Late Summer Notes
Here are our notes, drawn mainly from the Tier I Labor Day Tournament at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, on U18 and U16 players who caught our eye – mostly for the better.
We have chosen forty U18s and forty U16s to comment on. We’ve seen a lot of teams in the early going, some more than others. And there are many teams we have yet to see. Needless to say, at the Labor Day Tournament, it’s impossible to see everyone – or even come close.
Players are arranged in alphabetical order.
Bailey Aust, ’97 G, 6-0/165, #35 Northern Cyclones U18 – Colorado native was outstanding in the first couple of periods vs. the Conn. River Hawks, facing a ton of rubber. Was hung out to dry in the third. Showed good rebound control, reaction time, and lateral mobility.
Matt Barnaby Jr., ’98 F, 5-11/140, Buffalo Regals U18 (Avon Old Farms) – Works hard; plays an honest game. Is calm under pressure and plays at a high-tempo. A natural center, he won’t beat you with speed but he has a sense of the game, creates offense, and can distribute in tight areas.
Michael Bermingham, ’99 D, 5-7/180, #10 Little Bruins U18 (BB&N) – Small defenseman with good hands. He’s young, so if he grows he could be a borderline D-I prospect. More likely a very good NESCAC player.
Tim Birarelli, ’97 G, 6-1/175, #1 Neponset Valley River Rats U18 (Loomis) – One of the very best prep goaltenders last year. Don’t see that changing. Good lateral movement, and tough to beat on second chances.
Tyler Carangelo, ’97 F, 6-0/170, #11Yale U18 National (Avon Old Farms) – Will be a senior this year and could make for a strong second-line center for the Winged Beavers. Has plenty of skill, but could add a little grit to his game.
Matt Cousino, late ’97 D, 6-0/180, #4 Yale U18 National (Canterbury) – Vermont native has become bigger and stronger as he’s moved from Rice Prep to the Wolf Pack U18 full season and, now, to Canterbury. Will open some eyes.
Azan Dorsett, late ’98 D, 5-9/155, Buffalo Regals U18 – A rather intriguing player, Dorsett, a right-shot D from Texas, is a terrific skater and a skilled power play QB who likes having the puck on his stick, and is more than willing to lead or join the rush, though he does tends to hold onto the puck too long. He’s a classic high risk/high reward type. Right now, Dorsett is a defensive liability but, if he learns the game, could morph into a D-I defenseman. His skating ability is undeniable.
Sage Englund, ’97 F, 6-2/180, #21 Boston Jr. Rangers U18 – He’s tall, skates well, and has some skill. He’s superb in open ice but struggles with physical play. From Scottsdale, Arizona.
McKay Flanagan, ’97 D, 6-1/208, #4 Mid-Fairfield U18 (Gunnery) – Hits very hard. Can be high-risk with the puck, as he turns it over a bit much. But we’ve also seen games where he is extremely sound defensively. If he can do that consistently, the senior from Ridgefield, Conn. will draw increased interest from D-I schools.
Max Fuld, ’97 D/F, 6-1/187, #11 Mid-Fairfield U18 (Brunswick) – Underrated. Does a lot of things well. Not flashy. Just does what he needs to do, and does it consistently. Good D-I prospect.
Andrew Hadley, ’97 F, 6-2/220, #16 Little Bruins U18 (Deerfield) – Big, strong power forward who needs to get faster. He appears to be carrying too much weight. Was injured a lot at Deerfield last season. Had a really good Beantown in August.
Patrick Harper, ’98 F, 5-8/155, #7 Neponset Valley River Rats U18 (Avon Old Farms) – Best player in the tournament and, with linemates Jamie Armstrong (Avon/NU) and Ben Taylor (Tabor/Brown) giving him room to operate, centered the best line in the tournament.
David Jankowski, ’97 F, 6-1/173, #13 Mid-Fairfield U18 (Salisbury) – He’s a skilled playmaker, and smart. He has some speed, though he’s not a fluid skater. However, when we see him we always find ourselves wanting a little more. It doesn’t all add up – at least not yet. He’s a little too perimeter. Perhaps at Salisbury it will all come together. He’ll be closely watched.
Evan Johnson, ’97 F, 5-11/165, #5 Connecticut Riverhawks U18 (Gunnery) – Californian has a powerful motor. Uses his speed well. Hard on the puck. Fits the Gunnery mold, but is a little bigger. Was consistently noticeable, but he was also playing against slightly weaker opponents. Look forward to seeing him some more.
Jordan Kaplan, ’97 F, 5-10/167, #14 Mid-Fairfield U18 (Salisbury) – Good skater with skill finds ways to score. Has played well all summer.
Adam Karashik, ’98 D, 5-11/180, #16 Neponset Valley River Rats U18 (Avon Old Farms) – Skates well. Was very good blocking shots, and good on the PK. Skates himself into bad areas at times, though that’s correctable if he applies himself. UConn recruit played for Connecticut Oilers last season.
Troy Kobryn, ’99 G, 6-0/180, #1 Frozen Tide Green U18 (Delbarton) – Has steadily grown since we first saw him a couple of years back. Makes himself big, challenges shooters. His lower body is explosive, he gets his pads down quickly, and protects against the back-door pass well. Posted a .921 GAA as a sophomore.
Kyle Koopman, ’98 D, 5-11/181, #5 Mid-Fairfield U18 (Berkshire) – Last year, he forced pucks and got beaten on the rush. He’s getting better, though. He keeps the play in front of him. He could be a reliable depth guy at a D-I school. We’ll know more as the season goes along, but he played well here. Plays in the shadow of his twin brother, Matt, but is also carving out his own identity.
Matthew Ladd, ’98 G, 6-3/194, #31 Buffalo Regals U18 (Avon Old Farms) – He’s big at 6’3”, and makes himself even bigger by playing at the top of the crease. Ladd is precise and calm in his movements, and controls rebounds well. Gave up six goals to the Cape Cod Whalers but he was peppered, and came up with quality saves. Fall ’18 Niagara recruit.
Dom Malatesta, ’99 F, 5-10/170, #25 Boston Jr. Rangers U18 – ’99-born forward is playing up with the U18s. A skilled playmaker who competes in all three zones. Younger brother of ‘96 D Zach Malatesta (Moncton Wildcats).
Brian Matthews, ’98 D, 6-1/190, #4 Cape Cod Whalers U18 (Belmont Hill) – Matthews is controlling the game the way he did a couple of years ago when he was playing as an underager at the U16 level. Has good escape moves, and made some nice stretch passes. Yale recruit is very cool and calm under pressure, and looks thicker and stronger.
Bryan McGrath, ’98 G, 5-11/170, #35 Little Bruins U18 (Roxbury Latin) – Plays at the top of his crease and is very athletic. Doesn’t get a lot of attention, but he could be one of the better goalies in prep hockey this year.
Ben Mirageas, ’99 D, 6-0/175, #6 Neponset Valley River Rats U18 (Avon Old Farms) – Looks like he will have a break-out year. Mirageas, a Providence recruit, is a terrific skater with good lower-body strength. His decision-making is good, he’s playing it smarter than last year, and there’s real zip to his passes. Didn’t do quite what we expected last winter, but he was a young player in his first year at boarding school. Good pro prospect for the 2017 draft.
RJ Murphy, late ’98 F, 6-2/185, #9 Cape Cod Whalers U18 (St. Sebastian’s) – A beautiful skater with a strong lower body, Murphy floats around and can jump into the play when the opportunity presents itself. However, he could create more opportunities for himself – and his linemates -- by stopping on pucks more. There’s a little too much looping. If he adds a little grittiness and is able to make more plays, he could position himself well for the 2017 draft. He’s following his father’s – and his coach’s -- footsteps and will be attending Harvard.
Derek Osik, ’98 F, 5-11/160, #15 Little Bruins U18 (St. Mark’s) – Right now, he’s a borderline D-I prospect, but he could blossom. He’s a smart player with a variety of skills. With Adam Lee having graduated, Osik will be playing a larger role at St. Mark’s this season.
Jake Pappalardo, ’97 F, 5-10/180, #10 NEFPHL Selects U18 (Proctor) – Bigger, stronger, and faster. Had 62 points last season. No returning prep player had more.
Andrew Petrillo, ’98 D, 5-11/180, #5 Frozen Tide Green U18 (Delbarton) – He’s rugged, skates well, and he can really shoot the puck. Overhandles it a bit at times. Will be a senior.
Jeremy Routh, ’98 F, 5-9/147, #9 West Haven Blue Devils U18 (Kent) – Has skill and plays hard. A gritty in-your-face type. Need to see him more but he looks like he could be very good for Kent, and a possible D-I candidate. Had 42 points in 21 games as a sophomore at Hamden High School last winter.
Michael Ryan, ’97 D, 5-11/170, #3 Cape Cod Whalers U18 (Tabor) – His skating ability – forward, backward, and laterally – is very good. He looks like he just floats on his skates – very good feet. A playmaking defenseman with a good stick, we see him as a second-unit PP guy at the D-I level. Ryan is a Union recruit.
Travis Schneider, ’98 F, 5-10/170, #9 Yale U18 National (Canterbury) – A skilled and shifty center, Schneider was Canterbury’s best player last year. He’s a little perimeter at times. Borderline D-I because of his size. Will be interesting to watch as the season moves along.
Ben Solin, ’97 F, 5-10/170, #11 NEFPHL Selects U18 (Exeter) – He’s on the small side, but has an abundance of skill and smarts. Not dynamic enough for D-I play, but will certainly be a top NESCAC player.
Luke Stevens, ’97 F, 6-4/185, #21 Cape Cod Whalers U18 (Nobles) – Unstoppable when he gets the puck, but disappears for stretches. So consistency is an issue. That said, he has scored some ridiculously nice goals in the early going. Looks like a pro in that he can execute plays at speed, using his hands and great reach. Was hurt a lot last year, and played through it for a spell. If he stays healthy and is able to find a consistent level of play, he could have a dominating senior season. A Yale recruit, Stevens was a fifth round pick of the Carolina Hurricanes in June’s NHL draft.
Cam Tedford, ’97 F, 5-6/150, #23 Northern Cyclones U18 – He’s a small agitator with skill – a Brad Marchand type. Projects as a good D-III prospect.
Edgars Treijs, ’98 F, 5-11/181, #2 Connecticut Riverhawks U18 (Salisbury) – Shoots the puck well, and has excellent hands. He’s at his best on the offensive side of the red line. If he stops on pucks and engages in more board battles, he could gain traction.
Josh Vertentes, ’98 F, 5-8/180, #8 Little Bruins U18 (Avon Old Farms) – Last year was his first year at Avon, having come over from Portsmouth Abbey, a big jump. Vertentes’s strength is his shooting, as he has a heavy shot with a deceptive release. That’s his game – the other parts need work. Lost weight over the summer, which will help him.
Nick Vukota, ’98 F/D, 6-4/180, #3 New England Nordiques U18 (Albany Academy) – The youngest son of former New York Islander Mick Vukota played high school hockey on Martha’s Vineyard last season. He’s a 6’4” string bean, very raw -- and intriguing. Should be interesting to see him a couple of months down the line, when he’s adjusted to the higher tempo. He’s listed as both a forward and defenseman – and in the early going has played effectively at both positions.
Alex Vukota, ’97 D, 5-11/180, #4 New England Nordiques U18 (Albany Academy) – Lacks the size of his younger brother, Nick, and also came out of Martha’s Vineyard High School. However, unlike his younger brother, he has had a year at Albany Academy under his belt, and is an effective defender. His hands are good, as is his vision. He has a good stick in the defensive zone, and he hits hard.
Jake Wise, ’00 F, 5-10/175, #12 NEFPHL Selects U18 (Central Catholic) – Best prospect in the tournament. ‘Nuff said.
Mike Young, ’98 D, 6-1/210, #5 NEFPHL Selects U18 (Rivers) – His skating appears better, and he’s become really strong over the last year or so. Thickly-built defender, a UConn recruit, is a prospect for next summer’s NHL draft.
Owen Zdunski, G, 6-0/180, #1 New England Nordiques U18 (Lawrence Academy) –Brentwood, Tennessee native played for Culver U16s last winter. He’s a little raw, but very athletic. Had a good Select 17 Festival.
Steven Agriogianis, ’99 F, 5-9/165, #10 North Jersey Avalanche U16 – Skilled, nifty player was the leading scorer at Delbarton as a sophomore. Needs to become more dynamic.
Thomas Albert, ’99 F, 5-9/150, East Coast Wizards U16 (Malden Catholic) – Small and skilled. Didn’t get much ice time as a sophomore at MC last season. Similar to older brother Devin (Belmont Hill/Colby) though perhaps more skilled at same age.
Faisal Al-Saif, ’99 D, 5-11/170, #5 Yale U16 (Choate) – Skates well; has good speed. Passes were on the money. Smart player on an upward trajectory. Doesn’t seem like a PP guy. Just a good consistent defenseman. Was his team’s best defender over Labor Day weekend.
Tristan Amonte, ’00 F, 5-6/150, #3 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (Thayer Academy) – Is always around the puck, making plays, and battling. Had two goals in the finals.
Gray Betts, late ’00 F, 6-2/195, #13 Neponset Valley River Rats U16 (Hingham HS) – Big, raw, and very young. Has power forward potential. Gets around fairly well for his size/age but when he grows into his body we’ll get a better idea as to what he can do. Meanwhile, we’ll keep watching.
Gabe Blanchard, ’00 D, 5-11/165, #18 Buffalo Regals U16 – A sleeper. Good skater who keeps everything in front of him, has a hard shot, and hits hard.
Max Bogdanovich, ’01 F, #63 Junior Bruins U16 – His skating has a long way to go, but he’s huge – 6’4” – and quite young. If he finds his feet under him, he could become a very intriguing prospect.
Jacques Bouquot, ’00 F, 6-0/155, #16 Yale U16 (Salisbury) – Gets better every time we see him. Left-shot center from South Windsor, Conn. thinks the game well, and does a good job getting the puck to open linemates, and vice versa. Dangerous in scoring areas. Sure-fire D-I prospect.
Logan Britt, ’99 D, Team Illinois U16 – The standout player on a somewhat underwhelming TI squad. Nothing flashy. Just good in all facets of the game. A lot of poise. D-I prospect.
Michael Callahan, late ’99 D, 6-1/190, #24 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (Roxbury Latin) – Very impressive. Has size, very good feet, poise with the puck. Will be a target for a lot of top schools.
Tyler Capello, ’99 F, 6-1/175, East Coast Wizards U16 (Rivers) – The best forward on his team, Capello has good size and can skate. Will be a sophomore at Rivers and will have a bigger role to fill this season.
Hunter Chaisson, '99 G, 6-0/164, #33 Mid-Fairfield U16 (Westminster) -- Had a strong performance vs. a powerful Yale team. Great reactionary goalie relies on athleticism more than technique. Is stuck behind two seniors at Westminster.
Jack DeBoer, ’00 F, 6-2/175, #11 Yale U16 (Salisbury) – Had a good weekend. Has size and excellent passing ability. His hands are better than his feet at this point, but he’s young and his skating will get there. Boston University recruit. Good prospect for 2018 draft.
Jayson Dobay, ’99 D, 5-11/170, #7 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (BC High) – Smooth skater will be called on to fill the role of departed Ryan Shea at BC High, though he doesn't jump into the rush, or walk the line on the PP. He's more stay-at-home. Good stick. Gets pucks up-ice effectively. Confident defending rush.
Sean Farrell, ’01 F, #81 Junior Bruins U16 – Didn’t stand out as much as we expected, just showed what he can do in flashes. He has hockey IQ, and skating and passing ability. Farrell, excellent with his age group, is a player to keep close tabs on. A lot of upside.
Tyler Gratton, ’99 F, 6-1/175, #28 North Jersey Avalanche U16 – Very skilled. Excellent hockey IQ, skating ability, and tenacity. Well-rounded, with no apparent weaknesses. One of the very best prospects in the U16 Division. His team was dominant in a game vs. Wizards, but an injury to Gratton halfway through changed the tenor of the game. Strong D-I prospect.
Eric Green, '99 G, 6-3/175, #30 Springfield Rifles U16 (NMH) -- Very calm in net. Doesn't waste movement. Uses his size to great advantage. He's a Ben Bishop-type in that he can see over screens even with a lot of net-front traffic. Very strong fundamentally.
Corson Green, ’99 D, 6-3/207, #22 Northern Cyclones U16 – Huge kid with a rocket of a shot. On the PP, Green ripped a one-timer off the half-wall that rang off the bottom of the crossbar. Pretty raw, but there are tools here.
Robbie Griffin, ’01 F, #18 Junior Bruins U16 – Played a bit in the shadow of Patrick Moynihan (River Rats U16/Nobles) on last year’s Minuteman Flames ’01 team. Makes plays. He's quick, smart, and gets in on the forecheck. Puck seems to find him. Shoots it hard. Adjusted to the new level, played with confidence, and looked at home vs. a ’99-heavy River Rats team.
Nick Hale, ’99 D, 5-9/150, #6 Yale U16 (Salisbury) – Quick, high-skill, puck-moving d-man. Thinks the game well. Anticipation is good. Very athletic. Played last season for Carolina Hurricanes U16s.
Jerry Harding, ’99 F, 6-1/185, #14 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (Nobles) – Excellent skater with size. Didn’t get as much done as we would have liked. Need to see him more, but there’s upside here.
Kyler Head, ’99 F, 6-3/197, #24 Northern Cyclones U16 – A big strong, raw kid who can fire the puck. Has good hands in tight, but his feet need work.
Zach Jones, ’01 F, 5-4/125, #20 Boston Bandits U16 – Consistently noticeable as an '01. Younger brother of '98 D Cooper Jones of the Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL).
Adam Kadlec, ’99 F, #10 Junior Bruins U16 – Big, strong 6’2” power forward sometimes gets a little cute. Has skill, but is most effective when using his size and strength. Played well in win vs. strong River Rats team. In second year with Junior Bruins U16. From Edina, Minn., but he’s a US/Canada dual citizen.
Zak Kinard, ’99 G, 6-0/190, #1 Yale U16 (Gunnery) – Was excellent here. Best goalie in the division. Communicated well with his d-men. Very vocal. Battles in crease. Very confident in his ability. Didn’t see him fumble or give up a bad rebound. Lateral movement was very good.
Ryan King, ’99 F, 6-0/175, #11 Neponset Valley River Rats U16 (Proctor) – A standout sophomore at Bishop Hendricken last year, the son of former Brown and NHL forward Steven King will give Proctor much-needed scoring depth.
Cameron Lemanski, ’99 D, 6-0/160, #16 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (Thayer) – Plays on the Cape Cod Whalers ridiculously deep group of d-corps along with Michael Callahan, Jack Rathbone (injured), Sean Keohan, Brian Scoville, and Jason Dobay. To this typist, he’s their #6 d-man. But you know something? He’s pretty good. Nice burst of speed. Look forward to seeing him more. He’s a sophomore at Thayer.
Ross Mitton, ’00 F, 5-11/180, #13 North Jersey Avalanche U16 – Not a high-skill player, but still manages to make plays. His work ethic is top shelf. Very tough to play against. Has a serious edge. Never quits on a play.
Patrick Moynihan, ’01 F, 5-10/150, #7 Neponset Valley River Rats U16 (Nobles) – A star in the making, Moynihan, from the Minuteman Flames ’01 team, is extremely smooth and light on his feet. He’s quick, he’s agile, he’s athletic, he’s always moving, looking for an opening and, more often than not, finding it and darting toward the net. He’s jumping up a level and already looks at home.
Jack Nisbet, ’99 F, 5-11/170, #12 Neponset Valley River Rats U16 (Dexter) – Really good skills. Jumps out at you at times with highlight reel goals, but then disappears. A little inconsistent. Moving from BC High to Dexter this season.
Jay O’Brien, late ’99 F, 5-10/160, #19 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (Dexter) – The top forward on his team, and one of the elite U16s in New England. He has speed. He competes. He plays hard both ways. He engages in the dirty areas. He’s physical. His feet are always moving. We see him having a huge year at Dexter.
Max Rand, ’99 F, 5-11/160, #16 Neponset Valley River Rats U16 (Brooks) – Not flashy, but he is stll consistently noticeable. Keeps growing on us. Always around the puck. Good in all zones. Supports the puck carrier. Super smart. Was a freshman on a strong Brooks team last season. Look for the Cape Cod native to take a much bigger role this season.
Justin Robbins, '99 G, 5-9/150, #30 North Jersey Avalanche U16 -- Did a really good job staying square to the shooter. A couple shots hit off his glove and went wide, but his lateral movement was excellent as was his tracking of passes and shots.
Harrison Roy, ’00 F, 5-11/155, #8 Boston Bandits U16 – Excellent skater pushes the pace and makes d-men uncomfortable. Didn’t look particularly comfortable with the puck, but gets it to the middle of the ice and makes solid passes. Works hard in all three zones.
Brian Scoville, ’99 D, 6-3/210, #27 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (Winchendon) – UMass recruit, who got limited playing time at Cushing last season, is taking his game up the road to Winchendon. A solid defender, Scoville needs to continue working on his overall agility, and first step.
Neil Shea, ’99 F, 6-1/185, #20 Neponset Valley River Rats U16 (Marshfield HS) – Solidly-built winger will play another year at Marshfield High School before moving on to prep school and the University of Maine. Consistent every shift. Makes a lot of good plays. Has a mind for the game. Is sturdy and strong on his skastes, with a wide base that makes him difficult to knock off the puck. Footwork could use a little work.
Brandon Tabakin, ’00 D, 5-7/135, #4 North Jersey Avalanche U16 – Very small, but a smart, clever defenseman. If he grows a bit, and fills out, he’ll be a strong D-I prospect.
Ben Thomas, ’99 F, 5-10/165, #2 Cape Cod Whalers U16 (Winchendon) – Very offensive. Hangs at the blue line a bit, and is only noticeable when the puck is on his stick. But then he pops to life. He can score, and he can make plays. Needs to play the whole 200 feet.
Christian Thomas, ’99 F, 5-9/155, #8 Northern Cyclones U16 – Very good skater with very good hands. Wasn’t particulary assertive, though. Vermont commit.
Tyce Thompson, ’99 F, 5-10/145 #9 Yale U16 (Salisbury) – His IQ and hockey sense are way up there. A strong skater, Thompson works hard and battles tenaciously for pucks. Never quits on plays. Great hands and excellent edges. Highly clever around the net, in tight areas, and along the boards. Great on zone entries. Providence recruit.
Reilly Walsh, ’99 D, 5-10/170, #2 Neponset Valley River Rats U16 (Proctor) – Best d-man in the U16 Division. Harvard recruit was terrific in the Labor Day finals vs. the Cape Cod Whalers, helping lead his team from a 5-0 deficit at the end of two periods to an improbable 6-5 OT win. Walsh, who assisted on the winner, had two goals and two assists. A game changer on the PP, he knows exactly when to move the puck. He'll spin, fake passes -- he just offers so many options with the puck on his stick.
Albert Washco, ’99 F, 5-8/150, #13 Yale U16 (Gunnery) – Excellent 1v1 skills. Works hard, keeps feet moving, and makes things happen when the puck is on his stick. Very much in the Gunnery mold.
NHL Central Scouting Preliminary List
This morning, NHL Central Scouting issued its Preliminary Players to Watch List for the 2016 NHL Draft.
Click below for the printable PDF version.
By the way, in 2016 the NHL Draft Lottery will have a new format. Previously, the lottery was used to determine which team gets the #1 overall pick. Now, the lottery will be expanded to determine which teams pick in the top three slots. (To be technical, there will be three separate lotteries, and no longer will the team with the worst regular season record be assured of, at worst, the #2 overall draft pick.)
The 2016 NHL Draft will be held Fri.-Sat. June 24-25 at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY.
NHL Central Scouting Preliminary Players to Watch List, Sept. 29, 2015
All-American Prospects Game
USHR was at the fourth annual All-American Prospects Game last Thursday in Buffalo.
The game, in which Team Plante edged Team Roenick 6-4 on a powerplay goal by defenseman Luke McInnis and a subsequent Kieffer Bellows empty-netter, was a tepid affair played out in front of a sparse crowd -- mostly family, friends, and NHL scouts -- at the cavernous First Niagara Center (capacity: 19,070). The fans looked like a handful of BBs in a boxcar.
Missing, of course, was Auston Matthews, who is playing pro in Zurich, so that high-profile hier-to-Jack-Eichel aspect was lacking.
The game, heavily promoted by USA Hockey, was sloppy at the start with numerous turnovers and forced passes. Eventually, things settled into an up-and-down, wide-open game with a few shifts of momentum. Hitting was practically non-existent. It was, in short, a friendly.
It seems to us that this game could be of greater use to scouts and players alike if it were folded into the Select 17 Festival in early summer and/or the Junior Team Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY, held the first week in August. What we saw on Thursday was summer hockey, so why not play it in the summer, and save all the scouts and players the hassle of traveling great distances to see sixty minutes of lackluster hockey when the regular season -- and games played in anger -- are right around the corner?
This game could be so much more. And we have an idea or two.
As most readers know, NTDP players do not take part in the Select 17 Camp. And 18 of the 42 players at the All-American Prospects Game were NTDP players. Basically, the Ann Arbor kids get an automatic entry -- and it showed at times. Of the remaining 24 players in Buffalo, nine didn't take part in any USA Hockey summer events, and 15 took part in the Select 17 Camp. From that, ten were selected for the Hlinka Tournament in mid-August.
Why not return NTDP players to the Select 17 camp, expand that camp to allow late birthdates, and let NHL scouts in attendance pick two all-star teams? This would be the carrot that could bring some glamour back to the 17 camp. The teams that the scouts select could then make their way to Lake Placid and, after a mini-camp, play a best two-of-three series.
The Hlinka Tournament could continue under the current format -- i.e. no NTDP players allowed. But the team that goes over will have been chosen under -- and hardened by -- the crucible of a tougher selection process.
Just an idea.
Here, then, are ten players we liked at the game in Buffalo.
1. Luke Kunin, RC, 6-0/195, University of Wisconsin -- Kunin was on his game from the get-go, scoring on a short-side snipe off a 2-on-1 with linemate Matt Tkachuk. The Chesterfield, Missouri native showed speed, and played with pace. He made good decisions on the rush, and it seemed he was a creating scoring chances nearly every shift. Also had a goal and an assist 10 seconds apart late in the second to put his team, which had given up two straight goals, back into the lead. The Wisconsin freshman's play here was a hopeful sign for beleaguered Badgers' faithful.
2. Matt Tkachuk, LW, 6-1/196, London Knights (OHL) -- Played the wing on Kunin's line and the two, who were born six days apart in December 1997 and came up together in the St. Louis AAA Blues youth organization before moving on to the NTDP together, were a potent duo with a terrific feel for where each was on the ice. Tkachuk really came alive in the second period. Scored a goal from his knees to tie the game up at 3-3. Used his body well to protect pucks. Got more comfortable attacking traffic and driving to the net. Plays a smart game, and competes in all three zones. Potential high first round prospect.
3. Charlie McAvoy, RD, 6-0/211, Boston University -- Had a turnover -- only partly his fault -- that led to Kunin's goal 10 seconds in, but then settled in nicely. The Long Island native, also a 12/97 birthdate, is smooth, poised, and sees the ice well. Will hold on to the puck to make a play. Great first passes -- everything is tape-to-tape -- but can also get up in the play when the situation calls for it. Set up Luke McInnis for the game-winner with a nice cross-ice pass. Has the ability to slow the game down around him. Never panics. Is currently a freshman at BU.
4. Chad Krys, LD, 5-11/184, US Under-18 Team -- As always, his skating -- Krys has a long, smooth stride -- is terrific, and the foundation upon which his game is built. The ice just opens up for him when the puck is on his stick. And it was on his stick a lot. Krys is made for the modern NHL. Every team in today's NHL is looking for a puck-moving defenseman and, given that there are so few with his skills, we expect Krys will go high in the first round. A son of former BU defenseman Mark Krys, the Connecticut native will be at BU in the fall of '16.
5. Logan Brown, LC, 6-6/223, Windsor Spitfires (OHL) -- This camp was noteworty for the size of the players. Of the 42 players, 33 were 6'0" or bigger. Sometimes, as in the case of the 6'6" Brown, much bigger. The power forward, who centered a line with Max Jones and Willie Knierim on the wings, is faster than he looks, and has considerable skill for his size. Showed strong finishing ability down the weak-side seam on his team's go-ahead goal in the second period. Has a hard one-timer. Brown could go in top half of first round.
6. Max Jones, LW, 6-2/205, London Knights (OHL) -- Played on a line with Brown and Knierim and showed finishing ability, scoring two goals. Power forward, who has deceptive speed, was physically involved, at least relative to the tenor of the game. Drew the penalty that led to his team's game-winning goal, as Riley Tufte pulled him down in front of the net. His second goal, which tied the game at 4-4 in the third, was on a wide-angle shot that snuck between goalie Stephen Dillon and the post. Jones is the son of former Michigan Wolverine and NHLer Brad Jones, and is a potential high first round prospect.
7. Willie Knierim, RW, 6-3/213, Dubuque (USHL) -- Made a beautiful pass on one of Brown's two goals, finding him with a backhand pass for a backhand tap-in at the far post. Found ways to put his linemates in favorable scoring position. Patient with the puck. Above average skater. Good vision and understanding of where to put the puck. In short, he made plays, and raised his draft stock. From the Chicago Mission organization; now in his second year with Dubuque (USHL).
8. Alex DeBrincat, RW, 5-7/161, Erie Otters (OHL) -- Michigan native, who played for Victory Honda, spent a year at Lake Forest Academy (MPHL) before Sherry Bassin urged him to turn major junior -- he'd been passed over twice in the OHL draft -- with the Erie Otters. There, the former UMass commit played on a line with Connor McDavid and wound up the season with 104 points and the OHL Rookie of the Year Award. Here in Buffalo, he was the smallest player in the game by several inches. But he's a nifty player with excellent stick skills. Protects the puck well. Forechecks hard. Is slippery and quick. And he sees the ice. DeBrincat got better as the game moved along.
9. Kieffer Bellows, LW, 6-1/195, US Under-18 Team -- The only goal he scored here was a short-handed empty-netter late in the contest, but he's a scorer. Has a heavy, accurate shot. Got comfortable as the game moved along and started working well below the hash marks with his linemate, Alex DeBrincat. Bellows helped lead Edina to the Class AA Minnesota State High School championship as a 10th grader before moving on to the USHL, where last season with Sioux Falls he scored 33 goals, which is a basketful for a 16-year-old in that league. Was named USHL Rookie of the Year and has now moved on to the US Under-18 team for his senior season. Bellows, the son of long-time NHLer and 1982 first round pick Brian Bellows, has a chance to be a first rounder himself. Will be at BU in the fall of '16.
10. Tim Gettinger, LW, 6-5/216, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) -- Gettinger, who scored on a deflection of a Michael Campoli point shot midway through the first period to give his team a 2-1 lead, has come a long way in the past year in terms of his overall agility. A power forward whose older brother played at Mercyhurst, Gettinger jumped from the Cleveland Barons U16s to the Soo Greyhounds and surprised some by putting up 25 points as a rookie, despite sitting out occasionally as as healthy scratch. Needs to keep working on his skating.
East-West Invitational Review
The inaugural East-West Invitational, hosted by the Springfield Rifles, was held last weekend at the UMass-Amherst’s Mullins Center.
There were eight teams in each division (U18 & U16). Due to time restraints we were only able to see the U18 division, which was won by the Buffalo Regals.
The most skilled team we saw was the York Region Saints U18, which is not surprising, considering all 16 players are from St. Andrew’s College. As far as U18 teams go, they were young, with eight ‘99s, six ‘98s, and just two ‘97s. Conversely, the Junior Bruins (Fall), whom they had to play on Saturday, had twelve ‘96s on the roster. Strength, naturally, was an issue in that one.
Here, arranged by team, are 16 guys who we stood out for us:
Regan Kimens, ’99 F, 6-0/175, #27 York Region Saints U18 (St. Andrew’s College) – Vaughn, Ontario native is shifty, and likes having the puck on his stick. A playmaker who can also really shoot it, Kimens doesn’t mind navigating through heavy traffic. A good skater with the puck, he’s good-sized already but looks like he has room to grow. If he fills out, he could really pop. Played last year for the Toronto Titans (GTHL). Legit D-I prospect.
Alex MacDonald, ’97 F, 5-9/150, #18 York Region Saints U18 (St. Andrew’s College) – Bedford, Nova Scotia native was third-leading scorer at St. Andrew’s last season (23-37-60 in 52 gp). Has oodles of skill. Always has puck on his stick, and made a lot of great plays. He’s more quick than fast, and he’s very tough to contain. His lateral skating is a plus, as is his escapability. Power play could revolve around him. Was consistently noticeable, and has D-I skill but, at 150 lbs., he may not be dynamic enough. At the very least he could be a terrific NESCAC player.
Morgan Barron, late ’98 F, 6-2/182, #16 York Region Saints U18 (St. Andrew’s College) – Halifax, Nova Scotia native is a north-south winger, a catch-it-and-shoot-it type. He hides his release well and the puck just jumps off his stick. A power forward in the making, he could add more physicality to his game by getting in quicker on the forecheck and trying to force turnovers, etc. Played last year for the Newbridge Academy Gladiators (Nova Scotia Midget Major).
Kody Clark, late ’99 F, 5-11/175, #14 York Region Saints U18 (St. Andrew’s College) – Clark, a shifty, wiry forward with good hands and lateral ability, played last season for the Toronto Marlies. Scored a really nice backhand goal here, carrying the puck across the top of the crease on his forehand and then turning to his backhand to tuck it under the crossbar. Doesn’t yet have the leg strength to show off speed vs. older kids. Intriguing D-I prospect.
Mitchell Martan, ’98 F, 5-8/187, #7 York Region Saints U18 (St. Andrew’s College) – A returnee from last year’s St. Andrew’s team, Martan is short but built like a Mack truck. He’s calm with the puck – very poised – and can slow the play down in the offensive zone. Looks to make plays, either driving to the net or distributing the puck. Might be the most offensively skilled player on the team. In 51 games last season, had a 15-24-40 line.
Satchel Clendenin, ’97 F, 6-1/180, #8 Springfield Rifles U18 (Kent) – Was the Rifles’ best player on Saturday, a big powerful kid who made plays every shift. Forced turnovers on the wall, made quick outlet passes, got into position on 2-on-1’s to receive passes. Showed a good release on shots. Bethesda, Maryland native has some D-I potential. He’s versatile and could fit a variety of roles. In 21 games at Kent last year, Clendenin had a 7-10-17 line.
Thomas Dale, ’98 F, 5-10/175, #9 Springfield Rifles U18 (Deerfield) – Has good hands and plenty of shiftiness. If he could add a burst of speed he’d be a Matt Koopman type and everyone would be noticing him. He does keep his feet moving, though, and he thinks the game well. Darien, Conn. native is Deerfield’s leading returning scorer. Very strong NESCAC candidate.
Justin Marler, late ’97 D, 6-2/215, #15 Springfield Rifles U18 (Deerfield) – Naples, Florida native is a late ’97 who’s a junior at Deerfield. We didn’t notice him much last year, but we did here. He’s smart, steady, and big. Moves well enough for his size, and is good positionally. Interesting. Need to see him more. Was 3-4-7 in 26 games last season.
Peter Housakos, late ’96 D, 6-3/180, #8 Junior Bruins Fall U18 (St. Mark’s) – From a college standpoint, the 6’3” defender was clearly the best player on the Junior Bruins. He showed composure. His passes were on the money. He made plays. And he was physical when he needed to be, playing the body to win puck battles. His skating is OK, hardly graceful, but not choppy either. Montreal, Quebec native had a 14-22-36 line in 29 games for St. Mark’s last season.
Colin Stevens, ’97 D, 5-10/178, #5 Junior Bruins Fall U18 (Brooks) – Was consistently noticeable. A fast skater, he can create separation on retrievals when he swings the net, making it touch for forecheckers to get an angle on him. Given his size, the Concord, NH native is probably more of a D-III prospect. Had a 4-13-17 line in 30 games at Brooks last season.
Eric Butte, ’97 F, 6-1/175, #18 Junior Bruins Fall U18 (Belmont Hill) – We didn’t notice him that much at Belmont Hill last season, but Butte can shoot it and he has speed. He was really flying, showing an extra gear. Not overly dynamic. Good NESCAC candidate. In 32 games, he was 5-13-18 as a junior last year.
Marshall Rifai, ’98 D, 6-1/180, #6 Connecticut Wolf Pack U18 (Hotchkiss) -- Rifai, a Harvard recruit and a Montreal native who is coming to Hotchkiss from Lac St-Louis, is quick and fast. Has a real burst of speed that allows him to get to loose pucks easily. He showed toughness, but a smart toughness in that his hits were in the service of making plays. Has good power play potential at the next level. Candidate for next summer’s NHL draft.
James Callahan, ’97 D, 6-3/180, #2 Connecticut Wolf Pack U18 (Salisbury) – Quinnipiac recruit has pro size and frame, but to play at that level his skating will have to come up another notch (both UMass rinks are Olympic size, as is the rink at Salisbury). Callahan, who played for the Jersey Hitmen U18s last season, only had a 1-7-8 scoring line, a little surprising because he has a powerful shot, which we saw earlier in the fall at the Early Bird Tournament at Merrimack. Callahan’s a right-shot D, which are always needed, and was consistently noticeable. Will be a big contributor at Salisbury.
Azan Dorsett, ’98 D, 5-9/155, #3 Buffalo Regals U18 – We wrote about Dorsett last week, mainly because he skates so well. Despite that, he’s not a D-I prospect now because of the double whammy: he’s small and his hockey sense isn’t there yet. Native of McKinney, Texas, has tools, though, so we’ll keep tabs on him. At the very least, he will make for a good D-III college prospect.
Matt Barnaby Jr., ’98 F, 5-11/140, #9 Buffalo Regals U18 (Avon Old Farms) – Looks to jump into the offensive zone. Makes plays. Only 140 pounds, but he’ll grow. A player to keep close tabs on.
Matt Ladd, ’98 G, 6-3/194, #31 Buffalo Regals U18 (Avon Old Farms) – Ladd was outstanding. Allowed only two goals in four games here, and one of those was a shot deflected by his own d-man. Could be a difference-maker for the Winged Beavers this winter. Has the frame NHL teams are looking for.
Thurs. 9/24/15- updated 5:08 pm
Welcome U18s and U16s!
This fall, as you may have noticed, we have added U18 and U16 coverage to the U.S. Hockey Report.
Specifically, we’re now offering dedicated pages to many of the top Tier I programs in the New England area. Many have signed on, and there are more to come.
This new feature of USHR was a rather last-minute decision. We decided to do it in August, which meant we had to scramble to build it and test it.
We’re happy to say that everything is working seamlessly and teams have really responded well, though we do understand that we have a way to go in terms of getting all of the strongest programs on board. We realize the fall season is short, so the next week or so is big for us.
As for the programs that are already on board, we feel that, as coaches become increasingly familiarized with the system, more full box scores will be entered and the statistics pages will start to fill out more.
When that time comes, we’ll be able to integrate players’ fall records with their prep records, thus affording a complete historical picture.
We also hope to start offering composite schedules for each weekend’s action soon, picking out the top games for the weekend to come, and perhaps picking out top players and performances of the week before. After that, who knows? We’re open to suggestions. We’d really like your feedback on this. And that includes any questions you may have.
Finally, we understand that entering rosters, schedules, and box scores is work for the coaches. We hope they find the process easy and enjoyable. Their efforts are – and will be – appreciated by many in the hockey community.
Our goal is to make USHR the go-to site for the U18s and U16s in the region. After all, we are already covering many of these players at the prep level. Why not pull it all together under one umbrella?
Here are the teams we have in the system as of now:
Neponset Valley River Rats (schedule, roster, and box scores)
Boston Junior Rangers (schedule and roster)
Cape Cod Whalers (schedule and roster)
NH Avalanche (schedule, roster, and box scores)
Springfield Rifles (schedule and roster)
New England Nordiques (schedule, roster, and box scores)
Connecticut Wolf Pack (schedule and roster)
Selects Academy at South Kent (schedule, roster, and box scores)
Cheshire Academy Elite (schedule and roster)
Cape Cod Whalers (schedule and roster)
NH Avalanche (schedule and roster)
Springfield Rifles (schedule, roster, and box scores)
Selects Academy at South Kent (schedule and roster)
Neponset Valley River Rats (schedule, roster, and box scores)
Cheshire Academy Elite (schedule only)
Boch Blazers (roster only)
The above lists were updated as of 5:00 pm Thursday, so there may be new additions. We will be noting updates.
Schedules for Yale, AYHL Showcases
There are a pair of showcases on the weekend of Fri.-Sun. Oct. 2nd through 4th. They are 90 miles apart, just off Interstate 91.
-- The Yale U18 and U16s will be hosting a two-day jamboree on Saturday and Sunday at Yale and Wesleyan Universities, with the bulk of the schedule at Yale's Ingalls Rink.
At the U18 level, the teams are: Yale (National), Yale (American), Selects Academy, Mid-Fairfield, North Jersey Avalanche, Neponset River Rats, Springfield Rifles, NH Avalanche, Northern Cyclones, and the Connecticut Rangers.
At the U16 level: Yale, Neponset River Rats, Springfield Rifles, Selects Academy (National), Selects Academy (American), NH Avalanche, and the Northern Cyclones.
Here is the schedule:
-- Up the road at UMass's Mullins Center, the Atlantic Metro Hockey League (AYHL) will be holding its showcase from Friday through Sunday.
The league will have all hands on deck -- twelve U18 teams and all fifteen U16.
Here is the schedule:
AYHL Showcase at UMass
-- The AYHL will be holding its all-star games -- 18U,16U, and 14U -- on Sat. Feb. 6th at Quinnipiac University.
-- The Met League (MJHL) will be holding two showcases, one on Columbus Day weekend and one on Presidents' Day weekend. The league's all-star games will be held on Mon. Feb. 15th.
USHL 23-Man Protected and Affiliate Lists
The USHL has released the 23-man protected lists for the 2015-16 season, which gets underway this Friday night, Sept. 25th.
Also included are each of the 17 teams' affiliate lists.
There are 260 NCAA-committed players in the USHL this season, and 20 NHL draft picks.
The following is a PDF document.
USHL 23-Man Protected and Affiliate Lists
Mon. 9/14/15--updated Wed. 9/16
U18/U16 East-West Invitational Schedule & Rosters
The Springfield Rifles will be hosting the East-West Invitational, to be held Friday-Sunday, September 18-20 at UMass (both Mullins Center and the adjoining practice rink).
Eight teams will be there at the U18 level: Boston Jr. Rangers, Buffalo Regals, Connecticut Wolf Pack, Junior Bruins Fall, NH Avalanche, North Stars, Springfield Rifles, and the York Region Saints.
The U16 level will also feature eight teams: Buffalo Regals, Connecticut Wolf Pack, Connecticut Chiefs, NH Avalanche, NJ Colonials, North Stars, Springfield Rifles, and Top Gun.
East-West Invitational Schedule
East-West Invitational Program Book
East Coast Elite League Showcase Schedule & Rosters
The East Coast Elite League is holding a showcase at Rodman Arena (formerly Iorio Arena) in Walpole, Mass this weekend, Sept. 11-13th. The ECEL, a showcase league, includes full-season 16U and 18U teams from across North America such as Hill Academy, the Colorado RoughRiders, New Hampshire Monarchs, Elite Hockey Academy, Boston Bandits, Buffalo Red Raiders, Iowa AAA Elite, and the Connecticut Wolf Pack.
This weekend represents the first official opportunity to see the two squads from the new Elite Hockey Program at Cheshire Academy.
The program director, and also the president of the Connecticut Wolfpack, is Peter Alden. Director of Hockey is John Toffey, who had great success as an assistant hockey coach and head baseball coach at the Salisbury School.
Toffey will be the head coach of the U16 Team and Jamie Bird, who has coached the Buffalo Junior Sabres U18 team for the last few years, will be behind the bench with the Academy’s U18 team.
ECEL U16 & U18 Showcase Program Book
Neponset Valley River Rats Jamboree
USHR traveled to Foxboro, Mass. on Monday and Tuesday to take in Neponset Valley River Rats Jamboree. The rink was packed with D-I and D-III coaches. There were 15 U18 teams, six U16 teams, and three U14 teams. Some teams played two games while other played three, and with such a small window of time, and varying degrees of talent, it was tough to catch every team as much as we would have liked. But that’s OK, it’s the start of the season, and players are just getting their legs under them. Over the coming months we look forward to seeing how everything shakes out.
The marquee game of the tournament may have been the Neponset Valley River Rats 4-2 win over the Mid-Fairfield Blues Tuesday afternoon. The game was played at a high pace throughout, with bone-crunching hits, and hard fought board battles. Time and space was limited, but that didn’t seem to pose much of a problem for River Rats center Patrick Harper (Avon Old Farms/BU) and his big wingers -- Jamie Armstrong (Avon Old Farms/Northeastern) and Ben Taylor (Tabor/Brown). Quite simply, they were the difference in the game. On defense, Ben Mirageas (Avon Old Farms/Providence College) was the top blueliner we saw here. It looks like there might be a quantum leap in his play this year. Tim Birarelli (Loomis) and Ryan Ferland (St. Mark’s) split time in each of the games and look to be a solid tandem going forward.
Mid-Fairfield was loaded with seasoned prep veterans. Taggart Corriveau (Westminster/St. Lawrence) and his usual regular season linemate Johnny McDermott (Westminster/BU). And there’s more firepower with Matt Koopman (Berkshire/ Northeastern), Jordan Kaplan (Salisbury), Barclay Gammill (Berkshire), and newcomer to New England David Jankowski (Salisbury) among others. On the blue line, Kevin O’Leary (Westminster) and McKay Flanagan (Gunnery) both had solid showings this weekend. Recent West Point commit Trevin Kozlowski (Gunnery) struggled a bit between the pipes vs. the River Rats.
--- Drawn from the U18 Division, here is a look at some of the new faces in New England prep hockey, arranged in no particular order. We have also included, at the end, a couple of returning players who are coming off injuries, and bear watching).
Jack Quinlivan, F, Late ’96, 6-0/170, #88 NE Nordiques – A hard-working, high-flying forward who is strong on his skates, and plays a relentless game. He likes to shoot the puck, but has the ability to make plays in tight spaces as well. Last year, Quinlivan played at Shrewsbury (Mass.) High. Off his showing at Foxboro, he generated a lot of buzz, and we feel he will be a D-I player. Will be doing a post-grad year at Albany Academy, a team, by the way, that has added a batch of interesting new players.
Jake Acton, G, late ’98, 6-0/161, #30 NE Nordiques – Agile goaltender from San Jose Sharks 16U played well at the Select 17 camp in Buffalo earlier this summer, and will also be joining second-year coach Brett Riley’s squad at Albany Academy this fall. Was peppered in a tough game against the River Rats, facing 32 shots, many of which were Grade A chances, but helped his team battle to a 4-4 tie. Does a good job at taking the lower half of the net away.
Matt Cousino, D, Late ’97, 6-0/180, #4 Yale National – Vermont native and former Rice Prep d-man played for the full-season Connecticut Wolfpack U18 last season and will be heading to the Canterbury School this fall. Solid on his feet, and has good lateral movement.
Jacob Kamps, F, ’97, 6-2/200, #19 Junior Bruins (Vermont) – A power forward in every sense of the term; physical along the wall, relentless on the forecheck, and vicious in the open ice. The Pickering, Ontario native, who played at Wyoming Seminary last winter, will be playing for Cushing this winter.
Ashton Fry, F, ’98, 5-11/175, #18 Junior Bruins – A crafty forward who is coming to Cushing by way of the Colorado Thunderbirds U16 team. Can really shoot the puck. Had a hat trick in the first game we saw. Keeps his feet moving and has the ability to find open ice.
Race Bennett, F, ’98, 6-4/215, #2 Springfield Rifles – Big forward scored a nice goal in the only game in which we got to see this team play. Not a great skater, but he isn’t awkward, either, so look for continued improvement there. Has good hands for a kid of his size and age. The son of Union head coach Rick Bennett, he’s another new player heading to Albany Academy this fall. He’ll be a new senior. Played last winter for CP Dynamo U16s.
Aidan Murphy, G, ’98, 6-0/180, #35 Cape Cod Whalers – Had two outstanding showings against both Yale U18 and Mid-Fairfield U18. Murphy, who has started two years at Xaverian, is poised in the net, his rebound control was spot-on, and he was always square to the shooter. The only flaw we noticed was his tendency to track back and away on pucks to his high blocker. He was on top of everything else. Will be at the Dexter School this season.
Austin Magera, F, ’98, 5-11/165, #13 Neponset Valley River Rats (Sacred Heart) -- The only River Rats player who was new to us, Magera played last season for the Tier II Atlanta Phoenix. His story is a good one. Sacred Heart assistant coach Scott McDougall found him at the Tier II Nationals in Dallas last spring and committed him. Magera, who will be a new junior at Lawrence Academy, has top-notch hands, can skate, and, once he gets more comfortable playing at a new and higher level, his game should take a big leap forward.
Shayne Simpson, F, late '98, 5-11/180, Yale -- Was great to see him back from a long injury stint. The leading scorer at Portsmouth Abbey as a sophomore last season, Simpson has speed wide, and seems to be filling out. A power forward with good skills, he’s very raw but athletic. An intriguing player to watch as he heads to Loomis. It may take him a year to adjust. Could see the ice a bit better.
Brent Hill, F, ’97, 6-1/170, #10 Junior Bruins -- Plagued by injury last season, recovered now after surgery. Explosive, with an excellent skill set, but not a ton of sandpaper in his game. May not be the full package, but could be a valuable complementary player to a stud. Will be a senior at Cushing and could team up well with a guy like Marc McLaughlin.
The Cape Cod Whalers don’t have many new faces to the prep world, but they are a team you don’t want to miss, featuring a loaded defensive corps, with Brian Scoville (UMass-Amherst/Winchendon), Sean Keohan (Dartmouth/Dexter), Jack Rathbone (Dexter), Mike Callahan (Roxbury Latin), Jason Dobay (BC High) and Cameron Lemanski (Thayer). Unfortunately the entire lineup wasn’t healthy. With Rathbone and Keohan on the shelf, as well as forward Marc McLaughlin (Cushing), the Whalers bowed to a loaded Yale U16 team. ’00 Jake Wise (Central Catholic HS/BU), also rostered with the team, was another key player among the missing. Goaltender Jim Scannell (St. Sebastian’s) looked very good in the tough loss to Yale.
Drawn from the U16 Division, here is a look at some of the standouts, about half of whom are new to New England prep hockey. They are not arranged in any particular order.
Patrick Moynihan, F, ’01, 5-10/150, #7 Neponset Valley River Rats – One of the top ‘01s in the country is heading to Nobles this fall and, despite being two years younger than most of his opponents, he didn’t look out of place here at all. His equipment looks a little too big, and he doesn’t have the lower-body power to create separation right now, but that will come. Moynihan, who was with the powerhouse Minuteman Flames ’01 squad last season, made plenty of nice plays with the puck. He undressed one defenseman with a move off the rush and scored short-side high, and he had a nice tip-in goal on a blast from the point.
Gray Betts, F, late ’00, 6-2/195, #13 Neponset Valley River Rats – Big forward from Hingham High made some nice plays in tight spaces. Has a long reach and a pro frame. Needs to continue to improve his footwork.
Zak Kinard, G, ’99, 6-0/190, #1 Yale – Kinard, who backed up Trevin Kozlowski last year at Gunnery, was solid in net. He communicates with his defensemen and reads the play quite well. He is calm under heavy net-front traffic and battles for loose pucks.
Tyce Thompson, F, ’99, 5-10/145, #9 Yale (Providence) – A new Salisbury sophomore, Thompson had a very strong showing in both viewings. He is quick, tenacious, and crafty with the puck. A right wing playing on a line centered by Joey Cipollone, Thompson thinks the game at a high level and his maneuverability in tight spaces is excellent. Providence College head coach Nate Leaman and assistant Scott Borek were in attendance, watching closely, and Thompson, the son of Bridgeport (AHL) head coach Brent Thompson and younger brother of NTDP forward Tage Thompson, committed to the Friars after the tournament. Played last season with the Connecticut Wolfpack U16s.
Joey Cipollone, F, ’99, 5-11/150, #12 Yale (Vermont) – A highly-intelligent forward who played last season with the Connecticut Wolfpack U16s and will be attending Loomis-Chaffee this year. He is smart with the puck on his stick and has the hands, and IQ to make subtle movements with the puck in order to create passing lanes. Should make an instant impact this winter. Recently committed, along with younger brother Anthony, an ’02 forward, to the University of Vermont.
Jack DeBoer, F, ’00, 6-2/175, #11 Yale (Boston University) – The son of San Jose Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer will be attending Salisbury this year. Has a pro frame to work with but, like many prospects of his size and age, his game needs refining. His feet are clunky and his stride is awkward. However, he thinks the game well, and we expect his skating will improve while practicing every day on Salisbury’s Olympic sheet.
Neil Shea, F, ’99, 6-1/185, #20 Neponset Valley River Rats (Maine) --- The youngest of the three Shea brothers, Neil will be returning to Marshfield High School for his sophomore year, and will likely be in prep school in ’16-17. After the tournament, Shea committed to Maine, where he will join brother Patrick (KUA) in a few years.
Hunter Chaisson, G, ’99, 6-0/164, #33 Mid-Fairfield – Like Kinard (mentioned above), Chaisson was at prep school last winter – Westminster -- but was stuck in a backup role, and likely will this winter as well. However, with his performance over these two days he certainly looks qualified to challenge for a starting. Tracks the puck well, battles, and has quick reflexes.
Nick Hale, D, ’00, 5-9/150, #6 Yale – Undersized left-shot D gets the puck and moves it quickly, with hard tape-to-tape passes. Has good feet and strong sense of the game. Played last season for the Carolina Jr. Hurricanes and is headed to Salisbury next week.
Zack Roncarati, G, ’00, 6-1/190, #1 Springfield Rifles – Gave up five goals to a loaded Yale U16 team, but he was peppered from every angle. Must have made 40-50 saves, many point-blank. Going to Springfield Cathedral, where he will have a chance to take over from departed Keith Petruzelli.
Aaron Pinto, D, ’00, 5-10/150, #8 Yale – Very quick feet and very good on the power play. Is not afraid to pinch and head for the net, where his hands come in handy. He has a touch. Scored one nice goal from in tight, but also has an accurate shot from farther out. From Fairfield, Conn. Is going to Avon Old Farms.
Jack Cameron, D, ’99, 6-2/165, #9 Neponset Valley River Rats – Tall, lanky defenseman from Halifax, Nova Scotia, likes to jump into the rush. Was a 5th round pick of Victoriaville in this past spring’s QMJHL draft.
We only caught one game at the U14 level and it was well played, with a number of solid prep prospects. Several players from the Neponset Valley River Rats stood out. Connor Guyette, a 5’10”, 180 lb. ’01 defenseman from Waterbury Center, Vermont who attends the Hillside School, was the most impressive blueliner. 5’6” defenseman Aidan Torres, an ’01 from Catholic Memorial, was also very promising. Up front, Kyle Heath, the only ’02 on the team, was consistently noticeable, continuously moving his feet and making plays. Heath also attends Hillside.
New England Tier I Labor Day Rosters & Schedules
The New England Tier I Labor Day Tournament gets underway Friday afternoon and runs through Monday at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough as well as a number of other rinks in the area.
Below, we have a couple links that will help you out.
The first link is to the official program book. It's a PDF file and it's quite long -- 112 pages, to be precise.
New England Tier I Labor Day Program Book
The second link, an Excel file, is a master schedule, arranged by age group and division.
New England Tier I Labor Day Master Schedule
Here is a link to the official tournament website, which has driving directions to all the rinks and other useful information.