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U16s at the USHL Atlantic Challenge

USHR traveled down to Long Island to take in the 2014 USHL Atlantic Challenge at the new Twin Rinks at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, NY Sept. 5-7.

The venue, we felt, was excellent. Perfect for events such as this. There was plenty of standing room with countertops and power outlets, along with private viewing areas in each rink. And the tournament was very well run. Scouts were provided with a detailed colored program, with full rosters for all 32 teams. The entire weekend was catered by a local restaurant which featured top-notch lunch and dinner options including shaved steak with rigatoni, meatballs, and shrimp. And Tim Horton’s chipped in, too, providing an endless supply of coffee to augment the sugary sustenance we have come to know too well. The combination was perfect for those of us who don’t really want our 14-hour days at the rink to be broken up by running around an unfamiliar neighborhood searching for places to eat.

In addition to the U16s and U18s there were a handful of Tier III junior teams, as well as three teams from the USHL -- Muskegon, Cedar Rapids, and Lincoln -- as well as the US NTDP U18 team. With such a broad spectrum of players on hand there were a number of scouts, ranging from junior teams and D-III colleges on up to the NHL. The showcase game on Friday night, a 4-1 NTDP win over Muskegon, packed the 2,100 seat main arena. The attendance, including standing room, was roughly 2,400.

But the focus of our concentration was centered on the U16s and U18s (covered in the previous article; please scroll down).

Below you will find rankings for the players who stood out for us at the U16 level. The given heights and weights were taken from the tournament program. The rankings are a hybrid of performance and potential, with an edge being given to the former.


“A” Forwards

Mark Kastelic (#22 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 6-1/181, R, ’99) -- A second round Calgary Hitmen selection in last spring’s WHL draft, Kastelic has size and hockey sense. His hands are smooth, he’s dangerous 1v1 and he has a strong shot. While potent offensively, he could improve his play away from the puck and his defensive zone concentration, as this will have to be a large part of his game moving forward. Had a 22-16-38 line in 38 games last season. Also, played well at Select 15s. Intends to follow the major junior route. His father, Ed Kastelic, played in the NHL.

Colton McKenna (#91 Buffalo Regals, 6-2/180, L, '99) -- McKenna might have the most pro upside of anyone in the U16 division here. He has a large frame with broad shoulders, a long and powerful stride, strong hands, and the ability to stickhandle around defenders with ease. He also plays the point on the PP and has a potent shot. A high-end prospect who will likely find himself at the forefront of an OHL vs. NCAA recruiting battle.

Christopher Garbe (#19 LI Gulls, 5-10/165, L, ’99) -- Garbe has elite hockey sense, reads the play well, and is able to make passes that most players at the U16 level don’t even see, let alone have the skill to deliver. His play away from the puck constantly put him in favorable scenarios. He has an explosive first step, is skilled carrying the puck, and knows how to find lanes and exploit them. He’s a few inches shorter than his roster height – and his size is the only real knock on him from a prospect point of view. Has a bright future ahead of him.

Carson Dimoff (#21 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 5-11/169, L, ’99) -- Has soft hands, the ability to make quick dekes, and a sneaky wrister and backhand. Despite his stick skills, Dimoff uses his lower body strength to win battles along the boards and in front of the net. He fights through checks and has a determined net drive with or without the puck. He’s an Alexander Ovechkin type in the sense that he can score goals utilizing a finesse and/or power game to score. Led the Coyotes’ Bantam team last year in points per game and did the same here at this event with a 2-1-3 line in 4 games (his team was shut out twice). A 7th round pick of Everett in the WHL Bantam Draft.

“B” Forwards

Ryan Zier (#19 Buffalo Regals, 5-10/165, R, '98) -- One of the more dynamic players in the U16  division. A good skater, Zier has excellent control of the puck even at full speed, an accurate wrist shot, and a cool, calm demeanor that allows him to slow the game down and find holes in the defense. He also showed a mean streak. Holds his own in the physical game. Exceptional poise with the puck.

Matthew Barnaby (#9 Buffalo Regals, 5-6/125, R, '98) -- Nobody, at any level of this tournament, had more highlight reel goals than Matthew Barnaby, who is dominant when he gets in tight on goalies. He had 5 goals in 6 games, with a hard, quick-release snap shot that is perfectly placed. He has poise, surveys the goalie, and shoots with his head up. He stands only 5’6”, 125 lbs. but his hockey sense is elite and he has a nifty set of hands. 

Steven Agriogianis, (#24 NJ Avalanche, 5-9/160, R, ’99) – With one of the better wrist shots we have seen from a player of his age, Agriogianis plays the point on the power play. He is not a one-dimensional shooter, as he is also an excellent playmaker, surveying the ice, finding open lanes and making crisp, tape-to-tape passes. He is strong on his skates and creates a lot of scoring opportunities with his eyes and his crafty hands. In one game, he fired an off-balance wrister off his back foot -- without being square -- that hit the top crossbar and went out of the rink. Put himself on the map this summer with a 3-4-7 line in 5 games at the USA Select 15 Festival in Buffalo.

Skyler Brind’Amour (#17 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 5-11/140, L, ’99) -- The ’99-born son of Rob Brind’Amour is a quality prospect, tall and slight but with a great frame to grow into. He is deceptively agile and has a long stride once he’s up to speed. He fought the puck at times but he has an accurate shot and found the back of the net on multiple occasions.

Matthew Novo (#12 Buffalo Regals, 5-7/155, L, '98) -- Novo, the Regals’ captain, was his team’s leading scorer with a 5-2-7 line in 6 games. What is more impressive than his stat line is his well-rounded approach to the game. He hustles, takes the body, blocks shots and is equally dialed-in in the defensive zone as he is in the offensive zone. His skating has improved, but his best attributes are his strong, smooth hands and powerful wrist shot. He can score in-tight, mid-range, or from the outside.

Lucas Prestamo (#21 NY Applecore, R, 5-11/185, ’98) -- Applecore’s leading scorer on the weekend with a 3-3-6 line in 4 games. Along with size and skill, Prestamo has north-south speed, a powerful shot and is strong on his skates. Prestamo put himself on the map with his performance here this weekend but we would like to see more before making any upside predictions.

Patrick Cozzi (#11 NJ Avalanche, 5-7/160, L, ’98) -- Smart, highly-skilled puck possession playmaker who excels when he can isolate a defenseman and play him straight up 1v1. He is effective in small spaces as he has a quick first step and even quicker hands. Cozzi also has the confidence to be creative. One of the more dynamic forwards here, he will need to improve his play away from the puck, especially in his own end. A serious D-I prospect once develops a complete game.

“C” Forwards

Augie Burkhardt (#25 NJ Avalanche, 5-11/175, L, ’98) -- A 6th round pick of the Madison Capitols (USHL), Burkhardt is a good-sized forward with a mix of skill and grit. He battles for loose pucks, takes the body, forechecks and backchecks with determination. He also has offensive instincts, is strong on the puck and makes a firm pass.

Michael Nisky (#9 NJ Avalanche, 5-7/140, ’98) -- A late-round pick of the Omaha Lancers, Nisky has a bundle of speed -- on the powerplay breakout he picked up the puck behind his own net and rushed end-to-end like he was shot out of a cannon. He does not have great hands but is composed and can carry the puck at high speed through traffic without slowing down. He did not find the back of the net in the games we saw, but he created a lot of offense and had multiple assists. D-I potential if he can continue to develop his skill with the puck while adding size and strength.

Nicholas Wildgoose
(#9 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 5-9/165, R, late ’99) -- A December ’99 birthdate, Wildgoose, the youngest player on his team, plays on the top line and, while he doesn’t presently stand out as much as his linemates (Riley Johnson and Jordan Cooper – see below), he has a high hockey IQ, spacial awareness and excellent finishing ability -- he scored two goals in the first game and scored the game-winner in the semi-finals. A pure goal scorer whose skill set translates well to the next level. Is the son of Lyle Wildgoose who played at Providence College in the late ‘80s.

Ryan Savage (#49 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 5-9/153, R, ’00) – It’s asking a lot for an ’00 to go across the country and play against older competition, but Savage came out and made a statement in the first game with a two goal, one assist effort in which he displayed a hard shot, slick mitts and considerable poise -- especially given his age. As the weekend wore on he seemed to get knocked around, was slow to get up, and didn’t backcheck. In summation, he is talented with or around the puck but he will need to improve his game away from the biscuit and have a more consistent effort in all three zones.

Michael Muschitiello (#29 LI Gulls, 5-9/135, R, ’99) -- Played on a line with Garbe – which certainly helps -- but he did score 2 goals and added 3 assists in the 5 games here. Muschitiello has the cerebral capacity to see the game at Garbe’s level, soft hands, and composure with the puck. Also, away from the puck, he showed an ability to get open and find lanes.

Anthony Tulipane (#89 Buffalo Regals, 5-8/165, R, '98) -- A fun prospect to watch, a high energy, creative playmaker who is lightning-quick in every direction. Plays the game with a lot of pace yet is able to see the ice and make decisions at that tempo. He is tough to contain if he gets time and space but at this stage he is small and weak on the wall – and that was the only glaring vulnerability to his game.

Jordan Cooper (#8 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 5-9/165, L, ’98) -- Cooper has a fast and balanced stride. He can navigate the puck through high-traffic areas and excelled either skating the puck through the neutral zone or making timely passes up-ice. Would have liked to see him more active around the net because he has a good wrist shoot. Overall, though, he showed well.

Kevin Paganini (#8 NY Applecore, L, 5-8/160, ’99) -- Paganini is small but fast, scoring 3 goals over 4 games, showing poise with the puck and a quality wrist shot. While he is small in stature, his frame suggests there is more growing. We think he has D-I upside.

Riley Johnson (#11 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 5-9/150, R, ’99) -- Johnson is a fast, high-energy player who backchecks as hard as he forechecks. Not much size, but he has a quick and sturdy stick that allows him to emerge from scrums with the puck. He has a good burst skating through the neutral zone and regularly beat the defense to the outside, but he needs to make a better effort getting to the net after he has the defender beat.

Matt Letmanski (#19 Team Illinois, 6-2/165, L, ’98) -- One of the tallest players in his age group, Letmanski is very thin and has an awkward stride that doesn’t allow him to generate much power off his leg extensions. Despite not passing the eye test, he plays on TI’s top line, and has deceptively soft hands and passing ability. He led the team in points on the weekend with a 1-4-5 line. His game has a way to go but, with that kind of size and playmaking ability, he could turn out to be a very good player.

Will Christensen (#22 NY Applecore, L, 5-9/160, ’99) -- Christensen has smooth, agile hands and cradles well at full speed. He is fast in pursuit of the puck and uses his quick stick to fish pucks out of scrums, whereupon he immediately takes off with it. He was 2-1-3 on the weekend.

Zach Noble (#17 NJ Titans, 6-2/165, R, ’98) -- Tall, rangy prospect with a long stride and offensive instincts. He had a great pull-up inside the offensive blue line, hitting a streaking winger with a cross-ice pass. He also made a nice bid on a semi-breakaway in which he pulled away from the defenseman and made a quality deke but couldn’t convert. Was 2-2-4 in 4 games here.

Nicholas Abruzzese (#9 NY Applecore, L, 5-6/140, ’99) -- Abruzzese has great acceleration, is shifty east to west, and processes the game at a high pace. He lacks size and strength but makes up for it with a blend of creative stick skills and quick feet -- it’s tough hitting him squarely. Posted a 2-1-3 line over 4 games.

Matt McShea (#6 Team Illinois, 6-2/190, R, ’98) -- A big, strong power forward who can shoot the puck, McShea finished  the weekend with a 2-2-4 line and had even more chances to add to that. His edgework and stride have a long way to go but he does have a nice quick turn that he used in the corners and behind the net. McShea is dangerous as he can shoot from anywhere and makes a nice pass. He can get tunnel vision at times. Ferociously competes for loose pucks and rebounds.

Nick Godfrey (#19 NJ Titans, 5-9/150, L, ’98) -- High-energy, two-way player has crafty hands and shifty feet. Did a little bit of everything here: scored goals, created offensive opportunities, took the body, blocked shots and participated in both man-up and man-down situations.

Mike Miller (#28 Team Illinois, 6-0/175, L, ’98) -- A big, power forward type who can streak down the boards, gain the zone, and cut to the net using a mix of power and speed to get body position for a shot. He is a capable goal scorer as he wristed one stickside from a poor angle against the LI Gulls. A player to keep an eye on.

Brandon Zacarro (#17 Team Illinois, 5-8/170, R, ’99) -- A fast, high-energy forechecker who opens up space for his linemates by causing havoc for opposing defenseman. He is a puck hound, finishes his checks, and fights for loose pucks. He is not dynamic enough at this point to be a legit D-I prospect but we’re not counting him out either.

Ryan Brassil (#23 LI Gulls, 6-0/165, R, ’99) -- The good news is that Brassil has the height, speed, and hands to be a D-I prospect. However, he was held to one point in his five games here, but that one point was a good one: after beating the defenseman 1v1 with a through-the-legs juke move he showed great patience in waiting for the goalie to make a move before wristing it past him. Kind of left us wondering why we hadn’t seen more of that throughout the week. Anxious to watch him again to see if he can develop a more consistent game.

Frank Gaffney (#20 Buffalo Regals, 5-10/155, R, ’98) -- Gaffney was inconsistent on the weekend and really didn’t stand out until Sunday, when he scored 4 of his 5 points (3g, 1a) in the semi-final and championship games. Not a flashy player but knows where to be, is always in position to shoot, and proved he can score timely goals.

Liam Thrawl (#32 Team Illinois, 5-8/175, L, ’98) -- After a quiet start to the tournament, Thrawl found his stride in the last two games, gaining confidence which led to more puck possession time. He is creative with the puck on his stick, shifty side-to-side and does a nice job luring the D toward him and either spinning off or firing a pass to the open man. Had a 1-1-2 line over 4 games.

Daniel Kramer (#24 LI Gulls, 5-11/165, R, ’99) -- Kramer didn’t shine in any one area but demonstrated a solid overall game, with his best attribute being his hockey IQ. His frame looks like it will only get bigger and his ability to anticipate and find his teammates make him someone to keep an eye on in the future.

Devin Heffernan (#16 LI Gulls, 6-0/170, R, ’99) -- Tall and athletic, Heffernan possesses a rare trait, being a big-body player who excels in small spaces. He protects the puck well along the boards, can extend his stride and maintain top speed up the ice, and has the ability to make quick juke moves in tight or coming out of the corner. Will need to be more productive with the puck, but he has a good foundation to build on.

Jack Conrad (#15 NJ Titans, 5-7/140, R, late ’98) -- A small, nifty playmaker with soft hands and a quick release. Was not a consistent scoring threat as, due to his size, he was knocked off the puck often.

Derek Westbrook (#42 Buffalo Regals, 5-10/178, R, ’98) – A strong all-around player who, playing on a line with Barnaby and Novo, opens up space with his tenacious forechecking and physical play. Westbrook is strong on the puck and showed hockey sense and hustle on the penalty kill. A solid overall prospect.

Jackson Nauss (#17 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 5-10/150, L, ’98) -- Tall and slight, Nauss has some straight-line speed and uses his reach for a wide cradle that is tough on most defensemen. His raw skills will need more polish and we’d like to see him drive the net instead of floating around the perimeter.

David Klauke (#25 Team Illinois, 5-11/160, L,’99) -- Klauke has size and a long, fairly fluid stride allowing him to maintain good speed once he gets going. He also has soft hands. Made a beautiful cross-ice saucer pass on a powerplay but failed to create much in the way of offensive opportunities.

Keith Jusas (#81, LI Royals, 5-10/130, L, ’98) -- Jusas has some height but is rail thin. He has slippery hands that allow him to come out of high-traffic areas with the puck on his stick. He has good spacial awareness and when he gets the right amount of room for a shot he doesn’t hesitate. 

Jackson Koblick (#78 LI Gulls, 6-0/150, R, ’98) -- A tall, thin prospect with slick hands, Koblick had some nice rushes through the neutral zone but did not attack the net once he gained the blue line. A work in progress but he has upside. 

Colby Pederson (#20 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 5-9/160, L, ’99) --Played on a line with Brind’Amour and was the workhorse of the line. Competes at both ends and, although he doesn’t have top-line skill or speed, he is always around the puck and making plays.

Matt Mood (#24 NJ Titans, 5-8/140, L, late ’99) -- One of the youngest players in the showcase showed off his passing ability on numerous occasions. He can chip pucks to space, and saucer it over defenders’ sticks without breaking stride.

Jordan Wanchock (#61 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 6-2/180, R, ’99) -- A rugged kid with a good frame.  Still trying to figure out his role as a winger, but there is definitely something here to work with.

Andrew Wagner (#7 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 5-9/165, R, ’98) -- Wagner is a sturdy, two-way, high- compete center with a good head on his shoulders. His acceleration and anticipation skills make him an excellent penalty killer.

Robby Zatyk (#88, LI Royals, 5-9/185, L, late ’98) -- Very strong on his skates and had several determined net drives during which he protected the puck, made a nifty deke, and drove to the post for scoring chances. His feet are a little heavy and his upside may be limited, but he competed hard and made some plays here.

Thurston Schon (#80, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, 5-11/150, R, ’98) -- A fast, high-energy player who constantly buzzes around the ice. Doesn’t have a lot of finesse in his bag of tricks, but his work ethic will help him compensate for that.

“A” Defensemen

Nikolai Knyzhov (#5 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 6-1/170, L, ’98) -- Knyzhov was one of the best prospects in the tournament, a tall, large-frame, athletic, two-way defenseman who has the agility to gap up and play his man tight and also the size to throw his weight around when they try and make their move. He has great presence, especially on the offensive blue line where he holds the line and makes plays with either the shot or pass. Has composure in his own end and rarely throws the puck up the boards, preferring to take a few strides with his head up and deliver a crisp breakout pass. He did, however, get stripped one time when rushing the puck and was slow and disengaged on the backcheck which allowed for a 2v1 opportunity the other way -- and his man scored. Other than that lapse of judgment, his stock is on the rise. An obvious D-I talent.

Nick Hale (#27 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 5-8/150, L, ’99) -- Hale was the most composed, confident defenseman we saw here with the puck on his stick. He can extend the play with both his agile skating ability and acceleration or he can stickhandle through traffic until a shooting or passing lane opens up. He slows the game down, has poise with the puck, and lets the play develop in front of him without rushing or forcing the issue. Plays a smart overall game and makes great passes in all three zones, either in stride or from a stationary position. His defensive game is built around vision and athleticism but he will need to get bigger, stronger, and meaner before we can say he has the total package. Recorded an assist in each of the games we saw. A great college prospect.

“B” Defensemen

Logan Britt (#7 Team Illinois, 6-0/155, L, ’99) -- A smart defenseman who always takes any extra time afforded him to make excellent passes and reads. Has a plus shot, but only uses it when the situation calls for it.

Daniel Smith (#29 Buffalo Regals, 5-9/195, R, '99) -- A powerplay defenseman who can pull the puck off the wall, walk the blue line, and make plays with his smooth hands. He keeps his head up while carrying the puck and can zip it across the ice but struggled at times with accuracy. Has a heavy slap shot from the point and although he didn’t find the back of the net, he did chip in with 5 assists in 6 games to lead all defenseman on his team.

Brandon Tabakin (#4 NJ Avalanche, 5-5/123, L, ’00) – A dynamic ‘00 defenseman who is more then capable of playing up a level. An agile skater who can explode out of the gate in any direction, Tabakin is smooth and has considerable poise and patience with the puck on his stick. He reads the ice well and has the full array of passing weapons whether it be a touch into space, a hard direct pass, a saucer pass, or an indirect pass around the opposition. His skating and puck-moving ability are only part of what make him special, he is also aware and athletic in his own end, rarely letting someone get behind him and has closing speed to get the puck off the wall from dump ins. He struggles with his size at this level and doesn’t generate much power on his shot from the point, which takes away from his powerplay capabilities. Overall, he is a good young prospect.

Jack Zangre (#5 NY Applecore, R, 6-0/190, ’99) -- Zangre plays the game beyond his years. He has the size and strength to take over in his own end. His puck handling and passing ability are raw but not poor. And he firmly holds the offensive blue line. A D-I prospect in the making.

Perry Winfree (#58 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 6-1/175, R, late ’99) -- A ‘no frills’ type of player who truly understands the position of defense. He doesn’t make any flashy end-to-end rushes, he just keeps the play in front of him. Has a good frame and is solid on his feet.  Makes crisp tape-to-tape passes and keeps a nice gap through the neutral zone.

David Kompson (#23 Buffalo Regals, 5-9/160, L, ’98) -- Strong, and balanced on his edges, Kompson is an all-purpose prospect who can block shots, take the body, clear bodies out in front, and make plays offensively. He is aggressive in the corners and along the boards and has deceptive speed that allows him to take off with the puck and join the rush. Had 4 assists in 6 games and was a key contributor on special teams.

“C” Defensemen

Giancarlo Romano (#44 LI Gulls, 6-1/162, R, ’99) -- Despite being on the raw side, Romano has a lot of tools: a big frame he hasn’t come close to filling out, and the intellect and awareness -- and  willingness -- to take the body, block shots, and do the dirty work. A strong presence at both ends of the ice, Romano produced 2 assists over 5 games and logged a lot of minutes on special teams.

John Spetz (#18 NJ Avalanche, 5-9/165, R, ’99) -- A strong, puck-moving defenseman who is at this best on the offensive blue line, especially on the power play where he has a shot that always seems to get through traffic and on net. He is also a willing distributor and rarely forces a pass. From a defensive standpoint, Spetz has good intentions but gets too eager and often finds himself over-pursuing the puck and getting out of position.

Jeremy Gabriele (#8 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 5-9/161, R, late ’99) -- A late ’99 who showed poise carrying the puck up the ice and winning scrums along the wall. Gabriele has quick and agile feet allowing him to gap up tight in the neutral zone and cut down on the opposition’s time and space. Contributed 2 assists in 4 games. 

Julian Coleman (#5 LI Gulls, 6-3/170, R, ’99) -- Coleman projects well because of his size, long stride, and a decent shot which he keeps low and on net. However, he is stiff through the hips and lacks lateral mobility as well as backward acceleration. He is shutdown on 1v1’s as he uses his large frame, reach and physicality to keep forwards off balance, but on odd-man rushes he can get exposed to the outside. A work in progress at this point, but one with a ton of untapped potential.

Nicholas Daluisio (#33, Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, 6-2/165, L, ’98) -- A tall, rangy prospect who is physical when he needs to be but, due to his long reach, many players do not get within striking distance with the puck still on their sticks. He keeps his opponents to the outside and makes up for his lack of acceleration (especially backwards) by playing his angles wisely. He has fairly soft hands and does a great j-ob in the passing game where he can fire the puck for long-range passes and also has touch for indirect or close range passes. A work in progress but he has considerable potential if he can improve his agility.

Mitchell Carrow (#52 Buffalo Regals, 6-3/205, R, '99) – He’s huge, and has feet are heavy. He’s also a ’99 so that could change. Worth following.

Mitchell Glabicki (#22 Carolina Jr. Hurricanes, 6-0/185, L, ’98) -- Glabicki is a strong, all-purpose defenseman you can place anywhere. He patrols the blue lines looking for the big hit -- which he delivered more than once. While his game is more suitable for the penalty kill, he got plenty of time on both special teams units.

Bradley Herlan (#43 Buffalo Regals, 6-0/160, R, ’98) -- A decisive, puck-moving defenseman who can play both offense and defense, Herlan has some height, but not much strength at this point. He moves well forward and backward but will need to improve his lateral quickness. He does a nice job getting to the puck on dump-ins and is able to turn up ice and deliver a quick, deliberate pass.

Jonathan Dube (#15 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 6-1/180, R, ’98)-- Dube logs a lot of ice time for the Coyotes because he brings several attributes to the table -- size, mobility, a hard wrist shot, and toughness. He made some nice hits in his own end without running around or over-pursuing the puck carrier. He uses his big frame and reach to keep the opposition away from quality scoring areas. He scored on a low wrister from the point to tie the game against the Long Island Gulls. Had a 1-1-2 line in 4 games.

David Tell (#66 LI Royals, 5-7/135, R, ’99) -- A small but quick offensive defenseman who can join the rush seamlessly, speed through the neutral zone, find passing lanes, and pick apart the defense. We had a limited viewing of the Royals so we didn’t see him shoot the puck or play in different situations, but he is a good skater with soft hands and an ability to create offense from the backend.

Chandler Koper (#11 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 5-11/180, L, late ’99) -- A late ’99 who is not flashy and may not stand initially as he tends to fight the puck and lacks lateral quickness. However, he has a great head for the game, he sees the ice well, and he anticipates the play from the backend allowing him to always be in position to make plays. If his skill catches up to his mind he could be a nice prospect.

Chris Helmlinger (#22 NJ Titians, 6-1/160, L, ’98) -- A tall, slight prospect who is fairly light on his feet, sound defensively, and logs a lot of minutes. Not a stand-out but has a solid foundation on which to build the rest of his game.

Chris Marston (#13 Team Illinois, 6-0/210, R, ’98) -- A big body out of the Chicago Young Americans, Marston has the frame to be a solid, shutdown defenseman. Needs to work on his footwork, but battles hard along the wall.

Matt Alessi (#18 LI Royals, 5-11/180, R, ’99) -- A tall defenseman who will rush the puck if afforded the space to do so. Otherwise, he is content making passes to his forwards. Gets caught puck-watching at times in his own end, but is cognizant of the problem and will rush back to his proper position once he realizes his mistake.


Matthew Ladd (#31 Buffalo Regals, 6-3/180, ’98) --- Ladd is tall, athletic, fluid post-to-post, and swallows up rebounds. He looks confident and composed and does not get rattled when he loses sight of the puck or lets up a softy (which he only did once in our viewings). He likes to play beyond the arc, cut down the angle, and stay square to the shooter. Maintains his focus from start to finish. Kicked out 74 of 80 shots for a .925 SV % and a 1.60 GAA. A D-I prospect.

Jack Moore (#35 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, 5-10/143, ’98) – The key to Phoenix’s success, Moore let up only 2 goals in the first 3 games. He started the tournament with an 18-save shutout against the Flyers, where he wasn’t tested all that much but made all the necessary saves. He then lost a 1-0 matchup against the Jr. Hurricanes in which he was outstanding, kicking out 27 of 28 shots, at least half being quality opportunities. The one goal he gave up came off the third rebound on a powerplay so there was not much he could do there. Moore is light on his feet, stops everything down low, controls rebounds, and has lateral quickness. He has a great head for the game, and is able to read the play so he can position himself to the puck carrier while remaining ready to slide to the far post to make a save.

Britt League (#65 LI Gulls, 5-10/150, ’99) -- League can make all the saves, has quick reaction time, pounces on loose pucks around the crease, has an active stick, and comes out to aggressively challenge the shooter. Had a 14-save shutout against Phoenix. Kicked out a total of 35 of 38 shots for a .921 SV % and a 1.00 GAA.

Anthony Del Tufo (#1 NJ Titans, 5-8/140, ’99) -- We had a limited viewing of Del Tufo but he had a strong game against the Buffalo Regals, keeping his team, which was outshot 23-6, in the game. He stopped 21 of 23 shots and showed his quick reflexes and reliable glove hand, and made some acrobatic saves.

Andrew Farah (#41 Team Illinois, 6-3/190, ’99) -- A very tall prospect who catches with his right hand and has deceptive agility. While he was not shutdown in the games we saw, stopping 17 of 19 in the first viewing, and 13 of 15 in the second, he does take up a lot of net and stays square. He is a little slow reaction-wise. Has decent flexibility for his size, allowing him to have fluid movements in goal. However, he will need to be a bit quicker in order to get to that next level of play. An intriguing prospect worth following over the coming years. 



U18s at the USHL Atlantic Challenge

USHR traveled down to Long Island to take in the 2014 USHL Atlantic Challenge at the new Twin Rinks at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, NY September 5-7.

Below you will find rankings for the players who stood out for us. We felt a nice range of prospects were on hand – potential prep, junior, D-I and D-III, and maybe even a few pros. Time will tell.

Heights and weights given below were taken from the tournament program. The rankings are a hybrid of performance and potential, with an edge being given to the former.

We’ll have the U16s shortly.


“A” Forwards

Evan Wisocky (#21 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-11/170, ’98) – Wisocky, one of the top scorers at this summer’s Select 16 Festival, is a balanced and powerful skater with elite shooting ability. He, along with Avalanche teammate Chris Grando, played a couple of games here with the U18s, and a couple with the U16s. At the U18 level, Wisocky showed a high compete level, but was not around the puck much, whereas at the U16 level he controlled the play, slowed the game down, and created scoring opportunities nearly every shift. He has both zip and touch on his passes, a powerful wrister and snap shot, quick yet strong hands, and speed. The former LI Gull was selected in the 3rd round of the USHL Draft by the Madison Capitols. A sure-fire D-I prospect.

“A-/B+” Forwards

Wade Novak (#72 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-10/150, ’97) -- The Union commit was the best player on the ice in the Avalanche’s opening game against the Jr. Flyers, scoring within the first minute of the game and then adding the game-winner in the second period for a 2-1 victory. Novak has straight-line speed, a hard shot, and mature hockey sense. He often comes out of the corner or out of scrums with the puck on his stick. Knows where to be on the ice away from the puck to put himself in favorable positions to score goals and contribute offensively.  College: Union

Chris Grando (#3 NJ Avalanche, L, 5-9/150, ’98) -- Grando seems to elevate his game on the big stage, with strong showings at Nationals and again at the USA Select 16 Festival. Here, like Wisocky, he played with the U18s for two games and the U16s for two games. A fast and skilled goal scorer with a potent wrist shot, Grando was quiet in the offensive zone and had an inconsistent effort. Didn’t register a point until the fourth game. A 4th round draft pick of the Green Bay Gamblers in last spring’s Futures Draft,

Jack Badini (#33 NJ Avalanche, L, 5-11/185, ’98) -- Badini was able to play here with both his full season North Jersey Avalanche team as well as the Lincoln Stars, who selected him in the 4th round of the USHL Futures Draft. Badini is a strong skater with a combination of speed, acceleration, and lateral quickness. He was playing up all weekend so he did not possess the puck much. However, he was active away from the puck and showed that he can keep up with the pace at the USHL level.

Michael Maloney (#44 Team Illinois, R, 5-10/180, ’98) -- A good-sized ’98 who scored two of his team’s four goals on the weekend and added an assist. Maloney is a pure goal scorer who is strong on his skates, has a high motor and enough speed to pull away from defenders. Has a strong, quick stick around the goal. Brown head coach Brendan Whittet was in attendance – and Maloney committed to Brown a few days after the tournament.  College:Brown

Joe Kubachka (#26 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, L, 6-2/190, ’98) -- Kubachka had a lot of eyes on him as a 6’2” ’98 playing at the U18 level and holding his own. He is a little uncoordinated as his skating hasn’t caught up with the rest of his game but he has soft hands, engages in the physical game, and showed vision and poise on the powerplay. High ceiling prospect, but has a way to go.  College: Cornell

“B” Forwards

Brandon Tucker (#9 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, R, 6-3/200, ’96) -- Tucker is a tall power forward with slick hands. Lowers his shoulder and just powers to the net. He had a few big hits but was most noticeable with the puck on his stick. Will need to improve his lateral movement and get his shot off quicker, but he showed some straight-line speed through the neutral zone. Good upside.

Jake Horacek (#67 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, L, 5-11/165, late ‘97) -- A smooth and balanced skater who can create offense with his stick and has a quick release on his snap shot. He was the second-highest scorer on the Jr. Flyers U16 team last year. Is a December ’97 birthdate. 

Christian Thomas (#8 Northern Cyclones, R, 5-9/150, ‘99) -- The youngest player on the ice for the Northern Cyclones, Thomas made several plays including a well-placed saucer pass assist on a 2-on-1. He does not shy away from contact and has good poise for his age.

Mike Gelatt (#21 NJ Titans, R, 6-1/175, ’97) -- Raw prospect needs to add some explosiveness to his skating, but demonstrated excellent closing speed on both the backcheck and forecheck. Is a capable goal scorer who always seems to be in the right place. Was among his team’s leading scorers last year with a 15-28-43 line in 20 games. D-I prospect.

“C” Forwards

Jonathan Weston (#25 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, L, 5-10/150, ’97) -- A good combination of hustle and skill, he blocks shots, fights through checks, and also made some crisp smart passes when gaining the zone. Possesses a hard, accurate wrist shot.

Jake Gebner (#5 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, L, 5-10/152, ’97) -- Last year’s leading scorer for the U16 Flyers kept his scoring touch going here, scoring 4 of his team’s 7 goals on the weekend and adding an assist. Gebner is a smart player with a crafty stick, but we would need to see a more complete game and added strength before we tab him a sure-fire D-I prospect.

Tiernan Seningen (#27 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, R, 5-8/149, late ’97) – Seningen is the highest returning scorer for the Jr. Flyers U18s, a smart, crafty playmaker who had a beautiful centering pass assist from behind the net. He is agile on his skates, decisive with the puck, and dangerous out of the corners.

Alex Lester (#4 Northern Cyclones, L, 5-11/180, ’96) -- Scored in both games we saw. His shot isn’t overly powerful but he sees the ice and shoots to score. He’s strong on his stick and is able to get through high-traffic areas and get a shot off without getting knocked off balance.

Connor Stuart (#5 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, R, 6-2/160, ’97) -- Tall and slight, Stuart is a lot more athletic than he appears at first glance. He is a good skater who can protect the puck, but also has quick hands in tight.

Joey Guarino (#13 Northern Cyclones, L, 5-7/138, late ’97) -- Small, explosive playmaker who can change directions in an instant. He struggles in high-traffic areas due to his size but in the open ice his speed and quickness make him tough to contain.

Max Weber (#8 NJ Titans, L, 6-2/175, ’97) -- Tall, lanky power forward in the making, Weber has an awkward, unbalanced stride as he is still growing into his frame. While his edgework is holding him back, he has excellent puck protection skills and likes to park in front of the net where he is hard to contain. He made several quick and accurate cross-ice passes coming out of his end. With his size, he is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

Channing Gorscak (#26 Northern Cyclones, R, 5-10/175, ’97) -- Gorscak is a well-rounded, 200-foot player who can contribute in PK, PP and 5-on-5 situations. Scored a nice goal in the Cyclone’s  final game.

Jordan Boehlke (#23 Northern Cyclones, L, 6-0/200, ’96) -- Boehlke is a big, powerful winger who carries the puck wide and has a commanding shot that he shoots from anywhere inside the blue line. He scored a brilliant goal from just inside the hashmarks, roofing a wrister over the goalie’s glove on the power play. The downside of his game is that he is pretty stiff and lacks speed and agility.

Ryan Steimel (#97 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-9/165, late ’97) -- Has deceptive speed. We saw Steimel receive a pass in the neutral zone a foot or two in front of two defenseman entering the zone on a 1-v-2; five steps later he was behind both d-men and breaking in all alone on the goalie. Disrupted a lot of breakouts with a strong forecheck and an active stick.

Seamus O’Kane (#10 Team Illinois, R, 6-2/175, ’97) -- A fairly athletic forward with a good frame.  Hustles throughout each shift and disrupts plays with his long reach.  His game is very north-south, which will probably keep him from being a top six forward down the line, but he already has the makeup of a nice bottom six guy.

Ryan Hill (#21 Team Illinois, L, 5-11/195, ’96) -- A thick, tough, power forward who seeks contact and wins most battles along the boards. He has heavy feet and was unable to do much offensively but he has a decent shot and opens up some ice for his teammates.

Tommy Trieber (#61 Team Illinois, L, 5-11/175, ’96) – An inconsistent performance, but he showed flashes of vision and passing ability as he set up two players on one shift – and both could have cashed in on their opportunities. Played a solid all-around game.

Bayley Marshall (#62 Team Illinois, L, 6-2/180, ’97) – Tall and thin, with fairly soft hands. Assisted on two of his team’s four goals on the weekend. Has potential once he grows into his frame.

Chayse Primeau (#74 Philadelphia Revolution, L, 6-3/160, late ’97) – Primeau is tall and lanky at this point but his hands are soft and he does a nice job handling the puck in open ice and then moving it away from the body and protecting it in high-traffic areas. His stride is long but unorthodox as he is still growing into his frame, but the upside is obvious. Led Team Comcast in points per game last season.

“A” Defensemen


“B” Defensemen

Zach Berzolla (#19 NJ Titans, R, 6-2/175, ’98) -- A late-round pick in both the USHL and OHL drafts this past spring. We only got a limited viewing as he did not play in the first game, his second game was at a different rink, and in his third game his team was shut out, 3-0. However, he’s the team’s youngest player, has size, and plays with a high compete level. Does a nice job closing gaps and making contact while keeping his stick in the passing lanes. Did not do much with the puck, but his team didn’t have much possession time in the game we saw.

Joe Mortillaro (#67 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-11/175, late ’97) -- Mortillaro comes to the Avalanche from the Tampa Elite and made an immediate impact on the back end. He is a gifted skater who can escape with both his stickhandling and skating ability. He can stretch the ice and made several cross-ice passes off neutral zone regroups. Likes to rush the puck when a lane opens up but is a willing passer if that is the right play.

Adam Karashik (#2 Connecticut Oilers, R, 5-11/165, ’98) -- The youngest player on the Oilers, Karashik did not play his best but nonetheless is a smart, undersized, mobile defenseman who moves well laterally off the wall on the offensive blue line and is comfortable rushing the puck. Will need to add some strength and be more of a physical presence in the D-zone.

Jack Zimmer (#44 NJ Avalanche, R, 6-0/190, ’98) -- Has size and shooting ability, netting a pair of goals in his team’s 4-1 win over the Jr. Coyotes in their final game. Zimmer has his coach’s confidence as he was on the ice a lot and doesn’t shy away from contact despite his youth. He swallows up forwards entering the zone, holds the offensive blue line with confidence, and has mature anticipation skills. Is capable of skating with the puck and making a deliberate first pass but was at his best away from the puck in his end.

“C” Defensemen

Diarmad DiMurro (#4 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-8/140, ’99) -- A ’99 playing up at this level is bound to get caught out of place. Played a regular shift, though he didn’t consistently jump out. At his size, the U16 level might provide more time for his offensive game to develop. Will be interesting to see how he continues to develop throughout the season.

Mike Harney (#27 Northern Cyclones, L, 5-11/160, ’97) -- Harney doesn’t have great size but uses his stick and body positioning to keep opponents outside and off balance. He moves well along the offensive blue line coming off the wall and has a hard slap shot that was on display on the power play.

Daniel Zimmerman (#22 Phoenix Jr. Coyotes, L, 5-9/188, ’96) -- On the roster as a forward but played defense here. A mobile defenseman who makes a nice first pass and excels in the corners, stealing the puck and skating it up ice for quick and smooth breakouts.

Joe Nolan (#2, Team Illinois, R, 6-3/220, ’97) -- Nolan is a raw, physically imposing defensive defenseman. He is a little stiff and fought the puck at times, but is very noticeable as he had some big hits all over the ice and uses his strength and reach whenever advantageous. His acceleration is his downfall as he was beat to the outside on a few occasions for quality scoring chances. Has upside if he can improve in that department.

Dylan McArthur (#96 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, R, 6-0/180, late ’96) -- McArthur has keen anticipation skills and was able to intercept a lot of passes and transition going the other direction. He makes firm yet quick passes up ice, has agility and excels on the powerplay.

Matt Chinnici (#29 NJ Titans, L, 6-1/165, ’97) -- The Titans’ top defenseman, he has size, mobility and logs minutes in every situation. He can play physically, doesn’t get caught out of position and is shutdown on 1v1s. Could develop into a nice player.

Bobby Wurster (#71 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, R, 6-3/175, Late ’97) -- A December ’97 with a frame that has yet to fill out. Inconsistency hurt him here: he makes some good plays with the puck, then comes back with a bad read. Has the size and the skating ability to keep an eye on, though.

Michael Grande (#9 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, R, 5-11/165, ’96) -- Grande has a smooth stride and accelerates well backwards. He showed poise carrying the puck out of his end and made the simple passes through the neutral zone, not trying to force the issue. He was solid in his own end, picked up sticks, blocked shots and had good body positioning on 1v1 situations.

Tyler Antonucci (#51 NJ Avalanche, R, 6-0/190, ’97) -- A big, strong defender who is the perfect complement to an offensive defenseman. He competes hard in front of his net and along the walls.

Alex Rocco (#2 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, R, 6-0/195, ’96) -- Played for Team Comcast last season. Has good size, a nice long stride, and is able to gap up and keep forwards to the outside. Makes smart decisions with the puck.

Joseph Griffin (#21 Northern Cyclones, L, 6-0/180, late ’96) -- Athletic and reliable in his own end, Griffin has size and makes a nice first pass.

Marc Steele (#3 NJ Titans, L, 6-3/215, ’96) -- A big, strong stay-at-home defender who uses his body well, especially in front of his own net. Wears down his opponents along the boards. He has a heavy shot but isn’t athletic enough on the offensive blue line to put himself in position to get it off with any regularity.

“A” Goaltenders


“B” Goaltenders

Justin Lampert (#37 Connecticut Oilers, L, 5-9/170, ’98) -- Update: In the program he was listed as a '96, but we have subsequently learned that he's actually a '98. Since we were impressed by "the '96 version" of Lampert we have -- now knowing that he's a '98 -- upwardly revised our opinion. He only played one game here, but we were there to see it -- against Team Illinois, a 35 of 37 save performance -- and felt it was the best individual performance by a goalie in this division. Lampert is acrobatic, with quick reaction time and lateral mobility. He made saves on 2v1’s sliding across the crease, a number of whichwere highlight reel quality. We look forward to seeing him more.

Jordan Bustard (#36 NJ Avalanche, L, 6-3/190, ’96) -- Started the first game against the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers and kicked out 24 of 25 shots. He has size and moves well in the net, is not afraid to come out beyond the arc and take away the angle. Decent rebound control.

Cayden Primeau (#29 Philadelphia Revolution, L, 6-3/170, ’99) -- One of the top ’99 goalies in the nation, if not the best, but he didn’t show well here. He let up six goals in two outings and, while his defense was not particularly helping out much, we saw him let in two below-average goals in the one game we saw. The Northeastern recruit has great size and positions himself well, staying square to the shooter. His rebound control is excellent, though he let a few get away from him this weekend. Is strong on his stickside which is usually a weakness for young goalies. Stayed composed. An A goalie but had a B/C performance here. College: Northeastern

Cooper Marshall (#17 Team Illinois, R, 6-1/170, ’97) -- Marshall started two of his team’s three games and went 1-0-1, kicking out 15 of 17 shots in his first game for a 2-2 tie, and following that up with a 21-save shutout win. Has some height, is quick post-to-post and showed vision through traffic. Light on his feet.

“C” Goaltenders

Harrison Feeney (#30 Philadelphia Jr. Flyers, L, 6-1/200, ’98) -- Feeney is young, and looked it at times, but he plays big, taking up a lot of net. Is sharp on his angles and swallows up rebounds. Will need to improve his flexibility and quickness to take his game to the next level.

Josh Sarlo (#32 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-10/160, ’97) -- Sarlo started in two of his team’s three games but only saw 20 shots total, letting in one goal. He is quick and agile, flashes his glove at the last second and pounces on loose pucks in front of the net. He didn’t see enough action for us to pinpoint any particular weaknesses.

Drennen Atherton (#30 Northern Cyclones, L, 6-1/185, ’97) -- Saw limited action but went 1-0-1 with a shutout and came up with a combined total of 25 saves on 26 shots. He plays his angles well, has quick reaction times, and does a nice job staying in position to make the easy save.



Mass. Tier I Labor Day Tournament: U16 Review

Today, we continuing with our belated report from the Massachusetts Tier I Labor Day Tournament, held at the New England Sports Center and a batch of area rinks over Labor Day weekend.

There were a lot of teams in this tournament, and we do mean a lot. By necessity, some players and teams were seen more than others and, of course, certain teams and players we were unable to see at all. A number of the following players are new to us, and we have little idea of what they are capable of over the long haul, and against tougher competition. Consider this a kind of checklist then, and look for a lot of movement.

At any rate, we hope we have something useful for you here. Heights and weights given below were taken from the tournament program. The rankings are a hybrid of performance and potential, with an edge being given to the former. Some players, due to short benches, etc., were playing out of position. And some players were only on hand for certain games.



“A” Forwards:

John Leonard (#10 Springfield Rifles, L, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 11, 5-10/175, ’98) – The most dominant player in the U16 division. Every time the UMass recruit is on the ice, there’s a chance he’s going to score. Leonard is perpetually dangerous, much in the way Martin St. Louis was in his UVM days. Had four goals in one game we saw, and they were all goal-scorer’s goals. Left-shot center has an excellent shot and knows how to get in position to use it. College: UMass

Michael O’Leary (#12 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Salisbury/ Grade 11, 6-1/180, ’98) – In the spring, O’Leary, a Halifax, NS native, was drafted in the first round of the QMJHL draft (#14 overall, by Cape Breton) so we figured he was likely gone. Not so. He subsequently committed to Cornell and looks ready to have a breakout season – he was 2-3-5 in 29 games last season. A power forward, O’Leary has good hands and size, which he uses very effectively, e.g. his puck protection skills are top-rate. He also made a lot of plays here. College: Cornell

Riley Prattson (#5 Springfield Rifles, R, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 10, 5-8/160, ‘99 – PC recruit has speed and playmaking ability. He’s hard to hit, and he’s confident with the puck on his stick, carrying it into the  zone and curling around the net while surveying options. Earlier this summer, he was a force at Select 15s while teamed up with Shattuck’s Logan Hutsko. While Prattson wasn’t at the Labor Day tournament for the semis, he was back for the finals. Had 46 points as a freshman at Springfield Cathedral last season. College: Providence


“A-/B+” Forwards:

Monte Graham
(#11 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Thayer/ Grade 11, 5-11/170, ’98) – Right-shot center opened eyes here. A plus skater, he competes hard and finds ways to put the puck in the net. Won a lot of draws and handled the puck well. Seemed to have a hand in every goal his team scored – at least while we were watching. With Adam Gaudette gone to the USHL, Graham will have an opportunity to play a more prominent role at Thayer this season.

Michael Fahie (#8 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Nobles/ Grade 11, 5-8/150, ’98) – Fahie’s hockey sense and playmaking ability set him apart from the crowd. Uses a burst of speed to gain separation. Can make opponents look helpless on 1v1 situations, using a change of pace or turning on the jets. Still needs to grow into his body in order to see what kind of player he can turn into down the road. Has all the skill he needs, just has to get stronger and more dynamic. College: Brown

Eric Esposito (#7 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Loomis-Chaffee/ Grade 10, 5-11/175, ’98) – Plays with energy and grit, but he can also come out of the corner and deke his way to the front of the net. Has a lot of tools. Scored 27 points at Loomis as a freshman last season. College: UNH

“B” Forwards:

Luke Israel
(#13 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Salisbury, 5-11/180, ’98) – Israel, who is transferring to Salisbury from Culver Military Academy, has good speed, and shoots with a purpose. Scored a nice goal on a 2-on-1; scored on a wrister to the top corner. A native of Waterloo, Ontario.

Matt Gosiewski (#8 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Millbrook/ Grade 10, 6-4/198, ’98) – Has great size and is fine when he gets going. If he’s with someone who can get him the puck and send him in on net, things could become very interesting. Had a 5-8-13 line as a freshman at Millbrook.

Zach Pellegrino (#17 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Gunnery, 5-9/175, ’99) -- A true waterbug type of player: he is fast and utilizes his speed to drive to the net.  Scored a goal in the championship game that showed off his dexterity, as the opposing goalie bobbled the puck momentarily and Pellegrino batted it home out of mid-air. A smart, crafty player.

Ty Amonte
(#12 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Thayer/ Grade 11, 5-10/165, ’98) – Played his customary game, working hard, battling for loose pucks. Averaged a point per game for Thayer as a soph last season, but looks bigger and stronger going into this season. 

Devan Tongue (#6 Springfield Rifles, L, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 9, 6-0/175, late ’99) – Tongue, a 12/31/99 birthdate with size, has nice hands, and north-south speed. Impressed with a nice backhanded goal. A D-I prospect with upside. Played as an 8th grader at Cathedral last season: 11-3-14 in 25 games.

Jack Hoey (#15 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Choate, 5-11/190, ’98) – Was a constant factor. Had some nice rushes through the neutral zone, showing speed. Has good hands and a hard, accurate shot. Is strong on his skates. Could play more of a power forward game – he gets a little cute with the puck at times. More of a finisher than playmaker. Was a big factor as a freshman last season at Fairfield Prep. Headed to Choate.

“C” Forwards:

Jay O’Brien (#19 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Dexter, 5-10/160, late ’99) – Has speed and is dangerous off the rush. Moves well forwards, backwards, and laterally. Puts constant pressure on opposing defensemen.

Cam Peritz (#4 Springfield Rifles, L, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 10, 5-8/150, late ’98) – Quick and agile, Peritz uses his quickness, speed, and agility to create time and space for himself. Scored 20 points as a freshman at Cathedral last season. Scored a nice goal in the semifinals vs. the River Rats – a snipe off the wing. 

Rory Herrman (#91 NH Avalanche Prep, L, New Hampton, 5-9/165, ’99) – Plays a power forward’s game, and though he’s 5’9” he is also a ’99 so will grow. Is coming to New Hampton from the LA Jr. Kings. He’s an aware player who was constantly involved. Scored on a nice snapshot.

Jack Flanagan (#9 Mid-Fairfield, L, Westminster, 6-0/186, ’98) – Has size, speed, a quick and hard snapshot, and good puck protection skills. From the Connecticut Oilers U18 (EJEPL).

Craig Needham (#19 Neponset Valley River Rats, L, Lawrence Academy, 5-9/155, ’99) -- An intelligent forward who outthinks defenders to create chances. Creative, with good speed.

Tristan Amonte (#3 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Thayer, 5-5/140, ’00) – Looks quite similar to older brother Tyler at the same age. He’s a ’00. Need to see him some more.

Jason Kong (#62 Boch Blazers, Milton Academy, 6-2/185, ’98) – California Wave product has size and skates well, with a good long stride. Has soft hands. Combination of size and skill makes him a player to keep tabs on.

Marc McLaughlin (#15 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Cushing, 5-11/175, ’99) -- A powerful skater with a hard shot. Has a good stick around the net. Tough. A bit tunnel-visioned; could use guys around him more effectively. From Providence Capitals.

Max Brainin (#18 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Cushing/ Grade 11, 5-10/180, ’98) -- A nice accurate shot and the ability to position himself in the zone to get it off. Played on a line with McLauglin and Needham --- and they worked well together.

Justin Grillo (#11 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Loomis-Chaffee, 5-9/150, ’98) – Good speed and passing ability.

Bobby Beniers (#10 Boch Blazers, Milton/ Grade 10, 5-10/150, ’99) – Small, with equal parts energy and skill.

Josh Vertentes (Neponset Valley River Rats, R, 5-9/185, Avon Old Farms, ’98) – Rather stocky, and doesn’t have a lot of speed, but is a highly effective playmaker who creates a lot of offense. A bright player, Vertentes, who is transferring to Avon from Portsmouth Abbey, has good hands and a lot of poise. He reads the ice well, waits for plays to develop, and has the skill and instincts to get to where he needs to be.

Cameron Donaldson (#10 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Gunnery, 5-8/150, ’98) – Good hands and a quick shot. Not fast enough for size. Needs to become more dynamic. Played for the Dallas Stars U16 last year (with Hank Crone, Max Gildon, et al).

Evan Delano (#4 Boch Blazers, R, BC High, 5-10/160, ’99)  -- A d-man who played forward here. Constantly involved. A puck hound.

Michael Joyce (#26 Boch Blazers, R, St. Sebastian’s, 5-7/150, ’99) – Smallish d-man is very light on his skates. Scored a nice give-and-go goal.

Matt Transue (#26 Brick Hockey Club, R, 6-0/180, ’98) – Point Pleasant, NJ native has the size and skating ability to develop into a power forward. Has good puck protection skills and demonstrated a willingness to battle for possession.

Beau Heakins (#9 Esmark Stars, R, 6-1/195, ’98) --- Hard-working right-shot forward with size was tenacious on the forecheck and got off some good shots.  

Billy Czar (#2 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Catholic Memorial, 5-10/155, ’98) – South Boston native showed speed and quick hands.

“A” Defensemen:

Ben Mirageas (#24 Springfield Rifles, L, Avon Old Farms, 5-10/160, ’99) – Terrific skater – great speed and agility. Would like to see him engage more physically. From Newburyport, Mass. Older brother, Zach, played at Governor’s.

Sean Keohan
(#6 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Dexter/ Grade 10, 5-11/170, ’99) – Great skater excels on the breakout – as good as anyone here, moving it with a pass or skating it. His defensive play is good. He’s not particularly physical defending off the rush, at least in the sense of initiating contact, though he’s good battling for pucks along the wall. Uses his stick to keep guys to the outside. Positions himself well.

Jack Rathbone (#5 Cape Cod Whalers, L, Dexter/ Grade 9, 5-8/145, ’99) – Highly skilled. Has the puck on his stick – a lot.  Is the very definition of a high-risk/high-reward type of player. Scored an impressive goal off the rush 14 seconds into one of the games.

“A-/B+” Defensemen:

Dan Petrick (#7 Springfield Rifles, R, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 10, 5-9/175, ’99) – Clever, small d-man combines offense – he had 33 points for Cathedral as a freshman blueliner last winter – with defense. Gathers puck quickly in his end, takes one or two steps with it and – boom – it’s on someone’s stick. College: Northeastern.

Michael Kesselring
#4 NH Avalanche Prep, R, New Hampton, 5-10/135, ’00) – He’s very young (’00), and very skinny, but the son of New Hampton head coach Casey Kesselring is smooth, poised, and has considerable upside. Played for the Boston Junior Eagles last season.

Brian Scoville (#10 Neponset River Rats, L, Cushing, 6-2/190, ’99) – Has size, athleticism, and makes sound decisions. Excellent in front of net. Productive on the power play. Has a strong shot.

Jack Moran (#13 Neponset River Rats, L, Winchendon/ Grade 10, 6-4/215, ’98) – Some feel he’s a bit stiff in his movement and doesn’t skate well enough to be a high upside guy. They could be right, but we’re not so sure of that. Last season was his first on the blue line – and he’s 6’4”, 215 so he’s going to be growing into his body for a while. Very effective when he keeps it simple.

“B” Defensemen:

Phillip Kemp (#3 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Brunswick School/ Grade 10, 6-3/175, ’99) – Doesn’t just rely on his size, which is good because at this point he is tall but skinny. He blocks shots, gets his stick in the passing lanes, and is focused and aware in d-zone – his head is on a swivel. Play away from puck is good. Could be more physically engaged from shift to shift.  

Colin McCabe (#7 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Thayer/ Grade 11, 5-10/175, ’98) -- Very good footwork, especially on the offensive blue line. Strong on skates. Takes the body. Gets pucks on net through traffic. Good laterally.

Brian Matthews (#16 Neponset River Rats, R, Belmont Hill/ Grade 11, 6-1/179, ’98) – Never flashy, but never disappoints either. Very reliable player. Is a very good skater who keeps guys to the outside; never seems to get turned. Plays a strong positional game. Has a good shot from the point.

AJ DiCesare (#74 Jersey Hitmen, R, 5-11/195, ’98) – Very involved. Strong defender hits hard and with purpose. Overpowers opponents in corner and along with the wall. Good 1v1 defender. Also plays for Morristown Beard HS.

Eric Jeremiah (#4 Neponset River Rats, R, St. Sebastian’s/ Grade 10, 5-8/170, ’98) – Small, height-wise, but very sturdily built and hard to knock off the puck. Powerful and compact, he has a lot of poise with the puck, and is excellent on the PP.

Jordon Tetreault (#15 Springfield Rifles, L, Palmer HS, 6-1/195, ‘98) – Very interesting player – a sleeper from a Div. III Massachusetts high school. Has size and didn’t look the least bit out of place on a loaded Springfield Rifles team.

Brandon Tabakin (#4 North Jersey Avalanche National, L, 5-5/123, ‘00 -- The ’00 lacks size but stands out for his hockey IQ and poise with the puck. Obviously he has a lot of time to grow. He’s similar to a guy like Cam Dineen in that he can slow the play down and survey his options even as he’s skating at tempo. Quick feet and plenty of mobility.

“C” Defensemen:

Luke Albert (#44 NH Avalanche Prep, L, New Hampton, 6-0/175, ’98) – From Waterloo (Ont.) midget minors. Made a timely pinch and let off a nice snap shot to beat Rifles’ goalie Keith Petruzelli.

Nathan Ellis (#6 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Salisbury, 6-0/175, ’98) – Loves to get his nose dirty and win battles. Once he gets possession of the puck he’s calm, poised, and patient in getting it out of the zone. Don’t really have a sense of his offensive upside, and didn’t see him shoot it.

Andrew Petrillo (#5 NJ Frozen Tide, R, Delbarton/ Grade 11, 5-11/175, ’98) – Gifted, powerful skater is also a strong physical defender.

Patrick Dawson (#11 Mid-Fairfield, L, Westminster, 5-11/175, ’99) – Big, physical, skates well, and handles puck well. Has a good package of skills, and plenty of upside.

Blake Howard (#27 NH Avalanche Prep, L, New Hampton, 6-1/170, ’99) – Big solid, competitive kid from Coto del Caza, Calif. and the Anaheim Junior Ducks.

Jack McCool (#24 Cape Cod Whalers, R, St. Sebastian’s/ Grade 11, 6-2/200, ’98) – Has size and uses it well. Has a good long reach. Doesn’t hit a lot but uses his stick to defend effectively. Skating is OK.

Faisal Alsaif (#2, Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Choate, 5-11/165, ’99) – Has a good stick and uses good body positioning to keep opposing forwards to the outside.  Simple, but very effective. Skates well.

Ethan Roswell (#3 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Cushing, 5-8/170, ’98) – Very good skater, and good with the puck, too. Has legit skill but doesn’t seem particularly confident yet. Rushed his decisions. Was at Select 16s.

Jake Gresh (#14 Springfield Rifles, R, Avon Old Farms/ Grade 11, 5-11/180, ’98) – Was playing RW at least some of the time here, and did a really good job. Didn’t look out of position at all. Made some nice plays below the offensive goal line.

Bryce Dolan (#21 Rhode Island Saints, Bishop Hendricken, 6-0/190, ’99) – Plays a smart, yet simple, game. Rarely gets caught out of position.  Is a solid skater and makes a good first pass.

Mark Leach (#2 NH Avalanche Prep, R, New Hampton, 6-4/210, ’98) – Very big, and quite raw. Could be interesting to follow. Son of Dallas scout Mark Leach.

Brandon Less (#5 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Choate, 5-11/170, ’98) – Good all-purpose d-man. Nothing flashy, just solid. Was good for the LI Gulls at Nationals back in April.

Blake Howard (#27 NH Avalanche Prep, L, New Hampton, 6-1/170, ’99) – Big solid, competitive kid from Coto del Caza, California and the Anaheim Junior Ducks.

Ryan Heath (#5 Neponset Valley River Rats, Nobles, 5-9/160, ’98) --- Agile, and elusive. Escapes scrums with the puck.

Billy Overby (#9 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Choate, 5-8/150, ’98) – Smooth skater makes nice passes. Small and not very physical. Needs to be a little more engaged in his own end.

Ryan Ashe (#2 Springfield Rifles, R, Avon Old Farms/ Grade 10, 6-0/185, ’98) – Smart defensive defenseman. Solid. Plays within himself. Doesn’t pivot that well going from backward to forward. Overall, he could get quite a bit better over the next few years.

Michael Callahan (#11 Neponset Valley River Rats, L, Roxbury Latin/ Grade 9, 6-0/175, ’99) – Played as an 8th grader last year at Roxbury Latin, notching eight assists. 

James Hauswirth (#5 Eastern Mass Senators, BB&N/ Grade 9, 6-0/175, ’99) – Tall, with a good long stride once he gets going.

Ty Rickabaugh (#11 Esmark Stars, 6-0/180, ’98) -- Skates well, hits extremely hard, and makes a good first pass. 

Timothy Casilli (#20 Rhode Island Saints, Mount St. Charles, 6-2/170 ’99) --  Big defenseman uses his size well.

 “A” Goaltenders:


“A-/B+” Goaltenders:

Keith Petruzelli (#1 Springfield Rifles, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 10, 6-5/172, ’99) --  Quinnipiac recruit was outstanding in the semi-finals against the River Rats – he must have had upwards of 40 saves. He was also terrific in Saturday’s games. Friday night he was a little off, and got a little rattled in title game vs. Wolf Pack. Petruzelli, when he was on, was the best goaltender in the U16 Division by quite a margin. Uses his huge frame to his advantage on shots in tight, but isn’t afraid to challenge shooters when necessary.  Also plays the puck very well. Was a little up and down here, but his up moments were pretty exceptional. Had a .929 save % splitting duties with John Liquori at Cathedral last winter. Will be the full-time guy this season.

“B” Goaltenders:

James Scannell (#1 Cape Cod Whalers, St. Sebastian’s, 5-11/150, ’99) -- Always poised between the pipes and handled the puck quite well. Communicates with his defense on puck retrievals. Has good rebound control and doesn’t mind challenging shooters.

Nick Sorgio (#32 Conn. Wolf Pack, Salisbury/ Grade 10, 6-2/185, ’98) – Was the backup to Mitchell Datz at Salisbury last year. For his size, he is quite quick. Was very good at Select 16 this summer but faded a bit at the end of the week.

Ryan Ferland (#1 Neponset Valley River Rats, St. Mark’s/ Grade 11, 6-0/160, ’98) – This will be his third year being a #1 at the prep level. Not many 16-year-olds can say that. Had a .920 save percentage at St. Mark’s last season.

Peter Negron (#1 Conn. Wolf Pack, Kent, 5-10/155, ’98) – Played for Bergen Catholic and the New Jersey Devils ’98 team last season. He’s a small goalie, but really impressed us at Select 16s and has continued to play very well this fall for the Wolf Pack. 

Hunter Chaisson (#29 Mid-Fairfield, Westminster, 5-11/165, ’99) – Connecticut native takes up a lot of net.  Challenges shooters and has good lateral movement. Played for the Connecticut Chiefs ‘99s last season.



Mass. Tier I Labor Day Tournament: U18 Review

We’ve finally pulled together all of our notes from the Massachusetts Tier I Labor Day Tournament, held at the New England Sports Center and a batch of area rinks.

There were a lot of teams in this tournament – and that’s an understatement. In order to preserve sanity, we picked our spots as best we could. Some players and teams we saw more than others and, of course, certain teams by necessity got more attention than others.

Still, we hope we found something for you here. Heights and weights given below were taken from the tournament program. The rankings are a hybrid of performance and potential, with an edge being given to the former. Some players, due to short benches, etc., were playing out of position. And some players were only on hand for certain games.

We’ll have the U16s shortly.



“A” Forwards:

Ryan Donato
(#16 Cape Cod Whalers, RC, Dexter/ Grade 12, 6-0/185, ’96) – Donato only played in the championship game. Not surprisingly, he was the best player on the ice. The second-round pick of the Bruins has elite shooting ability, strong and gifted hands, and improved strength. College: Harvard

Patrick Harper (#7 Neponset Valley River Rats, LC, Avon Old Farms, 5-8/145, ’98) -- Continued to impress all weekend with his ability to create highlight reel goals – for himself and his teammates. Will be one of the elite players in prep hockey this season. College: Boston University

Shane Sellar (#11 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Canterbury/Grade 12, 6-1/180, ’97) – Dartmouth recruit was as consistently dominant as any forward in the U18 division here. Always a threat in the offensive zone.  His best assets are his skating and shot. From Carlisle, PA. College: Dartmouth

Matt Filipe (#12 Boch Blazers, L, Malden Catholic/ Grade 11, 6-2/195, late ’97) -- A big power forward with a quick release and deadly accuracy.  Rocket of a shot beat goaltender over his shoulder. College: Northeastern

Jaime Armstrong (#12 Neponset Valley River Rats, L, Avon Old Farms, 6-1/180, ’98) – A prospect for the 2016 NHL draft, the big, strong power forward really stood out this weekend. Played with passion and was consistently involved. Left wing has a heavy shot that can be deadly accurate from the high slot. Son of St. Louis Blues scout Bill Armstrong played at Bishop Hendricken HS last season. Took a knee-to-knee check and was held out for Monday’s playoff games. College: Northeastern

Lincoln Griffin (#9 Cape Cod Whalers, L, Thayer/ Grade 12, 5-10/175, ’97) -- The Northeastern recruit has the ability to shoot quickly and with accuracy, and the passing ability and vision to find the second or third layer off the rush. Notched 55 points last season at Thayer. College: Northeastern

Taggart Corriveau (#24 Mid-Fairfield, R, Westminster/ Grade 11, 6-1/176, ’97) -- The most consistent of all of the Mid-Fairfield forwards here. Can really shoot the puck but also has the hands to make intricate passes in tight spaces. Reads defenses well. His skating is just OK, but bothers us less than it used to mainly because he knows where to go on the ice. Had 30 points as a soph at Westminster last season. College: St. Lawrence

“A-/B+” Forwards:

Edgards Treijs (#18 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Salisbury, 5-10/176, ’98) – Born in Latvia but living in Linkoping, Sweden, where he played for Rogle U16 last season, Treijs is a strong, physical player who sees the ice well, wins 1v1 battles consistently and values puck possession. A poised, smart forward who is very difficult to knock off the puck and has a nose for the net will be going to Salisbury. He’s a scorer. Drafted by Dubuque (USHL).

Alex Esposito (#9 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Loomis-Chaffee/ Grade 12, 6-0/175, ’96) --- With a combination of grit and skill, Esposito competes at both ends and battles for every loose puck. He has quick hands and creativity and, though he is not a smooth skater, he is tough to knock off the puck. Can fill any role as he moves up to college: he has top six skill and bottom six tenacity. College: Vermont

Vito Bavaro (#17 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Brooks/ Grade 11, 6-1/185, late ’97) – Bavaro, a late ’97 LW from Bradenton, Florida, jumps out at you with his aggressive style of play and high compete level. He was consistently an F1 going hard after the puck and finishing his checks. Worked hard on his skating and strength over the summer, and it really shows. Look for Bavaro to be a top forward for Brooks this winter. A D-I prospect, Bavaro is underrated right now, but that could change fast. 

Ben Taylor (#5 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Tabor/ Grade 11, 6-3/195, ’97) – A big, well-rounded, two-way power forward who can take on any role – including playing D -- a team needs. His coach at Tabor, Gerry Dineen, considers him the Seawolves’ Patrice Bergeron. Was excellent here.

Patrick Shea (#20 GBL Junior Bruins, R, Kimball Union, 5-11/190, ’97) -- A smart player who takes advantage of the time and space given to him.  Knows how to read defenses and attacks their weaknesses accordingly. College: Maine

Ryan Steele (#11 NH Avalanche, L, Holderness/ Grade 11, 6-0/180, ’97) -- A big powerful forward with a nice stride and willingness to play physically.  That’s not all he brings to the table, as he has a good set of hands and a nice shot to boot. Very good prospect from Prince Edward Island. Holderness’ top returning scorer was in PEI all summer training and therefore didn’t play any summer hockey showcases. Look forward to watching him a bit more. For now, he’s one of the best-kept secrets in prep hockey.

“B” Forwards:

David Cotton (#15 GBL Junior Bruins, L, Cushing/ Grade 11, 6-3/200, ’97) – Cotton, a BC recruit and highly-ranked prospect for next June’s NHL draft, did not have a good summer. He was invisible at the Select 17 Festival, and was also invisible at the Beantown Classic. He was more involved here --  a good thing because observers were beginning to scratch their heads. That said, if you’re going to go through a down period, you might as well have it be in the summer. Now, though, Cotton will be looked at closely and will have to produce again. The ability and upside are there. Led Cushing in scoring as a sophomore (19-32-51 in 32 gp). College: Boston College

Johnny McDermott (#8 Mid-Fairfield, L, Westminster/ Grade 11, 6-2/180, ’97) – A raw prospect who is a long way from being the player we expect him to be by the time he arrives at BU. That said, he looked better here than any other time we have seen him this summer, with a greater burst of speed and more physicality. Had 14 points at Westy as a soph last year. That should increase. He’s more a finisher than a playmaker, and needs a skilled centerman to get him the puck. College: Boston University

Vimal Sukumaran (#16 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Salisbury/ Grade 12, 5-10/170, ’96) – While he lacks height, the former Lac St-Louis forward is strong and hard to knock off his skates. He took several players that were 4-5 inches taller and 20-30 lbs heavier than he right off their feet. Competes hard and, with a powerful shot, can score An underrated D-I prospect.

Ben Freeman (#10 Springfield Rifles, R, Northfield-Mt. Hermon/ Grade 12, 6-4/200, ’96) – Right wing from Maine, a UConn recruit, is known for his size and shooting ability, but it’s his passing and hockey sense that were on display here. His skating, especially his acceleration and transitions, has a long way to go. However, he is using his large frame and reach to protect the puck and get his shot off. Led the Hoggers with a 20-26-46 line in 31 games as a junior last season. College: UConn

Matt Muzyka (#7, Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Salisbury/ Grade 12, 6-2/185, ’96) – Quinnipiac recruit will be counted on to take a bigger role at Salisbury, which lost its entire first line (not that they don’t have reinforcements coming in). Muzyka has grown into his large frame and added polish to his game, which has been inconsistent at times in the past. A power forward, he was creating separation, getting his hard snapshot off, and making smart, decisive passes. He was also physically engaged. College: Quinnipiac

DJ Petruzzelli (#14 Springfield Rifles, L, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 12, 5-11/175, ’97) – The older brother to standout ’99-born netminder Keith Petruzzelli has the vision and hockey sense to exploit holes in the defense, and the stickhandling and creativity to make that vision come to life. A creative, gifted playmaker with a good stick, Petruzzelli  had 57 points last season at Cathedral. College: Quinnipiac

Johnny DeRoche (#10 Boston Jr. Bruins U18, L, 5-6/161, ’98) – A quick, shifty, dynamic playmaker, DeRoche, while limited by size, uses his hockey sense and explosiveness to get himself into open-ice situations where he is tough to defend against. College: Quinnipiac

Jack Bliss (#11 Boch Blazers, LC, Milton Academy, 6-0/165, ’98) – Tall, slight center from Cardigan Mountain has plenty of frame to grow into. Has a long, smooth stride, soft mitts and a quick release on his snap shot.

Peter Crinella (#3 Springfield Rifles, L, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 12, 6-3/190, late ’96) – We felt Crinella was quiet at the Beantown in August, but here he rebounded well, using his size to advantage, protecting the puck well and pressure opposing defensemen. Holy Cross recruit put up 59 points last season for Cathedral. College: Holy Cross

Charley Michalowski (#12 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Belmont Hill/ Grade 12, 6-0/185, ’96) –Had a big goal to propel the Whalers to a semifinal win over the Wolf Pack when he lured the d-man toward him at the blue line, then increased his speed, went wide around the defense, cut to the net and deked the goalie right to left. Has upside due to speed – he has an explosive first step – and size, but will need to improve his puck possession skills. Continues to take a big step forward in his game.

Noah Bauld (#77 Mid-Fairfield, R, Gunnery/ Grade 12, 5-11/170, ’97) – A 200-foot player who competes in all three zones. He skates hard but doesn’t run around and get out of position. He is a pest but stays out of the penalty box. He can score but also creates plays for his teammates. Can be inconsistent at times, and he isn’t flashy, but his all-around game is solid. From Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

“C” Forwards:

Jeremy Germain (#5 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Choate/ Grade 12, 6-1/175, ’96) – Not a flashy player but a cerebral one, Germain has a good frame, and does a lot of things well. Choate’s highest returning scorer with a 10-26-36 line.

Zach Tsekos (#15 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, St. Mark’s/ Grade 11, 5-9/160, late ’96) – Montreal native is a skilled, crafty playmaker and scorer. Is excellent in tight spaces; processes the game quickly. Scored the River Rats’ first goal of the game in the championship. Posted a 25-23-58 line in 28 games, leading the team, as a soph last year.

Bailey Conger (#17 Little Bruins, R, Cushing/ Grade 11, 5-10/170, ’97) -- His IQ, vision, and play making ability are all outstanding. His first few steps need some work. A bit perimeter, his compete level is up and down. Boise, Idaho native. College: St. Lawrence

Kale Kane (#19 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Salisbury/ Grade 12, 5-10/165, ’96) – Excellent athlete with impressive lower body strength that makes up for his size. He’s instinctual with the puck, knows where to be on the ice, and can finish. Had 31 points at Salisbury last season. Underrated D-I prospect.

Nick Sanchez (#17 Springfield Rifles, R, Choate/ Grade 12, 6-1/190, ’96)—Sanchez started last season with a 3-2-5 line in five games until getting a concussion and missing the remainder of the season. He has been away from hockey all summer and this was his first big event back since December. For a while, he looked a little rusty readapting himself to the place of the game. He has speed and size – and is also a willing defender who takes the body and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work.

Jake Smith (#15 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Choate, 5-10/172, ’96) A PG from the Nichols School, Smith is a powerful skater with a low center. He proved to be a finisher after leading his team in points last season. He plays with a purpose and always has his feet moving. D-I upside.

Jake Simons (#9 GBL Junior Bruins, Cushing/ Grade 12, 5-9/170, ’96) – Coral Springs, Florida native can explode from a standstill, attacks the zone with speed and has lateral quickness to cut to the middle. He is tough on the puck and has a strong stick in the corners and in front of the net. Posted a 21-25-46 line in 32 games last season at Cushing.

Max Kaufman (#14 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Kent/ Grade 11, 5-8/165, ’96) – Kent’s top returning scorer – he posted a 15-19-34 line as a sophomore last season -- plays the game at a high pace, has quick feet and fast, agile hands. His size is a bit of a concern and it limited him from puck possession time here, but when he’s around the puck in the offensive zone he is a constant scoring threat. College: Vermont

Kevin Hock (#8 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Dexter/ Grade 11, 6-0/170, ’96) – An all-purpose player, Hock is strong on his skates, has size, and contributes at both ends of the ice. Had a key shot block on the penalty kill in the championship game and is also a good forechecker. Had a 15-21-36 line in 30 games at Dexter last season.

Jake Marrello (#21 Boch Blazers, L, Gunnery/ Grade 12, 5-7/160, ’97) – A small, compact dynamic playmaker. Good vision complemented by quick hands and a snap shot. Had a point per game at Albany Academy last winter. Transferring to the Gunnery.

Trevor Turnbull (#9 Boch Blazers, Milton Academy/ Grade 11, 5-9/170, ’97) -- Milton’s leading scorer as a soph last season, Turnbull is a small forward who is quick, crafty with the puck and possesses a high hockey IQ.

Stephen Marsico (#8 GBL Junior Bruins, Cushing/ Grade 12, 5-9/170, ’96) -- A high-energy player who wreaks havoc on opponents every shift. Not a sniper, but has a quick enough release to get pucks on net, and the tenacity to go bang home rebounds.

Barclay Gammill (#44 Mid-Fairfield, L, Berkshire/ Grade 11, 5-10/160, ’97) – Berkshire’s top returning scorer is on the small side but he’s sharp and has spacial awareness. He has some speed and hits another level when entering the offensive zone. Was fairly quiet offensively here.

Cameron Toohey (#81 Junior Bruins Fall, Loomis-Chaffee, 6-2/195, late ’95) – Berwick grad will PG at Loomis this year. Doesn’t possess a ton of natural ability but he competes for pucks, is tough on the wall, athletic, and a very capable goal scorer. After posting a 19-18-37 line this past season at Berwick, he will be looked upon to help Loomis-Chaffee.  

Channing Gorsak (#26 Northern Cyclones Full Season, R, 5-10/165, ’97) – The captain of the Cyclones will likely be their leading scorer this season. He has a snap shot that he can get off from any angle or body position and he is crafty in the corners. Is not afraid to take a check to make the play.

Adam Lee (#55 Junior Bruins Fall, St. Mark’s/ Grade 12, 6-4/215, late ’95) – Can’t miss him out there – he’s huge. Posted a 20-36-56 line last season, which is nothing to sneeze at. However, his feet are heavy and in the game we saw here he was not aggressive or urgent in the offensive zone. Worth following, though. We may have just seen him on a bad day.

Dominic Franco (#10 GBL Junior Bruins, R, KUA/ Grade 12, 6-4/210, ’96) – Has a huge frame, some north-south speed, and a long reach to protect the puck. However, he doesn’t play physically, so his size doesn’t compensate for limited skills and vision.

Jeff Fasegha (#13 Boston Generals, R, Albany Academy, ’97) – A product of the Notre Dame Hounds Midget AAA squad, Calgary native will be playing at Albany Academy this season. He’s a good-sized player with a fluid stride and willingness to take the body. His play with the puck needs to improve but he’s interesting.

Matt Brazel (#23 Cape Cod Whalers, R, Dexter/ Grade 11, 5-11/170, ’96) – Shifty, with a nice set of hands. A little hot and cold, but does make plays.

Sean Brennan (#12 GBL Junior Bruins, L, Milton Academy/ Grade 12, 5-11/175, ’96) Smooth skater with smooth hands. Will need to add strength and grit to his game. 

Zach Prattson (#9 Springfield Rifles, R, Springfield Cathedral/ Grade 12, 6-2/175, ’97) – A late ’97, Prattson, who has size and athleticism, has committed to LeMoyne to play lacrosse next season. Older brother of standout Providence commit Riley Prattson.

Pierce Lamberton (#9 NH Avalanche, New Hampton/ Grade 12, 5-9/170, ’96) -- A meat-and-potatoes forward who hits everything in sight. Delaware native was 15-10-25 last season.

“A” Defensemen:

Ryan Shea (#3 Cape Cod Whalers, L, BC High/ Grade 11, 6-0/180, ’97) -- His skating will carry him a long way in this game. Remains uncommitted, though not likely for much longer. 21 points from blue line last winter at BC High.

Connor Moore (#9 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Brooks/ Grade 11, 5-10/165, ’97) – Appears bigger and stronger than a year ago, and at times took the game into his own hands. While his offensive abilities are clear to see, his defensive game is dramatically improving. He was shut-down in 1v1 situations, overpowered the opposition in the corners, and won scrums in front of the net and along the wall. Showed a high compete level. College: Boston College

Luke McInnis (#2 Cape Cod Whalers, L, Dexter, 5-10/170, ’98) -- His athleticism, specifically his excellent skating and puck skills, make him a top-notch prospect. But McInnis still has a way to go, and at times he makes questionable decisions with the puck. He has all the skill – that’s not going to disappear. What we’d like to see him do more of is just work on his core game, i.e. all those little mental things that are second nature to the top players. College: Boston College

Jacob Bryson (#13 Neponset Valley River Rats, L, Loomis Chaffee, 5-9/175, late ’97) – Drew a lot of buzz at the tournament, as he is a new prep player who just came off a visit to Boston College on the first day of the tournament. An Ontario native who played for the London Jr. Knights Midget AAA last season, Bryson is a dynamic defender, a quick and gifted skater with excellent mobility. He can hit full speed in a few strides and can dictate the tempo of the game. He can slow the game down in the offensive zone and pick apart the defense with passing and skating ability. In his own end he is quick and agile moving back and forth from the corner to the front of the net. Facing a 1-on-1 we saw Bryson just calmly take the puck away from an opposing forward. He made it look so easy, like picking low-hanging fruit. The only major concern with Bryson is size and while he is plenty tough enough, he didn’t win a lot of battles in the tough ice. He’s an 11/18/97 birthdate.

“A-/B+” Defensemen:

Jake Massie (#7 GBL Junior Bruins, L, KUA, 6-2/170, ’97) -- The St. Lazare, Quebec native has a nice stride and the speed to get up and down the ice in a hurry.  Poised on puck retrievals, he can be a one-man breakout if needed. Will be an instant boost to the Wildcats blue line this winter. In June, the Saint John Sea Dogs drafted him in the sixth round.

Joe O’Connor (#47 Mid-Fairfield, L, Westminster/ Grade 11, 6-2/200, ’96) – O’Connor has size, skating ability and hands. Last season there were times we felt he lacked focus in his own end and seemed to be a one-dimensional offensive defenseman with size. Here, though, his game looked more mature. As opposed to just taking off on end-to-end rushes, he was passing more and appeared more dialed-in defensively. He is using his size more, especially his reach, to disrupt passes and keep opponents off balance. College: Vermont

“B” Defensemen:

J.J. Layton (#14 Boston Jr. Bruins, R, KUA, 6-1/195, ’97) – Good size, powerful stride, strong on his edges, and surprisingly agile. Is sound defensively but will need to improve his backward acceleration as he did get challenged in that regard on a few occasions and was forced to turn too early. He is tough, strong on the puck and is able to hold the offensive blue line. He got off a few hard slap shots on a powerplay and had a beautiful centering pass for an assist. Good D-I prospect out of Austin Prep is at KUA now.

Patrick O’Leary (#2 Boston Junior Bruins U18, L, Boston Junior Bruins U18, 6-1/170, ’97) – O’Leary comes to the Junior Bruins from the Boston Advantage U16. He’s a tall, highly mobile, puck-moving defenseman with a heavy shot. He will need to add strength and master the five-foot pass instead of always going for the stretch pass. He was very good at the U.S. Select 17 Festival and followed that up with another strong performance here.

Zachary Giuttari (#8 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Loomis-Chaffee/ Grade 12, 6-2/185, ’96) – A smart, fundamentally sound prospect who has the frame and skating ability that will translate well at the next level. He doesn’t specialize in one particular area but is solid in every zone, makes good decisions with the puck and is tough to get around as he has reach, an active stick, and the lateral mobility needed to keep the play in front of him. College: Brown

Tommy Craft (#4 Boston Bulldogs, R, Deerfield, 6-5/220, ’99) – At 6’5”, 220 lbs., Craft is a monstrous 15-year-old. He’s also a gentle giant and was not overly physical against this age group. Hopefully, that will change with experience. He fought the puck at times and doesn’t pivot well but, again, he’s 6’5”.  With Craft, there’s upside, but it will be very much a wait-and-see situation.

Greg Krisberg (#6 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Kent/ Grade 12, 5-10/175, ’97) – A calming presence on the back end, Krisberg takes the extra second, skates with the puck and delivers tape-to-tape passes instead of the too-common high chip off the glass. He’s undersized but is a balanced skater who anticipates where the puck is going and picked off a lot of passes, especially in even-strength situations. He’s at his best in the offensive zone but his defensive instincts are improving.

Kevin O’Leary (#17 Mid-Fairfield, R, Westminster/ Grade 11, 6-2/178, ’97) -- Still a bit unsure of his identity at times, but in the larger sense really seems to be coming into his own as a player. Needs to work on his hinging on regroups, but his first passes continue to improve in both accuracy and creativity.

“C” Defensemen:

Matt Dillon (#6 Little Bruins, L, Cushing Academy, 6-1/150, ’97) – Was the star last season for Div. III Shrewsbury High, where he played both forward and defense. He is tall and gangly, slightly awkward at times as he is growing into his frame. However, he moves the puck well and possesses soft hands. He wasn’t at his best here, but he has skill and upside.

Dennis Cesana
(#6 GBL Junior Bruins, R, KUA/ Grade 11, 5-10/175, ’98) – Excellent skater. Can move the puck and join the rush offensively. He had a quiet weekend but was playing up against older competition.

James Gobetz (#3 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Salisbury/ Grade 12, 6-3/195, ’96) – Gobetz is a big, strong defenseman who can play with an edge away from the puck and has poise with possession. He looked a tad slow processing things and will need a little more urgency to his game. He is still discovering his identity as a defenseman but if he improves his agility and adds more physicality it would be a big plus.

Brendan Dawson (#12 Junior Bruins Fall, St. Mark’s/ Grade 12, 5-11/170, ’96) – Dawson was the top defenseman for the Junior Bruins Fall team. He is very mobile in every direction and does a nice job distributing the puck. In his own end, he fights for loose pucks and immediately starts skating with the puck instead of stopping and looking around.

Mike Ryan (#21 NH Avalanche, R, New Hampton/ Grade 11, 5-10/170, ’97) – Atlanta native is a smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman who is agile along the offensive blue line and strong on the powerplay.. Had a 4-23-27 line from the back end last season.

Will Brophy (#45 Mid-Fairfield, R, Westminster/ Grade 12, 6-4/200, ’96) – The recent Holy Cross commit was not at his best here. A raw prospect in general, Brophy turned the puck over several times and never appeared comfortable in Mid-Fairfield’s game against the Conn. Wolf Pack. Brophy moves well for his size, can handle the puck, and has a slapshot that explodes off the blade. His decision-making was questionable, though, and he struggled to contain forwards entering the zone. College: Holy Cross

Bobby Stickles (#19 Neponset Valley River Rats, R, Tabor/ Grade 11, 6-0/185, ’97) – Stickles was a little hidden last year behind a veteran defensive d-corps for Tabor, but he should emerge this year. He has smooth hands and feet, makes strong passes coming out of his end and in the neutral zone, and is aware in his end.

Billy Carrabino (#2 Little Bruins, L, Nobles/ Grade 12, 6-2/200, ’97) – A big, rugged, in-your-face defensive defenseman, Carrabino does everything with power: he skates with power, hits with power, and shoots with power. He will need to improve his lateral mobility and add some touch, but has the foundation in place to be a D-I defenseman.

Buddy Mwroka (#2 Boch Blazers, L, Milton, 5-10/170, ’98) – A smooth skater who has poise with the puck and passing ability -- has some zip and touch on them. Away from the puck he has lower body strength and can pack a punch when he engages. He will be playing in his first season at Milton this year and could be an immediate impact player in the Conner Wynne (Brown) mold.

Andrew Lucas (#9 Conn. Wolf Pack, R, Loomis-Chaffee, 5-8/135, ’99) – Lucas played for the Wolf Pack’s #2 midget major team. We only saw bits and pieces of their game but he made several nice rushes end to end, has composure, and makes a nice first past. Defensively, he was limited because he’s very thin and small in stature. However, he’s only a ’99, so he’ll grow some.

Taylor Slade (#5 Little Bruins, R, Gunnery, 5-11/155, ’97) – Graceful skater can pivot and change direction in an instant and keeps his head up when carrying the puck, looking to make a play. He will need to fill out more and improve his strength. Played last season for the Junior Bruins U16 and U18 teams.

Kyle Delmaestro (#5 Springfield Rifles, L, Kent School/ Grade 11, 6-1/175, ’97) – Had a solid sophomore campaign with Kent, logging quality minutes and continuing to round out his game. He was skating well here and looks to have added some strength although he still has room to get bigger. He didn’t do anything to stand out but was solid in each game we saw and does a nice job angling forwards to the outside breaking up cross-ice passes.

Peter Housakos (#4, Neponset Valley River Rats, R, St. Mark’s/ Grade 11, 6-3/190, late ’96) – Big right-shot D with size and strength. A late ’96 from Montreal, Housakos had 19 points from blue line as a soph last season.

Tyler Demyan (#12 Boston Jr. Bruins U18, L, 5-11/187, late ’97) – Showed flashes of speed, has good size, and is strong on the puck.

Austin Jadovich (#11 Springfield Rifles, L, Avon Old Farms/ Grade 12, 6-0/210, ’96) – Jadovich is thick and, while he lacks speed, he is able to create separation using his body to protect the puck. Also makes quick passes. Was Avon’s leading-scoring defenseman last season with a 4-9-13 line in 25 games.

Jon Venter (#26 Boch Blazers, L, Canterbury School/ Grade 12, 5-10/170, ’96) – Venter relies on his instincts and makes quick, smart decisions at full speed. He will be looked upon at Canterbury to be their #1 guy on the blue line as they graduated three d-men.

Nicholas Quillan (#4 Conn. Wolf Pack, L, Gunnery/ Grade 12, 6-0/190, ’97) -- A solid weekend from the Dartmouth, Nova Scotia native. Reads the play well and keeps a good gap through the neutral zone. With Mike Lee off to the BCHL, Quillan returns as Gunnery’s top-scoring d-man.

“A” Goaltenders:

Max Prawdzik (#30 Neponset Valley River Rats, Brooks/ Grade 12, 6-3/160, ’97) – Prawdzik was the tournament’s most impressive goaltender. While Neponset was good, they were not at their best here, but Prawdzik stepped up and stole both the semi-final and championship game. He has great size and agility, moving side-to-side and up-and-down with ease and quickness.

Michael Royer
(#1 Cape Cod Whalers, Thayer Academy/ Grade 11, 5-10/170, ’97) -- Was consistently strong here. His lateral movement and compete level allow him to make second and, at times, third-effort saves.

Tucker Weppner (#31 Stamford Youth Hockey Association U18, Avon Old Farms – Grade 12, 6-2/190, ’96 – Was terrific all weekend.  Shut out the Springfield Rifles in a game in which he saw upwards of 50 shots.  Always appeared cool, calm, and collected.

“B” Goaltenders:

Timmy Birarelli (#1 Neponset Valley River Rats, Loomis-Chaffee, 6-1/170, ’97) – As a junior led Beverly HS to a Mass Div. II state championship. Transferring to Loomis.

Joseph Lazzaro (#31 Little Bruins, Berwick Academy/ Grade 12, 5-9/170, ‘97 -- A quick goalie who never quits on the play. Challenges shooters by living on the edge of his crease.  Uses his great recovery ability to make second-effort saves. Had several multi-save efforts.

Joey Daccord (#30 GBL Junior Bruins, Cushing/ Grade 12, 6-3/200, ’96) – Daccord was not his best here. He put himself in position to make the save, but the puck managed to get by him more than expected this weekend. A high-end D-I goalie prospect.

Brandon Payzant (#29 Boch Blazers, BC High/ Grade 11, 6-0/160, ’97) –  Only saw him in limited action here – two shutout periods, to be precise. However, we have seen him elsewhere on other occasions. He is athletic, and not afraid to come out of the net and challenge the shooter.

Trevin Kozlowski (#62 Mid-Fairfield, Gunnery/ Grade 11, 6-4/180, ’97) –Last year’s back-up, Gunnery is looking for the Santa Clarita, California native to win the starting job this season. At times, Kozlowski, who is tall, can appear awkward. However, he is actually quite composed, and effectively uses his size to take away the net. He can be a little slow on his reaction time but he is sound positionally, putting himself in the right position to make the save.

Spencer Cookson (#1 Boston Bulldogs, Berkshire/ Grade 12, 6-2/175, ’96) – Was a backup at Berkshire last season to George Blinick, so didn’t see much action. Cookson has size and stamina, gets himself square to the shooter and makes it look easy at times. On shorthanded opportunities, he showed an ability to pick up the puck through traffic.

Stephen Gasior (#30 Mid-Fairfield, Westminster/ Grade 11, 6-2/165, ’97 – A tall, raw goaltender who was backup to Zac Hamilon last season. Played well in the one game we saw him in here.



NEFPHL U19 Division Review

USHR spent the first two days of Labor Day weekend watching all the teams at the New England Fall Prep Hockey League Showcase at the Icenter in Salem, NH.

We covered the freshman/sophomore division a couple of days ago. Today, we have the U19 Division ready.

Below, we have listed 56 players – 30 forwards, 19 defensemen, and seven goaltenders.

Note: We discovered there were some errors on the rosters for the younger division, as some kids put down their team from last year, and others their team from this year. Ditto for their grade in school. While we have endeavored to get everything right, there may be mistakes.

Also, heights/weights were not included on the rosters, which can be found on the league website at

“A” Forwards:

Michael Brown (#8, R, East, Groton School Grade 11, ’97) – One of the brightest players in prep hockey, Brown’s 49-point sophomore campaign followed up by strong performances at both the US Select 17 Festival in Buffalo and the Beantown Classic, put him on the map. He, along with UVM commit Ace Cowans, were integral to Groton’s success last season, and will be again this year. Brown, a Worcester native, has vision, awareness, and size. He’s still growing into his body and his feet haven’t caught up to the rest of his game but once they do he’s going to be even tougher for opponents to handle. 

Jake Pappalardo (#16, R, Eastern New England, Proctor Academy Grade 11, ’97) -- Pappalardo made a name for himself this summer with strong performances at just about every showcase and tournament including the USA Select 17 Festivals and the Beantown Classic. Pappalardo has great speed, can transition smoothly and quickly, has sandpaper in his game, forechecks with high energy (but not recklessly), and is a proven finisher. He was Proctor’s leading scorer as a sophomore.

“B” Forwards:

Brendan Riley (#18, L, South, Kimball Union Grade 12, ’96) – Riley, who is coming off an injury, has not participated in much summer hockey, but he was shining proof that taking some time away from summer showcases and directing that effort toward summer workouts is highly beneficial. Riley was one of the best players here. A West Point, NY native, he is a strong skater who can accelerate quickly from a stopped position but can also reach another gear once he’s going. His hands and confidence controlling the puck have improved and he will be looked upon to fill some of the scoring that departed with KUA’s top line of AJ Greer, JD Dudek and Tyler Bird.

George Sennott (#19, L, South, Kimball Union Grade 11, ’97) – Former Austin Prep forward Sennott came to the tournament as one of the most talked-about uncommitted prospects in New England after posting a 4-3-7 line in five games at the USA Select 17 Festival in Buffalo, which tied him for second among all participants in a field loaded with committed DI and CHL players. Sennott showed at the Beantown and again here that his performance was no fluke. He is certainly small and not the fastest player on the ice but he is excellent in small areas, has great vision and poise with the puck, and has a natural, quick release and a scoring touch. His hockey IQ is elite and he was constantly involved in the offensive attack.

Connor Sodergren (#14, L, Southern New England, St. Paul’s Grade 12, late ’96) -- Sodergren is a 200-foot player who plays with an edge, finishes his checks, breaks up plays in the defensive zone and tied for team lead in points (45) last winter at St. Paul’s. Fast, physical, and creative with the puck, Sodergren looks to be St. Paul’s go-to-guy as the team’s leading returning scorer.

Austin Ricci (#15, L, Southern New England, St. Paul’s Grade 12, ’96) -- Ricci is a big strong power forward who can shoot the puck as well as anyone in prep hockey. His stride has improved over this summer and he looks to have added a little sandpaper to his game.

John Laurito (#10, L, Southern New England, St. Pauls’ Grade 12, ’96) -- Laurito, who committed to Army in the spring, is a fast, smooth skater who plays the entire sheet. He competes for loose pucks and pushes the pace of the game. He was not at his best here but, given the level of competition, he stood out nonetheless.

Brad Potter (#4, L, East, North Yarmouth Academy Grade 12, ’97) -- A 41-point producer at NYA in his junior season, he will be counted on to carry the load this season. (’00 Oliver Wahlstrom will be heading to Shattuck-St. Mary’s). Potter has some size and is very effective along the boards where he takes defenders wide before making his move toward the goal.

“C” Forwards:

Charlie Lawrence (#14, West, Rivers School Grade 10, ’98) -- A small gutsy forechecker, Lawrence hunts the puck and -- once he gets possession – exhibits some skill and vision. He excels below the goal line where he uses quickness and grit to win battles and set up plays for his teammates from out of the corners or behind the net.

Derek Britner (#13, L, Southern New England, Proctor Academy Grade 12, ’97) -- Britner was a little rusty in the offensive zone but was physical, skated hard, and has been working on becoming a more complete player. With Hunter Luhmann leaving for the USHL, Pappalardo, Tillotson, and Britner will have to pick up the slack up front for the Hornets.

Derek Tillotson (#18, L, Southern New England, Proctor Academy Grade 11, ’97) -- Tilloston showed flashes with a strong first step, good hands, and lateral agility. However, he struggled along the boards and in 1v1 situations. 

Robert Durst (#21, R, North, _________, ’96) -- Durst is a PG from California who played last year for the San Jose Sharks 18U (NAPHL). He plays the game with a lot of passion and energy, has speed, and made an end-to-end rush for a nifty goal here. His upside is limited upside due to his lack of size and his age, but he had a good showing here. Not sure where he will be a PG, as the program did not list a school.

Collin Nugent (#19, L, West, Fenwick HS Grade 11, ’97) -- Nugent is an explosive skater who showed a willingness to lower the shoulder and drive to the net. His acceleration creates separation that allows him to get open away from the puck.  

Christian O’Neill (#15, L, East, Belmont Hill Grade 10, ’98) -- A sophomore playing up against older competition, O’Neill posted a 4-2-6 line in six games at the Select 16 Festival earlier this summer. Could make a significant contribution at Bel Hill this season.

Mitchell Shennette (#9, L, East, Phillips Exeter PG, ’96) – A perimeter playmaker who can change speeds and create time and space for both himself and his teammates can also score goals. Will compete for a spot on the top line at Exeter.

Cameron Wright (#8, L, Central, Vermont Academy Grade 12, ’96) -- Wright has good vision and passing ability which led to a 23-assist season last year over 26 games. He was selected to the All-Tournament squad at the Chowder Cup playing for the Boston Generals in the College Division.

Colin McCaughey (#22, L, North, St. Paul’s School Grade 10, ’98) -- A 10th grader out of the  Hillside School was playing up here. McCaughey needed some adjusting to the speed of the game but we liked his grit, toughness and size. He is patient with the puck, especially around the net, something that could translate into a lot of goals at the prep level.

Paul Capozzi (#8, R, South, Brooks School Grade 11, ’97) – After a solid sophomore campaign at Brooks, this Illinois native should have a larger role to play in the upcoming season. Capozzi is a smooth skater and juked a few defenseman but is a tad slight and will need more to add more grit to his game.

Vincent Lima (#11, R, North, St. Paul’s School Grade 12, ’96) -- Lima has played a lot of hockey this past month after attending the Middlebury Camp, the Beantown Classic and now this showcase. He has been consistently good at each event, showing shiftiness carrying the puck and composure in high-pressure areas.

Declyn Thornton (#21, R, East, Cushing Academy Grade 10, late ’97) -- Another 10th grader playing U19 here, Thornton comes to Cushing from the U16 Oilers where he produced a 12-13-25 line in 25 games. An up-and-coming prospect who has soft mitts and keen offensive instincts.

Justin Cole (#23, L, Central, Vermont Academy Grade 11, ’96) -- Cole is an intriguing prospect because he has deceptive skill but has yet to put it all together. His acceleration is slow but once he gets up to speed he has a long powerful stride. He is still searching for his style but we feel that if he dedicates himself to being a power forward and just driving to the net he could be very effective at the prep level and perhaps beyond. He already has the size and puck protection skills.

Ben Solin (#5, L, East, Phillips Exeter Grade 11, ’97) -- A repeat junior out of Daniel Hand HS where he scored a hat trick to win the Connecticut DII State Championship last season. Solin is a natural goal scorer with above average hockey sense. However, he will need to get stronger and faster to have that same success at the prep level.

Nicholas Botticelli (#7, Eastern New England, Malden Catholic HS Grade 11, late ’97) -- One of the younger forwards on last year’s Super 8 champions Malden Catholic, Botticelli should see an expanded role this time around. He looks poised to take his game to the next level as he always seemed to have the puck on his stick, hustles from the beginning to the end of every shift, and delivers crisp, accurate passes in all three zones.

Houston Wilson (#40, R, Central, Vermont Academy Grade 11, ’96) -- A quick, shifty forward who can create scoring chances in low percentage situations, Wilson needs to become more dynamic to move up the list.

Gordon Coulter (#23, R, Northern New England, Phillips Andover Grade 11, ’97) -- Coulter looked like a rising star last year when we saw the then-sophomore score against a deep St. Paul’s team. But he was also in a secondary role on a veteran team. This year, then, could be different. Here, he showed his quick feet but didn’t accomplish much with the puck.

Evan Rochowiak (#14, Michigan Top 80, Detroit Catholic HS, ’97) -- A product of Little Caesar’s U16, Rochowiak is thin and slippery with a soft pair of hands. He doesn’t produce on a consistent basis and over-exposes the puck. However, he did come up with some highlight reel moves.

Scott Newton (#15, R, Mass. Public/Catholic, St. John’s Prep Grade 11, late ’97)  -- Newton was not a consistent force, but he has a good stick and a long and powerful stride.

Jack Adams (#22, R, Eastern New England, Malden Catholic HS Grade 11, ’97) -- A tall, raw prospect who showed flashes of talent but has not put it all together yet.

Billy Falter (#23, R, Mass Public/Catholic, Wilmington HS Grade 11, ’98) -- Young standout in Mass DII high school fit in fine against older company. Scored a nice goal on a wrister.

Rudi Ying (#9, R, Central, Phillips Exeter Grade 10, ’98) -- A 10th grader playing in the older division, Ying held his own. He is skilled with the puck but doesn’t play with enough pace or urgency to accomplish what he is trying to do. We’ll take a wait-and-see approach.

“A” Defensemen:

Reilly Walsh (#4, R, Eastern New England, Proctor Academy Grade 10, ’99) -- One of the most accomplished ‘99s in the area, Walsh is a true offensive defenseman who is very impressive with the puck on his stick. He has to polish his defensive game, mostly through being more focused and aware away from the puck. But his skill set is top-end, as are his hockey instincts. 

Frank Boie (#24, R, East, Rivers School Grade 11, ’98) -- One of the younger players in the division, Boie has size, strength and great defensive awareness. The sophomore is coming off a 16-point campaign which is impressive considering his best attributes lie in his own end. He did try and force some plays and had a tendency to throw the puck away on occasion, but he has a high ceiling.

“B” Defensemen:

Michael Young (#72, R, West, Rivers School Grade 10, ’98) -- A 6th round selection in the USHL Futures Draft by Cedar Rapids, Young has a lot of different tools. He has size, which allows him to overpower opponents. He also has great athleticism and awareness, which he shows with his gap control and angling. Once opponents try and make a move on him, Young can close the gap, take the body and retrieve the puck. He has improved his hands and sharpened up an already advanced stride.

William Vanderveen (#3, R, Michigan Top 80, ’97) -- Has a big frame but, even though he’s a presence at 6’4”, 180 lbs., he is also slight and gangly. That being said, Vanderveen is more mobile then he gets credit for, and has a long reach that he uses to his advantage. He made quick but deliberate passes out of his end to advance the play and did a nice job holding the offensive blue line.

Joe Harrington
(#44, L, Central, Phillips Andover PG, ’96) -- A smooth, highly-mobile, puck-moving defenseman who can stretch the ice with his passing and skating ability. Harrington led Braintree to their first Super 8 appearance last March, where they lost to Malden Catholic. The PG should see a lot of ice time this year for the Big Blue.

Collin Murphy (#46, L, Mass Public/Catholic, Austin Prep Grade 10, late ’98) – Murphy shined in this setting. He has good size, moves well in every direction, and made some great passes out of his end to streaking forwards, either direct tape-to-tape passes or passes to space.  There is still a gap between his play and his potential -- but he’s closing it.

“C” Defensemen:

Jack Ouellette (#18, R, East, Dexter Grade 12, late ’96) -- One of Dexter’s most productive defenders last season, Ouellette showed off his physicality and an improved slap shot from the point. With Dexter’s incoming recruits, Jack Rathbone and Luke McInnis, Ouellette will need to step up his game to stay in the top four.

Jordan Haney (#22, L, Central, Phillips Exeter Grade 11, late ’96) -- Haney has come a long way over the past year and stood out here. He has a long fluid stride, has gained confidence skating with the puck, and had several end-to-end rushes. He is on the thin side and will need to get stronger along the boards but the upside is there for him to have a great junior season.

Graham Rutledge (#24, L, Eastern New England, Phillips Exeter Grade 10, late ’98) -- Big, steady Nova Scotian plays a simple game. He has a heavy shot and while his skating isn’t pretty, he can play board to board and does a nice job of gapping up and containing both speedsters and power forwards. He may have the opportunity, with the departure of Spencer Young to the USHL, to play in the top four this season.

Matthew Lombardozzi (#70, L, West, Rivers School Grade 10, ’97) – With Miles Gendron around, Lombardozzi was often overshadowed last season at Rivers. However, with Gendron gone, Lombardozzi will be one of the key guys on the blue line for Rivers. He is a composed puck carrier who keeps his head up-ice looking for passing lanes.

Matthew Slick (#6, L, Southern New England, Proctor Grade 10, ’99) -- A 10th grader out of Texas, Slick has good size and a balanced stride but lacks a first step and lateral mobility. He showed he is on the verge of taking his game to the next level as he was 2-3 years younger than most of the players here but stayed physically engaged and wore down the opposition as well as any other defender here.

Andrew Olevitz (#36, L, Northern New England, Dexter Grade 12, ’97) -- Olevitz is still developing as a hockey player but he does have size. He fought the puck a little but has improved his pivoting and backward skating.

Kyle Moss (#4, L, Central, Phillips Andover Grade 12, ’96) -- The top-scoring returning defenseman for Andover, Moss is a small but graceful defenseman who can stay with anyone and makes smart, simple plays.

Alex Hreib (#12, R, South, Nobles Grade 12, ’96)  -- Hreib scored a nice goal after rushing end-to-end and showed athleticism on the offensive blue line.

Payton Jancsy (#6, R, Northern New England, Phillips Andover Grade 11, ’97) -- Jancsy was the only underclassman on the Andover blue line who saw significant action last season. He skates with his head up and controls the puck with ease, allowing him to constantly look for the right pass. However, he did push the envelope at times which lead to some bad turnovers. Overall, he looks ready to compete for a top four spot for the Big Blue.

David Selden (#30, R, Eastern New England, Groton School Grade 11, ’97) -- Selden made a few nice passes that caught our eye. Although Groton was a young team last year, Selden played behind three senior defenseman and a junior. This year he will likely see time in special teams and we expect to see him take full advantage of the opportunity. Good, but not great overall performance here.

Peter Christie (#7, L, North, Phillips Exeter Grade 11, late ’97) -- Christie looked to be a sure fire DI prospect in his freshman year, playing with Spencer Young on the top unit in ‘12-13. However, he took a sideways step last year and has been underwhelming this summer. We hope to see him take a big next step in his development.

Liam Flaherty (#6, L, South, St. Paul’s Grade 11, ’97) -- Flaherty is a strong, reliable, defensive defenseman who packs quite a punch, especially in the corners and in front of the net.

Alec Newell (#24, R, Southern New England, BB&N Grade 12, ’96) -- Newell did not do much other than be 6’5” and 200 lbs. His feet are awkward, but he does have a long reach which enables him to keep players to the outside. However, he struggles transitioning from forward to backwards and vice versa. Given his size, though, he’s worth following in case his game takes a leap.


“A” Goaltenders:


“B” Goaltenders:

Elijah Harris
(#35, Southern New England, KUA Grade 11, ’97) -- Harris is small but extremely quick in net. The Brown commit will be heading to Kimball Union this season after spending the last two seasons with Austin Prep and the split season Valley Jr. Warriors. We thought he was only average, mainly through inconsistency, at Nationals and we believe the same applied here. His reaction time and glove speed are excellent – that’s his strength -- and he likes to play at the top of the crease and challenge shooters. He had the best footwork of any of the goalies here.

Brendan Cytulik (#33, South, Nobles Grade 11, ’96) -- Cytulik’s stats last season were not overly impressive -- an .887 save percentage -- but what was impressive was that he played over 1,000 minutes as a sophomore on a playoff team. He could take the next step this season. He certainly looked confident and comfortable in the crease here, and he made some beautiful saves with his glove hand including a split post-to-post glove save on a 2-on-0. He displayed good vision and poise, and stayed in position. 

Kyle Casey (#36, Mass Public/Catholics, Malden Catholic HS Grade 10, late ’98) -- Only had a limited viewing of Casey but he’s the youngest goalie in the division and played split time for Malden Catholic last season as a freshman. He’s worth following.

“C” Goaltenders:

Brian Botcher (#35, North, Exeter PG, ’96) -- A PG goalie from the University School of Milwaukee heading to Exeter. Had a shutout in the game we watched but also didn’t see a lot of shots, so it was difficult to get a good read. Botcher comes out of the net, however, challenges the shooter, and does a nice job covering the puck and containing rebounds.

Josh Bolding (#35, Central, Vermont Academy Grade 11, late ’97) -- Bolding was solid in all facets of his game. He didn’t particularly stand out in any one area but has no obvious weaknesses either. Has showed good body positioning, making most every shot look like an easy save.

Beau Collins (#33, Eastern New England, Proctor, ’96)  -- Collins made strides last year starting half the games at Proctor and brought more consistency and focus to his game. This summer he has continued to improve. He is athletic and uses his positioning and technique to take away the shooters’ edges.

Nick Moore (#35, Eastern New England, Exeter Grade 10, ’98) -- Moore was hot and cold last season but when he was on the Exeter sophomore looked smooth and agile between the pipes. Here he had a beautiful post-to-post leg save on a 2-on-1 one-timer.



NEFPHL Freshman/Sophomore Showcase

USHR took in the New England Fall Prep League Labor Day Showcase at the Icenter in Salem, NH last weekend – Friday and Saturday, to be specific.

Below are 27 players – 16 forwards, seven D, and four goalies -- who stood out for us in the Freshman/Sophomore Division.

If anyone needs info on any of these players, their coaches’ contact info can be found on the league’s website:

Note: Height and weight info was not included on rosters

“A” Forwards:

Jake Wise (#19, L, Mass. Public/Catholic, Central Catholic HS Grade 9, ‘00) -- One of the premiere ‘00s in the country, Wise has a mature array of skills. He shoots to score and has both velocity and release. He has strong and smooth hands, a fluid yet powerful stride, and he competes at both ends. Wise has a good frame and a canny ability to know when to fight through checks and when to finesse his way through traffic. He scored two goals in his first shifts in his game on Saturday – and he was also the youngest player on the ice.  

Christopher Brown (#43, R, Mass East, Groton School Grade 9, ’99) -- Younger brother of Groton standout forward Michael Brown, Christopher played last year as an 8th grader but looks like he’s poised to take a big step forward this season. The Worcester native was far more confident with the puck and was the best player on the ice in the games we saw. A tall, thin forward with slick hands, Brown has an advanced hockey sense that puts him in the right positions to make plays as well as create offense. He is still growing into his body -- his stride and acceleration reflect that -- but he is a blue chip prospect in the making.

“B” Forwards:

Josh Rameriz (#41, R, Eastern New England, North Reading HS Grade 9, late ’99) -- A speedster who is strong on the puck and quick east to west. Both his hands and feet make him a tough 1v1 matchup for opposing defensemen. One of the younger players here but you couldn’t tell that by his play.

Alex Lycett (#18 Michigan Top 80, Cranbrook, ’99) – Lycett, Michigan’s top player, scored a beautiful goal, dancing around the defense at the blue line and deking the goalie left to right before sliding it five hole. Played at the Select 15 Camp in Buffalo in July.

Mark Gallant (#43, L, Mass Central, Groton School Grade 8, ’00) -- A linemate of Jake Wise with the Islanders Hockey Club, Gallant was impressive for being an ’00 in this company, but he was not as ready to handle the pace of the game as Wise. Gallant has a hard shot and a crafty stick.

Michael Lombardi (#51, L, Mass West, KUA Grade 10, ’98) -- A good-sized forward from Rhode Island, Lombardi was constantly involved in the offense. Had a brilliant top-corner snipe from the top of the circle.

Samuel Swanson (#51, Mass North, Grove City HS Grade 10, ’98) -- Ohio high schooler played last season for the TPH Thunder. Swanson is a smooth skater with elite vision and playmaking capabilities.

Teddy Wooding (#67, Mass West, Rivers School Grade 9, late ’99) -- A December 30th birthday, Wooding has some size, can handle the puck, and has a powerful shot. He made a lot of plays either driving hard to the post or opening himself up for the shot in the high slot.

“C” Forwards:

Tristian Smith (#52, L, Mass East, Groton School Grade 10, ’98) – New Jersey native was a freshman last year at Groton and saw valuable time with a 5-8-13 line in 27 games. He has size and quickness, and a sturdy stick in front of the net.

Evan Ricci (#53, L, Eastern New England, Belmont Hill Grade 10, late ’98) -- A composed puck possession player who can stickhandle his way out of a jam but doesn’t always use his teammates. Ricci will need to improve his footwork, but his hands and creativity were excellent.

Jackson Allard (#42, R, Mass Central, Brooks School Grade 10, ’98) -- One of St. Mary’s (Lynn, Mass.)  leading scorers last season, Allard is a determined skater who drives the net and forechecks with authority.

Danny Philbrick (#66, L, Mass Central, Brooks School Grade 10, late ’97) -- Philbrick is small, shifty, and hard to hit. In addition, he handles the puck well at full speed and has the vision to find pockets in the defense.

Kei Nawa (#63, R, Mass Central, Groton School Grade 9, ’99) -- A small, dynamic playmaker from Tokyo, Japan. He does not shy away from contact.

Collin Shapiro (#44, L, Eastern New England, Phillips Exeter Grade 10, ’98) -- Shapiro has improved from last year and had flashes of great play here including a wrist shot that he snuck past the goalie’s glove.

Patrick Mullowney (#50, L, Mass East, Newton North HS Grade 10, late ’98) – He’s not a polished skater and he lacks size but Mullowney is noticeable due to his high compete level and puck possession skills. A 12/21/98 birthdate.

Kyle Welch (#52, Mass North, Phillips Andover Grade 9, ’99) -- A developing prospect who will be a freshman at Andover this year. Has a way to go but he has some size and upside.

“A” Defensemen:


“B” Defensemen:

Matthew Yianacopolus (#53, Mass North, Malden Catholic HS Grade 10, late ’98) -- A good-sized, reliable defender who plays a 200-foot game and likes to take the body.

Paul Edson (#44, Mass North, Briscoe Middle School Grade 9, late ’99) -- Edson is not a great skater and struggles pivoting and changing direction. However, he has the size and hockey sense to go a long way. He makes quick, simple passes and is rarely out of position. More than meets the eye here.

Nick Miele (#46, L, Mass West, Reading HS Grade 10, ’99) -- A raw, aggressive defender who plays a physical but focused game. Miele has great presence in his end and wins a lot of battles in the tough ice.

John Corrigan (#38, L, Mass West, Rivers Grade 9, late ’99) -- A young, tiny defenseman, Corrigan doesn’t back down and tries to dish it out. He is quick and has soft hands allowing him to stretch the ice with a pass or rush it when a lane opens.

“C” Defensemen:

Matthew Ricci (#52, R, Mass West, Westford Academy Grade 10, late ’98) -- A small, fluid skater who is shut-down on 1v1 situations. Ricci tends to throw the puck away and will need to improve his decision-making but the skills are in place.  

Sam Bird (#45, Eastern New England, Phillips Andover Grade 9, late ’99) – The younger brother of Brown recruit and Columbus Blue Jackets draft pick Tyler Bird had a quiet performance here but is reliable in his end, makes good decisions with the puck, and has a lot of potential.

Greg Shapiro (#43, Eastern New England, Phillips Exeter Grade 10, ’98) -- Showed some poise carrying the puck, makes a nice first pass, and had several end-to-end rushes. He’s the twin brother of Collin Shapiro (see above).


Alexander Zafonte (#37, Mass West, St. Sebastian’s Grade 10, ’99) -- A tall, mobile goalie, Zafonte didn’t face much action in the games we saw but didn’t let anything past him either. He has a high ceiling.

Alex Daccord (#37, Mass North, Phillips Andover Grade 9, ’99) -- The younger brother of Cushing goaltender Joey Daccord is highly athletic, made some acrobatic stops, and did not allow a puck past him in the game we saw. Is going to Andover.

Johnny Trotto (#37, Mass Central, Brooks School Grade 10, ’97)  -- Trotto is coordinated and stays square to the shooter, rarely having to sprawl around to make a save. Had some nice stops in the game we viewed.

Cole Weiner (#36, Mass East, Dexter School Grade 10, ’99) – Weiner is tall and takes up a lot of net. His solid footwork allows him to get out on top of the crease and move well side to side. His reaction time can be a little delayed at times, but he’s also growing into his frame.



Jay Peak Schedule

There is a small tournament running from tomorrow (Wed. Sept. 3) through Saturday at the Ice Haus at the Jay Peak resort in northern Vermont, about five miles from the US-Canadian border. It’s a fine place to be – any time of the year.

For more information contact Dennis Himes at the Ice Haus. The number is (802) 988-2724.

Schedule -- Jay Peak Tournament

Around the Rinks

Westminster sophomore F Taggart Corriveau is opening eyes in the early going
Westminster sophomore F Taggart Corriveau is opening eyes in the early going (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
6'3" sophomore D Griffin Luce,  a Michigan recruit, making life difficult for Milton's Clay Berger
6'3" sophomore D Griffin Luce, a Michigan recruit, making life difficult for Milton's Clay Berger (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
KUA's Joey Dudek battles Deerfield's Trevor Yates in front
KUA's Joey Dudek battles Deerfield's Trevor Yates in front (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
Salisbury senior F Derek Barach was named MVP of the Flood-Marr Tournament
Salisbury senior F Derek Barach was named MVP of the Flood-Marr Tournament (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)