Established 1996

Minnesota Fall Elite Weekend #1
Here are our observations from the first weekend of play at the Minnesota Fall Elite League in New Hope, Minn.

For this report, we covered all six Minnesota-based teams. Some guys were missing in action, and others, like Burnsville’s Brock Boeser (mono) were out due to illness or injury.

It’s obviously very early, and this shouldn’t be considered any detailed ranking – this is more of a checklist of guys we felt played well over the weekend. We’ll update this after a future weekend, and see what’s changed.

Overall, it is a weak year for Minnesota. Unless things change drastically, there will be an uncharacteristically low number of Minnesota high school players who hear their name called in next June’s NHL draft.

Fall Elite Weekend #1:

Tyler Nanne, Sr., RD, ’96, Edina HS, 5-10/180 (Team Southwest) – Very good skater, quick and balanced. An offensive-minded blueliner. Best D here.

Tyler Sheehy, Sr., F, late ’95, Burnsville HS, 5-9/180 (Team Southeast) -- Works hard every shift; never gives up. Very good skater with great hands.

Spencer Naas, Sr., F, ’95, Benidle-St. Margaret’s, 5-9/175 (Team Northwest) – A quick-footed playmaker with excellent hockey sense.

Matthew Freytag, Jr., F, ’97, Wayzata HS, 5-11/180 (Team Northwest) – Creative forward is always dangerous in front of the net. His skating could be better. Wisconsin recruit.

Tom Novak, Jr., F, ’97, St. Thomas Academy, 5-11/172 (Team Southeast) -- Great hands and hockey sense. Shifty in small spaces. Always looking for the open man.

Tanner Tweten, Soph., F, ’97, East Grand Forks HS, 6-2/198 (Team North) --  Skates very well for his size, has good hockey sense, soft hands, and a shot.

Christiano Versich, Jr., F, ’97, St. Thomas Academy, 5-7/158 (Team North) – Small, shifty forward. Quick hands, excellent first steps.

Max Zimmer, Soph., F, late ’97, Wayzata HS, 5-10/162 (Team Northwest) – Has hockey sense and the hands to take advantage of it. Finds the open man well.

Jake Wahlin, Jr., F, late ’96, White Bear Lake HS, 5-9/161 (Team Northeast) -- Great skating with offensive creativity. Plays in all situations. UMass recruit.

Alex Mehnert, Jr., LD, ’97, Moorhead HS, 5-10/165 (Team Great Plains) -- Good quick hands, and a hard shot. Hockey sense is OK. Need to become quicker on his feet.

Grant Prinsen, Sr., D, ’95, Delano HS (Team Southwest) – Good hockey sense and mobility. Decision-making is also good.

Miguel Fidler, Sr., F, ’96, Edina HS, 6-0/186 (Team Southwest) – Skates and has nice hands. Work ethic could be better.

Nick Reis, Jr., F, ’96, Cretin-Derham Hall, 6-1/170 (Team Southeast) -- Calm under pressure, makes good decisions with or without puck, and is a decent skater.

Will Borgen, Jr., RD, late ’96, Moorhead HS, 6-1/175 (Team Great Plains) -- Skinny d-man makes good reads. Plays it safe. Needs to gain strength.

Keith Muehlbauer, Jr., RD, ’97, Eastview HS, 6-1/195 (Team Southeast) – Strong; uses his size well in battles. Responsible defensively.

Nick Swaney, Soph., F, ’97, Lakeville South, 5-9/150 (Team Southeast) -- Small and lacks strength, but has really soft hands. A good skater, he finds ways to get open.

Dylan Woolf, Sr., RD, ’96, Holy Family Catholic, 6-0/199 (Team Northeast) --  Big, strong kid, solid in his own end, good balance.

Alex Strand, Sr., F, ’95, Roseau HS, 5-10/160 (Team Great Plains) – A hard worker who plays in all situations. Good hands.

Nicky Wolff, Sr., LD, ’96, Eagan HS, 6-4/200 (Team Southeast) – A big strong D. Uses  his body well in corners and around boards

Andrew Blumer, Sr., LD, ’96, Fargo South/Shanley HS, 6-5/200 (Team Great Plains) -- Tall, skinny, and has a nice reach. He uses his stick well and moves the puck efficiently.

Jacob Olson, Jr., LD, ’97, Hill-Murray, 6-2/205 (Team Southeast) – Big D will need to keep working on his skating and mobility. Used his size well in battles along the boards.

Colin Gallagher, Jr., LD, ’97, Henry Sibley HS, 6-3/180 (Team Southeast) -- Very good skater for his size. A little too offensive-minded, in as much as his puck skills are average.


U.S. Kids in Major Junior
For the third consecutive season, the number of U.S. kids opting for the major junior route has increased, going from 110 in ’11-12 to 120 last season to 129 this season. And that number will go up to 130 when former Gopher recruit Tommy Vannelli suits up for the Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL) tomorrow.

This year, the increases have come in the Q and the Dub. The OHL has actually dropped, from 62 Americans last year, to 58 this season. That said, we feel that the number of high-end Americans in the O has actually increased, something we have seen increasing evidence of in recent invite lists to the August Evaluation Camp for the U.S. National Junior Team in Lake Placid.

Keep in mind that this annual census we produce is somewhat fluid, as players will come and go during the course of the season. In addition, it’s a little hard to define an ‘American player.’ While we have included a number of dual citizens, we have done our best to exclude those dual citizens who have played for Canada – or any other country – in international competition. Sometimes you get odd situations. Saginaw (OHL) ’94 forward Cody Payne was born in England, played his minor hockey in Toronto, and skated with the U.S. at the Ivan Hlinka Tournament. To us, that makes him an American, at least for our purposes. On the other hand, dual US/Canadian citizens who have played for Canada in international competition have been excluded. Kerby Rychel, who was born in LA, would be one obvious example. There are others.

One thing that is inarguable is the fact that the CHL is doing a very good job attracting top American talent. It’s a trend that is proving increasingly difficult to counteract.

With that in mind, here are the lists, by league, of rostered Americans as of today.

WHL (47):

Brandon Wheat Kings (0)

Calgary Hitmen (0)

Edmonton Oil Kings (3)
Henrik Samuelsson, C, 2/7/1994,6-3/208, Scottsdale, AZ (dual)
Lane Bauer, C,5/2/1996, 5-11/187, Anchorage, AK
Cody Corbett, D, 12/14/1993,6-1/194, Lakeland, MN

Everett Silvertips (0)

Kamloops Blazers (1)
Chase Souto, RW, 10/8/1994, 5-11/184, Yorba Linda, CA

Kelowna Rockets (1)
Colten Martin, D,3/15/1994, 6-0/170, Arlington, TX

Kootenay Ice (0)

Lethbridge Hurricanes (0)

Medicine Hat Tigers (5)
Steven Owre, C, 6/21/1996, 5-11/165, Rocklin, CA
Miles Koules, RW, 6/25/1994, 5-11/188, Los Angeles, CA
Jacob Doty, RW, 6/19/1993, 6-3/218, Billings, MT
Matt Staples, D, 3/7/1995, 6-1/192, Coppell, TX
Scott Allan, D, 3/4/1996, 6-5/181, Thornton, CO

Moose Jaw Warriors (1)
Tyler Brown, D, 2/12/1997, 6-1/195, Olympia, WA

Portland Winterhawks (11)
Ethan Price, RW, 1/17/1997, 5-10/182, Lincoln, NE
Paul Bittner, LW, 11/4/1996, 6-4/195, Crookston, MN
Chase De Leo, C, 11/25/1995, 5-10/175, La Mirada, CA
Keegan Iverson, C, 4/5/1996, 6-0/216, St. Louis Park, MN
Shane McColgan, C, 1/1/1993, 5-9/170, Manhattan Beach, CA
Alex Schoenborn, RW, 12/12/1995, 6-1/194, Minot, ND
Dominic Turgeon, C, 2/25/1996, 6-2/196, Cherry Hills, CO
Josh Hanson, D, 1/14/1994, 6-3/206, Eagle River, AK
Garrett Haar, D, 8/16/1993, 6-0/208, Huntington Beach, CA
Keoni Texeira, D, 3/24/1997, 6-0/194, Fontana, CA
Brendan Burke, G, 3/11/1995, 6-4/185, Scottsdale, AZ (dual)

Prince Albert Raiders (1)
Gage Quinney, LW, 7/29/1995, 6-0/181, Las Vegas, NV

Prince George Cougars (1)
Zach Pochiro, C, 3/6/1994, 6-2/160, Las Vegas, NV

Red Deer Rebels (1)
Luke Sutter, C, 10/4/93, 6-0/205, St. Louis, MO (dual) 

Regina Pats (0)

Saskatoon Blades (0)

Seattle Thunderbirds (5)
Scott Eansor, C, 2/23/1996, 5-8/167, Engelwood, CO
Seth Swenson, RW, 4/17/1993, 6-2/208, Parker, CO
Kevin Wolf, D, 4/7/1996, 6-6/191, St. Paul, MN
Griffin Foulk, D, 4/20/1995, 6-0/185, Broomfield, CO
Danny Mumaugh, G, 3/19/1996, 5-10/179, Centennial, CO

Spokane Chiefs (3)
Keanu Yamamoto, RW, 5/27/1996, 5-8/155, Spokane, WA
Liam Stewart
, C, 9/5/1994, 6-1/180, Hermosa Beach, CA
Jeremy McIntosh, D, 3/19/95, 6-2/190, Minneapolis, MN (dual)

Swift Current Broncos (0)

Tri-City Americans (7)
Beau McCue, RW, 1/3/1995, 6-1/200, Colorado Springs, CO
Taylor Vickerman, LW, 4/12/1996, 6-1/181, Kennewick, WA
Justin Gutierrez
, C, 12/22/1995, 6-4/185, Anchorage, AK
Brian Williams, C, 1/10/1995, 5-8/175, Claremont, CA
Riley Hillis, D, 4/8/1996, 6-0/195, Arvada, CO
Brandon Carlo
, D, 11/26/1996, 6-5/185, Colorado Springs, CO
Evan Sarthou, G, 9/24/1997, 6-0/174, Black Diamond, WA

Vancouver Giants (1)
Alec Baer, C, 8/25/1997, 5-10/150, St. Louis Park, MN

Victoria Royals (6)
Ben Walker, C, 6/21/1993, 6-0/192, Edina, MN
Jack Walker, LW, 7/30/1996, 5-11/164, Edina, MN
Logan Nelson, C, 9/9/1993, 6-1/186, Rogers, MN
Austin Carroll, LW, 3/26/1994, 6-3/214, Scottsdale, AZ (dual)
Taylor Crunk, LW, 1/20/1995, 6-0/212, San Jacinto, CA
Brandon Fushimi, RW, 2/25/1996, 6-0/183, Thornton, CO

OHL (58):

Barrie Colts (1)
Kevin Labanc, F, 12/12/95, 5-9/150, Staten Island, NY

Belleville Bulls (0)

Erie Otters (4)
Nick Betz, F, 7/18/95, 6-4/211, Mount Clemens, MI
Troy Donnay, D, 2/18/94, 6-6/185, Fenton, MI
Devin Williams, G, 10/30/95, 5-10/161, Saginaw, MI
Travis Wood, D, 11/22/95, 5-9/169, Hudson, WI

Guelph Storm (0)

Kingston Frontenacs (3)
Matt Mahalak, G, 1/22/93, 6-1/185, Monroe, MI
Sam Povorozniouk, F, 2/11/95, 5-9/183, Northbrook, IL
Conor McGlynn, F, 6/19/95, 6-0/194, Oakville, ONT (dual)

Kitchener Rangers (8)
Justin Bailey, F, 7/1/95, 6-3/189, Williamsville, NY (dual)
Douglas Blaisdell, D, 2/20/97, 6-1/200, Livonia, MI
Frank Hora, D, 6/1/96, 6-0/185, Amherst, NY
Max Iafrate, D, 3/28/94, 6-0/205, Livonia, MI
Mason Kohn, F, 5/3/97, 5-9/165, Davie, FL
Darby Llewellyn, F, 7/19/96, 6-0, 169, Ann Arbor, MI
Ryan MacInnis, F, 2/14/96, 6-1/169, St. Louis, MO (dual)
Nick Magyar, F, 5/29/96, 6-0/172, Mentor, OH

London Knights (6)
Alex Broadhurst, F, 3/7/93, 5-9/152, New Lenox, IL
Christian Dvorak, F, 2/2/96, 6-0/172, Frankfort, IL
Miles Liberati, D, 6/21/95, 6-0/194, Cheswick, PA
Michael McCarron, F, 3/7/95, 6-4/235, Macomb, MI
Dakota Mermis, D, 1/5/94, 6-0/180, Alton, IL
Anthony Stolarz, G, 1/20/94, 6-4/224, Jackson, NJ

Mississauga Steelheads (0)

Niagara IceDogs (3)
Aaron Haydon, D, 2/2/96, 6-2/189, Plymouth, MI
Blake Siebenaler, D, 2/27/96, 6-0/180, Fort Wayne, IN
Zach Wilkie, D, 2/24/97, 6-0/165, Villa Park, IL

North Bay Battalion (3)
Dylan Blujus, D, 1/22/94, 6-2/191, Buffalo, NY
Blake Clarke, F, 1/24/96, 6-1/196, Wildwood, MO
Steve Duda
, D, 11/11/94, 6-4/194, Warrington, PA

Oshawa Generals (2)
Chris Carlisle, D, 12/16/94, 5-9/134, Fort Lee, NJ
Colin Suellentrop, D, 6/10/93, 6-0/189, Plantation, FL

Ottawa 67's (4)
Taylor Davis, D, 5/12/95, 6-0/202, Hamilton, NJ
Troy Henley, D, 1/13/97, 6-0/178, Philadelphia, PA
Tyler Hill, F, 4/13/95, 6-6/225, Hagersville, ONT (dual)
John Urbanic, F, 4/24/95, 5-9/185, Overland Park, KS

Owen Sound Attack (1)
Brandon Hope, G, 3/18/94, 6-0/187, Canton, MI

Peterborough Petes (2)
Greg Betzold, F, 3/11/95, 6-1/194, Cincinnati, OH
Chase Hatcher, F, 2/22/94, 6-1/185, Haddonfield, NJ

Plymouth Whalers (9)
Connor Chatham, F, 10/30/95, 6-1/209, Belleville, IL
Ryan Hartman, F, 9/20/94, 5-11/185, West Dundee, IL
Mitch Jones, D, 2/8/95, 5-10/161, Rochester, MI
Alex King, F, 7/18/97, 5-11/154, Taylor, MI
Nick Malysa, D, 4/11/93, 5-11/191, Bridgewater, NJ
Alex Nedeljkovic, G, 1/7/96, 5-10/189, Parma, OH
Vincent Scognamiglio, F, 9/1/96, 6-1/185, O'Fallon, MO
Danny Vanderwiel, F, 2/17/95, 6-0/209, Island Lake, IL
Josh Wesley, D, 4/9/96, 6-0/187, Raleigh, NC (dual)

Saginaw Spirit (3)
Nathan Glass, D, 2/13/94, 6-0/174, Weston, FL
Jimmy Lodge, F, 3/5/95, 6-0/167, Downingtown, PA
Cody Payne, F, 1/14/94, 6-2/201, London, England (dual)

Sarnia Sting (2)
Anthony DeAngelo, D, 10/24/95, 5-8/150, Sewell, NJ
Bryan Moore, F, 5/25/94, 6-0/200, Matthews, NC

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (1)
Brandon Halverson, G, 3/29/96, 6-3/169, Traverse City, MI

Sudbury Wolves (1)
Jimmy McDowell, D, 4/23/93, 6-0/194, Dimondale, MI

Windsor Spitfires (5)
John Bowen, D, 5/3/94, 6-2/205, Auburn, NJ
Nick Ebert, D, 5/11/94, 6-0/207, Livingston, NJ
Ben Johnson, F, 6/7/94, 5-10/185, Calumet, MI
Ryan Moore, F, 4/9/97, 5-7/150, Troy, MI
Brady Vail, F, 3/11/94, 6-0/196, Palm City, FL

QMJHL (24):

Acadie-Bathurst Titans (1)
Vytal Côté, RW, 11/5/95, 6-2/195, Hollywood, FLA

Baie-Comeau Drakkar (0)

Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (0)

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (1)
Cam Darcy, C, 3/2/94, 5-11/187, Boston, MA

Charlottetown Islanders (2)
Troy Vance, D, 8/2/93, 6-5/205, Goshen, NY
Travis Howe, D, 10/2/94, 6-4/200, Falmouth, MA

Chicoutimi Saguenéens (0)

Drummondville Voltigeurs (2)
Cam Askew, RW, 5/3/97, 6-3/202, Boston, MA
Joe Fleschler, G, 3/5/95, 6-5/205, Summjit, NJ

Gatineau Olympiques (2)
Brandon Smith, D, 3/5/96, 6-1/184, Burnsville, MN
Anthony Brodeur, G, 6/8/95, 5-11/194, New Jersey

Halifax Mooseheads (2)
Danny Moynihan, LW, 12/8/95, 6-0/178, Boston, MA
Connor Moynihan, LW, 7/20/97, 6-3/203, Boston, MA

Moncton Wildcats (5)
Conor Garland, RW, 3/11/96, 5-7/170, Scituate, MA
Will Smith, LW, 3/3/96, 5-11/163, East Longmeadow. MA
Tucker White, D, 12/9/96, 6-3/203, Holden, MA
Cameron Yarwood, D, 3/3/94, 5-9/175, Detroit, MI
Graham Hunt, G, 3/8/95, 6-0/160, Concord, MA

Québec Remparts (5)
JC Campagna, C, 6/11/93, 6-4/206, Dallas, TX
Brandon Shea, C, 6/30/95, 6-2/200, Marshfield, MA
Adam Erne, LW, 4/20/95, 6-1/206, New Haven, CT
Dillon Donnelly, D, 9/7/93, 6-2/217, Amherst, NY
Duncan McIntryre, D, 1/20/96, 6-0/195, Chicago, IL

Rimouski Océanic (0)

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (0)

Saint John Sea Dogs (0)

Shawinigan Cataractes (2)
Alex Pawelczyk, LW, 9/21/95, 6-6/218, Richmond, VA
Frank Schumacher, D, 10/12/93, 6-1/205, Rancho Cucomonga, CA

Sherbrooke Phoenix (2)
Mitch Lundholm, LW, 9/24/96, 6-5/209, Sagamore Beach, MA
Chase Harwell, C, 1/1/97, 5-10/175, Southbury, CT

Val d’Or Foreurs (0)

Victoriaville Tigres (0)


NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch
NHL Central Scouting released their Players to Watch List earlier this week. We have included a link to the PDF file below.

In addition, the second link below is to an Excel file simultaneously released to NHL teams by Central Scouting. It is a list of players, as yet unranked, who Central will also be tracking.

Next June’s draft is scheduled for June 27-28 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.   

NHL Central Scouting -- Players to Watch

NHL Central Scouting -- Additional Players (unranked)

BCHL Notes
As everyone knows, the Penticton Vees, who aspire to be the London Knights of Tier II,  are loaded once again. Five more kids – G Olivier Mantha (UAA), F Anthony Conti (UAA), D Jared Hilderman (Duluth), F Ben Dalpe (Clarkson), and D Chris Rygas (Clarkson) -- have committed since the season started. So far they have 14 kids committed to US Div. I schools. The entire team will be before the season ends. The Vees are off to a 4-0 start, and Fred Harbinson’s club has outscored its opponents 17-4.

-- The best player in the league to date is 6-3/190 lb. Penticton F Ryan Gropp, a North Dakota recruit in his second year in the league. A 9/16/96 birthdate, Gropp, a potential high first rounder, is not draft-eligible until 2015, after his freshman year. Gropp was drafted by Seattle in the first round of the 2011 WHL Bantam draft, but it looks like that’s one the Dub lost out on. Gropp’s father Brent, also a forward, played four years at Colorado College.

-- Of the remaining uncommitted players, 6-1/170 lb. Powell River G Jonah Imoo, whom we wrote about last week, was fantastic at the showcase. We wrote about his inconsistency last year, but, though it is early, that has not been the case this season. Imoo, whose dad, Dusty, is a goalie coach, has been technically sound. There are about 20 Div. I schools who are looking for a goalie and about half were chatting with him after the showcase – Denver, Providence, UConn, etc. Imoo appears to be the uncommitted goalie most ready to step in next year and contribute.

Imoo, along with Penticton’s Hunter Miska, a ’95 who, in the long run projects better, are the league’s top uncommitted goalies.

-- Union recruit and former Governor’s forward Ryan Scarfo is leading Powell River – and the entire league -- in scoring with a 3-5-8 line in four games.

-- Vernon Viper rookie – and former Catholic Memorial forward Liam Coughlin, a late ’94 from South Boston, Mass.,  played very well in Game #1 of the BCHL showcase, and had schools lining up to talk to him. However, he was not as good in Game 2. And on Friday night, in Vernon’s 6-1 loss to Salmon Arm, he didn’t do much. It will be interesting to see if the 6-3/185 LW can reach a certain level of consistency. Vernon has four lines that can all play, meaning Coughlin probably won’t be putting up big numbers right away. He was fantastic in that one game, so the upside is there if he can apply it consistently. And that’s exactly what the Div. I recruiters will be looking for – consistency. In four games, Coughlin has a 2-1-3 line. Coughlin in the younger brother of former Cushing/NTDP/QMJHL forward Kevin Coughlin and son of Kevin Coughlin, Sr. who played at Michigan State in the late ‘70s.

-- Merritt late ’95 F Jeff Wight, who we did not write about in our preseason list of uncommitted players (we didn’t see his team prior to the Showcase) should certainly go on the list. A second year kid in the BCHL, he’s a 12/4/95 birthdate and a big kid at 6-2/180. He projects as a second/third line kid at top NCAA schools. He’s 6-2/180 -- a big, strong, physical kid who is a challenge to play against. Schools are on him. He has a 2-1-3 line in four games played.

-- Former UNH recruit Jordan Masters has found a home in West Kelowna. Masters, who was kicked off two teams in two years (Muskegon Lumberjacks and Jersey Hitmen) is trying to rebuild his reputation on and off the ice. And he’s off to a good start with West Kelowna, where he has a 2-3-5 line in four games. He’s slight at 5-11/165, but he’s greasy, has a good stick, and will put up points. Don’t be surprised to see a DI school take the ’94 from Rochester, NY, but don’t look for them to rush either. They’re going to want to be pretty sure the ‘old’ Jordan Masters is gone, replaced by a new and improved  model. On Friday, Masters was named #1 star in West Kelowna’s 3-2 win over Merritt.

-- Nanaimo Clippers ’95 rookie Sheldon Rempal, who played last season with his hometown Calgary Midget AAA Buffalos, has been attracting a lot of interest from Div. I schools. He’s small at 5’10”, 170 lbs., but he’s skilled, and crafty. He has to work on his consistency, though. There are times he’s invisible, and other times he makes high-skill plays that grab your attention. Has a 2-3-5 line in 3 gp.

-- You may recall us writing last week – or last year, for that matter -- about late 5-10/175 ’95 F Adam Rockwood of the Coquitlam Express, describing him as possibly the most highly skilled uncommitted player in either the BCHL or the USHL. The second year player has hands, vision, and makes a ton of plays. However, we also pointed out Rockwood’s deficiencies. Well, Rockwood has only one assist over the first two games, but in Game #2 put on a stickhandling clinic. At least 15 schools, as hard as that is to believe, were lined up after the game to talk to him. The basic message: if you are willing to compete and chase pucks we want you – on a full. In Coquitlam’s next game, on Sunday, Rockwood had a goal and two assists – and was named the game’s 1st star.

-- You may recall us writing before the Showcase – and last year at the Minnesota Elite league -- about 5-10, 165 lb. Langley RD Tony Bretzman, a late ’94 out of St. Thomas Academy. Well, Bretzman is living up to our hype, as he put on a sensational performance in Game #1. He has light feet, and moves the puck very well and is similar in style to Harvard recruit Adam Plant. He’s also an Ivy-level student.

-- He’s not uncommitted but a plug for Quinnipiac recruit Jonah Renouf, who plays for Surrey, is in order. His twin brother, Nathan, has been injured and has yet to play in a game this season. The twins are great together but even without his brother Jonah, a 5-8/155 ’94 from Mississauga, Ont. was able to put on a show the other night. Renouf, who has a 2-2-4 line in 4 gp, is not a great skater but he’s shifty, slippery, has great vision, and makes things happen with the puck. He’s kind of a B-level Johnny Gaudreau. What’s the deal with Quinnipiac and brothers and twins anyway? They also have the Pieper brothers (Coquitlam) coming in next year. And, of course, the Jones twins are seniors now. And the Clifton brothers are coming in this fall.

-- Enough about brothers and twins. Let’s move on to triplets – specifically, the Victoria Grizzlies’ Fitzgerald Triplets, who make up what many feel is the best line in the BCHL. Gerry (5’8), Myles (5’7”), and Leo (5’9”) are fun to watch, very skilled, and can dominate games. They could play Div. I hockey now, and, while the triplets are committed to Bemidji State for next fall, a couple of them, unfortunately, are reported to have academic issues – and wherever they go, they go together. If academics derails them, there’s a good chance all three could go play pro in Europe next season, probably starting out in the third league in Germany.

-- There’s a lot of buzz around Alberni Valley’s 6-3/190 lb. ’94 LD Jared Wilson, who has five points in his first three games, and is fantastic directing the power play. Wilson, who has been passed over twice, could be an NHL draft next June. And a few months after that he’ll be in college. He’s an Ivy-level student and Cornell has reportedly offered him. A lot of other schools are onto him. He’s definitely one of the top uncommitted kids in the BCHL. A Calgary native, he’s in his second year in the BCHL.

-- West Kelowna’s Liam Blackburn, the ’96 rookie forward – and former Cariboo Cougar -- we wrote about prior to the Showcase, has a 2-2-4 line in four games played. He was a little quiet at the Showcase but there is still a long list of schools that would love his services. He’s not big (5’10”), he’s slight, and he’s not the greatest skater. But he is a playmaker, and things happen when the puck is on his stick.

-- Former Kent forward Ryan Rosenthal has been elected captain by his teammates at Coquitlam. Rosenthal, who reportedly had a 75% scholarship at Vermont but after going 1-1-2 in six games as a freshman it was suggested he needed more seasoning. Hence, the BCHL. Vermont is not opposed to Rosenthal returning, but for now he is an uncommitted player. He was good at the Showcase, but not great. The 6’2”, 200 lb. ’93 from New Jersey has one assist in three games played.

-- With 71 US players on opening night rosters, the BCHL is now 20% American. BCHL rules limit teams to seven Americans, and each team now has an average of 4.44 players from south of the border.



Yanks in the Q
Once again, we are doing our annual census of American-born players in major junior.

Over the weekend, the QMJHL started the 2013-14 regular season and we counted 24 U.S. kids, up from last year’s 16.

The OHL and WHL will be getting started this weekend, and we will add those two leagues to the list at the time.

Acadie-Bathurst Titans (1)
Vytal Côté, RW, 11/5/95, 6-2/195, Hollywood, FLA

Baie-Comeau Drakkar (0)

Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (0)

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles (1)
Cam Darcy, C, 3/2/94, 5-11/187, Boston, MA

Charlottetown Islanders (2)
Troy Vance, D, 8/2/93, 6-5/205, Goshen, NY
Travis Howe, D, 10/2/94, 6-4/200, Falmouth, MA

Chicoutimi Saguenéens (0)

Drummondville Voltigeurs (2)
Cam Askew, RW, 5/3/97, 6-3/202, Boston, MA
Joe Fleschler, G, 3/5/95, 6-5/205, Summjit, NJ

Gatineau Olympiques (2)
Brandon Smith, D, 3/5/96, 6-1/184, Burnsville, MN
Anthony Brodeur, G, 6/8/95, 5-11/194, New Jersey

Halifax Mooseheads (2)
Danny Moynihan, LW, 12/8/95, 6-0/178, Boston, MA
Connor Moynihan, LW, 7/20/97, 6-3/203, Boston, MA

Moncton Wildcats (5)
Conor Garland, RW, 3/11/96, 5-7/170, Scituate, MA
Will Smith, LW, 3/3/96, 5-11/163, East Longmeadow. MA
Tucker White, D, 12/9/96, 6-3/203, Holden, MA
Cameron Yarwood, D, 3/3/94, 5-9/175, Detroit, MI
Graham Hunt, G, 3/8/95, 6-0/160, Concord, MA

Québec Remparts (5)
JC Campagna, C, 6/11/93, 6-4/206, Dallas, TX
Brandon Shea, C, 6/30/95, 6-2/200, Marshfield, MA
Adam Erne, LW, 4/20/95, 6-1/206, New Haven, CT
Dillon Donnelly, D, 9/7/93, 6-2/217, Amherst, NY
Duncan McIntryre, D, 1/20/96, 6-0/195, Chicago, IL

Rimouski Océanic (0)

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (0)

Saint John Sea Dogs (0)

Shawinigan Cataractes (2)
Alex Pawelczyk, LW, 9/21/95, 6-6/218, Richmond, VA
Frank Schumacher, D, 10/12/93, 6-1/205, Rancho Cucomonga, CA

Sherbrooke Phoenix (2)
Mitch Lundholm, LW, 9/24/96, 6-5/209, Sagamore Beach, MA
Chase Harwell, C, 1/1/97, 5-10/175, Southbury, CT

Val d’Or Foreurs (0)

Victoriaville Tigres (0)


Fri. 9/13/13-updated

U16s at the USHL Atlantic Challenge

Following are the U16 Division players who consistently stood out for us at last weekend’s USHL Atlantic Challenge at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ and Codey Arena in West Orange, NJ.

There were 16 teams in the division and we were able to see 14 of them. The two teams we were unable to see were NY Applecore and the NJ Rockets.

There are two groupings below. The eight players in the first group caught our eye nearly every single shift they were on the ice.


Just a note of clarification here. The "Top 8" is our informal all-star team, drawn from the numerous games we saw at the tournament. In retrospect, "Top 8" wasn't the best term to use, as it could easily be taken to imply and/or suggest that all the players on that Top 8 list are better prospects than, say, Griffin Luce or Patrick Harper. We certainly don't want to give that impression! At the same time we do want to give credit to kids who played really well, and were difference-makers for their team. Some of those 'Top 8' project to be D-I players, others project to be D-III prospects. As we get deeper into the fall, we will be increasingly ranking along those lines.

Top 8:

Joe Kubachka, F, ‘98 (Philly Jr. Flyers) 6-2/180 – The most dominant forward on his team, and possibly the tournament.  Uses his frame to keep defenders off the puck and is willing to lower his shoulder to get to the dirty areas.  Look for him to have a big season this winter at Malvern Prep.

Alec Mehr, F, ‘97 (Conn. Wolf Pack) 5-11/180 – A definite D-1 prospect, Mehr has a high IQ in the offensive zone and is patient with the puck.  Scored a pair of nice goals Saturday afternoon, and was probably the strongest forward for the Wolf Pack here this weekend.

Jared Resseguie, F, ‘98 (Rocky Mtn. RoughRiders) 5-10/140 – The most dominant player on this strong team from Colorado.  Needs to bulk up in order to play at the next level, but his puck skills are elite.  An intriguing prospect, to say the least.  We will certainly keep an eye out for him when the RoughRiders return to New England this fall at the ECC College Cup.

Adam Fox, D, ‘98 (LI Gulls) 5-10/154 -- Smooth defenseman has great poise with the puck. Is able to make buy time and space with his ability to escape with the puck. Processes the game quickly.

Jamie Swiggett, D, ‘98 (Conn. Oilers) 5-9/170 – A strong-skating defenseman who likes to rush the puck.  He tries too often to make difficult passes, which lead to turnovers.  Positions himself well in the defensive zone.

Connor Tierney F, ‘97, (NJ Devils) -- Undersized forward is very strong on his skates and plays the game with reckless abandonment. Has a high hockey IQ. Does the little things right.

Ryan Walker, F, ‘97 (NJ Titans) 5-10/150 – The best offensive player for the Titans by a good margin.  He might not have the high-end skills that translate well to the next level, but he always finds ways to get the puck in the back of the net. So we’ll keep watching.

Michael Greenberg, D, ‘98 (NJ Avalanche) 6-0/ 155 – An intriguing defenseman with a nice set of hands.  Stays calm when retrieving pucks behind his own net and lets his skills take over to elude oncoming fore checkers.

Best of the rest:

(That is, players we liked, and often liked a lot, but also felt did not consistently impact the game as much as the eight players in the above group.)

Griffin Luce, D, ‘98 (Conn. Wolf Pack) 6-2/200 – An intriguing player, to say the least.  Luce is an absolute force on the ice when he wants to be.  Unfortunately, he still has ups and downs throughout each game we watch him in.  As he matures, and his game becomes more consistent, he will become a legitimate pro prospect.

Patrick Harper, F, ’98 (Conn. Oilers) 5-6/135 – Didn’t play with quite the sizzle we have become accustomed to, but a solid weekend nonetheless. Always one of the best players on the ice. He’s like a young Patrick Kane.

Chris Grando F, ‘98 (LI Gulls) 5-8/140 -- Shifty forward is elusive and has terrific creativity with the puck. Very dangerous 1-on-1.

Jack Flanagan
, F, ‘98 (Conn. Oilers) 5-10/165 – His vision allows him to make very nice passes for easy goals.  Excellent on the power play.

Matt Kidney, F, ‘97 (NJ Titans) 5-9/160 – Has a quick release and the ability to get into scoring areas.  Needs to add strength.

Max Fuld
, F, ‘97 (Conn. Oilers) 6-1/180 – Moves well in the offensive zone and is very tough along the boards.  Effectively uses his frame and reach to keep the puck from defenders.

Logan Drevitch,  
F, ‘98 (Boston Bandits) 5-8/135 – His team’s go-to guy for offense. Can really shoot the puck and positions himself in scoring areas quite nicely.  His older brother, Tyler Drevitch, plays for the Sioux City Musketeers.

Demitrios Stefanou
, F, ‘98 (Philly Little Flyers) 5-8/155 – A strong skater who not only forechecks hard, but takes good pursuit angles to disrupt opposing defensemen.

Clayton Andrews
, F, Late ‘97 (Philly Jr. Flyers) 5-10/170 – While his skills are not elite, Andrews has the hockey sense to be effective with what he’s got.  Drives the net hard and ends up with goals because of it.

Andre Kurtz, F, ‘98 (Rocky Mtn. RoughRiders) 5-7/145 – A shifty forward who uses his lateral skating ability to elude defenders.  Though undersized, has the desire to get into tough scoring areas, and has the ability to put the puck in the net.

Nathaniel Chuckran, F, ‘97 (Philly Little Flyers) 6-2/180 – Has size and skating ability.  Could be a force if he gets a little meaner along the boards.

Simon Butala, D, ‘98 (Philly Jr. Flyers) 6-1/175 – His positioning on the point allows him to utilize his big shot.  A defenseman you want taking one-timers on the PP.

John Giatrellis, F, ‘97 (Boston Bandits) 5-10/140 – Another sniper to add firepower to the power play. Has a decent set of mitts, which allows him to get the puck off of his stick quickly. 

Eduards Tralmarks, F, ‘97 (Boston Bandits) 5-9/150 – Coming to the Bandits by way of Latvia, Tralmarks possesses good speed, nice hands, and an above average shot.  A player who could really turn heads down the road.

Alex Boroweic, F, ‘98 (NJ Devils) – A crafty forward who should put up big numbers this winter at Morristown Beard.  Skates well, and has good hands. 

Tyler Pedersen, D, ‘97 (LI Royals) 5-9/160 – Has the best awareness of any player on his team.  Showed a nice shot from the point.

Paul Cimilluca, D, ‘97 (NJ Avalanche) 6-0/190 – His skating ability allows him to make dynamic plays breaking out of his own zone.  Makes a decent first pass, and stays in his comfort zone.

Daniel Janson, F, ‘98 (NJ Colonials) 5-11/160 – A tall, lanky forward who can really shoot it.  Had a nice short-side snipe off of a cycle.  A player to keep a close watch on over the season.

Zach Berzolla, D, ‘98 (NJ Devils) – A powerful skater who makes nice passes on the break out.  Plays in all situations and never looks out of position on the ice.

Ingus Matins, F, ‘98 (Northern Cyclones) 5-11/173 – A tall forward who utilizes his reach well.  Is poised with the puck and is always looking to make the right play.

Jake Fuss F, ‘98 (Conn. Oilers) 5-10/145 – A hardworking player who makes smart plays and keeps his game simple. Has a good set of skills.

Andy DeLalla
, D, ‘97 (Conn. Wolf Pack) 5-9/175 – A good-skating defenseman who keeps great gap control through the neutral zone.  Will be a player to keep an eye on this winter at Loomis.

Ryan Bogan D, ‘98 (NJ Devils) - Big D who reads plays well and is a smooth skater for his age and size. Plays a gritty game in his own end;  makes life tough on opposing forwards.

Vincent Mastrandrea, F, ‘97 (Rocky Mtn. RoughRiders) 5-10/165 – A tall forward who has great patience on the power play.  He is a pass-first player who sets his teammates up for easy goals. 

Troy Hawkins, F, Late ‘97 (LI Royals) 5-11/155 – A goal scorer in the true sense of the term.  Doesn’t do anything else at an elite level, but he can get the puck on net -- and past the goalie.

Augustus Burkhart, F, ‘98 (NJ Devils) – Every team’s ideal third line grinder.  Blocks shots, forechecks hard, battles along the boards, and can even put the puck in the net.  His ceiling may be limited, but his energy is not.

Bryan Whelan F, ’97 (LI Royals) 5-9/150 -- Good honest player with good tools. When we were watching he was a factor in all of his team’s goals.

Junior EHL at the Atlantic Challenge

There was a four-team division from the Junior EHL at the USHL Atlantic Challenge. Here are the guys who stood out for us. They range from ‘93s to ‘97s.

NY Applecore

John Ganss, F, 5/18/94, 5-7/160 – Small, chippy forward makes life hard for opposing teams’ defenders. Had a pair of goals in a game we watched, both the result of being relentless and not quitting on the play.

Lukas Znosko, F, 1/4/94, 5-9/175 – Fast, shifty forward always seemed to have the puck in the offensive zone. When he didn’t have it, he tended to glide.

Connecticut Oilers

Andy Faust, F, 1/15/94, 5-9/175 -- Best player in this division. Fast skater with very good vision set up teammates multiple times for empty-net goals. Was great on the forecheck and equally effective in the corners. A Minnesota native, Faust has flown under the radar, playing last season for the Coulee Region Chill (NAHL). Could be a great pick up for a college willing to take a chance.

McKay Flanagan, D,  2/3/97, 6-2/193 – As a ’97, he’s three or four years younger than most players on the ice. So he doesn’t jump out at you as much as he would if he were playing U16s. That said, Flanagan is very steady with the puck and makes great outlet passes. A D-I prospect.

Nik Nugnes, G, 6/7/93, 6-3/205 -- A big, athletic goalie, Nugnes, a ’93, has a tendency to scramble but has the size that allows him to recover.

New Jersey Titans

Ross Brauer, D, 10/12/93, 6-5/175 -- Big defenseman has a great set of hands and is a solid skater for a player his size. While Brauer has good skills, he makes poor decisions with the puck and lacks on-ice awareness.

Tyler Ralph, F, 7/25/93, 5-9/170 -- Undersized forward with a pass-first mentality. Not very dynamic, but is effective.

NY Bobcats

Will Campion, D, 3/7/95, 6-3/175 -- Mobile defenseman likes to rush the puck end-to-end. Has offensive ability -- and grit, too.


USHL at Atlantic Challenge
Last weekend, the USHL sent six teams – three from the east, three from the west – east to Hackensack and West Orange, NJ for the first USHL Atlantic Challenge.

Pretty much every school was represented, not just by assistants but by head coaches as well. Even western colleges – Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Mankato State, to name a few -- came east.

This week, the Western Conference is convening for a showcase in Sioux City, Iowa, while the Eastern Conference will face off in Indiana.

Here’s a look at some of the key players on each of the six teams who came to the Garden State.

Youngstown Phantoms

Top Returning Players

Kyle Connor, F, 12/9/96, 6-0/165 (University of Michigan) -- Connor will be looking to build off his first year in the USHL, in which he posted a 17-24-41 line in 62 games. A quick player who reads plays well, Connor is also responsible in his defensive zone. The former Belle Tire U16 player will not be draft eligible until 2015, but projects to be an early round pick when his time comes.

JJ Piccinich, F, 6/12/96, 5-11/175 (Boston University) – Piccinich struggled last season in making the move from the North Jersey Avalanche to the USHL, only putting up three goals over the course of the season. He has the skill set that will allow that number to shoot up, and he will be asked to do just that.

Luke Stork, F, 4/13/95, 6-0/175 (Ohio State University) -- Stork is a complete player who will be able to play a complementary role for the Buckeyes until he is ready to be a top six forward. A great passer, Stork makes smart plays and always finishes his hits. Had 12 goals 18 assists for 30 points last season. A native of Pittsburgh, he played for the Hornets U18s before going to the USHL last season.

New Players

Josh Melnick, F, 7/10/95, 5-9/154 (Princeton) --  The Annandale, NJ native is quick, buzzes all over the ice, and competes hard. Was a big point producer for Delbarton, putting up a 24-51-75 line in 30 games last winter.

Steven Ruggiero, RD, 1/1/97, 6-3/174 (Uncommitted) -- A native of Kings Park, NY, Ruggiero is making a big jump this season to Youngstown after playing last year with the Metro Fighting Moose (MetJHL). Ruggiero, a first round pick (#9 overall) of the Phantoms in the regular phase of this spring’s USHL draft, will need a lot of time to adjust to the speed and talent in the league.

Kiefer Sheerwood, F, 3/31/95, 5-10/168 (Miami University) -- Good honest forward who has a great touch around the net. Had a pair of goals in a game against Sioux Falls. Was a member of the Ohio Blue Jackets U-18 team and also played some games for the NTDP U-18 Team.  

Waterloo Black Hawks

Returning Players

John Wiitala, F, 3/27/95, 5-11/160 (Uncommitted) -- Shifty forward has the type of speed that puts defenders on their heels. If Wiitala, a former Lakeville South player, continues the start he had here in New Jersey he will lock up a commitment soon.

Cal Petersen, G, 10/19/94, 6-1/174 (Notre Dame) --  The Buffalo Sabres’ 5th round draft pick is on top of his game here in the early season. Petersen is quick and athletic, and positionally sound. The former CYA U18 goalie is great side to side and controls his rebounds well. Stopped 27 out 28 shots in a 3-1 win over Muskegon.

Liam Pecararo, F, 4/6/96, 5-10/170 (University of Maine) -- The Canton, Mass. resident, a former Boston Advantage player, is shifty and has a great mind for the game. He distributes the puck well and is effective in tight areas.  Will be a fan favorite up in Alfond.

New Players

Brandon Montour, RD, 4/11/94, 6-0/175 (UMass-Amherst) – Montour is a dynamic defenseman who loves to jump up into the play and has the skills to do so effectively. Played Junior B last season in Ontario for the Caledonia Corvairs. Is raw and has a lot to learn. A year in the USHL will help him.

Derek Pratt, LD, 3/12/94, 6-1/190 (UConn) -- Has made serious strides in his game since he was at Northfield-Mount Hermon.  Plays a hardnosed game along the boards in the defensive zone. He even got into a fight, in the third period against Cedar Rapids.

Zach Sanford, F, 11/9/94, 6-3/190 (Boston College) – A good-sized forward and second round pick of the Washington Capitals, Sanford continues to improve on his game every time we see him. Played last year for the Middlesex Islanders (EJHL).


Sioux Falls Stampede

Returning Players

Dennis Kravchenko, F, 3/30/94, 5-9/170 (UMass-Amherst) -- Kravchenko posted a 22-40-62 points in just 56 games last season. The small forward should compete for the league scoring title this season. Had two pretty good fights over the weekend, in which he took on much bigger opponents. Is more valuable to Sioux Falls on the ice then in the box, but his fearlessness and compete level makes him the player he is.

C.J. Franklin, F, 3/17/94, 5-11/190 (Minnesota State) -- The Forest Lake, Minn. native had a great weekend, putting up a 3-3-6 line in three games played. Franklin is strong on pucks and finishes his hits all over the ice. He is good in tight areas, and has a hard shot.

David Jacobson, G, 9/8/94, 6-1/180 (Uncommitted) – Will compete with BU recruit and former Catholic Memorial and Selects Academy goalie Shane Starrett for the starting job. A Californian, Jacobson could be a nice pick up for any team that is in the market for an experienced goaltender who can step on campus and compete for a starting job. 

New Players

Logan O’Connor, F, 8/14/96, 5-11/170 (Uncommitted) -- Former Calgary Royals forward looked poised and confident all weekend. Protects the puck well and has a great release. Had a 2-1-3 line in 3 games over the weekend.

Dakota Joshua, F, 5/15/96, 6-2/185 (Uncommitted) -- The HoneyBaked alum, while young and raw, showed flashes of elite skill and never took a shift off.

Bo Pellah, LD, 5/25/95, 6-0/160 (Penn State) -- Put up 33 points from the blue line last season, splitting time between the Langley Rivermen and Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL. Is good with the puck and has the ability to escape easily, creating time and space for himself.


Sioux City Musketeers

Returning Players

Trevor Olson, F, 11/22/93, 6-2/180 (North Dakota) -- The former Duluth East forward, who will be 20 in November, is entering his second year in league and was impressive all weekend. Has high-end skill – and he competes. Should be at the top of the USHL scoring leaders this year, building off his 50 point season from a year ago. Olson, Jared Thomas and Jake Montgomery will make up one of the best lines in the USHL.

Jared Thomas, F, 2/21/94, 6-1/190 (Minnesota-Duluth) -- Thomas, who has good size and great speed, should be able to improve on last season’s 18 goals, particularly if he stays on the same line as Olson. From Hermantown, Minn., right up the road from Duluth, where he’s committed.

Ryan Mantha, RD, 6/18/96, 6-4/225 (North Dakota) – Mantha has a pro frame and skates well, but needs to work on overall agility, as well as his gap control and stick positioning on 1-on1’s. One of the top draft-eligible prospects playing in the USHL this season, he is the nephew of longtime NHL defenseman and former NTDP coach Moe Mantha.

New Players

Neal Pionk, RD, 7/29/95, 5-11/175 (Minnesota-Duluth) -- Former Hermantown High defenseman – and son of former USHL coach Scott Pionk – got his feet wet playing 12 games with Sioux City last season. A mobile defenseman who averaged over a point a game in high school, Pionk also plays with an edge. He gets the breakout going north in a hurry. Very effective on the power play.

Muskegon Lumberjacks

Returning Players

Fredrick Tiffels, F, 5/20/95, 6-0/186 (Western Michigan) -- Tiffels is back for his second year with Muskegon after making the trip over from Cologne, Germany a year ago. He entered his initial season with a lot of hype after a stellar performance at the Fall Classic, but then managed to only put up three goals over the course of the season. Played for the German U-20 National Team in the 2013 IIHF Junior Championship. Being more comfortable this season could lead to a break-out year.

New Players

Haralds Egle, F, 5/11/96, 5-10/187 (University of Vermont) -- A solid skater with a hard shot, Egle is very creative with the puck on his stick. Competed for Latvia in the U-18 World Junior Championships. Skated for the Portland Junior Pirates in the EJHL last season, posting a 22-26-48 line in 39 games played. Draft-eligible in June.

Tommy Panico, LD, 3/24/95, 6-1/185 (UMass-Lowell) -- The Wall, NJ native played last season for Team Comcast U18s. Smooth-skating d-man likes to rush the puck. Jumps up into the play often; snuck back door here for a tap-in goal. Was Muskegon’s top pick (#3 overall) in regular phase of USHL’s spring entry draft.

Chaz Switzer, LD, 7/9/97, 6-0/176 (Uncommitted) -- Big, tough – and young -- D who plays a simple game and moves around the ice well. Switzer, who played for Compuware’s U16 team last year, is a hometown boy from Muskegon, where his dad played minor pro hockey for the Muskegon Mohawks in the old IHL.

Connor Hurley, F, 9/15/95, 6-2/175 (Notre Dame) -- Hurley captained Minnesota AA state champs Edina High School last year. He also joined the U.S U-18 team for a couple of games and played in 11 games for Muskegon, putting up a 1-7-8 line. An explosive skater with very good hands and playmaking ability, Hurley was the Buffalo Sabres 2nd round pick in June. Will be the go-to guy for Muskegon all year.

Cedar Rapids Roughriders

Returning Players

Chris Birdsall, G, 11/24/96, 5-11/176 (Boston College) -- The BC recruit – and former North Jersey Avalanche netminder – returns for his second year at Cedar Rapids. Plays on top of his crease and sees the puck well through traffic. Very fast getting up and down.

Andrew Poturalski, F, 1/14/94, 5-10/188 (UNH) -- Cedar Rapids’ returning leading scorer (12-21-33 in 53 gp) is shifty with the puck. The former Nichols School standout was all over the ice this weekend and appears to be really embracing the role of being the “guy” for the Roughriders this season.

Judd Peterson, F, 9/27/93, 6-0/193 (St. Cloud St.) – Petersen, drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 7th round in June, is a fast skater with great vertical speed. Second year in the league. Played high school hockey at Duluth Marshall.

New Players

Danny Tirone, G, 6/3/94, 5-11/170 (UNH) -- The former Loomis-Chaffee star really struggled in his first taste of junior hockey. Let up two weak goals from the point Friday night. Never seemed to be in control or set for shots. Growing pains.

Carlos Fornaris, F, 2/7/95, 5-8/155 (RPI) -- The Miami, Florida native was penciled in on Cedar Rapids’ first line this weekend. The former NMH Hogger – he was the team’s leading scorer as a junior last season -- is a decent skater who really relies on his hands to beat defenders and make opportunities for himself.


‘99s at the USHL Atlantic Challenge
On Sunday, the Connecticut Wolf Pack topped the Philly Jr. Flyers to win the U14 Division of the 2013 USHL Atlantic Challenge in Hackensack, NJ.

In creating the list of 21 players that follows, we did our level best to actually rank them 1-21. We felt Joey Cipollone was the player of the tournament and topped a group of seven kids that, in our opinion, clearly stood apart. And the next 14 players were very, very good.

Although we feel these guys are the cream of the crop, we feel a little funny about actually ranking them. After all, they’re ‘99s. Some aren’t even 14 yet! Things can change but we have a feeling the bulk of these kids, if they keep working on their game, will be heard from in the upcoming years.

“A” Players:

Joey Cipollone (Conn. Wolf Pack) F, 5-7/120:  The crafty forward was the most dominant player on the ice for the Wolf Pack.  His IQ in the offensive zone allows him to create plays that players of his age don’t often make.  He attacks scoring areas and can really shoot the puck.  Definitely a player that prep schools will pursue heavily in the coming years.

Jordan Seyfert (Philadelphia Jr. Flyers) F, 5-4/118: Quite possibly has the most well-rounded skill set of any player we have seen in his age group this summer.  He grinds on the forecheck, creates turnovers, then has the hands and poise to create offense.  While he is not a pure goal scorer, he can shoot the puck in tight areas, and has the vision to make creative passes to let his teammates score the goals.  Will be a threat down the road as he adds more size.

Travis Yawger (NJ Devils Youth Hockey) F, 5-9/150: A good skater who likes to be a physical force on the forecheck and along the boards.  His intensity opens the ice up for his teammates to make plays in the offensive zone. 

Joshua Cox (Rocky Mtn. RoughRiders) F/D, 5-7/130: A highly productive offensive player who uses his great hands to create plays off the rush.  Is also more than willing to battle along the boards, and rarely loses a loose puck battle.

Jonathan Bendorf (Mercer Chiefs) F, 5-11/170: His elite vision allows him to make plays that create scoring chances for his teammates.  A threat off the rush, on the PP, and in settled in-zone situations.  Already has a good frame; if he continues to grow he will become even more dominant.

Steve Agriogianis (NJ Rockets) F, 5-8/145:  Has a great feel for the game. He reads the play well which keeps him from over committing to pucks in bad areas.  Tracks the puck well on the forecheck, and positions himself well in the defensive zone.  These characteristics are rarely found in players at this age.

Zak Kinard (Philadelphia Jr. Flyers) G, 5-7/140: Probably the best goalie at the tournament in this age group.  Made big saves when the game was on the line in the semi-finals -- including a couple big saves in the shootout.  Plays his angles well and covers the bottom half of the net very well.

These Guys Are Really Good, Too:

Tyler Gratton
(Philadelphia Jr. Flyers) F, 5’9/140: An offensive-minded player who scored a huge shorthanded game-winner at one point of the tournament.  His puck skills and his quick release allow him to create numerous scoring chances.

Jeffrey Pracella (Conn. Wolf Pack) F, 5-7/140: A strong skater who rarely gets knocked off of the puck.  Has a very nice set of hands, which make him effective on the powerplay and in even-strength situations.

Bruce Liakhnovich (NJ Avalanche) F, 5-6/140: One of the youngest players in the tournament, the undersized forward is a water bug on the ice.  His excellent skating ability forces defenders into making poor decisions under pressure.

Jack Tarca (Conn. Wolf Pack) D, 5-6/130: A heads-up defender who has a booming shot from the point. Definitely a kid you want on your power play.

Hunter Canestra (Philadelphia Jr. Flyers) F, 6-1/160: A big-bodied forward who looks as though he dominated the game when he was younger, but is now having to deal with defenders closer to his own size. Creates scoring chances by out-muscling defenders from beneath the goal line, but will need to adapt to stay in the top group.

Calder Stewart (Conn. Wolf Pack) G, 5-6/140: Great poise for such a young goaltender.  Reads the play well and understands when to tie the puck up, and when to keep it moving.

Corson Sundquist (Conn. Wolf Pack) F, 5-8/150: A physical forward who is a good skater. He moves well in the offensive zone and always seems to get pucks to the net.

Marcus DiPrimo (Philadelphia Jr. Flyers) D, 5-6/115: A solid defender in every sense of the term.  Keeps a nice quiet stick in 2-on-1 situations, and plays the dots well, thus forcing forwards into awkward situations.

Robert Carr (NJ Avalanche) D, 5-9/145: A poised defenseman who makes a good first pass. His stick and body positioning allow him to create turnovers in all three zones.

Julian Kislin (Mercer Chiefs) D, 5-8/140: A poised defenseman who has very good vision with the puck on his stick.  Makes a good first pass, and rarely overhandles the puck.

Matthew Alessi (LI Royals) F, 5-10/130: A big forward who can create offense using his good skating and large frame.  If he adds a few pounds and a quicker first step he could certainly become a very good player.

Jon Olson (LI Royals) F, 5-4/115: A small forward who can really fly. When he gets the puck in an open space there are few defenders who can keep up.

Zach Pellegrino (Conn. Wolf Pack) F, 5-4/138: A feisty forward who uses his energy to boost his teammates.  Takes good angles on the forecheck and wears down defenders over the course of the game.

Nick White (LI Royals) D, 5-2/110: Though undersized, he is very poised with the puck.  Allows his footwork to take control when under pressure, and always makes the right play.

East Coast Tourney Rosters & Schedule
The East Coast Midgets Fall Tournament is scheduled for this weekend, Sat.-Sun. Sept. 14-15. The U18 Showcase will be at Brown University. The U16 Showcase will be at Union College and RPI. Both tournaments will consist of three games per team, in a round-robin format.

Here are the schedules and rosters for both tournaments, in Excel spreadsheets. Please utilize the tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet to get to the rosters.

U18s at Brown

U16s at Union and RPI

Wed. 9/11/13

If a Woodchuck Could Chuck Wood
Sorry about that headline. It won’t happen again.

However, this typist did get up to Vermont for the 8th Annual Woodchuck Tournament this past weekend.

Over 60 Jr. A, Jr. B, U18, and U16 teams were on hand, with games taking place at Gutterson Field House, Cairns Arena, Leddy Park, and Essex.

Due to a Saturday arrival, a decision was made to stick to the Midget Division and focus on a handful of U18 and U16 teams. We’ll be catching up with everyone else soon enough.

The best thing about this tournament is location: Vermont. The weather was cool, with a tinge of autumn in the air. Lake Champlain, with the Adirondacks as backdrop, was glistening. And Gutterson Fieldhouse, even if it is somewhat antiquated, is still one of college hockey’s great barns. And when the games are over, you can head right to downtown Burlington, which is always hopping. Great restaurants – especially in a city of that size.

However, due of limited time – and the fact that some games were competive, others less so -- we couldn’t cover enough ground to do any kind of ranking. We’ll just tell you about some players who stood out. No doubt we missed some; here’s hoping we hit enough of the high points.


-- Perhaps the most compelling game we saw all weekend was Saturday’s Selects Hockey Academy U18 team vs. the South Shore Kings U18s, a game that went down to the wire, with the Kings pulling their goalie and coming within a bounce of scoring the tying goal in a game that they earlier seemed in danger of losing in a blowout.

For Selects, 6’2”, 195 lb.  center Roberts Smits, an uncommitted ’95 from Latvia, had a couple of goals and, with his size, provided net-front presence. Smits worked well with his winger Austin McIImurray, an uncommitted ’96 from Coral Springs, Florida. The latter made a few plays that caught our eyes.

6’0’ UConn (fall ’15) recruit Karl El-Mir was consistently noticeable. A ’96 from Quebec, El-Mir sees the ice well, and made some nice plays. It’s not a flashy group of forwards on the Selects U18s, but they play well as a team, competing for pucks in all three zones, and can grind down opponents.

Selects’ two best d-men were Chase Priskie, the ’96 who is committed to Quinnipiac (Fall ’15), and 6’0”, 185 lb. LD Brandon Crawley, a ’97 from Glen Rock, NJ. Crawley is the youngest player – he’s actually the only ’97 -- on the team. Crawley, who at the Select 16 Festival over the summer, is a smooth skater, has good hands, and plays with poise. Definitely worth following.

-- For the South Shore Kings, ’97 RD John Marino, who was excellent at the Beantown Summer Classic a few weeks back, continues to impress. Marino -- 5’11” and 160 lbs. -- can skate with the puck and is playing with a ton of confidence right now. He visited Union last week.

Late ’95 Liam Feeney, a 6’2, 205 lb. LD will be playing with the SS Kings until November, when his season at Dexter starts. A strong student, Feeney, who we’ve seen play better in the regular season, is getting interest from Ivy League schools.

6’0”, 175 lb. RD Kyle Peterson, a ’97, is another defensemen on the Kings who bears following.

Up front, we liked Owen Campbell, a smooth-skating ’96 with soft hands. He’s 5’11”, 165 lbs. and could develop into a nice D-I prospect.

-- The Junior Bruins U18 Team, who we saw Saturday against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights at the Gut, featured 5’8” UNH recruit and former Longmeadow HS star Charlie Kelleher, who is noticeable every single shift he’s out there. With his feet consistently moving, he’s strong on the puck and is either making plays or disrupting the opponent’s ability to get any kind of offensive flow started. The younger brother of UNH recruit Tyler Kelleher is going to be a very good D-I player in his own right.

6’4”, 195 lbs. ’96 RD Ean Mendeszoon is interesting. Like many kids his size, he’s raw as hell, and somewhat mistake-prone. At that size, though, there’s upside. He just needs time. If he puts in the work, Mendeszoon could grow into a shut-down defenseman at the D-I level.

5’10”, 175 lb. ’96 LD Ryan Blais is smooth, has good hands and looks to be a bit on the D-I/D-III bubble. He’s a bit of a tweener. At his size, we look for a bit more offensively.

We really liked the play of 6’2”, 175 lb. ’97 goaltender Kevin Resop, a Floridian who has been at Shattuck for the past couple of years.

-- The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights U18 Team, coached by Vince Malts, got a really good game out of ’97 goaltender Nicholas Vilardo, who, by the way, is one of a half dozen or so players spread between the Knights U16s and U18s who were on that (controversial, due to the number of imports) Knights Bantam team of ’11-12 that went on to win a National Title and were the impetus behind the current rule limiting imports to four. See USHR news (10/12/11).

Vilardo, a 5’9”, 165 lb. ’97 made the Five Nations Team out of the Select 16 Festival this summer, so we can’t say he’s not getting attention, but it’s quite likely recruiters are holding back because of his size. He’s not tiny, like Jeff Lerg, but he’s still small by current standards. Vilardo, though, is quick, fundamentally sound, and athletic. He has that confident presence you look for in a goalie. In the game we saw, he shut out the Junior Bruins.

6’7”, 195 lb. ’97 forward Nikita Pavlychev is intriguing. It’s a long way from his head to his feet, and he’ll need a lot of time, but the Yaroslavl, Russia native, a Des Moines pick in May’s USHL Futures Draft, is expressing interest in the college route, where Russians are as rare as passenger pigeons. He’s in his third year of school in the U.S, though.

6’1”, 190 lb. ’97 F Alex Rowella, a strong skater, was consistently noticeable, and a player D-I coaches will be keeping their eyes on.  Was with the Westchester Express a few years back.

5’10”, 150 lb. ’97 RD Louis DeNaples, a local kid from Moscow, PA (ironic, right?) is the son of the team’s owner, which can often be seen as a dubious situation, but DeNaples is a good solid player. He’s a bit of a tweener at 5’10”, but plays with poise. Can play up or back on the blue line.

-- The Team Comcast U-18’s blanked the South Shore Kings U18 Team in a convincing 5-0 win behind the goaltending of 6’0” ’96 Justin Badurina.

The player on Team Comcast who really jumped out at us is also the youngest player on the team – 5’9”, 175 lb. LD Michael Ufberg, a late ’97 who is moving up from Comcast’s U16 team. He was terrific. Highly mobile. Great poise. Great stick. Made one terrific stretch pass to the offensive blue line, hard and tape-to-tape. He’s also a 4.0 student and Yale, Princeton, Penn State, and Vermont are all in the picture. An excellent D-I prospect.

6’3”, 175 lb. ’96 RD Bobby Wurster, who played at Choate two years ago, has some really good tools, but, instead of eliminating guys as you would expect a big D to do, sometimes lets them elude his grasp. If he tightens up his game, he could start to gain more attention.

Up front, we liked 6’0” ’96 left shot center Ryan Lohin, as he made some nice heads-up plays, and 6’0”, 175 lb. LW Tyler Wyatt -- a 4.0 student, by the way.  6’2”, 185 lb. ’96 RW Barry Kneedler has size, and drove to the net for a goal. 6’3”, 210 lb. ’96 LW Kyle Walter did a good job playing a solid defensive game. The team as a whole, coached by Jeremy Hall and Jared Beach, did a good job shutting down the South Shore Kings.


The best game we saw in this division was the Junior Bruins’ U16 team’s 4-3 OT win over the Jersey Hitmen U16s, a game won on a flukey shot that broke off the glove of the Hitmen goalie.

-- There was no roster available for the Hitmen, but one player who really stood out for us was #12, Alex Whelan. A ’97 forward who is also a junior at Ramsey (NJ) High School, Whelan is probably around 5’11”, 170 lbs. A left shot playing the off wing, Whelan was noticeable every single shift. He’s smart, and competes very hard, playing physically in all three zones. He’s also a very skilled offensive player with excellent anticipation. He used that anticipation to steal the puck from a Junior Bruins player in center ice, breaking in alone and snapping one by Junior Bruins goaltender Keith Petruzzelli. And that was just one of two goals Whelan scored in the game.

-- For the Junior Bruins U16s, Petruzzelli, a 6’3”, 155 lb. ’99 is a hot property right now, and not without reason, either. It’s not every day that a 14-year-old can be 6’3”, coordinated, and project such calmness in net. We wrote about Petruzzelli, a Wilbraham, Mass native who was in the New England Jr. Falcons organization last year, in the wake of his great performance at the UNH Camp in late July. Needless to say, all the top programs are watching him. BC’s Mike Ayers was there over the weekend. With at least four years to go before reaching college age, we’d say time is on his side. His upside is obviously huge.

Up front the Junior Bruins have skill. 5’6”, 160 lb. ’98 Johnny DeRoche centers 5’7”, 150 lb. LW Cam Burke, the younger brother of Nobles F and Notre Dame recruit Cal Burke (there’s yet one more Burke in the pipeline). Both DeRoche, who has a great release to his shot and sees the ice well, and Burke, who has nice hands, were consistently noticeable. DeRoche will be visiting Quinnipiac.

A couple of imports on the Junior Bruins caught our eye. 5’8”, 165 lb. Ilya Putintsev, who’s from Moscow, is a shifty RW who is around the puck a lot. He has nice hands and a goal scorer’s instincts – very dangerous down low. He snapped a nice one under the crossbar to tie the game at 2-2. His older sister is fiery tennis star Yulia Putintseva – an 18-year-old ranked #92 in the world. 

Vladislav Vulkanov, a 6’1”, 180 lb. ’98 RW, just recently arrived from his native Latvia, showed a lot of power forward potential. Scored a rebound goal to cut the Hitmen’s lead to 2-1.

On the blue line, 5’10”, 170 lb. Taylor Slade, a ’97 from Tolland, Conn., is the team’s go-to guy. Solid defensively, Slade is also an offensive catalyst and, not surprisingly, scored the winning goal. He saw a wide open path to the net -- and didn’t hesitate.

--- The Selects Academy U16 team, which is National bound under the aegis of the Central Connnecticut Youth Hockey Association this year, pasted the Connecticut Yankees, 7-0, in the game we saw. This is an extremely good team.

A new player at Selects Academy this year is ’97 RW Matt Creamer, who as a freshman and sophomore lit it up for Bishop Hendricken (RI) HS, where his father, Jim, is the head coach. Creamer was outstanding here. He has size at 6’2”, 185 lbs., has a nose for the net, competes hard, and just goes through guys. Had three points in the game we watched. Creamer is not the smoothest skater but when he gets up a head of steam and drives the net, he’s a handful. Rhode Island hasn’t produced an NHLer in a while, but Creamer will be a player pro scouts will watch over the next couple seasons.

Another new player at South Kent is Noah Robinson, a 6’1, 185 lb. LW who had a couple of goals – a tap-in and a snipe. Robinson, who played on the Toronto Marlies Midget Minor team last season with Dylan Strome et al. can shoot it and make plays. He, too, should be of interest to D-I recruiters.

Another newcomer is 5’10”, 185 lb. RC Marcus Dickerson, who played last year for Team Comcast and Gloucester Catholic HS. Dickerson really competes hard for every puck, and works for everything he gets. Likes to play in the dirty areas. Played well at the Select 15 Festival over the summer, too.

Former Colchester HS standout Avery Steele is at Selects Academy this year. He’s small, at 5’7”, 160 lbs., but he has quickness and a really good stick. We also liked  Jacob Schmidt, a 5’9”, 159 lb. RW from Denmark. Don’t know much about the latter but liked his hands.

The team’s leader and top returning player is Cornell fall ’15 recruit Donovan Ott, a ’97 RW, was outstanding, chipping in a goal and an assist. He’d be a standout if he played up on the U18 Team. He should rip it up – and lead this squad to Nationals.

An intriguing player is the youngster on the team – ’99 LW Matt Allen, who we have written about before. A native of Smithfield, RI, Allen, who played for the Selects U-14 Team last season, is an excellent skater with an excellent stick. He’s being brought along carefully by coach Devin Rask, playing on the team’s fourth line. Allen is a terrific D-I prospect.

The Selects defensemen weren’t really called on to do any heavy lifting in this game. We’d like to see them against a tough opponent with some big, skilled forwards. However, 5’11” ’98 RD Jake Ryczek really stood out for us. A Ludlow, Mass. native, Ryczek was on the Selects U-14 team last year. He’s a beautiful skater, has excellent hands, and projects to be a really good offensive defenseman as he moves up the ranks.

The goalie, ’97 Zachary Sanchez, posted the shutout, but wasn’t really tested. So we can’t comment other than to say he stopped everything that came his way. The team’s other goalie is Josh Boyko, a ’97 who is from the Toronto Marlies Midget Minor team.

-- The team we would have liked to have seen play Selects Academy was the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Jr. Knights U16 Team. Unfortunately, we had to see the Jr. Knights against Sphinx Collège de l’Assomption, a relatively new Quebec program. The game was ugly, a parade to the penalty box. Very little 5x5 play, hence difficult to get a true read on players.

Perhaps in part because of the kind of game it was, the player who did the most for us was also the youngest player on the team, right shot D Paul DeNaples, a 9/19/98 birthdate from Moscow, PA. DeNaples’ older brother plays on the U18 team (see above) and his father owns the franchise (see above). DeNaples really stood out. No matter what the situation on the ice, DeNaples, who is 5’10” and 150 lbs., played within himself. A smart player, he remained extremely composed for his age. Never got caught up in stuff. We see him playing D-I hockey.

’97 Mendell Dubuisson, a Glendale, Arizona resident who was at the Tri-City Americans (WHL) rookie camp a few weeks ago, is a big (6’2”, 185) strong, raw power forward who loves the physical game. He’s a bull, a hard worker who loves to hit, and -- if he makes it to the WHL – will be called on to fight. It would be nice to see Dubuisson – a Haitian-American -- take the college route.

5’10”, 155 lb. Eugene Fadyeyev, the center of the all-Russian top line, was hurt, and played sporadic shifts.

6’3”, 180 lb. ’98 left-shot D Konstantin Chernyuk is the fourth Russian on the team and perhaps the one with the most upside. He’s huge -- and it will take him a while to gain the coordination he needs. If it happens, NHL scouts might be watching him 2-3 years from now.


Tier I Labor Day Review
Last weekend, USHR made the trek out to the 16th Annual Mass Tier I Labor Day Tournament, an enormous affair based out of the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, though eight other arenas were also used.

As we mentioned last week, there 76 Midget Major teams (AAA/AA) in six divisions, 64 Midget Minor teams (AAA/AA) in six divisions, and 26 Bantam Major teams (AAA) in two divisions. There is also a 20-team youth division (‘00s, ‘01s, and ‘02s) with 20 teams competing.

That’s a lot to take in, but there was a good pool of scouts doing their level best, as most New England Div. I schools were represented, including Hockey East and ECAC head coaches. A good many NHL teams had guys there, too. And just about every NESCAC and Div. III school in the Northeast was on hand. Those who didn’t simply opt to stay put in Marlborough had plenty of opportunities for schedule-dissecting and traveling around Eastern Mass. In addition to Marlborough, games were held in Franklin (27 miles away), Dedham (41 miles), Hingham (56 miles), Rockland (60 miles), Quincy (50 miles), Walpole (43 miles), and Westboro (9 miles). It didn’t leave much time for Labor Day cookouts.

The tournament featured good competition at the elite levels but, as is generally the case in mega-tournaments, there was a large drop-off from there. The tournament had roster listings for all the teams, but mismatched numbers made it a bit of a nightmare for scouts, including us. We've had to scramble a bit, and if there are any errors as a result, we apologize in advance. Scheduling was tough, too, though the fact that these things can be scheduled at all seems like an extreme logistical adventure to these eyes.

The top teams at the U18 Level were the ones expected: The Neponset Valley River Rats, Cape Cod Whalers, Springfield Rifles, Boston Little Bruins, Greater Boston Jr. Bruins, and Mid-Fairfield.

There was some nice parity at the U16 level with teams like the Stamford Youth Hockey Association (SYHA) Sharks, who ended up defeating the Cape Cod Whalers, 3-2, in the title game, while the Connecticut Wolf Pack went 2-2-1. The New Jersey Devils Youth 1 team also had a very strong showing, making it to the semi-finals. Other than that, the teams mentioned above as having strong U18 teams also had generally strong U16 programs.

Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t see everyone, but we did hit most of the top programs -- and a bunch of others as well.

Here are the guys who stood out for us:


“A” Prospects (8):

Ryan Donato, F, ’96 (Cape Cod Whalers) 6-1/180 -- What can be said about the Dexter junior hasn’t already been said? Between the Beantown and this weekend, he’s been dominant.

Corey Ronan, F, ’95 (Cape Cod Whalers) 5-9/165 -- Has serious jump in his game. A player that brings you to the edge of your seat every time he touches the puck. Has a heavy shot to go along with a good pair of hands. Great energy. Needs to be paired up with a playmaker who can slow the game down a bit, and playing on a line with Donato has been the ticket.

James Callahan, D, ’97 (NJ Hitmen U18) 6-0/155 – Tall, smooth-skating defenseman who rushes the puck end-to-end almost effortlessly. Great skating ability and hands. Callahan will be a D-I defenseman with PP potential.

Brendan van Riemsdyk, F, ’96 (NJ Hitmen U18) 6-4/190 -- The youngest van Riemsdyk has a great shot and a nice set of hands. The knock on Brendan has been – rightly so -- his skating, but once he is able to put on weight and add strength to go with his height, that will only improve. Is being watched closely by NHL teams. The upside is intriguing.

Craig Pantano, G, ’95 (Boston Advantage) –- Quick, athletic goalie stood on his head in the games we watched him in. Pantano is a sound positional goalie and is able to control his rebounds. In the rare cases in which he is caught out of position, his speed and compete level allow him to recover.

JD Dudek, F, ’96 (Boston Little Bruins) 5-11/175 -- The BC recruit has the ability to control the game. Has all the tools and thinks the game one step ahead. Has a nice long stride and is able to change speeds nicely with the puck.

Brandon Borges, F, ’96 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 5-8/165 -- Borges has really put himself on the map over the past couple of weeks. In every game he was the most noticeable player on the ice. A small, waterbug type with sleek hands, Borges does everything at a high tempo. Williston’s top returning scorer will be a junior. Is he dynamic enough for D-I play? Time will tell.

Connor Moore, D, ’97 (Neponset Valley River Rats) 6-0/170 -- Mobile defenseman who draws attention every time he steps on the ice. A solid skater with a great stick. Is only going to get better with time. His stock is sky high now.

“B” Prospects (18):

Lincoln Griffin, F, ’97 (Cape Cod Whalers) 5-10/170 – Quick, super-competitive player who is showing increasing creativity. Reads play well. Very opportunistic. A Northeastern recruit. Will be a junior at Thayer.

Ben Freeman, F, ’96 (Springfield Rifles) 6-4/185 – We’ve written about Freeman a bit in the past, and it’s been gratifying to see his stock rise over the summer. Was drafted by Gatineau in the Q this June. Has recently been on visits to Harvard, Maine, UConn and Union. The former Maine high schooler is a project, for sure. But he could be a pro someday.

JC Brassard, D, ’95 (Cape Cod Whalers) 6-0/180 -- Nobles defenseman grows on you the more you watch him. Has great vision, poise with the puck, and offensive upside. Has a shot that finds the net through traffic. Late ‘95 birthdate.

Mitchell Smith, F, ’96 (Wolfpack National) 6-0/185 -- The Yale recruit had an up and down game on the first night featuring both spectacular shifts and others where we had to look for him. His night ended early when he was tossed after a pretty good scrap with NMH defenseman Jamie Dorsey.

Evan Smith, F, ’96 (Wolfpack National) 6-1/190 – Was, as usual, one of the best players on the ice. When playing without his brother he seems to hold onto the puck more and attempts to do more things by himself. His playmaking skills are, as well known, exceptional. Yale recruit.

Charlie Kelleher, F, ’97 (Junior Bruins FS) 5-8/195 -- The younger Kelleher is tenacious on the puck; he always seems to find it. Was buzzing from start to finish and pulled off some spectacular moves in tight spaces. Not as dynamic or high end as older brother Tyler, but is very effective player in his own right. A UNH commit.

Ben DiMaio, D, ’96 (Boston Advantage) – Solid puck-moving defenseman doesn’t complicate things. The Dartmouth recruit moves and pivots nicely. Makes smart decisions and doesn’t make unforced errors.

Tipper Higgins, F, ’95 (Mid-Fairfield) – Creative forward with a good pair of hands. Along with Charlie Corcoran (Brown) and Craig Puffer (Vermont), Higgins could very well make up the best line in prep hockey this winter for Berkshire. Uncommitted.

Quinn Foreman, F, ’96 (Boston Advantage) -- The Dartmouth recruit keeps defenseman at bay with his long reach and ability to protect the puck. Has a tendency to take shifts off which is something he will need to fix in order to make an impact at the next level.

Trevor Yates, F, ’95 (Neponset Valley River Rats) 6-2/190 -- The Deerfield senior has lost a good amount of weight since the winter and it is evident in the new-found quickness and speed in his game. Yates has become much more effective at getting around the ice and make plays. Is starting to garner serious D-I attention.

AJ Greer, F, ’96 (Boston Little Bruins) 6-3/205 -- Has imposing size and knows how to use it. Was caught running around this weekend and seemed out of place at times. But with his size and skill set he could develop into an effective power forward. Committed to Penn State. Still young. As a late ’96, is not draft-eligible until 2015.

Cal Burke, F, ’97 (Boston Little Bruins) 5-11/175 -- Smart player who is responsible at both ends of the ice. Has solid tools and shows flashes of tremendous skill and creativity. A Notre Dame recruit.

Miles Gendron, D, ’96 (Neponset Valley River Rats) 6-2/175 -- The newly-converted defenseman showed signs of progression as the weekend went on. Has all the skills needed to be successful at the point. Made a couple a dazzling rushes with the puck from his own end. Committed to UConn after the weekend.  

Max Prawdzik, G, ’97 (Neponset Valley River Rats) 6-1/160 – An excellent prospect who needs to find more consistency in his game. Has all the tools to be a D-I starter.

Alex Esposito, F, ’96 (WolfPack National) 5-11/175 -- Quick player with a great first step, Esposito has good vision and a quick release that allows him to get his shot off in small spaces.

David Cotton, F, ’97 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 6-2/175 – New student at Cushing has great hands and is able to use his big body to create time and space. His vision in the offensive zone, paired with his patience, allows him to make great passes. A lot of upside.

Pete Crinella, F, ’96 (Springfield Rifles) 6-3/175 -- The Springfield Cathedral Panther grows on you the more you watch him. Has a big frame and uses it to protect the puck and drive the net. His skating has improved noticeably over the past year. The Holy Cross recruit’s stock has risen since his commitment. It’s rumored that Crinella could be shopping around for a new school. 

Joey Meehan, F, ’95 (Team Ohio) 6-1/165 -- Meehan has good hands and a nose for the net. Uses his speed to take defensemen wide and crashes the net hard. A complete player with good offensive instincts.

The Best of the Rest (19): 

Billy Sweezey, D, ’96 (Cape Cod Whalers) 6-1/190 -- Rugged defenseman plays a simple game. Has a tendency to get tunnel vision with the puck, but is able to recover nicely.  A good comp is former Maine captain Mike Cornell.

George Mika, F, ’96 (Junior Bruins FS) 5-10/170 – Late ’96 from Florida is an excellent skater. Good speed and shifty, with stick skills and offensive creativity. Will play with Junior Bruins Premier League team, or U18, as the situation warrants.

Anthony Wyse, D, ’96 (Boston Advantage)  6-1/194 -- Big defenseman does everything well. Makes smart reads and jumps up into the rush when appropriate. Moves the puck quickly and hits forwards in stride.

Michael Kim, D,’95 (Boston Little Bruins) 6-0/210 -- Kim is a smart defenseman who keeps things simple. A good skater, he moves the puck nicely. Has a tendency to puck watch a little. At the NESCAC level he will be a very good defenseman.

Jack McCarthy, F, ’96 (Boston Little Bruins) 6-1/190 -- Anticipates the play well and is a good complementary winger who finds his teammates. Has a heavy shot.

Bobby Dray, F, ’96 (Boston Little Bruins) 6-2/208 -- Big body. Good moving down the ice, but weak in laterally. A player you love to have on your team as he embraces the grinder role. 

Joseph Slovak, F, ’95 (Cape Cod Whalers) 5-9/175 -- A bubble Division I/III player. Has decent skill but with his size at the D-I level would be more of an energy guy.

Tim Doherty, F, ’95 (Cape Cod Whalers) 6-0/180 -- The St. George’s senior was noticeable all weekend. Has great poise with the puck and made a couple of nice reads to sneak behind the defensemen. When he is alone with the goalie Doherty always finds a way to bury it. 

Malcolm Hayes, D, ’95 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 6-2/210 -- A meat-and-potatoes defenseman. Hayes has a powerful lower body that gives him strong stride and makes him dominant in the corners. Very raw. PG at Cushing.

Derek Barach, F, ’95 (Neponset Valley River Rats) 5-8/160 -- The newly committed Mercyhurst Laker was playing with a little more confidence this weekend. Barach has a good skill set to go with a solid head for the game.

Jonathan Lazarus, F, ’96 (New Jersey Rockets) 5-11/185 -- Lazarus showed impressive playmaking ability, setting up his teammates with easy tap-in goals. Good poise with the puck. Opportunistic. 

Matt Foley, D, ’95 (Springfield Rifles) 6-2/190 -- The Phillips Exeter PG will be an impact player at the prep level this year. Is cautious in his decisions and takes care of his own end first. Will be a great pickup for any NESCAC school.

Austin Cassidy, F, ’96 (South Hill Panthers) 5-7/140 -- Small forward who is fast and great on puck retrievals. Could be more effective if he competed more.

Jamie Dorsey, D, ’96 (Connecticut Chiefs) 6-2/193 -- Huge defenseman who gets caught out of position and has a tendency to get beat. His size and toughness make him an interesting prospect, though. Fought Mitchell Smith in his first game. 

Zac Hamilton, G, ’95 (Connecticut Chiefs) 6-0/177 -- Agile goalie with a fast glove hand. Tends to overcommit to the shooter but has good recovery skills. A solid D-III prospect.

Gunnar Merrick, D, ’95 (Connecticut Chiefs) 6-5/217 -- Big d-man has long limbs and good feet for his size. Is also an effective forward. Makes some awkward reads as a d-man, but his thought process as a forward allows him to create scoring chances. Either way, he’s 6’5” and mobile, so he’s one to keep an eye on.

Brandon Vaytus, F, ’96 (Team Ohio) 5-9/160 -- Undersized forward was always a factor in his team’s goals. Vaytus is a spark plug who reads the play well and capitalizes on his opportunities. Has a quick release.

Brian Smith, F, ’95 (Eastern Mass Senators) 5-10/175 -- A fast skater. First on the forecheck. Plays his game in the corners and never gives up on the play. 

Neil Robinson, F, ’95 (Mid-Fairfield) 5-11/182 -- Smooth forward with good hands and a good shot.



There were some “A” players at the Labor Day Tournament in Marlborough who we have written about over the past week or two – we’re thinking specifically of Ryan Shea, Ryan Dmowski, Luke Stevens, Liam Murphy and Ty Amonte. As much as possible, we want to avoid writing the same thing about them every week. That might get boring. Suffice to say, these are players who will be watched very closely.

“A” Prospects (8):

Taggart Corriveau, F, ‘97 (CT Chiefs) 6-1/179 Easily the best player on the ice for the Chiefs.  He exploits defenders with his foot speed, hands, and willingness to drive to the net. A returning student at Westminster, where he’s a sophomore. Could have a bust-out year.

Patrick Harper, F, ‘98 (SYHA Sharks) 5-6/140 -- Showed the best offensive skill set of any forward in the tournament.  As one scout put it, “I’ve never seen the puck follow anyone around the ice like this”.  Has excellent vision and confidence with the puck on his stick.  The only thing lacking in his game right now is the ability to win battles along the boards.  Nature should take care of that.

Adam Fox, D, ’98 (LI Gulls) 5-10/154 – Strong-skating defenseman uses his mobility to advantage on the power play as well as even strength situations.  Will develop into a top notch D-I player as he continues to get stronger in the coming years. Harvard recruit.

Kevin O’Leary, D, ‘97 (SYHA Sharks) 6-2/170 -- A definite D-I prospect, O’Leary was one of the top defensemen in the tournament.  Very strong defensively, utilizing his size to out muscle smaller forwards along the walls.  Has great hockey IQ which allows him to make great plays in all three zones, especially when he uses his quick release on the blue line.  Will be at Westminster. The Martlets, by the way, will have a nice crop of blue liners this winter.

Mike Royer, G, (Cape Cod Whalers) 5-9/160 -- Played well every game that we saw him in.  Makes good positional saves, and fights for every loose puck. Will be a sophomore at Thayer – and an impact goalie once senior Rob McGovern graduates. 

John Leonard, F, ‘98 (Springfield Rifles) 5-10/165 -- One of the strongest forwards in the entire tournament.  He can skate, shoot, and has a nice frame to help protect the puck off the rush.  Will be highly sought after by many prep schools if he decides to leave Cathedral.

Brian Matthews, D, ‘98 (River Rats) 6’/175 -- Was missing for the first couple of days but we got to see him in the playoff game against the Sharks.  Is clearly one of the best defensemen for his age in the area.  He skates very well and has great poise with the puck. Also has great presence in the offensive zone.  Positions himself well and reads the play effectively which allows him to utilize his accurate shot.

Robert Hampton, F, ‘97 (NJ Devils) 5-11/165 -- Was the strongest forward on the Devils team throughout the tournament.  The power play was run through him along the wall in an overload.  Can really shoot the puck, and picks his spots well.

“B” Prospects (8):

Johnny McDermott, F, ‘97 (SYHA Sharks) 6-2/175 -- A rangy forward with good puck skills and the ability to create offense off the rush, or off the cycle.  A good shot paired with good vision allows him to be very successful on the PP.

Mike Snow, F, ‘97 (River Rats) 5-9/170 -- The more we watch this team, the more he jumps out at us.  He hunts pucks well and creates offense for his line mates because of his work ethic.  He has a nice set of hands and a good stride.  Watch for him to start making some serious noise for Lawrence Academy this winter. He’ll be a sophomore.

Jake Gresh, F, ‘98(Conn. Chiefs) 5-10/170 -- Makes plenty of good plays with the puck on his stick but becomes careless at times which ultimately lead to untimely turnovers.  Will certainly make some improvements in his game under John Gardner in the coming years.

Sam Field, F, ‘98 (Conn. Wolf Pack) 6-0/170 -- A solid two-way centerman, Field has all the tools to be a successful center at the next level. Wins a ton of draws and is defensively aware. Will be a fun player to watch over the coming years down at Choate.

Jake Rainer, F, ‘97 (River Rats) 5-9/160 -- A feisty forward from Encino California, Rainer skates well and is gritty along the walls.  Posted a 7-8-15 scoring line last winter as a freshman at Lawrence. Look for considerably higher numbers this season.

Jamie Armstrong, F, ‘98 (River Rats) 6-0/165 -- Hard-working forward has a nice scoring touch around the net.  Won’t wow you with his ability to stick handle around defenders; he would rather lower his shoulder and make you defend him.  Will be a good player to keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons.

Mike Fahie, F, ’98 (River Rats) 5-8/130 -- Skinny forward who can skate will be joining Nobles this season.  He doesn’t jump out at you right away, but thinks the game well. Needs to continue to grow and add muscle.

David Altman, G, ‘97 (SYHA Sharks) 5-11/155 -- Split time with another goalie (who was not listed on the roster). Both kids played very well over the course of the tournament.  A rising sophomore at Pomfret, Altman is confident and plays his angles well. His solid positioning allows pucks to hit him in the chest, therefore allowing very few second chance opportunities.

The Best of the Rest (10):

Eric Jeremiah
, D, ‘98 (River Rats) 5-9/168  -- One of the top skating defenseman in his age group. Jumps into the play too often, resulting in turnovers and poor positioning. If he settles his game down a little bit he could really turn into a great prospect. Was at Xaverian last year.

Anthony Vincent, F, ‘97 (SYHA Sharks) 5-7/150 -- An undersized forward who keeps his feet moving every second he is on the ice.  Takes good angles on the forecheck, forcing turnovers.

Tim Knightly, F, ‘97 (NJ Rockets) -- Strong forward flies up and down the ice.  Needs to hone his puck skills, but could end up being an effective college player down the road.

Christian Capello, ‘97 (SYHA Sharks) 6-2/198 -- A big forward wtih offensive upside.  Definitely a player to keep an eye on this season at St. Sebs.

Matthew Lavalette, F, ‘98 (NJ Rockets) -- One of only two ‘98s on his team -- and arguably the most effective forward. Sees the ice well and has the puck skills to elude defenders.

Alex Borowiec, F, ‘98 (NJ Devils) 5-10/170 -- A good-sized, rangy forward. Creates offense every time he is on the ice.  Needs work on his defensive play.

William Ahearn, F, ‘97 (Greater Boston Jr. Bruins) 6-0/170 -- Has a good shot.  

Andrew Petrillo, D,  ‘98 (NJ Devils) 5-11/165 -- The strongest defenseman on the Devils every time we saw them play.  Makes a good first pass, and is poised with the puck on his stick.  Plays the dots well through the neutral zone and keeps a quiet stick on 1-on-1s. 

Cam Griffin, D, ‘97 (Springfield Rifles) 5-10/160 -- A strong defenseman who plays well in his own zone.  Makes excellent outlet passes and rarely tries to force a stretch pass that doesn’t connect.  Should be one of the stronger defensemen for Cathedral this winter.

Connor Dahlman, D, ‘97 (SYHA Sharks) 5-10/190  -- If it weren’t for fellow Sharks blueliner Kevin O’Leary, Dahlman would have stood out even more. Always makes good plays in his end and rarely loses battles along the boards.  Should be a solid contributor at Gunnery this winter.


Thurs. 9/5/13

Woodchuck Rosters, and More
The 8th Annual Woodchuck Tournament gets underway tonight (Thurs.) with three junior games at Jay Peak, Vt. before heading south to Burlington where the remainder of the tournament will be played beginning Friday morning.

Over 60 Jr. A,, Jr. B, U18, and U16 teams will be on hand. The games will take place at Gutterson Field House, Cairns Arena, Leddy Park, and Essex.

Here, in an Excel spreadsheet, are the rosters for the tournament. There are five tabs along the bottom -- Premier, Jr. A Elite, Jr. B, U18, and U16 -- to simplify viewing.

2013 Woodchuck Rosters

Here, also as an Excel spreadsheet, is the schedule for the tournament. There are two tabs at the bottom. One lists the games in chronological order, with each rink listed separately.

If you click on the second tab – it’s labeled “Matrix” -- you will find each team listed individually, with their schedule on its own line. Coaches and scouts interested in focusing in on particular teams will find this to be especially useful.

2013 Woodchuck Schedule

We also recommend the tournament’s site, where scores, stats, and standings will be updated as the tournament moves along.

Woodchuck Tournament official website

15 Uncommitted BCHL Players to Watch
The Second Annual BCHL Showcase starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday at the Prospera Center in Chilliwack, BC. Here, based on a couple of weeks of preseason play involving most of the teams in the league, are 15 players – all uncommitted -- who have stood out. Look for all – and others -- to be watched closely by NCAA Div. I coaches over the weekend.


Tony Bretzman, D, Langley Rivermen, 5-10/165 – A late ’94 birthdate from Mendota Heights, Minn., Bretzman will be a rookie in the league. Graduated in the spring from St. Thomas Academy, where he flew under the radar a bit (STA featured top ’96 D Jack Dougherty). For the Cadets, he put up a 5-24-29 line in 31 games played. A right shot. Extremely light feet; great head for the game. Ivy-level student. A good comp would be Yale’s Tommy Fallen. Bretzman could get offers galore.

Matt Ustaski, F, Langley Rivermen, 6-6/225 -- Interesting story. Late bloomer going into second year in league is a huge kid from Glenview, Illinois. Prior to going to the BCHL played at Lake Forest Academy for former Lake Superior State and Ottawa Senators goaltender Darrin Madeley. Ustaski, who was at the Chicago Blackhawks Development Camp over the summer, could really pop in college. Basically, he’s a big, strong kid trying to figure out how to become a power forward. Vermont has reportedly offered him. Ditto for Ohio State. Time is on his side – and his upside makes him intriguing. Posted an 11-16-27 line in 55 games for Langley last season.

Matt Serratore, F, Penticton Vees, 5-9/165 -- Bemidji HS grad, a rookie in the league, is the son of Bemidji State head coach Tom Serratore. He plays the game right. Stops on every loose puck, is relentless on the forecheck and penalty kill, and is the kind of a guy you win with. In other words, exactly what you would expect from a Serratore. An Ivy-level student, he could have a role on any program in the country. Right now, the only school pursuing him hard is Air Force, where his uncle, Frank, is head coach.

Jonah Imoo, G, Powell River Kings, 6-1/170 -- When he’s on, he’s terrific. But he was also pulled a lot last year, his rookie year. Finished with a .889 save percentage and a 3.06 gaa. Has to work on his consistency. Will be watched closely at the Showcase.


Hunter Miska, G, Penticton Vees, 6-1/180 -- Big Minnesotan has spent the past two seasons with the NTDP. Interesting prospect. Didn’t start playing goal until he was in the ninth grade at North Branch HS. Played two years there before moving on to Ann Arbor and the NTDP. So he’s still learning. He has deficiencies – he’s a little slow side-to-side and a little leaky fundamentally. But he’s also very athletic and has a ton of upside, so a year in the BCHL could pay a lot of dividends. He’s allowed only four goals in two preseason games. Penticton has a strong tandem in net with Miska and Alaska-Anchorage recruit Olivier Mantha. They’ll push each other. Providence College is reportedly keeping close tabs on Miska in case Jon Gillies turns pro early.

Adam Rockwood, F, Coquitlam Express, 5-10/175 – Rockwood, who we wrote about last year, is possibly the most highly skilled uncommitted player in the BCHL -- or the USHL, for that matter. Great hands. Plus vision. Makes a ton of plays. However, he has in the past exhibited some bad habits on the ice, failing to compete hard every shift, and getting muscled off pucks. Hence top programs have been reluctant to pull the trigger on him. If he learns the game a bit more, and pulls it all together, he’ll likely be full scholarship kid. He’ll be watched closely at the Showcase. A late ’95 birthdate.

Dante Hahn, F, Victoria Grizzlies, 6-1/190 -- Interesting player in that he didn’t start playing hockey until he was 13. Went to Shattuck-St. Mary’s where he didn’t even make the prep team. The Victoria native is raw, and hasn’t quite figured out the game yet. He can really skate, however. That’s his calling card, and it could take him far. Michigan Tech has already reportedly offered him a full scholarship. Played 50 games last year with Victoria and posted a 5-10-15 line.


Josh Blanchard, F, Penticton Vees, 5-8/155 -- Rookie from the Okanagan Rockets is absolutely relentless on the puck and has a quick stick. Will be with Penticton for two years. Kelowna native will be a big get for any Div. I school. Has several offers on the table already.

Logan Mick, F, Vernon Vipers, 5-11/166 -- Mick can really fly. Has quick hands, too. Posted a 4-5-9 line in 48 games as a rookie with Vernon last year. He should be a top six guy for the team this year. Mick, by the way, missed a year of hockey as an 11-year-old when his father, current Salmon Arms SilverBacks Prez/GM/coach Troy Mick, moved the family to Puerta Vallarta, Mexico because of health issues. The family came back to BC a year later, and Mick coached his son at Pursuit of Excellence. The year off certainly didn’t kill him. Perhaps there’s a lesson there. Look for Mick to take a visit to Quinnipiac shortly. North Dakota is reportedly in the mix, too.

Liam Blackburn, F, West Kelowna Warriors, 5-10/160 -- Rookie has a good stick, plus hockey IQ, and can shoot it. We think a lot of schools will like what they see of him at the showcase. West Kelowna, by the way, looks like they will have a strong team this year.

Jackson Cressey, F, Coquitlam Express, 5-10, 175 -- Nice long stick, gets around the ice well, and handles the puck nicely. It will be interesting to see how quickly he adjusts to BCHL play. Played ten games with Coquitlam last season and notched three goals. Had 52 points in 38 games with the Vancouver Northwest Giants.


Marcus Vela, F, Langley Rivermen, 6-2/190 – Burnaby, BC native will be a rookie in the league. Put up a 25-55-80 line in 30 games with the Burnaby Bulldogs Midgets last winter. A pro prospect, Vela will make an immediate impact with Langley and by Christmas one of two things will likely happen: he’ll either commit to a big-time Div. I school or he’ll be in the WHL.

Liam Finlay, F, Penticton Vees (affiliate player), 5-6/130 -- Will play major midget for Okanagan this year, but when he gets to the BCHL he could post a 90-point season. He’s tiny, and a clone of BU forward Cason Hohmann. Very shifty, and smart. Makes a ton of plays. In a few years he will be at a top Div. I program as a top six forward. He’s a year away from the BCHL but is already getting a lot of interest from Div. I programs.

Darien Craighead, F, Langley Rivermen, 5-11/150 – Rookie from Surrey, BC is not a very good skater – a little rough to watch – but he makes a ton of plays and has exceptional vision. Might not put up a ton of points this year but may in ’14-15. Indeed, he could be an 80-point-per-season guy before he leaves the league. Northern Michigan has already offered him, but he’s a top student and appears to be leaning toward the Ivy League.

Colton Kehler, F, Cowichan Valley Capitals, 5-11/165 -- Played 41 games last season with the Vancouver NE Chiefs. A rookie now, he could be Cowichan Valley’s top player as a 16 year old. He’s quick, feisty, and can really shoot the puck. He’s a goal scorer. You really notice him when he’s around the puck. Competes hard.


Tyson Jost, F, Penticton Vees, (affiliate player), 5-9/170 – The Everett Silvertips first round pick in the spring’s WHL Bantam Draft took part in last month’s All-Canadians Mentorship Camp in Ontario, an NHLPA-sponsored affair designed to highlight the top 42 ’98 birthdates in Canada. Jost, who has high offensive skill, can shoot it and is physical. He is an elite level talent so look for all the top Div. I programs to make a push for him at the Showcase. However, there’s a good chance he’ll wind up in the Dub.



East Coast Early Bird Tournament

The Connecticut Wolf Pack U16 team was superior to all other teams in the U16 Division at the East Coast Early Bird Tournament at Merrimack Aug. 26-27. The Wolf Pack, who won the title with a 5-1 win over the Buffalo Regals 15U team, actually lost their first game of the tournament, 3-2, to the Buffalo Jr. Sabres, but after that went 3-0, outscoring their opponents 20-3. Look for the Wolf Pack to be competing for a national title come early April.

The team is loaded and, in any given game, different players could stand out, and, to different sets of eyes, probably do. However, pressed to fine-tune our list, we felt that the following six skaters -- and one goalie -- are deserving of praise for their work. Many we have written about before, and many we will be writing about again.

This tournament was on a Monday and Tuesday at the end of August, and players were in varied states of readiness, to put it as euphemistically as possible.

Connecticut Wolf Pack U16

“A” Players:

Ryan Dmowski
, ’97 F, Wolf Pack U16 -- 5-10/165, Gunnery – Smart player who makes great passes and finds seams. Agile, great with the puck in tight areas. Great wrist shot with quick release. As good a forward as any in tournament. Offense flows through him. One of the truly elite forwards in prep hockey.

Griffin Luce, ’98 D, Wolf Pack U16 – 6-2/200, Salisbury – The son of Scott Luce, head of amateur scouting for the Florida Panthers. has very good skating ability and mobility for a kid of his size and age. Poised with puck. Good reads. Hard shot. Moves well with puck on offensive blue line. Releases his shot quickly and accurately – with one motion. Huge upside.

Trevin Kozlowski, ’97 G, Wolf Pack U16 – 6-3/170, Gunnery – The Californian, new to Gunnery this year, allowed two goals over two games. Very calm. Best goalie in the U16 division.

Tyler Carangelo, ’97 F, Wolf Pack U16 – 6-0/160, Avon – Smart player, goes where the puck is going to be. Plus passes; finds seams. Patient with the puck. Scored five goals here. Will be a big plus for the Winged Beavers.

Liam Murphy, ’98 F, Wolf Pack U16 – 6-0/190, Avon – Very good power forward in the making. Has a big shot, decent hands. Consistently involved. New student at Avon this year.

Shane Sellar, ’97 F, Wolf Pack U16 – 6-1/175, Canterbury – Bowlegged skater with fairly good speed. Protects the puck. Nice vision; finds teammates.

Noah Bauld, ’97 F, Wolf Pack U16 – 5-10/160, Gunnery – Excellent speed. Very shifty. Scored a great goal on second day. Showed poise with the puck. Makes plays. Always in the right spot. New student at Gunnery. From Nova Scotia.


Alec Mehr, ’97 F, Wolf Pack U16 – 5-11/180, Gunnery – California native led his team in scoring here. Good hands. Look forward to seeing him some more, and getting a better read on his overall game. Just seems to be one of those kids who doesn’t jump out at you, but finds a way to score – i.e. a Gunnery type. And, by the way, Gunnery has once again brought in more good players.

Andy DeLalla, ’97 D, Wolf Pack U16 – 5-9/175, Loomis – Small, undersized, but provided plenty of offensive punch from the blue line.

Cape Cod Whalers U16

Played with a very short bench.

“A” Players:

Ryan Shea, ’97 D, Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 5-11/165, BC High – Wasn’t quite as dominant as he was at Beantown, but was also more careful defensively. His excellent skating abilities really set him apart from the pack. Big-time prospect.

Luke McInnis, ’98 D, Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 5-9/160, Hingham HS – Terrific skater. Great speed and quickness. Was missing on Tuesday (due to hurt back), so we didn’t really get to see him as much as we would have liked.

Patrick Kramer, ’97 F, Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 6/2-175, BC High – Was excellent. Effective, skilled player does the little things right at both ends of the ice. Won almost every faceoff he took, and showed surprising bursts of speed.


Monte Graham, ’98 F, Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 5-11/165, Thayer – High-energy guy. Causes panic on the forecheck and creates turnovers.

Luke Stevens, ’97 F, Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 6-3/170, Nobles – Son of former BC and NHL star Kevin Stevens. Moves well in offensive and neutral zones. Doesn’t exactly jump out at you, but could morph into a Chris Calnan type (who, for the record, actually did jump out at us at first viewing). Intriguing, but we need to see more.

Jake Lemanski, ’97 F, Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 6-2/175, BC High – Big player with hit-first mentality. Very strong around the puck; has a heavy shot. Div. I potential.

Ty Amonte, ’98 D (Normally a F), Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 5-9/155, Thayer – The CC Whalers were playing with a short bench so Amonte, customarily a forward, played D at the tournament. We give him credit, but he’s a forward, and when he fills out he will be a very good D-I prospect. Right now, he’ll hit a guy – and bounce off, way off. That will change. Amonte plays with an edge, and competes hard.

Alec Flynn, ’97 D, Cape Cod Whalers U16 – 5-10/165, BC High – Very solid here. Sound player. Want to see him some more. Doesn’t complicate game. Made smart decisions with puck and was very responsible in his own end. Undersized, but strong on feet.

Greater Boston Vipers

“A” Players:

Matt Koopman
, ’98 F, Greater Boston Vipers U16 – 5-10/165, Marblehead HS – Smooth-skating, athletic, nice hands. Consistently noticeable. Sophomore at Marblehead High looked good at Beantown and was just as good here. Has D-I potential. Some prep school should scoop him up ASAP.


Noah Maercklien, ’98 F, Greater Boston Vipers U16 – 5-10/150. Swampscott HS – Noticeable for his hockey IQ. Good in offensive zone. A bit off the map at Swampscott HS, but we feel he’s worth checking back in on in the winter.

Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U

“A” Players:

Collin Rutherford, ’97 F, Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U -- 5-6/135  -- Always around the puck, has a touch around the net, and is a very smart player. Led team in scoring with a 5-1-6 line. Will fight the size battle so it’s a little hard to project him.

Joseph Cecconi
, ’97 D, Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U – 6-2/195 – Tall d-man with a nice shot is a decent skater but needs to add agility. Made one really nice stretch pass. If he fills out will make a nice D-I prospect.

Owen Green, ’97 LC, Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U – 6-4/200 -- Big pivot was noticeable every time he was on the ice. A power forward in the mold of, well, Joe Thornton. There’s upside here. A player definitely worth following.

Nick Alfieri, ’98 LC, Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U – 5-11/160 1-0-1 – Younger than most of his teammates, but noticeable every time he sets foot on ice. Didn’t put up a lot of points, but you can tell that he will in time. Looks like a player, moves like a player, but not quite there yet. Might be a very good prospect by the end of the season.


Joshua Biasillo, ’97 RC, Buffalo Jr. Sabres 16U – 5-11/175 -- Hard-working forward plays with physicality and desire. Made things happen. The kind of guy you want on your team. Could be a bottom six guy at a D-I program.

Buffalo Regals 15U

“A” Players:

Mitchell Hale
, ’98 RC, Buffalo Regals 15U – 5-11/160 – Shifty, alert, and engages physically.

Austin Omanski, ‘98 D, Buffalo Regals 15U -- 6-2/180 – Nice size, moved puck consistently well. Good feet for his size and age. Check back on him.


Logan Warner
, ’98 D, Buffalo Regals 15U – 5-11/160 – Good, reliable mobile d-man.

North Jersey Avalanche U16

The Avalanche are a little weak this year, or perhaps they just hit the ice. We’ll check back later, but there was no single player who jumped out at us.


Lucas Gabow
, ’97 D, North Jersey Avalanche U16 – 5-11/152 – Good hands, and good feet.

Cole Sanderson
, ’97 D, North Jersey Avalanche U16 – 5-11/159 – Plus hands.

Tyler Antonucci
, ’97 D, North Jersey Avalanche U16 – 6-0/170 – Physical. Makes plays.

Long Island Gulls 16U

“A” Players:

Adam Fox
, ’98 D, Long Island Gulls 16U – 5-10/154 – Great skater who can handle the puck with ease. His team’s clear star. Harvard recruit.

Chris Grando, ’98 F, Long Island Gulls 16U -- 5-8/140 – Quick forward who made things happen every time he set foot on the ice. Smart with puck, anticipates play well. Good hands, strong 1-on1. But he’s very small.


Dante Palecco, ’98 F, Long Island Gulls 16U – 5-11/165 – Picked the corner on a great shot.

Sam Sternschein, ’98 F, Long Island Gulls 16U – 6-2/170 – A power forward to keep an eye on.

Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16

“A” Players:

Simon Butala
, ’98 D, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16 – 6-1/175 – Can really skate with the puck, and played a hard, physical game in his end.


Carter Dwyer, ’98 D, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16 – 6-1/160 – When he got the puck he was able to make good breakout passes to the wing. Kept it very simple. Knows what he can do.

Matt Curtain
, ’97 F, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16 – 5-10/180 – Great work ethic, and showed offensive touch , notching a goal and an assist in Tuesday’s game vs. North Jersey Avalanche.

U18 Division
This was only a four-team division. In the final, the Wolfpack National, who should have won this going away, faced off in a rematch against the NJ Rockets, who they had met earlier and defeated 6-1. In the final, though, the Rockets held a 3-1 lead with 14 minutes left but the Wolfpack came back with two to tie it nad then won in OT, 4-3.

Wolf Pack National U18

“A” Players:

Mitchell Smith
, ’96 F, Wolf Pack National U18 – 6-0/185 (Salisbury) – Led his team in scoring here. He and his twin brother, both Yale recruits, just have that natural ability to find each other. Both are choppy skaters who need to work on their stride to maximize their skills at the next level, but what they do – make plays – sets them apart. Has a heavy shot.

Evan Smith, ’96 F, Wolf Pack National U18 – 6-1/190 (Salisbury) – Pretty much everything we said about his brother applies to Evan. Mitchell is better some shifts, Evan others, then half the time they are so interchangeable you forget which one you are even looking at!

Matt Muzyka, ’96 F, Wolf Pack National U18 – 6-1/180 (Salisbury) – Very strong on his skates here, one of those players who continues to get better. Quinnipiac recruit.

Alexander Esposito, ’96 F, Wolf Pack National U18 – 5-11/175 (Loomis) – Very quick, with good release and vision.

Brendan Russ
, ’96 D, Wolf Pack National U18 – 5-9/185 (Choate) – Doesn’t have size, but was the team’s best defenseman here. Very consistent.


Maximilian Daigle, ’95 D, Wolf Pack National U18 -- 5-10/195 (Choate) -- Nice puck mover. Good shot. He and Russ will be juniors this year and Choate’s leaders on the blue line.

Matt O’Donnell, ’95 D, Wolf Pack National U18 – 5-10/190 (Loomis) -- Smooth-skating undersized d-man. Good lateral movement. Nice outlet passes. Sees the ice well. Strong defensively.

Michael Lee, ’96 D, Wolf Pack National U18, 6-0/180 -- (Gunnery) – Expected a little more, but he was solid, and showed flashes of being a little more than that. Vermont recruit.

Andrew Tucci, ’96 G, Wolf Pack National U18 – 5-9/160 -- (Choate) – Between Tucker and Tucci, Choate has an excellent tandem. Had a good showing here.

Wolf Pack American U18

“A” Players:

JD Pogue
, ’97 F, Wolf Pack American U18 – 5-11/165 (Canterbury) – The youngest player (he’s a ’97) on the WP American team, Pogue is also the best DI prospect on the team. A Lac St. Louis kid, he has good sense, a nice shot, and led his team in scoring. Good in all zones. Really stood out in his teams 7-1 win over the Metro Moose.


Jonathan Venter, ’96 D, Wolf Pack American U18 – 5-10/160 (Canterbury) – Undersized defenseman kept forwards to the outside well. Good positionally. Gets a little carefree with the puck on his stick, though.

Robert Seebeck
, ’96 D, Wolf Pack American U18 – 6-1/185 (Salisbury) – Big, raw, could be OK. Want to see more.

Steven Marsico
, ’96 F, Wolf Pack American U18 – 5-7/165 (Cushing) – Gritty little forward wasn’t as good here as he was at the Beantown, where he was flying and hitting everyone. He was OK, though.

New Jersey Rockets

The standouts were the two ‘98s, both of whom are D-I prospects.

“A” Players:

AJ Drobot, ’98 F, New Jersey Rockets – 5-9/170 – Great stick, always around the puck. Super dangerous around net. Hockey IQ in offensive zone separates him. Understands spacing and when to get to areas where the puck is going to wind up on his stick. Crafty – and an excellent D-I prospect.

Cam Dineen, ’98 D, New Jersey Rockets – 5-9/155 – Mobile, confident. A powerplay puck-moving defenseman. Plays with a lot of grit. Hits really hard, which is noteworthy given his size and age.


Michael Gillespie, ’96 F, New Jersey Rockets – 5-9/165 – Had eight points (5g,3a) over two games. Keyed the Rockets attack.


Around the Rinks

At the final buzzer of Sunday's prep title game, Salisbury sophomore G Callum Booth, who is about to get mobbed.
At the final buzzer of Sunday's prep title game, Salisbury sophomore G Callum Booth, who is about to get mobbed. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
Noah Hanafin, St. Sebastian's '97-born d-man and BC recruit, is USHR's #1-ranked sophomore of the 2012-13 season.
Noah Hanafin, St. Sebastian's '97-born d-man and BC recruit, is USHR's #1-ranked sophomore of the 2012-13 season. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
Casey Fitzgerald, Malden Catholic '97-born d-man and BC recruit, is USHR's #3-ranked sophomore of the 2012-13 season.
Casey Fitzgerald, Malden Catholic '97-born d-man and BC recruit, is USHR's #3-ranked sophomore of the 2012-13 season. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
Miles Wood, Nobles forward and Brown recruit -- out for the season with a broken foot -- is USHR's #9-ranked sophomore.
Miles Wood, Nobles forward and Brown recruit -- out for the season with a broken foot -- is USHR's #9-ranked sophomore. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)