Friday, December 22, 2017

UNH Commits Update: December-22-2017

Angus Crookshank
2018 UNH Commit
Joey Cipollone
2018 UNH Commit
Jackson Pierson
2019 or '20 UNH Commit

Player Spotlight - Angus Crookshank

2018 Commit Angus Crookshank not only made Team Canada West, he lead them on the road to the gold medal in the 2017 World Junior A Challenge (WJAC). Canada West, which included the top players from the Junior A leagues in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, started off slowly losing to the Czech Republic 2-5. In Game 2, they battled the top players from the United States Hockey League in what turned out to be a preview of the Gold Medal game. Early in the second period, Team USA struck first but Canada West answered on the next shift when Crookshank made a pretty pass (see highlight video) to Ross Armour (Trail Smoke Eaters; Bemidji State commit). Crookshank, who plays center for the Langley Rivermen, primarily played left wing throughout the WJAC. Team USA scored the winning goal with 32 seconds left in regulation. Crookshank was named the Player of the Game for Canada West.

Canada West downed Canada East 4-3 in overtime in the do-or-die quarterfinal game. In the semifinals, they faced the undefeated Czech Republic and beat them convincingly 5-1. Angus Crookshank's game-winning goal came on a wrist shot from a nearly impossible angle (see video). The championship game featured a rematch between Team USA and Canada West. Once again, Crookshank scored the game-winning goal and also dished the primary assist on Canada West's 4th goal in the 5-1 victory.

Angus Crookshank tallied 2 goals and 3 assists in the 5 WJAC games. He was the second-leading scorer in the tournament. He also tied for 3rd in goals and tied for 2nd in assists. Crookshank returns to action with Langley in the BCHL on December 29th. Earlier this week, he was chosen to participate in the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game scheduled for January 23rd in Mississauga, Ontario. The NHL Central Scouting Service selected the players who are eligible for the 2018 NHL Draft next June in Dallas.

Player Spotlight - Joey Cipollone

In November and December, Joey Cipollone was a consistent and top scorer for the Boston Junior Bruins in the National Collegiate Development Conference (NCDC). He scored a goal in 10 out of 13 games and tallied a total of 11 goals and 7 assists. Two of the goals were game-winners including this one off a faceoff play in the 5-1 win over the P.A.L. Junior Islanders last Sunday:

Cipollone, who is the first-line, left winger for the Jr. Bruins, is currently the 3rd leading goal scorer in the NCDC. He's also tied for 4th in scoring and T-7 in assists. The Jr. Bruins are in second place in the NCDC, 4 points behind the Islanders Hockey Club. Cipollone signed a National Letter of Intent with UNH in November and will enroll at UNH next fall.

Player Spotlight - Jackson Pierson

2019 or '20 Commit Jackson Pierson (DOB: 9/10/1999) is the 5'9", 170 lbs., starting center for Culver Academy. The Eagles are ranked #2 in the nation among all Tier 1 18U Leagues. Through the first 13 games of Culver's 2017-18 season, Pierson was tied for the team lead in goal scoring. Here is his 14th goal of the season scored in a 5-3 victory over St. Andrews College - notice how Pierson (#18) begins the scoring play by body-checking an opposing player into the half-wall and causing a turnover:

Culver Military Academy is located in northern Indiana in the town of Culver. Last weekend, the Eagles traveled to the Groton Lawrence Tourney to play three New England Prep School teams. Culver (16-1-0) won the first three games against Groton School (9-1), Dexter Academy (3-1), and Proctor Academy (5-2). In the championship game, Culver fell to Cushing Academy 1-3. From January 28-30, Culver will compete in the 2017 Edward G. Watkins Invitational Tournament at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, Massachusetts. Three UNH Commits - Jackson Pierson (Culver), Connor Sweeney (Lawrence Academy) and newest commit Nolan McElhaney (Cushing) - are scheduled to play.

2017-18 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 "2018 Commits" are projected to begin playing for UNH in the Fall of 2018. 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
2018 Commits
Joey Cipollone*  (F) Junior Bruins NCDC 30 15 19 34 16
Angus Crookshank*  (F) Langley Rivermen BCHL 22 14 11 25 16
Team Canada West WJAC 5 2 3 5 2
Eric Esposito*  (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 22 6 4 10 66
Corson Green  (D) Central Illinois Flying Aces USHL - - - - -
Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 19 1 3 4 39
2018 or '19 Commits
Ryan Verrier*  (D) Green Bay Gamblers USHL 19 2 6 8 18
2019 Commits
Lucas Bahn  (D) Sioux City Musketeers USHL 21 1 4 5 2
Nolan McElhaney  (D) Cushing Academy NE Prep 10 7 10 17 -
Chase Stevenson  (F) West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 30 7 11 18 23
2019 or '20 Commits
Jackson Pierson*  (F) Culver Academy Prep 13 14 16 30 -
Green Bay Gamblers USHL 2 0 0 0 0
Connor Sweeney  (F) Lawrence Academy NE Prep 7 1 3 4 2
Marek Wazny  (F) Burlington Cougars OJHL 17 5 10 15 8
Brookings Blizzard NAHL 7 0 0 0 0
* = Signed National Letter of Intent

News & Notes

United States Hockey League:

~ 2018 Commit Corson Green was traded from the Sioux Falls Stampede to the Central Illinois Flying Aces. Last season, the 6'1", 210 lbs., left-shot defenseman scored 5 goals and 10 assists in 48 regular season games with the Chicago Steel. During Chicago's run to the USHL Championship/Clark Cup, Green tallied 3 assists. In 19 games with the South Dakota team, he scored a goal and 3 assists.

Prep School:

~ Nolan McElhaney, the 18-year-old captain of the Cushing Academy Penguins, committed to UNH earlier this week. The Neutral Zone scouting service provided this summary of the right-shot defenseman's strengths:
"3.75 Star prospect is a tall, thin, athletic, mobile & multi-purpose defenseman w/ a long reach, soft hands & a swift first pass. Is a high-ceiling prospect who earned A in the Lawrence-Groton Tournament and is ranked as a Top 10 prep hockey defenseman."
Look for a feature article on McElhaney, including an interview, coming soon on the blog.


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