Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Hatfield Ice Dogs on map with 6-0 start in 18U Diamond Division
By Joshua Boyd
After this year, it’s highly likely no one will forget the name the Hatfield Ice Dogs.
In the highly competitive world of 18U hockey, the Ice Dogs are creating a fine niche as a winning team in an Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League whose profile rises higher every year.
The Ice Dogs’ own profile is rising within the EJEPL thanks to a 6-0 start out of the gate.
The Ice Dogs joined up with the EJEPL after making a run for the Tier-2 18U National Championships last year.
“We wanted to step up the competition. We’ve been doing very well at the Tier-2 level, and we cross over and play Tier-1 around [Pennsylvania]. Tier-2 just wasn’t the competition we were looking for any more, so this move made sense,” said general manager and 18U head coach Ken Doak.
There are 18 total teams under the Ice Dogs name, but they currently only place their 12U and 18U teams in the EJEPL. Doak attributes the 18U squad’s success to their closeness after playing together throughout the summer.
“We got this team together in May, starting with the EJEPL Showcase in Aston [Pa.], and we ended up winning the championship,” said Doak. “We just kept them on the ice al summer and kept their nose to the grindstone. They’ve stayed healthy, and that’s huge.”
Defense and goaltending have also been key to the Ice Dogs’ early success.
“I have a very strong defensive corps and two really good goalies,” said Doak. “I can take a lead into the third period ice cut and then shut a team down. They can’t even get through us.”
He’s really excited about Chris Fiorillo and Kenny Doak in the net. They’ve responded well to the faster pace of competition in the EJEPL, Coach Doak said.
On the defense, Doak believes Zach Aubry could be a potential USHL prospect, and he’s looking to get Aubrey in front of scouts from the country’s Tier-1 junior league.
“He’s 17, but he can rush the puck up and then get back and still have no one beat him,” said Doak. “He’s just so fast and he’s doing really well for me.”
Dave Andrews is another high-flying ’98 for the Ice Dogs. Doak says he is another potential USHL prospect.
“He can skate as fast as any forward on my team. He’s awesome at the point and on the power play,” Doak said.
Ryan Trefz is another defenseman who is “hard to get around in the zone.”
Up front, Taylor Smith (six goals, 14 points in six games) and Luke Zacny (four goals, 12 points in six games) have been real sparkplugs up front.
“They have a natural knack for putting the puck in the net,” said Doak. “The puck seems to come to them. The biggest thing is they see the ice very well, and they have great speed.”
At the Silver Stick Tournament in Philadelphia, the Ice Dogs saw “five or six players approached by junior coaches.”
“Most of the players want to play college hockey, whether that’s NCAA Division 3 or 1 or some might end up playing club hockey at the colleges they pick,” added Doak.
This could be the start of something beautiful for some select Ice Dogs, and if they make it to their hoped-for school and pull on a jersey, they could say it all started in the EJEPL.
Read past Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League articles in our archive: