Wednesday, June 27, 2012

UNH Recruits Progress in June

For the 8 UNH Recruits who will matriculate this fall, the long journey from mite hockey to the start of an NCAA career is nearly complete. After years of striving to advance to the next level of development and battling to make the teams with the older kids, their immediate hockey future is more certain. In late August, they will begin freshman classes in Durham and start skating as a UNH Wildcat in Captain's Practices.

In contrast, the young recruits working toward the target of coming to UNH in 2013, '14 and '15, are still involved in the grind of fighting for a roster spot for next season. In June, all teams in the United States Hockey League held their annual tryout camps. Six UNH Recruits recently travelled great distances from their homes to participate in one of these tryout camps. Each USHL team had many dozens of young players come to camp with the hope of making the active roster for the 2012-13 season. Returning veterans, draft picks, and invitees of each team assembled at their home arenas for 3 to 5 days of practice and intrasquad scrimmages. The immediate goal for each player was to make the 30-man "Initial Protected List" at the end of camp.

Having completed their first seasons in the USHL last year, UNH Recruits Mike McNicholas, Matias Cleland, and Dylan Maller entered tryout camp seeking to be retained by their teams for a second season. As players drafted by USHL teams, Andrew Poturalski and Jason Kalinowski were invited to the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders' tryout camp and are hoping to make the roster for the first time. Shane Eiserman, who was not drafted by any USHL team, was invited to the Dubuque Fighting Saints' tryout camp.

During this last week of June, the two youngest American-born recruits - Jason Kalinowski and Shane Eiserman - are also pursuing an opportunity to make the 2012 U.S. Under-18 Select Team. In May, they took part in USA Hockey District competitions and were selected to participate in the 2012 Under-17 National Development Camp in Rochester, New York.

Jason Kalinowski
At the 2012 USHL Entry Draft in May, the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders selected 2014 or '15 UNH Recruit Jason Kalinowski with the 118th overall pick. Kalinowski (DOB: 7-2-1995) played New England Prep School hockey last season at the Salisbury School. As a junior, the 6'0", 180 lbs. right-winger, scored 12 goals and 15 assists in 25 regular season games. He was the 2nd leading goal scorer on a very talented Salisbury squad and the 3rd leading point getter. From June 7-10, Kalinowski participated in the Rough Riders' Tryout Camp in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He played well enough to make the All-Star Roster for the final scrimmage of the camp and Coach Carlson selected him to the 30-man Initial Protected Roster.

Longtime Cedar Rapids' season ticket holder Scott Herbst provided me with this summary of Kalinowski's performance during the tryout:
"Kalinowski is a wildcard for me. During the first day of camp, he did make a nice 1-on-1 move and fired a laser high stick side for a goal. He seemed timid at first. On the third day, Kalinowski showed moments of being a goal scorer. He is a well put together forward who showed a chippy side. A couple times he battled really hard against bigger guys in the corner. Overall, he was kind of Jekyll and Hyde to me. He is a well put together kid who I feel (Head Coach) Carlson will keep him on the affiliate list this year and will make the team next year."

By July 1st, each USHL team is required to submit a 25-man Active Roster and an Affiliate List with up to 14 players. Affiliates are under-18 players who have been drafted by the club and are eligible to be called up to play with the team during the season. They are protected by the club and can not play for any other USHL team. If Jason Kalinowski makes the 25-player roster, he will return to Cedar Rapids for training camp in August. If he makes the Affiliate List instead, in all likelihood, he will still be invited to the training camp. By the end of training camp, each USHL team must whittle their active roster down to 23 players for the regular season. If Kalinowski does not make the Cedar Rapids' roster by opening day, he can return to the Salisbury School to complete his senior year.

As mentioned earlier, Jason Kalinowski is currently participating in the USA Hockey Under-17 Player Development Camp in Rochester, NY. This is third summer he has been invited by USA Hockey to participate in their Select Player Development Camps. In July, 2010, he was the 4th leading scorer in the Select 15 camp with 2 goals and 8 assists in 5 games. The leading scorer for that camp was 2013 Recruit Tyler Kelleher. Last July, Kalinowski participated in the USA Hockey Select 16 Camp and scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 6 games. He tied for 7th place in scoring with fellow UNH commit Shane Eiserman. In the three games he has played so far this week, Kalinowski has 1 assist. At the end of the Under-17 Camp, 22 players will be chosen for the U.S. Under-18 Select Team which will compete at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in August in Slovakia.

Andrew Poturalski
Last summer, Andrew Poturalski - who had been drafted by the Sioux City Musketeers in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft - participated in the Musketeers' tryout camp and later in the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders' camp. Poturalski (DOB: 1-14-1994) earned a spot on Cedar Rapids' Affiliate List. In February, he was called up to play two games for the Rough Riders against the Dubuque Fighting Saints. Poturalski made headlines by scoring 2 goals and an assist and finishing the two games with a +/- rating of +2. A couple weeks ago, Poturalski joined Jason Kalinowski at the Cedar Rapids' tryout camp. This time around, Poturalski turned heads with his outstanding performance. Writing in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Scott Herbst provided this assessment:
"While you can argue Poturalski is not new since he played two games for the Riders last season, he is far from a veteran. Overall, my opinion is that Poturalski was the best forward in camp this weekend. He centered the No. 1 line on each team he played. He notched a pair of goals in the Top Prospect Game, showed great speed, vision and forechecking ability."

Head Coach Mark Carlson selected Poturalski for the 30-man "Initial Protected Roster". From all indications, Poturalski has an excellent chance of making the Rough Riders' 25-man Active Roster when it is announced on July 1st. He's almost guaranteed a spot at the Cedar Rapids' training camp in August. Poturalski graduated from the Nichols School in Buffalo last spring so he can move to Cedar Rapids and focus on his hockey development. The fall of 2013 is his target for enrolling at UNH.

Shane Eiserman
Although 2014 UNH Recruit Shane Eiserman (DOB: 10-10-1995) was not drafted into the USHL, last summer he was invited to participate in the Dubuque Fighting Saints' training camp. Out of camp, he made the Saints' Affiliate List last season. A couple of weeks ago, from June 6-9, Shane Eiserman took part in the Saints' 2012 Tryout Camp. So far, there are no details available on the Saints' camp. However, Eiserman did make the Protected, Affiliates List. There's a good chance he will be invited to Dubuque's Training Camp in late August.

Shane Eiserman is also currently at the USA Hockey Under-17 Player Development Camp in Rochester, NY. Last summer, at the Under-16 Camp, Eiserman scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 5 games and tied for 7th in scoring. More importantly, he was selected to the US Under-17 Select Team which earned him a ticket to the Five Nations Tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan. From August 9-13, 2011, Eiserman played for Team USA in the Five Nations Tournament. The US faced teams from Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Team USA won the tournament in dominating fashion winning all four games. In the three games he has played so far this week, Eiserman has 2 assists.

Mike McNicholas
Last season, Mike McNicholas (DOB: 3-23-1994) scored 5 goals and 4 assists in 48 regular season games with the Muskegon Lumberjacks. From June 11-16, McNicholas participated in the Lumberjacks' Tryout Camp. As expected, McNicholas made the 30-man Initial Protected Roster. It is very unusual for a veteran player to not make the active roster in his second season. McNicholas is targeting an enrollment at UNH in either the Fall of 2013 or '14.

Dylan Maller
Defenseman Dylan Maller (DOB: 4-15-1994) played 39 regular season game last year with the Tri-City Storm. Despite missing games with injury, he managed to score 3 goals and 6 assists. All 3 goals and 3 of his assists came on the power play. From June 13-16, Maller was in Las Vegas at the Storms' Tryout Camp. The protected list has not yet been made public. Maller did make the All-Star Game on the final day of camp. He is targeted to arrive at UNH in the Fall of 2013.

Matias Cleland
Last season, defenseman Matias Cleland (DOB: 1-28-1994) scored a goal and 9 assists in 41 regular season games with the Waterloo Black Hawks. He posted a +/- rating of 0. He was only able to play in 6 USHL playoff games due to injury. The Black Hawks made it to the Clark Cup Finals but lost to the Green Bay Gamblers in the decisive 5th game. From June 1-3, Cleland participated in Waterloo's Tryout Camp. The protected list has not yet been made public. Cleland is targeted to arrive at UNH in the Fall of 2013.


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