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It's Time for the Young 'Uns

There's not much happening on the weekend of April 1-3 -- it's the dead weekend between the NCAA Regionals and Finals -- so we'll be up at Merrimack College for the Total Pro Evaluation Spring Showcase.

There, the next generation -- the '02s, '03s, and '04s -- will be showcasing their skills.

The weekend, put together by Boston Bruins Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Scott "Fitzy" Fitzgerald, will feature the elite up-and-comers. Fitzgerald knows this age group well -- he has a son who is an '03 -- and has put together a camp featuring many of the best. We've seen a number of them -- the '02s, at least -- and they deserve the attention. Prep coaches who show up will not be disappointed. Players from the top Massachusetts youth programs will be represented, as well as players from organizations such as the Mid-Fairfield Junior Rangers, the NJ Junior Devils, the LI Gulls, Westchester Express, NJ Colonials, and others.

In addition to the games (see the schedule below), some key panelists will be speaking to the kids including Ryan Hardy (NTDP), Mike Boyle (Mike Boyle's Strength and Conditioning), Jerry Keefe (Northeastern Associate Head Coach), Mike Souza (UNH Associate Head Coach), Jeremiah McCarthy (Belmont Hill), Rob Gagnon (Cushing), Sean Tremblay (Islanders Hockey Club), and Kent Hughes (MFIVE Sports Management).

Here's the weekend schedule:

Total Pro Evaluation Spring Showcase Schedule

Here are the rosters:

Rosters: '02s

Rosters: '03s

Rosters: '04s

And here's the website for the tournament:

Total Pro Evaluation Spring Showcase Website

See you there!


 

Kozlowski Wins USHR Prep Player of the Year Award


USHR Prep Player of the Year (and Goaltender of the Year, too):
Trevin Kozlowski, Sr., Gunnery

On the final Monday of November, right after Thanksgiving break, we saw Gunnery at the Berkshire Jamboree and were underwhelmed. They lost both their scrimmages that day. However, we did note that Gunnery was known "for starting weakly and then going on a tear a month into the season, once the team gels."

We also noted that 6'4" senior goaltender Trevin Kozlowski had broken his thumb in tryouts and would be out 4-5 weeks. Kozlowski, who played for the California Junior Titans U16 team before arriving at Gunnery, was coming off an excellent junior season. In the prep quarterfinals at Nobles, he kicked out 35 of 36 shots in shutting down a powerful Miles Wood-led Nobles squad. A lengthy stretch without his services threatened Gunnery's hopes of a return trip to the Elite 8. 

The Highlanders did indeed struggle in December. At the Avon tournament Gunnery lost all its round-robin games before finally winning one Saturday morning vs. Trinity-Pawling. The team went home for Christmas with a 4-4-1 record.

On December 31st, in opening day action at the Cushing Tournament, Gunnery held a 5-3 lead over Thayer in the second period but when sophomore goaltender Zak Kinard let in a soft one to make it 5-4, Gunnery first-year head coach Craig Badger made a change in net, putting in Kozlowski (who we didn't even know was available). Coming in cold, the senior kicked out 14 of 15 shots over the final 29 minutes of play, and Gunnery squeaked by Thayer, 6-5. With Kozlowski in net they swept their way through the tournament, beating Dexter, Culver, and shutting out host Cushing in the finale.

Starting with that Thayer game, Gunnery would lose only two more regular season games, on the road at Salisbury on Jan. 27th and on the road at Avon Feb. 10th. As fate would have it, Gunnery would avenge both those losses in the playoffs, on the road at Salisbury in the quarters and at Avon in the semis. 

Kozlowski's play was crucial. In his 24½ games, he posted nine shutouts. For historical perspective, consider that in '04-05 Avon goaltender Jonathan Quick posted 11 shutouts in 27 games. In '03-04 Andover goaltender Cory Schneider had eight shutouts in 24 games. That's the company that Kozlowski put himself in this season.

Kozlowski, who was passed over in last June's NHL draft, is eligible again this year. He will play next season with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (BCHL) before heading to West Point in the fall of '17.

Goaltender of the Year:
Kozlowski

Runners-up:
Tim Birarelli, Sr. Loomis
Ethan Domokos, Jr., Milton

***

USHR Prep Forward of the Year:
Patrick Harper, Sr., Avon Old Farms

Avon went 21-2-4 this season and Harper was a huge part of the reason why. With the puck on his stick -- as it often was -- Harper consistently offered the tantalizing feeling that something special could happen on any shift. The 5'7", 145 lb. centerman just has that knack for knowing what to do and where to go in the offensive zone. He gets open himself, or he finds the open guy.  He has vision, he has patience, and, with the puck on his stick, there was excitement -- and a constant sense of danger. A fun player to watch, Harper was kept off the scoreboard in only four games all season.

A sophomore in '14-15, Harper accelerated and played this past season as a senior. A draft pick of the Omaha Lancers (USHL), the New Canaan, Conn. native will go straight to Boston University in the fall. He's eligible for this summer's NHL Draft.

Runners-up:
Kevin O'Neil, Sr., Albany Academy
Cam Donaldson, Sr., Gunnery

***

USHR Prep Defenseman of the Year:
Ben Finkelstein, Sr., Kimball Union

Finkelstein was to Kimball Union this season what Erik Karlsson is to the Ottawa Senators. With a scoring line of 24-46-70 (in 35 games played), he led all prep d-men in scoring by a country mile.

A South Burlington, Vt. native and a St. Lawrence University recruit, Finkelstein nearly tripled his point total of the year before. His stick is excellent, his escapability is top-notch, and his shot seemed to have improved markedly over the year before. He was lethal on the PP, with a 5-19-24 line.

Finkelstein, who arrived at KUA (from the Cardigan Mountain School) as a sophomore, is a late '97 and eligible for the NHL Draft. He wasn't listed in Central's Mid-Term Rankings, however. At 5'9", 185 lbs., he's the same size as Boston Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who was also passed over in the NHL draft. So we'll see what happens there. 

Runners-up:
Reilly Walsh, Jr., Proctor Academy
Adam Karashik, Sr., Avon Old Farms


 

Shriners' Game

On Saturday March 26th, the 7th Annual Aleppo Shriners All-Star Game, held in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Hockey Coaches Association, will be held at Loring Arena (Framingham, Mass.). Faceoff is at 4:10 pm, following the girls' game, which starts at 2:00 pm.

This is a seniors-only game. 

Eight former participants in this game went on to be drafted by NHL clubs. For the record, they are:

Max Willman (Barnstable HS) Buffalo Sabres, 5th round 2014, Brown
Liam Coughlin (Catholic Memorial) Edmonton Oilers, 5th round 2014, Vermont
Nolan Vesey (Austin Prep) Toronto Maple Leafs, 6th round, 2014, Maine
Brian Pinho (St. John's Prep) Washington Capitals, 6th round, 2013, Providence
Chris Leblanc (Winthrop HS) Ottawa Senators, 6th round, 2013, Merrimack
Sam Kurker (St. John's Prep) St. Louis Blues, 2nd round, 2012, Northeastern
Brendan Collier (Malden Catholic) Carolina Hurricanes, 7th round, 2012, Northeastern
Colin Blackwell (St. John's Prep) San Jose Sharks, 7th round, 2011, Harvard


Rosters: 2016 Aleppo Shriners All-Star Game



 

Spring Beantown on Tap

Play gets underway at the Spring Beantown Classic this Wednesday, March 9th, and concludes two days later, on Friday. The most action-packed day is Thursday. All games will be at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Mass.

In addition to the Draft Division ('96-'98), College Division ('95-98), and Pre-Draft Division ('99-00), the Premier League will be holding its championship series. The juniors matchup -- a best-of-three -- pits the Jersey Hitmen against the Islanders Hockey Club. Those games, which will be on Rink 1, are scheduled for 4:40 on Wednesday and Thursday. A deciding game 3, if necessary, will be held Friday at 1:30 pm.

Here is a link to the most up-to-date schedule:

2016 Beantown Spring Classic Schedule (updated)

Most of the players on Central Scouting's Mid-Term Rankings will be on hand. That would include Marshall Rifai (Hotchkiss), Greg Printz (Selects), Gustaf Westlund (Gunnery), Patrick Harper (Avon), Kevin O'Neil (Albany Academy), and  Matt Dillon (Cushing). Other notables in the Draft Division include Casey Carreau (Thayer), Aleksi Peltonen (Northwood), Peter Housakos (St. Mark's), Jake Pappalardo (Proctor), Jordan Kaplan (Salisbury), Tim Birarelli (Loomis), Jay Powell (Westminster), Andrew Farrier (Taft), Max Luukko (Flyers, USPHL), Greg Krisberg (Kent), McKay Flanagan (Gunnery),  Kaden Pickering (Northwood), Kevin O'Leary (Westminster), Ty Amonte (Thayer), Vito Bavaro (Brooks), Ryan Fernald (St. Mark's), Jack Hoey (Choate), Jacob Kamps (Cushing), David Jankowski (Salisbury), Anthony Vincent (Salisbury), Nick Boyagian (Albany Academy) -- and many others.

Some of the Pre-Draft Division players include: Liam Gorman (St. Seb's), Chris Garbe (Selects), Shea Courtmanche (Taft), Chris Brown (Groton), John Murray (Nobles), Noah Kim (Cushing), Michael Kesselring (New Hampton), Ethan Kimball (St. Mark's), Tyler Madden (Avon), John Mulera (Winchendon), Tristan Amonte (Thayer), Craig Needham (Lawrence), Aidan Porter (Rivers), Patrick Keegan (Billerica HS), Connor Hutchison (Selects), Nick Hale (Salisbury), Cameron Gaudette (Boston Advantage), Hunter Brackett (Junior Bruins), Tommy Craft (Deerfield), Tim Kent (Lawrence), and Patrick Dawson (Westminster).

The College Division is a level below the Draft Division, but we feel there are at least 5-6 players there who are every bit as good -- and a notch better in some cases -- than some players in the Draft Division. That's our opinion, anyway!


Around the Rinks

Paul Dore, who scored the game-winner with 52 seconds left to lead KUA to a 4-3 win over Salisbury in the Elite 8 Championship, is a senior the Wildca
Paul Dore, who scored the game-winner with 52 seconds left to lead KUA to a 4-3 win over Salisbury in the Elite 8 Championship, is a senior the Wildcats will be counting on heavily as they go for a record 4-peat. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
 
With Justin Hryckowian and Nick Capone taking their senior seasons in the USHL, classmate and UVM recruit Lucas Mercuri is Salisbury's leading returni
With Justin Hryckowian and Nick Capone taking their senior seasons in the USHL, classmate and UVM recruit Lucas Mercuri is Salisbury's leading returning scorer. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)
 
Kent's Aidan Cobb, now a senior, committed to Cornell after helping lead Kent to the Large School Championship last March.
Kent's Aidan Cobb, now a senior, committed to Cornell after helping lead Kent to the Large School Championship last March. (Photo: Dave Arnold Photography)