Wednesday, March 30, 2016

UNH Recruits Update: March-30-2016

Patrick Grasso
 CCM USHL Forward of the Week

Player Spotlight - Patrick Grasso

On Monday, Patrick Grasso was named the CCM Forward of the Week in the United States Hockey League. Over the weekend, Grasso and the Des Moines Buccaneers swept a home-and-home series with the Tri-City Storm, first-place team in the USHL's Western Conference. He scored a goal in the 3-0 win on Friday. He was awarded the #1 Star in the 6-3 victory on Saturday on the strength of 2 goals and an assist. This capped off a three-game stretch in which Grasso tallied 6 goals and 2 assists.

Patrick Grasso's goal on Friday night represented the 100th point in his USHL career. In the 2012-13 season, when Patrick was just 16 years old, he was called up from the Omaha AAA U16 team to play 17 games with the Bucs. He was just 5'5", 137 lbs. at the time but managed to score 3 goals and 2 assists. So far, in his third full season with the USHL Des Moines franchise, Grasso has scored 21 goals and 19 assists. The Bucs' Captain is tied for 17th in USHL scoring and tied for 11th in goals.

On the occasion of Grasso's 100th point, Buccaneers Head Coach Dave Allison said:
“The kid and the family are quality. His dad was a stick boy for the New York Rangers when my brother (Mike) played there when he was 19, 20 years old. There’s a history and Patrick Grasso is just character. He’s just a wonderful human being. You talk about ‘love this game like a child but play it like a man.’ He’s 160 pounds but he plays it like a man."
Assistant Head Coach Nate Weossner added:
“Grasso is one of the, if not the, hardest workers I’ve seen since I’ve been in Des Moines. His preparation is bar none, how he concentrates on his craft like a pro. It’s not a surprise at all that Patrick has put up 100 points in the USHL and there will be more to come when he gets to New Hampshire.”
With just 4 games left in the regular season, Des Moines trails the 4th place Fargo Force by 8 points in the race for the final playoff berth in the USHL Western Conference. Unless the Bucs win the rest of their games and Fargo loses their final 5 games, Patrick Grasso's USHL career will be over. The good news is he has signed a National Leter of Intent and the speedy forward will enroll at UNH next Fall.

When Patrick comes to play for UNH, 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 this season. 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.

NOTE
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 13 6 5 11 8
Justin Fregona*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 51 24 25 49 45
Playoffs 1 0 0 0 0
Patrick Grasso*  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 56 21 19 40 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 50 2 15 17 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 45 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 46 9 8 17 72
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 44 1 6 7 34
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
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

British Columbia Hockey League Playoffs:

~ 2016 UNH Commit Liam Blackburn and the West Kelowna Warriors upset the Penticton Vees to win the Inland Division Championship round. Penticton had earned the most points (101) during the BCHL regular season while West Kelowna earned 79 points. The "Double Round Robin" of the playoffs began last night as the Warriors downed the Chilliwack Chiefs 5-1. Blackburn scored West Kelowna's 4th goal on a power play. In his 13 BCHL playoff games, Blackburn has scored 6 goals and 5 assists. He is tied for 4th in playoff goal scoring and tied for 6th in scoring.

United States Hockey League:

~ 2016 UNH Commit Anthony Wyse returned to the Lincoln Stars lineup last Friday. He had missed several games due to the unexpected passing of his Dad, Timothy Wyse, in early March. On Saturday night, Wyse notched a power play assist on the Stars 1st goal in their 5-2 win over the Chicago Steel. With 4 games left in the USHL regular season, Lincoln sits in 2nd place in the Western Conference. They only need one more win to clinch a playoff berth.

~ 2017 UNH Commit Eric MacAdams of the Sioux Falls Stampede scored the game-tying goal in a 5-2 victory over the Sioux City Musketeers on March 26th. Sioux Falls is battling with the Fargo Force for the 4th and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. With 5 games remaining, the Force has 60 points and the Stampede have 58.

~ 2017 UNH commit Joseph Cipollone and the Tri-City Storm have already clinched a playoff berth in the USHL Playoffs.

Monday, March 28, 2016

16-Year-Old Lucas Bahn Commits to UNH

Lucas Bahn
Skipjacks Hockey Club


Lucas Bahn (DOB: 9/11/1999), a 5'9", 150 lbs., right-shot defenseman from Hendersonville, Tennessee, has committed to the University of New Hampshire. The target date for his enrollment is either the Fall of 2018 or 2019.

UNH Commit Lucas Bahn
Bahn recently completed his first season with the Skipjacks Hockey Club based in Odenton, Maryland. He played a full, 26-game regular season with the Skipjacks 16U team in the United States Premiere Hockey League. Bahn scored 3 goals including 1 power play goal and 1 game-winning goal, and dished out 13 assists including 5 on the power play. He was the 8th leading scorer among all defensemen in the USPHL 16U League.

The Skipjacks 16U team finished the 2015-16 regular season in second place in the South Division of the USPHL. Bahn was also called up to play 9 games with the Skipjacks 18U team and tallied 2 goals.

In the opening game of the 16U Playoffs, aka "Tournament of Champions", Lucas Bahn scored the second goal for the Skipjacks to tie the P.A.L. Junior Islanders 2-2. The Skipjacks went on to win 4-3. Here is the video highlight of Bahn's goal:



The 16U team won the next three playoff games including the South Division Title game and the conference semifinal game against the Junior Bruins . The Skipjacks were defeated 8-2 by Selects Academy in the USPHL 16U Championship Game.

Lucas Bahn grew up playing hockey in Hendersonville, a suburb of Nashville. Colby Drost, the Director of Recruiting for the Skipjacks Hockey Club, scouted Bahn and was responsible for gaining a commitment from him to move to Maryland and play for the Skipjacks. Drost recruited several other notable Skipjack players who have made Division I college commitments including Kenneth Hausinger (UMass Lowell), Christian Hausinger (Sacred Heart), and Ryan Finnegan (Quinnipiac). He was also part of the Skipjacks' recruiting effort with Mac Wiseman (UConn), Patrick Giles (Boston College), and John Mulera (Providence).

Colby Drost, who also is a scout for the Dubuque Fighting Saints and Assistant Coach at Skidmore College, provided this assessment of Lucas Bahn's skills:
"Lucas is a GREAT skating 2-way defenseman that has a great hockey IQ. He can be the first one in on the rush and can be the first one back because of his decision making and skating ability. He makes smart plays with the puck and in the new age of defenseman, he doesn't need to defend as much because he can break the puck out by making a pass or skating it. Consistent player that has great tools on him and can play on the PP. Lucas also can get pucks to the net and time after time makes the right plays. I believe he can be drafted into the USHL this spring, and will have opportunities across other leagues as well."
When Bahn was 13 years old, he played for the Nashville Jr. Predators Bantam AA team in the 2013-14 season and scored 4 goals and 7 assists in 57 games. The next season, Bahn tallied 3 goals and 10 assists in 53 games with the Jr. Predators 14U AAA team. In the 2014-15 season, Lucas was a freshman defenseman for Hendersonville High School and scored 3 goals and 17 assists in 28 games. He also played for the Mid-American Generals 15U AAA team.

I had an opportunity to interview Lucas Bahn, 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?

Lucas Bahn: Thank you very much! First and foremost, UNH’s campus was absolutely incredible. The structure and size of the campus seemed perfect for a great college atmosphere. Secondly, the rink was awesome; Not only its capacity, but also the locker rooms and training facilities along with it. One of the biggest aspects that stood out to me though, was the fact that hockey seemed to be the biggest sport on campus, and how all the students took pride in their hockey team. Lastly, I was thoroughly impressed with the coaching staff.



Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering?

Lucas Bahn: I didn’t really have too much interest. I had had conversations with Providence College, but nothing too serious, but in the end everything about UNH seemed perfect for me.



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?

Bahn: I have not discussed it with the coaching staff in depth yet. I think it just really depends on development for me. Being a late-bloomer, it may take an extra year in juniors before I am ready to play for UNH. It looks like I will be joining the team around 2019, but that is subject to change.



Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Bahn: The strengths in my game would have to be my skating and hockey sense; whereas, I am training hard to improve my shot strength and accuracy as well as my body positioning.



Lowry: You played youth hockey with the Nashville Jr. Predators. For college hockey fans who may not be familiar with that part of the country, would you describe the vibrant hockey scene in the greater Nashville area?

Bahn: The growth of hockey in the Nashville area has skyrocketed in the last few years. People in the the Nashville area have a passion for hockey it is rapidly spreading. The Predators have really helped people familiarize themselves with the sport and begin to develop a love for the game. It’s awesome to see the all younger kids learning to play the game and loving every minute of it.



Lowry: Last season, you played for the 16U and 18U teams of the Skipjacks Hockey Club, based in Maryland. Do you anticipate playing for the Skipjacks 18U team in the United States Premiere Hockey League next season?

Bahn: Yes for sure. I have so many good things to say about the organization and coaching staff. I truly believe that the Skipjacks have the two best Midget level coaches in the country, Jason and Jared Kersner, and the facilities are incredible to go along with it.



Lowry: Do you plan to play in either the United States Hockey League or British Columbia Hockey League before you come to UNH?

Bahn: Yes, I definitely would love to have the opportunity to play in one those leagues. That is certainly a huge goal of mine and I hope I can achieve it in the near future.



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

Bahn: I plan to graduate in 2018 and my academic strengths would be Math and working with numbers. I am really interested in pursuing a career in Sports Management and some sort of business degree.

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.

NOTE
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.

Friday, March 11, 2016

UNH Recruits Update: March-11-2016

Forward Aaron O'Neill
Strong Finish to BCHL Season

Player Spotlight - Aaron O'Neill

By age 15, UNH commit Aaron O'Neill had developed into one of the top hockey prospects to come from the State of Tennessee. He was drafted in the 10th Round of the 2013 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection but chose to play for the Green Bay Gamblers in the United States Hockey League. Since then, O'Neill's hockey road has been winding and sometimes bumpy.

During the 2013-14 season, at age 16, O'Neill was one of the youngest players in the USHL and he registered a goal and an assist for Green Bay in 32 games. That's when the first bump came along. O'Neill played throughout the second half of the season with a sore shoulder and underwent surgery in May 2014. He did not return to the Green Bay lineup until November, 2014. For the rest of the 2014-15 season, he did not recapture the scoring touch evident during his Tier 1 midget hockey days. In 41 games, O'Neill tallied a goal and an assist.

During the 2015 off season, O'Neill was traded to the Tri-City Storm - the USHL team based in Kearney, Nebraska. However, when the season began, O'Neill was placed on the injured reserve list with a lower body injury. He was out of the Storm's lineup throughout September and October. In the final game of October, he returned to action as the center on Tri-City's second line. O'Neill played just 8 games with Tri-City and was transferred to the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Hockey League on December 10, 2015.

Aaron O'Neill scored a goal in his first BCHL game and as the regular season wound down, he appeared to be settling into a comfort zone. Over the final two games, O'Neill scored 3 goals for Chilliwack. On February 27th, he potted 2 goals in the Chiefs' 8-4 win over the Coquitlam Express and earned the #2 Star of the Game. Chilliwack finished the regular season with the second most points in the BCHL and in first place in the Mainland Division.

All indications point to Aaron O'Neill being back on track. In the opening round playoff series against the Coquitlam Express, O'Neill was the starting center for the Chilliwack Chiefs. He plays with Kohen Olischefski, a Denver commit, on his right wing and Jesse Lansdell, a Notre Dame commit, on his left wing. He also plays on Chilliwack's second power play and penalty kill units.

After winning Game 1, Chilliwack jumped on top in Game 2 thanks to a nifty goal by Aaron O'Neill early in the 1st period. Just 5 minutes later, O'Neill put the Chiefs ahead 3-0 on his second goal of the game. This video highlight of O'Neill's goals shows his ability to get to the front of the net and quick puck control:



O'Neill also picked up an assist in Game 2 of the playoffs and earned the #3 Star. Chilliwack swept Coquitlam in four games and advanced to the BCHL Mainland Division championship round. When Aaron O'Neill committed to UNH in September, 2013, he hoped to enroll as early as the Fall of 2015. However, given the setbacks he's endured, he is now expected to enroll in Fall 2017.

NOTE
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 4 1 2 3 2
Justin Fregona*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 51 24 25 49 45
Playoffs 1 0 0 0 0
Patrick Grasso*  (F) Des Moines Bucs USHL 49 15 16 31 12
Nick Nonis  (D) Powell River Kings BCHL 54 2 8 10 58
Playoffs 5 0 1 1 2
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 40 6 3 9 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 40 6 8 14 70
Aaron O'Neill  (F) Chilliwack Chiefs BCHL 20 7 0 7 8
Playoffs 4 2 1 3 0
Tri-City Storm USHL 8 0 1 1 2
2017 or '18 Recruits
Eric Esposito  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 39 1 6 7 32
Jason O'Neill  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 47 7 14 21 2
Playoffs 4 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 Premiere Hockey League Playoffs:

~ UNH Commits Brendan van Riemsdyk, Liam Darcy and the Islanders Hockey Club defeated the Rochester Junior Americans and South Shore Kings in the first two rounds of the 2016 USPHL Playoffs. The IHC lost the championship series to the Jersey Hitmen in a two-game sweep. BvR posted a goal and 5 assists in the 6 playoff games, good enough for a tie for 3rd in assists among all USPHL playoff players and a tie for 4th in scoring. Liam Darcy dished out 3 assists in the 6 games.

~ UNH Commits Charlie Kelleher, Mike Robinson, and the Junior Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in the opening round of the USPHL Playoffs but lost to the Jersey Hitmen in the second round. Kelleher scored a goal and 4 assists, including 2 power play assists, in 4 games. This placed him in a tie for 4th in assists, T-2 in power play assists, and T-5 in scoring. Robinson only played in goal for 8 minutes in the first game against the Hitmen.

Eastern Hockey League Playoffs:

~ UNH commit Corson Green and the Northern Cyclones defeated the Valley Junior Warriors in the best-of-three, opening round of the EHL Playoffs. The Cyclones were defeated 2 games to 1 by the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in the second round. Defenseman Corson Green posted 4 assists in 6 playoff games.

British Columbia Hockey League Playoffs:

~ All 6 UNH Commits who play in the BCHL - Liam Blackburn, Justin Fregona, Nick Nonis, Joe Sacco, Aaron O'Neill, and Jason O'Neill - are participating in the opening round of the 2016 BCHL Playoffs. A full report on their progress will be included in the next "UNH Recruits Update".

Thursday, March 10, 2016

UNH Star Andrew Poturalski Signs With Carolina Hurricanes

Andrew Poturalski
2nd Leading Scorer in NCAA


After a breakout sophomore season with the UNH Wildcats, 22-year-old Andrew Poturalski (DOB: 1/14/1994) has signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the Carolina Hurricanes organization. Andrew received a $185,000 bonus for signing with Carolina.

Poturalski's contract is a "two-way" agreement which provides different compensation depending on whether he is playing with the NHL Hurricanes or their American Hockey League affiliate Charlotte Checkers. If he makes the Hurricanes' roster, he will be paid a pro-rated, annual salary of $700,000 in the 2016-17 season and $832,500 in the 2017-18 season. If he plays for the AHL Checkers, he will be paid at an annual rate of $70,000.

College players who sign this type of two-way contract often end up playing some games with the big club and other games with the minor league team. The actual pay check that Poturalski will receive on any given week during the hockey season will differ accordingly. He will be paid a daily rate during the regular season which typically lasts about 190 games. For days he is on the active roster of the 2016-17 NHL Hurricanes, he will receive approximately $3,684 per day. If he is sent down to play for the AHL Checkers he will receive approximately $368 per day.

Under the terms of his contract, Poturalski had the option try to make the Hurricanes roster during the remainder of this regular season. Carolina has 11 games remaining in their regular season. However, if he chose this option and did not break into the Hurricanes lineup, he would use up one year of his two-year contract. Andrew decided not to do this and he will try to make the NHL roster beginning next season.

For the remainder of this season, Poturalski has signed an Amateur Try Out Contract with the Charlotte Checkers in the American Hockey League. This gives him the opportunity to practice with the AHL club and play in one or more regular season and playoff games. Presumably, he will be paid the $368 per day rate for the remainder of the Checkers season. Andrew will fly down to Charlotte on Thursday.

For most of this season, Andrew Poturalski was the top scorer in NCAA Division I hockey and periodically lead the nation in goal-scoring. As the UNH season came to an end on Sunday in a Hockey East Playoff loss to Merrimack College, Poturalski was the second leading scorer in the nation with 22 goals and 30 assists in 37 games. He was tied for 5th in goal-scoring and tied for 3rd in power play goals (8). Here's a sampling of Andrew Poturalski's goals from the first half of the 2015-16 season:



Poturalski was complimented by two talented linemates - Tyler Kelleher and Dan Correale. Kelleher finished the season with the 2nd most assists in the nation (36) and tied for 6th in scoring (10G, 36A, 46Pts). Correale scored 16 goals and 9 assists and tied for 3rd in power play goals (8) in NCAA Division I.

Andrew Poturalski committed to play for UNH when he was a 17-year-old, top scorer at the Nichols School in Buffalo, NY. After a year with the Buffalo Junior Sabres, the native of Williamsville, NY played two full seasons with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the USHL. In his final season in Cedar Rapids, Poturalski was the 6th leading scorer in the USHL (64 pts), tied for 6th in goals (27), tied for 7th in Assists (37), and tied for 3rd in game-winning goals (5).

In his freshman season at UNH, Poturalski was the Wildcats' 4th leading scorer with 14 goals and 15 assists. Over the two seasons he entertained UNH Hockey fans, Andrew compiled 81 points. He was well on his way to joining the UNH Century Club.

Yesterday, Andrew Poturalski met with members of the press to discuss his decision to leave UNH and turn pro. **Here is what he had to say:

On the difficult decision to leave UNH:
“That’s what I think was the stressful part, and that was really difficult. Obviously, to leave UNH — I was going back and forth for a long time now. One hour I’d say, ‘yeah,’ and one hour I’d say, ‘no,’ and it was really tough. Ultimately, I talked it over with family and friends and everybody, and, to me, the opportunity I had was something I couldn’t turn down.”
On choosing the Carolina Hurricanes:
“I talked to their general manager and their head coach, and they both had a lot of good things to say. They’ve seen me play a number of times, and just fitting into their organization and where they saw me sounded good. It’s a small-market team there, and they have a lot of opportunity. They invest in their free agents and their draft picks, and they really take care of their players there, so that was definitely big for me.”
On the advice provided by former UNH star and current Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce:
"Brett called me, and I talked to him a couple of times. To hear from him too, and not just the coaches and their staff, but to hear from him, he loves it there, and he definitely said there’s opportunity, so that was definitely big.”
On his experiences playing for the University of New Hampshire:
“I definitely knew coming in (this season) that there would be a ton of opportunity with the guys we lost [the previous year], and I worked hard last offseason, and knew we’d have a lot of chances, a lot of opportunity, so I just tried to make the most of that. Dan (Correale) and Tyler (Kelleher) did a great job as well, and they helped me a ton. I thought we had a great year and had great chemistry, and it was fun. I owe everyone here, my teammates, coaches, for giving me the opportunity to be able to do this, [which] has been unbelievable, and I owe them a lot of credit.”
**From Mark Garbino's article in The New Hampshire.



On a personal note, it has been a pleasure reporting on Andrew Poturalski's progress since the day he committed to UNH. Here are some of the feature articles on Andrew that I wrote for The UNH Men's Hockey Blog:



First-in-the-Nation: UNH's Poturalski-Kelleher-Correale Line

UNH Freshman Andrew Poturalski: A Natural Scorer

UNH Recruit Andrew Poturalski Coming Fall 2014

UNH Recruit Andrew Poturalski Deals With Injury

Monday, March 07, 2016

UNH’s Season Draws to a Close; Merrimack Wins Game Three 2-1

Defenseman Matt Dawson
Scores UNH's Only Goal
Freshman Ara Nazarian
Power Play Assist
Danny Tirone
40 Saves


NORTH ANDOVER, MA - Win or go home was the story of game three for UNH and Merrimack College Sunday night and the game was as exciting as it gets.

After a scoreless first period, the two teams played evenly and both had their chances. It was easy to tell we were in for another close game between the Warriors and Wildcats.

At 8:01 of the second period, Merrimack lit the lamp. Derek Petti scored for the third time this series and handed the Warriors a 1-0 lead and a huge momentum swing midway through the game.

Ten minutes later, at 18:34 of the second, Jace Hennig was able to get away from UNH defenseman Cameron Marks and move to the middle of the slot to shoot one past Danny Tirone to give Merrimack a 2-0 lead.

Unfortunately, officiating played a part in the game and it became apparent late in the second period. No penalties had been called for the entirety of the game until the 19:42 mark of the middle stanza. A questionable hit by Matias Cleland resulted in a five-minute major and a game misconduct that sent him to the dressing room early.

UNH was in a two-goal hole and would need to dig themselves out of a five minute penalty kill as well. Then, 1:51 into the third period, it got worse. Maxim Gaudreault was called for interference and UNH would have to kill off a 5-on-3 penalty kill for two minutes. The team rallied and pulled it off, even causing Merrimack’s Alex Carle to commit a penalty. It looked like UNH had turned momentum in their favor.

Just when things were turning the right way for UNH, confusion ensued. As the five-minute major on Matias Cleland expired, Chris Miller was in the penalty box serving the penalty for UNH. The door to the box remained closed and Miller remained seated, much to the confusion of UNH head coach Dick Umile and the rest of the Wildcats.

Umile, in a frenzy, told one of his players on the bench to get onto the ice to put the Wildcats back at even strength. Moments later, a referee's whistle blew for a penalty against the Wildcats. The call was taken down as an “illegal substitution” on UNH and a two minute penalty was assessed.

After the game, Umile was asked about the call and if he had ever seen it before. He simply answered, “Nope.”

Following that, UNH would kill off another 5-on-3, but half the period was gone by the time it was all over and they were still trailing by two.

UNH went to the power play and at 10:34 of the third period, freshman defenseman Matt Dawson scored off a pretty feed from fellow freshman Ara Nazarian to cut the lead in half, 2-1.

With 1:45 remaining in the game Merrimack’s Alfred Larsson went to the box for hooking giving UNH a power play to end the game. Danny Tirone was pulled to give UNH a 6-on-4 advantage.

After a few scoring chances and some great saves by Merrimack’s goaltender Drew Vogler, the Warriors were able to hang on to their one goal lead and bring the Wildcats season to an end with a final score of 2-1.

In the end, it couldn’t have been more fitting for UNH to lose in a one-goal game to end their season. In 2015-16, they were 3-11 in games decided by one goal.

Here are the video highlights of the final game of UNH's 2015-16 season courtesy of Pack Network:



Saturday, March 05, 2016

Joe Sacco: UNH's Newest Commit

Joe Sacco - 2016 UNH Commit


Forward Joe Sacco (Photo: Kasey Eriksen)
Joe Sacco (DOB: 6/1/1996), a 5'11", 185 lbs. right-shot forward for the Vernon Vipers, has committed to the University of New Hampshire for the Fall of 2016. The 19-year-old Sacco began his rookie season in the British Columbia Hockey League as the Vipers' third-line, right winger. As this season progressed, he scored 10 goals 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.

Sacco played in 56 of Vernon's 58 regular season games. The Vipers finished the regular season with 24 wins and Joe Sacco accounted for 4 game-winning goals. Vernon earned the fourth playoff spot in the Interior Division of the BCHL. In the first game of the best-of-seven series against Penticton on Friday night, the Vees downed the Vipers 6-3.

Here's a video profile of Joe Sacco produced by Hockeytube.net in December:



Prior to his advance to Junior A hockey in Canada, Joe Sacco graduated from The Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts and played four seasons of New England Prep School hockey. Joe played for Head Coach Shawn McEachern, an All-American at Boston University, member of the Stanley Cup Pittsburgh Penquins, and former Assistant Coach at UMass Lowell and Northeastern.

Sacco played 109 games for The Rivers School and tallied 55 goals and 38 assists. In his senior year, he 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.

I had an opportunity to interview Joe Sacco, 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?

Joe Sacco: Pretty much everything, the location, the campus, the school, the atmosphere, the coaches.



Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering?

Joe Sacco: I was also considering Providence but I am very excited with my decision to choose UNH.



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?

Sacco: Yes, I'm enrolling this fall so fall of 2016.



Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Sacco: The strength of my game right now is my skating ability. I feel like I'm a strong up and down type player. Also my work ethic is another strong suit. I'm trying to improve my game away from the puck such as playing defensively and finding areas on the ice where I can put myself in a good spot to be effective.



Lowry: Before you joined the Vernon Vipers this season, you played four seasons for former Boston University All-American and Stanley Cup winner Shawn McEachern at the Rivers School. How did that experience prepare you for the move up to Junior A hockey out in British Columbia?

Sacco: Playing at Rivers was an unbelievable experience. I loved every minute of it. Coach was great to me, he always believed in me. He really did teach me how to play the game the right way and I feel that the style of game he had me playing helped me transition to Junior A.



Lowry: Your Dad is a former BU hockey star, veteran NHL player, former head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, and current assistant coach of the Boston Bruins. What's the best piece of hockey advice he's given you?

Sacco: He's been through it all and the best piece of advice he still gives to me to this day is to never let what anyone else thinks stand in your way. If you want something then you have to go get it. Prove yourself right



Lowry: What are your academic strengths and interests?

Sacco: Business and history are both interests for me, history was my strongest subject in high school.



Merrimack Downs UNH in Overtime Thriller, Forces Game Three Sunday Night

Tyler Kelleher
1 Goal, 1 Assist
Matias Cleland
Power Play Goal
Danny Tirone
47 Saves


NORTH ANDOVER, MA - UNH came into the night with a chance to sweep the series against Merrimack and move on to the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Tournament, but the Warriors had other ideas.

At 4:36 of the first period, Derek Petti started the scoring for the Warriors. After a flurry of shots on UNH goalie Danny Tirone, he was able to find the back of the net to make it 1-0 Merrimack. UNH allowed 11 shots in the first 4:35 of the game and looked flat footed out of the gates.

At 14:16 UNH’s Tyler Kelleher stepped into the offensive zone and brought the puck along the wing. Kelleher fired a shot from a bad angle toward Merrimack goaltender Drew Vogler. The puck caromed off Vogler's left skate and into the net to tie the game 1-1.

Just minutes later on the power play, Matias Cleland rocketed a shot off the post and in at 16:49 of the first. UNH took a 2-1 lead. Here's a rinkside video of Cleland's goal courtesy of Mike Lowry:



Despite being outplayed the entire period, quite possibly the worst period of the season for the Wildcats, they somehow ended up with the lead after one period of play.

A scoreless second period was highly contested between the two teams. Merrimack narrowly outshot UNH 9-7 and the teams headed to the third period with the Wildcats still up 2-1.

At 7:59 of the third period, Ben Bahe scored his team leading eleventh goal of the season for Merrimack. He pulled the puck off the half wall, muscled his way through a Kyle Smith stick check, and wristed a shot past Tirone to tie the game 2-2. Again, Merrimack took over control of the game for a large majority of the third period, out-shooting UNH 16-6 in the process.

As the game moved into overtime, UNH Alternate Captain Maxim Gaudreault committed a hooking penalty in the offensive zone and sent UNH to the penalty kill for the second time in the overtime frame. Merrimack would need no more than a second chance with the man advantage.

During the penalty kill, UNH’s Andrew Poturalski attempted to clear the puck by sprawling on the ice to push it past the blue line and lost his stick in the process. This created a defacto 5-on-3 opportunity for the Warriors. Ludvig Larsson tucked the puck into the back of the net at 12:02 of the overtime period and sent Lawler Rink into a frenzy.

Here are the video highlights of the Merrimack victory courtesy of Pack Network:



Game Three will be played Sunday night at 7:00 PM in North Andover to decide which team moves on to the Hockey East Quarterfinals.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Meet UNH Commit Anthony Wyse

Defenseman Anthony Wyse
Commits to UNH


Defenseman Anthony Wyse
(Photo: Francis Gardler/Journal Star)
Last Wednesday, Anthony Wyse (DOB: 3/29/1996), a 6'4", 225 lbs, left shot defenseman with the Lincoln Stars (USHL) committed to the University of New Hampshire. In his rookie season in the USHL, Wyse has scored 2 goals and 14 assists and logged 18 penalty minutes in 48 games. He is the starting left defenseman, plays on the Stars' first penalty kill unit and is tied for 9th place in power play assists (9) among all USHL players.

In early December, Stars General Manager Jon Hull described Anthony's contributions:
“I think he’s an impactful player. He’s a guy that plays a lot. I think (head coach) Chris (Hartsburg) and (assistant) Mick (Berge) rely on him a lot, our staff relies on him a lot. He is a very calming player with the puck, he’s calculated, he’s able to distribute with precise accuracy. Anytime you can have a guy play 20 to 22 minutes a night, he’s a big asset to the team.”
Here's a video highlight from a recent game showing Wyse's ability to carry the puck end-to-end, elude opposing skaters, and snap a shot on goal:



Anthony developed his youth hockey skills at Lovell Hockey based in Hingham, MA and played four years of midget hockey with the Boston Advantage Hockey Club. In January, 2014, while a member of the Boston Advantage Under 18 team, Wyse committed to play hockey at Dartmouth College. A few months later, he was drafted by the Lincoln Stars in the 1st Round (5th overall selection) of the United States Hockey League Entry Draft.

Wyse is from Newton, Massachusetts and graduated from Newton North High School in June, 2014. He was also a star player for his high school lacrosse team.

I had an opportunity to interview Anthony Wyse, 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?

Anthony Wyse: Everything, the coaches, the team, the people, the campus, mid-way through my visit I knew I was going to commit to UNH because I just fell in love with it.



Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering?

Anthony Wyse: I was considering a few but the two I was considering the most were Maine and UVM.



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?

Wyse: Yes, we have agreed that I will enroll next year, so the fall of 2016.



Lowry: You originally committed to Dartmouth College back in January, 2014. Can you comment on the change in commitment?

Wyse: I had been told that my academics were sufficient enough to get into the school but about a month or two ago out of the blue they told me my scores weren't above the Dartmouth index and that I needed 30 more points in math on the SAT to be above the Dartmouth index. Long story short I de-committed.



Lowry: At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?

Wyse: My strengths are my vision, my "escapability", and my "stick". Areas I am trying to improve are my shot and quickness.



Lowry: You missed the 2014-15 season due to hip surgery and the subsequent rehabilitation. How would you describe the recovery process?

Wyse: Long, frustrating, and boring. It was about a 10 month recovery process where the first 5 months the only people I saw were my family, my physical therapist and my trainer.



Lowry: What are your academic strengths and interests?

Wyse: Business and biology are both strengths and interest for me.



Tuesday, March 01, 2016

UNH Captain's Corner: Final Game at the Whittemore Center

UNH Captain
Collin MacDonald
Alternate Captain
Dan Correale
Alternate Captain
Maxim Gaudreault
Harry Quast
Jamie Regan
Kyle Smith


Senior Night at the Whittemore Center is always a special occasion. UNH hockey fans get to express their appreciation to the players who have entertained them for the last four years. The players' families are honored for their commitment to their son's dream of earning a college degree while playing the game they love.



Last Saturday night, the UNH fans and team were hoping the pre-game celebration for the seniors would set the stage for a bigger celebration at the end of the game. The final outcome would determine whether or not the 2015-16 team earned home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Hockey East Playoffs. Defeat UConn, earn the #8 seed, and play the best-of-three, playoff series next weekend at the Whittemore Center. Lose and travel to another team's home rink.

After jumping out to a 3-0 lead then regaining the three-goal advantage at 4-1 in the last minute of the second period, UNH appeared to be on it's way to victory. As Parker Wheeler described in his game report, what transpired from that point on was difficult to watch. UConn scored three unanwered goals in the final stanza to force overtime.

At the 3:08 mark of overtime, UConn's fourth-line winger Corey Ronan gained a stride on a UNH defender, carried the puck across the slot, and flipped a backhander toward the net. The puck deflected off a Wildcat's stick and over sophomore goalie Danny Tirone's shoulder.

I had an opportunity to interview UNH Captain Collin MacDonald about his final game at the Whittemore Center and the upcoming playoff series against Merrimack College which begins on Thursday night:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Senior Night is always a special occasion for the team and the fans. What was it like for you to experience the pre-game ceremony with your fellow seniors and their families? Do you think the excitement and energy of the festivities carried over into the team's dominant performance in the opening period?

Collin MacDonald: It was bittersweet for sure; we have a really close class, but it’s our turn to finish up here in Durham. Honestly, I don’t think the festivities had anything to do with our strong start to the game. Credit to the fans for a great turnout, especially the students; we just had a strong first period like we planned.



Mike Lowry: With home-ice in the opening round of the Hockey East Playoffs on the line, UNH appeared to have the game well in hand leading 3-0 midway through the second period and 4-1 at the end of the second. How was UConn able to chip away at the lead and score 4 unanswered goals to win in overtime? Are there things UNH might have done differently to secure the win?

Collin MacDonald: We just didn’t play a full 60 minutes. The third hasn’t been our best period as of late. Instead of looking back on it, the team and I are moving on from what happened and are just looking forward to playoff hockey.



Lowry: It goes without saying that the seniors must have been disappointed to end their playing days at the Whittemore Center on such a sour note. Can you put into words how you have been processing the loss?

MacDonald: It was definitely tough to swallow. It was hard to believe it happened the way it did. We talked about what we needed to, but all our attention is directed toward this week. It’s a new season now.



Lowry: UNH had some success against Merrimack down in their barn back in November, winning the first game and tying the second. What will be the keys to beating them in the best-of-three playoff series?

MacDonald: Yeah we are excited for the series. It’s a small rink so things happen quickly. We need to do the little things; block shots, back-check, simple offense.

Web Site Hit Counter

Firefox 2