Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Updates while FTP is down

Because of server issues, I can't update the Recruits page right now. But here are a bunch of new commitments:

Andrew Estey (Union/Alberni Valley-BCHL) - former Salisbury forward originally from New Brunswick. Good junior year, somewhat of a down senior year, now in top 10 BCHL scoring.

Brian Roloff (Vermont/Green Bay-USHL) - jumped to the USHL from the EJHL.

Pat Maroon (Ferris State/Texarcana-NAHL) - big rookie defenseman.

Matt Jones (Merrimack/Sioux City-USHL) - Follows Marty Quarters to Merrimack.

Kyle Friedlay (Robert Morris/Oakville-OPJHL)

More later.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Staying East, Staying West

Defenseman Kris Fredheim has made his decision, selecting Colorado College over Wisconsin and Maine (and a host of other offers). Also joining him at Colorado will be California native Dan Quilico, a speedy winger playing for the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL (Peter Gerenazzo's old stomping grounds). The two visited Colorado this past weekend, along with Cushing goalie Rich Bachmeier, and committed shortly after the visit.

Deciding to stay out East was '07 defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, whose family hails from the New York City suburbs and whose older brother, Keith, plays for Princeton. Conventional wisdom, supported by recent indications, had Shattenkirk deciding to extend his stay in Ann Arbour and play for the Wolverines after his stint with the US National Program. However, that changed last week and Shattenkirk accepted BU's offer. Joining him on BU's '07 Blueline will be Philadelphia native, Colby Cohen, another US National player. The two represent two of USA's better 16 year old defensemen in the future.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Buzz

Up in Toronto, the St.Michael's Buzzers have restocked for another season in the Junior A circuit. The proud franchise has a long history as a feeder to the NCAA and to the OHL, going back to the 40s. The franchise operated in the old Metro Toronto Jr.B circuit back in the 70s and 80s, producing a host of college players such as Bryan Deasley, Ken Klee, Jason Muzatti, Mike Pikul, John Samanski, Jason Woolley, Wes Macauley, Andrew Will, Vince Bellisimo, Joe Cooper, Brian Ihanacek, Kevin Schmidt and Dan Pegoraro, and NHLers such as Tony Tanti, Eric Lindros, Sean Burke. The franchise took a year off in 1989 and again in 1997, but returned to the Ontario Junior A ranks. Since then NHL first rounders Wojtek Wolski and Andrew Cogliano have skated with the team.

This year's team carries on the strong tradition. The squad is led by winger Mike McKenzie, who already has secured a spot with St.Lawrence for next season. After skating in Cogliano's shadow last season, McKenzie has exploded out of the gate this year. In 15 games he has 32 points to lead the league in scoring. Among his 15 goals were a natural hattrick against Oshawa on the 12th. Making the feat even more remarkable -- indeed a record -- was that the goals were scored within 32 second, and two of the tallies were shorthanded.

Also on the forward lines is hulking 6'4 winger Brayden Irwin, who also has a scholarship tucked away for next year. The Vermont recruit has a good all-around game, and his developing his scoring touch.

Riding in the shadows this year is rookie Louie Caporusso, a 16 year old from Toronto. He ranks second on the team in scoring with 21 points, and his exciting play already has garned him a scholarship offer from, among others, UNH.

On defense two veterans lead the charge, with 6'4 Stephen Duffy and Western Michigan bound Julian Zamparo holding the fort. The young star is Brendon Smith. A first round OHL pick by the St.Mike's Major Junior team, Smith held true to his pre-draft statements that he wanted to explore the college route. After being turned away by the Sioux City USHL team because of his '89 age (his fellow Toronto Marlie midget teammate Sam Gagner was allowed to play because of his dual citizenship), Smith returned to Toronto to suit up for the Jr. A squad. With 10 points in his first 15 games, he has shown his offensive strength and skating abilities, and programs such as Michigan, BU, Wisconsin and Miami-Ohio have lined up to make their offers. Finally, Harry Taylor is another sturdy 6'3 defenseman who can move the puck up to the forwards.

The final line of defense is goalie Kain Tisi, who will accompany McKenzie to St.Lawrence next fall. Tisi holds all of the franchise goaltending records, and gets the majority of the playing time ahead of a capable backup Mike Binnington, who is himself an NCAA prospect.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Defensemen taking the plunge

Penticton's Deron Cousens, mentioned in last week's entry, has accepted an offer from Michigan Tech to play for them starting in '07.

In the USHL, Cedar Rapids' Kevin Wehrs elected to stay home and play for the Gophers in '07, rather than take offers from Duluth, St.Cloud, UNH or BU to play for them next season.

One top remaining defender is Notre Dame (SJHL)'s Kris Fredheim, an NHL pick this season, who has added offense to his game. Fredheim appears to have narrowed his college choices down to three schools - Maine, Colorado College and Wisconsin, and could make his decision before the November early signing period.

Over in the AJHL, Camrose Kodiak Chris Barton will visit Duluth, where Kodiak alumni Mason Raymond, Matt McKnight and Macgregor Sharp are playing.

Mismatch of the week comes from the USHL, where 5'5 Waterloo Blackhawk (and UMass recruit) James Marcou came out on the wrong end of a collision with 6'4 Cedar Rapids forward Ray Kaunisto.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Son of a Badger

The Penticton Vees have begun their return to prominance. Starting in the late 90s when it produced NHL players such as Chuck Kobasew and Duncan Keith, the franchise suffered recruiting wise because of dissatisfaction with Coach Bryan Perrier's style. Last season brought new ownership, and with it a new Coach in alum Bruno Campese, and new local recruits. Today's Wisconsin State Journal mentions that forward Brian Lebler (Penticton-BCHL), son of Badger Ed Lebler, has a scholarship offer from Wisconsin, and will decide between Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio State.

Defenseman T.J. Miller, a native Californian who played significant minutes last year with Surrey, recently accepted Northern Michigan's scholarship offer. The playmaking defenseman on the squad is Ontario import Deron Cousens, who earned Rookie of the Year honors last year in the OPJHL. Another rookie defenseman is Ryan Wagner, who won the Saskatchewan Midget League's top defenseman honors over Eric Gryba. He's a 5'10 powerplay quarterback, but probably will take another year of juniors.

Robert Skinner is the playmaking center who has originated most of the passes for Lebler's goals. An '88 skilled prospect, he has lots of skills and vision, but is a very slight build that probably would benefit with more time at the junior level. He also is unselfish to a fault, meaning he scores few goals. Another new recruit who is in a recruiting battle is Evan Trupp. Trupp's father also played with Penticton before moving up to the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. A speedy dangerous forward, Trupp has an offer from his hometown Anchorage squad. Unfortunately, big winger Alex MacLeod's knee injury has put him on the shelf for the season.

Notes out West:

The paths of two promising Alberta rookies collided last weekend, when 16 year old Spruce Grove rookie scoring sensation Jesse Martin (13 points in his first 8 games) was hammered into the boards by 17 year old defender Ian Barteaux of Ft.Saskatchewan. Martin lay motionless on the ice for several minutes and appears to have suffered a significant head injury, and will miss substantial part of the year. Barteaux received a 10 minute match misconduct and has been suspended indefinitely by the league while it evaluates the appropriate penalty -- expected to be a lengthy suspension.

An intersting note on Notre Dame's Blake Gallagher, who is tearing up the Jr.A circuit with 10 goals in his first 10 games. Because of the new Canadian Hockey rules on out-of-province players under the age of 18, Gallagher technically is an "affiliated" player on the Jr.A squad, meaning he has to play at least half of the season with the Notre Dame midget Hounds. As a result, he'll have to suit up for 22 midget contests in addition to the 55-game Jr.A slate.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Rust never sleeps

Michigan continues to pick up early commitments, the most recent being the commitment from US National Team player Matt Rust. A shifty 5'10 forward, Rust joins defensman Tristan Llewylyn in Michigan's 07 class that will be called upon to replace T.J. Hensick and defensemen Matt Hunwick, Jason Dest, and Tim Cook.