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2005 USHN Blue Jackets Jamboree Review: U-18
Amateur Hockey Report Scout
January 6, 2006

U-18 Division

It what can best be described as a field of “up and coming” AAA programs, the USHN Blue Jacket Jamboree closed out the 2005 year in style as eight Midget Major and four Midget Minor AAA squads battled through a four day tournament, featuring some of the country’s best kept secrets.

In addition to their tournament match-ups, teams also had the chance to tour the Ohio State Buckeyes home facility, along with having Associate Head Coach Casey Jones address each team during their tour.  As well, teams were able to attend the Columbus Blue Jackets contest versus the Anaheim Mighty Ducks.  While also enjoying the opportunity to catch some exciting DI hockey action as Ohio State University, University of Miami-Ohio (ranked #2 Nationally), RPI, and Holy Cross all participated in the OSU Holiday Classic at the same facility that the Jamboree was held in.

In the tournament final – the Dallas Penguins were able to build an dominant lead over the San Jose Sharks (four – zero) before San Jose netted a pair late in what seemed to change the momentum momentarily – but the Sharks were unable to penetrate the Penguins stingy defensive zone coverage in the dying minutes.

Hats off to both teams who will face off again January 14th in Los Angeles at the USHN Carmen Starr Classic – it should be a beauty.

From incredible facilities to incredible performances, here are the USHN team reviews:

ATLANTA FIRE
Arguably the surprise of the tournament, the Fire are a team full of good size and skaters who just need to add a bit of polish to their game.  The team was unquestionably led by Tournament Offensive MVP Doug Jones.  Jones, an ’87, had the ability to dominate contests when he wanted to – and that consistency is something that the scouts would like to still see more of.  A strong skater with great vision, Jones will return to Taft in early January to rejoin his Prep school club.  Forward Greg MacGirr (’88) had a solid weekend contributing offensively as well.  Timing was everything and he made sure of it.  Nick Anspach (’89), one of the team’s youngest members – also showed some grit along the wall and should come along nicely.  Along the blue line, Zach Greenberger (’87) was steady and Dev Jarratt (’87) is a big body who could be a project for a team down the road.

CINCINNATI CYCLONES
As with any new endeavour, there is a learning curve where one must take their bumps, never stopping to compete – but learning from the experience.  As a new show on the AAA scene, the Cyclones worked hard throughout the weekend and with time should continue to get better.  Not shy physically, the team did have some highlights as forward Marty Wilkins (’88) and Andrew Pavlina (’87) were persistent on the forecheck, while Andrew Fairbanks (’89) and Alex Koski (’89) should provide the foundation for a good defensive crew with continued development.

DALLAS PENGUINS
Ask any coach and they’ll tell you that getting players to buy in to what you’re preaching can sometimes be the most difficult part (and most the important) in any success you hope to have…  But when  they do, the sky’s the limit.  The Penguins may not have been the most individually talented team at the event, but you’d be hard pressed to find a team willing to commit to common cause more that this group of young men.  The team had steady goaltending over the weekend and as a result, Arturs Dzelzs was named to the first All-Star team.  On defense, Mike Shannon (’87) and Clay Kasten (’87) were entirely effective, rebounding from the few mistakes they each might have made strongly each time.  Up front, Patrick Colclough (’88) was a energetic performer, showing flashes of nifty puckhandling.  Kyle Clement (’88), Sean Caldwell (’87), and Drew Harcharik (’87) were all pressure performers who played hard in each end of the ice and were noticeable each time they stepped on the ice.  The supporting cast were not far behind, making this difficult because the team played just as such, finding strength in their five on five play.

MOTOR CITY CHIEFS
This team struggled to find the back of the net over the tournament, however they indeed did have a few bright performers whose play shone through the team’s mediocre weekend.  Their strength lies in their goaltending, the duo of Chris DeCarlo (’88) and Eric Waligorski (’88) – who were resilient all weekend.  Waligorski had a great start to the tournament, with numerous second and third saves, however the performance of the weekend had to be turned in by DeCarlo.  Versus the Dallas Penguins, DeCarlo faced fifty-five shots, surrendering only three goals – stymieing the Penguins shooters at every turn.  Up front, their “go-to” guy seemed to be Stone Hazlett (’87), who loved to carry the puck through the neutral zone with speed and put opposing defenders on their heels.

OHIO JR. BLUE JACKETS
The host club has been hit hard by the injury bug of late, losing leading scorer Trent Vogelhuber (knee) and John Snyder (hand) recently.  That being said, their teammates looked to pick up the slack and were led by Tommy Hough (’87) who undressed a few defensemen one on one, then chipped in with two short-handed tallies over the tournament as well.  Tommy Hildebrand (’89) was the team’s sharpshooter scoring numerous times while diminutive forwards and super-pests Ray Gillies (’87) and Danny Greiner (’88) were relentless all over the ice.  Ryan Whyte (‘88) and Grant Highley (’88) provided a physical presence while Jay Laing (’88) and Brett Hagen (’87) moved the puck well from the back end.  A good weekend for the hometown crew.

PHOENIX POLAR BEARS
The desert bruins finished strong after a slow start due in part to some airline delays, getting the team in very early the morning of their first game.  Bright spots for the team this weekend were the play of Chris Walker (’89) who dominated his opposition at times using his big frame and heavy shot to score some big goals.  He was supported by Josh McMellon (’87) who danced with the puck and has some good puck skills – he just needs to add some muscle to his frame.  Additionally, Joey Bakosh (’87) and Jadyn Bolte (’87) were versatile in their play, proving to be smart in both ends of the ice.

SAN JOSE JR. SHARKS
This team has a lot of weapons in their arsenal and their intra-division performance had teams wondering if this offensive juggernaut could be stopped.  A quick transitional team, the Sharks had a great weekend of hockey action.  In goal, Taylor Anderson (’88) played very well, making some great lateral saves in both of his victories.  On the blue line, the duo of defensive MVP Corbin McPherson (’88) and Mike Lawler (’88) were among the nest of the field.  Their first passes were pinpoint accurate and each were mobile defenders.  At forward, Jared McIntosh (’87) continues to impress and should be playing Junior hockey – soon.  As well, Jacob Hutt (’88) and Danny Detar (’88) each showed some exceptional flair with the puck coupled with good skating skills.  This team should make States miserable for their California competition.

WEST MICHIGAN WARRIORS
A team which USHN hasn’t heard much of this season, the Warriors came out flying and competed hard.  Eric Vos (’89) was a quick and shifty skater who had some great rushes, while team-mate Ryan Powell (’88) was super-dangerous when given the opportunity to shoot the puck, sniping several nice goals.  Versatile forward Nick Stark (’87) was steady and defenseman Jake Jaeger (’88) each were consistent over the weekend.  Finishing third in the round robin, the Warriors had hoped for a better fate but ran into a determined Ohio squad in the third place game.

Copyright © Amateur Hockey Report. All Rights Reserved

Copyright © Amateur Hockey Report. All Rights Reserved