Nichols-Belmont Hill Holiday Tournament: Day One

This year the Belmont Hill-Nichols took place at Belmont Hill. They played three fifteen minute periods and made ice only after the second. The games were intense and the staff there were exceptional hosts. Below are the recaps of all four games.

Belmont Hill vs Nichols

The first game of the day featured a rematch of the Lawrenceville Tournament final as Nichols and Belmont faced off. Belmont Hill won that last meeting to win the Lawrenceville Tournament title in NJ.

The first period was fast and both teams had excellent chances. 2002 Michael Hauswirth flashed a quick glove and made a great skate save to keep the Nichols off the board. Belmont Hill struck with 1:56 left as Colgate commit and NHL Prospect Ryan McGuire gained the offensive zone, moved laterally on his forehand and snapped one low to get BHS on the board.

The second period was also fast and both teams had quality chances. 6’7” Nichols’ goalie, Owen Parker made a few terrific stops and Hauswirth held the fort as well. Period ended 1-0 Belmont Hill. Neither team took a penalty and the pace was at times frenetic.

In the third period it was even more of the same. Nichols carried the play in the middle part of the frame due to a couple power play chances but Belmont Hill played smart hockey and Michael Hauswirth made some terrific saves to earn the shutout and the win 1-0. Both teams play tonight.

Three Stars:

First: Michael Hauswirth (BHS)

Second: Ryan McGuire (BHS)

Third: Braden Reilly (BHS)

NZ Notes: For Nichols; they play with a lot of pace. 2002 Cameron Ricotta showed lots of speed and lateral mobility. Shifty and dangerous. 2001 Dylan Lugris is rangy, long and very strong on the puck. He snapped cross ice passes and stayed around the puck on the big sheet. On defense 2004 Yale commit Joe Blackley is talented and makes things look easy. Has great vision. 2003 Jeremy McDonald made crisp passes and didn’t dust it off in transition. He also hit to stop the rush at his blue line. For Belmont Hill; Hauswirth was very good today. He tracked pucks and made stops with his upper and lower body. He was the difference as the game was fairly wide open. Junior Kevin McCallum was buzzing and was tough, hunted pucks and went to the net front. Undersized but a factor all game. McGuire was excellent on face offs and his goal was smart as he forced a huge goalie to deal with a low shot. Reilly was all over the ice. He showed a good stick in the defensive zone and hit to create turnovers. Forechecked like crazy and backchecked like crazy. Will Killoran is a is a big, string sophomore defenseman. This morning he showed some flair up ice as he joined the rush and made plays. Belmont Hill has improved. They are tougher and a better skating club than last year.

Albany Academy vs Academie St. Louis

The second game of the day was between the Albany Academy Cadets and the Academie St. Louis. The Cadets jumped out right away scoring five straight goals and dominating play. 2001 Matt Carlson scored two goals to get things going. One with 11:54 left and the next with 11:21. First was assisted by 2003 Theo Angelopoulos and Nolan Towne. The second by Towne and 2004 Michael Murtagh. Albany would score with 1:40 left as Michael Lucey sniped from Cormac Hayes. 15 seconds later Will Jennings snapped one home on a nice pass from Ryan Eccles. First ended 4-0 Albany Academy.

The second was more of the same early. Jennings scored again on another nice pass, this time by Murtagh just 1:26 in and it was a five-goal lead for the Cadets. St. Louis started to push back a bit and close the gap. They popped three goals in a four-minute span. Brave Doryan Ntibashoboye, Samuel Dore and Francis Brochu pulled St. Louis to within two as it was now 5-3. Murtagh responded as heflew up ice and dipped to the net for the backhand to forehand finish to make it 6-3 and end any hope of a comeback. Assist to Towne. With 7:02 left Jennings made a clever move and shot to add the seventh and final goal and complete the hat trick. Final score. 7-4 Albany Academy.

Three Stars:

First: Michael Murtagh (AA)

Second: Matt Carlson (AA)

Third: Ryan Eccles (AA)

NZ Notes: For Albany Academy; Will Jennings has always had touch near the net and showed that here. He can score. Matt Carlson centered the first line and valued possession and distributed well. Also, can fire the puck. September 2004 Michael Murtagh is a DI prospect. St Louis wasn’t the best opponent to judge him but his tools are all intact. Ryan Eccles has size at 6’1” and 200lbs. The 2001 RD moved well, showed great reach and played smart in his end. Combo of strength and a great stick made him tough to beat. He also made plays in transition and along the OZB. For Academie St. Louis; they played hard down five goals and got within two in this game. That says a lot.

Millbrook vs #12 Brunswick

The third game of the first day of the Belmont Hill-Nichols featured the #12 Brunswick Bruins and the Millbrook Mustangs.

Millbrook scored in their first shift as Niko Rexine scored from Jake Percival and Mac Elliot. Pace was good and the teams played a physical game. Brunswick struck next when 2002 Jakub Teply grabbed a puck from the air, dropped it and headed to the net where he muscled one home. 1-1 game with 9:28 left in the first. With 5:15 left, Will Forrest ripped one home from a strange angle and it was 2-1 Bruins. Forrest wasn’t done with his shift as 46 seconds later he finished off a rebound of a John Burdett shot to make it 3-1. That’s how the period ended as Brunswick held the advantage in puck possession time and on the scoreboard.

Brunswick struck again in the second as Quinnipiac commit Matthew McGrroarty scored on the power play from Andon Cerbone and Jude Brower. 4-1 Brunswick. Michael Salandra added another with 9:52 to go from Cerbone. Both teams got into some penalty trouble and both sides had chances 5v3 as the game became a bit ragged. Millbrook pulled closer with 5:20 left as Shane Albert buried a pretty pass from David Ciancio. 5-2 Brunswick after two periods.

The third period was wild. Millbrook scored three unanswered goals. Kyle Neudorf started the comeback on a nice pass by late 2003 DJ Walsh. With 8:26 left it was 5-3 Brunswick. Soon after Percival ripped one home from Zach Bookman and it was 5-4. Millbrook took a late penalty and their chances looked bleak. However, with 12.5 seconds left Bauer Morrissey made a great keep at his blue and fired the puck through a crowd, top corner to tie the game. Off they went to overtime.

Overtime was 5v5 and Brunswick won it a couple minutes in as McGroarty popped a pass home from Cerbone on a 2v1 for the win.

Three Stars:

First: Matthew McGroarty (Brunswick)

Second: Andon Cerbone (Brunswick)

Third: Zach Bookman (Millbrook)

NZ Notes: For Millbrook; they are clearly resilient and also explosive. Bauer Morrissey is a slick, athletic 2002 defenseman who made a lot f plays. His feet are excellent and his puck play was flawless. He has to almost go to his knees on the tying goal, gather the puck and quickly rip it on net. It was an exceptional keep. He has a lot of upside. Merrimack commit Zack Bookman was excellent. He had great touches and dispossessed opponents quickly. He made hard, accurate passes through seams. Can dangle and fire and is a hockey player. Great showing. Jake Percival was good as well. He can fire the puck in stride and was around the puck all game. Also played 5-3 PK and dove to clear a puck. For Brunswick; they are young and had a 2004 on the ice in almost every important situation. 2003 Michael Salandra is smart, slick and always shows up. He showed a quick release, good speed and balance and his being undersized was never a factor. 2004 Andon Cerbone ran the power play. He is not afraid of big moments and has elite hands. Tough and smart. Possible NTDP Invitee. Matthew McGroarty and Jakub Teply bot were tough to play against and scored big goals. Both have the size and skill to play a number of ways.

St. Francis vs Rivers

In the final game of the “morning” program, Rivers took on St. Francis from Athol Springs, NY.

The first two periods were even as both goalies were called in to make some quality saves. St. Francis and Rivers has a consistent net front presence and the pace and physical play was very good. Play was even but Rivers was able to grab the only goal with 13:05 left in the second. Mel Moratelli banged home a rebound of a Luke Swaim shot. Both players are 2004s. The teams went to the room with Rivers leading 1-0.

In the third, Rivers controlled play as they started to wear SF down. St. Francis’ goalie was excellent as he made several terrific stops to give his team a chance. However, the Rivers defense and goalie Casen Janko did not need any more goals. Rivers got the win 1-0 over a well-coached, gritty and determined St. Francis team.

Three Stars

First: Mitch Taylor (St. Francis)

Second: Pat Lawn (Rivers)

Third: Casen Janko (Rivers)

NZ Notes: For St. Francis; they played a hard-nosed, direct style. Taylor was very good in the net. He is active, athletic, and tough. Senior Connor Sedia is undersized but tough and fast. Played with all he had every shift. Tough to play against and a bit tricky in the offensive zone. He even was forced to play defense on a switch and handled it perfectly. Junior Ryan Walsh showed pace and created clean zone entries. Played key situations. For Rivers; Janko was steady and not overwhelmed but remained prepared when he had to make big stops. Ollie Chessler is athletic and showed he could handle any situation. He is slick and has a pretty stride. Possible NTDP Invitee. Will Conway played a man’s game. The junior 2003 is not a burner but got around the big sheet well. He stayed on the pucks and has a rocket release. Heavy game, heavy shot and played through contact. Pat Lawn was the best player on the ice. The Bentley commit keeps getting better. Junior Sam Amato is another improved player for Rivers. Has played some forward but was in back tonight. He is very fast, closed quickly to defend and can recover from mistakes. He carried up ice and joined the rush. Not a big player but hot to defend and took hits to make plays. Late 2001.

Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images