The Weekend's New England U18/U16 Games of Note
On Saturday Nov. 1st, the Boch Blazers host the Cape Cod Whalers at the Boch Ice Center (Dedham, Mass.) The U16s play at 6:30 pm, and the U18’s play at 8:10 pm.
The New Hampshire Avalanche travel to the Northern Cyclones for a game at 10:20 am at West Side Arena (Manchester, NH) and that night the Avalanche host the New Hampshire Monarchs for a 7:30 pm game at West Side Arena (Manchester, NH)
The Connecticut playoff games will be played on Saturday and Sunday at Newington Arena. We don’t have the times but hope to have them in the morning. The winners go on to the New Englands next weekend.
On Sunday Nov. 2nd, The Neponset Valley River Rats host the Boston Jr. Bruins at the Foxboro Sports Center (Foxboro, Mass.) The U16s play at 12:30 pm and the U18s play at 1:50 pm.
Mass. District Program Book
Here, courtesy of Mass. Distict Hockey, is the program book for Championship Weekend, which gets underway tonight at different sites in Eastern Massachusetts. Complete rosters and schedules for all levels are included. The book, which is 36 pages long, is in PDF form.
Mass. District Program Book
The U16s at the Junior Bruins Shootout
Here is the expanded version of the U16s at the Junior Bruins Shootout that we promised we would be posting this week.
Everything we said about the U18s at the Junior Bruins Shootout applies to the U16s as well. There were a lot of teams on hand – 34, to be precise. We caught most of them and have ranked 100 players -- 62 forwards, 30 defensemen, and eight goalies.
Teams we did not see: Skipjacks U16, NJ Rockets U16, South Shore U16, NJ Freeze U16, NS Wings U16, South Shore Kings Split Season U16, Patriots U16, Selects Academy (American) U16, Boch Blazers U16, CT Chiefs U16.
No rosters in progam: Islanders Hockey Club, Rochester Jr. Americans, Springfield Pics, and Boston Advantage
Notable scratches: Ty Turgeon (Junior Bruins).
Note: We have a couple of other tournament reviews in the hopper, specifically the '00s at the College Cup a few weeks ago in Connecticut, and the Fall Beantown Classic. After they are edited, we will post them, hopefully next week. We're also on our way to the Bauer Invite in Chicago this weekend, so we'll have that too.
Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup (#39 Selects Academy, 5-9/159, ’98) -- Danish import, a powerful skater with a very nice shot, stood out on every shift. Scored a pair of nice goals from the top of the circle against the Monarchs. Crafty with the puck, he made a great move coming off the wall, slid in between the defense with a toe drag and buried a low slap shot. His recruitment is starting to heat up.
Chris Garbe (#19 LI Gulls, 5-10/160, ’99) -- A highly intelligent playmaker who has a nice shot. Has that ability to slow the game down in his head while attacking defenses at full speed. Very creative with the puck and equally deadly on the PP.
Hunter Canestra (#88 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, 6-3/185, ’99) -- A big forward who catches your eye every time he is on the ice. Very good hands in tight spaces which allows him to score goals right outside the crease. Deadly on the PP with his quick and heavy shot; and superb passing ability. He has a tendency to overhandle and expose the puck, but his other attributes allow him to get away with it at this level.
Jonathon Dugan (#12 Rochester Monarchs, R, 6-1/170, ’98) -- Dugan is a tall, well-rounded player who showed great poise with the puck and was able to slow the game down with a composed, controlled style of play. He has an elite wrist shot and scored several goals on the weekend. Was one of the most productive offensive players in the tournament. Has a long reach, smooth hands, and an ability to exploit pockets in the defense.
Matt Allen (#70 Selects Academy, L, 5-9/155, ’99) – Allen, who plays the game with a lot of confidence, is raw but extremely skilled. He’s a strong and balanced skater who is tough to knock off his line. He has smooth and sturdy hands and is able to maneuver in open ice as well in the corners and in front of the net. His skill set will translate well to the next level, but he needs to play smarter. He tends to run around and rely on his physical gifts instead of reading the play. Allen also needs to work on his defensive play.
Emilio Pettersen (#20 Selects Academy, L, 5-8/150, ’00) -- Pettersen may be small, but he is also fast, quick and agile. He sometimes gets outmuscled but never gives up on the play. He’s dynamic with the puck on his stick and sees the ice very well. While he lacks strength, he somehow gets plenty of oomph in his wrist shot – and he can let it go from anywhere, and from either a stationary position or full speed. High ceiling despite his size.
Ilya Putintsev (#15 Junior Bruins, R, 5-8/170, ’98) -- Putintsev is a prolific goal scorer, arguably the best in the tournament. His hands and shooting ability are high end. He scored two highlight reel goals in one game and followed that with another multi-point performance. However, he is not the most gifted skater, as he has a choppy stride, and doesn’t have long-range speed despite a strong first step. Plus he’s small, which doesn’t make for a great combination. However, he does one thing very well – and that’s score goals.
Kristian Acosta (#88 Jersey Hitmen, 5-8/160, ’98) -- A hardworking high-energy player with speed, explosiveness, and quick hands. A pest to opposing defenseman as he caused turnovers and with his quickness and transitional speed converted those turnovers into goals. He also has creative head for the game, finding openings and picking apart defensemen in 1v1 situations. Has sandpaper in his game and is willing to drive the net despite his lack of size. In short, Acosta makes big plays, scores big goals, and is the offensive heart and soul of he Hitmen, who, by the way, won their divisional championship here.
Derek Contessa (#45 Jersey Hitmen, R, 6-2/190, ’99) -- Contessa was rostered as a defenseman but played forward on a line with Acosta, making for an exciting duo at this level. Has great size, strength, and reach which allowed him to stand out every time he was on the ice. He showed a high-end wrist shot, good north-south speed rushing the puck through the neutral zone, and a touch in tight around the net. However, he didn’t have a lot of puck possession time, and he wasn’t very physical. While he has the tools to take over a game, he was too easy to play against.
Cam Burke (#7 Junior Bruins, 5-8/150, ’99) -- Nobles forward is a smart player in all three zones. He’s not flashy. He’s similar to his older brother, Cal, in that he’s a crafty, cerebral type who makes intricate passes, plays a complete game, and competes for loose pucks. His decision-making with the puck and awareness in the defensive zone is top notch. Still has some growing to do, but has time to do it.
Ty Amonte (#12 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 5-10/165, ’98) – A high-energy, high-compete 200-foot player who is a hound on the puck. He wins battles along the boards with a combination of grit and quickness. He throws his body around, finishes his checks, blocks shots, and has a lot more skill then he gets credit for after averaging a point per game for Thayer as a true sophomore. A versatile D-I prospect who is adding a more dynamic dimension to his offensive game. He is bigger and stronger than a year ago, which has helped him in the tough ice.
Nick Stuckless (#77 Hill Academy, 5-11/165, ’98) -- The most-skilled forward on his team – at least in the games we saw. He’s creative, a fluid skater who has great control of the puck, skates with his head up, and demonstrates confidence and composure in high-pressure situations. Good at luring defensemen in close and making the play. Had several end-to-end rushes and drives to the net. A 7TH round selection of the London Knights (OHL).
Jay O’Brien (#19 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 5-10/160, late ’99) – Another talented prospect who is now at Dexter, O’Brien is a complete player who hustles at both ends of the rink, always keeps his feet moving, and was constantly around the puck. He has deceptive speed and is hard on the forecheck, finishing his checks and causing turnovers in the offensive zone. Gets better every time we see him.
Jordan Cooper (#8 Carolina Hurricanes, 5-9/165, ’98) -- A strong skater with good agility and puck skills. Will hunt down loose pucks, create a turnover, and then use his ability to slow the game down to create scoring chances.
Christian Thomas (#8 Northern Cyclones, R, 5-9/150, ’99) -- Thomas stood out at the USHL Atlantic Showcase where he played with the Cyclones U18 team. Here, he continued to prove why he is a D-I prospect. He always has the puck on his stick, makes great dekes in open ice where he isolates and defenseman uses his quickness to create separation. A balanced skater with an explosive first step. He didn’t get many shots off in the games we saw, but he has a strong release.
Noah Bradley (#24 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, 6-2/185, ’98) -- A non-flashy type with a pro frame and a high ceiling. A constant threat in the offensive zone. Uses his body, which he is still growing into, and his playmaking ability to create chances. Has good hands, deceptive speed and a high degree of athleticism.
Adam Tretowicz (#21 Syracuse Stars, 5-11/148, ’98) -- A fast forward with decent hands and a good shot. Battles hard for loose pucks, and uses his linemates well in all three zones. His stride is on the uncoordinated side and he’s weak on his edges, but don’t let that fool you: Tretowicz can play. He is quick and decisive with the puck, makes swift accurate passes, and has a tricky snap shot that finds the back of the net with frequency.
Michael Muschitello (#29 LI Gulls, 5-9/135, ’99) -- A waterbug type of player who is constantly disrupting plays. A perfect complement to Garbe (see above), Muschitello always finds open ice and gives his teammates an outlet.
Dakota Concannon (#91 Jersey Hitmen, L, 5-10/155, ’98) -- A top forward on a top team, Concannon , with his slick hands and shifty juke moves, creates a lot of offense for his linemates. D-I upside.
Brett Murray (#2 Hill Academy, L, 6-4/197, ’98) – A tall drink of water with a long reach, Murray plays a simple game. He has stiff hands and lacks poise with the puck. However, he plays within himself and should improve his stride as he grows into his massive frame. A potential power forward in the making. A 12th round draft pick of the Oshawa Generals (OHL).
Drew Elser (#8 Selects Academy, L, 5-10/155, ’00) -- An explosive prospect, Elser was playing on a line with Allen and Steele and didn’t look at all out of place. He has soft hands and was effective on 1v1s in the offensive zone, beating most defenseman with a quick move and head fake. We were not impressed by his antics after the whistle, when he was running his mouth and banging his stick when things weren’t going his way. Has a solid skill set but will need to mature to gain attention from college recruiters.
Alex Steeves (#11 NH Monarchs, L, 5-8/145, late ’99) – A pure playmaker with impressive vision and passing ability, Steeves first came to our attention at the New England Select Festival where we ranked him in the top 10 for his age group. He has improved since then. He is stronger on his skates, and comes out of scrums with control of the puck, most notably in high traffic areas.
Noah Strawn (#10 Junior Bruins, L, 5-11/160, ’98) -- A product of the Hillside School, Strawn played on a line with Putintsev here. He is a smart player with some size and an element of calmness in his game. He allows the play develop in front of him and does not force the issue. We’ll be keeping an eye on him throughout the year.
Joel Farabee (#28 Selects Academy, L, 5-6/115, ’00) -- Farabee is tiny but, like other highly intelligent and skilled players who lack size, he rarely gets hit -- and he finds ways to make plays. He has great touch on his passes, placing several indirect passes into space or sauced breakout passes that hit the far-side winger in stride. Despite his size he drives the net fearlessly looking for rebounds and deflections.
Joseph Glamos (#10 Syracuse Stars, L, 5-7/149, ’99) -- A cerebral, perimeter playmaker with exceptional hockey instincts and anticipation. He did not shoot the puck much here, but demonstrated advanced acceleration and shiftiness east to west. Had at least one assist in every game we saw him in here.
Alec Robitaille (#13 NH Monarchs, L, 5-10/165, ’98) -- He has a raw skill set and at times was all over the place, but we liked his front line speed and aggressive tendencies, especially in pursuit of the puck. He makes life difficult for opposing defenseman as he not only gets to the puck quickly but is physical and pressures the puck carrier. He has quick and agile hands, an accurate shot, and a high compete level.
Brendan Cordeiro (#9 Junior Bruins, 5-10/155, ’98) -- Calm, collected playmaker was a bit perimeter in the games we saw. However, he has smooth hands, makes swift, accurate passes and is able to play the game at a high pace. He made quick decisions with the puck and rarely exposed for opposing defensemen to knock it away.
Derek Gentile (#10 Rothesay Netherwood School, R, 5-7/155, ’99) -- Out of Sydney, Nova Scotia, Gentile is a small, shifty playmaker who has quick hands, plays the game with a lot of pace, and has a nice touch on his passes. He led the midget league in Nova Scotia in points last season with a 31-39-70 line in 33 games. Will likely be a high to mid-round draft pick in next spring’s QMJHL draft.
Bryson Bartell (#14 NH Monarchs, 5-11/150, ’99) -- A good skater with good hockey sense and a willingness to get get his nose dirty. Isn’t particularly flashy, but he gets the job done. Makes good passes and is hard on the forecheck.
Alex Phipps (#37 Jersey Hitmen, L, 5-10/150, ’99) -- Phipps has a great burst and uses change of speed in the neutral zone, luring the defender in close before hitting that next gear and skating around him. Made one of the biggest hits we saw on the weekend, on Skyler Brind’Amour, a much larger player than he. Phipps will need to get more involved in the offensive zone, improve his shot, and add strength and power to his game. Has a good foundation to become a D-I player.
Colin Slyne (#22 CT Rangers, L, 5-11/170, ’98) – Has good size, a great release on his snap shot, deceptive finesse, and soft hands in tight. Good overall skill set, but needs to add grit and aggressiveness as well as explosiveness and quickness.
Will Steele (#21 Selects Academy, L, 5-9/160, ’98) -- Steele is a fast, high-energy pest who competes for loose pucks, works hard in all three zones, blocks shots, finishes checks and has quick, elusive hands in space. He didn’t have much puck possession time, partially because his linemates are not really distributors and partially because he doesn’t seem comfortable skating with the puck for longer than a second or two. Overall, though, he brings high speed and high energy every shift.
Michael Sacco (#16 PAL Islanders, L, 5-7/145, late ’99) -- A natural goal scorer, was kept off the board here. Still, he showed flashes of brilliance with the puck. He has vision and creativity, a high hockey IQ, and is opportunistic.
Tyler Gratton (#28 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, 6-0/165, ’99) -- The perfect complement to Bradley and Canestra (see above). Has north-south speed, is strong on the forecheck, and throws bone-crushing body checks. Has the hands and vision to make good passes. Positions himself well, and enjoys being the net-front presence on the PP.
Matthew Quercia (#22 NH Monarchs, 6-1/175, ’99) -- Stands out as a big guy on a team with smaller guys, but makes plenty of good plays. Has a good shot that he likes to use, but is just as likely to make the pass. Puts up points.
Marty Kapoian (#40 Jersey Hitmen, L, 5-8/175, ’98) -- Big players make big plays and while Kapoian was a key contributor all week on the Hitmen’s top line, nothing stood out as much as his picking up a loose puck in the slot and sneaking it below the goalie’s pad with 18.2 seconds remaining in the championship game to go up 2-1. He’s strong on the puck, has a powerful shot, and doesn’t mind getting his nose dirty in order to make a play.
Riley Brennan (#4 PAL Islanders, L, 5-8/145, ’00) -- An underager who, at times, looked small and unconfident. But he’s a gifted skater and has a lot of raw tools: soft hands, vision, a quick release. However, he had very little puck possession time. Certainly someone we will keep an eye on.
Alex Borowiec (#77 Jersey Hitmen, 5-9/172, ’98) -- Doesn’t stand out for his hands or his skating, but he is always around the puck and has a knack for scoring big goals. Very opportunistic. He has heavy feet but makes up for it with smart positional hockey, great lower body strength, and a touch around the net. His upside is limited but will be a go-to guy at this level.
Skyler Brind’Amour (#17 Carolina Hurricanes, L, 5-11/140, ’99) -- Brind’Amour, as we noted at the USHL Atlantic Showcase, is tall, thin but shows flashes of brilliance with soft hands and hockey sense to be a great player at the next level. He needs to grow into his frame and improve his speed, but given his height, skill, and intangibles, he has all the earmarks of a very good D-I player.
Connor Beatty (#19 NH Monarchs, 5-6/150, ’99) -- A high-end skater with great hockey sense and the ability to carry the puck through the neutral zone. Doesn’t have the size or strength yet to dominate the game, but makes a lot of good plays in the offensive zone.
Jack Bloem (#74 CP Dynamo, R, 6-1/165, ’98) -- The Dynamo’s leading scorer has a potent wrist shot and although his team was getting beaten pretty badly and Bloem didn’t have much puck possession time, he was able to move the puck quickly. Has good size and a quick release.
Isaac Leslie (#2 Islanders Hockey Club, L, 5-7/160, ’98) -- Leslie has a great first step, hits top speed in only a few strides, is dynamic with the puck. He is able to deke his way out of trouble as he sees the whole ice, not just what is in front of him. His team didn’t have a lot of offensive zone time, but Leslie was able to showcase his abilities on the powerplay.
Blake Bartell (#7 NH Monarchs, 5-10/150, ’00) -- Younger brother of Bryson (see above) and a good player in his own right. Willing to play physically along the wall, and can make plays off the turnover.
Cole Edgerton (#94 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 5-9/155, ’99) -- A dynamic stickhandler who has the ability to slow the game down and find time and space. What he lacks in size he makes up for in spacial awareness and hockey sense.
Tristian Amonte (#3 Cape Cod Whalers, 5-5/140, ’00) -- The younger brother of Ty Amonte, Tristian is built from the same mold. His feet are constantly moving, he plays the game with a lot of pace and hustle, and he doesn’t shy away from contact despite being younger then everyone. Has a bit of a choppy stride, but the scrappy forward has a mature head for the game and considerable upside.
Patrick McCabe (#11 Hill Academy, L, 6-2/210, ’98) -- Big body power forward was pretty quiet here overall, but his potential is obvious not only with his size but his powerful stride and ability to win battles along the boards and around the front of the net. A 10th round draft pick of the London Knights (OHL),
Dylan Arnold (#15 Islanders Hockey Club, R, 5-7/140, ’99) -- He did not have much possession time, but he has some speed, and knows where to be on the ice as well as what to do with the puck before it reaches him. Is the younger brother of Justin Arnold of the Islanders U18 squad.
Race Bennett (#27 CP Dynamo, L, 6-3/210, ’98) -- The son of Union College Head Coach Rick Bennett, Race has a massive frame, a long powerful stride, and deceptively quick hands. A power forward in the making who can create offense for his teammates.
Shane Spencer (#19 Hill Academy, 6-1/195, ’99) -- A strong forward with a good frame who does a lot of the little things well. Has good stick position on the forecheck, supports the puck on the breakout, and gets to the dirty areas.
Adrian Danchenko (#17 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, R, 6-1/165, ’99) -- One of the most intriguing prospects in this division, Danchenko is a tall, gangly forward with an awkward stride and weak ankles. However, he reads the play, sees the ice, and has poise with the puck. He can make hard passes across the ice but lacks touch at this point in his game. Once he grows into his body and develops lower-body strength he could be a high-end prospect as a power forward.
Nick Charron (#5 Rochester Monarchs, L, 5-7/120, ’98) -- Small but highly athletic, Charron is extremely quick east to west and is able to sidestep defenseman, thus making him difficult to stop 1v1. He has agile hands and feet, lures defenseman toward him, and makes plays around and through them. He’s especially dangerous in the transition game where he can convert on odd-man rushes.
Steven Sense (#91 Buffalo Saints, L, 5-11/175, ’99) – We only had a limited viewing of the Buffalo Saints but Sense stood out from start to finish. Had a great breakaway goal, worked the goalie left to right and, once he went down, calmly walked around him and stuffed it between his leg and the post. He has some speed, soft mitts and composure around the net.
Alec DiCarlo (#91 Hill Academy, R, 5-10/155, ’98) -- DiCarlo has decent size and speed but he excels along the boards where he has a low center, soft hands, and excellent puck protection skills, both with his stick and his body positioning. Had a great move on a 1v1, enabling him to get off a quality shot in stride.
Tate Singleton (#54 NJ Avalanche, 5-8/165, ’98) -- A thick forward who uses a wide base to protect against defenders with a long reach. Gets the puck to the net in any way possible and is willing to stay in the dirty areas to bang home rebounds.
Scott Osani (#7 NJ Avalanche, 5-8/160, ’99) -- A good skater who is deceptive with the puck and can change direction instantly. Protects the puck well; has the vision to find the open man when he gets into trouble.
Riley Johnson (#11 Carolina Hurricanes, 5-9/150, ’99) -- A physical forward who attacks the net off the rush. A tough competitor along the boards with the vision to make plays once he gets the puck.
Tino Benamati (#5 CP Dynamo, R, 5-9/160, ’99) -- We only saw the Dynamo in limited action and they rarely had the puck. But Benamati caught our eye on a breakout during which he started out a step behind the defenseman and, five strides later, was a step past him and off on a breakaway. He was unable to score but made a quick left-to-right move on the goalie at top speed. Someone to keep an eye on.
Braydon Deming (#24 Rochester Monarchs, L, 5-10/160, ’98) -- A powerful skater with north-south speed who doesn’t slow down when carrying the puck. Deming is not exactly dynamic, but he likes to have the puck on his stick, doesn’t force the play, and is willing to drop his shoulder and drive the net.
Matthew Boring (#19 PAL Islanders, L, 5-7/150, late ’99) -- Late ’99 out of West Babylon, NY has an active stick, is a hound on the puck, and has the quickness and hands to create offensive chances even though his shot lacks power.
Nicholas Wildgoose (#9 Carolina Hurricanes, R, 5-9/165, late ’99) -- Wildgoose was not as active here as he was at the Atlantic Showcase but he is a balanced skater who knows where to be on the ice, doesn’t hesitate with the puck, and has shown finishing capabilities, especially in tight.
Mike Seoane (#10 Cape Cod Whalers, 5-11/180, ’98) -- The Thayer forward had a very good showing this weekend, scoring some nice goals and making heads-up plays in the offensive zone. Skates well, and is responsible in his end.
Colton Marchand (#15 Rothesay Netherwood School, R, 6-0/140, ’99) -- Not a standout here but someone to keep an eye on. He is still growing into his frame, but looks to be a prospect with some upside. Still trying to figure out his game, though.
David Farrance (#9 Syracuse Stars, 5-11/185, ’99) -- The recent BU commit has all the tools to become a pro hockey player. Is an elite skater -- strong on his edges and with explosive backward and forward acceleration. Has a very high hockey IQ, and a lethal shot. In the final seconds of the semi-finals against the Hitmen, Farrance took a slapshot from a foot inside the blue line and beat the goalie over his glove – but the crossbar came up with a huge save. Farrance takes chances up-ice but uses his feet to recover. As a defenseman he has the strength and athleticism to make plays either with his feet or his body, plus he has the long reach necessary to break up passes with his stick. With the puck on his stick, he has strong yet smooth hands, can carry it end-to-end effortlessly and at times singlehandedly breaks the puck out of the zone. On the offensive blue line, Farrance is able to move from the wall to the middle quickly to keep pucks in the zone. The most impressive aspect, given all his myriad abilities, is that he is still undefinable in the sense that he can play a skilled game or a power game depending on the situation. We saw him make some big open-ice hits, grind players down in the corners, and clear bodies in front of his net while. On the other hand, we saw him take the puck behind his net and go end-to-end almost at will. He is one of the best young prospects we have seen in some time. That said, he is not a perfect player by any stretch of the word. He often makes poor decisions with the puck, trying to force plays that are not there. He can get caught watching the play as the back side defenseman on 2-on-2’s. He can also get tunnel vision and not use his teammates, instead rushing the puck end-to-end. Perhaps he is trying to stave off boredom, and thus pushing the envelope a bit. Today, his size is impressive for his age, and he is able to outmuscle opponents. But if he does not grow then that part of his game will not exist in the coming years. Farrance recently committed to BU for 2018, but you can be sure that the OHL will be all over him. That said, he seems legitimately excited about becoming a Terrier.
Sean Keohan (#6 Cape Cod Whalers, 5-11/170, ’99) -- Has unbelievable poise all over the ice. Whether it’s on a puck retrieval or a 2-on-1, his demeanor never changes. Is a good skater who makes great passes and even better reads. Will play physically if needed, but doesn’t waste his energy throwing big hits. Keohan is not as flashy as fellow Dexter defenders Luke McInnis and Jack Rathbone but he is a polished skater with smooth hands, has maturity beyond his years with the puck, and is far superior defensively. He has no glaring weaknesses, he transitions and pivots well, displays backward acceleration, moves well laterally, is a willing body checker, and always has his head on a swivel, picking up sticks and driving bodies away from his netminder. A very impressive player.
Jack Rathbone (#5 Cape Cod Whalers, 5-8/145, ’99) -- A fast player who loves having the puck on his stick, Rathbone relies on instincts, athleticism, elite hands and quickness to navigate through traffic with the puck. He was the most dynamic, skilled offensive defenseman in the division and has elite poise, especially for his age. Has some grit in his game as well, which he showed when defending a teammate after a dirty check from behind. With all that being said, there are plenty of holes in Rathbone’s game that were exposed here. He lacks size and strength, is often out of position, over-pursues the puck and rushes at will instead of picking his spots. Some of these are understandable and even OK given his age. We certainly don’t want to see him start modeling his game after, for example, the Bruins’ Adam McQuaid. Rathbone is getting more responsible in his own end defensively, but still takes his fair share of chances up-ice. We think he will find that perfect medium quite quickly when he starts playing against bigger, stronger, older kids. And that’s going to happen very soon now. He sure is fun to watch, though, and we wouldn’t want to see him get reined in too much.
Nick Hale (#27 Carolina Hurricanes, 5-8/150, ’99) -- Defensively sound, and willing to jump into the play in the right situations. An elite passer with a good shot and even better hockey IQ. In that regard, Hale is a notch above nearly every other player at this level. He slows the game down, finds pockets in the defense, and has the skill and sense to exploit them. He is exceptional on the powerplay where he lures defenseman toward him, drawing them out of position before picking them apart with precision passing and a quick release from the point. Hale was equally strong killing penalties. One of the most exciting defensemen in the division.
Conner Hutchison (#14 Selects Academy, L, 5-10/160, ’00) – Hutchinson has great size for his age, skates the puck up-ice while fighting through checks and maintaining control of the puck all the while. He made a neutral zone regroup when he noticed he was skating into a 1v3, curled back into his zone and attacked 3v3 for a quality chance. His stride is a bit choppy and he is hesitant at times but, overall, given his age, he has tremendous upside. One of the most impressive young players in the division,
Andrew Neilson (#16 Rothesay Netherwood School, 6-3/195, ’98) -- A big-bodied defenseman who, along the boards, uses his size to his advantage in fighting for loose pucks. Needs to work on his skating, but can really fly once he gets going.
Colin McCabe (#7 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 5-10/175, ’98) -- A strong skater with a powerful stride, McCabe is sturdy and physical in his own end, is able to break the puck out of the zone with his passing or skating, and holds the offensive blue line effectively. He likes to take the body, has offensive capabilities and has done a better job as the spring and summer have turned to fall. Makes much better decisions with the puck. After the graduation of Jon Barry, McCabe will have to take over a lot of his responsibilities at Thayer. It will be a good test.
Ryan Bogan (#42 Jersey Hitmen, L, 6-0/170, ’98) -- Bogan is the captain of the Hitmen and plays like it. He has size and mobility, logs a lot of minutes, and is at his best when the game is on the line. He can join the rush -- he made a nice pass for an assist in the championship game here to put his team up 1-0 -- but he is also comfortable hanging back and playing a more defensive role. His versatility and decision-making are likely his two best traits. He can be tough when needed, skilled when needed, and is tough to play against.
Carter Long (#7 Selects Academy, R, 6-0/165, ’98) -- The tall, slight defender out of Yorktown, PA has an elite wrist/snapshot hybrid that he gets off instantly -- and with power behind it. Long is one of the only returners from last years Selects U16 USPHL Championship team. He will need to improve his lower-body strength which should also improve his edgework. Long has strong hands, a heavy shot, and is not afraid to throw his body around.
Lucas Niezelski (#55 Junior Bruins, R, 5-11/170, ’98) -- Niezelski has a versatile and extensive skill set with the ability to play a physical, grinding game or open it up offensively, skate with the puck, and pick apart a defense with precision passing. He is most noticeable on the powerplay where he has poise carrying the puck up-ice on the breakout, is athletic, and moves well on the blue line to gets a clear shot through to the net.
Cullen Young (#22 Junior Bruins, 5’8”/166, late ’00) -- A high-end ’00 who doesn’t turn 14 until next month. Possesses a very high IQ and a shot to boot. Plays a strong game along the boards in the defensive zone, and makes great outlet passes to his forwards in the neutral zone. Logs a lot of ice time despite being the youngest player on the ice. He looks a little timid at times, but is strong enough to compete at this level, is strong on his skates, and has the confidence to move the puck without hesitation.
Nolan Lavallee (#7 Northern Cyclones, L, 6-2/180, ’99) -- A large, physically imposing, smooth skater with great acceleration both forward and backwards. Lavallee had one play where he rode a guy out into the boards just inside the blue line, forcing the opponent to chip the puck into the corner. Nolan was able to retrieve the puck, turn up ice, and zip a 20 foot tape-to-tape pass to a streaking forward before his opponent got up from the hit. Lavallee has a lot of potential.
Joseph Campolieto (#26 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 5-11/175, ’98) -- Quick and agile offensive defenseman who is compact, hits hard, and displays excellent puck retrieval ability. He gets to it fast, turns up-ice quickly and makes a hard, accurate pass. He is smooth on the offensive blue line, finds passing lanes and, given time and space, has a hard slap shot.
Paul DeNaples (#3 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, R, 6-0/155, ’98) -- DeNaples is a smooth, talented skater who uses that to his full advantage. He is able to gap tighter than most and angle the opposition to the outside. He makes a great first pass and is willing to skate with the puck if the opportunity to make a play isn’t there. He is most noticeable on the powerplay, where he has quick deliveries, a potent saucer pass he can place anywhere on the ice, and an accurate, well-timed shot that always seems to find the net. Needs to get stronger and more physically engaged away from the puck, but is a D-I talent.
Brandon Tabakin (#4 NJ Avalanche, 5’5”/123, ’00) -- An intelligent player who reads the play well and understands his limitations, which will be a moot point should he encounter a growth spurt.
Kevin O’Neil (#13 Syracuse Stars, R, 5-10/163, ’98) -- O’Neil, who is normally a forward – and a good one – played D here. Not sure why. At any rate, besides playing out of position, he was paired with David Farrance, thus was overshadowed. But O’Neil is a D-I prospect in his own right (as a forward, where he certainly would be ranked higher than we have him here). He’s a fluid skater with athleticism and agile feet who excels on the powerplay. He has soft hands and is able to stickhandle through traffic as well as in tight. He doesn’t rush nor does he delay: his first pass is accurate and well-timed. In addition, O’Neil gets a lot of power from his snap and slap shot.
Jack McCool (#24 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 6-2/200, ’98) -- A big, powerful-skating defender who is tough to play against, makes a firm first pass, and grinds down opposing forwards. He does a nice job in the dirty areas, having the physicality, strength and body positioning to come out of scrums with the puck. Also, he’s able to make a pass or skate away from pressure and buy some time and space. He has a way to go in polishing his game but there is considerable potential if he can put it all together.
David McKinnon (#65 Hill Academy, L, 6-2/195, ’98) -- McKinnon plays a big man’s game. He has a hard shot from the point off which he scored, he backchecks with a purpose all the way to the post and is physical at every opportunity without over-pursuing the puck carrier. While his feet are not as agile as we’d like to see, he is sharp on his angles and timing, and never got beat in the two games we watched him in. A solid, reliable, big-bodied defender. A 12th round election of the London Knights (OHL).
Eric Manoukian (#65 Jersey Hitmen, L, 5-10/170, late ’98) -- Manoukian has good size, moves well, and showed toughness and grit in his game. He is strong on the puck, has a heavy shot, and made a few indirect passes through the neutral zone into space that showed his vision and ability to read the play.
Alex Ring (#12 NH Monarchs, R, 5-11/185, ’98) -- Ring has good size, is athletic, and is able to maintain a fairly tight gap through the neutral zone. He doesn’t retreat back to the goalie in his own end but pressures the puck carrier and takes away time and space. A tough defenseman to face 1v1. In the offensive zone he moves well across the blue line and gets shots to the net. Multi- dimensional skill set allows him to be effective on both the power play and penalty kill.
Keenan MacIsaac (#6 RothesayNetherwood School, 5’11”/160, ’99) -- A very intelligent defenseman with elite passing ability. Skates well and looks great on the PP. A fluid skater and a composed puck carrier with soft hands and size.
John Spetz (#18 NJ Avalanche, 5’9”/165, ’99) -- The December ’99 birthdate is a very good skater and did more than just hold his own against the older competition. Makes a good first pass and keeps the play in front of him.
Zac Fosdick (#2 Rochester Monarchs, R, 5-11/170, ’98) -- Fosdick is a well-rounded defenseman who plays with considerable composure, is able to join the rush when needed (although he favors the pass) and is also tough enough and athletic enough to make big open-ice body checks. He had one in particular where he flipped a kid on an open-ice hip check in the neutral zone.
Mike Bermingham (#16 Junior Bruins, R, 5-7/170, ’99) -- A small but sturdy offensive defenseman who likes to skate with the puck and join the rush whenever possible. He will need to have more urgency breaking the puck out of his end as he can tend to overhandle it and go stationary waiting for a passing lane to open up instead of keeping his eyes and feet up ice.
Perry Winfree (#58 Carolina Hurricanes, 6’1”/175, ’99) -- The late ’99 defenseman continued to impress here. Is becoming more assertive with the puck by holding it for an extra second to allow the play to develop as much as possible. Very good on the PK, and a good distributor on the PP. Has a hard wrist shot.
Connor Matsinger (#4 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, 6’0”/170, ’98) -- A strong defender who competes hard and makes good passes. Responsible in his own end, and very good with the puck in the offensive zone. Keeps his shot low and gets it on net.
Dante Vasconcellos (#24 Islanders Hockey Club, L, 6-3/224, ’99) – Has commanding size. Moves OK, but isn’t going to win many races to the puck; gets beat in the open ice. His hands are stiff and he has tunnel vision so he misses a lot of passes when he skates up-ice. With that being said he had some nice breakouts on the powerplay, has a long and powerful stride, and is physically imposing on the offensive blue line. His shot has plenty of muscle behind it but takes him awhile to get it off. He’s raw as can be, has a long way to go, but his NHL-size body makes him worth keeping an eye on.
Wyatt Brower (#5 Hill Academy, 6’5”/188, ’98) -- A big-bodied defenseman who is still in the awkward stage of his skating. Reads the play well and battles hard in front of the net. A 15th round draft pick of the Belleville Bulls (OHL).
Alexander Senesi (#8 PAL Islanders, R, 5-7/150, ’99) -- Senesi is a skilled distributor with vision and poise. He had a rush where he gained the zone, stopped just inside the blue line and made a cross-ice pass that very few players would have been able to identify let alone get the puck there. He is an agile skater but lacks size and strength.
Brendan Bornstein (#2 Rothesay Netherwood School, R, 5-10/160, ’98) -- Athletic, offensive minded defenseman who can join the attack, has strong and quick hands and facilitated a lot of plays from the back end.
Chris Gratton (#55 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, 6’1”/200, ’98) -- A true meat-and-potatoes defender. Punishes forwards along the half wall, and doesn’t allow anyone in front of his goalie. Makes a very strong first pass and has a nice shot. That said, he is a poor skater who made a few bad turnovers, especially one in front of his own net. He is a strong, physical defender who is tough to play against.
Marcus Nylander (#37 Carolina Hurricanes, 6’0”/175, ’98) -- A very intelligent goalie who communicates with his defense and has no problem handling the puck. His movements are smooth in the net and his rebound control is on point. Did not get beat on a clean shot all weekend.
Thomas Draper (#30 Syracuse Stars, 5-8/167, ’99) -- Not much size but moves very well between the posts, is quick side-to-side and has great reaction time. Team defense helps his case as he doesn’t see a lot of odd-man rushes and/or rebound chances around the goal. But he is aggressive, comes out and cuts down the angles, pounces on rebounds, and has a strong glove hand.
Connor Murphy (#30 CP Dynamo, 6-3/175, ’98) -- Murphy has great size and agility, is positionally sound and rarely gets rattled. He split the game half and half but posted a shutout in the time we saw him, making a few post-to-post sliding stops on 2-on1s. He also had a really nice glove save on a power play slap shot from the point through traffic.
Gabe Vinal (#54 Syracuse Stars, 6-1/165, ’99) – Syracuse’s other goalie has more size and potentially more upside than Draper, but is not as polished at this point. Vinal takes up a lot of net, reads the play, and is sharp on his angles. He doesn’t give up much in the way of rebounds as he seems to swallow up the puck.
Vinny Capezza (#73 LI Gulls, 5’11”/180, ’99) -- Played an outstanding game against Carolina where he was peppered with shots from all over the zone. Remains poised under fire and battles to make every save.
Brandon Bussi (#30 PAL Islanders, 6-1/185, ’98) -- Bussi faces a lot of shots. He makes the first save and shows good vision tracking the puck through traffic, but faces a lot of second and third chances.
Kaden Fulcher (#70 Hill Academy, 6-2/165, ’98) -- Tall and athletic, Fulcher made some quality stops and swallows up rebounds. A 13th round pick of the Sarnia Sting (OHL).
The 2014-15 USHR Prep Pages have been open for a few days now and schedules are trickling in. So far, we have Phillips Andover, Austin Prep, Avon Old Farms, BB&N, Central Catholic, Dexter, Groton, Millbrook, Moses Brown, Northwood Juniors, Rice Memorial, St. Andrew's College, and Vermont Academy.
We'll update the above list after the upcoming weekend. In addition, we'll be putting up jamboree schedules and holiday tournaments.
New England & Mass. District Playoff Schedules
Here are the seedings and matchups for the Yankee Conference (i.e. New England) District Championships this coming weekend, Nov. 7-9 at the Berkshire School, which is in Sheffield, Mass.
Games will consist of two 25 and a half minute periods.
1) Conn. Wolf Pack
2) Selects Academy (CCYHA)
4) Stamford Sharks
5) Northern Cyclones
6) NH Monarchs
1) Selects Academy (CCYHA)
2) Conn. Wolf Pack Split Season
3) Conn. Wolf Pack Full Season (East Haven)
4) RI Saints
5) Northern Cyclones
6) NH Monarchs
Selects Academy represents the Central Connecticut Youth Hockey Association
Conn. Wolf Pack Full Season represents the East Haven Youth Hockey Association
Fri. Nov 7 – All games on Olympic Sheet
4:00 pm – Conn. Wolf Pack vs. Stamford Sharks
6:00 pm -- Selects Academy vs. Northern Cyclones
8:00 pm -- Mid-Fairfield vs. NH Monarchs
Sat. Nov. 8 -- All games on Olympic Sheet
8:00 am -- Conn. Wolf Pack vs. Northern Cyclones
10:00 am – Selects Academy vs. NH Monarchs
12:00 pm – Stamford Sharks vs. Mid-Fairfield
3:00 pm – NH Monarchs vs. Conn. Wolf Pack
5:00 pm – Stamford Sharks vs. Selects Academy
7:00 pm – Northern Cyclones vs. Mid-Fairfield
Sun. Nov. 9
10:15 am – Semifinal --- #1 seed vs. #4 seed (Olympic)
10:15 am – Semifinal -- #2 seed vs. #3 seed (Regulation)
4:15 pm – Championship Game (Olympic)
Fri. Nov 7 -- All games on Regulation Sheet
4:00 pm – Selects Academy vs. RI Saints
6:00 pm -- Conn. Wolf Pack (Split Season) vs. Northern Cyclones
8:00 pm -- Conn. Wolf Pack (Full Season) vs. NH Monarchs
Sat. Nov. 8 -- All games on Regulation Sheet
8:00 am – Selects Academy vs. Northern Cyclones
10:00 am – Conn. Wolf Pack (Split Season) vs. NH Monarchs
12:00 pm –RI Saints vs. Conn. Wolf Pack (Full Season)
3:00 pm – NH Monarchs vs. Selects Academy
5:00 pm – RI Saints vs. Conn. Wolf Pack (Split Season)
7:00 pm –Northern Cyclones vs. Conn. Wolf Pack (Full Season)
Sun. Nov. 9
8:00 am – Semifinal -- #1 seed vs. #4 seed (Olympic)
8:00 am – Semifinal -- #2 seed vs. #3 seed (Regulation)
4:15 pm – Championship Game (Olympic)
Mass. District Playoff Schedules
The Mass District Championships will be held this weekend as well.
Below is a link to the schedule for all National Bound divisions. In the upper left hand corner there is a small tab for navigating to the division you are looking for.
The U16s and U18s will be held at the New England Sports Center (Marlborough, Mass.); the U14s will be held at Rodman Arena (Walpole, Mass.)
Mass. District Championship Schedules
Stanstead, Northwood Prep to Play a Pair in Providence
Stanstead College and Northwood Prep will meet in a pair of games this weekend in Providence.
On Saturday, they will face off at Providence College’s Schneider Arena (2:00 pm)
On Sunday, they will move over to Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium (2:00 pm)
The ‘01s at The Prep Cup
USHR traveled to Lawrence Academy the weekend of October 24th to take a look at some of the East Coast’s top ’01 talent. The Showcase, which included a number of the top-ranked teams in the country, was run by East Coast Classic Tournaments – and it was run very well, too. Scouts were provided with a complete program book, the games started on time, and, with a few exceptions, were highly competitive. The ‘00s, by the way, were down the road at Cushing Academy but, given the constraints of time and logistics, we had to pick one group to focus on. So we chose the ‘01s, and found numerous players who could step right in at the prep level in the coming years. They are all listed below. Keep in mind that, given that we’re talking about 7th and 8th graders, much can change. Indeed, it’s a certainty.
The best ’01 team here – by far – was the Minuteman Flames. They featured a pair of good goalies, the strongest defensive corps in the entire tournament, and some very talented forwards. They were as good as some of the best teams we have ever seen at this age level. Each player went about his business and played a clean, puck possession-based game. There were no excessive goal celebrations, and no screaming coaches on the bench. All players contributed in all three zones. In a 9-1 win over a solid group from Team Comcast, they had nine different goal scorers.
While there were plenty of excellent players on the Flames – and many other teams – we felt that there were two players in the tournament who rose above the rest. One would be 6’1”,168 lb. Mid-Fairfield goaltender Spencer Knight, who had long-time observers reaching for superlatives. It’s fair to say Knight is the best 13-year-old goalie we’ve seen in a couple of years – specifically, since Springfield Cathedral/Springfield Rifles goalie Keith Petruzelli, a ’99 who is now a sophomore, burst on the scene. Knight’s movements are outstanding. He’s always in control, fills up the net, and, basically, looks unbeatable. The 8th grader yielded only three goals while playing all but half a game in the entire tournament. The other standout was the New Jersey Colonials 5’6”, 130 lb. right-shot defenseman Marshall Warren, who has superb skating ability paired with a high hockey IQ and a terrific set of hands. He controls the game from the back end, slowing down the play on the breakout by eluding forecheckers and making solid passes to his forwards. Warren also features a heavy shot from the point, which he doesn’t use indiscriminately – only when the situation calls for it.
As for the rest of the players, we have broken them down into two categories. The “A” players were noticeable nearly every shift we saw them, while the “B” players were noticeable at times, though not as consistently as the “A” players. The lists are not a ranking, which is why there are no numbers attached. Rather, the players are presented in the order in which their teams appeared in the program, and broken down into forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders. Heights and weights listed below are taken directly from the program, though not every team submitted them.
Elijah Deveroux (#12, Rochester Monarchs, L) -- A dominant center who is very crafty with the puck on his stick. Skates well and uses a wide base to protect the puck against defenders. He was able to control the play despite not having the most talented supporting cast. A pass-first player who has a plus shot in his arsenal.
Patrick Moynihan (#19 Minuteman Flames, 5-8/133, R) -- The most complete forward at this stage of his development, and a standout on a very strong team. A good skater with excellent speed, Moynihan understands how to maximize the time and space afforded him. Has a very good set of hands and even better vision. A true playmaker with a finishing touch.
Trevor Zegras (#11 Mid-Fairfield Rangers, 5-5/115, L) -- A highly skilled playmaker who is good in all three zones. Has the hands and vision to make excellent passes, and the poise to slow the play down in the offensive zone when necessary.
John Farianacci (#87 NJ Colonials, 5-8/140, R) -- The most complete forward on a team that features a talented group up front. Unfortunately, Farianacci was injured at the end of the first game, so we only got to see him once. He looks to be a very intelligent center who understands how to create scoring chances. Was consistently looking to make the right play. A creative passer who has a deadly shot , which is a game-changing combination at any level. Had a 3-1-4 line in that one game we got to see him play in.
Matt Crasa (#22 PAL Islanders) -- A talented forward with a high IQ and great shot. Doesn’t try to overhandle the puck through the neutral zone, and picks his spots wisely to get into the high-traffic areas. Deadly on the PP as both a shooter and set-up man.
Matt Boldy (#2 South Shore Kings, 5-5/115, L) -- Missed the first half of the game we saw because his car went to the wrong rink. (We assume he was not the driver.) At any rate, as soon as he stepped onto the ice his head was right into the game, and his impact was immediate, as he helped out with two assists in a 3-2 victory over Team Maryland. Has very good hands and sees the ice in a way that enables him to create a lot of offense in settled situations.
Conur Lovett (#3 South Shore Kings, 5-5/120, R) -- A dynamic player in every sense of the term -- gritty, dangler, sniper. He gives his all every shift. We don’t know many youth coaches who wouldn’t be happy with a team full of players just like him. Scored two goals in his team’s 3-2 win on Friday.
Thor Griffith (#5 Boston Jr. Eagles) -- An ’02 playing up on a talented Junior Eagles team. Very skilled with the puck on his stick, and he can shoot it. Has a high hockey IQ. The puck just follows him, even though he is usually the smallest player on the ice. He has a knack for coming away from board battles with the puck plus he has the speed to separate from the pack, and the vision to hit an open teammate with a pass.
Marshall Warren, New Jersey Colonials (see above)
Brady Doyle (#7 Minuteman Flames, 5-8/130, L) -- A very smart player with a nice skill set. Snaps the puck around the rink with ease, and is very poised on the breakout. Packs a solid shot that he gets through traffic, and an understanding of when to use it.
Henry Thrun (#14 Minuteman Flames, 5-8/131, L) -- Possibly the highest hockey IQ on a team that is full of very smart hockey players. Understands when to stretch the play during an opponent’s line change, is patient in the neutral zone on regroups, and never gives up puck possession. A very good skater, with a truly accurate shot and top-notch hands to boot.
Robby Griffin (#10 Minuteman Flames, 5-7/125, R) – A-high flying forward who uses his skating to separate himself from the pack. Most players at this age who feature such speed usually end up being north-south wingers who rely solely on their speed; that is not the case with Griffin. He uses his speed to create space, and allows his linemates to find openings in defenses to exploit.
Sean Farrell (#21 Minuteman Flames, 5-6/130, L) -- Possibly the best player in the tournament at attacking the seam off the half-wall, a skill that translates well through all levels of hockey. Drives to the net hard, but has the ability to make a back-door pass off of the net drive.
Ari Nordlinger (#18 Team Comcast, 5-4/125, R) -- Has game-breaking speed off the rush and the ability to finish. His quick release makes his accurate shot very difficult to stop.
Aaron Aboodi (#62 Mid-Fairfield Rangers, 5-5/113, L) -- The power forward complement to Zegras’ playmaking ability. Uses his frame to protect the puck and finds a way to drive it past the goalie. Likes to drive wide off the rush then undercut the defenseman on the way to the net.
Alexandros Gaffney (#10 NJ Colonials, 5-1/115, L) -- An ’02 playing up a year at his size is impressive enough, but his ability to create plays is what separates him from the pack. Gaffney is a shifty player who knows where to go on the ice to score goals. He is always in the right place in the offensive zone to provide an outlet, or to get off a quick shot.
Danny Colon (#13 NJ Colonials, 5-7/160, R) -- A thick right hander who can really shoot the puck. He uses his size and strength to keep defenders away from his stick, and uses his quick release to get off a heavy snap shot. Dangerous on the PP anywhere below the dots.
Danny Weight (#39 PAL Islanders) -- The son of Doug Weight has a superb hockey IQ and a nice set of hands. Deadly with the puck below the goal line because of his elusiveness, playmaking ability, and pinpoint shot. His feet need a lot of work, but if he dedicates some time to that side of his game he could truly become an elite player down the road.
Jake Giannone (#88 PAL Islanders) -- A solid skater and good playmaker. Supports the puck well through the neutral zone, and gets to the dirty areas in the offensive zone. Doesn’t have high-end speed, but does have a good first step that allows him to get early separation from defenders.
Jack Ring (#63 CT Wolfpack) -- The most dynamic forward on the Wolfpack has a knack for getting the puck to the net. He is creative and always looks to set up his teammates.
Nicholas Capone (#71 CT Wolfpack) -- A power forward in every sense of the term. Has a big, thick, frame and the desire to lower his shoulder and drive to the net. Had a goal and an assist in the game we saw him in.
Chase McInnis (#6 South Shore Kings, 5-5/120, L) -- The younger brother of Luke McInnis is a good player in his own right, a forward who sees the ice well and makes good plays in the offensive zone. A good skater in all directions, McInnis wins a lot of one-on-one battles all over the ice.
Aidan Connoly (#23 South Shore Kings, 5-5/125, L) -- A poised forward who has a very high hockey IQ. Makes great passes in all zones and seems to enjoy drawing extra defenders in the offensive zone, only to pass the puck off at the last second.
Jack Cady (#4 Boston Bandits) -- A highly-skilled forward who uses his superior skating ability to slip around defenders. Can score goals with the best of them in tight areas. A fun player to watch every time he sets foot on the ice.
Aiden Torres (#11 Boston Bandits) -- A nice set of hands and a powerful stride allow him to create time and space in the zone. Not afraid to use his powerful shot when afforded the opportunity to do so. Can score from outside the dots with a heavy snap shot, or shoot off the pads to create rebounds.
Zack Jones (#20 Boston Bandits) -- The younger brother of Cooper Jones skates just like his older brother, and that it a very good thing. He has a slick set of hands that can awe defenders, and the playmaking ability to move the puck to his linemates to finish off scoring opportunities.
David Jacobs (#12 Boston Jr. Eagles) -- A plus skater and passer who likes to create havoc in the offensive zone using the cycle. Willing to get to the dirty areas to score goals.
Robert Lapsley (#21 Boston Jr. Eagles) -- A taller forward who makes excellent passes in both the neutral zone and offensive zone. Uses his frame to shield the puck from defenders. Has the ability to get the puck to the net with a shot or with his feet.
Eddie Evaldi (#95 Mercer Chiefs, 5’0”/90, L) -- A small, crafty, shifty, and elusive forward. Struggles at times against bigger opponents, but has the skating and playmaking ability to be noticeable nearly every shift.
Colby Bailey (#6 Minuteman Flames, 5-7/136, R) -- A smart, poised defenseman who never panics with the puck on his stick. Makes equally strong passes both tape-to-tape and indirectly. Very defensiveminded so he never gets caught up ice.
Ian Moore (#17 Minuteman Flames, 5-6/100, R) -- A heady defenseman who is excellent on the PK. Uses an active stick to take passing lanes away, and good body positioning to keep opponents to the outside.
Ray Siedem (#9 NJ Colonials, 5-10/160, R) -- The tall defender uses good stick positioning to keep opposing forwards to the outside off the rush. Makes good tape-to-tape passes in all three zones, and has a great set of hands that allow him to hold onto the puck in tight situations.
Kiernan Kraus (#18 NJ Colonials, 5-8/140, L) -- A smart defenseman who has great lateral movement and a good stick. Makes good defensive reads and even better outlet passes.
Mathew Foster (#81 PAL Islanders) -- A big defenseman with a rocket of a shot. Makes good outlet passes and is solid defending the rush. Strong in front of his own net as well as the top of the PP.
Kevin MacKay (#21 Boston Bandits) -- Very sound in his own zone. Uses a good stick to deflect passes and has no problem playing physically along the boards. Doesn’t waste time getting the puck to his forwards.
Liam Ovington (#8 Mercer Chiefs, 5-4/105) -- A solid overall player with subtle skills, Ovington doesn’t jump out at you right away. Skates very well and is very good on puck retrievals. Has the ability to make a 100-foot stretch pass, or a 10-foot saucer pass over a defender’s stick.
Spencer Knight, Mid-Fairfield (see above)
Trevor Giwererowski (#29 Team Comcast, 5-10/145) -- A tall goalie for this age. His movements are fluid and his puck-handling skills are solid. Not afraid to challenge shooters. Very good laterally.
Henry Wilder (#30 Boston Jr. Eagles) -- Moves very well in the net for a young goalie. Snaps his pads down when in the butterfly, but keeps his hands up to make the save. Has puck-handling skills and understands when the situation calls for him to employ them.
Junior Bruins Shootout Review
First off, our apologies for the delay in getting this – or much of anything – posted over the last 2-3 weeks. Let’s just say it was necessary to step back for a couple of weeks before things start to really heat up post-Halloween.
For those of you who were at the Junior Bruins Shootout, you don’t need to be reminded how many divisions and teams there were -- and how many rinks they were operating on at any given moment.
Needless to say, despite our best efforts, we missed some teams. In addition, we saw some teams that didn’t even have rosters in the program book, or anywhere else that we could see.
We did not see any Elite teams, or any Empire teams, though we hadn’t planned to do so anyway.
Teams we were not able to see included Hill Academy U18, Islanders Hockey Club U18, Boch Blazers U18, Long Island Royals U18, NJ Freeze U18, Jr. Falcons U18, Boston Bolts U18, Rochester Jr. Americans U18, Springfield Pics U18, Valley Forge Minutemen U18, Blyth Prep, South Shore Split Season U18 Team, and the U18 Northern Cyclones (though at least in their case we have seen them a bit lately). In general, we endeavored to concentrate on teams we hadn’t seen much, in particular USPHL teams, all of whom were on hand.
We did not have the time to concentrate on goalies, though we will say that 6’2” Ryan Glander of the Jersey Hitmen U18s, a ’97, played very well. He was excellent last year but could be even better this time around.
There are 125 players to wade through below, so...enjoy -- and, again, sorry for the delay.
Ace Cowans (#14 Little Bruins, R, 5-7/150, ‘96) -- Small, dynamic playmaker has elite hockey sense, lateral quickness and creativity. While his puck skills and scoring ability are obvious, we see the Groton senior’s hockey IQ as his most potent attribute. He made a play here where he came down the boards, saw he was heading into a 1v3 situation so, instead of dumping the puck in, he curled back for a neutral zone regroup, lured two players toward him and made a beautiful cross-ice pass to spring a linemate for a breakaway. Some may question how effective he will be at the next level due to his size, but savvy, skilled players don’t grow on trees. And many turn out to be terrific college players. College: Vermont
Evan Wisocky (#21 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-11/170, ’98) -- Wisocky has so many tools that he can play any kind of game you throw at him. He has smooth hands, is strong on his skates, and made some elite passes, one of which -- a no-look pass through the neutral zone -- sprung linemate Chris Grando for a breakaway. Wisocky has a D-I shot with high velocity, pinpoint accuracy, and an instantaneous release. At times he threw his body around and got involved in the physical game. He proved himself at Select 16s – and every time we’ve seen him. A sure-fire D-I prospect.
Johnny DeRoche (#10 Boston Jr. Bruins U18, L, 5-8/150, ’98) -- DeRoche is a small, high-skill players who can beat the same defenders three different ways. He has the speed to take the puck outside and, when he senses he can win that race, takes full advantage. He also moves very quickly laterally enabling him to side step defenders. DeRoche also stickhandles as well as anyone in this division with slick, creative juke moves. His size is his main limiting factor but it rarely gets exposed at this level. Needs to continue to get stronger and more dynamic to have the same impact at the D-I level. College: Quinnipiac
Lincoln Griffin (Cape Cod Whalers, 5-10/175, ’97) -- Plus skater who reads the ice well. Makes creative passes and shows a high level ofawareness in the offensive zone. He finds his teammates – and has the skill to get them the puck. Despite being one of prep school’s leading scorers he is not a prima donna. He is relentless on the puck, wins 1v1 battles in the tough ice and causes turnovers off the forecheck. Plays a hard, physical game. If he were a few inches taller, Griffin would be a top prospect for the 2015 NHL draft. Thayer senior is a complete player. College: Northeastern
Ryan Finnegan (#9 Baltimore Skipjacks, R, 5-7/135, ’97) -- A dynamic, highly skilled puck possession player with elite vision and awareness. Has the anticipation skills, quickness and intuition to anticipate where the puck is going to be – and get there. He is not a force in the defensive zone because of his size, but he’s plenty gritty and made several nice stick-check strips to regain possession. Upside may be limited and he only played one game here in which we felt he was the best player on the ice. College: Quinnipiac
Jack McCarthy (#9 Little Bruins, R, 5-11/170, ’96) -- A powerful skater who plays the full 200 feet, McCarthy played most of his minutes on KUA’s second unit last season but will be looked upon this season to shoulder more of the offensive load as he and linemate Brendan Riley are the two highest-scoring returning forwards. McCarthy has good balance and a sturdy stick allowing him to fend off defenders in close and get quality scoring opportunities. College: Brown
Alex Limoges (#26 Selects Academy, L, 6-1/185, late ’97) -- Limoges is a pure scorer with exceptional hockey sense and vision. He makes passes that look as if they are going to space and wind up hitting a teammate in stride. Limoges was the leading scorer on Select Academy’s U16 team last season, averaging almost a goal per game with a 25-26-51 line in 27 USPHL games. He is often overlooked due to his lack of speed and quickness. However, he has smooth hands and is strong on his skates, making him tough to contain down low. He could improve his stride and acceleration a bit to prepare for the next level. College: Cornell
Vlad Dzhioshvili (#34 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 6-0/185, ’98) -- A 3rd round pick of Bloomington (USHL), Dzhioshvili is a well-known offensive talent. He has excellent hands, creativity, and goal-scoring ability. He doesn’t have great speed but he’s far from slow. Also, he has size, strength, and puck-protection skills. At this point, he’s a one-dimensional offensive talent. Needs to become a more complete player, particularly in the defensive zone.
Carson Gicewicz (#17 Buffalo Saints, R, 6-2/211, ’97) -- Two-way power forward with high compete level is tough to play against. A natural center, he is positionally sound, wins faceoffs, and plays a strong physical game. A north-south power skater with deceptive speed. Also has great sense for where to be on the ice; is always ready and in position to score. Nichols School senior was a 3rd round selection of Youngstown Phantoms in May’s USHL draft. College: St. Lawrence
Alex Whelan (#7 NJ Hitmen, R, 6-0/200, ’97) -- Whelan was the MVP and leading scorer in the USPHL U16 division last year, right above future Quinnipiac teammates Johnny DeRoche and Ryan Finnegan. A prolific goal scorer, Whelan is dynamic with the puck on his stick and is able to create separation with a combination of size and puck-handling ability. He competes for every puck, wins battles along the boards, and is as good 1v1 as anyone in his age group as he can beat defensemen with either a power game or a skill game. Well-put-together, solid, and very hard to knock off the puck. Madison Capitols (USHL) draft pick. College: Quinnipiac
Charley Michalowski (#12 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 6-0/185, ’96) -- Michalowski had a strong showing at the Mass Tier 1 Labor Day Showcase, and was just as good here. A two-way centerman, the Belmont Hill senior has a nice combination of size and speed. His hands are not poor, but are also not a strength. College: Dartmouth
Austin McIlmurray (#91 Selects Academy, R, 5-11/180, ’96) -- The speedster out of Coral Springs, Florida is the most improved returning player from Selects Academy’s talent-rich squad. He was always first in the zone, has great closing speed, and is quick and agile on his skates, allowing him to play as aggressively as he does. McIlmurray caused several turnovers off the forecheck and in the neutral zone, from where he can turn on a dime and go the other way. We were impressed with was his poise with the puck, especially in tight, high-traffic areas where he was able to use his quick feet and soft hands to find open ice. He has a powerful snap shot that he gets off instantly.
Bailey Conger (#17 Little Bruins, R, 6-1/190, ’97) -- Conger has had inconsistent performances this summer/fall – and that was again the case here – but he does he have excellent vision and poise with the puck. Boise, Idaho native and Cushing junior reads the ice and has the ability to slow the game down and play a puck possession game. Defensively, he has demonstrated his hockey sense with strong anticipation skills. However, we would have liked to see him finish checks and, in general, be more willing to get his nose dirty. Overall though, Conger is a smart prospect with soft hands and high-end passing ability. Has the potential to be one of prep’s premiere playmakers. College: St. Lawrence
Dylan Seitz (#21 Buffalo Saints, L, 6-0/153, ’99) -- Seitz is a ’99 and the Saints’ leading scorer. He possesses great confidence and imagination with the puck on his stick and, as his coach remarked, “he sees the game differently than the other kids.” He plays the game at a high pace, with his feet always moving -- and he doesn’t show any signs of letting up when the puck leaves the offensive end either. While his skills and upside are obvious he will need to dedicate himself to the weight room over the next few years and make smarter decisions with the puck as he has a tendency to overexpose it and try to get cute. Played well this summer at Select 15s. A D-I talent.
Chris Grando (#3 NJ Avalanche, L, 5-9/150, ’98) -- A dynamic playmaker, Grando has smooth hands and an ability to find his teammates and get them the puck. He is a proven goal scorer but favored the pass here. A fast and agile skater he is able to create separation with his feet. D-I prospect is a go-to guy despite playing with older competition.
Nathaniel Chuckran (#8 Team Comcast, R, 6-2/190, ’97) -- Chuckran may be the best prospect on a very deep Comcast team. He has size, soft hands, and a quick release. He can slow the game down, reads the play well, and is decisive. Regardless of where the puck is on the ice, Chuckran has the instincts and vision to find his teammates.
Jason O’Neill (#15 Baltimore Skipjacks, L, 6-0/175, ’97) -- O’Neill had some nice rushes up ice, has a good combination of size and speed through the neutral zone, and knows how to use it. He doesn’t have a cannon, but gets the puck to the net and fights for rebounds. College: UNH
Marcus Dickerson (#28 Selects Academy, R, 5-10/210, ’98) -- Dickerson is one of the youngest players on his team but also one of the most powerful. He shoots the puck with great power, is strong on his skates, has a powerful stride, and can handle the puck well in tight. Very competitive. Needs to improve his speed.
Kyle MacLean (#15 NJ Rockets, L, 5-10/145, ’99) -- Son of the John MacLean, the former New Jersey Devils head coach, and recently an assistant with the Carolina Hurricanes. The younger MacLean plays a like, well… a coach’s son. Has creative instincts, quick feet, and soft hands. His stride is long and fluid but he doesn’t generate a lot of power – at least not yet (he’s a ’99). He’s gritty, always around the puck, and more than willing to go to the dirty areas.
Jack Badini (#33 NJ Avalanche, L, 5-11/185, ’98) -- Badini showed that he can not only compete but excel at both ends of the ice. He plays the game with a high motor, stops on the puck, and goes hard to the net. Badini is the type of player every coach wants on his team. He isn’t overly skilled offensively, but he is attentive and one of the best skaters in this division despite being a ’98.
Ethan DeStefani (#3 NH Monarchs, R, 6-3/180, ’99) -- A tall, lanky forward who was not able to do much in the way of offense playing against older kids. He moves very well for his size and there is a lot of upside here. It will be interesting to see how he improves as the season moves along. A D-I prospect.
Kevin Hock (#8 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 6-0/170, late ’96) -- One of prep school’s leading scoring sophomores last season at Dexter, Hock is not the flashiest player, but he gets the job done. A powerful skater who plays with a high compete level, Hock showed skill with the puck on his stick, allowing him to create scoring opportunities. D-I potential.
Erik Urbank (#10 Buffalo Saints, R, 5-11/159, ’99) -- Urbank has an awkward stride -- a bit choppy and upright. He also needs to develop physically and add lower body strength. If he is able to do that then he has serious upside. He is raw but keeps it simple, protecting the puck well, especially in open ice, and making good short passes. A ’99 playing with older company, Urbank never looked out of place.
Jack Donato (#24 Cape Cod Whalers, 6-1/185, late ’97) -- It is not fair to compare Jack to his older brother Ryan, but we feel think Jack has a great deal of potential in his own right. He has size, strength on his skates, and plays a complete game. In a five-minute span we saw him block two shots on the PK, finish a check off a forecheck, and score on a slap shot from the point. Donato played a power game here, shooting the puck with authority, crashing the net, throwing his body around, and showing decent speed on the backcheck and forecheck. We did not see him open it up or make many plays in space, but he was always around the puck and excels in the tough ice. He has a way to go, but is a sleeper to keep an eye on.
Connor Sundquist (#13 Selects Academy, R, 6-0/170, ’97) -- A late-round pick in both the USHL and QMJHL drafts this summer, Sundquist has obvious potential as he possesses a strong sense of the game, deceptive speed, and the ability to both set up and finish. Physically, he has not developed but he has improved his toughness both pursuing the puck and away from the puck. Scored a great goal here against Connecticut Rangers, showing off his velocity and quick release snap shot. D-I upside.
Matt Brazel (#23 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 5-11/170, ’96) -- A gifted playmaker who reads the play well, the Dexter senior has strong anticipation, and has enough quickness to follow through. He has good size, and is also light on his feet. More agile than he at first appears. He was quiet in the offensive zone here but, overall, we liked his game.
Alex Rowella (#19 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 6-1/185, ’97) -- A strong skater who is tough to knock off the puck, Rowella has size, protects the puck well, and has quick, sturdy hands around the net. He played center here and was good on the draws, played sound defensively in his own end, cleared out the front of the zone and supported the puck on the breakout. Not flashy but did all the little things to make the players around him better. A 1/1/97 birthdate, Rowella was a late draft pick in the QMJHL this summer (12th round to Shawinigan).
Jimmy Elser (#9 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 6-1/190, late ’97) – A strong power forward, Elser scored a great goal here. With one guy hanging on him, and another defender slashing at him, Elser just motored through pressure and buried a low stick side shot. Plays on the team’s top line, forechecks with authority, and opens up lanes for Rowella and Dzhioshvili to make plays.
Nicholas Polsinelli (#28 Team Comcast, R, 6-0/190, ’96) -- A power forward, Polsinelli likes to rush the puck down the boards in the neutral zone and take the defenseman wide to the net. He does a nice job muscling through checks and keeping the puck away from the defensemen with his body positioning and reach. A productive player within ten feet of the goalie, he can get his shot off quickly and is always in the right place at the right time.
Nikita Anistratenko (#58 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, R, 5-8/170, ’97) -- A smooth skater with speed and an explosive first step. Has great control of the puck and can carry it effortlessly at full speed. While he lacks size, he is strong on his skates and has a low center which he uses well, fighting through checks along the boards. We liked him a lot last winter at the Selects Academy Tournament last winter. He was not quite as noticeable here, but an eye-catcher nonetheless.
Matt Gasuik (#11 Buffalo Saints, L, 5-8/167, ’99) -- A high-energy, high-compete sparkplug type who was always the first guy in the zone, where he is a pest. Would have liked to have seen him create more offensive opportunities as he did not appear as confident with the puck as we have seen in past showings, but he’s also 2-3 years younger than most of the players here.
Cody Todesco (Cape Cod Whalers, 5-10/170, ’96) – Nobles senior showed a new side to his game this weekend by holding the puck a little longer in the offensive zone in order to make plays. A great competitor. Constantly wins battles all over the ice.
Connor Powell (#77 NH Monarchs, L, 5-10/170, ’96) -- The Monarchs’ leading scorer returning was, not surprisingly, also the most noticeable player on his team. Powell is a balanced skater who values the puck and doesn’t throw it away, makes sound decisions, and has a quick release. He is not dynamic but is solid in all three zones and can create offensive opportunities on his own.
Michael Morrissey (#92 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, R, 6-0/160, late ’97) – A solid 200-foot centerman who can make plays at full speed, has vision and poise in pressure situations, and is able to get the puck to his teammates. He made a beautiful no-look assist from behind the net that caught both the defense and goaltender off guard. Wins draws and battles in his defensive zone to gain possession.
Roberto Cellini (#22 Jr. Bruins U19, 5-7/153, ’96) -- Hotchkiss senior competes hard every shift. Is dangerous below the goal line creating scoring chances with his vision and playmaking ability. Excellent player, but very small.
Brandon Donohue (#29 Selects Academy, L, 6-3/200, ’97) -- A big, strong power forward, Donohue was not a consistent force in the offensive zone but showed flashes of skill including a beautiful centering pass for a tap-in goal. We will be keeping our eye on him.
Eric Linell (#5 PAL Islanders, 6-0/150, ’98) -- Despite being an underage player on an older team, Linell was one of the stronger players on his team. Tough to knock off the puck. Younger brother of BC’s Danny Linell.
Danny Reidel (#27 NJ Hitmen, R, 5-10/193, ’97) -- Reidel played on a line with league MVP Alex Whelan and racked up a ton of points last year with a 25-32-57 line in 28 games. He has size and touch in tight spaces, especially in front of the net. He did not have a ton of puck possession time in the games we saw, but he plays physically away from the puck and has good hands.
John Wojciechowski (#92 NJ Rockets, R, 6-4/207, ’98) -- A tall, slightly awkward skater who has straight-line speed north and south but lacks agility and lateral mobility. Right shot wing plays a simple game, uses his body to protect the puck, and is efficient and tough along the wall and in front. He plays better when he’s mad, as he keeps his feet moving and takes the body more. To realize his true potential he will need to improve his edge work and dedicate himself to becoming a two-way power forward. Drafted by Omaha (USHL) in the 16th round last spring.
Brandon Ecklund (#11 Boston Jr. Bruins U18, L, 5-8/165, ’97) -- Ecklund is an agile skater who is light on his feet, carries the puck with poise, has slick hands, and makes good decisions with the puck. He is a bit perimeter at this stage of his development but he has enough skill to get away with it at this level. Worth keeping an eye on.
Dan Stingi (#23 PAL Islanders, L, 6-0/170, ’98) -- A raw skater with size and competent hands, Stingi has the ability to slow the game down, and carry the puck with poise and confidence while keeping his head up looking for the pass. He played with the U16’s as well -- and was their best player. One to keep an eye on this season.
Connor Tierney (#22 NJ Hitmen, R, 5-7/163, ’97) -- Tierney may lack size but he makes up for it with his quickness and shiftiness. He can be in front of the D surveying the ice and the next second he has flashed past, en route to the net for a scoring chance. He is electric in the transition game where he can accelerate in any direction from a standstill; is able to control the puck at high speed.
Charlie Davis (#92 Boston Jr. Bruins, R, 5-11/185, ’97) -- Davis had a strong showing at the Spring Beantown but did not follow that up here as he looked slow and stiff. However, he does have a lot of power in his shot, soft hands, and a strong lower body. Needs to adapt to the pace more as he looked a step behind and did not use his size in the tough ice.
Guus Van Nes (#19 Boston Jr. Bruins, L, 6-3/180, ’97) -- From the Netherlands, Van Nes has international experience at the World Junior level representing Team Netherlands. He has a great frame, good mobility for his size, and scored a goal and an assist in the game we saw. An intriguing prospect who we would have liked to have seen more of. Someone to keep an eye on throughout the season.
Ben Ventura (#22 Islanders Hockey Club U18 Showcase, 5-11/170, ’96) -- Smooth skater who plays the game instinctually and creates a lot of scoring chances with slippery hands and quick feet. Ventura excels in open ice where he can isolate a defenseman 1v1 and either stickhandle through him or skate around him. Was always around the puck -- and on the stat sheet.
Harrison Oates (#7 Buffalo Saints, L, 5-9/163, ’97) -- Oates excels on the forecheck where he shows his speed and athleticism pressuring opposing defensemen and causing turnovers. He is not only a speedster but has solid hands and makes a nice pass out of his own end. However, we would need to see more offensive ability before tabbing him as a D-I prospect.
Matt Kidney (#19 NJ Hitmen, R, 5-9/185, ’97) -- Kidney was the leading scorer for the Junior Titans last season with a 24-26-50 line in 19 NAHL 16U games. He is a potent goal scorer who has great balance and lower body strength coupled with quick, sturdy hands. Hhe is highly efficient around the net. He can score from outside, make a quick pass, or screen the goalie and drive home rebounds. We would like to see him move his feet more as he had a tendency to stand around and wait for the play to come to him. Kidney has the strength and skill set to play at the next level.
Griffin Lun (#4 Buffalo Saints, R, 5-9/179, late ’97) -- Lun has excellent speed and lower body strength allowing him to rush the puck and fight through checks to gain the zone. He did not possess the puck as much as we would have liked, but he is very good in transition and has enough skill to make plays.
Sean Lloyd (#80 Team Comcast, L, 6-2/190, ’97) -- A tall, strong, power forward with good control of the puck, particularly at full speed. Made some great passes here in all three zones. A work in progress but has a high ceiling given his size and ability to see the play. Will be a new junior at Westminster.
Cody McGowan (#48 NH Monarchs, R, 5-7/160, ’96) -- McGowan is a slippery, agile playmaker who can weave his way in and out of pressure situations. Has some speed but it’s his first three steps and lateral quickness that make him tough to stop. He took a leg check at the blue line in one of the games we saw and was taken off the ice.
Joey Slevin (#68 Boston Jr. Bruins, R, 5-8/160, ’96) -- Slevin has great speed and energy but the rest of his game has not caught up yet. He has decent hands, but cannot control the puck well enough at full speed to do the things he wants to do. Was one of the Junior Bruins top players. but also one of the oldest.
Brendan Ondick (#91 Team Comcast, R, 6-2/175, ’97) -- Ondick has upside because he is tall and has straight-line speed and deceptive hands. He is not particularly smooth, but in the open ice he can make one or two quick moves and be past the defense. He does not put on the brakes in the offensive zone -- he just goes hard to the net. Scored a weak goal after beating a defenseman 1v1 with a combination of strength and skill. Could develop into a powerforward at the next level.
Travis Yawger (#19 NJ Rockets, R, 5-11/164, ’99) -- Had a limited viewing of Yawger but he is a raw prospect with deceptive speed, high compete level and an ability to come out of scrums with the puck. Still too young to determine what kind of player he will become, but it appears that he’s suited to be a power forward. He has great size for his age and leans more towards grit then skill.
Connor Marshall (#17 Selects Academy, L, 5-11/180, ’98) -- Marshall is a smooth skater who can accelerate in any direction; he was quiet offensively but he has decent hands and made some nice passes. He has a way to go but we like the direction he’s headed in.
Ryan Conlin (#25 Team Comcast, R, 5-11/198, ’96) -- A strong, two-way player who knows where to be on the ice and has finishing ability. He scored a nice rebound goal in the championship game to tie it 1-1. Isn’t a flashy player but protects the puck well, finishes checks, blocks shots, and has a sound overall game.
Andrew Peeke (#20 Selects Academy, R, 6-1/200, ’98) -- We ranked Peeke in the top 10 at Nationals in April, saying he had a vast skill set but needed to put it all together. Well, a few months later he was terrific at Select 16s, where we ranked him #3 among d-men. Needless to say, Peeke, who committed to Notre Dame last month, has put it all together, and looks like a serious prospect for the 2016 NHL Draft. The Florida native has great size and is figuring out how to use it in his own end to break up passes, block shots, take the body. and move opponents away from the front of his team’s net. His stride has lengthened as he is lower in his stance and generates far more power. In the offensive zone he has smooth hands, always has his head up, and delivers crisp, accurate passes. Peeke likes to join the rush, but, unlike Shea or McInnis, he understands when the time is right and when it’s better to just make a pass. His hands are much better then he gets credit for, especially in tight spaces, where he demonstrates escapability and poise. Knocks on his game? Well, he could have played with more urgency on a few occasions and he could have been more physical. He made a strong case for his being the best player in the entire division. College: Notre Dame
Ryan Shea (#3 Cape Cod Whalers, L, 6-1/180, ’97) -- Shea has been a top defenseman in nearly every tournament we have seen him in lately. A fluid skater with a long stride and lateral quickness, he likes to join the rush – sometimes a bit too much -- but he has exceptional closing speed on the backcheck and makes contact, breaking up the play without drawing a penalty. He makes swift passes, has a good shot and is very athletic along the offensive blue line. Third round pick by Youngstown in the USHL entry draft where he will likely play next season. College: Northeastern
Konstantin Chernyuk (#33 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 6-5/173, ’98) -- Chernyuk, a Russian-born prospect, has a massive frame that he hasn’t even come close to filling in. He uses his reach and body positioning to protect the puck and makes quick, simple passes to break out of his end. He has great presence on the offensive blue line and is dominant in 1v1 situations with a lethal poke check. He has a long stride which allows him to get up and down the ice with speed, but his lateral mobility is a work in progress. Overall, with his size and skill set, he’s one of the top prospects in the division for the 2016 NHL Draft. College: Maine
Luke McInnis (#2 Cape Cod Whalers, L, 5-10/170, ’98) -- McInnis has been talked about a lot in these pages recently. A dynamic, offensive defenseman who is an elite skater in every direction, has poise and skill carrying the puck and is nearly impossible to get around. BC recruit will be suiting up for Dexter, which looks to have a blue line as skilled as any in prep hockey. College: Boston College
Marc Del Gaizo (#11 NJ Rockets, L, 5-8/160, late ’99) – Del Gaizo was one of the best players on the ice in both games we saw him in. A late ’99, he’s a smooth skater who is gifted offensively, has agile hands, makes crisp, accurate passes out his end, and excels on the power play. Del Gaizo has a solid slap shot from the point and demonstrates poise and athleticism on the offensive blue line, keeping the puck in and holding onto it for an extra second in order to let the play develop before moving it. Unlike other young offensive defensemen, he rarely gets unnecessarily seduced into making flashy offensive plays. Del Gaizo has sandpaper in his game, and likes to throw his body around. He’s also a willing shot blocker. A sure-fire D-I prospect, which is saying a lot given his size. He’s still young and growing, though.
William Sweezey (#4 Cape Cod Whalers, R, 6-1/175, ’96) -- Sweezey is known for being really tough to play against: he is physical, he plays with an edge, and he does a nice job taking away time and space from opponents. He had a good showing at the Bruins’ training camp this summer despite not being drafted. He will be a senior at Nobles this year. College: Yale
James Callahan (#21 NJ Hitmen, R, 6-2/173, ’97) -- The recent Quinnipiac commit has the size and skating ability to be a blue chip prospect but was inconsistent here both in effort and execution in the one game we saw. At times he rushed the puck end-to-end, skating past the opposition like they were cones only to enter the zone and take long-range shots. His ability to read the play while maintaining high speed carrying the puck is very advanced for his age. At other times however, he forced the issue or over-handled the puck which led to turnovers. We’ll just say he had an off game. We know he can play, and we also expect he’ll hear his name called at next summer’s NHL Draft. College: Quinnipac
Patrick O’Leary (#2 Boston Jr. Bruins, L, 6-1/190, ’97) -- O’Leary, who has moved from the Boston Advantage to the Junior Bruins this season, has taken his game to another level. He was a standout at the Tier 1 Showcase and the Select 17 Festival in Buffalo, NY and continued his strong play here. A tall, good-framed defenseman who has a long and graceful stride, O’Leary is agile on his skates. He’s also a decisive passer who possesses a hard slapshot from the point. A D-I prospect who is still growing into his frame, O’Leary needs to bring a more consistent focus to play in his own end, as well as away from the puck. At times, he gets caught standing still and watching the play. He could also improve his backward acceleration, too. All in all, he’s a player on an upward trajectory.
Aaron McPheters (#11 Selects Academy, L, 5-9/160, ’97) -- McPheters is an athletic, gifted skater who is one the premier passers in the league. He skates gracefully with his head up, has the vision to find the open guy and distributes it effortlessly. In his own end he uses his athleticism to poke check, lift sticks, and maintain body position despite being undersized. College: Alaska-Anchorage
Elijah Latimer (#6 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 5-10/170, ’97) -- Latimer is a smooth, controlled skater who excels at moving the puck up-ice whether it’s with a short breakout pass, stretching the ice with a cross-ice saucer pass, or skating it out of the zone himself. Regardless of the method, Latimer has great retrieval skills. He’s able to get to the puck, turn up-ice and make decisive distributions. He doesn’t force the play. He regrouped in the neutral zone on more than one occasion instead of dumping it in. He’s undersized at this point but has the skating and passing ability to be a D-I player.
Liam Darcy (#14 Islanders Hockey Club, L, 5-11/175, ’97) -- Darcy is a cerebral, highly-skilled puck carrier who can beat you with sharp passes or quick handles. He does a nice job protecting the puck, especially after retrievals off dump-ins, and is able to turn up ice quickly and make quality breakout passes. As for play in his own end, Darcy will definitely have to add strength and grit before he laces them up in Hockey East. We didn’t see him play a full game, only bits and pieces of several games but he was fairly quiet overall. He did, however, display poise with the puck, making some nice passes. College: UNH
Marcus Joseph (#7 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, L, 5-10/175, ’97) -- Joseph is at his best quarterbacking the Knights umbrella powerplay. He has top-notch vision and passing ability, moves well horizontally along the blue line, and is always in position to receive a pass and take a shot. Defensively he got caught staring at the puck while opponents slipped behind him, but for the most part he is tough to play against, knows his angles, and plays within himself. Will need to be more physical and attentive around the net but the foundation is there to be a solid D-I player.
Diarmad DiMurro (#4 NJ Avalanche, R, 5-8/140, ’99) -- DiMurro is a beautiful skater who can join the rush but also has the speed and hustle to get back into position. He is undersized but is able to escape from pressure with his elusive hands and quick feet. He demonstrates poise carrying the puck despite being a ’99 playing against older and bigger competition. When he sees a lane he doesn’t hesitate – he moves the puck quickly. His defensive game rests on his athleticism but he will need to work on that. As a ’99 we feel that will happen as he gets stronger – he’s only 140 pounds. A legitimate D-I prospect.
Matt Dillon (#6 Little Bruins, L, 6-1/160, ’97) -- Dillon is an intriguing prospect due to his size and athleticism. He is tall but very thin, moves well on the offensive blue line and has smooth hands. He is a natural offensive defenseman who likes to join the rush and excels on the powerplay. He looked sharper here than when we saw him at the Tier 1 Showcase. However, he still has a long way to go building strength and buckling down in his own end. Drafted in the 7th round of QMJHL draft by Gatineau but will be playing for Cushing this season.
Ty Schafer (#12 NJ Rockets, L, 5-9/165, ’99) -- A smooth, puck-moving defenseman who makes a great first pass and can run the powerplay. A ’99, he was often outmuscled in the defensive zone but he doesn’t shy away from contact. He’s generally in the right position to make the play and has mature hockey instincts.
Alexis Binner (#55 Selects Academy, L, 6-3/190, late ’98) -- The Swedish blue liner is Selects Academy’s youngest player although at 6’3”, 190 lbs. he certainly doesn’t look it. Binner logs a lot of quality minutes, plays on the powerplay and penalty kill units, and was efficient at both. He is tall but lanky and isn’t the most fluid skater. He is strong on his edges, however, and has good backward acceleration. He has a low slap shot that he can fire for high percentage shots on net. We certainly saw that on display on the powerplay. Binner has D-I upside and should be closely followed this season.
Billy Carrabino (#2 Little Bruins, L, 6-2/205, ’97) -- Carrabino improved over the course of the summer in his mobility and defensive zone play, and is carrying that into the fall. Last year, he had a tendency to play the game in straight lines because he was limited by his skating. He also ran around some, getting out of position and always looking to lay on the big hit. His feet are more agile now and he makes better decisions away from the puck, i.e whether to pursue the puck and pinch, or when to retreat and play more conservatively. Carrabino has a heavy shot from the point, and is strong and tough along the wall and in front of the net. He’ll be senior at Nobles.
Zac Hermann (#6 Buffalo Saints, L, 5-10/156, late ’97) -- Hermann had a hot-and-cold performance at the Select 17 Festival in Buffalo, NY earlier this summer, but played well here, showing his expansive skill set. A smooth skater, Hermann can accelerate in any direction from a stopped position, has soft hands, and the poise to let the play develop in front of him. He did over-carry the puck and force passes at time, but, overall, he is a skilled offensive defenseman with D-I upside if he can get stronger and make better decisions.
Matt Doherty (#20 Cape Cod Whalers, L, 5-10/180, ’96) -- The St. Sebastian’s highest returning scorer on the backend is often overlooked because he doesn’t have elite size, isn’t flashy, and plays a gritty and ugly style at times. That being said, he has deceptive offensive abilities, a hard and accurate shot, decent hands, and speed both forwards and backwards. He scored nearly a point per game last season with a 7-17-24 line in 25 games. An underrated prospect, Doherty works hard in all three zones and should garner more respect as he enters his senior season.
Tyler Antonucci (#51 NJ Avalanche, R, 6-0/190, ’97) -- Antonucci made a beautiful backdoor pass on the powerplay after spinning off a forechecker, firing a pass that few kids at this level would have seen, but less executed. A strong skater who holds the blue line well, Antonucci is tough along the boards and in front of his net.
Cody Fleckenstein (#3 Buffalo Saints, L, 5-11/177, ’97) -- Fleckenstein doesn’t stand out in any one particular area, but he has a well-rounded game. He’s a sturdy skater, can shoot the puck with power, takes the body well, and is tough to play against, particularly in 1v1 situations.
Richard Brusco (#77 Team Comcast, R, 5-8/155, ’96) -- An undersized offensive defenseman, Brusco likes to join the rush and isn’t afraid to shoot from the point. While he cannot outmuscle opponents in front, he does a nice job picking up sticks and blocking shots.
Samuel Murray (#28 NJ Rockets, L, 6-1/201, ’97) -- A big, physically imposing defender, Murray makes a nice first pass and logs a lot of quality minutes. He can play on the power play, kill penalties, block shots, take the body and, basically, do all the little things necessary to keep the puck away from his goalie.
Dima Kobulanskey (#58 Team Comcast, L, 6-1/187, ’97) -- Kobulanskey moves very well for his size and makes a sharp first pass. He was unable to create much in the offensive zone but he walks the offensive blue line with poise and confidence and getz pucks to the net. He has good vision away from the puck, keeps his head on a swivel and doesn’t allow anyone to get behind him.
Michael Gilroy (#27 PAL Islanders, R, 6-2/190, late ’96) -- Gilroy has a big frame, moves well for his size and led all defenseman in scoring last year for the PAL Islanders. He’s not an offensive defenseman nor is he a shutdown defender – he’s somewhere in between, a hybrid. He is a willing body checker and has enough offense to contribute on the powerplay.
Jack Zimmer (#44 NJ Avalanche, R, 6-1/160, ’98) -- A tall, lanky, raw defenseman who has a tendency to over-handle and lacks urgency in his game at times. But he delivered some big hits, has decent hands, and a good frame to build into. He has definite D-I potential as there are several bright elements of his game. He just needs to put it all together.
Chad L’Heureux (#81 NH Monarchs, R, 5-9/185, ’97) -- Undersized but stocky, L’Heureux had one of the biggest hits we saw all weekend in open ice. He also displayed athleticism on the offensive blue line, is able to hold the zone, and can make plays.
Vitality Novitskyy (#76 Team Comcast, L, 6-1/184, ’97) A tall, rangy defender with good reach and next gear speed that we saw on a backcheck where he closed on someone 10 ft infront of him, angled him into the boards and stole the puck. Not very active with the puck but smart, physical and plays within himself.
Valterri Ilomaki (#65 NH Monarchs, R, 6-1/175, ’97) -- From Kangasala, Finland, Ilomaki is a promising young skater who moves the puck up-ice efficiently. His best attribute, however, is his work away from the puck, where he uses his size, anticipation, and hockey sense to break up plays and take away time and space.
Dylan Kuipers (#51 NJ Rockets, R, 6-1/181, ’97) -- Reliable in his own end, and tough to play against, especially in 1v1 situations. While Kuipers doesn’t have a cannon for a shot, he is able to get it through traffic and on net with regularity. He showed a combination of toughness and athleticism on the offensive blue line.
Maksim Masiulis (#8 CT Jr. Rangers, L, 6-5/210, ’96) -- From Lithuania, Masiulis is an intriguing prospect with his massive frame (some rosters have him at 6-6/227). He moves well for his size, but did not show much hockey sense or skill with the puck. With his his size, though, he may be someone to keep tabs on over the coming year or two. Played at the Brunswick School last year.
The U16s at the Junior Bruins Shootout
We posted reports on 36 players when this article originally went up yesterday. However, we have a far more in-depth ranking from the tournament, with 100 players from across a broader swath of teams, all of whom are split up into A, B, and C groups.
We're going to run with that longer article. It will just need more work -- specifically, a lot of line editing and condensing (it's 14 typewritten pages as of now). We fell behind a little in early October and this extended ranking was a victim.
A lot of effort has been put into it already and, despite the time that has passed since the tournament, it's definitely worth putting the final touches on. It will feature all 36 of the U16s in the list posted yesterday, but also 64 more.
The more players we can bring attention to, the better.