Wednesday, March 29, 2017

UNH Commits Update: March-29-2017

Benton Maass
3 Goals, 2 Assists in 5 Games
Charlie Kelleher
3 Goals, 3 Assists in 4 Games
Lucas Bahn

Player Spotlight - Benton Maass

6'2", 195 lbs., right-shot defenseman Benton Maass (Pronounced: Mass) began the 2016-17 season playing for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs in the North American Hockey League. He scored 2 goals and 6 assists over the first 17 games and became the Ice Dogs' starting right defenseman, all at the age of 17.

Maass turned 18 on November 22nd and returned to his hometown of Elk River, Minnesota to play his senior season. Elks River High School finished the regular season as the 3rd ranked team in Minnesota and Maass tallied 6 goals and 23 assists in 25 regular season games. After the Elk's semifinal loss in the Minnesota Boys Section 7AA Hockey Tournament, Maass rejoined the NAHL Ice Dogs for the remainder of their season.

Since Maass' return to the lineup on March 10th, the Ice Dogs have chalked up 6 consecutive wins. In his second game back, Maass began a 5-game scoring streak which includes 3 goals and 2 assists. He moved up to the Ice Dogs' starting lineup on March 11th. All three of his goals came on the Fairbanks' power play.

As these video highlights show, Maass starts the power play on the left point then slides down to the faceoff circle on the Ice Dogs' umbrella formation. From there, Maass either makes cross-slot passes or one-times shots on goal. Given his size, mobility, and quick release, it's no wonder the NHL Central Scouting Service has identified Maass as a potential draft pick in the later rounds of the 2017 NHL Draft. He plans to matriculate to UNH this fall.

Player Spotlight - Charlie Kelleher

Charlie Kelleher and the Sioux City Musketeers are battling with the Chicago Steel and Waterloo Black Hawks for the best record in the United States Hockey League. With 5 games remaining in the regular season (4 for Waterloo), Sioux City leads with 83 points, Waterloo has 78, and Chicago has 77. At stake is home-ice advantage throughout the USHL Playoffs.

The Musketeers are riding a 5-game win streak and Kelleher has scored 3 goals and 3 assists in the last 4 games. On March 17th, Kelleher tallied Sioux City's 1st and 7th goals in a 8-1 rout of Team USA U17. On March 21st, Charlie scored the game-winning goal in a 4-0 victory over the Fargo Force. As these video highlights show, Kelleher went strong to the net for all 3 goals:

In 57 regular season games - 40 with the Tri-City Storm and 17 with Sioux City - Kelleher has posted 17 goals and 32 assists. He is currently tied for 8th in USHL scoring and has the 5th most assists in the league. It's interesting to compare his production with UNH All-American Andrew Poturalski during his final season in the USHL. The season before Poturalski came to UNH, he scored 27 goals and 37 assists in 60 regular season games with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Kelleher isn't far behind. Like Benton Maass, Kelleher plans to matriculate to UNH this fall.

Player Spotlight - Lucas Bahn

For 17-year-old defenseman Lucas Bahn, 2016-17 has been a season of physical growth and hockey development. At the beginning of the season, Bahn was listed at 5'7", 152 lbs. but by March, he was up to 5'10", 165 lbs.

Bahn played a full slate of 51 games with the Skipjacks Hockey Club 18U team based in York, Pennsylvania and Odenton, Maryland. During the 23 regular season games in the United States Premiere Hockey League 18U Division (stats for the other 28 games are not available), Bahn scored 8 goals, including 2 game-winners, and distributed 17 assists. Among all defensemen in the USPHL 18U Division, Bahn was 1st in scoring and 2nd in assists. He added 3 goals and an assist in 2 USPHL playoff games. On March 22nd, Bahn was named the USPHL 18U Defenseman of the Year.

With the Skipjacks season over, Lucas Bahn was selected to compete in the Draft Division at the Beantown Spring Classic in early March. The four teams in the Draft Division were selected by NHL scouts and consisted of top prospects from New England, New Jersey and New York born between 1997-99. Most players were on the NHL Central Scouting Service midterm draft list or already committed to a D-1 college program. The scouts from Neutral Zone ranked only two defensemen as "A" players - Lucas Bahn and Jesper Peltonen (Wisconsin commit). Here's their assessment of Bahn's performance:

"Lucas showed off his high end athletic ability. The late 1999 has as much upside as anyone here. He is very fast and that allowed him to take chances offensively but get back to cover. He skated and passed the puck well from his end. He is good in traffic as he made a lot of subtle, productive plays along the wall. He is smart. One thing we noted was he did try to “pick and go” a few times but at this event it’s probably OK. He should be excellent on the big sheet in NH. He defended with positioning and his feet allowed him to turn and go with anyone, anytime. The fact that there were no power plays here surely hurt his game but he still stood out, especially with the puck.."
Lucas Bahn is projected to enroll at UNH in either the Fall of 2018 or 2019. He appears to have a few playing options for next year. The Skipjacks Hockey Club recently announced the creation of a USPHL Premiere team for next season. In late February, Bahn was called up to play two games with the Johnstown Tomahawks in the North American Hockey League so that team may be an option next year. Also, the Waterloo Black Hawks drafted Bahn in the 7th round of the USHL Draft last May, though he is currently not on their affiliate list.

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 23 8 17 25 8
Playoffs 7 1 5 6 2
Liam Darcy  (D) Islanders Hockey Club USPHL 44 5 18 23 17
Playoffs 6 2 3 5 2
Max Gildon  (D) USA NTDP U18 NCAA 16 0 6 6 6
USHL 25 5 9 14 26
NAHL 1 1 0 1 0
Int'l. 8 1 3 4 14
Charlie Kelleher*  (F) Tri-City Storm USHL 40 11 22 33 10
Sioux City Musketeers USHL 17 6 10 16 4
Benton Maass  (D) Fairbanks Ice Dogs NAHL 23 5 8 13 12
Elk River HS Minn HS 25 6 23 29 6
Playoffs 2 2 2 4 0
Eric MacAdams*  (F) Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 43 11 9 20 86
Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 9 2 2 4 12
James Miller*  (D) Penticton Vees BCHL 37 6 12 18 47
Playoffs 7 0 1 1 2
Mike Robinson*  (G) Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 1 1W 0L 4.20 .854
Springfield Jr Blues NAHL 21 10W 9L 2.89 .918
2017 or '18 Commits
Eric Esposito*  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 48 9 7 16 123
2018 Commits
Angus Crookshank*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 31 9 12 21 14
Playoffs 6 2 1 3 0
Corson Green  (D) Chicago Steel USHL 45 5 8 13 46
2018 or '19 Commits
Lucas Bahn  (D) Skipjacks 18U USPHL 18U 23 8 17 25 10
Playoffs 2 3 1 4 2
Johnstown Tomahawks NAHL 2 0 0 0 0
Ryan Verrier  (D) Salisbury School NE Prep 29 7 18 25 -
Playoffs 1 0 1 1 -
2019 Commits
Marek Wazny  (F) NJ Avalanche 16U Tier 1 Elite 32 21 11 32 26
Playoffs 5 1 3 4 2
AYHL 23 15 19 34 4
Playoffs 2 1 3 4 4
2020 Commits
Drew Commesso  (G) St. Sebastian's NE Prep 8 3W 2L/1T 1.77 .932
* = Signed National Letter of Intent

News & Notes

British Columbia Hockey League:

~ 2017 UNH commit James Miller and the Penticton Vees just won the best-of-seven series against the Merritt Centennials in the BCHL Playoffs. Miller tallied one assist in Game 1. They will face the Vernon Vipers in Round 3.

USA Hockey Youth National Championships:

~ Two UNH commits will be competing for a USA Hockey Tier 1 Boys Championship from April 6-10. Marek Wazny and the North Jersey Avalanche 16U team are the 3rd seed in the 16U Tournament in Pittsburgh. Drew Commesso and the South Shore Kings U14 team are the 10th seed in the U14 Tournament in Scottsdale, Arizona.


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