Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League

Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Connecticut Oilers 18U squad looking slick early on

Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Connecticut Oilers 18U squad looking slick early on

By Joshua Boyd

The Connecticut Oilers 18U team faced its toughest test of the season over the Oct. 4-5 weekend.Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League,EJEPL,18U,Connecticut Oilers,Chris Myhro,USA Junior Hockey

The Oilers took a lot away from the two loses that weekend against CP Dynamo. Despite the defeats, the Oilers are still far and away the best performer in total points in the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League 18U Division. They hold a record of 7-3 and were 7-1 in their Atlantic/South Division.

“We have beaten the teams we are supposed to beat, which says something, but we need to take it to the next level in terms of competing with some of the top under-18 teams in the country,” said Oilers head coach Chris Myhro. “The team has a lot of personality and a good mix of kids from different backgrounds. It’s a fun group to coach.”

The Oilers, who started their EJEPL season back on Aug. 23, went 5-1 before August even ended. Since then, they went 2-2, beating the Long Island Arrows twice before CP Dynamo spoiled the party.

“We’re focusing on being committed to the little things that might not be flashy but win hockey games,” said Myhro. “Handling a rimmed puck or a pass not so perfect on the wall, taking a hit to make the play, working without the puck to be available, taking smart routes and really taking care of the puck.”

He also stressed making several short passes for a scoring chance.

“Not that I don’t like a long stretch pass for a breakaway, but if you make a bunch of good little plays it adds up, and it’s fun,” said Myhro. “I like to see the puck move.”

And, boy, does Kevin Robinson make the puck move. The ’96 racked up 12 goals and nine assists in his 10 games to lead the Oilers and the EJEPL overall.

“He has a gift around the net. His spatial awareness in a 5-foot circle around him is exceptional,” said Myhro. “When you think he has no room cutting hard to the net, he finds some. When he gets his chances he makes the most of them.”

Myhro expects Robinson to see some time with the Oilers’ top team in the Eastern Hockey League this season. “Next year, I think he will be a steady top forward for [the EHL Oilers],” he added.

Robinson had a six-point lead in the league scoring race over teammate and fellow ’96 Jack Mendillo, who had 10 goals and 15 points in his 10 games.

“Jack has a wicked wrister. He can really zip it. It’s fun to watch him shoot, and he is strong on his skates and protects the puck well,” said Myhro.

He also praised team captain ’96 Justin Brown, who plays with “a big heart” and has six points in 10 games.

“The sacrifice he shows for the team on the ice has been tremendous and we really appreciate having him lead us in the right direction, by example,” said Myhro.

Myhro was also very impressed with his defensive corps and what they each bring to the table.

Giancarlo Pochintesta’s off-season work has especially paid off, while Brian Taccone’s puck control is a telltale sign of his roots as a forward, making the transition to D.

Kevin Love is back to full stride after battling back from a lower body injury, Craig Hessenius has a strong shot, Ryan Palmers has a “huge” physical presence, and Eamman McMillon stands at 6-feet-4-inches and has good size and puck control.

Adam Karashik, a ’98, is also turning heads early on.

“He has excellent vision, very good lateral, forward, and backward skating and he protects the puck well,” said Myhro. “He is a young prospect in the area that has great potential.”

In goal, Justin Lampert (’98) put up four shutouts and was “a huge reason” that the Oilers tied Team Illinois.

“He’s the type that can rise to the occasion – what you’d call a ‘gamer,’” said Myhro.

The Oilers are back in EJEPL action next weekend at their home SoNo Ice House in Norwalk, Conn., against the Phantoms Youth squad of Bethlehem, Pa.


Read past Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League articles in our archives: 

Girls divisions set for three age groups

Apple Core win 16U regular season title, Monarchs win 18U crown

Rhode Island Hitmen fighting to stay near top


Boston Jr. Bandits: Newcomers take over Eastern Hockey League squad early

Boston Jr. Bandits: Newcomers take over Eastern Hockey League squad early

By Joshua Boyd

Latvian import Davis Zembergs has bided his time in the Boston Bandits organization the last two years, playing for the 18U, Empire League and Metropolitan League teams.

Now that he’s gotten his chance with the Bandits’ top squad in the Eastern Hockey League, he’s making it count early.Eastern Hockey League,USA Junior Hockey

Through the Bandits’ first six games, Zembergs was leading the team in scoring with seven points. Zembergs was just ahead of ’95 Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native Clay Berger and ’94 Newport Beach, Calif., native Brandon Seal. Each had five points.

Zembergs scored 79 points to lead the MET team last year, placing fifth in that circuit in scoring. He also helped lead his home country Latvia qualify for the top group in April’s World Under-18 National Championships, where they will face the U.S., Canada, et al. Zembergs has two goals and five assists.

Berger has joined this year from Milton Academy in Massachusetts, where he was a regular contributor. Seal scored 40 points in 31 games for last year’s MET Bandits and also played in six EHL games in 2013-14.

These three are examples of the almost 100 percent new lineup for the Bandits’ EHL squad.

“The team has 19 newcomers this year to the lineup, so practice time has been spent working on refining [play in] the defensive zone,” said head coach Todd Stirling.

On defense, the only returning blueliner ’94 Matt Michalke was the most productive, offensively. He had a goal and three assists in the first six games.

Returning goalie Billy Palmer, a ’95 from Cranston, R.I., went 2-1 and already registered a shutout over the New York Bobcats. His creasemate Calvin Shelley, formerly of the Portland Jr. Pirates 18U team, was also 2-1 with a .906 save percentage.

Amongst the forward ranks, the only holdovers from the 2013-14 EHL squad are Seal, Jon Stickel, and Connor Court. Both Stickel and Court had a pair of points.

Former Lake Forest Academy player Nate Chase, former Noble & Greenough School forward Drew Bennett and former Portland Jr. Pirate Nick Pezza were both among the impressive newcomers, with three points apiece.

Like Zembergs, Hungarian import Zsombor Garat helped his home country move up a level in the World Under-18 tournaments, to the Division 1A group, which Hungary will host in 2015.


Learning curve for Metropolitan League Bandits

It’s never easy to defend a championship that your present group of players had essentially nothing to do with.

However, that’s the situation for the 2014-15 Boston Bandits of the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League (MET).

“This year’s Bandits are an entirely new team from last season’s Keegan Cup champions,” said first-year MET head coach Todd Jacobson.

“This year’s group is very inexperienced when it comes to the junior game,” Jacobson added. “Only five players played junior hockey last season, while the rest are in their first year of junior competition. There will be a learning curve early in the season but I am very excited with this group.”

New ’95 goalies Joe Vinay (East Bridgewater, Mass.) and Brendan Sullivan (Dartmouth, Mass.) take over the crease. Vinay played for the 2013-14 Walpole Express MET team. Shay Kilfoye, a ’94 from East Bridgewater, and Spencer Andrews (’94, Bourne, Mass.) join ’95 Bridgewater resident Nick Holmes as the cornerstones of the defensive corps.

Kilfoye, Andrews, fellow defenseman Bryan Bachelder (Halifax, Mass.) and forward Chris Tanner (Rockland, Mass.) all played for the same junior squad last year.

Tanner leads the forwards, but he’s certainly not alone in the top group up front. He’s joined by South African import Xander Botha, and Massachusetts residents Brendan Collins (Norwell), Cam Levesque (Swansea), Mike Lavoie (Fall River) and Adam Haigh (Brockton).

Collins, a ’95, had three points in the first three games to lead the team in scoring.

“Our strengths are speed and overall work ethic,” said Jacobson. “With their willingness to buy into our systems, we will be positioned for a run in the playoffs come March.”

18U update: The 18U Bandits started the 2014-15 season in Ann Arbor in the first-ever East Coast Elite League Showcase. They were
joined by league members the Rocky Mountain Roughriders, New Jersey Rockets, Iowa Wild, Hill Academy and Hartford Jr. Wolfpack.

Guest participants the Michigan Nationals and Victory Honda also played in the showcase.

“All the teams enjoyed very fast-paced, competitive games all weekend,” said 18U head coach Scott Drevitch.

His team tied all four games, and lost the ensuing shootouts.

“Overall, the weekend was good for us, as we have only been together for a little over a week,” said Drevitch. “We held leads late in three of the four games, and obviously we need to put teams away. It gave us a chance to see where we fit and what we need to work on.”

Merrimack College (NCAA Division 1) recruit Logan Drevitch, a ’98 from Middleboro, Mass., led the team in scoring at the tournament with five points.

Kosice, Slovakia native Erik Hajdu (’96) posted three goals and an assist, while fellow ’96 and Plymouth, Mass., native Mike Taormina had four assists.

Verners Fricbergs, a ’98 from Latvia, had a goal on the weekend, as did ‘96’s Curry White (Naples, Fla.) and Kyle Hooper (Brunswick, Md.)

The Bandits will next play in the East College Cup in Connecticut (Oct. 10-13) and in the Beantown Fall Classic (Oct. 24-26).

16U update: The 16U Bandits joined the 18U team in Ann Arbor, and also played in the Tier-1 Shootout over Labor Day weekend.

“Although the team was really bit by the injury bug and the win-loss results were not what we hoped for, the two weekends were great for the boys to bond, fight through some early adversity and start building on a foundation for success,” said head coach Mark Jones.

In head-to-head action, the Bandits defeated the Boston Jr. Terriers, and was set to play in EJEPL games over two weekends before the East College Cup and the Beantown Fall Classic.

Due to injuries and a need to spark the offense, last year’s top defenseman, offensive-minded ’98 Cooper Jones, was moved up to wing and the move has paid immediate dividends.

“We needed to create a few lines that could really put pressure on people and generate some offense,” said Coach Jones.

Cooper Jones and fellow ’98’s Justin Boffshever and Chad Merrell “are very tough to play against and potent, when they are going,” Coach Jones added.

Nick Flanders and hard-working Josh Gillrie are ’98’s playing the second line with ’99 Brendan Jones.

“They are also a strong group that will be in your face shift to shift,” said Coach Jones.

Defensemen Mick Deaver, Eli Haller, Tyler Viera and Jack Edgar (all ’98’s) are logging key minutes, as are goalies Blake Norman and Ned Murphy (’98’s) and Nick Stiles (’99).

“Although their numbers have not been great early, they are a strong goaltending group that will be key to the team’s success going forward,” added Coach Jones.

Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Girls divisions set for three age groups

Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League: Girls divisions set for three age groups

After careful planning, the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League Lady Prospects Divisions are ready for the 2014-15 season.

Co-directors Rich Righi and Devra Pulley have done a great job organizing the three divisions.

In the U12 Division, teams include Lady Islanders, New Jersey Rockets, Polar Bears, Lady Bulldogs, Quakers Hockey and NOVA.

In the U14 division, teams include Lady Islanders, West Chester Wild, Connecticut Ice Cats, Lady Bulldogs, Quakers Hockey, CP Dynamo, South Shore Conquistadors and NOVA.

In the U16/U19 level, the Lady Islanders, New Jersey Rockets, Lady Bulldogs, Quakers, Westchester Wild and Connecticut Barons will compete. There are several other teams inquiring for admission in the inaugural season.

The teams will play a 12-game schedule with two showcases accounting for eight of the games. Playoffs will be in Frozen Four format.

The boys are preparing to begin their season in four weeks with many showcases and special events scheduled for the third EJEPL season. The competition should be excellent in all five levels of play.

All-Stars for the U12-13-14’s will be hosted by the Connecticut Oilers, and for the U16-18’s by the Boston Bandits and Rhode Island Hitmen at Brown University. The playoffs will be hosted at the 12-13-14 level by the Little Flyers and at the 16-18 level by the CP Dynamo.

The new point system highlights some of the new changes for the EJEPL with three points for a regulation win and two for an OT win.

The EJEPL has eliminated shootouts. The new OT format will be 4×4 for five minutes followed by a new 3×3 OT for another five minutes.

FastHockey.com will be a part of the EJEPL, showing games at the U18 level and all-stars and playoffs, with some showcases also on the network.

Vice commissioner Larry Nastasi is very busy supervising the uploading of over 100 schedules and rosters onto the website EJEPL.com.

Showcase hosts include Brewster, Philly Revolution, Buffalo Regals, Igloo Jaguars, Northern Cyclones, New Hampshire Monarchs, Connecticut Chiefs and Quakers Hockey.

Please visit the website at EJEPL.com to view stories, league information and all the stats and special features in the EJEPL.

The EJEPL has officially received trademark status and the EJEPL will only get better as time goes on.

For 2015-16, U10, U11, U15 and U19 levels will be added as well as a developmental league for second teams. The entire EJEPL family wishes every organization the best of luck for the 2014-15 season.


Read past EJEPL articles in our archives: 

Apple Core win 16U regular season title, Monarchs win 18U crown

Rhode Island Hitmen fighting to stay near top

Midget circuit excited for big sophomore season

Connecticut Oilers: Developmental path through Oilers ranks helps National Team’s Krys

Connecticut Oilers: Developmental path through Oilers ranks helps National Team’s Krys

By Brian Lester

Chad Krys has been given a golden opportunity as a hockey player.

Chad Krys,Connecticut Oilers,USA Junior Hockey

Chad Krys

Krys played for the Connecticut Oilers’ U16 team in 2012-13 and practiced with the Oilers Eastern Hockey League team last season as he continued to develop his skills en route to joining USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program this year.

Krys scored 20 goals and dished out 51 assists during the 2012-13 campaign, and was named Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League All-Star as well, making a name for himself.

Oilers head coach Eric Lind said Krys is one of the best players he has ever seen at this level and expects him to have a bright future in hockey. He is already being recruited heavily by colleges and has pro potential.

Of course, Krys comes from a hockey family. His father, Mark Krys, played in two Frozen Fours for Boston University, including the 1991 national championship game.

“He is one of the most skilled players I’ve seen. He has the potential to be a first-round pick in the NHL,” Lind said. “He is an excellent skater and has great athleticism. Not only is he a great hockey player, but he is very talented lacrosse player, too. I wish him the best in the next step of his career.”

In other news with the Oilers, Connecticut will have a U18 and a U14 team this year. Lind said both teams have a cast of talented players and should both fare well in the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League.

The U18 team will also play in the Atlantic Youth Hockey League. Both teams are expected to play between 50-60 games. This is the first season the Oilers have had a U14 team.

“Both teams are going to be very competitive, and the players on those teams will have a great opportunity to develop their skills,” Lind said. “Not only will they play a league schedule, but we also plan on having them compete in four to five tournaments. It’s a great opportunity for the players and they will gain valuable experience. We’re excited about it.”

Lind said he is also currently busy recruiting players for the EHL Oilers after a season in which they won the Central Division championship and made the playoffs. Lind was also named the Coach of the Year in the league.


Read past Connecticut Oilers articles in our archives:


Boston Jr. Bandits: Team celebrates quick advancement in Eastern Hockey League playoffs

Boston Jr. Bandits: Team celebrates quick advancement in Eastern Hockey League playoffs

The Boston Bandits Eastern Hockey League team finished the season with a respectable record of 22-17-3-2, good for third place in the very tough Northern Division.

By a little after 3 p.m. on Feb. 28, the Boston Bandits were already set for the Eastern Hockey League quarterfinals, before some other teams had even begun their first round playoff series. The Bandits defeated the New York Apple Core, 6-4, on Feb. 27, and the next day, it was a 4-2 win to advance.

In the playoffs, Colin Capton racked up five points in the two games, while Jon Stickel and Eric Salzillo (four points) and Freddy Gerard (three points) also had more than a point per game.

Gerard led the way on offense to finish the regular season, scoring 22 goals and chipping in 28 assists for 50 points. Second behind him was team captain Alex Bonito, with a 46-point campaign.

Salzillo, Matt Baldino and Tyler Drevitch all finished with solid numbers, each posting 37 points in the regular season.

The defense was led by returning players Shayne Bailey and Andy Price. Both players helped the offense with 11-point regular seasons and a point apiece in the opening playoff series.

Between the pipes, Ryan Hubbard and Billy Palmer both proved to be starting goalies. Hubbard posted a 3.40 goal against average and a .901 save percentage, while Palmer posted a 10-5-3-1 record with a 2.69 goals against average and a .926 save percentage.  Both goalies had outstanding regular seasons.

On the alumni front, UMass-Boston forward Peter McIntyre was named to the ECAC East First All-Star team. Babson College forward Michael Phillips was named to the ECAC East All-Rookie team. In the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, Alabama-Huntsville forward Matt Salhany led the team as a freshman in points with 12.


Metropolitan Junior League team wins regular season championship

The Boston Bandits Metropolitan Junior League (MET) team won that league’s regular season championship with an impressive 38-1-3 record.

“Entering the season, I felt that we had a good core of players returning from the previous year and we added some quality players to that core,” said head coach Scott Drevitch. “The players have really came together.”

The Bandits led the MET league in goals for (278), and also had the fewest goals against (62) in the league.

The team had four players in the top 20 in scoring. They were led by ’96-born Riga, Latvia native Davis Zembergs, who finished fifth in the league with 79 points (33 goals, 46 assists).

Other top forwards were Tom Mahoney (’95, Braintree, Mass., 25 goals, 64 points), Nick Cambria (’94, West Bridgewater, Mass., 33 goals, 63 points) and Connor Wiggins (’94, Grosse Pointe, Mich., 36 goals, 59 points).

Taylor Hale (’93, Glendora, Calif.) finished second in defenseman scoring in the MET with 40 points, while West Bridgewater’s Frank Cambria (’94, 24 points) finished 15th.

The Bandits’ goaltending tandem went 1-2 in goals against average. Tyler Miller (’95, Worcester, Mass.) was first overall with 0.99, and Ryan McCarthy (’93, Acushnet, Mass.) was second at 1.85.

Hale’s .942 save percentage was No. 1 in the MET as well.

“The players should be proud of themselves for their great regular season,” said Drevitch. “With their success, we had eight different players called up to our EHL team. Now, the regular season is behind us and we are focusing on the playoffs. They are continuing to work hard, as we have even bigger goals that lie ahead of us.”


High-scoring 16U team closes out season, joins new East Coast Elite League

The U16 team finished the season 33-22-1 overall.

Latvian Eduard Tralmaks led all scorers with 68 points, followed close behind by Logan Drevitch with 66.

The next three, John Giatrelis, Cooper Jones and Justin Bofshever all ended on a point-per-game pace with 56. Tralmaks and Jones also led the Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League in forwards and defensemen scoring, respectively.

Chad Merrell, coming off an injury, stepped it up at the end of the season, chipping in five points in the playoffs. Nick Flanders also chipped in two goals during playoff round robin play.

Drew Benedict and Andrew Bluestein continued to be a steady presence in the net.

The team is returning some key players, including Bofshever, Merrell, Jones, Flanders and solid, physical defenseman Chase Lieblein.

“The coaches are already on the recruiting trail, piecing together next year’s squad,” said head coach Mark Jones. “It was tough ending this season, because we had a great group of kids and talented players, but we have a lot of interest in the team after a few successful seasons and we are excited about the core coming back. This, along with going to the new East Coast Elite League should result in many players looking to be part of it.”