The Men’s Hockey Newcomers: a preview

Let’s do this! We’ve got a smaller group this year. Six players. Two defenders and four forwards.

Virginia Carter Long

Position: Defender

Hometown: Yorktown, Virginia 

Previous Team: Lincoln Stars

Twitter: @carterlong2

Big boy! According to the USHL website, Long stands at 6’3, 213 lbs. From what I’ve been able to read, he’s a smart defender with good gap control, positioning, and physicality. He also saw a huge increase in his offensive numbers last season, going from 4 points in 2016-17 to 22. His skating is pretty solid as well.

In two years, UVM has gone from undersized on the blueline to having a trio of players standing 6’3 or taller (Long, Christian Evers, and Cory Thomas). That’s pretty good on most Hockey East rinks (Lake Whitt at UNH is probably the only exception).


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Youngstown Phantoms defenseman Andrew Petrillo (5) shoots in the first period of an USHL Hockey game against Dubuque, Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018, in Youngstown. Phantoms won 2-1. Photo by Nikos Frazier of The Vindicator.

New Jersey Andrew Petrillo

Position: Defender

Hometown: Pompton Plains, New Jersey 

Previous Team: Central Illinois Flying Aces

Twitter: @Rills5

A two-time state champion in New Jersey with Delbarton, Petrillo has leadership potential as a captain during his high school days. He’s a smaller skill defenseman at 5’11”, with good skating and a solid shot.

As for the cons, he didn’t exactly set the USHL alight, even after a midseason trade last year from Youngstown to Central Illinois, and from what I’ve read he has a tendency to overhandle the puck. Confidence will be key here.

And let’s be real: I’ve been wrong about recruits whose junior numbers didn’t impress me before. See: Esposito, Alex.


 

John Deroche (photo by Andy Abeyta - The Gazeette)

John DeRoche during his days with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. Photo by Andy Abeyta for The Gazette

Massachusetts Johnny DeRoche

Position: Forward

Hometown: Lynnfield, Massachusetts 

Previous Team: Connecticut Jr. Rangers

A former Quinnipiac commit, DeRoche is small (5’7″), but extremely quick and skilled with the puck. He has good hands and can make plays, and finished second in the NCDC in scoring (take that with a pinch of salt as it’s not the best league, but it’s still impressive at any level regardless).

I could see this guy being a weapon when UVM is playing away on bigger ice sheets where his skill and speed compensates for his lack of size.


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Joey Cipollone at Loomis Chaffee. Photo courtesy Tri-City Storm.

New York (state) Joey Cipollone

Position: Forward

Hometown: Purchase, New York 

Previous Team: Tri-City Storm

Twitter: @joeycip2

Who’s ready for the UVM/UNH games where both teams have a Joey Cipollone? That’s gonna get confusing real fast for the commentators. (They are first cousins and next-door neighbors, by the way.) Also, before I get into him on the ice, the Storm website has his pronunciation as “SIP-oh-LOHN.”

Alright, back to seriousness… Cipollone played prep hockey at Loomis Chaffee and it is there where he found the most success, leading the Pelicans in scoring both seasons. He didn’t put up a ton of points with the Storm last year (just 13 in 60 games), which could be a bit concerning (especially as 10 of them came in the first half of the season). But his season seems to have mirrored that of Alex Esposito (who also came out hot in his final junior season but cooled off in the second half), so there’s that. His brother, Anthony, is also a UVM commit.


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Nic Hamre fights Fort McMurray Oil Barons forward Will Conley. Photo from Fort McMurray Today.

Ontario Nic Hamre

Position: Forward

Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario 

Previous Team: Brooks Bandits

The Brooks-to-UVM pipeline is alive and well, as Hamre is the latest off the production line.

I think the best comparison of style to Hamre is Brad Marchand, though more of a playmaker than a goal scorer. Smaller, but a pest that annoys the heck of opponents through his physicality and ability to get under their skin….and annoys them even more when he sets up goals for his teammates to the tune of 41 assists last season.

He’s a guy that busts his butt and will do whatever it takes to win, with or without the puck. I can see Hamre becoming a fan favorite very quickly.


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Dallas Comeau protecting the puck. Photo from the Daily Herald Tribune.

Alberta Dallas Comeau

Position: Forward

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta 

Previous Team: Grande Prairie Storm

Twitter: @D_Comeau97

A teammate of future Catamount Zachary Okabe, Comeau had a pretty nice season with the Storm last year, posting 69 points and finishing second in the AJHL with 47 assists. Those numbers signify that the guy is a gifted playmaker, and from what I’ve read is also an excellent skater who’s tough to knock off the puck.


Looking at the forward group in particular, the Cats seem to have placed emphasis on possession and puck control – something I absolutely agree with as that is an area where UVM really struggled last season.

Welcome to Burlington, boys. Let’s get to work.

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