Men’s hockey new incoming players: A preview

We’ve got a lot to get to so let’s not waste time. Two goalies, four defenders, six forwards.

Tyler Harmon – Goaltender – Ramsey, New Jersey – Jersey Hitmen (USPHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 22-7-1, 2.26 GAA, .922 SV%, 2 SO

Twitter: @tylerharmon1997

Named the 2017 USPHL Goaltender of the Year, Harmon will likely be Stef Lekkas’s backup or a 1B goalie in a platoon system with UVM’s sophomore goalie. A multi-sport athlete at Ramsey High School, where he was not only a standout goalie for the Rams (posting a .948 SV% his senior year and earning The Record’s Player of the Year award) but also a star lacrosse player (potting 35 goals and 29 assists his senior year and was named NJ.com’s Cullen Division Player of the Year). For four years, Harmon split time between his high school team and the Jersey Hitmen U18 team (winning a state Public B championship with the former in 2015-16 and a USPHL U18 title with the latter in 2014-15), but last season starred for the Hitmen senior team. At 6’3″, Harmon brings size to the position the Catamounts lacked last season, as well as a winning pedigree.

Matt Beck – Goaltender – Westport, Connecticut – Philadelphia Jr. Flyers (USPHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 7-13-0, 4.06 GAA, .905 SV%

Twitter: @MBeck29

Based on his numbers and what I’ve heard of him, Beck will likely fill the Pat Feeley role as the competitive goalie who, while he may not see the ice much, will certainly push guys in practice. In high school at Fairfield Prep, Beck twice led the Jesuits to the state title. So yeah, all three of UVM’s goalies this year have won something (Lekkas won the USHL, Beck and Harmon both won state championships in high school), which is cool.

Brian Kelly – Defender – Purchase, New York – Connecticut Jr. Rangers (USPHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 32 GP, 2-12-14, 6 PIM

Twitter: @bkells1997

No, it is not the head coach of #GoAway football. Described as a player who will bring “a high end work ethic, hockey sense and skill” to UVM, Kelly graduated from Kent School in 2016, posting 13 points in his final two years. I don’t watch much USPHL, but I would guess that his low numbers point to him being more of a defensive defenseman. Which is nice, because outside of Massie and Abramson, UVM lacked good defensive defensemen last season.

Cory Thomas – Defender – St. Brieux, Saskatchewan – Flin Flon Bombers (SJHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 49 GP, 2-8-10, 24 PIM

Twitter: @10C_THOMAS

Last season, the Cats had very little size on D with only Abramson and Massie standing at over 6’0″. Enter Cory Thomas, a massive 6’5″ shutdown defenseman from Western Canada. A member of Team Canada West at least year’s World Junior A Challenge, Thomas doubled his point total from 2015/16 this year. During his time in the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border town, Thomas was a member of the SJHL’s All-Rookie team in 2015-16, and helped the Bombers reach back-to-back Canalta Cup finals. He still needs to fill out (as despite his huge frame he’s still only 200ish pounds) but having another big, strong defender should help.

Owen Grant – Defender – Stittsville, Ontario – Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 56 GP, 5-19-24, 24 PIM

Twitter: @orgrant2

Grant had a rockstar year with the Canadians this season. With his club, he won the CCHL title for a third straight season, received the RBC/Arthur K Nielsen Memorial Award for “combining hockey excellence, academic success and also volunteer activities,” was named CCHL Defender of the Year, and was named to the CCHL First All-Star Team. He graduated high school with a 92% average. At the World Junior A Challenge on Team Canada East, Grant again received plaudits for his play, earning a spot on the tournament All-Star Team. You get the point. This is the kind of guy you want on a college hockey team – stellar on the ice, fantastic in the classroom, active in the community. Could be a future captain.

Christian Evers – Defender – Waukee, Iowa – Lincoln Stars (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 60 GP, 8-10-18, +2, 69 PIM

Twitter: @christianmevers

The last defender on the list is Evers who, like Thomas, brings solid size to the table standing at 6’2″. A former North Dakota Fighting Hawks commit and #1 overall pick in Phase 2 of the USHL draft, Evers is an alumnus of the United States National Team Development Program, the first Catamount with this status since Michael Paliotta. He brings size, physicality, and solid puck-handling skills, and can read the game well. I think he might be a top-4 defender right away for Kevin Sneddon.

Alex Esposito – Right Wing – West Haven, Connecticut – Youngstown Phantoms (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 59 GP, 18-16-34, +4, 144 PIM

Twitter: @aesposito11

An alumnus of the Loomis Chaffee program, Esposito is a tough team player. According to Esposito himself, he is “not too flashy, but I like to make plays and I like to be responsible all over the ice. (I just) really do anything the coaches ask me to do, or the team asks me to do.” (source) He started last USHL season on a tear offensively, sitting at second on the USHL scoring charts for a time. A 12-game scoreless drought eventually dropped him off, but he finished strong. Esposito will probably be playing the role that Forgione played last year: a tough forward that can grab you a goal. He’ll be a fan favorite.

Fun fact: Esposito’s younger brother, Eric, also plays hockey. The two were teammates with the Phantoms last year, and also spent some time together at Loomis Chaffee.

Bryce Misley – Center – Calgary, Alberta – Oakville Blades (OJHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 46 GP, 26-36-62, 14 PIM

Twitter: @Misley_18

Most would probably consider Misley the jewel in the crown of this class. He’s VERY talented, and was drafted in the NHL draft by Minnesota earlier this year. He’s a talented player who will almost certainly be a top-6 center, skating well and dangling with ease. He shows up when it counts, posting 14 points in 16  playoff games for the Blades despite battling a foot injury that slowed his mobility. He was First Team All-Prospect in the OJHL this year, and represented Canada East at the World Junior A challenge. Get hyped, because this guy is good.

Vladislav (Vlad) Dzhioshvili – Forward – Moscow, Russia – Bloomington Thunder (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 58 GP, 19-23-42, -9, 86 PIM

Twitter: @vlad1034

Anyone that knows me in real life knows that I adore Russian hockey, so I may be a tad biased. But Dzhioshvili (JEE-osh-vee-lee) is probably #2 behind Misley in my books as the best recruit from this class. A former Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knight (a program that has churned out a lot of talent recently, with the crown jewel probably being Philadelphia Flyers defender Ivan Provorov), Dzhioshvili led the Thunder in goals and points, and was named the team’s forward of the year. Vlad describes himself as a power forward, and he can play both center (where he played for the Knights) and wing (where he played for the Thunder), which makes him an even stronger weapon. He owns a powerful shot and very good hands.

Fun fact: Dzhioshvili’s older brother, Maxim, also plays hockey. Maxim spent last season with the Vityaz Podolsk organization in Russia, including stints with junior side Russkie Vityazi and VHL (think the KHL’s AHL) side Tver.

Martin Fréchette – Right Wing – Rockland, Ontario – Cumberland Grads (CCHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 59 GP, 20-41-61, 20 PIM

Twitter: @martinfrechette

After a monster 2015/16 where he posted 71 points (up from 32 the year before), Fréchette took a bit of a step back last year. He’s small, very small (standing at just 5’7″), but makes up for that with speed. “I am a fast and skilled player,” Fréchette said in a Q&A with the Grads’ website. “I do not have the luxury of size so that means I have to be quick and smart to make up for it. I have a great vision and feel that possess a high hockey IQ on the Ice.”

The best part of that Q&A, if you ask me, was the part where he said “I’m not the type of player that will dump and chase.” I like this kid already! Controlled entries (passing and carry-ins) tend to generate more shot attempts (and thus more opportunities to score).

Ace Cowans – Center/Left Wing – Beverly, Massachusetts – Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 27 GP, 5-7-12, -3, 33 PIM

Twitter: @acecow14

OverTheBoards.net describes Cowans, who starred at Groton School in Massachusetts, as “small, high skilled, very sharp” and a “quick, high-flying forward who zips around the ice.” I feel like much of what was said about Fréchette also applies here. Small, quick, fantastic hockey IQ. Missed the tail end of last season with an injury, but should be good to go to start his college career.

Max Kaufman – Forward – Pittsford, New York – Langley Rivermen (BCHL)

2016/17 Statistics: 47 GP, 31-24-55, Even, 20 PIM

Twitter: @maxkaufman_3

And for our third straight 5’7″ skill forward, and the final newcomer on our list, we have Max Kaufman, who was actually teammates with Brian Kelly at Kent in 2014/15. Our last small-but-skilled forward from Langley worked out pretty well (Mario Puskarich), though I’m not going to heap those expectations on Kaufman. During two years of high school hockey at Pittsford High, Kaufman was named All-Greater Rochester Player of the Year in 2011-12 after posting 32 points in 20 games and leading the Panthers to a state runner-up. He then played three seasons at Kent School, a prep school, leading the team in scoring his senior year before spending two years at Langley, where he posted 106 points over two regular seasons.

Also, check out this goal he scored. On infinite loop. That is a beauty.


Welcome to UVM everyone!

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Three Games/Series I’m Looking Forward To

With the women’s team releasing their schedule today, we now have the UVM hockey calendar filled out for 2017/18. Let’s take a look at three games or series that I look forward to the most this season for both sides.


MEN’S

Oct 14 at Quinnipiac

Last season, the Bobcats were ranked #3 and were expected to beat UVM in the Friendship Four championship game in Belfast. Instead, Stef Lekkas put on a clinic, stopping 40, and Ross Colton had a three point night as the Catamounts rolled the Bobcats 5-1. Q should be better this season, and have one of the best home-ice advantages in college hockey. Early-season gut check.

Oct 20-21 at Michigan

This isn’t your uncle’s Wolverines, namely because they’re actually coached by a different guy for once. Mel Pearson has replaced the retired legend Red Berenson, and the trip to Ann Arbor will be the first in UVM history. The Wolverines should be much-improved (I’d argue Pearson is much more in-tune with modern college hockey than Red was), and will prove another early-season test for UVM’s young roster.

Nov 10-11 vs BC

The returning crop at UVM is going to remember the last time they played BC, when they gave up two touchdowns in the Hockey East playoffs. BC is vulnerable this year with their top 5 scorers all leaving and their top recruit (Eeli Tolvanen) not actually coming, so this could be a huge matchup with regards to playoff positioning by the end of the season.


 

WOMEN’S

Oct 22 vs BC

Yes, UVM also plays BC at Conte in mid-January. But this is the first one since the Cats came within a double overtime goal of the Hockey East championship game (and I still insist the Cats could have defeated Northeastern in the final) against the Eagles. October of last year saw the Cats take out a top-ten ranked team in the BU Terriers. Can they do it again, avenge their heartbreaking loss in the tournament the year before, and get Coach Plumer his first win against BC?

Nov 10-11 home and home w/ Clarkson

On the same weekend the men battle BC, the women play a home and home against the reigning national champs from across the lake. UVM actually played Clarkson (the only Eastern team ever to win a NCAA D-I women’s national title) at home last year in the Windjammer Classic final (a 3-1 win for the eventual national champions), and this should serve as a good gauge for how much the returning players have improved.

Jan 12-13 at Minnesota

Clarkson may be the reigning national champions, and they full well deserve it. But the Golden Gophers remain the gold standard for women’s hockey programs with 6 national championships and a run of five national title games in a row that was broken up this season. This series at the site of this year’s Women’s Frozen Four should be a good gauge on where this program is in its development.

Former Cats Update: End of season and Offseason Moves

Note: This will NOT include players who left for junior or who transferred, but it WILL include players who left to turn pro early.

Stat Recaps

GOALKEEPERS

Joe Fallon ’08 –  Dundee StarsRegular Season: 51 GP, 20W-24L, 3.37 GAA, .896 SV%, 3 SO – Playoffs: 4 GP, 1.66 GAA, .945 SV%

DEFENDERS

Drew MacKenzie ’12 –  Kassel HuskiesRegular Season: 42 GP, 3-25-28, +4, 62 PIM – Playoffs: 9 GP, 0-5-5, -5, 12 PIM – Also played one game for  Dornbirner AC

Alexx Privitera ’16 –  New Hampshire Manchester MonarchsRegular Season: 33 GP, 5-17-22, +2, 33 PIM – Playoffs: 17 GP, 1-3-4, +3, 9 PIM – Also played 19 games for California Ontario Reign

Ryan Gunderson ’07 – Sweden Brynäs IF “A” – Regular Season: 52 GP, 4-23-27, +1, 18 PIM – Playoffs: 20 GP, 0-10-10, +4, 4 PIM – SHL Runner-Up

Nick Luukko ’15 – Pennsylvania Reading Royals – Regular Season: 70 GP, 6-14-20, +22, 22 PIM – Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-0-0, -3, 0 PIM

Jaime Sifers ’06 – Ohio Cleveland Monsters – Regular Season: 74 GP, 6-14-20, -5, 74 PIM

Michael Paliotta ’15 – Connecticut Hartford WolfPack – Regular Season: 52 GP, 1-13-14, -1, 20 PIM

Nick Bruneteau ’14 –  Lausitzer Füchse – Regular Season: 28 GP, 3-9-12, -6, 32 PIM – Playoffs: 5 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 28 PIM – Also played 4 Champions Hockey League games for  Eisbären Berlin

Anders Franzon ’13 –  Sheffield Steelers – Regular Season: 51 GP, 1-10-11, 31 PIM – Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-0-0, 0 PIM

Evan Stoflet ’07 –  Utah Grizzlies – Regular Season: 45 GP, 1-8-9, -13, 50 PIM

Patrick Cullity ’10 – Connecticut Bridgeport Sound Tigers – Regular Season: 36 GP, 0-5-5, -4, 52 PIM –  Also played 3 games for Missouri Missouri Mavericks

Kevan Miller ’11 – Massachusetts Boston Bruins – Regular Season: 58 GP, 3-10-13, +1, 50 PIM – Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-0-0, Even, 4 PIM

FORWARDS

Chris McCarthy ’14 – Pennsylvania Reading Royals – Regular Season: 43 GP, 19-28-47, +7, 4 PIM – Playoffs: 6 GP, 0-5-5, Even, 2 PIM – Also played 17 games for Pennsylvania Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Jack Downing ’11 –  Kassel Huskies – Regular Season: 46 GP, 22-20-42, +8, 8 PIM – Playoffs: 9 GP, 2-6-8, +3, 4 PIM

Colin Vock ’10 –  Frederikshavn White Hawks – Regular Season: 38 GP, 17-23-40, +10, 16 PIM – Playoffs: 4 GP, 0-1-1, Even, 2 PIM – Metal Ligaen Bronze Medal

Peter Lenes ’09 –  Kitzbüheler EC “A” – Regular Season: 28 GP, 12-21-33, -8, 14 PIM

Éric Perrin ’97 –  TPS Turku “A” – Regular Season: 43 GP, 13-18-31, +13, 18 PIM

Connor Brickley ’14 –  Charlotte Checkers – Regular Season: 69 GP, 15-11-26, +8, 57 PIM – Playoffs: 5 GP, 2-2-4, +3, 0 PIM

Jon Turk ’16 –  Columbus Cottonmouths – Regular Season: 56 GP, 13-11-24, -10, 64 PIM – Playoffs: 3 GP, 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM

Brian Roloff ’10 –  Ravensburg Towerstars – Regular Season: 41 GP, 8-15-23, -7, 12 PIM

Matt White ’14 –  Dundee Stars – Regular Season: 52 GP, 8-14-22, 76 PIM – Playoffs: 4 GP, 1-0-1, 2 PIM

Patrick Sharp ’02 – Texas Dallas Stars – Regular Season: 48 GP, 8-10-18, -22, 31 PIM

Sebastian Stålberg ’12 – Sweden Frölunda HC – Regular Season: 49 GP, 8-7-15, +1, 6 PIM – Playoffs: 14 GP, 1-2-3, +2, 2 PIM – Champions Hockey League Champion

Torrey Mitchell ’07 – Quebec Montréal Canadiens – Regular Season: 78 GP, 8-9-17, +5, 38 PIM – Playoffs: 3 GP, 1-0-1, +1, 0 PIM

Viktor Stålberg ’09 –  Carolina Hurricanes / Ontario Ottawa Senators – Combined Regular Season: 75 GP, 11-5-16, -9, 41 PIM – Playoffs: 17 GP, 0-2-2, -8, 2 PIM

Colin Markison ’15 – Connecticut Bridgeport Sound Tigers – Regular Season: 28 GP, 2-4-6, -1, 8 PIM

Chelsea Furlani ’10 –  EV Bozen Eagles “C”  – Regular Season: 18 GP, 18-17-35, +25, 6 PIM – Playoffs: 9 GP, 14-2-16, +9, 2 PIM – Champion of Italy – Member of Italy national team

Sarah Campbell ’15 –  DEC Salzburg Eagles – Regular Season: 14 GP, 9-15-24, +18, 6 PIM – Playoffs: 8 GP, 3-3-6, +5, 6 PIM

Delia McNally ’15 –  Neuberg Highlanders – Regular Season: 13 GP, 1-7-8, -11, 20 PIM – Playoffs: 2 GP, 3-0-3, +5, 0 PIM

Amanda Pelkey ’15 – MassachusettsBoston Pride – Regular Season: 17 GP, 2-5-7, +2, 10 PIM – Playoffs: 2 GP, 0-0-0, Even, 2 PIM – IIHF World Champion – Member of US national team


Offseason Moves

Mario Puskarich ’17: New Hampshire Manchester Monarchs ->  Medveščak Zagreb

Rachael Ade ’17: Vermont UVM (women’s) -> Connecticut Connecticut Whale

Colin Vock ’10:  Frederikshavn White Hawks ->  Esbjerg Energy

Connor Brickley ’14:  Carolina Hurricanes ->  Vegas Golden Knights -> Florida Florida Panthers

Jaime Sifers ’06: Ohio Cleveland Monsters -> New York (state) Utica Comets

Patrick Sharp ’02: Texas Dallas Stars ->  Chicago Blackhawks

Anders Franzon ’13:  Sheffield Steelers -> Retired

Slavomir Tomko ’08: No team 2016/17 -> France Lions de Lyon

Michael Paliotta ’15: Connecticut Hartford WolfPack -> Ontario Toronto Marlies