Thursday, March 24, 2016

UNH Recruits Update: March-24-2016

2016 Commit Patrick Grasso
Des Moines Buccaneers
2016 Commit Liam Blackburn
West Kelowna Warriors

Player Spotlight - Patrick Grasso

Last Saturday, Patrick Grasso notched his second hat trick of the season for the Des Moines Buccaneers. The speedy, versatile captain and the Bucs travelled to Madison knowing that time is running out on their quest for a playoff spot in the Western Conference of the USHL. They currently trail the fourth place Fargo Force by 10 points with 7 games left in the regular season.

In the first period against the Capitals, Grasso's first goal tied the game 1-1 and he assisted on the goal that put the Bucs ahead 2-1. His second goal came in the second period and increased Des Moines' lead to 4-2. When Grasso completed the hat trick in the first minute of the third period, Des Moines appeared to have a commanding 5-3 lead. Unfortunately for the Bucs, Madison tied the game in regulation and won in overtime.

Although Des Moines did not gain any ground in the race for the playoffs, their captain lead the team with 3 goals, an assist and 9 shots on goal. Here are the video highlights of Patrick Grasso's hat trick:

Grasso has scored 18 goals in 53 games this season, twice as many goals as last season. He is tied for 12th in goal scoring in the USHL. In addition, Grasso has fired the 8th most shots on goal in the league. He has registered 169 SOG for an average of 3 per game.

When Patrick comes to play for UNH next fall, fans will notice similarities with former Wildcats star Stevie Moses. Both are fast, right-shot forwards who readily find open ice in the offensive zone for frequent shots on goal. Grasso at 5'7", 160 lbs. and Moses, 5'9", 170 lbs., are undersized players who can score goals in bunches. Grasso does it all for the Buccaneers. He has started at all three forward positions, is the point-man on their first power play unit, and fore-checker on the first penalty kill unit. He turns 20 years old on May 29th.

Player Spotlight - Liam Blackburn

2016 UNH Commit Liam Blackburn and the West Kelowna Warriors won their opening round, BCHL playoff series against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and are currently tied 2 games apiece with the Penticton Vees in the Inland Division Championship round. On Monday night, Blackburn scored the game-winning goal and earned the #1 Star of the Game in the Warriors 2-1 win over the Vees. On Tuesday night, he dished out the primary assist on the game-winning goal during a West Kelowna power play.

In his 10 BCHL playoff games, Blackburn is scoring at a point-a-game pace. He is tied for 4th in playoff goal scoring with 5 goals and tied for 5th in scoring with 10 points. During his first two seasons in the BCHL, Blackburn scored at a similar rate in the playoffs. In the 2013-14 playoffs, he tallied 2 goals and 2 assists in 6 games and in 2014-15, he posted a goal and 2 assists in 4 games. The Warriors face the Vees in Penticton on Friday night in Game 5 of the best-of-seven series.

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 58 27 47 74 51
Playoffs 10 5 5 10 6
Justin Fregona*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 51 24 25 49 45
Playoffs 1 0 0 0 0
Patrick Grasso*  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 53 18 18 36 12
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 54 2 8 10 58
Playoffs 10 0 2 2 6
Brendan van Riemsdyk*   (F) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 43 20 27 47 50
Playoffs 6 1 5 6 4
Joe Sacco  (F) Vernon Vipers BCHL 56 10 9 19 16
Playoffs 4 0 0 0 0
Anthony Wyse  (D) Lincoln Stars USHL 48 2 14 16 18
2016 or '17 Recruits
Charlie Kelleher  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 38 17 36 53 40
Playoffs 4 1 4 5 0
Mike Robinson*  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL 12 7W 5L 2.97 .910
Playoffs 1 - - 0 1.00
2017 Recruits
Joe Cipollone  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 43 7 3 10 14
Vernon Vipers BCHL 12 4 3 7 2
Liam Darcy  (D) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 34 2 11 13 2
Playoffs 6 0 3 3 0
Eric MacAdams  (F) Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 45 8 8 16 70
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL 20 7 0 7 8
Playoffs 8 2 1 3 0
Tri-City Storm USHL 8 0 1 1 2
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 43 1 6 7 34
Jason O'Neill  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 47 7 14 21 2
Playoffs 5 1 1 2 4
2018 Recruits
Corson Green  (D) Northern Cyclones EHL 16 3 6 9 20
Playoffs 6 0 4 4 14
Northern Cyclones 16U EJEPL 17 12 5 17 55
* = Signed National
Letter of Intent

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ 2017 UNH Commit Eric MacAdams of the Sioux Falls Stampede scored 2 goals, including the game-winner, in a 6-3 victory over the Waterloo Black Hawks on March 12th.

~ 2016 UNH Commit Anthony Wyse has missed the last 5 Lincoln Stars games due to the unexpected passing of his Dad, Timothy Wyse, in early March. The Stars players have added a sticker with "TW" in blue letters to the back of their helmets in honor of Mr. Wyse.

British Columbia Hockey League Playoffs:

~ 2016 UNH Commit Justin Fregona missed the final 4 games of the Langley Rivermen's playoff series against the Wenatchee Wild due to a lower body injury. He likely would have returned to the Langley lineup had they advanced beyond the first round of the BCHL Playoffs.

~ 2017 or '18 UNH Commit Jason O'Neill scored a goal and an assist in 5 playoff games with the Langley Rivermen. The Wild defeated the Rivermen 4 games to 1 in the opening round of the BCHL Playoffs.

~ 2016 UNH Commit Joe Sacco and the Vernon Vipers lost their opening round playoff series against the Penticton Vees in 5 games. Sacco did not register a point.

~ 2016 Commit Nick Nonis and the Powell River Kings won the opening round against the Cowichan Valley Capitals but were swept by the Nanaimo Clippers in the second round. Nonis posted 2 assists in 10 games.

~ 2017 Commit Aaron O'Neill and the Chilliwack Chiefs swept the Coquitlam Express in the opening round and have a commanding 3 games to 1 lead in the second round against the Wenatchee Wild. Aaron has scored 2 goals and an assist in 8 playoff games.


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