Thursday, January 07, 2016

UNH Recruits Update: Jan-8-2016

Justin Fregona
Gold at WJAC
Liam Blackburn
12 Special Team Goals
Jason O'Neill

Player Spotlight - Justin Fregona

Just prior to the Christmas Holiday, 2016 UNH Commit Justin Fregona and Team Canada West won the gold medal at the 2015 World Junior A Challenge. Canada West won all 4 games including the 2-1 victory over Russia in the gold medal game. In an exhibition game just prior to the tournament, Canada West downed Russia 6-1 and Justin Fregona scored a goal and an assist. In the opening round, Fregona scored a goal in a 7-3 win over the Czech Republic. Here's a video clip of his goal:

Since the World Junior A Challenge was first played in 2006, 9 players, who would later play for UNH, have participated (see table below). Current UNH players Marcus Vela and Shane Eiserman played in the 2014 and 2013 tournaments respectively. The leading scorer among UNH players who have played in the World Junior A Challenge was Blake Kessel who scored 2 goals and 5 assists in the 2007 Tournament.

UNH Player Year Team Medal GP Goals Asst Pts
Justin Fregona 2015 Canada West Gold 4 1 0 1
Marcus Vela 2014 Canada West - 4 0 2 2
Shane Eiserman 2013 USA Gold 4 2 0 2
Grayson Downing 2010 Canada West - 5 2 2 4
2009 Canada West Silver 5 0 0 0
Casey DeSmith 2010 USA Gold 2/3 1W 0L -
Nick Sorkin 2009 USA Gold 5 0 1 1
Greg Burke 2008 USA Gold 5 1 1 2
Blake Kessel 2007 USA Bronze 4 2 5 7
Damon Kipp 2007 Canada West Gold 5 0 2 2
2006 Canada West Gold 4 - - -

Justin Fregona returned to action with the Langley Rivermen on December 30th. Since his return, Fregona has scored 2 goals and 2 assists in 3 games. He currently has 21 goals on the season and is tied for 8th in BCHL goal scoring.

Player Spotlight - Liam Blackburn

2016 UNH Commit Liam Blackburn has continued to pot goals for the West Kelowna Warriors. He has scored 4 goals in the last 4 games and 10 goals in the last 12 contests. Last Saturday, Blackburn scored perhaps the most exciting goal in his distinguished three-year career with the Warriors. In the second overtime period against the Merritt Centennials, Blackburn was on a partial breakaway and drew a hooking call. On the ensuing penalty shot, he deked the goalie and buried the puck between his legs for the game-winning goal:

In 39 games this season, Liam Blackburn has scored 21 goals and added 29 assists. Interestingly, after 39 games last season, he had 14 goals and 38 assists - the most assists in the BCHL. At this time, Blackburn is tied for 8th in BCHL goal-scoring and scoring. He has scored 9 power play goals and 3 short-handed goals which is the most, combined special team goals in the league.

Player Spotlight - Jason O'Neill

2017 or '18 UNH Commit Jason O'Neill is in his first season in the BCHL. Over his last 5 games, O'Neill has scored 3 goals and an assist for the Langley Rivermen. On Sunday, he scored this game-winning goal in a 7-1 win over the Prince George Kings:

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:
~ If a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
~ 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 39 21 29 50 32
Justin Fregona*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 32 21 16 37 31
Patrick Grasso*  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 29 10 11 21 6
Charlie Kelleher  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 24 10 26 33 16
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 36 1 4 5 38
Brendan van Riemsdyk*   (F) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 27 11 16 27 12
Mike Robinson*  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL 2 0W 2L 3.21 .906
2016 or '17 Recruits
Joe Cipollone  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 22 4 1 5 8
Vernon Vipers BCHL 12 4 3 7 2
Liam Darcy  (D) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 19 1 6 7 0
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL 7 3 0 3 2
Tri-City Storm USHL 8 0 1 1 2
2017 Recruits
Eric MacAdams  (F) Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 26 5 4 9 60
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 28 0 4 4 24
Jason O'Neill  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 28 4 9 13 0
* = Signed National
Letter of Intent

News & Notes

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ 2016 or '17 UNH Commit Aaron O'Neill scored 2 goals for the Chilliwack Chiefs in a game last Saturday. Since his debut in the BCHL, O'Neill has scored 3 goals in 7 games.

United States Hockey League:

~ 2016 Commit Patrick Grasso has scored 2 goals and 6 assists in the Des Moines Buccaneers' last 5 games. Among all USHL players, Grasso is tied for 8th in goals and tied for 13th in scoring.

United States Premiere Hockey League:

~ Goalie Mike Robinson, who has signed a National Letter of Intent to enroll at UNH next fall, returned to action on Saturday. Robinson had wrist surgery last September and missed the first half of the Junior Bruins' schedule.

~ Charlie Kelleher has scored 3 goals in the last 4 Junior Bruins' games. Although he has played in 7 fewer games than the USPHL's leading scorer, Kelleher is still tied for 4th in assists and 6th in total points.


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