Friday, September 18, 2015

UNH Recruits Update: Sept-18-2015

2016 Commit Liam Blackburn
West Kelowna Warriors
'16 or '17 Commit Joe Cipollone
Vernon Vipers

The young hockey players who have verbally committed to play for UNH in the future are beginning their 2015-16 hockey seasons. The British Columbia Hockey League and the U.S. Premiere Hockey League started up last weekend, while the United States Hockey League opens it's season on September 25th.

At the end of last May, I presented the final statistics from the 2014-15 season for the UNH recruits who had verbally committed to attend the University of New Hampshire and play NCAA Division I hockey for the Wildcats. The commitment of three recruits covered in that article have changed since then. Joseph Masonius verbally accepted an athletic scholarship offer from UNH back in October, 2012 when he was 15 years old. The defenseman maintained his commitment to UNH throughout the two years he played for the U.S. National Team Development Program and fully intended on enrolling at UNH this fall. The UNH Admissions Office decided not to accept Joseph for the Fall 2015 semester. He was then promptly accepted by the University of Connecticut and will play for the Huskies this season.

Defenseman Jake Ryczek verbally committed to UNH in April, 2014 when he was 16 years old. At the time, Ryczek was playing for the Selects Hockey Academy at the South Kent School in Connecticut. Earlier this summer on June 5th, Associate Head Coach Scott Borek, who served as the recruiting coordinator at UNH, left for a comparable position at Providence College. According to Mark Divver, who covers Friars' hockey for the Providence Journal, Ryczek decided to not honor his verbal commitment to UNH around this time. The NCAA has clarified that verbal commitments are non binding for either the prospective student athlete or the school. On June 18th, Ryczek announced his verbal commitment to Providence College.

Last Saturday, Over The Boards reported that Joel Farabee, a forward at the Selects Hockey Academy, had de-committed from UNH. Farabee had verbally committed to UNH last December when he was 14 years old. Mark Divver tweeted that Farabee is considering Providence College, Boston University, and possibly Boston College.

Twelve UNH recruits continue to honor their commitment to the University of New Hampshire. Four of them - Liam Blackburn, Joe Cipollone, Justin Fregona, and Nick Nonis - have begun their season in the British Columbia Hockey League.

Player Spotlight - Liam Blackburn

High-scoring Liam Blackburn is off to a hot start. Three games into the BCHL season, the 5'10", 175 lbs. left-shot center has already potted 2 goals and added 4 assists. Here are his two goals:

At this very early stage of the BCHL season, Blackburn is tied for second in scoring. During the regular season last year, Blackburn tied for 6th in BCHL scoring and posted the third most assists. In 51 regular season games with the West Kelowna Warriors, he scored 22 goals, including 8 power play goals, and dished out 51 assists. Blackburn (DOB: 6-8-1996) signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI) with the University of New Hampshire during the early signing period last November. He and the UNH coaches decided one more year in the BCHL would be best for his development. Blackburn will join the UNH Wildcats next September.

Player Spotlight - Joe Cipollone

In his second game as a BCHL rookie, Joe Cipollone scored a goal and an assist for the Vernon Vipers. Here is Cipollone's first BCHL goal:

Cipollone graduated from the South Kent School in June. Last season, the 5'9", 168 lbs., left-shot forward was the second-leading scorer for the Selects Hockey Academy 18U team. In 28 United States Premiere Hockey League games, Cipollone scored 22 goals and 36 assists. He was drafted by the Bloomington Thunder in the 7th Round of the 2015 USHL Draft. However, he chose not to attend Bloomington's Tryout Camp.

The statistics for the recruits, presented in the following table, are categorized by the projected year they will enroll in UNH. For example, the "2016 Recruits" are projected to begin playing for UNH in the Fall of 2016. I have based these projections on a number of factors including:
~ The year the recruit and UNH coaches originally targeted for enrollment in UNH.
~ How old the recruit would be upon admission.
~ Number of years in junior hockey prior to admission.
~ The recruit'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
2016 Recruits
Liam Blackburn  (F) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 3 2 4 6 2
Justin Fregona  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 1 0 0 0 4
Patrick Grasso  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL - - - - -
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 2 0 0 0 0
Brendan van Riemsdyk   (F) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL - - - - -
Mike Robinson  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL - - - - -
2016 or '17 Recruits
Joe Cipollone  (F) Vernon Vipers BCHL 2 1 1 2 0
Liam Darcy  (D) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL - - - - -
Charlie Kelleher  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL - - - - -
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL - - - - -
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL - - - - -
Jason O'Neill  (F) Madison Capitals USHL - - - - -

News & Notes

U.S. Premiere Hockey League:

~ Goalie Mike Robinson, a third-round pick of the San Jose Sharks, injured his wrist this summer. He is projected to return to the Junior Bruins' lineup in January.

United States Hockey League:

~ On September 21st, all USHL teams must reduce their active rosters from 30 to 23 players. Patrick Grasso (Des Moines), Aaron O'Neill (Tri-City) and Eric Esposito (Youngstown) are virtual locks to make the active rosters. Jason O'Neill (Madison) is battling for a roster spot.


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