Friday, June 24, 2016

UNH Recruits Update: Final 2015-16 Stats

Liam Blackburn (C/LW)
Justin Fregona (RW)
Patrick Grasso (C/RW)
Nick Nonis (D)
Brendan van Riemsdyk (LW)
Joe Sacco (RW)
Anthony Wyse (D)

Incoming Freshman Class

The UNH Class of 2020 includes 5 forwards and 2 defensemen. All of them took their games to a higher level in the 2015-16 season.

Liam Blackburn

After a breakout 2014-15 season in which he tied for 6th in BCHL scoring (73 pts) and posted the third most assists (51), Liam Blackburn decided to play one more season with the West Kelowna Warriors. In 2015-16, Blackburn replicated his regular season output scoring 27 goals and 47 assists (74 pts, T-9 BCHL scoring). The left-shot forward also tied for 4th in the BCHL in combined special team goals (11 PPG, 3 SHG).

In the 2015-16 playoff season, Liam Blackburn established himself as one of the premiere players in Canadian Junior A hockey. During the West Kelowna Warriors' run to their first BCHL Championship, Blackburn dished out the most assists (16) of any BCHL player and tied for 2nd in scoring (23 pts). Next, the Warriors won the Western Canada Cup against the champions of the Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey Leagues. Finally, West Kelowna completed an incredible playoff run by capturing the top prize in Canadian Junior A hockey - the Royal Bank of Canada Cup. Liam Blackburn was the leading scorer in the RBC Cup competition. In six games, Blackburn scored 4 goals, including 2 shorthanded, 1 even strength, and one shootout tally, plus 4 assists.

At the beginning of the season, Liam Blackburn was listed at 5'10", 167 lbs. He primarily played center and occasionally left wing. Liam turned 20 years old earlier this month.

Justin Fregona

In the Fall of 2015, Justin Fregona made the jump from Canadian prep school hockey (St. Andrew's College, Aurora, Ontario) to Junior A hockey in the British Columbia Hockey League. As an 18-year-old rookie with the Langley Rivermen, Fregona scored 24 goals, including 7 power play and 2 game-winning goals, and distributed 27 assists. In the 2015-16 regular season, Fregona was tied for 5th in goal scoring and power play goals among all BCHL rookies and was the 7th leading scorer. The right-shot forward tied with Matthew Graham (Robert Morris commit) as the leading goal scorer on the Langley Rivermen squad.

Justin Fregona began the 2015-16 season at 5'7", 154 lbs. The speedster primarily played right wing. Justin turned 19 years old at the end of May.

Patrick Grasso

Over the course of his three full seasons with the Des Moines Buccaneers in the United States Hockey League, Patrick Grasso's scoring output steadily increased. After scoring 9 goals and 15 assists in his rookie season, Grasso followed up with 9 goals and 25 assists in the 2014-15 season. This season, Grasso was named the Captain of the Bucs squad and he more than doubled his goal-scoring. The right-shot forward played in every game of the 60 game schedule, and scored 22 goals and 21 assists. Among all USHL players, Grasso tied for 13th in goals and tied for 18th in scoring. His 3 game-winning goals placed him in a tie for 5th in the USHL.

The Buccaneers hockey club listed Patrick Grasso at 5'7", 160 lbs. This season he played all three forward positions. He also played point on the Bucs' first power play unit and fore-checker on their first penalty kill unit. Patrick turned 20 years old at the end of May.

Nick Nonis

Nick Nonis, the former captain at Governor's Academy and New England Prep School all-star, completed his second season with the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League. Nonis produced a modest increase in his goal-scoring (2 goals up from 1 in 2014-15) and assists (8 up from 6). More importantly, Nonis was named the Most Improved Player on the Powell River squad.

Nick Nonis is a 6'3", 195 lbs., left-shot defenseman. By the end of the 2015-16 season, Nonis played on the River Kings' second defensive pairing and their first penalty kill unit. Nick is 20 years old and will turn 21 in December.

Brendan van Riemsdyk

In the 2014-15 season, Brendan van Riemsdyk solidified his reputation as a top goal scorer. BvR finished the Islanders Hockey Clubs' regular season with 29 goals in 47 games. He tied for 4th in goal-scoring in the USPHL Premiere Division. This season, van Riemsdyk established his play-making bona fides. During the 2015-16 regular season, he more than doubled his assists from 12 in 2014-15 to 27 this season. The left-shot forward also increased his power play assists from 5 to 11.

Overall, BvR tied for 9th in USPHL scoring this season (47 pts), tied for 5th in goals (20), and tied for 11th in assists (27). He was also a top performer on the power play. BvR tied for 1st in USPHL power play goals (8), tied for 3rd in power play assists (11), and was second in total power play points (19). During the Islanders Hockey Clubs' playoff run, van Riemsdyk posted a goal and 5 assists in the 6 games, good enough for a tie for 3rd in assists among all USPHL playoff players and a tie for 4th in scoring. The IHC advanced to the USPHL championship series but lost to the Jersey Hitmen in a two-game sweep.

At the beginning of the season, Brendan van Riemsdyk was listed at 6'4", 200 lbs. By comparison, when brother James was a freshman at UNH, he was 6'3", 190 lbs. and brother Trevor was 6'2", 185 lbs. as a freshman. BvR primarily played left wing during the last two seasons with the Islanders Hockey Club. Brendan is 20 years old and will turn 21 in January.

Joe Sacco

In 2014-15, as a senior at The Rivers School in Weston, MA, Joe Sacco was the team's captain and leading goal scorer (22 goals in 31 games). He tied for 8th in goal scoring in the New England Prep School League. Last summer, he traveled to Vernon, British Columbia and earned a spot on the Vipers' roster.

Sacco began his rookie season in the British Columbia Hockey League as the Vipers' third-line, right winger. As this season progressed, the right-shot forward scored 10 goals, including 4 game-winners, and 9 assists and moved up to the starting lineup. Sacco also earned time on the Vipers' power play, potting 4 power play goals, and on the penalty kill, where he scored 2 short-handed goals.

The Vernon Vipers listed Joe Sacco at 5'11", 185 lbs. Joe turned 20 years old on June 1st.

Anthony Wyse

The Lincoln Stars selected defenseman Anthony Wyse in the first round of the 2014 USHL Phase II Draft (5th overall pick). Unfortunately, before the Summer 2014 training camp, doctors discovered a torn labrum in each of Anthony's hips. Wyse underwent surgery and missed the entire 2014-15 season. After a 10-month recovery period, Wyse played all of last season with the Stars.

In his rookie season in the USHL, Wyse scored 2 goals and 17 assists in 54 games. He tied for 11th in power play assists (10) among all USHL players. He was the Stars' starting left defenseman and played on their first penalty kill unit. Wyse originally committed to Dartmouth College in 2014. After difficulties with their admissions process, he committed to UNH in March.

At the beginning of the season, Anthony Wyse was listed at 6'3", 217 lbs. Anthony turned 20 years old at the end of March.

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 24 7 16 23 14
Justin Fregona*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 51 24 25 49 45
Playoffs 1 0 0 0 0
Patrick Grasso*  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 60 22 21 43 14
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 54 2 17 19 18
Playoffs 4 1 0 1 0
2017 Recruits
Joe Cipollone  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 47 7 3 10 16
Playoffs 10 0 2 2 2
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
Charlie Kelleher*  (F) Junior Bruins USPHL 38 17 36 53 40
Playoffs 4 1 4 5 0
Eric MacAdams  (F) Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 51 10 8 18 87
Playoffs 3 0 0 0 2
James Miller  (D) Olds Grizzlys AJHL 50 5 16 21 102
Playoffs 3 0 0 0 2
Mike Robinson*  (G) Junior Bruins USPHL 12 7W 5L 2.97 .910
Playoffs 1 - - 0 1.00
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 48 2 8 10 36
Jason O'Neill  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 47 7 14 21 2
Playoffs 5 1 1 2 4
2018 Recruits
Lucas Bahn  (D) Skipjacks 16U USPHL 26 3 13 16 0
Playoffs 4 1 0 1 0
Skipjacks 18U USPHL 9 2 0 2 2
Playoffs 1 0 0 0 0
Angus Crookshank  (F) BWC Prep CSSHL 35 42 19 61 56
Langley Rivermen BCHL 4 1 0 1 0
Playoffs 1 0 0 0 0
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:

~ Forward Charlie Kelleher ( Tyler Kelleher's brother) will play one more season of junior hockey and plans to enroll at UNH in the Fall of 2017. In early May, the Tri-City Storm drafted Kelleher in the 1st Round (12th overall pick) of the 2016 USHL Phase II Draft. Last week, Kelleher completed a successful tryout camp culminating in a top performance in the Storm's All-Star game.

~ Goalie Mike Robinson will also play one more season of junior hockey and come to UNH in the Fall of 2017. Robinson was drafted by the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the 2nd Round (30th overall pick) of the 2016 USHL Phase II Draft. A couple weeks ago, Robinson competed at the Fighting Saints tryout camp:

~ 2017 UNH commit Joseph Cipollone and the Tri-City Storm won the 2016 USHL Championship last month. Cipollone tallied 2 assists in 10 games during the run to the Clark Cup.

~ 2017 or '18 UNH commit Jason O'Neill competed in the Sioux Falls Stampede's tryout camp a couple weeks ago. O'Neill earned a spot on the Stampede's 30-player protected roster. Last season, O'Neill tallied 8 goals and 15 assists in 52 games (regular season plus BCHL playoffs) with the Langley Rivermen.

~ On May 3rd, 6'1", 175 lbs. defenseman James Miller committed to UNH for the Fall of 2017. Last season, Miller scored 5 goals and 16 assists for the Olds Grizzlys of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

~ 2018 UNH commit Corson Green participated in the Chicago Steel's Tryout Camp in mid-June and was named to one of the camp All-Star teams. All USHL teams, including the Steel, must submit their 30-player protected rosters by July 9th.

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