Thursday, October 12, 2017

Preview of UNH Freshman Forwards With Mike Souza

UNH Associate Head Coach
Mike Souza
"I'm excited to get going, to get the (freshmen) guys up to speed with their teammates. Hopefully hit the ground running when we play Lowell. I think that the guys are excited just in talking with them. This coaching staff's excited. Hopefully we'll have better results this year than we had last year." Mike Souza, UNH Associate Head Coach
The student-athletes who joined the UNH men's hockey team this season form one of the most talented and interesting freshman classes in recent years. Three players - defensemen Max Gildon (pronounced Gil-DON) and Benton Maass (pronounced Mass), and goalie Mike Robinson - are NHL draft picks. That's the most NHL draftees since the 2003-04 freshman class when John Doherty, Brett Hemingway, Dan Travis, and Daniel Winnik matriculated.

Max Gildon was selected 66th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. Only 3 former UNH defensemen have been drafted higher - Adrien Plavsic (30th, 1988), Rod Langway (36th, 1977), and John Doherty (57th, 2003). Interestingly, former UNH defenseman Brett Pesce, who recently signed a multi-million dollar contract, with the Carolina Hurricanes, was also drafted 66th overall in 2013. Incoming goalie Mike Robinson was the 86th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. That's higher than any former UNH goalie.

Neutral Zone, a top amateur hockey scouting service, ranked the 2017-18 UNH recruiting class as the 8th highest in all of Division I hockey utilizing their measurement of overall quality of recruits. Neutral Zone rated the UNH frosh an average score of 3.93 Stars on a 5-Star scale - a higher overall quality score than all Hockey East programs except Boston University (4.22) and Boston College (4.05). Two UNH freshmen were awarded ratings of 4 stars or above - Max Gildon (4.75 Stars) and Charlie Kelleher (4.25 Stars). On their weighted, algorithm point system, Neutral Zone rated UNH as the 14th best recruiting class in Division I.

The 2021 class is noteworthy for other reasons. Both Gildon and Maass are 18-year-old, "true" freshmen. While it's relatively common for schools such as Boston University (7), Boston College (3), Michigan (3) and Minnesota (4) to have multiple 18-year-olds, this is unusual for UNH. Since 2000, UNH has had two 18-year-old freshmen only three times (Kolanas, Anderson 02-03; JvR, Vanek 07-08; Eiserman, Foegele 14-15).

The 2017-18 season also features the continuation of UNH family traditions. Charlie Kelleher is the younger brother of All-American and Hobey Baker finalist Tyler Kelleher. The Kellehers are the fourth set of brothers to play for UNH since 1998. They join Darren and Jeff Haydar, Colin and Brett Hemingway, and James, Trevor and Brendan van Riemsdyk.

Finally, the 2017-18 freshman class bares the distinct mark of the Mike Souza-Glenn Stewart recruiting era. Associate Head Coach Souza, who will succeed Head Coach Dick Umile after this season, joined the UNH staff in August, 2015. Associate Head Coach Stewart came on board in August, 2014. Of the seven-member freshmen class announced in June, five verbally committed to UNH after Souza and Stewart returned to their alma mater.

Prior to the preseason game against St. Francis Xavier, I sat down with Mike Souza to discuss the six freshmen on the current 2017-18 roster. His observations on the four freshman defenders - goalie Mike Robinson and defensemen Max Gildon, Benton Maass, and James Miller were included in my recent article "Preview of UNH Freshman Defenders With Mike Souza".

Here is the same type of preview of the two freshman forwards on the current 2017-18 roster - Charlie Kelleher and Eric MacAdams. In addition to Coach Souza's thoughts and observations on Kelleher and MacAdams, each section provides background information on the player including a link (highlighted in orange) to the player's profile and statistics from, a link to an article announcing the player's verbal commitment to UNH, and video highlights from the player's 2016-17 season.


Charlie Kelleher
Forward, 5'8", 185 lbs. Shoots Right
Hometown: Longmeadow, Massachusetts
DOB: 2-4-1997 Turned 20 in February
Last Team: Sioux City Musketeers, Tri-City Storm
United States Hockey League
Commit to UNH: August, 2012 at Age 15 years, 6 months.
Neutral Zone Rating: 4.25 Stars

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Charlie Kelleher is 5'8", 185 lbs., bigger than his brother Tyler who’s listed at 5'6", 161. They're both from Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Charlie turned 20 in February, and, of course, last year he had a big season, his only season out in the USHL. He started off with the Tri-City Storm, and ended up with the Sioux City Musketeers, and he got all the way to the USHL Finals.

Charlie verbally committed to UNH quite a bit before your time, back in August 2012, and he was 15 and a half at that point.

Coach Mike Souza:: Wow.

Mike Lowry: Yeah. So he was an early commit. In terms of skill level, what do you see? What do you really like about Charlie?

Coach Souza: He's got really good hockey sense. He's good on the offensive side. You mentioned before he played for really good coaches leading up to this year with Peter Masters, with the Jr. Bruins, and Billy Muckalt and Jay Varady out in the USHL.

Charlie’s a guy who's rounding into a pretty good all around player who has a really good stick. So we're very excited about him coming here. It's interesting, I love the brother combos, the van Riemsdyks and the Kellehers so it's exciting. I think we'll see some good things from Charlie this year, and I know he'll have a great career here.

ML: I won't say he's a more accomplished passer than Tyler because obviously Tyler was an extraordinary passer. But Charlie is a really good passer as well. He got 34 assists altogether last year in 61 games, and that ended up being the sixth highest in the USHL. So he makes his linemates score. He also is a real tenacious kid. He plays really hard in all three zones.

Souza: The one thing I can say about the Kellehers is that they love hockey, like they love being at the rink, and those type of guys are infectious. They make other guys want to be at the rink more. So I'm just excited that he's another true rink rat because Tyler is a true rink rat. We're looking forward to being a part of his development, too.


Eric MacAdams
Forward, 5'11", 175 lbs. Shoots Right
Hometown: Salem, Massachusetts
DOB: 4-29-1997 Turned 20 in April
Last Team: Dubuque Fighting Saints, Sioux Falls Stampede
United States Hockey League
Commit to UNH: November, 2015 at Age 18 years, 7 months.
Neutral Zone Rating: 3.75 Stars

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Eric MacAdams is 5'11", 175 lbs., a right shot forward, from Salem, Mass. He turned 20 in April. He verbally committed in November 2015. I think he was the first one to commit since you returned to UNH.

Coach Mike Souza:: He was, yeah, correct.

Mike Lowry: He was 18 and a half at that point. Now, as you probably know, he played for the Valley Jr. Warriors based in Haverhill, and then he played split season with Austin Prep in Reading, and you obviously are from that neck of the woods.

Coach Souza: Oh, yeah.

ML: You played for Wakefield High School, which is right next to Reading. Was he someone that you had an eye on in his high school career or did he get on the radar later?

Souza: No. We'd seen Eric play for a while. He played for a dear friend of mine, Louis Finocchiaro at Austin Prep. I knew Eric’s dad in a professional sense, good family, a very competitive kid, had a good stick in high school, and showed that in the USHL. So we think he's going to help us. I think it's a very well-rounded class. And so we're excited to have him. But I think his competitiveness and tenacity is something that we hope he brings to our team.

ML: Yeah. When you mention that a guy has a good stick, I think I pretty much know what you mean, but what do you mean?

Souza: Just the way they handle it. It means when the puck is on their stick, if you pass it to them, they catch it and there's going to be a play made. They can make the next point.

ML: Gotcha.

Souza: It's usually a guy you see handling the puck more than some of the other guys. So that's what I mean. Most of our guys for the most part, the reason they get to this level is because they've got a good stick at the previous level. It's another way of saying that they're probably skilled with the stick. I usually say good stick as opposed to he's real skilled.

ML: You mentioned that MacAdam's a competitive kid. He had quite a few penalty minutes last year. He had 106 penalty minutes in 54 games, and that was the 15th most in the USHL, so it wasn't ridiculously out of control, but he's a physical kid. So you sort of see him as a prototypical power forward, primarily plays the wing. I don't think he plays the center.

Souza: Yeah. He's a winger. We just think he brings great energy, and we think he brings an element of competitiveness that every team needs, and I think he's a guy that anyone would love to have on their team. So we're excited, again, about him. I think he'll be a nice piece of the puzzle for us.


It is important to emphasize that Kohei Sato (KO-Hey SAH-Toe) is not currently on the 2017-18 UNH roster. I am including him in this preview article because he was included in the seven-member freshmen class announced in June. Sato verbally committed to UNH in April, 2017. Nick Stoico of the Concord Monitor has reported that, according to UNH athletics communications:
"Kohei Sato, a UNH recruit, hasn’t been on (the) roster because of an eligibility issue with the NCAA involving his high school credits. Sato is on campus and taking classes...It is possible he could be on the ice later this season."
Kohei Sato (KO-Hey SAH-Toe)
Forward, 6'1", 185 lbs. Shoots Left
Hometown: Nishitokyo, Japan
DOB: 9-26-1996 Will turn 21 in September
Last Team: Northeast Generals
North American Hockey League
Commit to UNH: April, 2017 at Age 20 years, 7 months.
Neutral Zone Rating: 3.5 Stars


Blogger Scott Chrane said...

Who the heck is "Daryl" Haydar??

You must be referring to Jeff. ;) ;) ;)

Oct 13, 2017, 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger C-H-C said...

Daryl Haydar was the unheralded, 3rd Haydar brother�� Thanks for catching the error Scott! My apologies to Jeff Haydar.

Oct 15, 2017, 12:18:00 AM  

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