2018 TOP PROSPECTS TOURNAMENT: DAY 1

Selects Red edges Grey squad, 3-2 at first day of Top Prospects Tourney in Michigan

By Kevin Scott

Grey (Frontier/West Division) vs. Selects Red
Box Score Game Sheet Tourney Scoreboard  Rosters
Grey (Frontier/West Division) vs. Green (Northeast/South Division)
Box Score Game Sheet Tourney Scoreboard  Rosters
Blue (Central/Coastal Division) vs. Selects Red
Box Score Game Sheet Tourney Scoreboard  Rosters

PLYMOUTH, Mich., February 27, 2018 — The North American Tier 3 Hockey League’s top prospects spread among six teams in all four combined divisions plus two younger Selects squads came together to take part in the NA3HL’s Top Prospects Tournament in Plymouth, Michigan. The two-day tournament takes place today (Tuesday) and Wednesday from the USA Hockey Arena.

The 2018 NA3HL Top Prospect’s Tournament along with the North American Hockey League (NAHL) Top Prospects Tournament provides an opportunity for both leagues to showcase their best hockey players in front of coaches and scouts from the junior and NCAA college levels to the National Hockey League (NHL).

The Great Falls Americans had two players representing the Grey team (Frontier/West Divisions) including goaltender Drew Scites and forward Adam Vandenbos and one player (defenseman Kody Thomas) on the NA3HL’s Selects Red team. Yellowstone Quake head coach Ryan Theros guided the Grey (Frontier Division) assisted by New Ulm Steel’s Andrew Kolb from West Division. Pittsburgh Vengeance head coach Dave Dorsey coached the 18U Selects Red team.

Each team played twice on the first day of competition at the prestigious tournament. Click here for the full two-day tournament schedule and results. Each game consisted of (3) 17-minute periods with a single ice cut in the middle of the second period.

The NA3HL 18U Selects Red team scored a goal in the middle period and two more in the third period to edge the Grey (Frontier/West Division) team, 3-2 during the opener for both teams at the 2018 Top Prospects Tournament in Plymouth, Michigan on Tuesday morning. Drew Scites (Grey Team) of the Americans was one of two goaltenders on the team and he stopped five of the six goals in 25 minutes of action.

After a scoreless and penalty-free opening period that saw the Grey team rack up 14 shots and limiting the Selects Red Team to 2 shots, the Selects Red team took the first lead of the contest in the following period. Blake Finley (Peoria Mustangs) put the Selects Read ahead 1-0 as Metro Jets forward Matt Schaumburger assisted. The Grey team attempted 12 shots but could not gather any goals off them but the Selects Red team score on one of their seven shots before the second intermission.

Canadian Matthew Minichiello (Niagara Falls PowerHawks) from the Selects Red team stretched their lead to 2-0 after 69 seconds of action in the third period.  Forward Josh Maucieri from the Breezy Point North Stars tallied the assist. The Frontier connection of Misha Akatnov (Missoula Jr. Bruins) and Gavin Cline (Helena Bighorns) cut the deficit for the Grey team to 2-1 nine minutes after the Selects Red team scored. Akatnov scored and Cline added the assist for coach Ryan Theros’ squad. Matt Schaumburger added a goal to put the Selects Red team ahead by two goals near the end of the contest. Peter Johnson (Alexandria Blizzard) and Marcos Zarragoitia (Oswego Stampede) set up the eventual game-winning drive with under two minutes remaining.  Riley Buller (Yellowstone Quake) rounded out the scoring for the Grey team with 1:03 on the clock by netting his first goal of the tournament with help from forwards Logan Nelson (Alexandria Blizzard) and Gavin Cline from Helena.

Despite coming away short on the scoreboard, the Grey team out-shot the Selects Red squad, 36-20.

A holding call by Grey’s Brandon Bissett (Granite City Lumberjacks) was the only penalty called during the 51-minute contest. The Select Black team failed to convert on the power play opportunity.

Sean Finstrom of the Lansing Wolves was credited as the game-winning netminder for the Selects Red squad. His play in the second and third periods gave him 13 saves. Starting goalie Brady Anderson (Binghamton Jr. Senators) went a perfect 21-for-21 in 25 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Great Falls Americans goaltender Drew Scites started and accumulated 21 saves before being replaced by backup Luke Fry of the Willmar WarHawks, who recorded 12 saves in the loss.


Grey squad falls to 0-2 with a 3-2 setback to Green (Northeast/South Division) team

PLYMOUTH, Mich., February 27, 2018 — The Green team, consisting of players from the Northeast and South divisions, led 3-2 before the second intermission and hung on after a scoreless third period for the win in the second game of the day for both squads.

Cameron Bickford (Texas Brahmas) and Craig Garrigan (Skylands Kings) boosted the Green team to a 2-0 lead late in the opening period. Jason Ladzinski (Atlanta Capitals) assisted on Bickford’s score with 6:44 left and Steven Ford Skylands Kings) and Brandon Vukasin, a former Americans player suiting up for the Louisiana Drillers) netted his first tournament assist with his pass to Garrigan during the only power play opportunity of the contest. Ryan Smith (New Ulm Steel) scored the first of his two goals in the game before the first break as his teammate Alex Nagel (New Ulm Steel_) provided the assist for Grey team to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Grey team took 12 shots and left the Green squad with eight.

The middle period brought two scores and no penalties. The Green team added their third goal over the Grey squad as Atlanta Capitals forward Jason Ladzinski netted his first goal off the stick of Brad Becker of the Binghamton Jr. Senators. A repeat scoring performance from the first period brought the duo of Ryan Smith and Alex Nagel scoring again to decrease the lead to 3-2 for the Grey team. After two periods of play, the Grey team had a 20-19 advantage in the shots-on-goal category.

The final period continued with each team picking up one penalty but no puck going into the net. The Green team created five more shots than the Grey team (11-6).

The teams combined for five minor penalties coming during the first and third periods that resulted in ten minutes of penalty time.

Starting goaltender for th Green team, Steven Kozikoski (Oswego Stampede) picked up the win by playing in the first period and part of the second period. He had 14 saves. Carson Murison (Texas Brahmas) finished the rest of the game by swatting away 10 of the 11 shots sent his way. Luke Fry (Willmar WarHawks) and Drew Scites (Great Falls Americans) combined for 27 saves for the Grey squad.


Selects Red team falls to 1-1 after 4-1 loss to Blue (Central/Coastal) squad

PLYMOUTH, Mich., February 27, 2018 — Four different players from the Blue squad (Central/Coastal) scored to defeat the Selects Red team 4-1 during the evening session of the 2018 Top Prospects Tournament in Plymouth, Michigan as Day 1 (of 2) concluded.

The Blue squad, coached by Todd Sanden of the North Iowa Bulls (Central Division), scored two first-period goals by Sam Hanson (Wisconsin Whalers) and Marc Faia (Northeast Generals). The 2-0 lead over the Selects Red team came with assists from four players including Brendan Studioso (North Iowa Bulls/MN Wilderness), Tyler Bump (North Iowa Bulls), Alex O’Dowd (Northeast Generals), and Cole Archambeault (New England Stars). Blue had a slim 11-10 advantage over the NA3HL Selects Red team after the first 17 minutes.

Ian Doner, a forward from the Yellowstone Quake, scored the first goal for the Selects Red team 72 seconds into the middle period. The long scoring drive was assisted by a pair of Helena Bighorns, Kaden Lindberg and Hayden Seitz.

The Blue team racked up two more goals to finish up the contest. Clayton Lackey (La Crosse Freeze) scored his second goal of the prestigious tournament and Leevi Kervinen (Cape Cod Islanders) put in his first to garner the win for the Blue team. Matt Irwin (Wausau RiverWolves), Andrew McCormick (L/A Nordiques), and Brendan Studioso (North Iowa Bulls/MN Wilderness) earned the assists. Kervinen’s final goal of the game came via an empty net when the Selects Red team replaced goaltender Brady Anderson (Binghamton Jr. Senators) with another member of the team to get their offense to attempt a comeback but were denied.

The first 34 minutes (two periods) had no stoppages of play due to penalties. The third period had one minor penalty called on the Blue team’s Derek Flynn (New England Stars) for slashing.

When the game concluded, both teams had 30 shots apiece and no power play chances.

North Iowa Bulls goaltender Colin Cain picked up the win with 16 saves while allowing just one goal. Greg Moon replaced Cain midway through the second stanza. Moon prevented the Selects Red team from getting the puck between the pipes. Meanwhile, Sean Finstrom (Lansing Wolves) and Brady Anderson (Binghamton Jr. Senators), combined for 26 saves for the Selects Red squad.

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 Tournament Scoreboard. View the first day of action (rosters/schedules/box scores) by clicking here for the NA3HL article.

NEXT CONTEST: The second and final day of the 2018 Top Prospects Tournament in Michigan takes place on Wednesday, February 28th with each team playing once.  The Grey team (Frontier/West Division) take on the 18U Selects White squad bright and early at 6:00AM (MST) while the NA3HL Selects Red Team challenges the Green squad (Northeast/South Divisions) at 8:00AM (MST).