The bigger the stage, the better Jake Pappalardo plays. That seems to be the consensus among scouts and coaches who have seen the Proctor Academy junior and recent University of Maine commit in action.
A '97, Pappalardo led the Hornets in scoring with 38 points last season as a sophomore. The Salem, NH native is a strong, big right-shot winger with good stick skills.
"He's a prototypical power forward with real good stick skills. He can really battle in the corners. He has a great engine and really competes out there," said Proctor Academy head coach Mike Walsh.
Walsh, a four-year standout at Colgate from 1980-1984, is particularly impressed with Pappalardo's ability to elevate his game and transform into a whole different person while on the ice.
"The bigger the game, the better the effort was," said Walsh. "He's an outstanding student. He's a really quiet, reserved kid off the ice, but he just completely transforms when he's out there."
Pappalardo's big game abilities extended to this past summer at the USA Hockey Select 17 Festival and the Beantown Classic. The former Salem High School star had four goals and three assists in five games at June's Select 17 Festival in Amherst, NY.
Pappalardo also impressed college recruiters and scouts at the Beantown Classic in August. He is scheduled to arrive in Orono for the 2017-18 season, but could possibly be accelerated to 2016.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.