Saturday, February 16, 2019

UNH Commit Robert Cronin: A Smart, Poised Forward

Robert Cronin
2020 or '21
UNH Commit
"Robert Cronin played Boston Advantage U18 last season and adjusted quickly to Prep. Wins races to pucks, wall battles and goes hard to the net. Can create or compliment. Effective in every area of the ice and all situations. Game is trending upward." Neutral Zone
Robert Cronin Forward, 5'10", 185 lbs. Shoots Right
Hometown: Plymouth, Massachusetts
DOB: 8-15-2000 Turned 18 in August
Neutral Zone Rating: 3.75 out of 5 Stars
Current Team: The Gunnery
                       ~ Starting Center
Commits to UNH: February, 2019 at Age 18 years, 6 months.

2018-19 Highlight Reel

Interview

I had an opportunity to interview Robert Cronin, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?

Robert Cronin: The moment I stepped on campus and saw the rink I knew I could call this place home for the next four years. Playing in Hockey East has been a dream of mine since I grew up going to games almost every weekend.
After meeting with the coaching staff and hearing their mindset and vision for the UNH hockey program's future was something I wanted to be a part of. Playing college hockey close to home was a big decision factor and to play in front of an atmosphere like one at the Whittemore Center is second to none - an opportunity of a lifetime.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering? Which schools did you visit and which ones made an offer to you?

Robert Cronin: I received interest from Hockey East and ECAC schools. The programs with the most interest for me at the time, aside from UNH, were Cornell, Providence, Holy Cross, and Brown. UNH was the first school to make an offer and this was where my heart was set on.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?

Cronin: My target date will be determined on when I am ready to play and have success at the college level. Whether it is one or two years of juniors, my target date will be decided when I am ready to make an impact at the collegiate level.

Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Cronin: My main strengths of the game are my cerebral playmaking and my high-level hockey IQ/decision making. I continue to take pride in playing a 200 ft game which I want to continue to develop as I jump from level to level.
My main areas that I am trying to improve on is my strength and skating ability. As the game has grown to the best skaters will have the most success.

Lowry: Last season, you scored 12 goals and 12 assists in 40 games with the Boston Advantage U18 team. So far this season with the Gunnery School, your offensive production has jumped to 18 goals and 33 assists in 27 games. What factors have lead to this dramatic increase on the score sheet?

Cronin: Over the course of the season my confidence has grown tremendously which is allowing me to consistently play at a level that I strive to play at. Now, playing prep hockey, it is essential to develop habits of getting to the net. As I’ve been told by many, “Get to the net, and good things will happen”. Instilling that mindset in myself, I have fortunately seen the fruits of my labor being translated onto the score sheet.

Lowry: You played youth hockey with the Boston Advantage and Boston Junior Bandits near your home in Plymouth, Massachusetts. What were the main reasons you decided to attend prep school in Western Connecticut, a couple hundred miles from home, and play hockey for Gunnery?

Cronin: I felt it was a necessary jump to play prep hockey. After touring The Gunnery and meeting with the coaches, I knew this was exactly where I wanted to play. The distance factor wasn’t that big of an issue as I tried to focus on where I could better develop myself, to strive and be prepared to get to the next level.

Lowry: Do you plan to play in either the United States Hockey League, British Columbia Hockey League, North American Hockey League, or National Collegiate Development Conference before you come to UNH?

Cronin: I’m not 100% sure on what league I will play in next year. My main goal is to play in either the USHL or BCHL as those leagues will help me best in developing my game to be ready for the collegiate level.

Lowry: Do you plan to graduate from the Gunnery School this spring? What are your academic strengths and interests? Have you thought about what you might major in when you enroll at UNH??

Cronin: Yes I plan on graduating from Gunnery in the spring. I am very interested in Business and Economics as those are two courses that interest me. I am looking to major in business at UNH as they have a great business school that will help me in life after hockey.

Neutral Zone Scouting Report

From the Avon Old Farms Christmas Classic, December, 2018
"Cronin played U18 last season, looked very well adjusted for prep hockey. He and Jeffries dominated at times and Cronin was all over the ice and the score sheet here. He is not a true speedster but won almost every puck race. He is not tall or heavy but he won wall battles and was a constant net-front presence for tips and rebounds. He is not overly skilled but he was able to make every play with the puck often in creative but safe manners. Won faceoffs, was strong on the puck and played in every situation. Played with Jeffries who is quite skilled and they really complimented each other well as the best combo at the Classic. Cronin is smart, poised and prepared and that led to his success here. Picked up several points and seemed to make something good happen every shift. Really caught our attention and should have caught the attention of college coaches as well."

Youth Hockey & Prep School Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Robert Cronin  (F) 2018-19 The Gunnery NE Prep 27 18 33 51 2
Yale Jr. Bulldogs 18U Beast Series 9 2 4 6 4
18U Nationals - - - - -
2017-18 Boston Advantage U18 Tier 1 EHL 25 7 8 15 8
East Coast HL 15 5 4 9 6
2016-17 Boston Advantage U16 Tier 1 EHL 32 7 9 16 10
East Coast EL 8 0 0 0 0
2015-16 Boston Jr. Bandits 16U Eastern Junior EPL 18 4 2 6 2
East Coast EL 10 0 0 0 6

Friday, February 08, 2019

UNH Commits Update 2-8-19: Spotlight on Sacco, Curran & Margel

David Sacco
2020 or '21 UNH Commit
Aidan Curran
2020 UNH Commit
Will Margel
2020 UNH Commit

Player Spotlight - David Sacco

Lawrence Academy sophomore David Sacco is on a scoring tear. Over the last 6 games, Sacco posted 7 goals and 5 assists and the Spartans won 5 games and tied another. Here's his most recent goal - a short-hander to cap off the 5-1 win over Thayer Academy:



Lawrence Academy (13-0-6) is the only undefeated team in New England Prep School hockey. The Spartans are ranked #2 in the Neutral Zone Prep Poll and the U.S. Hockey Report Poll. Sacco, who turned 17 on January 3rd, is 6'0" and 185 lbs., and centers the team's second line. On a roster loaded with Division I commits, Sacco is tied for 2nd in goals (10), tied for 4th in assists (12) and 3rd in scoring (22).

The Spartans are coached by former UNH hockey fan favorite Robbie Barker, a rugged defenseman from Concord, NH. Barker has been pleased with Sacco's progress:
“David has been a great addition to the team. He has adjusted nicely to the pace of prep hockey and has recently started to play with more confidence and find a lot of success. David is a physical presence an all three zones and a threat to score every time he has the puck. I am extremely happy with the adjustments David has made since entering LA and excited to see what the remainder of the year has in store."

Player Spotlight - Aidan Curran

Aidan Curran (DOB: 1/22/01), who just turned 18, is one of the youngest players in the National Collegiate Development Conference. The average age for the league is 19 years old and many players are 20. Despite this age difference, Curran is the 5th leading scorer in the NCDC with 44 points in 41 games. The 5'11", 179 lbs., right-shot center for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs also has the 2nd most assists (35) in the league.

On January 21st, Curran played in the NCDC All-Star game. Although he didn't tally any points, the scouts from Neutral Zone rated Curran as one of the top performers:
"Aidan Curran was likely the youngest player in this game and was also the most consistent. Ever since his breakout performance at MA Festival this past summer he has been on a tear playing in the NCDC. We didn’t learn much new about him in this game but he was very aggressive in his play and showed excellent concentration when possessing the puck. He has a good stick in all three zones and leans hard on it when he gains possession. He is trending in the right direction and can still improve as he continues to add strength. Grade: A"
At the end of the regular season, the top 4 teams are granted home ice in the NCDC Playoffs. Over the last 5 games, the Jr. Monarchs registered a 3-1-1 record and moved up to third place in the NCDC. During that stretch, Curran posted a goal and 6 assists. They have 9 games remaining in the regular season.

Curran is on track to graduate from high school this spring. He plans to play one more season of junior hockey and enroll at UNH in the Fall of 2020.

Player Spotlight - Will Margel

Last weekend, Will Margel became the top, regular season goal-scorer in the history of the Selects Hockey Academy U18 team. The Cardinals' starting left winger scored his 40th goal of the 2018-19 season. He broke the record held by 2018 alum Shane Pinto, a University of North Dakota commit who could be a 1st round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Margel also boosted his assist total to 40. He now trails the Selects Academy U18 all-time leader in regular season points, 2018 alum Kyle Haskins, by just 11 point. Haskins, a Michigan State commit, tallied 91 points in 61 regular season games in 2017-18. With 4 games remaining in the regular season, the Selects Academy 18U team is ranked #5 in the nation.

News & Notes

German Development League (DNL):

~ Just prior to the MacPherson Hockey Tournament at St. Andrews College two weekends ago, 2020 UNH Commit Tim Stützle was injured again. After the tournament, the Jungadler Mannheim U20 team returned to Germany and resumed their DNL U20 schedule. Stützle missed both games last weekend. The goal is to return to the lineup no later than the DNL Playoffs in early March.

New England Prep School Hockey:

~ 2019 or '20 UNH Commit Connor Sweeney, a teammate of David Sacco's on the Lawrence Academy squad, has also been a steady scorer in recent weeks. Over the last 7 games, the senior has tallied 2 goals and 5 assists. Sweeney, a 6'2", 195 lbs. forward, has been playing left wing on the Spartans' starting lineup.

~ 2021 UNH Commit Liam Devlin, an 18-year-old junior at St. Sebastian's School, is tied for 5th in scoring (7-13-20 in 21 games) on the team. The Arrows (15-4-0) are ranked #5 in the Neutral Zone Prep Poll and #6 in the U.S. Hockey Report Poll.

~ 2021 or '22 commit Morgan Winters, a sophomore at Tabor Academy, continues to lead the team in goals (11), assists (18) and points (29). Although Tabor is below .500 this season, they have won 2 of their last 3 games. In the 8-5 win over Governor's last week, Winters scored a hat trick and dished out 2 assists. On Wednesday, Tabor downed Milton 6-3 and Winters contributed 2 assists.

2018-19 Statistics

NOTE
The statistics for the commits, presented in the following table, are categorized by the projected year they will enroll in UNH. For example, the "2019 Commits" are projected to begin playing for UNH in the Fall of 2019. I have based these projections on a number of factors including:
~ If a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
~ The year the commit and UNH coaches originally targeted for enrollment in UNH.
~ How old the commit would be upon admission.
~ Number of years in junior hockey prior to admission.
~ The commit's performance in recent seasons as well as injuries.
~ Anticipated date of high school graduation.
~ Number of UNH players leaving the team at the end of the previous season and the position they played.

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2019 Commits
Lucas Bahn 9/11/99 (D) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 50 3 16 19 12
Kalle Eriksson 9/15/99 (D) Madison Capitals USHL 14 1 7 8 8
Omaha Lancers USHL 24 1 12 13 6
Nolan McElhaney 4/22/99 (D) Omaha Lancers USHL 5 0 0 0 2
Chase Stevenson 1/13/99 (F) Trail Smoke Eaters BCHL 25 8 15 23 24
Surrey Eagles BCHL 25 10 12 22 37
2019 or '20 Commits
Connor Sweeney 5/5/00 (F) Lawrence Academy NE Prep 19 4 12 16 20
Islanders Hockey Club NCDC 1 2 0 2 0
Little Bruins 18U Tier I 18U 9 1 2 3 2
2020 Commits
Aidan Curran 1/22/01 (F) NH Jr Monarchs NCDC 41 9 35 44 32
Zack Jones 3/31/01 (F) Boston Bandits NCDC 38 4 24 28 10
Will Margel 3/16/01 (F) Selects Academy 18U Overall 51 40 40 80 18
USPHL 18U 5 4 7 11 4
BEAST Series 10 9 5 14 8
NE Regionals 5 3 3 6 -
Tim Stützle 1/15/02 (F) Mannheim Young Eagles DNL U20 21 23 32 55 30
Team Germany U20 Intnl - - - - -
Marek Wazny 2/21/00 (F) Maryland Black Bears NAHL 36 5 9 14 18
2020 or '21 Commits
Nick Ardanaz 5/30/02 (D) Delta Prep CSSHL 29 5 23 28 8
Vernon Vipers BCHL 3 0 0 0 0
David Sacco 1/3/02 (F) Lawrence Academy NE Prep 18 10 12 22 22
2021 Commits
Liam Devlin 1/7/01 (F) St. Sebastian's NE Prep 21 7 13 20 2
Boston Jr. Eagles EHF Selects 11 3 5 8 8
Mass Regionals 3 3 0 3 -
2021 or '22 Commits
Morgan Winters 12/8/01 (F) Tabor Academy NE Prep 21 11 18 29 4
Little Bruins 18U Tier I 18U 7 0 0 0 0
* = Signed National Letter of Intent


Monday, January 21, 2019

UNH Commits Update 1-21-19: Spotlight on Will Margel

Will Margel
2020 UNH Commit

Player Spotlight - Will Margel

17-year-old Will Margel, the starting left winger on the Selects Hockey Academy U18 team and senior at the South Kent School, has been on a torrid scoring streak since the beginning of the 2018-19 season. Selects Hockey Academy is currently ranked #9 among all 18U Tier I AAA teams in the United States and Margel is their leading scorer. In 45 games played, Will leads the team in goals (34) and total points (67) and is second in assists (33).

Some prime examples of Margel's scoring touch came last week in successive home games. On January 13th, he scored a hat trick in a 5-2 victory over the Jersey Hitmen U18 team. Last Wednesday, Margel scored 2 more goals and distributed 4 assists in the 10-1 drubbing of the P.A.L. Junior Islanders. Here are the video highlights - Margel is #39 in the white jersey:



Yesterday, Will Margel scored his 34th goal of the season and added 2 assists in a 6-1 win over Team Illinois. He is now tied with 2018 alum Shane Pinto as the Selects Academy at South Kent School U18's all-time leading goal scorer. Pinto is a University of North Dakota commit who could be a 1st round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Margel is chasing 2018 alum Kyle Haskins, a Michigan State commit, for 18U's all-time leading scorer. Haskins tallied 80 points in 54 games last season and Will has 67 in 45 games so far this season. Margel plans to play in the United States Hockey League next season and enroll at UNH in the Fall of 2020.

News & Notes

National Collegiate Development Conference:

~ 2020 UNH Commits Aidan Curran and Zack Jones earned spots in the 2019 NCDC All-Star Game. It was held today at Merrimack College.

United States Hockey League:

~ 2019 Commit Nolan McElhaney, a defenseman for the Omaha Lancers who suffered a lower body injury in mid-October, is still recovering. His player profile on the USHL website incorrectly states that he played in games on November 13th and January 11th.

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ 2019 UNH Commit Chase Stevenson has tallied 17 goals and 26 assists in 46 games. He is tied for 14th in BCHL scoring and tied for 11th in assists.

German Development League (DNL):

~ 2020 UNH Commit Tim Stützle and the Jungadler Mannheim U20 team are currently on a playing tour in Ontario, Canada. This coming weekend, they will compete in the MacPherson Hockey Tournament at St. Andrews College.

New England Prep School Hockey:

~ UNH's newest commit, Morgan Winters, is the leading scorer on the Tabor Academy team. The 17-year-old sophomore, who is the starting center on the Seawolves squad, has scored 8 goals and 14 assists in 16 games. Among all New England Prep School hockey players, Winters is tied for 9th in assists and tied for 12th in scoring.

2018-19 Statistics

NOTE
The statistics for the commits, presented in the following table, are categorized by the projected year they will enroll in UNH. For example, the "2019 Commits" are projected to begin playing for UNH in the Fall of 2019. I have based these projections on a number of factors including:
~ If a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
~ The year the commit and UNH coaches originally targeted for enrollment in UNH.
~ How old the commit would be upon admission.
~ Number of years in junior hockey prior to admission.
~ The commit's performance in recent seasons as well as injuries.
~ Anticipated date of high school graduation.
~ Number of UNH players leaving the team at the end of the previous season and the position they played.

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2019 Commits
Lucas Bahn 9/11/99 (D) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 46 2 15 17 12
Kalle Eriksson 9/15/99 (D) Madison Capitals USHL 9 1 2 3 6
Omaha Lancers USHL 24 1 12 13 6
Nolan McElhaney 4/22/99 (D) Omaha Lancers USHL 5 0 0 0 2
Chase Stevenson 1/13/99 (F) Trail Smoke Eaters BCHL 21 7 14 21 16
Surrey Eagles BCHL 25 10 12 22 37
2019 or '20 Commits
Connor Sweeney 5/5/00 (F) Lawrence Academy NE Prep 13 3 7 10 10
Islanders Hockey Club NCDC 1 2 0 2 0
Little Bruins 18U Tier I 18U 9 1 2 3 2
2020 Commits
Aidan Curran 1/22/01 (F) NH Jr Monarchs NCDC 36 6 29 35 30
Zack Jones 3/31/01 (F) Boston Bandits NCDC 32 4 21 25 8
Will Margel 3/16/01 (F) Selects Academy 18U Overall 45 34 31 67 14
USPHL 18U - - - - -
BEAST Series 10 9 5 14 8
NE Regionals 5 3 3 6 -
Tim Stützle 1/15/02 (F) Mannheim Young Eagles DNL U20 21 23 32 55 30
Team Germany U20 Intnl - - - - -
Marek Wazny 2/21/00 (F) Maryland Black Bears NAHL 34 5 9 14 16
2020 or '21 Commits
Nick Ardanaz 5/30/02 (D) Delta Prep CSSHL 24 1 20 21 6
Vernon Vipers BCHL 3 0 0 0 0
2021 Commits
Liam Devlin 1/7/01 (F) St. Sebastian's NE Prep 15 5 9 14 0
Boston Jr. Eagles EHF Selects 11 3 5 8 8
Mass Regionals 3 3 0 3 -
2021 or '22 Commits
David Sacco 1/3/02 (F) Lawrence Academy NE Prep 12 3 7 10 22
Morgan Winters 12/8/01 (F) Tabor Academy NE Prep 16 8 14 22 4
Little Bruins 18U Tier I 18U 7 0 0 0 0
* = Signed National Letter of Intent


Wednesday, January 02, 2019

UNH Commits Update 1-2-19: End of 2018 Statistics

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ 2019 UNH Commit Kalle Eriksson, who committed to the Wildcats a few weeks ago, was traded from the Omaha Lancers to the Madison Capitals. In his first three games with Madison, the mobile defenseman has been asserting himself in the offensive zone. Eriksson registered a total of 14 shots on goal, scored a goal, and had the primary assist on a power play goal against the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Over the first half of the USHL season, Eriksson posted 2 goals, an overtime goal, and 13 assists in 27 games.

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ 2019 UNH Commit Chase Stevenson was traded from the Surrey Eagles to the Trail Smoke Eaters in late November. Over the first half of the BCHL season, Stevenson has tallied 14 goals and 23 assists in 40 games. He is tied for 14th in BCHL scoring and tied for 10th in assists.

~ In mid-December, 16-year-old defenseman Nick Ardanaz was called up from the Delta Hockey Academy Prep team to play 3 games with the Vernon Vipers. He did not register any points or penalties.

German Development League (DNL):

~ 2020 UNH Commit Tim Stützle was unable to play for Germany in the IIHF U20 World Championship due to an upper body injury. He is on track to return to action when the Jungadler Mannheim U20 team faces Augsburg EV this weekend. Stützle, who turns 17 on January 15th, leads the U20 DNL in scoring by a wide margin. His 55 points (23 goals, 32 assists) is 17 points higher than the 2nd leading scorers'.

Prep School Hockey:

~ The New England Prep School hockey this season began in late November. All three UNH commits who play NE Prep - Connor Sweeney and David Sacco at Lawrence Academy and Liam Devlin at St. Sebastion's School - are a third of the way through their regular season. Sweeney and Devlin have scored at a point a game clip and Sacco has scored 5 points in 9 games.

~ 2020 UNH Commit Will Margel is the leading scorer for the Selects Hockey Academy at the South Kent School 18U team. Margel has tallied 27 goals and 22 assists in 36 games. The Selects Academy 18U team is ranked 10th in the nation.

National Collegiate Development Conference:

~ 2020 Commit Aidan Curran, who turns 18 later this month, leads the NCDC in assists with 27 in 29 games. He is also tied for 3rd in scoring (32 points).

2018-19 Statistics

NOTE
The statistics for the commits, presented in the following table, are categorized by the projected year they will enroll in UNH. For example, the "2019 Commits" are projected to begin playing for UNH in the Fall of 2019. I have based these projections on a number of factors including:
~ If a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
~ The year the commit and UNH coaches originally targeted for enrollment in UNH.
~ How old the commit would be upon admission.
~ Number of years in junior hockey prior to admission.
~ The commit's performance in recent seasons as well as injuries.
~ Anticipated date of high school graduation.
~ Number of UNH players leaving the team at the end of the previous season and the position they played.

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2019 Commits
Lucas Bahn 9/11/99 (D) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 39 2 13 15 8
Kalle Eriksson 9/15/99 (D) Madison Capitals USHL 3 1 1 2 2
Omaha Lancers USHL 24 1 12 13 6
Nolan McElhaney 4/22/99 (D) Omaha Lancers USHL 5 0 0 0 2
Chase Stevenson 1/13/99 (F) Trail Smoke Eaters BCHL 15 4 11 15 12
Surrey Eagles BCHL 25 10 12 22 37
2019 or '20 Commits
Connor Sweeney 5/5/00 (F) Lawrence Academy NE Prep 10 1 7 8 8
Islanders Hockey Club NCDC 1 2 0 2 0
Little Bruins 18U Mass Regionals 2 1 0 1 -
2020 Commits
Aidan Curran 1/22/01 (F) NH Jr Monarchs NCDC 29 5 27 32 16
Zack Jones 3/31/01 (F) Boston Bandits NCDC 27 3 18 21 6
Will Margel 3/16/01 (F) Selects Academy 18U Overall 36 27 22 49 14
USPHL 18U - - - - -
BEAST Series 10 9 5 14 8
NE Regionals 5 3 3 6 -
Tim Stützle 1/15/02 (F) Mannheim Young Eagles DNL U20 20 23 32 55 28
Team Germany U20 Intnl - - - - -
Marek Wazny 2/21/00 (F) Maryland Black Bears NAHL 30 5 9 14 12
2020 or '21 Commits
Nick Ardanaz 5/30/02 (D) Delta Prep CSSHL 23 1 19 20 6
Vernon Vipers BCHL 3 0 0 0 0
2021 Commits
Liam Devlin 1/7/01 (F) St. Sebastian's NE Prep 10 2 7 9 0
Boston Jr. Eagles EHF Selects 11 3 5 8 8
Mass Regionals 3 3 0 3 -
2021 or '22 Commits
David Sacco 1/3/02 (F) Lawrence Academy NE Prep 9 1 4 5 19
* = Signed National Letter of Intent


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Freshman Angus Crookshank Cranks Up Scoring for UNH

Angus Crookshank
6 Games 3 Goals 5 Assists
"I love scoring goals. I don't think there's a better feeling in the world. Even in practice I try to score as much as I can, even if it's a warmup drill for the goalies." Angus Crookshank, UNH Freshman Forward, December 8th Press Conference


"Angus is a kid who loves to score goals. He loves to score goals in practice. He's got a high motor. He's continuing to learn the game, all the time, away from the puck. As his game away from the puck continues to get better, he's rewarded with more opportunities. That's what I saw tonight." Mike Souza, UNH Head Coach, December 8th Press Conference


As UNH head coach Mike Souza prepared for his first season at the helm, he knew the Wildcats needed to find ways to score more goals. During Dick Umile's final year behind the bench, UNH was last in goals scored in Hockey East competition averaging only 2 goals per game.

Souza believed that Angus Crookshank, an incoming freshman from North Vancouver, British Columbia, had the potential to help generate offense. Last summer, Crookshank was drafted in the 5th Round (126th overall) by the Ottawa Senators. Bobby Strum, amateur scout for the Senators, observed that Angus "scores big goals and has the ability to make big plays too."

Just 17 days after his 19th birthday, Crookshank scored his first NCAA goal. It happened on October 19th at Colorado College in Crookshank's third game in a Wildcat jersey. He also contributed an assist in the two subsequent games against CC and Vermont.

But then Crookshank hit a scoring dry spell. He didn't register a point in Games 6 through 10. During that stretch, UNH earned ties against UMass-Lowell and Boston College but lost twice to UMass-Amherst and once to Boston University. Angus admitted "it was getting a little frustrating there for a little bit; the puck wasn't bouncing my way".

Hockey East Rookie of the Week

Ten games into the 2018-19 season, the puck was not bouncing for UNH either. The Wildcats had only 1 win and 3 ties, along with 6 loses, when the 19th-ranked Miami Redhawks came to Durham on Thanksgiving weekend. In the first period of Game 1, Angus Crookshank skated strong down the slot, gathered a rebound, and banged it home giving UNH a 2-1 lead.

With less than a minute left in regulation and the UNH net empty, Crookshank raced the puck through the three zones down to the boards below the goal line. He initiated the game-tying play by gathering the loose puck and backhanding a pass to fellow freshman Eric Esposito behind the Miami net. In turn, Esposito centered a backhanded pass to junior Liam Blackburn who flipped it into the net.

The following night, UNH downed Miami convincingly 4-1 and earned its second win of the season. Midway through the third period, Angus Crookshank had the primary assist on Patrick Grasso's game-winning goal. After Crookshank carried the puck from below the goal line into the low slot and backhanded a shot on goal, Grasso cleaned up the rebound.

On the strength of these three scoring plays against Miami, Angus Crookshank was named the Hockey East Rookie of the Week:

Scoring Blitz

Following the Miami series, Crookshank picked up additional assists in games against 10th-ranked Providence College and Dartmouth College. For the Dartmouth game in Hanover, the UNH coaches created a new second line of British Columbia Hockey League alums - Crookshank on left wing, Liam Blackburn at center, and Justin Fregona on right wing. They produced Fregona's first goal of the season in the 3-2 victory.

In the finale to the first half of the season, Angus Crookshank exploded with 2 goals and an assist during a 3 minute and 45 second stretch against Dartmouth at the Whittemore Center. On their first shift of the game, Fregona and Blackburn worked the puck behind the Dartmouth net while Crookshank glided into the low slot in front of goalie Justin Ferguson. Blackburn centered a pass and Angus one-timed it over the goalie's blocker. The play was a prime example of what Coach Souza described as Crookshank improving his "play away from the puck".

Two minutes after Crookshank's first goal of the game, UNH captain Marcus Vela and Dartmouth's leading scorer Will Graber went to the box with matching penalties. Coach Souza sent out Crookshank, Blackburn, Max Gildon, and Kohei Sato for the 4-on-4 play. Angus dug the puck out of the right corner and carried it strong to the net. The goalie poked it away, Blackburn gathered it and lifted a shot on goal. The puck slid horizontally just in front of the goal line and Crookshank tapped it into the back of the net for his 4th goal of his rookie season.

With the same 4-on-4 play coming to an end, Blackburn backhanded a loose puck down to Crookshank in the right corner. Angus snapped a pass to Gildon streaking down the slot and the third round pick of the Florida Panthers banged it home for his 3rd goal of the season. UNH went on to win 4-0 crediting sophomore Mike Robinson with his first NCAA career shutout. Here are the video highlights of Angus Crookshank's scoring flurry:



Over the last 6 games, Angus Crookshank has scored 3 goals and distributed 5 assists. UNH won 3 games, tied 2 and lost only once. The Wildcats' record improved to 4-7-5. With a total of 4 goals and 7 assists in 16 games, Crookshank is tied for 3rd in scoring on the UNH squad and tied for 5th in points per game (0.69) among all Hockey East freshmen. Crookshank and UNH hope to continue these trends throughout the second half of the season which begins tomorrow night against Bentley University at the Whittemore Center.

Crookshank Interview at UNH Hockey Preseason Media Day

I had an opportunity to interview Angus Crookshank at the UNH Media Day on October 3rd. We talked about his adjustment to playing NCAA hockey and his experience getting drafted by the Ottawa Senators last June.

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): You've had a chance to practice with the upperclassmen who are NCAA veterans. It's early in the season and you haven't done a whole lot of scrimmaging. Are there particular areas where you say "I'm definitely going to succeed at this level" and, by the same token, are there other areas where you say "this is something I really need to work on to keep up with these guys and succeed at the NCAA level"?

Angus Crookshank: Obviously, there's experienced guys on this team, they know what it takes to win games in this league. It's definitely an eye-opening thing for us freshmen - the sheer speed and skill of these guys, and size. I think size was the biggest factor and also, while we're scrimmaging, the size of the rink. I personally love it but I know it's a change for some guys. I think we'll be really good this year. We're going to surprise a lot of people.

Mike Lowry: In terms of the size of the rink, what is it that you like about that?

Angus Crookshank: The space to create speed. I love playing fast. I love to make plays at a high tempo.

Lowry: What was it like to get drafted by the Ottawa Senators?

Crookshank: It was a dream come true. There was a lot of stress that whole month. You're overthinking every aspect. Have you done enough? Have you responded to questions that they've asked you? Once you've heard your name called, there's such a weight off your shoulders. Obviously, my parents being there is pretty emotional for sure considering where I came from.

Lowry: Were you surprised that Ottawa selected you or had you figured out that they were interested in you based on interviews and so forth?

Crookshank: Funny enough, Ottawa didn't talk to me. I guess they've been watching me ever since I committed to UNH. So they've been keeping an eye on me. It's an awesome organization and they have a bright future. Hopefully I can be a part of that.

Lowry: It must be nice to be drafted by a Canadian team.

Crookshank: Ya, except that my Dad's a Habs fan so he's not too happy about it (laughs), but at least it's not the Leafs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

UNH Commit Kalle Eriksson: A Puck Moving Defenseman

Kalle Eriksson
2019 UNH Commit
"Kalle Eriksson's a smooth, mobile, two-way, puck moving defenseman." Neutral Zone
“Kalle is a well-rounded defenseman." Carl Larsson, Swedish scout for Future Considerations
Kalle* Eriksson Defenseman, 5'10", 183 lbs. Shoots Left
Hometown: Leksand, Sweden
DOB: 9-15-1999 Turned 19 in September
*Kalle rhymes with "Rally"
Neutral Zone Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Current Team: Omaha Lancers (USHL)
                       ~ Starting Left Defenseman; First Power Play Unit
Commits to UNH: December, 2018 at Age 19 years, 3 months.

Fall 2018 USHL Highlight Reel

In the summer of 2018, Kalle Eriksson moved from Sweden to play for the Omaha Lancers in the United States Hockey League. These video highlights are from the first 22 games of this season. Eriksson wears #61 in the Lancers' jersey. The reel shows Eriksson scoring his goals (1 in regulation plus 1 in overtime), passing, carrying the puck up ice, and quarterbacking the power play.

Interview

I had an opportunity to interview Kalle Eriksson, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to pursue a college degree and play hockey for the University of New Hampshire. Would you describe when and why you started to consider UNH?

Kalle Ericksson: Thank you! I heard a lot of good things about college hockey on the East Coast. After UNH reached out to me, I did some research. What caught my attention was the location of the school, and the videos and pictures that I found of the campus and the facilities.

Mike Lowry: How did you first hear about the University of New Hampshire and its hockey program? Did the UNH coaches reach out to you last year, while you were still playing in Sweden, or after you came to the United States to play for the Omaha Lancers? Did you have an opportunity to visit UNH during the recruiting process?

Kalle Ericksson: I have watched a lot of college hockey highlights on YouTube. That’s how I knew about UNH. Assistant coach Jeff Giuliano talked with me early this season after a game and asked me if I wanted to make a visit. So about a month ago, I went there and I got a great impression of the school, the facilities, the team and the coaching staff.

Lowry: What are the main reasons you chose the University of New Hampshire?

Ericksson: Because I think that I can contribute to the hockey program and where it’s at right now. And I think that UNH will be the best place for me to take the next step towards a pro career.

Lowry: What other college programs did you consider? Which schools did you visit and which ones made an offer to you?

Ericksson: I did not do a lot of visits because I’ve only been in the US for four months. We have had quite a hectic schedule with the Lancers. But I visited two Hockey East teams that both wanted to wait for a while longer. And I got two offers from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference before choosing UNH. I’ve had contacts with some others schools and considered visiting after Christmas but when I got to visit UNH, I knew that it was the place I wanted to go to.

Lowry: What other playing opportunities in Sweden did you consider? Do you aspire to play professional hockey in North America and/or Europe?

Ericksson: I considered starting this season as the 8th defenseman with the pro team in my hometown, but college hockey felt like a better path for me in my development. In the future I want to become as good as possible and if that means that I will end up in North America or Europe, time will tell.

Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Ericksson: I would say that my strengths is in my skating, ability to move the puck and make plays. During my years at UNH I want to become a more reliable player and pay more attention to the details of the game, especially without the puck.

Lowry: Your Dad Niklas Eriksson and Uncle Marcus played professional hockey in Sweden. What role did they play in your hockey development?

Ericksson: I guess they are a big part in why I started to play hockey in the first place. Plus the fact that I’m from a very small town where everyone basically plays hockey. My Dad is also a coach for a team in the Swedish pro league so he has always been “the go to guy” for me to ask questions about everything regarding hockey.

Lowry: Last season, you were the captain of the Leksands IF J20 team. What made you an effective captain?

Ericksson: I always try to push myself and I think I have an effect on people to follow. I think that the fact that I have always played for Leksands IF, through all of my youth years until juniors, also played a part in why I was captain. I lived 100 yards from the rink and it was like a second home for me growing up.

Lowry: What was it like to leave Sweden and come to America to play in Omaha, Nebraska?

Ericksson: As I mentioned earlier, I have played for the same team and lived at home at my parents all my life until I moved to Omaha. So it has definitely been a big change for me both on and off the ice. I have learned a lot. The biggest change on the ice is that the USHL is more similar to a pro league considering the fans and what’s expected from you.

Lowry: What are your academic strengths and interests? Have you thought about what you might major in when you enroll at UNH?

Ericksson: I am still studying a lot at the moment to prepare for my upcoming ACT test, so I’m taking one step at a time. Some of my favorite subjects from high school in Sweden were music, geography, history and religion.

Lowry: As an international student, have you received academic and amateurism certification from the NCAA Eligibility Center?

Ericksson: I am in the process right now and I’m trying to get everything done as quick as possible.

Scouting Reports
"4 Star prospect Kalle Eriksson commits to New Hampshire. Smooth, mobile, two-way puck moving defenseman who can run a power play, shake off forecheckers and break pucks out. A- grade at USHL Fall Classic." Neutral Zone
"Kalle is a well-rounded defenseman. He is solid defensively and likes to get involved in the offense. Has some nice hands and sees the ice very well. He takes big responsibility on the ice and was the captain of Leksand U20 last season. Skates well.” Carl Larsson, Swedish scout for Future Considerations

Youth & Junior Hockey Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Kalle Eriksson  (D) 2018-19 Omaha Lancers USHL 24 1 12 13 6
2017-18 Leksands IF J20 SuperElit 34 5 8 13 34
Playoffs 2 0 0 0 0
2016-17 Leksands IF J20 SuperElit 39 4 9 13 34
Playoffs 5 0 1 1 2
Leksands IF J18 J18 Premiere 3 0 1 1 6
Playoffs 3 0 6 6 2
Leksands IF J18 J18 Elit 4 0 2 2 0
2015-16 Leksands IF J20 SuperElit 2 0 0 0 0
Leksands IF J18 J18 Premiere 18 1 13 14 10
Playoffs 5 0 1 1 6
Leksands IF J18 J18 Elit 17 2 5 7 2
2014-15 Leksands IF J18 J18 Premiere 9 1 0 1 2
Leksands IF J18 J18 Elit 5 0 1 1 0
Leksands IF J18 2 J18 Div.1 3 0 1 1 10
Leksands IF U16 U16 SM 8 1 2 3 0
Leksands IF U16 U16 Elit 20 2 13 15 18
2013-14 Leksands IF J18 2 J18 Div.1 2 0 2 2 0
Leksands IF U16 U16 SM 3 0 1 1 0
Leksands IF U16 U16 Elit 28 3 6 9 22

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

UNH Commit Nick Ardanaz: A Quick, Agile Defenseman

Nick Ardanaz
2020 or '21 UNH Commit
"Nicolas Ardanaz (is) a smooth, balanced skater with quickness and agility." Neutral Zone
"Nick is a gifted skater with dynamic edges and ability to control the puck." Kevin Pedersen, Arizona Coyotes Scout, Head Scout and Assistant Coach, Vernon Vipers
Nicolas Ardanaz Defenseman, 5'8", 152 lbs. Shoots Left
Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia
DOB: 5-30-2002 Turned 16 in May
Undrafted by WHL or USHL
Neutral Zone Rating: 3.75 out of 5 Stars
Current Teams: Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep & Vernon Vipers
                       ~ Alternate Captain; Starting Left Defenseman; 1st Power Play Unit
Committed to UNH: November, 2018 at Age 16 years, 6 months.

2018 BCHL Preseason Highlight Reel

The British Columbia Hockey League allows each team to have two 16-year-old players. Nick Ardanaz turned 16 last May and in August he participated in the Vernon Vipers training camp and preseason games with the goal of making the final roster. These video highlights are from the final exhibition game on August 31st against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks. Ardanaz wore #2 in the white Vipers jersey. The reel shows a number of Ardanaz's skills including carrying the puck up ice, shooting, passing, quarterbacking the power play, body checking, and handling 2-on-1 rushes into his defensive zone.

Interview

I had an opportunity to interview Nick Ardanaz, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?

Nick Ardanaz: The main reasons why I chose to commit to UNH were the coaches, the culture surrounding the school and the hockey program, and the beautiful campus and facilities. I really wanted a school where hockey is a big part of its identity, where I can get a great education all while playing in a great atmosphere.
Coach Stewart’s tour around the campus really exposed me to all parts of the university, and it offered everything I was looking for. As a family, it was easy for us to say that UNH has all the pieces to the puzzle for me as a player and as a future college student.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering? Which schools did you visit and which ones made an offer to you?

Nick Ardanaz: I had an offer from one WCHA school, but never visited. I considered a couple of Ivy League schools. UNH was my first official visit but I had unofficially visited one Big 10 school last year.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?

Ardanaz: Talking to Coach Souza and Coach Stewart, if we both agree that after one year of junior I’m ready to make the jump, I can potentially go in as a true freshman. Otherwise, I will spend two years in junior and come into UNH after that.

Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Ardanaz: My main strengths are my skating, my ability to make a good first pass and my ability to create offensive opportunities from the back end. I like to become the fourth forward off the rush, and I see myself as a good power play defenceman.
An area I need to improve is my strength which will overall help me improve my ability to defend in our own zone, as well as my stick control against bigger and faster forwards.

Lowry: In June, you committed to play for the Vernon Vipers in the British Columbia Hockey League. You attended their training camp in August, played in some exhibition games, and was one of eight defensemen to make their 23-player roster in early September. What are the biggest adjustments you will need to make as you transition from high school hockey to the Junior A level?

Ardanaz: The BCHL is a much faster and heavier league than high school hockey, so I’m going to have to adjust to making decisions with the puck a lot quicker. I’ll have to learn to take more hits more often against heavier guys and simplify my game to play against older players.

Lowry: While you wait to play in a Vipers' regular season game, you have been playing for the Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep team and have tallied 14 assists in 19 games. When do you think you may be called up to play for Vernon?

Ardanaz: I’ll be going up to Vernon after Christmas for some time and could get a game in there, and from what I know, I’ll be joining them after my season with Delta is over. If they run into some injuries within the d-core throughout the year, I could get some games in as well. I’m not too worried about being called up to play, but when the time comes it’ll be an exciting experience for me.

Lowry: Your coach on the Delta Academy Prep team is Spencer Bennett, a former 5th-Round pick of the Calgary Flames who played in the AHL and East Coast Hockey League. What is the most important lesson you have learned from Coach Bennett?

Ardanaz: Something Coach Bennett has always preached to me is to keep my game simple. It’s easy to overcomplicate things as an offensive defenseman and he’s always made me look for the easy plays. Even as a forward during his career, he has great knowledge on defenseman and knows right from wrong on the back end. He prepares me for the next level while allowing me to play my style of game.

Lowry: When do you plan to graduate from high school? What are your academic strengths and interests? Have you thought about what you might major in when you enroll at UNH?

Ardanaz: I plan to graduate next year out of South Delta Secondary School. I’m strong in English and Math so I plan on majoring in business or finance when I enroll.

Scouting Reports
"3.75 Star prospect Nicolas Ardanaz commits to UNH. A smooth, balanced skater with quickness and agility who sees the ice, has soft hands and precision passing ability. Skilled PP defenseman;" Neutral Zone
"The decision to commit to Nick a year out was based on his development as a player. Nick is a gifted skater with dynamic edges and ability to control the puck. He has great vision and excels in the offensive side of the game.These attributes will be pushed while playing for the Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep team this season (2018/19). This will allow Nick to step into the Vernon Vipers lineup the year after with more confidence and with a larger role. We thank Nick and his family for the commitment to be a part of the Vipers organization and we know our fans will love watching him play in the future. Our staff are excited to helping Nick earn an NCAA scholarship in the future and we believe his ability will help achieve that goal.” Kevin Pedersen, Arizona Coyotes Scout, Head Scout and Assistant Coach, Vernon Vipers

Youth Hockey and Prep School Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Nick Ardanaz  (D) 2018-19 Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep CSSHL 19 0 14 14 6
Vernon Vipers BCHL - - - -
2017-18 Delta Hockey Academy Midget Prep CSSHL 2 0 0 0 0
Delta Hockey Academy Elite 15s CSSHL U15 33 13 18 31 14
Playoffs 2 0 2 2 0
2016-17 Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Prep CSSBHL 29 5 8 13 6
Playoffs 5 0 2 2 0
2015-16 Delta Hockey Academy Bantam Varsity CSSBVL 21 1 6 7 6
Playoffs 3 0 0 0 0


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