Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Meet Corson Green, 2018 UNH Commit

Defenseman Corson Green
2018 UNH Commit

The last time UNH qualified for the NCAA Hockey Tournament, the team featured one of the biggest and most skilled defensive corps in the program's history - Connor Hardowa (6'1" 210 lbs. Team Captain), Trevor van Riemsdyk (6'2", 185 lbs. All-American), Eric Knodel (6'6", 225 lbs. Maple Leafs draft pick), Brett Pesce (6'3", 175 lbs. Hurricanes draft pick), Justin Agosta (6'3", 200 lbs.) and Brett Kostolansky (5'10", 180 lbs.). That 2012-13 team had the second highest scoring defense in Hockey East and the second fewest goals allowed. In early December, 2012 they were ranked #1 in Division I hockey. Those Wildcats defeated Denver 5-2 in the opening round of the NCAA's and lost to UMass Lowell 2-0 in the "Elite Eight" round.

With the early departures of Trevor van Riemsdyk, now a regular defenseman with the defending NHL Champion Chicago Blackhawks, and Brett Pesce, a top 4 defenseman for the Carolina Hurricanes, UNH is looking to reload with big, skilled defensemen. All indications are that 6'3", 207 lbs. Corson Green (DOB:3/4/1999) fits the bill.

On January 20th, left-shot defenseman Corson Green verbally accepted an athletic scholarship offer to come to UNH in the Fall of 2018. Members of the scouting community were quick to sing his praises.
"6'3" with very strong mobility and puck skills. Major Pro upside." Matt Grainda - Amateur Scout for USHL Central Scouting and
"Good size, reach, hard shot, developing mobility & game." Russ Bitely -
"Green is a big body (6'3) who moves well and maintains balance. Nice point shot, can play QB on PP. Takes good angles on D." Mark Bilotta -
Green joined the Northern Cyclones hockey organization, based in Hudson, NH, for the 2015-16 season. He began the season playing for the Northern Cyclones 16U Tier 1 team. In early December, Green was promoted to the Northern Cyclones Premiere team in the Eastern Hockey League Premiere Division. In December and January, he played for both the Northern Cyclones 16U and Premiere teams.

While playing against the top 16U teams in the northeast and the nation, Corson Green tallied 22 goals and 36 assists in 59 games with the Northern Cyclone 16U. In October, 2015, they won the New Hampshire State Championship and advanced to the semifinal round of the New England Districts in November. Green tallied a goal and 4 assists in 4 games at the Districts. Jeff Cox, who covered the NE Districts tournament for SBNation College Hockey, came away impressed with Green's performance:
"He's a big time pro prospect. He's big and has all the physical tools. His skating is above average for a player his size and age. He has a long reach, is mobile and can really move the puck up ice. He's a little raw and could benefit from choosing his spots a little more wisely. He has a heavy shot and can play physically. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds own his OHL rights, but he's apparently committed to NCAA route."
During 17 games against opponents in the Eastern Junior Elite Prospect League, Green scored 12 goals and 5 assists and was named the Most Valuable Player in the EJEPL 16U All-Star game.

One predictor of a young player's potential is how he performs against older, more mature competition. As a 16-year-old member of the Northern Cyclones Premiere team, Green primarily competed against 19 and 20-year-old players in the EHL Premiere Division. He demonstrated his readiness to make the jump from midget to junior hockey. In 16 regular season games, Green scored 3 goals, including a game-winner, and distributed 6 assists including a power play and short-handed assist. The Northern Cyclones won the opening round of the EHL Playoffs but lost in the second round. Green posted 4 assists in 6 playoff games. Here are video highlights including Green's three goals with the Northern Cyclones Premiere team:

In the 2014-15 season, Corson Green was in a very different place. He moved away from his hometown of Potsdam, New York to enroll at the Canadian International Hockey Academy, a college prep school in Rockland, Ontario. The CIHA teams play in the Ontario East Minor Hockey League. Once again, Green was younger than many of his teammates and competitors. He was 15 years old and scored 6 goals and 18 assists in 25 games with the Minor Midget 16U team. He also played for the CIHA Major Midget 18U team scoring 2 goals and 5 assists in 19 games (regular and playoff).

Corson Green's play with the CIHA Voyageurs was closely followed by scouts of the Ontario Hockey League (a Canadian Major Junior league). Prior to the OHL Priority Selection Draft in April, 2015, Brendan Ross, a scout at and contributor to McKeen's Hockey, ranked Green 26th overall and 8th defenseman in his 2015 OHL Priority Selection Draft Guide. He wrote:
"Big raw mobile defensive with intriguing tools…enjoys jumping into the rush and owns some underrated and developing puck skills…utilizes his size well to shield off checkers and also contain attackers defensively…able to read plays unfolding and identify the smart passing option on the breakout..very competitive and active defender who's always looking to make an impact...ceiling is very high ..Green is one of my favourite defenders of this draft class as his ranking indicates."
Sean Lafortune, former Director of Scouting at and current scout for the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, provided this assessment of Green in his 2015 OHL Draft rankings:
"One of the most intriguing players in this draft. Playing on CIHA, his Minor Midget team missed the playoffs, however he has been up affiliating with the Major Midget's and has been performing well. A big, powerful defender with quick feet and good north to south abilities. His offensive tools intrigue, he can stretch the ice, run a powerplay and is big, strong and tough. As an American who is playing his first year of AAA hockey, he's incredibly raw, patience is needed. Given the parity in this draft it's fair to suggest that he could slot into the top 30 of the draft."
On April 15, 2015, the OHL held its Priority Selection Draft and Corson Green was selected in the 5th Round by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He was the 101st overall selection. On September 22, 2015, the United States Hockey League announced each team's final roster and affiliate list. The Chicago Steel placed Corson Green on their affiliate list. Players on a USHL affiliate list are the "property" of that team and develop at lower levels of hockey. Those players can be added to a USHL team’s active roster during the season, play a limited number of games in a call-up situation, or will be looked upon to make the roster in future seasons.

I had an opportunity to interview Corson Green, via email, about his hockey career and commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?

Corson Green: I chose UNH because of the coaching staff and the facilities. I like the size of the school and town. I also wanted to play Hockey East.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering? Did other schools verbally offer an athletic scholarship? If so, which ones?

Corson Green: I visited other schools, but the coaching staff at UNH was my deciding factor. I want to play for a coach who wants me there and wants to develop me into a better player. After visiting UNH I knew I wanted to play hockey for Coach Souza and Coach Stewart.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?

Green: We talked about a Fall 2018 start date.

Lowry: A number of amateur scouts have written that you are a pro prospect. At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve??

Green: I think my strength is my vision on the ice and my ability to be an offensive defensive player. I want to improve on my overall development to become a bigger and stronger player both on the ice and off.

Lowry: This time last year, you participated in the Ontario Hockey League Development Combine and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds drafted you in the 5th Round of the 2015 OHL Priority Draft. Gabe Vilvardi, your teammate at the Canadian International Hockey Academy (CIHA), was drafted by the Windsor Spitfires and signed with them. Why did you decide not to play major junior hockey in Canada?

Green: I wanted to play Tier I hockey in the states and see if there was any interest from D1 schools and then decide between OHL and NCAA.

Lowry: You subsequently left CIHA, moved farther away from your hometown of Potsdam, New York, and joined the Northern Cyclones hockey organization based in Hudson, New Hampshire. What factors lead you to choose to play for the Cyclones?

Green: Coach O'Connor recruited me to play Tier 1 hockey with the Cyclones. I wanted to play competitive Tier 1 hockey and work on improving my grades. Coach O'Connor gave me the opportunity to do both.

Lowry: You began this season playing for Coach Frank O'Connor on the Cyclones U16 team and advanced to Coach Bill Flanagan's EHL Premiere Team. What was it like to play against older, more seasoned players in the EHL? What were the most important lessons you learned from Coach O'Connor and Flanagan?

Green: I liked being pushed to play against older players. The game is faster and a higher skill level, so it forced me to become more physical and faster in my game. I am thankful for Coach O'Connor and Coach Flanagan giving me the opportunity to play with the Premiere team. Both coaches believed in me and have pushed me to become a better player.

Lowry: In September, the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League added you to their "Affiliate List". The USHL is conducting their combines over the next few weeks and will be holding their 2016 Draft in the first week of May. What are your prospects for playing in the USHL next season or in 2017-18?

Green: I will be attending the Chicago Steel camp in June. Playing in the USHL with and against the top Tier 1 kids in the country would be a great opportunity for me.

Lowry: Last summer, you participated in USA Hockey Select 16 Festival. How would you rate your performance against the top 16-year-old American players? Do you anticipate being invited to the Select 17 camp?

Green: I thought I played well with the other players from the camp. I really hope to be invited to the Select 17 camp this year. The tryouts are held in May.

Lowry: When do you plan to graduate from high school? What are your academic strengths and interests?

Green: I plan to graduate in June 2017. I have an interest in Business and will major in that in college.


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