A Tragic Weekend
Two young members of the hockey community, both with New England connections, died tragically over the weekend.
On Friday afternoon, Brendan Burke, the student manager of the #1-ranked Miami University hockey team and the son of Toronto Maple Leafs and U.S. Olympic Team general manager Brian Burke, died in a car accident on Indiana's Interstate 35, which was in treacherous condition due to snow and ice. A passenger, Burke's friend Mark A. Reedy, 18, a freshman at Michigan State, also died in the accident. Burke was on his way back from Michigan and en route to the rink to help the Redhawks prepare for that night's game against Lake Superior State when the accident happened in mid-afternoon.
Burke, whose mother lives in Canton, Mass., attended Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood before going to Miami. Burke's older brother, Patrick, also a Xaverian grad, is currently a scout with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Burke, 21, a 4.0 student and currently a senior at Miami, interned last summer for U.S. Rep. William D. Delahunt, and was planning to attend law school next year.
Several months ago, Burke came out of the closet publicly, which received heavy news coverage, primarily through a John Buccigross feature article on ESPN.com and a TSN interview, in which he appeared with his father.
Burke's funeral will be Tuesday morning at 10:30 am at St. John the Evangelist Church in Canton. Head coach Rico Blasi and the entire Miami squad, who learned of the accident during Friday night's 2-0 win, is expected to be on hand.
TSN Interview with Brendan Burke and his Father
John Buccigross ESPN.com Feature
A house fire in Warwick, RI on Saturday claimed the life of four people in their twenties and a seven-month old girl.
Former Mount St. Charles, Walpole Stars (EJHL) and Salem State defenseman Nick Jillson, 24, was among the victims.
Jillson was the younger brother of Jeff Jillson, a 1999 first round draft pick who went on to the University of Michigan and played with three NHL teams. Jeff now plays pro in the Czech Republic.
Reportedly, the fire had plenty of time to smolder due to the fact that everyone in the house was asleep and the smoke detectors were not working.
Jillson, who had committed to Niagara for the '06-07 season, never played there, but did play two seasons (07-09) at Salem State.
Providence Journal Article
Sun. 2/28/10- Times subject to change, so please check back frequently.
Prep Playoff Schedule
Wed. March 3
#8 NMH @ #1 Kent, 3:30 pm
#5 Westminster @ #4 Belmont Hill, 3:30 pm
#6 Milton @ #3 Nobles, 5:30 pm
#7 Avon Old Farms @ #2 Gunnery, 3:30pm
Wed. March 3
#8 Deerfield @ #1 Cushing, 3:30 pm
#5 Berkshire @ #4 Exeter (@ Groton), 4:30 pm
#6 Tabor @ #3 Salisbury (@ Loomis), 4:00 pm
#7 Andover @ #2 Choate, 4:45 pm
Piatelli/ Simmons Tournament
Wed. March 3
#8 St. George's @ #1 Kimball Union (@ Winchendon), 4:00 pm
#5 Pomfret @ #4 Tilton, 4:30 pm
#6 Hebron @ #3 Brewster, 5:30 pm
#7 South Kent @ #2 Dexter (@ Pomfret), 3:00 pm
Semifinals and Finals (at the ICenter in Salem NH):
Stuart/ Corkery semi-finals at 5:30 and 8:00 pm on Friday March 5
Final on Sunday March 7 at 3:30 pm
Martin/Earl semi-finals are Sat. March 6 at 2:00 pm and 4:30 pm
Final on Sunday March 7 at 1:00 pm
Piatelli/Simmons semi-finals at 9:00 am and 11:30 am
Final on Sunday March 7 at 10:30 am
Walsh to Minutemen
UMass has a commitment for the fall of '11 from 5'10", 170 lb. South Shore Kings (EJHL) forward Shane Walsh.
A 12/1/91 birthdate from West Roxbury, Walsh has a 22-37-59 line in 45 games played.
A senior at Catholic Memorial, where he played varsity hockey until this season, Walsh sees the ice well and has a knack around the net - he gets himself in the right place at the right time. He needs to get bigger and stronger for Hockey East competition, and to that end will be returning to the South Shore Kings next season.
Walsh plays right wing on the line with Army recruit Brian Schultz on the left side and Colgate recruit Chris Wagner at center. Wagner, by the way, notched his 83rd point of the season in Thursday night's 3-2 win at Bay State which ties him with former New Hampshire Monarch Paul Thompson for the single-season point EJHL scoring record. Thompson, now at UNH, set the record in '07-08. Wagner almost had the record to himself, but missed an empty-netter in the final minute of the Bay State game, which was the final regular season game for the South Shore Kings.
The EJHL regular season will end on Monday with a couple of storm-related makeups. Specifically, Green Mountain at NH Jr. Monarchs (10:30 am) and Philadelphia at Bay State (7:00 pm, at the Bog in Kingston, Mass.).
The EJHL Quarterfinals will be played Sat.-Sun. March 6-7 at the Foxboro Sports Center. Saturday game times are 2:10 pm, 3:50 pm, 4:50 pm, and 6:30 pm. Sunday's games are scheduled for 10:50 am, 12:20 pm, 2:40 pm, and 4:10 pm.
The semifinals and finals, which will be single elimination, will be played on Sat. March 13 and Sun. March 14th, respectively. Those games will be held at Holy Cross College in Worcester.
Fri. 2/26/10-- updated with results
Midwest Prep League Playoffs
-- at Gilmour Academy; Gates Mills, Ohio
Fri. Feb. 26
9:00 am -- Shady Side 6, St. Francis 2
11:10 am -- Ridley 5, Loyola 4 (OT)
3:20 pm -- Lake Forest Academy 4, Shady Side 1
7:00 pm -- Edge School 2, Gilmour 1
9:10 pm -- Stanstead College 4, Ridley 2
7:50 pm -- St. Andrews 9, National Sports Academy 1
Sat. Feb. 27
6:40 pm -- St. Andrew's 5, Lake Forest 4 (OT)
7:00 pm -- Edge School 9, Stanstead College 8 (OT)
Sun. Feb. 28 -- St. Andrew's College Takes the 2009-10 Title
9:20 am -- St. Andrew's 2, Edge School 1
6'3", 204 lb. Gunnery junior LD Craig Wyszomirski has committed to Providence College for the fall of '11.
A 9/21/92 birthdate from Mahwah, NJ, Wyszomirski, a big, strong physical defenseman, is also Gunnery's leading scorer among blueliners with a 7-17-24 line.
It's his first year at Gunnery. Last season, he played for Don Bosco Prep and the Jersey Hitmen Under-19 Team. Over the summer, he had a good showing at the US Select 17 Festival.
Colgate has a commitment for this fall from Salisbury School 5'10", 190 lb. senior forward Mike McCann.
A 4/23/91 birthdate from Barrington, Illinois, McCann, according to his coach Andrew Will, is a very competitive kid who is "a leader in the locker room and on the ice."
"He has very few holes in his game and takes tremendous pride in doing all of the little things well," Will added.
"I think people underestimate his offensive skills, but he led a pretty good team in scoring last year and is doing the same again this year."
McCann is Salisbury's leading scorer with a 12-20-32 line in 24 games played.
Brown has a commitment for '11 or '12 from St. Michael's Buzzers (CCHL) forward Michael Neville.
A 6/4/93 birthdate from Woodbridge, Ont., Neville, who is 6'0", 175 lbs., was a third round pick of the Erie Otters in last June's OHL draft.
He may play Jr. A in Toronto next year, but is also reportedly looking into prep school as an option.
Neville, an excellent defensive forward, has size and strength and is a hard-nosed, physical player. In 40 games this season, he has a 6-16-22 line.
Wed. 2/24/10-with updates
Mass Super 8 Times
Here are the times for the Mass Super 8 Sat. Feb. 27 at Tsongas Arena in Lowell.
#3 Hingham vs. #6 Springfield Cathedral, 12:00 pm -- Hingham, 4-2
#1 Catholic Memorial vs. #8 Winchester, 2:15 pm -- CM, 5-1
#7 Xaverian vs. #2 Austin Prep, 4:30 pm -- Austin Prep, 2-0
#5 Needham vs. #4 Malden Catholic, 6:45 pm -- Malden Catholic, 3-1
Tues. 2/23/10 -- with updates
Gordon Conference Playoffs
Monday’s Quarterfinal Results:
#1 Delbarton 7, #9 Bergen Catholic 1
#5 St. Augustine Prep 6, #4 Seton Hall Prep 3
#3 Gloucester Catholic 10, #6 Don Bosco Prep 5
#2 CBA 7, #7 Pope John 0
#5 St. Augustine Prep 4, #1 Delbarton 2
#2 CBA 2, Gloucester Catholic 1
Gordon Conference Championship Game:
Sat. Feb. 27, 8:00 pm
#2 CBA 7, St. Augustine Prep 0
The state championship follows, with the first round to be completed by Wed. March 3.
The state semifinals are on Wed. March 10.
The state championship game is on Saturday March 13.
Harlow to Brown
5'10", 170 lb. Noble & Greenough junior forward Matt Harlow has committed to Brown for either 2011 or 2012.
A 10/3/92 birthdate from Bridgewater, Mass., about halfway between Boston and Providence, Harlow is a left shot center or wing. He works hard in all three zones, sees the ice very well, and has a knack around the net. He's the second-leading scorer at Nobles with an 18-17-35 line in 21 games.
Harlow will return to Nobles for his senior year next season. If he plays a year of juniors after that it will be for the South Shore Kings (EJHL), coached by his father, Scott Harlow, a Hobey Baker finalist and First Team All-American at Boston College in the mid-‘80s.
Sustr a Maverick
6'6", 195 lb. RD Andrej Sustr of the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) has committed to the University of Nebraska-Omaha for this coming fall.
An 11/29/90 birthdate from the city of Plzen, Czech Republic, Sustr came over to play last season in Alaska with the Kenai River Black Bears (NAHL). This past summer, he attended the tryout camp of the expansion Youngstown franchise, and made the team. Also over the summer, he attended the tryout camp for the Czech Republic National Junior Team, which he also made, so UNO head coach Dean Blais, in Saskatchewan coaching the U.S. to a gold medal at the World Juniors, got a chance to take a peek at Sustr on the big stage and liked what he saw.
A smart, puck-moving d-man with great height, Sustr is still a bit of a rail -- he needs to put on a bit of weight. A late bloomer, he's a smooth skater with a great wingspan, makes a good first pass out of the zone, and exhibits poise. In 36 games with Youngstown, Sustr has an 0-14-14 line with 67 penalty minutes.
Sustr picked UNO over Northeastern, Michigan State, and Alaska-Anchorage.
Last night, at Dario's, a restaurant in Vancouver, five-year old Josh Sacco got up in front of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Team and performed his impersonation of Herb Brooks's speech to the 1980 US Olympic Team. If you haven't seen it, here's a 96-second clip from YouTube that you will get a kick out of.
By the way, on Team USA's way out the door, the restaurant's patrons applauded Team USA.... while singing ‘O Canada,' of course.
Faceoff for tonight's game is at 7:40 EST and the game is on MSNBC.
Gordon Conference Playoffs
The Gordon Conference play-in games have been completed and the quarterfinals will be played tomorrow night (Mon. Feb. 22). Here's the slate:
#9 Bergen Catholic vs. #1 Delbarton, 3:45 pm (@ Aspen Ice)
#5 St. Augustine Prep vs. #4 Seton Hall Prep, 4:30 pm (@ South Mountain Arena)
#6 Don Bosco Prep vs. #3 Gloucester Catholic, 6:40 pm (Hollydell Ice Arena)
#7 Pope John vs. #2 Christian Brothers Academy, 4:15 (@ Wall Sports Arena)
Wed. Feb. 24 -- Gordon Conference Semifinals; times and locations TBD
Sat. Feb. 27 -- Gordon Conference Championship Game, 8:00 pm (@ South Mountain Arena)
After that it is on to the state championship, with the first round to be completed by Wed. March 3.
The state semifinals are on Wed. March 10.
The state championship game is on Saturday March 13.
Sat. 2/20/10-updated 2/22
Mass. Super 8 Seeds
The seeds for the 2010 MIAA Super 8 Tournament were announced today, and they are:
1) Catholic Memorial (14-3-1) .805
2) Austin Prep (16-1-3) .875
3) Hingham (17-2-3) .840
4) Malden Catholic (13-3-4) .750
5) Needham (17-1-3) .881
6) Springfield Cathedral (15-2-5) .795
7) Burlington (14-4-2) .750
8) Winchester (13-4-2) .736 -- won play-in, remains #8 seed.
9) Central Catholic (13-4-3) .725
10) Xaverian (12-5-3) .675 -- won play-in, becomes #7 seed.
In play-in games Xaverian will face Burlington at 6:00 pm Mon. Feb. 22 at the Chelmsford Forum, followed by Central Catholic vs. Winchester at 8:00 pm.
On Saturday Feb. 27 all eight remaining teams will be in action at Lowell's Tsongas Arena. We'll post the starting times when we get them.
Other dates for Tsongas are Mon. 3/1, Tues. 3/2, Sun. 3/7, and either Tues. 3/9 or Wed. 3/10. The championship will be held at the Boston Garden on Sun. March 14.
Monday's play-in games results: Winchester topped Central Catholic, 5-3, remains the #8 seed and plays #1 CM on Saturday at Tsongas Arena. Xaverian edged Burlington, 3-2 in a shootout win, and, as a #7 seed, will face #2 Austin Prep on Saturday.
A Jeff Klein article in the New York Times on Tuesday looked into why the majority of Canadian hockey players shoot left-handed, while the majority of American players shoot right-handed, a difference thas has existed for years. It's good reading, and here's the link:
It's Not Political, but More Canadians Are Lefties
Muskegon Joins USHL
Muskegon, Michigan will join Dubuque as an expansion franchise in the USHL this fall, bringing to 16 the number of teams in the league.
The team, to be known as the Muskegon Lumberjacks, is owned by Josh Mervis and his father, Lou, who have a long ownership history in the NAHL and USHL.
Games will be played in L.C. Walker Arena (capacity: 5,100).
Muskegon is in western Michigan, about 40 miles northwest of Grand Rapids.
Mainhardt Out at Youngstown
Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) president Alex Zoldan has announced that Bob Mainhardt has been replaced as head coach of the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) by Curtis Carr, who is moving up from his position as associate coach and director of player development.
Youngstown, an expansion team in the USHL, is in last place in the USHL's East Division with a 15-27-2 (.364) record. Mainhardt was a key force in moving the former Mahoning Valley (NAHL) franchise into the USHL
Novak a Dutchman
5'11", 185 lb. Hill School senior forward Max Novak has committed to Union College for the fall of '11.
A right-shot center who can also play the wing, Novak, a 4/15/91 birthdate from Jefferson, NJ, is the second-leading scorer at the Hill with a 25-25-50 line in 24 games.
He's strong on the puck, and has excellent feet and acceleration, which allows him to pull away. He has a second gear, which makes him very dangerous 1-on-1. And he can both make a play and finish.
Brown, Providence, and UNH were other schools talking to him.
Novak is coached by former BC forward Matt Mulhern. The assistant coach at the Hill is Chris Bala, who played at Harvard when Union head coach Nate Leaman was an assistant there. So there's a connection.
While Novak is expected to take a year of juniors and arrive in Schenectady in the fall of '11, there is reported to be a slight chance Union might take him this fall.
5'11", 170 lb. Exeter senior forward Josh Richards has committed to Army for the fall of '11.
Richards, a 9/14/90 from Lee, NH, is Exeter's leading scorer with a 21-30-51 line in 24 games. A hard-worker, Richards will play a year of juniors before heading to West Point.
Congratulations to Hannah Kearney, who won a gold medal in women's moguls at the Olympic Games on Saturday.
Kearney, 23, of Hanover, NH, is the older sister of Yale junior forward Denny Kearney, who had a pretty good day for himself on Saturday, picking up an assist in Yale's 2-1 OT win at Cornell.
Kearney got to watch film of his sister in action on the bus ride back to New Haven.
Little Big Man
5'6", 135 lb. Team Comcast Under-18 forward John Gaudreau has committed to Northeastern for the fall of '12.
Gaudreau, an August '93 birthdate, has a 26-24-50 line in 42 Tier I Elite League games this season. He's a left shot playing the off wing, and can also play in the middle.
In addition to playing for Team Comcast, Gaudreau, a junior, plays for Gloucester Catholic, where he has an 18-24-42 line in 13 games.
A lot of the Ivies - Dartmouth, Princeton, Yale, and Brown -- were onto him. In Hockey East, UNH and UMass-Amherst were also in the picture. Gaudreau's father played at Norwich for UMass coach Toot Cahoon back in the early ‘80s.
Gaudreau may play for Team Comcast again next season, or he may move on to juniors. At any rate, he'll play at least one year of juniors before heading to Northeastern.
"He's a small kid but has unbelievable hands," says Jared Beach, his coach. "He's a dynamic player who can cut back to evade defenders better than anyone I've seen. His skating is awesome. He has the best edge control of anyone I've seen at the '93 level. And he can stickhandle in a phone booth. He needs to fill out but will be a huge impact guy at the Division I level."
Mon. 2/15/10- The following is an article that originally appeared on USHR on 11/1/09. In response to requests for info on the new playoff formula, we are reprinting it.
This Year's Changes for Prep Playoffs
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. 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.
A Name You Won't Forget
6'1", 175 lb. '94-born Latvian center Zemgus Girgensons has committed to the University of Vermont for the fall of '12.
Girgensons, a highly-sought after recruit playing for the Green Mountain Glades (EJHL), was, in addition to Vermont, offered by BC, BU, Northeastern, Maine, UNH, and Merrimack.
Girgensons started the season with the Glades Empire League team, and ripped it up, with a 17-12-29 line in 19 games. The EJHL team, coached by former Clarkson forward Chris Line, called him up for good in mid-December and Girgensons has responded with a 7-10-17 line in 18 games. His numbers are off the chart for a kid his age, and it hasn't gone unnoticed. In addition to all the college attention, Girgensons was also being sought by USHL teams - for this season.
It appears, though, that Girgensons will spend at least the next season with the Glades before making any move.
Girgensons, a 1/5/94 birthdate from the city of Riga, speaks Latvian, Russian, and English, and is doing his studying via Internet correspondence courses in his native country, which is said to have tougher education standards than U.S. public schools. Girgensons came stateside through the East Coast Selects program, playing at last summer's Junior Chowder Cup, where he finished as the tournament's second-leading scorer. He knows future Catamounts - defenseman Ian Spencer, for one - through the East Coast Selects program, and that, plus living in Burlington, made Vermont a good choice for him. Also, Burlington looks very much like a scaled-down version of Riga.
Girgensons plays extremely hard for a skill player - and is often described as a Peter Forsberg type in that he's physical plus he has really soft hands and loves to shoot the puck. A well-rounded player, he projects well for the 2012 NHL draft.
By the way, note that the three ‘94s who have committed over the past few days were all born in the first two weeks of January.
The EJHL has announced that Jack Sweeney, currently the league's Director of Hockey Operations, will take over as the league's interim commissioner.
Dan Esdale, who founded the league in 1993 with six teams, will be stepping down to devote more of his time to his position as chairman of the USA Hockey Junior Council and his duties in Mass Hockey.
Sweeney coached the Walpole Jr. Stars/Foxboro Stars/South Shore Kings franchise from 2001-2007 and has served as an assistant at Babson and Salem State.
Kerdiles To Badgers
6'1", 180 lb. '94 forward Nick Kerdiles of the LA Select Under-16s has committed to the University of Wisconsin for the fall of '12.
Kerdiles, a 1/11/94 birthdate from Irvine, California, was our #2-ranked forward at last summer's Select 15 Festival (even though he pulled a muscle in his neck and wound up missing the bulk of the games). Kerdiles, who has speed and size, can both make plays and finish, and competes. He has already been offered a spot for the NTDP for next year, and has accepted it.
In addition to Wisconsin, Denver and Michigan were also recruiting Kerdiles.
Kerdiles is the second-leading scorer in the Tier I Elite League with a 20-27-47 line in 32 games. 6'1" '94 Alex Galchenyuk of CYA is running away with the league scoring title with a 41-41-82 line in 36 games.
Thurs. 2/11/10 -- update 2/12/10: Princeton, one of the teams that lost out to Harvard in the recruitment of Calof last year, got their man after all: Calof committed to Princeton last night, and will enter school there in the fall.
Harvard Takes a Hit - from Admissions
Harvard hockey has taken some hits this season, but now they're getting it from their own admissions department, which has rejected the application of Nepean Raiders (COJHL) forward Andrew Calof.
This has nothing to do with anything Calof did wrong. There are no behavior issues. He's not decommitting. He's not going major junior. It's just that the admissions department didn't feel that Calof was a strong enough candidate to accept the hockey staff's recommendation. The Harvard coaches committed to Calof last March.
It's the first time in head coach Ted Donato's tenure - now in its sixth season -- that a player he's wanted has been turned down.
However, it's not unheard of at Ivy League schools. A year ago, for example, Yale admissions turned down Joey Campanelli, a forward from the Westminster School who the hockey program had committed to. Today, Campanelli is a freshman at Bentley College. Two years ago, Princeton admissions rejected both Doug Jones, now at Dartmouth, and Jordan Kary, who is at Cornell.
The problem for Harvard right now is simply the fact that Calof was the only forward Harvard had committed to for this coming fall. He's also a difference-maker, so it's not like Donato and his staff can shake a tree and expect a player of Calof's caliber to fall into his lap.
Calof, who played for Canada East at the World Junior A Challenge in November, is an explosive skater who is creative and has a nose for the net. A 5'9", 160 lb. right-shot center, Calof is currently the seventh-leading scorer in the Central Ontario Junior Hockey League with a 39-44-83 line in 48 games. He's the highest-scoring '91 birthdate in the league.
Calof, whose grandfather is a Harvard grad, will be playing college hockey in the fall, but it will be somewhere else. Colorado College, Princeton, Yale, Vermont, Clarkson, and Mass-Lowell have all expressed interest and the Harvard staff is reportedly doing all they can to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Campanelli was not 'rejected' by Yale admissions. We've learned that the process did not get that far. The forward was told he needed to get his SAT scores up to a certain level before officially applying. He was also told he could play a year of juniors while working on it. However, Campanelli wanted to go to college and play right away, hence Bentley.
Keep Them in Your Thoughts
Richard "Wes" Schlauch, a 6'4", 205 lb. sophomore forward at the Hill School, suffered an arterial stroke while home on weekend break Feb. 2.
Schlauch, who is from Breinigsville, Pennsylvania, is currently recovering at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. If you wish to follow his progress, please go to Team Wes on Facebook. You can also leave him a get-well note there.
One of the victims of last Saturday's Warwick, RI house fire that killed five people - including a seven-month-old baby and former hockey player Nick Jillson - was Tayla Lackey, 20, the older sister of Noble & Greenough forward Jared Lackey.
We ask you to keep the Lackey family in your thoughts during this difficult time.
This Silk is an Eagle
6'2", 165 lb. Austin Prep sophomore RC Brendan Silk has committed to Boston College for the fall of 2012.
A 1/13/94 birthdate from Wakefield, Mass., Silk was a standout at last summer's Select 15 Festival and, for our money, is the top '94 forward in Massachusetts right now (and there are a few good ones, too). Silk can skate, plus he has size, hands, patience, and sees the ice well. He projects as a power forward with finesse. He's still growing into his body and is expected to top out at around 6'4" and approximately 200 lbs.
Silk made his final decision from between BC and BU. Michigan and UNH offered him, too.
In writing about Silk last summer, we said he was the cousin of former BU forward and 1980 U.S. Olympian Dave Silk. That is inaccurate. They are not related. We just wanted to set the record straight on that.
Silk actually comes from a basketball lineage. His father, Jack, played basketball at Matignon, where he was a classmate of good friend of Michigan hockey assistant Billy Powers, and also at Bentley College. Silk's grandfather, John Silk, was a basketball star at the Heights in the early ‘50s and is one of three former BC basketball stars to have their jersey retired. It's hanging there in Conte Forum.
Silk has been on a tear at Austin Prep, where he has a 12-6-18 line in his last six games. Austin Prep, coached by Louis Finnacharo, has a 12-1-3 record and is poised for a slot in the Super 8.
The Hockey World Shows Up in Force
The Toronto Maple Leafs, the Miami University Red Hawks, the Xaverian Hawks, and luminaries from across the hockey world were all in attendance at the funeral service for Brendan Burke in a jam-packed St. John the Evangelist Church in Canton, Mass. this morning.
Here is an article from the online edition of the Quincy (Mass.) Patriot Ledger:
Maple Leafs Attend Funeral of Brendan Burke, GM's Son
Wed. 2/10/10 John Buccigross ESPN.com Feature: There's a Light That Never Goes Out
Neiley to Big Green
Phillips Exeter 5'11", 180 lb. junior RC Eric Neiley has committed to Dartmouth for the fall of '11.
Neiley, a first-year student at Exeter, is a goal scorer who sees the ice very well, makes plays, and has deceptive speed. In 21 games so far this season, he has a 19-19-38 line. Colgate and Union were the other two schools interested in him.
A native of Warminster, Pennsylvania, Neiley played for Team Comcast Midget AAA last season and was drafted in the sixth round of last June's OHL draft by Kingston.
A 1/30/92 birthdate, Neiley is ranked #166 on Central Scouting's Mid-Term Rankings.
Speaking of Dartmouth, when former Big Green forward Nick Johnson was called up by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Jan. 21 and, playing on Evgeni Malkin's line, scored in his NHL debut, he became the seventh member of Dartmouth's '06-07 squad to reach the NHL.
That is believed to be an ECAC record for one team.
Johnson, who is back in the AHL now, joins Tanner Glass (Vancouver canucks), T.J. Galiardi (Colorado Avalanche), David Jones (Colorado Avalanche), Grant Lewis (one game for Atlanta last season), Ben Lovejoy (12 games with Pittsburgh this season, but in AHL right now), and J.T. Wyman (3 games with Montreal this season, but in AHL right now).
All were NHL draft picks except for Lovejoy, who signed as a free agent.
So we give a tip of the hat to the assistants who recruited those players for head coach Bob Gaudet -- Dave Peters and Brendan Whittet.
Can Delbarton Run the Table?
It's always fun to follow the fortunes of juggernauts, and never more so than this time of year, when opponents are gunning extra hard, looking to play giant killer and give themselves some memories to carry through the years.
This is the situation Delbarton is in. They are 17-0-0. They have also completed their New England trips, meaning they will be mainly facing New Jersey competition the rest of the way. And how tough will that be? Against Gordon Conference foes they are 9-0-0, and have outscored opponents, 67-6. Next Wednesday, however, the Green Wave faces off against Christian Brothers Academy, which boasts Cornell-bound defenseman Joakim Ryan. Delbarton has beaten them already this season, by a 6-3 score just ten days ago. On paper, it's as tough a matchup as Delbarton will face down the stretch. We know that a number of pro scouts will be making the trip. They will be checking out Ryan, who, like Delbarton D Matt Killian, a Yale recruit, will be eligible for the 2011 draft. But their immediate work is centered on watching Kenny Agostino, who's a virtual lock for June's draft. Princeton recruit Mike Ambrosia, also a draft-eligible, is a real long shot, as he's 5'10" and lacks the dynamic qualities and high-end speed that NHL scouts are looking for in players of that size. However, the third member of that line, 6'1", 190 lb. center Mike Pirovano, has the interest of NHL scouts.
We spoke to a couple.
"His size and his skating are exceptional - a real plus," one said. "He has the hands and vision to go along with that. He's creative. That said, I just want to see him engage more, be a little more consistent game-to-game. Sometimes I see him and I say ‘Wow.' Other times I say, ‘Where is he?'"
"He has NHL skills," another scout said. "There's no doubt about it. I think it will probably all come together later for him. He's playing right now with two linemates who are more of a ‘finished product' but he has the physical tools most kids lack. It's true that he has to do some things, particularly off-ice work. The fact that he is uncommitted to college this late is a real surprise to me. I'd be all over him."
It's not widely known, but Pirovano's mother was diagnosed a year ago with stage 4 colon cancer, which is an awfully tough thing for a 17-year-old's emotions. Pirovano told us that hockey has been helpful to him over the last year, but that there are times when even that isn't enough.
"When she is going through chemo... that's very hard. It's hard not to think about. I try not to let it interfere with my game, though."
It helps that his team is having such success. "There are a bunch of us who have played together a long time," he said, "and we're going to end in a special way."
For the long run, Pirovano feels that his speed and vision and playmaking are his strong suit, but there are things he could work on.
"I could be a little more physical," he said. "I want to keep learning how to use my size, and work on developing the power forward aspect of my game."
Pirovano says he plans to play juniors next year and, from where we sit, it will be interesting to watch and see what he can become. We feel players from New Jersey and Pennsylvania are a little underrated, primarily because their schedules are loaded with games against weaker competition. Colleges tend to sit back and wait on them a bit. Last year, while a senior at CBA, all Trevor Van Riemsdyk could get from Div. I schools, despite dominating at that level and having good bloodlines, was walk-on offers. So Van Reimsdyk went to the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs (EJHL) and pretty quickly became the object of a recruiting battle that was eventually won by UNH. And at the NHL draft in June, Van Riemsdyk, totally passed over last year, will almost certainly be selected.
Pirovano's situation may be analogous.
And while we are at it, there is a player at the Hill School (Pottstown, PA) who is flying under the radar in senior forward Max Novak, a 5'11", 185 lb. 4/15/91 birthdate from Jefferson, NJ. Novak, who has a 20-13-33 line in 17 games, has speed and a nose for the net. When we saw him at the holiday tournaments (Hill came up twice, to the Lawrence-Groton and the Tabor Tournament) he really jumped out at us...first shift. It's rather astounding to us that Novak doesn't have a college for next season, as players with far less to offer already have deals. If you haven't had a chance to see him yet, check him out over the next few weeks.
And while doing so, check out his linemate, Marcello DeAngelis, a 5'11", 165 lb. junior from Warren, NJ. DeAngelis, a smooth skater with a good stick, is a 9/11/91, which doesn't leave him a lot of time to play juniors after graduating in 2011. In 17 games, DeAngelis has a 12-19-31 line.
The New England hockey community is coming together to help the family of Matt Brown, the Norwood High School hockey player who was seriously injured on Jan. 23, when he fell into the glass during a game, breaking his C4 and C5 vertebrae.
Brown, who is in stable condition after surgery, has a long recovery ahead of him and, in an effort to help defray expenses, the South Shore Kings (EJHL) are hosting a weekend-long fundraiser.
If you can't make to the Foxboo Sports Center for the Kings' two home games against Apple Core, donations can be mailed to Brownie Points, PO Box 398, Norwood, MA 02062
Is This in College Hockey's Future?
The Los Angeles Times is reporting today that a 13-year-old quarterback from Delaware has committed to USC for... 2015.
... and to think that we thought college hockey was pushing the envelope.
Québec on the Charles
5'11", 180 lb. Northwood School senior goaltender Raphael Girard has committed to Harvard University for next season, '10-11.
Girard, who has a 22-3-3 record and a 1.43 gaa so far this season, is in his second year at Northwood and has played every game. Last year, he split time with then-senior Courtney Lockwood. A Québec native whose father is policeman in Granby (about an hour east of Montreal), Girard is a 1/24/91 birthdate and a 2008 QMJHL draft pick of the Saint John Sea Dogs.
Before coming to Northwood, Girard played for College Antoine-Girouard (Quebec Midget AAA) where he won the Ken Dryden Award, which goes annually to the league's most valuable goaltender. He also broke Patrick Roy's league record for wins in a season.
Girard is a hybrid goalie who is very strong physically, with good reflexes and a cool, calm demeanor. An area of his game in which he has improved notably over the past year is in his puck handling.
Girard, who visited Harvard three weeks ago, the night of the 3-2 win over Yale, will - assuming Louis Leblanc is back -- give the Crimson six Québec natives on the team. There are six right now, but Alex Biega will be graduating. With Girard being a goalie, Harvard could put an all-Quebec starting six out there if they swung PO Michaud back at the point, where he often was on the power play last season. Would that be an NCAA first? Hard to say, but this typist can't recall ever seeing such a thing.
5'11", 170 lb. Fargo Force (USHL) forward Garrett Allen has committed to the University of Denver for the fall of '11.
Allen, a 3/7/92 birthdate from the Milwaukee suburb of Delafield, Wisc., played for the Milwaukee Junior Admirals midget minor squad in '07-08, then moved on to Team Illinois last year, and Fargo this season.
In 38 games to date, Allen has a 15-13-28 line, which is not bad for a first-year player in the USHL. He's a speedster who can make plays and finish, and is also a strong penalty killer. He's always been a little thin and physically undeveloped, but he'll have another season in the USHL to fill out before arriving in Denver.
In addition to Denver, the schools recruiting him were UNH, Wisconsin, and UNO.
Allen has good athletic bloodlines. One of his cousins is Scott Polaski, a forward at Colorado College from '01-'05. His aunt is former speedskater Bonnie Blair, who appeared in four Olympics, winning five gold medals. (This typist wrote a feature story on her for Sport Magazine 22 years ago, on the eve of the Calgary Olympics. Forgive the shameless plug.)
Mass High School Seniors Game Rosters
The rosters for the Massachusetts High School All-Star Game, a seniors-only affair to be played on Sat. March 20 at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell, have been announced.
The game, which faces off at 3:00 pm and is sponsored by the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association and presented by the U.S. Army, features two 23-man rosters. Chosen players were nominated by coaches of the 200-plus Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association schools.
The North All-Stars will be coached by Bob Conceison (Burlington High School). The South All-Stars will be coached by Bill Hanson (Catholic Memorial).
Goaltenders (3): Mike Messuri (Winchester HS), Zach Rosa (Wilmington HS), George Tedford (Waltham HS).
Defensemen (8): Shawn Bradley (Central Catholic), Peter Cahill (St. John's Prep), Dan Cushing (Wilmington HS), Cameron Gaudet (Austin Prep), Joe Kuta (Andover HS), Phil Nagle (Woburn HS), Dan Reardon (Billerica HS), Justin Sencabaugh (Malden Catholic).
Forwards (12): Andrew Bucci (Peabody HS), James Castucci (Malden Catholic), Jared Dabrieo (Woburn HS), Robbie Daly (Lowell HS), Cody Evangelous (Marlborough HS), Devin Joyce (Longmeadow HS), Kyle McElroy (Newburyport HS), Ryan Mumford (Westford Academy), John Needham (Arlington Catholic), Neil Pandolfo (Burlington HS), Jay Sasso (Revere HS), Mike Seward (Winchester HS).
Goaltenders (3): Cam Chassie (Framingham HS), Kyle MacDonald (Xaverian), Jamie Murray (Scituate HS).
Defensemen (8): Matt Buckley (Canton HS), Conor Coveney (Hingham HS), Chris Kennedy (Xaverian), Shawn Kenny (Braintree HS), Greg Kerr (Falmouth HS), Pat Lima (Marshfield HS), Eddie Nolan (BC High), Paul Sharpe (Needham HS).
Forwards (12): Tyler Byrne (Framingham HS), Derek Colucci (Catholic Memorial), Justin Evangelista (Boston Latin), Joe Fernandez (Franklin HS), Mike Heyde (Natick HS), Sam Kane (Needham HS), Reid Kapinos (Wellesley HS), Pat Kerr (Falmouth HS), T.J. O'Brien (Catholic Memorial), Austin Orszulak (Springfield Cathedral), Eric ShermanJimmy Weldon (Bridgewater-Raynham Regional HS).
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).
Former Prep Players in the Beanpot
While glancing over the rosters to tonight's Beanpot Tournament, we got to wondering which team rostered the greatest number of former prep school players.
The answer: Harvard, with 19, followed by BC with 18. BU has 11 and Northeastern has six.
In total, there are 55 former prep players on the rosters for tonight's games. Of those 55, 48 are former NEPSIHA players. A total of seven players came from the following four schools: Northwood (3), Shattuck-St. Mary's (2), Culver (2), and the Hill (1).
The schools with the most alums skating at the Garden tonight are Avon (6), Salisbury (6), Nobles (4), and Deerfield (3).
While the vast majority of the players below graduated from prep school, some left early for the USHL or the NTDP, and a number played juniors after prep school. The only criteria for appearing on the list is having played at least a game - well, actually a year -- in prep school. Different people will interpret the numbers in different ways, depending on where they're coming from, but it's pretty clear that prep hockey continues as a strong feeder of Div. I talent, particularly in the east.
Boston College (18):
Tommy Cross (Westminster)
Jimmy Hayes (Nobles)
Pat Mullane (Avon)
Ben Smith (Westminster)
Cam Atkinson (Avon)
Brooks Dyroff (Andover)
Joe Whitney (Lawrence)
Brian Gibbons (Thayer and Salisbury)
Chris Kreider (Andover)
Steven Whitney (Lawrence)
Paul Carey (Thayer and Salisbury)
Malcolm Lyles (Deerfield)
Matt Lombardi (Governors)
Tommy Atkinson (Avon)
John Muse (Nobles)
Chris Venti (BB&N)
Parker Milner (Avon)
Patch Alber (Northwood)
Alex Biega (Salisbury)
Jack Christian (Taft)
Ryan Grimshaw (Salisbury)
Danny Biega (Salisbury)
Colin Moore (Belmont Hill)
Michael Del Mauro (Deerfield)
Doug Rogers (St. Sebastian's)
Rence Coassin (Choate)
Sam Bozoian (Choate)
Alex Killorn (Deerfield)
Michael Biega (Salisbury)
Chris Huxley (Nobles)
Brendan Rempel (Pomfret and Avon)
Matt McCollem (Belmont Hill)
Ryan Carroll (Tabor)
Alex Fallstrom (Shattuck-St. Mary's)
Luke Greiner (Shattuck-St. Mary's)
Alex Leinberry (Hill)
Conor Morrison (Northwood)
Boston University (11):
Kevin Shattenkirk (Brunswick)
David Warsofsky (Cushing)
Kevin Gilroy (Brewster)
Joe Pereira (South Kent)
Nick Bonino (Avon)
Andrew Glass (Nobles)
Wade Megan (South Kent)
Luke Popko (Taft)
Alex Chiasson (Northwood)
Victor Saponari (Culver)
Vinny Saponari (Culver)
Justin Daniels (Kent)
Steve Silva (Tabor)
Chris Donovan (Berkshire)
Drew Daniels (Kent)
Mike Power (BB&N)
Bryan Mountain (Milton)