Top Uncommitted ‘95s
Last month we asked ourselves, “Who are the top uncommitted players ready to step in play college hockey in the 2012-13 season?” – and produced a list (USHR News, 1/25/11). This month, we decided to get a little more specific. The question this time around being, “Who are the top players born in 1995 who have yet to commit to a college?” We would be lying if we said we have seen all the players on this list, but we have seen most of them. For the ones we have yet to see, we relied heavily on advice from trusted NCAA coaches, scouts, agents, and, of course, the players’ own coaches. This list will be ongoing and constantly changing as players step up and force their way into our consciousness. Late bloomers will emerge, and get added to the list. As players move up, others will move down. And some, of course, will be taken off because they commit in the coming months. Enjoy!
1. Ian McCoshen, D (Waterloo-USHL) 6-2/190—The only ’95 named to Team USA for the World Junior A Challenge. A second-year USHL player, McCoshen, from Hudson, Wisconsin, is a poised man-child playing a key role on one of the top teams in the USHL. A potential 1st round NHL draft pick in 2013, McCoshen has proven himself through playing more games at a high level of competition than any other ’95 likely to play NCAA hockey.
2. Hudson Fasching, F (USNTDP) 6-3/195—Also a potential 1st round NHL draft pick in 2013. Fasching, who played at Apple Valley High School last season, has also yet to choose a home. May have more upside than McCoshen, but still has a ways to go.
3. Jonathan Drouin, F (Lac St.-Louis- QMAAA) 5-9/163—The second overall pick in the 2011 QMJHL draft could be headed to Dubuque (USHL) next season. A very intelligent player who will pile up the points, but does not have a pro body.
4. Cody Depourcq, F (Penticton-BCHL) 5-6/150—The top ’95 in the BCHL is getting rave reviews. Very small, but is dynamic enough to be an impact player at the next level. (Note: As we were assembling this list, Depourcq committed to Denver.)
5. Max Becker, F (Shattuck) 5-10/175—The second-leading scorer on Shattuck’s prep team as a 10th grader. An Orange, Calif. native out of the LA Selects organization, Becker has been a scorer at every level and has given no indication that will change as he progresses to NCAA play.
6. Justin Bailey, F (Long Island Royals U16) 6-3/185—Pro prospect has all the tools and keeps getting better. Kitchener (OHL) is not out of the picture.
7. Thatcher Demko, G (Omaha-USHL) 6-3/170— San Diego native is establishing himself as the top ’95 goalie in the US.
8. Thomas Aldworth, F (Cushing) 5-11/170—Texas native has an explosive first step and elite level skill. Will not be uncommitted for long.
9. Jacob Jammes, F (Gloucester-CCHL) 5-10/165—Second round draft pick of the London Knights (OHL) is keeping his options open.
10. Aaron Berisha, F (Salisbury) 5-9/165—The OHL Cup MVP played for the Toronto Marlies; is now at Salisbury.
11. Maxime Gravel, D (College Esther-Blondin-QMAAA) 6-0/170—Would have been a 1st round pick in the 2011 QMJHL draft if his sights were not set on playing NCAA hockey. Will likely hook up with a USHL team next season after his game is displayed at the World Under 17’s over New Year's.
12. Willie Raskob, D (Shattuck) 5-10/185— One of the top blueliners at this summer’s Select 16 Festival played on the U.S. Under-17 Selects team that went 4-0-0 at Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor in August. From Hastings, Minn.
13. Remi Elie, F (Hawksbury-CCHL) 6-0/185— Fifth round pick to London (OHL) is second in scoring on his team, an impressive feat for a 16 year old.
14. Alex Smith, D (Muskegon-USHL) 6-0/175— Former Honeybaked player was Muskegon’s 1st round Futures pick last spring. Progressing nicely in his first season in the USHL.
15. Alex Schoenborn, F (Minot, ND) 6-0/190—Top prospect had 45 points in 27 games last season at Minot High. Was also on the U.S. Under-17 Selects team that won Five Nations Tournament in August.
16. Steen Cooper, F (Cowichan Valley-BCHL) 5-9/155—Don’t let his numbers fool you (20 gp -1-3-4). Cooper is an elite player to keep an eye on.
17. Corey Ronan, F (St. Sebastian’s) 5-8/160—Son of Ed Ronan will choose between BU, BC, and Harvard.
18. Daniel Labosky, F (Benilde-St. Margaret’s) 5-6/150—Looks to build on the 40 points he put up last season (in 25 games). Also on the U.S. Under-17 Selects team in August.
19. Matthew Weis, F (Corpus Christi-NAHL) 5-9/185—Scoring nearly a point a game in his rookie season in the NAHL. From Madison, New Jersey, and Hitmen organization.
20. Paul Stoykewych, D (Winnipeg Blues-MJHL) 6-0/172—Played for Team Manitoba at the 2011 Canada Winter Games; has a brother at Colorado College.
21. Nelson Gadoury, F (Camrose-AJHL) 5-10/150—Regarded as the top ’95 player in the AJHL.
22. RJ Gicewicz, D (Nichols) 5-11/180—Looks to build upon an excellent showing at the Select 16 Festival this season. Also on the Five Nations Team.
23. Ryan Siroky, F (LA Jr. Kings U16) 6-0/190—LA Selects product has great offensive instincts. He, too, was on the undefeated U.S. Five Nations Team.
24. Mackenzie MacSorley, F (Stratford-GOJHL) 5-9/165—Gritty, two-way forward could be the next NCAA prospect from the Stratford Cullitons storied franchise.
25. Elliott Peterson, F (Beardy’s Blackhawks-SMAAAHL) 5-9/154—Has a 16-16-17-33 scoring line and is the leading scorer in a very good Saskatchewan Midget AAA league.
26. Karson Kuhlman, F (Cloquet) 5-9/160—Put up 50 points in 25 games last season at Cloquet.
27. Daniel LaFontaine, F (Long Island Royals U16) 5-10/150—Intelligent center is attempting to step out from his Hall of Fame father’s long shadow.
28. Kurt Keats, F (Winnipeg Blues-MJHL) 5-7/150—Smallish forward led Team Manitoba in scoring at the Canada Winter Games last year.
29. Dom Sacco, F (Metro Moose) 5-8/165—Scoring at a three points per game pace in a weak Met League. Auditioned in Omaha (USHL) last week.
30. Curtis Frye, G (USNTDP) 6-4/200—Intriguing goaltender has a long way to go, but there is certainly a lot to work with here.
31. Evan Tironese, F (Alberni Valley-BCHL) 5-8/155—Talented prospect will be a top scorer in the BCHL within the next two years.
32. Anthony DiFruscia, F (Salisbury) 5-11/175— Second round OHL pick looks to establish himself as a premier prep player early in the season.
33. Brendan Taylor, F (Nanaimo-BCHL) 5-11/174—His best hockey is still ahead of him. Will develop nicely under Mike Vandekamp, a coach known to get the most out of his players.
34. Dylan Chanter, D (Merritt-BCHL) 6-1/180—A sleeper beginning to show up on scouts’ radars.
35. Justin Nichols, G (Salisbury) 5-8/141—Under-sized goaltender is eager to establish a name for himself on a very strong Salisbury team. St. Catharine’s, Ontario native is a 3rd round OHL pick of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
36. Craig Martin, F (Beaver Valley-KIJHL) 5-11/165—Scoring over a goal a game in a Junior B league that has been known to produce some quality players.
37. Tyler Moy, F (Chicago Fury U18) 6-1/175—San Diego product has moved to Chicago where he seems to have made a smooth transition.
38. Joe Fallon, F (Long Island Royals U16) 5-7/170—Small forward is effective in every game he plays, constantly makes positive things happen for his team.
39. Patrick Polino, F (Team Illinois U18) 5-8/160—Former Buffalo Regal is safe bet to be an effective college player.
40. Roberts Smits, F (Selects Hockey Academy U16) 6-1/185—Big Latvian has excellent presence in the middle of the ice; does a lot of little things well.
*Wildcard* Evan Morrison, F (Appleby College-CISAA) 5-8/145—Was second in scoring at the Canada Winter games last year, putting up 14 points in six games played for Team PEI. In comparison, NHL prospect Nick Ritchie only scored four points in six games.
St. Paul’s & Berkshire Jamborees Reviewed
Got our first look at yet more prep teams over the weekend at both the St. Paul’s and Berkshire jamborees. The pace at Berkshire was a little better than up in Concord, NH as a number of the high-end teams -- or supposed high-end teams (Kent, Gunnery, Berkshire) -- were on display in Sheffield, Mass., under the dome of Mount Everett. Without any further ado, here is who we liked:
Sean Malone, F, ’95 (Nichols) 5-11/171—Malone created the most buzz, by a substantial margin. A lot of colleges were on hand and from the looks of things everyone had #13 circled. He can expect to receive a number of the coveted “packages” schools send to prospective student-athletes. A crafty center who made a lot of plays come together. His skating and size are average, but his poise, vision and ability to make plays in tight make him an immediate D1 prospect. Last week, we put together a list of the top uncommitted 95’s—if Malone is still uncommitted by the next time we create that list he will be on it.
Mike Ederer, F, ’96 (Nichols) 5-9/155—The ’96-born winger did not look out of place playing on the top line with Malone. He has skill and we feel his game will come along nicely over the next few years. Definitely a player worth tracking.
RJ Gicewicz, D, ’95 (Nichols) 5-10/168—Has a really nice set of hands and showed pinpoint accuracy with his passes. There is not much doubt that he is a D1 defenseman who has the ability to run a PP. Made some questionable defensive plays and was caught out of position a few times, but has no tendencies that cannot be broken at the next level.
Wilson Vershay, D, ’95 (Nichols) 6-3/190—Vershay is a project that someone will take on in the not-too-distant future. You cannot teach size, and Vershay has plenty of it. Has good form when skating and an absolute bomb a shot. The issues that we see in his game are his vision and quickness. Was partnered up with Gicewicz and on numerous occasions did not see the D to D outlet and instead made forced plays up the strong side wall. Also, in tight, his feet are not very quick—we question his ability to defend against the small/quick forwards that every D1 school has. He is one of those home run or strikeout kind of players—He is either going to turn into a Doug Murray (San Jose Sharks) or a John Doherty (Andover grad, 2nd round NHL draft pick—couldn’t adjust to the speed of NCAA hockey).
Nick Ellis, G, ’94 (Pomfret) 6-0/156—We watched the Providence College recruit in net against Nichols and he was absolutely outstanding. The New England area is not blessed with a ton of NHL prospects this year, but we feel Ellis should be grouped in with Boo Nieves and Brian Hart as one of the top players available for the 2012 draft in prep hockey. He is a difference maker who can win games all by himself—which he did here. Nichols had more talent top to bottom than Pomfret, but still lost 6-1—the difference? Ellis. Is the complete package and could do for Providence College what Joe Cannata is currently doing for Merrimack -- the #1 team in the country, we should add.
Jay Kourkoulis, D, ’93 (Pomfret) 6-0/206—Do not know if there is a ton of upside here, but he stands out and is someone a lower-end D1 school should be evaluating. Has good size, makes good plays and is solid in the defensive zone.
Quinn Pompi, D, ’94 (Berkshire) 6-2/185—We feel he is the top prospect on a solid Berkshire squad. The Bears have a lot of big, solid and capable prep school defenseman, but Pompi has the most upside. Can skate well for his size, handles the puck with confidence and made the right play 95% of the time. When we first saw him this fall we questioned if he could make plays in a fast-paced game. He answered that question here.
Patrick Feeley, G, ’93 (Berkshire) 6-7/220—Is quite the project, to say the least, but at 6-7 he could be worth taking on. Impressed us with his game against Kent. Is so big and takes up so much net that he really makes it difficult to find openings. With some work on his technique and lateral movement he could turn into a player.
Boo Nieves, F, ’94 (Kent) 6-3/185—Let us first start by saying that we are big fans of Boo. He could be an NHLer, has all the potential in the world… but he has not yet turned the corner in terms of being a dominant player. He does not have an ounce of selfishness in him, normally a quality characteristic, though not in Boo’s case. No one on the ice in Sheffield on Monday – perhaps no one in all of prep hockey -- can do what he can do, but instead of driving the net himself, or shooting it too much on the PP, or breaking the puck out by carrying it himself, he chooses to pass it off and allow his teammates to do the work. He could be a special player, and for our money he will be, but he still has a way to go. In order to be drafted in the first round he will need to dominate whole games.
Ryan Rosenthal, F, ’93 (Kent) 6-1/180—He’s a D1 player, no doubt. Has good speed and can really shoot the puck—one of those guys that picks his spot and hits it the majority of the time. Plays a little bit on the perimeter and needs to prove that he “could” play as a 7-9 forward on a D1 roster before he will commit to a top school. A lot of programs probably look at him as a borderline top six guy. Needs to show more grit and versatility. Was not playing with Nieves in the game we saw, though perhaps that will happen as time goes on.
Perry Holcombe, D, ’93 (Kent) 5-11/195—Kent’s top defender. Looks right at home on the top of the PP. A borderline D1 player—someone will grab him or he will be a grade “A” DIII recruit. Makes excellent short passes and can defend.
Dakota Ford, D, ’95 (Gunnery) 6-2/175—A simple meat-and-potatoes defenseman that all successful teams have. Appears to be strong defensively and gives a consistent effort every shift. Someone you want on the ice when the game matters most. An extremely safe pick to be a D1 player—not a lot of downside to his game.
Anthony Bird, F, ’94 (Gunnery) 5-11/160—In the game that we watched (against Northwood) Bird was the most involved forward. Has a lot of energy and is constantly trying to make things happen. Do not know how much upside he has, but he will be very good for Gunnery over the next couple years.
Laythe Jadallah, F, ’96 (Gunnery) 6-0/165—Has good size, can skate and can handle the puck—those attributes make him a quality prospect. Having said that, he needs to play with a constant sense of urgency. He goes long stretches where he is not involved.
Jake Wood, F, ’93 (Gunnery) 5-8/165—The RPI recruit was pretty good here. Small, but is quick, agile and makes a lot of plays. Probably projects as an energy player that can chip in offensively at the next level. Should accumulate a lot of points this season.
Derek Pratt, D, ’94 (NMH) 6-2/180—The son of NMH head coach Tom Pratt is a nice defenseman. Did not do anything to bring us out of our seat, but he has good size and can make a nice outlet pass. NMH’s top prospect.
Luke Esposito, F, ’93 (Brunswick) 5-10/175—We think 5-10 might be with sneakers on, but the small speedster has some skill and can make plays.
Sean MacTavish, F, ’94 (Brunswick) 6-0/170—The son of Craig MacTavish does not skate particularly well, but he has a nice head for the game and good patience around the net. If he can fix the skating problem, he will become a prospect.
JP Langlois, D, ’94 (Northwood) 6-0/172—Solidly-built defender is above average in all areas. Plays the point on the PP and makes good, crisp, hard passes.
Daniel Fritz, F, ’95 (Canterbury) 6-0/168—The Team Maryland product is good in all facets of the game. Natural center appears to be versatile in that he has some jam to his game to go along with nice playmaking and finishing abilities. One to get out and see.
Christian Short, G, ’95 (Canterbury) 6-3/172—Did not get to see enough of him to truly ascertain if he is high-end (or not), but the Woodbridge, Ontario native has good size and the look of a quality goaltender.
Andrew Gaus, F, ’95 (Taft)—Do not have an accurate height/weight, but we can tell you that he is tall (6-0) and skinny (155-165). A top scorer from the Pittsburgh Hornets organization, Gaus is a little soft around the edges right now, but the sophomore forward has plenty of time to fill out and add some sandpaper to his game. Has a nice set of hands, and is a really nice skater.
Brett Curran, D, ’93 (Taft)—The PG defenseman will make an immediate impact as he has played some high-end hockey coming from the Tier I Elite League (Team Illinois). Probably not a D1 defender, but should be solid this season for the Rhinos.
Ryan Bliss, D, ’96 (St. Paul’s)—Sometimes you forget that the Cornell recruit is only a ’96, as he is held to very high standards. Made some questionable plays against Taft and appeared to be fighting the puck a bit. Nonetheless he has the potential to be an elite defender. All the tools are there.
Austin Ricci, F, ’96 (St. Paul’s)—The freshman forward is very opportunistic and always seems to be around the puck. Scored a pretty goal here. Does not have a high-end skill set, but he is productive and does a lot of positive things on the ice.
Kevin Salvucci, F, ’93 (Tabor)—The Tabor captain has good wheels and is very shifty with the puck on his stick. Used his speed to drive to the front of the net on numerous occasions against Canterbury. Uses a short stick which enables him to handle the puck in tight, but at the same time it hinders his shot, which is not very strong.
Matthew Salhany, F, ’93 (Tabor)—Smallish forward has a lot of speed and creates offense. Very noticeable.
Madsen Impresses in Jamborees
Over the weekend, this typist took in the Belmont Hill and Lawrence Jamborees. It should come as no surprise that we found some interesting new players.
For us, the most interesting of all was Proctor Academy’s 6’4” sophomore goalie Merrick Madsen, who played last year for the California Heat program. Madsen, an Ivy-level student according Proctor head coach Mike Walsh, is a home-schooled kid from the mountains north of Los Angeles who came to Proctor on the recommendation of former Boston College forward John Devereaux, who coaches in the Heat organization. We got to see Madsen, an 8/22/95 birthdate, over the course of two days, as Proctor was in both jamborees. And we can tell you that Madsen has all the tools – great size and athleticism, quick feet, quick glove hand, poise. Against Belmont Hill on Saturday, the 16-year-old faced waves of odd-man rushes and was forced to come up big time and again. And some of the saves were spectacular. Check him out. There’s some serious upside here.
Behind Madsen, Proctor has a freshman goalie, Beau Collins, a ’96 from Londonderry, NH. Collins, who was at the Select 15s in Rochester, NY this summer, has promise, too.
Madsen and Collins will see a lot of shots this winter because the Hornets d-men were way too kind and hospitable toward opposing forwards.
Proctor, we should add, has a ’97 forward from New London, NH named Hunter Luhmann. A smooth skater who stands 5’10”, Luhmann likely has some growing in front of him. Mark his name down, as he has Div. I potential.
-- We liked Winchendon’s Nicolas Potvin, a 5’9” sophomore LW from Chambly, Quebec whose skating ability was equaled by his physical play. Potvin, a Div. I prospect, will go to the dirty areas. He’s Winchendon’s Brad Marchand.
Also from Quebec are both of Winchendon’s goalies, senior Frederick Giroux and senior Simon Jasmin. Both were solid.
-- Governor’s 5’11” junior forward Ryan Scarfo, a ’94, had a hat trick against Proctor – all in the second period, and all on really high-quality shots. He was just picking the corners on Collins; had the best scoring touch we saw on the weekend. Whether Scarfo can keep it going is another matter, but he was red-hot on Saturday. He, along with fellow junior Nathan Ferriero (Northeastern) and seniors Alex Minter and Bryan Sullivan are Governor’s top returning scorers.
-- St. Andrew’s College has a couple players who stood out for us, both of whom are juniors and ’95 birthdates. Up front, we noticed 5’11”, 172 lb. Jay Mackie, who was pretty consistently taking it to the net. On the blue line, we liked 6’1”, 180 lb. Rory McGuire, a solidly-built defensive defenseman who kept it simple, and made a good first pass. Both have Div. I potential.
-- Belmont Hill was in the midst of tryouts so had no rosters to hand out, were wearing practice jerseys, and had fairly different lineups for the two games in which we watched them. Since we spent most of the time trying to figure out who’s who, we don’t want to write much now but will say that the line of ’95 soph Will Golonica (spelling?), senior C Carl Hesler (Dartmouth) and RW Sean Gustin (Holy Cross) was very effective. Given that it was tryouts, a whole slew of good young players were hustling, working to make the lineup – D’Orsi, Ferreira were a couple names we were given. Certainly made for some fun viewing. When it comes to sheer numbers, Bel Hill does not lack for hockey players. By the way, 6’1” senior D Terry Goguen looks to us like someone who will have – who should have -- a commitment from a Div. I school someday before long.
As for the Lawrence Jamboree, we’ve already mentioned Proctor, so we don’t have to repeat ourselves there. But we will: Madsen is very, very good.
-- Lawrence doesn’t have any true high end-forwards, at least in our book, but they do have a number of good, skilled forwards. There is some depth there. Late ’93 senior – and captain -- Devin Tringale (Harvard) is their top returning scorer and will be expected to lead the charge. Their top uncommitted player is junior LD Robert Klein, a big ’95-born defensive defenseman.
-- Kimball Union has lost a lot of scoring with Alex Kravchenko and Ryan Cole gone. So new junior Niko Rufo, a 6’0” Providence College recruit who played for the Junior Bruins Empire team last year, will be the one called on to put up numbers. He’s their standout. 5’9” Nick Roberto, a repeat junior from Malden Catholic, was also consistently noticeable.
KUA is stronger on the back end. We’ve written this fall about 6’4”, 210 lb. Doyle Somerby, a ’94 whose tremendous size, along with the fact that he has pretty good feet, make him an instant candidate for next summer’s NHL draft, and, of course, a serious Div. I candidate. Hockey-wise, though, he’s pretty raw. He’ll force plays that aren’t there, and create pickles. We don’t mind players trying to see what they can do, but sometimes less is more. On Sunday, we thought ’94 d-man Alex Carle – KUA’s captain this year --was his team’s best overall player. Carle, 5’11”, 190 lbs., is the brother of the Flyers’ Matt Carle and University of Denver assistant coach David Carle. While Alex doesn’t have the high-end dynamic offensive game that Matt did at the same age, and probably never will, do keep in mind that Matt didn’t really blossom offensively until after he finished at the National Program and went to the USHL’s Omaha Lancers. Alex, a ’94 understands his position well, and will play Div. I hockey. 6’2”, ’96 d-man John MacLeod, a freshman who was at Cardigan Mountain last year, has, like Somerby, Div. I/pro potential written all over him. A little raw, he plays with a nice edge. Not at all shy for a freshman.
-- The Boston Advantage Midget AAA Team was at the Lawrence Jamboree, too – and were totally snakebitten. In three 30-minute running time halves they were unable to score a single goal. And they have skill up front. For the record, LA had six goals on the day, Hebron had three, KUA had two, Proctor had one, and, as we mentioned, the Advantage had zero. Can’t read too much into any of that, however: thirty-minute running-time periods is hockey on fast forward.
As long as we’re on the subject of jamborees, the winner of the Northeast Hockey Showcase up at Tilton was the South Kent School, beating Ste-Foy, 2-1, in the title game. Senior forwards Alex Poulin and Yannick Crete scored the goals and senior goaltender Gianluca Vallini stopped 16 of 17 shots for the win. To get to the title game, South Kent edged Dawson (Montreal) in the semis, 3-2 in OT. In the quarterfinals, South Kent got by Stanstead College, 2-1.
Quinnipiac has a commitment from 6’1”, 184 lb. Indiana Ice (USHL) RD Alex Barron for next fall.
Barron, who is in his second year with the Ice and is team captain, is a 5/9/91 birthdate from Glendora, California. In 17 games with Indiana he has a 1-10-11 line (and a +11).
He’s the brother of current Quinnipiac d-man Loren Barron. Quinnipiac seems to be loading up on brothers. In addition to the Barrons, the Jones twins – Connor and Kellen – are at Q-pac now. The Bobcats also recently got commitments from Tim and Connor Clifton of the Jersey Hitmen.
Fitzgerald Out for Season’s Start
The Massachusetts high school hockey season officially begins tomorrow, and defending state champs Malden Catholic will be without star forward Ryan Fitzgerald, a BC recruit for the fall of ’13. Fitzgerald, a junior, separated his shoulder in the state midget tournament two weeks ago.
It’s a 4-6 week injury; Fitzgerald started rehab this past week.
Malden Catholic, by the way, will be playing Delbarton again this year, as the New Jersey State Champions for the last four straight years are making a Boston swing again. Malden Catholic hosts them at Harvard’s Bright Arena on Sat. Dec. 17th (4:00 pm) and Catholic Memorial will do the same the following day, Sun. Dec. 18th, at Boston University (2:00 pm).
Quebec Midget AAA a Must-See
The US Hockey Report ventured up to Montreal last weekend to check out Quebec’s Midget AAA league – and came away impressed. The top teams are the Lac Saint-Louis Lions and Collège Esther-Blondin Phénix, both of which would be among the top Midget AAA teams in the US, if not the very best. This typist saw only two NCAA coaches in attendance all weekend -- one Div. I and one Div. III. That’s puzzling to us, as there is a lot of high-end talent in La Belle Province, and even players bubbling under the top guys are pretty good. While it is well known that a lot of these players will end up in the QMJHL, it does not mean it is not a fight worth fighting. After all, NCAA coaches fight the battle all the time against the OHL and WHL, leagues that are probably superior to the QMJHL. NCAA teams probably stand the best chance to lure top prospects out of Quebec, yet it seems to be an area that is perhaps under-recruited.
Of the teams we had an opportunity to see, Collège Esther-Blondin is probably the best, at least this year. On Sunday, they played Jonquière Élites and the game was a real pleasure to watch. The rink in Lachenaie, Que. has an old school feel to it, with 300-400 enthusiastic fans in the stands, giving you the sense that you are watching hockey in its purest form—just a Sunday game in Small Town, Canada.
Here are the players who stood out:
Daniel Audette, ’96, F (Collège Esther-Blondin) 5-7.5/158—The son of NHL veteran Donald Audette is an elite-level talent who is expected to go #1 overall in the 2012 QMJHL draft. A dual citizen who was born in the US (Buffalo, NY) while his father was playing in the NHL is also eligible to play for the NTDP. He would make for an electric college player, but is also quite capable of compiling 100+ point seasons in the Q. Will be an under-age player for Team Quebec at the World Under-17 Challenge over the holidays. Our gut tells us that he will entertain the college route, but merely as a means of having some leverage at the QMJHL draft.
Laurent Dauphin, ’95, F (Collège Esther-Blondin) 5-11/155— Esther-Blondin’s top forward and leading scorer is committed to playing in the Q (the Chicoutimi Saguenéens took him in the 1st round of the 2011 draft). A high-end skater who does a little bit of everything, including playing the point on the PP. Could be playing major junior right now, but thought it best for his development to be the go-to guy in Midget AAA as opposed to playing on the 3rd or 4th line in Chicoutimi. Named to Team Quebec for the World Under-17 Challenge.
Frédérik Gauthier, ’95, F (Collège Esther-Blondin) 6-3.5/211—The Harvard commit is an absolute steal. Could be a top three round NHL pick in next year’s draft. The true center has size, can skate, makes plays and is good in the defensive zone. If he were an American he would be playing for the NTDP and would have been pursued by many of the top college programs in the country. From our understanding Harvard and Cornell were the only programs involved in recruiting him, which is mind-blowing. This player will turn out to be another feather in the cap of Harvard assistant Albie O’Connell, perhaps his biggest since landing John Gaudreau for Northeastern. Gauthier, who will also be playing for Team Quebec in the World Under-17 Challenge over the holidays, will be a high USHL draft pick in the spring.
Maxime Gravel, ’95, D (Collège Esther-Blondin) 6-0/176—Gravel has made it clear that he intends to play NCAA hockey where he will likely be pursued hard in the coming months. Does not defend or skate at an elite level, but he is also not a poor skater or defender—adequate would be the proper word. Having said that-- he sure can run a power play. Has vision and poise that you simply cannot teach. His talents will be on display at the World Under-17 Challenge where he will be watched closely.
Samuel Desjardins, ’96, F (Collège Esther-Blondin) 5-4.5/152— A firecracker who can really skate. A dog on loose pucks. Plays bigger than his size. One would think that the Q may overlook him due to his size. Would make for an excellent prep school player/NCAA prospect.
AJ Greer, ’96, F (Collège Esther-Blondin) 6-1/174—Interesting player who could develop into a nice power forward. Has made it clear that he is interested in prep school/NCAA hockey. A late ’96, he was quiet in the game we saw, but you could tell that he has skill and potential.
Vincent Deslauriers, ’96, F (Collège Esther-Blondin) 5-8.5/154— A bit overlooked because of the star-studded team he plays on, but is an honest player who does everything well. Gritty, two-way player with the skill level to compliment even the best of forwards.
Jason Rouleau, ’95, D (Collège Esther-Blondin) 6-1/198—Big, physical defenseman who keeps things simple and can skate. Not someone that will “wow” you at any point in the game, but sticks out in the sense that he does not make many mistakes.
Keven Bouchard, ’96, G (Jonquière) 6-1.5/208—Scouts salivate over big goalies who move well and Bouchard fits that bill. Was excellent in the game we saw him in as he was peppered with shots all night long, but hung in there and gave his team a chance to win. Will likely be a 1st round pick in the 2012 QMJHL draft.
Michael Gagnon, ’94, F (Jonquière) 5-10/171—Jonquiere’s leading scorer and captain has top-notch puck skills and creativity. Is a good skater who is dangerous with the man advantage. Will age out of Midget AAA and this typist feels he could be an impact player for any EJHL team. May be a bit of tweener: he could turn out to be a Div. I player, or top out as a high-end Div. III player.
Friday and Saturday night was spent in Montreal where the Lac Saint-Louis Lions play close by in Dollard-des-Ormeaux at the Centre Civique—another rink that has withstood the test of time, but is also very scout-friendly. The Lions played the Magog Cantonniers on Friday and Jonquière on Saturday. Lac Saint-Louis does not appear to have the same depth as Collège Esther-Blondin, but is loaded nonetheless. The Lions have the 1-2-3 scorers in the league and will certainly contend for the league championship.
Here’s who we liked:
Jonathan Drouin, ’95, F (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-9/173—On Friday night the league’s leading scorer was a little disappointing, but on Saturday he backed up all the hype. The #2 overall pick in the QMJHL draft last spring is keeping his options open and has already visited BU, BC, and Northeastern—they have all put offers on the table. He would be best served playing college hockey as he lacks pro size and is not overly fast either. His hands and vision are what sets him apart from the pack. Makes plays that leave defenders in a haze, especially dangerous on the PP. Very special player who has Hobey Baker/All-America potential. In five years, he could be ready to embark on an NHL career. If he decides to play in Halifax (the team that drafted him) he will need to be ready for the NHL in three years, and that is something we are not sure he will be prepared to do. Should be an offensive leader for Team Quebec at the U17’s.
Anthony De Luca, ’95, F (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-8/199—We were very anxious to see the Vermont recruit in action and after watching him play two games we left with mixed feelings. On the positive side, he can really shoot the puck and will score goals at every level -- a sniper, if you will. He is also extremely competitive and passionate — he wants to win. The downside is that he did not show the dynamic traits/hockey sense that you expect to see in a ’95 with a college commitment who is second in the league in scoring -- he was very average 5x5. We worry that at the college level he will be kept in check except in man-advantage situations. If he can add a step - or two -- to his skating he could be a great Catamount. Will play for Team Quebec at the U17’s.
Maxim Côté, ’94, F (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-11.5/196—The #3 scorer in the league may have inflated numbers as he rides shotgun to Drouin, but is very capable and someone who could end up being a Div. I player. A good skater who is very thick and tough to defend against down low. Has a good stick and can finish around the net. Might be a step away from committing to a college, but is a prime USHL/EJHL/BCHL prospect.
Carl Chenier, ’95, F (Lac Saint-Louis) 6-2/173—The 3rd round draft pick of the PEI Rockets appears to be in the dog house and does not play a ton, but we were extremely impressed with his game when he was on the ice. The big power forward drove to the net with ease on numerous occasions, creating grade A scoring chances. We were told that he will likely be headed to the Q.
Andrew Rossy, ’94, D (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-9/165—Small defender can really handle the puck and is very smart with the man advantage. If he plays a year of juniors he has a chance to be a nice addition to a Div. I team, but as of right now he would be a great NESCAC player.
Neil Robinson, ’95, F (Lac Saint Louis) 5-8.5/173— Only got to see him play for a period and half as he was injured on Friday night, but saw enough to know that he has skill and could make for an excellent prep school player — we are told he is interested in that route. Is putting up impressive numbers and plays a top six role.
Anthony Cortese, ’94, D (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-9/184—A confident player at this level. Loves to shoot the puck and is very aggressive at the offensive blue line. Has played six games in the Q.
Robert Mackenzie, ’94, F (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-9/175—A mucker and grinder you love to have on your team. Never stops working, but is also capable of chipping in offensively. Plays on a line with Drouin and Cote and is the straw that stirs the drink — gets to a lot of loose pucks and wins 1x1 battles. May not have the high-end skill to play at the Div. I level, but would be a great addition to any junior team.
Matthew Cusson, ’96, F (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-11.5/180—Has decent size and can really fire the puck. Skating is somewhat awkward. Scored a highlight reel goal on Friday night. Expected to go in the top three rounds of the QMJHL draft.
Francis Lévesque, ’95, D (Lac Saint-Louis) 5-8.5/167—Small defenseman handles the puck with a lot of confidence and plays bigger that his size. Does not see a lot of time with the man advantage, but appears to have the hands and vision to run a PP.
Charles Guévremont, ’95, F (Magog) 6-0/176—Does not play on a particularly strong team, bu is certainly a bright spot. Has a lot of speed and showed some finishing ability. Could be a Div. I player if he does not choose to play for Cape Breton, who took him with the 39th pick in the QMJHL draft. College recruiters will get a good look at him as he will play for Team Quebec at the U17’s.
Danick Martel, ’94, F (Magog) 5-7/156—Magog’s leading scoring is a very intelligent player who has a high hockey IQ. Thinks his way through traffic and tight situations. Another player who will be a high scorer at the junior level, but may not be dynamic enough to play Division 1 hockey.
Alexandre Coulombe, ’95, D (Magog) 6-2.5/187—Big defenseman was very intriguing. Made a few plays that showed excellent fast-twitch reflexes. Has a chance and is certainly worth watching.
AJHL & MET League Showcase Schedules
The Atlantic Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League (MET League) will be holding their Thanksgiving showcases this weekend, Fri. Nov. 25th through Sun. Nov. 27th.
The AJHL Showcase will be at Cyclones Arena in Hudson, NH; and the MET League Showcase will be at Champions Skating Center in Cromwell, Conn.
The link to the schedules -- both of which include league scoring leaders -- are below:
A Prototypical Cornell Defenseman
6’3”, 219 lb. U.S. Under-18 Team right-shot D Gavin Stoick has committed to Cornell for next season.
Stoick, a native of Portland, Oregon and a 7/2/94 birthdate, is in his second season with the NTDP, and has a 1-2-3 line with six penalty minutes in 19 games. As those numbers suggest, he’s a defensive defenseman with limited offensive upside. With his big wingspan and adept positional play he can take time and space from opposing forwards. He fits the Cornell mold, as the Big Red have always managed to get good mileage out of guys like him. He’ll integrate well with the system there.
Before coming to the NTDP, Stoick was a forward, playing with the Colorado Thunderbirds Midget AAA team. In 85 games for the T-Birds, he had a 35-32-67 line.
He was a first round pick (#9 overall) of the Green Bay Gamblers at the 2010 USHL Futures Draft.
We dug up some notes we took on Stoick at the Select 15 Festival two years ago, noting that he was a big up-and-down the wing type who was moved from forward to D after a teammate suffered an injury early in the tournament. And he stayed at D, too, playing that position in the all-star game at the Festival’s final day, and impressing enough to be invited to Ann Arbor the following spring. Among our notes was this comment: “Legit genius off the ice.” Hmmm. Don’t quite recall what he said, or did, but perhaps an Ivy school was in the cards all along.
BU Bringing in Goalie from the BCHL
6’1”, 203 lb. Sean Maguire of the Powell River Kings (BCHL), the all-tournament goaltender at the World Jr. A Challenge earlier this month, has committed to Boston University for next fall.
Maguire, a 2/2/93 birthdate from Powell River, BC, played four games at the tournament, posting a 1.49 gaa and a .942 save percentage in helping lead Canada West to the gold medal in Langley, BC a week from yesterday. His best game was in the semis vs. Sweden, a 2-1 OT win in which he kicked out 20 of 21 shots.
His pro stock went up as a result of his play in the tournament. Buddy Powers has been watching him since last season for the Terriers.
In BCHL action this season, Maguire has played ten games for Powell River, with a 2.55 gaa and an .897 save percentage. His numbers took a beating Friday night when he gave up five goals – a season high -- in the Kings’ 5-3 loss to the Coquitlam Express.
This is his second year in the league. Last season, he played 15 games and had a 2.50 gaa and .903 save percentage. The season before that, Maguire played midgets with the North Island Silvertips.
With Kieran Millan and Grant Rollheiser both graduating, BU will be bringing in a pair of freshmen netminders. Along with Maguire, the Terriers are bringing in 6’5” Matthew O’Connor, who committed over a year ago. O’Connor, a ’92 with Youngstown (USHL), started the season poorly, but has come on over the last few weeks. He has a 2.36 gaa and a .923 save percentage. Of the two goalies, Maguire is a bit more refined, while O’Connor is still, even at his age, growing into his body.
Gauthier Commits to Crimson
6’4”, 210 lb. LC Frédérik Gauthier of Collège Esther-Blondin has committed to Harvard for the fall of ’13.
A 4/26/95 birthdate from Mascouche, Que. (about 25 miles north of Montréal), Gauthier is huge, can really fly, and has a great shot. He was not highly touted growing up. He’s a bit of a late bloomer, having played AA until last year, his first with Esther-Blondin.
Gauthier was drafted in the third round by the Rimouski Océanic in this year’s QMJHL draft. He's obviously strong academically -- and Cornell was also recruiting him.
With a 15-11-26 line in 23 games played, Gauthier is third in scoring on a powerhouse Esther-Blondin team – Les Phénix du Collège Esther-Blondin in Saint-Jacques, Que., to be totally formal about it – that is 18-4-1. The squad’s GM is former NHL forward Donald Audette, whose son Daniel, a ’96 born in Buffalo, NY, is on the team and could go #1 overall in next spring’s Q draft.
Gauthier, with his size, speed, and skill, could be a top three rounds NHL pick in 2013. He intends to play next season in the USHL before matriculating at Harvard.
Sun. morning Nov. 20 -- At the conclusion of the first game at the Yale Prep Showcase we'll start posting scores and highlights on the USHR Prep Page.
Northeastern Commits 8th Grader
Cam Askew, a repeat 8th grader at St. Sebastian’s, committed to Northeastern for the fall of ’16 today.
A 6’2”, 170 lb. right shot center from South Boston, Mass., Askew, a 5/1/97 birthdate, is a tall, lanky kid with excellent hands, and the vision to match. As a ’97 playing in the Empire Junior Hockey League with the Valley Jr. Warriors he has an impressive 8-13-21 line in 12 games played this fall.
Between times, he’s also been playing this fall for the Valley Jr. Warriors ’97 Team.
We’ve written about him a couple of times this season, most recently from the Bauer Invite in Chicago, where he was playing for the Valley Warriors ’97 Team.
Here’s what we saw: ‘A tall, lanky center who has phenomenal hands and the ability to make defenders look silly. Has a pass-first, shoot-second mentality, thus making players around him better. At times he looked a little Joe Thorntonesque over the weekend. Has good form while skating, but is not explosive right now; that will come along as he adds strength in years to come. Is a repeat eighth grader at St. Seb’s where he not only should make the varsity, but be an impact player.’
We know that he’s been on campus at a number of Hockey East schools, but we don’t know if any of them actually put an offer on the table. Northeastern fans will have to wait a long time until he actually hits the ice at St. Botolph Street. How long? Well, look at it this way: current Northeastern freshmen will be in their second year out of college by the time Askew arrives.
5’11”, 165 lb. LD Rob Hamilton of the Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) has committed to the University of Vermont for the fall of ’12 or ’13.
Hamilton, a 3/31/94 birthdate from Calgary, Alb., visited UVM Saturday and committed yesterday.
A rookie in the AJHL, he’s the leading scorer on his team with a 6-8-14 line in 24 games played. A good skater, he’s a future fixture on the power play for the Cats.
Other schools in the mix were North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Penn State, and St. Cloud State.
Northeast Hockey Showcase
Here's the schedule for the Northeast Hockey Showcase, which will be held at the Tilton School in Tilton, NH Nov. 25-27. (The file is a PDF file.):
Note: The Northwood team listed is the midget squad, not the junior team.
Northeast Hockey Showcase Schedule
NHL Central Scouting Lists
NHL Central Scouting came out with a bunch of rankings this morning: North American Preliminary Ranking Lists (the three major junior leagues and the USHL); International Preliminary Ranking Lists; and an NCAA Players to Watch List.
Here they are. (All three are PDF documents.)
North American Preliminary Ranking Lists
International Preliminary Ranking Lists
NCAA Players to Watch List
USA Hockey Drops National Select 14 Camp
USA Hockey has dropped the Select 14 Player Development Camp, held in recent summers in Rochester, NY.
In its place, each of the 12 districts of USA Hockey will have their own “in-house” 14 camp. By doing it this way, USA Hockey feels that the number of kids who can take part can double.
“We’ll try to increase the player pool from 240 to 480,” says Atlantic District ADM manager Jim Hunt. “That might be ambitious but we’ll try. The amount of late bloomers in our game warrants keeping as many high-level kids in it. We shouldn’t be cutting it down at that age.”
“The more kids we keep involved for the longer period of time, the better,” Hunt adds. “It’s hard to play Nostradamus when kids are this age. Between the 14 and 17 camps there is about a 50 percent turnover. That tells me that if we’re going to be half wrong, it’s good to have twice the numbers to be wrong with!”
EJHL Final to Be Part of Beantown Classic
The Spring Beantown Classic, which will take place Wed.-Fri. March 14-16 at the New England Sports Center in Marlboro, Mass., has a new addition: the EJHL championship final.
The best-of-three series will take place on that Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, and, if necessary, Friday afternoon.
The league feels that, given the large number of scouts and college coaches who are on hand for the Beantown Classic, that it would be a good venue into which to place the league finals. After all, everyone will already be there.
The championship series will be played in Rink 1, which holds around 1,500, roughly the same capacity of Holy Cross’ rink, where the championship was held until last season, when it was moved down to Wayne, New Jersey, the home of the Jersey Hitmen.
McNally in Limbo
On Friday, we reported that Dartmouth’s 6’2” freshman forward Brandon McNally was out of the lineup for the Big Green’s game against Colgate due to being suspended from school for cheating.
That could still happen, but it also might not. McNally was back in the lineup for last night’s game against Cornell, and his case is going to go through a review process. At that end of that, he may be suspended for a semester or two – hence Cedar Rapids adding him to their protected list – or he may not be suspended at all. He’s in limbo for now, but he can play until – and unless -- he’s told otherwise.
McNally was accused by a fellow Dartmouth student of giving a girl an answer on a test.
He is expected to get an answer on where he stands in the next week or two.
McNally has gotten off to a strong start for Dartmouth, with four points in five games.
Turkey Shootout Schedule
The Hockey Academy, the home of the New England Wolves, coached by former Cushing Academy head coach Steve Jacobs, will be hosting their Turkey Shootout at the Waterville Valley Ice Arena in New Hampshire Fri.-Sun. Nov. 25-27.
Fri. Nov. 25: 5:00 pm – PEAC School vs. NE Wolves; 7:00 pm – Mass Maple Leafs vs. Hill Academy.
Sat. Nov. 26: 9:00 am – NE Stars vs. PEAC School; 11:00 am – NE Wolves vs. Hill Academy; 3:00 pm – Mass Maple Leafs vs. NE Stars; 5:00 pm – PEAC School vs. Hill Academy; 7:00 pm – NE Wolves vs. Mass Maple Leafs.
Sun. Nov. 27: 8:00 am -- NE Stars vs. Hill Academy; 11:30 am – Championship Game.
Q Courting Hudon
Cornell freshman forward Phillipe Hudon has left Cornell and is back home in Quebec.
“He withdrew from school for personal reasons,” says Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. “He plans to come back.”
The Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) would like to see him not go back.
Last Friday, the former Choate forward, drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Red Wings in June, was a guest of the Tigres, taking in their home win over Shawinigan.
In the 2010 QMJHL draft, Victoriaville took a late-round flyer on Hudon. This was a year after he was first eligible. In 2009, Hudon, a high first-round prospect, was bypassed in the Q draft because he was enrolled at Choate and had made it clear that he was going to play college hockey.
Victoriaville GM Jerome Mésonéro told a Québec reporter that Hudon is currently “in a period of reflection.”
There is, of course, the option for Hudon to play Tier II junior hockey, or in the USHL, particularly if he is going to return to Cornell.
There’s far more to this whole story than just hockey, though, as Hudon struggles with OCD, which in turn has led to academic and social issues. Hudon withdrew from college on medical grounds, rather than go too deeply into the semester and find himself unable to pull things together. He is reportedly getting help back home for his condition.
University of Maine sophomore forward Carlos Amestoy has shipped out of Orono and has signed with the Saginaw Spirit (OHL).
Amestoy, who is 5’8” and 165 lbs. and a ’92 birthdate, was in the lineup last nigh, as Saginaw bowed 6-5 in a shootout loss to the Ottawa ‘67s.
In 15 games last year with the Black Bears, Amestoy had a 0-0-0 scoring line. In two games this year, he was also kept off the sheet. He had no points in his OHL debut last night.
Whalers Mass U-18 Champs
-- all games at Foxboro Sports Center; Foxboro, Mass.
8:50 am, semifinals #1 -- GBL Bruins 6, Neponset Valley 5 (OT) Cushing's Garrett Hehir scores game-winner.
9:00 am, semifinals #2 -- Cape Cod Whalers 8, South Shore Dynamos 0
4:00 pm -- Championship Game: Cape Cod Whalers 6, GBL Bruins 4
Danny O'Regan, Chris Calnan, and Andrew Doane all had strong games up front. Tim Boyle and Phil Sciretta were solid on the blue line. Connor Maher got the win in net.
-- at Kasabuski Arena; Saugus, Mass.
U-16 Division Semifinals:
GBL Bruins 3, Springfield 1
EMass Senators 4, Neponset Valley 2
Championship Game: GBL Bruins 6, EMass Senators 4
Tier II U-18 Championship:
South Shore Conquistadors 4, Wellesley 0
Canada East KO’s U.S. Junior Selects
Canada East topped the U.S. Junior Selects 4-2 in semifinal action at the World Junior A Challenge tonight in Langley, BC.
With the loss, the U.S., which has won the gold medal at this tournament for three straight years, is relegated to the third-place game tomorrow night against the loser of tonight’s second semi between Canada West and Sweden.
“We never got into a rhythm offensively,” said U.S. head coach Regg Simon. “Ultimately, we turned too many pucks over and Canada East capitalized on our mistakes.”
The star for Canada East was Devin Shore, who had a pair of nice goals. Shore, a ’94 who played for Hill Academy last season and is now with the Whitby Fury (OJHL), is a Maine recruit for the fall of ’12 or ’13.
The U.S. goals were scored by Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines) and Andy Welinski (Green Bay). U.S. goalie Ryan McKay (Green Bay) stopped 24 of 28 shots in taking the loss.
Dartmouth freshman forward Brandon McNally has been suspended by the school for the year due to academic dishonesty (cheating) and hence was not in the lineup as the Big Green fell 4-0 to Colgate tonight.
McNally was off to a good start for Dartmouth, with a 1-3-4 line in four games. The former Belmont Hill star will have a chance to appeal his punishment next week. If the appeal fails, he will be eligible to return to school next fall.
This afternoon, McNally was added to the roster of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL).
Harvard, which has already lost freshman defenseman Mark Luzar for the year due to a shoulder injury, has now lost one of their top returning scorers as junior forward Conor Morrison (knee) is out for the season as well.
Harvard, by the way, is winless (0-2-1) on the season after bowing to Cornell tonight 4-2 in a home game that felt like a road game due to the preponderance of Cornell Fans at Bright Hockey Center. Harvard, down 3-0 in the first period after getting into penalty trouble and losing first-line center Alex Killorn to a game misconduct (facemask violation), actually battled back and had a chance to tie it up late but fell short. Some of the better players in this game were freshmen. LW Colin Blackwell, who’s making the jump from St. John’s Prep, was a force all night for the Crimson, skating hard, playing physically, creating chances. Very impressive. Refreshing, too, to see a Mass high school kid make that jump without taking a year in juniors -- and fitting right in. For Cornell, freshman RW Brian Ferlin, a Bruins draft pick, looked very good – big, strong, and a constant threat to score. There’s a very good chance Ferlin might make the U.S. National Junior Team when December rolls around. Also playing very well for the Big Red was freshman LW Joel Lowry, an LA Kings draft pick and son of former NHLer Dave Lowry. Cornell freshman defenseman Joakim Ryan was bypassed in June's draft – he’s 5’10” – but has a lot of skill. An excellent skater, he sees the ice in front of him nicely, and picks his spots well.
U.S. Gets Back Into It
The U.S. Junior Select Team, blanked 1-0 by Sweden on Monday night, got into the win column last night, topping Canada West 6-1 at the 2011 World Junior A Challenge in Langley, BC.
Mario Lucia (Penticton Vees) scored two goals and added an assist to lead the U.S. scorers. Sean Kuraly (Indiana), Vince Hinostroza (Waterloo), Alex Broadhurst (Green Bay), and Sam Herr (Green Bay) also scored for the U.S.
Green Bay goalie Ryan McKay kicked out 29 of 30 shots for the win.
“I’m proud of our guys with how we responded tonight,” said U.S. head coach Regg Simon. “Our guys focused on moving forward, and we went out there tonight and got it done together.”
The U.S. plays Russia tonight in a quarterfinal game.
U.S. Jr. Selects Top Russia in Quarterfinals
Sean Kuraly of the Indiana Ice scored two third period goals to help lead the U.S. Junior Select Team to a 6-3 win over Russia in the quarterfinals of the 2011 World Junior A Challenge in Langley, BC tonight.
In addition to Kuraly, U.S. goalscorers were Alex Broadhurst (Green Bay), Mario Lucia (Penticton – BCHL), Austyn Young (Sioux Falls), and Ethan Prow (Des Moines). Vince Hinostroza (Waterloo) notched two assists and was named U.S. Player of the Game.
The U.S. outshot Russia, 56-29. U.S. goaltender Ryan McKay (Green Bay) stopped 26 shots for the win.
“We knew Russia was going to come at us hard, but we showed the will to win tonight,” said U.S. head coach Regg Simon. “We need to continue with our process tomorrow in order to advance to the championship game.”
The U.S. will face Canada East in Friday’s semifinal round. Game time is yet to be determined.
Future Watch at the Bauer Invite
This typist spent last weekend at the Bauer International Invite in Chicago. Quite the spectacle it is, too—408 teams and nearly 7,500 players from all around the world. The age groups start at the 2003’s and make their way up to U16. The tournament program is the size of the Yellow Pages (and doesn’t even include heights and weights).
We spent all day Friday and Saturday focusing on the ‘97s (Elite Division) as the majority of the top American teams were on hand (20 of 25 according to myhockeyrankings). And while we did not get to see everybody – a virtually impossible task -- we feel we got a good grasp of the player pool. Before we start with our list, we have a couple observations we’d like to share: first, the ‘97s from Ontario are unusually weak this year. A lot of the province’s best teams were here, too: the Toronto Marlboros, Toronto Red Wings, Vaughan Kings, etc. Normally, the Marlies have their way with U.S. teams, but the Valley Junior Warriors, Chicago Mission and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights all have more talent on their rosters — and we have heard that the St. Louis Blues, Little Caesars and Belle Tire (none of whom were here) might be equally as good. Observation #2 is this: the U.S. ’97s, as a group, is very impressive, especially on the backend. It’s way too early to say anything with certainty, but there is a chance that this group of defensemen could rival that of the ’92 and ’94 age groups.
Here, then, is who we liked:
Noah Hanifin, D, Valley Junior Warriors—We have written a lot about Hanifin in recent months and do not want to start repeating ourselves, but he is truly exceptional. There are no real holes in his game — he is big, can skate, shoots the puck like a man, defends well, and makes plays. In our eyes he very well could be better than any of the ’96 defenseman right now. (While we’re on that subject, we should point out that some observers whose opinion we respect feel that ’97 defenseman Zach Werenski, who plays for Belle Tire U16s -- and who we haven’t seen yet -- is the equal of Hanifin. If that is the case, USA Hockey might have to ask themselves if they could place two 15 year old defensemen in the NTDP? As we said, we have not seen Werenski yet, but Hanifin is definitely good enough to be on next year’s U.S. Under-17 team if the NTDP and USA Hockey would consider taking on an underager, something they haven’t done in quite a while.)
Vas Kolias, D, Chicago Mission—This typist fell in love with Kolias’s game over the weekend. He very well could be a future All-American in college. He’s on the smaller side, but he skates and defends very well to go along with his excellent offensive abilities. He gets the puck to the middle of the ice in the offensive zone with such ease, his feet outside the blue line while handling the puck inside the blue line and never hesitating once—a skill that takes pros a long time to master. An extremely impressive player who will no doubt run a power play in college. Would be very surprised if he was not committed to a top college program within the next year. A rare talent.
Denis Smirnov, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights—We wrote about this Knights team a few weeks ago. At the time we had not seen them play. Now we have, and we can tell you that they certainly lived up to the hype (they won the ’97 division title here). Smirnov was their best player over the weekend. Small in size, he is absolutely electric – and the most skilled ’97 we have seen. Hopefully, Smirnov chooses the NCAA over major junior because his game is tailor-made for college. He plays big in the sense that he is hard to get off the puck. And every time the puck is on his stick he is a threat. He just makes play after play. Was our pick for tournament MVP.
Chad Krys, F/D, Westchester Express—The son of former BU Terrier Mark Krys is a ’98 birthdate and a special, special player, one of the very best we saw over the weekend. Has good size and plays both forward and defense, but is probably a better defenseman. If he played at the ’98 level he would be absolutely dominant. Has a high skill level to go along with superb hockey IQ. Krys is the Noah Hanifin of the ‘98’s. One year from now everyone will know his name.
Cam Askew, F, Valley Junior Warriors—Tall, lanky center who has phenomenal hands and the ability to make defenders look silly. Has a pass-first, shoot-second mentality, thus making players around him better. At times he looked a little Joe Thorntonesque over the weekend. Has good form while skating, but is not explosive right now; that will come along as he adds strength in years to come. Is a repeat eighth grader at St. Sebs where he not only should make the varsity, but be an impact player.
Dylan Strome, F, Toronto Marlboros—Younger brother of New York Islanders 2011 1st round pick Ryan Strome. Has all the tools and might even be a step ahead of his older brother at the same age. Good size, skates well and can really distribute the puck. Was easily the top player we saw from Ontario and will likely be a top-5 pick in the 2013 OHL draft.
Nikita Pavlychev, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights—Plays center on a line with Smirnov, and the duo is really fun to watch. In one game we saw Pavlychev notch a hat trick in the first period. Projects really well as he is probably already 6’3”. Skates pretty well for a big man, and has great hands and vision. A lot of presence in the middle of the ice. Similar in style to Evgeni Malkin.
Colin White, F, Valley Junior Warriors—Arguably the best pure skater in the tournament. Has blazing speed that immediately makes him noticeable -- and puts defenders on their heels. Missed two games on Friday as he attends Nobles and they would not excuse him from class, but in his first game on Saturday against Westchester he had three or four goals. Is not all speed, though, as he thinks the game well and has a nice finishing touch. Will likely be committed to BC or BU in the not too distant future.
Ivan Provorov, F/D, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights—Played defense in games we saw, but would probably be a better forward. Is about 5’11” and well put-together. Has good hockey sense and can change the momentum of the game when he wants to. Would have liked to see him be a little more selfish. While he kept things simple and made the right plays, he has the talent to get things accomplished all by himself. Is a great player right now, but also appears quite physically mature. He’s possibly peaked a little early. Time will tell.
Casey Fitzgerald, D, Valley Junior Warriors—Intelligent and plays a very mature/composed game. Fitzgerald is one of those guys who will be better against older competition as a faster-paced game will not faze him one bit. It will just make him better. Has decent size, probably 5’10” or 5’11”, and good all-around skill. Not great in any one area, but solid in every facet of the game. Will play for Malden Catholic where he should be one of their best -- if not their very best -- defensemen as a freshman. Will likely be committed to Boston College by the end of the season.
Lincoln Griffin, F, Valley Junior Warriors—On a star-studded team Griffin could have been the most consistent/effective player they had over the weekend. Really impressed us and jumped up the charts. Loves to play in the tough ice, but does so in an intelligent manner. We think he is a bit of a sleeper and will really open eyes when he is away from Hanifin, White, Askew, and Fitzgerald —those guys get a lot of focus and one can lose sight of all the good things Griffin brings to the table. Is a freshman at Thayer where we think he will play a large role.
Jeremy Helvig, G, Toronto Red Wings—For our money, the top goalie here. Big kid, maybe 6’2” or 6’3”, and polished for his age. Takes up a lot of net and is athletic—generally the recipe for a big time goalie-in-the-making. Challenges shooters and really limits their options. Saw him play against the Valley Junior Warriors and he kept his team in the game, making some impressive saves in the process.
Logan Fauber, D, Colorado Thunderbirds—Handles the puck at an elite level. When we first saw Fauber we loved his game, but Kolias stole a bit of his thunder. Nonetheless he is a really good defender who should be in the mix for the NTDP when his time rolls around. Not overly big at around 5’9, but skates well, plays with an edge and is exciting with the puck on his stick. Has the ability to control the pace of the game.
Joshua Defarias, D, Toronto Marlboros—The complete package right now. Will probably develop into an offensive defenseman at the next level. Is about 5’10” and not likely to get much bigger. He defends well—stick on puck with excellent gap control. Has some offensive flair to his game and will be a likely first rounder in the 2013 OHL draft. The top defenseman we saw from any of the Ontario teams.
Christian Cakebread, F, Arizona Bobcats—A delicious player, pun intended. Has good size, can really skate and is very strong—bulls his way around. A center who is good in the faceoff circle and really controls the middle of the ice. Projects to be a powerful energy guy who can chip in offensively at the next level. Could get a long look from the NTDP when his time comes.
Zachary Osburn, D, Honeybaked—Offensive defenseman who loves to engage in the rush. At times, he appears to be a fourth forward. Has pretty good size for his age -- we’d guess 5’10” -- and is a very fluid skater. Plays a bit as an individual right now, and is getting away with things he won’t be able to at the next level. Has the skill level to be successful, but is very wild and will have to compose his game in order to remain a top prospect.
Tage Thompson, F, Mid-Fairfield Blues—The son of Brent Thompson, a former NHL defenseman now serving as head coach of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (AHL). The younger Thompson is not yet physically mature, probably 5’9”, but his father is 6’2” so one can assume he will shoot up some. His skating is just OK, but his stick skills are high-end and his poise around the net is remarkable. Very high hockey IQ, reads plays well, and is excellent on the power play. Thompson is one to keep an eye on as he may develop into one of the top ‘97s over the next two years.
Charlie Raith, D, Chicago Young Americans—Yet another elite level, puck-moving defender. Right now he is about 5’10”, but is very thin and has a lot of filling out to do. Controls the play and is a very smart power play quarterback. If there is a knock on him it is that he does not engage physically and is somewhat of a non-factor unless the puck is on his stick.
Tory Dello, D, Chicago Mission—Big defenseman looks to be over six feet tall already. Skates well, and makes good outlet passes. Really shines on the PP as he has a bomb of a shot. Saw him score on a one-timer against the Long Island Gulls, a shot that most USHL goalies would have struggled with. Is a bit lanky right now; should be even more effective when he fills out.
Tyler Sensky, D, Compuware—Top defender on a physically imposing Compuware team that lost in the semi-finals. Sensky is not flashy, but he produces offensively by making good decisions in transition. A big kid, about 6’1” or 6’2”, who has a nice long stride and is difficult to beat 1x1.
John McDermott, F, Mid-Fairfield Blues— A large body – 6’1” or 6’2” -- who can really skate. Is not a bean pole, either. He has a man’s body and what looks to be pro size already. A power forward in the making. When he learns to use his size to his advantage he will be difficult to contain.
Troy Conzo, F, Long Island Gulls—A great skater who is at his best going wide and driving to the front of the net. Creates a lot of scoring opportunities because of his legs. Is a center who is very capable in the middle of the ice, but might make for a better winger. Is about 5’10” and has a good understanding of the game. Needs to work on his finishing abilities.
Owen Green, F, Buffalo Regals—It’s a little early to say, but Green could be a very intriguing pro prospect. Right now, he is probably around 6’2”, 6’3” and between 180-190 lbs. He skates well and has a soft set of hands. Is in that awkward phase, still growing into his body. If he can pull it together and add a step to his skating, he could really take off.
Daniel Warpecha, F, Chicago Mission—Good stick and has some finish to his game around the net. Decent size. Is definitely a skill guy who will progress through the ranks as a top six forward.
Blake Speers, F, Soo Thunder—Not the biggest guy or the fastest skater, but his hands are off the chart. If you put a pass eight feet in front of him or behind him he can corral the puck with ease. The saying, “There is no such thing as a bad pass to a good player,” holds true for Speers. He is very elusive and slips his way through the high-traffic areas without putting his head down once. Could be a first round OHL draft pick.
Mitchell Stephens, F, Toronto Marlboros—Was a tough player to get a read on. Showed glimpses of being an explosive skater with a lethal shot, but did not do it on a consistent basis. Plays on a line with Strome; we think he would be much better served being moved off that line as he seems to wait around for Strome to make a play to him, which often happens. Has the speed and skill to make things happen on his own, just didn’t do it here. Regarded as a top player in the GTHL.
Jesse Saban, D, Toronto Red Wings—A man-child. Well over six feet tall with a wide frame. Will surely add a lot of weight. Plays good, sound defensive hockey and is capable of chipping in a bit of offense. Projects to be a Luke Schenn type of defenseman.
Alex Rowella, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights—Big, blue-collar power forward. Skates hard and has soft hands. Plays on a team with a lot of offensive firepower so may get overlooked a bit, but he was effective here, even showing flashes of dominance.
Rodney Cody Petawabano, F/D, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights—An absolute monster. We are not exaggerating one bit when we say he is 6’3”, 230 lbs. -- and solid. At this age group there are still kids who have yet to physically mature and, with such size disparity, Petawabano has the ability to put the fear of god into the other team in warm-ups. As we were watching Wilkes-Barre play we cannot tell you how many kids walked by, simply in awe of his stature. He already has NHL enforcer size; we also feel that may be his niche. Petawabano can certainly skate, but he does not have a good head for the game. Did not make plays or accomplish much of anything with the puck; still, he is very effective and plays a large role in his team’s success.
Matt Spencer, D, Oakville Rangers—Good size and plays a pro-style game. Is physical when he needs to be and moves the puck up the ice in an effective manner. Nothing flashy, just takes care of business in his own end. Is someone you want on your team. One of the top d-men out of Ontario.
Keoni Texeira, D, LA Selects—Took the puck coast-to-coast on a number of occasions. Has good size, about 5’10”, but looks to be physically mature already. Could be getting by on brute strength now, but will have to add more skill to remain in the upper echelon of a very deep defensive group of ‘97s.
Jeremy Bracco, F, Long Island Gulls—Has top-notch vision and the ability to see plays developing before they happen. Puts the puck where his teammates should be going, not where they are. Has the reputation of being a premiere ’97 forward, but we are not yet ready to put him in the very top group. His skating could hold him back, and he was a little too perimeter for our liking.
Nick Boka, F, Compuware—Physical power forward with good size. Plays with a lot of energy and was extremely aggressive on the forecheck. On the opening draw of one game, he dumped the puck in, plastered the defenseman who attempted to retrieve it, and then proceeded to the front of the net where he buried a goal less than ten seconds into the game.
Michael Joyaux, D, Chicago Mission—PP specialist who can really zip the puck around. Very intelligent and passes the puck with authority. Is not very big or physical. Needs to add some grit to his game.
Auston Matthews, F, Arizona Bobcats—Decent-sized forward scores a lot of goals and is very creative in the offensive zone. Cakebread is probably a little more appealing right now, but Matthews could turn out to be the better player in the long run. Has a lot of hockey sense and an excellent stick. His skating is the question mark at this point in his career; he’s not very quick.
Troy Terry, F, Colorado Thunderbirds—Small, skilled forward who creates a lot of scoring opportunities. Does not shy away from physical contact. Not a burner. If he can become more of a dynamic skater he will be a top prospect.
Christian Fischer, F, Chicago Mission—The puck seems to follow him around. Always involved in the offense. Has average size, but loves to play in traffic and usually comes out with the puck in 1x1 battles. Like most of the players in the Chicago Mission organization, he has a lot of skill.
Andrew Burns, D, Oakville Rangers—Assertive in the offensive zone. High risk/high reward type of defenseman. Has decent size and skating ability. If he can round out his defensive zone play he could turn into one of the better d-men in Ontario.
Nolan Aibel, F, Long Island Gulls—Smart, crafty center who is very smooth in all areas of the game. Does not immediately jump out at you, but is one of those kids who keeps making plays which leave you saying to yourself, “That was #9 again.”
JR Gates, F, Compuware—Big forward who has good vision and a nose for the net. Uses a nice long stick which gives him an advantageous reach. His skating is questionable and will be a battle that he will have to overcome.
Kip Hoffmann, F, Chicago Mission—Is regarded as the Mission’s top forward, but in our eyes he did not jump out and grab that distinction over the weekend. Skates with a nice center of gravity that makes him difficult to knock off the puck. Makes plays, but is more of a finisher.
Adam McPhail, F, Soo Thunder—Big -- 6’2” or 6’3” – forward is an above-average skater for his size. Plays the wing on Blake Speers’s line and the two of them scored a lot of goals. McPhail is difficult to move when he gets to the front of the net and has a nice finishing touch in that area.
Austin Clapham, D, Vaughan Kings—An effortless skater who likes to join to rush. Is tall - 5’10” or 5’11” - and lanky with really light feet. Was the top player for Vaughan.
Eugene Fadyeyev, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights—Plays on a line with Smirnov and Pavlychev and that trio was easily the top line in the tournament. There is obvious chemistry between the three and Fadyeyev has the skill level to not only keep up with two high-end talents, but make them better players. Has good vision and is a very good complimentary player.
Jimmy Elser, F, Westchester Express— Younger brother of Danny Elser (Belleville-OHL). Is much bigger than his older brother, probably already 6’0”,180 lbs., but appears to still be figuring out what type of player he is. He is a good skater who makes plays, but is a low-end skill guy who will have to develop into a power forward to be successful at higher levels.
Jake Behse, D, Thunder Bay Kings—Big body who needs to improve his skating. If he does that successfully, he could turn out to be a player. A project right now.
Garrett Jenkins, F, Compuware—Has a lot of speed and skill. Was Compuware’s top forward in the game in which they knocked off the heavily-favored Valley Junior Warriors in the quarterfinals. Younger brother of top ’95 goaltender, Ian Jenkins, who passed away after a tragic accident over the summer.
Alec Mehr, F, LA Selects—Good stick. Dangerous in scoring areas. Not very big and may even be a little frail. Certainly is one to keep an eye on as he possesses excellent offensive instincts.
Nikita Anistratenko, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights—Short and stocky winger has fantastic stick-handling abilities. Very difficult to knock off the puck and, like most elite Europeans, he has a ton of poise around the net. Uses his strength and quick speed to win loose puck battles.
Louis DeNaples, F, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights— Fluid skater with high-end skill. Needs to add a little jam to his game. Decent-sized forward is a playmaker with finishing abilities. Plays on the Knights’ second line with Rowella and Anistratenko. That trio would easily be the first line on the majority of the teams here.
Elliot Gerth, G, Chicago Mission—Not the biggest goalie, probably 5’8” or 5’9”, but plays with a lot of confidence. Is aggressive when challenging the shooter. Very quick moving side to side.
Alex Overhardt, F, Colorado Thunderbirds—The son of NHL agent Kurt Overhardt is a solid player. Has good size right now -- 5’10” or so -- and a high compete level. Wants the puck on his stick at all times and can really shoot it.
We did not spend nearly as much time at the U16 level as we did with the ‘97s, mainly because the majority of the top U16 teams were not in Chicago. They were in Detroit, where Belle Tire was hosting a tournament that stole away some of the top American teams such as the St. Louis Blues, Cleveland Barons, and, of course, Belle Tire. Also, none of the top U16 teams from the GTHL made the trip down—no Toronto Marlboros, Vaughan Kings, Mississauga Rebels, etc. With that being said, we knew there were some good teams here and did not want to miss them completely, so we spent the day Sunday watching the quarterfinals and semi-finals. Here are our thoughts:
Honeybaked beat the North Jersey Avalanche in the finals to win the title, but if an MVP award were given out it probably would have been shared by the Avalanche’s ’96 forward JJ Piccinich and their goalie, ’96 born Chris Birdsall. Birdsall was excellent all tournament long and we feel he deserves a long look from the NTDP, especially after this weekend. He is not very big, 5’10”-ish, but has the ability to read plays and react — just excellent hockey sense for a goaltender. Piccinich constantly creates offense. We were told that in a round-robin game in which the Avalanche beat the heavily- favored Chicago Mission, Piccinich, who notched a hat trick, was essentially untouchable. He is not the prettiest player to watch, but he gets the job done time and time again.
The semi-final game between the Long Island Royals and Honeybaked was just a great hockey game. The stands were packed and camera crews were on hand filming the NHL Networks “Making of a Royal,” a miniseries which documents the Royals U16 team. Honeybaked won in a shootout, but it could have gone either way. We have seen the Royals play a bunch and their top players were on their game. ’96 defenseman Brandon Fortunato was really sensational. He dictated the play of the game when he was on the ice. Our only gripe with him is that he has to learn to shoot the puck more. He looks pass all the time and Honeybaked began to pick up on that as the game went along. Why ’95 forward Justin Bailey still remains uncommitted is very puzzling to this typist. He is a dominant player now – and he is only going to get better. We think he is going to be a high NHL draft pick next year. ’95 forward Joey Fallon was also very good. This kid does it all. He is on the puck on the forecheck, backchecks harder than anyone on the ice, kills penalties with the best of them and even scored a pure finesse goal in the shootout. The top player for Honeybaked was their goalie, ’96 born Bryan Abell. The Royals had a 5x3 late in the game and Abell stood tall, not only making the saves, but making them look easy. He was also excellent in the shootout, stopping three of four. We were really excited to see Josh Jacobs, a highly-regarded ’96 defenseman who is committed to Michigan State and was also just named to the U.S. Junior Olympic team. In this particular game he was very average. We get it -- he is big, can skate, plays sound defense and makes a good outlet pass, but at this level we expected some flashes of dominance and did not see that. Jacobs is a likely pick for the NTDP but we feel that ’97 born Hanifin is a clear step ahead of him. Another top prospect who was quiet for Honeybaked was ’96 forward Darby Llewellyn. LLewellyn has good size and some obvious skill, but did not create much offense in this game—because of his impressive résumé we will give him a pass and assume it was an off game. The top player on the backend for the black and yellow was big ’95 Zack Pittman. For such a large body (6’2”,195 lbs.) he skates well and is active offensively, making good passes in the neutral zone and right at home on the power play. Up front, we liked smallish ’95 Max Humitz. Through his speed and work ethic, Humitz created a lot of turnovers that led directly to scoring chances.
The quarterfinal matchup that we took in was between Culver Academy and the Minnesota Blades. This was also a very good game that needed to go to overtime to be settled. The Minnesota Blades were heavily outplayed, but weathered the storm and got the goal they needed to advance. The only player to really jump out at us as a Div. I prospect was Culver defenseman John Zimmerman, a native of Texas. Zimmerman, a smallish defenseman, logs a ton of minutes and it is easy to see why. He is very sound defensively and makes a lot of smart decisions with the puck on his tape.
In closing, just for fun, we thought we should share with you a list we made of all the NHLers who were coaching teams that were in Chicago. It’s a remarkably lengthy list. First off , the LA Jr. Kings 2001 team has one potent staff—Nelson Emerson (771 NHL games) is the head coach and Rob Blake (1270 NHL games) and prominent NHL agent Pat Brisson are the assistants. All, of course, have kids on the team. Down in Atlanta, Tom Glavine (Hall of Fame pitcher and 4th round NHL draft pick) is coaching his son, Mason, on the Atlanta Fire 2000’s. Joe Sakic and Adam Foote are both coaching for the Colorado Thunderbirds—Sakic coaches his son, Chase, on the 2000’s while Foote coaches his son, Callan, on the 1998’s. Below is a list of other names on hand in Chicago. More than a few names will ring a bell.
Glen Murray (1009 NHL games) - Assistant Coach of the LA Jr. Kings 2002’s; Mike Peca (864 NHL games) - Head Coach of the Buffalo Regals 2000’s; Todd Krygier (543 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Compuware Ambassadors 2000’s; Chris Tamer (644 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Little Caesars 2000’s; John Tonelli (1028 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Mid-Fairfield 2000’s; Michal Pivonka (825 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Alliance 2000’s; Scott LaChance (819 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of the Valley Junior Warriors 2000’s; Rod Brind’Amour (1484 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Carolina Junior Hurricanes 1999’s; Gino Cavallini (593 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Chicago Mission 1999’s;Steve Leach (702 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of the Valley Junior Warriors 1999’s; Kevin Hatcher (1157 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Honeybaked 1998’s; Pat Peake (134 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of the Honeybaked 1998’s; Patrik Stefan (455 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Orange County 1998’s; George McPhee (115 NHL games; now Washington Capitals GM) – Assistant Coach of Team Maryland 1998’s; Mike Ricci (1099 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of the Vaughan Kings 1998’s; Petr Klima (786 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Detroit PK Warriors 1997’s; Tom Fitzgerald (1097 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of the Valley Junior Warriors 1997’s; Pat LaFontaine (865 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Long Island Royals U16’s; Steve Webb (321 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of the Long Island Royals U16’s; Jim Watson (613 NHL games) – Head Coach of the Little Flyers U16’s; Mario Lemieux (915 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of the Pittsburgh Predators U16’s; Eddie Olczyk (1013 NHL games) – Assistant Coach of Team Illinois U16’s.
Could have drawn up teams for a pretty nice old-timers game with that group!
Advantage U-16 Tournament Starts Friday
The Boston Advantage is hosting a Tier I Elite Hockey League U-16 Showcase this weekend at the Pilgrim Arena in Hingham, Mass.
Eight teams will be on hand: Boston Advantage, Team Comcast, Philly Jr. Flyers, DC Capitals, Pittsburgh Hornets, TPH Thunder, Ohio AAA Blue Jackets, Buffalo Jr. Sabres (formerly Regals).
Each team will play four games. The action gets underway at 4:00 pm Friday. On Saturday there are two sessions, one starting at 8:50 am and the other starting at 4:50 pm. On Sunday there is one session, starting at 9:00 am.
Midwest Prep Tournament Schedule Upcoming
The Midwest Prep Hockey League is opening the season with a league tournament Fri. Nov. 18-Sun. Nov. 20 at Cairns Arena in South Burlington, Vt.
Each team will be playing five games (two games on Friday 11/18, two on Saturday 11/19, and one on Sunday 11/20).
All ten teams in the league will be on hand: Stanstead College, St. Andrew’s College, Ridley College, Edge School, Rice Memorial HS, Lake Forest Academy, Shady Side Academy, Loyola Academy, Gilmour Academy, and St. Francis Prep.
The Edge School (Calgary, Alb.), undefeated in league play last season, will be looking to defend its title.
South Kent Adding U-14, U-18
Next fall, as expected, South Kent School and Selects Hockey Academy will expand, adding a U-14 and a U-18 Team to go with the U-16 team currently in place.
This, of course, means that the current U-16 players who choose to stay at South Kent will be able to move up to the older team, which will supplant the old prep team.
It’s unclear whether any of these teams will be able to compete for the New England District championships. We expect strong resistance from established Connecticut youth programs. In addition, USA Hockey has a rule taking effect the year after next requiring that a program, in order to be eligible for Nationals, must go straight through from mites to midgets – and also must abide by ADM guidelines. We’re not up on the finer details but it appears that this will push schools such as Shattuck-St. Mary’s, which Selects Academy at South Kent is attempting to emulate, to become more creative. Specifically, they will have to cobble together a partnership with local youth organizations -- in order to continue taking part in Nationals. Shattuck has a large, established youth hockey organization down the street in Faribault (pop. 23,000). The population of South Kent, on the other hand, is around 500. There’s no youth organization there.
USA Hockey does not have a rule requiring a mites-to-midgets/ADM compliance for teams seeking eligibility for Districts/Nationals. What USA Hockey does is leave that up to the individual affiliates, of which there are 38 spread across the 12 districts encompassing USA Hockey, to decide. So, in the above scenario, the New England District's Connecticut affiliate could vote on their own rule which, depending on how they voted, could block Selects/South Kent from competing in districts and nationals. Minnesota is a different beast, as youth programs there -- because everyone plays high school hockey -- run from mites through pee wees. So Shattuck doesn't really have to worry about anything. In that district, they are not competing against anyone but themselves.
Wolfpack Advance in New England Regionals
The Connecticut Jr. Wolfpack edged Mid-Fairfield, 4-3, on Sunday to advance to the Tier I National U-18 championship in April. Gunnery senior Jarrid Privatera scored the winning goal.
In the U-16 Division, The Rhode Island Saints edged Mid-Fairfield, also by a 4-3 score. Mount St. Charles junior Brian Belisle figured in all four goals.
Correction: The winning goal in the midget final was scored by Kent junior Dan Casey, assisted by Jarrid Privitera and Brett Mackell, both from The Gunnery.
The Sioux City Musketeers have traded defenseman Jordan Schmaltz, a North Dakota recruit and likely first round NHL draft pick in June, to the Green Bay Gamblers in a blockbuster trade.
Schmaltz, who is in Langley, BC for the World Jr. A Challenge, was traded for forward David Goodwin, defensemen Andy Ryan and Dan Molenaar and affiliate list forward Jake Montgomery (Shattuck-St. Mary's prep team).
For Schmaltz, it’s a basement-to-the-penthouse trade as he will be going from a team that, with a 3-7-0 record, is tied for the league’s worst record to a team that is just one point behind Dubuque for the best overall record in the league.
Green Bay has added Schmaltz’s younger brother, Nick, to their roster. Schmaltz, possibly the top ’96 forward in the country, plays for the Chicago Mission U-16’s. Like his older brother, he, too, is a North Dakota recruit.
Sweden Stuns U.S. with Six Seconds Left
The U.S. lost to Sweden, 1-0, at the World Jr. A Challenge last night in Langley, BC on a Ludvig Nilsson unassisted goal with six seconds remaining in regulation.
It was the first 1-0 game in the tournament’s history, and the other hero for Sweden was goaltender Oscar Dansk, who stopped all 44 shots he faced.
For the U.S., Zane Gothberg was the hard-luck loser, kicking out 23 shots.
Tomorrow, in the second and final preliminary round match, the U.S., winner of the last three gold medals here, will face Canada West (7:30 pm PST).
Here’s the U.S. Roster for the tournament:
Goaltenders (2): Zane Gothberg (Fargo, ‘92), Ryan McKay (Green Bay, ‘92).
Defensemen (7): Chris Bradley (Youngstown, ‘93), Brian Cooper (Fargo, late ‘93), Ian McCoshen (Waterloo, ‘95), Ethan Prow (Des Moines, late ‘92), Mike Reilly (Penticton – BCHL, ‘93), Jordan Schmaltz (Green Bay, late ‘93), Andy Welinksi (Green Bay, ‘93).
Forwards (13): Riley Bourbonnais (Cedar Rapids, ’93), Alex Broadhurst (Green Bay, ’93), Tony Cameranesi (Waterloo, ’93), Austin Cangelosi (Youngstown, ’94), Sam Herr (Green Bay, late ’92), Vince Hinostroza (Waterloo, ’94), Kevin Irwin (Des Moines, ’93), Sean Kuraly (Indiana, ’93), Mario Lucia (Penticton – BCHL, ’93), A.J. Michaelson (Waterloo, ’94), Brett Patterson (Sioux City, ’92), Ray Pigozzi (Des Moines, ’94), Austyn Young (Sioux Falls, late ’93).
Head Coach: Regg Simon (Des Moines). Assistant Coaches: Shane Fukushima (Waterloo) and Bliss Littler (Omaha).
Mon. Nov. 7 – Sweden
Wed. Nov. 9 – Canada West
Thurs. Nov. 10 – Quarterfinals
Fri. Nov. 11 – Semifinals
Sat. Nov. 12 – Fifth-place game
Sun. Nov. 13 First-place game
Mass. Midget State Tournament Schedule
The Mass. Regionals are this coming weekend. Here’s the Tier I Midget Schedule. All games are at the Foxboro Sports Center.
American Division: Neponset Valley River Rats, Valley Jr. Warriors, South Shore Dynamos, Minuteman Flames.
National Division: Cape Cod Whalers, Greater Boston Jr. Bruins, Eastern Mass. Senators, Bay State Breakers.
Fri. Nov. 11 (Foxboro Sports Center):
6:00 pm --- CC Whalers vs. Breakers (Rink 1)
6:10 pm – NV River Rats vs. Minuteman Flames (Rink 2)
7:55 pm – Valley Jr. Warriors vs. SS Dynamos (Rink 1)
8:00 pm – Boston Jr. Bruins vs. E. Mass. Senators (Rink 2)
Sat. Nov. 12 (Foxboro Sports Center):
9:40 am – NV River Rats vs. SS Dynamos (Rink 2)
10:10 am – CC Whalers vs. E. Mass Senators (Rink 1)
11:35 am – Boston Jr. Bruins vs. Bay State Breakers (Rink 1)
12:05 am – Valley Jr. Warriors vs. Minuteman Flames (Rink 2)
5:00 pm – SS Dynamos vs. Minuteman Flames (Rink 1)
5:10 pm – E. Mass. Senators vs. Bay State Breakers (Rink 2)
6:55 pm – NV River Rats vs. Valley Jr. Warriors (Rink 1)
7:00pm – CC Whalers vs. Boston Jr. Bruins (Rink 2)
Sun. Nov. 13 (Foxboro Sports Center):
8:50 am – Semi-final (American 1st vs. National 2nd)
9:00 am – Semi-final (National 1st vs. American 2nd)
4:00 pm – Championship Game
Bauer NIT Tournament Book
Here's the program for this weekend's NIT Tournament in New Hope, Minn. It's a PDF file.
Bauer NIT Program
And here's the best spot to keep up on results from New Hope.
Revolution for Sale
The Philadelphia Revolution (EJHL) are reportedly on the market and will be sold at the conclusion of the current season.
The franchise, purchased for $360K in 2008, is currently in its third season in the league.
Reportedly, there was an offer of $600K made for the team last year by the Trenton Thunder organization.
-- Update 11/4/11: Revolution owner Phil Pulley says "If somebody offered me a million dollars I would take it, but the club is not actively for sale. I like the kids, I like the coaching staff, and I'm excited about the season."
Prep Section Now Open
The prep section for the upcoming season is now open and coaches have begun to submit their schedules.
We’ve just posted the schedule for the jamborees later this month and will start adding in the Christmas and New Year’s Tournaments any day.
If you've forgotten how to get there, or are new to USHR, just click on the 'Leagues' tab above and then choose 'Prep Boys' and '2011-12.'
Thank you for your support.
Gophers Get Their Guy
5’6”, 145 lb. Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL) LW Taylor Cammarata has committed to the University of Minnesota for the fall of ’13.
Cammarata, the #1 overall pick in last spring’s USHL Futures Draft, is a 5/13/95 birthdate from Plymouth, Minn. and a junior in high school. Last season, playing for Shattuck’s U-16 team, he put up an eye-popping 71-68-139 line in 54 games played. This year, despite his age, he is Waterloo’s leading scorer with a 3-8-11 line in 10 games played. In the league scoring race, he is tied for third.
“In my twenty plus years of coaching at this level I’ve never seen a guy with his pure skill with the puck,” says Waterloo head coach P.K. O’Handley, “and I have had some skilled guys, like Joe Pavelski. Taylor has the puck skills now that Pavelski had at age 18. When he physically matures… oh boy.”
“His brain is way advanced compared to most,” O’Handley adds. “What he sees at his age is remarkable. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
“He has to learn to play better in his own end, gain the zone harder, things like that, but he has the pure skill – and a lot of time. It’s going to be fun to watch him mature.”
The college hunt for Cammarata, who has the earmarks of a future Hobey Baker Award winner, was pretty much on the QT. It appears that he was bound for the Gophers all along – and is one player they couldn’t afford to lose.
Schedule for New England’s
The schedule for the New England District midget major and midget minor tournament was just finalized late this afternoon. Here are the times for the tournament, which gets underway tomorrow. All games are at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., which has two sheets.
The Midget Majors will be a four-team division, not six as originally planned. Vermont bowed out.
Fri. Nov. 4
6:00 pm – Mid-Fairfield vs. Manchester (NH) Flames
8:00 pm – Rhode Island Saints vs. Conn. Jr. Wolfpack
Sat. Nov. 5
5:30 pm – Manchester (NH) Flames vs. Rhode Island Saints
7:30 pm – Mid-Fairfield vs. Conn. Jr. Wolfpack
Sun. Nov. 6
10:30 am – Rhode Island Saints vs. Mid-Fairfield
10:30 am – Conn. Jr. Wolfpack vs. Manchester (NH) Flames
4:30 pm – Championship Game
Fri. Nov. 4
4:00 pm – Mid-Fairfield I vs. NH East
6:00 pm – Mid-Fairfield II vs. Manchester Flames
8:00 pm – RI Saints vs. Nashua Pro Ambitions
Sat. Nov. 5
8:00 am – Mid-Fairfield II vs. RI Saints
10:00 am – NH East vs. Manchester Flames
12:00 pm – Nashua Pro Ambitions vs. Mid-Fairfield
3:30 pm – RI Saints vs. NH East
5:50 pm – Mid-Fairfield I vs. Mid-Fairfield II
7:30 pm – Manchester Flames vs. Nashua Pro Ambitions
Sun. Nov. 6
8:00 am -- #1 vs. #4
8:00 am -- #2 vs. #3
2:00 pm – Championship Game
Top ‘96s Named for Youth Olympics
USA Hockey has named the Under-16 Team it will be sending to the inaugural Youth Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria Jan. 13-22.
All players on the team appeared at USA Hockey’s Boys Select 15 Player Development Camp July 15-21 in Rochester, NY.
The team will be coached by Ben Smith, a Gloucester, Mass. native and former Harvard defenseman who, most famously, led the U.S. Women to gold in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Smith, a former Div. I assistant and head coach (Dartmouth, Northeastern), has also coached a number of USA Hockey Teams, men and women, in international play.
The tournament, part of a larger youth winter games incorporating other winter Olympic sports, is IIHF and USOC sanctioned. In addition to the U.S., other countries sending teams are Austria, Canada, Finland, and Russia.
Being named to this team does not mean a free pass to the NTDP, though over half the roster looks like a mortal lock to us. There's plenty of size, too, with 12 member of the 17-man roster at 6'0" or better. And if other countries are able to send strong squads, this will be a terrific evaluation opportunity for the NTDP, light years ahead of the much-maligned '40-man camp' held every March in Ann Arbor.
Innsbruck, by the way, hosted two Olympic Winter Games, in 1964 and again in 1976. Normally, the Olympics would not return to a venue so quickly, and the IOC didn't intend for that to happen, as they had originally awarded the '76 Winter Olympic Games to Denver. However, Colorado voters rejected a bond issue which would have used public funds for the games. The IOC then offered it to Whistler, BC, but they didn't come though, either. The IOC, frustrated, then went right back to Innsbruck, which was happy to have the games -- again.
U.S. Under-16 Roster:
Goaltenders (2): Logan Halladay (Carolina Jr. Hurricanes); Edwin Minney (DC Capitals).
Defensemen (6): Adam Baughman (Chicago Mission); Nathan Billitier (Rochester – EJHL); Ryan Bliss (St. Paul’s School); Jack Glover (Benilde-St. Margaret’s); Joshua Jacobs (Honeybaked); Jack Walker (Edina HS).
Forwards (9): Blake Clarke (Fargo – USHL); Jack Eichel (Junior Bruins - Empire); Jared Fiegl (Col. Rampage); Shane Gersich (Holy Family Catholic HS); Marcel Godbout (Shattuck); Dylan Larkin (Belle Tire); Ryan MacInnis (St. Louis Amateur Blues); Nick Schmaltz (Chicago Mission); Joe Wegwerth (Brewster – Empire).
Schedule (Innsbruck, Austria -- Tyrolean Arena)
Sat. Jan. 14 -- Austria
Sun. Jan. 15 -- Canada
Tues. Jan. 17 -- Finland
Wed. Jan. 18 -- Russia
Fri. Jan. 20 -- Semifinals
Sat. Jan. 21 -- Third Place Game
Sun. Jan. 22 -- First Place Game
U.S. Roster (pdf)
Springfield Pics (EJHL) 5’11”, 160 lb. LW Willy Smith has committed to UMass-Amherst for the fall of ’14.
Smith, a 3/13/96 birthdate from East Longmeadow, Mass., is the son of Pics assistant coach Vern Smith.
Recently, Smith was brought up from the Pics Empire league team, where he had been coached by former UMass captain Rob Bonneau, and has played the last five games in the EJ, with one point.
With the Empire team, Smith had a 5-10-15 line in 11 games played. He also played in 26 Empire League games last season, with a 13-17-30 line.
“He’s a very strong skater, quick,” says Pics head coach Pat Tabb. “But his biggest thing is his sense of the game, his play away from the puck. He’s a skilled kid but it’s his knowledge and instincts that set him apart. He also has a great work ethic. He’s always the first on the puck, which creates opportunities. You almost have to hide his skates to get him to take a rest.”
Apple Core (Empire League) forward Brandon Fusaro has committed to West Point for the fall of ‘14 or ‘15.
Fusaro, a 3/1/96 birthdate from Elmont, NY, also plays varsity hockey at the Portledge School, where he is a sophomore.
To the best of our knowledge, we can’t recall a player this young – or even close to this young – committing early to West Point.
Jon Sandos, who coaches him at Portledge and on the Empire Team, said that Fusaro was “wowed” on his trip to the Military Academy. “He wants to be part of something bigger than just a team. He wants to do something for his country.”
Fusaro, the youngest Apple Core player, has a 4-9-13 line in 13 games played.
Serino Out For the Season
Malden Catholic head hockey coach/AD Chris Serino, who last season coached the team to its first Super 8 title, will be taking a leave of absence from the team in order to recuperate from a severe case of double (bilateral) pneumonia.
Not surprisingly, it was not Serino’s idea to take the season off. It was the school’s.
Assistant John McLean will serve as interim head coach, and the rest of the coaching staff will remain intact.
Malden Catholic won the Super 8 last season with a 4-3 OT win over St. John’s Prep at the Garden, and are the pre-season favorites to win it all again.
Beantown Classic Review
We spent several days last week at the Beantown Fall Classic and took in a lot of hockey, though actually not quite as much as we would have liked due to a storm-related power outage around 7:30 pm Saturday that scrubbed all games from that point forward. That meant we were unable to home in on the U19 semi-finals and finals on Sunday, a good chance to see some of the better U19 teams facing off against each other.
Nonetheless, we saw a lot, and a lot that was good.
Some of the games were a real pleasure to watch, in particular the Saturday morning tilt between the Greater Boston Jr. Bruins and the Little Bruins. The match had an old school “Boston Hockey” feel to it. Eight of the players on the ice already have Div. I commitments and another ten or so should be in the same boat before long. It was just good hockey with back-and-forth action. The Little Bruins ended up winning, 6-5. Another marquee matchup took place on Saturday night, with the Chicago Mission U16s topping the Long Island Royals U16s, 2-0. These two teams could be in the finals of the national championship game at the end of the season, so to see them in Exeter, NH in October was a treat.
The tournament itself is a really nice event for the Boston area. Peter and Chris Masters have done a great job of building the product and bringing in top-end teams year-in and year-out. This year, the field was the deepest yet. Arguably the top three ‘96’s in the U.S. were supposed to be on hand in Jack Eichel, Nicholas Schmaltz, and Ryan MacInnis (MacInnis, the son of Hall of Fame defenseman Al MacInnis, was unable to make the trip… still, two out of three ain’t bad).
Our only complaint is that the rinks are too far apart. The games at UNH, Exeter and Dover are all in close proximity, but making the trek to and from Haverhill, Mass. is really out the way and not a “scout friendly” scenario.
Some of the teams in the tournament we have covered extensively in recent months, so in order to avoid repetitiveness we focused on the players that are new to the area or players we feel have taken notable positive strides. Just because we have not written about everyone, it does not mean that Justin Bailey (Long Island Royals), Rob O’Gara (GBL), Sam Kurker (Little Bruins), etc. were not excellent, it just means that covering them again would be overkill. So, without further ado, here are the guys who stood out:
Nicholas Schmaltz, F, ‘96 (Chicago Mission U16) 5-11/155—Electric player that oozes confidence. North Dakota recruit can skate, shoot and make plays at top speed. Plays with a lot of moxie. A lock for the NTDP should he chose to accept their invitation. Right now he could be the top ’96 forward in the country.
Jack Eichel, F, ’96 (Junior Bruins-Empire) 6-0/175—Was quiet in the game we watched, but his potential is obvious. Has great presence on the ice and can really control a game. A very smooth player who has a long wingspan and can dangle the puck out there. He may have more upside than Schmaltz, but right now Schmaltz plays at a faster pace. Eichel is also a no-brainer to receive an invite out to Ann Arbor.
Alex Jasiek, F, ’96 (St. Louis Blues U16) 5-8/145—A fun player to watch. Not the biggest or the fastest guy on the ice, but his puck skills were second to none here. Competes hard and can really protect the puck. Scored a highlight reel goal against the Pittsburgh Hornets, undressing a defender before firing a laser right under the cross bar. Jasiek will likely be a goal scorer at the college level.
Cal Burke, F, ’97 (Little Bruins) 5-9/150—We have seen this Little Bruins team play a number of times and, we are sorry to say, overlooked Burke. We just hadn’t realized he was only a ’97, which really changes the equation significantly. Has an elite skill set and holds his own physically against much older competition. One of the top ’97 forwards in the area, Burke is a freshman at Nobles.
Liam Darcy, D, ’97 (Seacoast Spartans U16) 5-11/160—Usually plays on the U14 Spartans, but was called on for a game against the #1 team in the country- the Chicago Mission. The Spartans upset the Mission, 4-2, and the ’97 defenseman scored a goal and was arguably their best defender. Darcy does not have over-the-top skills, but he thinks the game on a very mature level. Has a lot of poise and makes excellent decisions under pressure. Is a freshman at Berwick where he will play on the varsity.
Jacob Linhart, D, ’96 (Chicago Mission U16) 5-9/155—Immediately jumped out at us and showed that he is an elite level offensive-minded defenseman. The Wisconsin recruit will one day be quarterbacking the Badger’s PP. Has a very high skill level and plays with a lot of confidence. Will likely be included in the NTDP 40 man camp, but his ability to defend is what will decide if he is good enough to make the team.
Anderson Bjork, F, ’96 (Chicago Mission U16) 5-11/161—A versatile forward who can put on a lot of different hats. Has the skill to be a top six forward at the next level, but also plays a complete game and could be a shut down center. Does everything well; an honest player.
Michael Booth, F, ’96 (Team Illinois U16) 5-9/160—Nothing flashy, but has good all-around skills and generates offense. Was TI’s top forward in the games we saw.
Dylan Fouts, F, ’96 (Pittsburgh Hornets U16) 6-0/165—Looks a little taller than 6’0”. One of those players who catches your eye in warm-ups because he is big and can skate. Fortunately for Fouts, he wasn’t only impressive in warm-ups. Skates the puck up ice with confidence; if he had a little more finish to his game he could be considered a high-end ’96.
Bradley Johnson, D, ’96 (St. Louis Blues U16) 5-9/160—A heady, smart defenseman. Not very big or physical, but knows how to play at his current size and quietly control games. Just makes smart plays and positions himself well both offensively and defensively. The longer you watch him, the more you gain an appreciation for his game.
Erik Wurman, G, ’96 (Valley Jr. Warriors) 5-10/145—Has great technique and is very athletic in the net. Against the Long Island Royals he kept his team in the game despite being outshot by a wide margin. Because he played on a weak team he was hung out to dry a bit, but his talent is undeniable. Is a sophomore at Acton-Boxborough and one to keep an eye on.
Seamus Malone, F, ’96 (Chicago Mission U16) 5-9/160—Another highly skilled forward on the Mission, Malone probably has the best puck skills among their talented group. In an exciting game against the Long Island Royals he was clearly their most effective player. He is a DI prospect right now, but if he can add a step to his skating he could become special.
Christian Dvorak, F, ’96 (Chicago Mission U16) 5-9/140—An intelligent playmaker who is very slippery in the offensive zone. Plays on a line with Schmaltz and the two of them work very well with one another. Whoever is responsible for the skill level of the Mission players deserves a pat on the back.
Connor Collier, D, ’95 (New Jersey Devils U16) 5-11/185—A wise coach once said, “If a defenseman can skate with the puck, have his head up and make a good pass it automatically puts him in the top 25% of defenseman in his age group.” That is exactly what Collier does. He handles the puck well and makes good plays. We have seen him a few times over the past couple months, but he was at his best this weekend.
Paul Vella, F, ’96 (New Jersey Devils U16) 5-10/151— Has a good individual skill set and creates a lot of offense, but he needs to learn how to use his teammates effectively. Piles on the points at U16, but a good team will be able to contain him at the next level. That said, it’s a lot easier to teach a skilled player how to use his teammates than it is to teach an unskilled team player how to develop high-end skills.
Adam Roeder, D, ’96 (St. Louis Blues U16) 5-11/165—Very quick feet which allows for him to play very aggressively and be active in the offensive zone. Pinches often, but is able to work his way back into position. Has only been playing at the AAA level for a couple of seasons so his game could be ready to take off.
Robby Klein, D, ’95 (Neponset Valley River Rats) 6-4/200—Big guys that get around the ice well are not easy to find. Klein has a lot of potential and there were a couple of times in the game we saw where he looked very athletic and impressive. Still figuring out his body. Is a project that is worth checking up on regularly. Plays for Lawrence Academy.
Anthony Florentino, D, ’95 (Neponset Valley River Rats) 6-2/200—Good size, skates well and has a bomb of a shot. The Providence recruit will look nice unloading one-timers on their PP in the future. This time next year he will be watched closely by NHL teams. Plays for South Kent.
Keenan Murray, D, ’96 (Pittsburgh Hornets U16) 6-0/150—Smart, power play type defenseman who moves the puck efficiently and has a slick set of hands. Very calm with puck on his stick. Is a bit frail right now, but will be a must-see when he adds weight and muscle.
Robert Nardella, D, ’96 (Chicago Mission U16) 5-7/140—Smallish defender is very slick and smart. Not as flashy as Linhart, but plays with more consistency. Just makes the right play time and time again. Would like to see him be a little more assertive on the PP -- he likes to be the set-up man as opposed to the shooter.
Adam Baughman, D, ’96 (Chicago Mission U16) 6-2/175—Big defenseman with underrated stick skills. Goes about his game in a blue-collar manner, but has a lot of upside and could turn out to be the best of the bunch in the long run.
Ryan Wagner, F, ’96 (Chicago Mission U16) 5-8/148—A workhorse who plays hard and has some finish to his game. Against the Long Island Royals, Wagner scored a power play goal in which he one-timed the puck from the top of the circles directly into the upper right-hand corner— a big-time shot that the goalie had no chance on.
James Winkler, F, ’96 (Seacoast Spartans U16) 6-2/175—Big power forward who has a nice long stick and skates well. Does not make a ton of plays, but he’s a young kid with a lot of tools. Could turn out to be a good one. Attends Berwick Academy.
Mitchell Jones, D, ’95 (Compuware U18) 5-11/180—Offensive defenseman who wants the puck on his stick at all times. A good skater who defends well and plays with a chip on his shoulder.
Garrett Cockerill, D, ’94 (Compuware U18) 6-0/190—The Northeastern recruit looks like he may have outgrown midget hockey. He looked good here as he was very assertive offensively, but does he project to be an offensive defenseman in college? His skating is just ok and we are curious as to how well he would defend in the USHL. He would be better served playing junior hockey and working on the aspects of his game that need improvement before heading to college. However, he didn’t make Muskegon’s team.
Conor Garland, F, ’96 (Junior Bruins-Empire) 5-7/145—A point producer who was a top scorer at the select festival this summer and is currently lighting up the Empire league as a 15 year old. Has good vision, makes plays and has a knack around the net. In the game we saw him this weekend he was very average and did not show much speed or grit. We will give him the benefit of the doubt and assume it was an off game.
Chris Calnan, F, ’94 (Cape Cod Whalers) 6-2/190—Did not include Calnan in our list of top uncommitted players, but this weekend he showed that he could be college ready. He is big, strong and can skate. We could easily see him being a role player next year in college hockey. Have not seen him make skilled offensive plays, but that part of his game could develop later. If not, Calnan will be an effective mucker/grinder.
Thomas Stahlhuth, D, ’95 (St. Louis Blues U19) 5-11/165—Keeps things simple and does everything well. He is a December ’95 birth date, but if he were born a month later and was a ’96 he would probably be getting considerable attention. Your typical meat-and-potatoes underappreciated stay-at-home defenseman.
Chase Rey, F, ’94 (St. Louis Blues U19) 5-11/170—Des Moines Buccaneers’ draft pick has good puck skills and is more of a playmaker than a finisher. Should be in the USHL next year, but needs to get quicker before he moves on to NCAA hockey.
Connor Wood, F, ’94 (Honeybaked U18) 6-0/175—A gifted offensive player who is nearly dominant at the U18 level. Skates well, but is not a burner. Has a good shot and can handle the puck in traffic. Exciting to watch at this level; should make the transition to the USHL with ease.
Liam Coughlin, F, ’94 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 6-3/180—Is not draft eligible until next year, but we feel he is a player who will be appealing to NHL teams. Coughlin is a big body who can skate and make offensive plays. His game is pretty raw right now, but he has the natural talent which, combined with some hard work, could make for a nice player. Plays for Catholic Memorial and is the brother of Kevin Coughlin, a former highly-touted Cushing/NTDP player who committed to Lowell, but then backed out and headed to the Q to play for the Quebec Remparts.
Richey Boyd, D, ’95 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 6-2/170—Boyd is athletic, skates well, and has great size. He’s somewhat like his older brother, defenseman R.J. Boyd, a former Cushing captain and Florida Panthers draft pick now playing in Indiana, but with one significant difference: he processes the game faster. Will turn out to be the better of the Boyd brothers.
Tommy Besinger, F, ’94 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 5-8/155—The BC High forward is undersized and not very fast, but he has a lot of hockey sense and is very dangerous in the offensive zone. A crafty playmaker, he’s slick with the puck in tight. If he can add a step to his game and become more dynamic he could turn out to be a high scorer at the next level.
Devin Tringale, F, ’93 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 6-0/197—The Harvard recruit has been very average in our opinion -- up until this weekend. Here, he showed an explosive first step and was able to drive to the front of the net and create grade A scoring chances a number of times. Displayed a nice finishing touch playing on a line with Brendan Collier and Ryan Fitzgerald. May not have the skill level to do things on his own, but when he plays with skilled forwards he makes for a great complimentary player.
Liam McDermott, F, ’94 (Cleveland Barons U18) 6-3/180—Has great size and a nice skill set, but was unable to create much offense in the games we saw.
Pierson Callander, F, ’94 (Cleveland Barons U18) 6-0/160—Comes from a family of late bloomers and we feel he could be the next in line. His father, Jock Callander, is a former NHL player who was never drafted and did not find his game until he was 19 years old when he put up 153 points for the Regina Pats (WHL). His cousin, Preston Callander, played in the USHL until he was 20 years old and went on to score 54 points as a senior at UNH. Pierson skates well, has a good shot, and puts himself in the right places to score goals. Keep an eye on him over the next couple of years.
Chris Miller, F, ’95 (Junior Bruins-Empire) 5-7/145—An energy player who plays with excellent pace. Makes things happen every shift; is fun to watch.
Tyler Wood, D, ’94 (Cape Cod Whalers) 6-3/195—We wrote about the son of long time NHLer Randy Wood after seeing him in Salem, NH a couple weeks ago, but he deserves another mention as we feel his game is really starting to come along. He is so big, skates well, and is really starting to stand out. His physical tools and skill make him a possible NHL draftee in June.
Saracino Commits to Friars
5’10”, 183 lb. LC Nick Saracino of the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (USHL) has committed to Providence College for next fall.
A 2/20/92 from St. Louis, Mo, Saracino leads Cedar Rapids in points with a 2-8-10 line in eight games played. He also leads the team in +/- with a +14.
Saracino, who played with the St. Louis Jr. Blues organization before going out to the USHL last season, is currently tied for sixth among USHL scoring leaders.
Northeastern and UMass-Lowell were the other schools involved with Saracino.
Shattuck’s Draeger Commits
6’2”, 186 lb. Shattuck-St. Mary’s senior RD John Draeger has committed to Michigan State.
A 12/2/93 birthdate from Faribault, Minn., Draeger, a “B” prospect in NHL Central Scouting’s Players to Watch list of last week, made his final choice from among Michigan State, UNH, Duluth, and Mankato.
Shattuck, by the way, is -- going into this weekend’s action at the NIT Tournament in New Hope, Minn. -- 13-1-1 on the season. Their only loss was to Team Wisconsin, a loss they have since avenged (two times, actually).
Box Score of the Month
In an Empire League game on Sun. Oct. 2, the Florida Junior Blades trounced the Space Coast Hurricanes 19-1. According to the box score, the shots on goal were 141-11. In the second period alone, the shots were 57-2… that’s hard to picture.
Space Coast goalie Duane Bartek, who came into the game with his team down 10-0 at the start of the second period, faced 105 shots over the final two periods and stopped 96 of the shots, a .914 save % -- and a good workout.
Box Score: Florida Jr. Blades 19, Space Coast Hurricanes 1