As is usually the case at USA Hockey National Tournaments, there’s a group of 3-5 teams that are a cut above the rest. No doubt, each team deserves to be here, but to win this best-on-best event, you have to be just that, the best. That being said, here’s a look at the top teams and the top players to watch at the U-14 Tier 1 tournament April 6th-April 11th in Arizona.
Chicago Mission – The Mission are probably the best team in North America in this age group. They’ve lost 1 game in the past 4 months, a 3-2 setback to Compuware. Every skater on Mission is a prospect, meaning they project to be impact players at the next level. The biggest names from this group are defenseman Gerard Keane – there is talk about him being the top pick in the 2018 OHL Draft and forward Wyatt Schingoethe, who has committed to play for Notre Dame. However, the entire defense for Mission are among the best in this age group. Other tournament entries will be forced to pick their poison.
New Jersey Colonials – The best of the East. The Colonials are top notch from the net out. There are some early commit forwards in Cole Vallese (Providence), Chase Bradley (Northeastern) and Alex Gaffney (Harvard). But, like Mission, the Colonials have talented players at every position. Colonials defensemen Frank Djurasevic and Nicholas DeGaetani are both from the Westchester Express.
Detroit Little Caesar’s – This is probably the group with the best chance to knock off Mission. Part of the reason for that is that they play in the same league and are familiar foes. Little Caesar’s was 1-2-2 against Mission this season. Detroit is coached by former NHLers Kris Draper and Manny Legace (goaltender coach). Detroit would be the favorite to win this tournament if not for the fact that their one of the best players in this age group, Michigan commit Antonio Stranges is playing with the U16s.
Shattuck St. Mary’s – This year’s squad has some talented forwards in Hunter Rossi and Blake Mesenberg. Defenseman Scott Morrow is another one to watch. Goaltender Carsen Stokes is one of the best in this age group. Beaten 3-0 by Mission in their lone meeting this season.
Dark Horse(s) – Westchester Express and Syracuse Nationals. These two teams battled it out the whole season and it’s great that each will have the chance to compete on USA Hockey’s biggest stage. While the four teams mentioned above have put together the best resumes over the course of the season, the Nationals and Express have some of the top prospects. Watch out for Ryan Kirwan (brother of Luke Kirwan), Luke Tuch (brother of Alex Tuch) and Issac Novak (a Wisconsin resident and commit) on Syracuse as well as several of the defensemen. Westchester, who knocked Syracuse out of the state tournament features two of the top forwards in this age group in Anthony Cipollone and Aidan Cobb. Two players from Westchester have Fathers who played in the NHL in Nikita Kovelev and Zack Tonelli. Each team has depth and can push the pace. Expect some fast-paced, exciting hockey!
SOME TOP PLAYERS (40) :
(F) Wyatt Schingoethe – Chicago Mission – NOTRE DAME
(F) Anthony Cipollone – Westchester Express – VERMONT
(F) Ryan Kirwan – Syracuse Nationals
(F) Cole Vallese – NJ Colonials – PROVIDENCE
(F) Peter LaJoy – Shattuck St. Mary’s
(F) Kienan Draper – Little Caesar’s
(F) Viktor Czerneckianair – Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers – QUINNIPIAC
(F) Carter Mazur – Little Caesar’s
(F) Isaac Nowak – Syracuse Nationals – WISCONSIN
(F) Luke Tuch – Syracuse Nationals
(F) Chase Bradley – NJ Colonials – NORTHEASTERN
(F) Michael Cameron – NJ Colonials
(F) Hunter Rossi – Shattuck St. Mary’s
(F) Nick DeSantis – NJ Colonials
(F) Aidan Cobb – Westchester Express
(F) Ben Schoen – Little Caesar’s – MIAMI
(F) Mark Estapa – Little Caesar’s
(F) Tiernan Shoudy – Litle Caesar’s
(F) Brandon Chabrier – NJ Colonials
(F) Thomas Weis – Chicago Mission
(F) Matt Beniers – South Shore Kings
(D) Gerard Keane – Chicago Mission
(D) Jacob Truscott – Little Caesar’s – MICHIGAN
(D) David Ma – Shattuck St. Mary’s
(D) Kyle Aucoin – Chicago Mission
(D) Matt Basgall – Chicago Mission
(D) Tucker Hartmann – South Shore Kings
(D) Christian Jimenez – Westchester Express
(D) Martin Marnauzs – Chicago Mission
(D) Eamon Powell – Syracuse Nationals
(D) Seamus Campbell – NJ Colonials
(D) Thomas Messineo – South Shore Kings
(D) Raymond DeGaetani – NJ Colonials
(D) Spencer Evans – Westchester Express
(D) Zach Bookman – Syracuse Nationals
(D) Mason Proskin – NJ Colonials
(G) Drew Commesso – South Shore Kings – NEW HAMPSHIRE
(G) Carsen Stokes – Shattuck St. Mary’s
(G) Tucker Tynan – Oakland Jr. Grizzlies
(G) Nick Addante – Chicago Mission