Wednesday, January 25, 2017

UNH Commits Update: January-25-2017

2018 Commit Angus Crookshank
2 Goals in 3 Games
2017 or '18 Commit Eric Esposito
2 Goals, 1 Assist in 4 Games

Player Spotlight - Angus Crookshank

Near the end of last season, UNH commit Angus Crookshank got a taste of playing in the British Columbia Hockey League and made the most of the opportunity. On January 21st, Crookshank was called up from the Burnaby Winter Club Hockey Academy Prep team, donned a Langley Rivermen uniform, and scored a goal on his first shift. In all, Crookshank, who was 16-years-old last season, played in four regular season games and one playoff game for the Rivermen.

Both Crookshank and Langley head coach Bobby Henderson were looking forward to this season with high expectations. Just days before the opening game of the 2016-17 season, Henderson said "He’s been real good early on and he’s going to be a major contributor to our offense". In a cruel twist of fate, Crookshank broke his collar bone in the first period of the first game of the regular season and missed 28 games.

When Crookshank returned to the Rivermen's lineup on December 2nd, he tallied a goal and an assist. He has been a steady scorer ever since. Over a three-game stretch last weekend, Angus scored 2 goals. As these video highlights show, when he carries the puck to the net with speed and quickness, good things happen:

So far, Crookshank has scored 5 goals and 8 assists in 17 games. Of all BCHL rookies who have played at least 17 games, he is tied for 9th in points per game (0.76).

Player Spotlight - Eric Esposito

Last season, as an 18-year-old rookie in the United States Hockey League, Eric Esposito scored 2 goals and 8 assists in 48 games with the Youngstown Phantoms. Near the end of the season, the Neutral Zone** scouts provided this evaluation of his play:

"A tough, hard nosed competitor who is relentless on the forecheck, finishes checks and has deceptive speed. The former Loomis Chaffee star has played a bottom six role in the USHL this season but done so with grit and energy. He'll likely be passed in this years NHL draft but our scouts are confident his best hockey is ahead of him."
Rating - 3 and 1/2 out 5 Stars.

** Reprinted by permission of Brendan Collins, Director of Scouting at Neutral Zone.

The "tough, hard nosed" aspect of Esposito's game has been evident throughout his second season with Youngstown. In the first 22 games, he racked up 82 penalty minutes including 3 fighting-major penalties, and 1 roughing-major. During that stretch, Esposito mostly played on the 3rd/4th lines, scored 4 goals and 1 assist, and generated 16 shots on goal.

Over the last 9 games, Esposito has had no penalties and has scored 3 goals and an assist. Two of the goals, including a game-winner, and the assist came in the last 4 games. These goals are best described as "scrappy":

Esposito's target date for enrollment at UNH is either the Fall of 2017 or 2018.

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 16 2 0 2 4
Junior Bruins USPHL 12 5 7 12 4
Liam Darcy  (D) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 34 4 12 16 10
Charlie Kelleher*  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 34 9 17 26 8
Benton Maass  (D) Fairbanks Ice Dogs NAHL 17 2 6 8 10
Elk River Minn HS 17 3 17 20 4
Eric MacAdams*  (F) Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 33 9 8 17 82
James Miller*  (D) Penticton Vees BCHL 25 3 9 12 26
Mike Robinson*  (G) Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 1 1W 0L 4.20 .854
Springfield Jr Blues NAHL 10 6W 4L 3.13 .911
2017 or '18 Commits
Eric Esposito*  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 31 6 2 8 82
2018 Commits
Angus Crookshank*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 17 5 8 13 4
Corson Green  (D) Chicago Steel USHL 30 5 6 11 28
2018 or '19 Commits
Lucas Bahn  (D) Skipjacks 18U USPHL 16 6 10 16 2
Ryan Verrier  (D) Salisbury School NE Prep 19 5 11 16 -
2019 Commits
Marek Wazny  (F) NJ Avalanche 16U Tier 1 Elite 31 20 8 28 26
AYHL 15 8 9 17 2
2020 Commits
Drew Commesso  (G) St. Sebastian's NE Prep 6 2W 1L/1T 1.48 .944
* = Signed National Letter of Intent

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ 2017 UNH Commit Charlie Kelleher continues to be among the top scorers in the USHL. He has 9 goals and 17 assists in 25 games, is tied for 12th in USHL scoring, and tied for 8th in assists.

~ For an update on 2018 UNH Commit Corson Green, please see my article "UNH Commit Corson Green: NHL Draft Prospect".

United States Premiere Hockey League:

~ 2018 UNH Commit Liam Darcy was named the USPHL Premiere Defenseman "Star of the Week" on January 9th. He also played in the 2017 USPHL All-Star Game. The left-shot defenseman has scored 4 goals and 12 assists in 34 games.

~ Since Joseph Cipollone transferred from the Tri-City Storm of the USHL to the Junior Bruins of the USPHL, he's been scoring at a point-a-game pace. In 12 Junior Bruins games, Cipollone has scored 5 goals and 7 assists. Over the last 4 games, he has tallied 3 goals and 4 assists.

~ 2018-19 UNH Commit Lucas Bahn played in the USPHL 18U All-Star Game (also called the "Young Guns" game).

Tier 1 Elite Hockey League:

~ 2019 UNH Commit Marek Wazny of the North Jersey Avalanche 16U team has scored 20 goals and 8 assists in 31 Tier 1 EHL games. He is tied for 2nd in goal-scoring in the league and tied for 1st in power play goals (6). The Avalanche are currently the 6th-ranked 16U/Minor Midget team in the nation.

New England Prep Hockey League:

~ 2020 UNH Commit Drew Commesso of the St. Sebastian's School has only been scored on 8 times in 291 minutes of play. His .944 Save Percentage is third best in the league.

Minnesota High School Hockey:

~ The NHL Central Scouting Service has ranked 2017 UNH Commit Benton Maass as the 158th North American skater. They have identified him as a "C" prospect meaning he's a candidate to be drafted in the 4th, 5th, or 6th round of the 2017 NHL Draft this June.


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