Central Scouting Mid-Term Rankings
Central Scouting has released their Mid-Term Rankings, and Windsor Spitfires defenseman Cam Fowler is - no surprise - the highest-ranked American at #3 among North American skaters. There are actually a lot of Americans on the list. Twelve of the top 30 are U.S. kids, and we counted 88 Americans out of the 211 skaters. That's 42%. (For a point of reference, in last June's NHL draft, 35% of the North American players selected were U.S. kids, and 65 % Canadian.)
Behind Fowler are #11 Derek Forbort (US Under-18); #12 Nick Bjugstad (Blaine); #13 Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat - WHL); #17 Brock Nelson (Warroad HS); #18 Kevin Hayes (Nobles); #19 Charlie Coyle (South Shore - EJHL); #20 Jon Merrill (US Under-18); #21 Tyler Pitlick (Mankato St. - NCAA); #25 Austin Watson (Peterborough - OHL); #28 Stephen Johns (US Under-18); and #30 Billy Arnold (US Under-18).
And that's just the first round.
Continuing on, we have: #32 D Kevin Lind (Chicago), #36 F Max Gardiner (Minnetonka), #37 D Mark Alt (Cretin-Derham Hall), #40 D Justin Faulk (US Under-18), #42 D Jarred Tinordi (US Under-18), #48 F Beau Bennett (Penticton -- BCHL), #49 F Connor Brickley (Des Moines), #50 F Jacob Fallon (US Under-18), #52 F Brendan Woods (Chicago), #54 D Justin Holl (Minnetonka HS), #55 F Jason Zucker (US Under-18), #58 D Brandon Archibald (Sault Ste. Marie - OHL), #60 D Kevin Gravel (Sioux City), #65 F Andrew Yogan (Erie - OHL), #71 F Michael Parks (Cedar Rapids), #73 F Jason Clark (Shattuck-St. Mary's), #75 F Luke Moffatt (US Under-18), #76 F Bryan Rust (US Under-18), #77 F Mike Pereira (Avon Old Farms), #79 F Kenny Agostino (Delbarton), #84 D Pat McNally (Milton Academy), #86 D Aaron Harstad (Green Bay), #90 D Taylor Aronson (Portland - WHL), #91 F Brian Ward (Governor's Academy), #95 D Nick Mattson (Indiana), #97 F Casey Thrush (Team Maryland AAA), #100 F Caleb Herbert (Bloomington-Jefferson), #103 D Logan Roe (Kent School), #105 D Elliott Bostrom (Taft), #106 F Cody Ferriero (Governor's Academy), #107 D Eamonn McDermott (Fargo), #109 D Joe Faust (Bloomington-Jefferson), #112 F Christian Isackson (St. Thomas Academy), #113 D Luke Curadi (Penticton - BCHL), #117 D Austin Levi (Plymouth - OHL), #119 F Patrick Brown (Cranbrook-Kingswood), #121 D J.T. Barnett (Vancouver - WHL), #122 F Brian Ferlin (Indiana), #123 F Jared Knight (London - OHL), #124 F Phil Lane (Brampton - OHL), #126 F Ryan Daugherty (Omaha), #127 F Thane Heller (Junior Bruins), #130 F Nick Sorkin (Waterloo), #132 D Kevin Clare (US Under-18), #136 D Brett Stern (Centennial), #140 D Mike Reardon (Nobles), #142 D Joe Rogalski (Sarnia - OHL), #144 F Max Gaede (Woodbury HS), #147 F James Polk (Shattuck-St. Mary's), #148 F Tom O'Regan (St. Sebastian's), #150 D Nick Luuko (The Gunnery), #155 D Andrew Prochno (Minnetonka), #161 D Jared Wiedemann (Dexter), #162 F Myles McCauley (Sault Ste. Marie), #165 F J.P. LaFontaine (Shattuck-St. Mary's), #166 F Eric Neiley (Exeter), #170 F Derek Deblois (Cedar Rapids), #172 F Alex Lippincott (Fargo), #173 F Garnet Hathaway (Andover), #174 F Scott Wamsganz (Waterloo), #178 F Chris Wagner (South Shore -- EJHL), #185 F Garrett Hendrickson (Virginia HS), #186 F Peter McIntyre (South Shore - EJHL), #187 D John Ramage (University of Wisconsin), #192 F Brandon McNally (Belmont Hill), #193 F Andrew Huff (Traverse City - NAHL), #196 F Chris Crane (Green Bay), #197 F Dan Linell (Choate), #199 F Adam Krause (Hermantown HS), #201 D Ben Marshall (Mahtomedi HS), #202 F Rudy Sulmonte (NJ Rockets), #204 F/D John Caldwell (Belmont Hill), #207 F Nick Czinder (Youngstown), D Jacob Rutt (NH Jr. Monarchs), #211 F Charles Orzetti (NJ Hitmen).
Among goaltenders, Jack Campbell, hot off a strong performance at the WJC, is the top-ranked at #2 overall. There were seven U.S. goalies listed.The other six were: #5 Zane Gothberg (Thief River Falls), #12 Willie Yanakeff (Sioux City), #18 Michael Houser (London - OHL), #19 Clay Witt (Sioux Falls), #25 Brian Billett (NH Jr. Monarchs), #31 Jacob Meyers (Benilde-St. Margaret's).
There are 17 current New England prep players ranked, and 16 from Minnesota high schools (that doesn't include the four from Shattuck).
For the full lists follow the link below.
A Big Defenseman for the Cats
6'2", 180 lb. Gunnery senior defenseman Nick Luukko has committed to the University of Vermont for the fall of '11.
Luukko made his final pick from between Vermont and UMass-Amherst. His father, Peter Luukko, an Auburn, Mass. native, is a UMass-Amherst grad who is today the President/CEO of Comcast-Spectacor, which owns the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers.
Luukko, a right shot from West Chester, PA, has a 1-16-17 line in 22 games for the Gunnery, and was ranked #150 in Central Scouting's recent Mid-Term Rankings.
An 11/29/91 birthdate, Luukko will likely be playing next season in the USHL. He is the fourth player from the current Gunnery squad to commit to a Hockey East School, joining Alex Vazzano (Vermont), Terrence Wallin (UMass-Lowell), and Derek Army (Providence).
A Mainer for Maine
6'2", 195 lb. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) left-shot defenseman Jacob Rutt has committed to Maine for the fall of '11.
Rutt, a native Mainer is a 4/26/91 birthdate and is currently a senior at Scarborough HS. He was up in Orono today, and made his decision.
He's playing his first year of junior hockey and, in 29 games with the 26-4-1 Monarchs, has a 9-9-18 line with 65 pims.
Rutt, who is ranked in the 7th round in Central's Mid-term Rankings, has size, strength, plays physically and is a strong skater with offensive upside.
A rookie of the week last week, Rutt, who has scored a goal in each of his last three games, also played in the EJHL All-Star game last Monday,
Rutt is the second defenseman to commit to the Black Bears in the past week. Boston Advantage Midget AAA LD Brian Harris will also be heading to Orono in the fall of '11.
Harris, who is 5'9", 187 lbs. is in his third year with the Advantage (owned by former Black Bear Tim Lovell) and is an offensive defenseman who sees the ice well and has a good stick. In 47 games with the Advantage he has a 16-37-53 line. People like to compare him to former Black Bear defenseman Bret Tyler.
Harris, a 6/8/92 birthday, also visited Northeastern and UMass-Amherst.
Atlantic & Met League All-Star Rosters
The Atlantic Junior Hockey League, the Met League, and the Southeast Junior Hockey League League will be holding their all-star games - a total of four - at the Iorio Arena in Walpole, Mass. on Sun. Jan. 31.
Here's the schedule:
10:30 am -- SEJHL All-Star Game (NHL Rink)
11:00 am -- MET League South Conference All-Star Game (Olympic Rink)
1:00 pm -- MET League North Conference All-Star Game (NHL Rink)
2:00 pm -- AJHL All-Star Game (Olympic Rink)
And here's a link that opens into a Word document containing all the rosters.
2010 AMHL All-Star Rosters
Hathaway to Brown
6'2", 180 lb. Andover senior RW Garnet Hathaway has committed to Brown for '10 or '11.
An 11/23/91 birthdate from Kennebunkport, Maine, Hathaway made his pick from among Dartmouth, Union, and Brown. Hathaway, who was #173 in NHL Central Scouting's Mid-Term Rankings, is a big power forward who has picked up his speed a lot over the last couple of seasons.
In 11 games to date, Hathaway, playing on a line with Will Gray and Brian Safstrom, has a 6-8-14 line.
This fall, Hathaway broke Andover's career scoring record in soccer.
Yale Looks to Delbarton Again
6'2", 190 lb. junior RD Matt Killian of the Delbarton School has committed to Yale for the fall of 2011.
A 10/20/92 from Basking Ridge, NJ, Killian made his final pick from among Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, UNH, and Providence.
Killian, who also plays for the NJ Colonials U-18, is playing his third year on the Delbarton varsity.
Asked to describe his strengths, Killian said, "I'm a good skater, and definitely a more offensive-minded D. I also take pride in being hard to play against. I think I see the ice pretty well, and move the puck quickly to join the rush."
How about weaknesses? "I definitely need to get stronger, bigger, and faster," he said.
In our view, Killian is being modest. He already has size and is more than just a ‘good skater.' He's an excellent skater -- very smooth, with good acceleration. He can go end-to-end if he wishes, but he also has some skilled forwards to move the puck to, so tends to choose his spots. If he keeps developing, Killian should go in the top half of the 2011 draft.
At Yale, Killian will be one of three Delbarton kids suiting up for the Bulldogs, joining forwards Kenny Agostino and Charles Orzetti. Agostino is currently a senior at Delbarton, but Orzetti, a 6'3" '92 forward, gave up his senior year at Delbarton to play for the Jersey Hitmen (EJHL) only to suffer a season-ending injury in September, before the season even started.
If you add Alex Velischek (now at Providence College) and Michael Ambrosia (Princeton recruit) there are already five players off last season's squad who are -- or will be -- playing Div. I. There are two or three more on this year's squad who are Div. I prospects.
Last year's Delbarton squad won the NJ state non-public school championship, and this year's team appears to be every bit as strong. Stronger, actually. They are already 9-0-0. Against New Jersey competition they are 5-0-0 and have outscored their opponents 42-0. They have also beaten Bishop Hendricken, 9-0, and Catholic Memorial, 7-1. They have played two prep schools, defeating Hotchkiss, 6-2, and the Hill, 5-2. Their top line of seniors Agostino-Mike Pirovano-Ambrosia is as good as any we've seen in prep play this year, right there with Nobles' top line.
People have asked this typist, who has seen Delbarton on three different occasions, how they would do if they were moved to New England and dropped into NEPSIHA play. We believe they would be an easy Top Five. Beyond that? It's hard to say for sure, but we have not seen a single prep team that is clearly better, so they could be it. Of course, we'll never know for sure.
Anyway, forgive the little digression. We just want to make sure Delbarton gets a little credit, and people get a chance to see them.
Getting back to college commitments, the University of Vermont has its second commitment of the week in Des Moines Buccaneers 5'10", 175 lb. forward H.T. Lenz.
Lenz, a 4/8/89 birthdate from Vienna, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, DC, played four years at Shattuck-St. Mary's. After he was graduated, he went to the BCHL for a year, playing for Merritt. When J.P. Parisé was hired to coach Des Moines before the start of last season, he brought Lenz on board. Last year, Lenz had 28 points in 60 games. This year, in 34 thus far, he has a 15-17-32 line.
Lenz, who is also Des Moines' captain, is a competitive type who can offer character and leadership on the Div. I level. He will also chip in with a little offense.
Big Forward for the Cats
6'3", 200 lb. forward Matt White of the Pittsburgh Vipers Midget AAA program has committed to the University of Vermont for either the fall of '10 or '11.
A 10/21/91 birthdate from McMurray, Pa., White has played 22 games with the Vipers this season and has a 17-18-35 line with 54 pims.
For the previous two seasons, White played for the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL). However, he wasn't happy there and decided to come back home and play midgets. Last year at Des Moines, he had a 10-9-19 line.
White projects to be an effective two-way player with size and skating ability who will also provide some offense. There were a number of top schools interested in him last season when he was with Des Moines, but all except Vermont backed off when he returned to midgets.
Van Riemsdyk to Follow in Brother's Footsteps
6'2", 185 lb. RD Trevor Van Riemsdyk of the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) has committed to UNH for the fall of '11.
A 7/24/91 from Middletown, NJ, Van Riemsdyk was recruited hard by UNH, Vermont, Providence, and Northeastern.
Van Riemsdyk is the younger brother of former UNH and current Philadelphia Flyers forward James Van Riemsdyk.
Last season, the younger Van Riemsdyk (he's not the youngest, there's one more, a '96 named Brendan) led Christian Brothers Academy (Lincroft, NJ) to a 22-5-2 record and the championship game of the New Jersey Non-Public State Tournament, where they were blanked by Delbarton, 7-0.
From the blue line, Van Riemsdyk posted an 11-47-58 line in 29 games for CBA.
This season, he's adapted well to the EJHL. In 20 games with the Monarchs (he'll play with them again next season) he has a 6-20-26 line, which puts him in a tie for second in the scoring race among defensemen.
Van Riemsdyk is still raw, but his upside is pretty apparent. He has size, he can skate, and he has offensive tools.
Last year at this time, Van Riemsdyk had walk-on interest from Colgate and Quinnipiac. Only Trinity College was really pushing hard for him.
The Monarchs, boasting a league-best 22-3-1 record, are playing a rare weekday afternoon game today (Thurs. 1/14) at their home arena in Hooksett, NH. The game, a 3:00 pm start, is against the Junior Bruins, and is a makeup of the Sun. Dec. 20 cancellation due to snow.
Put It On The Schedule
The Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association will be hosting a state high school all-star game at Tsongas Arena in Lowell on Sat. March 20 at 3:00 pm.
The game will feature the top 46 seniors from Mass high schools. Selection will be made by the coaches.
The game at Tsongas is being hosted by the Lowell Devils (AHL). Admission to the high school all-star game is $10, and that includes free admission to the Lowell Devils- Portland Pirates game at 7:00 pm.
The MSHCA, which is planning to make this an annual event, is reaching out and encouraging college, prep, and junior coaches to be there. As a reminder, they are pointing out that the last two NCAA champions each had a player who played four years of Mass. high school hockey -- Matt Greene (BC High and BC) and John McCarthy (St. John's Prep and BU).
Also of interest to coaches will be this weekend's Under-16 Tournament, which will take place at the Berkshire, Salisbury, and Millbrook schools. Participating teams include the Nassau Lions, Connecticut Chiefs, Westchester Express, Buffalo Regals, Mercer Chiefs, LI Royals, and Boston Advantage.
Under-16s Tournament Schedule Jan 16-17
6’1”, 190 lb. Salisbury junior wing Gunnar Hughes has committed to St. Lawrence for the fall of ’11.
Gunnar will get to play alongside his brother, current Saints defenseman George Hughes, for two years at St. Lawrence. This is not the first time a pair of Hughes brothers played their college hockey together. Gunnar’s father, George, and his uncle, Jack Hughes, played together at Harvard in the late ‘70s.
A gritty player with an edge, Hughes is strong along the boards and in front of the net. This year, in 10 games, he has a 2-7-9 line. Last season, he was second on the team in scoring with a 16-15-31 line in 27 games.
A 9/22/92 birthdate, Hughes is from Westwood, Mass. and attended St. Sebastian’s before transferring to Salisbury.
EJHL All-Star Rosters
The Eastern Junior Hockey League's seventeenth annual All Star Game will take place at the Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett, NH on Mon. Jan. 18 at 2:00 pm. The game will consist of three 20-minute periods and will be preceded by two Empire Junior Hockey League all-star games (10:20 am for the Futures, and 11:20 am for the regular all-stars). The Empire rosters follow the EJHL rosters.
EJHL Southern Division:
Goaltenders: Brad Barone (South Shore Kings), Courtney Lockwood (Springfield Pics)
Defensemen: Nolan Descoteaux (South Shore Kings), Jason Binley (Jersey Hitmen), Mike Slowikowski (Jersey Hitmen), Brendan Corcoran (Bay State Breakers), Arthur Griem (New York Apple Core), Jack Callahan (Jersey Hitmen), Eric Drapluk (Philadelphia Revolution), Jacob Hoefler (New York Apple Core).
Forwards: John Mousso (Bridgewater Bandits), Chris Wagner (South Shore Kings), Charlie Coyle (South Shore Kings), Shane Walsh (South Shore Kings), John Swavely (Jersey Hitmen), Will Fredrick (Jersey Hitmen), Luke Hannon (Jersey Hitmen), Mike Garlasco (New York Apple Core), Corey Lillie (New York Apple Core), Adam Mitchell (Bay State Breakers), Brian Schultz (South Shore Kings), Colin South (Bay State Breakers).
EJHL Northern Division:
Goaltenders: Brian Billett (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Brian Robbins (Capital District Selects).
Defensemen: Zach Marginsky (Syracuse Stars), Danny Federico (Junior Bruins), Colin Shea (Junior Bruins), Brice O'Connor (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Trevor van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Jacob Rutt (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Thomas Kader (Valley Jr. Warriors), Jordan Ciccarello (Green Mountain Glades).
Forwards: Ryan Farnan (Syracuse Stars), Joe Wilson (Syracuse Stars), Matt Esposito (Green Mountain Glades), Justin Breton (Junior Bruins), Joe Pendenza (Junior Bruins), Brad Peltz (Junior Bruins), Trent Ruffolo (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Zak Stone (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Alex Gacek (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Jamie Ferullo (New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs), Anton Bernard (Valley Jr. Warriors), Mike Henrici (Capital District Selects).
Empire League All-Star Games
The East will face the West at 11:20 am on Mon. Jan. 18 at the Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett, NH.
Empire Western Conference All Stars (White Team):
Goaltenders: Dimitrios Georgas (Apple Core), Matt Braun (Hitmen), Jordan Gluck (Brewster).
Defensemen: Ryan McGee (Brewster), Thomas Brown (Elmira), Patrick Schafer (Pittsburgh), Hayden Fitzpatrick (Brewster), Andrew Pascal (Wildcats), Michael Smith (Apple Core), Frank Musick (Apple Core), Michael Janson (Buffalo), (Hitmen).
Forwards: Zach O'Mara (Syracuse), Riley Bourbonnais (Maksymum), Michael Cambria (Apple Core), Dan Griffiths (Brewster), Jeffrey Stenglein (Maksymum), Connor Leen (Hitmen), Ron Kokas (Apple Core), TBD (Coyotes), Frank Buttino (Buffalo), Nick Lieback (Wildcats), Tim Clifton (Hitmen), Dan Echeverri (Revolution).
Empire Eastern Conference All Stars (Blue Team):
Goaltenders: Colin Stevens (Junior Bruins), Tyler Ingerson (New Hampshire), Kevin Venturoso (Bridgewater).
Defensemen: Nolan Hamilton (South Shore), Tyler Cooke (Bridgewater), Robert Driscoll (Huskies), Max Grande (Capital District), Tyler Estee (New Hampshire), Geoffrey Flemati (Springfield), Casey Slattery (Bay State), Cody Healy (New Hampshire).
Forwards: Matthew Manzella*(Junior Bruins), Justin Portillo (Huskies), Evan Schultz (New Hampshire), Ryan Duggan (Salem), Connor Audycki (New Hampshire), Nicholas Bundzinski (New Hampshire), Dan McGinnis (Bridgewater), Zach Luczyk (Junior Bruins), Drew Vandermale (Valley), Cody Learned (Junior Bruins), Frankie Vatrano (Junior Bruins), Christopher Gratton (Green Mountain).
* Matt Manzella injured; will be replaced by Stephen Miller (Junior Bruins).
The futures game is at 10:20 am.
Empire Futures White Team:
Goaltenders: Mark Hochman (Huskies), Matthew Beliveau (Valley), Matthew Clum (Wildcats).
Defensemen: Zachary Higgins (Green Mountain), Ryan Segalla (Bridgewater), Mitchell Beyer (Junior Bruins), Kyle Puzar (Huskies), Garrett Richardello (Springfield), Zachary Prout (Springfield), Kevin McKernan (Junior Bruins), Kyle Webb (Junior Bruins).
Forwards: Christopher Sattler (Springfield), Garrett Torrico (Springfield), Brendan Flanagan (Huskies), Brian Morgan (Junior Bruins), Derek Madden (Huskies), Mason Krueger (Huskies), Matthew Antonacci (Springfield), David Sweet (Huskies), Brendan Boyce (Green Mountain), Mac Cook (Junior Bruins), Colt Steele (New Hampshire), Paul Russell (Junior Bruins).
Empire Futures Red Team:
Goaltenders: Kollyn Jones (Syracuse), Charles Fennell (Elmira), Kyle Shapiro (Hitmen).
Defensemen: Griffyn Martin (Junior Bruins), Conner Doherty (Junior Bruins), Matthew Majchrak (Maksymum), Conor Clifton (Hitmen), Luke Zocco (Hitmen), Steven Duda (Revolution), Hayden Hanson (Pittsburgh), Thomas Muratore (Hitmen).
Forwards: Alex Taylor (Elmira), Jeremy Wich (Capital District), Sam Arazoza (Maksymum), Ben Hanus (Pittsburgh), George Gerasimou (Pittsburgh), Douglas Geertz (Syracuse), Nolan Trombetta (Pittsburgh), Nicholas Belger (Brewster), Robert Burns (Hitmen), Michael Bronzo (Hitmen), Kevin Hoegler (Wildcats), Richard Prunesti (Apple Core).
USHL All-Stars Named
The USHL has announced the rosters for this winter's all-star game, which will take place at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Ind. on Tues. Jan. 26.
The teams were picked by votes from league coaches and GMs, along with input from NHL Central Scouting.
The East Division-leading Green Bay Gamblers and West Division-leading Omaha Lancers each have six players from their respective teams named to the All-Star rosters. Team USA placed three players on the All-Star rosters; Matthew Nieto, Rocco Grimaldi, and Robbie Russo. However, the NTDP's schedule prevents those three players from participating in the all-star game.
2010 USHL All-Star Rosters
Goaltenders: Steve Summerhays (Green Bay Gamblers), Cab Morris (Indiana Ice)
Defensemen: Bryce Aneloski (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Mac Bennett (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Kevin Lind (Chicago Steel), David Makowski (Green Bay Gamblers), Nick Jensen (Green Bay Gamblers), Nick Mattson (Indiana Ice)
Forwards: Jeff Costello (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Mark Anthoine (Chicago Steel), Andrei Kuchin (Chicago Steel), Ryan Furne (Green Bay Gamblers), Anders Lee (Green Bay Gamblers), Reed Seckel (Green Bay Gamblers), Shane Berschbach (Indiana Ice), Max Cook (Indiana Ice), Bryon Paulazzo (Indiana Ice), Tyler Barnes (Waterloo Black Hawks), Brock Montpetit (Waterloo Black Hawks), Nick Czinder (Youngstown Phantoms), Taylor Holstrom (Youngstown Phantoms)
Goaltenders: Jeff Teglia (Omaha Lancers), Clay Witt (Sioux Falls Stampede)
Defensemen: Austin Coldwell (Des Moines Buccaneers), Eamonn McDermott (Fargo Force), Nate Schmidt (Fargo Force), Dennis Brown (Omaha Lancers), C.J. Ludwig (Omaha Lancers), Chad Ruhwedel (Sioux Falls Stampede)
Forwards: Connor Brickley (Des Moines Buccaneers), T.J. Tynan (Des Moines Buccaneers), Nate Condon (Fargo Force), Matt Leitner (Fargo Force), David Gerths (Lincoln Stars), Seth Ambroz (Omaha Lancers), Erik Haula (Omaha Lancers), Matt White (Omaha Lancers), Stephan Vigier (Sioux City Musketeers), Matt Lindblad (Sioux Falls Stampede), Michael Voran (Sioux Falls Stampede), Radoslav Illo (Tri-City Storm), Jaden Schwartz (Tri-City Storm)
Five players - Costello, Seckel, Berschbach, Makowksi, and Gerths -- will be making their second straight appearance in the all-star game.
Mon. 1/11/10 -- updated
Once Again, Trouble in Ann Arbor
Allegations of sexual harassment at Ann Arbor's Pioneer High School have led to the suspension of four U.S. Under-18 Team players from both the school and the team.
Forwards Matt Nieto and Jacob Fallon, and defensemen Kevin Clare and Jon Merrill have all been serving school suspensions since the middle of last week. The four players did not travel with their teammates over the weekend. The undermanned Under-18s lost to Green Bay, 3-1, on Friday, and to the University of Wisconsin, 7-1, on Saturday.
The NTDP had reportedly been waiting until the high school completes its investigation before making any decisons, but at least one of the players' families, feeling the high school's investigation has been conducted improperly, has hired a lawyer to protect their interests. And once lawyers are involved, it becomes hard to predict what direction proceedings may take. We have heard, however, that at least some of the players will be allowed to return to school this week, though under what terms is unclear.
Reports today indicated that there will be a meeting in Ann Arbor Tuesday between the four players and the NTDP staff. If past is prologue, it's likely that, at the very least, the suspensions will be extended and/or players may be asked to leave the program. There are, due to the sensitive nature of the accusations that have been leveled against the players, a lot that is up in the air. This, after all, is more than just a common drinking offense though, like anything, there are degrees of seriousness to the charges. And that's the gray area right now. Fallon, for whom this is a second offense of the year, is in the most perilous position. In September, he was suspended for drinking and missed the first few months of the season, finally returning to the ice on Dec. 1.
This is the second straight year that trouble has engulfed the program. Last March, after incidents surrounding parties in Sweden and Ann Arbor, three players - Kyle Palmieri, Willie Yanakeff, and Stu Higgins - were booted from the program. So a precedent can certainly be found there.
Merrill, Clare, and Fallon are all University of Michigan recruits. Nieto is a Boston University recruit.
Merrill, Clare, and Fallon are all draft eligibles, with Merrill ranked #20 among North American skaters, Fallon #50, and Clare #132. Nieto is a late '92, thus not draft eligible until 2011. That fact, combined with his current problems, has fueled speculation that his next stop will be the Dub, and not Boston University. The Under-18 Team's leading scorer, Nieto has his WHL rights owned by the Tri-Cities Americans.
Update Tues. 1/12/10:
Reportedly, only 'some' of the four named kids are accused by the school of sexual harassment. As you can imagine, interested parties wanted that to be made clear. However, the ones who avoided the sexual harassment bullet are reportedly being accused of 'lewd and inappropriate behavior' for, among other things, defecating on the car of a female student, which sounds to us like... harassment. Anyway, the distinction appears to be that the sexual harassment accusations against certain players reportedly revolve around accusations of sexual coercion. That's the word at street level. Whatever terminology the school district chooses, it's a bad scene all around. We should point out that school districts, by law, are not allowed to release specifics, and, frankly, we're perfectly happy not to have to read such material.
The above-mentioned meeting may not be today, though we can say with certainty that no one at the NTDP wants this hanging over them for long, as it's having a corrosive effect. The four named players, previously friends, have reportedly stopped talking to each other -- and their teammates are forbidden from speaking to them. We believe that all four players, at least some of whom don't even like being in the NTDP anyway, will be asked to pack their bags -- unless the lawyers find a way to stop any such action.
Eastern Winter Showcase Schedule
The Eastern Winter Showcase gets underway Friday morning at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass. Here's a link to the schedule:
All fourteen EJHL teams will be there, as well as several Empire, AJHL, and Met teams. Northwood Prep, Bridgton Academy, and National Sports Academy will also be in attendance.
Top '94 Picks Michigan
6'2", 180 lb. LC Cristoval "Boo" Nieves, a 1/24/94 10th grader playing for the Syracuse Nationals U-16s, has committed to Michigan for the fall of '12.
Other schools in the picture were Vermont, Colgate, UNH, and RPI. However, Michigan always seemed like a fait accompli, going back to last spring.
We've written about Nieves in these pages before, both last July, when he was our top-rated forward - by quite a bit -- at the Select 15 Player Development Camp in Rochester, NY, and, more recently, at October's Beantown Fall Classic. After the latter, we wrote, "every once in a while you can look at a 15-year-old and think ‘first 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."
6'0", 180 lb. Williston-Northampton senior forward T.J. Powers has committed to Sacred Heart University for the fall of '10.
A strong skater, Powers is currently the leading scorer at Williston with a 7-11-18 line in nine games, which puts him one point ahead of linemate P.J. McCadden, also a senior.
Last season, Powers was Williston's leading scorer, finishing the season with a 22-15-37 line, which was also just one point ahead of McCadden. Yes, that duo is the focal point of the team's attack.
Powers is a 9/15/91 birthdate. Before going to Williston, the East Greenwich, RI native played for Bishop Hendricken High School.
This past fall, Powers played on the Neponset Valley River Rats, coached by current Sacred Heart assistant Scott McDougall.
A Big 24 Hours for USA Hockey
Sunday night, the U.S. National Junior Team topped heavily-favored Sweden, 5-2 in a 2110 IIHF World Junior Championship semifinal in Saskatoon, Sask., thus earning a trip to Tuesday night's WJC title game against Canada (8:00 pm EST).
Over the first half of last night's game, Sweden had the edge in play and built a 2-1 lead. However, with 4:54 left in the second period, the U.S. got a goal when RPI forward Jerry D'Amigo cut down the left side and, after faking a shot, winged one by Swedish netminder Jacob Markstrom , giving the US a 2-2 tie entering the second intermission. Still, any sane bettor would have given the edge to Sweden, which had gone 4-0-0 in winning their pool plus had a day off to rest, unlike the Americans, who were playing their second game in as many nights.
Just 39 seconds into the third period, D'Amigo was hammered in a nasty mid-ice collision with Swedish captain Marcus Johansson, who received a game DQ and a five-minute major for an elbow to D'Amigo's head. However, the Binghamton, NY native was out there the next shift. But the U.S. couldn't convert on the five-minute power play, which looked like a bad omen at the time.
But that's not the way it played out. A point shot by big USA defenseman John Carlson squeezed between Markstrom's pads and gave the US a 3-2 lead at the 12:34 mark.
When the Swedes went on the PP with a chance to tie the game up, D'Amigo stuck the knife in, converting a Derek Stepan pass on a 2-on-1 for a short-handed goal that gave the US a 4-2 lead with 4:28 to play. The shot, which beat Markstrom high, was D'Amigo's second goal of the game and a nice measure of revenge for the hit by Johansson.
A.J. Jenks added an empty netter for the final 5-2 margin of victory. St. Cloud State's Mike Lee, who made 27 saves, picked up the win.
"We've gotten better every game of the tournament," said US head coach Dean Blais. "We worked really hard tonight, and we put ourselves in the right position we wanted to be."
It was a tough loss for Sweden, which hasn't won a gold medal at this tournament for 29 years, since 1981.
And now all thoughts turn to Canada and a rematch of the New Year's Eve game that got away from Team USA, which had a 4-2 lead entering the third, but wound up losing in a shootout.
The U.S. has had a tough time in WJC games played on Canadian soil. The best they have done is a bronze back in 1986 in Hamilton.
It will be the first time the US has been in a gold medal game in six years -- since 2004 when they edged Canada, 4-3, in Helsinki, Finland. In that one, you may recall, the U.S. winning goal came when Canadian goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury left his net to play the puck and deny a breakaway to an onrushing Patrick O'Sullivan. While Fleury did indeed get to the puck, his clearing attempt ricocheted off his own d-man, Braydon Coburn, and wiggled over the goal line and into Canada's net.
Some of that kind of mojo might be useful Tuesday night.
Team USA won the World Under-17 Challenge tonight with a 2-1 win over Ontario before 1,797 fans at McIntyre Arena in Timmins, Ontario.
Tyler Biggs scored both goals for the U.S. and John Gibson kicked out 38 shots.
The win came a day after the Under-17s had topped Sweden, 6-5, in overtime. The U.S. went 6-0-0 in the tournament, topping Canada-Atlantic, Czech Republic, Russia, Canada-Pacific, Sweden, and Canada-Ontario.
After the U.S. won this tournament in 2001 and 2002, they went seven years without winning it again - until tonight.
Rocco Grimaldi led the World Under-17 Challenge in scoring with a 4-10-14 line.
The U.S. team consisted of 19 members of the Ann Arbor-based US Under-17 Team augmented by three outside players. Defensemen Joe Fiala (Verona, Wisc. HS) and Jordan Schmaltz (Chicago Mission Under-18) and forward Austin Wuthrich (Team Illinois Under-18). Missing the tournament were defensemen Matt Van Voorhis and Connor Murphy, both out with injuries.