Established 1996
 
 


10/13/09


Record Number of U.S. Kids In Major Junior

We’ve gone through the rosters of all three major junior leagues – that’s 60 CHL teams in all – and have counted 111 U.S.-born kids playing major junior.

Last year at this time we counted 105, which was later adjusted to 107.

In ’08-09, we counted 104.

The most dramatic increase this year can be found in the OHL, which had 57 U.S. kids last year, but is up to 65 this year. The WHL is down, with 40 last year, but 37 this year. The Q has gone from eight to nine Yanks.

In recent years, the CHL has beefed up its recruiting on this side of the border, and has had success going hard  after the top U.S. kids. In addition, the CHL seems to be attracting a good number of U.S. kids who'll never play at any serious professional level, but who can be role players on major junior teams. And let's not forget all the players in between those two extremes.

It's tough to see these numbers rise every year. USA Hockey is beginning to show some interest in helping the NCAA in its efforts to keep players in the U.S., but was slow to join the battle. It's still hard to gauge exactly how high on USA Hockey's agenda this issue is. We feel strongly that it should be a high priority, for this is more than just the NCAA's fight.

Notes:

This list, of course, doesn’t take into account Canadian kids who committed to NCAA schools, then reneged and chose the major junior route. That’s a list for another day.

There are 13 former NTDP players playing major junior this season.


WHL (37):

Brandon Wheat Kings (0)

Calgary Hitmen (0)

Chilliwack Bruins (1):
Travis Belohrad, F, 1/13/91, Superior, CO

Edmonton Oil Kings (0)
(No players are U.S.-born, but the coach, Steve Pleau, is.)

Everett Silvertips (4):
Tyler Maxwell, F, 4/13/91, Manhattan Beach, CA
Shane Harper, F, 2/1/89, Valencia, CA
Zack Dailey, F, 12/16/89, Healy, AK
Marcus McCrea, F, 2/15/92, Canyon Lake, CA
 
Kamploops Blazers (3):
C.J. Stretch, F, 8/3/89, Irvine, CA
John Stampohar, F, 2/25/90, Hibbing, MN
Brandon Underwood, D, 2/3/92, San Marcos, CA

Kelowna Rockets (5):
Shane McColgan, F, 1/1/93, Manhattan Beach, CA
Mitchell Callahan, F, 8/19/91, Whittier, CA
Kyle Verdino, F, 10/27/91, Phoenix, AZ
Collin Bowman, D, 6/13/91, Littleton, CO
Adam Brown, G, 10/12/91, Yorba Linda, CA

Kootenay Ice (1):
Todd Mathews, G, 4/17/90, Covina, CA

Lethbridge Hurricanes (0)

Medicine Hat Tigers (4):
Joey Frazer, F, 5/18/90, Brainerd, MN
Tristan King, F, 11/7/90, Elk River, MN
Emerson Etem, F, 6/16/92, Long Beach, CA
Matthew Konan, D, 9/3/91, Tustin, CA

Moose Jaw Warriors (0)

Portland Winterhawks (5):
Chris Francis, F, 3/30/89, Las Vegas, NV
Gasper Kopitar, F, 8/13/92, Manhattan Beach, CA
Colin Reddin, F, 6/23/90, Corona Del Mar, CA
Seth Swenson, F, 4/17/93, Parker, CO
Taylor Aronson, D, 12/30/91 Placentia, CA

Prince Albert Raiders (0)

Prince George Cougars (1):
Parker Stanfield, F, 6/20/90, Orange County, CA

Red Deer Rebels (0)

Regina Pats (0)

Saskatoon Blades (0)

Seattle Thunderbirds (4):
Tyler Alos, F, 1/27/93, Spokane, WA
Colin Jacobs, F, 1/20/93, Coppell, TX
Jacob Doty, F, 1/19/93, Billings, MT
Jonathan Parker, F, 9/25/91, Solana Beach, CA

Spokane Chiefs (5):
Ryan Letts, F, 2/15/89, Newport Beach, CA
Tyler Johnson, F, 7/29/90, Spokane, WA
T.C. Cratsenberg, F, 1/2/92, Federal Way, WA
Mitch Wahl, F, 1/22/90, Seal Beach, CA
Tanner Mort, D, 4/29/93, Post Falls, ID

Swift Current Broncos (1):
Morgan Clark, G, 2/17/90, Flower Mound, TX

Tri City Americans (1):
Cody Castro, F, 1/8/92, Pasadena, CA

Vancouver Giants (2):
JT Barnett, F, 8/21/92, Scottsdale, AZ
Brendan Jensen, G, 2/6/93, El Granada, CA


OHL (65):


Barrie Colts (1):
Dean Pawlaczyk, F, 2/4/92, Madison, MI

Belleville Bulls (3):
Scott Howe, F, 2/25/92, Marietta, GA
Jan Kaminsky, F, 10/5/92, Kennesaw, GA
Bjorn Krupp, D, 3/6/91, Manhattan Beach, CA

Brampton Battalion (1):
Philip Lane, F, 5/29/92, Rochester, NY

Erie Otters (5):
Andrew Yogan, F, 12/4/91, Boca Raton, FL
Shawn Szydlowski, F, 8/5/90, St. Clair Shores, MI
Evan Accettura, D, 6/12/92, Novi, MI
David Shields, D, 1/27/91, Rochester, NY
Tyler Hostetter, D, 1/30/91, Lititz, PA

Guelph Storm (1):
Adam Comrie, D, 1/31/90, Ashburn, VA

Kingston Frontenacs (2):
Brian Lashoff, D, 7/16/90, Albany, NY
John Cullen, G, 4/20/91, Hamburg, NY

Kitchener Rangers (8):
Shane Prince, F, 11/16/92, Spencerport, NY
Alex Aleardi, F, 7/30/92, Farmington Hills, MI
Jeremy Morin, F, 4/16/91, Auburn, NY
Charlie Dodero, D, 10/1/92, Bloomingdale, IL
Christian Stevens, D, 9/5/91, Portsmouth, NH
John Moore, D, 12/19/90, Winnetka, IL
Dan Kelly, D, 5/17/89, Morrisonville, NY
Brandon Maxwell, G, 3/22/91, Winter Park, FL

London Knights (3):
Philip McRae, F, 3/15/90, Chesterfield, MO
Jared Knight, F, 1/16/92, Battle Creek, MI
Michael Houser, G, 9/13/92, Wexford, PA

Mississauga St. Michael's Majors (0)

Niagara Ice Dogs (0)

Oshawa Generals (6):
Conor Stokes, F, 6/8/91, Lansing, NY
John Padulo, F, 5/6/92, Rochester, NY
Colin Suellentrop, D, 6/10/93, Plantation, FL
Alex Dzielski, D, 7/17/89, Pittsford, NY
Tony DeHart, D, 3/20/90, Baldwin, MO
Jimmy McDowell, D, 4/23/93, Dimondale, MI 

Ottawa 67's (1):
Peter Stevens, F, 2/10/89, Chester, NY

Owen Sound Attack (1):
David Kolomatis, D, 2/25/89, Basking Ridge, NJ

Peterborough Petes (3):
Zach Tatrn, F, 2/14/91, Lower Burrell, PA
Jack Walchessen, F, 4/11/90, Ortly Beach, NJ
Barron Smith, D, 4/2/90, Hinsdale, IL

Plymouth Whalers (11):
Austin Mattson, F, 2/1/91, Livonia, MI
Stefan Noesen, F, 2/12/93, Plano, TX
Myles McCauley, F, 4/8/91, Sterling Heights, MI
RJ Mahalak, F, 12/23/91, Monroe, MI
AJ Jenks, F, 5/27/90, Wolverine Lake, MI
Ryan Hayes, F, 6/4/89, Syracuse, NY
Tyler Brown, F, 4/4/91, Westland, MI
Josh Bemis, D, 12/3/90, Clarkston, MI
Austin Levi, D, 2/16/92, Farmington Hills, MI
Beau Schmitz, D, 3/26/91, Howell, MI
Nick Malysa, D, 4/11/93, Bridgewater, NJ

Saginaw Spirit (7):
Garret Ross, F, 5/26/92, Dearborn Heights, MI
Tyler Murovich, F, 12/4/89, Pittsburgh, PA
Barry Sanderson, F, 4/22/90, Dearborn, MI
Vincent Trocheck, F, 7/11/93, Pittsburgh, PA
Brad Walch, D, 1/24/91, Saginaw, MI
Alex Lepkowski, D, 4/8/93, West Seneca, NY
Joe Underwood, D, 1/15/90, Canton, MI

Sarnia Sting (3):
JC Campagna, F, 6/11/93, Dublin, OH
Daniel Broussard, D, 1/9/91, Fayetteville, NC
Joe Rogalski, D, 11/29/91, Lancaster, NY

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (4):
T.J. Battani, F, 10/25/89, Armada, MI
Trevor Morbeck, F, 11/21/93, Jackson, WI
Brandon Archibald, D, 3/31/92, Port Huron, MI
David Mead, D, 8/24/92, Conklin, NY

Sudbury Wolves (0)

Windsor Spitfires (5):
Austin Watson, F, 1/13/92, Ann Arbor, MI
Craig Duininck, D, 4/29/93, St. Cloud, MN
Cam Fowler, D, 12/6/91, Farmington Hills, MI
Saverio Posa, D, 6/5/92, Grand Blanc, MI
Josh Unice, G, 6/24/89, Holland, OH


QMJHL (9):

Acadie-Bathurst Titan (0)

Baie-Comeau Drakkar (0)

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (2):
Chris Holden, G, 1/28/90, Nashua, NH
Richard Greer, D, 4/9/1991, Quincy, MA

Chicoutimi Sagueneéens (0)

Drummondville Voltigeurs (2):
Ryan McKiernan, D, 7/27/89, White Plains, NY
Sean Couturier, G, 12/7/92, Phoenix, AZ

Gatineau Olympiques (0)

Halifax Mooseheads (0)

Lewiston Maineiacs (1):
Eric Bonawitz, D, 12/30/90, Lewiston, ME

Moncton Wildcats (2):
Dillon Donnelly, D, 9/7/93, Amherst, NY
Paul Dimitruk, D, 5/30/90, Andover, MA

Montréal Junior (0)

PEI Rocket (0)

Quebec Remparts (1):
Ryan Bourque, F, 1/3/91 Topsfield, MA

Rimouski Océanic (0)

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (0)

Saint John Sea Dogs (0)

Shawinigan Cataractes (0)

Val-d'Or Foreurs (0)

Victoriaville Tigers (1):
Ryan Patsch, F, 6/15/91, Philadelphia, PA


 


10/31/09

U.S. Junior Selects Warm Up With Exhibition Win

Last night at Montague, PEI, The U.S. Junior Select Team topped Canada West, 5-2, in an exhibition game behind two goals and an assist from Indiana Ice forward Shane Berschbach.

Willie Yanakeff kicked out 28 of 30 shots for the win.

The U.S. faces Canada East in the opening game of the tournament tomorrow night in Summerside, PEI.

The head coach of the team is Mark Carlson. He is being assisted by Jeff Blashill and Andy Jones.

2009 Junior Select Team Roster (printable) 

US Junior Select Team 5, Canada West 2 (exhibition):

Canada West 2-0-0=2
USA 2-1-2=5

First Period -
USA, Berschbach (Gerths, Leitner), 2:43
Canada West, C. Jones (K. Jones, Kunik), 5:43
USA, Costello (Dowd, B. Bennett), 7:41 (pp)
Canada West, K. Jones (C. Jones, Lalegea), 19:58 (pp)
-- Penalties: Canada West, Reid (interference), :29; Canada West, Reid (cross-checking), 7:01; Canada West, Gedeg (delay of game), 7:04; USA, Costello (roughing after the whistle), 11:09; USA, Gerths (roughing after the whistle), 14:40; USA, Jensen (kneeing), 18:53.

Second Period -
USA, Dowd (Gerths, Berschbach), 4:32
-- Penalties: None

Third Period -
USA, Parker (Crane, Sorkin), 9:19
USA, Berschbach (Mattson, Dowd), 19:23 (eng)
-- Penalties: USA, Team (too many men), 7:00

Shots on goal:
Canada West 12-6-12=30
USA 10-8-9=27

Goaltenders:
Canada West -- Halcrow 23/27
USA -- Yanakeff 28/30

Power Play: Canada West 1-4; USA 1-3
Penalties:
Canada West 3/6, USA 4-8

US Schedule; World Junior A Challenge
Nov. 1-8; Summerside, Prince Edward Island
(all times local)

Sun. Nov. 1 – Canada East, 7:00 pm
Tues. Nov 3 – Belarus, 7:00 pm
Thurs. Nov. 5 – Quarterfinals, TBD
Fri. Nov. 6 – Semifinals, TBD
Sat. Nov. 7 – Fifth-place game, 7:00 pm
Sun. Nov. 8 -- Third-place game, 12:00 pm
                        Championship Game, 5:00 pm

USA Roster by Birth Year:

'90s (5): Jeff Costello, Nic Dowd, David Gerths, Nick Jensen, Matt Leitner.

'91s (10): Kevin Albers, Beau Bennett, Mac Bennett, Shane Berschbach, Chris Crane, Derek DeBlois, Nick Mattson, Eamonn McDermott, Eric Mihalik, Nick Sorkin.

'92s (7):  Connor Brickley, Kevin Gravel, Kevin Lind, John Parker, Mike Parks, Colten St. Clair, Will Yanakeff.

 


10/31/09

Swine Flu KO’s Western Elite Prep League

With the Swine flu hammering many prep schools, the directors of the Western New England Fall Elite Prep League have decided to cancel this weekend’s games at Trinity College.

Play will resume next weekend.

Note the following time changes for the Sunday Nov. 8 games: 3:00 pm South vs. West and 4:45 pm North vs. East.



10/31/09

2009 Beantown Fall Classic Notebook

If ever there should be games played outdoors, it is these. New England never looks better than in late October, when the leaves reach that russet-colored stage, and hang there for a couple weeks before fluttering to the ground. And, last weekend, we got to see our region in all it’s glory, and we got to see some hockey, too. But we’re not going to even pretend we saw all 54 teams at the 2009 Fall Beantown Classic, mostly played in Exeter, NH and Haverhill, Mass. We saw a bunch, though, and this is what we found.

Under-16 Division:

The story here was the play of 6’2”, 180 lb. LC Cristoval “Boo” Nieves, a 1/24/94 10th grader playing for the Syracuse Nationals. You may recall the words of praise we heaped upon Nieves at the Select 15s, so we don’t want to go over already-trod ground, but every once in a while you can look at a 15-year-old and think “1st round.” Nieves, with his lanky frame, long stride, and long stick looks like a condor on ice, swooping gracefully from one end of the sheet to the other and making tape-to-tape passes without breaking stride. It is expected that Nieves will commit to the University of Michigan (for the fall of ’12) any day now. Syracuse also has Dalton Izyk, a 6’0” 1/23/94 10th grader who we rated as our #1 goaltender at the Select 15 Festival, though we didn’t catch his turn in the rotation here.

The Mississauga Reps were the best team we saw in this division, though they lost to the eventual winner, the Colorado Thunderbirds (whom we didn’t see) in Saturday’s quarterfinal by a 2-1 score. Up front, the Reps boasted 6’2”, 187 lb. RC Cody Payne, who we had rated as our #4 forward at Select 15s, leading the way. Payne is a Floridian who holds a UK/US dual citizenship and is living and playing in Toronto. Welcome to youth hockey in 2009. Payne, a 1/14/94 birthdate , is a pure power forward, big and strong on his skates with a lot of upside -- if his skill level keeps up with his size. We were extremely impressed by the LW on Payne’s line, Terry Trafford, a 5’10”, 175 lb. 2/14/94 birthdate whose skating and passing skills were impeccable. Trafford is an excellent NCAA prospect. Rounding out our top three on this team was 6’1” LD Gianluca Curcuruto (try saying that fast three times). Curcuruto, a 2/25/94 birthdate, is,like Payne and Trafford, of special interest to top NCAA programs. And the top gun of the Reps’ 8:00 am game on Friday – he had a hat trick – was 5’9” forward Matthew Lane, the younger brother of Brampton forward Phil Lane. To be honest, every player on this team – they are all ’94-born 10th graders – looks to have NCAA Div. I potential. Many, of course, will go major junior, but some won’t. Mississauga’s coach is Frank Pietrangelo, who we well remember not just for robbing Peter Stastny in the 1991 Stanley Cup playoffs – “The Save” – but also as the University of Minnesota goaltender in the early ‘80s (he was the only Canadian, and non-Minnesotan, on the team at the time). So Pietrangelo, whose son Dylan is a goaltender for the Reps, is not averse to nudging his players toward the NCAA.

Now, on to other teams.

We got to see the Ohio AAA Blue Jackets and liked 5’8”, 145 lb. RC Jonah Hoover, a 3/15/94 10th grader from Oxford, Ohio. Hoover wins draws, sees the ice on a high level, and has the skill to create scoring opportunities from what he sees. Of course, Oxford, Ohio is where Miami University is located. Perhaps someday Hoover will be playing for Rico Blasi. 5’8” forward Kyle Hickman, a 12/31/93 birthdate, showed creativity and quickness. The team also had a slew of six-foot plus d-men who bear following – 6’1” ’95 Dalton O’Brien, a 9th grader and ’95 birthdate; and 6’2” ’94 10th grader Dustin Johnson were the youngest and most noticeable. 

We liked 5’9” center Aaron Wright, a ’93 11th grader from Coppell, Texas who plays for the Texas Alliance – small, but skilled and smart.

Dartmouth Subway (of Nova Scotia) had a couple of really high-end kids in ’94 RW Devon Oliver-Dares and ’94 LD Mitchell Shewfelt. They just jumped out at us. Both have all the earmarks of high QMJHL draft picks. ’93 forward Bryan Anthony, the younger brother of former Holderness forward Steven Anthony (now playing in the Q) had a solid game and is an NCAA prospect. 

We left Haverhill for Exeter, but got back at 9:00 pm to watch Neil Shea’s South Shore Kings, who are pretty loaded but just managed to edge Team Comcast, 5-4, when, in the final minute of play, ’94 RC Brendan Silk (Austin Prep) slid a silky goalmouth pass to his RW Ryan Fitzgerald (Malden Catholic) for the game-winner. An appropriate ending because we felt that those two were the preeminent players on the ice in this tilt. Silk, who is 6’1”, 168 lbs., is, for our money, the best ’94 in Massachusetts. He’s a smooth, swift skater who can make plays at speed and sees the ice terrifically. We’re told he’s a second cousin to ’80 Olympian Dave Silk, though his dad reportedly played hoops. Fitzgerald, the son of former NHLer Tom Fitzgerald, could be the second best ’94 in Mass. He lacks size – he’s 5’9”, 160 – but we don’t care. He’s just a smart, skilled hockey player who, even if he doesn’t grow much, looks, at the very least, like he will be a really productive Div. I player. 6’1” Cam Darcy of the Dexter School is a ’94 forward who is big and strong; however, his skills are less refined than the above two. A player that we’d like to take another look at is 6’1”, 160 lb defenseman Colin MacGillivray of Malden Catholic – Chris Serino will once again have a team to watch. Also interesting, but very young, are 6’3” defenseman Connor Light and 6’1” forward Eddie Ellis, both ‘95s who are at Andover. Perhaps the success of former Masco star Chris Kreider is paying big dividends for Dean Boylan in Boston’s suburbs. Super ’95 defenseman Steve Santini (Westchester – Empire) was not with the South Shore Kings for this tournament. Santini, of course, is the horse everyone wants in their stable. He’s already made unofficial college visits to BC, BU, Harvard, UNH, and Maine.

Under-19 Division:

In the Under-19 Division, New Jersey Colonials’ LC Kenny Agostino, a Yale recruit who will be playing again this winter at the Delbarton School, was excellent. His stick skills are top notch – and he’s grown. He might have lost a step with the growth spurt, but that will come back. A ’92, Agostino could find his way onto Central’s list over the course of the season. He plays on a line with Delbarton teammate – and Princeton recruit – Michael Ambrosia, who has quick feet, is good with the puck and uses his teammates well.

We wrote about Team Maryland the other day, in connection with ’92 LW Casey Thrush committing to UNH for ’12. We also mentioned his linemates, ’91 center Jake Lynes, and ’92 RW Maxim Gaudreault. We didn’t mention 6’0”, 185 late ’91 power forward Michael Williams, who is strong and very athletic, works hard, has quick feet, but is still quite raw. He’s worth taking another look at later in the season. 

On Boston Advantage, the players to watch are 5’5”, 138 lb. LC Cam Brown, an 11th grader and a ’93 who committed to Maine over the summer. Brown is fun to watch, as he’s slick with the puck, creative, and not afraid. 6’5”, 194 lb. late ’91 Peter MacIntyre gets attention due to his size. His hands are decent but his skating needs further work. 

The Boston Junior Bruins (Empire) squad feature 5’10”, 190 lb. BC recruit Frankie Vatrano, another top ’94 forward from Mass. Vatrano is very dangerous, as he’s smart and possesses an excellent shot, which he utilized from the point on the power play. 6’0”, 200 lb forward Mac Cook, a 1/18/94 birthdate from Reading, is a big strong kid with good tools. 6’2”, 195 lb. 1/30/93 birthdate Steven Miller, from Boxborough, is a player to follow. 5’11”, 175 lb. 4/1/94 Brian Morgan showed strength, and was very good around the net – the puck seemed to find him a lot. 6’2” goaltender Colin Stevens, a ’93 who played at Albany Academy last winter, didn’t have that good a game when we were watching, but he has athleticism to go with his size, and could get there in time. He’s definitely worth checking out. 

The Boston Eagles got an excellent performance from 6’0”, 190 lb. 6/19/93 defenseman Joakim Ryan, who plays for Christian Brothers Academy in New Jersey. Ryan is very poised and smooth with the puck – he makes it look effortless. Cornell, to name one school, is interested in Ryan, who is not only a strong college prospect, but looks like he could be a pro someday. Ditto for Phillipe Hudon, who has made visits to BC, BU, Harvard, and Cornell. Hudon’s skating is getting smoother, and he’s always been physical and strong on his skates. We see Hudon as a high-end grinder, the kind of player too many college teams completely lack. A couple players who also played well here were St. Sebastian’s ’93 defenseman Desmond Bergin, who is sneaking up on us a little. He skates well and was consistently noticeable in the game we watched. 6’1”, 190 lb. 3/12/92 birthdate Mike Seward of Winchester High School – a strong skater who is coming onto the scene quickly -- played well, scoring on a nice one-timer off the rush.

The Cape Cod Whalers didn’t have the greatest weekend, but they certainly have players, most of whom have been written about a lot in these pages. The top line consists of 6’2” BC recruit Kevin Hayes, center Matt Harlow, and LW Mark Hourihan – an all-Nobles line. Hayes has top-end potential and could go in the first round of June’s NHL draft. Harlow is a passionate, scrappy type who doesn’t get cheated, and Hourihan, a 6’2” ’91 is making steady improvement. Harlow is getting interest from Harvard and Dartmouth. 6’2” Gus Young, a Yale recruit and Colorado 7th round draft pick in June, appears to be the top defenseman in prep hockey going into the season. 5’11”, 180 lb. LD Jonathan Mleczko of Milton Academy has speed galore from the blue line. A former forward, Mleczko seems better suited to having the play in front of him, and is still learning how to use his speed from the back end. 5’10”, 170 lb. LD Aaron Deutsch, a junior at Milton and a ‘92, plays a smart, unflashy game. 6’0” Tommy O’Regan, a senior at St. Seb’s and a Harvard recruit, is a good up-and-down winger who works, uses his head, sees the ice and makes good short passes. His feet need a little work. 6’2” ’92 RD Mike Reardon of Nobles is simply an athlete – an excellent baseball player and former football player – who is still learning how to become a hockey player. An 11th grader, Reardon could have a breakout year. We’re not saying he will, but the potential is certainly there.

The Chicago Mission, an excellent team, blanked the Cape Cod Whalers 1-0 on Saturday. 6’2”, 170 lb. RD Jordan Schmaltz, a 10/8/93 birthdate and an 11th grader, was terrific. There was no d-man in the Under-19 division with more upside than Schmaltz – not one. Not only does he have size, but he can really skate. He’s also very composed, and make strong passes. Defensively, he was able to handle the likes of 6’3” Kevin Hayes. We also liked 5’10”, 160 lb. RD Torey Wilsey, a 10th grader and an 11/4/93 birthdate. Wilsey is  very good in transition, has excellent feet, and is just very steady. Up front, 6’0” ’93 AJ Jarosz stood out for both his skill and competitiveness. 6’2” ’92 goaltender Eric Garvagalia earned the shutout for the Mission. He didn’t have to stand on his head, but he was solid. The game, a good one, was a defensive tug-of-war.

On the Boston Little Bruins 6’1”, 195 lb. ’92 Brandon McNally and 6’2”, 190 lb. late ’92 Gunnar Hughes were tough to contain due to their physical play. McNally’s skating holds him back a little bit, but the rest of his game is excellent. He’s physical, determined, strong along the wall, and has terrific hockey sense. Hughes is steadily improving his skating. He just grinds it out, and can be a real handful for opponents. ’92 forward Andrew Tegeler (Westminster) is big, raw, works hard, and has good hands.

We like the Greater Boston Jr. Bruins blueliners, especially Milton Academy RD Jake Turrin, a 5’11” ’92 11th grader who is extremely mobile. He’ll be a good college player. Milton also has an interesting new 11th grader in 6’2”, 185 lb. late ‘91 LD Patrick McNally, who has size, poise, and can skate. Cushing 6’3”, 195 lb. LD RJ Boyd, a ’91, can skate and is athletic but hasn’t quite put his whole game together. He might need a year of juniors, but could get there.

The Neponset Valley River Rats feature closely-watched 6’1” goaltender Jay Williams, a ’93 sophomore at Hotchkiss who we had never seen have a bad game – until Friday night. Despite that glitch, he’s excellent. St. Paul’s defenseman Ben Kaplan, listed as 6’2”, 180 lbs. just seems to keep growing. A ’92 junior from Vermont, he’s long and gangly – all arms and legs. When he finishes growing into his body, all those pieces should come together and make him a good Div. I prospect. He had two goals on Saturday. For us, the River Rats most effective forward was Tabor Academy 5’11”, 190 lb. late ’91 senior Cam Spiro, who has really good hands, an excellent shot, and competes. 6’1” Williston-Northampton senior T.J. Powers, a late ’91, is a strong skating power forward who will be interesting to watch over the upcoming season. We like the way he skates, and drives to the net, but would like to see a little more playmaking.

There was a four-team third division -- the EJHL Division – consisting of the Junior Monarchs, the Hitmen, the Junior Bruins, and Northwood. The first three we covered last week. As for Northwood, we’ll see them more as the season goes along, but they don’t have any Alex Chiasson-types on board this year, so it will be interesting to see if any forwards are able to separate themselves from the pack. For us, their top two players are 5’10” LD Marc-Antoine Carrier, who is very mobile and very involved defensively. Carrier, a Quebecois, will be a good Div. I player. 5’11” ’91 senior goaltender Raphael Girard is very good, and is another player we see as a solid Div. I prospect. 

We were sorry we didn’t see the two teams that reached the Under-16 final, the Colorado Thunderbirds U16 and the North Jersey Avalanche. We can, however, tell you that the Thunderbirds won, 2-1.

In the Under-19 final, the Greater Boston Junior Bruins edged the Chicago Mission, 2-1.



10/30/09

62nd Annual Lawrenceville Christmas Tournament

-- at Lawrenceville and Princeton, NJ; Dec. 19-20, 2009

Participating Schools:
Belmont Hill
Canterbury
Choate
Lawrenceville
Nichols
Northfield-Mt. Hermon
Taft
Upper Canada College


Sat. Dec. 19, 2009:

9:00 am – Game 1: Choate vs. Nichols
9:00 am – Game 2: Belmont Hill vs. NMH (@ Baker Rink; Princeton University)
11:00 am – Game 3: Lawrenceville vs. Canterbury
11:00 am – Game 4: Taft vs. UCC (@ Baker Rink; Princeton University)
2:00 pm – Game 5: Losers of Games 1 & 2
4:00 pm – Game 6: Losers of Games 3 & 4
7:00 pm – Game 7: Winners of Games 1 & 2
9:00 pm – Game 8: Winners of Games 3 & 4

Sun. Dec. 20, 2009:
8:00 am – Losers of Games 5 & 6
10:00 am – Winners of Games 5 & 6
12:00 pm – Losers of Games 7 & 8
2:30 pm – Championship Game: Winners of Games 7 & 8

 


10/30/09

A New Assistant For Yale

Look for Dan Muse, who spent last season as an assistant at Sacred Heart University, to be named as a new assistant at Yale.

Muse will join Kyle Wallack on coach Keith Allain’s staff. The vacancy was created when former Eli assistant C.J. Marottolo was hired a month ago as head coach at Sacred Heart. So there’s a bit of musical chairs going on here. Marottolo, of course, will now have to hire an assistant at Sacred Heart to take Muse’s place. (Long-time Sacred Heart assistant Lou Santini will be staying on at Sacred Heart.)

Muse, a Massachusetts native, graduated from Canton High and, in 2005, Stonehill College, where he was assistant captain on the hockey team.

Since then, Muse has taught social studies at Archbishop Williams High, worked in the Mass Hockey Satellite Program, was an assistant on Paul Cannata’s staff at Milton Academy, and, before being hired by Sacred Heart, spent one season as an assistant at Williams College.



10/30/09

A Big Day for Lowell

6’3”, 210 lb. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) ’93 goaltender Chris Eiserman took a visit to UMass-Lowell today and came home with a full scholarship.

A 10th grader in high school, Eiserman will arrive at Lowell in ’12. His brother, Bill, a ’92 left-shot D who was a standout at this summer’s USA Hockey Select 17 Festival, will be matriculating at Lowell in the fall of ’11. The two boys are following a family tradition: their father, Bill, was a member of the River Hawks (then known as the Chiefs) in ’86-87, though a broken leg ended his hockey career.

The youngest Eiserman’s commitment to Lowell today came quicker than anyone expected. He had visited UMass-Amherst, but if he had waited a host of schools would have gotten involved. It’s just not common these days for 16-year-old goalies who were playing high school a year ago to commit at the Div. I level. However, Eiserman has excelled at every level he’s been at, and he has always wanted to play college hockey with his brother – and at his father’s alma mater no less.

Eiserman, who shares goaltending duties on the Monarchs with Boston Collegerecruit Brian Billett, is, in our eyes, an exceptional recruit, with more upside than anyone we’ve seen Lowell land in a good long time. He’s huge, quick, athletic, fills up the net, stops pucks, smothers rebounds, and plays the puck like a third defenseman.

In seven games this season with the Monarchs, Eiserman has a 3.01 gaa and a .908 save percentage. He has one shutout and has allowed three or fewer goals in all except one game. Thus far the only glitch to his season came when he gave up seven goals to Apple Core while, with Billett out with an injury, Eiserman was playing his third game in three days -- and just hit the wall. Three games in three days is a lot to ask of any goalie, particularly a 16-year-old playing his first year of juniors. If you take away that one game, Eiserman would today have a 2.18 gaa and a .932 save percentage.

Eiserman put himself on the map last Feb. 7 when he led Div. II Newburyport HS to a stunning 3-2 upset win over then #1-ranked Div. I Malden Catholic at the Valley Forum in Malden, Mass. Most wondered why the two schools would even schedule each other, and Malden Catholic did indeed outshoot Newburyport by a huge margin. The difference, though, was Eiserman, who made 45 saves and came up huge when Malden Catholic poured it on in the third period.

In March, Newburyport High capped the season by winning the Div. II state championship, edging Canton High, 4-3 in OT, at the Garden.

And two months after that, Eiserman, unknown outside the youth hockey ranks a year before, was named to represent Mass at the USA Hockey Select 16 Festival in Rochester in late June.


***


Before tonight’s home game vs. Boston University, it was announced that UMass-Lowell would be buying Tsongas Arena outright from the city of Lowell.

In 1997, the school, the city, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts entered into a partnership arrangement for the arena, which opened in 1998.

Tonight, it was announced that the university would become the sole owners and, with no debt, take over the 6,500 seat arena, now valued at $24 million. The university will also take ownership of three acres adjacent to the arena, which they can develop as commercial property.

As for the city of Lowell, it receives $800,000 and gets out of running the arena and paying for its $1.3 million annual upkeep.

The university is committed to $5 million in capital improvements to the arena. Up to now, UMass-Lowell has been the only Hockey East school that did not own its own arena. There are still some hoops – both city and state -- that have to be jumped through before Gov. Deval Patrick signs the arena over to the university in January, but they appear to be formalities.

And to think that just a few years ago, the state was talking about pulling the plug on the UMass-Lowell hockey program.


***


The only bad part of the day for UMass-Lowell came when a Colby Cohen powerplay blast in overtime gave Boston University a 5-4 win over the River Hawks.

 

 

10/29/09

A Power Forward for the Wildcats

Team Maryland Under-18 LW Casey Thrush has committed to UNH for 2012.

Thrush, who’s 6’1”, 175 lbs. and a 5/5/92 birthdate, is a senior in high school who will play two years of juniors before college.

A linemate last year of UNH ’10 recruit Nick Sorkin, Thrush is a big power forward and a strong skater.

“Casey works extremely hard,” Team Maryland head coach Jason Kersner says. “He’s an aggressive in-your-face player who pursues the puck well -- a strong north-south guy who drives to the net. He has a ton of potential to be an excellent two-way guy who in the future can play on both the power play and penalty kill at UNH. He’s a late bloomer who’s really at the beginning of his development curve. He’ll play two years of juniors, which will give him a lot more time to improve his game and get bigger and stronger. I think he has tremendous upside.”

In addition to UNH, a bunch of Ivies – e.g., Brown, Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, and Harvard -- were all interested in Thrush.

This year, playing on a line with late ’91 center Jake Lynes and ’92 RW Maxim Gaudreault, Thrush, in 26 games thus far, has a 16-22-38 line with 20 pims. In ’08-09, while playing with Sorkin and Lynes, Thrush, in 61 games, had a 51-37-88 line.

Thrush was in New Hampshire last weekend playing at the Beantown Fall Classic in Exeter.

 


10/28/09

St. Sebastian’s Xmas Tournament

-- At St. Sebastian’s School, Needham, Mass., Fri.-Sun. Dec. 18-20, 2009

Fri. Dec. 18:
Game 1: 2:00 pm – Winchendon vs. St. Andrew’s College
Game 2: 4:00 pm -- St. Sebastian’s vs. Albany Academy
Game 3: 6:00 pm -- Thayer vs. Williston-Northampton
Game 4: 8:00 pm -- Rivers vs. Boston Advantage

Sat. Dec. 19:
Game 5: 11:00 am – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2
Game 6: 1:00 pm – Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4
Game 7: 3:00 pm – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2
Game 8: 5:00 pm – Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4

Sun. Dec. 20:
Game 9: 9:00 am – Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6
Game 10: 11:00 am – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6
Game 11: 1:00 pm – Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8 (3rd Place Game)
Game 12: 3:00 pm – Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8 (Championship Game)



10/27/09

RoughRiders College Bound

Cedar Rapids RoughRiders 5’10”, 175 lb. LW Sam Warning has committed to the University of Minnesota for the fall of ’11.

Warning, who has really good wheels, is a 9/29/92 birthdate who, in seven games to date, has a 2-2-4 line with 10 pims.

A Chesterfield, Missouri native, Warning played for the St. Louis Selects Midget AAA squad coached by Paul and Gino Cavallini. He also played for Christian Brothers College High School, which has won the Missouri state high school hockey title for six of the last seven years.

After a strong performance at this past summer’s Select 17 Festival, Warning played for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team that, in August, traveled to the Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Slovakia. In four games there, he had four points.

UNH was also very much in the hunt for Warning.


***


A few days ago, 6’1”, 197 lb. Cedar Rapids defenseman Bryce Aneloski committed, for next fall, to the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Aneloski, who played one semester at Providence College a year ago before returning to Cedar Rapids, is a 4/27/90 birthdate from Pekin, Ill.

Right now, and this won’t last, Aneloski is tied with Chicago forward Sahir Gill for the scoring lead in the USHL. With a 6-9-15 line in eight games, Aneloski already has three more points than he did all last season. The game that shot him to the top came Saturday night. In a 7-2 win over the in-over-their-heads U.S. Under-17 Team, Aneloski had a six point game, with all three goals coming on the power play.



10/27/09

45th Annual Flood-Marr Tournament

-- at Milton Academy (Friday 12/18 and Sunday 12/20) and at Noble & Greenough (Saturday 12/19).

Owen Division:
Noble & Greenough
Hotchkiss School
Phillips Andover
Westminster School

Harding Division:
Milton Academy
Deerfield Academy
Kimball Union
Salisbury School

Fri. Dec. 18, 2009, Roberts Rink, Milton
9:00 am – Kimball Union vs. Milton
11:00 am – Salisbury vs. Deerfield
1:00 pm – Nobles vs. Andover
3:00 pm – Westminster vs. Hotchkiss
5:00 pm – Deerfield vs. Milton
7:00 pm – Kimball Union vs. Salisbury

Sat. Dec. 19, 2009, Flood Rink, Nobles 
9:00 am – Hotchkiss vs. Nobles
11:00 am – Andover vs. Westminster
1:00 pm – Deerfield vs. Kimball Union
3:00 pm – Salisbury vs. Milton
5:00 pm – Westminster vs. Nobles
7:00 pm – Andover vs. Hotchkiss

Sun. Dec. 20, 2009, Roberts Rink, Milton
8:00 am  -- 7th Place Game --  4th Place Owen vs. 4th Place Harding
10:00 am -- 5th Place Game --  3rdPlace Owen vs. 3rd Place Harding           
12:00 pm -- 3rd Place Game --  2nd Place Owen vs. 2nd Place Harding
2:00 pm -- 1st Place Game – 1st Place Owen vs. 1st Place Harding



10/27/09

Halloween Weekend Harrow Jamboree

Harrow Sports and Todd Johnson are putting on a jamboree for top U16 midget, and bantam major and minor teams this weekend at Hotchkiss, Berkshire, Millbrook, and Salisbury, the latter of which is opening up its new arena.

A few years ago, Johnson, who played at Boston University in the late ‘70s, designed this program to showcase players to prep coaches and it’s grown since then. This is the second of four of these this season, with the next coming at Taft, Canterbury, Gunnery, Kent, and South Kent on the weekend of Nov. 13-15 and another one back at Hotchkiss, Salisbury, and Berkshire Jan. 15-17.

Naturally, given the tenor of the times, these may also be of interest to college coaches looking toward the future.

Each team will play four games consisting of two 22-minute halves, and each team’s roster will be distributed to all coaches who show up.

The link to the schedule is below.

Harrow Prep Jamboree Oct 31-Nov. 1



10/27/09

Rider Cup Tournament

-- at Albany Academy, Albany, NY; Sat.-Sun. Dec. 12-13, 2009.

Pool A:
Albany Academy
Hill
Winchendon

Pool B:
Lawrenceville
Millbrook
Wyoming Seminary

Sat. Dec. 12:
10:00 am – Winchendon vs. Albany Academy
12:30 pm – Lawrenceville vs. Wyoming Seminary
2:30 pm – Hill vs. Winchendon
5:00 pm – Millbrook vs. Lawrenceville
7:00 pm – Hill vs. Albany Academy
9:00 pm – Wyoming Seminary vs. Millbrook

Sun. Dec. 13:
Crossover Round:
10:00 am – Pool A 3rd Place vs. Pool B 3rd Place
12:00 pm – Pool A 2nd Place vs. Pool B 2nd Place
Championship Game:
2:00 pm – Pool A 1st Place vs. Pool B 1st Place



10/26/09

Cushing/Watkins Tournament Schedule

-- Fri.-Sun. Jan. 1-3, 2010 at Cushing Academy, Ashburnham, Mass.

Note: There’s a change to the Cushing Tournament this year. Nobles and Berkshire are out, opting instead to play a smaller tournament in Foxboro (see below). Replacing those schools will be Northwood and Gunnery.

Fisher Division:

Cushing Academy
Lawrence Academy
Northfield-Mt. Hermon
Pomfret School 

Iorio Division:
Canterbury School
Culver Academy
The Gunnery
Northwood School

Fri. Jan. 1, 2010 -- 
9:00 am -- Lawrence vs. NMH
11:10 am -- Cushing vs. Pomfret
1:20 pm -- Canterbury vs. Gunnery
3:30 pm -- Culver vs. Northwood
5:40 pm -- NMH vs. Pomfret
7:50 pm -- Cushing vs. Lawrence

Sat. Jan. 2, 2010 --
9:00 am -- Culver vs. Canterbury
11:10 am -- Gunnery vs. Northwood
1:20 pm -- Pomfret vs. Lawrence
3:30 pm -- Cushing vs. NMH 
5:40 pm -- Northwood vs. Canterbury
7:50 pm -- Gunnery vs. Culver

Sun. Jan. 3, 2010 --
9:00 am -- Fisher 4 vs. Iorio 4
11:10 am -- Fisher 3 vs. Iorio 3
1:20 pm -- Fisher 2 vs. Iorio 2
3:30 pm -- Fisher 1 vs. Iorio 1


***


Foxboro Sports Center Prep School Tournament

-- Wed.-Thurs. Dec. 30-31, 2009 at the Foxboro Sports Center; Foxboro, Mass.

Wed. Dec. 30, 2009 --
1:00 pm – Nobles vs. Williston-Northampton
3:30 pm – St. Sebastian’s vs. Berkshire

Thurs. Dec. 31, 2009  --
1:00 pm – Berkshire vs. Nobles
3:30 pm -- Williston-Northampton vs. St. Sebastian’s

There will be no winner to this tournament. It’s more a series of games. The games, of course, will count toward NEPSIHA standings. 

 


10/26/09


Exeter Invitational Schedule

-- at Phillips Exeter Academy; Exeter, NH, Dec. 17-20, 2009

Thurs. Dec. 17:
4:00 pm – South Kent vs. Holderness

Fri. Dec. 18:
2:30 pm – Stanstead vs. New Hampton
3:30 pm – South Kent vs. Hebron
5:00 pm – Exeter vs. Holderness
6:00 pm – Green Mountain Glades vs. Valley Warriors (EJHL)
7:30 pm – Junior Bruins vs. NH Jr. Monarchs (EJHL)

Sat. Dec. 19:
12:30 pm – Hebron vs. Stanstead
3:00 pm – South Kent vs. Berwick
3:30 pm – Exeter vs. New Hampton
6:00 pm – Wyoming Seminary vs. Hebron

Sun. Dec. 20:
1:30 pm – Exeter vs. South Kent



10/26/09

27th Annual Avon Old Farms Xmas Classic

-- at Avon Old Farms; Avon, Conn., Dec. 17-18-19,  2009

Pierpont Division: Berkshire, St. Paul’s, The Gunnery,  Trinity-Pawling. 
Trautman Division: Avon Old Farms, Loomis-Chaffee, Tabor Academy, Kent School.

Thurs. Dec. 17, 2009:
3:00 pm – Loomis-Chaffee vs. Avon
5:00 pm – Gunnery vs. Trinity-Pawling
7:00 pm – Kent vs. Tabor
9:00 pm – Berkshire vs. St. Paul’s

Fri. Dec. 18, 2009:
9:00 am – Gunnery vs. Berkshire (at Trinity College Rink)
9:00 am – St. Paul’s vs. Trinity-Pawling
11:00 am – Tabor vs. Loomis-Chaffee (at Trinity College Rink)
11:00 am – Kent vs. Avon
3:00 pm – Trinity-Pawling vs. Berkshire
5:00 pm – St. Paul’s vs. Gunnery
7:00 pm – Loomis-Chaffee vs. Kent
9:00 pm – Tabor vs. Avon

Sat. Dec. 19, 2009:
8:30 am – 4th Place Pierpont vs. 4th Place Trautman
10: 30 am – 3rd Place Pierpont vs. 3rd Place Trautman
1:30 pm – 2nd Place Pierpont vs. 2nd Place Trautman
3:30 pm --  1st Place Pierpont vs. 1st Place Trautman


10/23/09

Nichols-Belmont Hill Holiday Tournament Schedule

-- All games at the Belmont Hill School; Belmont, Mass.

Green Division:
Belmont Hill, Hebron, Kimball Union, Ridley College.

Blue Division:
Nichols, Millbrook, South Kent, St. Francis School.

 Mon. Dec. 28, 2009:
 9:00 am – Belmont Hill vs. Hebron
11:00 am – Kimball Union vs. Ridley
1:00 pm – Nichols vs. Milllbrook
 3:00 pm – South Kent vs. St. Francis
 6:00 pm – Ridley vs. Belmont Hill
 8:00 pm – Kimball Union vs. Hebron

Tues. Dec. 29, 2009:
 9:00 am – South Kent vs. Nichols
11:00 am – Millbrook vs. St. Francis
 1:00 pm – Ridley vs. Hebron
 3:00 pm – Belmont Hill vs. Kimball Union
 6:00 pm – Nichols vs. St. Francis
 8:00 pm – Millbrook vs. South Kent

Wed. Dec. 30, 2009:
 9:00 am -- Semifinal #1: 1st place Blue vs. 2nd place Green 
11:00 am – Semifinal #2: 1st place Green vs. 2nd place Blue
 2:00 pm -- 7th Place Game: 4th place teams
 4:00 pm -- 5th Place Game: 3rd place teams
 6:30 pm -- Championship


 


10/24/09

Berkshire Jamboree Schedule

The annual Larry Piatelli Jamboree will face off on Monday, November 30th at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass. Each game will consist of two 25-minute halves.

Participating schools:

Berkshire
Brunswick
The Gunnery
Kent
Nichols
Northfield Mount-Hermon
Pomfret
South Kent

Monday, November 30, 2009:

Rink 1:
9:30 am -- Pomfret vs. Nichols
11:30 am -- Berkshire vs. Kent
1:30 pm -- NMH vs. Pomfret
3:30 pm -- Berkshire vs. Gunnery 

Rink 2:
10:00 am -- Brunswick vs. NMH
12:00 pm -- South Kent vs. Gunnery
2:00 pm -- Brunswick vs. Nichols
4:00 pm -- South Kent v Kent



10/22/09

Central Scouting's Players to Watch List


Here is Central Scouting's Fall 2009 Players to Watch List. Leagues covered are Canadian Junior A Leagues, and American Junior Leagues (except the USHL), and US High Schools East and West.

The USHL and Canadian Major Junior will follow in November.

Central Scouting's Fall 2009 Players to Watch List (PDF file)
 


10/19/09


Monarchs Tournament, and Western N.E. Preps

Forgive this tardy travelogue of the week past. On Friday we stopped in at the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Tournament at Hooksett, NH, where we got to see all 14 EJHL teams in action and, on Saturday, we went down to Connecticut to check out the Western New England Fall Prep League.

Here’s what we saw. In the EJHL this year, it looks as if BU recruit and ex-Thayer forward Charlie Coyle has the potential to become the highest-drafted forward in the league in quite a while – specifically, since the Junior Whalers’ Dan LaCouture was the 29th overall pick in the 1996 draft (the NHL had fewer teams then, so that put LaCouture high in the second round).

Coyle, who’s 6’2”, 207 lbs., and Colgate recruit Chris Wagner, both playing RW on different lines, give the South Shore Kings a real presence up front. We also liked 6’4” late ’90 Sam Marotta in goal, though we can’t say many of the shots put on him by the Philadelphia Revolution were Grade A chances. (Marotta, ex of BC High, and Brad Barone, ex of Roxbury Latin and also a late ’90, have been splitting the Kings’ goaltending duties 50-50.)

The New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, who got goals from six different players in a 6-1 win over the Cap District Selects, are an interesting team this year. They are good now, and will get even better as the season moves along. 6’3”, 210 lb. goaltender Chris Eiserman, a ’93 from Newburyport HS, was excellent, kicking out 20 of 21 shots. His older brother, 6’0” LD Bill Eiserman, a UMass-Lowell recruit and a July ’92 birthdate, was intriguing. Like his younger brother, Eiserman was playing high school hockey last winter. He could really emerge over the winter. Ditto for 6’2”, 185 lb. Trevor van Riemsdyk, a July ’91 birthdate and the younger brother of James van Riemsdyk. Van Riemsdyk, who played at Christian Brothers Academy (NJ) last season, is raw, but has size, presence, and athleticism. (The Monarchs were a little short on the blue line due to injury so coach Sean Tremblay had ’92 forward Ryan Randall playing back there.) Up front, we liked ’93 Alex Gacek, a 5’8” Miami recruit formerly at Governor’s Academy. Gacek, playing RW, has as much skill as anyone in the league… no, let’s take that a step further: he is the most-skilled player in the league. Other Monarchs forwards who stood out for us were ’92 LW Trent Ruffolo, a Yale recruit. Ruffolo, a 5’11” Florida native, is a raggedy skater but he gets there and he can really make plays. We also liked 5’11” late ’91 RW Aaron Kesselman, a Princeton recruit who has good hands and sees the ice well. As for the Cap District Selects, Jim Salfi has 30 players on his roster (a batch of them were watching from the stands) and it looks like he’s just searching for someone to step up. It could be a long winter there.

Another team that will have a long winter is the Springfield Pics, who had a very difficult time stringing passes together – just a lot of broken plays and pucks bouncing all over creation. They had no chance against the Bay State Breakers, a team that is short on high-end talent but has experience – there are no ‘92s or 93s on the team – and depth. We though 6’2” ’90 d-man Greg Merrill, the older brother of the US Under-18 Team’s Jon Merrill, was solid in his end, and contributed offensively with three assists. Up front we liked 5’9” Jesse Petito, a recent Bentley recruit and the most-skilled player on the team. We also took note of 6’2”, 210 lb. forward Adam Mitchell. In goal, Nick Dries, a ’90 from Michigan who played in Kenai River (NAHL) last year, gave up one power play goal, but that was it.

The Junior Bruins and Apple Core battled to a 5-5 tie. ’90 TJ Massie, ex of Cushing Academy, struggled in the Bruins net in the first half, and left with his team down, 4-1. Late ’92 Kenneth MacLean, a 6’1” Marylander, came in and was excellent in relief, allowing the Bruins to come back in the second half and tie it up on a late power play goal off the stick of UMass-Lowell recruit Joe Pendenza. The goal was Pendenza’s third of the second half – all came on the PP. On the blue line, we really liked the play of 6’1”, 197 lb. Danny Federico, a ’92. Federico had assists on four of the Junior Bruins five goals. We also liked ’91 LD Colin Shea, a 6’2”, 170 lb. UMass recruit who has a good stick, a long stride, and poise. Apple Core has a bunch of skilled former prep players, such as 6’1” RW Chris Buquicchio (Kent School), 5’11” RW Mike Garlasco (Gunnery), 5’10” RC Oliver Koo (Westminster), and 6’0” RD Kevin Reich (Taft). All are ‘90s. Reich, by the way, notched two goals, his first two of the season.

The Valley Warriors, an older team, came into their game against the Bridgewater Bandits averaging less than two goals a game. They were down 3-1 early, as goaltender Jeff Wyer, ex of Reading High, struggled early, but they came back and edged Bridgewater, 6-5 in OT. Ex-Tabor LD Tom Kader was solid on the blue line, though honestly this was not a game in which either team shined defensively. For Bridgewater, the story was 5’11” ’90 RW Joel Goodsell and 5’9” ’90 LW Ryan Edwards. Goodsell, ex of Choate, can make plays and finish and on this day had three goals – all in the first half. Edwards, with two goals and three assists, figured in all five of his team’s goals. Both Goodsell and Edwards are from upstate New York.

The Jersey Hitmen looked good in a 5-1 win over the Junior Huskies. 5’11” ’90 Rob Dongara, a Northeastern recruit who played last year at Springfield (NAHL) and, before that, BC High, really stood out, setting the tone with a short-handed goal a few minutes into the game and then following that up with a nice pass on the next goal a couple of shifts later. This game was pretty lopsided -- shots were 42-7 in favor of the Hitmen -- and it was a little hard to get a line on players. We should mention that 6’3”, 200 lb. Hitmen forward Charles Orzetti, a Yale recruit who played at Delbarton last winter, is out for the season after severely dislocating his shoulder in the first week of practice.

The Syracuse Stars are a hard-skating team that attacks the zone with speed but, in a 3-2 loss to the Green Mountain Glades, had a hard time converting. Much of the credit for that has to go to the Glades goaltenders -- ’92 Slovakian goaltender Jakub Taraba, and ’90 Ben Coulthard. The latter had a shutout second half. ’93-born UVM recruit Connor Anthoine, a 5’9” LW from Lewiston, Maine, had been kind of quiet for most of the game, but struck for the game winner for the Glades late in the second half. Late ’92 Matt Esposito, a 6’0” RC from the Rochester Alliance U16s, was also noticeable for the Glades. As for Syracuse, they have two 92s on their top line – 5’10” Colgate (’11) recruit Joe Wilson, who just sees the ice very well; a smart player; and 6’2”, 195 lb. LC Mike Zalewski, the younger brother of ex-Clarkson captain Steve Zalewski who, by the way, was called up by the San Jose Sharks last week. A couple of other ’92s on the Syracuse Stars’ roster, UVM ’10 commit Mike Montagna and Cornell ’11 recruit John Knisley, are out with injuries. Montagna won’t be back until January at the earliest. Knisley, who had off-season surgery, should be back next week.

We mentioned players who showed us something Friday. On Saturday, or even Sunday, other players may have stood tall. And that's part of the game's beauty.


***


We made it down to Hartford on Saturday to take in an evening at the Western New England Fall Prep Elite League. None of the 12 rostered players from Taft were on hand, which was a disappointment.

Team East (Red): We liked 6’0” ’92 new junior forward Cam Hatch of Avon, who was pretty consistently noticeable every shift. Salisbury 6’2” ’91 senior forward Peter Stratton made himself noticeable, too, through both his size and hard work. We thought 6’4” RD ’90 RD Pat McGregor (Avon) played well. Ditto for 5’11” ’90 senior forward Kyle Armstrong (Salisbury) who chipped in with a goal and an assist. 

Team West (Gold): 6’3” late ’92 goalie Rasmus Reijola looks like he might be the answer to South Kent’s goalie woes of last year. Takes up a lot of the net, and appearsvery poised. 6’3” late ’92 forward junior forward Kevin Morris (Salisbury), the son of Manchester Monarchs (AHL) head coach Mark Morris, will draw attention because of his size. He just has to refine his game. We wanted to see new Taft ’93 junior Sean McGovern, a forward from Ontario, but no such luck.

Team North (White):  6’0” ’93 sophomore RD Mike Flynn (Avon) was able to show a little bit of an offensive dimension we didn’t see much of when he was a freshman last winter. Hotchkiss has a couple of very promising new players in 6’1” ’92 junior RD Mike Holland and 6’0” late ’92 junior forward Alex Cote. Cote played for Lac-St. Louis last winter. The Kent School had a couple of the game’s biggest offensive contributors in 5’10” ’93 junior forward Kevin Perron and 5’9” ’91 senior forward Dave Seidel.

Team South (Green): The best uncommitted senior we saw all night was 5’10” ’91 LD Garrett Clement (South Kent). Clement, a Floridian, sees the ice exceptionally well, has good hands, and will be running the show on the South Kent blueline this winter. He's a fun player to watch, kind of in the mold of former Hotchkiss, NTDP, and BC defenseman J.D. Forrest. His South Kent teammate, 6’0” ’90 PG RD Neil Fachini was no slouch, either, scoring a goal and adding an assist from the blue line. 6’3” ’92 new junior LD Kevin Kirisitis (Avon) shows promise. We’d like to see him a little more. 5’11” ’92 new junior forward Greg Gozzo (Avon) is a Floridian who will put up some serious numbers for what looks, just from the new players here, to be a much-improved edition of the Winged Beavers. 5’10” ’92 new junior forward Josh Roberts (Trinity-Pawling) did a good job at the Select 17 Festival and looked good here, too, scoring a nice goal.

     
There are 89 players in the league. We broke down the rosters by school, and here’s how things add up:

South Kent – 15
Avon – 13
Taft – 12
Salisbury -- 6
Gunnery -- 6
Kent – 6
Choate – 6
Westminster -- 6
Hotchkiss – 5
Trinity-Pawling – 4
Loomis – 4
Canterbury – 3
Vermont Academy – 2
Williston-Northampton – 1
Berkshire – 0
Deerfield – 0
Pomfret – 0


A lot of our comments about the Mass Fall League apply to the Connecticut version. One difference is that in Massachusetts they allow high school players, not that there are terribly many. Connecticut, however, doesn’t, which is too bad because we just have to believe that, among schools like Fairfield Prep, Notre Dame-Fairfield, Notre Dame-West Haven, Hamden High, New Canaan High, Trinity Catholic, et al  that there is at least one player who can play with the above. Besides which, aren’t these the players the Connecticut preps would want to be recruiting? What better way to start finding out about them than to have them playing in your fall league?

The concept here is great, and in coming years will likely be taken to another level. There were two NHL scouts at Saturday night’s games. One of them said, “If you brought the two leagues together and this thing was run like it is out west, with all the top players, we’d all be here – a lot. And we’d all be coming back for second and third looks.”  



10/20/09

Fall Beantown Classic Schedule

Here’s the schedule for the Fall Beantown Classic, which gets underway Thursday morning at the Rinks at Exeter (Exeter, NH) and the Valley Forum (Haverhill, Mass.) – both twin-sheet arenas. A handful of games will also be played at UNH’s Whittemore Center (Durham, NH) and at Governor’s Academy (Byfield, Mass.).

At the Under-18 level, a division has been added, while at the U-16 level the number of teams has more than doubled, and is at 26 this year.

There will also be a few exhibition games (all at the Rinks at Exeter): Northwood School will play their season-opener Saturday vs. the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (11:50 am), and then face off against the Jersey Hitmen on Sunday (1:40 pm). The Junior Bruins and Jersey Hitmen will play at EJHL game Saturday at Exeter (1:40 pm).

2009 Fall Beantown Classic Schedule (Excel Document)

 


10/19/09

U.S. Junior Select Team Announced

Click below for the 22-man roster of the U.S. Junior Select Team that will be competing in the World Junior A Challenge Nov. 1-8 in Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

All except one of the U.S. players – Beau Bennett of the Pentiction Vees (BCHL) – is from the USHL. 

The rostered players come from 14 U.S. states and nine USHL teams.

Five players were on the Under-18 Select Team that went overseas to Slovakia in August. They are: Connor Brickley, Mike Parks, Colten St. Clair, Kevin Gravel, and Kevin Lind.

Three members of the team – Mac Bennett (Montreal; 3rd round), Nick Jensen (Detroit; 5th round), and Nic Dowd (LA; 7th round) – were drafted in June’s NHL draft.

The head coach of the team will be Mark Carlson (Cedar Rapids). He will be assisted by Jeff Blashill (Indiana) and Andy Jones (Sioux Falls).


2009 U.S. Junior Select Team Roster

Goaltenders: Eric Mihalik (Des Moines Buccaneers), Willie Yanakeff (Sioux City Musketeers).

Defensemen: Kevin Albers (Green Bay Gamblers), Mac Bennett (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Kevin Gravel (Sioux City Musketeers), Nick Jensen (Green Bay Gamblers), Kevin Lind (Chicago Steel), Nick Mattson (Indiana Ice), Eamonn McDermott (Fargo Force).

Forwards: Shane Berschbach (Indiana Ice), Beau Bennett (Penticton Vees – BCHL), Connor Brickley (Des Moines Buccaneers), Jeff Costello (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Chris Crane (Green Bay Gamblers), Derek DeBlois (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Nic Dowd (Indiana Ice), David Gerths (Lincoln Stars), Matt Leitner (Fargo Force), John Parker (Indiana Ice), Mike Parks (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Nick Sorkin (Waterloo Black Hawks), Colten St. Clair (Fargo Force).


2009 Junior Select Team Roster (printable) 


US Schedule; World Junior A Challenge
Nov. 1-8; Summerside, Prince Edward Island
(all times local)

Sun. Nov. 1 – Canada East, 7:00 pm
Tues. Nov 3 – Belarus, 7:00 pm
Thurs. Nov. 5 – Quarterfinals, TBD
Fri. Nov. 6 – Semifinals, TBD
Sat. Nov. 7 – Fifth-place game, 7:00 pm
Sun. Nov. 8 --
Third-place game, 12:00 pm
                        Championship Game, 5:00 pm

Roster by Birth Year:

'90s (5): Jeff Costello, Nic Dowd, David Gerths, Nick Jensen, Matt Leitner.

'91s (10): Kevin Albers, Beau Bennett, Mac Bennett, Shane Berschbach, Chris Crane, Derek DeBlois, Nick Mattson, Eamonn McDermott, Eric Mihalik,  Nick Sorkin.

'92s (7):  Connor Brickley, Kevin Gravel, Kevin Lind, John Parker, Mike Parks, Colten St. Clair, Will Yanakeff.


 


10/16/09

An Unknown No More

A few months ago, almost nobody had heard of Shawn Pauly, a 17-year-old Bellingham, Washington native currently lighting it up as a rookie with the Wenatchee Wild (NAHL).

But the cat’s out of the bag and all the big schools are now tracking him closely, specifically Boston University, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Colorado College, Denver and Ivies such as Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, and Brown.

In 15 games so far this season, Pauly, who is 5’11”, 173 lbs., has a 7-10-17 line, good for second in league scoring -- and he’s a ’92 (specifically, 5/7/92).  

Last year, Pauly was playing Tier III junior hockey in the NorPac (Northern Pacific Junior Hockey League) for the Seattle Totems. He was commuting 80 miles each direction from his home in Bellingham to the Totems rink in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., north of Seattle. Add in practice and you have a four-hour round trip. Despite that, Pauly managed to maintain an Ivy-level GPA and an SAT score to match.

“Nobody knew a thing about him before this season,” said one Div. I recruiter.

Pauly’s coach at Wenatchee is Paul Baxter, a pro defenseman for 13 years (five in the old WHA and eight in the NHL) and an NHL assistant coach for 11 years.

“Shawn is a really smart player,” says Baxter. “He sees the ice exceptionally well, and he has the stick skills to make the plays he sees. He has patience, protects the puck well, and doesn’t throw it away.”

“I’d say he’s improved 20% from the beginning of summer to training camp – and another twenty percent since the end of training camp.

“Incrementally, he’ll continue to get a lot better. As he gets stronger those intangibles – puck protection, patience – will amplify.

“He’s a very good skater. And as he gets stronger in the legs, he’ll get quicker.

“He’s a senior in high school now. And he’s just a great kid. Humble. Attentive to what’s going on. He wants to learn. He listens intently to his teammates, and his teammates like him. He wants to be the best that he can be.”  


***


Wenatchee, for you geography buffs, is a city of a little over 29,000 people smack-dab in the middle of Washington state – three hours from Seattle and three hours from Spokane. The Wenatchee Valley Visitor’s Bureau points out that the city is on “the sunny side of the Cascade Mountains” and asks, “How would you spend 300 days of sunshine?” Well, we can’t answer that, never having lived in such a climate, but the valley is filled with wineries and orchards, so apparently the apples and grapes like it just fine.

And Baxter, whose expansion Wenatchee Wild reached the Robertson Cup Finals last season before bowing to the St. Louis Bandits, has his team off to a fast start in year two with a league-best 16-3-0 record. The Wild play in a spiffy new 4,300 arena and average nearly 3,000 per home date, which leads the NAHL.

Last season, Baxter had a similar situation with an ‘unknown’ – or at least unheralded --  player. That was Nic Dowd, who grew up in Huntsville, Alabama and played his youth hockey there before heading to Culver Academy. In his senior year, ’07-08, Dowd was on a strong Culver team that came east over the holidays and swept both the Lawrence-Groton and Cushing/Watkins Tournaments with an 8-0-0 record. Dowd was noticeable, but not a standout on that team, and no colleges or USHL teams showed any interest. So Dowd wound up with Wenatchee, an expansion team 3,000 miles from his home. By the end of the season, he had a commitment from St. Cloud State (for ’10). Then, in June, the LA Kings selected him in the 7th round of the NHL Draft. Dowd was the only kid drafted out of the NAHL last season. He’s in the USHL this year, with the Indiana Ice, a few hours south of Culver.

One college recruiter we spoke with says Wenatchee’s group of d-men is really strong, and better than what can be found on a number of USHL teams. The Wild, he pointed out, might not have the depth up front that USHL teams have, but they’d still be competitive with at least some of the teams in the lower half of that league.

Baxter is bullish on his players, and feels he has a batch of Div. I college prospects. 6’2” goalie Mac Carruth, a ’92, is committed to Minnesota-Duluth (’10); raw 6’5” forward Armand De Swardt, who was born in South Africa and grew up in Texas, is committed to Cornell (’10); and 6’3” defenseman Alex McLean is committed to Air Force (’10). Then there are the uncommitted, which includes league-leading scorer Jeff Jubinville, an ’89 and an Edmonton native who is the cousin of former Princeton forward Lee Jubinville; 6’6”, 192 lb. center Christian Hilbrich, a ’92 who Baxter believes has a lot of potential; 5’9” D Jordan Young, a ’92 ex of PF Chang’s; 6’0”, 195 lb. Kyle Brodie, a ’90 and the league’s top scoring blueliner (15 points in 16 games); 6’0” forward Michael DiPuma, a ’90 from Illinois (with a 7-8-15 line in 17 games); 6’1”, 194 lb. Brandon Burrell, a ’90 defenseman from Minnesota; 6’3” ’90 forward Duncan McKellar, another former PF Chang’s player – he was released by three USHL teams last season before latching on with Wenatchee mid-season – who has 12 points so far; and 5’10” Nolan Youngman, a late ’91 forward from Alaska who has 10 points in 15 games.

By the way, for those of you too young to remember, Baxter, now 53 -- in addition to being head coach, he’s also part owner and GM for the Wild – had a unique pro hockey career. The 5’11” defenseman’s 409 penalty minutes with the ’81-82 Pittsburgh Penguins stands today as the second-highest total in NHL history for a single season  (Philadelphia’s Dave Schultz holds the crown with 472 in ’74-75). Baxter is also the WHA’s all-time PIM leader. We never knew – at least until reading the link below -- that Badger Bob Johnson had tried to recruit the Winnipeg native to the University of Wisconsin in the early ‘70s. Or that, 15 years later, with his playing career ended while with the Calgary Flames, it was Johnson – then Calgary’s coach – who hired Baxter as an assistant. Baxter, whose son Marcus played at UConn, has been coaching ever since.

Legends of Hockey


 


10/15/09 Updated

Salisbury Thanksgiving College Showcase Schedule

Here is the schedule for the Salisbury Thanksgiving College Showcase, to be held at Union College and RPI Sat.-Sun. Nov. 28-29. The teams participating will be: Salisbury, Delbarton, Culver, Kimball Union Academy, Pomfret, and Upper Canada College.

The mini-games on Saturday will be 25 minutes in length. On Sunday, the game between UCC and Delbarton will be an exhibition game and will consist of two 25-minute halves. The other two games on Sunday will be regulation games. The Salisbury-Pomfret game will count toward NEPSIHA standings. 

Sat. Nov. 28, 2009 – Mini-Games @ Union College’s Achilles Center; Schenectady, NY

Mini-Games
12:15 pm -- UCC vs. Salisbury                  
1:05 pm -- Pomfret vs. KUA                            
1:55 pm -- Culver vs. Delbarton                  
2:45 pm -- UCC vs. KUA                           
3:35 pm -- Delbarton vs. Salisbury                    
4:25 pm -- Culver vs. Pomfret                     
5:15 pm -- Salisbury vs. KUA                             
6:05 pm -- Delbarton vs. Pomfret                      
6:55 pm -- UCC vs. Culver          

Sun. Nov. 29, 2009 @ RPI’s Houston Fieldhouse; Troy, NY
11:15 am -- Game 1: Upper Canada vs. Delbarton              
1:30 pm -- Game 2: Kimball Union vs. Culver                    
3:45 pm -- Game 3: Salisbury vs. Pomfret School            

Note:

If you need more hockey in addition to the above, keep in mind that the RPI College Hockey Tournament will take place Fri.-Sat. Nov. 27-28. RPI, Union, Lake Superior State, and Bentley will be participating.



10/15/09

Ryan Jumps Ship

Boston College freshman RW Kenny Ryan, a second-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in June’s NHL draft, has packed up and left school. 

Ryan will be joining the Windsor Spitfires (OHL), the team that drafted him in 2007.

In last Friday’s exhibition game vs. the U.S. Under-18 Team, Ryan played on a line centered by Jimmy Hayes and with Paul Carey on the opposite wing.

Ryan said he didn’t feel comfortable with the college lifestyle.

A 6’0”, 204 lb. 7/10/91 birthdate from Franklin, Michigan, Ryan spent the previous two seasons in the U.S. National Team Development Program.

Ryan becomes the 14th NTDPer currently playing major junior. Adding him to the rolls, there are now 112 U.S. kids playing major junior.

BC opens the season at Vermont (5:00 pm) on Sunday.



10/12/09

SPS Jamboree Schedule

Here is the schedule for the St. Paul’s School Jamboree, to be held at the school on Sun.-Mon. Nov. 29-30.

Sun. Nov. 29, 2009:
10:00 a.m. – St. Paul's vs. Tabor
12:15 p.m -- Canterbury vs. Taft
4:00 p.m. -- Canterbury vs. Tabor
6:15 p.m. -- St. Paul's vs. Taft

Mon. Nov. 30, 2009:
10:00 a.m. -- Taft vs. Tabor
12:15 p.m. -- St. Paul's vs. Canterbury


 


10/12/09

Belmont Hill Jamboree Schedule

The Belmont Hill Jamboree will be held on Saturday Nov. 28 at Belmont Hill.

8:30 am – Belmont Hill vs. Winchendon
10:00 am – Governor’s vs. Proctor
1:00 pm – Proctor vs. Belmont Hill
2:30 pm – Winchendon vs. Governor’s

All games will consist of three 15-minute periods (with ice cut after the second period).


 


10/12/09

Vilardo Joins NTDP


5’11”, 165 lb. forward Michael Vilardo, who started the season with the Chicago Mission, has joined the NTDP.

A 9/16/92 birthdate from Geneva, Ill., Vilardo was brought in because of injuries and suspensions, and is on board for the whole season. He played his first games with the NTDP over the weekend, skating with the Under-17s this past weekend in 5-0 and 5-1 losses to Green Bay (the Under-17s are 0-4 vs. USHL competition). 

As a ’92, Vilardo is eligible to move up and play with the older team, though the Under-17s certainly need all the help they can get for the 34 USHL games on their schedule.

Vilardo, who is also an Ivy-level student, is getting interest from Michigan, Notre Dame, Denver, UNH, and Harvard.



10/11/09

A Look at the N.E. Fall Prep Hockey League

Wellesley, Mass. – We got our first look at the New England Fall Prep Hockey League last night at Babson College.

So who played well?

-- Mass North/AKA Top Gun Under-19 is strong and deep, and should win the league. Late ’91 Cody Ferriero, a BC recruit, had two nice goals – one a backhander and one a top-shelf wrist shot. He’s cut from the same cloth as his older brother, possessing a nice blend of skill and work ethic. He plays the game right, and with confidence. Ditto for his Governor’s teammate, Brian Ward, a Dartmouth recruit. Ward, a ’92, is rugged, strong on his skates, great along the wall, and can both make plays and finish. He was Governor’s leading scorer last winter, but didn’t find the back of the net last night. New Exeter junior Eric Neiley, a 5’11” ’92 forward from the Philadelphia area, is on the North Team, too, but didn’t impact last night’s game as much as we expected – he’s a good player, though – and one who will be watched closely. 6’2” KUA goalie Martin Ouellette, an 11th grader from Quebec, was in net for the second half and allowed just one goal. Andover’s Garnet Hathaway, a late ’91 forward and a top prospect on Team North, was absent.

-- Mass East/Boston Eagles Under-19 got shutout goaltending from both Belmont Hill ’93 David Cunningham and Thayer late ’91 Sal Tecci. The team’s most interesting forward is 6’2”, 195 LC Mike Seward, a ’92 from Winchester High. Seward, who will be the first Div. I recruit to come out of Winchester High since Danny Spang, is a smart, strong player who can use his size to take it to the net. Seward had two of his team’s four goals and was consistently noticeable. CMs Derek Colucci, at just 5’6”, 150 lbs., is a waterbug, but was consistently noticeable – he scoots, and has stick skills. 5’11” late ’93 Joe McNamara, a left-shot D at Belmont Hill, was his team’s best defenseman last night. We wanted to see Belmont Hill D Dylan Pike (football) and Choate F Phillipe Hudon, both ‘93s, but they were both absent.  

-- Team Northern New England has an interesting project in 6’4” RD Sean Doherty, a Winchendon PG from Walpole, Mass. A ’91, Doherty’s decisions with the puck were sometimes good; sometimes not so good. But he has size, and moved pretty well, so he’s worth checking out. There’s another kid of the same name on the team – just a different spelling – and that would be Sean Dougherty, a ’92 and a new goalie at Milton Academy. He showed us something. Overall, we felt the team was thin on high-end talent, but has enough depth and goaltending to stay in games.

-- Mass Central had the first game of the day and was struggling along with just three spare skaters on the bench – a couple more arrived midway through the first half. Despite their manpower shortage, they hung in there, only losing to a deep Mass West/Little Bruins squad by a 4-2 score. There are two sophomore forwards on the team that we will watch more – Stephen Brennan of Belmont Hill and Garrett McMullen of NHM. The Mass Central player of immediate interest to us was 6’4”, 220 lb. LD Bryan Felice, a ’91 senior at Hebron. Felice, a physical specimen, has good feet for his size and a long stride with power. He looks like a guy a Div. I school might commit to and then pack off to a top junior program for refinement.

-- The Mass West/Little Bruins Under-19 team has a lot of skilled players. They, along with Top Gun, are the elite teams here, with the Eagles not too far behind. Mass West center Brandon McNally is the team’s fulcrum up front. He’s a player, has been written about a lot, and is no secret to readers of these pages. 6’2” Westminster School forward Andrew Tegeler, who played for Bishop Eustace in NJ last winter, is a ’92 and an 11th grader who will get a lot of interest from Div. I schools. He has a strong first step, gets to the puck quickly, has size, and makes plays. New Cushing defenseman Eric Chevrier, a ’93 11th grader from Ontario and a UNH recruit, was very noticeable, and chipped in with a goal on a low, hard blast from the point. We really liked new Cushing goaltender Chad Hardy, a ’93 soph from Atlanta, Georgia who stands 6’3” and 190 lbs. Belmont Hill’s ’94 D Matt Grzelcyk, a ninth grader in the Warsofsky mold, was absent.

-- Team South/Boston Advantage Under-19 wasn’t very good, plus we had to scramble just to come up with a roster for them. However, they were game, and hung in there vs. Mass North/Top Gun, particularly in the first half. We thought Troy Starrett, a big senior forward from Catholic Memorial, stood out. He was consistently noticeable. The younger brother of Harvard d-man Peter Starrett, this Starrett, a right-shot center, moves well with the puck, works, and is physical. His best hockey is definitely in front of him.  


***

  
Our thoughts on the league as a whole? It’s a start – and that’s the key thing. However, the player selection process needs to be overhauled. There are some excellent players in the league, as there should be – this is supposed to be an elite league. However, there are also a number of prep players still playing midgets. That means that, in a six-team league like this, there is a large number of players who, frankly, have no chance of playing college hockey at anything above the club level. This, in turn, drags down the level of play, which is self-defeating. There should not be six teams in the league – no way. Even four might be too many. Tighten things up so the competition is top flight and more of the better kids still playing midgets will jump on board. Also, more of the kids mulling over the preps vs. juniors question will have the carrot of a top-flight fall league to help them in their decision.

As for the selection process, in Minnesota’s Upper Midwest Elite League, 75-80% of the players are scouted carefully and picked off their play from the winter before. These are the no-brainers. The same could be done here. Get a handful of the top college recruiters and a few NHL scouts in a room, and they could bang out a list pretty quickly. In Minnesota’s Fall Elite League (which, by the way, had its growing pains too), the remaining 20-25% of the players go through a tryout process. And a few diamonds in the rough are unearthed, often players from schools off the beaten track. The Mass league should adopt this process. The coaches of the teams should not be picking the players. Rightly or wrongly, it brings up questions of conflict of interest. And that’s a hornets’ nest.

Finally, the Mass league should align itself with the Connecticut league, perhaps as one six-team league. College coaches and NHL scouts should be able to go to one spot and see all the best players. They do not like running around to midget games – and they don’t want to go to two separate locations to watch the fall prep leagues either. Why make it hard for them? Get a single commissioner with clout and an iron will to bring the two leagues together, and then get them to play in one building in one central location between the two states, and this thing will absolutely take off.  

Make everything first class, too. Last night, this reporter arrived just five minutes after the start of the first game -- and all the programs, which were missing the Mass South/Boston Advantage roster anyway, were gone. There was not one in sight. A parent gave me his copy, which was appreciated, but others were not as fortunate. At the Minnesota Fall Elite League, when you enter the rink, you can buy a program. If you’re a college recruiter or pro scout, you can also buy a thick player profile book. There is always coffee and donuts in the scouts room. Line charts are available for every game. Players have name plates on their uniforms. All this stuff is easy to do, and while they may seem like small things, they do send out a large message. Massachusetts can do this too, and we have a feeling that, after a few refinements, things will look a lot different next season, and in seasons beyond. 


 


10/10/09

Take 2

We criticized the U.S. Under-18 Team for their performance at the USHL Fall Classic in Sioux City, Iowa two weekends ago – and justly so.

Last night, however, we were able to catch their game against Boston College – a 6-3 loss -- and can report that they played well. The reins were a little looser, and RW Brandon Saad, RW Luke Moffatt, and RC Austin Czarnik all had good games. LW Jason Zucker stood out, too, though perhaps a little less consistently than the other three forwards we mentioned. RC Billy Arnold had two assists, but seemed a little tight in his homecoming. 

The group of D on this team, as has been pointed out, is excellent. 6’4” Derek Forbort looks like a top five overall draft pick – he’s special. 6’5” Jarred Tinordi, 6’3” Jon Merrill, and 6’3” Stephen Johns should go in the top two rounds. RD Adam Clendening, who is not draft eligible until 2011, is listed at 5’11”, which will probably hold him down in the eyes of pro scouts. However, he played very well last night, consistently making smart plays from the blue line.

In net, 5'8" Andy Iles was burned twice by BC freshman Chris Kreider roofing the puck on him – the first time from a standstill and the second with a head of steam. Kreider, it would  be an understatement to say, is more than ready for college hockey. Sophomore Cam Atkinson, who was centering the Whitney brothers on the Smurf line, was terrific for the Eagles, too.



10/9/09

A Pair of Coveted AJHL Rookies

During the three-day Alberta Junior Hockey League Showcase last weekend in Spruce Grove, Alberta, a couple of kids who have been on the radar of top Div. I schools raised their stock even further:

Both played midgets last year and are now rookies in the AJHL.

They are:

-- 6’3”, 210 lb. Canmore Eagles goaltender Sam Brittain, who covers a lot of net and, in eight games this year, has a 2.65 gaa and a .911 save percentage.

Brittain was the goaltender last year for the Calgary Buffaloes, who won the prestigious Mac’s Midget Tournament in January, but lost out in the Telus Cup finals (Canada’s National Midget Championship) to the Notre Dame Hounds. 

Brittain, who covers a lot of net, is getting major interest from Boston University, Denver, and Wisconsin -- also the University of Nebraska-Omaha, the only school he has already officially visited.

A native of Calgary, Brittain is a 5/10/92 birthdate.

-- 6’1”, 195 lb. Spruce Grove Saints LD Dillon Simpson, a big, smart blueliner who can make a play, has interest from North Dakota, Denver, and Michigan State. 

In 10 games, Simpson has a 3-3-6 line. He’s young, too – a 2/10/93.

A native of Edmonton, Alberta, he’s accelerating so he can get to college quicker.

However, he won’t get there as quickly as his dad, former NHL forward Craig Simpson, who played most of his freshman year (’83-’84) at Michigan State as a 16 year old – and notched 57 points in 46 games. The next year, Simpson put up even bigger number – 84 points in 42 games – and was selected in the first round (#2 overall) by Pittsburgh in the 1985 NHL entry draft. Simpson, who played 10 years in the NHL before back problems got the better of him, is now a popular broadcaster for Hockey Night in Canada. 

 


10/8/09


Yale Prep Showcase Schedule

Here’s the schedule for the Yale Prep Showcase, which will be held at Yale’s Ingalls Rink – newly renovated, by the way – on Sunday Nov. 22.

9:00 am – Gunnery vs. Northwood
11:00 am – Rice Memorial vs. Dexter
1:00 pm – NMH vs. Delbarton
3:00 pm – South Kent vs. Milton Academy
5:00 pm – Berkshire vs. Cushing

We like the way this pre-season jamboree is set up, as these are matchups that you won’t see during the regular season.

Right now, it’s looking like the games will be two 35-minute running halves with stop-time for power plays.


***

Founders' League Jamboree


The Founders' League Jamboree is tentatively scheduled for the afternooon of Wed. Dec. 2 at the Hotchkiss School. When it's officially confirmed, and a game schedule is set, we'll have it for you. In the meanwhile, it's a pretty safe bet to mark on your schedule.


 


10/7/09

Goumas to UNH

Former Canterbury School forward Kevin Goumas, who is spending his senior year with the Indiana Ice (USHL), has committed to UNH for the fall of ’11.

Goumas, who was one of the top scorers in prep hockey last season with a 23-35-58 line in 30 games, has a really good stick and is a smart, aware offensive player. He’s slight at 5’9”, 150 lbs., but that will change over the next two seasons.

Goumas, a native of Lake Worth, Florida and an 11/19/91 birthdate, spent two seasons at Canterbury.

We thought he looked very good at the USHL Fall Classic, fitting in quicker than we expected. Indeed, Goumas was Indiana’s leading scorer in the preseason. In his team’s first regular season game, a 6-2 win over Youngstown last weekend, he notched an assist.


 


10/7/09

At Sacred Heart, a Decision


Sacred Heart University has offered Yale associate head coach C.J. Marottolo the position of head coach.

Marottolo, a native of North Haven, Conn., has been at Yale for 14 seasons. He will officially become the Sacred Heart head coach as soon as he and the school work out the relevant details.

Sacred Heart completed the last of their interviews for the position just yesterday.  

Marottolo will replace Shaun Hannah, who resigned on Sept. 9 after 13 seasons behind the Pioneers' bench.

Now, of course, Yale will have to come up with an assistant to replace Marottolo. 

 


10/6/09

Terriers Land Point Machine

5’11”, 182 lb. LW Matt Nieto of the U.S. Under-18 Team has committed to Boston University and will be at Agganis Arena in the fall of ’10.

(Actually, he will be there earlier: BU fans can catch him in action this Saturday night at 7:00 pm when the Terriers host the Under-18s.)

Nieto is a big catch for BU – and college hockey. A year ago, even though he had taken an unofficial visit to Boston, it was still assumed by many in the hockey world that the native of Long Beach, California would be playing major junior (Tri-Cities holds his  rights).

In other words, what we have here is a kid who thought long and hard about major junior but opted instead for college hockey. So maybe the exodus is slowing a bit.

Nieto, who led the NTDP in scoring last season with a 26-41-67 line in 64 games (he was moved up to the Under-18 Team for the second half of the season) is an explosive skater and a gifted goal scorer and playmaker. In April, at the IIHF World Under-18 Championships in Fargo, ND, Nieto scored four goals in helping lead the US to the gold medal.

Nieto’s final choice was between Boston University and major junior. There were no other colleges in the picture.

Being a late birthdate – 11/5/92 – Nieto is not draft eligible until 2011.

Prior to joining the NTDP last season, Nieto played for the Salisbury School where, in 23 games, he had an 8-10-18 line. Prior to that, he played for the LA Hockey Club.


***



We don’t want to read too much into these things, and maybe BU’s championship season played a big role into landing Nieto, but BU was also in a battle all through the spring and summer to retain star defenseman David Warsofsky, who was pressured relentlessly by Quebec Remparts coach/GM Patrick Roy to go major junior. Warsofsky, even though his Cushing Academy teammate Ryan Bourque was also encouraging him to go north of the border, is back at BU.


***



Another Californian who has been getting major attention from the WHL but has decided on the college route is Penticton Vees (BCHL) 6’1”, 180 lb. forward Beau Bennett.

A Gardena, California native whose rights are owned by the Calgary Hitmen (WHL), Bennett played last season for the LA Junior Kings Midget Major team where, in 46 games, he posted a 25-33-58 line.

A highly skilled, highly creative forward who excels on the power play, Bennett – a rookie -- is third in BCHL scoring at this early point in the season, trailing a pair of guys two years older than he, linemate Denver Manderson (who played major junior), and Mark Zengerle, a Wisconsin recruit. Both are ‘89s. Bennett, on the other hand, is an 11/27/91 birthday, and eligible for June’s NHL draft.

Denver, Colorado College, Northeastern, UNH, and BC were all originally in the hunt for Bennett. However, Bennett has decided to stay west and has narrowed his final choices to two: Denver and CC.  


 


9/30/09

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

Elite:
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:

Elite:
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:

Elite:
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:

Elite:
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:

Elite:
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:

Elite:
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:

Elite:
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:
Greco-LaFontaine-Robbins
Polk-Mullin-Basaraba
Clark-Elser-Sorenson
Wang-Little-Gillespie

And defense pairings...
Sinz-Gotovets
Lutsch-Bruneteau
Ferguson-Racobaldo

Goalies are Traber and Terenzio


Around the Rinks

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