2009 Beantown Fall Classic NotebookIf 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.
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.
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.
Linell to Harvard
5’8”, 185 lb. Choate junior forward Dan Linell has committed to Harvard for the fall of ’11.
The native of Great Neck, NY, who had a 15-12-27 line in 25 games last season, made his final choice from between Harvard and Dartmouth. Other schools in the picture were UNH, Northeastern, Union, and Brown.
A 9/4/92 birthdate, Linell, according to his coach, Pat Dennehy, will be playing wing on Choate’s top line which is centered by Cornell recruit Phillipe Hudon and has Alex Hagen on the opposite wing. Linell, a right shot, can play either wing, but mostly played on the left side last season.
“He’s electric,” says Dennehy, “and as fast as anyone I’ve ever coached. That ability to take off makes him a threat in any situation. He also reads the play well, is strong physically, and is willing to do all the little things in the dirty areas of the ice.”
Top ’94 to Denver5’9”, 160 lb. LC Tyler Pham of the Team Illinois Midget Minor squad has committed to Denver for the fall of ’12.
Pham, whose father escaped from Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam War, grew up in Greeley and Fort Collins, Colorado and played for the Colorado Renegades youth organization.
He moved north to Illinois a year ago this fall, after his Team Illinois coach Larry Pedrie saw him on a spring team his son was playing on in Waterloo, Iowa, coached by P.K. O’Handley. Pham is living with a billet family while playing for Pedrie’s squad.
“He’s one of the most unique kids I’ve ever coached,” said Pedrie. “He’s a terrific student – a 4.2 on a 4.0 scale. He’s a great kid. He’s an all-around great player. And he has a great competitive spirit. He competes as hard as any player I’ve ever coached. He’s only a sophomore in high school now, but I think Denver has one of the best prospects in the ’94 class.”
The Pioneers staff watched Pham in action this past weekend at a Midwest Elite League showcase hosted by the Colorado Thunderbirds. Pham and his teammates watched Denver in action Friday night, and the Pioneers offered him before the weekend was out.
“He was thrilled,” Pedrie said. “It’s where he’s always wanted to go.”
A 5/12/94 birthdate, Pham is a creative player with explosiveness, excellent hands, and the ability to see the ice, make things happen, and make his linemates better. He’s excellent in traffic.
In 13 league games to date, Pham has a 4-8-12 line.
5’11”, 170 lb. Shattuck St. Mary’s RW James Polk has committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for either ’10 or ’11.
Polk, a 2/13/92 birthdate whose strength lies in his skating, was brought up in New York City, then headed west to Shattuck three years ago.
He’s listed as a “B” player for next June’s draft by NHL’s Central Scouting.
The Best of Me?
Campbell committed to Michigan a year and a half ago. Bryan Hogan will be a senior next season, and, with Campbell’s defection, the Wolverines don’t have a goalie behind him right now.
After the U.S. Under-18 Team played at Michigan Oct. 3 -- a 4-2 Under-18 Team loss -- Campbell said that Michigan fans “want me here, and I want to be here, so it should be a great fit. But they haven’t seen the best of me yet, and hopefully I’ll be able to show them that soon.”
The Best of Me?U.S. NTDP goaltender Jack Campbell has officially decommitted from the University of Michigan and is expected to sign with the Windsor Spitfires (OHL) after the season.
Terriers Net Gill
5’10”, 180 lb. Chicago Steel LW Sahir Gill has committed to Boston University for next fall.
Gill, a 4/21/92 birthdate who is currently tied for 7th in USHL scoring with a 6-14-20 line, is a pure playmaker with excellent hands and vision. He’s playing the wing now but has also played a lot of center, and projects to play there at Boston University, especially if Nick Bonino leaves to turn pro.
Gill made his final pick from between BU and Northeastern. Other schools that made a push for Gill included North Dakota, Colorado College, Minnesota, and Boston College.
Gill, who’s from Terrace, BC, played last season for the Vernon Vipers, who won the Royal Bank Cup, which goes to the Canadian Tier II champions. In 54 games with Vernon, Gill had an 18-21-35 line.
Marottolo Takes EJ Position
Former South Kent School head coach Geoff Marottolo was officially hired today as Director of Hockey Operations for the Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL). He will also serve as an assistant coach, a rover of sorts, for the organization’s three teams -- the EJ, Empire, and CYH.
"I'm reenergized," says Marottolo, who has made three separate trips to Pennsylvania to learn the ways of the organization. "I'm excited about the opportunity."
A key part of Marottolo’s job description includes the recruitment of players, a strength of his, as well as college placement for the players.
"We want to recruit nationally," he says. "We want to be everywhere."
Vince Malts, who has a 1-5-2 record since taking over when Mike Anderson was fired in early November, will stay on as head coach of the Revolution.
Czarnik Signs With PlymouthUniversity of Michigan sophomore center Robbie Czarnik told his coaches today that he was quitting the Wolverines in favor of major junior.
He will practice tomorrow with the Plymouth Whalers and is expected in the lineup when the Whalers host the Windsor Spitfires Wednesday night.
Czarnik, a Michigan native and NTDP grad, was a third-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Kings in the 2008 NHL Draft. He has never put up the numbers in college that many expected of him. Last season, he had 16 points in 39 games. This season, he has six points in 12 games.
"I wasn't happy there and I want to be happy again,” Czarnik said. “I don’t think I got as much better as I should have.”
Czarnik is planning to continue taking classes at Michigan and plans to get his degree there.
"He hasn't been happy since he's been here - he's a sophomore," Michigan head coach Red Berenson told AnnArbor.com. “Things haven't gone maybe the way he expected them to go for him, so he's quitting the team.
“It’s disappointing that a kid after all the anticipation of recruiting him to Michigan and then being here - he likes it here, he likes the team and he likes the school and he's serious about school. It's disappointing that he's giving up on the hockey part. Things don't always go your way when you get to this level. I had hoped he would have persevered. I think last year was a real challenge for him emotionally and he just never got over it."
Ryan becomes the 15th NTDPer currently playing major junior. There are now 114 U.S. kids playing major junior.
Another U.S.-born player who has gone major junior is 6'2" goaltender Mac Carruth, who left the Wenatchee Wild (NAHL) to sign with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL).
In his debut Saturday vs. the Vancouver Giants, Carruth faced 25 shots and gave up seven goals in a 7-3 Winterhawks loss.
Carruth decided to turn major junior when the University of Minnesota-Duluth recently pushed back his scholarship by a year.
A Power Forward for the Big Red6’1”, 195 lb. Choate RC Phillipe Hudon, who earlier this week was named to the Quebec Under-17 Team that will compete in the World Under-17 Challenge, has committed to Cornell.
Hudon, who visited Yale last week and Cornell two weeks ago, made his final choice from between those two schools.
Harvard, which Hudon visited over the summer, wanted the forward, too, as did Princeton. He visited BU and BC over the summer. Michigan was interested. Basically, if Hudon had wanted to let the process play itself out, he would have had a huge number of schools to pick from.
A key part of the reason Hudon picked Cornell, besides wanting to play at an Ivy League school, was his feeling that he would fit in with their style of play. If you are a Cornell fan and reading this article, think Colin Greening and you will get an idea as to Hudon’s style of play.
Last spring, Hudon was ranked #2 overall for the QMJHL draft, but made it clear that he was not going to play major junior. So he wasn’t drafted. However, he received a lot of pressure over the course of the summer, particularly from the Quebec Remparts.
Hudon entered Choate last year as a repeat freshman. He’s technically a sophomore now but is just a couple credits shy of being a junior. He’s a top student, carrying a 3.7, and will attempt to accelerate and enter Cornell in the fall of ’11. He has Choate’s support in this, so there is a high likelihood it will get done. If not, he will arrive in Ithaca in the fall of ’12.
A 4/15/93 DOB from Hudson, Quebec, about a half hour west of Montreal, Hudon can play center or wing. At Choate this year, he is expected to center the top line, with Danny Linnell and Alex Hagen on the wings.
Hudon, whose skating has improved – smoothed out, to be specific -- since last season, is a big, strong pro-style power forward.
His coach, Pat Dennehy, says “(Hudon’s) determination in the classroom carries over to the ice. He’s a big, strong, imposing forward who hits hard, shoots hard, has quick hands and a quick release, and is tough to hit.”
“He also has a real edge to his game – a grittiness. He’s first in on the forecheck, first back on the backcheck, and he’ll try to hurt you, which is what Cornell and the pro scouts want to see. He’s the full package.”
Asked if there was something he’d like to see a little more of from Hudon this year, Dennehy said, “We’re hoping he’ll shoot a little more.”
Last year, in 25 games, Hudon had an 8-12-20 line.
Hudon, whose father is a Canadian concert promoter, is the only member of the Quebec Under-17 team playing in the U.S. Of the 22 players on the roster, 18 are playing in the Q, three are playing in the Quebec Midget AAA League, and then there’s Hudon.
This year’s World Under-17 Challenge runs from Dec. 29-Jan. 4 in Timmins, Ontario. Due to the team’s training camp schedule, Hudon will not be with Choate for the Lawrenceville Christmas Tournmant.
This fall, Hudon played for the Boston Eagles midget team, and one of his teammates, 6’0”, 190 lb. ’93 defenseman Joakim Ryan, who will be playing this winter for Christian Brothers Academy (NJ) as well as the New Jersey Devils Under-16 Team, is visiting Cornell this weekend. Other schools very interested in Ryan are Northeastern and Vermont.
Sign on the Dotted Line, MomWere you wondering why the Albert Lea Thunder (NAHL) were last in the league’s Central Division, with a 4-16-2 record?
But now we know at least part of the reason, as the NAHL’s Board of Governors has levied a $400,000 fine on the franchise for taking money – “pay to play” -- from the families of eight players.
In the NAHL, a Tier II league, players are only expected to play for billet housing. No additional fees are allowed.
The Albert Lea Tribune reports that the players’ parents were allegedly paying the Thunder under dubious “advance player guarantee” contracts that parents had signed with the club’s owners.
Thunder head coach Chuck Linkenheld said that, prior to being hired, he knew of no arrangements parents had with team owners Jim Perkins and Barry Soskin. However, Linkenheld would soon learn that certain parents were paying ownership for the privilege of seeing their kids suit up for the Thunder. According to the Tribune, Lori Sempeck, the mother of one of the eight named players, asked Linkenheld why her son wasn’t playing. When Linkenheld said he felt he wasn’t good enough to play regularly in the league, the mother said, “I’m going to call Jim Perkins… don’t you know the deal?” Linkenheld replied that he didn’t know – or care – about any deal, so the player’s mother went to the league, faxing documents to NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld that indicated a “pay to play” arrangement.
As an aside, owner Perkins had a son rostered on the team. When Jimmie Perkins was a healthy scratch, the owner would call to ask Linkenheld why he wasn’t playing his son. In the case of Jimmie Perkins, with his father owning the team, no advance player guarantee contract was needed, but it appears he may not have been on the team had his father not owned the team.
We’ll find out the answer to that one soon enough, as the owners may not be the owners much longer. Perkins and Soskin are both being investigated by USA Hockey, and if the investigation supports the charges, the two owners will face lengthy suspensions. Meanwhile, the NAHL Board of Governors has told the Thunder to fork over $400,000 in fines by the day after Thanksgiving – or be terminated. If they don’t pay the fines, look for the league to take over the team while looking for new owners.
'Truly Extraordinary' Ownership
The USHL is returning to Dubuque next fall with an as-yet-unnamed team going into a building that doesn’t exist yet.
However, things have changed since the end of the 2000-01 season, when the Dubuque Fighting Saints closed up shop after 21 years in the city.
Now, nine years later, the new Dubuque franchise will be moving into a $7 million 3,0000 seat city-owned arena, which will be named the Mystique Ice Center. It sounds to us like the naming rights were bought by a topless dancer, but actually the nearby Mystique Casino gave the city a $1 million grant toward the arena construction, hence the naming rights.
This is not a team that will have trouble paying bills. USHL commissioner Skip Prince referred to the new ownership group as “truly extraordinary” and, by the strictest definition of the word, he’s certainly got that right. The group, Northern Lights Hockey, has, as its principal owner, Phil Falcone, an Iron Ranger who came east and skated for Harvard – he was a forward – from 1980-84. Falcone played with the Fuscos, Neil Sheehy et al on the Harvard team that reached the NCAA ’82-83 championship game before bowing to a Chris Chelios-led Wisconsin team.
After graduating from Harvard and arriving on Wall Street, Falcone made a killing through trading junk bonds, then got into hedge funds, founding Harbinger Capital Partners, where, in 2008, he made an even greater fortune betting against sub-prime mortgages in the US and Britain, earning himself $1.7 billion in that year alone. Falcone, dubbed ‘The Midas of Misery’ in a 2008 Business Week cover story, gambled – successfully – that shares of British Banking Giant HBOS would plummet. The situation forced the bank into a takeover by Lloyds TSB. The consolidated banks were subsequently bailed out by the British Treasury to the tune of $64 million in last fall’s worldwide economic collapse.
Also in 2008, Falcone – for $49 million -- bought the former Milbank Mansion, at Fifth Ave. and 67th St. in Manhattan, from former Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione. The 22,000-square-foot, six-story building features 27 rooms, an indoor Romanesque swimming pool, a gymnasium, a solarium, an ornate garden, a wine cellar, and more marble than you can imagine. One of the rooms --we kid you not -- belongs to the Falcone family’s pot-bellied pig, Pickles. Falcone, who also holds a 20 percent stake in the New York Times Company, has a net worth estimated at around $3 billion. Forbes Magazine ranks him as the 158th richest man in American.
Harbinger Capital Partners’ assets are only worth $9 billion now, down from last year’s $25 billion. However, as fate would have it, hedge funds are once again immensely profitable, and Falcone, who is also a part owner of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild, is at the forefront. The New York Post recently reported that Falcone is launching new funds and poaching talent from other big-name hedge funds – and investors are investing once again investing in distressed properties. We don't know if this means there's another economic collapse in our future. We do know that if you wish to invest with Falcone’s fund, you can do so… if you have $5 million to put in.
A hedge fund manager at Harbinger Capital is Brad Kwong, a Calgary native and Harvard teammate of Falcone, playing defense from ’81-85 and captaining the team as a senior. Kwong’s father is Norman Kwong, a former Canadian Football League star, a part owner of the Calgary Flames, and the current lieutenant governor of Alberta. The younger Kwong was a former managing director for NHL Europe, and, as managing director of Northern Lights Hockey, will likely be the most visible member of the ownership group.
The bottom line is that the Dubuque franchise is pocket change for Falcone, who could buy the entire USHL without making much of a dent in his wallet.
Central Scouting ListsHere is the NHL’s Central Scouting Domestic Preliminary Rankings for the three major junior leagues plus the USHL/NTDP:
NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Rankings (Domestic) -- PDF File
Here is the NHL’s Central Scouting Players to Watch list for NCAA entry-draft eligible players:
NHL Central Scouting NCAA Watch List -- PDF File
Hourihan to Brown
A center/RW from Lynnfield, Mass., Hourihan was the fourth leading scorer at Nobles, last year -- after Kevin Hayes, Billy Arnold, and Matt Harlow -- with a 6-14-20 line.
This fall, he played for the Cape Cod Whalers Under-18 Team, on a line with Hayes and Harlow.
Hourihan to BrownBrown University has a commitment for next fall from 6’2”, 190 lb. Nobles senior Mark Hourihan.
Wallin Makes His Pick
Gunnery junior RW Terrence Wallin has committed to UMass-Lowell for the fall of ’11.
Wallin, who is 5’11”, 165 lbs., was the second leading scorer for the Gunnery last season with a 14-30-44 line, trailing only Shane Gorman. Gunnery, as you may remember, went 23-6-4 and reached the NEPSIHA semifinals.
Wallin, a 4/6/92 birthdate, is a “C” prospect on Central Scouting’s Watch List for next June’s NHL Entry Draft.
Other schools in the mix were St. Lawrence, RPI, Dartmouth, Yale, Quinnipiac, and Providence College.
Wallin Makes His Pick
Ward Named National Junior Team Assistant
Tom Ward, Shattuck-St. Mary’s director of hockey and head coach, has been named as an assistant with this year’s U.S. National Junior Team.
A head coach with the St. Paul Vulcans (USHL) and an assistant at the University of Minnesota before taking over at Shattuck 11 years ago, Ward has led the school's prep team to three national midget titles in the last five seasons.
As you may know, UNO head coach Dean Blais is the head coach of this year’s junior team, and Mark Osiecki, an assistant at Wisconsin, will be the other assistant. Tim Taylor, USA Hockey’s National Teams Adviser, is serving as the squad’s director of player personnel.
This year’s training camp will run from Dec. 17-19 at the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Grand Forks, ND. Twenty-eight players have been invited. The camp will conclude with an exhibition game vs. the University of North Dakota on Sat. Dec. 19. After that, cuts will be made, and the U.S. will then head north to Moose Jaw, Sask. for an exhibition game vs. the Czech Republic on Dec. 22. The 22-man roster for the U.S. junior team will be officially announced on Dec. 23.
The first game for the U.S. at the 2010 WJC is against Slovakia on Dec. 26. The tournament will run through Jan. 5 at Regina and Saskatoon, Sask.
Coaching NewsSacred Heart University will be hiring Wesleyan assistant – and Neponset Valley River Rats U-18 head coach -- Scott McDougall as their assistant as soon as all the paperwork gets taken care of. New Sacred Heart head coach C.J. Marottolo, who took over just as the season was starting, has been operating with one assistant, Lou Santini, for six weeks.
***Former South Kent head coach Geoff Marottolo is down in Philadelphia looking at taking some kind of position -- coaching and/or GM -- with the Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL). The Revolution last won a game on Oct. 10 and are winless in their last 16. However, they did tie two straight games – both against the Valley Junior Warriors -- at the Valley Warriors Tournament last weekend in Haverhill. Former assistant Vince Malts is currently the head coach, having taken over from Mike Anderson a couple of weeks ago.
”I temporarily fired myself,” Jenkins said. “I’ve been out for a week. The original plan was going to come back after Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, I’m trying to get some things back on track.”
Jenkins said his team needs a goal scorer and a #1 defenseman. He’s looking for help, but acknowledges that those guys don’t fall out of the trees at this time of the year.
Jenkins, who sees a positive in the Empire coaches being familiar with the EJ team and vice versa, will be taking the Huskies Empire Team up to the Monctonian Tournament in New Brunswick tomorrow morning.
Garrett Reagan High School Hockey Summit
Forty-eight Massachusetts boys high school hockey teams – and eight girls teams -- will descend upon the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass. on Sun. Dec. 6th for the Second Annual Garrett Reagan High School Hockey Summit.
The kick off to the Mass. high school hockey season, named for the longtime Hingham High School coach who died unexpectedly in June 2008, just months after stepping down from 26 years behind the bench, will feature mini-games galore – 28 of them, to be precise.
This is a really good take -- being able to see that many teams in a single afternoon is just a great scouting opportunity. Games will be taking place on five different sheets.
Six teams that were selected for the Super 8 last March will be on hand: Malden Catholic, Xaverian, Burlington, Hingham, Springfield Cathedral, and Arlington Catholic. Other traditionally strong Mass high school programs -- e.g. Billerica, BC High, Chelmsford, and Reading – will be there, too.
Among the speakers at the summit, presented by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association in conjunction with the MIAA, will be UMass head coach Toot Cahoon, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli, former US Women’s Olympic Team head coach Ben Smith, Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna, and others.
The link to the schedule is below.
Rats, Jr. Bruins Prevail in Mass RegionalsIn the U16 championship game today, the Neponset Valley River Rats topped the Valley Warriors, 6-3. The Rats’ 6’4”, 190 lb. ’94 goaltender Jon Gillies had 45 saves, 21 of which came in the third period. Gillies, a repeat freshman at the Salisbury School, is the son of former UNH goaltender Bruce Gillies, who many of you may remember from the early ‘80s.
In the U18 championship game the GBL Jr. Bruins, on a power play overtime goal by Keith Buehler (Proctor Academy), edged the Cape Cod Whalers, 5-4. The Jr. Bruins took jumped out early and took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, at which time the Whalers changed goalies, replacing Derek Metcalfe with Donald McGuirl. The Whalers came to life and scored four of the next five goals to go ahead 4-3. However, the GBL Jr. Bruins tied it up six minutes into the third. In overtime, a controversial hooking penalty led to the Jr. Bruins ensuing power play, and they cashed in.
“It was one of the worst calls I’ve seen in my 15 years of coaching,” said Whalers coach Scott Harlow. “I’m not taking any credit away from the Jr. Bruins, because they are one of the hardest-working teams I’ve ever seen. But it was just an awful way to end a state championship game. Not fair to anybody. Apart from that, the game was one of the best hockey games I’ve ever been associated with.”
The Under-18 Dorchester Chiefs are heading to Rochester in the spring, too. On Sunday, the Chiefs won the Midget Tier II state title, defeating the Cape Cod Whalers, 5-2. The Chiefs, with Sal Tecci in goal and 11 skaters from the Dexter School, finished the fall season with a 19-1 record.
Odds and EndsLast weekend, we stopped off in Connecticut and got a look at the Salisbury School’s brand new Flood Athletic Center, a vast, impressive building that features eight squash courts, two basketball courts, a wrestling room, a couple of state-of-the-art weight rooms, plus locker rooms, offices, and meeting rooms – all very impressive.
The rink, with Shakespeare’s quotation of Henry V’s words to his troops heading into the Battle of Agincourt – “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers” – emblazoned above the doors, is a high-ceiling capacious arena with a near-Olympic 198x97 sheet. In addition to the size of the sheet, a couple other features of the old arena – e.g., seating on the north side of the rink, and a viewing/trophy room at the west end – are preserved. It’s just all totally new. The high ceiling gives it a capacious, cathedral-like feel. It’s hard to imagine a potential recruit not being impressed.
Flood Athletic Center
For the first time in a while Salisbury will be without a member of that literal band of brothers – the Biegas. With three brothers skating for Harvard this season, there’s still one brother back home in Point-Claire, Quebec. But, in a year, Marc Biega, a 5’11”, 180 lb. left-shot D, will likely be at Salisbury as well. Marc, a June ’94 birthdate, is in his second year with the Lac St-Louis Lions Midget AAA program, and as highly touted as his brothers. (Harvard, by the way, has, with the three Biegas and Louis Leblanc and Alex Killorn, five former Lions on their roster. And, if you add in P.O. Michaud, that makes six Québéc natives skating for the Crimson. Should make those Canadiens fans – and management -- stopping by Bright Arena to check out Leblanc’s progress feel right at home.)
In a USHL game Wednesday night, the host Youngstown Phantoms defeated the Green Bay Gamblers, 3-2. Youngstown won this game despite being outshot 35-9. The Phantoms’ nine shots were an all-time league low – and they won the game!
Not a good night for Green Bay’s Steve Summerhays, who stopped six of the nine shots he faced in taking the loss.
The win went to the Phantoms’ ’93-born goaltender Matt Mahalak, who was making his first start after returning from Slovakia, where he was with the U.S. Under-17 Team. Mahalak, who played at Culver Academy last season, stopped 33 of 35 shots for the win.
Racine’s teammates, ’90 Wisconsin recruit Tyler Barnes and ’90 Minnesota-Duluth recruit JT Brown each had 2-2-4 nights.
Has a coaching change turned things around for the Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL), or at least given them a little bump?
Nope – not yet anyway.
After Mike Anderson was fired 17 games into the season with a 2-13-2 record, the job was handed to assistant Vince Malts, under whom the team has lost three straight.
The games have not been close. Last weekend, Philadelphia lost 5-1 and 11-0 to the Monarchs, games in which they were outshot 48-16 and 72-25. On Wednesday, they lost 7-3 at Apple Core, getting outshot 47-23.
Goalies are getting a lot of work, though. But, with the Valley Warriors Tournament starting today and the Revolution playing four games over the next four days, they might be pretty fried by Monday night.
A couple of players who opened eyes at the 2009 World Junior A Challenge in Prince Edward Island were Quinnipiac recruits Connor and Kellen Jones, twins and linemates with the Vernon Vipers (BCHL). Along with Alaska-Fairbanks recruit Cody Kunyk, they were the dominant line at the tournament.
5’8” Connor Jones, with a 4-6-10 line in five games, was named to the All-Tournament team, as was the 5’11” Kunyk, who had a 5-5-10 line. 5’9” Kellen Jones posted a 3-3-6 line.
The ’90 birthdates from Montrose, BC, are, according to an NHL scout on hand, “a home run for Quinnipiac.”
“They are skilled and highly driven. They score. They make plays. They throw hits. They forecheck. They plow through guys. They just don’t stop. They try hard all game long regardless of the score. They are just really fun to watch.”
“You can tell they love the game and love competing. They are both good – and so similar. If you swapped their uniform numbers you probably couldn’t tell the difference between them. Their size will likely keep them playing in the NHL, but they’ve probably always been told they were too small. It might be motivation to them. I certainly wouldn’t put playing in the AHL past them.”
-- Canada West goaltender Sean Bonar, a Princeton recruit, was named MVP of the tournament, despite being on the runner-up team. Bonar, in five games, had a 2.21 gaa nd a .925 save percentage. A ’91, Bonar plays for the Penticton Vees.
11/12/09 Offensive D-man for Crimson
Fick, an 8/21/91 birthdate, is an outstanding skater – quick, mobile, and fast -- who can move the puck. He has the potential to become a top two d-man for the Crimson, and run the PP. Those who know him speak highly of his work ethic.
Forest Lake HS is about 30-40 miles northeast of the Twin Cities and not a powerhouse program, so Fick has been a bit of a sleeper. He had a 7-19-26 line in 24 games last winter. His stock shot up over the past couple months from his play at the Fall Elite League where, in 23 games, he had a 5-8-13 line.
Offensive D-man for Crimson5’10”, 160 lb. Forest Lake HS senior defenseman Dan Fick has committed to Harvard for fall ’10.
Fenkell to ColgatePhillips Exeter goaltender Max Fenkell has committed to Colgate for the fall of ’10.
Fenkell, who stood atop Div. I prep goaltenders last season with a .938 save percentage, helped Exeter reach the NEPSIHA championship game in March, a 4-0 loss to Salisbury.
A 5’9”, 160 lb. senior from Meadowbrook, PA, Fenkell is a 4/15/91 birthdate. He came over to Exeter last season as a repeat junior transferring from Avon Old Farms, where he was one of the goaltenders on Avon’s 2008 championship team.
Bowdoin had been on Fenkell for awhile, and if Colgate hadn’t offered him, he would have played there. Fenkell had also been interested in Colby.
Fenkell fills up a lot of the net for a smaller goalie. He’s a battler who tracks the puck well, and is smart about leaving his net to handle it. He can make a pass.
South Kent Names Soltys Interim Head Coach
The South Kent School has named Eric Soltys as their interim head coach, replacing Geoff Marottolo, who was let go a week ago over what the school termed “philosophical differences.”
Soltys spent last season as head coach of the Huntsville Havoc of the Southern Professional Hockey League, but was fired one season into a three-year contract for what team owner Keith Jeffries said were “philosophical differences.” The team finished fourth in the six-team league.
In ’07-08, Soltys was an assistant with the New Mexico Scorpions (CHL). From ’05-07, Soltys was an assistant coach/scout for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Before going into the major junior and pro ranks, Soltys was a volunteer assistant at the University of Maine in ’04-05.
In ’03-04, he was an assistant under head coach John Malloy at Gilmour Academy. Prior to that, Soltys was an assistant coach at Shattuck-St. Mary’s for four seasons.
Soltys, 34, is a native of Needham, Mass. A goaltender, he played at St. Sebastian’s and went on to UNH, where he was a backup goalie, appearing in one game in ’96-97.
Soltys has a challenge in front of him at South Kent, where the players, intensely loyal to Marottolo, are upset over his dismissal. In the last week, top d-men Garrett Clement and Neil Fachini have left school, for, respectively, the Lincoln Stars (USHL) and the Junior Bruins. Top forward Mike Pereira is reported to be transferring to The Gunnery.
The other finalists for the South Kent job were reported to be Brian Sherry, who has been an assistant at Bentley, Becker, Army, and Manhattanville; and Scott McDougall, coach of the Neponset Valley River Rats U-18 Team and an assistant at Weselyan.
Under-18s go 3-0-0 in Finland
Pori, Finland -- Nick Shore scored a pair of goals in the first period to lead the U.S. Under-18 Team to a 3-2 win over Switzerland before 305 fans in the final game of the 2009 Under-18 Four Nations Cup here last night.
The Under-18s also beat Sweden, 4-2, on Friday, and Finland, 4-1 on Saturday to go 3-0-0 and finish in first place at the tournament.
Switzerland went up 1-0 just 10 seconds into the game, but, 13 seconds later, Jason Zucker, from behind the goal line, found Shore out front. Shore went top corner. At 12:06, on a similar play, Brandon Saad, from behind the goal, found Shore, who popped home his second goal, putting the US up, 2-1.
Charlie Coyle, on loan from the South Shore Kings (EJHL), scored from the high slot with seven seconds left in the second period to put the US up 3-1.
Switzerland made things tight at the end, scoring with 3:49 to go in the third period, to cut the US lead to 3-2, which is where things ended.
The US outshot Switzerland, 47-24.
Andy Iles had 22 saves for the U.S.
Under-17s Top the Field in Slovakia
Trnava, Slovakia -- Rocco Grimaldi (1-2-3), Seth Ambroz (2-0-2), J.T. Miller (1-1-2), and Jake McCabe (0-2-2) led the way as the U.S. National Under-17 Team crushed Switzerland, 8-2, before 128 fans in the final game of the 2009 Under-17 Four Nations Cup here last night .
The US, with a 3-0-0 record, finished in first place. In addition to beating Switzerland, the Under-17 team also topped Russia, 5-2, and Slovakia, 7-6.
Their reward? They get to go home and get crushed by USHL teams.
Reid Boucher, Blake Pietila, Ryan Haggerty, and Tyler Biggs also scored for the U.S. Grimaldi’s goal, by the way, came on a penalty shot.
The U.S. outshot Switzerland, 55-25. Matt McNeely, who finished with a 2.00 gaa and a .918 save percentage, stopped 23 shots for the win.
The U.S. outscored opponents 20-10 at the tournament. Ambroz (5-0-5), Pietila (3-2-5), and Miller (2-3-5) led the US Under-17s with five points each. Michael Paliotta (1-2-3) and Matt Van Voorhis (1-2-3) led U.S. defensemen in scoring.
U.S. Junior Selects Win Gold in PEI
Summerside, Prince Edward Island -- Goaltender Eric Mihalik (Des Moines – USHL) kicked out 28 of 29 shots in leading the U.S. Junior Select Team to a 2-1 win over Canada West in the gold medal game of the World Junior A Challenge here last night.
Mihalik, a 6’1” ’91 who played for Bay State (EJHL) last season, led all netminders at the tournament with a .940 save percentage and 1.50 goals-against average.
Defenseman Eamonn McDermott, a late ’91 from the Fargo Force, had a goal and an assist and was named U.S. player of the game.
Matt Leitner, a late ’90 from the Fargo Force, scored the game-winning goal 50 seconds into the third period, as he cut to the slot and beat the Canada West goaltender with a backhander through the five-hole.
The goaltending was terrific in this game, as both Canada West’s Sean Bonar (Penticton Vees – BCHL) and Mihalik came up big for their teams. Bonar kicked out 34 of 36 shots in taking the loss.
"The team showed some great resiliency, not only tonight, but for the entire tournament," said Mark Carlson, head coach of the 2009 U.S. Junior Select Team. "They continued to fight when trailing tonight and the coaching staff is extremely proud of their effort.”
Cedar Rapids defenseman Mac Bennett and 5’8” ’91-born forward Shane Berschbach of the Indiana Ice, who finished third among all skaters with eight points (5-3), were named to the all-tournament team.
Most Valuable Player:
Sean Bonar, Canada West -- .925 and 2.21 in five games
(Mihalik, besides winning the gold, also had better numbers -- .940 and 1.50 in four games.)
G – Sean Bonar, Canada West, .925/2.21
D – Mac Bennett, US, 0-1-1
D – Wes McLeod, Canada West, 0-5-5
F – Connor Jones, Canada West, 4-6-10
F – Cody Kunyk, Canada West, 5-5-10
F – Shane Berschbach, US, 5-3-8
Eric Mihalik, 4 gp, .940/1.50
Willie Yanakeff, 1 gp, .840, 3.69
Eamonn McDermott 1-3-4
Nick Jensen 1-2-3
Nick Mattson 1-2-3
Kevin Albers 0-2-2
Mac Bennett, 0-1-1
Kevin Gravel 0-1-1
Kevin Lind 0-0-0
Shane Berschbach, 5-3-8
Matt Leitner, 1-6-7
Colten St. Clair, 2-3-5
Beau Bennett, 3-1-4
David Gerths, 2-2-4
Mike Parks, 1-3-4
Jeff Costello, 1-1-2
Derek DeBlois, 1-1-2
John Parker, 1-1-2
Connor Brickley, 1-0-1
Chris Crane, 0-1-1
Nic Dowd, 0-1-1
Nick Sorkin, 0-1-1
US 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.
Higgs to RPI5’10”, 180 lb. LC Brock Higgs of the Kingston Voyageurs (OJAHL) has committed to RPI for the fall of ’10.
Higgs, who had originally committed to Canisius before decommitting last spring, was a member of the Canada East squad that played over the last week in the World Junior A Challenge in Summerisde, PEI. He had an 0-3-3 line there.
Higgs, a fifth round pick of the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) in 2008, saw his stock shoot up late last season when the Voyageurs made a run for the Royal Bank Cup, and Higgs was on fire throughout the postseason, scoring 22 goals in 25 playoff games. He also added 13 assists.
Higgs, a native of Kingston, Ont., is a 5/4/92 birthdate. He has speed, good hockey sense, and is very competitive. He has good hands, too, but many of his goals come from hard work, from going to the dirty areas to score.
Seedings/Times for Mass. U-16 and U-18 Regionals
-- All games at Foxboro Sports Center; Foxboro, Mass.; Fri.-Sun. Nov. 13-15
1. Valley Jr. Warriors
2. Neponset Valley River Rats
3. District 10 Bulldogs
4. South Shore Dynamos
1. Cape Cod Whalers
2. Neponset Valley River Rats
3. GBL Jr. Bruins
4. Eastern Mass Senators
Fri. Nov. 13, 2009:
6:50 pm -- #1 Valley Jr. Warriors vs. #4 South Shore Dynamos
7:00 pm -- #2 Neponset Valley vs. #3 District 10 Bulldogs
9:00 pm -- #1 Cape Cod Whalers vs. #4 Eastern Mass Senators
9:10 pm -- #2 Neponset Valley vs. #3 GBL Jr. Bruins
Sat. Nov. 14, 2009 (Morning/afternoon session):
10:20 am -- #2 Neponset Valley vs. #4 South Shore Dynamos
10:40 am -- #1 Valley Jr. Warriors vs. #3 District 10 Bulldogs
12:30 pm -- #2 Neponset Valley vs. #4 Eastern Mass Senators
12:50 pm -- #1 Cape Cod Whalers vs. #3 GBL Jr. Bruins
Sat. Nov. 14, 2009 (Evening session):
6:30 pm -- #1 Valley Jr. Warriors vs. #2 Neponset Valley
7:00 pm -- #3 District 10 Bulldogs vs. #4 South Shore Dynamos
8:40 pm -- #1 Cape Cod Whalers vs. #2 Neponset Valley
9:10 pm -- #3 GBL Jr. Bruins vs. #4 Eastern Mass Senators
Sun. Nov. 15, 2009:
Under-16 Championship Game: 10:00 am
Under-18 Championship Game: 1:00 pm
Mid-Fairfield swept the New England Tier I Regionals over the weekend at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass.
Mid-Fairfield sweeps New Englands
In yesterday’s championship games, the Mid-Fairfield Under-16s beat the Seacoast Spartans, 13-3; and the Mid-Fairfield Under-18s defeated the Connecticut Clippers, 5-3.
Here Come the HurricanesThe Halton Hurricanes Midget AAA Team (‘92s and ‘93s) will be coming down from Ontario to play two games in Connecticut this coming weekend.
The Hurricanes organization, which boast the likes of former UNH forward Darren Haydar and Cornell captain Mike Knoepfli among their alums, will be watching two games at Quinnipiac (vs. Harvard and Dartmouth) and visiting Taft and Choate. Several of their former teammates are already at prep school this fall, i.e. Jake Wood (Gunnery), Sean McGovern (Taft), and Eric Chevrier (Cushing).
On Sat. Nov. 14 at 3:35 pm the Hurricanes will play the Southern CT Stars U-18 Midget Major squad. The two teams play again on Sun. Nov. 15 at 11:15 am. Both games are at the Milford Ice Pavilion in Milford, Connecticut.
Some of the top ‘93s on the Hurricanes, presented alphabetically, are:
Spencer Abraham, a 5’9”, 170 lb. ’93 left-shot d-man with explosiveness and offensive skills. In 15 games this season, Abraham has a 6-13-19 line. He’s getting a lot of interest from Div. I colleges and prep schools. Drafted late by Brampton.
Matt Dupont, a 5’9”, 155 lb. ’93 left-shot forward who is crafty, and a quick, smooth skater. Very good playmaker. Has come on fast over the past two seasons. In 15 games, Dupont has a 6-7-13 line.
Oran Ferguson, a 5’9”, 163 lb. ’93 right-shot forward who is a responsible defensive forward that gets his share of points. Nice skater, very strong on the puck. Has a 3-8-11 line in 15 games.
Brett ‘Hurricane’ Harris, a 5’9”, 175 lb. ’93 left-shot forward who is tough, hits hard, and is said to have a cannon of a shot. Described as a ‘well-mannered Sean Avery type,’ and the type of player every team needs. Has Ivy League marks, and is interested in engineering. In 10 games, Harris has a 3-3-6 line.
Nicolas (Nic) Pierog, a: 6’1”, 175 lb. ’93 right-shot forward who can both score goals and make plays. Has a 5-8-13 line in 13 games. Drafted late by Brampton. Has an 85 average in school.
Zack Zinga, a 5’11”, 205 lb. left-shot ’93 forward who is coming off his first year of AAA and described as an up-and-comer. Took huge strides last season. A very strong forward with a great shot.
There are three ’92 forwards who are putting up good numbers: 6’1”, 180 lb. Todd Bannerman (14 gp – 8-12-20); 6’0”, 175 lb. Andrew Bergman (14 gp – 5-12-17); and 6’4”, 190 lb. Brandon Denham (13 gp – 7-11-18).
2009 Halton Hurricanes Midget Major Roster
Mike Anderson, the head coach of the Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL), has been fired 17 games into the season.
The Revolution’s record is 2-13-2.
This squad, as you may know, is the old Boston Jr. Shamrocks franchise, a team which won seven games in 45 tries last year. For all practical purposes, it’s an expansion team.
A lot of EJHL coaches/GMs are disappointed in Anderson’s firing, feeling that the 31-year-old Springfield, Mass. native who played for the Westminster School, Gary Dineen’s New England Falcons (EJHL), and was captain at UConn in 2001, got a raw deal from the team’s owner, Phil Pulley.
Last season, Anderson had great success building the successful Tri-State Selects Empire Jr. B League team, also owned by Pulley. With Anderson as coach, they reached the Empire League title game last spring, bowing to the Junior Bruins, 2-1.
In the wake of the firing, a number of the better younger players on the Revolution are leaving the squad for the Team Comcast Under-18 Team, coached by Jared Beach.
Anderson will reportedly be interviewing for the vacant job at the South Kent School.
Assistant coach Vince Malts will be taking over the Revolution.
International RoundupThe U.S. Under-18 Team, at the Four Nations Cup in Finland, lost 3-2 to host Finland in an exhibition game on Wednesday. Augmented by forwards Nick Bjugstad (Blaine HS) and Charlie Coyle (South Shore Kings – EJHL), the U.S. starts play at the three-game tournament today with a match against Sweden. Tomorrow, the U.S. plays Finland, and then finishes with Switzerland on Sunday.
A 34-save effort from Eric Mihalik of the Des Moines Buccaneers led the U.S. Junior Select Team past Sweden, 3-1, in the quarterfinal round of the World Junior A Challenge at Summerside, PEI. With the win, the U.S. (3-1-0) advances to the semifinals against Russia this afternoon. Shane Berschbach of the Indiana Ice leads the team with four goals.
The U.S. Under-17 Team downed Russia, 5-2, in the opening game of the 2009 Under-17 Four Nations Tournament in Trnava, Slovakia. Seth Ambroz (Omaha -- USHL) notched two goals for Ron Rolston’s squad. Ambroz is one of three outside players brought in for the tournament, the others being goalie Matt Mahalak (Youngstown – USHL) and forward Austin Wuthrich (TI Midget Major).
Update on South KentSouth Kent School Director of Communications Mark Berghold sent us this release from the school:
"Coach Marottolo and South Kent School had philosophical differences regarding the future of the School's hockey program., resulting in both coach Marottolo's and assistant coach Jon Bellonio being released from their commitment to the Varsity "A" hockey program at the School."
Marottolo's wife, Gina, is still employed at South Kent, in admissions, and Geoff is still living at the school. We spoke to him today, but got nothing other than a "no comment." It's probable that Marottolo has an agreement with the school prohibiting any comment. That is usually the case in these situations.
As we mentioned, South Kent defenseman Garrett Clement will be joining the Lincoln Stars shortly -- at Thanksgiving, we're told. The word on Mike Pereira is that he is likely to transfer to another boarding school.
South Kent is starting the interview process. The only name we've heard so far is that of Brian Sherry, who has been an assistant at Bentley, Becker, Army, and Manhattanville. Sherry, 29, is a Lansing, Michigan native and a forward who played in the NAHL and then went on to play four years at the University of Findlay (CHA), graduating in '04, which was also the program's last year.
Mass Fall Prep League Playoffs
Here is the schedule for the New England Fall Prep Hockey League playoffs this weekend at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass.
First off, on Saturday, regularly scheduled league games will be held, at 4:30, 6:30, and 8:30 pm.
On Sun. Nov. 8 playoffs will will be held (Under-19 Division). The matchups are:
12:00 pm -- #1 Mass North vs. #2 Team New England
2:00 pm -- #3 Mass East (Eagles) vs. #4 Mass West (Little Bruins)
There is no all-star game for the Under-19 Division.
The Under-18 Division of the league will be holding their playoffs on Sat. 11/7 at the Icenter in Salem, NH. On Sunday at 4:00 pm, the U18 division will be holding an all-star game, also in Salem. Rosters are below.
Playoff schedule for Sat. Nov. 7:
5:50 pm -- #4 Mass North (Top Gun) vs. #2 Mass Central (Bay State)
7:40 pm -- #1 Mass West (Preps) vs. #3 Mass East (Eagles)
Sun. Nov. 8 at 4:00 pm (Icenter):
NEFPHL U18 All-Star Rosters
EAST / WEST (Coaches: George Sullivan and Ed Rauseo)
1 Alex Devine, G, 3/25/93, Berwick Academy
7 Brian Rowland, F/D, 9/10/93, Waltham HS
8 Ben Sauro, F/D, 8/7/92, Newton North HS
9 EJ Rauseo, F, 10/26/93, Belmont Hill
10 Tommy Evangelista, F, 9/17/93, Central Catholic
11 Tom Ryan, F/D, 11/13/92, Newton North HS
12 Terry Goguen, D, 11/29/93, Weston HS
14 Jake Butler, F, 2/20/92, Cushing Academy
15 Mike Doherty, F, 8/21/93, Groton School
16 Colin Bourque, F, 2/11/93, Cushing Academy
17 Teddy McCarran, F, 2/2/93, Pinkerton Academy
18 Scott Ralph, F, 5/13/93, Tilton School
19 Corey Scammon, D, 5/6/93, Cushing Academy
20 Geoff Sullivan, D, 9/20/93, Governor's Academy
21 Shane Dalton, D, 12/31/92, Governor's Academy
23 Colton Bailey, F, 3/23/92, Cushing Academy
22 Ryan Pratt, F, 1/17/92, Waltham HS
35 Drew Pearson, G, 7/12/93, Bishop Guertin HS
NORTH / SOUTH / CENTRAL (Coaches: Tom MacDonald and Brian Murphy)
1 Tyler Fay, G, 4/20/94, Manchester Memorial HS
7 Eric Lively, D, 12/29/91, Whitman Hanson HS
8 Patrick Lema, D, 2/22/92, Marshfield HS
9 Joseph Indelicato, D, 3/31/92, Milton HS
10 Kevin Walsh, F, 5/11/92, Weymouth HS
11 Ryan Connors, F, 1/29/93, Marshfield HS
12 Conor Doyle, F, 6/9/93, Duxbury HS
14 Seamus O'Neil, F, 6/23/94, Phillips Andover
15 Conor Clement, D, 1/17/94, Pingree
16 Ryan Scarfo, F, 3/3/94, Governor’s Academy
17 Nathan Ferriero, F, 8/28/94, Governor’s Academy
18 Tommy Kelley, F, 9/15/94, St Sebastian’s
19 Tom Coleman, F, ’92, Needham HS
20 Marco Eberth, F, ’92, Rivers
21 Pat Breed, F, ’92, Xaverian
22 Brad Peterson, D, ’92, Thayer Academy
23 Tim Cobb, D, 1/2/92 Thayer Academy
35 Mike Huber G 1/9/94 St. Paul's
Tabor New Year's TournamentThe annual Joshua Weeks New Year's Tournament will be held at Tabor Academy in Marion, Mass. on the weekend of Sat.-Sun. Jan. 2-3, 2010.
Sat. Jan. 2, 2010:
9:00 am -- Milton vs. Governor's
11:00 am -- St. Sebastian's vs. Tilton
1:00 pm -- Tabor vs. Hill
3:30 pm -- Tilton vs. Milton
5:30 pm -- Hill vs. Governor's
7:30 pm -- Tabor vs. St. Sebastian's
Sun. Jan. 3, 2010:
10:00 am -- Game 1
12:00 pm -- Game 2
2:00 pm -- Championship Game
36th Annual Lawrence/Groton ScheduleThe 2009 Lawrence/Groton Holiday Tournament will be held Thurs.-Sat. Dec. 19 at Lawrence Academy and Groton School (which has two sheets). The tournament is very different looking than it was two years ago, or even last year when Lawrence and Governor’s joined up in what turned out to be a one-year experiment.
This year’s tournament will have an eight-team Tournament Division as well as a ten-team Showcase Division.
The traditional Friday night Lawrence vs. Cushing matchup is still in place.
The way the champion of this year’s Lawrence/Groton Tournament will be determined will start with a point system – three for a win, one for a tie and one additional for a shootout win. If two teams are tied after the round robin, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head competition, followed by goal differential (with a maximum of five, to discourage blowout wins). On Friday night Dec. 18, the tournament committee will add the points up and to determine who plays in Saturday’s championship game. There will be no third, fifth, or seventh place games. Rather, the committee -- Kevin Potter is the Lawrence coach, while Bill Riley is the new coach at Groton this season -- will schedule games for Saturday morning among the six remaining teams. In scheduling these three games, Potter and Riley will attempt to match up teams that didn’t meet in the round robin, while at the same time matching up teams of roughly equal ability.
Culver Military Academy—Culver, IN
Cushing Academy—Ashburnham, MA
Groton School—Groton, MA
Lawrence Academy—Groton, MA
North Yarmouth Academy—Yarmouth, ME
Pomfret School—Pomfret, CT
Proctor Academy—Proctor, NH
The Hill School—Pottstown, PA
Apple Core (EJHL)
Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL)
Florida Everblades 95’s
New England Huskies (EJHL)
New England Huskies (Empire)
New England Stars 95’s
Top Gun 95’s
Thursday, December 17, 2009:
3:00 pm -- Culver Academy vs. Cushing Academy -- at Groton
4:00 pm -- NE Huskies (EJHL) vs. Boston Jr. Bruins (EJHL) -- at Groton
4:00 pm -- LA JV vs. Cushing B -- at LA
5:00 pm -- Proctor Academy vs. Groton School -- at Groton
6:00 pm -- Pomfret School vs. Lawrence Academy -- at LA
6:00 pm -- Top Gun 95’s vs. New England Stars 95’s -- at Groton
7:20 pm -- Academie Saint-Louis vs. NE Huskies (Empire) -- at Groton
8:00 pm -- The Hill School vs. North Yarmouth Academy -- at LA
Friday, December 18, 2009:
9:00 am -- Lawrence Academy JV vs. Florida Everblades 95’s -- at LA
9:00 am -- Culver Academy vs. Proctor Academy -- at Groton
10:00 am -- Cushing Academy vs. Hill School -- at Groton
11:00 am -- North Yarmouth Academy vs. Lawrence Academy -- at LA
11:00 am -- Pomfret School vs. Groton School -- at Groton
4:00 pm -- Hill School vs. Culver Academy -- at Groton
4:00 pm -- Top Gun 95’s vs. Florida Everblades 95’s -- at LA
5:00 pm -- North Yarmouth Academy vs. Groton School -- at Groton
6:00 pm -- Proctor Academy vs. Pomfret School -- at LA
7:00 pm -- Academie Saint-Louis vs. Cushing B -- at Groton
8:00 pm -- Cushing Academy vs. Lawrence Academy -- at LA
Saturday, December 19, 2009:
8:00 am -- Florida Everblades 95’s vs. Academie Saint-Louis -- at Groton
10:00 am -- Game C -- at Groton
10:00 am -- Game B -- at LA
10:15 am -- Game A -- at Groton
12:00 pm -- LA/Groton Championship Game -- at Groton
2:30 pm -- Apple Core (EJHL) vs. NE Huskies (EJHL) -- at Groton
36th Annual Lawrence-Groton Holiday Tournament Schedule (PDF Document)
Two South Kent Players Added to USHL Rosters
The Lincoln Stars (USHL) have added two current South Kent School players to their protected list: forward Mike Pereira, a late ’91 junior; and LD Garrett Clement, a ’91. Clement, by the way, was recently on a recruiting trip to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Pereira is a UMass recruit.
Pereira has been added by Sioux City, not Lincoln.
11/4/09 Update: At least two coaches in the league say that this schedule is very tentative, so look for further changes.
Founders’ League Jamboree ScheduleHere is a tentative schedule for the Founders’ League Jamboree, which will be held at the Hotchkiss School on Wed. Dec. 2.
The games, all mini-games, will be 25-minutes stop time. In order that all of the games start and end on time, it may be necessary to go to running time at the end of a period.
All teams will be playing two mini-games with the exception of Hotchkiss and Salisbury, each of whom will be playing three. Hotchkiss, of course, is the host school, and Salisbury is just a few miles east of Hotchkiss.
Due to the elimination of Div. II this season, Kingswood-Oxford becomes the 11th team in the Founders’ League -- they were already in the Founders’ League in other sports. Each Founders’ League team will be playing them once during the regular season.
Founders’ League Jamboree @ Hotchkiss, 12/2/09
12:45 pm – Kent vs. Avon (Schmidt Rink)
1:00 pm – Taft vs. Westminster (Dwyer Rink)
1:45 pm – Kent vs. Westminster (Schmidt Rink)
2:00 pm – Taft vs. Avon (Dwyer Rink)
2:45 pm – Trinity-Pawling vs. Choate (Schmidt Rink)
3:00 pm – Loomis vs. Hotchkiss (Dwyer Rink)
3:45 pm – Salisbury vs. Choate (Schmidt Rink)
4:00 pm – Trinity-Pawling vs. Loomis (Dwyer Rink)
4:45 pm – Deerfield vs. Hotchkiss (Schmidt Rink)
5:00 pm – Kingswood vs. Salisbury (Dwyer Rink)
5:45 pm – Deerfield vs. Salisbury (Schmidt Rink)
6:00 pm – Kingswood vs. Hotchkiss (Dwyer Rink)
Schmidt Rink is the main rink and is NHL-sized. Dwyer is the back rink and is an Olympic sheet.
2009 Governor's Academy Holiday Showcase
-- At Governor's Academy; Byfield, Mass.; Fri.-Sun. Dec. 18-20, 2009
Fri. Dec. 18:
5:30 pm – Governor’s vs. Millbrook
7:30 pm -- Tilton vs. Northwood
Sat. Dec. 19:
10:00 am -- Governor's vs. Northwood
12:00 pm -- Millbrook vs. Tilton
5:00 pm -- Northwood vs. Millbrook
7:00 pm -- Governor’s vs. Tilton
Sun. Dec. 20:
9:30 pm -- Wyoming Seminary vs. Northwood
11:30 pm -- Stanstead vs. Tilton
2:00 pm – Governor’s vs. Berwick
Times for Mass. U-16 and U-18 Regionals-- All games at Foxboro Sports Center; Foxboro, Mass.
Fri. Nov. 13, 2009:
Under-16: 6:50 pm #1 vs. #4 and 7:00 pm #2 vs. #3
Under-18: 9:00 pm #1 vs. #4 and 9:10 pm #2 vs. #3
Sat. Nov. 14, 2009:
Under-16: 10:20 am #2 vs. #4 and 10:40 am #1 vs. #3
Under-18: 12:30 pm #2 vs. #4 and 12:50 pm #1 vs. #3
Under-16: 6:30 pm #1 vs. #2 and 7:00 pm #3 vs. #4
Under-18: 8:40 pm #1 vs. #2 and 9:10 pm #3 vs. #4
Sun. Nov. 15, 2009:
Under-16 Championship Game: 10:00 am
Under-18 Championship Game: 1:00 pm
The regular season ends of Nov. 8th, so check back on these pages on Mon. Nov. 9 and we will have the brackets filled in for you.
New England U-16 and U-18 RegionalsThe New England U-16 and U-18 Regional Tournaments, hosted by Mid-Fairfield, will be held this coming weekend, Fri.-Sun. Nov. 6-8, at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass.
Here’s the schedule:
New England Tier I U16 and U18 schedule
Marottolo Out at South KentSouth Kent school head coach Geoff Marottolo has been let go, and the school has begun a search for a new head coach effective immediately.
We do not know what the story is yet.
We left a message with South Kent’s head of school, Andrew J. Vadnais, but our call was not returned.
We attempted to leave a message with Marottolo, but his voice mailbox is full, and wouldn’t accept any more messages.
Marottolo’s assistant coach. John Bellonio, was also let go by the school.
We spoke to NEPSIHA president John Gardner, asking whether Marottolo's dismissal at South Kent had anything to do with recruiting violations.
"I'm sorry to hear about the situation," Gardner said. "But as far as I know there have been no violations under NEPSAC or NEPSIHA rules."
We also spoke to South Kent AD Owen Finberg, who would not address the reasons for Marottolo's dismissal. He did, however, speak of the coaching search and its urgency. "We are looking to hire someone on an interim basis by the end of next week," he said, adding, "We will then do a national search at the end of the season."
Finberg said that the person who they hire for this season could also become a candidate for the permanent position.
Prep Hockey Comes to Fenway
It's only taken 97 years, but prep hockey will be played at Fenway Park on Monday morning Dec. 21 when Taft and Avon Old Farms will face off on the greensward at 9:00 am.
The game will be an exhibition game and will not count toward NEPSIHA standings.
There are still a bunch of details to be settled. The glass and boards will be up, but there's a chance the lines will not yet be painted, which will make it a real pond hockey game. The ice will only be resurfaced once.
"It's a great thing for the kids to be able to say they played at Fenway," said Avon head coach John Gardner.
Prep Hockey Comes to Fenway
Playoff Changes on Tap for Prep Hockey
For the upcoming season, a brand new tiered playoff system will be introduced to New England prep hockey.
Last Sunday, at the New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association (NEPSIHA) coaches meeting, the final details were hammered out, the culmination of a long process that started over the summer with the reworking of the formula for determining postseason seeding. The need for a new formula sprang from the simple fact that, after all the Div. II teams declared their intention to become Div. I starting this fall, NEPSIHA suddenly had a 61-team Div. I loop on their hands – and the old formula no longer worked.
The new system, and the new math that goes into determining seedings, will be explained below, but for those of you who prefer simply cutting to the chase, here’s what you need to know:
-- There will be three separate tournaments at the conclusion of the regular season, with all semifinal and finals to be played in Salem, NH on the weekend of March 5-7, 2010.
In order to determine who reaches the three separate tournaments, the teams will be ranked, using the new formula, from #1 through #61. From there, the #1 through #8 teams will be peeled off and assigned to the top tournament, which will be known as the Elite 8 or, more formally, the Scott Stuart/Matt Corkery Tournament. For the quarterfinals, rather than utilizing the old east/west split, teams will now be chosen regardless of geographical distribution. In other words, the quarterfinals will adopt the old Div. II system, with #8 at #1, #7 at #2, #6 at #3, and #5 at #4. All quarterfinal games – to be held Wed. March 3 -- will be at the campus rink of the higher-seeded team except when the distance is greater than a two and three-quarter hour drive, in which case a neutral site will be chosen.
The winners will then move on to Salem, NH where the Elite 8 semifinals will take place at the Icenter on Friday March 5 at 5:30 pm and 8:00 pm. The winners of the semis will then meet for the Elite 8 Championship on Sunday March 7 at 3:30 pm. In addition, the tournament will be stretched out from two to three days due to the fact that the NEPSIHA board felt that the main sheet at the Icenter should not have more than four games on Saturday – it’s tough on the ice, and probably a too-long day for fans and organizers, too. With three divisions a rotation was set up, so that once every three years each of the three divisions gets the Friday night slot.
-- As for the rest of the tournament, there will also be a “large school” and a “small school” division. After the season, once the numbers are crunched and the aforementioned #1-61 ranking is generated, the list of large schools and small schools – determined strictly by male enrollment – comes into play. Right off the top, the #1-8 schools – regardless of size – are peeled off for the top tournament. That leaves 53 teams. From those 53 teams, the eight highest-ranked large schools will go to one tournament, and the eight highest-ranked small schools will go to the other tournament. They too will follow the #8 at #1, #7 at #2 etc. quarterfinal system, with all games on Wed. March 3. The winners will continue on to Salem and play semis on Sat. March 6 and finals on Sun. March 7 (see below for game times).
Here is the list of 'large' and 'small' schools, followed by male enrollment. Former Div. II schools are in bold. Four former Div. II schools are in the large school group while 18 former Div. II schools are in the small school group. Bear in mind that the two groupings have no bearing on any in-season play, scheduling, or anything other than post-season seeding. Also, you will notice that the difference between the smallest large school, Roxbury Latin, and the largest small school, Rye Country Day, is only three boys. So, from year to year, the list will change, at least among schools that, like the two just mentioned, hover near the cut-off point.
Opting-up is prohibited.
17. St. Paul’s—263
18. St. Seb’s—254
19. Belmont Hill—247
30. New Hampton—210
31. Roxbury Latin—206
32. Rye Country Day—203
33. Portsmouth Abbey—198
40. St. Mark’s—186
44. St. George’s—174
46. King Low—163
52. South Kent—153
54. Kents Hill—140
Just to reiterate, the Elite 8 Tournament will feature the Top 8 schools as determined by the new formula (its details follow) so, at least basically, that remains unchanged. In other words, Andover, with 543 boys, and Hoosac, with 71 boys, are both eligible for the Elite 8. Once the schools in the Elite 8 are pulled from the lists below, the highest remaining large schools will go to one tournament and the highest remaining small schools will go to the other. If any of this isn’t clear, just let us know, and we’ll try to put a finer point on it.
The bottom line to this is that some solid teams that in past years would have been edged out of the big tournament will now have a chance to win a quarterfinal game and get to Salem. Along the same lines, it gives teams that would have been eliminated from playoff contention by New Year’s Day in past years something to play for deep into the season, a real shot in the arm for teams that start slowly but tend to go on a tear after the holidays – Tabor, for example. In addition it gives good small programs – the former Div. IIs – a chance, if they are good enough, to reach the Elite 8.
Back in 2000, NEPSIHA held a “IA” tournament for the Div. I schools that finished the season ranked #9-16. However, in a fit of pique, Jack Foley, then the coach of Thayer, the #9 ranked team, refused to send his team to the tournament. The remaining teams each moved up a slot and the tournament went on as scheduled, but it was tainted, and the tournament was dropped after one season.
To prevent a repeat of such poor sportsmanship, there will now be sanctions for teams that refuse to participate if selected for one of the three tournaments. The decision will be up to the NEPSAC Executive Council, but the NEPSIHA coaches at Sunday’s meeting approved a motion that would ban, for a period of five years, any program that refused to participate in the tournament for which they were selected.
To be eligible for the tournaments, teams must play a minimum of 15 regular season NEPSIHA games.
- Elite 8 - Scott Stuart/Matt Corkery Tournament
- Larger School – Ken Martin/Tom Earl Tournament
- Smaller School – Larry Piatelli/Sam Simmons Tournament
Quarterfinals for all three tournaments will be held on Wed. March 3. On the weekend of March 5-7 the tournament moves to the Icenter at Salem, NH for semis and finals. Here is the schedule, with times subject to change.
Friday, March 5 5:30 P.M. – Stuart/Corkery Semifinal
8:00 P.M. - Stuart/Corkery Semifinal
Saturday, March 6 9:00 A.M. – Piatelli/Simmons Semifinal
11:30 A.M. – Piatelli/Simmons Semifinal
2:00 P.M. – Martin/Earl Semifinal
4:30 P.M. – Martin/Earl Semifinal
Sunday, March 7 10:30 A.M. – Piatelli/Simmons Final
1:00 P.M. – Martin/Earl Final
3:30 P.M. – Stuart/Corkery Final
The New Formula
The system for determining The New England Prep School Championship Tournament participants has two parts: the first is RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) and the second is a hypothetical comparison of the top 16 RPI teams. The criteria for RPI is:
-- NEPSIHA winning Percentage
-- Opponents’ Average NEPSIHA winning Percentage
-- Opponents’ Opponents’ Average NEPSIHA winning Percentage
At the end of the prep season, each team’s winning percentage (the definition of winning percentage for NEPSIHA remains the same: Wins + .5 (Ties)/ NEPSIHA games played) is calculated. Then, each team’s opponents winning percentage is averaged and given as the second criteria. The third criteria finds a team’s opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage, and this is given as the third criteria. These values are then weighted by a formula. The teams are then ranked from the highest to lowest RPI, and the top 16 teams are moved onto a hypothetical comparison. These top 16 teams are the teams under consideration for the playoffs.
This comparison utilizes a system of hypothetical matchup criteria to determine which of two teams being compared is stronger. Two of the top 16 teams are compared in four categories of on-ice results: Head-to-Head results, RPI, Record against Mutual Opponents, and Record against Teams Under Consideration. A point is awarded for each win a team has in on-ice results, for the team with the higher RPI, for the team with the better record against mutual opponents, and for the team with the better record against the top 16 teams (teams under consideration). In cases where teams finish with an identical number of points, the first tiebreaker is head-to-head results, the second is RPI, the third is Mutual Opponents, and the fourth is Teams Under Consideration. The team with the most points in each comparison is awarded a point in the system, and each possible scenario is analyzed. The 16 teams are then ranked from most to least points, with the top 8 teams qualifying for NEPSIHA Elite 8 Tournament. The #8 seed plays at the #1 seed and the winner faces off in the semis against the winner of #5 at #4. #7 plays at #2, with the winner facing the winner of #6 at #3. The winners of the two semifinals play in the finals.
The remaining two tournaments’ participants are then determined with a different system. Each season, the male enrollment of the 61 NEPSIHA schools that play 15 or more NEPSIHA games is requested, a mean is arrived at , and it’s split down the middle, with 30 considered “large”, and 31 considered “small”.
Once the top eight teams are determined, the remaining teams will be thus sorted and ranked by RPI within the above two groupings. As with the Elite 8, the #8 at #1, #7 at #2, #6 at #3, and #5 at #4 quarterfinal system is used. And then the winners move on to Salem.
When the above “new” formula was applied to the 2008 – 2009 season results, the eight teams that made the playoffs under the new formula were, in order: Exeter, Andover, Lawrence, Gunnery, Salisbury, Taft, Belmont Hill, and Berkshire. Sound familiar? They were the same eight teams that made the Division I tournament last year. The system is sound, and it should be a good tool, in addition to the new fall elite league, in making sure that the best hockey talent in New England stays in New England.
In case you are wondering, here is the “old formula.”
1. NEPSIHA Record
2. NEPSIHA DI Record
3. Winning percentage versus NEPSIHA DI teams with a record of .500 or better times the percent of NEPSIHA games played versus DI teams with a record of .500 or better.
Why wasn’t the same criteria retained for the upcoming season? First off, with all of NEPSIHA now in the same division, the first two categories became redundant – they are the same thing. The second issue was that the third criteria, while having been effective as a strength of schedule, still leaves room for improvement, especially now with the necessity of rewriting the formula to encompass 61 teams competing for the same playoff berths.
Second and Third Tournaments. The remaining 53 teams, after being split in two according to school size are then sorted by mean male enrollment of all NEPSIHA schools. After they are split in two, the top eight RPI teams from each division play in their own tournament, with the same 1 playing 8, 2 playing 7 etc. procedure. There is no opting up, your male enrollment in comparison to the mean is the barometer. No matter how people may feel about the prohibition against opting up, the bottom line is the same: more teams have a chance to reach the playoffs, thus giving teams extra incentive, and more kids get to play more games in front of more fans, scouts, college recruiters, etc. All in all, a nice reward for a season’s hard work.