We already took a look at some of the '98s and '99s at the Tier 1 Elite Playoffs last weekend. But there were a lot of other very talented players in the tournament as well. It's such a wide field that it's too difficult, especially for one person, to single out some, without leaving out too many good players. A good number of those players will be moving on to junior hockey next year, so most of my notes will be saved up for upcoming junior drafts this spring.
But there were a few final notes I wanted to share on the tournament. Here they are:
-Belle Tire won the U18 title for the second straight year. Both years, they had teams that weren't necessarily high on prospects, but had a lot of really good hockey players. They were a physical, well-coached bunch, and dominated a couple excellent teams in the semifinal and final.
-Colorado Thunderbirds beat St. Louis for the U16 title. Colorado was the strongest team in the field. St. Louis was impressive too, with a great defense and solid goal tending, but in the final, they just didn't have the offensive firepower that the Thunderbirds did. Credit also goes out to the LA Jr. Kings and Oakland Jr. Grizzlies, who both made the playoff semifinals and gave the two finalists serious runs for their money in a pair of fantastic games.
-The most impressive player at the whole tournament may have been St. Louis Jr. Blues U16 D Jincy Dunne. Dunne, a female, was named to the preliminary 25-woman roster for the US women's Olympic team, but was one of the last four cut as the roster was culled down to 21 for Sochi. By the time players reach that age, and that high level of hockey, the physical differences between male and female players really start to show, but she definitely held her own against some of the top competition in the country. She played on St. Louis' third pairing, and didn't play when St. Louis shortened their bench late in the overtime of the semifinals, but every team did that in similar situations. With a shorter haircut, and a different name, most would have never guessed she was a girl. She makes great decisions with the puck, and skates really well. She's definitely a special talent and very fun to watch. As far as I know, she hasn't committed to an NCAA program yet, but she could play for any team in the country right now.
-Quite a few famous fathers at this tournament including: Mario Lemieux, Teemu Selanne(who didn't show up because apparently he had some work thing,), Adam Foote, Keith Primeau, Brian Savage, and probably many others that I'm forgetting
-There were a lot of players that have already committed to colleges playing in this tournament. Here's a quick rundown on a few of them:
Troy Terry-F-Thunderbirds U16(Denver)- Terry chose to stay at the U16 level for a second straight year this year--maybe not a bad choice. The T-birds have an elite U16 team and a so-so U18 team--and he was pretty dominant at the U16 level, like you'd expect. He's smaller, but has incredible hand-eye coordination and always a dangerous scoring threat.
Michael Davies-D-St. Louis U18(Ohio State)-Reminds me a lot of fellow OSU D recruit Tyler Nanne. Skinny, but has a really heavy shot, and he moves the puck very well.
Gordie Myer-D-Cleveland U18(Ohio State)-Top pairing D on a really good Cleveland team. He's just a solid, all-around defender.
Charlie Gerard-F-Ohio Jr Blue Jackets U18(Minnesota State)-A really explosive skater. Needs to fill out some more before he's ready for college, but his speed will make him effective at the next level.
Alex Jasiek-F-St. Louis U18(Dartmouth)-Small playmaker that is actually pretty strong on the puck. Might need some in juniors to adjust to bigger competition, but could be a big scorer at Dartmouth.
Mitch Fossier-F-TPH U18(Maine)-Really good with the puck. Nice offensive instincts.
Teddy Rotenberger-D-TPH U18(Alabama-Huntsville)-Nothing flashy, but an incredibly disciplined player. Goes about things in a business-like fashion and rarely makes mistakes.
Gordie Green-Victory Honda U18(Miami)-Another small, speedy forward in the mold of Anthony Louis that Miami is fond of recruiting.
Zach Osburn-D-Victory Honda U18(Michigan State)-Osburn is a really smooth skater. Still has some work to do on the defensive end, but another nice talent for Michigan State.
Jacob Gingell-D-Victory Honda U18(Michigan Tech)-Played a pretty quiet game when I saw him play. Should develop into a reliable NCAA player.