Another huge scout turnout watches inspirational Day 1 of Top Prospects
February 27, 2018
It was another memorable beginning to an NAHL Top Prospects Tournament on Day 1 of the 2018 event at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan.
Over 200 NHL, NCAA, college and junior scouts checked in on the first day and following the game, the hallways by the team lockerrooms were aligned with eager coaches and scouts waiting to talk to players.
The second and final day of the event takes place on Wednesday, February 28th.
Fans can watch the event live in HD on HockeyTV. Nick Marek (Lone Star Brahmas) and Ken Oda (Minot Minotauros) will be providing the play-by-play and commentary.
For more information on the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament, including tickets, and hotel information, please visit: http://nahl.com/tpt/
Wednesday, February 28th (eastern time)
Day 1 recaps
Midwest 5 vs. NAHL Selects Red 1 – It was a dominant performance for the Midwest Division on Day 1 of the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament as scored three 1st period goals on route to a 5-1 win over the NAHL Selects Red team. Five different players scored for the Midwest, which included 1st period goals from Andy McGlynn (Coulee Region Chill), Brendan Skarda (Minnesota Magicians), and Ethan Stewart (Springfield Jr. Blues). The Midwest increased the lead to 4-0 with the 2nd period breakaway goal from David Kaplan (Kenai River Brown Bears). The lead swelled to 5-0 midway though the 3rd period as Cameron Buhl (Minnesota Magicians) scored. The NAHL Selects Red broke up the shutout as Joseph Mancuso (Bismarck Bobcats) outraced his opponent to the puck and scored on a nice breakaway. Midwest goalie Garrett Nieto (Janesville Jets) made 19 saves in the win, while Ryan Ullan (Bismarck Bobcats) made 14 saves and Mitchell Gibson (Lone Star Brahmas) made 13 saves in the loss respectively. Boxscore
South 4 vs. East 2 – Shreveport Mudbugs teammates Jodan Fader and Ryan Burnett each had a goal and an assist to lead the South Division to a 4-2 win over the East Division in the second game of the day at the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. The South got on the board first thanks to a 1st period goal from Peyton Frantti (Odessa Jackalopes). Early in the 2nd period, the East tied things up thanks to a nice goal from the low slot from Mike Egan (Northeast Generals). Late in the period, the South regained their one-goal edge on a nice passing play to Fader from Burnett and Marcus Chorney (Amarillo Bulls). In the 3rd period, Burnett was credited with a goal that deflected off his body as Fader took it hard to the net to make it 3-1. Curtis Carlson (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights) cut the lead to 3-2 as his wrap-around attempt went off a South defenseman. The South secured the win as Dallas Tulik (Topeka RoadRunners) was the recipient off a turnover behind the East net. South goalies Emil Gransoe (Topeka RoadRunners) and Brett Epp (Odessa Jackalopes) each made 14 saves in the win. Gabe Vinal (Aberdeen Wings) made 15 saves and Brandon Perrone (New Jersey Titans) made 27 saves in the loss. Boxscore
Central 2 vs. NAHL Selects White 1 – It was a storybook ending to the nightcap of Day 1 of the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament as the Central Division edged the NAHL Selects White, 2-1. Both of the Central team goal scorers, Evan Rochowiak (Aberdeen Wings) and Doug Larson (Brookings Blizzard), had seen both of their fathers pass away during the past three weeks. So it was fitting that both made the most of their opportunity in Game 1, as they both played inspired hockey, leading their club to a one-goal win. Rochowiak, whose dad passed away just two days ago, was the first to score as he drove a shot off a face-off win home for a 1-0 lead. NAHL Selects White tied the game at 1-1 in the 2nd period as Jakov Novak (Janesville Jets) parked himself on the backdoor and got a nice feed from fellow Jets teammate Sam Renlund for the equalizer. Early in the 3rd period, Larson converted on a nice 2 on 1 feed from Alex Pollock (Bismarck Bobcats) for the eventual game-winner, which came three weeks after his father passed away. The game also featured some very good goaltending from all four netminders as the Central Division got 18 saves from Ryan Fanti (Minnesota Wilderness) and 15 saves from Samu Lonkila (Minot Minotauros) in the win, while Jurja Ovecka (Springfield Jr. Blues) made 9 saves and Daniel Lebedeff (Janesville Jets) made 15 saves in the loss. Boxscore
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament is one of the most highly-scouted events in junior hockey. Last season, over 230 scouts attended the event, which featured almost every NHL team and NCAA Division I school. It continues to be an important part of the NAHL event model, which includes the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
One of the things the NAHL does better than any other junior league is seeing their players earn an NCAA opportunity while playing and being showcased in the NAHL. To date, 166 players have already made NCAA Division I commitments during the 2017-18 season.
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament plays a big role in that success, with over half of the players who played in last year’s Top Prospects Tournament, earning an NCAA Division I opportunity following their participation in the event. The event continues to provide the hundreds of NHL and NCAA scouts in attendance with a look at the best uncommitted players the NAHL has to offer, as well as, some potential NHL Draft picks.