Neutral Zone had scouts in New Jersey for the Lawrenceville Tournament and wrote up the top 47 players (including goalies). The tournament showed great parity and while there weren’t any serious NHL draft picks here, there were still a lot of quality players.
1-Taft: Taft had only one loss on the tournament which came in a shootout with Choate. They beat NMH 4-2, Canterbury 4-0 and beat Nichols 6-3 (the game was closer than the score). Andrew Farrier the Taft goalie and captain was awarded tournament MVP in a selection process that heavily weights final game.
2-Nichols School: A bit of a surprise. They are not one of the older teams and at times had a tough time finishing. They beat Lawrenceville 2-1 in 2OT, they upset Belmont Hill with a 6-1 pounding and toppled UCC 5-2. Graziano was the key to their success with consistent play in the net.
3-Choate: A hard earned third place finish. They started out slow losing to an older Canterbury team 3-1 then came back to beat NMH 3-2. The big game where Kramer got the shootout winner v Taft which was the turning point. They then whitewashed UCC 2-0. The scoring is not very deep here but they have some guys that make a difference.
4-UCC: They started out with a bang then cooled off in every game after that. They beat Belmont Hill with a workmanlike 2-1 effort, then shut out Lawrenceville 3-0. After that it was downhill…5-2 loss to Nichols and then a 2-0 loss to Choate. Muise played well in goal.
5-Belmont Hill: This was a disappointing tournament for Belmont Hill. They are a talented team but a combination of bad luck, poor discipline and inconsistent play hurt them. They started out with a flat 2-1 loss to UCC,. then lost to Nichols 6-1. After that they were able to handle Lawrenceville 7-1 and Canterbury 2-0. Not that a 2-2 record is a bad thing here, but they have the talent to win this event.
6-Canterbury: A veteran team who started off the tournament with a 3-0 win against Choate and looked poised to make a run but went on to only score 1 goal over the next 3 games and lose all three to NMH, Taft and Belmont Hill.
7-NMH: NMH is better than last year but still have a way to go before they’ll be competing for championships. They were never really beaten badly here, they lost 4-2 to Taft, 3-2 to Choate and beat Canterbury 2-1 and Lville 6-2. They don’t have a ton of firepower but defenseman Kennedy and goaltender Green are quality prospects.
8-Lawrenceville: The locals,were just out gunned. Pito Walton had a strong showing and they have a few 01’s and 02’s worth watching, but not enough veteran talent.. After they gave Nichols a real scare with the 2OT loss they were manhandled…UCC 3-0, Belmont Hill 7-1 and NMH 6-2. A long weekend for them, but at least they got the moral victory of not going pointless. We give them credit, the team gives it all they have even in lopsided games.
Christian O’Neill (L, 5-11/175, Belmont Hill #19, ’98)
When Christian was on the ice, you knew he was there. O’Neill has a high skill level and just understands the game. He has quick feet, a great shot with a nice release and sees the ice well. He was used as a point man on the power play where everything seemed to go through him. For a skilled player, he is very involved and has a great work ethic, he has a nice second effort keeping the play alive. There is solid of upside here because he can play a lot of different roles and his skill set translates well at the next level. College: Princeton Grade: A-
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