We headed to the 20th Annual Tier 1 Labor Day Face Off September 1-4 and spent most of our time at the Foxboro Sports Center. We split time between the U16 and the U18 Elite divisions. We tried to see watch players and teams we have not seen over the last few months or at all. Play was good and the event was well run.
Below are 65 players we felt stood out in the U16 division. Grades are for this event only and in relation to others on this report. There are 16 players below that are new to our Neutral Zone profiles.
Artem Shlaine #13 (F, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2002)-He was perhaps the best forward we watched in the U16 division. Artem has a lot of tools. He has a long, fluid stride and his glide allowed him to move easily around, conserve energy and pounce on pucks. He has a great release on a hard, accurate shot and understands how to manufacture space to get pucks through. He doesn’t have truly elite speed but that never impacted him as he used reach and his body to protect the puck. Has good sense and a nose for the net. Vision is excellent. Very skilled and smart with tons of upside. Dove to clear a puck on the PK and can play in all situations. He is strong at only 6’ and 155lbs and once he adds to that, he will take another step.
Luke Tuch #37 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2002)-Tuch has real upside and his game here was of a pro variety. He is strong on the puck, on his skates and on the wall. He went after pucks hard and played a prototypical power game on the LW as a left shot. With Ambrosio as his center, Tuch had lots of options. He simply waited for defenses to react and took what they gave him. He played direct and went to dirty areas. He drove the net. He extended possession and waited to distribute. He finished checks and controlled the cycle with a wide base and long reach. He has a heavy, hard shot and can one-time, snap on the rush and drag and shoot. He finished checks and was tough to play against. He can score or go get the puck and distribute. One of the best players here.
Matt Beniers #10 (F, L, Whalers U16, late 2002, Milton Academy)-Athletic and fast. We have seen Matt play quite a bit this summer and he is fun to watch. Showed he can get pucks skate to blade in stride, played hard scored a goal on a rebound. He slides with contact so it seems he never takes a direct hit. He can maintain speed and possession. Looked a bit taller. He has elite speed but he has some room to improve on his first step. That will happen as his core strengthens. He has real upside and is a terrific athlete.
Harrison Schreiber #62 (F, L, PAL Islanders U16, 2001)-Harrison played fast and showed he can side step D with the puck. He proved to be slippery on the cycle as he was looking to get to the net. He showed creativity and vision along the goal line and got off checks with the puck well. We really liked his grit as he showed he would finish checks and was very willing to go the crease without the puck. He can play a few different ways and that made him dangerous when on the ice. Good size, athleticism and approach.
Carson Whitman #92 (F, R, Bruins U16, 2002)-We liked Carson at Beantown and he did very well again here. He showed good straight line/separational speed as well as a good first step. Played fast and was around a lot of positive plays. We like that when his team not have the puck, he works hard to get possession and when they do, he moves to good spots. Played hard once again and also showed nice touch around the goal. Buried a rebound of a bouncing puck that showed his quick hands. Scored another on a decent shot, quick and accurate. Blocked a couple shots at his point. Must add strength and weight but we liked his game.
Max Bogdanovich #63 (F, L, Bruins U16, 2001)-At 6’3” and 210 lbs. Max is too much to handle for D at this level. When he asserted himself on the game, he could do whatever he wanted in the offensive zone. We liked that he is relaxed and confident with the puck. At his size, he made all the puck plays. His hands seldom let him down. We thought he used his stick too much in puck pursuit rather than going through opponents. His effort was OK and that will have to improve as he moves up in levels. There were shifts we didn’t notice him. His talent and skill set are obvious and his upside is pointed to the very highest levels. His best hockey is in front of him. College: Maine
Collin Graf #11 (F, R, Bruins U16, late 2002)-We like Graf more each time we watch. The late 2002 is productive, smart, skilled and fast. He forced defenders to react to him as he dictated pace and blew up opponents’ gaps. He is small and played well in space but it was his ability to get through traffic that we noticed here. He recognized cracks in the defense quickly and has the acceleration and skill to attack that space. Scored a goal that way from the corner where he attacked the net and scored on a nice, short-side wrist shot. Size didn’t limit as his speed, skill and smarts showed through.
Zack Tonelli #27 (F, R, PAL Islanders U16, 2002)-The 2002 is still small, very tough and very fast. He played hard and was willing to go to dirty areas where he found loose pucks and rebounds. Hard on the forecheck. Tonelli scored a goal on a one time from the slot and all weekend seemed to find quiet space to settle and make plays. He moved very well without the puck. His edges are sharp and he can change direction and accelerate quickly. He played the middle of the box on the PP and moved well to receive passes, distribute and shoot. Smart and tough.
Tommi Eriksson #9 (F, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2001)-New player for NZ, Tommi was excellent here. The Finn is very strong on the puck, showed off a long reach and excellent strength at 6’3”. He is rangy, balanced on his skates and faster than he looks. We liked that he took good angles in puck pursuit and seemed to surprise pucks carriers, resulting in turnovers. On the rush as a LS on the RW, he showed he could change push pace, cut back quickly and fire a rifle on the net. He skated right through stick checks and protected the puck well. Very few D at the U16 level will be able to handle him 1v1 once he gets going. Did the small things well; got pucks out and deep when he didn’t have a play. He wandered some in his own end, must get to the point quicker and needs some work on his first step. Small issues that should improve as he adds more strength and experience.
Colby Ambrosio #67 (F, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2002)-The first game we watched Colby, he was excellent. He is very fast and very skilled and can make creative plays at top speed. Showed off a few really clever dangles on the rush that drew gasps from the crowds. He is very talented. Went hard to the net and scored a goal that way on a nice pass from Tuch. He missed two other great chances as well. In the next game we watched against Florida, he was less effective as they made it tough for him to find space. He missed two chances; one on a breakaway and one dead center in the slot in the third period. Showed visible frustration and his team seemed to follow his lead. Will have to remain poised as he matures and understand that others will follow. Very talented player. College: BC
Chase Nicholson #88 (F, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2001)-He gets a bit overshadowed playing on a line with Ambrosion and Tuch. He is a good player in his own right. Played more of the distributor role and he is an excellent passer. He has soft hands and can thread pucks through even the smallest seams. Balanced skater who got to great spots without the puck. Can catch and shoot. His stick blade is always in good spots to shoot, defend or receive a pass. In his end, we liked that he went hard to his point, finished checks and was aware of his surroundings. Came down to help as the weak side winger. We noted that he was a bounce away from really breaking out at nationals in AZ. This looks to be the year he breaks out.
Frankie Ireland #19 (F, L, Bruins U16, 2001)-Effort. That’s the word we used to paint the picture of Frankie this weekend. We didn’t see him score like we have in the past but he still put his imprint on the game. Frankie’s value is in the fact that he can play a lot of different ways in every situation. He can run the PP from the half-wall, go to the front, kill penalties, block shots, defend at the end of games and score. Can play up and down the roster as he moves up in levels. Valuable, Swiss Army knife type who makes the Bruins go.
Thomas McKiernan #11 (F, R, Jersey Hitmen U16, 2001)-Thomas played with a good combo of grit and skill. He is average sized and has a balanced stride. He does not possess elite speed but makes up for it with good hockey sense. He got to very good spots without the puck and can catch and shoot. He has a nice release and good velocity on his shot, partly due to his balance. He showed some ability to create with lateral movement and solid stick skills but his game is more consistent when he distributes and moves to quiet space. We also liked that down 3-0 to the Bruins, he was finishing his checks. His game has integrity. Interesting player who should have a nice year for Jersey.
Connor Sedlak #22 (F, L, Jersey Hitmen U16, late 2002)-Sedlak was one of the youngest players in the U16 division. He worked hard, showed he has a balanced stride and good quickness. His straight-line speed looked OK as did his stick skills. He scored a nice goal as he went directly to the net from the corner and banked a shot in off the goalie’s pad. Crafty play by a crafty player. He is close to being a 2003 and stood out here. Interesting with lots of upside as an all situations type forward. His game is headed in the right direction.
Michal Klimo #10 (F, L, South Florida Hockey Academy, late 2002)-Klimo is only several weeks away from being a bantam. At 6’1” and 175lbs plus, he used his size and reach well. Made plays on the cycle and battled hard for loose pucks. He scored a goal against Buffalo where he beat a D 1v1 by dragging the puck towards his feet thus changing the angle and using the D as a screen. He put a bullet on net without breaking stride and the goalie never moved. Very interesting with obvious upside.
Peter Kramer #8 (F, L, Whalers U16, 2002, BC High)-Good motor and we like can be direct and attack the net or change pace and create bad gaps. When he attacked with pace, he waited for defenders to react and when they engaged him physically, he showed he could bully his way to scoring areas. When they reached he could dangle his way through extended sticks. Skilled and gritty.
Joseph Kramer #3 (F, R, Whalers U16, 2002, BC High)-Played much bigger than he looked. Swooped in on pucks and was very tough to play against. Can shoot and did well to move pucks to good spots. He is a gritty player who can help a team even when he doesn’t score.
Chance Heaphy #24 (F, R, Bruins U16, 2002)-Heaphy was all over the ice here. He flew to pucks and finished checks. Tough to play against in all three zones and seems to understand his role as an energy guy. We liked his approach. Small still but smart and tough. Chance made good decisions with the puck. Helped on the breakout and got pucks out and deep. One play, he came down low for a breakout, felt pressure from a step and instead of forcing it up into a mess, he used his weak side D and made a nice pass to him to relieve pressure and get the puck out. Not many 2002s would recognize that option.
Oscar Worob #9 (F, R, Jersey Hitmen U16, 2001)-Played fast and tough. Oscar went to get the puck in dirty areas and seems to relish his role. He is tough to play against, has good speed and will make big hits. We think as he gets settled in this season and starts to change pace more, he will be able to score goals at a consistent clip. Our Atlantic scouts will be watching. Every team needs a player like Oscar.
Tristan Fasig #23 (F, L, PAL Islanders U16, late 2001)-One game we liked Tristan’s play and another we didn’t. There were times here he just didn’t get his motor going. His game is not predicated on speed but he was not around enough pucks to be effective. In another viewing, he was very good and actually seemed to get going after a nice effort on the PK. He used his body well to protect the puck and make plays. He got pucks to scoring areas and followed his shot to the net. When he gets moving, he is strong and very tough to handle for D at this level.
Taurin Haddon-Harris #5 (F, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2001)-Taurin was injured about half way through the first game we saw so we had limited viewing of him. He is quick and clever. Scored a nice goal on the PP as he drove the net off a cycle and snapped a quick shot post and in. He is fast, finished his checks and stood out in every situation. The Boca Raton native is a player to keep an eye on. He has some nice tools. May have had a higher grade if we had been able to see more.
Sami Jokinen #12 (F, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2002)-Sami got better as the weekend moved along and the games got bigger. He has a nose for the net, can create and can shoot. We liked that he is very willing to go get pucks and set up in front of the net. Great hand/eye coordination but did struggle with some simple passes. The 2002 is a strong skater with a stride that will allow for even more speed as he strengthens. Good looking 2002 to watch.
Logan Tobias #15 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2001)-We didn’t get a great read on all of Tobias’ skills but he did enough to make this report. We know one thing: it seems every time we watch Logan he scores a goal. He played the RW as a left shot and his net front presence was constant. He knows where to go to score. He has decent size with room to strengthen and played hard. Very good on the PK as he took good angles to defend and disrupt. He is interesting.
Riley Duran #13 (F, R, Whalers U16, 2002, Malden Catholic)-We think Riley is one of the more underrated 2002s in the state. Strong, gritty with enough skills to make pucks plays. He has a quick, heavy shot that gives goalies trouble. We liked that he can extend plays with his reach and skated well. Good frame with room to add weight. He will be a very nice addition to MC this winter.
Coleman Nee #16 (F, L, NS Wings U16, 2002, Arlington Catholic)-Coleman is fast. The 2002 is easy to spot as he won a lot of races to pucks. Beyond that, it looks like he has added some strength which has helped his balance and first step. He has a stride that will allow him to add speed, agility and balance to his already excellent skating. His touches on pucks were below average and his ability to create still needs some work. We think that will come as he learns to change pace and handle the puck at top speed.
Colin Reddy #2 (F, R, NS Wings U16, St. Mary’s)-Colin is a new player to Neutral Zone. He can fly. He has had two solid seasons at perennial contender St. Mary’s in MA. What we liked was that he made clever plays. He consistently forced defenders to make decisions. He attacked the paint and left all his options open. Can break down defenses in a number of ways. When he didn’t have the puck, he injected energy into the game. He is interesting and a player to watch.
Colby Seitz #17 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, late 2001)-Seitz created turnovers and played bigger than his 5’10”. He was around the puck a lot and was able to reach pucks and use his slick hands to distribute. He is still raw but the late 2001 is a player to watch as he fills into his frame.
Max Andrade #12 (F, R, Whalers U16, 2002, Milton Academy)-Max played a well-rounded game and we liked his stride, reach and size. Does not have to use much energy to get around the ice and his glide is excellent. He used his reach to gather pucks and extend possession. First touches were a bit inconsistent. Played tough and was willing to go to dirty areas.
Ned Malolepszy #12 (F, R, NS Wings U16, 2002, St. John’s Prep)-Ned is new to our Neutral Zone profiles. The 2002 is shifty and we liked how he went with contact and maintained possession of the puck. Showed speed on the rush and was willing to challenge D by sneaking by along the wall. He has a good frame and his overall approach was good. Worked and won pucks. Has upside and is a player to watch come MA high school season.
Jonathan Fusaro #66 (F, R, Bruins, 2001)-Fusaro is a new addition to NZ. He played a few games for the NJ Avs last year and looks to be a nice addition to the Bruins U16 group. Good frame at 6’ with room to add weight and strength. His skating was OK and will improve as he matures. Made smart plays with the puck and showed up on the offensive end. We liked his play in transition as he used his reach to extend possession and make puck plays. Zone entries were smart. We need more as he was around some positive plays here.
Liam McLinskey #21 (F, R, Jersey Hitmen U16, 2001)-Liam is long and wiry who worked for loose pucks. His reach allowed him to take away passing lanes and create turnovers. We liked how he protected the puck along the wall and created space to distribute. He has nice hands at 6’. We noted in our other report on Liam that he can make plays on the rush at top speed. We didn’t see that much here but he showed other aspects to his game that proved he is multi-dimensional. He is still raw and we like his upside.
Paul Cartone #91 (F, R, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2001)-Cartone looked bigger than his listed 5’10” and played a north/south wing for Buffalo. He is fast and pushed pace on the rush. Got going quickly in transition and can snap the puck on the net while moving his feet. Strong on his skates. We questioned his vision up the ice a couple times but he played a mostly productive game. As a right shot on the LW he showed he could get to the net off the edge with speed and balance.
Preston Reynolds #19 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2001)-He was active on the PK and we like Peter’s effort as it was unmatched. Smart player who played his role well. Snapped shot low, far side with a nice release for a goal against Florida. He is a bit overshadowed in this group but he looked like a player who may be putting his game together at the U16 level. One to watch as we liked his approach.
Sam Yarrow #17 (F, R, NS Wings U16, 2001, Winthrop HS)-Sam is quick to pucks and was able to do a few things to grab our attention. Small but willing to go to the net and battle for pucks below the goal line. He was involved but we didn’t get a great sense of his puck play. We will need more but he showed confidence and poise here.
Jacob Banks #6 (F, L, Bruins U16, 2001)-Banks is a strong skate and is tough to knock off the puck. He played a solid up and down game here but never got too much going when we watched. He is accountable in all three zones and worked. We think there is another level to his game. Like to see him get to the net more with and without the puck. His hands are consistent and he has the ability to help his team whether he scores or not. There I something with Jacob that we think it will all come together soon. He has lots of upside.
Brock Fizer #42 (F, L, Jersey Hitmen U16, late 2001)-A new player who we felt we should add to our profiles. In limited viewing, Brock worked and played a tough. The Utah native has good size, got around OK and finished his checks. Didn’t make a lot of play with the puck but that’s OK as a new player. The late 2001 was tough to play against and we liked his effort and approach.
Matt Alletto #12 (F, L, PAL Islanders U16, 2001)-Matt is tall and thick. He was around the puck a lot and made some plays below the dots that created offense. Showed off a toe drag with a long reach that happened quickly and allowed him to get a puck to the net. He must get stronger and we think that will help diversify his game and quicken up his first step.
Nick Amaya #27 (F, R, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2002)-We noticed Nick a few times against the Whalers. He is a smaller forward who played fast and with a lot of grit. Went to tough areas and played in all situations. Was rewarded for his efforts with a nice redirect goal against the Whalers.
Leo Bax #26 (F, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2001)-Bax’s approach is simple: he just outworks everyone. He just kept showing up around the puck. He is not big, very fast or overly skilled but he was a factor each time we watched. We liked his attitude and upside.
Drew Scolaro #17 (F, L, Whalers U16, 2001, Xaverian)-Scolaro has been steadily getting better. Here he impressed us with his shot and his stride looked more economical as he seems to have added some strength. Hunted pucks well. More of a dump and chase guy when we watched and would have preferred he play with possession more. He did take two penalties in two shifts against the Bruins and clearly will have to find some balance between aggression and smart play. Overall, he is headed in the right direction.
Bradley Farrell #5 (D, L, Bruins U16, 2001)-Bradley plays and “easy” game. We mean that as a compliment. He is poised and understands when to push pace, attack and when to calm the game down and contain. He has a lot of tools. 6’3” frame with a long stick to defend. He jumped up in the rush, showed off a hard, accurate shot and used his backhand on outlets. Scored a goal on a partial breakaway against the Whalers with a nice backhand shot. The 2001 eats up minutes, can create from the offensive blue line. We liked how he defended a couple 2v1 chances as he stood tall, kept the puck off angle and allowed his goalie to make the save. Good in all situations. Two negatives: must be more attentive to his gaps and he must be more patient with his shot selection (wait for screens) from the blue line. Overall, he was dominant at times and is a high-end prospect.
Thomas Schweighardt #5 (D, R, Jersey Hitmen U16, 2001)-He was the best player for Jersey. Poised, mature and prepared, Thomas played with success in every situation. The captain led by example. He isn’t flashy but he played hard, blocked shots and finished checks. He was steady and we liked his puck management. He put his forwards in good spots to succeed and used the wall only when he had to. He is a balanced skater. Defended the rush well and processes his help coming back quickly. He can run the PP, showed off a great shot and killed penalties well. Made a nice play on a Gordon PP goal where he pushed pace on the rush and made a backhand pass in stride on the tape. Good showing here for Thomas.
Jacob Buerger #51 (D, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2001)-Jacob is very quick to close off time and space of his opponents. He forces them to make quick decisions and as a result is tough to play against. First step is quick. He is athletic and we liked how he finished his checks at appropriate times, not going out of his way to make a big hit. His feet are excellent. With the puck, he showed he can skate, make the basic outlet and hit the stretch man up ice. Played well on the PP and scored a nice goal top shelf. Smart, athletic with upside. He was good here. A-
Kyle Furey #20 (D, R, Whalers U16, 2002, Malden Catholic)-Furey showed his usual active stick and long productive skating stride off here. He has had a great summer and looked sharp again. Used his body and long stick to protect the puck and move pucks from his end. We liked that he worked the “give and go” to create. Good along the offensive blue and athletic. Still a raw defender but Kyle has tons of upside. A-
Tim Kippenberger #7 (D, R, Bruins U16, 2001)-Kippenberger can play either D spot. A versatile puck mover, he showed well in his end here. Liked his use of his stick to dispossess opponents and his angling of players away from his net. Got off checks well. He cans shoot, run a PP and push pace on the rush. Much of the same play that we saw at Beantown. B+
Sean Vlasich #20 (D, R, Jersey Hitmen U16, 2001)-Vlasich was very good here. Showed good speed and closed quickly to defend. He is stronger than he looks and played with an edge we liked. He took hits to make plays and is clearly athletic. One play in the NZ, he caught a puck, put it down, spun around and started transition with a backhand pass. He can create along the offensive blue with lateral movement and vision. Changed his stick angle to get pucks through. He is fast but we think he stride can improve with more knee bend to get his feet under him when he free skates. He has room to add weight and has lots of upside. B+
Matt Foster #81 (D, R, PAL Islanders U16, 2001)-Foster has great height and weight and used that to his advantage here. He separated a lot of players from the puck which is to be expected. He has a very strong core. Showed he could defend in space and go back for pucks. Outlets were mostly good. We liked him a lot on the PP as he showed smart puck movement and also has the feet and strength to adjust to passes for good one-timers. Shot is hard but often went over the cage. He is very good at this level and at times it seems easy. Does a lot well with good strength and a solid approach. B+
Christian Jimenez #65 (D, L, PAL Islanders U16, 2002, Taft)-Christian has played a lot of hockey this summer. Here he struggled early on but got better as the weekend moved along and the games got bigger. He has very strong legs and can skate the puck from his end at will. Showed off a hard shot, was excellent on the PP and can one-time it. His passing, specifically his outlets were not consistent and there were some stretches he struggled to make plays. He still stood out and was better than most. “A” player with a B+ weekend. College: Harvard B+
Miika Mannikko #2 (D, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2001)-Miika is another new player to Neutral Zone vis the SFHA. Really athletic with terrific feet to defend and transition to offense. Four-way mobility and skating allowed him to evade the forecheck and skate pucks from his end. Used the net to his advantage on the breakout and his outlets were mostly clean. Decent size. We noted he played a lot of minutes against Buffalo and in all situations, especially against their potent first line. We though he looked a bit worn down the last day but we will not hold that against him. He did well here and his game is solid. The type of D every coach wishes they had. B+
Garrett Kessler #33 (D, L, Buffalo Jr. Sabres U16, 2001)-6’4” and 190lbs and Garrett actually looked even bigger. Although he is a bit stiff, he got around the ice well. Wasn’t afraid to jump up in the rush and looked good along the blue lin. Can play in all situations. Must quicken up his play with the puck on the breakout but he is aware and well positioned to defend. Raw still with upside. B+
Tim Fitzpatrick #4 (D, R, Bruins U16, 2002)-The 2002 is a new addition to our profiles and this was our first look at Tim. He is still on the smaller side but we liked his feet as he showed good four-way mobility. Seemed to be able to accelerate quickly when he changed direction. Stick skills were good and his outlets were solid. We liked his approach as he is a smart player. Understands all situations and rarely made mistakes in positioning. He is interesting with lots of upside as a three-zone defender. We will need more but we liked our first look at Fitzpatrick. B
William Tripp #5 (D, L, Whalers U16, 2002, Coyle Cassidy HS)-Tripp is very quick and we really liked his game on the PP. he is small right now but confident and athletic. Excellent feet allowed him to retrieve pucks quickly and avoid the forecheck. Moved well along the offensive blue and shot to tips. B
Preston Brighton #24 (D, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, late 2002)-Preston is a Colorado native and a late 2002 for the SFHA. He did well. Not flashy and at times early looked a bit nervous/unsure. He shouldn’t be. His basic instincts, especially in his end are solid. He got better as the weekend went on. One play on a partial breakaway for the opponent, Brighton just let his goalie handle the shooter and didn’t chase. It was subtle but smart play at a key moment in a close game. Most 2002s don’t make that decision. Scored a nice goal under the bar against a D1 goalie against the Whalers. Lots of upside and we liked his approach. B-
Riley Rosenthal #6 (D, R, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, late 2003)-Riley is a very late 2003. He did just fine against some of the area’s best U16 players and several D1 caliber Fs. He is listed at 6’ 220lbs and although we are not sure he is that heavy, he played a sturdy game and never was pushed around. He was out at the end of games in key situations. Clearly trusted by his coaches, we will need more viewings of Riley but he impressed considering his age and play here. B-
Juho Jarvenpaa #15 (D, R, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2001)-Took good angles and has a big frame at 6’4” and 198 lbs. Used his leverage to win pucks. He was very quick to point of attack and we liked his hands as he was able to gather and distribute. Scored a rebound goal where he showed a decent burst to close on a loose puck and athletic intelligence to turn his body quickly and get the puck on net. Shot to tips and placed a nice shot/pass to Amaya for a tip in PP goal. B-
Ali Khoda #14 (D, L, NS Wings U16, 2001, St. John’s Prep)-Khoda made this list because we had the word “athletic” next to his name twice in or notes. Most of the plays we noted involved Ali jumping up in the offense either by starting the rush or pushing up as the second wave. His instincts are good going up the ice. He skated well with the puck. We didn’t get a great read on his game in the defensive zone. He has the tools to be a very good two-way D at the MIAA level soon. Upside as his best hockey is in front of him.
Nick Serio #14 (D, R, PAL Islanders U16, 2001)-Serio is a player we keep noticing as this is his third report in the last few months. That means he is doing mostly good things. Here, he showed that he can play his off side and had the hands and poise to not expose the puck on the breakout. He showed quick hands to find pucks, is quick, wiry and still pretty raw. He is a player to watch as there is athleticism, diversity and consistency in his play.
Zach List #22 (D, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, late 2001)-List is one of the eight Florida natives on the SFHA. He moved the puck well in transition as he seemed to sense where he wanted to go where the puck before turnovers were created. Gaps were good and outlets were made with proper pace to good spots. His strength is that he processes the play beyond the play. On Klimo’s goal above, List took a hit and made a tape to tape pass to send him on his way up ice. Showed toughness and selflessness. His skating and balance all looked OK but we need more to be specific there. The late 2001 played tough and did well here.
Kevin MacKay #21 (D, L, Whalers U16, 2001, Dexter)-He is interesting. Kevin seemed to get better the more intense and the faster games got. He doesn’t have elite speed but used his size to shake opponents off. His turns were tight and he was able to maintain puck possession and start transition out of them. Strong hands to snap passes off and get pucks to the net. He was thrown out for a scrum in front of his goalie which we can live with assuming he was protecting goalie which is debatable.
Alex Sawhney #23 (D, R, NS Wings U16, 2001, St. John’s Prep)-The 2001 kept his gaps tight and used a good stick to create turnovers and start transition. He is raw and has a good frame that can add weight/strength. Skating is decent but his puck play was limited. Our first look at Alex and we will see him again as he has upside.
Tomas Horak #29 (G, L, South Florida Hockey Academy U16, 2001)-Tomas makes big saves. We watched his back SFHA to wins over the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and the Whalers. The Czech goalie is not big but he athleticism is on display in the net. He is balanced and moved well in every direction. What we really liked was his quiet intensity. He looked like he was going to stop the puck in every situation. His body language is excellent and he fought hard for pucks. Against Buffalo, he stopped BC commit Ambrosio twice in the third period on point blank chances. He would not be intimidated. After the second chance (a great glove save,) Buffalo parents were yelling “happy birthday” at Tomas loudly and in a condescending way. Ambrosio chirped Horak as well and he simply gave the puck to the ref, chirped back to the Buffalo forward, regained his poise and proceeded to win the game. He is the type of goalie any player wants to play for. He won’t back down.
Drew Commesso #35 (G, L, Whalers U16, 2002. St. Sebastian’s)-Drew is a top goalie prospect but he struggled a bit here with low shots, specifically in his rebound control. He showed off a great glove and also showed he can handle the puck and made some crisp passes up ice. A bad day for Drew is a great day for most goalies and he is still perhaps the best goaltending prospect in his age bracket. He just didn’t put together an “A” performance here.
Noah Dorsey #29 (G, L, NS Wings U16, 2001, St. John’s Prep)-We didn’t have our goalie scout in attendance here so the fact that Noah stood out speaks to his presence. He has good size and we like the way he moved side to side. Poised, looked athletic and battled for the puck in his crease. Skating and strength give him good command of the paint. Got up and down well and should be a factor for SJP in MIAA play.
Mason Kucenski #35 (G, L, Bruins U16, 2002)-Mason is confident and showed a great glove here. He left few rebounds, found pucks through screens and took away shooting angles. We liked his anticipation as he seems to see plays develop quickly. Young goalies are tough but the 2002 looked like one that could evolve into a player.
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images