Neutral Zone scouts were in attendance for Day 2 of the Exeter Invitational. A brief recap of each game and a few players who stood out.
Hebron Academy 6 Vermont Academy 2
Recap: Hebron rebounded nicely after a tough loss on Day #1 where they gave up 9 goals against Gunnery. It was a collective effort; there wasn’t really any one standout in this game but Hebron went on the attack, they got pucks to the net and played physical in their own end. Vermont Academy looked tired and weren’t able to generate much offensively.
Vermont Academy: John Kondub had a strong game, he’s got quick, smooth hands and great 1v1 ability. Another prospect who played well was Aidan Robbins, a senior forward who showed good skill coming out of the corners and creating offensive chances.
Hebron Academy: This was really a team effort in this win. We were impressed again with the play of Spencer Ryall who is a bit undersized but goes hard after every puck and has the speed and shifty footwork to get around defenders. Senior defenseman and captain Nick Bisson showed his ability to run the power play and was poised and efficient on breakouts moving the puck up to his forwards.
Kent 5 New Hampton 2
Recap: Kent rebounded nicely here after a tough loss to Exeter the night before. New Hampton battled hard but didn’t quite look to be over their disappointing third period against Brunswick where they blew a 6-2 lead. Kent showed their depth here, they rolled three lines and used their speed to stretch the ice and get pucks up ice quickly. New Hampton didn’t quit but the speed was a lot for them to handle.
New Hampton: We continue to be impressed with junior forward Isaac MacLeod; he was heavy on pucks, he scored a nice goal and can really shoot the puck. Their top line of Jack Ring – Jake Dunlap – Alec Grace was able to skate with Kent and generated some scoring chances but weren’t able to capitalize. Steven Ardagna on the back end had a solid game; he got to pucks on retrievals, moved it quickly and accurately and proved he can skate it up ice when there is a lane. He can defend with his body or his stick and did a nice job limiting opponents chances on the rush and shutting down 1v1’s out of the corners.
Kent: A lot the same names stood out today as did yesterday; Perryman, Cobb (x2), Pierce, Kleinhans, Laferriere, Posma and Giummo. However a few new names took a step forward in their second game; starting with Dane Dowiak, the skilled Penn State commit who was playing with more confidence and using his puck handling ability and vision to make plays. Aidan Cobb posted 2 goals and an assist but it was his quick, crafty decision making and hustle at both ends that stood out. Lastly, sophomore Mike Kwiecinski is a small, agile, quick footed skater with swift hands and passing ability. Overall, this is a team that has at least 13 college prospects and will be a tough matchup for any team.
Kimball Union 7 Brunswick 3
Recap: KUA didn’t have their best game against Vermont Academy the previous day but ramped it up here against a talented Brunswick team. They can roll three lines all game, they have the size and the speed which put a lot of pressure on opposing defenders and they attack the net. KUA scored 7 goals from 7 different players which is impressive and speaks to their depth. Brunswick’s younger prospects are talented and showed they can make plays even against one of preps top teams, but they didn’t have enough to skate with them for three periods. Cooper Moore continued his strong play from yesterday’s 5 goals; he opened up the scoring with the first 2 goals.
Brunswick: Ryan St. Louis – Charles Shaffer – Paul Davey line was excellent; St. Louis skill and hockey sense are high, Davey has the size, athleticism and puck skill rare for a prospect of his age and Shaffer has the speed, acceleration and quick hands to make talented defenders miss in open ice. We were also impressed with the play of small ’03 Michael Salandra who scored a nice rebound goal and, while he took a beating at times, never stopped his feet and never backed down.
Kimball Union: There are a lot of players on this team that stand out; but the two uncommitted forward who continued to prove they are worthy of NCAA D1 attention are Paul Dore and Tomas Mazura. Dore was strong on pucks, he won battles and made nice plays out of the corners to get to the net. Mazura is a tall, thin, soft handed forward with touch around the net. Also liked PG forward Zach Taylor who competes hard, throws his body around, attacks the net and can skate through checks and make plays in traffic. Other lesser known prospects who stood out were senior forward Seth Stadheim who scored off his own rebound and junior speedster Sullivan Mack. On the back end Teddy Griffin took a step forward in this game and the regular cast of characters (Merritt, Penney, Carrabes and Newhook) all played well. Conner Chalmers, the only ’03 on the team, scored a brilliant snap shot goal top corner from the point which knocked the water bottle right off the net. A prospect to keep tabs on. After this game, KUA looks like a team that deserves its high preseason ranking.
Exeter 4 Gunnery 2
Recap: This was a big matchup between two ranked opponents and while Exeter won the game, both teams had a slew of chances. Both squads are on the older side, they both can roll three lines and have the size and grit to play with anyone. Exeter was able to capitalize on their chances and Gunnery wasn’t which was really the story of the game. Exeter got up 3-0 but Gunnery came back 3-2 and had all the momentum but couldn’t get that tying goal.
Exeter: Exeter’s top line of seniors Garrett Foster – Paddy Bogart – Michael Pitts are tough to handle and they are complimented nicely with skilled forwards Andrew Seaman and Danny Colon on the second group. Their defense is solid from top to bottom and PG PJ Garrett is starting to come into his own. Today’s game we were particularly impressed with senior Nicholas Foderaro who has size, athleticism and skating ability to carry pucks end to end at will. He also plays the body, has good reach and defensive instincts. Yesterday we thought Bogarts was their best forward but today it was likely Foster; both have hard skill; they win battles but have the poise, puck control and vision to make plays.
Gunnery: Gunnery had stretches in this game where they outplayed Exeter and it wasn’t a result of any individual performance but that of the collective. They have a team full of NCAA prospects and are deep at every position but struggled in this game to finish. We have been impressed with the play of Niko Ioannou and Hunter Sansbury on the backend who are two uncommitted defenders worth a look and obviously Jimmy Rayhill who has excellent composure and swift hands to create offense from the back end. Up front forwards Alex Jefferies, Mark D’agostino and Mason Beecher stood out. Beecher is starting to find his stride; a big, tall, high compete forward with deceptive stick skill. We also liked the play of Jeff Kopek and Case Kantgias, two emerging power forwards who are tough to play against below the dots and can make some plays.