Boston College recruit Zach Sanford has come a long way in a few years. He was a very good player for Pinkerton Academy in Derry, NH, but has really brought his game to the next level this year playing for Sean Tremblay's Middlesex Islanders in the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL).
His coach at Pinkerton was former Merrimack forward Casey Kesselring, who was a scoring machine at Merrimack in the 1990s. Kesselring said he has known what a talented player Sanford is for a few years now. "I knew him before he got to Pinkerton so I knew what a talented kid he was. When he came in as a freshman, he started off slow, but really took off."
Kesselring said that after an inconsistent sophomore campaign Sanford and his team took off. "His junior year, he really took off and became more consistent." Sanford, along with 2014 BC commit J.D. Dudek, led the Pinkerton Astros to the 2012 New Hampshire State Championship before embarking on his junior career.
It wasn't until February of this year that Sanford committed to Boston College. He had offers early on from Merrimack and UMass-Lowell, but once his game started picking up in the EJHL, the offers from elite schools, such as BC, started rolling in. Kesselring said it took his former player a few games to adjust to the speed of the junior game, compared to the high school level. Including the playoffs, Sanford notched 16 goals and 28 assists for 44 points in 44 games played.
Kesselring had nothing but praise for Sanford's offensive abilities. "He's a dominant offensive player. He has good hands and can really maneuver around the other teams' defensemen," said Kesselring who was named the head coach at New Hampton Prep in April.
BC fans can expect to see some impressive moves from the Auburn, NH native. "Zach has a long reach. I would tell people that he's just like a human highlight reel," said Kesselring. "He's a nice kid who lets his play speak for itself," added Kesselring.
The six-foot-three-inch Sanford is a left shot leftwing. "He's gotten better defensively, but he knows he still has some work to do on that part of his game," said Kesselring.
Sanford was ranked as the 83rd best North American Skater in Central Scouting's Mid-Term Rankings, but he moved all the way up to the 60th position in the Final Rankings. Most likely he will be drafted somewhere towards the end of the third round, but some teams might see the upside in his game.
Don't be surprised if you hear comparisons to Chris Kreider once Sanford begins playing at The Heights in October.