Wednesday, August 27, 2014

An Eventful Offseason for UNH Recruit Nick Nonis

UNH Recruit Nick Nonis

The prep school hockey career of 18-year-old Nick Nonis (DOB: 12/19/95) ended on a bit of a down note in late February. The 2013-14, regular season record of Governor's Academy, located Byfield, Massachusetts, was 4-23-0. Nonis, a 6'3", 190 lbs. defenseman, was the team's captain in his senior year and he posted 6 goals and an assist in 27 games. Despite the team's losing record, the Boston Globe named Nonis an All Star in the Independent School League, a conference of 16 prep schools in the greater Boston area.

Defenseman Nonis Captained Governor's Academy
Nonis played four years at Governor's Academy under the tutelage of Coach Leon Hayward. He scored 7 goals and 8 assists in 84 varsity games. Back in June, 2013, when Nonis verbally committed to UNH, Coach Hayward offered these observations:
"Nick is a hardworking defenseman that has grown leaps and bounds during his time at Governor's. He played JV as a ninth grader, was our fifth defenseman as a sophomore and played a big role as our number two or three defenseman as an 11th grader...He was about five-feet-nine as a ninth grader and is now six-feet-three-inches. By the time he gets to UNH he could be a monster at about 220lbs...He has strong skating ability who will be a strong puck moving defenseman in college. He can defend and he'll have some offensive upside. Think Adam McQuaid, or Mark White for UNH fans."
In late May, a few days after Nonis graduated from Governor's Academy, the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League announced that he had committed to play for them in the 2014-15 season. Nick's hometown is Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. His Dad is Dave Nonis, the Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Toronto Maple Leafs. The elder Nonis, a native of Burnaby, British Columbia, worked for the Vancouver Canucks from 1998 to 2008, rising to the position of General Manager. Nick's familiarity with British Columbia was a factor in his decision to play for Powell River in the BCHL:
"I used to live out west when I was younger playing minor hockey in Delta, so I was familiar with the BCHL and the area and had heard of the Kings before. Then a former team mate of mine (at Governor's Academy), Ryan Scarfo played here last year and had nothing but good things to say about the team, the coaching staff and the town…he basically made my decision for me based on what he said about Powell River.”
Nick Nonis was eligible for the NHL Draft for the first time this June. Though he wasn't selected at the 2014 draft in Philadephia, he was invited by the Anaheim Ducks to participate in their Prospect Development Camp in early July. A highlight for Nonis came early in the scrimmage on the final day of camp. He knocked in a rebound for his squad's first goal of the game.

I had an opportunity to interview Nick, via email, about his experience at the Anaheim Ducks' camp, his background, and his commitment to UNH:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): In early July, you were one of 13 free agents, along with 19 NHL draft picks, to participate in the Anaheim Ducks' Prospect Camp. What was it like to receive the invitation to an NHL camp?
Nick Nonis: It was incredible to have gotten an invitation like that. It felt rewarding to have so much hard work pay off. I was actually caught off guard at first when I got the call but it was very exciting.

Mike Lowry: In an interview at the Chicago Blackhawks' Prospect Camp, former UNH All-American defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk said: "It has been good to see where I am compared to the other guys who are entry-levels too. It is a measuring stick we can look to as the week goes on." How did your skills and performance at the Ducks' camp compare with the other prospects?
Nick Nonis: I think I held my own out there. It was definitely a huge jump in strength, speed and skill compared to prep hockey but I think I was able to adjust quickly and keep up with the other guys out there.

Lowry: You scored a goal in a scrimmage on the final day of camp. How would you describe the scoring play and goal?
Nonis: It was an odd man rush and I jumped in late. I saw a rebound pop out and I just tried to get it back at the net and it ended up going in.

Lowry: Last spring, you graduated from Governor's Academy in Byfield, Massachusetts and finished up a four-year career playing for Coach Leon Hayward. What did you learn from Coach Hayward?
Nonis: I learned a lot from Coach Hayward. From the time he started coaching me my sophomore year, he taught me to hold myself to a higher standard. He expected hard work above anything else. He didn’t only coach me to become a better hockey player, but to become a better all around person. Coach Hayward and Coach McDonnell helped me become a leader as captain my senior year.

Lowry: You recently announced your intention to play for the Powell River Kings in the BCHL next season. Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?
Nonis: As of now we haven’t agreed on a date. If not the 2015-16 season then the year after.

Lowry: What are the main reasons you chose to commit to UNH? What other college programs did you consider?
Nonis: There were a few reasons I chose UNH. I think the biggest reason was I like the big rural campus compared to one in a city or urban area. After seeing a few games at the Whit, I think I knew that's where I wanted to play college hockey. I had a few other options in Hockey East but it really came down to UNH or Northeastern.

Last weekend, Nick Nonis headed off to Powell River for the Kings' training camp. Fans can follow his progress all season long on The UNH Men's Hockey Blog.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Glenn Stewart and the Associate Coach Job at UNH

Glenn Stewart Seen Here as the Merrimack
College Associate Coach (Photo: The Mack Report)

U.S. Hockey Report has just tweeted that:
"Word around the rinks indicates Merrimack assoc. head coach Glenn Stewart will be taking the vacant UNH position. Stewart is a '94 UNH grad."
Glenn Stewart was the UNH Alternate Captain in the 1993-94 season. The UNH Associate Head Coach position recently became available when Jim Tortorella decided to leave behind (at least for now) a long and distinguished coaching career. Tortorella spent 9 years coaching high school hockey in Maine and was the Head Coach of Colby College for 10 years before coming to UNH for the 2011-12 season. He will become the COO at the Foundation House in Portland, Maine, an extended care program for individuals with alcohol and/or drug addiction.

Stewart's Coaching Experience

44-year-old Glenn Stewart (DOB: 7/30/1970), a native of Scarborough, Ontario, has been the Associate Coach, under Mark Dennehy, at Merrimack College for the last 5 years. The major highlight of Stewart's stint with Merrimack was the 2010-11 season. The Warriors advanced to the Hockey East Championship Game, where they lost by 2 to Boston College, and earned a berth in the NCAA Division I Tournament for the first time since they joined Hockey East in 1989. Merrimack lost in overtime to Notre Dame in the opening round of the Northeast Regionals.

The 2010-11 Merrimack squad (Overall Record: 25-10-4) was lead by the scoring of future NHLer Stephane Da Costa and the goaltending of Joe Cannata. Just prior to the NCAA Tournament game, Head Coach Mark Dennehy praised Glenn Stewart, along with Assistant Coach Phil Roy, for their level of commitment to recruiting and coaching:
"(Recruiting's) a huge sacrific. My first thanks need to go to Phil’s wife Sonia and Glenn’s wife Bridget. It can put a lot of strain on a relationship and they both have young kids. It’s not easy. As a coach, it’s in your blood to want to get better and as a recruiter you want to be on the road recruiting the best talent you can. They probably don’t travel as much as they would like because I like to have them here for our games. Our commitment is always to the guys we have here. The level of commitment both of these guys have for our program … we wouldn’t be where we are now without them, I can tell you that.”
In his 5 seasons at Merrimack, Stewart worked primarily with the forwards. During his first 3 seasons, he also coached the Warriors penalty kill. He has been in charge of the power play for the last 2 seasons.

In the late summer of 2009, Stewart left his assistant coaching position at the University of Connecticut to join Coach Dennehy at Merrimack College. Stewart worked with Huskies' Head Coach Bruce Marshall for 5 years beginning in the 2004-05 season. At the time, UConn was still in the Atlantic Hockey Conference - they join Hockey East this season. Stewart was the recruiting coordinator during his last three years.

Stewart began his college coaching career at American International College which also is in the AHC. He was an Assistant Coach under Head Coach Gary Wright for one season (2003-04). Stewart was the recruiting coordinator and goalie coach.

Stewart's Playing Career

Long-time UNH fans fondly remember Glenn Stewart's playing days at UNH. Stewart played four full seasons which coincided with the last four years the Wildcats played at beloved Snively Arena. He played for Coach Dick Umile who had become the Head Coach at the beginning of the 1989-90 season. As a sophomore in the 1991-92 season, Stewart scored 15 goals and 11 assists in 37 games and earned the Most Improved Player Award. UNH advanced to the Hockey East Championship game that season but lost to Maine.

In his senior season at UNH (1993-94), Stewart was the Alternate Captain and boosted his scoring totals with 14 goals and 18 assists in 40 games. His UNH career totals of 51 goals and 51 assists earned him a place in the UNH Century Club.

Stewart a Prolific Scorer in Minor Pro Hockey
(Photo: Jeff Cook/Quad City Times)
Glenn Stewart's reputation as a prolific scorer was solidified during his 9-year professional career. In his first two years after UNH, he scored 74 goals with two different teams in the East Coast Hockey League.

In 1996, Stewart began a triumphant 4-year run with the Quad City Mallards in the old United Hockey League (UHL). "Stewie" - as the fans on the Iowa-Illinois border area called him - lead the Mallards to the UHL Championship in 1997 and 1998. They finished runner-up in 1999 and 2000.

In 251 games over four seasons with Quad City, Stewart posted an astonishing 218 goals and 211 assists. In January, 2013, the Mallards' organization invited Stewart to the iWireless Center on the bank of the Mississippi River to retire his #18 to the rafters.

Stewart was called up to the American Hockey League for 10 games in the 2000-01 season and 2 games in the 2001-02 campaign. He scored a couple goals and assists but his AHL career was short-lived. Interestingly, in his next-to-last season, Stewart was the Player Assistant Coach with the New Haven Knights. Stewart played his final season in 2002-03 with the Elmira Jackals of the UHL. In 7 UHL seasons, he compiled 312 goals and 338 assists in 428 games.

One last bit of trivia - From 1996 through 1999, Glenn Stewart played professionally in the Roller Hockey International League. He glided on inline skates in arenas from Anaheim to Vancouver to Long Island to Oklahoma and points in between. And yes, he was proficient at finding the back of the roller hockey net.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Meet Eric Esposito: UNH's Newest Recruit

15-year-old Eric Esposito

For the third time in as many months, a talented young player from a Connecticut prep school has verbally committed to the University of New Hampshire. 15-year-old Eric Esposito (DOB: 8/24/1998), a 5'11", 170 lbs. forward from West Haven, CT., has announced his commitment to UNH. Esposito recently completed a successful, freshman season at the Loomis Chaffee School in Windsor, CT. In April, forward Joey Cipollone and defenseman Jake Ryczek of the South Kent School and Selects Hockey Academy also committed to play for the Wildcats.

Esposito posted some solid numbers in his first season at Loomis Chaffee. In 28 games, he scored 5 goals and added 6 assists. Among all freshmen in New England Prep School Hockey, he was tied for 7th in scoring. Loomis Chaffee won the 2014 New England Large Prep School Tournament Championship in early March. Eric's older brother Alex, a University of Vermont commit, was the team's second leading scorer.

Eric Esposito at Youngstown Phantoms' Tryout Camp
For Eric Esposito, helping Loomis Chaffee win its first hockey championship in school history was the first in a series of big events. In early May, the Youngstown Phantoms selected Esposito in the 16th Round of the Phase II USHL Draft. During the second week of June, he participated in the Phantoms' Tryout Camp in Youngstown, Ohio. While Esposito did not make Youngstown's 30-player roster, he was added to its Affiliate List. According to USHL rules, Youngstown retains the rights to Esposito and he could potentially "be added to (the) team’s active roster, play a limited number of games in a call-up situation, or will be looked upon to make the roster in future seasons."

Then, just last week, Eric competed in the USA Hockey Select 16 Player Development Camp outside of Buffalo. In 5 games, Esposito posted 2 goals and an assist. Jeff Cox, who covered the camp for SB Nation College Hockey, ranked Esposito as the 25th forward at the camp and provided this assessment:
"The recent Wildcat commit didn't have the greatest week statistically, but it's evident why Dick Umile and his staff like his potential. He has terrific patience waiting for the right time to pass and letting the play develop to his advantage. He sees the ice well and has nice speed. He occasionally tries to do too much with the puck, but that will improve as he continues to develop."
Last summer, Esposito participated in the Select 15 Player Development Camp and scored 2 goals and 5 assists in 5 games. Of the nearly 200 players at the camp, he finished tied for 6th in scoring.

Eric Esposito grew up playing youth hockey with the Connecticut Wolf Pack organization based in Cromwell, CT. In the 2012-13 season, the Wolf Pack Bantam Major team was ranked 11th in the country and competed in the USA Hockey Tier I 14U National Championship Tournament. Esposito was the team's second leading scorer with 41 goals and 31 assists in 76 games. Wolf Pack Coach Peter Alden provided this assessment of Esposito:
“Eric is a gifted puck-handler and really drives his team’s puck possession. He is a pure goal scorer and he has a very high upside as he continues to grow and mature. He has an excellent work ethic and in addition to his hockey ability, he is a really great kid.”
U.S. Hockey Report had this to say about Eric Esposito late in the 2012-13 season:
"Skilled forward will join his older brother at Loomis next season. The West Haven, Conn. native is very good with the puck on his stick; makes a lot of plays. Certainly has to get bigger, stronger, and faster in order to make an impact next season, but the skill level is certainly there."
Last fall, prior to the start of the NE Prep School season, Esposito played for the CT Wolf Pack U16 Midget Minor team. He posted 6 goals and 3 assists in 24 games.

Esposito began playing for the Wolf Pack as a Pee Wee. In early 2011, when he was 12 years old, he was selected to a Pee Wee All-Star team drawn from Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania. As the New York Pee Wee Rangers, the team travelled to Quebec City to compete in the Quebec International Pee Wee Hockey Tournament. It was coached by Doug Messier, father of Mark Messier. In the Championship Game against the Detroit Red Wings Pee Wee team, Eric scored the Pee Wee Rangers' second goal. The Pee Wee Rangers went on to win the Title Game 4-2. Of note, one of Esposito's teammates was recent UNH recruit Jake Ryczek.

I had an opportunity to interview Eric, via email, about his background, commitment to UNH, and future plans:

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. What are the main reasons you chose UNH?
Eric Esposito: Thank you. UNH was an easy pick for me. I was really intrigued by the coaching staff running the team at UNH. It seems they handle their business very professionally. Also the tradition of the school supporting the hockey team and getting a lot of peers at the games to cheer the players on. Also the past players to come out of the UNH program impressed me greatly.

Mike Lowry: What other college programs were you considering?
Eric Esposito: I was considering a couple other schools besides UNH including the University of Vermont and the University of Connecticut.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?
Esposito: A certain date for my incoming freshman year hasn't been determined exactly. Either 17' or 18' are both options the coaches and I have discussed, all depending on my development with in the next few years. Hopefully I can be there as son as possible.

Lowry: You recently completed a solid freshman season with the Loomis Chaffee School. Your 11 points (5 goals, 6 assists) put you in a tie for 7th in scoring among all freshmen in New England Prep Hockey. At this stage in your hockey development, what are the strengths of your game? What areas are you trying to improve?
Esposito: After my first season in the prep league, I definitely found some of the strengths of my game and other areas that I need to work on. I think I used my strength and speed pretty well while playing with some high end players throughout the season. Areas that I need to improve on would be my taking time and space away from the opposing players in angling and forechecking.

Lowry: Do you plan on returning to Loomis Chaffee to play next season?
Esposito: I will be returning to Loomis Chaffee next season for sure.

Lowry: After being drafted by the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL in May, you participated in their tryout camp last month and made the team's affiliate list. Do you think you'll be ready to make the jump to the USHL in the 2015-16 season?
Esposito: As for the following season, I will hopefully be ready to jump into the USHL. I'm preparing for the higher pace and level of intensity but can't say for sure where I will be that far ahead just yet.

Lowry: I noticed that you were a teammate of recent UNH recruit Jake Ryczek on the New York Pee Wee Rangers team that won the 2011 Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament. What was that experience like?
Esposito: I did play a pretty memorable tournament with Jake. I can honestly say that's my favorite memory growing up, winning a tournament that big at such a young age was crazy. All those fans, playing on that big of a stage was like nothing else.

Lowry: In your time at the Loomis Chaffee School, what have been your academic strengths?
Esposito: Loomis Chaffee was a huge change of pace academically. I'm challenged everyday with my studies but if there's a subject I believe I do best in it would have to be English. I hope to excel there more and more in next year as well.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Warren Foegele: NHL Prospect and Incoming UNH Freshman

Warren Foegele
DOB: 4-1-1996 Hometown: Markham, ON
Forward, 6'1", 182 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 2-20-2013
"UNH has a very good and successful hockey program. Under Coach Umile’s direction the team has many achievements to its credit. The facilities are very modern and very functional. Hockey is very big at the school and also for the state of New Hampshire. It has always been an aspiration of mine to be a part of an elite Division 1 NCAA program and as of this year when UNH approached me things just fell right into place. With a great hockey and academic program, UNH couldn’t have been a better fit for me and I am extremely excited to be a part of such a prestigious program." from "UNH Recruit Profile: Warren Foegele", The UNH Men's Hockey Blog

Career Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Warren Foegele  (F) 2013-14 St. Andrew's College CISAA 14 17 6 23 15
Playoffs CISAA 5 5 4 9 10
St. Andrews College MPHL 13 12 17 29 14
Playoffs MPHL 3 6 5 11 2
2012-13 St. Andrew's College CISAA/MPHL 28 16 20 36 32
Playoffs CISAA/MPHL 8 5 7 12 10
2011-12 St. Andrew's College CISAA/MPHL 6 0 1 1 0
Playoffs MPHL 2 0 0 0 0
Markham Waxers ETAMinorMidget 28 10 8 18 38

2013-14 Highlight Reel

2014 NHL Draft

Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th.
Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia, PA
NBC Sports/NHL Network

Early in the 2013-14 season, Warren Foegele had not been identified by NHL Central Scouting Service as a top draft prospect. However, by mid-season the CSS was so impressed by his play that Foegele was identified as the #62 ranked North American Skater.
~ September, 2013 - NHL CSS Preliminary Ones to Watch: Foegele not listed.
~ November, 2013 - NHL CSS Preliminary Players to Watch: Foegele not listed.
~ January, 2014 - NHL CSS Midterm Rankings: #62 North American Skater.
~ April, 2014 - NHL CSS Final Rankings: #66 North American Skater.

2014 NHL Combine:
119 of the top NHL prospects participated in the 2014 NHL Combine from May 26-31 in Toronto. The final day included over a dozen physical fitness tests.
Warren Foegele finished tied for 7th in Anaerobic Peak Power Output. Foegele also did very well in the jumping tests. He tied for 3rd in the Standing Long Jump, tied for 4th in Vertex Vertical Jump with No Pause, and tied for 6th in Vertex Vertical Jump with Pause.

Scouting Reports

"Some scouts have been buzzing about his (Warren Foegele) play of late, a fast-skating, hard-working, two-way left winger. Adding to the chatter is the fact he's one of those seeming 'come out of nowhere' kids who's playing at a level of hockey in Canada that doesn't usually attract many, if any, NHL scouts. Some scouts have wondered aloud whether Foegele may be this year's version of Mark Jankowski, the Calgary Flames' surprise first-round pick, 21st overall, in 2012 from Stanstead College in Quebec, who's now developing and playing well at Providence College." Bob McKenzie, TSN.
"A hard driving, good skating, get in the 'guts of the action' player who plays unselfishly and does the spade work for his team. Is just tapping into his potential and has great room to grow further and thus increase his impact." Craig Button, TSN Director of Scouting.
"It's easy to dismiss a good hockey player playing at a lower level as excelling because of inferior competition. But it's hard not to come away impressed with Warren Foegele of St. Andrews College. Passed over twice in the Ontario Hockey League draft, Foegele turned to the unlikely route of Ontario high school hockey. This late bloomer, who went from 5-8 as a minor midget to 6-1 today, is making some noise that will likely intensify as the draft nears. His impressive offensive numbers speak for themselves. But there's more to his game than numbers. He plays a full 200-foot game, working as hard defensively as offensively. Foegele has excellent speed with his long, strong stride. He has excellent puck skills and soft hands. His lower body strength is exceptional and he gets very low when he has the puck on his stick, making him tough to check. His grit/compete level is very high, and while he doesn't run players over, he does finish checks hard." Kyle Woodlief, Red Line Report.
"He’s always been a talented player and I think that a couple of the attributes that come naturally to him, in terms of being really coachable and working hard, have served him well and he has improved a ton over the last couple of years. All of this is a credit to his determination and hard work and his coachability to continue to grow and learn to continue to be the best player he can be. He has been great to have as part of our program.” David Manning, Head Coach, St. Andrew's College.
"A smooth-skating offensive winger at the high school level. Able to use his speed and quickness to generate chances. Has soft hands and a strong shot, as well as solid vision and playmaking abilities. He’s the complete offensive threat. Thinks the game and reads the play well. Needs work on his shot release, and getting it off quicker and at different release points to continue success shooting at higher-level, more skilled puckstoppers. This kid makes you believe in him when you see him play as he works hard and is involved all over the ice. Not physical at all, turns away from the big hit and does not like the rough stuff too much.” Future Considerations Draft Guide.
"A strong bow legged skater, he boasts exceptional straight ahead speed and plays his wing with efficiency as he operates well playing a north-south game.. tenacious and aggressive in his puck pursuit, he is brash down low and hurls his body at the opposition .. offensive zone hockey sense and creativity come into question as he has a difficult time stick handling.. does a formidable job of getting pucks on goal at all times .. uses his speed to attack scoring lanes as he elects to go through players rather than around them .. shot is hard and heavy, with a better snap shot than slap shot .. defensive game is a work in progress, hustles to get back but effort level is sporadic.” McKeen's Draft Guide.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Shane Eiserman: Incoming UNH Freshman and NHL Prospect

Shane Eiserman
DOB: 10-10-1995 Hometown: West Newbury, MA
Forward, 6'2", 200 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: August-27-2011
"I have wanted to go to UNH since I was a little kid. Growing up, I would always love pretending to play for UNH, during street hockey with my brothers and friends. Christmas after Christmas when I was younger, my God Mother Christie would always get me tickets for the hockey games and some sort of UNH apparel to go with them. The jerseys and the UNH atmosphere really stood out to me." from "Kelleher, Eiserman and Team USA Coming to UNH", The UNH Men's Hockey Blog

Career Statistics

Player Season Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
Shane Eiserman  (F) 2013-14 Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 53 16 24 40 71
Playoffs USHL 4 0 1 1 6
2012-13 USA U18 Team USHL 22 5 6 11 27
NCAA 21 3 3 6 8
2011-12 Cushing Academy NEPSAC 29 18 26 44 -
Playoffs NEPSAC 1 0 0 0 -
2010-11 St. John's Prep Mass HS 25 24 28 52 -

2013-14 Highlight Reel

2014 NHL Draft

Friday, June 27th and Saturday, June 28th.
Wells Fargo Center
Philadelphia, PA
NBC Sports/NHL Network

Throughout the 2013-14 season, Shane Eiserman has been identified by NHL Central Scouting Service as a top draft prospect.
~ September, 2013 - NHL CSS Preliminary Ones to Watch: Eiserman a "B" Prospect (2nd/3rd round candidate).
~ November, 2013 - NHL CSS Preliminary Players to Watch: Eiserman a "B" Prospect (2nd/3rd round candidate).
~ January, 2014 - NHL CSS Midterm Rankings: #39 North American Skater.
~ April, 2014 - NHL CSS Final Rankings: #45 North American Skater.

2014 NHL Combine:
119 of the top NHL prospects participated in the 2014 NHL Combine from May 26-31 in Toronto. The final day included over a dozen physical fitness tests.
Shane Eiserman finished second in the bench press events with 18 reps of 150 lbs weights and a pounds lifted/body weight ratio of 13.4.

Scouting Reports

"He has a good package of size and skating, and he makes the most of what is given to him. He's good at picking up passes on the fly and getting into the offensive zone. He’s got a pretty good accurate shot and has a propensity for playing well at important times of the game." Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting.
"His size and his skating and his aggressiveness are qualities that are hard to teach. It comes very natural to him. The finer points of the game, that's where we're working with him to have some consistency and to use his tools and adapt. When he puts [the puck] on his hip and drives him [a defender] wide and, if he can't beat him wide, pulls up and delays, he's very, very effective. He has enough sense and vision to find lanes ... that is one thing where he's a bit under the radar, I talk to pro scouts all the time. I think that one thing that doesn't jump out at them is his ability to see the ice in tight little areas." Matt Shaw, Head Coach, Dubuque Fighting Saints.
"Shane Eiserman is one of those guys who, for want of a better term, is a freak of nature. He is big and strong and can really skate. He just has a lot of physical attributes that some of us have, and most of us don’t. He’s a power forward who has ability to make plays, score goals, see the ice and find things around the net. It’s kind of a God-given ability that you really can’t coach out of people. Shane’s biggest learning curve was to understand that he’s a big, strong guy, and if he just puts the puck on his hip and uses his skating, his speed and size, you just can’t contain him. The biggest guys in our league couldn’t contain him, and the smaller guys had no chance." Mike Field, Assistant Coach, Dubuque Fighting Saints.
"He’s a a big, strong kid, a true power forward. He definitely made strides over the last few years, and he had a good year in Dubuque. He’s just strong with a heavy shot, and he’s pretty nasty. He’s got a mean streak to him.” John Gruden, Assistant Coach, US National Team Development Program.
"Eiserman went to Dubuque this season to finish high school and was a big bright spot for the Fighting Saints. The power forward is a bull in a china shop and showed a great two-way game this season. His skating is also very good too. The only question I have is how well his offense game will translate to the pro game. Even so, I really like Eiserman in the second round." Andrew Weiss, Future Considerations.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

10 UNH Recruits Sign National Letter of Intent: Updated

Rich Boyd Signs NLI
Warren Foegele Signs NLI

A few weeks ago, the list of recruits who had signed a National Letter of Intent to enroll at UNH and join the men's hockey team included 9 student-athletes. All the recruits who had targeted the Fall of 2014 to come to UNH had met their goal of signing. The NCAA defines the NLI as:
"...a binding agreement between an NCAA school and a student-athlete in which the student-athlete agrees to attend the school for one year and the school agrees to provide financial aid to the student-athlete. The NLI is voluntary and prospective student-athletes do not have to participate to play sports or receive financial aid."
Now, 18-year-old defenseman Rich Boyd (DOB: 6-7-1995) from Cushing Academy has become the 10th UNH recruit to sign a National Letter of Intent. Boyd had been on target to come to UNH in the Fall of 2015 but the transfer of 5th-year player Justin Agosta to Quinnipiac University provided an opening for a defenseman. Boyd just finished his senior year of hockey at Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, MA. In 32 games this season, Boyd scored 10 goals and added 30 assists. He was the second leading scorer among all New England Prep School defensemen.

The incoming freshman class now includes 5 forwards - Shane Eiserman, Warren Foegele, Michael McNicholas, Andrew Poturalski, and Jason Salvaggio, 4 defensemen - Rich Boyd, Dylan Chanter, Cameron Marks, and John Furgele, and goalie Adam Clark.

Here's the basic demographic information for the UNH recruits who have signed an NLI. It includes 2 informative links for each recruit. Click on the player's name and a link to his statistics comes up on a separate screen. Click on the date next to "Commit to UNH:" for a link to an article which announced the player's commitment to UNH.

2014 Recruits

Rich Boyd
Cushing Academy
New England Prep School
DOB: 6-7-1995 Hometown: Lake Worth, FL
Defense, 6'3", 195 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 8-7-2013
Dylan Chanter
Vernon Vipers
British Columbia Hockey League
DOB: 9-17-1995 Hometown: Armstrong, BC
Defense, 6'3", 203 lbs. Shoots Right
Commit to UNH: 2-22-2012
Adam Clark
Salmon Arm SilverBacks
British Columbia Hockey League
DOB: 3-23-1993 Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alberta
Goalie, 6'5", 210 lbs. Catches Left
Commit to UNH: 9-28-2012
Shane Eiserman
Dubuque Fighting Saints
United States Hockey League
DOB: 10-10-1995 Hometown: West Newbury, MA
Forward, 6'2", 200 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 8-27-2011
Warren Foegele
St Andrew's College
DOB: 4-1-1996 Hometown: Markham, ON
Forward, 6'1", 182 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 2-20-2013
John Furgele
Jersey Hitmen
United States Premiere Hockey League
DOB: 1-15-1993 Hometown: Glen Mills, PA
Defense, 5'9", 181 lbs. Shoots Right
Commit to UNH: 9-11-2013
Cameron Marks
Coquitlam Express
British Columbia Hockey League
DOB: 4-9-1995 Hometown: North Vancouver, BC
Defense, 6'0", 175 lbs. Shoots Right
Commit to UNH: 4-11-2012
Michael McNicholas
Vernon Vipers
British Columbia Hockey League
DOB: 3-23-1994 Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA
Forward, 5'10", 175 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 2-13-2011
Andrew Poturalski
Cedar Rapids Rough Riders
United States Hockey League
DOB: 1-14-1994 Hometown: Williamsville, NY
Forward, 5'10", 185 lbs. Shoots Right
Commit to UNH: 10-5-2011
Jason Salvaggio
Indiana Ice
United States Hockey League
DOB: 10-1-1994 Hometown: Hanson, MA
Forward, 6'1", 194 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 6-12-2013

This table shows each player's production in the 2013-14 season:

Player Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM
2014 Recruits
Rich Boyd  (D) Cushing Academy NEPSHC 31 10 30 40 -
Elite 8 NEPSHC 1 0 0 0 -
Dylan Chanter  (D) Vernon Vipers BCHL 19 0 0 0 16
Playoffs BCHL 19 4 3 7 18
Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 14 1 1 2 21
Adam Clark  (G) Salmon Arm SilverBacks BCHL 30 14W 14L 2.87 .911
Shane Eiserman  (F) Dubuque Fighting Saints USHL 53 16 24 40 71
Playoffs USHL 4 0 1 1 6
Warren Foegele  (F) St. Andrews College CISAA 14 17 6 23 15
Playoffs CISAA 5 5 4 9 10
St. Andrews College MPHL 13 12 17 29 14
Playoffs MPHL 3 6 5 11 2
John Furgele  (D) Jersey Hitmen USPHL 44 8 29 37 16
Playoffs USPHL 6 0 5 5 0
Cameron Marks  (D) Coquitlam Express BCHL 57 4 24 28 12
Playoffs BCHL 19 0 5 5 4
Michael McNicholas  (F) Vernon Vipers BCHL 56 23 46 69 20
Playoffs BCHL 19 5 13 18 6
Andrew Poturalski  (F) Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 60 27 37 64 28
Playoffs USHL 4 2 1 3 2
Jason Salvaggio  (F) Indiana Ice USHL 52 15 11 26 39
Playoffs USHL 2 0 0 0 2

The Class of 2018 includes 4 players who verbally committed to UNH when they were either 15 or 16 years old. Two members of the class will be 18 years old and four will be 19 years old when they enroll in September, 2014.

Class of 2018

Player Commitment Age Signed NLI Enrollment Age
Rich Boyd  (D) 18 years, 2 months May 2014 19 years, 3 months
Dylan Chanter  (D) 16 years, 5 months November 2013 19 years, 0 months
Adam Clark  (G) 19 years, 6 months April 2014 21 years, 0 months
Shane Eiserman  (F) 15 years, 10 months November 2013 18 years, 11 months
Warren Foegele  (F) 16 years, 10 months April 2014 18 years, 5 months
John Furgele  (D) 18 years, 8 months April 2014 19 years, 8 months
Cameron Marks  (D) 17 years, 0 months November 2013 19 years, 5 months
Michael McNicholas  (F) 16 years, 11 months April 2014 20 years, 6 months
Andrew Poturalski  (F) 17 years, 9 months April 2014 20 years, 8 months
Jason Salvaggio  (F) 18 years, 8 months April 2014 19 years, 11 months

The incoming class is the largest since the 10 freshmen who came in the 2003-04 academic year. That group included Daniel Winnik, Jacob Micflikier, Matt Fornataro, Brett Hemingway, and Josh Ciocco - players who had very productive NCAA careers.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Justin Agosta Finishes UNH Career on Good Terms

Defenseman Agosta Headed to
Quinnipiac Next Season

Back in the Fall of 2010, two hockey defensemen of formidable stature enrolled at the University of New Hampshire. 6'6" Eric Knodel came to UNH following a year with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. He had been selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 5th Round of the 2009 NHL Draft. 6'3" Justin Agosta had played in both the USHL and EJHL the previous season.

Agosta Compiled 45 Points at UNH
The 2010-11 UNH team had six returning veterans on the blueline - Seniors Matt Campanale and Mike Beck, Juniors Blake Kessel and Damon Kipp, and Sophomores Connor Hardowa and Brett Kostolansky. In a typical season, injuries to one or more of the top 6 defensemen provide opportunities for the 7th and 8th to get into the lineup. Not so that time around. The six blueliners played in all 34 regular season games plus 5 playoff games. UNH advanced to the Hockey East Semifinal Game and the 2011 NCAA Northeast Regional Championship Game.

Although neither Knodel or Agosta played in a single game as freshmen, they became mainstays on the blueline beginning in their sophomore year at UNH. In the recently completed season, Justin Agosta took his game to a whole new level. After posting 14 points as a junior, Agosta doubled his offensive numbers. He was UNH's 5th leading scorer with 26 points.

Agosta's goal production this season was particularly impressive. Two of his 6 goals were game winners. Only two other Hockey East defensemen scored more game-winning goals in the 2013-14 season. Here's Agosta first GWG in the 4-1 victory over UMass on November 8th:

All-American defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk suffered a season-ending, ankle injury in a game against Union on January 18th. From that point on, Agosta and his fellow veteran defensemen, Knodel and Brett Pesce, were called upon to boost their offensive output and to log many more minutes on the ice.

With only 4 games left in the regular season, UNH was clinging to a chance to earn home-ice in the quarterfinals of the Hockey East Playoffs. In two must-win games against Boston University, Justin Agosta assisted on four of UNH's seven goals. UNH went on to earn home-ice, defeated Northeastern in the quarterfinals, and advanced to the Hockey East Semifinals.

Of the 9 goals scored by Justin Agosta in his UNH career, none was more timely or important as his last. After a scoreless first period against Providence in the Hockey East semis, UNH took a 1-0 lead on a short-handed goal by leading scorer Kevin Goumas. Six and 1/2 minutes later, Agosta would score the eventual game-winner. Matt Willows dug the puck off the half-wall to the right of Providence goalie Jon Gillies and fed a cross-ice pass to Justin Agosta just inside the PC blue line. Agosta's wrist shot through a multi-player screen deflected off the heel of a PC defenders skate and into the net.

In the 2014 Hockey East Championship Game, Justin Agosta fired two shots on the UMass-Lowell goal and was not on the ice for any of the River Hawks' goals. Lowell won its second consecutive Hockey East Championship 4-0.

Last Saturday night at the Annual UNH Hockey Banquet, sponsored by the Friends of UNH Hockey, Justin Agosta was awarded the A. Barr “Whoop” Snively Citizenship and Service Award. The honor is presented to the player who has distinguished himself through his citizenship and service to the University and the community. Justin won the same award as a junior. In two weeks, Agosta will receive his UNH diploma. He is an accounting major.

Justin Agosta's Plan for Next Year

At the close of the 2013-14 NCAA season, both of the big defensemen who came to UNH as freshman in 2010 had unique opportunities available to them, and decisions to be made. Since neither Justin Agosta or Eric Knodel played in their freshman year, each had one year of NCAA eligibility remaining. As a draftee of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Knodel could have chosen to play next season at UNH or sign to play in the Maple Leafs' organization. He chose the later option and is on the roster of the Toronto Marlies who are playing in the AHL Playoffs.

According to a source familiar with the process, Justin Agosta was presented with a couple opportunities to sign with AHL organizations after the UNH season ended. Like Knodel, Justin also had the option to return to UNH next season for a fifth year in Durham. Justin and his family are from East Meadow (Long Island), New York. As his Dad and sister - who participated in Senior Night at the Whittemore Center in February - can verify, it's a very long way from Long Island to Durham, NH. The 300-mile trip takes five hours when the traffic is reasonable, which it often is not.

In the end, Justin decided he wanted to play one more year of college hockey if he could find an opportunity closer to his home, family and friends. His current plan is to play next season for Quinnipiac University in the ECAC Hockey Conference. Located in Hamden, Connecticut, QU is less than 200 miles away from Agosta's hometown. Justin developed many close friendships with his UNH teammates and he leaves the UNH hockey program on good terms.

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