Friday, November 04, 2016

UNH Commits Update: November-4-2016

UNH Commit Eric Esposito
Streak-Ending, Game-Winning Assist

Player Spotlight - Eric Esposito

One of the most compelling stories early in the 2016-17 United States Hockey League season has been the Chicago Steel's undefeated streak. The Steel franchise tied a USHL record by winning their first 10 games. So when they travelled to Youngstown, Ohio last Sunday to face the Phantoms, they had an opportunity to set an all-time record.

Entering the game, Youngstown had compiled a respectable 6-4-0 record and trailed the Steel by 8 points in the Eastern Conference. In his second season with the Phantoms, UNH commit Eric Esposito was having, shall we say, an interesting campaign. With less than 5 minutes remaining in the first game of the season, the 18-year-old Esposito (DOB: 8-24-1998) got into a fight trying to protect a fellow player and received a two-game suspension. In his fifth game back after serving the suspension, Esposito got into another fight and was slapped with a one-game suspension.

This US Hockey Report assessment of Eric Esposito at the USA Hockey Select 17 Camp in the summer of 2015 captures the style of play he has shown in the USHL (emphasis added):
"Esposito, who appears to get better every time we watch him, is strong, tough, and plays the game with hustle and energy. He hunts the puck, plays a physical brand of hockey, and outworks his opponents in the corners and around the net. On top of that, his skating has improved and his stickhandling is not only better, but he was consistently able to beat defensemen 1v1 in open ice. He has a bullet of a wrister and created several chances with cross-crease passes off the rush."
As a USHL rookie last season, Esposito tallied 2 goals and 8 assists in 48 games. Over his first 7 games this season, he had not earned any points and had registered a total of 6 shots on goal. It's safe to say that both Esposito and the Phantoms were out to prove something as they faced the undefeated Chicago Steel.

Youngstown built a 2-0 lead in the second period. With 7 minutes remaining in regulation, Esposito rushed the puck through center ice and down the right wing. As he reached the faceoff dot to the left of Chicago goalie Ales Stezka (Minnesota Wild draft pick), Esposito centered a tape-to-tape pass to linemate Curtis Hall (Yale Commit). Hall redirected the puck with his backhand into the back of the net for a 3-0 Youngstown lead. Chicago subsequently scored two goals but was defeated for the first time this season 3-2. Here is the video highlight of Eric Esposito's game-winning assist:

Eric Esposito was one month shy of his 16th birthday when he committed to UNH in July 2014. At the time, Eric had this to say about his target date for enrolling at UNH:
"A certain date for my incoming freshman year hasn't been determined exactly. Either 17' or 18' are both options the coaches and I have discussed, all depending on my development within the next few years. Hopefully I can be there as soon as possible."
At the end of this season, UNH will lose two right-shot forwards to graduation: Tyler Kelleher and Jamie Hill. UNH commits Charlie Kelleher and Eric MacAdams, who are also right-shot forwards, have a Fall 2017 target date for enrollment. For the remainder of this season, Esposito will be out to prove that he is ready to make the jump to NCAA hockey.

2016-17 Statistics

The statistics for the commits, presented in the following table, are categorized by the projected year they will enroll in UNH. For example, the "2017 Commits" are projected to begin playing for UNH in the Fall of 2017. I have based these projections on a number of factors including:
~ If a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
~ The year the commit and UNH coaches originally targeted for enrollment in UNH. ~ How old the commit would be upon admission.
~ Number of years in junior hockey prior to admission.
~ The commit'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
2017 Commits
Joseph Cipollone  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 11 1 0 1 2
Liam Darcy  (D) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 18 0 5 5 0
Charlie Kelleher*  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 11 2 7 9 2
Eric MacAdams  (F) Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 11 5 5 10 10
James Miller  (D) Penticton Vees BCHL 11 0 4 4 10
Mike Robinson*  (G) Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 1 1W 0L 4.20 .854
2017 or '18 Commits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 9 0 1 1 44
2018 Commits
Angus Crookshank  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 1 0 1 1 0
Corson Green  (D) Chicago Steel USHL 6 0 0 0 4
2018 or '19 Commits
Lucas Bahn  (D) Skipjacks 18U USPHL 14 6 10 16 2
Ryan Verrier  (D) Salisbury School NE Prep - - - - -
* = Signed National Letter of Intent

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ 2017 UNH Commit Charlie Kelleher continues to score at nearly a point-a-game clip. He has scored 2 goals and 7 assists in his first 11 USHL games and is tied for 6th in USHL assists and tied for 7th in scoring.

~ 2017 commit Eric MacAdams has scored 5 goals and 5 assists in 11 games and is tied for 6th in USHL scoring.

~ The verbal agreement between the UNH coaches and Jason O'Neill is no longer in place.

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ 6'2", 175 lbs. defenseman James Miller, a 2017 UNH commit, has dished out 3 assists in his last 5 games with the Penticton Vees.

~ 2018 UNH commit Angus Crookshank was injured early in the season, he only played in the Langley Rivermen's first game, and has missed the last 18 games.

United States Premiere Hockey League:

~ 2018 or '19 commit Lucas Bahn added another goal to his total on October 27th. The 17-year-old defenseman is tied for 4th in USPHL 18U goal-scoring.


Blogger David Dancause said...

With Espo's brother committed to UVM, is it accurate that there will be two relative pairs in incoming Frosh class at UVM / UNH : Esposito brothers and Cipollone cousins?

Nov 8, 2016, 6:05:00 PM  
Blogger C-H-C said...

Yes, Eric and Alex Esposito are brothers. Alex definitely going to UVM next fall, Eric to UNH either Fall 2017 or '18. The two Joe Cipollones are cousins. One coming to UNH likely next fall. One going to UVM likely fall 2018.

Nov 8, 2016, 11:10:00 PM  

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