Quebec’s NCAA Prospects
The Lac St. Louis Lions, off to a hot start, sit atop the 15-team Quebec Midget AAA league with only one loss in their first 12 games. They are outscoring opponents by a better than 2-1 margin. Five of the league’s top ten scorers come from the Lions, who have established themselves as the province’s pipeline to the NCAA.
This year’s prize prospect is ’94 LD Michael Matheson, a 6’1”, 169 lb. offensive defenseman from Point-Claire who is tied for second among all league scorers with a 5-14-19 line in 11 games. Matheson has narrowed his college choices to four schools: BC, BU, Vermont, and Northeastern. Jerry York has made the long trip up to Quebec to see him play; Kevin Sneddon has made a shorter trip, as Vermont is in Quebec’s back yard, and has traditionally attracted fine Quebecois skaters. What makes Matheson, who would have been the #1 overall pick in last spring’s QMJHL draft had he not unequivocally stated that he was going to college, so coveted is his skating. His game is built on it.
“His biggest asset by far is his skating,” says Lac St. Louis head coach Jon Goyens. “He’s smooth, he’s fluid, and he has great acceleration. No one in the league comes close to him. He’s in that top percentile of skaters. He leads the rush, his passes are crisp, and he has a heavy shot. He’s an incredible talent who has excellent work ethic and competitiveness.”
Goyens reports that Matheson, who is the Lions’ captain, works as hard as Louis Leblanc did when he played for Lac St. Louis before heading off to the USHL. Matheson, who is a good bet for the top of the first round of the 2012 NHL draft, has his USHL rights held by the Dubuque Fighting Saints, coached by Montreal native Jim Montgomery. Dubuque took Matheson in last spring’s Future’s Draft.
By the way, if the Matheson name sounds familiar, it should. His older brother, Kenny, the leading scorer at Hotchkiss last winter, took his degree up to Ontario where he is now playing Tier I, and leading the Brockville Braves in scoring with a 9-8-17 line in 13 games played.
A Lac St. Louis player who is a year younger than Matheson, but also beginning to draw heavy college interest is 5’10”,152 lb. LC Anthony Duclair, a 7/26/95 birthdate who recently had a nine-point weekend (7g, 2a in two games). In one of those games Duclair, who has speed and hands, had four goals, the first time a Lac St. Louis player has pulled that feat off in over ten years. Duclair has a 10-8-18 line in nine games. That’s an average of two points a game – and he’s a ’95.
“He’s 5’10” now but he should fill out to 6’0” or 6’1,” says Goyens. “He’s an excellent skater with great awareness. He can play the give-and-go game down low so very well. He’s very creative with the puck. He has a hell of a shot. And he’s much stronger than people give him credit for. He likes to play physically, and he’s working on gaining strength. (Duclair) is one of the top players in the league, and he’s only a 15-year-old.”
Both Matheson and Duclair have the same family advisor in Phil Lecavalier, a Clarkson grad and the older brother of Tampa Bay veteran center Vincent Lecavalier, who points out that Duclair, whose grades are in the high 80s, is in the “early stages of exploring what he’d like to do.” However, it will likely be Hockey East or the ECAC, so stay tuned.
Lac St. Louis has an embarrassment of riches, and Goyens admits that his team’s creativity makes them “so fun to watch” – even from the bench. He likes to talk about another highly-skilled ’95 on the Lions, Jonathan Drouin, who, along with Duclair, lit it up in Quebec bantam play, and is now leading the midget AAA league with a 9-14-23 line in 12 games played. Goyens says the 5’8”, 151 lbs. Drouin has begun to show interest in the NCAA game
“He’s 15,” says Goyens, “but he looks like he’s 12. Physically, he will develop later. He has a brother who is 6’4”. His dad is 6’1”. He wears a size 12 shoe. Kids with those features usually grow into their body later.”
“He’s a setup guy. Just top-notch skill. He’s not fast, but he’s very quick and agile, and very creative with the puck. On a 1-on-1, he will do a backhand toe drag in full flight. He can undress a player like no one I’ve seen in the last five years. There is so much upside to him.”
Goyens reports that Drouin is an “improving student” who is looking into getting tutoring help, and suggests colleges stay on the case.
Another Lac St. Louis player among the top ten in league scoring is 5’10”, 160 lb. LC/LW Kurt Etchegary, an 11/12/94 birthdate from Newfoundland. Etchegary has a college connection in that his dad attended Northeastern (though not as a hockey player).
“He’s a great character kid,” says Goyens. “He works really hard. Asks the right questions. Has a huge willingness to learn. He’s an agile kid with quick hands. He looks like he has skinny legs but he’s really stronger than he looks. He’s one of those kids who naturally knows how to hit. He’s a competitor.”
Lac St. Louis, in 5’11”, 183 lb. defenseman Marc Biega, the fourth in that esteemed family from Point-Claire, Quebec to journey south to the verdant hills of the Connecticut Berkshires, lost one of their top prospects from last season to prep school. The youngest Biega, a 6/6/94 birthdate, will be a junior at Salisbury. We have no clue as to where he might go to college.
That’s it for Lac St. Louis, at least for now. Elsewhere, don’t overlook 6’1”, 195 lb. Austin Hardie, a defensive defenseman on College Charles Lemoyne, a team that is young and at the bottom of the standings. Hardie, ranked #35 going into the QMJHL draft, was taken by Chicoutimi with the #12 pick of the first round. Usually, kids who make it clear that they are going to college get knocked down and are taken in later rounds, where the risk is low. They certainly don’t move up! Hardie, however, did, even though he didn’t commit to the major junior route – or the NCAA route, either. He played it down the middle. It’s also true that Hardie is not the typical QMJHL first rounder, as Chicoutimi had three picks stockpiled in the first round, which took away much of the risk on their part (they took an offensive D with size, then followed with a small, skilled forward, then took Hardie), However, the staff wasn’t exactly thrilled when Hardie didn’t report to Chicoutimi’s camp in September, choosing to return to College Charles Lemoyne for another year of midget AAA.
Hardie, who has a sister on a basketball scholarship at Northwood University (Florida), is interested in college. He has an 82 average, and is taking the SATs in November. However, it looks as if colleges may be hanging back on him a bit because he hasn’t ruled out major junior, and, as a shutdown defenseman, isn’t high end enough for colleges to risk getting into a leverage situation with the Q. In the current climate, colleges are becoming less willing to take that risk on a player who may go major junior. Unlike the Q, they can’t bail themselves out with a trade. They need to know that a player is coming.
“(Hardie’s) spot on a team is as a defensive defenseman with physical upside,” says his coach, Jean-Daniel Saint Martin. “His skating and mobility are very good. His work ethic and commitment to the team is exceptional. He’s a great kid who wants to learn. He’s a coachable player.”
“His star is on the rise because everyone realized just how good he is. He’s steady, not flashy, just an extremely effective defenseman. He’s a very good student, so NCAA is a consideration. He’s the captain here and provides leadership. He needs to provide a little more oomph offensively.”
Saint Martin points out that the Q is a very offensive league and that there are few defenseman who play Hardie’s style. “He’s rare,” Saint Martin says. “There are just not a lot of physical D who play every night defensively. All the D support the attack, a lot of power play in the Q.”
Hardie has interest in the USHL for next season, and has had contact from the Muskegon Lumberjacks, whose coach, Kevin Patrick, was a former defensive d-man at Notre Dame.
Gala Day for Goblins
Nobody knows exactly what is going on with the Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL) other than the fact that weirdness, in its infinite variety, seems to cover the organization like People Magazine covers Lady Gaga. Today, on Halloween no less, that weirdness reached epic proportions, as the host Revolution were trounced by the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, 17-5 in Warwick, Pennsylvania. Yes, you read that right. 17-5. And they brought it on themselves.
It’s a little hard to put together, and, since we missed this tilt due to more beguiling obligations, we are relying on various accounts of those who were there. And the bottom line is this: with the Monarchs leading 9-0 early in the third period, Philadelphia head coach Vince Malts, wishing to send a message concerning his team’s lack of defensive excellence, lifted his goaltender, Mitchell Maraschiello, and never put him back in the rest of the way.
To look at the situation charitably, which, frankly, is a stretch considering coming back from 9-0 is rarer than a hen’s tooth, we can, more or less, see Malts’ thinking. It’s 9-0, why not send a message to your charges? It’s not a tactic we endorse, but it’s not exactly pernicious, either. However, if the tactic fails to produce results, you have to, at some point, do the right thing and put your goalie back in.
To make a long story short, then, Philadelphia did score on a powerplay at 5:15 of the third to cut it to 9-1. Monarchs’ head coach Sean Tremblay, clearly irritated by his opponent's tactic, then calls a time out, basically to let his guys know that if this is how Philadelphia wants to play it, they are free to go to town. So the Monarchs scored a few quick ones to go up, 12-1. Philadelphia answered with a few of their own to cut it to 12-4 with less than five minutes left.
At this point, the Monarchs have an eight goal lead with less than five minutes on the clock. They quickly score five of the next six goals, to go up 17-5. Philadelphia, with just a little over a minute left on the clock, is down by a dozen goals – and the goalie stays on the bench.
That is called embarrassing your players. It’s a sure way to lose your squad, a number of whom have already tuned out. There is no percentage in it. And it's wrong.
The game officials are filing a report with the league, so we probably haven’t heard the end of this.
Hey, we don’t want to dump all over Philadelphia, but they sure know how to bring it on themselves. They extended the Monarchs to overtime the night before, before bowing, 6-5. That’s something to feel good about. But then it all goes out the window the next day. It’s not good, and not only is it not good for the players, but it’s not good for the league, or the game itself.
There is a box score of the game on the EJHL website. However, as of Sunday evening at 8:00 pm, it is riddled with errors.
12th Annual BB&N Holiday Showcase
--at Cambridge, Mass. (except where indicated); Thurs.-Fri. Dec. 30-31, 2010
Participating Schools: BB&N, Dexter, Hamden Hall Country Day School, Pingree, Rivers, Roxbury Latin School, St. Mark’s School, Vermont Academy.
Thurs. Dec. 30, 2010:
1st Round --
9:00 am – Game #1 – BB&N vs. Roxbury Latin
9:00 am – Game #2 – Pingree vs. Hamden Hall (@ Dexter School)
11:00 am – Game #3 – Vermont vs. St. Mark’s
11:00 am – Game #4 – Dexter vs. Rivers (@ Dexter School)
2nd Round --
1:30 pm – Game #5 – Loser #1 vs. Loser #2
3:30 pm – Game #6 – Semi-finals – Winner #1 vs. Winner #2
5:30 pm – Game #7 –Loser #3 vs. Loser #4
7:30 pm – Game #8 -- Semi-finals – Winner #3 vs. Winner #4
Fri. Dec. 31, 2010:
8:00 am – Game #9 – Loser #5 vs. Loser #7
10:00 am – Game #10 – Winner #5 vs. Winner #7
12:00 pm – 3rd Place Game – Loser #6 vs. Loser #8
2:00 pm – Championship Game – Winner #6 vs. Winner #8
How Preppy, Exactly?
In casual discussion, while waiting for the national championship banner to be raised prior to last night’s home opener at Boston College, it was suggested that the ’09-10 Eagles, who buzz-sawed Miami 7-1 and Wisconsin 5-0 en route to the national title last April 8-10 in Detroit, just might have been the preppiest NCAA Div. I championship team of all time.
We knew it was a team top-heavy with former prep players, but all-time? Hmmm.
We checked it out.
First, this typist hauled out last season’s BC’s roster and media guide and started counting. Of the 25 players on the ’09-10 Eagles’ squad, 18 were former prep school players. And 12 of those 18 went directly from prep school to the Heights. Of the other six, one left prep school early for the NTDP (Jimmy Hayes), three left early for a year in the USHL (Paul Carey, Patrick Mullane, and Parker Milner), and two played postgrad years in the EJHL.
Of the other seven players, one played Minnesota high school hockey (Carl Sneep), five played juniors in the US (USHL or EJHL), and one (captain Matt Price) played juniors in the Ontario Provincial League.
We then went back through the NCAA Tournament Record Book to see if any Frozen Four winners could match that. The book doesn’t list the schools of every player who ever won an NCAA title, but it was quickly clear that no team of the last 50 years – if ever – had the number of prep school players as last year’s Eagles. The closest, by our counting, is Harvard in ’89 (12), BU in ’09 (12), and BC in ’08 (11). Of course, the early days of college hockey had some pretty terrific Ivy League squads that drew almost exclusively on New England prep schools, but those were vastly different times, socially and demographically. By the time the NCAA Tournament began in 1948, the western schools, drawing heavily from Canada, were able to really rack up the titles.
-- By the way, BC won last night’s game, 3-2, over Merrimack. It wasn’t a textbook win for the Eagles --- a few too many turnovers -- but they managed to put 42 shots on Merrimack junior goaltender Joe Cannata (ex of BB&N, BC High, and the NTDP). And Cannata was terrific, kicking out 39 of 42 shots, a number of which were labeled. Parisian sophomore center Stephane DaCosta, coming off a tremendous freshman campaign, was perpetually dangerous, and the big Merrimack d-men do an awfully good job taking up space and blocking passing lanes. It seems like just a few years ago everyone was talking about how Mark Dennehy’s squad should decamp from Hockey East and join a weaker conference. Funny, but you don’t hear that kind of talk anymore.
-- Getting back to BC, Ben Smith, a key member of last season’s championship squad, made his NHL debut last night. After notching four points in eight games with Rockford (AHL), the Westminster School grad, a native of Avon, Conn. was called up. Smith skated a regular shift in the Black Hawks’ 7-4 home loss to Edmonton.
-- A guest of the BC Eagles at the flag raising was top ’95 defenseman Charlie Pelnik of the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes U-16s. A sophomore in high school and a native of Cary, NC, where his father owns an insurance business, Pelnik was one of the top defensemen at this past summer’s Select 15 camp. He’s 6’3”, 178 lbs. and plays with a pronounced edge. Boston University is reported to be the school that offered him first. However, Pelnik recently visited Notre Dame. And visits to the University of North Dakota, Michigan, and Vermont are in the works.
But last night he was at Boston College for the banner raising, and tonight he’ll be down at Agganis Arena as a guest of BU, who will be facing off against UMass-Lowell at 7:00 pm.
Local Boy Coming Home
6’0”, 174 lb. Indiana Ice (USHL) goaltender Casey DeSmith has committed to the University of New Hampshire for fall ’11.
In six games thus far this season, DeSmith has a 1.67 gaa and .948 save percentage with two shutouts.
DeSmith will be representing the US at the World Jr. A Challenge Nov. 8-14 in Penticton, BC.
DeSmith, an 8/13/91 birthdate from Rochester, NH, just 15 miles up the road from the Whittemore Center, is in his second year with Indiana. Prior to that, he played for Deerfield Academy as a junior in ’08-09. As a freshman and sophomore he played for Berwick Academy.
The other schools in contention for DeSmith were RPI and Western Michigan. DeSmith’s an Ivy-level student and Harvard also had interest earlier on, but eventually went with Stephen Michalek (Loomis-Chaffee).
DeSmith, by the way, is the USHL Goaltender of the Week, the result of his 35-save shutout of Omaha last weekend.
63rd Annual Lawrenceville Christmas Tournament
-- Except as noted, all games will be held at the Lawrenceville School; Princeton, NJ.
Upper Canada College
Sat. Dec. 18, 2010:
9:00 am – Game 1: Nichols vs. Northfield-Mt. Hermon
9:00 am – Game 2: Choate vs. UCC (@ Baker Rink; Princeton University)
11:00 am – Game 3: Lawrenceville vs. Belmont Hill
11:00 am – Game 4: Taft vs. Canterbury (@ Baker Rink; Princeton University)
2:00 pm – Game 5: Losers of Games 1 & 2
4:00 pm – Game 6: Losers of Games 3 & 4
7:00 pm – Game 7: Winners of Games 1 & 2
9:00 pm – Game 8: Winners of Games 3 & 4
Sun. Dec. 19, 2010:
8:00 am – Losers of Games 5 & 6
10:00 am – Winners of Games 5 & 6
12:00 pm – Losers of Games 7 & 8
2:30 pm – Championship Game: Winners of Games 7 & 8
Balestri Tournament Schedule
-- At Kents Hill School; Kents Hill, Maine.
Participating Schools: Kents Hill, North Yarmouth Academy, Hoosac, Middlesex, and New Hampton.
Sat. Jan. 1 --
1:00 pm – Kents Hill vs. NYA
3:10 pm – Hoosac vs. New Hampton
6:00 pm – NYA vs. Middlesex
Sun. Jan. 2 --
10:00 am – Middlesex vs. Hoosac
12:15 pm – Kents Hill vs. New Hampton
3:30 pm – Hoosac vs. NYA
Mon. Jan. 3:
8:00 am – Middlesex vs. New Hampton
10:10 am – Kents Hill vs. Hoosac
1:00 pm – New Hampton vs. NYA
Groton-Lawrence Xmas Tournament Schedule
-- At the Groton School (Groton, Mass.) and Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.)
Teams: Culver Military Academy, Cushing Academy, Dexter School, Groton School, Holderness School, Lawrence Academy, Pomfret School, Proctor Academy.
Thursday, December 16th --
3:30 pm-- Culver Academy vs. Proctor Academy (at Groton, Pratt)
4:30 pm-- Cushing Academy vs. Groton School (at Groton, O’Brien)
5:30 pm-- Pomfret School vs. Holderness School (at Groton, Pratt)
6:00 pm -- Dexter School vs. Lawrence Academy(at LA, Grant Arena)
Friday, December 17th --
10:00 am-- Dexter School vs. Culver Academy (at Groton, O’Brien)
10:30 am-- Pomfret School vs. Cushing Academy (at Groton, Pratt)
11:00 am-- Lawrence Academy vs. Holderness School (at LA, Grant Arena)
12:30 pm-- Proctor Academy vs. Groton School (at Groton, O’Brien)
5:00 pm-- Culver Academy vs. Pomfret School (at Groton, O’Brien)
6:00 pm-- Proctor Academy vs. Dexter School (at LA, Grant Arena)
7:00 pm-- Holderness School vs. Groton School (at Groton, O’Brien)
8:00 pm -- Cushing Academy vs. Lawrence Academy (at LA, Grant Arena)
Saturday, December 18th --
10:00 am -- Game C (at Groton, O‘Brien)
10:00 am -- Game B (at LA, Grant Arena)
10:15 am -- Game A (at Groton, Pratt)
12:00 pm -- Championship Game (at Groton, O’Brien)
St. Paul’s School Jamboree Schedule
-- At St. Paul’s School; Concord, NH
Sun. Nov. 28:
10:00 am -- Canterbury vs. Taft
12:15 p.m. -- St. Paul’s vs. Tabor
4:00 p.m. -- Canterbury vs. Tabor
6:15 p.m. -- St. Paul’s vs. Taft
Mon. Nov. 29:
10:00 am -- Taft vs. Tabor
12:15 pm -- St. Paul's vs. Canterbury
All games are scrimmages except the Taft vs. Tabor game on Monday morning. That will count as a regular-season NEPSIHA game.
Here's a good one. Check out Bob McKenzie's piece in TSN.ca about Max Domi, the 15-year-old son of former NHL enforcer Tie Domi. The younger Domi, who plays for the Don Mills Flyers midget minor team, is considered by some to be the top prospect for next spring's OHL draft.
The senior Domi, however, is saying that he thinks because of "who I was and what I was" that his son would have to "fight his way through the league."
"We don't want that for him. That's not him. He might be better off going to play college hockey."
"We're focused on five school right now," Domi says. "Boston College, Boston University, Michigan, Harvard, and Yale. We'll see what happens."
We checked with a coach at one of the schools, who said that, yes, indeed, his school was on the case.
The question remains: Is this a case where a father is hoping to steer his kid to a certain OHL team, or perhaps has a short list he's working off?
The senior Domi has been known to take a very hands-on approach to his son's career. In April of 2007, after one of Max's games, he went into a verbal rage, tearing into young Max's pee-wee coach with such vehemence that someone in the North York Arena, alarmed at the goings-on, summoned the local constables. No charges were filed, but the story got plenty of press in Toronto and became an issue for the league.
Bob McKenzie article in TSN.ca
Cushing Tournament Schedule
-- The Edward G. Watkins Tournament will be held at Cushing Academy; Ashburnham, Mass. from Fri. Dec. 31, 2010 to Sun. Jan. 2, 2011.
Fri. Dec. 31, 2010:
9:00 am – Lawrence vs. NMH
11:10 am – Cushing vs. Gunnery
1:20 pm – Canterbury vs. Pomfret
3:30 pm – Culver vs. Northwood
5:40 pm – NMH vs. Gunnery
7:50 pm – Cushing vs. Lawrence
Sat. Jan. 1, 2011:
9:00 am – Culver vs. Canterbury
11:10 am – Pomfret vs. Northwood
1:20 pm – Gunnery vs. Lawrence
3:30 pm – Cushing vs. NMH
5:40 pm – Northwood vs. Canterbury
7:50 pm – Pomfret vs. Culver
Sun. Jan. 2, 2011:
9:00 am – Fisher 4 vs. Iorio 4
11:10 am – Fisher 3 vs. Iorio 3
1:20 pm – Fisher 2 vs. Iorio 2
3:30 pm – Fisher 1 vs. Iorio 1
Fisher Division: Cushing, Lawrence, Northfield-Mt. Hermon, Gunnery.
Iorio Division: Canterbury, Culver Academy, Pomfret, Northwood.
2010 Founders’ League Jamboree Schedule
Wednesday Dec. 1, 2010
-- At The Taft School; Watertown, Conn.
1:30 pm – Hotchkiss vs. Westminster (Mays)
1:45 pm – Salisbury vs. Avon (Odden)
2:30 pm – Hotchkiss vs. Avon (Mays)
2:45 pm – Salisbury vs. Westminster (Odden)
3:30 pm – Loomis vs. Taft (Mays)
3:45 pm – Trinity-Pawling vs. Deerfield (Odden)
4:30 pm – Trinity-Pawling vs. Loomis (Mays)
4:45 pm – Kent vs. Deerfield (Odden)
5:30 pm – Kingswood vs. Kent (Mays)
5:45 pm – Choate vs. Taft (Odden)
6:30 pm – Taft vs. Kingswood (Mays)
6:45 pm – Choate vs. Kent (Odden)
Mays Rink is the “old rink” and to the right as you face the building. The Odden Rink is the new rink, and to the left.
Games will consist of 25-minute periods.
Brooks-Pingree Tournament Schedule
-- at the Brooks School (North Andover, Mass.) and the Pingree School (South Hamilton, Mass.).
Note: Hill is Hill Academy (Vaughan, Ontario), the program of which we wrote last week, and not to be confused with the Hill School of Pottstown, PA. The Northwood squad in this tournament will be their midget team, not the prep team.
Friday, December 17, 2010:
4:00pm -- Hill Academy vs. Kingswood-Oxford (@ Brooks)
4:00 pm -- Pingree vs. Northwood (@ Pingree)
6:15pm -- Brooks vs. Portsmouth Abbey (@ Brooks)
6:15 pm -- Kents Hill vs. Rye Country Day (@ Pingree)
Saturday, December 18, 2010:
8:45am -- Brooks vs. Kingswood (@ Brooks)
8:45 am -- Pingree vs. Rye CD (@ Pingree)
11:00am -- Hill Academy vs. Portsmouth Abbey (@ Brooks)
11:00 am -- Northwood vs. Kents Hill (@ Pingree)
5:45pm -- Kingswood vs. P. Abbey (@ Brooks)
5:45 pm – Rye CD vs. Northwood (@ Pingree)
8:00 pm -- Brooks vs. Hill Academy (@ Brooks)
8:00 pm -- Pingree vs. Kents Hill (@ Pingree)
Sunday, December 19, 2010:
10:00 am – TBD (@ Brooks)
10:00 am -- TBD (@ Pingree)
12 noon – TBD Championship Game (@ Brooks)
Governor's Academy Showcase Schedule
-- All Games at Governor’s Academy; Byfield, Mass.
Fri. Dec. 17, 2010:
5:30 pm -- Governor’s vs. Millbrook
7:30 pm -- Tilton vs. Hill
Sat. Dec. 18, 2010:
10:00 am -- Hill vs. Governor’s
12:30 pm -- Millbrook vs. Tilton
5:00 pm -- Millbrook vs. Hill
7:30 pm -- Governor’s vs. Tilton
Sun. Dec. 19, 2010:
9:30 am -- Hill vs. New Hampton
11:45 am -- Tilton vs. Wyoming Seminary
2:00 pm -- Berwick vs. Millbrook
4:15 pm -- Governor’s vs. Hebron
St. Sebastian’s Xmas Tournament Schedule
-- @ Needham, Mass.
Fri. Dec. 17, 2010 --
Game #1 – 2:00 pm: Winchendon vs. St. Seb’s
Game #2 – 4:00 pm -- Thayer vs. St. Andrew’s
Game #3 – 6:00 pm -- Northwood vs. Albany Academy
Game #4 – 8:00 pm -- Williston vs. Rivers
Sat. Dec. 18, 2010 --
Game #5 – 11:00 am: Loser Game #1 vs. Loser Game #2
Game #6 – 1:00 pm: Loser Game #3 vs. Loser Game #4
Game #7 – 3:00 pm: Winner Game #1 vs. Winner Game #2
Game #8 – 5:00 pm: Winner Game #3 vs. Winner Game #4
Sun. Dec. 19, 2010 --
Game #9 – 9:00 am: Loser Game #5 vs. Loser Game #6
Game #10 – 11:00 am: Winner Game #5 vs. Winner Game #6
Game #11 – 1:00 pm: Loser Game #7 vs. Loser Game #8
Game #12 – 3:00 pm: Winner Game #7 vs. Winner Game #8
U.S. Roster For Junior A Challenge Announced
The U.S. roster for the World Junior A Challenge, to be held Nov. 8-14 in Penticton, British Columbia, has been announced.
The 22-man squad, drawn entirely from the USHL, will be seeking its third straight tournament crown, having won gold in Camrose, Alberta in 2008 and in Summerside, PEI last November. Defenseman Nick Mattson, and forwards Michael Parks and Colten St. Clair played on last year’s team.
Nine USHL teams are represented, with Fargo (5), Cedar Rapids (4), and Sioux City (4) sending the most players.
2010 U.S. Junior Select Team:
Zane Gothberg (Fargo), Casey DeSmith (Indiana).
Scott Mayfield (Youngstown), Aaron Harstad (Green Bay), Sam Windle (Chicago), Brian Cooper (Fargo), Jordan Schmaltz (Sioux City), Mick Mattson (Indiana), Tommy Fallen (Cedar Rapids).
Max Gaede (Sioux City), Cason Hohmann (Cedar Rapids), Garrett Allen (Fargo), Robert Francis (Green Bay), Sam Warning (Cedar Rapids), Jimmy Mullin (Fargo), Max McCormick (Sioux City), Michael Parks (Cedar Rapids), Colten St. Clair (Fargo), Ryan Dzingel (Lincoln), Caleb Herbert (Sioux City), Seth Ambroz (Omaha), Austin Czarnik (Green Bay).
Head Coach: P.K. O’Handley (Waterloo). Assistant Coaches: Luke Strand (Sioux City) and Justin Lyle (Indiana).
Players by Birth Year:
’91s (5): DeSmith, Mattson, Fallen, Francis, Herbert.
’92s (13): Gothberg, Mayfield, Harstad, Windle, Gaede, Allen, Warning, Mullin, McCormick, Parks, St. Clair, Dzingel, Czarnik.
’93s (4): Cooper, Schmaltz, Hohmann, Ambroz.
Sat. Nov. 6 -- Canada West (Exhibition), 7:30 pm PST
Mon. Nov. 8 -- Canada East, 4 pm PST
Wed. Nov. 10 -- Sweden, 4 pm PST
Thurs. Nov. 11 -- Quarterfinals
Sat. Nov. 13 -- Semifinals
Sun. Nov. 14 -- Medal Games
Destry Rides Again
If you saw the Coquitlam Express’s (BCHL) Destry Straight – great name, but no six-shooter, remember Jimmy Stewart taking the high road? -- on last week’s list of prospects given an “A” rating by Central Scouting for June’s NHL draft, you’re probably wondering if he’s NCAA-bound or major junior bound.
It definitely looks like college, but it also looks like the “A” rating has speeded up the process and Straight, who doesn’t even have an advisor (!), will be playing college hockey at this time next year. College recruiters love his skills and vision, but feel he’s still a little thin, light, physically undeveloped, and would be aided by another year of juniors. Time will tell.
A rookie in the BCHL, Straight, in 17 games, has an eye-opening 9-14-23 line, leading all ‘93s in scoring. A 6’1”, 170 lb. left shot center and a 3/22/93 birthdate, Straight played midgets last season with the Northwest Giants, helping lead the squad to their third straight BC major midget regular season title. Straight finished second in league scoring with, in 39 games played, a somewhat lopsided 12-51-63 line, which, if nothing else, gives you a sense of the kind of player he is.
Straight’s coach at Coquitlam, Jon Calvano, who coached him last year with the NW Giants, says his young center is “a very good skater with elite status hands and vision. He moves the puck well and finds players that are open. He’s offensively gifted and has very good vision."
"He also," Calvano adds, "plays both ends of the rink.”
"The attention he’s getting,” Calvano says, “is a little overwhelming, as there’s a lot of interest from big-time schools. It’s all coming in fast. He’s trying to take it a step at a time without getting ahead of himself. He’s not letting it get to his head. He’s still a rookie in the league, and there’s a pecking order.”
BU, BC, UNH, Maine, Colorado College, Michigan State, and Bemidji State are all recruiting Straight. However, the West Vancouver, BC native has yet to visit any colleges. That will change really soon, as flydowns are being arranged.
Speaking of college visits, the Lac St. Louis Midget AAA players we wrote about a couple weeks ago are making their way down to New England to check out schools.
Highly skilled ’95 forwards Anthony Duclair and Jonathan Drouin were at Agganis Arena Oct. 16 for BU’s game vs. UMass, a 2-2 tie.
’94 LD Michael Matheson, a first round prospect for the 2012 NHL draft, will be at BC for the NCAA championship flag raising this Friday, Oct. 29th,, after which the Eagles will take on Merrimack. The following night, Matheson will make his way down Commonwealth Ave., to Agganis Arena, as a guest of Boston University as the Terriers host UMass-Lowell.
Northwood Opens Season Today
The Northwood School, under head coach Jeff Matthews, has a week of practice under their belts and today, with a 1:30 pm tilt vs. the Boston Advantage at the Pilgrim Arena in Hingham, Mass., opens up their season. The two teams will face off again Sunday morning at 11:50 am at Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium.
Matthews reports that he likes his team so far, and believes it will have success similar to last year’s squad, from which ten members have moved on to college hockey.
2010-11 Northwood Roster
2010-11 Northwood Schedule
McNamara to Crusaders
5’10”, 170 lb. Belmont Hill senior LW Mike McNamara has committed to Holy Cross for next fall.
A 3/7/92 from Chestnut Hill, Mass., McNamara thinks the game well, has a good quick stick, and can put up points.
Last season, in 31 games for Belmont Hill, he posted a 19-16-35 line.
McNamara’s father, John, an assistant coach at Belmont Hill, played for Boston College in the ‘80s. His two older brothers, Kevin and Jack, play hockey at Colgate. Mike had interest from Colgate, too, but for fall ’12; also from Clarkson, for ’11. McNamara also has a younger brother, Joe, a junior d-man at Belmont Hill.
Army Enlists Lalor
6’0”, 180 lb. Junior Bruins (EJHL) defenseman Mac Lalor has committed to Army for next fall.
Lalor, a 2/25/91 birthdate from Needham, Mass., is in his second year with the Junior Bruins after graduating from St. Sebastian’s in ’09. A right shot, he’s a steady, fundamentally sound defensive defenseman. In nine games thus far with the Junior Bruins, he has a 1-2-3 line.
He’s the son of former defenseman Mike Lalor, who grew up in Ontario and was undrafted out of the OHL, but went on to play in the NHL for over ten years. He was a member of the ’85-86 Stanley Cup winning Montreal Canadiens.
Malts is Back
When the Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL) take to the ice at the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs Tournament in Hooksett, NH tonight, fired-for-a-day coach Vince Malts will be back behind the bench.
Shades of the Billy Martin era Yankees, with one big difference: the Yankees won, and the Philadelphia Revolution don’t.
We’re not sure what’s going on with this franchise right now, but it looks like it could be a long season down there. Neither the owner, Phil Pulley; director of hockey operations Geoff Marottolo; nor head coach Vince Malts have returned calls.
Action Urged on Concussions
A Mayo Clinic Conference on reducing concussions in hockey has recommended banning all contact to the head – and at every level of the game, including the NHL. In addition it has called for a ban on body checking by 11 and 12 year olds.
The conference – the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center Ice Hockey Summit: Action on Concussion – was organized by, among others, Dr. Michael Stuart, of the Rochester, Minn. (home of the Mayo Clinic) Stuarts. Three of his sons have played – or are playing – in the NHL.
Stuart, who has also been the team doctor for numerous USA Hockey Teams in international events, told the New York Times’ Jeff Z. Klein that, “Behaviorial change, cultural change, won’t happen overnight. The clock is ticking. If we say we need additional long-term injury research to validate any kind of recommendations, there will be a lot of athletes who’ll suffer. So we decided, let’s make a move to effect change.”
Check out the New York Times article, and also the related entries in the New York Times’ Slap Shot Blog.
Vesey to Harvard
6’0”, 178 lb. Belmont Hill junior LW Jimmy Vesey has committed to Harvard for the fall of ’12 or 13.
A sophomore last season, Vesey, who posted a 13-17-30 line in 31 games, is a good-sized kid who has good hands and sees the ice well. A 5/26/93 birthdate from North Reading, Mass., Vesey can be found on NHL’s Central Scouting Players to Watch List that came out earlier this week. He’s rated as a “B” prospect for June’s NHL draft.
Vesey’s father, by the way, was one of the most prolific scorers in Massachusetts high school hockey history, lighting it up for now-defunct Christopher Columbus High School, and leading the North End school to a Div. II state championship in 1984, his senior year. Drafted in the eighth round by St. Louis, Vesey père went on to play at Merrimack and, in his senior year there, notched 95 points in 40 games, and helped lead Merrimack, then an Independent, all the way to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, where they bowed to Lake Superior State. The senior Vesey could snipe, and he could make plays. If he had been a better skater, he might have gone on to a lengthy pro career. As it was, the Charlestown native played 15 NHL games, including four with the Bruins.
Anyway, the reason we mention this -- besides the fact that it evokes the last great decade of Mass high school hockey -- is that one of Vesey’s teammates for four years at Merrimack, defenseman Bobby Jay, is now an assistant coach at Harvard. Jay, who played at Burlington (Mass.) HS, and Vesey were teammates again in the early '90s, with the Phoenix Roadrunner (IHL).
UNH Looks to Team Maryland Again
They’re actually not Team Maryland U-18 anymore. They’re now the DC Capitals U-18. Same franchise. Same coach. Just a different name.
But UNH, which has recruited Nick Sorkin, Casey Thrush, and Maxim Gaudreault off Team Maryland in recent years, is still getting their best players, having just beaten out Northeastern University for 6’1”, 163 lb. LD Dylan Maller, a 4/23/94 birthdate from Parkland, Florida.
Maller, who played for the Palm Beach Hawks Jr. B (MJHL) last season, is, according to his coach, Jason Kersner, “a fantastic skater both forward and backward and when you couple that with his size – and what his size is going to be – then you’ve got a player with not only college, but pro potential, too.”
“He’s an offensive defenseman who sees the ice very well," Kersner adds. "He doesn’t overhandle the puck. He’s more a passer than a puck carrier.”
After pulling his groin in mid-September and missing a month of play, Maller returned to action last weekend at the Beantown Fall Classic at Exeter, NH.
He’s scheduled to arrive at UNH in the fall of ’13. Next season, depending on his progress, Maller will likely either return to the DC Capitals or go to the USHL.
Kersner, by the way, is defensive – in a good way, of course – about all his top Div. I prospects all winding up at UNH. “Don’t beat me up in the article,” he said. “We’ll have kids going other places!”
Malts Let Go in Philly
Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL) head coach Vince Malts has been fired, and the team is looking for a replacement.
The Revolution are in last place in the league’s Southern Division, with one win in seven games (1-3-2-1).
The job has reportedly been offered to Geoff Marottolo, the team’s director of Hockey Operations, though Marottolo, the last we heard, has not accepted it yet.
The team, in its second year of existence, has fired coaches early in the season for the second year in a row.
We've put in a call to team owner Phil Pulley, who has a son on the team, but have not heard back from him yet.
Yanks in the CHL: The Census
We’ve tallied the number of American kids playing major junior and have arrived at a total of 115, which is pretty consistent with last year, when the number at this time was a record-high 111, with half a dozen more joining the CHL as the season moved along. If that happens again, the ‘10-11 season will set another new record.
The biggest supplier of talent to the CHL is the U.S. NTDP. Fifteen former NTDPers are playing major junior right now.
Overall, the number of US kids in the WHL has gone down, from 37 last year to 31 now. The numbers for the Q dropped from nine to seven. The OHL, however, has made up the difference. Last year at this time, there were 65 U.S. kids in the OHL. This year, the number is 77. Michigan-based teams really clean up, with Plymouth and Saginaw each rostering 11 Americans. Windsor, across the bridge from Detroit, has 10 Yanks. London has seven.
We’ve included dual citizens -- there are five we know of -- in the accounting. One notable among this group is ’94 birthdate Alex Galchenyuk, the #1 overall pick in the OHL draft this past spring. The 6’1”, 185 lb. center, born in Milwaukee, Wisc. while his Russian father played minor pro there, has a 6-8-14 line in 10 games for the Sarnia Sting and is reportedly being watched for possible inclusion on the U.S. National Junior Team come December. As far as we know, no 16-year-old has ever played for the U.S. National Junior Team. Sidney Crosby is the last player from any nation we recall playing in the World Junior Tournament as a 16-year-old.
Another dual is 6’4” Sean Couturier of the Drummondville Voltigeurs (QMJHL), the potential #1 overall pick in June’s NHL draft. The big center was born in Phoenix while his father played minor pro hockey there, but moved to Bathurst, New Brunswick as a child. The chance that Couturier will be playing for the U.S. in international play are zip, of course. But he was born in Phoenix, so he’s on the list.
One of the things we’re attempting to do with these accountings of US players who’ve chosen the major junior route is build up a enough of a database, so that, maybe in a year or two, we can begin to really show how players who chose that route fared.
Please let us know if we missed anyone on the list below.
Brandon Wheat Kings (0)
Calgary Hitmen (1):
Trevor Cheek, late ’92 C, Vancouver, WA
Chillwack Bruins (0)
Edmonton Oil Kings (0)
Everett Silvertips (4):
Tyler Maxwell, ’91 LW, Manhattan Beach, CA
Josh Birkholz, ’91 RW, Maple Grove, MN
Parker Stanfield, ’90 C, Anaheim, CA
Markus McCrea, ’92 LW, Canyon Lake, CA
Kamloops Blazers (4):
J.T. Barnett, ’92 LW, Scottsdale, AZ
Chase Souto, late ’94 RW, Yorba Linda, CA
Brandon Underwood, ’92 D, San Marcos, CA
Corey Fienhage, ’90 D, Apple Valley, MN
Kelowna Rockets (3):
Shane McColgan, ’93 RW, Manhattan Beach, CA
Mitchell Callahan, ’91 RW, Whittier, CA
Adam Brown, late ’91 G, Yorba Linda, CA
Kootenay Ice (0)
Lethbridge Hurricanes (0)
Medicine Hat Tigers (4):
Tyler Pitlick, late ’91 C, Centerville, MN
Vahe Zakaryan, ’92 RW, Northridge, CA
Emerson Etem, ’92 C, Long Beach, CA
Matthew Konan, ’91 D, Tustin, CA
Moose Jaw Warriors (1):
Collin Bowman, ’91 D, Littleton, CO
Portland Winterhawks (4):
Seth Swensen, ’93 RW, Parker, CO
Josh Hanson, ’94 D, Eagle River, AK
Taylor Aronson, late ’91 D, Placentia, CA
Mac Carruth, ’92 G, Shorewood, MN
Prince Albert Raiders (1):
Jonathan Parker, late ’91 RW, Solana Beach, CA
Prince George Cougars (0)
Red Deer Rebels (0)
Regina Pats (1):
Colin Reddin, ’90 C, Corona Del Mar, CA
Saskatoon Blades (0)
Seattle Thunderbirds (3):
Tyler Alos, ’93 C, Spokane, WA
Colin Jacobs, ’93 C, Coppell, TX
Jacob Doty, ’93 RW, Billings, MT
Spokane Chiefs (4):
Tyler Johnson, ’90 C, Spokane, WA
T.C. Cratsenberg, ’92 C, Federal Way, WA
Tyler Vanscourt, ’92 D, Corona, CA
Tanner Mort, ’93 D, Post Falls, ID
Swift Current Broncos (1):
Kyle Verdino, ’91 D, Phoenix, AZ
Barrie Colts (2):
Dean Pawlaczyk, ’92 LW, Madison Heights, MI
John Padulo, ’92 C, Rochester, NY
Belleville Bulls (2):
Jan Kaminsky, late ’92 RW, Kennesaw, GA
Bjorn Krupp, ’91 D, Manhattan Beach, CA
Brampton Battalion (2):
Phillip Lane, ’92 RW, Rochester, NY
Dylan Blujus, ’94 RD, Buffalo, NY
Erie Otters (5):
David Shields, ’91 RD, Rochester, NY
Mac McDonnell, ’92 RW, Allen Park, MI
Tyler Hostetter, ’91 RD, Lititz, PA
Andrew Yogan, late ’91 C, Boca Raton, FL
Shawn Szydlowski, ’90 RW, St. Clair Shores, MI
Guelph Storm (2):
Sam Lofquist, ’90 D, Somerset, WI
Garret Sparks, ’93 G, Elmhurst, IL
Kingston Frontenacs (1):
Conor Stokes, ’91 LW, Lansing, NY
Kitchener Rangers (2):
Jesse Young, ’94 D, Walled Lake, MI
Brandon Maxwell, ’91 G, Cambridge, Ont. (Dual)
London Knights (7):
Danny Elser, ’93 C, Hopewell Junction, NY
Tyler Brown, ’91 LW, Westland, MI
Jared Knight, ’92 RW, Battle Creek, MI
Troy Donnay, ’94 RD, Fenton, MI
Cody Donnay, ’92 RD, Fenton, MI
Jared Tinordi, ’92 LD, Millersville, MD
Michael Houser, ’92 G, Wexford, PA
Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors (1):
Kerby Rychel, late '94 LW, Windsor, Ont. (dual)
Niagara Icedogs (0)
Oshawa Generals (5):
Cody Payne, ’94 C, Maple, Ont. (dual)
Mark Petaccio, ’94 RW, Sicklerville, NJ
Jimmy McDowell, ’93 RD, Dimondale, MI
Tony DeHart, ’90 RD, Ballwin, MO
Colin Suellentrop, ’93 RD, Plantation, FL
Ottawa ‘67s (1):
Shane Prince, late ’92 LW, Spencerport, NY
Owen Sound Attack (0)
Peterborough Petes (4):
Austin Watson, ’92 RC, Ann Arbor, MI
Jack Walchessen, ’90 RW, Ortley Beach, NJ
Zach Tatrn, ’91 LW, Lower Burrell, PA
Barron Smith, ’91 RD, Hinsdale, IL
Plymouth Whalers (11):
Austin Mattson, ’91 RW, Livonia, MI
Nick Malysa, ’93 LD, Bridgewater, NJ
Austin Levi, ’92 LD, Farmington Hill, MI
Josh Bemis, late ’90 LD, Clarkston, MI
Stefan Noesen, ’93 RW, Plano, TX
Beau Schmitz, ’91 RD, Howell, MI
R.J. Mahalak, late ’91 LW, Monroe, MI
Robbie Czarnik, ’90 RW, Washington, MI
Max Iafrate, ’94 RD, Livonia, MI
Matt Mahalak, ’93 G, Monroe, MI
Alex Aleardi, ’92 RC, Farmington Hills, MI
Saginaw Spirit (11):
Garret Ross, ’92 LW, Dearborn Heights, MI
Brad Walch, ’91 LD, Saginaw, MI
Alex Racino, ’93 LC, Merril, WI
Alex Lepkowski, ’93 LD, West Seneca, NY
Joe Underwood, ’90 RD, Canton, MI
Michael Kantor, ’92 RW, Lake Forest, IL
Brandon Saad, late ’92 RC, Gibsonia, PA
Frank Schumacher, late ’93 LD, Brighton, MI
Barry Sanderson, ’90 RW, Dearborn, MI
Dalton Young, ’93 LD, Marysville, MI
Vincent Trocheck, ’93 RC, Pittsburgh, PA
Sarnia Sting (6):
J.C. Campagna, ’93 LW, Dublin, OH
Brandon Hope, ’94 G, Canton, MI
Daniel Broussard, ’91 D, Fayetteville, NC
John Cullen, ’91 G, Hamburg, NY
Joe Rogalski, late ’91 D, Lancaster, NY
Alex Galchenyuk, ’94 C, Sarnia, Ont. (dual)
Soo Greyhounds (3):
Brandon Archibald, ’92 RD, Port Huron, MI
Myles McCauley, ’91 RW, Sterling Heights, MI
Trevor Morbeck, late ’93 RW, Jackson, WI
Sudbury Wolves (2):
Marcus Foligno, ’91 LW, Sudbury, Ont. (dual)
Charlie Dodero, late ’92 D, Bloomingdale, IL
Windsor Spitfires (10):
Jack Campbell, ’92 G, Port Huron, MI
Craig Duininck, ’93 RD, St. Cloud, MN
Nick Ebert, ’94 D, Livingston, NJ
Cam Fowler, late ’91 LD, Farmington Hills, MI
Kenny Ryan, ’91 RW, Franklin, MI
Saverio Posa, ’92 LD, Grand Blanc, MI
Grant Webermin, ’94 LD, Novi, MI
Josh Malecki, ’93 G, Trenton, MI
Nick Czinder, ’92 RW, West Bloomfield, MI
Brady Vail, ’94 LW, Palm City, FL
Drummondville Voltigeurs (1):
Sean Couturier, late ’92 C, Phoenix, AZ (dual)
Halifax Mooseheads (1):
Anthony Terenzia, ’93 G, Norwalk, CT
Moncton Wildcats (2):
Tyler Howe, ’91 F, Wareham, MA
Daniel Milan, ’92 D, Detroit, MI
Quebec Remparts (1):
Ryan Bourque, ’91 F, Topsfield, MA
Shawinigan Cataractes (1):
Dillon Donnelly, ’93 G, Amherst, NY
Victoriaville Tigres (1):
Jordan Watt, ’93 F, Orange, CA
Twelve teams in the Q have no U.S. kids.
NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch
NHL's Central Scouting has released it's early list of Players to Watch and six North American players have an "A" rating: Forwards Philippe Hudon (Choate), Petr Placek (Hotchkiss), Mario Lucia (Wayzata HS), and Destry Straight (Coquitlam -- BCHL); defenseman Matt Killian (Delbarton); and goaltender Stephen Michalek (Loomis).
Click here for the full list.
If you're interested in the European list, click here.
The North American list covers only U.S. high schools, prep schools, and midget leagues, and U.S. and Canadian junior leagues (though not the USHL and CHL).
The Beautiful Game
Friday night's Dubuque Fighting Saints 7-4 road win at Des Moines devolved into a pair of line brawls two seconds apart, the second featuring the goalies going at it.
The first brawl, at 14:21 of the third, was instigated by Des Moines' Doug Clifford. Des Moines, trailing 6-3 at the time, sent their fourth line out at the start of the power play, and all hell broke loose.
If you miss the NHL of the 1970s, you will love the following video, which gives a good feel for a game at Des Moines, where the beer flows plentifully and, by the time the third period comes around, the fans are more than ready for fights. They got 'em on Friday.
The guy yelling for Tyler Bruggeman, the Des Moines goalie, to kick the ass of his counterpart, is amusing, mainly because Bruggeman immediately gets wrestled to the ice and has his jersey pulled up over his head by Dubuque's Matt Morris.
A total of over 200 penalty minutes were meted out in this game -- 113 to Des Moines, and 87 to Dubuque.
Look for suspensions in addition to the automatic ones.
Here's the video
-- The weekend before -- Oct 9, to be precise -- The U.S. Under-18 Team beat the Muskegon Lumberjacks, 10-3, a game which also devolved into a series of third-period brawls.
That game also featured over 200 penalty minutes -- 124 to Muskegon and 98 to the Under-18 Team.
However, the game was at Ann Arbor... so nobody got to see it.
The Neponset Valley River Rats vs. GBL Junior Bruins midget major tilts are always lively affairs and last night’s game in the Fall Beantown Classic in Exeter, NH was no exception, with GBL pulling out a 2-2 on a last-minute goal by Stephen Brown.
This game was our first chance to see new Milton Academy defenseman Rob O’Gara, the latest Paul Cannata find. Like Patrick McNally last season, O’Gara is a new junior at Milton who is coming in largely unknown. There are other parallels with McNally. O’Gara is big, actually bigger than McNally. In addition, he’s from Long Island, and is entering his draft year the same year he’s entering prep school. Also, just as with McNally last year, the first three schools reportedly on him are Harvard, Yale, and Northeastern. It’s Groundhog Day! O’Gara, a left shot listed as 6’3”, 185 lb., is a different player than McNally in that he won’t take be going end-to-end every game, and he won’t be scoring 14 goals, as McNally did last year. O'Gara is a strong two-way defenseman with good hands and a good stick. He appears to have a good head for the game, too, so there is offensive upside. We want to see him a bit more, but this is a player who’ll be getting plenty of attention from pro scouts and colleges this fall and winter. There’s another thing we’re sure of. With McNally, O’Gara, Jake Turrin, Aaron Deutsch, et al Milton has an awfully good group of D going into the season.
We should mention that the Mustangs will also be strong in net. 5’10” senior Sean Dougherty was terrific for the GBL Junior Bruins last night. His play, and the late goal by Brown, allowed GBL to escape with the tie, as the Rats really tested him with some Grade A chances.
One shot Dougherty had no chance on was on a Trevor Mingoia bang-bang conversion of a Shayne Gostisbehere pass off the half wall. Both players, by the way, are Union recruits. Mingoia looks like he could have a huge year for Berkshire. And Gostisbehere looks like he could be the leading scorer at South Kent – from the blue line.
A new player for prep school who kept jumping out at this observer last night was 6’1”, 195 lb. RD Jay Kourkoulis, who will be at Pomfret. Kourkoulis, a Montreal native who comes from the Lac St. Louis Lions and was drafted by Lewiston in the sixth round of the QMJHL draft in June, is a strong, rugged, defensively-responsible blueliner who can also make a play. He was consistently noticeable in last night’s game.
The officiating was also consistently noticeable, but not in a good way.
The two teams face off again at 1:30 pm on Sun. Oct 31st, at the Foxboro Sports Center.
The Hill Academy (Vaughan, Ontario) played the East Coast Wizards, winning 4-1.
The Hill Academy (not to be confused with the Hill School of Pottstown, PA; both will be in the Nov. 21 Yale Showcase together) is a program quickly making a name for itself. Under the guidance of former CHL coach Lindsay Hofford and former University of Minnesota and NHL goaltender Frank Pietrangelo, the Hill Academy seems to be positioning themselves as Toronto’s equivalent to the Lac St. Louis Lions. If the hefty contingent of college coaches on hand for Thursday night’s game is any indicator, the word is out.
The Hill skaters are young – all except two of their players are ‘94s – and they have a batch of players – at least eight – who were drafted in the OHL in June but are protecting their NCAA eligibility.
Their key forward, and he’s already committed to the University of Maine, is 5’9”, 174 lb. LC Ryan Lomberg, a late ’94 who is a dynamic offensive player. Lomberg, who is around the puck constantly, is physical, highly involved, and scores… he’s the offense’s engine.
However, Lomberg is surrounded up front by some serious NCAA prospects who will also be of interest to NHL scouts in another year, like 6’3”, 196 lb. Zack Pryzbek, a big strapping kid who banged home a rebound while driving to the net; 5’11”, 168 lb. forward Devin Shore, who’s a good combination of strength and skill; and 6’3”, 195 lb. power forward Jeffrey Heard. Those are the most obvious, but there are also some good smaller players, like 5’9” John Najafi, and the smallest of them all, 5’4” Zach Avolio, who showed a great release on a goal early in the game.
On the blue line, there’s 6’1”, 190 lb. LD Daniel Renouf; 5’10”, 165 lb. LD Cal Hofford; and 6’1”, 185 lb. LD Brenden Miller. All three showed something.
In goal is 5’9”, 165 lb. Dylan Pietrangelo, the coach’s son, who only allowed one goal.
Individual skills aside, we were impressed with the way they played. There’s no nonsense, and they’re clearly well coached. When they got the 2-1 lead, they just kept the pressure on, pinning the older, more experienced Wizards in their end for long stretches.
Afterwards, the senior Pietrangelo said, “That wasn’t our best game.”
No problem, we’ll catch you down the road.
As mentioned, Hill Academy will be in Connecticut the weekend of Nov. 19-21, with games Friday and Saturday at prep schools, before moving on to a 9:00 am tilt against Willston that Sunday at Yale. Hill Academy doesn’t play in a league, choosing instead to build their schedule around key tournaments and showcases.
They will also be back in Massachusetts, on the week before Christmas.
Another team we were really impressed by was the Pittsburgh Hornets Midget Major squad. They were well-coached, disciplined, played a strong team game, and got good goaltending in blanking a talented Boston Jr. Eagles team, 3-0.
The Eagles, by the way, augmented their lineup with 6’2” Choate forward Philippe Hudon, so there was a small knot of NHL scouts on hand for this one. Hudon, who drove up from Choate with his parents, got a little lost on the way but arrived in the nick of time and spent much of the first couple of periods trying to blend in with his teammates. In other words, Hudon, who can move the puck quickly, was making a lot of passes, when he’s more the type of player who should be receiving the puck with a head of steam on and barreling through the defense. We got to see a little bit of that in the third period. Hudon also took a charging penalty when he plastered a kid behind the Hornets net.
Arrows’ Bergin to Harvard
5’11”, 180 lb. St. Sebastian’s senior defenseman Desmond Bergin has committed to Harvard for the fall of ’12.
A 2/6/93 birthdate from Natick, Mass., Bergin, a left shot, posted a 10-9-19 line in 28 games for the Arrows last season.
Bergin, whose game took a big step forward last season, is a mobile puck-moving D with excellent feet who is also very good in his own end. After graduating from St. Sebastian’s, where his coach is former Harvard defenseman and assistant coach Sean McCann, Bergin will play a year of junior.
Dartmouth and Brown were the other schools recruiting him.
Skating Saints Commit to Doherty
6’1”, 165 lb. New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs RC Pat Doherty has committed to St. Lawrence for next fall.
A 9/5/90 birthdate from Hanover, NH, Doherty has been with the Junior Monarchs’ EJ team for three years, since his senior year at Hanover High.
In previous seasons, Doherty skated on the wing, but has been moved to center this season because Monarchs head coach Sean Tremblay feels he’s one of the team’s stronger defensive forwards. In ten games, Doherty has a 3-7-10 line.
“Patrick is one of those complete players,” Tremblay says. “He’s a tremendous skater with excellent acceleration. He also has excellent hands, and sees the ice tremendously well. He’s a heady player who can score goals.”
“He’s also our captain – and with good reason. He does everything the right way.”
Union was also very much in the picture for Doherty.
The Monarchs (8-1-1) and the Junior Bruins (6-1-1) will be facing off in a battle of heavyweights on Sunday at 1:20 pm at the Rinks at Exeter. The game, a league game, is part of the Fall Beantown Classic, which starts today.
KUA’s Kravchenko to Vermont
5’7”, 155 lb. Kimball Union Academy junior center Dennis Kravchenko has committed to Vermont for the fall of ’13.
Kravchenko, a 3/30/94 birthdate from San Clemente, California, played for the LA Selects before coming east to KUA as a sophomore last season and leading the Wildcats in scoring (19-35-54 line in 34 games played). Kimball Union, you may recall, went 24-8-2 and won the NEPSIHA ‘small school championship' with a 3-2 double-OT win over Dexter last March.
A left shot, Kravchenko is small, but has an excellent stick and the vision to go with it. He’s a pure playmaking centerman who needs only to get stronger and more dynamic. He has the time to do that: by taking him in the fall of ’13, Vermont is figuring on a year of juniors first – Cedar Rapids selected Kravchenko in the first round of last spring’s USHL draft. However, there is a possibility Kravchenko could go directly to UVM from Kimball Union. It depends where his game’s at, and, of course, what Vermont’s needs are at the time.
St. Cloud State, Maine, and Northeastern were the other schools in the picture for Kravchenko.
Foxboro Prep Showcase
@ Foxboro Sports Center, Foxboro, Mass.; Thurs.-Fri. Dec. 30-31.
This tournament, in what will be its second year, has grown from four teams to eight, and from one sheet to two. For early arrivers, there will also be a high school tilt featuring Xaverian and Westford Academy at 10:30 am on Thursday (Rink 1)
Thurs. Dec. 30:
1:00 pm – South Kent vs. Worcester Academy (Rink 1)
1:10 pm – Nobles vs. Williston-Northampton (Rink 2)
3:30 pm – Albany Academy vs. Winchendon (Rink 1)
3:40 pm – St. Sebastian’s vs. Berkshire (Rink 2)
Fri. Dec. 31:
12:00 pm – South Kent vs. Albany Academy (Rink 1)
12:10 pm – Nobles vs. Berkshire (Rink 2)
2:30 pm – Winchendon vs. Worcester Academy (Rink 1)
2:40 pm – St. Sebastian’s vs. Williston-Northampton (Rink 2)
There is no playoff round in this tournament.
Fall Prep League Jamboree Schedule
-- Sun. Oct. 17, 2010 at Quinnipiac University and Trinity College:
Updated Tues. aft.
9:00 am – Bobcats vs. Bulldogs
10:00 am – Crimson vs. Mass. North U-19
11:00 am – Dutchmen vs. Mass. West U-19
12:00 pm – Big Red vs. Mass North U-17
1:00 pm – Bobcats vs. Mass North U-19
2:00 pm – Crimson vs. Mass. West U-19
3:00 pm – Bulldogs vs. Mass. North U-17
4:00 pm – Dutchmen vs. Big Red
@ Trinity College:
9:00 am – Big Green vs. Bears
10:00 am – Raiders vs. Mass. West U-17
11:00 am – Tigers vs. Mass Central U-19
12:00 pm – Engineers vs. Bears
1:00 pm – Saints vs. Mass. West U-17
2:00 pm – Engineers vs. Mass. Central U-19
3:00 pm – Tigers vs. Big Green
4:00 pm – Raiders vs. Saints
Five Years Later
The six freshmen hockey players who arrived at Boston University in the fall of ’05 were, as a group, rather underwhelming. Not one of them -- Matt Gilroy, Chris Higgins, Jason Lawrence, John McCarthy, Steve Smolinsky, or Brandon Yip – was considered a big-time recruit. And not one was drafted as an 18-year-old. Lawrence, having played in the NTDP, was the most high-profile of the group, but was 5’9” or so. Gilroy, the 21-year-old walk-on forward who wound up playing D, was the least high-profile. Gilroy, as everyone knows, would go on to provide inspiration to thousands of overlooked kids by winning the Hobey Baker Award, gaining a college degree, and signing a $1.75 million free agent contract with the New York Rangers – all in one spring. Yip, from the Coquitlam Express (BCHL), could score, but was a little physically undeveloped and lacked high-end skating skills, not entirely unrelated attributes. However, he was drafted – as an overager -- in the 8th round of the 2004 draft. McCarthy, ex-of St. John’s Prep and the Des Moines Buccaneers, was drafted in the 7th round, as a double-overager, in 2006. McCarthy, a forward, would score four points as freshman, five as a sophomore, seven points as a junior, and 29 points (!) as a senior.
Yip and Gilroy established themselves as NHL players last year, in their first season out of college. McCarthy scored 42 points for Worcester (AHL) last year and had a four-game call-up with San Jose. On Saturday night, McCarthy opened the season with the Sharks, skating on the fourth line.
On Sunday night, Gilroy was a healthy scratch -- a bit of a surprise, that -- in the Rangers’ season opener.
Yip, of course, is a regular with the Colorado Avalanche. Because of his touch, he always had a chance. But who could have predicted that Gilroy would jump from BU to the NHL, and that McCarthy would follow him a year later?
The moral here is a simple one: the race does not always go to the swiftest. And, if there is one valuable thing that college hockey offers, it is the gift of time. It’s nothing to sneeze at. Gilroy, if he had played major junior, would have aged out at 21, precisely the time he arrived at BU and began his four-year climb from unknown to NHLer. (Fortunately for Gilroy, no one thought he was good enough to play major junior.) As for Yip, no one thought much of him as a youngster either: he was passed over in the WHL Bantam Draft, which runs about twenty rounds and allows over two hundred 15-year-olds to believe they have their ticket to the NHL punched. And then there’s McCarthy, who played Massachusetts high school hockey, derided by many as a graveyard for serious players. Now, in his second year out of BU, he is opening the season in the NHL. McCarthy, too – had he gone major junior -- would likely have aged out somewhere along the line.
Instead these guys won an NCAA championship in a game no one is likely to forget, got their degrees, and are now living the dream.
Hey, time is a gift, and that’s something you only realize when you’ve been around the block a few times. If there’s anybody playing college hockey who is thinking of leaving to play major junior – and there usually are a few unhappy campers in early October – that extra time is something to seriously consider before making a decision you may later regret. Are there exceptions to the above? Are there guys who slogged through major junior, put in years in the AHL, and eventually made it to the NHL? Of course. There are always exceptions. But if you’re not a star, if you’re less than a sure thing, don’t discount the value of time. It gives you a chance, and, in case you don’t make it to the show, a degree.
It’s just something to think about, that’s all.
A Busy Week for the Crimson
Harvard has committed to Loomis-Chaffee senior goaltender Steven Michalek for fall ’11, and St. John’s Prep senior forward Colin Blackwell for fall ’12.
Michalek (pronounced Mike-a-leck), is a 6’2”, 185 lb. native of Glastonbury, Conn., who played for a prep school that went 3-22-0 last winter. Needless to say, Michalek faced a ton of rubber, leading all prep goalies in shots faced, with 840. We saw Avon put 47 shots on him at the Christmas Tournament. Later in the season Choate put 55 shots on him, Deerfield 57, and Gunnery 59.
In July, Michalek had an excellent Select 17 Festival, finishing with a .936 save percentage and getting named to the Under-18 Select Team that went to Hlinka Memorial Tournament in Slovakia and the Czech Republic in August. Miami recruit Jay Williams played the first two games overseas, then U.S. head coach Tim Army put in Michalek for games 3-4-5, the finale being a 1-0 loss to Canada in the Gold Medal game. Michalek kicked out 23 of 24 that day and finished the tournament with a .907 save percentage.
An 8/6/93 birthdate, Michalek is eligible for June’s NHL draft.
Loomis-Chaffee, in case you were wondering, hasn’t had a player go directly to Div. I – much less an NHL draft pick – in 15 years. The last was Bubba Berenzweig, who graduated in 1995 and went on to the University of Michigan. Berenzweig would later play 37 games in the NHL with the Nashville Predators, and is now retired as a player.
5’9”, 175 lb. Colin Blackwell is a North Andover, Mass. native who, in 20 games at St. John’s Prep last winter, had a 17-20-37 line. Blackwell, like Michalek, then went to Rochester for the Select 17 Festival and opened some eyes. A right-shot center who looks like he’d be equally good on the wing, Blackwell is a really good skater – very quick – with a good stick. He’s around the puck a lot, makes plays, competes in all three zones, and is really involved. He has the earmarks of a good penalty killer, too.
A 3/28/93 birthdate, Blackwell will play a year of juniors before matriculating at Harvard.
The Connecticut Junior Bobcats Showcase starts tonight at Yale, continues tomorrow at Wesleyan, and concludes Sunday at Quinnipiac.
It’s small, but the teams are good, with the Junior Bobcats U-16, NJ Devils U-16, Neponset River Rats U-16, Boston Advantage U-16, Junior Bobcats U-19, Neponset River Rats U-18, and Mid-Fairfield U-18.
Rice Memorial’s Prep program is hosting a four-team showcase on the weekend of Oct 15-16-17.
Fri. Oct. 15 (@ Cairns Arena; South Burlington, Vt.)
5:00 pm -- Appleby College vs. Rice Prep
7:30 pm --- Ridley College vs. CP Dynamo
Sat. Oct. 16 (@ Middlebury College)
1:00 pm -- Ridley College vs. Rice
3:30 pm -- CP Dynamo vs. Appleby College
Sun. Oct. 17 (@ Gutterson Fieldhouse; UVM)
10:00 am – Appleby College vs. Rice
Back to the Hub
Former Boston University forward Vinny Saponari, playing this season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL) after getting kicked off the Terriers late last season, has decided on a college for next year and it’s… Boston College.
There’s always something that stokes that rivalry, isn’t there?
For the Eagles, who are sure to lose a batch of top forwards after the upcoming season, Saponari is a great get in that he improves their chances of contending in ’11-12, a season that was looking like a bit of a bridge year before some of the youngsters come in and establish themselves. It’s not every day you get a transfer who has a Beanpot title and an NCAA championship in his resume.
Saponari, who had 30 points as a sophomore last season, has been the object of a lot of attention this fall. Schools we heard were most heavily involved were, in addition to BC, Vermont, UNH, Northeastern, and RPI. Many others were interested, but those were the big contenders.
We caught up with Saponari on the Fighting Saints’ team bus as they were pulling into Ann Arbor, where Dubuque will be facing off against the National Program – Saponari was there for two years, too -- tomorrow and Saturday.
Saponari seemed heartened by his second whirl through the recruiting process. “There were a lot of coaches from a lot of great programs who were willing to give me a chance. That meant a lot to me. In the end, I guess I chose BC because I wanted to go to a team that can win right away as I only have two years of eligibility left. There are also some great guys up there, and a couple of them I know really well.”
"When Jerry York called this week, I knew right away: I wanted to go to BC.”
We asked Saponari if the BC-BU rivalry -- and perhaps having a chance to even a score -- had anything to do with his decision.
”Oh, no,” he said. “That had nothing to do with it. Being at BU maybe gave me a knowledge of the BC program, which might have helped me with my decision. But no, there is no spite or anything like that in my decision.”
Word from Chestnut Hill is that the BC staff were impressed by Saponari’s attitude, noting that he took full responsibility for his actions last spring, didn’t make any excuses, and showed no signs indicating he may have felt he got a raw deal.
His coach at Dubuque, Jim Montgomery, reports that Saponari has been “everything I could have hoped for.”
”He’s been such a hard worker in practice. He’s been a mentor to the younger forwards. And he’s been a good example both on and off the ice.”
For you trivia buffs, Saponari will not be the first player to suit up for both the Terriers and the Eagles. Defenseman Bruce Milton, a Brookline native, was kicked off the BU team after playing two seasons (1980-82), transferred to BC after sitting out a year and played at the Heights from ’83-85. There may be others back in the dustbins of time, but, if so, they’re not coming to this typist.
BC has another forward coming on in the fall of ’11 in Tabor’s 50-point scorer Cam Spiro, a 5’11”, 185 lb. winger from Hingham, Mass.
Spiro, a 12/30/91 birthdate, lit it up for Hingham High as a freshman and sophomore before moving on to the prep ranks in the fall of ’08.As a repeat sophomore, he notched 30 points in 25 games. Last year, as a junior, he posted a 28-22-50 line in 28 games.
Spiro, who has really nice mitts and is a pure sniper, has the potential to be the leading scorer in the prep ranks this season. He’s a bit of a throwback, a rink-rat type who is great offensively, but perhaps hasn’t fully embraced the modern advances in off-ice training. If he adds the latter component to his skill package, he’ll have a nice college career.
Avon Xmas Schedule
The 27th Annual Avon Old Farms Christmas Tournament runs from Dec. 16th through the 18th. Host Avon will be looking to improve on their sixth place finish at the tournament last year!
All games are at Avon Old Farms except as indicated below.
Thurs. Dec. 16, 2010:
3:00 pm – Loomis vs. Avon
5:00 pm – Gunnery vs. Trinity-Pawling
7:00 pm – Kent vs. Tabor
9:00 pm – Berkshire vs. St. Paul’s
Fri. Dec. 17, 2010:
9:00 am – Gunnery vs. Kent (@ Trinity)
9:00 am – Tabor vs. Trinity-Pawling
11:00 am – St. Paul’s vs. Loomis (@ Trinity)
11:00 am – Berkshire vs. Avon
3:00 pm – Trinity-Pawling vs. Kent
5:00 pm – Tabor vs. Gunnery
7:00 pm – Loomis vs. Berkshire
9:00 pm – St. Paul’s vs. Avon
Sat. Dec. 18, 2010:
8:30 am – 7th Place Game (4th Place Pierpont vs. 4th Place Trautman)
10:30 am – 5th Place Game (3rd Place Pierpont vs. 3rd Place Trautman)
1:30 pm – 3rd Place Game (2nd Place Pierpont vs. 2nd Place Trautman)
3:30 pm – Title Game (1st Place Pierpont vs. 1st Place Trautman)
Pierpont Division: Kent, Tabor, Gunnery, Trinity-Pawling
Trautman Division: Avon, Loomis, St. Paul’s, Berkshire.
Games will consist of two 25-minutes halves, with the exception of the championship game, which will consist of three 18-minute periods.
Brown Chooses Union
5’10”, 180 lb. Kent School senior LW Drew Brown has committed to Union College for next fall.
Brown, a Chelsea, Michigan native, is the leading returning goal scorer in the Founders’ League. Last season, his 26 goals were second only to Avon’s Michael Pereira, who had 28. In 26 games at Kent, Brown posted a 26-15-41 line. He was also the leading scorer at the Beantown Classic in March.
Over the summer, Brown went to the Muskegon Lumberjacks camp, and scored six goals. “To Drew’s credit,” says Kent head coach Matt Herr, “he could have played in the USHL this year. But he’s a loyal kid. He’s the son of a Michigan carpenter who came to Kent to go to prep school. It was a risk for him to come here, a real leap of faith. I give him a lot of credit. And the fact that he’s staying another year says a lot about his character. It really means a lot to me, and to his teammates.”
Brown and Noel Acciari will be co-captains at Kent this season.
Before Brown came to Kent as a repeat junior last season, he lit it up in Michigan high school hockey, leading the state with a 57-35-92 line in 27 games for Chelsea High School (it’s 20 miles due west of Ann Arbor) in ’08-09.
Brown, who has worked on his skating and added some needed explosiveness, is a pure shooter who has a knack for getting open. He made his final choice between the University of Michigan and Union. “Michigan wanted him,” says Herr. “They were pushing him hard to come there. But Coach Leaman at Union showed him that he would have a chance to be a top two line guy with them.”
6’0”, 185 lb. LW Taylor Stefishen has left Ohio State after two seasons for the Prince George Cougars (WHL).
Stefishen, a North, Vancouver native who turned 20 in August, lit it up for the Langley Chiefs (BCHL) before matriculating at Ohio State. However, the fifth round pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2008 NHL draft, never found the range in college hockey. Last season, in 27 games, he had a 5-8-13 line in 27 games.
Nichols-Belmont Hill Schedule
The snow will eventually be flying, and, in Western New York, probably even sooner than that. This year, the annual Nichols-Belmont Hill Tournament is scheduled for Buffalo, and it’s going head-to-head with the World Junior Championship. Should be a good take, if you’re in the neighborhood. Here’s the schedule:
Tues. Dec. 28:
9:00 am – Nichols vs. New Hampton
11:00 am – St. Francis vs. Hebron
1:00 pm – Belmont Hill vs. Millbrook
3:00 pm – Ridley vs. Kimball Union
6:00 pm – Hebron vs. Nichols
8:00 pm – New Hampton vs. St. Francis
Wed. Dec. 29:
9:00 am – Belmont Hill vs. Ridley
11:00 am – Millbrook vs. Kimball Union
1:00 pm – Hebron vs. New Hampton
3:00 pm – Nichols vs. St. Francis
6:00 pm – Kimball Union vs. Belmont Hill
8:00 pm – Ridley vs. Millbrook
Thurs. Dec. 30:
9:00 am – Semifinal #1: 1st Place Green vs. 2nd Place Blue
11:00 am – Semifinal #2: 1st Place Blue vs. 2nd Place Green
2:00 pm – 4th Place Teams
4:00 pm – 3rd Place Teams
6:30 pm – Championship Game
Berkshire School Jamboree Schedule
Here is the schedule for the Berkshire School’s annual Larry Piatelli Jamboree, to be held this year on Monday. Nov. 29th at the school’s twin rink facility in Sheffield, Mass.
9:30 am – Pomfret vs. Nichols
11:30 am – Berkshire vs. Kent
1:30 pm – NMH vs. Pomfret
3:30 pm – Berkshire vs. Northwood
10:00 am – Brunswick vs. NMH
Noon – Northwood vs. Gunnery
2:00 pm – Brunswick vs. Nichols
4:00 pm – Gunnery vs. Kent
Two 30-minute running time halves (except for special teams play, during which the clock will stop.)
In case you are wondering how Penn State going Div. I and the creation of a Big 10 hockey conference will shape the future of the college game, check out this article in today’s New York Times. It is indeed all about the Benjamins.
Big Ten Network Alters Network of College Sports
By the way, it seems inevitable that University of Nebraska-Omaha’s program will somehow migrate west to Lincoln and give the Cornhuskers a Div. I program in the Big 10 League. We don’t want to pretend to understand the machinations of such a move, but we can tell you it’s being ‘explored.’ That means people in high places want it to happen, which usually means that it will happen.
5’10”, 170 LB. LD Brian Cooper of the Fargo Force (USHL), the most highly-coveted remaining recruits among the ’93 class, has narrowed his college choices to Minnesota, Nebraska-Omaha, and Denver.
Cooper, a native of Anchorage, Alaska, is an 11/1/93 birthdate, an 11th grader, and, of course, a difference maker.
USHL Starts Tonight
The 2010-11 USHL regular season gets underway with four games tonight. All 23-man active rosters are now posted on the league's web site.
In addition, here is a link to a PDF file containing each team's affiliate list. Each USHL team is allowed to protect up to 13 players iin addition to those on the active 23-man roster. An affiliate player can be added to the active roster at any time. However, if added after Feb. 10, the player is ineligible for postseason play.
'92s on the list are protected only for the current season, '93s for the next two seasons, and '94s for the next three seasons.
USHL Affiliate Lists
By the way, our pick to win the USHL crown this year is the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Think of them as the Boston College of the USHL: excellent team speed, plus a lot of returning talent. They looked very good in winning all of their games at the USHL Fall Classic last weekend. But check back in April!
6'2", 183 lb. Wayzata High School LW Mario Lucia will be joining the U.S. Under-18 Team on a temporary basis and will be in the lineup for tomorrow night's game at Denver and a Sunday night tilt at Colorado College.
Minnesota Elite Notes
Last year was a rich one for NHL draft prospects playing in the Upper Midwest Fall Elite League with Nick Bjugstad, Brock Nelson, Mark Alt, Max Gardiner, and Max Gaede all drafted in the top few rounds, and at least a dozen overall. This year, however, the numbers will be smaller, as the ’93 class has less to temp the pro scouts than any draft class we’ve seen from the state of Minnesota in a long while. That’s not to say that someone may not emerge, as Tanner Lane did last season. But it doesn’t look good right now.
That said, it appears to be a slam dunk that 6’2” Mario Lucia, a ’93 junior from Wayzata High, will be the highest-drafted kid in the state come June. He has the tools. However, he did not play well on the day we were there (Saturday), though he reportedly bounced back with a good game on Sunday.
Here’s our list of Elite League players we expect NHL scouts will give consideration to:
NHL Draft Prospects (‘93s):
1. 6'2" LW Mario Lucia, '93 junior, Wayzata
2. 6’1½” RC/RW Steven Fogarty, ’93 senior, Edina
3. 5’11” RD Dan Molenaar, ’93 senior, Eden Prairie
4. 5’10” RC Tanner Sorenson, ’93 senior, S-SM (Michigan State)
5. 5’8” LC Kyle Rau, late ’92 senior, Eden Prairie (Gophers)
6. 6’1½” RW Michael Zajac, ’93 junior, Eagan HS
7. 5’11½” LD Nick Seeler, ’93 senior, Eden Prairie
8. 6’0½” RD Ben Ostlie, ’93 senior, Edina
Potential Drafts Who Did Not Play at Fall Elite:
6’0” LD Max Everson (’93 senior, Edina; temping with US U-18)
6’1” LC Ben Greiner, ’93 senior, Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Injured)
6’4” LC Joseph LaBate, ’93 senior, Holy Angels (Injured)
Although it may be thin for the pro guys, there are quite a few USHL/Div. I candidates among the ‘93s. We hope we identified some of the key ones below.
As for the younger kids, things look better: there are a lot of really nice ‘94s and ‘95’s.
Obviously, only the best of the ‘95s – there are only four – were playing. You know about Hudson Fasching, as we wrote about him the other day. 5’9” RD Michael Brodzinski, ’95 sophomore from Blaine HS was pretty damn good, too – he’s reportedly been offered by North Dakota. We also liked the two Great Plains d-men, 6’0” Keaton Thompson and Gage Ausmus. The fifth’95, defenseman Parker Reno, is unfortunately injured. He may miss the entire season.
Of the ‘94s a few of the most skilled were coaches’ kids, not exactly unusual in hockey. 5’10” RC Luke Johnson, son of St. Cloud assistant Steve Johnson, is a late ’94 sophomore from Grand Lakes Central who is smart, skilled, and competes. 5’6” LC Jake Guentzel, a sophomore at Hill-Murray and the son of UNO assistant Mike Guentzel, is very small but could really become something if he adds a couple inches and fills out: he has excellent skills and a head for the game. 5’11” LD Vince Pedrie, a junior at Apple Valley and an excellent two-way d-man, is the son of Larry Pedrie, the former head coach of Illinois-Chicago and, over the last decade, some of the top Chicago youth teams.
A couple of other ‘94s we kept noticing were 5’9” LW Grant Besse, a sophomore at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, and 5’10½” RD Jake Horton, a ’94 junior, and Besse’s teammate at Benilde.
Another ’94, 6’0”, 182 lb. LW A.J. Michaelson, a junior at Apple Valley, is an excellent skater, but doesn’t really produce as much as a number of lesser-known players. He does have wheels, though.
It’s really early, but we have to say that this year’s Shattuck-St. Mary’s team, at least by the school’s high benchmark, is rather thin up front. ’93 RC Tanner Sorenson, who, by the way is also the son of a coach (see above), is a sniper who nailed a great one-timer in a 2-1 Shattuck win over Great Plains. Yale recruit Nicholas Weberg got him the puck, something he will have to do a lot this season. Late ’93 Kenny Gillespie, who works hard and can skate and bang will have to come up big too. Shattuck was playing a careful game vs. Great Plains. The forwards weren’t exactly freewheeling. However, some of those first-year forwards are likely to emerge over the course of the season, much the way Sorenson did last year.
Shattuck seems fine on the blue line. BC recruit Teddy Doherty seemed tentative. ’93 junior Mike Reilly is, like Doherty, small and skilled. He played really well. ’92 LD Bryan Sinz is very solid, the veteran of the group.
We saw junior goalie Kyle Hayton come up with a nice game, kicking out 23 of 24 shots. We did not see senior Peter Traber, though we have in the past, and believe him to have potential too. Shattuck will need to have strong defense and goaltending this season. They are not going to be scoring eight goals a game.
(Players we noticed, regardless of age.)
5’10” LD Tim Davison, ’94 11th grade (Wisconsin)
6’2” LD Cliff Watson, late ‘93, 11th grade
6’2” LC Brad Navin, ’92 12th grader
5’9” RD Michael Brodzinski, ’95 sophomore, Blaine
5’11½” RD J.D. Cotroneo, ’93 senior, Hill-Murray
5’9½” LW Ben Bahe ’93 senior, Hill-Murray
5’7½” RC Brandon Wahlin, ’92 senior, White Bear Lake
5’10” RC Max Birkinbine, ’93 senior, White Bear Lake
DNP: ’93 LD Max Everson (Edina; with US Under-18 Team), ’93 RD Ryan Bullock (Blake), and ’93 F Derek Frawley (Minnetonka). Note: Bullock reportedly played on Sunday, and played well.
5’11” RD Dan Molenaar, ’93 senior, Eden Prairie
5’11½” LD Nick Seeler, ’93 senior, Eden Prairie
5’8” LC Kyle Rau, late ’92 senior, Eden Prairie (Gophers)
6’1½” RC/RW Steven Fogarty, ’93 senior, Edina
5’8½” RW Max Coatta, ’94 sophomore, Minnetonka
6’0” RC Thomas Schutt, ’93 senior, Edina.
5’10” LC Michael Sit, ’93 senior, Edina
6’0” Connor Girard, ’93 senior, Edina -- 28/30 when we were watching.
6’0” LD Keaton Thompson, ’95 sophomore, Devil’s Lake (ND) HS
6’0” LD Gage Ausmus, ’95 sophomore, E. Grand Forks (ND) HS, a.m. game only
5’10½” RD Garrett Schmitz, ’93 junior, Red Lake Falls HS
5’10” RC Luke Johnson, late ’94 sophomore, Grand Lakes Central
5’10½” LC Shane Omdahl, late ’92 senior, Roseau
5’8½” RW Josh Erickson, ’93 junior, Roseau
6’0½” LW Eric Brenk, ’94 junior, Moorhead
5’9” Bryan Nies, ’93 junior, GF Red River – very good vs. Shattuck
5’10½”’ Michael Bitzer, late ‘93 junior, Moorhead – good in a.m.game
6’1” LC Garrett Hendrickson, ’92 senior, Virginia HS (St. Cloud State)
6’0” LC Dom Toninato, ’94 junior, Duluth East
5’8” LW Jake Randolph, ’94 junior, Duluth East
6’0” Alex Lyon, late ’92 senior from Lake of the Woods – 45/50 in am game
5’10½” Dom DeGuiseppi, a late ‘92 senior from Grand Rapids HS, good in p.m.game
DNP: 6’4” LC Joseph LaBate, a ’93 senior from Holy Angels (injured)
5’11” LD Vince Pedrie, ’94 junior, Apple Valley
5’10” RD Taylor Fleming, ’93 senior, St. Thomas Academy
5’9” LD Eric Schurhamer, late ’93 junior, St. Thomas Academy
6’1½”, 189 lb. RW Hudson Fasching, 7/28/95 sophomore, Apple Valley
5’8”, 156 lb. RC Justin Kloos, late ’93 junior, Lakeville South – played in a.m.only
6’0”, 182 lb. LW A.J. Michaelson, ’94 junior, Apple Valley
6’1½” RW Michael Zajac, ’93 junior, Eagan HS
5’10” RW Tony Barbato, ’93 senior, Cretin-Derham Hall
5’9” RC Kevin Becker, ’93 senior, Hill-Murray
5’8½” RC Zach Schroeder, ’92 senior, St. Thomas Academy
5’8”, 187 RC A.J. Reid, ’92 senior, St. Thomas Academy
DNP: 6’0” RD Parker Reno, a ’95 soph from Edina (probably out for the season), and RW Christian Horn, a 5’10½” ’93 junior from Benilde-St. Margaret’s
5’10½” RD Jake Horton, ’94 junior, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
6’0½” RD Ben Ostlie, ’93 senior, Edina
6’2” LW Mario Lucia, ’93 junior, Wayzata
5’9” LW Grant Besse, ’94 sophomore, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
5’6” LC Jake Guentzel, ’94 sophomore, Hill-Murray
5’9” RC Tony Camarenesi, ’93 senior, Wayzata
5’9” LW Gage Torrel, ’94 junior, Monticello HS
5’7” RC Patrick Steinhauser, ’93 senior, Benilde-St. Margaret’s
5’11” RC Jonny Brodzinski, ’93 senior, Blaine HS
DNP: Ben Greiner, ’93 senior LC (Injured)
RC Tanner Sorenson, ’93 senior (Michigan State)
LW Nicholas Weberg, ’92 senior (Yale)
RC Zach Stepan, ’94 junior
RW Kenny Gillespie, ’93 senior
LW Cannon Pieper, late ’93 junior
LW Hunter Fejes, ’94 junior
LD Teddy Doherty, ’94 junior (BC)
LD Mike Reilly, ’93 junior
LD Bryan Sinz, ‘92 senior
Kyle Hayton, ’94 junior – 23/24
Peter Traber, ’93 senior – didn’t see here.
Beantown Fall Classic Schedule
The 2010 Beantown Fall Classic is scheduled for Thurs. Oct. 14-Sun. Oct. 17 at the Rinks at Exeter, UNH, Haverhill, and Governor’s Academy.
The schedule is now up at the tournament’s website:
Beantown Classic Schedule