Thursday, May 15, 2014

UConn will play five games in Bridgeport this season

UConn, beginning its inaugural season in Hockey East, will play a total of five games in Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena this winter. In addition to the Frozen Hockey Classic on Dec. 27-28, the Huskies take on Quinnipiac there in October, Colorado College on Tuesday, Jan. 6 and Notre Dame in a Hockey East game on the afternoon of Jan. 18, a Sunday.

"We're very excited about playing games in Bridgeport," UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh said, adding he's interested in continuing to bring a handful of games downstate. The Huskies will use Hartford's XL Center for their other home games.

Cavanaugh, like Sacred Heart coach C.J. Marottolo, is still holding out hope for an all-Connecticut tournament with Quinnipiac and Yale somewhere down the road. Both coaches would also like to continue the Frozen Classic in Bridgeport in 2015. Quinnipiac withdrew from the event about a week after the April 14 press conference announcing its inception. UMass Lowell joins UConn, Sacred Heart and defending national champion Union in the field. It's unclear whether Webster Bank Arena president Howard Saffan will continue the event beyond this season. He did not return a phone message Thursday.

"If Howard Saffan wants to do it again in 2015, UConn will be there," Cavanaugh said. "He has my commitment."

Quinnipiac withdraws from Bridgeport's Frozen Holiday Classic

Last month, Quinnipiac coach Rand Pecknold was part of a press conference at Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena to announce the inaugural Frozen Holiday Classic in December. UConn, Sacred Heart and Union would round out the field for the Dec. 27-28 event, which organizers hoped would lay the foundation for a all-Connecticut tournament.

Turns out Quinnipiac didn't realize its schedule for the upcoming season was already booked.

So Quinnipiac, about two weeks after the media event, made phone calls to Webster Bank Arena officials and the other participating schools to apologize and formally withdraw.UMass Lowell was secured as the Bobcats' replacement.

"There was a lot of miscommunication on our end," Quinnipiac athletic director Jack McDonald said Thursday. "We misread our situation. We had other commitments and weren't going to be able to pull it off. It's our fault."

According to McDonald, Quinnipiac overlooked a two-year, four-game contract with St. Cloud State that begins this season. The Bobcats are at St. Cloud this season for a two-game series; St. Cloud returns the trip to Hamden in the 2015-16 season.

Whether the Frozen Holiday Classic endures beyond this year is unknown. A call to Howard Saffan, president of Webster Bank Arena, wasn't immediately returned.

According to a press release after the April 14 media conference in Bridgeport, Yale was set to join the three other Connecticut teams in the second annual Frozen Hockey Classic, set for 2015. That statement was inaccurate. Yale senior associate athletic director Wayne Dean said Thursday Yale is considering joining the field. But its schedule appears to be booked for 2015-16, and it hasn't committed to the Classic for any future dates yet.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yale makes recruiting class official

From Yale, the press release issued today....

John Baiocco
F, 5-8, 170
New Vernon, NJ
Fargo Force/Dubuque Fighting Saints

In USHL:  Scored 10 goals and had 15 assists playing for both Fargo (37 gp) and Dubuque (12) in 2013-14.
At Delbarton School: Senior captain of the top ranked team in the state for 2012-13… 2013 hockey player of the year honors from MSG, Newark Star Ledger, NJISAA and Daily Record… First-team all-state and all-conference… 2012 Hockey Night in Boston Player Leadership Award… Member of four state championship squads (also NJ team of the Year Awards) and two Gordon Cup Conference titles… Daily Record and MSG 2013 Team of the Year… 
Personal: John Baiocco (bee-OKKO) is the son of Ann and John Baiocco… Interested in economics… John has two younger sisters, Ali and Nicole, who will be playing lacrosse at Harvard.

Henry Hart
F, 5-7, 155
Stillwater, Minn.
Phillips Exeter Academy
At Exeter:  Played 31 games and had 20-38-58… New England Fall Prep Hockey League All-Star… Competed in Elite 8 Playoffs… Won NE Fall league championship.
At Saint Thomas Academy (Minn.): Helped team win three state Class A championships… Compiled 93 games with 35-38-73 playing both center and wing… 2012-13 All-Classic Suburban Conference… Soccer all-state honorable mention… All-conference… Pioneer Press All-Metro honorable mention in soccer… Played soccer for three years and was team captain… Competed in long jump and the 4x100 relay on track & field team… Graduated cum laude… Two-time Eagle Award recipient for high honor roll… Torch Award for honor roll.
Club Experience: Helped Minnesota CCM National Invitational Tournament Team win 2013 championship… Played for Team Southeast, which was runner-up in Minnesota Upper Midwest Elite Playoffs… Ted Brill Great 8 section 4 A/AA Team.
Personal: Henry Charles Debolt Hart is the son of Holly and Kyle Hart… Taught hockey at Herb Brooks Foundation… Intern at Tony Sanneh Foundation… Mother played hockey at Dartmouth… Father wrestled and competed in track & field at Colgate… Sister, Annie, was a five-time All-America skier at Dartmouth and is now a pro with SMS T2 ski team.
Ryan Hitchcock
F, 5-10, 170
Manhasset, N.Y.
U.S. National Team Development Program
With USA NTDP: Played 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons… Scored 26 goals and had 82 points in 109 games over the two winters… Notched 8-11-19 in 38 games in 2012-13… Played in 2013 All-American Prospects Game… Attended Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Mich… High honor roll.
International Experience: Played on gold medalist U.S. U18 squad at 2014 World Championships… Played with Dylan Larkin, the cousin of his Yale classmate and teammate, Adam Larkin… Scored game-winning goal against Sweden in semifinal at the world tournament… Recorded 5-18-23 in 20 games for the U18 team.
With New Jersey Rockets: Played one season and had 19-29-48 in 24 games… 2012 MJHL MVP… 2012 MJHL champions.
With Long Island Gulls: Had 46 goals and 101 points over four seasons.
Personal: Ryan Hitchcock is the son of Mia and Kent Hitchcock… In final rankings from NHL Central Scouting. 
Adam Larkin
D, 6-0, 182
Clarkston, Mich.
Muskegon Lumberjacks
Muskegon Lumberjacks: Played 59 games during 2013-14 USHL season… Scored three goals and had 12 assists.
At Clarkston High School: Competed in 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons while accumulating 29-42-71… 2011-12 first-team all-state, Second-team All-Oakland County, Oakland Activities Association MVP… 2010-11 OAA First-Team All-League… Played one season each of soccer and baseball… AP Scholar… Senior Scholar… Summa Cum Laude… Advanced Studies Endorsement
Club Experience: Played 2012-13 for HoneyBaked in Michigan and had 14-40-54 in 71 games… HoneyBaked was national bronze medalists and state champions… Played 2010-11 and 2011-12 for Clarkston Wolves with 29-42-71 in 52 games… 2011-12 Wolves Team MVP… Wolves were 2010-11 regional champions
Personal: Adam Larkin is the son of Cindy and Paul Larkin… Father played soccer at Oakland University… Two uncles were also college soccer players, one went on to play professionally… Brother, Ryan, is a University of Miami hockey commit… Cousin, Dylan, plays hockey at Michigan… Cousin, Colin, plays hockey at UMass-Boston.
Nate Repensky
D, 5-11, 180
Duluth, Minn.
Bismarck Bobcats
In NAHL: Played 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons in Bismarck… Played 96 games and had 18-59-77 from the blueline over two campaigns… 2013-14 NAHL Defenseman of the Year…  All-NAHL Rookie Team…  All-NAHL Team… All-Central Division Team… Helped Bismarck become Central Division Champions.
At Duluth East High School: Class AA All-Tournament Team… All-area… AP Honorable Mention All-State...  Captained team senior year… Scored 20 goals and had 93 points over three seasons… Scored 15 goals senior year… Herb Brooks Character Award… Finished second in the state after the longest Minnesota State Championship Game Ever (3-2 loss in 3 OT to Eden Prairie, 2011)… Helped Greyhounds reach state tournament every season… Academic Honor Roll.
Personal: Nathaniel Repensky is the son of Debby and Greg Repensky… Worked as a PCA for a child with down syndrome as a summer job.

Milford's Mark Naclerio named captain at Brown

Mark Naclerio, a junior from Milford, will serve as co-captain at Brown next season. Naclerio is coming off a standout sophomore season as he led the team with 16 goals and 35 points. He also paced the Bears with four game-winning tallies and tied for first with 19 assists, chipping in with three power-play goals. He ranked fourth in the ECAC with 1.13 points per game and logged nine multiple-point contests during the season. Naclerio was named the ECAC Player of the Month in January, registering eight goals and 14 points to go along with a plus-7 rating. He was a three-time ECAC Player of the Week selection.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Quinnipiac recruiting class a family affair

Quinnipiac hasn't quite cornered the market on brothers, or identical twins for that matter. But the Bobcats have done well on the recruiting trail making the most of households with multiple college prospects. So while the campus has bid farewell to the Jones twins, they should prepare to welcome two new sets of brothers in the incoming class. Identical twins Jonah and Nathan Renouf and the Piepers, Bo and Canon, separated by a year -- highlight the 10-man recruiting class assembled by Quinnipiac.

Also on their way to Hamden this fall: forwards Landon Smith, Andrew Taverner, Nelson Gadoury and Tanner MacMaster, defenseman Kevin McKernan and goaltender Sean Lawrence. Justin Agosta, a transfer from the University of New Hampshire, also joins the roster and is eligible immediately, giving the Bobcats a 29-man roster for the upcoming season.

It's a group with the potential to be the finest single class ever assembled at Quinnipiac.

"From top to bottom, the depth of skill level and point production...let's put it this way, at the end of four years, this is going to be a special group; a group where people look at it and say 'Wow, they're losing all these guys,'" said Quinnipiac assistant and recruiting coordinator Bill Riga "There's a lot of different intangibles. If all goes as planned, this might be the best class we've ever had."

Several should make an impact right away, helping replace voids left by the Joneses, Bryce Van Brabant and Jordan Samuels-Thomas. Not the least of whom is Smith, leading scorer in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League, had offers from Denver and North Dakota. A goal scorer (he had 43 this winter) Smith has skills to convert from anywhere on the ice.

MacMaster, just 18, became available after he de-committed from Boston College. Although slowed by injuries this season, he had 11 goals and 29 assists for Camrose of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, where he teamed with fellow QU recruit Gadoury. Riga said McMaster's skill level is similar to that of Matthew Peca.

Taverner, also out of the AJHL, is another explosive scorer who finished with 28 goals and 34 assists at Sherwood Park. At 5-11, 182 pounds, he's roughly 30 pounds heavier than McMaster, though both are considered late-round possibilities for next month's NHL Entry Draft.

Lawrence, named most valuable player of the USPHL, went 29-8-3 with a 2.06 GAA and .932 save percentage for the Boston Jr. Bruins. Several schools were after his services. He's expected to compete with incumbent goalie Michael Garteig for playing time right away.

Gadoury is cut from the mold of Van Brabant, a physical, power winger unafraid of getting dirty in front of the net. He had 28 assists and 40 points while amassing 148 minutes in penalties for Camrose. "He has a lot of emotion to his game," Riga said. "We expect him to fill that physical element left by Bryce."

The Piepers, both 5-11 and 180, emerged as scoring threats this season in the BCHL after two seasons on the checking line. "I don't think we can ever replace the Jonses, but they bring the energy and tempo and pace that the Joneses bring," Riga said. "We're hoping their offensive upside continues to develop. But they go all in every shift, all out, up and down the ice, full tempo, compete level, Minnesota kids, great kids."

The Renoufs, listed at 5-8, 155, are skill players who thrive on puck movement and the power play. Riga said they'll need to get stronger this summer, though he noted Sam Anas' success at 150 pounds last winter. "They have that chemistry together," Riga said. "They don't have the same speed or oomph that the Joneses had, but between them and the Piepers, they bring many of the same elements."

McKernan, also from the Junior Bruins, is a 6-foot, 180-pound defenseman Riga likened to Dan Federico. "They look similar on the ice, they kind of skate similar," Riga said. "Kevin has more of an offensive upside, but it's tough to find kids as solid defensively as Dan is."

The 11 incoming players replace nine lost to graduation and early departure. That includes Peter Quenneville, who left the program in November, and Brady Rouleau and Zach Luczyk. Rouleau has informed the Quinnipiac coaching staff he plans to transfer to Division III SUNY-Plattsburgh. Luczyk is still undecided, but believed to be looking into some Atlantic Hockey programs.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Yale bringing in five recruits for this fall

Yale's incoming recruiting class with consist of five players -- three forwards and two defensemen -- all with the potential to contribute immediately.

The Bulldogs' class of 2018 is: Ryan Hitchcock, a forward with the U.S. National Developmental Program; John Baiocco, a forward who spent last winter in the USHL; Henry Hart, a forward out of Phillips Exeter; Nate Repensky, a defenseman from the NAHL and Adam Larkin, a defenseman from the USHL.

Hitchcock, 18, spent the past two seasons in the USNDP after skating with the New Jersey Rockets of the Atlantic Junior Hockey League. A play-maker noted for his vision, he scored eight goals with 30 assists in 41 games this winter, also helping the U.S. in February to win the Five Nations Tournament in Russia and the IIHF Under-18 World Championship in Finland last month. Though small (5-9, 170 pounds) he has a shot at being selected in the NHL Entry Draft next month.

Yale has enjoyed success recruiting out of New Jersey's Delbarton School -- Kenny Agostino, Matt Killian and Charles Orzetti are all recent alums. Baiocco, who turns 19 next month, was a two-time Jersey all-state selection and the Star-Ledger state player of the year as a senior. Delbarton won four state titles in Baiocco's four seasons. He spent this season in the USHL, splitting time between Fargo and Dubuque, combining for 10 goals and 25 points in 49 games.

Hart, small yet talented, fits the Yale mold. He was set on attending Division III Bowdoin until December, when the Bulldogs came in with an offer. He played high school hockey in Minnesota before traveling east to Exeter, one of the top New England Prep Schools. He finished the season with 58 points.

Repensky, 21, played for Bismarck of the NAHL and has battled injury the past few seasons. He missed 21 games in 2012-13, and recently broke a leg and is expected to be out two months. The injury shouldn't affect his status for this fall. His numbers -- 12 goals, 38 assists in 59 games -- are impressive.

Larkin, 19, had a 3-12-15 line for Muskegon of the USHL. In high school, he was first-team all-state in Michigan. He has a brother, Ryan, heading to Miami-Ohio and a cousin, Dylan Larkin, who is a Michigan recruit.