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U.S. Hockey Report
The Inside Word on Amateur Hockey
The Inside Word on Amateur Hockey

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Tate Singleton's Big Night

We don't know if you've had the chance to peruse all the box scores from last night, but Proctor's 7-6 OT win over New Hampton in the Lakes Region semifinals was one worthy of being placed in a time capsule and shot into outer space. It was pretty wild.

Box Score: Proctor-New Hampton Lakes Region semifinal

First, off, New Hampton had smoked Proctor, 9-1, just five days earlier. "We were down 4-0 after one and 7-0 after two," said Proctor coach Mike Walsh. "It was a horrible experience. So tonight, fueled by motivation and a sense of redemption we played them pretty even -- over the first 7-8 minutes."

Then the roof fell in. New Hampton scored four goals in a little over five minutes and took a 4-0 lead into the first intermission. Walsh switched goalies for the second, taking out Devin Barresi and putting in Ville Lassonen.

"We tried to regroup between periods," Walsh said. In Sunday's game, New Hampton had scored on the first shift of the second period. "We obviously couldn't let that happen again," said Walsh. "Instead, we took a penalty. And Tate Singleton scored a pair of short-handed goals -- 21 seconds apart -- on that one minor."

New Hampton took a time out. But it didn't help, as...

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Wed. Feb. 22 Highlights

Groton, Mass. -- An Austin Magera goal at 1:01 of overtime lifted #1-ranked Lawrence Academy to a hard-fought 3-2 win over St. Sebastian's here tonight.

With the win, Lawrence, which had lost 5-3 in the teams' previous meeting at St. Seb's on Feb. 10th, clinched the Keller Division crown.

On the winning goal, senior Sam Swanson drove down the right side, and cut hard left across the top of the crease. St. Sebastian's senior goalie Alex Zafonte, who was excellent all day, stopped the initial shot but Magera jumped on the rebound, and the Lawrence bench emptied in a millisecond as players raced to the corner, happily piling on top of each other.

The game had been tight from the start.

In the first period, LA had more shots, the period's only power play, and an edge in play. Zafonte, though, stopped everything -- including a number of high-quality shots -- and his d-men did a good job in front limiting second opportunities. LA's best chance came when sophomore d-man Drew Bavaro sprung junior Neil Shea for ...

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Sat. Feb. 18 Highlights

Avon, Conn. -- Avon Old Farms came out flying this afternoon, blitzed #8 Salisbury for four first-period goals and then, as the visitors mounted a third-period comeback attempt, held on and emerged 5-4 winners in a highly entertaining, up-tempo game before a lively crowd here this afternoon.

Avon wasted no time getting on the board in this one, as junior Will Christensen's high wrister from the slot beat Salisbury senior goalie Jonah Capriotti top shelf at the 1:55 mark.

Just 1:25 later, on the power play, junior Tyler Madden made a great pass, finding Trevor Zegras, his sophomore linemate, alone at the back door for a 2-0 lead.

Salisbury got on the board when junior Tyce Thompson drove down the right side, cut to the center and made a cross-crease pass to senior Matt Holmes. It looked like Avon's quick start would be slowed, but it didn't happen, at least not yet.

At 10:42 Zegras intercepted a Salisbury D-to-D pass between the faceoff circles and...

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Wed. Feb. 15 Highlights

--- Choate visited Avon's barn today and took a 3-0 lead midway through the second on goals from Sean Dennehy, Faisal Al-Saif and Chance Gorman. Avon came back with goals from Ben Pirko and Trevor Zegras to make things interesting, but too little, too late. The story of the day, though, was Wild Boars' junior G Cal Stewart, who kicked out 52 of 54 shots. Winged Beavers' sophomore G Spencer Knight (14/17) took the loss. With the win, Choate snaps a 6-game losing streak.

-- Host Millbrook held a 2-0 lead after two periods on a pair of goals from junior F Kevin Drevitch, but Trinity-Pawling came back in the third with a pair of goals from Brandon Lantieri and Zach Mazur, the latter coming with 3:08 remaining in regulation. Millbrook sophomore goaltender Cam Fernandez (23/25) and T-P senior Evan Angotti (20/22) were both solid. T-P (5-14-2) has a four-game unbeaten streak going, with wins over Salisbury and Canterbury and ties with Kent and, today, Millbrook. Not bad for team that started the season 1-12-0. -- Senior Thomas McLarnon's 22-save shutout led host New Hampton to a 2-0 win over Vermont Academy. Vermont senior Guy Piccolo (41/43) was the hard-luck loser. New Hampton scored both of their goals in the third, a SHG from Zak Lanoue and an ENG from Michael Kane. New Hampton, winners of 10 of 12, improves to 16-9-3. -- Seniors Chris Theodore, Conor Breen, and Marshall Rifai each had 3 points and senior goaltenders Nick Bolino (16/16) and Tyler Haywood (5/5) combined for a 6-0 shutout of #10 Kent, putting a hurt on...

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The Playoff Chase

With ten days left in the regular season, RPI and JSPR become increasingly important. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts.

1. It looks like KUA, Dexter, Lawrence, and Rivers should all make the Elite 8 and will more than likely be top seeds. All four have good records against Teams Under Consideration (Note: TUCs are teams in the RPI Top 16, not including affiliates.) Unless something really strange happens, all four should maintain their lofty perches.

2. Games played is meaningful. Any team that plays only 25 games (Founders’ teams and ISL teams) has conceivably greater mobility. For example, Kent has 5 games left and, if they win all 5, their winning percentage can increase from .6579 to .7292 (.0713). Gunnery also has 5 games left and -- if they win all 5 -- their winning percentage will increase from .6800 to .7333 (.0533). So Gunnery ends up with a higher overall winning percentage, but Kent picks up more ground from where they are now. In other words, every win or loss matters, but a win or a loss by a team with a lower number of games played has more of an impact.

3. How TUCs played against other TUCs is important. Barring catastrophe, KUA will most likely be the #1 seed. They are 5-0-1 against TUCs and have a great RPI. Gunnery has a...

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Sat. Feb. 11 Highlights

Brookline, Mass. -- A pair of third period goals by junior defenseman Jack Rathbone, the second with 17 seconds remaining in regulation, allowed #3 Dexter to pull out a 3-3 tie against Tabor this afternoon.

With his team down 2-1, and on the power play, Rathbone let one rip from the point that beat Tabor senior G Jeremie Forget low to the glove side, tying the game at 2-2 with 9:27 to go.

A little over two minutes later, Tabor senior Jay Cote forced a defensive-zone turnover by Dexter sophomore D Kevin MacKay, and quickly put it past goalie Aidan Murphy. It was the third point of the day for Cote (1g,2a), who was a consistent threat. Tabor suddenly had their one-goal lead back, and Dexter's 10-game unbeaten streak was in jeopardy.

But then Rathbone, who was...

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Wed. Feb. 8 Highlights

Groton, Mass. -- #4 Thayer entered the day riding a seven-game winning streak, their last loss coming on their home ice to #2-ranked Lawrence Academy, a 5-0 decision back on Sat. Jan. 14th. Beating Lawrence on the road would have evened up the season's series.

But it didn't happen. Thayer came out flat, and trailed 1-0 after one period, and 2-0 after two, before coming to life in the third and cutting the Lawrence lead to 3-2 before an empty-netter sealed the deal in the final minute.

The key goal of the game came on a great individual effort by LA junior wing Neil Shea late in the first period. With Thayer on the powerplay -- and they have a potent one -- and pressing for the game's first goal. Shea angled toward the boards by the hash marks, intercepted a puck, and turned up ice, banking it off the boards past Casey Carreau, a forward who mans the point on Thayer's top PP unit, picking it up again in the neutral zone before cutting in alone toward the net. Shea put a deke on Thayer goalie Jimmy Scannell, sliding the puck behind him and giving LA a 1-0 lead with 3:32 left in the period.

In the second, Lawrence made it 2-0 just 1:39 in on a Timmy Kent backhander from in tight. Less than three minutes later, LA made it 3-0 when Craig Needham found sophomore D Drew Bavaro back door with a perfect pass.

Thayer played more like themselves in the third period, and finally got rewarded at the 9:04 mark when sophomore...

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Things Are Getting Interesting

With nearly two-thirds of the prep season completed, and with every game played adding weight to the RPI and JSPR comparisons, here are some observations going into Saturday's action.

1. The East is way ahead of the West this year in terms of number of teams at the top of the RPI. There are no truly dominant teams in the West -- there is no Avon, Salisbury, or Gunnery with only one, or no, losses. If you look at the top 15 teams in terms of winning % there are 10 eastern teams and only five western teams. Is it simply a matter of there being true parity in the west? Perhaps, but it could also be about the number of games played. The top 10 teams in the East have averaged 17.8 games played -- let's round that to 18 -- while the top five teams in the West have averaged 16 (without Gunnery's 20 it is only 15). There are four East teams with just 2-3 losses, but, apart from them, the numbers of losses is about the same as that of the teams in the West. It is indisputable that the advantage of 2-4 more wins truly affects winning percentage. Take Albany Academy for example. They only have two losses, but they haven't played a very good schedule -- no knock, as it takes time to build a strong schedule -- but Albany is high in RPI because they have only lost two games (to Thayer and Salisbury, teams ranked above them). If Albany loses another game or two it will drastically affect their winning percentage and probably drop them significantly. In other words, they have a small margin of error. Exeter, on the other hand, just lost to KUA, a 'good' loss, but the fact that they have four losses is covered up in large part by the fact that they also have 15 wins. Kent (9-4-2) and Avon (9-4-3) each have four losses -- and some ties -- but with only nine wins each they don't have the same margin for error that Exeter does. In the end, games played really do matter, especially when the range of games a team plays -- from 25 up to 35 -- varies so much. If everyone played 70-80 games it wouldn't make much difference. But given the....

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Salisbury Edges Resurgent Rhinos

Watertown, Conn. – Salisbury, winner of the last three prep school championships, opened on the road today and emerged with a 5-3 win against a new-look – and much improved -- Taft squad.

After a feeling-out stretch at the start of the game, Salisbury began to control the play, scoring a pair of goals 2:02 apart midway through the opening period. The first came on a Luke Israel wrister from the right faceoff circle, and the second came when senior Edgars Treijs cut right to left across the top of the crease and jammed the puck past Taft junior goaltender Andrew Farrier.

Early in the second, the teams traded power play goals, with Taft senior d-man Noah Talhami scoring on a shot from the point, and Salisbury senior defenseman Dayne Finnson quickly answering to put the visitors up 3-1.

At that point, Salisbury went on a dominant six-minute stretch, and looked as if they were going to blow the game wide open.

But it didn't happen. Worse, at the end of that stretch of play, the Knights took a penalty while a man up and allowed Taft to score on the ensuing power play, with freshman Shea Courtemanche firing a low shot from the hash marks past Salisbury junior goaltender Nick Sorgio.

Suddenly, it was a 3-2 game and Taft and their supporters were duly energized...

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St. Andrew's Edges Belmont Hill, 4-3, in Scrimmage

Belmont, Mass. -- A 4x3 powerplay goal by St. Andrew's College defenseman Jacob Ledson late in the third period lifted his team to a 4-3 win in a scrimmage at Belmont Hill late this afternoon.

St. Andrew's, playing its twelfth game (8-4) of the young season, broke out to a 3-0 first period lead on goals by Morgan Barron, Kody Clark, and Reid Yochim. The game had all the earmarks of a blowout. But senior Christian Faggas, from behind the net, made a pass out front to Peter O'Connell to cut it to 3-1 at the first intermission.

In the second, Belmont Hill junior Jonathan Folsom scored a pair of goals 1:30 apart to lift Belmont Hill to a 3-3 tie, which is how things stayed until Ledson's game-winner.

"We were just OK," said St. Andrew's coach David Manning. "We were mentally soft, and we didn't execute the way we expect. We did just enough to win."

Belmont Hill coach Jeremiah McCarthy's team is still in the middle of tryouts and was missing four key players to injury in Brian Matthews, Christian O'Neill, and John Copeland, who should all be back next week; and Sam Hesler, who hopes to be back for the Lawrenceville Tournament.

Given all that, McCarthy was sanguine about today's result. "St. Andrew's is big, physical, and fast," he said, "and some of our boys have not had experience playing at that level. I was pleased to see them settle down and battle back to tie the game. I thought that was a real point of pride. For me, it was exciting to see."

Players that stood out for us:

Belmont Hill

#35 Connor Hopkins, G -- A youngster off the '00 Eagles came in midway through the second period, and kept his team in the game, only allowing one goal the rest of the way.

#10 Jonathan Folsom, F ...

St. Andrew's College

#19 Corey Andonovski, RC -- Princeton recruit, a '99 junior, has size, skill, good hockey sense, and upside. Would like to see him take over the game more. He has the ability. Eligible for 2017 draft.

#20 Morgan Barron, LC ...
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