WHICH NESCACS DID THE BEST IN RECRUITING FOR 2013-14?

Time to get serious about the upcoming NESCAC season with our annual rating of the incoming class of hockey players for each school. These ratings are intended to provide a rough comparative assessment of the new hockey players for each NESCAC school. Let us know via e-mail (nescachockey@verizon.net) of any missed prospects so we can add their names to the database and adjust the school-based ratings of recruits where warranted.

Here is a link to our database of 2013-14 NESCAC recruits, which is now almost complete with 86 names. As always, there will be a few additional names that won’t show up until the NESCAC rosters are posted in November but probably not very many as 86 is close the average number of new NESCAC players each year.

These ratings are based on likely impact players and are primarily a reflection of past achievements, with some consideration of the context for those achievements (level of competition, quality of league, etc.). They do not take into account intangibles or difficult-to-assess matters like fit with a school’s style of play or coaching philosophy. They tend to be slightly biased in favor of junior hockey products as junior hockey statistics are readily available and tell a more reliable and consistent story than prep hockey stats.

The top two incoming classes—Williams and Trinity—are very close in quality but we give Williams a slight edge. Persuasive arguments can be made on the Trinity side of the ledger but we’re going with the smaller group of Williams recruits because of the extraordinary and undeniable achievements of its top six recruits. On a one-for-one basis, the cream of the Williams’ crop appears to be slightly better than Trinity’s top recruits. But congratulations to the coaching staff at both schools for jobs well done . .

But we can be wrong in this inexact science as was demonstrated last year when we gave Amherst the no. 1 ranking based on what seemed to be the glitzier achievements of the top Amherst recruits in comparison to those of the top Middlebury recruits. Yet when they hit the college level, the Amherst recruits fizzled, producing only 9 goals (15% of the total) in 2012-13, while the young Middlebury players sizzled, scoring 25 goals (36% of the Middlebury total) as freshmen. A Middlebury freshman, Matt Silcoff, was rookie of the year while two Panther freshmen, Terrance Goguen and Connor Frick, were strong and regular contributors on the blue line. Some of the shortfall on the part of the Amherst frosh may have been due to injuries but that only serves to remind us of the greater depth of Middlebury’s very large class of 2016. A retroactive and belated congratulations to the Middlebury coaching staff for finding last year’s freshmen and so quickly acclimating them to college hockey.

Williams’ incoming class for this season, with its front-line firepower, should ease the pain of the loss to graduation of three of its five top scorers and 41% of its offensive output. Trinity experienced similar graduation losses, losing four of its top five scorers and 41% of its goal production, and has done an excellent job in replenishing its cabinet of forwards. Both Trinity and Williams added a pair of good defensemen as well as a nice complement of additional players to fill out their line-ups, with the Bantams bringing in a huge group of 14.

Directly behind Williams and Trinity in the no. 3 spot is Hamilton, with four good-looking defenders, a solid goalie, and a high-scoring forward. Next in line (and virtually indistinguishable in terms of relative quality are Connecticut College at no. 4 and defending NESCAC champion Bowdoin at no. 5, with one (Conn College) having a nice crop of incoming forwards and the other (Bowdoin) having an excellent class of d-men.

At no. 6 and no. 7 respectively are Wesleyan and Middlebury, with the Panthers having nice quality but very small numbers, which should not be a problem for them as they have a huge sophomore class and good returning numbers. Coming in at no. 8 is Colby, which had large numbers (13) but was light in terms of obvious impact players. In fact, it was difficult to pick the likely impact players out from the large crowd of Colby first years. Tufts slipped to 9th place after a solid year of recruiting for the 2012-13 freshmen and one of the stronger freshmen classes in the NESCAC this past year (Jumbo frosh scored 28% of the team’s goals last season, while the graduating seniors produced just 15%). Going all the way from the no. 1 spot to the no. 10 spot in 12 months is Amherst, which is apparently bringing in only 3 recruits, each of whom put together decent but not spectacular careers in junior and prep hockey.

The biggest surprise of the year was Amherst’s light recruiting, both in terms of numbers and quality. Perhaps there are some hidden transfers or freshmen that we did not discover that will change this picture but right now the future is not looking too bright for the Lord Jeffs, especially since it lost a lot to graduation, including its no. 1 goalie, 41% of its goal production, and two of its best d-men, including all-NESCAC Brandon Hew.  Also a bit of a surprise is defending champion Bowdoin, which recruited slightly better than it did last year but falls in the middle of the pack with decent but not spectacular incoming players.

New England prep school hockey continues to be the favored stomping grounds for NESCAC recruiters. The total number of prep school products is 46 or 53% of the total. This number shows a stabilization of the representation of prep hockey products at the same percentage as last year after a couple of years of fall-off from a 2010-11 share of 61.4%. The New England Preparatory School Athletic Council (NEPSAC), the Independent School (ISL), and the Founders leagues were roughly equal in representation, with the ISL producing 15 recruits while Founders and NEPSAC each produced 14 incoming players. The Founders league rebounded sharply after a down year of producing only 7 new NESCAC players for the 2012-13 season. The remaining three prep school grads are from independent prep schools (Northwood and Bridgton) and New Jersey prep powerhouse Delbarton.

The most represented prep schools are: Westminster, Andover, and Belmont Hill (with 4 apiece), followed by Taft, Gunnery, Lawrence, and St. Paul’s (with 3 each). Eleven schools produced 2 incoming NESCAC players each: BB&N, Canterbury, Choate, Delbarton, Dexter, Exeter, Hotchkiss, Milton, Northwood, Pomfret, and St. Paul’s. (These numbers include several graduates of these schools who also played junior hockey after completing their prep school careers or who are transfers.)

Junior hockey produced 34 of the new players or just about 40% of the total or roughly the same percentage as last year. The now-defunct EJHL was the leading junior hockey breeding ground for the NESCAC, producing 15 recruits for this coming season. Other junior hockey leagues contributing to NESCAC rosters include: North American Hockey League (NAHL) (7); Ontario Junior Hockey League (4); Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) (3); Atlantic Junior Hockey League (2); British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) (1); an unaffiliated junior team (1), and Swiss elite junior hockey (1).

There are three products of high school hockey (2% of the total) on the list, with new NESCAC players coming from Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Minnesota high school hockey.

Finally, there are 2 known transfers (1 % of the total): one intra-NESCAC transfer (Alex Walsh, who went from Middlebury to Colby as a sophomore); and one ECAC East transfer (Liam McKillop, who went from St. Anselm to Trinity as a junior).

The data indicates continued diversity in recruiting practices, with Bowdoin and Middlebury reverting to form. Bowdoin barely touched junior hockey last year (and it showed in a weaker-than-usual freshman class last season) but this year joined Hamilton in leading the pack with 6 junior hockey products each. Middlebury, which has shied away from junior hockey for a number of years, dug deep into the ranks of junior hockey last year, with four high-quality junior hockey recruits in last season’s stellar class of recruits, but now is back to recruiting primarily from the prep ranks (just 1 junior recruit and he attended prep school before doing an extra year of juniors).

Six schools will have a healthy complement of junior hockey products in their freshman classes, with Bowdoin and Hamilton leading the way at 6 each, followed by Colby at 5, Williams at 4, and Trinity and Wesleyan at 3. Bringing up the rear are Amherst, Connecticut College, and Tufts at 2 apiece and Middlebury at 1.

As usual, several of the teams have potential diamonds in the rough in the form of players from unconventional sources with possible upsides. These include Brian Belisle, a superstar for Rhode Island powerhouse Mount St. Charles, who struggled with injuries in his senior year; and Frankie Mork, a small d-man for Minnesota schoolboy power, Holy Angels.

Here are the rankings and a brief description of key recruits:

1. Williams (6)

Forwards:

George Hunkele (Lawrence Academy, ISL): An established goal scorer, Hunkele finished 4th in all of New England Prep hockey in terms of PPG, with a fine stat line of 31-22-53 and showed marked improvement from his junior year, nearly doubling his rate of scoring – his only apparent downside is that old buggaboo for many D3 players, small size, as he stands only 5-7 – he won numerous awards as a senior, including USHR’s forward of the year and both all-New England and all-ISL status, and was a key member of the Neponset Valley River Rats, which won the Midget Tier I national championship in 2013

Alex Hagerty (Delbarton, New Jersey Prep): Hagerty was a key member of Delbarton’s all-everything first line, wracking up 68 points and scoring more than one goal and two points per game while playing right wing on a line with Princeton recruit Josh Melnick and Yale recruit John Baiocco – Hagerty played a key role in helping to secure Delbarton’s 6th straight state championship – he has decent size at 6-0 and likes to hit and play in front of the net – as the rare true freshman, with a 1995 DoB, Hagerty likely has considerable upside

Tyler Young (NY Apple Core, EJHL): Young was the EJHL’s Apple Core’s no. 1 scorer in 2012-13, with a stat line of 11-32-43 – he was just as good in his first full year in juniors in 2011-12, finishing no. 2 on the team with a stat line of 26-18-44 – he has shown both goal scoring and playmaking ability, being the no. 1 goal scorer on his team in 2011-12 and the no. 1 play maker in 2012-13

Sam Manzi (Philadelphia Little Flyers, AtJHL): Speedster Manzi developed rapidly in his second and final year in juniors, quadrupling his offensive production while going from a 4-5-9 stat line in 2011-12 to a 19-22-41 stat line and all-star status in 2012-13 – like Hunkele, Manzi is very much on the small side at 5-7 and 165 lbs

Defense:

Frankie Mork (Holy Angels, Minn PS (2A)): The third in the Williams trio of 5-7 recruits, Mork, in spite of his small stature, has a reputation for physical play as well as excellent puck distribution and management – he put up a lot of points in hyper-competitive Minnesota schoolboy hockey, scoring at a goal-a-game pace from the blue line with a stat line of 27-36-63 in just 25 regular-season games

Greg Zaffino (St. Paul’s School, ISL): The well-regarded Zaffino will, at 6-5, tower over many of his fellow recruits – still on the rangy side at 190 lbs and youngish as a 1994 DoB, he should be quite the force at the blue line when he fills out some more – he has been on the radar of the NHL’s Central Scouting Services since 2012

Others: James McNamara (D) (Choate, Founders); Sam Gray (F) (Whitby Fury, OJHL); Luke Stickel (F) (Boston Bandits, EJHL)

2. Trinity (6)

Forwards:

Ryan Cole (Amarillo Bulls, NAHL): Cole finished his 2-year career in juniors with a flourish, bagging the MVP award in the NAHL play-offs as his team walked away with the championship – he has been a scorer at all levels – starting at Kimball Union where he wracked up 51 points and was, for a time, a commit to D1 Yale and ending at Amarillo where he scored at almost a point-per-game pace (24-26-50 in 57 games) – like many of the top NESCAC offensive players, Cole is on the small side at 5-9 – as a 1992 DoB, he is a seasoned and mature player and should be able to jump quickly into the Bantams’ line-up

Liam McKillop (St. Anselm, ECAC East): It’s hard to imagine that McKillop will not quickly become an elite scorer in the NESCAC after finishing in a tie for 4th as a sophomore in the ECAC East with a 12-12-24 stat line in 17 conference games – the only obvious downside is that he will start out as a junior at Trinity so the Bantams will only have him for 2 years

Ethan Holdaway  (Westminster, Founders): Holdaway is yet another smallish member of this class of recruits, standing at 5-8 and weighing 155 lbs, and is known for his speed and competitiveness – he had a strong PG year at Westminster, peaking toward the end of the season and leading his team to the semifinals of the New England Prep championship game where eventual champion Salisbury triumphed by a score of 4-3 – for his rapid development, Holdaway was named the USHR’s rookie of the year

Sean Orlando (Westminster, Founders): Former Trinity player and current Westminster Coach Tim Joncas helps replenish the Trinity cupboard with a second Trinity commitment in speedy forward Orlando – as a very late 1994 DoB, Orlando is one of the five or so youngest NESCAC recruits and came to competitive hockey later than usual – he is known as an intelligent playmaker and likely has a great deal of upside

Defense:

T.J. Sherman (Amarillo Bulls, NAHL): Sherman is joining his former Amarillo teammate Ryan Cole at Trinity where they likely hope to replicate come of their championship-caliber play they achieved in junior hockey with the Bulls – not to sound like a broken record but Sherman is yet another undersized NESCAC recruit, manning the blue line at just 5-8 – he showed a scorer’s touch in juniors with a nice stat line of 2-20-26 in 58 games and is known as a mobile d-man who can handle both the PP and the PK – as a 1992 DoB, with 2 years of juniors under his belt, Sherman is mature and experienced and should quickly adapt to the world of college hockey

Sam Johnson (Kalamazoo Jr. K Wings, NAHL): Johnson played just a few games with Cole and Sherman on the Amarillo Bulls before being traded to the K Wings early last season – he has decent size and is a stay-at-home d-man

Others: Brandon Cole (F) (Kimball Union, NEPSAC); Will Sleeper (F) (Noble & Greenough, ISL)

3. Hamilton (6)

Forward:

Robbie Murden (Georgetown Raiders, OJHL): Murden is an established OJHL scorer, finishing his 3-year career in juniors at a better than a point-a-game pace, with a stat line of 25-33-58 in his final season – in his 2011-12 season in juniors, Murden was, as a member of Toronto Lakeshore, briefly a teammate of Middlebury’s Matt Silcoff (NESCAC RoY for 2012-13) and also a teammate of this year’s Colby recruit, Brandon Willett – as a 1992 DoB, he should bring maturity and experience to the Hamilton line-up

Defense:

Jon Carkeek (Springfield Junior Blues, NAHL): Carkeek has really only 1 year of high-quality hockey under his belt, having stayed in his hometown of Phoenix until the 2012-13 season and played club hockey for a local prep school – his stats suggest a stay-at-home d-man but he is a late 1993 DoB, with modest experience, so his play could develop in different directions

Bennett Hambrook (Trail Smoke Eaters, BCHL): A 3-year veteran of the super-competitive BCHL and a 1992 DoB, Hambrook brings instant experience and, with his stay-at-home style and strict focus on defense, a steadying influence to the Hamilton back line – as captain of one of his junior teams, Hambrook has leadership qualities

Corey Lamberti (Connecticut Oilers, EJHL): Lamberti brings playmaking ability to the blue line and is a good two-way d-man, with the ability to control play in his own end – he was injured for most of his PG year at Choate but rebounded nicely during his year in the EJHL, with a stat line of 4-19-23 in 43 games

Bradley Smelstor (Portland Junior Pirates, EJHL): Like Carkeek and Hambrook, Smeltsor is another 6-foot d-man’s d-man, preferring to stay home and tend to the defensive zone but with some mobility – he served as captain of the St. Paul’s team in his senior year so likely has leadership qualities

Goalie:

Charlie Fennell (Kent, Founders): Fennell back stopped his Kent team all the way to the finals of the New England Prep play-offs before falling in the championship game to perennial champion Salisbury by a score of 4-1 – he has good size at 6-1 and showed steady progress at Kent, closing his career with superb numbers (1.99GAA and .924 save percentage)

Others: Truman Landowski (F) (Trenton Golden Raiders, OJHL); Xavier Morin (D) (Westminster, Founders); Seamus O’Neill (F) (Andover, NEPSAC)

4. Conn College (5)

Forwards:

Brian Belisle (Mount St. Charles, RIHS): This natural scorer has a fine hockey pedigree, having spent his high school years on perennial New England powerhouse, Mount St. Charles (MSC) – MSC is known for developing many fine college hockey players and even a pro or two back in the day (Brian Lawton, Garth Snow) – he was coached in high school by his legendary grandfather (Bill Belisle), who has coached at MSC for 38 years, with the assistance of his father and assistant MSC coach, Dave Belisle – Brian Belisle has been a prolific scorer throughout his career but whether that MSC experience still provides a foundation for college is up for grabs these days

Jeff Celniker (Canterbury, NEPSAC): Celniker was the no. 1 scorer for Canterbury both this past season and the season before and has been a prolific scorer since his early high school years in New Jersey when he once scored 50 goals as a HS sophomore – hard to imagine that his goal-scoring ways will not be quickly incorporated into the Camels offense

Joe Giordano (Bismark Bobcats, NAHL): Highly experienced (as in 4 years of junior hockey) – Giordano had a 69-point season in his last year in the EJHL in 2012-13, finishing 6th in scoring in the league but serving more as playmaker than a goal scorer with a stat line of 18-51-69 – he is on the short side (5-9) but describes himself as more of a power forward than a flashy player

Ryan Mowery (Westminster, Founders): The no. 2 scorer on a Westminster team that had an outstanding season before falling to perennial New England champion Salisbury in the semifinal game of the New England Prep championship – like Bowdoin recruit Culbertson, Mowery hails from southern California and did not come on strong until this past season – Mowery likely has a nice upside

Defense:

Greg Liautaud (Canterbury, NEPSAC): Liautaud is a playmaking d-man who, like fellow Canterbury alum and Conn College recruit Celniker, began his high school career in NJ and was a big star, with major offensive capabilities, before transferring to Canterbury

Others: Corey Wisnowski (D) (NH Monarchs, EJHL)

5. Bowdoin (6)

Forwards:

Zak Kokosa (Springfield Pics, EJHL): A speedster, with 2 good years of junior hockey in the EJHL, Kokosa should fit into the dynamic Bowdoin offense, with its emphasis on speed and movement

Kendall Culbertson (New England Wolves, Academy East Hockey League): An undersized (5-8 and 150 lbs) speedster from southern California who made dramatic progress in all facets of his game this past season while playing for the New England Wolves – if he continues to develop, Culbertson should have some upside for the Polar Bears

Defense:

Jay Kourkoulis (Brockville Braves, CJHL): Kirkoulis is a stay-at-home d-man, with a good shot and decent size – he showed some offensive capabilities during his prep years at Pomfret but settled into a more defensive mode during his one year of junior hockey – as the godson of former Olympian and NHL iron man and d-man Chris Chelios, Kirkoulis has a nice hockey pedigree – Kirkoulis was once rated as an NHL prospect by the NHL’s Central Scouting Services

Brendan Conroy (New Jersey Titans, AtJHL): A slightly undersized, offensive-minded d-man, Conroy should fit into the Bowdoin offense, which sometimes employs 3 backs

Mitch Barrington (Dexter, NEPSAC): Barrington is a skilled and poised playmaking d-man, who sees the ice well, has good size at 6-3, and played for one of the better prep school teams this past season as Dexter advanced to the elite 8

Joe Lace  (Lawrence Academy, ISL): A physically imposing d-man at 6-4 and 225 lbs, Lace should bring some oomph to the Bowdoin blue line – his repertoire includes scoring as he finished second to Williams recruit Hunkele in scoring for the Lawrence team during the 2012-13 season with a stat line of 9-18-27 in 27 games or a point per game

Others: Mark Schiller (G) (Taft, Founders); Matt Sullivan (F) (Boston Bandits, EJHL); Max Summermatter (D) (HC Lugano, Swiss elite U20)

6. Wesleyan (4)

Forwards:

James Kline (Bay State Breakers, EJHL): At 6-3 and 205 lbs, Kline has great size and developed as a solid scorer in the EJHL this past season, wracking up 17 goals – Kline is a physical player with decent speed

Cole Morrissette (Milton, ISL): Morrissette is a solid scorer (no. 3 on the Milton team this past season) and can play either defense or forward, having spent much of his prep career on the blue line – Morrissette is strong and physical and is almost as good a lax player as he is a hockey player

Elliott Vorel (Milton, ISL): Vorel is a strong scorer, finishing second in scoring for Milton this past season and first the year before that – he blossomed into a major scorer at Milton after transferring from the same NJ high school as Conn College recruit Celniker attended (Mountain Lakes HS) where Vorel was no where near as prolific as Celniker

Goalie:

Dawson Sprigings (Gunnery, NEPSAC): Like Middlebury recruit Michals, the NHL’s Central Scouting Services has rated Sprigings as an NHL prospect – Sprigings has decent size and put up good numbers this past season while playing more minutes than any other New England prep netminder

Other: Robbie Harbison (D) (Taft, Founders); Nicholas Malone (D) (South Kent Selects, Midget Tier I)

7. Middlebury (4)

Forwards:

Mike Najjar (Belmont Hill, ISL): Naijer is a 2-time all-ISL player and also was MVP of the competitive ISL as a senior – he was the no. 1 scorer on his team as a senior with 45 points and no. 12 scorer in all of New England prep hockey on PPG basis – Naijer is both a playmaker and a goal scorer – Belmont Hill put together an excellent record in his senior year, falling to an outstanding Westminster team in OT in the quarterfinals of the New England Prep play-offs

Defense:

Cameron Romoff (Smith Falls Bears, CCHL): Romoff is a slightly undersized d-man, who was a D1 commit at age 16 (Brown) – he is considered offensive minded and smart – he got off to a slow start in his last year in juniors before moving from the EJHL to the CCHL and closing out his junior career strongly

Andrew Neary (Dexter, NEPSAC): Neary is a stay-at-home d-man for a strong Dexter team, who was often paired with Bowdoin recruit Barrington and has decent size (6-0 and 197 lbs) – Dexter put together one of the better records in prep hockey in his last season before falling hard to eventual finalist Kent in the quarterfinals of the play-offs

Goalie:

Drew Michals (Lawrence Academy, ISL): Michals had a poor senior year, likely due to some health issues – he is rated highly by the NHL’s Central Scouting and was instrumental (along with Amherst recruit Ellison) in backstopping his Tier I midget team (Neponset River Valley Rats) to the national championship in 2013 – Michals is very young (one of just 5 or so 1995 DoBs among the NESCAC recruits) and likely has significant upside as he matures, develops physically (he has decent height but is on the skinny side), and gains experience (his prep experience was essentially limited to his senior year at Lawrence)

8. Colby (5)

Forwards:

Kevin Doherty (Bridgton Academy, AEHL): On the small side (5-9 and 160 lbs), Doherty brings energy and speed to the front line – an all-star at various levels of play, Doherty scored at a point-a-game rate in his PG year at Bridgton and was as much a goal scorer as a play maker

Colin Reilly (NY Apple Core, EJHL): A physical and energetic player, Reilly is more likely to focus on the defensive side of the game and is a skilled penalty killer – he also began to develop some offensive skills as his year in juniors progressed and, as a relatively young player (a mid-1994 DoB), has the opportunity to become a good two-way player

Brandon Willett (Toronto Lakeshore Patriots, OJHL): On the small side, Willett brings good playmaking and passing skills to the front line – he was scoring at a point-a-game pace before being injured early in the 2012-13 season

Defense:

Geoff Sullivan (Governer’s Academy, ISL): An offensive-minded, playmaking d-man, who put up good numbers in both his junior and senior years and rated a berth on the all-ISL team in the 2012-13 season – Sullivan is slightly under sized but should bring good puck-moving skills to the Colby blue line

Alex Walsh (Middlebury, NESCAC): A defensive-minded d-man who cracked the Middlebury rotation as a freshman, Walsh sat out the past year and is now a sophomore at Colby where he should bring leadership and steady play to the blue line

Others: Devin Albert (F) (Junior Bruins, EJHL); Jack Burton (D) (Boston Bandits, EJHL); Kai Frankville (D) (Gunnery, NEPSAC); Scott Fenwick (F) (Northwood, indep prep); Sam Hudziak (D) (St. Paul’s, ISL); Edward Rauseo (Belmont Hill, ISL); Mike Van Siclen (F) (Boston Bandits, EJHL)

9. Tufts (4)

Forwards:

Matt Pugh (Salisbury, Founders): Pugh was an offensive powerhouse during his senior year at BB&N in the ISL, wracking up 40 points – he tailed off a bit during his PG year at New England champ Salisbury in terms of points (11-14-25) but that was likely a function of playing second fiddle to at least 4 D1 recruits – at 6-1 and 190 lbs, Pugh brings some size and power to the Jumbos’ front line

Sean Kavanagh (Springfield Pics, EJHL): Kavanagh has excellent size (6-3 and 210 lbs) – with versatile skills, he can be found at the blue line or on the front line

Patrick Lackey (Exeter, NEPSAC): Lackey followed prolific Pingry (NJ Prep) scorers Dan Weiniger (Bowdoin ’13) and Matt Beattie (Yale ’16) from Pingry to Exeter for a PG year – Lackey didn’t shatter Exeter scoring records as both Weiniger and Beattie did but did have a good PG year –on the small side at 5-8, Lackey is equal parts play maker and goal scorer

Goalie:

Ryan Kellenberger (Springfield Junior Blues, NAHL): At 6-3 and 195 lbs, Kellenberger has great size – his numbers are not great but have shown steady improvement – he is a Californian, which sometimes means a slight lag in development compared to eastern and Canadian players due to fewer opportunities for competitive hockey during the developmental phase

Others: Mike Leary (F) (Belmont Hill, ISL); Conal Lynch (F) (Andover, NEPSAC)

10. Amherst (2)

Forward:

Chris Roll (Brockville Braves, CCHL): Roll is a skilled and experienced forward with good size (6-3) and a great hockey pedigree (son of current Nazareth Coach (and former Clarkson Coach) George Roll) – he is versatile, shifting from center to wing in junior hockey, and adept at both the PP and PK – Roll is also known for his leadership qualities, serving as captain of the Brockville Braves – he is experienced, with 3 years of junior hockey under his belt, and put up good numbers on the OJHL (17-48-65 in 47 games in 2012-13) – he should be ready to go early in his Amherst career

Goalie:

Adam Ellison (Deerfield, Founders): Eillison put up decent but not great numbers for Deerfield and shared goaltending duties with another highly rated prospect in both his junior and senior years – he did shine while playing for his Midget Tier I team, splitting time with Middlebury recruit Michals as the two of them back stopped the Neponset River Valley Rats to a national championship in March of 2013

Other: Austin Ho (D) (Springfield Junior Blues, NAHL)

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8 Responses

  1. Two unimpressive recruiting classes for the Polar Bears since Jamie Dumont returned to Bowdoin as assistant coach. Jeff Pellegrini, where are you? 🙂

    • Yup — the identity of the assistant coach has so much to do with the quality of recruits, not only at Bowdoin but elsewhere in the NESCAC. Of course the “hazing” episode at Bowdoin in the spring of 2011 and the forfeiture of the championship and all the bad publicity might have negatively affected recruiting for the group that entered in the fall of 2012 (they would have made their decisions to go to Bowdoin just a few months after news of the event was released).

      • While respecting your opinion, I don’t think the idiotic forfeiture of the 2011 championship (a purely administrative decision) was the main reason for the mediocre recruiting after Pellegrini left. NESCAC hockey players are intelligent young men, and so are their parents. Everybody knows that championships are won or lost on the ice, that the forfeiture of the championship was an administrative decision, and that the alleged “bad behavior” of the players was a bit exaggerated. (The college needed a visible program to make a point about an issue that in their view was getting out of hand, and men’s hockey offered the perfect opportunity.) Bowdoin hockey is one of the most storied programs in Division III, led over the past 55 years by only two legendary coaches (Sid Watson and Terry Meagher), with a terrific facility, several championships, and a consistent record of excellence, including two NESCAC championships and three national tournament appearances over the past four seasons — not to mention a top five national academic ranking among liberal arts college. So, it shouldn’t be too hard to convince good players to come to Bowdoin. In my very modest opinion Jamie Dumont is not a good recruiter. Jeff Pellegrini, on the contrary, was a superb recruiter. Look at some of the kids he helped bring in: Colin Downey, Ollie Koo, Harry Matheson, Steve Messina, Jay Livermore, Kyle Lockwood, John McGinnis, Ryan Collier, Connor Quinn, Danny Palumbo. Clearly a few steps above Matt Rubinoff, Dylan Shamburger, and Chris Fenwick — good players, but not of the caliber to build a championship team around. The best recruit last year was probably defenseman Gabriel Renaud, but Bowdoin’s offensive system requires forwards who can put the puck in the net as the Polar Bears are more likely to win games 7-4 than 2-1. Of course the jury is still out on this year’s recruiting class, and I can only hope for the Polar Bears’ sake that my pessimism regarding Dumont’s recruiting judgment proves wrong! Still, Bowdoin has enough talent, particularly in the outstanding senior class, to compete for another NESCAC championship this year. But they may be in trouble in 2014-2015 unless something drastic happens.

        • Jamie Dumont was actually a decent recruiter during his first stint at Bowdoin — or at least that is a fair deduction based on the players who entered Bowdoin during his first term as Bowdoin assist coach. A quick review of the records at collegehockeystats.net indicates that his best class consisted of George Papachristopoulos, Adam Dann, and Jon Landry. Not too shabby, with 2 all-Americans in the mix. There were other quality players during his tenure like Bryan Ciborowski, Mike Westerman, Colin Hughes, and Tim McVaugh. His only poor class was the class of 2009, likely recruited when he knew he would be leaving Bowdoin. With regard to Bowdoin’s class of 2016 (current sophomores), is it not possible that the punishments meted out in connection with the hazing incident included the forfeiture of some of the recruiting slots for that class? The news reports at the time indicated that there were other unspecified punishments imposed along with the forfeiture . . Just an educated guess on my part as Bowdoin’s latest group of recruits is definitely a step up from Dumont’s first class although definitely not in the class of either of the 2 classes recruited by Pelligrini. Regardless of the reasons, Bowdoin will really need to step it up this year if it wishes to keep pace with the other top-tier NESCAC teams after this season.

          • Your points are very well taken. I don’t think, however, that removing recruiting slots was part of the punishment in 2011, but I’ll try to find out. Thanks for replying.

  2. Max Fenkell–pretty decent Dumont recruit….
    Bowdoin Fan wake the $@#$ Up!

    • When We researched Fenkell as one of last year’s recruits, it turned out Fenkell was originally recruited for Bowdoin’s class of 2014 but decided to go to Colgate instead. So Fenkell is likely more a Pellegrini recruit than a Dumont recruit. . .

    • Though he’s not a Dumont recruit, I have to agree that Fenkell is an excellent goalie. He’s very solid overall, and was outstanding in the championship game against a very good Williams team. I also stand corrected by limpidus, who made an excellent point about Dumont having recruited, in his previous stint as assistant coach, outstanding players like Adam Dann (Rookie of the Year), Jon Landry (All American), Mike Westerman (All American), Tim McVaugh and others. And I’m definitely not complaining about the recruiting of Gabe Renaud, whom I think has the potential to develop into a very dependable defenseman. So, maybe I wasn’t totally fair in my criticism of Dumont. Of course, as a Bowdoin fan, I want Dumont to be as successful as any assistant coach in NESCAC.

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