Wednesday, January 18, 2012

UNH Recruits At The 2012 EJHL All-Star Classic

The youngsters who have committed to play hockey at the University of New Hampshire are developing their skills all over North America in four junior leagues and in prep school hockey. When I've watched UNH Recruits play in a game, either in person or online, there's usually one and occasionally two recruits in the lineup. So, when the 2012 Eastern Junior Hockey League All-Star Classic came to the Tri-Town Arena in Hooksett, NH on Monday and three UNH Recruits were on the rosters, it was an opportunity not to be missed.

The three All-Stars planning to enroll at UNH in the fall of 2012 - Collin MacDonald, Kyle Smith, and Harry Quast - are among the leading scorers in the EJHL. MacDonald is the 4th leading goal scorer and Smith is 5th in assists and 7th in total points. Among EJHL defensemen, Quast is tied for 1st in total goals and power play goals, and tied for 3rd in points.

The Northern Division and Southern Division teams featured 20 players who have accepted offers to play college hockey. Nine are committed to Hockey East teams and four others will play in the Ivy League. With so much talent playing in an exhibition game, I expected the type of run-and-gun, high-scoring play usually seen in all-star games. Not so. The fans - which included numerous college coaches - were treated to fast-paced, tight-checking hockey with solid goaltending.

The first period ended in a 1-1 tie with goals from Nick Bligh (South Shore Kings/Dartmouth) for the Southern Division and Brett Mason (Valley Junior Warriors/Uncommitted) for the Northern Division. Early in the second period, Cody Learned (Junior Bruins/Yale) put the North ahead but T.J. O'Brien (Bay State Breakers/Uncommitted) tied the score a short time later.

With about 8 minutes left in the second period and the score tied 2-2, Kyle Smith (Junior Bruins/UNH) fired a shot on goal and K.J. Tiefenwerth (Junior Bruins/former Boston College commit/Now Uncommitted) gathered the rebound, made a nifty spin move in front of the crease, and scored.

With less than a half-minute left in the second period and the Southern Division trailing 3-2, Collin MacDonald (Jersey Hitmen/UNH) won a faceoff in the Northern zone and fellow Jersey Hitman Steven Swavely (uncommitted) beat Rochester Stars' goalie Gordon Ceasar.

In the final period, the Southern Division went on top 4-3 on a goal from Tyler Bouchard (Springfield Pics/UConn). In the waning seconds of regulation, Zach Luczyk (Junior Bruins/Quinnipiac) tied the game 4-4.

Collin MacDonald was chosen to shoot first for the South in the shootout. As he approached the net, MacDonald made a quick backhand to forehand to backhand move and beat the goalie on the high side. The Southern Division won the shootout on a subsequent goal by Jimmy Vesey (South Shore Kings/Harvard).

Notes on UNH Recruits

~ Kyle Smith - This is the first time I've seen Smith play this season (I saw him once last season). In skating style and stature, he is tall and lanky and reminiscent of sophomore forward Jeff Silengo. Smith's forte is passing and setting up goals. He is the Assistant Captain of the Junior Bruins.

~ Collin MacDonald - This is the third time I've seen MacDonald play this season and he continues to impress. He has moved up to the first line for the Jersey Hitmen and plays on their first power play unit. MacDonald is a big, strong left-winger who shows speed in open ice and tenacious one-on-one play in the offensive zone. He's often called on to take the faceoff in the offensive zone as he did on the third goal of the EJHL All-Star game.

~ Harry Quast - The All-Star game was my first opportunity to see Harry Quast play and I was pleasantly surprised. Quast is the most recent player to commit to UNH and there have been no reports of him being offered an athletic scholarship. However, Quast's skills may translate very well on the big ice sheet at the Whittemore Center. To begin with, for a big defenseman (6'4", 210 lbs.) Quast is a graceful, fast skater. In the defensive zone, Quast was physical - routinely checking the puck carrier into the boards - and he used his long arms/reach to effectively poke-check the puck away from forwards trying to skate past him. On rushes through center ice, Quast always had his head up looking to make his next move. On at least three occasions, Quast made pinpoint, long passes from just over his blueline, across the centerline, to a forward just about to enter the offensive zone. Quast will definitely be in the mix in the battle for playing time at UNH next season.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Web Site Hit Counter

Firefox 2