Tuesday, May 08, 2012

UNH Recruit Jamie Hill: True Grit

Last night, 2012 UNH Recruit Jamie Hill reached the peak of his junior hockey career as he lead the Waterloo Black Hawks over the Lincoln Stars to advance to the Clark Cup Finals in the United States Hockey League.** In the 6-2 victory, Jamie Hill scored what turned out to be the game-winning goal in the second period. He also scored Waterloo's second goal of the night and assisted on the 4th and 5th goals. For his efforts, Hill earned the #1 Star of the game.

So far, in 10 playoff games, Jamie Hill has scored 5 goals on 28 shots and has added 6 assists. His 11 points places in a tie for the scoring lead on the Black Hawks' squad. Hill is also the second leading scorer among all USHL players in the playoffs. His +/- rating so far is +5.

What makes Hill's accomplishments even more remarkable is the adversity that he has overcome. Ten days ago in the second period of Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinal Series against the Omaha Lancers, Jamie Hill took a puck to his face resulting in the loss of 10 teeth and 32 stitches. Warning: Not a pretty picture. He reportedly was trying to block a shot while playing on Waterloo's penalty kill unit. Undeterred, Hill returned to the game in the third period. In fact, Hill played in Game 4 the following night and has not missed a playoff game.

Jamie Hill's determination to contribute to his team and do what it takes to get to the next level doesn't surprise those who have followed his junior career. In March 2009, when Jamie Hill committed to the University of New Hampshire, the plan was for him to play two seasons in the United States Hockey League and enroll at UNH in the Fall of 2011. At the time, Hill was a junior at Bishop Eustace Prep School in Pennsauken, New Jersey. He was the team's leading scorer with 19 goals and 32 assists in 27 games.

In the 2008-09 season, Hill and Bishop Eustace advanced to the semifinal game in the New Jersey Non-Public School Hockey Championship. They faced the Christian Brothers Academy (CBA) team which was lead by current, All-Rookie UNH defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk. TvR was a senior in high school and the leading scorer on CBA. Four years earlier, CBA had won the New Jersey State Championship with a sophomore sensation named James van Riemsdyk. The contest between Bishop Eustace and CBA would be Hill's final high school hockey game as CBA won the semi-final game.

For the 2009-10 season, Jamie Hill joined the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. He completed his senior year of high school in Waterloo. Hill finished his rookie season in the USHL with 12 goals and 13 assists in 56 games (regular season plus playoffs).

In his second season in the USHL, Hill posted a respectable 12 goals and 14 assists in 60 games. His penalty minutes almost doubled from 69 PIM in 2009-10 to 119 in 2010-11. Still, it must have been disappointing when Hill was asked to play one more season with Waterloo and defer his arrival at UNH until the 2012-13 season. Jamie Hill persevered in his third USHL season and nearly doubled his total assists from 14 in 2010-11 to 26 this regular season. He also cut his penalty minutes in half.

Jamie Hill has been accepted by the Admissions Office at UNH. The 5'9", 174 lbs. forward will join the UNH Wildcats next fall. Hill and the Waterloo Black Hawks begin their championship series against the Green Bay Gamblers on Saturday, May 12th in Green Bay.

**Photo Credit: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier


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