UMass recruit John Leonard scored the game-winner in the shootout to give Springfield Cathedral the trophy in the first annual Pete Frates Classic at Merrimack's Lawler Rink on Sunday evening. The much-anticipated game between Cathedral and BC High, the undisputed top two teams in the state, will go in the record books as a 2-2 tie, but for the purposes of the tournament, an overtime and shootout were used.
Leonard was the only scorer from either side to find the back of the net and Quinnipiac goaltender Keith Petruzzelli, a hulking '99, stopped two BC High shots and watched as Tim Larocque's attempt to even the shootout clanged off the post.
In addition to Leonard and Petruzzelli, there were seven other NCAA committed players in the two-day tournament. Some of the usual suspects impressed while a few new faces emerged. Here's a scouting report on the committed players first, and then a look at some uncommitted players who stood out, in alphabetical order, not by any particular ranking. In full disclosure, this observer took in action at the Christie Serino Christmas Classic on Saturday so only saw action at the Pete Frates on Sunday. Note on the list of uncommitted prospects that not every player who has potential is listed, rather just the players who stood out on Sunday.
Peter Crinella, LC, 6-2/185, Sr., Springfield Cathedral, 10/5/96 (Holy Cross) - He scored a nice tip goal in the first period to give Cathedral a 1-0 lead. He's a power forward who really asserts his physical presence in all three zones. He's not the fastest or quickest skater, but he has a strong stride and bulls his way up ice with the puck. He's just a good athlete that should be an asset to Holy Cross in all three zones. He's a smart player who captains Cathedral and is a good character guy in the room.
Patrick Kramer, LC, 6-1/170, Sr., BC High, 3/6/97 (Merrimack) - He had a goal and an assist on Sunday and was a threat to make something happen every time he was on the ice. Last season he was a nice player at this level, but this season in five viewings, he's a player who really stands out. He's got great hands, especially in tight. He's got speed and decent size. Mark Dennehy certainly picked up a good one, getting in on Kramer early. He's not on the NHL Draft radar like teammate Ryan Shea, but he's a guy who might get taken as a project in the later rounds.
John Leonard, LW, 5-11/185, Jr., Springfield Cathedral, 8/7/98 (UMass) - As those who saw him at this summer's USA Hockey Select 16 Festival can attest, he's an elite goal scorer. He just has that shooting touch and releases his shots with pinpoint accuracy. He blasted a wrist shot into the top far corner of the net from just a few steps in from the left half wall in the second period. He skates well laterally with above average speed overall. The biggest difference in his game, since even July, is his size and strength. He's certainly been working in the weight room and it's paying off.
Dan Petrick, RD, 5-9/170, Soph., Springfield Cathedral, 4/6/99 (Northeastern) - He's short, but he's extremely sturdy and does well in one-on-one battles. Pound for pound, he was probably the strongest guy on the ice Sunday night. He even stood up fellow Northeastern commit and BC High defenseman Ryan Shea in one sequence in the third period. He moves the puck well and has good vision. He's very confident with the puck which sometimes gets him in trouble. The only knock on him from seeing him Sunday, last season and at Select 15s is he sometimes tries to do too much. He's a really good prospect who will surely come more into his own as he develops.
D.J. Petruzzelli, LC, 5-11/175, Sr., Springfield Cathedral, 1/8/97 (Quinnipiac) - He doesn't have the size and power of Crinella or the uncanny goal scoring ability of Leonard, but he's a good player. He's got some decent moves and skates well. He's a player who probably projects as a third or fourth liner in ECAC Hockey, but he could be a real good one at that. He's a guy who can chip in offensively as well as grind and play a two-way game.
Keith Petruzzelli, G, 6-6/175, Soph., Springfield Cathedral, 2/9/99 (Quinnipiac) - He obviously sticks out for his size, but his game is much more than size. He's an elite goaltender who is certainly a very legitimate prospect for the NTDP. He's seemingly always in position, he takes up a ton of the net obviously and squares up to shooters. He gives off the impression that he's cool, calm and collected in the crease and his coach reports that nothing rattles him. He also moves well post-to-post especially for a guy his size. The only knock on him from Sunday could be that he over-commits to the man with the puck at times.
Riley Prattson, RC, 5-7/150, Soph., Springfield Cathedral, 4/28/99 (Providence) - He didn't have his best game here, but even so, still managed to have a ton of chances. He was stoned twice by BC High goaltender Brandon Payzant on two-on-one breakaway attempts with Crinella. He's small and shifty. He's got great speed and is likely to grow some as his older brother Zac, a senior, is much bigger.
Ryan Shea, LD, 6-0/170, Jr., BC High, 2/11/97 (Northeastern) - Having seen Shea for so long now, it's hard for this observer to be anymore impressed than before. He exhibits such good poise with the puck, he's got great vision, he skates well and always has his head up. He's becoming even more reliable in his own zone. Even in a game like Sunday where he didn't have his flashiest of games, he'll all of a sudden strike for a terrific homerun pass that no one saw coming. He just seems to have that uncanny ability to see things on the ice that no one else sees. This is a player who could be playing in the USHL this season and it shows. Jim Madigan got a legitimate difference maker at the NCAA level in the son of former BC standout Danny Shea.
Jake Wise, LC, 5-10/170, Fr., Central Catholic, 2/28/00 (Boston University) - There were a few shifts where he looked like a high school version of Jack Eichel. He's got that strong stride that allows him to look like he's coasting even though he's flying out there. He's got good hands and made a few plays happen, but overall didn't have his best game. He did have two assists including a real nice feed on the team's fourth goal in a 5-4 loss to St. John's in the consolation game.
Jayson Dobay, LD, 5-11/160, Fr., BC High, 7/27/99 - Having seen him at Select 15s, this observer knew what type of player he was, but he didn't stand out in the first few viewings of BC High this season. On Sunday it was a different story. Dobay looked comfortable out there and made smart decisions with the puck. He's not as flashy as some of the committed defensemen, but he's good with the puck and skates well. He made a beautiful pass to Kramer on BC High's first goal of the game in the second period. He kept the puck in the zone on the left side and fed a perfect pass through a few Cathedral players right on Kramer's stick.
Kyle Hentosh, LW, 5-11/140, Soph., St. John's Prep, 7/28/99 - He had a hat trick, including a nice goal that showed off his hand eye coordination with a pretty mid-air redirect of a point shot, but he stood out even before he started lighting the lamp. His hockey IQ was very evident. He plays well in all three zones and was out on the penalty kill and out late in the game, showing the coaching staff's trust in him as a player. He's always in good position, has good hands and with a little improvement in his skating ability, could be a Division I prospect.
Jack Nisbet, RW, 5-11/160, Soph., BC High, 3/3/99 - He's a player who saw very little ice time for John Flaherty's squad last year, but has seen his role really increase this year. He's playing right wing on the Eagles top line with Kramer and prep school transfer Christian Simeone. He's got good speed, does a good job filling his role on that top line and is a good finisher. He's a player who will surely start generating the interest of Hockey East coaches.
Christian Thompson, LC, 5-9/150, Sr., Central Catholic, 6/12/96 - He's an older senior who's small and probably will end up playing Division III, but he flies out there. He's got good speed and can make things happen. He's a guy who could make an impact at the Division III level if he catches on somewhere.
Other Notables: St. John's is much improved this season and Kristian Hanson's team has some nice younger players who could be prospects to keep an eye on. '98 forward Kyle Lynch (2 goals Sunday) showed some signs of being a player as did a few young defenders. Zac Laramie had the night off in favor of Kyle Martin between the pipes, but each of the SJP goaltenders are players this observer would like to see more of to develop a more educated opinion... BC High has two older forwards that are worth keeping an eye on. '97 Christian Simeone, a Thayer transfer, plays a good complimentary role on the top line with Kramer and Nisbet. '96 Tim Larocque is a guy who has been on the radar for a while, but has yet to fulfill his full potential as a player. He's got good size and is a strong skater. If he can bring it hard on a consistent basis, he's a player who could play Division I. He centers the second line with Kayser Raei and Ian Murphy, a '99 worth keeping an eye on... On Springfield Cathedral, big '96 senior defenseman Bryce Peritz is a good fringe Division I or solid Division III candidate with his size. A guy who's impressed me for over a year now is '97 senior forward Zac Prattson, the older brother of Providence commit Riley. He's got good size and is more of a grinder compared to his brother, but could fit in well in that role at the college level. He's a guy who any coach would like to have out on the penalty kill. He didn't have his best game, but '99 forward Devon Tongue is a young player who has impressed due to his heady play and scoring ability despite playing on a lesser line without as much talent around him.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.