tournaments in Iowa and Boston yield top prospects
the college season is long? Try following juniors or midget AAA
for a while. Just as the collegians are setting foot on campus
in September (and are about a month away from hitting the ice)
the junior, bantam and midget icers are well into training camp.
Many, in fact, had already seen meaningful game action, be it
preseason, regular season, or in various showcase tournaments
throughout the U.S. and Canada. Regardless of the location, the
pro and D-I scouts were there.
And so were
on any scout's priority list, the Buc Bowl in Des Moines is arguably
the United States Hockey League's crown jewel event, even though
games don't count in the standings. For years, the tournament
has allowed D-I talent hounds to get a first look at some of the
new (and improved) prospects the USA's top junior A circuit offers.
While a number of players stood out, here are a few names worth
keeping in your memory bank:
Eric Gryba ('88/6-4, 195/Green Bay Gamblers)
Saskatoon and the Canadian midget AAA champion Saskatoon Contacts,
the 17 year-old Gryba showed a great mixture of skills and potential.
Through Green Bay's first two (of three total) games, Gryba had
a goal and two points, was +2, and had 10 PIMs.
"I honestly believe he has the potential to be a first-round
NHL draft pick. He's huge, he plays huge, but he's very poised
and offensively gifted."
Trevor Lewis ('87/6-1, 185/Des Moines Buccaneers)
Entering his second season in Des Moines, Lewis appears
ready to build on his lofty accomplishments from last year, when
he scored 10 goals and 22 points in 52 games for the Buccaneers.
"This kid's amazing. He's the total package. He competes,
he has a nose for the net, he's physical, and he has the ability
Garrett Roe ('88/5-8, 160/Indiana Ice)
Through the Buc Bowl's first two games, Roe had two goals
and was +2, showing solid offensive gifts and a dependable all-around
game along the way.
Andy Bohmbach ('87/6-2, 175/Waterloo Black Hawks)
Bohmbeck was challenged to have a solid off-season in
the weight room, and he responded with an excellent training camp,
and an even better Buc Bowl. He skated hard in every area of the
Matt Arhontas ('87/5-6, 142/Waterloo Black Hawks)
take: "For a guy who's only 5-6, he's pretty determined.
"He doesn't back down, and has all kinds of skill. Exciting
and very smart."
Mike Beck ('86/6-0, 200/Sioux City Musketeers)
Two goals, four points and a +3 rating. Not a bad start
for the three-year veteran from Long Beach, Calif.
"He has tremendous skill." ... "He can really handle
the puck, makes the right first pass, and can work the power play
Max Strang ('89/6-1, 174/Green Bay Gamblers)
From Gilbertsville, Pa., Strang looked exceptional with
29 saves in a 6-1 win over Chicago. Tall, lanky and knows how
to get from side to side.
Nick Petrecki ('89/6-3, 205/Omaha Lancers)
So far, the realtiy's matched the hype that's come with
Petrecki since he decided to play this year in the USHL (INCH
Recruiting Notebook, June 2005).
"He's even better than advertised." ... "And from
what I've heard, he really wants to get better. He looked very
much at home on the power play."
Late last week, Petrecki gave a verbal commitment to Boston College.
Andy Miele ('88/5-8, 150/Cedar Rapids RoughRiders)
Through the first two games of the Buc Bowl, the Grosse
Pointe Woods, Mich., native scored two goals and was +2 for the
defending USHL playoff champions.
"He has tremendous skill and poise with the puck. He has
excellent puck presence and on-ice vision."
Best of Beantown
Just a few
weekends before the Buc Bowl, the Beantown Classic tournament
took place in, well, Boston of course. Much like the Buc Bowl
that proceeded it, the annual east coast showcase did much to
enhance the reputations and D-I chances of many a player. Again,
The top three
scoring players at this year's event were teammates last year
at prestigious Tabor Academy (Marion, Mass.)
For most people, losing
concentration is only a minor irritation, but for 18 year-old
Tabor Academy center Kief Orsini, it's an issue he's had
to work hard to overcome.
I was growing up and going to school, especially in the
large schools I used to attend, where there were, say, 30
kids to a classroom, I'd find myself easily distracted,"
said Orsini, a Montreal native who will be entering his
second (and senior) season at Tabor Academy this fall. "After
a while, it became a real problem for me."
just a problem, but a full-fledged (and diagnosed) learning
disability, which doctors attributed to 'secondary noise.'
Said Orsini: "I sometimes even had troubles studying
Orsini's head and heart have always been academically inclined,
so much so that despite having twice flirted with the notion
of playing Major A in Canada, the 5-11, 170-pound pivot
chose to keep at his studies and continue to play prep hockey
in the states.
years ago, I was drafted by Rouyn-Nornada," Orsini
explained. "Even though I grew up bilingual, I'd been
attending English schools since I was in sixth grade and
there weren't any English schools that far north in Quebec.
They tried to trade me, but that never happened, so I opted
to go to Tabor."
this past summer, the QMJHL took one last crack at him.
friends with Angelo Esposito (who earlier this summer signed
with the Quebec Remparts), and I was invited to attend a
summer tryout camp with the Remparts," Orsini continued.
"I went to the camp, and the team was very interested
in me, but then they traded me to Halifax. There would have
been English schools there, but in the end, I had to make
a quick decision, and I thought it was best to return to
a young man, you always wonder what you might have done
in a league like the 'Q,' but the environment at Tabor has
been great for me, and I have no regrets at all."
a student body of around 490, Tabor, located in Marion,
Mass., has been an academic God-send of sorts for Orsini.
I've never had more than 15 kids in a class," said
Orsini, "and it's usually more like six, so it's really
helped me focus, and I've done better as a result."
year, Orsini improved his SAT score by well over 100 points.
Orsini's worked hard in the classroom? He's done every bit
as much on the ice.
a great skater with a tremendous skill set," said Tabor
coach Gary Dineen, who played collegiately at Middlebury
College and is now entering his seventh season as head coach
of the Seawolves. "He's good with the puck, he's gritty,
and plays with a lot of heart."
to what Dineen spoke of is why a number of eastern schools
had their eyes on Orsini for the fall of 2006. New Hampshire
and Vermont had a good deal of interest, but Union made
the strongest pitch, and it's the Dutchmen, in the end,
who will have Orsini's services starting next fall.
were some tremendous schools out there," Orsini admitted,
"but coach (Nate) Leaman has been great to me. I went
on an unofficial visit there, and it seems like a great
place. Union has a trimester system, which means I'd only
be taking three classes a term. I like that. I need to weigh
whatever other offers there are out there, but Union seemed
In Kief Orsini
('87/5-11, 170), Steve Silva ('87/5-8, 168) and Bobby Butler,
the Beantown witnessed three players who put up, respectively,
seven goals and 15 points, three goals and 12 points, and five
goals and 11 points all in a five-game span.
to Union next fall (see our sidebar), while Silva will likely
get plenty of D-I interest while skating for Green Bay (USHL)
scoring was 6-0, 205-pound Berkshire School forward Josh Rabbani,
an '88 from California who himself chipped in with a 5-5—10
scoring line and was named the tournament's "Biggest Surprise"
scouts may have felt him a surprise, the performance came as no
surprise at all to Berkshire School head coach Alex Moody.
a very solid kid," said Moody, a former Division III goaltender
for Colby College. "He has an NHL shot, soft hands, and is
a terrific playmaker. And he loves to bang. In so many ways, he
reminds me of (former Boston University Terrier) Mike Grier."
indeed for a kid going only into his junior year of prep school.
performers at the Beantown included '86 born defenseman Barry
Goers from the Eastern Junior Hockey League's Green Mountain Glades
of Burlington, Vermont. At 5-8 and 165 pounds, Goers was exceptionally
smooth, and his late-August efforts in Boston paid dividends only
a month later. The Philadelphia area native accepted a scholarship
from UMass Lowell for the fall of 2006.
top netminder was Bow, N.H., native and Vermont recruit Mike Spillane,
an '86 who went 3-0-1 for the tournament with a .906 save percentage.
Between now and joining the Catamounts, the 6-0, 180-pound Spillane
will further his skills with the USHL's Omaha Lancers.
Home Of The Braves
Junior A clubs
come and go, but for seniority's sake, few Canadian clubs have
been around longer than the CJHL's Brockville (Ont.) Braves, who
in a preseason event played at Mercyhurst in early September and
posted an umblemished 4-0 record, knocking off clubs such as the
EJHL's New Jersey Hitmen (Hitmen? Owned by Tony Soprano are they?)
and the AAA Philadelphia Junior Flyers.
first came on the scene 42 years ago, and are currently coached
by one-time St. Lawrence captain Mike McCourt, who skated for
Joe Marsh and the Saints back in the early 1990s. McCourt knows
how to get the best out of his players, and he has a bumper crop
again this year, many of whom have done well in the season's early
going. Here's a few:
Jordan Cyr (5/86, 5-9, 175)
to RPI for the fall of 2006, Cyr joins the Braves for this season
after scoring aplenty for Manitoba Junior Hockey League side Selkirk,
which benefitted greatly from Cyr's 23-goal, 56-point effort in
2004-05. "He's a skilled guy who sees the ice well,"
said McCourt, "he really competes."
Tyler Owens ('85/5-9, 160)
year Owens, a Michigan native, put up a 22-4-1 record and a .913
save percentage in Brockville. "He's very athletic, and very
quick, and what you really like about him is his competitiveness,"
said McCourt. "He never ever gives up on the puck."
Charles Long ('86/5-11, 170)
CJHL rookie this year, Long, a Cleveland native, will challange
Owens for ice time. "Handles his rebounds and is very efficient
and tidy," said McCourt. "Charles is a very focused
kid with excellent grades. Many Ivy League schools already have
their eye on him."
Shawn Cox ('87/6-1, 195)
his rookie CJHL season, the Ottawa-bred Cox impressed with 10
goals and 21 points in 49 games. "He's a strong power forward
people should keep their eye on," said McCourt. "He
does lots of little things well, and is great down low and along
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