The USA Hockey Select 17 Festival concluded last week in Williamsville, NY where some of the country's top young hockey talent was on display. Many players participating in the event will represent the United States at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic later this summer.
Many college coaches were there to evaluate potential recruits and keep an eye on existing recruits. The US Under 18 Select team, the group that will wear the red, white and blue at the Ivan Hlinka, was chosen right after the event.
One player parlayed his strong play into an offer from Cornell University. Corey Hoffman scored six goals and added four assists over the span of five games. Three days later he committed to the Big Red to play for coach Mike Schafer. The Syosset, NY native has a small frame, but proved to be elusive with a scoring touch over the course of the festival.
Hoffman is somewhat of a late bloomer. He was still playing high school hockey for the Syosset Braves last winter where he scorched the competition. He netted 44 goals and 57 assists in just 20 games played. This past winter he split time between Belle Tire U16 Midget team and the Odessa Jackalopes of the NAHL. The Sioux Falls Stampede drafted Hoffman in the 2012 USHL Futures Draft, but it is unclear where he will play next fall. He is slated to arrive in Ithaca for the fall of 2014.
Edina High School's Dylan Malmquist is the top uncommitted player following the event. The undersized, yet very skilled forward notched six goals and five assists to edge Hoffman for the scoring title. He might not be the prototypical NHL prospect, but he could be a dynamite pickup for the college team that eventually lands him.
Yale recruit Joseph Snively displayed his playmaking abilities during the festival as the Herndon, Virginia native picked up seven assists to go along with three goals. Another undersized forward, Snively represents another key recruiting victory for Keith Allain and his staff.
UMass recruit Jake Wahlin had five goals, the most of anyone in the festival outside of Hoffman and Malmquist. The St. Paul, Minn. native played for White Bear Lake High School last season. It was considered a huge pickup for John Micheletto's staff when they landed Wahlin and his older brother Brandon. The older Wahlin will arrive in Amherst this fall whereas the younger Wahlin is slated for 2014 or 2015.
One player that stood out as having more pro potential was Michigan State recruit Cody Milan. The big Orchard Lake, Mich. native tallied one goal, but added seven assists. He played for the Sioux Falls Stampede this season and is expected to return to play for them again in the fall before heading to East Lansing in 2014.
Another forward who had an impressive camp was New Hampshire recruit Patrick Grasso. The Des Moines, Iowa native will play two more seasons in the USHL with the Buccaneers before landing in Durham.
Boston University recruit Bobo Carpenter was scoreless for the first three games, but found the back of the net in each of the last two games. The North Reading, Mass. native is the son of NHL veteran Bob Carpenter. His father played 18 seasons in the NHL, recording 320 career goals.
North Dakota recruit Ryan Mantha and uncommitted prospect Jerad Rosburg stood out as two of the top blue liners at the camp. Mantha is a huge six-foot-five-inch physical defender from Clarkston, Mich. He'll be another in the long line of mammoth defensemen for the North Dakota program. Rosburg is big and can certainly play with an edge. The Clarksville, Maryland native played midget hockey for the Ohio Blue Jackets U16 team this past winter. Rosburg will likely play for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders in the USHL next winter.
Blake Weyrick and Alex Nedeljkovic were the two goaltenders chosen to be between the pipes for the US team at the Ivan Hlinka. Boston College commit Chris Bidsall had an impressive camp. Talk about the rich getting richer. Eagles coach Jerry York has led the best college hockey program in the country for over a decade now, and he has Birdsall lined up to come in for 2015 when current recruit Thatcher Demko could be a junior or have turned pro.
Other top recruits at the event included Kimball Union forward Joey Dudek (Boston College), Waterloo Blackhawks forward Liam Pecararo (Maine), Malden Catholic forward Ara Nazarian (New Hampshire), St. Cloud Cathedral forward Austin Pognanski (North Dakota), Youngstown Phantoms forward Kyle Connor (Michigan), Chicago Mission forward Ryan Wagner (Wisconsin) and Green Bay Gamblers forward Nick Schmaltz (North Dakota).
Some of the other top blue liners at the event with college commitments included Penn State recruit Kevin Kerr (Tri-City Storm), Wisconsin recruit Jake Linhart (Green Bay Gamblers) and Michigan State recruit Joshua Jacobs (Indiana Ice). Jacobs didn't show much of his offensive upside at the event, but the big and mobile defender could certainly help the Spartans offense in a few years.
Jeff Cox covers hockey for SBNation. Follow him on twitter @JeffCoxSBNation.