2016 U18 Five Nations Tournament
Host Americans put on a show in Plymouth
Steve Kournianos | 11/07/2016 | New York |
|01 NOV 16||Finland||Sweden||Finland W, 3-0|
|01 NOV 16||USA||Switzerland||U.S. W, 7-2|
|02 NOV 16||Switzerland||Czech Republic||CZE W, 5-3|
|02 NOV 16||USA||Sweden||SWE W, 2-1|
|03 NOV 16||Switzerland||Sweden||SWE W, 3-2 (OT/SO)|
|03 NOV 16||Finland||Czech Republic||CZE W, 5-3|
|04 NOV 16||Switzerland||Finland||FIN W, 5-4 (OT)|
|04 NOV 16||USA||Czech Republic||U.S. W, 6-2|
|05NOV 16||Czech Republic||Sweden||CZE W, 4-3 (OT)|
|05 NOV 16||USA||Finland||U.S. W, 3-2|
G Dylan St. Cyr (5’8, 158 — Michigan): Every play this undersized goalie faces seems like the Mad Minute — chaos followed by calm. St. Cyr may not cover a lot of net, but he’s ridiculously quick and agile, challenging shooters and going well outside the paint to cut down all angles. He faced more rubber against the Czechs than he did in the tourney finale versus Finland, and he stopped multiple chances off the rush — including two breakaways — by standing his ground and looking like Plastic Man when he flexes the pad on deke attempts. The Michigan-bound prospect is sound at fighting through screens but is susceptible to getting beat upstairs if he’s anywhere the crease. Overall, he had a solid weekend by posting a 3-1-0 record and allowing only two goals in each of his four starts.
C Josh Norris (6’1, 192 – Michigan): Norris has everything you want in a top-six center – size, speed, strength and the ability to make his linemates better. He scored off the rush with a glove-side snipe from the left circle against the Czech Republic and finished the tournament with two points in two games. Norris, like Scott Reedy, plays a heavy, physical game and uses his size and determination to win puck battles. You can’t go wrong with either player, and while both are capable of player wing or the pivot, Norris is more of a natural playmaker.
C Graham Slaggert (5’11, 184 – Notre Dame): Slaggert is starting to remind us of 2016 NTDP’er Trent Frederic, the underappreciated Boston Bruins prospect who played second fiddle to star scorer Clayton Keller despite carrying significant responsibilities. Slaggert is an outstanding penalty killer who from start to finish uses his speed and strength every shift. He has excellent straight-line speed and a powerful stride, and we saw him lend puck support and slot coverage with regularity. Team USA asked Slaggert to take most of the key defensive zone draws, and his winning percentage was above average. He at one point centered a crash-and-bang line alongside Brady Tkachuk and Randy Hernandez that caused multiple matchup problems for the Finns and forced goalie Lassi Lehtinen to make several tough stops.
C/W Scott Reedy (6’1, 202 – Minnesota): Reedy shook off a slow start to the tournament by exploding for four points in the last two games, including the game-winner in the 3rd period against the Finns. He continues to display strong chemistry with linemate Grant Mishmash, as the duo were banging bodies and creating quality chances all over the place. Reedy is at his best when the game has an edge to it, and this was the fourth viewing where we witnessed just how difficult a matchup he can be. Again, this is a legitimate first-round prospect we’re talking about, and the points (eight in his last five games) are beginning to validate the effort.
RW Jacob Tortora (5’7, 162 – Boston College): Tortora is an electrifying keg of dynamite who seems to create or receive quality chances every shift. He played fearless, using his lower-body strength to dislodge the puck from bigger defenders by finishing his checks and preventing any opportunity for an opposing breakout. He was one several Team USA players with a five-point tournament (3 goals, 2 assists) and recorded at least one point in each of the four games. Tortora leads the club in goals with eight in 18 games. This is an offensively-gifted skater who does far more than just put points on the board.
LHD Max Gildon (6’3, 188 – Wisconsin): Gildon had a positive weekend in Plymouth, skating with confidence and using his booming shot at proper times – he led the tournament with 21 shots on goal. He used his long reach and quick feet to maintain a tight gap against onrushing opponents, and forced turnovers that led to counterattacks. Gildon played with fire and emotion – the game against the Czechs was hotly contested. He was physical behind the net and held his ground in slot coverage, especially on team USA’s top PK unit. If there’s area he needs to continue to work on, it’s his stretch passes, which were a hair off target when he tried to catch teams in their line changes. Still, we saw several reasons why Gildon should be high on every NHL team’s draft list come June.
RHD Nate Knoepke (6’3, 201 – Minnesota): Knoepke plays a pro-style thanks to excellent mobility and a hard, accurate shot. He mans the top pairing at even strength, the top PK duo and works with Farrance on the points of the power play. He opened the scoring in the 6-2 win over the Czechs by joining the rush and blistering a shot just under the crossbar. Really not much else to say other than he remains Team USA’s top pro prospect from the blue line.
LHD David Farrance (5’11, 191 – Boston U.): Farrance displayed all the makings of a pro-level defender. Not only does he possess a booming, accurate shot, but his ability create plays off the rush keeps opponents honest. Farrance has an exceptional set of hands and can handle any pass with relative ease, especially from across the ice. He scored a key goal against the Finns via a slap shot from just inside the blueline. And his hard wrister caused a rebound that led to Scott Reedy’s game winner. One night earlier, he split all five Czech skaters with a home run pass on Sean Dhooghe’s tape for a breakaway snipe. Outside of being under six feet tall, there are literally no weaknesses to his game.
RHD Tommy Miller (6’2, 177 – Michigan St.): Miller is a riser in our rankings and is very close to cracking the late first round. He’s impressed us at every viewing and tied with David Farrance for the most points by a defenseman (three in four games). He rifled home a power play goal from the right circle that opened the scoring against the Finns, who had difficulty getting around his tight gap when fixed to the outside. Miller is physical and can outmuscle most of his opponents, and even saved a goal when he batted a trickling puck away from the goal line with Team USA clinging to a 2-1 lead against the Czechs.