule -- it's an Excel file -- is below.

Games will take place at Gutterson Field House at the University of Vermont, and at Cairns Arena, which is in South Burlington and has two sheets.

There will be two divisions, a Junior A Division, and a combined Jr. B/Midget AAA Division.

Eleven of the 14 EJHL teams will be on hand. There will also be 10 Canadian teams, primarily from the Provinicial League -- Wellington, Georgetown, Oakville, et al -- as well as some CEGEP teams and one team down from the Maritimes -- the Woodstock Slammers.

The games will be on and the results will be on Pointstreak.

2009 Woodchuck Classic Schedule



Bucs Make It Official

Longtime Div. I assistant and USHL head coach Mike Guentzel was officially named the head coach of the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) yesterday.

Guentzel replaces Dave Allison, who never got to coach a single game. Unable to get a green card, he is now scouting for Pittsburgh.

This is a big hire for Des Moines. For more on Guentzel, please check our initial story in the USHR News of Aug. 19.



A Tip

Here's an early opportunity for scouts and recruiters. The South Shore Kings (EJHL) will be facing off against a pair of Midget AAA teams in exhibition games at the Foxboro Sports Centre tomorrow (Wed. Sept. 2) and the day after (Thurs. Sept. 3). 

On Wednesday, at 1 pm, the South Shore Kings face off against the Cape Cod Whalers.

On Thursday, at 1 pm, the South Shore Kings face off against the Neponset Valley River Rats.