WHICH NESCACS DID THE BEST IN RECRUITING FOR 2011-12?

It’s the time of the year to rate this year’s class of incoming NESCAC players by school. These ratings provide a rough comparative assessment of the incoming class of hockey players for each NESCAC school. We may have missed a prospect or two that could affect a school’s rating. If you know of additional impact recruits, please let us know and we will add their names and adjust rankings to the extent warranted.

These ratings are based on likely impact players and are primarily a reflection of past achievements and their context (level of competition). They do not take into account intangibles or difficult-to-assess matters like potential to improve or fit with a school’s particular style of play or coaching philosophy.

There is little to distinguish among the top-four finishers—Bowdoin, Amherst, Trinity, and Williams—although we are giving Bowdoin a slight edge and the number one spot this year due to the breadth and depth of its incoming class. It’s also a bit of a make-up call in that Amherst was given the no. 1 slot last year although the no. 3-ranked Bowdoin and no. 2-ranked Hamilton frosh outperformed the Amherst frosh last year by a significant margin (as did the Middlebury and Wesleyan frosh) and the frosh paced Bowdoin to its first-ever NESCAC championship (later relinquished by Bowdoin).

The preferred source for NESCAC hockey players was New England prep hockey, which produced 49 or 59% of the 83 candidates. The New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC) teams led the way, producing 20 would-be NESCAC players, followed by the Independent School League (ISL) with 16 and the Founders League with 13. The most represented prep schools are: Milton (5), Choate and Pomfret at 4 apiece, and Taft and Deerfield at 3 each.

Junior hockey produced 24 or about 29% of the names. The EJHL, which had been a major source of NESCAC players for the past few years, fell off dramatically, contributing only 6 prospects (as opposed to last year’s 14 prospects). The Atlantic Junior Hockey League also produced 5 NESCAC candidates, while the Central Junior Hockey League, the North American Hockey League (NAHL), and the Ontario Junior Hockey League each contributed 3 players.

An examination of the data suggests continued diversity in recruiting practices among NESCAC schools, with Colby avoiding junior hockey products entirely and going with younger players. In an about-face, likely due to the departure of Coach Norm Bazin, Hamilton went from focusing almost exclusively on older junior hockey products to a heavier emphasis on younger prep school products. Several schools had a healthy number of experienced products of junior hockey, with Bowdoin and Conn College leading the way at 4, followed by Tufts and Amherst with 3 each. Middlebury, Trinity, and Wesleyan each chimed in with 2 junior products, with both of Middlebury’s junior recruits being American players who played their junior hockey in Sweden.

There were a total of 8 products of high school hockey leagues (almost 10% of the incoming players) although 3 of the 8 were from the highly competitive Minnesota High School League, which includes prep powerhouses like Blake and Breck as well as public high schools.

Finally, there are two known transfers (2% of the total), with one being an intra-NESCAC transfer (Nick Anderson, who moved from Hamilton to Williams) and the second being an ECAC West (Neumann) transfer (Jonathan La Rose), who is actually returning to Amherst after transferring from Amherst to Neumann.

Several of the teams have potential diamonds in the rough in the form of younger players from unconventional sources. Foremost among these is Middlebury, with potential diamonds in the rough in Vermont high school star Robbie Dobrowski and New Jersey high school star Dan Fullam. (The Middlebury coaching staff has a nose for these diamonds in the rough as Wisconsin high school product, senior Charlie Strauss, went straight from high school to Middlebury and was team captain and an all-NESCAC first-team, pick by his junior year.) Last year’s diamonds in the rough turned out to be Vermont Academy’s JD Vermette and Ridley College’s Louis Belisle for Middlebury and Lake Forest Academy’s Harry Matheson for Bowdoin.

1. Bowdoin:

Forwards:
John McGinnis: late bloomer who did not start playing serious hockey until after finishing high school in Florida – played three years of junior hockey in the Atlantic Junior Hockey League after high school and improved dramatically each year – a two-time all-star with the Northern Cyclones who finished fourth in the AtJHL in points in his final year and scored at a rate of almost a goal a game
Nick Vassos: oft-injured five-year veteran and three-time captain of the Orangeville Crush in the Ontario Junior Hockey League – small, speedy, and very skilled – was RoY in OJHL as a 16-year-old
Danny Palumbo: Pomfret’s leading scorer and captain as senior – small at 5-7 but very fast and tricky
Tim Coffey: Tabor’s leading scorer as junior when he put up more than 2 points a game for hockey powerhouse, Tabor, with a stat line of 19-34-53 in 26 games – injured for most of senior year
Donald Chute: second-leading scorer to Middlebury recruit Ordway on an excellent Blake team – one sister is a member of the Harvard hockey team (class of 2013) and another just completed her Harvard hockey career

Defense:
Ryan Collier: small (5-9 and 162) and speedy offensive-minded d-man (4-19-23 in 53 games) – known for his power play skills – spent much of his youth in Holland where his father was a professional hockey player – played a year of junior hockey for the Brockville Braves of the Central Junior Hockey League after graduating from Taft
Alec Root: tall (6-2), defensive-minded Taft grad (brother of Yale sophomore hockey player, Jesse Root)

2. Amherst:

Forwards:
Dan Merenich: second leading scorer (37 points in 29 games) for the 2011 NE Prep champ, Milton Academy, and member of the all-ISL team – big power forward (6-4 and 205 lbs) – one of three Milton products to join the Jeffs this year
Michael Rowbotham: Cornwall Colts – point-a-game scorer in competitive Central Junior Hockey League in 2009-10 – scoring tailed off during his last year in juniors (falling from 60 points or a point a game to 43 points) – captained Kemptville Braves before being traded to Cornwall two-thirds of the way through his final season in juniors
Mike Cashman: leading scorer for a strong Boston College HS that made the “Super 8” play-offs in Massachusetts in 2011– has size and leadership capabilities – a sleeper pick based on his high-level performance in elite midget hockey where he more than held his own with D1 commits

Defense:
Jake Turrin: a top d-man (all-ISL) and co-captain for NE Prep champ Milton Academy – good scorer for a d-man

Goalie:
Jonathan La Rose: returns to Amherst after a two-year absence – shared goaltending duties in his frosh and soph year with recently graduated Cole Anderson – was second team all-NESCAC both years following an outstanding junior career in the AJHL – transferred to Neumann University in his junior year (2009-10) where he played sparingly but put up stellar numbers – appears not to have played last year

3. Trinity

Forwards:
Sam Kane: big (6-1), high-scoring forward (a top-tier scorer in the NE prep ranks with 49 points in 30 games) for hockey prep powerhouse Cushing – PG year at Cushing was preceded by two all-Boston Globe seasons at Needham HS, including membership in the Globe’s elite “superteam” in his senior year
Jack Brewer: played full-season midget major as high school senior and finished second on tier 1 team (Boston Advantage) in scoring – good size at 6-1
Conor Coveney: Andover PG who is apparently being converted from defense to forward; like Kane, was a member of the Boston Globe’s “superteam” in 2010 when he quarterbacked Hingham HS to the Super 8 championship in Massachusetts

Defense:
Greg Rooney: all-ISL F/D from Governor’s – known as a smart playmaking player
Andrew Tallett: another Governor’s product, with good offensive capabilities and decent size
Paul Burns: offensive-minded d-man who scored 24 points as a Cushing PG
Mike Flynn: co-captain and defensive specialist for long-time prep hockey power, Avon Old Farms, which won the NE Prep championship in 2010

Goalies:
Kevin Green: outstanding goaltender for rapidly-emerging-hockey-power Dexter and Southfield; good numbers as both a junior and senior (save percentage of .929 both years) – his team won the “small” school NE prep championship in 2011 after falling in the finals in 2010
Sam Calahan: two-time all-star for the Boston Bulldogs in the AtJHL, with a save percentage of .931 in 2011 and GAA of less than 2.00

4. Williams:

Forwards:
Craig Kitto: scored at more than a point-a-game for EJHL regular season champs, the Jersey Hitmen, and tied for 18th in the league in scoring – is a three-year veteran of junior hockey whose year with the Hitmen was preceded by two years in the NAHL (with the St. Louis Bandits) – was a member of the USA U-18 team and played internationally in 2007
Nick Anderson: a transfer from Hamilton, who, as the fourth-leading scorer on a Hamilton team that finished at the top of the NESCAC’s regular season standings, is a fully established NESCAC player and should be an immediate impact player for Williams

Defense:
David Jarrett: smallish d-man (5-10 and 170 lbs) with excellent offensive tools (third leading scorer for Taft) – did a PG year at Taft after playing a key role in Edina (MN) HS’s state hockey championship in 2010 in a state where high school hockey is still king

Goalie:
Sean Dougherty: all-ISL and all-New England Prep (east) goaltender – backstopped Milton to the NE Prep championship, leading the way to a hard-fought 2-1 win over Kent in the finals – likely to succeed Ryan Purdy as Williams # 1 goalie after this year

 

5. Conn College

 

Forwards:
JC Cangelosi: prolific scorer (registered 48 points as a junior and 50 as a senior on a good Northfield Mount Hermon team) – brother and NMH line mate Austin is a 2013 BC commit who is now playing for Youngstown in the USHL
Adam Patel: 30-point scorer for a solid Choate Rosemary Hall that won the “large school” New England prep championship (play-offs for teams that don’t qualify for the NE Prep “Elite” championship) in his junior year

 

Defense:
Mike Doyle: 2-year captain of strong Choate team – was captain when Choate won the NE Prep “large” school championship in 2010 – decent offensive skills (3-10-13 in 23 games in senior year)
Will Leedy: a Dallas native, spent a year fine tuning his skills and gaining experience with the Kanata Stallions of the strong Central Junior Hockey League
Zach Shapiro: a former D1 Clarkson recruit, this smallish d-man spent time in both the EJHL (South Shore Kings) and the OJHL (Toronto Jr. A Canadians)
Marc Roper: a 2-year veteran of the MaJHL (Summerside and Dieppe) and a graduate of Notre Dame (SJHL)

6. Middlebury

Forwards:
George Ordway: two-time # 1 scorer for a very strong Blake team – a three-sport athlete who is also an all-American lacrosse player – scored more than 2 points a game as a senior – small (5-8 and 150 lbs) and speedy
Robbie Dobrowski: Mr. Hockey for state of Vermont in 2011 as Champlain Valley Union (CVU) senior – CVU won state championship twice during his 4 years on team (he scored winning goal in the championship game in senior year) – prolific scorer (a pace of about 3 points a game) who is also a strong play-maker
Derek Pimentel: a small (5-8 and 160 lbs), high-energy player – captain and two-time leading scorer for a weak Holderness team who scored at a 2-points-a-game clip

Goalie:

Dan Fullam: the PoY in New Jersey in 2011 – put up astonishing stats as senior (0.9 GAA and .955 SV%) and led his team to state championship – sat out his junior year after hip surgery

7. Wesleyan

Forward:
James Albrecht: put up decent (but not great) numbers (33 points in 42 games in 2010-11) in the NAHL – Albrecht may have some upside as his year in the NAHL was his first year of serious hockey (he played midget (tier III) hockey for the 2 prior years)

Defense:
Adam DeSanctis: a stay-at-home d-man with speed and quickness – good transition player as indicated by solid scoring numbers (3-18-21 in 31 games) – a leader on and off the ice for Gunnery – made his way onto the NHL’s Central Scouting Service preliminary list for the 2011 draft with a C-list rating

8. Tufts:

Forwards:
George Pantazopoulos: point-a-game scorer as a senior for NE Prep champ Milton, he is the fifth member of the Milton team to take his skates to a NESCAC school (three are ticketed for Amherst and one each to Williams and Tufts) – blossomed as a goal scorer in his senior year and played on the same line with highly-touted Amherst recruit Merenich
Tyler Voigt: grew into a solid NAHL performer in his two-year career with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs; helped Fairbanks to the NAHL championship in 2011

Defense:
Blake Edwards: smallish play-making d-man; three-year veteran of the NAHL (St. Louis Bandits)

9. Colby

Forwards:
Brendon Bourgea: injured as senior so numbers and post-season awards don’t fully reflect his talents
Nils Martin: second-leading scorer on Groton team to Yale commit, Mike Doherty, scoring almost 2 points a game in his senior year (23-24-47 in 24 games) – wracked up similar numbers in his junior year

Goalies:
Sam Parker: all-ISL netminder for BB&N with will compete with Nathan, another ISL product, to fill the large skates of Colby’s outstanding four-year starter in net, Cody McKinney
Jordan Nathan: will compete with Park for time in net as Colby conducts a trial by fire for McKinney’s successor

10. Hamilton

Forward:
Pat Curtis: scored 41 points in 28 games for emerging prep power, Dexter and Southfield – key player (along with Trinity recruit Kevin Green) in Dexter’s capture of the New England Prep “small school” championship in 2011

Goalie:
Zach Arnold: all-ISL goalie for Middlesex (member of the ISL’s Eberhart Division) – excellent size at 6-4 and 210 lbs

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3 Responses

  1. Just a clarification. Austin Cangelosi is playing for the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL this year.

  2. Thanks – fixed!!! Looks like Austin is off to a good start in the USHL . .

  3. […] goaltending. Subjectivity unavoidably creeps into the picture as the ratings also incorporate an assessment of the quality of the incoming classes for each school and returning […]

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