U.S. Draftees Plunge
After seeing 67 Americans drafted last year – the most since the draft went to seven rounds in 2005 – the number of U.S. kids drafted this year fell back to 55, the lowest number since 2009.
That’s one of the stories from this past weekend’s NHL draft, held at the Florida Panthers BB&T Center (definitely not as catchy as National Car Rental Center or Office Depot Center, just a couple of the arena’s previous names) in Sunrise, Florida. Peter Chiarelli prefaced his pick of #1 overall pick of Connor McDavid by saying, “We’d like to thank the warm city of Florida.” A faux pas, but a minor one, as the city of Sunrise is Nowheresville. It was incorporated in the late ‘60s. The original name was supposedly going to be Sunset, but sun-wizened retirees objected to the finality. Hence, Sunrise.
Forgive the digression. As we mentioned, US numbers were down significantly.
-- Sweden took a plunge, too, as its numbers went from 27 to 19.
-- Ditto for the United Kingdom, plunging from two last year to zero this year. The sun has set on the British Empire – again.
-- As for Canada, their numbers are up by two, from 77 to 79.
-- Russia is also up, going from 13 picks last year to 17 this year, the largest number of Russian picks since 2004, the year Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin went 1-2. Count on Russia’s oligarch/president Vladimir Putin to take credit.
-- Speaking of countries formerly under Communist rule, we should point out that the People’s Republic of China has produced its first-ever NHL draft pick in Andong “Misha” Song, a 6’1”, 194 lb. left-shot D from Beijing. Song, taken in the sixth round by the New York Islanders, spent the first ten years of his life in China’s smog-choked city before his family moved to Toronto. When Song was 15, he was sent to the Lawrenceville School, where he has played for the last three years. Song will be playing at Phillips Andover as a PG this season, with NCAA hockey to follow.
Oh, what else?
-- The USHL will claim 32 players from its league were drafted. It’s really twenty, as a dozen were either NTDP players or late-season additions from prep school or high school who played a couple games or so.
-- One player was selected from the Premier League (USPHL). That would be the South Shore Kings defenseman – and Harvard recruit -- John Marino, picked in the sixth round by the Edmonton Oilers, for whom his South Shore coach, Scott Harlow, is a scout. Did you know that Harlow, who had 223 career points at BC, only played one NHL game in his career (for Montreal, the team that had taken him in the 3rd round)? Just something to think about, particularly if you were selected in the top few rounds.
-- One player was selected from a midget program, as the Detroit Red Wings selected Boston Advantage U18 6’4” D Patrick Holway in the 6th round. Holway was not on Central’s final list -- or anybody else’s for that matter. We suspect Wings scout Len Quesnelle may have had a hand in this one.
-- For the second straight season, no players have been drafted directly from Shattuck-St. Mary’s. Previously, Shattuck had gone nine straight years (’05-13) with at least one player chosen. But make no mistake: there are players at Shattuck, especially at the younger ages. The best of the older ones get plucked by the USHL or NTDP before reaching their draft years.
-- And what about Edina HS, who have no NHL draft picks this time around. This comes after a four-year period (’11-14) in which at least one player was selected each year. Of course, if Gopher recruit Ryan Zuhlsdorf (5th round, by Tampa Bay) had remained with the Hornets, that streak would have continued.
But the streak didn’t continue, and Edina, which went into the weekend as the US prep/high school with the largest number of all-time draftees (24) is now in a flat-footed tie with Cushing Academy, which had two players selected -- forward David Cotton, taken lower than his talent alone would indicate, and goaltender Joey Daccord.
-- Believe it or not, Culver’s Karch Bachman (5th round, Florida) is that school’s first draft pick since 1993, when they had two. That’s no knock – guys like John-Michael Liles, Ryan Suter, and Blake Geoffrion have passed through the school. It’s just that the NTDP gets to take credit for them.
-- Nobles has had five NHL draft picks in the last four years. No high school or private school in the country comes close to matching that. And that number doesn’t include Colin White, taken in the first round by Ottawa (#21 OA) on Friday night.
-- This was not a good year for Minnesota, as only three players were drafted directly out of the state’s high schools – Moorhead Spuds D William Borgen (4th round, Buffalo), Mahtomedi C Josh Becker (7th round, Boston), and Lakeville North RD Jack Zadek (7th round, Minnesota). Zadek, by the way, hit the trifecta. He won a state high school championship, is a Gopher recruit, and was drafted by the hometown Wild on Saturday.
In addition to the current high schoolers from Minnesota drafted, four former Minnesota high school players were selected: Waterloo forwards Brock Boeser (1st round, Vancouver) and Thomas Novak (3rd round, Nashville), and Portland Winterhawks LW Paul Bittner, as well as the aforementioned Zuhlsdorf.
Still, a total of seven players from Minnesota is very small.
-- Is goaltender a basketball position? Of course it is. Nineteen of the 20 goalies picked in the weekend’s draft are 6’1” or better. We get it, but we feel that there are shorter ’97 goalies out there that the NHL will be offering free agent contracts to down the road. Of the 23 goalies chosen over the weekend, 17 were first-time draft eligible.
-- Here are U.S.-born players who were not ranked on Central Scouting’s final list but were selected over the weekend. This is not a knock on Central Scouting. Out of the 240 players they ranked, only ten Americans they did not list were drafted over the weekend. All were picked late.
6/168 Winnipeg – C Mason Appleton, Tri-City (USHL), ’96 birthdate
6/170 Detroit – D Patrick Holway, Boston Advantage U18
6/172 NY Islanders – D Andrew Song, Lawrenceville School
6/175 Nashville -- C Tyler Moy, Harvard, ’95 birthdate
6/176 St. Louis – LW Liam Dunda, Owen Sound (OHL)
6/178 Anaheim – D Steven Ruggiero, USNTDP U18
6/179 Anaheim – G Garrett Metcalf, Madison (USHL)
7/182 Buffalo – D Ivan Chukarov, Minnesota Wilderness (NAHL), ’95 birthdate
7/192 Florida – C Patrick Shea, Kimball Union
7/193 San Jose – G John Kupsky, Lone Star (NAHL)
Dunda, by the way, is a 9/15/97 birthdate and the youngest player taken in the draft. If he had been born a day later, he would have had to wait until next summer.
3/25 San Jose – Mike Robinson, G, Lawrence Academy
5/5 Carolina -- Luke Stevens, LW, Nobles
6/5 Carolina -- Jake Massie, D, KUA
6/18 Carolina -- David Cotton, C, Cushing
6/21 NY Islanders -- Andong “Misha” Song, Lawrenceville School
7/11 Florida -- Patrick Shea, C, KUA
7/199 Ottawa -- Joey Daccord, G, Cushing
Mass High School Player
4/30 Chicago -- Ryan Shea, D, BC High
Former prep players who were drafted over the weekend:
D Noah Hanifin (St. Seb’s, 1st round, Carolina)
C Colin White (Nobles, 1st round, Ottawa)
LW AJ Greer (KUA, 2nd round, Columbus)
LW Erik Foley (Tabor, 3rd round, Winnipeg)
C Adam Gaudette (Thayer, 5th round, Vancouver)
G Callum Booth (Salisbury, 4th round, Carolina)
-- 6’2” Cam Askew, a centerman who bounced from St. Seb’s to Cushing to the Q and turned down a couple of NCAA teams (Northeastern and BU), was passed over. Ranked #154 overall in Central’s final rankings, the South Boston native, now with Moncton, came up empty on draft day.
-- 6’4” Halifax Mooseheads LW Connor Moynihan, another New Englander – he’s from Windham, NH -- who bolted for the Q and was ranked #156 in Central’s final list, was passed over.
-- Askew and Moynihan were among five players from the New England region invited to the CCM/Reebok All American Prospects game last September in Buffalo who were passed over in the draft. The others were Casey Fitzgerald (NTDP/Boston College), Spenser Young (Exeter/Dubuque), and Taggart Corriveau (Westminster).
-- The Carolina Hurricanes made seven picks in the draft, four of whom are once or present NEPSAC players: Noah Hanifin, Luke Stevens, Jake Massie, and David Cotton.
-- When Scituate, Mass. native Conor Garland, a ’96, turned his back on the NCAA partway through the fall of ’12 and went to the Q, it appeared to be a bad decision. But Garland, in his third year in the league, and after going undrafted last year, had a breakthrough year, winning the league’s scoring title and MVP. Garland was selected by Arizona with the second pick of the fifth round.
The New England Connection
#2 OA, Jack Eichel (Buffalo Sabres) – Boston University center was the second freshman (after Paul Kariya, 1993) to win the Hobey Baker. Played for the NTDP for two seasons; prior to that with the Boston Junior Bruins. Hometown: Chelmsford, Mass.
#5 OA, Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes) – Freshman defenseman at Boston College last season, played two season with NTDP; prior to that at St. Sebastian’s. Hometown: Norwood, Mass.
#21 OA, Colin White (Ottawa Senators) – Center played the past two seasons with NTDP; prior to that at Noble & Greenough. Boston College commit. Hometown: Hanover, Mass.
#39 OA, AJ Greer (Colorado Avalanche) – Freshman LW at Boston University was the youngest forward in the NCAA. Prior to BU he attended Kimball Union. Hometown: Montreal, Qeuebec.
# 78 OA, Erik Foley (Winnipeg Jets) – LW was with Cedar Rapids (USHL) last season. Spent the previous two years at Tabor Academy. Providence College commit. Hometown: Mansfield, Mass.
#86 OA, Mike Robinson (San Jose Sharks) – Starting goalie for Lawrence Academy this past season. Highest drafted current prep player. UNH commit. Hometown: Bedford, NH
#93 OA, Callum Booth (Carolina Hurricanes) – Goaltender for the Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) the past two seasons. Prior to that won a NEPSAC championship for the Salisbury School. Hometown: Montreal, Quebec.
#121 OA, Ryan Shea (Chicago Blackhawks) – BC High defenseman for the past three seasons. Northeastern commit. Hometown: Milton, Mass.
#123 OA, Conor Garland (Arizona Coyotes) – Right wing has played the past three seasons for the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL). League-leading scorer and MVP this past season. Prior to heading to the Q, Garland played for the Boston Junior Bruins (Empire) and, briefly, Muskegon (USHL). Hometown: Scituate, Mass.
#126 OA, Luke Stevens (Carolina Hurricanes) – Big LW and son of former BC High and NHL star Kevin Stevens has played the past two seasons at Nobles. Yale commit. Hometown: Duxbury, Mass.
#149 OA, Adam Gaudette (Vancouver Canucks) – Center played for Cedar Rapids (USHL) this past season. Spent the previous three years with Thayer Academy. Northeastern commit. Hometown: Braintree, Mass.
#154 OA, John Marino (Edmonton Oilers) – South Shore Kings defenseman. Harvard commit. North Easton, Mass.
#156 OA, Jake Massie (Carolina Hurricanes) – Played high school hockey in Montreal before coming down to the US last year to play prep with Kimball Union. UMass-Amherst commit. Hometown: Hudson, Quebec.
#169 OA, David Cotton (Carolina Hurricanes) – Big centerman played for Cushing Academy for the past two seasons but will forgo his senior year to play for Waterloo (USHL). BC commit. Hometown: Parker, Texas
#170 OA, Patrick Holway (Detroit Red Wings) – 6’4” d-man, a product of the Boston Advantage organization, will play for Dubuque (USHL) next season. Maine commit. Not listed on Central Scouting or covered by any of the NHL draft scouting sites. Hometown: Cohasset, Mass.
#172 OA, Andong “Misha” Song (NY Islanders) -- 6’1”, 194 lb. LD from the Lawrenceville School spent the first ten years of his life in China before moving to Ontario. Song will be a PG at Phillips Andover this season, with NCAA hockey to follow. Hometown: Beijing, China
#192 OA, Patrick Shea (Florida Panthers) – Played for Marshfield (Mass.) High for two seasons before going to Kimball Union last year. Son of Colorado Avalanche scout and former BC forward Neil Shea. Maine commit. Hometown: Marshfield, Mass.
#199 OA, Joey Daccord (Ottowa Senators) – Three year starter at Cushing Academy. Committed to Arizona State. Father is Brian Daccord, founder of Stop It Goaltending. Hometown: North Andover, Mass.
-- Several prospects who did not hear their name called this past weekend, but had been listed in Central’s final rankings:
RW Taggart Corriveau (Westminster)
C Johnny McDermott (Westminster)
D Brien Diffley (BB&N/BU)
C Lucas Michaud (Berwick/Portland Jr. Pirates)
D Casey Fitzgerald (US NTDP)
C Cam Askew (Moncton – QMJHL)
LW Connor Moynihan (Halifax – QMJHL)
D McKay Flanagan (Gunnery)
RW Thomas Aldworth (Cushing/Vernon – BCHL)
D Liam Darcy (Berwick)
Teal Invite: The Uncommitted U19s
At last weekend’s Teal Invite in Tewksbury, Mass. there were plenty of talented players at the U19 level who either have college commitments in hand -- or play major junior. Ryan Dmowski (UMass-Lowell), Jake Ryczek (Providence), Mike Fahie (Brown), Kevin O’Neil (Yale), Will D’Orsi (Yale), Alex Esposito (UNH), Eric Esposito (UVM), Mike Lee (UVM) and Cam Askew (Moncton) are just a few players we have written about in recent years who had strong showings. Not one of them needs an introduction. Their course is charted.
What about the uncommitted players in Tewksbury? We feel that many if not most of the players on the list below will wind up playing D-I hockey down the road. We’ll certainly continue watching them closely.
This is not a ranking. Please bear that in mind. We just went off order of appearance in the tournament program. We could have done it alphabetically. It wouldn’t have made any difference.
Ty Amonte, #3 East Coast Kings/Thayer Academy, ’98 – Had an excellent weekend. Played physically along the walls and scored several nice breakaway goals against the Minnesota Blades on Saturday night. Amonte’s game is taking a leap toward the next level. Will be at the Select 17 Camp starting Saturday in Buffalo. Top returning scorer at Thayer with a 10-30-40 line in 30 GP. Will be a senior.
Michael Brown, #18 East Coast Kings/Groton School, ’97 – Played a physical, honest brand of hockey all weekend. Drives the puck to the net hard, and makes plays off the rush. His hands aren’t elite, but they are above average, and more than capable of controlling the puck in tight spaces. Worcester, Mass. native and rising senior had 55 points in 25 GP at Groton last season.
Tyler Carangelo, #11 GB 36 Elite/Avon Old Farms, ’97 – Hamden, Conn. native is a strong skater with good hockey sense and a great compete level. Willing to get into all of the dirty areas, and likely to come out with the puck on his stick. He can shoot it accurately and quickly.
Jake Marello, #7 Hockey Essentials White/PAL Islanders (USPHL), ’97 – Has good hands in tight spaces and uses them to make creative plays in the offensive zone. Played on a line with Shawn Knowlton (see below) at Albany Academy and then Gunnery; their chemistry was as strong as ever here, with precision passing between the two.
Jordan Kaplan, #22 Hockey Essentials White/Salisbury, ’97 – A highly intelligent forward who can move the puck quickly and accurately without breaking stride. A strong skater with an even stronger work ethic. Willing to take a hit to make a play. Crafty with the puck on his stick, but rarely overhandles it. New Jersey native played at Lawrenceville before transferring to Salisbury last season.
Shawn Knowlton, #32 Hockey Essentials White/PAL Islanders (USPHL), ’96 – His skating isn’t pretty but he does find a way to get around the ice and, more importantly, onto the score sheet. Can make big plays in big games, and he did just that against a strong Generals squad to propel his team into the playoffs. Was Gunnery’s leading scorer last season.
Nick Boyagian, #27 Boston Generals/Albany Academy, ’97 – A cerebral player who makes all of the intricate plays needed to succeed at the next level. Competes hard and wins a lot of loose puck battles. Can slow the game down with the puck on his stick, and makes creative plays in all three zones.
Hunter Luhmann, #41 Boston Generals/Waterloo (USHL), ’97 – An up-tempo player who can fly through the neutral zone. Gets the puck off of his stick quickly, whether it’s a one-timer on the power play, or off of a board battle win. Can shoot it, but looked to make more passes when we saw him. Shouldn’t have left Proctor for the USHL last season. Wasn’t ready.
Zach Solow, #16 NE Nordiques/Janesville Jets (NAHL), ’98 – A pure sniper with good hands and creativity below the dots. His compete level is inconsistent from shift to shift, but when he moves his feet he can be deadly. Has a great one-timer that could come in handy on the powerplay at the next level. Played U16s for St. Louis Blues AAA before going to Janesville last season.
Casey Dornbach, #7 Minnesota Blades/Edina High School, ’97 – Crafty forward with a slick set of hands can makes plays in tight areas. Good skater needs to add a burst of speed to make an impact at the next level.
Dallas Gerards, #20 Minnesota Blades/Dubuque (USHL), ’96 – A stocky, skilled forward listed at 5’11”, 185 lbs., Gerards is tough to defend off the rush. He has quick hands and the ability to get underneath opponents’ skin, but he needs to control own emotions, too.
Chase Zieky, #12 Top Shelf/Langley (BCHL), ’96 – The former Winged Beaver had an excellent weekend. Doesn’t have any one attribute that sets him apart from the crowd, but he does everything well, and at a high pace. A solid skater who can drive the net and is smart enough to play on the PP and the PK. Posted a 27-18-45 line in 26 games at Avon last season.
JJ Layton, #7 East Coast Kings/Middlesex Islanders (USPHL), ’97 – Showed a few new facets to his game this weekend. Layton, a smart defender who skates well and has a rocket of a shot, is as good in transition as he is in a set defensive situation. Makes clean, crisp, breakout passes, and can use his feet to get out of trouble when needed. Will forego senior year at KUA to play juniors.
Robbie Roche, #22 East Coast Kings/South Shore Kings (USPHL), ’97 – Roche played last season with the Walpole EHL team and it appears that playing against older competition gave him a sense of confidence. Wachusett, Mass. native was poised on puck retrievals, skates well, and made two separate 100-plus foot passes for breakaways on Saturday night.
Michael Ryan, #12 East Coast Kings/Tabor Academy, ’97 – A top-notch skater who is elusive with the puck on his stick in all three zones. Has the ability to escape on puck retrievals, and looks to have the capabilities to run a power play. His shot isn’t overpowering, but he can get it through traffic and on net. Rising senior led all Tabor D in scoring last season.
Taylor Karel, #5 Minnesota Blades/Brooks Bandits (AJHL), ’96 – Big bodied defender who is listed at 6’4”, 211 lbs. is vicious along the boards. Like most big defensemen his footwork is his downfall, and he struggles with pivoting and moving laterally. Eagan HS grad does have good speed in straight lines, and packs a heavy shot that comes in handy on the PP. Played at Corpus Christi (NAHL) last season.
Matt Cousino, #2 Top Shelf/Canterbury School, Late ’97 – A solid two-way defender who is fundamentally sound in all three zones, Cousino moves the puck well, battles along the boards, and defends well off the rush. Burlington, Vt. native played at Rice Memorial before going to Connecticut Wolf Pack full-season U18 team last season.
Peter Negron, #1 Hockey Essentials Red/Kent, ’98 – Looked excellent in every viewing over the weekend. Withstood an onslaught from the East Coast Kings and came away with a 1-0 shutout victory, then played equally well against the Boston Generals, the eventual tournament runner-up. Negron is willing to play at the top of his crease, and has a good spine angle when using his butterfly. Controls rebounds well, but can explode laterally off of a misplayed shot. Starred at Bergen Catholic (NJ) before going to Kent last season.
Ryan Ferland, #1 NE Nordiques/St. Mark’s, ’98 – An athletic goalie who moves well laterally. Battles to make every save, and has solid rebound control. A high-end academic student, Ferland aced his test scores, and could get Ivy League attention down the road. Will be at Select 17 Camp starting Saturday in Buffalo, NY.
Daniil Gerasimov, #30 NE Nordiques/Undecided, ’96 – While not a huge goalie, Gerasimov looks to be around 6’1”. Plays deep in his net, giving himself more time to make reactionary saves. Doesn’t have great rebound control, but has excellent recovery skills. From Moscow. Played last two seasons in the EHL.
Andrew Tucci, #1 Top Shelf/Brooks Bandits (AJHL), ’96 – Small goalie has a compete level that is unrivaled. Quick movements in his crease allow him to get proper angling, then he attacks shooters. Does a good job making himself as big as possible when he’s in his butterfly. Stole the show by making a handful of highlight reel saves against a strong Minnesota Blades team. Was a co-MVP of the tournament. Had a .929 save percentage at Choate this past season.
Tim Birarelli, #30 Top Shelf/Loomis, ’97 – Looks to us like the top rising senior among prep school goaltenders. Had another good showing this weekend. Is always poised in his net and never gets rattled after a goal. His rebound control is excellent and he stays square to the shooters in all situations. Led Beverly HS to Mass. Div. 2 State Championship before going to Loomis last fall. Birarelli is from a fishing family, so not much is going to rattle him. And he was, along with Tucci, co-MVP of the tournament.
Teal Invite Review: the U16s
USHR traveled to the Breakaway Ice Center in Tewksbury, Mass. this past weekend to catch the inaugural Teal Invite. The tournament featured twenty teams in two age groups: U16 and U19. The talent level was high top to bottom, and many college coaches, both D-I and D-III, were in attendance. Our write-up below, which offers a mix of familiar names along with lesser-known players from outside New England, is not intended to be a definitive ranking of the players from the weekend. Rather, it is a summary of players who caught our attention over the three days, ordered by appearance in the program. The second team listed is the player’s intended team for the upcoming season.
TJ Walsh, #19 East Coast Kings/Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Boston College ’00 – Was consistently the most productive player in his age group. His hockey IQ and vision are both top shelf, and his hands and playmaking ability aren’t far behind. Centered the most productive line for the Kings. Was part of more than a few highlight-reel plays over the course of five games. Will be returning to Shattuck-St. Mary’s this fall.
Marc McLaughlin, #26 East Coast Kings/Cushing, St. Lawrence, ’99 – Had another strong showing this weekend. Asserts his dominance against players in his own age group. His strong lower body and heavy wrist shot are a tough combination for defenders to handle. Is effective off the cycle with his ability to drive to the net or make accurate passes through small windows.
Ben Thomas, #21 East Coast Kings/Winchendon, ’99 – The third member of the East Coast Kings’ dynamic line. Has good speed through the neutral zone and knows when to drive to the net off the rush. Still has a tendency to hang around the perimeter, but is willing to battle for loose pucks along the boards.
Max Rand, #9 Boston Jr. Whalers/Brooks School, ’99 – His hockey sense has always been his best asset. This weekend he mixed in a healthy dose of compete and even a bit of nastiness. The latter will serve him well as he attempts to maneuver through deep lineups at the next level.
Matt Kirwan, #19 GB 36 Elite/Syracuse U18, ’99 – He shares a lot of similarities to his older brother, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) forward Luke Kirwan. He is a solid skater with good speed and packs a rocket of a shot.
Colten McKenna, #91 GB 36 Elite/Buffalo Sabres U16, ’99 – A big, raw forward who can really shoot the puck. Seems to have limited vision. Still, it’s tough for defenders in his own age group to keep him out of the middle of the ice, and he can be punishing along the wall as well.
Craig Needham, #19 NE Nordiques/Lawrence Academy, ’99 – Looked fatigued at times throughout the weekend, but managed to create plays in the offensive zone nearly every time that he was on the ice. His vision and hockey sense are high-end. Scored a nice shootout game winner on Friday night.
Jacob Durham, #12 Militia North/Whitby Fury, ’99 – Consistently the best forward on a strong Militia team. Knows how to get to the scoring areas and has the shot to put it past the goalie. Creative with the puck on his stick -- not for the sake of flashiness, but to elude defenders. Competes hard for pucks in all three zones.
Cam Burke, #7 Militia North/Noble & Greenough, Notre Dame, ’99 – Looked fresh. His legs had a burst of speed that he used to his advantage through the neutral zone. His hockey sense and playmaking ability are both outstanding.
Tyler Madden, #8 Top Shelf Hockey/Avon Old Farms, Colorado College Late ’99 – One of the most impressive forwards in the tournament, Madden is shifty, quick, elusive, and very hard for defenders to contain. He’s a true playmaker and his awareness with the puck on his stick is pretty special for a player his age. Son of former University of Michigan and NHL center John Madden.
Trent DeNuccio, #10 Top Shelf Hockey/Loomis Chaffee, ’99 – Top-notch two-sport athlete – he’s also a lacrosse player -- was strong all weekend. Drives to the net with or without the puck on his stick and backchecks with purpose. Doesn’t have elite hands, but they’re good enough in tight spaces to make plays.
Albert Washco, #9 Top Shelf Hockey/Gunnery, ’99 – Looks to fit the mold of a Gunnery forward perfectly. Small forward who skates well, has a high hockey IQ, and competes every shift. Played on a dominating line with Madden and DeNuccio (see above) and created scoring chances all weekend. Look out for this trio in the fall, as all will be suiting up for Yale Youth Hockey U16.
Jack Lippis, #11 Top Shelf Hockey/U16 Jr. Ducks, ’99 – A high-flying forward from the Anaheim Jr. Ducks program. Creates separation through the neutral zone and has the ability to sustain his speed throughout the entire shift. Would make for an excellent prep player and ultimately a solid D-I candidate down the road. Scored the game-winner in the championship game against Militia North.
Rory Herrman, #15 Top Shelf Hockey/New Hampton, ’99 – A true power forward in every sense of the term. Drives to the net with a purpose and looks to finish his checks along the boards. Has a heavy shot which he used to score a nice goal in a tight area. His feet still need some work, but with a work ethic like his, they will likely get better in the near future.
Brian Scoville, #4 East Coast Kings/Winchendon, UMass-Amherst, ’99 – The big defender showed much improved footwork this weekend, allowing him to create more offense from the blue line. Scored a hat trick in one game which included a fantastic curl n’ drag move followed by a snap shot high to the short side. Didn't play much as a sophomore at Cushing. Is transferring to Winchendon.
Cullen Young, #27 East Coast Kings/Avon Old Farms, ’00 – Compact defender skates well and is tough to play against. Is willing to throw open-ice hits in the neutral zone, has a chip on this shoulder, but also has the ability to carry the puck through traffic. Should be an impact player on John Gardner’s squad this winter.
Johnny Dorio, #55 East Coast Kings/Connecticut Jr. Rangers U18, ’99 – A smooth-skating defender with a long stride and decent puck skills. Defends well off the rush, but can get caught out of position in his defensive zone. Makes a good first pass off of neutral zone regroups.
Jackson Decker, #3 Team OTB/Omaha U16, ’99 – Plays a bigger game than his 5’8” frame would lead you to believe. Skates well and has the hands to makes all the passes. His vision is top-notch along with his hockey IQ.
Faisal Alsaif, #6 GB 36 Elite/Choate, ’99 – A steady defender who battles in all three zones. Earned the weekend tough guy award when his pinky was dislocated -- and pointing a full 90 degrees off of where it should have been. Alsaif simply had the trainer pop it back in, filled up a few empty water bottles, and made it back out for his next shift, all with a smile on his face.
Jordan Harris, #3 NE Nordiques/Kimball Union Academy, ’00 -- The younger brother of KUA goaltender Elijah Harris plays an honest brand of hockey. There isn’t any one part of his game that is exceptional, but he also has no noticeable deficiencies. Skates well, makes good passes, and reads the situation well in all three zones.
Joseph Rupoli, #9 Militia North/Toronto Red Wings U15, ’00 – His height and weight were not listed but we would guess he’s around 6’2”, 180 lbs. Skates well and snaps the puck around the rink with ease. Has a rocket of a shot, but doesn’t overuse it. Has a good stick off the rush and along the wall. One of the top pro prospects in the tournament.
Joseph Franzin, #93 Militia North/Undecided, Late ’99 – This defenseman has the worst birthday in youth hockey: December 31st. Would be one of the most impressive ‘00s that this typist has seen all year. Defends well and skates even better. Has a good frame and uses it to his advantage protecting the puck in tight areas.
Noah Kim, #5 Top Shelf Hockey/Cushing, ’00 – A solid-skating, puck-moving defenseman. Keeps the play in front of him at all times, and has the hands to make creative passes through tight windows in the neutral zone. Not overly flashy with the puck, but has the ability to be elusive on puck retrievals.
Brandon Bonello, #20 Militia North/Saginaw Spirit (OHL), ’99 – A big goalie who moves extremely well. Is always poised. Played every minute for a strong Militia team (they lost in the championship game). Looked a bit fatigued in the latter part of the tournament, but rightfully so. Has all of the makings of an elite goaltender.
JP Mella, #1 NE Nordiques/Shattuck-St. Mary’s, ’00 – The youngest goalie in the tournament was excellent all weekend. Moves well, and is willing to challenge shooters. Remains poised when there is traffic around him and fights through screens.
Road to College Rosters & Schedule
NAPS Beantown Rosters & Schedule
This Friday through Sunday, June 26th through 28th, the 2015 North American Prospects Beantown Showcase will be held at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass.
Divisions are: U16 ('99,'00), '01, '02, and '03.
NAPS Beantown Rosters
NAPS Beantown Schedule
Road to College This Weekend
In addition, the Road to College gets underway with practices tomorrow. The tournament, run by Chuckie Hughes and Dan Donato out of Babson College's rink, showcases uncommitted players. All but two of the players competing this year are uncommitted. In addition to a number of prep and USPHL players, there are a couple coming in from the BCHL, four from Shattuck-St. Mary's, two from the Chicago Mission, and several Minnesota high school players.
We should have rosters later today, but for now here's the schedule:
Practices -- Thursday June 24th, 5:40 pm to 10:00 pm
Games -- Friday June 25th, 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Games -- Saturday June 26th, 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm
Games -- Sunday June 27th, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
There will be six teams, each with 11 forwards, six defenseman, and one goalie.
Coaches will be Todd Stirling, Sean Tremblay, Dan Driscoll, Darren Reaume, Carl Corrazzini, and Rob Gagnon.
Prep Juniors Checklist
Below you will find our final ranking of 11th grade NEPSAC players based on what we saw of their play and how we assessed their potential over the course of the 2014-15 prep season.
These are the rising seniors, the guys we – and their teammates -- will be looking on to take on an even larger role in the upcoming season. We expect this list will be augmented with others once the snow starts flying again. (And, yes, we know some of these guys will forego their senior season to play junior hockey.)
Please consider this a finders’ list to take into the upcoming season. In weighing performance vs. potential, we have tilted toward the former.
1. David Cotton, Cushing, Boston College, 6-3/200, ’97
2. Jake Pappalardo, Proctor, Maine, 5-11/185, ’97
3. Taggart Corriveau, Westminster, St. Lawrence, 6-1/181, ’97
4. Kevin O’Neil, Albany Academy, Yale, 5-10/165, ’98
5. Zach Tsekos, St. Mark’s, Sacred Heart, 5-9/155, ’96
6. Michael O’Leary, Salisbury, Cornell, 6-2/180, ’98
7. Johnny McDermott, Westminster, Boston University, 6-2/191,’97
8. Luke Stevens, Nobles, Yale, 6-4/192, ’97
9. Justin Cole, Vermont Academy, 6-3/195, ’96
10. Patrick Daly, Dexter, 6-1/185, ’96
11. Patrick Shea, KUA, Maine, 5-11/190, ’97
12. Tyler Carangelo, Avon, 6-0/170, ’97
13. Luke O’Brien, St. Mark’s, 6-2/175, ’97
14. Mike Brown, Groton, 6-2/185, ’97
15. Jamie Armstrong, Avon, Northeastern, 6-1/185, ’98
16. Ben Taylor, Tabor, 6-2/190, ’97
17. Derek Osik, St. Mark’s, 5-11/160, ‘98
18. Henry Marshall, Choate, Colgate, 6-0/167, ’97
19. Andrew Dumaresque, Milton, 6-0/185, ’97
20. Connor Lloyd, Westminster, 5-11/175, ’97
21. Andrew Hadley, Deerfield, 6-2/215, ’97
22. Barclay Gammill, Berkshire, 5-10/165, ’97
23. Ty Amonte, Thayer, 5-8/165, ’98
24. Monte Graham, Thayer, Boston College, 5-9/170,’98
25. Michael Fahie, Nobles, Brown, 5-8/145, ’98
26. Cameron Donaldson, Gunnery, 5-8/155, ’98
27. Colin Nugent, Andover, 6-0/178, ’97
28. Ben Solin, Exeter, 5-10/165, ’97
29. Travis Schneider, Canterbury, 5-10/168, ‘98
30. Andrew Turnbull, Milton, 5-10/175, '97
31. Anthony Vincent, Salisbury, 5-9/165, ’97
32. Will Somers, Hotchkiss, 6-4/215, ’97
33. Cole Poliziani, Salisbury, 5-9/180, Late ’97
34. Vito Bavaro, Brooks, Sacred Heart, 6-0/165, Late ’97
35. Jordan Robert, Gunnery, Clarkson, 5-11/175, ’98
36. Luke Israel, Salisbury, 5-10/185, ’98
37. J.P. Schuhlen, Westminster, 5-11/166, ‘97
(Jeremy Descheneaux, Stanstead, 6-1/182, ’98 – Limited Viewing)
(Ryan Steele, Holderness, 6-0/185,’97 – Limited Viewing)
1. Luke McInnis, Dexter, Boston College, 5-11/170, ’98
2. Jacob Bryson, Loomis, Providence, 5-8/160, Late ’97
3. Ben Finklestein, KUA, 5-9/180, St. Lawrence, Late ’97
4. Jake Massie, KUA, UMass, 6-1/172, ’97
5. Connor Moore, Brooks Boston College, 5-10/165, ’97
6. Dennis Cesana, KUA, 5-10/190, ’98
7. Greg Krisberg, Kent, 5-10/175, ‘97
8. Brendan Less, Choate, Dartmouth, 6-1/170, ’98
9. Will Riedell, Vermont, 6-2/190, Late ’96
10. Max Fuld, Brunswick, 6-1/185, ’97
11. Trevor Cosgrove, Exeter, 6-1/182, ’97
12. Peter Housakos, St. Mark’s, 6-2/187, Late ’96
13. McKay Flanagan, Gunnery, 6-1/190, ’97
14. Joe O’Connor, Westminster UVM, 6-3/200, ’96
15. Matt Dillon, Cushing, 6-1/165, ’97
16. Josh Gagne, Gunnery, 6-0/181, '97
17. Frank Boie, Rivers, Holy Cross, 6-1/185, ’98
18. Brian Matthews, Belmont Hill, 6-0/189, ’98
19. Kyle Peterson, Thayer, 6-0/185, ’97
20. JJ Layton, KUA, 6-1/200, ’97
21. Jordan Haney, Exeter, 5-11/180, Late ’96
22. Kevin O’Leary, Westminster, 6-2/178, ’97
23. Kyle Delmaestro, Kent, 6-0/175, Late ’97
24. Peter Christie, Exeter, 6-0/173, Late ’97
1. Tim Birarelli, Loomis, 6-2/175, ’97
2. Trevin Kozlowski, Gunnery, 6-4/190, ’97
3. Ryan Ferland, St. Mark’s, 6-0/165, ’98
4. David Altman, Pomfret, 6-0/170, ’97
5. Mike Robinson, Lawrence, UNH, 6-4/200, ’97
6. Brian Ketchabaw, Brunswick, 6-0/190, ’97
7. Elijah Harris, KUA Brown, 5-9/155, ’97
8. Jake Cerullo, Hill School, 6-1/184, ‘97
9. Peyton Porter, KUA, 6-1/195, ’97
Liberty Bell Games Review
USHR spent the past weekend at the Liberty Bell Games, which this year moved north -- from the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, NJ -- to a new home at the Middletown Ice World facility in Middletown, NJ.
We have been coming to this event, run by Ottawa Senators scout Lew Mongelluzzo, for the past three years. The facilities, the programs, the scout book, the food, and the tournament as a whole is top-notch. They take care of your needs, and if there is a more organized and better run summer event in the Northeast, we have yet to see it.
This year, along with the move to northern New Jersey, the tournament grew, and was made stronger, as players from New York were added to what before had been an exclusively New Jersey/Pennsylvania mix. For 2016, Mongelluzzo plans to add a limited number of players from the Southeast District.
Each of the players at the Liberty Bell Games is selected by a scouting staff headed up by Bill Underwood. They are then ranked and evenly distributed over the tournament’s six teams. It works well: there were a lot of one-goal and overtime games. The players range in age from ’00s to ’98s, which gives scouts a good opportunity to see the ‘00s against older competition.
We have listed, by birth year, the players that stood out for us. Due to the larger player pool, the piece below is a bit longer than previous years.
2015 Liberty Bell Games Program
2015 Liberty Games Rosters and Schedule
Note: The Liberty Bell Games also has an app available for both Apple and Android. It's free of charge.
Khristain Acosta (#8, Ben Franklin, R, 5-9/169, ’98) Acosta has great acceleration and plays the game with a high motor. At times, the third team all-state forward out of Middletown North High School was too fast for opponents, thus able to take the puck end to end with ease. He has a quick stick, is tough and gritty on the forecheck, and was able to create separation from opposing defenders to create quality scoring chances. He led the Hitmen U16 team with a 28-25-53 line in only 28 games this past season.
Joey Kubachka (#19 Freedom, L, 6-3/205, ’98) Given his imposing physical attributes and ability, Kubachka, a power forward, has always played up a level. He has deceptively agile hands, a powerful snap shot, and puck carrying ability that we had not seen as much of before. He likes to drive the net and put himself in high percentage scoring areas, but is also willing to make a pass if that is the right play. His stride and agility are still a work in progress but his speed has improved. College: Cornell
John Scala (#14 William Penn, R, 5-10/180, ’98) A pure skater, Scala has a fluid stride and speed in open ice. He had a lot of puck possession time, making end-to-end rushes and wheeling around the offensive zone looking for a passing lane to open up. He has a strong wrist shot and scored from both outside and in tight. He is highly effective along the wall and coming out of the corner with the puck and making a play. Led the NJ Rockets U16s in goals this past season with 16 in 28 games.
Connor Amsley (#14 Walt Whitman, L, 5-11/170, Late ’98) Amsley is a smooth skater with good size and decent hands. He lacks high-end skill but makes up for it with a combination of speed and grit. Was the second-leading scorer on the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16s last season. A bit of an unknown, Amsley is worth keeping an eye on.
Cal LeClair (#11 Walt Whitman, L, 5-10/165, ’98) LeClair is quick and clever, has excellent vision and the ability to get shots off from anywhere in the offensive zone. He’s an intuitive playmaker who plays the game with intellect and composure. There were times we would have liked to see him play more aggressively, but overall he had a strong performance here despite being robbed often on scoring chances. He will need to grow and fill out if he wants to take his game to the next level. Will be a junior at Westminster next season, where he will be expected to take a larger role offensively.
Eric Linell (#14 Independence, R, 5-11/165, Late ’98) Eric, younger brother to Boston College senior forward Danny Linell, has made great strides in the past two years in the PAL Islanders organization. He played up on the U18 team this past season as a ’98 and was second in the team’s scoring with an 11-13-24 line in 27 games. He has great speed, can turn on a dime, and creates a lot of offense off the rush. He scored a highlight goal cutting across the top of the circles and taking a cross-body wrist shot over the goalie’s glove. D-I upside if he continues to develop.
Kyle Weller (#16 Walt Whitman, L, 6-1/160, ’98) Weller was one of the more underrated players in the tournament. He was overshadowed on the Comcast U16s over the winter by the all-’99 line of Evan Barratt, Matt Cassidy, and Jonathan Bendorf, but Weller was the next best player on that team. He is tall, athletic, and has a nice long stride. He is a fairly agile skater for his size and has a strong wrist shot. He needs to grow into his frame and be more consistent and assertive, but overall there is a lot to like in his game. 22-14-36 line in 28 games last season.
Bradley Viola (#14 Freedom, R, 5-11/155, ’98) Viola draws a lot of comparisons to NJ Rockets teammate John Scala (see above). Viola is a fast, fluid skater with a powerful snap shot. He is not quite as skilled carrying the puck as Scala, but looked a bit more aggressive without the puck.
Gregory Hendrickson (#11 Freedom, F, 5-11/185, ’98) A confident goal scorer with poise and a high hockey IQ, Hendrickson is just an OK skater but creates a ton of offense. His hands are quick, strong, and agile, and he plays with grit, fights through checks, and really excels below the hash marks. He doesn’t have the upside of the players we’ve ranked above him but he managed to outplay most of them. He showed off his stickhandling ability with two highlight reel goals.
Raymond Zimmerman (#11 Ben Franklin, R, 5-8/165, ’98) A smart player who always seemed to be involved in his team’s scoring chances, Zimmerman is not an overly-skilled player, but he knows where to be and, with his stick on the ice, is always ready to receive the puck and take a shot on net, or dish to the open guy.
Zach Noble (#11 William Penn, R, 6-2/165, Late ’98) A tall, thin prospect, Noble had his moments here but was also quiet for long stretches. He moves well up the ice and has soft hands, but he’s still figuring out his style of play as, at times, he tries to get too cute instead of using his tall frame, shielding the puck and driving the net. He scored a few times here but for a ’98 with his size and skill we expected more.
Ryan Bogan (#4 Freedom, L, 6-0/175, ’98) The New Jersey High School Player of the Year as a junior at Christian Brothers Academy, Bogan is a smooth, puck-moving defenseman who carried his team to the state championship with a 12-42-54 line in 19 contests. He also played split season with the NJ Hitmen U16s. Here he showed flashes of offensive ability but mostly played the role of shut-down defenseman. He plays tight to his opponent, understands gap control, and knows how to use his body effectively. His size and skating ability project him as a D-I prospect.
Eric Manoukian (#7 Walt Whitman, L, 5-11/175, Late ’98) Manoukian, a teammate of Bogan on the NJ Hitmen U16s, had a strong weekend. He was physical, handled the puck very well, and was tough to play against. He excels at breaking the puck out of his end either with a quick pass up ice or by avoiding the forechecker and skating it out himself. Not afraid to mix it up when needed.
Andy Iehle (#7 Freedom, R, 5-11/177, ’98) Iehle played for the Valley Forge Minutemen last winter and was a pleasant surprise here. He is a fluid puck carrier who demonstrates poise and vision with the puck on his stick. He had several nice offensive zone entries, slowing the game down and making the right pass. He needs to improve his play in the defensive end. That should come, as he competes hard.
Ryan Rowland (#8 William Penn, L, 5-11/175, ’98) Rowland got more comfortable and elevated his game as the weekend went on. He’s a graceful skater with size who skates with his head up and makes good decisions with the puck. He carried the puck a lot in the championship game and stretched the ice, but for most of the tournament he kept it simple, playing conservatively.
Harrison Feeney (#1 Ben Franklin, G, 6-2/205, ’98) Feeney had an up-and-down weekend in which he went from allowing three goals in one half to a shutout in the next game. He has great size, which catches everyone’s eyes, but he also has deceptive quickness and agility. He did let up some soft goals by getting out of position and not tracking the puck well, but he is effective down low flashing the pads and gets strong push-offs side to side. He had an excellent season with the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U18s, recording a .934 SV% and 1.84 GAA over 15 starts. Was just selected in the 10th round of the NAHL draft by the NJ Titans.
Jake Snyder (#30 Walt Whitman, G, 5-11/150, ’98) Snyder comes from the Valley Forge Minutemen where he put up impressive numbers with a .932 SV % and a 1.99 GAA over 12 starts. He was consistent throughout the weekend, and made key saves at key moments, most notably in the game which led to the championship. He does, however, give up juicy rebounds and he let in some softies. Overall, though, we like his size, quick glove hand, and reflexes.
Matthew Cassidy (#9 Independence, L, 6-0/175, ’99) Cassidy is coming off a very productive season with Team Comcast, producing a 27-32-59 line in 28 games. Here, at times, he was the most dominant player on the ice. With a combination of size and skill, he can play a power game and use his strength and body positioning to get into scoring areas, or use his stickhandling and shooting ability to create separation and make plays from the perimeter. He scored in nearly every game he played, he was a constant offensive force whenever he was on the ice, and he showed off his puck handling and shooting ability. Cassidy the tools to be a strong D-I player. The colleges he listed of being of interest to him were Penn State, Notre Dame, BU, Dartmouth, BC, Northeastern, and UMass. And most all of them were there watching him. Cassidy was selected in the 12th round of the OHL Draft by Sarnia and the 2nd round of the USHL Draft by Green Bay.
Steven Agriogianis (#14 Ben Franklin, R, 5-9/160, ’99) A small, crafty playmaker out of Delbarton, Agriogianis led his team in points as a sophomore with a 15-19-34 line in 28 games. We watched him play for Delbarton in a scrimmage at Dexter last fall, and his game has come a long way since then. He has quick hands, speed, and the lateral quickness to weave in and out of the defense. The most impressive aspect of his game, however, was the pace at which he plays and the creativity he brings to the position. Agriogianis plays with consistent energy and, despite his size, isn’t afraid to go into corners and fight for loose pucks. His hands are top-notch, allowing him to make quick decisions with the puck at top speed. He also possesses high-end shooting ability, especially with his wrist shot.
Hunter Canestra (#19 Ben Franklin, R, 6-3/185, ’99) Canestra looks to be on cusp of a breakout season as his skating and coordination have improved, he is carrying the puck with more confidence, and has another gear north-south. His energy and compete level are inconsistent and he can give up on plays too easily but his massive frame and long stride could make him a pro prospect down the line. A raw, high-ceiling prospect with more pluses than minuses, Canestra was an 11th round draft pick in the OHL to Niagara, and a 10th round selection by Muskegon in the USHL Draft.
Jonathan Bendorf (#8 Freedom, L, 5-11/185, ’99) The USPHL U16 Offensive Player of the Year, Bendorf led the league in assists (45) and points (75) in only 28 games played. He is both tall and strong, has great puck possession skills and the ability to slow the game down. His speed and acceleration could use work, but he is strong on his skates and has next-level hockey sense. He was not as assertive here as we would have expected, but he certainly shines when the puck finds his stick in the offensive zone.
Johnny Barbieri (#10 Walt Whitman, R, 6-0/155, ’99) A big strong power forward out of the Long Island Gulls organization, Barbieriis tough to play against as he is strong on his skates and stick, and wins puck battles everywhere. He lacks high-end speed but he was able to get himself in quality scoring areas by means of his strength and puck protection skills. Scored several goals over the weekend. Would be a top six forward in prep school.
Scotty Osani (#12 William Penn, R, 5-9/170, ’99) A strong, powerful skater who is both smooth and balanced, Osani is a quality distributor as he skates with his head up, constantly surveying the ice. He is very poised carrying the puck. He rarely gets rid of it unless it’s going directly to a teammate. He scored the first goal in the championship and was no stranger to the stat sheet throughout the weekend. Will need to improve his hands and 1v1 skills, but in open ice he is a dangerous playmaker. Osani was at last summer’s Select 15 National Festival representing New York and was selected in the 17th round of the USHL Draft by the Chicago Steel.
Travis Yawger (#17 Independence, F, 5-11, 165, ’99) Yawger has a mature style, playing a very controlled game and letting the play develop in front of him without forcing passes. He always has his head up -- both in passing and shooting situations -- and he demonstrates a strong awareness of what is going on around him. He is tough to knock off the puck, has elusive stickhandling ability, and a hard wrist shot. Played with the NJ Rockets U16 team last season.
Daniel Kramer (#12 Ben Franklin, R, 5-11/177, ’99) Kramer has a lot of potential due to his size and athleticism, but is still figuring out his game. At one point on a 1v1 he put the puck between his legs trying to deke a defender who was half his size instead of simply lowering his shoulder and driving the net. His hands are decent but we would like to see him get more involved in the offensive zone and shoot the puck with more regularity. He made a few really nice plays but then disappeared for long stretches.
Albert Washco (#3 William Penn, F, 5-7/150, ’99) A small, stocky sparkplug-type player who always keeps his feet moving and doesn’t back down from anyone. We last saw him in January, at the Northwood Invitational in Lake Placid. There, his Valley Forge team won the tournament and he was the focal point of the offense. He is small in stature but plays with a low center making him tough to defend. He also has plenty of grit and a swift stick. Scored 40 goals in 60 games this past season.
Devin Heffernan (#10 Freedom, R, 6-0/175, ’99) Another LI Gulls product, Heffernan is a polished skater with size and athleticism. He isn’t much of a puck carrier at this point in his career but he has upside. He just needs to gain more confidence and improve his puck skills.
Sam Timonen (#26 William Penn, L, 5-11/176, ’99) The son of NHLer Kimmo Timonen, the younger Timonen is a quiet player with subtle skill and a very controlled style of play. He is patient with the puck and doesn’t try to do too much. That being said, he will need to improve his speed and become more assertive offensively. Timonen is a strong, balanced skater who is tough to knock off the puck. He’s headed to Avon Old Farms this fall.
Drew Murtha (#15 Walt Whitman, R, 5-8, 155, ’99) Murtha scored a lot of goals this weekend, and always seemed to be around the puck, setting up teammates or firing shots from all over the offensive zone. He has only average skill but he makes up for it with speed and tenacity. He wants the puck on his stick, he wants to score, and he plays a hungry style which led to a lot offensive production.
Peter White (#17 William Penn, L, 6-1/175 ’99) White played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s for the Midget AA team and was second in scoring with a 22-31-53 line over 51 games. He is a tall, thinly-built prospect who looks a tad uncoordinated at times but also shows flashes of vision and skill. When he gets his feet going he has decent speed but his agility and edges need work. A prospect in the making, but will need to grow into his frame.
Alex Phipps (# 14 Constitution, R, 5-11/165, ’99) Phipps, not the prettiest of skaters, is a strong power forward with slick hands and a hard wrist shot. He lacks finesse and agility but he has a high compete level and plays a tough brand of hockey.
Michael Sacco (#3 Constitution, L, 5-5/145, ’99) A tiny forward with a great burst of speed and a quick stick. He led the PAL Islanders U16 team in points this past season and while you can see his skill set, it was tough for him to produce here against bigger, faster, stronger competition.
Victor Nikiforov (#17 Constitution, L, 5-8/145, ’99) A small, crafty playmaker, Nikiforov scored a highlight reel snipe against Team Freedom. He needs to improve his skating and physically develop, but he has very good hockey sense and soft hands. Was the second-leading scorer for the PAL Islanders U16 team with an 11-15-26 line in 27 games. He’s the son of Aleksey Nikiforov and younger brother of Vladimir, so the bloodlines are good.
Alec Freyberger (#5 William Penn, R, 6-1/165, ’99) Freyberger is a hybrid defenseman, a good enough skater to join the rush but defensively responsible enough to play a shutdown role. He doesn’t tend to skate it end to end, nor does he throw his body around relentlessly. Instead, he takes a few hard strides and makes the right pass and plays just aggressively enough to take away time and space from his opponents without getting out of position. He is a tad thin but has the frame to grow into, has composure with the puck and agile feet. A versatile, athletic defenseman Freyberger can fill any role. Hails from Ashburn, Virginia and played for the Junior Capitals last season.
Colin Felix (#6 Freedom, R, 6-1/172, ’99) Felix is coming off a strong season at St. George’s where he was their top player as a sophomore, with a 2-16-18 line in 23 games. What is more impressive than the stats is Felix’s physical play. He is a punishing, bruising defenseman who takes away his opponents’ time and space and makes them pay for trying to cut inside on him. He is a strong backward skater, has size -- and uses every bit of it to drive forwards away from his goalie, ride them out along the boards or connect on an open-ice body check. While his physical tools are the most noticeable, he is also a precision passer and started a lot of odd-man rushes out of his own end. A 6th round draft pick by the Green Bay Gamblers in the Futures Draft, and a 13th round selection in the OHL Draft by the Kitchener Rangers.
John Spetz (#6 Ben Franklin, R, 5-10/165, Late ’99) Spetz is impressively poised and calm in pressure situations, skilled enough with the puck to wait that extra second to let the play develop. He displays good body positioning and reliable defensive zone play. When he is on the ice he controls the play, has high-end passing ability, and rarely gets beat in open ice. He is highly instinctual, surveying the ice, drawing defenders toward him and then having the patience and vision to find an open teammate. He played for the NJ Avalanche U16 team last season and was an 8th round selection by the Chicago Steel in the USHL Futures Draft this spring.
Troy Daniels (#6 Constitution, R, 6-1/170, ’99) A big, strong, sturdy offensive defenseman, Daniels has slick hands and likes to rush the puck. At times he tried to do too much, but his puck possession skills rushing up ice are excellent. Daniels is a smooth skater with a long, powerful stride and likes to throw his body around away from the puck and use his size to grind down opposing forwards along the wall. One of the most effective breakout defensemen in the tournament, Daniels is able to make quick decisions under duress. An under-the-radar D-I prospect.
Tyler Pohlig (#16 Constitution, R, 5-10/150, ’99) A pleasant surprise, Pohlig elevated his game to another level this weekend, displaying his improved skating ability and offensive prowess. He’s a skilled puck carrier, makes nice outlet and breakout passes coming out of his end and has a powerful slap shot from the point. He shows great composure with the puck on his stick and rarely throws it away. On the defensive end he is athletic and quick footed with the ability to keep the opposition off balance and force them outside. Played for Comcast’s U16 team this past season.
Dairmad DiMurro (#16 Freedom, R, 5-9/155, ’99) An undersized offensive defenseman from the NJ Avalanche U16s, DiMauro was one of the most dynamic defensemen in the tournament. He has slick hands, and he’s a quick and agile skater with the vision to stretch the ice. He’ll beat forecheckers with either his feet or his hands. If the defense doesn’t pressure him he has no problem skating end to end, gaining the zone and setting up. He is a bit small, which could limit his upside, but with the puck on his stick he was as efficient as any defenseman here. He could improve on his strength and body positioning in the defensive zone as he often takes unnecessary risks and gets out of position.
Marc Delgaizo (#4 Ben Franklin, L, 5-9/170, Late ’99) A highly-skilled offensive defenseman with soft hands, Delgaizo also likes to throw his body around and play a tough brand of hockey. On the flip side, he overhandles the puck and turns it over too much. He was also burned several times in the neutral zone taking the wrong angle or pinching at the wrong time. The skill is there but he needs to iron out the kinks. He was selected in the 8th round of the USHL Futures Draft by Muskegon Lumberjacks.
Casey Crockett (#4 Walt Whitman, L, 6-0/185, ’99) An intriguing prospect with size and skating abiity, Crockett played U18s last season with the West Chester Quakers. He’s still quite raw in regards to puck skill and defensive zone awareness. However, not many players of his size and age skate with as much agility, speed, and grace. He’s a work in progress, but definitely a player to keep an eye on.
Nicko Poulianas (#5 Independence, L , 5-10/175, ’99) A pure athlete, Poulianas is a strong, smooth skater who can contribute in a lot of different ways. He plays the body, blocks shots, makes simple passes and, when there’s no play there, he’ll dump it in deep and patrol the offensive blue line instead of trying to stickhandle through bodies. He has the frame to fill out and take his game to the next level.
Julian Kislin (#7 Constitution, R, 6-1/180, ’99) Kislin is the New Jersey high school player whose stickhandling acumen was caught on SportsCenter this past season dangling through four guys before deking the goalie and burying it. He was not as sharp here as open ice was harder to come by and the defensemen can actually defend, but he certainly has soft hands and puck possession ability. He is also tall and has room to grow so the future could be bright if he irons out the rest of his game and becomes a more dedicated defender.
Faisal Alsaif (#11 Independence, L, 5-10/165, ’99) The youngest player on the Choate roster this past season, Alsaif is an undersized, smooth-skating defenseman who is perfectly willing to engage in the physical game and also chipped in some offense here. He scored a beautiful wrist shot goal, hitting the top corner from just outside the top of the circles. Should have a bigger role this year as Choate graduates three senior defenseman.
Giancarlo Romano (#6 Independence, R , 6-0/167, ’99) A tall, raw prospect from the LI Gulls, Romano had a quiet weekend. He has a hard shot from the point and is a capable puck carrier. He also has good mobility for his size but was not assertive enough here, hence largely unnoticeable.
Thomas McGuire (#5 Ben Franklin, R, 6-0/165, ’99) A tall, thinly-built skater with lateral mobility and backward acceleration, McGuire has decent hands and excels in the passing game, making pinpoint passes from the back end. He lacks strength and physicality but he could develop into a nice prospect when he grows into his frame. Played with the PAL Islanders U16 team.
Mitchell Gibson (#30 Freedom, G, 6-1/170, ’99) Gibson came to the tournament after having a highly successful season with the Team Comcast U16s where, in 18 starts, he posted a .942 SV% and 1.44 GAA. And he was clearly the best goalie here. He has the size, the athleticism and the lateral quickness to make all the saves. He comes out of the crease and challenges shooters but doesn’t get caught out of position. He isn’t flashy or acrobatic, just composed and consistent. He didn’t allow a single weak goal all weekend. Gibson was a 9th round selection of the Erie Otters in the OHL Draft and a 6th round pick of the Sioux Falls Stampede in the USHL Futures Draft.
Gio Podalinski (#30 William Penn, G, 6-3/185, ’99) Goaltending was tough to evaluate this weekend as the netminders were under a lot of fire and the overall defensive effort was lackluster at best. But Podalinksi was a constant thorn in the sides of shooters. He has great size, is athletic between the pipes, challenges the shooter, and made difficult saves look easy by being in the right position. He flashed his glove on a few occasions but was not really tested too much up high. He did a terrific job using his pads and stick to stop everything down low.
Troy Kobryn (#1 Walt Whitman, G, 6-0/180, ’99) Kobryn makes himself big in net cutting down scoring angles and he does a nice job with rebound control. He is smooth and crisp side to side and coming out of the crease. He did a great job stopping penalty shots (the punishment for all penalties in the tournament). Led Delbarton last season as a sophomore with a .921 SV% and 1.52 GAA.
Jacob Goldowski (#19 Independence, R, 6-3/165, ’00) Goldowski, a 6’3” power forward with silky smooth hands and a long reach, has a ton of upside. He has deceptive speed, though he is not the prettiest skater as his feet haven’t caught up with the rest of his body. But he’s good north-south. His stickhandling ability is rare in that he can tightly cradle the puck through high-traffic areas, but in open ice he’ll bait his opponents, using his large wingspan to hold the puck out wide and then sliding it quickly across his body and accelerating the other way. Goldowski played up at the U16 level this past season for a talented Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights team, recording an impressive 12-6-18 line in 27 games. It’s early at this point, but he will certainly be in the NTDP discussion next season. College: Penn State
Jack DeBoer (#19 Constitution, R, 6-2/160, ’00) DeBoer, the son of newly appointed San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer, is a blue chip prospect and, like Goldowski, will likely attract NTDP attention throughout the upcoming season, which he will play at Salisbury. A tall, lanky center out of the New Jersey Colonials organization, DeBoer led the team in offense with a 27-35-62 line in 35 games. He has a lot going for him -- an NHL frame, high-end shooting ability both from a standstill and in stride, and soft mitts. He makes smart decisions with the puck, passing at the right time and using his reach and body positioning to shield the puck instead of over exposing as many high-level players do at his age. His skating is a work in progress as he lacks both agility and balance, but that will surely come.
Anthony Mastromonica (#9 William Penn, L, 6-1/180, ’00) Mastromonica is a big, strong power forward type from the LI Royals where he scored 111 points (45 goals, 66 assists) in 70 games. He has a long stride allowing him to maintain his speed, a strong stick, and intuitive passing ability. He reads the play well, anticipates, and puts pucks in areas where his teammates can make something of it. He will need to improve his speed and quickness but with his combination of size and stick skills, he will get a lot of attention from D-I programs.
Zach Egber (#2 Freedom, L, 5-6/143, ’00) Egber is small but feisty, competing all over the ice whether it is in the corner battling for a puck, on the backcheck in pursuit of a potential scorer, or off the forecheck. He hunts the puck and once he retrieves it, he’s quick and elusive, thus tough to defend against in open ice. He is a high motor player whose feet are always moving and a purposeful passer who values the puck and doesn’t panic in pressure situations. Played for Team Comcast this past season and recorded a 23-24-47 line in 44 games.
Ross Mitton (#10 William Penn, R, 5-9/175, ’00) Mitton plays the game the right way -- with energy and passion. He takes the body, finishes checks, blocks shots, and battles for loose pucks. He is not flashy but has subtle moves in open ice, and makes quality passes in all three zones. Mitton is strong on his skates and stick and rarely loses 1v1 battles along the boards or in the corners. We would have liked to see him attack the net and shoot the puck more but overall he showed he can play with bigger and stronger competition.
Ryan Colwell (#3 Ben Franklin, R, 5-7/145, ’00) Colwell has excellent speed and puck-carrying ability. He is able to process the game at a fast pace and make quick decisions while maintaining his speed. He is a quick-move-and-accelerate type who uses the players around him instead of trying to take everyone on 1v1.
Adam Robbins (#3 Independence, R, 5-6/135, ’00) Robbins is a squirrelly, crafty playmaker who finds pockets of open ice and creates plays with time and space. Given his size and stature he doesn’t hold up well with pressure, but he doesn’t back down either. It’s too early to tell how he will grow and develop, but both the skill and the mental game are there.
Nicholas Seitz (#15 William Penn, L, 5-10/145, ’00) A small, creative forward who has excellent hockey sense, Seitz reads the play well and understands where to be on the ice, often sneaking behind the defense and getting open for quality scoring chances.
John Malone (#17 Freedom, R, 5-10/155, Late ’00) A fluid skater with some height and pair of soft hands, Malone will be headed to Delbarton this season as a freshman and, while he is still a project, he has considerable upside.
Jason Ruszkowski (#3 Freedom, L, 5-6/126, ’00) A small, fast prospect who is not overly dynamic but is a hound on the puck, Ruszkowski had a few nice rushes showing off his speed and he cashed in on a few scoring chances. Not a D-I prospect yet, but has some nice tools to build off of. Coming off a 54-57-111 line in 81 games with the Long Island Royals.
Anthony Bernardo (#2 Constitution, R, 5-7/125, Late ’00) Bernardo has speed to burn. He’s electric in the transition game, and hits top speed in only a few strides. Plays with the PAL Islanders.
David Mester (#12 Freedom, L, 6-0/165, ’00) Mester was quiet most of the weekend, but was strong in the third-place game, demonstrating his puck protection skills and offensive zone awareness by making a beautiful pass on a play from behind the net, setting up Jonathan Bendorf for a goal.
Mattias Samuelsson (#19 William Penn, L, 6-3/190, ’00) We have seen a lot of Samuelsson, as good a ’00 defenseman as we have come across so far. The son of Kjell Samuelsson, he has the same impressive size as his dad. Physically, he already looks like a college athlete. On the ice, he uses his long reach to keep shooters off balance, uses his body in the tough ice, and makes smart, simple passes. He is a great skater for his size but still has a long way to go in regards to lateral quickness and acceleration. He plays the game far beyond his years. He doesn’t overhandle, he doesn’t get out of position to make the big open-ice hit, and he doesn’t throw the puck away in pressure situations. He looks the part -- and plays the part -- of a future NHLer. Played at Northwood last season. College: Michigan
Nicholas Petruolo (#8 Walt Whitman, R, 5-11/167, ’00) Petruolo anchored the Princeton Day blue line this past season as a freshman and also played with the NJ Colonials, leading the latter’s defense with an impressive 13-17-30 line in 40 games. He is a good-sized, offensive-minded defenseman who comes alive with the puck on his stick. He was very noticeable skating out of his own end on breakouts and stickhandling his way through the neutral zone. He needs to be more focused and aggressive in the defensive zone. Has D-I upside.
Ryan Baker (#4 William Penn, L, 5-9/140, ’00) Baker has good feet but doesn’t stand out in any one area. He plays a well-balanced game, reliable in his own end and a capable distributor in the offensive zone. He is an honest 5’9” and looks to be growing. He played bantam major with Team Comcast and will be headed to the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers U16s next season
Ivan Sidoriak (#9 Walt Whitman, R, 5-11/160, ’00) Sidoriak was one of the more intriguing prospects among the ‘00s, as there is no one aspect of his game that is better than another. He just does a lot of things well. He has a big frame, he is physical in the corners, and in front of the net, and he blocks shots. He also has puckhandling ability and makes a firm, accurate first pass. He has a nice stride once his feet get going but needs to improve his first few steps.
Dylan Green (#16 Independence, R, 5-8/144, ’00) Green, a Comcast alum heading to the Flyers next season, is a good-sized, mobile, puck-moving defenseman. He did get caught in the neutral zone a few times with poor pivots, but overall he showed a high compete level. He’s a bit raw, but young. We’ll be keeping an eye on him.
Douglas Connor (#30 Constitution, G, 6-0/155, ’00) Connor was the only ’00 goalie here, and he did a nice job adjusting to the speed of the game and the quality of shooting as the weekend went on. He has impressive size and flexibility. His team lost most of their games and he was hung out to dry too often, hence it was difficult to get a strong read on how he would perform under normal circumstances. He does moves well for his size, though, and he makes the first stop. He comes off a successful season with the NJ Rockets U16s, where he posted a .928 SV% and 2.18 GAA in 18 games.
Prep Sophomores Checklist
Today, we have our next installment of our rankings of NEPSAC players based on what we saw of their play and how we assessed their potential over the course of the 2014-15 prep season.
We’re doing the sophomores here -- i.e. rising juniors.
We hope you find this useful as a finders’ list heading into the ’15-16 season.
1. Patrick Harper, Avon, Boston University, 5-8/150, ’98
2. Eric Esposito, Loomis, UNH, 5-11/165, ’98
3. Cam Burke, Nobles, Notre Dame, 5-8/150,’99
4. Matt Koopman, Berkshire, Northeastern, 5-10/165, ’98
5. Marc McLaughlin, Cushing, St. Lawrence, 6-0/180, ’99
6. RJ Murphy, St. Sebastians, 6-3/170, Late ’98
7. Jack Bliss, Milton, 5-11/170, ’98
8. Thomas Dale, Deerfield, NL/NL,’98
9. Jack Flanagan, Westminster, 6-0/185,’98
10. Justin Grillo, Loomis, NL/NL,’98
11. Cal LeClair, Westminster, 5-9/162, ’98
12. Matt Gosiewski, Millbrook, Harvard, 6-4/205, ’98
13. Craig Needham, Lawrence, 5-11/160,’99
14. Sam Hesler, Belmont Hill, Dartmouth, 5-9/165, ’98
15. Christian LeSueur, Brunswick, 5-10/160, ’99
16. Bobby Goggin, Choate, 6-2/170, ’98
17. Christian O’Neil, Belmont Hill, 5-10/160, ’98
18. Nick Schofield, Williston, 6-0/180, ’98
19. Robert Herrman, New Hampton, 5-10/170, ’99
20. Bobby Young, KUA, 5-10/170, Late ’98
21. Brendan Hamblet, Rivers, 5-10/180, Late ’98
22. Casey Carreau, Thayer, 5-8/175, ’98
23. Colin McCaughey, St. Paul’s, NL/NL,’98
24. Ryan Keelan, Berkshire, 5-8/160, ’98
25. Esbjorn Fogstad Vold, Lawrence, 6-3/203, ’98
26. Dakota Mulcay, Cushing, 6-2/193, ’98
27. Josh Sanchez, Albany Academy, 5-7/155, ’99
28. Brendan Goostray, St. Sebastian’s, NL/NL, ‘98
29. Bradley Ingersoll, Exeter, 5-10/160, ’98
30. Steve Bray, Lawrenceville, 6-2/195, Late ’98
1. Reilly Walsh, Proctor, NL/NL, ’99
2. Philip Kemp, Brunswick, Brown, NL/NL, ’99
3. Michael Young, Rivers, UConn, 6-1/210, ’98
4. Jack Moran, Winchendon, Maine, 6-2/190, ’98
5. Sean Keohan, Dexter, 5-11/170, ’99
6. Eric Jeremiah, St. Sebastian’s, 5-9/170, ’98
7. Brian Scoville, Cushing, UMass, 6-3/200, ’99
8. Jamie Swigget, Lawrence, 5-10/187, ’98
9. Alex Sheehy, Millbrook, 6-2/185, ‘98
10. Simon Loiselle, St. Paul’s, 6-1/183, Late ’97
11. Buddy Mrowka, Milton, 5-10/170, ’98
12. Dominic Cormier, Cushing, 5-10/170, ’98
13. Ryan Ashe, Avon, 6-0/185, Late ’98
14. Colin Felix, St. George’s, 6-1/172, ‘99
15. Matt Zandi, St. Paul’s, NL/NL, ‘98
(Filip Dusek, Stanstead, 6-4/192, ’98 – Limited Viewing)
1. Peter Negron, Kent, 5’9/150, ’98
2. Brian McGrath, Roxbury Latin, NL/NL,’98
3. Andrew Farrier, Taft, NL/NL,’97 Late
4. Adin Farhat, Loomis, NL/NL,’98
5. Nick Sorgio, Salisbury, 6-2/190, ’98
Josh George, Winchendon, NL/NL,’98
Zach McWhinnie, Tilton, NL/NL, ’98
Jeremy Thelven, NYA, 5-8/160, ’98
Baudo Leaves Gunnery in Good Hands
Chris Baudo, who, in the fall of 2003, took over a Gunnery squad that had gone 1-21-0 in the previous season, and, after a couple of rebuilding years, turned the small western Connecticut boarding school into a perennial power, has handed the program over to 10-year assistant Craig Badger.
Baudo's wife, Shannon, has accepted a job as director of admissions at the Allendale Columbia School in Rochester, NY, roughly equidistant from her hometown of Oswego and Chris's hometown of Buffalo. The couple, both of whom are Hamilton College grads, has twin children, and the move represents an opportunity to raise them among their extended families.
Baudo doesn't have any immediate hockey job, but will be working on that. "Ideally," he said, "I would like to stay in education and combine it with hockey." In the meantime, he'll stay involved in, among other things, USA Hockey's New York District State Camps.
"I'm leaving Gunnery with a heavy heart," Baudo said, "but I'm glad that I got to call the kids and tell them coach Badger is taking over."
Badger, 34, is a Clinton, NY native who was a defenseman at Wesleyan, graduating in 2004. His assistant will be Shane Gorman, a former forward at Gunnery ('10), who went on to play four years at Norwich, graduating in 2014.
Back in the day, Gunnery had been a Div. II powerhouse, winning three titles in four years ('87,'88, '90) under Matt Holloway. However, they struggled after moving up to Div. I status in 1995. Baudo put the program back on its feet -- and quite a bit more. The Highlanders, always tough to play against, have reached the Elite 8 five times in the past six years and, while a NEPSAC title has eluded them, they came awfully close in a scintillating finale in 2014, bowing in overtime, 3-2, to Salisbury.
Chris Baudo's Coaching Record at The Gunnery:
Weekend of June 5-7 Tournament Schedules & Rosters
Lew Mongelluzzo's Sixth Annual Liberty Bell Games are set to go this weekend at the Ice World Middletown Sports Complex in Middletown, NJ.
Schedules and rosters -- and a terrific picture of the man himself -- can be found on the tournament's website: 2015 Liberty Bell Games
The Fifth Annual East Coast Futures Tournament will be taking place this weekend in Connecticut. The U16s will be at the Champions Skating Center in Cromwell; the U18s will be at the Newington Arena; and the '01s and '02s will be at the International Skating Center in Simsbury.
Rosters & Schedules: East Coast Futures Tournament
Prep Freshmen Checklist
Over the next week or so we’ll be posting our rankings of NEPSAC players based on what we saw of their play and how we assessed their potential over the course of the 2014-15 prep season.
We’re starting with the freshmen – i.e. rising sophomores -- and it’s an impressive group, which shouldn’t be surprising, given that there is a limited number of kids playing prep hockey as freshmen. These guys are pretty much it.
We hope you'll find this useful as a finders’ list heading into the ’15-16 season.
1. John Copeland, Belmont Hill, 6-5/165, ’99
2. Jack Hoey, Choate, 6-0/190, Late ’98
3. Jay O’Brien, Dexter, 5-10/160, Late ‘99
4. Christopher Brown, Groton, 6-0/160, ’99
5. Max Sauve, Tabor, 5-7/145,’98
6. Tyler Capello, Rivers, 6-0/185, ’99
7. Timothy Kent, Lawrence, 5-6/143, ’99
8. Ben Thomas, Winchendon, NL/NL, ’99
9. J.J. Harding, Lawrence, 5-9/165, ’98
10. Jimmy Duffy, Roxbury Latin, 5-9/150, ’00
11. Teddy Wooding, Rivers, 6-0/150, Late ’99
12. Zach Pellegrino, Gunnery, 5-7/175, ’99
13. Tristan Amonte, Thayer, 5-7/140, ’00
14. Max Rand, Brooks, 5-10/155, ’99
15. Thomas Samuelsen, KUA, 5-10/175, ’99
16. Matt Fawcett, Moses Brown, 5-5/145, ’99
17. Michael Pitts, NYA, 5-8/140, ’00
18. Tao Ishizuka, Governor’s, 5-7/145, ’99
1. Mike Callahan, Roxbury Latin, 6-1/180, Late ’99
2. Ben Mirageas, Avon, 5-11/165, ’99
3. Thomas Craft, Deerfield, 6-5/200, ’99
4. Patrick Dawson, Westminster, 6-0/175, ’99
5. Jack Rathbone, Dexter, 5-8/145, ’99
6. Michael Kesselring, New Hampton, 5-11/140, ’00
7. Jack Studley, BB&N, 6-0/185, ’99
8. Patrick Burkinshaw, Brunswick, NL/NL,’99
9. Faisal Al-Saif, Choate, 5-10/155,’99
10. Mark Gallant, Groton, 5-10/150, ’00 (8th Grade)
1. Aidan Porter, Rivers, 6-1/140,’99
2. Eric Green, NMH, 6-2/165, ’99
3. Zach Kinard, Gunnery, 5-11/190, ‘99
Reebok Prep Cup Review
USHR traveled to Hooksett, NH this past weekend to take in the Reebok Prep Cup. The event, which featured 19 teams spread across ’00 and ’01 divisions, was competitive from top to bottom. Only two teams ended up going pointless, and only one team finished the tournament undefeated. The event is tailored to players who are considering the prep route either for this fall or the future. A prep school fair held on Saturday afternoon featured about a dozen prep school admissions officers and coaches.
Some of the rosters made note of which prep schools players will be attending this coming fall, while others didn’t. We tried to pick up the slack, doing our best to determine which kids will be heading to NEPSAC schools in September. The write-up below combines the two birth years, and is not to be taken as a definitive ranking. It’s simply a list of players who stood out to us as projectable prep school and college players.
Lynden Breen, #6 All-Pro, 5-6/137, ’01 – Breen, a Grand Bay, New Brunswick native, really stood out. His high-end hockey IQ, vision, skating, and passing ability allow him to control the play every time he is on the ice. Nicely combines a pass-first mentality with an understanding of when to shoot the puck.
Jacques Bouquot, #91 NH Knights, 6-0/150, ’00 – Bouquot, a strong forward with a good frame and a nice set of hands, has the ability to slow the game down with the puck on his stick, and also utilize his size to keep defenders away from the puck. At this level he was a force nearly every shift. A Connecticut native, Bouquot will be heading to Salisbury to play for Coach Andrew Will this fall.
Harrison Roy, #99 NE Storm, 5-11/155, ’00 – Roy, a strong skater with good hockey sense and a plus shot, moves the puck quickly and gets to open ice well. Was very effective off the cycle down low, and willing to attack the seam off the half wall. From Lakeville, Mass.
Anthony Mastromonica, #2 LI Royals, 6-1/185, ’01—Played up with the 2000’s this weekend and impressed on most of his shifts. Long Island native is a powerful forward who hasn’t quite decided what role fits his game best. Regardless, Mastromonica has the skills and time to necessary to sort all that out. Rumored to be heading to Shattuck in the fall.
Shea Courtmance, #10 NH Knights, 5-8/175, ’00 – Courtmance, a crafty forward who has a high hockey IQ and the ability to make creative passes in tight areas, played on a line with Bouquot (see above) and the two of them controlled the play in the offensive zone with ease. Connecticut native will be heading to Taft to play for Dan Murphy this fall.
Riley Brennan, #91 NE Storm, 5-7/135, ’00 – His fluid skating is the first thing scouts will notice, but Brennan’s attention to detail in all three zones is what will keep them watching. He consistently supports the puck and makes creative, tape-to-tape passes when he gets it. Played on a line with Roy (see above) and controlled nearly every shift this typist saw. Will be heading to Gunnery to play for Chris Baudo this fall.
Ross Mitton, #91 LI Royals, 5-10/165, ’00 – A big-bodied forward with a powerful stride and a plus shot is a constant threat off the rush. Gets away with being a bigger, stronger player against smaller defensemen. Very effective when he uses his size to get to the middle of the ice in order to utilize his shot. Has some bad habits in his game right now, but also has the skill set that will enable him to become a strong player.
Zach Vaughn, #10 All-Pro, 5-10/150, ’01 – Vaughn, from Saint John, New Brunswick, is a power forward who played here on a line with Lynden Breen (see above) and showed a nice balance of size and strength. Was tough to knock off the puck and willing to get to the dirty areas to bang home rebounds. Will be heading to Albany Academy to play for Brett Riley this fall.
Joey LaRossa, #27 East Coast Kings, 5-8/160, ’00 – A good skater with an extra gear that is available off the rush. Packs a heavy shot, but has the ability to slow up and find a teammate with an intricate pass. Willing to lay a hit to make a play. Attends Braintree High School.
Matt Crasa, #22 Valley Elite Red, 5-8/150, ’01 – A very intelligent forward who makes creative plays by combining his vision with silky hands. Tends to hang back and let his teammates win puck battles for him, but is willing to throw a check when the situation calls for it. Long Island native has a plus shot.
Thomas Kramer, #88 NE Storm, 5-11/155, ’00 – A solid forward who understands how to control the puck along the boards on the cycle and get to the net when needed. Bridgewater, Mass. native doesn’t have any one part of his game that jumps out at you, but the sum of his parts should enable him to play multiple roles.
Blake Graham, #24 East Coast Kings, 5-9/152, ’00 – A Hanover, Mass. native, the younger brother of Thayer’s Monte Graham plays a hard-nosed game and uses his foot speed to create plays both with and without the puck. Was a force on the forecheck and off the rush. Was also willing to throw his weight around, and get to the dirty areas in the offensive zone.
Drew Johnson, #19 All-Pro, 5-9/158, ’01 – Along with Lynden Breen and Zach Vaughn (see above), Johnson made up a standout all-New Brunswick line. Johnson has a nice quick release on a deadly accurate shot and the hockey sense to know how to find the soft areas of the ice to use it.
Thor Griffith, #97 Boston Jr. Whalers, 5-3/130, ‘02 – The most technically sound player in the tournament, and also one of just a few ‘02s on hand. Griffith, from Portsmouth, NH, has an efficient stride, good hands, high hockey IQ, and the ability to get in on opponents’ hands with his body to win battles. A very good prospect.
Connor Wood, #9 Boston Jr. Whalers, 5-9/165, ’01 – Wood, a skilled power forward from St. Albans, Vermont, is a strong skater and an even stronger kid. Gritty, tenacious, and tough to knock off the puck, he also has enough offensive ability to create plays in the offensive zone. Reminded us of Loomis’s Alex Esposito.
Aidan Curran, #21 NE Nordiques, 5-5/133, ’01 – A smart, crafty forward who likes having the puck on his stick. Curran is a good skater, but tends to hang around the perimeter too much. Will need to have the desire to get to the interior at the next level. Will be playing at Austin Prep.
Matt Gould, #7 Mass Edge, 5-10/150, ’00 – A Weymouth, Mass. native, Gould is a high-flying forward with good straight-line speed. Not the craftiest with the puck on his stick, but is extremely tough to get an angle on when he hits his stride.
Merrick Rippon, #5 Team Ontario, 5-11/177, ’00 – A strong, nasty, throwback defender with a powerful stride and the ability to push the pace. Plays an in-your-face style of hockey in all three zones, looking to use his body to separate opposing forwards from the puck. A true agitator, the Ottawa native is effective when he manages to contain his emotions.
Michael Kesselring, #4 NH Knights, 6-1/150, ’00 – The son of New Hampton coach Casey Kesselring had a solid showing here. A right-shot defenseman with a year of prep experience under his belt, Kesselring skates well and makes a very good first pass. He’s poised in his defensive zone and more than willing to engage along the boards to win battles for loose pucks.
Kevin Lassman, #7 East Coast Kings, 5-8/145, ’00 –An offensive-minded defenseman, Lassman has strong lateral skating ability and the ability to get pucks through tight areas to the net. Uses his plus skating ability and a good stick to keep defenders wide, and turn pucks over off the rush. A Florida native, Lassman will be heading north to Williston-Northampton this fall to play for Derek Cunha.
John Fusco, # 8 EC Wizards, 5-5/135, ’01 – A crafty defenseman with good puck skills and great awareness. Reads the play from the back end and understands how to defend accordingly. Has a good stick that allows him to control forwards who are bigger than he. A Dexter student, he’s the son of 1983 Hobey Baker Award-winning defenseman Mark Fusco, and nephew of 1986 Hobey Baker Award-winning forward Scott Fusco.
Frankie Linso, #4 NE Nordiques, 5-8/160, ’01 – A great skater in all directions, Linso uses his feet to get out of trouble, and uses his vision to create offense. Makes the high percentage play on puck retrievals when it is available, but has the ability to create a play out of nothing through his skating. From Westwood, Mass.
Paddy Mangan, #21 East Coast Kings, 6-0/165, ’00 – A right-shot defenseman, Mangan is a solid skater with a heavy shot. He also knows when to use it. Has the ability to rush the puck when needed, but prefers to make a tape-to-tape pass to a forward. Will be returning to Rice Memorial (Vt.) High School this fall.
Matthew Foster, #9 Valley Elite Red, 6-1/210, ’01 – Foster, a big-body defenseman from Long Island, has a great stick in tight areas and a heavy shot from the point. Needs to work on his foot speed in order to take the next step in his development.
Benoit Druet, #30 East Coast Kings, 6-0/148, ’00 – Druet, a focused goaltender who fights through screens to track pucks while remaining calm under pressure, was outstanding all weekend. His rebound control was very strong, and his angles were nearly flawless. The Moncton, New Brunswick native is looking to make his was down to New England to attend prep school. He will make an instant impact wherever he ends up.
Jacob Zacharewicz, #27 Boston Jr. Whalers, 6-0/160, ’01 – A technically-sound goaltender from Long Island, Zacharewicz moves well in the net and tracks the puck equally well. Exhibited excellent rebound control when we saw him, and never had to scramble to make a save. Minimizes his movements and remains square to the shooter at all times.
Aidan Gibian, #30 NE Nordiques, 5-5/130, ’01 – Was tested quite often in the one viewing we had, and he did not disappoint. Made three incredible saves on backdoor passes on which he was required to make hard lateral pushes. Very athletic. Will obviously need to do some growing to maintain his high level of play, but he has time for that. From Mid-Fairfield organization.