Tuesday, December 02, 2014

UNH Recruits Update: Dec-2-2014

Marcus Vela - NHL CSS Player to Watch
(Photo Credit: Garrett James Photography)

Player of the Week - Marcus Vela

November was a memorable month for 17-year-old Marcus Vela (DOB: 3/3/1997). On the 20th, the NHL Central Scouting Service released its Preliminary 2015 November Players to Watch list and Vela (pronounced VELL-a) was on it. He was rated as a "C" prospect meaning he's a candidate to be drafted in the 4th, 5th, or 6th round in the 2015 NHL Draft next June.

Then, last Friday, Hockey Canada announced the list of 60 players invited to the Canada West selection camp on December 7-9. Marcus Vela is one of 25 players from the BCHL who will attend the camp. The other 35 players represent the Junior A leagues from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Superior International. All will compete for the 22 roster slots on the Canada West team in advance of the 2014 World Junior A Challenge. The Challenge, to be played in Kindersley, Saskatchewan Dec. 14-20, includes teams from the United States, Russia, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and two from Canada.

Vela's on-ice accomplishments with the Langley Rivermen have also stood out over the last couple weeks. In the last 6 games, he has scored a goal and added 5 assists. In a 4-3 victory over the West Kelowna Warriors, Vela posted 2 assists and was awarded the #2 Star of the Game. When the Rivermen downed the Surrey Eagles 5-2 on November 21st, Vela scored a goal and an assist and was named the "Energy Player of the Game".

In just 27 games this season, Vela has already matched his total point output (22 points) from last season (54 games). His 18 assists is tied for 9th place in the BCHL. Vela leads the Rivermen in assists and is tied for 3rd in scoring. Recently, Vela has been the centerman on Langley's first line and logged substantial time on the power play. In his second season in the BCHL, Marcus Vela is on track to double his production from a year ago.

Here are some of the highlights from Vela's recent games:

The statistics for the recruits, presented in the table, are categorized by the year the player and UNH coaches have targeted for enrollment in UNH. For example, the "2015 Recruits" have a target of the Fall of 2015 to begin playing for UNH.

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2015 Recruits
Jason Kalinowski  (F) Bloomington Thunder USHL 9 0 3 3 8
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 5 0 0 0 4
Joseph Masonius  (D) USA U18 Team NCAA 10 3 4 7 4
USHL 6 0 2 2 16
NAHL 1 0 0 0 0
Int'l. 4 0 1 1 14
Christopher Miller  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 12 3 4 7 6
Danny Tirone  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL 16 11W 5L 2.32 .926
2015 or '16 Recruits
Liam Blackburn  (F) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 27 13 30 43 14
Liam Darcy  (D) Berwick Academy NEPSHC 2 1 2 3 -
Islanders Hockey Club 18U USPHL 18U 4 0 0 0 0
Patrick Grasso  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 20 4 9 13 8
Ara Nazarian  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 20 3 4 7 6
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 26 0 1 1 18
Brendan van Riemsdyk   (F) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 23 17 5 22 44
Marcus Vela  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 27 4 18 22 30
2016 Recruits
Joey Cipollone  (F) Selects Academy 18U USPHL 18U 8 4 10 14 0
Justin Fregona  (F) St. Andrews College CISAA 4 4 1 5 2
Non-Conf 12 8 6 14 16
Charlie Kelleher  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 18 8 13 21 8
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Green Bay Gamblers USHL 6 0 0 0 0
Jake Ryczek  (D) Sioux City Musketeers USHL 20 2 1 3 6
2017 Recruits
Mike Robinson  (G) Boston Jr Rangers EHL 8 4W 4L 2.35 .937
Lawrence Academy NEPSHC 0 0 0 0 0
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) CT Wolfpack U16 Split CT HC 34 17 15 32 44
Loomis Chaffee NEPSHC 1 1 1 2 -
Jason O'Neill  (F) Skipjacks Hockey Club 18U USPHL 18U 15 10 10 20 21

News & Notes

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ On November 19th, Liam Blackburn signed a National Letter of Intent to play for UNH. He will enroll in either the Fall of 2015 or 2016. Blackburn was also invited to the Canada West tryout camp. He and fellow UNH recruit Marcus Vela will be trying to earn a spot on the Canada West team which will compete in the 2014 World Junior A Challenge in mid-December. Over his last 5 games with the West Kelowna Warriors, Blackburn has scored 3 goals and 3 assists. He currently has the most assists (30) of any BCHL player and is the second leading scorer (43 points) in the league.

United States Hockey League:

~ In a game between the Des Moines Buccaneers and Omaha Lancers on Sunday night, 2015 or '16 UNH recruit Patrick Grasso scored the game-tying goal with just 55 seconds left in regulation. The Bucs went on to win the shootout. In that same game, fellow UNH recruit Ara Nazarian scored the Bucs' second goal and was awarded the #2 Star of the Game. Des Moines, who missed the USHL Playoffs last season, is currently in 2nd place in the Western Conference. Here's Patrick Grasso's dramatic goal:

Team USA:

~ Over the last couple weeks, 2015 UNH recruit Joseph Masonius and the US National Team Development Program Under-18 team have competed against NCAA teams. On November 21st, Team USA defeated 4th-Ranked Minnesota 5-4 in overtime. Masonius, a 6', 180 lbs. defenseman, scored the team's third goal and assisted on the game-tying 4th goal. Last Saturday, the US National U-18 team defeated the NCAA Division III team from Neumann University (Aston, Pennsylvania) 7-1. Masonius registered a goal and 2 assists.

Prep School Hockey:

~ Liam Darcy, a Senior Captain at Berwick Academy, scored the first goal of the season for the Bulldogs in the first period of the first game. Berwick shut out North Yarmouth Academy 4-0. Darcy scored two assists in the 6-0 shutout of the Moses Brown School. In the opening weeks of the New England Prep School season, Darcy is the 3rd leading scorer among all defenders. Like fellow UNH recruit Marcus Vela, Liam Darcy was included on the NHL Central Scouting Service's Preliminary 2015 November Players to Watch list. He too was rated as a "C" prospect with the potential to be drafted in the 4th, 5th, or 6th round in the 2015 NHL Draft.

~ 2017 or '18 recruit Eric Esposito posted a goal and an assist in Loomis-Chaffee's first game of the New England Prep School season. The Pelicans defeated Groton Academy 9-0 at the St. Paul's School Jamboree. Eric Esposito, a sophomore, and his older brother Alex (a Vermont Commit), a senior, are forwards on the Loomis-Chaffee team. Against Groton, the Esposito brothers did not play on the same line. This video shows Eric's first goal of the season:

~ 2016 recruit Justin Fregona is off to a fast start for St. Andrew's College in the Conference of Independent Schools Athletic Conference. In 4 league games, Fregona has scored 4 goals and an assist. He is tied for 1st in CISAA goals and tied for 3rd in scoring. Last season, Fregona and current UNH freshman Warren Foegele were teammates on the St. Andrew's squad.


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