2016 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game
West Coast Wonder
California’s McManus nets three points as Team Leclair rolls
Steve Kournianos | 09/22/2016 | New York | [hupso]
PHILADELPHIA (The Draft Analyst) – Brannon McManus registered a goal and two assists and Vanya Lodnia scored the go-ahead goal off a 2-on-1 break in the third period as Team Leclair downed Team Howe 6-4 at the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.
McManus, a standout for the USHL’s Omaha Lancers, increased his value as a draft prospect yesterday with a solid effort in all three zones. He set up defenseman Nate Knoepke’s hard wrist shot from the point that eluded Team Howe goalie Adam Scheel to give Team Leclair a 2-1 lead early in the first period. McManus added another primary assist when his backhand pass in the low slot found a wide-open Sasha Chmelevski, who wired a shot up and over Scheel to put Team Leclair up 3-1 early in the second period.
The California native capped the scoring late in the third period by finishing off a 2-on-1 rush with a wrist shot just under the crossbar.
Casey Mittelstadt, one of nine Minnesotans to participate in this year’s event and a likely lottery pick in next June’s NHL Draft, scored a pair of goals for Team Howe and was named the game’s top player. The early-season showcase featured 40 of the top American-born prospects, most who will be selected in the draft’s early rounds.
Team Howe rallied behind Mittelstadt, who got them on the board in the first period with a tap-in off a beautiful cross-ice feed from Kailer Yamamoto, the top scorer for Spokane in the Western Hockey League. In the second period, Mittelstadt was credited with a goal off a goal-mouth scramble with only 17 seconds remaining, knotting the score 3-3. Mittelstadt and McManus were two of six participants with a college commitment to the University of Minnesota.
Wingers Grant Mismash and Logan Hutsko each had a goal for the Leclair squad, and defenseman Tyler Inamoto chipped in with two assists. All three play for the United States National Team Development Program. Cayden Primeau and Jake Oettinger split the goaltending duties for Team Leclair, stopping 17 and 12 shots, respectively.
Logan Cockerill and Jason Robertson each tallied for Team Howe, and Yamamoto notched a pair of assists. Scheel stopped four of seven shots, and Keith Petruzelli made 11 saves in defeat.
G Cayden Primeau: Primeau was pretty sharp in nets for Team Leclair, displaying solid side-to-side quickness and impeccable rebound control. In fact, Primeau barely surrendered any rebounds period, as he gobbled up dangerous changes from in close. The kid looks like he has a strong relationship with his posts — he takes care of them and they take care of him. Primeau was the best of the four goaltenders who participated.
G Jake Oettinger: Oettinger did everything right except put his rebounds where they were supposed to go. He’s a top-end goaltending prospect and likely gets picked pretty high in the draft. But he’s not going to always have elite defensemen playing in front of him to clear up the gifts he leaves in the slot. To be fair, he’s proven to control them in previous games. He just needs to be more consistent.
LW Grant Mishmash: Mismash was his typical self, finding his way into scoring areas and getting a handful of pucks on net. He opened the scoring by whipping a loose puck from the slot past Adam Scheel. Mismash played on the top line but didn’t get top-line minutes, if that makes any sense. He was one of several players who came within a hair from connecting on a nice play.
C Ryan Poehling: A lot of eyes were on the big Minnesotan, who used a dominant Hlinka to springboard into the top 30 of our initial 2017 draft rankings. He was the nominal top-line center for Team Howe, and on occasion displayed his ridiculous puck control that ranks him among the best of any draft eligible. He picked up an assist on Mishmash’s goal but it was a busted play off a blocked shot. He didn’t do well on the few faceoffs he took but positioning himself properly and used his long reach to break up passes for a counterattack. Poehling has an excellent shot but tried to be more of a passer in this one.
RW Logan Hutsko: Hutsko is a crafty player with very good vision. He liked to stop on a dime and look for trailers after entering the zone, and his passes were hard and accurate. He displayed speed and a nice set of hands by creating a 2-on-1 and batting home his own blocked pass. Hutsko was one of Team Leclair’s consistent shift-to-shift performers.
LW Jacob Tortora: Tortora was flying both inside and out, using a change of pace to give himself an extra bit of room. The puck was on his stick a lot, and he properly identified the open point man rather than dump it behind the net. The timing of his lead passes were off by a nose, but you can say that for more than half a roster that was understandably fighting through chemistry issues.
C Sasha Chmelevski: Chmelevski had a strong game, enhancing his reputation as a kid who doesn’t choke on quality chances. This kid is a finisher and does so with authority, and you can see why it stung Sarnia to trade him to Ottawa, even if Travis Konecny was the returning piece. Chmelevski slipped away from detection quite a few times (his on-ice awareness is impeccable) and with that shot and finishing abilities, you wonder if he’s better suited at wing.
RW Vanya Lodnia: Lodnia has a cannon of a shot, which probably explains why he led Team Leclair with five shots on goal. On one shift in particular, he found a way to take the puck up ice with authority and fire a shot on net despite spending the majority of the shift in his own end. He blew past Max Gildon for a 2-on-1 break, then slowed it down as he neared the slot before firing a wicked shot past a helpless Keith Petruzelli for the go-ahead marker in the third.
LW Kyle MacLean: A hard-working kid from nearby Basking Ridge, NJ, MacLean was strong on the puck and played fearless. He didn’t have an issue getting his nose dirty and lending support to beleaguered linemates during board battles, and he has the confidence to escape from a scrum in his own end and power the puck up the ice. He’s a lot more creative than you’d think and had a couple of chances near the net.
C Evan Barratt: Barratt is a two-way forward who is generally reliable in his own end. He made up for a rough night at the dot (1-9) by getting in the way of shots and legally picking off either his man or someone else’s after the puck dropped. His best chance came off a gorgeous set up from linemate Sean Dhooghe, who fed Barratt for a hard one-timer from the slot that forced Petruzzelli to make a tough shoulder save.
RW Sean Dhooghe: Dhooghe was the most exciting player to watch of either team from the moment the puck dropped to the final whistle. He has all the tools – speed for days, elite vision and a sixth sense for finding open ice. There was one play where he turned a 1-on-4 situation into an actual scoring chance. Dhooghe is bad for an opposing coach’s health, and his dizzying speed and shifting of gears makes him difficult to contain. And while a lot of players can skate, dangle and dish, only a few can break down and visualize the game the way Dhooghe can.
LW Austin Pratt: Pratt played well within what seemed like a defensive role, assuming a position on one of the penalty killing units and finding himself with a lot of defensive zone starts. We always viewed Pratt as a shooter, but he displayed puck control and stickhandling while curling around pressure. He’s a big boy, and defenders struggled getting in front of him.
C Mark Kastelic: Kastelic had a fine game defensively and looked like a real shutdown center. He’s very strong on the puck and difficult to contain without it. Kastelic went 7-2 on draws and didn’t allow his man to get open, and was a fierce competitor while battling for pucks in the low slot and along the boards.
RW Brannon McManus: McManus did everything for Team Leclair – play on the both special teams units, set up goals and even buried one himself. Both of his assists could be considered broken plays, but good things happen the more you have the puck. McManus has an excellent shot, and he transitioned after his sixth or seventh shift from looking to pass to firing it on net with confidence. He knows how to make room for himself and create his own shot, and the hustle he displayed without the puck shows he’s more than just a point producer.
LHD Mikey Anderson: Anderson handled the puck a ton and grew confident as the minutes ticked down. All you see on his stat line is a “+1”, but his defensive-zone play was critical towards limiting the amount of chances his goalies faced. He made mistakes like everyone else, but his ability to recover from them in the form of positioning is what stood out most. Anderson has a very good shot but had his attempts blocked.
RHD Phil Kemp: Kemp is a no-nonsense shutdown defender who looks like he improved his footwork in the offseason. The game was tightly checked, and a big kid like Kemp is one of the reasons why. He didn’t give puck carriers any room, and if he did, he closed on and eliminated them rather quickly. You’re not going to get much offense from him, but he gets kudos for contributing in other aspects.
LHD Nate Knoepke: Knoepke had the best game of any defender, playing with savvy and making the right choices. He scored a goal with a laser of a wrist shot from just inside the blue line, but also showed he can pass the puck with both accuracy and authority from distances beyond center ice. Knoepke loves to shoot the puck – he was credited with only one shot but had several attempts — and will send the puck towards the net immediately after a teammate was open for a tip-in attempt.
RHD Reilly Walsh: There aren’t many defenders who can move their feet as well as Walsh, and it served him well when evading forecheckers and moving laterally for a shooting lane to open. Walsh has very good closing speed and showed he’s not risk averse by dashing up the ice and filling into the gap below the opposing circles. He’s a very good stickhandler and finds the open man without hesitation, but he was a little loosey-goosey with his gap and reaction to plays in front of the net.
LHD Tyler Inamoto: We liked that Inamoto played the AAPG as if it were a Game 7, throwing his body around and busting it on every shift. He’s a very good skater who made precision plays inside his own end, and he played his odd-man rushes perfectly. Inamoto had a slight malfunction when a blown tire deep in the offensive zone almost led to a break the other way, but he recovered in time to seal it off.
RHD Ronald Brickey: Brickey played in a lot of defensive-zone situations and was utilized for the penalty kill. He was partnered with swift puck mover Jack Rathbone, and the pair seemed to have chemistry while moving the puck past the forecheck. There was one lengthy shift when he was trapped in his own end for a while, but he stayed with his man and didn’t retaliate to some vicious crosschecks before moving the puck to safety.
LHD Jack Rathbone: We wanted him to have more of an opportunity to shine – there just wasn’t enough ice for him in this one. Rathbone is very crafty, from using the boards for a clean bank passes to a hard, crisp head man to split the zone coverage. He was used on the penalty kill with effectiveness and bailed out his forwards when they made rash decisions with the puck near his own blue line.
G Adam Scheel: Scheel didn’t face many shots, but he was burned by a stoppable shot by Mismash in the first period and later whiffed on a deep wrister from Knoepke. He was slow to react to Chmelevski’s marker from the right circle in the second period but seemed to settle down thereafter. It was tough to evaluate him on his puck-stopping abilities because he wasn’t all that busy.
G Keith Petruzelli: Petruzelli displayed nice form and control of his rebounds, but he melted down in the third period by allowing goals on three separate 2-on-1s – all from the shooter side. He’s too big of a kid to get beat up high with regularity, so challenging the shooter while fine-tuning his net presence may help him in the long run. His puck handling, however, seemed to improve.
LW Patrick Khoderenko: Khoderenko had one heck of a game defending his own end and covering up for his linemates’ up-ice antics. Not bad for a player who is expected to dominate offensively. He has the speed and strength to meet the challenge of knocking big wingers off the puck, and there were several rushes up the ice when the defender seemed reluctant to physically challenge him.
C Casey Mittelstadt : Chalk up another solid high-profile event to this top prospect’s resume, as the future Minnesota Golder Gopher scored twice while showcasing a speed-power combo that gave fits to the opposing team. His game is reminiscent of a young Rick Nash, but one who looks quite comfortable at center – Mittelstadt was dominant at the dot, winning 12 of 14 draws.
RW Kailer Yamamoto : Yamamoto is an offensive force who looks to create quality scoring chances every shift. A byproduct of this mindset is overpassing, and what you get is a feast-or-famine result – Yamamoto picked up a pair of assists but tried to force things into the middle of the ice with opposing checkers on the prowl. Nonetheless, his chemistry with Mittelstadt cannot be denied. The former U18 teammates picked up right where they left off in April.
LW Logan Cockerill : One of the fastest players on the ice, Cockerill played fearless while making every shift memorable. He was credited with a goal in the third period after bombing down the wing into the goal which forced the puck across the line. Cockerill also played on the penalty kill and pressed the point men rather than afford them the chance to shoot. His own shot is slightly above average but accurate.
C Michael Pastujov: Pastujov is coming off a dominant Hlinka where he was a scoring-chance machine, but his game in Philadelphia was somewhat quiet. He played the body quite a few times and came an inch or two from a couple of easy tap-ins.
RW Cole Coskey: Coskey had a solid game identifying and connecting with the open man and maintaining control of the puck while sticks were swatting all around him. He came close to linking up with Pastujov for quality chances near the slot, but seemed content with Logan Cockerill handling the puck as often as he could.
LW Jason Robertson: Robertson is a sniper who lived up to his billing, firing off a team-high five shots and scoring a goal off a rebound in front of the net. He’s a big kid with deceptive speed who fired off shots before an opposing stick was there to alter it. He too was guilty of fooling around with the puck at his own blue line, albeit on just a shift or two. He made up for it, however, with a gorgeous behind-the-back pass from the far boards that sprung Josh Norris for a breakaway attempt.
C Josh Norris: Norris has a reputation of being a top two-way forward, and you saw glimpses of it in Philadelphia. He has a strong grasp of play development and seems to know exactly where the puck will move next. Norris has enough quickness to appear out of nowhere and turn what seems like a harmless cross-ice feed into a counterattack going the other way. He picked up an assist after he made a nice give-and-go with Jason Robertson for his goal at the side of the net.
RW Scott Reedy: Reedy plays a heavy game, and this game’s in-your-face style seemed to suit him. He’s a load to handle and almost impossible to thwart when he has his feet moving forward, but the five-man collapse within the defensive zone coupled with the quality of one-on-one defenders limited him to a secondary assist. It was a curious decision to see Reedy flank center Josh Norris, as both are competing for the NTDP’s top line pivot slot. He caused havoc in the crease to free up Robertson for a goal in the second period, and the meanness to his style is something we can get used to.
LW Mick Messner: Go figure. The kid who keeps getting depth roles during high-profile events yet again finds a way to stand out. Messner is a coach’s dream, hustling in all three zone and using his speed and awareness to pick passes off and quickly head the other way. Placing a player in a defensive role takes on a new meaning when said player not only does it at a high level, but counters with offense as well. Messner, who was Team USA’s defensive specialist extraordinaire at the Hlinka, had three shots and a well-earned assist on Mittlestadt’s tying tally late in the second period, controlling the puck while falling off to the side of the net before sending it in front for Mittelstadt to bury.
C R.J. Murphy: Murphy centered Team Howe’s “energy line” with Messner and Matt Miller on the flanks. The trio consistently put pressure on the opposing defensemen and didn’t give the forwards much room in the neutral zone. Murphy is a solid stickhandler who didn’t panic with the puck, and even had a shift where he had both a quality scoring chance and a set-up.
RW Matt Miller: Smart and energetic is the best way to describe the way Miller played, as he was always positioned properly thanks to quick feet and direct routes towards the areas he needed to be in. He will make a fine penalty killer at higher levels.
LHD David Farrance: It was a joy to watch this smooth-skating New Yorker effortlessly carry the puck in and around checkers, and it’s a shame there wasn’t much room for him to show his true abilities. Farrance has a quick first step but knows when it’s time to slow it down and reassess his options.
RHD Luke Martin: Martin is a sound positional defender who displayed a hard wrist shot and quick feet when racing to the wall to keep pucks in the offensive zone. He was very good positionally, even when he correctly covered his man near the crease when an open Chmelevski fired one home from the right circle. Martin didn’t have it easy, as he was constantly reacting to the risky passes being made in the middle of the ice by the Mittelstadt line. He even won the majority of his footraces to the puck.
LHD Ben Mirageas: This is one elusive cat who plays calm and makes smart plays. Mirageas is an offensive defenseman with very good mobility, but his calmness and soft touch helped him slip passes around or under pressure before joining the rush. Forecheckers had a tough time rattling him, and he furnished a hard, accurate shot. He was paired with the bigger Max Gildon, who seemed comfortable deferring the breakouts to Mirageas.
LHD Max Gildon: Gildon has a lot of tools at his disposal and displayed them on occasions. He played it safe for the first half of the game, showing little creativity when he took the puck up the ice and across the red line. He struggled to contain Vanya Lodnia for a tie-breaking goal early in the third period. Gildon didn’t have a bad game — he broke up dozens of plays in the low slot and released properly when chasing puck carriers down low.
RHD John Maniscalco: A local kid with the crowd to support him, Maniscalco looked quite comfortable and poised for a teenager playing on his favorite team’s rink. He was fine handling the puck and didn’t buckle under pressure, using the boards to lead teammates into the zone and spinning away from forecheckers before taking it up the ice himself. Maniscalco has soft hands to deaden tough passes and is not afraid to drop down into the circles.
RHD Tommy Miller: Miller’s noticeable asset is skating, which he used to break free from forwards and increase the likelihood of an odd-man attack. He has an extremely long reach as well, and he knocked forwards off the puck with a simple shove. Miller is capable of creativity and is confident with the puck, reminiscent of former NTDP’er and current New York Rangers prospect Brady Skjei. With his size, speed and IQ, something tells me he will be a fast riser.
LHD Clayton Phillips: Phillips displayed his swift-skating abilities while quarterbacking one of the power play units and made timely step-ups to break up oncoming rushes. He used his stick with purpose, swatting away pucks as attackers neared the low slot. He looked comfortable for one of the youngest players of either side — Phiilps missed eligibility for the 2018 draft by just seven days. He wasn’t physical, but allowing the bigger forwards some room didn’t hurt him as he kept them to the outside.