2016 Top Prospects Tournament: Day One

Frontier squad prevents the South from making a comeback with 6-4 win

By Kevin Scott

Box Score (Frontier vs. South) Box Score (Selects Black vs. West) Tourney Scoreboard

PLYMOUTH, Mich., February 15, 2016 — The North American Tier 3 Hockey League’s top prospects in all six divisions plus two 18U Selects squads came together to take part in the NA3HL’s Top Prospects Tournament in Plymouth, Michigan. The three-day tournament takes place today (Monday) through Wednesday from the USA Hockey Arena.

The 2015 NA3HL Top Prospect’s Tournament along with the North American Hockey League (NAHL) Top Prospects Tournament and the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) Championship provides an opportunity for each league to showcase their best hockey players in front of coaches and scouts from the college level to the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Great Falls Americans featured seven players (Arseny Ivanov, Brendan Jester, Connor Barta, Jake Stephan and Josh Larson) with five of them suiting up for the Frontier Division team and two for the NA3HL’s 18 and under Selects Black team (Tanner Condon and Ricards Bernhards). Americans head coach Jeff Heimel will guide the Frontier squad.

The Frontier team faced off against the South Division team during the first day of (a three day) competition at the NA3HL’s Top Prospect’s Tournament on Monday night. Meanwhile, the 18U Selects Black team played later against the West Division.

The Frontier Division took a 5-2 lead into the second intermission and hung on to defeat the South Division 6-4 during first day action at the NA3HL Top Prospects Tournament on Monday afternoon in Plymouth, Michigan.  Americans forward Josh Larson scored the first goal of the contest in the first period while teammate Arseny Ivanov dished out three assists.

During the opening period, the Frontier team led 3-2 over South. Josh Larson (GF Americans), Nick Greene (Yellowstone Quake) and Tristan Henrichs (Billings Bulls) each found the back of the net. Three Frontier players recorded assists including Nicholas Thompson (Bozeman Ice Dogs), Kegan Couture (Bozeman Ice Dogs) and Arseny Ivanov (GF Americans). Ryan Dunner (Texas Brahmas) and Kyle Rimbach (Atlanta Capitals) paced the South with one goal apiece in the first twenty minutes.

Billings standout Tristan Henrichs scored his second goal of the day with help from Americans forward Arseny Ivanov during the first four minutes of the middle period. Before the second intermission, Bozeman defenseman Nicholas Thompson increased the lead for the Frontier (5-2) off a pass from Alex King from the Gillette Wild. After a penalty-free first period, the Frontier had their first and only penalty of the game as Tony Dahlberg (Yellowstone Quake) had an interference call go against him. Each team racked up 28 shots after the first two periods.

Arseny Ivanov (GF Americans) found Cade Boreing (Gillette Wild) for the score and the team’s sixth goal early in the third period. The South Divisions comeback came up short but they did manage to get two goals by the Frontier goaltender. Victor Ekk (Texas Brahmas) and Alex Johanson from the Atlanta Capitals were each credited with the goals.

Each squad went 0-for-1 on the power play and finished with one penalty apiece resulting in two minutes of penalty time.

Stephen Frank (Bozeman Ice Dogs) and Jake Stephan from the GF Americans each saw action but Frank picked up the win for coach Jeff Heimel’s team. Stephan and Frank each finished with 17 saves. Brandon Perrone (Texas Brahmas) made 39 saves on 45 shots in the loss for the South.

18U Selects Black team escapes with 3-2 shootout win against the West

PLYMOUTH, Mich., February 15, 2016 — In other action, the West Division team scored once in the third period to force a shootout with the NA3HL 18U Selects Black squad but the Selects Black team came out on top in the shootout, 3-2 behind goals from Ricards Bernhards (GF Americans), Bryce Fisk (Wisconsin Whalers), and the game-winner by the Yellowstone Quake’s Vadym Nesteruk. This was the final game of the day of the Top Prospects Tournament on Monday afternoon.

Joe Costello (Twin Cities Steel) gave the West squad an early 1-0 lead during the first 101 seconds of the contest.  Both of his teammates from the Steel assisted including Paul Stehr and Tristan Mayer. Eight minutes later, Ricards Bernhards representing the Great Falls Americans tied it up (1-1) for the Selects Black squad. The goal came off the stick of Tristin Snyder from the Toledo Cherokee. The 18U Selects Black took their first lead as Nick Mooney (Wooster Oilers) was able to score off a pass from Ben Ratner (Wisconsin Whalers) with 54 seconds left before the first intermission. Despite trailing early, the West team out-shot the NA3HL 18U Selects Black team, 12-10.

After both teams failed to put up any points in the second stanza, the West team tied the game at 2-2 with 6:50 left in the final period of regulation. Lucas Carroll (Granite City Lumberjacks) scored the only goal in the period to send it to a shootout (no overtime in this tournament). Two of his teammates from the Lumberjacks provided the assists including Casey Esselman and Tommy Giller.

Great Falls’ Ricards Bernhards, Bryce Fisk (Wisconsin Whalers) and Vadym Nesteruk (Yellowstone Quake) converted goals in the shootout for the Selects Black team with Nesteruk’s points proved to be the game-winner. Jacob Drinkard (Metro Jets) and Austin Langworthy (Breezy Point North Stars) scored for the West.

Neither team committed many penalties with each team committing one infraction for two minutes in the third period.

Max McConnell (Wisconsin Whalers), the goaltender from the NA3HL Select Black team, recorded 34 saves in the win. The West team used both goalies. Mac Berglove (Granite City Lumberjacks) made nine saves before being replaced by Wes Paupore (Breezy Point North Stars) where he stopped all 13 shots in the shootout loss.

TOURNAMENT NOTES: For more information about the Top Prospects Tournament, please click here. Fans can also follow the action live at HockeyTV and see the stats updated live on the NA3HL Scoreboard.

Click here to view the entire Frontier roster.

Click here to view the entire NA3HL 18U Selects Black Team roster.

NEXT CONTEST: The Frontier Division team comprised of five Great Falls Americans (Arseny Ivanov, Brendan Jester, Connor Barta, Jake Stephan and Josh Larson), will face the West Division of the NA3HL on Tuesday, February 16th at 10:30AM (MST) while the 18U Selects Black team that features two GF Americans in Tanner Congdon and Ricards Bernhards will play immediately after against the East Division team at 1:30PM (MST).

Story Courtesy: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): Day 1 of NA3HL Top Prospects full of close competition (February 16, 2016)