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


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Salisbury's McGrath Blanks Taft in Opener

Watertown, Conn. -- In opening day action for both teams, Salisbury, behind a shutout from former Roxbury Latin goaltender Bryan McGrath, blanked host Taft, 4-0.

The game marked the coaching debut of Taft's Ryan Shannon, an '01 alum who went on to play four years at Boston College before going on to a lengthy pro career that included a Stanley Cup Championship with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. Shannon takes the place of Dan Murphy, who, after 13 years behind the Rhinos' bench, has moved on to coach St. Paul's.

It's early, but both teams look better than last season. Salisbury may have lost underclassmen Tyce Thompson (Dubuque -- USHL) and Johnny Beecher (NTDP), but all their returnees are a year older, they have a deeper squad up front, on defense, and in goal. Plus they have scoring spread over four lines. They will be contending for another title.

Taft is led up front by 6'0" senior center and co-captain Jordan Tonelli, a Brown recruit who looks faster and stronger, and on D by new sophomore Christian Jimenez, a Harvard recruit from the Westchester Selects, and Billy Dobensky, a junior co-captain.

Salisbury got its first goal of the season at 10:21 of the first when...
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Belmont Hill Jamboree
8:30 am -- Proctor Academy 2, Belmont Hill 1 -- David Netburn and Ronan Walsh scored for Proctor.

10:00 am -- Winchendon 4, St. Mark's 1 -- St. Mark's went up 1-0 early on a goal by Gibbons, but Winchendon answered with four straight. Leading the way were Matt Fawcett (2g, 1a), Ryan Black (3a), Cam Gendron (1g,1a), and Danny Cavanagh (1g).

11:30 am -- St. Andrew's College 8, Proctor Academy 2 -- Brendan Bowie (2g,2a), Matthew McKim (3a), Ian MacLean (2g). Evan McIntyre (1g,1a), Mark Hillier (1g,1a), and Thomas Munro (2a) all had multiple points for St. Andrew's.

1:00 pm -- Winchendon 5, Belmont Hill 2 -- Ryan Black (2g,1a), Ville Rainio (1g,1a), Danny Allen (1g,1a), Cam Gendron (1g,1a), Matt Fawcett (2a) led the way for Winchendon. Grant and Khozozian scored for Bel Hill.

2:30 pm -- St. Andrew's College 6, St. Mark's 0


Belmont Hill: Losing Christian O'Neill (Omaha/Princeton) and Sam Hesler (Wenatchee/Dartmouth), each of whom had 19 goals last season, is a huge loss up front -- and finding that kind of scoring is difficult. Up front, we thought senior center Noah Traylor played with a lot of energy and his linemate junior Mike Holland we noted a bit too. The defense will be a strength, with James Perullo leading the way. Todd Copeland, a 6'7" right shot, has been converted to D this year, and it will be interesting to see how he progresses during the course of the season. Goaltending, with Connor Hopkins (Yale) and Jack Eselius, is also strength. If the Hillies can find the scoring they could be in the hunt again, but that's a big if.

Proctor: With USHR Prep Player of the Year Reilly Walsh off to Harvard, the Hornets have a vastly different look this season. Also lost to graduation is Matt Slick (Chilliwack) who provided solid defensive cover for Walsh's end-to-end rushes, and leading scorer Tate Singleton (Army). The top returning scorer is senior center Cole Joslin and not far behind him is...
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NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List

NHL Central Scouting Service released its new Players to Watch List today. It's a lengthy document. Pages 1-14 are for US/Canada. Pages 15-22 cover the European Leagues. It's a little thin on the New England Preps and Minnesota High School, as those leagues haven't gotten cranked up yet. That should change with the next list.

Four current or former New England prep players recieved an "A" or "B" ranking. They are RW Oliver Wahlstrom (NTDP/Harvard), who is an "A". The three who...
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Exeter Hockey Carries on in Post-Dennehy Era

Exeter faced off at home tonight against Kents Hill in the season opener for both teams, a 5-1 decision for Exeter.

Missing, after 46 years behind the Exeter bench, was Bill Dennehy.

Dennehy started coaching at Exeter shortly after graduating from Springfield College, which he had helped lead to the Div. II College World Series crown. As for hockey, he started with the JV hockey team at Exeter in 1971-72, then became an assistant to George Crowe with the varsity. When Crowe replaced Grant Standbrook as head coach at Dartmouth in the fall of 1975, Dennehy became head coach at Exeter, staying in that position until 1992 when he reversed roles by handing off the position to Dana Barbin, then his assistant. Dennehy continued as Barbin's assistant for 25 years. And in that quarter century, Barbin himself became one of the longest-tenured coaches in prep hockey.

"I've never coached without him," Barbin said. "Twenty-five years. His not being here is going to be strange for me. The greatest thing is I always knew I had Bill's trust and loyalty. He had my back."

In addition to hockey, Dennehy was the...
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Results from Sunday's District Championships

Mass. State Championship
All games at New England Sports Center
Sunday, November 12, 2017
(Rink number is in parentheses.)

In Massachusetts, seven different organizations won a trip to Nationals.

Tier I:

14U Tier I Semifinal: 8:30 am (5) -- Boston Jr. Eagles 5, NV River Rats 0
14U Tier I Semifinal: 8:30 am (4) -- Boston Jr. Terriers 3, Islanders Hockey Club 2
14U Tier I Championship: 3:00 pm (2) -- Boston Jr. Terriers 2, Boston Jr. Eagles 1 (OT) -- Jayden Grier put the Terriers up early in the first with a flukey goal that deflected in off a Jr. Eagle defender. Nolan Joyce got one back in the third with a PPG. But with six seconds left in OT, Jr. Terrier center JP Turner barreled down the left wing and fired a shot far side that beat Ryan Kazmouz for the GWG. The star of this game, in which the Jr. Eagles held a huge margin in time of possession and shots, was Jr. Terriers goalie Layne Browning. In addition, the Terriers played with grit and kept their wits about them when under pressure. The most compelling of the...
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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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