AVON, CONN. -- One way to put a top ranked team on the ropes on the road is jump out to a quick start. That is exactly what Avon Old Farms did on Wednesday afternoon as it scored twice in the first 4:22 and four times in the first period en route to a 5-2 win over No. 1 Loomis Chaffee.
John Giatrelis, a '97 sophomore from Mashpee, Mass., had two goals and an assist in the first period for the Winged Beavers. Tyler Carangelo had a goal and a helper. Dan Winslow was the other goal scorer for AOF in the opening period. Patrick Harper had a really pretty third period goal and had a secondary assist in the first period.
St. Lawrence assistant Jared DeMichiel was on hand to watch the game as were several Division III assistants. There was no shortage of talent on the ice, but here's a highlight of some of the players who stood out on Wednesday.
There was no player on the ice with as much skill and craftiness as Harper, the AOF '98 forward committed to Boston University. His third period goal was a thing of beauty. He received a lead pass in the neutral zone, buzzed down the left side and cut into the middle, going in between and around several LC defenders. He held on the puck as he cut to the right and backhanded a shot top shelf for the goal. Outside of his goal, his elite talent was on display throughout the game. He's got great speed, has an explosive initial burst and has quick feed. He does a good job of creating time and space for himself and his linemates. If there was a current Hockey East player to compare him to it would be Northeastern junior and Anaheim Ducks prospect Kevin Roy.
Giatrelis had a real nice first period with three points and his speed was certainly a nice asset. He's a complete player, doing a nice job in all 200-feet of the ice. He meshed well with Carangelo, his linemate.
Winslow, a '97 junior, scored his goal after coming out of the penalty box. He showed some good hands on his goal, but what really stood out about his game was his backchecking and his closing speed to close gaps.
AOF '99 defenseman Ben Mirageas looked more like a chiseled veteran than a repeat freshman. He does a nice job making an initial lead pass and has a lot of responsibilities for a freshman in prep hockey, including playing on the top power play unit for some of the game with postgraduate Andrew Cross, an Austin Prep alum.
Speaking of Cross, he looked very poised with the puck and made some heady decisions. What he lacks in speed he certainly makes up for with hockey IQ. He'll be a very good pickup for a NESCAC or similar Division III program.
It certainly wasn't a good day for Loomis, which didn't seem ready to play from the get go, but two players did stand out despite the tough day. '97 junior defenseman Jacob Bryson, an import from London, Ontario, was very impressive. His skating ability is noticeable. The Providence recruit moves well laterally and does a nice job walking the blue line on the power play. He has good puck skills and more than holds his own in the defensive end. '98 sophomore forward Eric Esposito, a UNH recruit, had a goal and did a good job possessing the puck. He has good hands and is strong on the puck.
'95 Lucas D'Antuono had the other LC goal and definitely played older out there. He uses his size and strength well and skates fairly well for a big guy. '96 defenseman Zach Giuttari is a big defenseman who skates well and cuts well on his edges. In the third period the Brown recruit made a nice move into the offensive zone with the puck before getting a shot on net with the backhand.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior and high school hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.