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Prep Game Report: Gunnery sinks Nobles to advance in NEPSIHA Elite 8 Tournament

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Gunnery, in action earlier this season against Exeter, defeated Nobles, 6-1, on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.
Gunnery, in action earlier this season against Exeter, defeated Nobles, 6-1, on Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Dedham, Mass. -- The game took a terrible turn for the home team in a fortuitous couple of minutes for the visitors towards the end of the second period. With the score knotted at one, Gunnery scored twice in just under two minutes, including one with six seconds left, to take a 3-1 lead into the locker room for the second intermission.

Thanks to terrific goaltending from senior Trevin Kozlowski and a deeper squad, the No. 6 Highlanders held off No. 3 Nobles in the third period before scoring three garbage time goals for a 6-1 win.

The road win propelled Chris Baudo's team into the NEPSIHA Stuart/Corkery Elite 8 Tournament semifinals where it will face No. 7 Dexter, a 1-0 winner over favored Cushing in that quarterfinal.

New Jersey Devils prospect and Boston College commit Miles Wood got Nobles on the board first. After a scoreless first period Wood was waiting at the far blue line. Defenseman Ryan Heath sent an outlet pass up to Michael Fahie who turned it right to Wood. He started driving into the zone before blasting a hard wrist shot past Kozlowski from the right circle at 5:10 of the middle frame.

That's when Gunnery took over the game. Killing a penalty, defenseman McKay Flanagan broke up a zone entry pass by Nobles and turned it up ice the other way. He made a nice move through the neutral zone before gaining the blue line. He fired what appeared to be a harmless wrist shot on net, but it squeaked pass the legs of Nobles goaltender Brendan Cytulik. Noah Bauld was there to push the puck the rest of the way over the goal line to tie the score, 1-1, with 9:10 left in the second.

Gunnery took its first lead of the game with 1:46 to play in the second. Nick Quillan unleashed an absolute cannon from the left point that appeared to go barely under the bar and in, beating Cytulik cleanly.

The Highlanders picked up even more momentum when they struck for a two goal lead right off the face-off with 6 seconds left. Bauld won the face-off back to Alex Hopkins who was playing the left wing. He took one step towards the middle before firing a hard wrist shot into the net for the 3-1 lead.

Nobles had a few chances in the third period, but Kozlowski was up for the task. Gunnery seemed to have more steam in the final 18 minutes from rolling more lines than Nobles through the first two periods.

Bauld and Shawn Knowlton added empty net goals 24 seconds apart with under two minutes to play before Quillan scored again to add insult to injury for the home team.

Gunnery line combinations:

Alexander Hopkins - Noah Bauld - Chad Varney
Cameron Donaldson - Jacob Marrello - Shawn Knowlton
Matthew Danner - Jordan Robert - Jesper Lundgren
Zachary Pellegrino - Daniel Haider - Evan Johnson

Nick Quillan - Joshua Gagne
Keegan Ulnick - McKay Flanagan
Taylor Slade - Connor Dahlman

Trevin Kozlowski

Note: The defensive pairings were a little mix and match. Dahlman got more playing time later in game.

Nobles Line Combinations:

Miles Wood - Cody Todesco - Michael Fahie
Luke Stevens - Cam Burke - Danny Jacobs
Calvin Kinghorn - Trevor Spence - Zachary Janfaza

Pat Murray - Billy Sweezey
Billy Carrabino - Ryan Heath
Alex Hreib

Brendan Cytulik

2015 NHL Draft Prospect Notes:

There were numerous NHL scouts on hand Wednesday afternoon. This observer counted about eight that he saw and there could have been more. There were also a few NCAA assistant coaches on hand. Here's a look at this observer's thoughts on the 2015 NHL Draft eligibles on the ice Wednesday.

McKay Flanagan, Jr., RD, 2/3/97 - There's no doubt he's got the hands, stick skills and skating ability to be an offensive defenseman. He makes some plays that are certainly fun to watch. He also laid out a Nobles forward coming across the neutral zone with his head down that elicited some reaction from the crowd. The knock on him is his defensive play and he didn't do anything to disprove that Wednesday. He over-commits at times and takes himself out of the play. With his skill set, he needs to be a little less aggressive and make better decisions.

Trevin Kozlowski, Sr., G, 3/27/97 - Having seen him before, there's no doubt he's a very good a goalie who should get locked up to a college offer soon. He's got nice size and mobility in the crease. He's a little more active in the crease than some might like, but generally doesn't flop around. He has good athleticism and made several nice saves and held his ground. He appeared to be fighting the puck a little in the opening period, despite making all the saves.

Nick Quillan, Sr., LD, 6/19/96 (Colgate) - His skill set is somewhat similar to Flanagan, but there are some differences. He's not quite as strong and he's a little bit of a better skater, but he has good hands and a knack for getting shots on net. Questions about his game defensively will most likely be the reason NHL teams pass on him, but he should be a nice offensive defenseman in ECAC Hockey.

Luke Stevens, Jr. LW, 2/11/97 (Yale) - There's no denying the son of Kevin Stevens has good size, which is certainly the reason scouts are giving him such a close look. It's not that he doesn't skate well, but he just doesn't stand out for much besides his size. He does do a nice job on the penalty kill. He needs to be more consistent using his physical tools to his advantage.

Billy Sweezey, Sr., RD, 2/6/96 (Yale) - He attended the Boston Bruins development camp last summer and is in his second year of being draft eligible. This observer is very high on his game. He has a mean streak and plays a very physical game. He's good one-on-one, plays his gaps fairly well and can distribute the puck. He's not flashy and his skating doesn't stand out, but he moves well enough. A team should definitely use a late round pick on him.

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Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.