Eastern Junior Hockey League Proud to Hit 100 Commitments for 2012-13
By Joshua Boyd
The Bandits welcomed goalie Jake Soffer into the fold this year, and theyâ€™re only too happy to bid him farewell and good luck in his future. After all, Soffer recently committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
for this fall.
Other Bandits ready for their NCAA Division 1 careers to begin include Nick Finn, who takes his skills to the College of the Holy Cross, and leading scorer Matt Salhany, who joins the University of Alabama- Huntsville, which is headed towards WCHA membership.
Three other players are joining teams that were ranked in the top 10 overall in NCAA Division 3â€™s Eastern Regional rankings. Kevin Walters was tabbed by Utica College (No. 2), Matt Sullivan is bound for Bowdoin (No. 4), Michael Phillips matriculates to Babson College (No. 5) and Luke Stickel is heading for Williams College (No. 10).
Additionally, Jack Burton is going to Colby College.
Boston Junior Bruins
With a college recruit class of 13, the Boston Junior Bruins have their largest since they advanced 16 players to college in the 2009-10 season.
Itâ€™s mostly a Hockey East-bound crowd from the Junior Bruins with neighbors Northeastern University and Boston University welcoming two Bâ€™s apiece. Kevin Duane, who joined the Junior Bruins from the USHLâ€™s Waterloo Black Hawks, will join the Terriers this fall. A year later, Junior Bruins alum Jack Eichel (who played with the U.S. National Team Development
Program this year) will be there, as well.
The Junior Bruins helped guide Floridian Will Messa to Bostonâ€™s Huntington Avenue, home of Northeastern. In the fall of 2014, the â€™95-born Josh Couturier will also become a Northeastern Husky.
The University of Maine will welcome â€™95-born forward Ryan Cloonan. Frank Vatrano (who skated in the USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game) joins the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.
In the fall of 2014, Bryan Lemos will â€œreturn homeâ€ to Providence College.
The ECAC also welcomes a pair of Junior Bruins, including leading scorer Kyle Nickerson (Dartmouth) and goalie Joe Young (Union). Division 3 recruits from the Junior Bruins include Paul Russell and Cody Smith, both headed to top-ranked Norwich, Devin Albert (moving on to Colby) and Mitch Beyer (off to Hobart College).
Islanders Hockey Club
Formerly the New England Jr. Huskies, this program welcomed former Monarchs GM/head coach Sean Tremblay in a similar position, and he has reaped college success for his players already.
Yale University will get Islanders teammates Michael Doherty and recent commit Chris Izmirlian. Goaltender Colton Phinney will have fun trying to stop those two when heâ€™s tending the net for Princeton (alongside the Bay State Breakers goalie Ben Halford).
Big 6-foot-4-inch Connor MacPhee will skate for Providence College and Michael Jamieson will be across the Hockey East at Northeastern.
Zach Sanford, ranked 83rd among North American Skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau rankings, will join Boston College in the fall of 2014.
SUNY-Geneseo, like Yale, will get a pair of Islanders teammates in Connor Anthoine and Derek Stahl. Captain Ryan Callahan joins Plymouth State and Austin Suro wiec will head to Norwich University.
New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs
The Monarchsâ€™ new general manager/ head coach Ryan Frew wanted to put his own stamp on the program and he did just that. Heâ€™s got a good crew moving on up to the Division 1 ranks.
Casey Shea is a UMass-Lowell recruit. Derek Freeman is joining Colgate University. Alex Holland matriculates to Merrimack College. Steve McKenna moves on to the U. of Alabama-Huntsville.
Alumni Cam Brown and Brian Morgan (both of whom played in the USHL this year) are moving on to the University of Maine together.
Portland Jr. Pirates
The Pirates took over the EJHL franchise of the defunct Green Mountain Glades this season. The former Atlantic Junior League team had some tough times in its first EJ season, but were still able to advance several team members.
Cameron Romoff, a Quebec native, started the season with the Pirates beforemoving to Ontario Jr. A hockey. Next season, heâ€™ll be back in New England at Brown University.
Longtime Pirates Tim Searles and Trevor Fleurent pulled the trigger on commitments this year, choosing Babson College and the University of New England, respectively.
Southern New Hampshire University receives Pirates Sean McTiernan and Nate Bergeron. Zach White is going to western New York to attend and play for SUNYFredonia. Sean Nelson will be a Curry College Colonel next year and Bradley Smelstor will don the Hamilton College Continentalsâ€™ jersey.
Rochester Jr. Stars
The Stars feature dynamic forward Dylan Shapiro, who is in his third year with the team (except for a stint earlier this season with the Junior Bruins). Shapiro will next bring his talents to UMass-Lowell, which has been competing for top spot in Hockey East this year.
Nathan Billitier, who skated for the Stars last year, will also skate in the Hockey East, but with brand new incoming member the University of Notre Dame. Billitier joinsthe Fighting Irish in 2014.
Matt Esposito, the current teamâ€™s thirdleading scorer, will join SUNY-Oswego, ranked third in the nation.
Another member of the 2011-12 Stars, Nathan Pelligra (now with the Buffalo Jr. Sabres) is moving on to Manhattanville College.
Valley Jr. Warriors
One name to remember for the future is that of Ryan Fitzgerald. The son of longtime NHLer Tom Fitzgerald, Ryan was named the MVP of the USA Hockey All- American Prospects game last September. Where do the best go? To the college thatâ€™s recently been the best, the 2010 and 2012 National Champion Boston College.
Ryan is ranked 46th among North American Skaters for the upcoming NHL Draft. He already has Beanpot rivals among his current Warriors teammates. Brendan Collierâ€™s off to Boston University, Jake Schechter has chosen Northeastern and Devin Tringale is going to Harvard University.
Teammate Julian Fialkow will see Tringale the most, skating across the ECAC for Colgate. Ryan Badger joined the Warriors from the USHL and is going to the University of Maine in 2014.
Also, forward Nick Leonard will start his college career this fall at Saint Anselm College. Joe Scarfo is bound for Curry College and Marcus Moles is off to SUNYFredonia.
By Mike Klein
Bay State Breakers
The Bay State Breakers have one of their youngest rosters in recent memory, but Dave McCauley has continued to produce NCAA prospects. Goaltender Ben Halford has committed to Princeton University for 2014, so look for him to continue to stonewall EJHL forwards next season.
First year players James Kline and Jake Strzalowski will both wear new uniforms next year: Kline will play for traditional NESCAC power Wesleyan University while Stzalowski will attend Salem State University.
Though the Connecticut Oilers only entered the EJHL this past season, the team already has two players carrying the banner in the NCAA ranks next year. Connor Lamberti became the first Oiler to commit to a college when he accepted a spot at Hamilton College in the fall.
Joining him in college hockey next year is Jake Rosen, an EJHL veteran who also played for the Oilersâ€™ predecessor club last season. Rosen takes his talents to Buffalo State College.
It seems more difficult to find an NCAA hockey team that does not have a Jersey Hitmen alum on the roster with every passing year, as Toby Harrisâ€™ players travel near and far to play at the next level.
The Hitmen will have excellent representation in ECAC Hockey with Eric Sade arriving at Cornell University in September and Andrew Black ticketed for Colgate University.
Danny Lopez will join them in 2014 when he matriculates at Harvard University.
Jason Stephanik and Tim Clifton will remain as teammates when they suit up for Quinnipiac University in the fall.
Steve Perry and Dylan Gareau are both bound for Clarkson University, also in the ECAC.
Similarly, Tanner Creel and Connor Costello will both play for the U.S. Military Academy (Army Black Knights) next season. Phil Nascaâ€™s been tabbed by Niagara University. Jack Riley will play against all of them as a member of Mercyhurst College, while Michael Barrett has committed to Holy Cross.
Corbin McGuireâ€™s next stop is Madison, Wis., where he will play for the Wisconsin Badgers next year. Another trio of Hitmen will battle each other in Hockey East in the fall, as John Henke will become a Maine Black Bear while Jordan Masters will play for the University of New Hampshire. Brendan Bradley will head north to the University of Vermont. Ali Thomas will play for the newest Hockey East member, the University of Notre Dame.
Joe Masonius has already committed to UNH for 2015.
New York Apple Core
The Apple Core have become an excellent feeder to the powerful NESCAC conference and this year reinforces that perception. Tyler Young will play at tenthranked Williams College and Colin Reilly has committed to Bowdoin College. Veteran goaltender Sal Magliocco will join the Elmira College Eagles in the fall after two excellent seasons in the EJHL. The Apple Core brought along Boston College prospect Steve Santini while he was here in 2010-11. Michigan recruit Kevin Lohan played for the 2011-12 Core, and now skates in the BCHL.
The Revolution continue to move players to the next level and continue to do so with two players currently committed to
NCAA programs. Western New England University has called upon Dane Genord to join their incoming class while Jordan Hanth joins a sizeable contingent of EJHL alumni at Utica College.
South Shore Kings
It should come as no surprise that Scott Harlowâ€™s team continues to churn out NCAA prospects, with nine players knowing their destinations for the fall.
Chicago Blackhawks draft pick Chris Calnan will bolster powerhouse Boston College in the fall while Chris LeBlanc will face off against him as a Merrimack College Warrior as they do battle in Hockey East.
Andrew Doane has added his name to the lengthy list of Kings alumni at ECAC Ivy League schools, as he will play for Brown University. Jake Kulevich will also play in the ECAC as his next stop is Colgate University.
Joe Bruckler, a mid-season addition to the Kings, is ticketed for West Point.
Top ranked Division 3 team Norwich University has called upon Anthony Flaherty, Tyler Piacentini, and Kyle LeBrun to keep them at the top of the standings. Veteran forward Jon Mleczko will join the Babson College Beavers next season.
The Springfield Pics have put together a healthy list of college commitments that is sure to grow as the NCAA teams look to fill out their rosters for the upcoming season.
So far, Dan Mele has committed to the University of Connecticut for next season as they prepare to join the ultra-competitive Hockey East Association. Willy Smith will face off against him starting in 2014 when he joins the UMass Minutemen.
Dmitry Ermakov will join Division 3 power Norwich University in the fall while Zak Kokosa will become a Bowdoin College Polar Bear in September.