GILL, MASS. -- Senior forward Charley Borek scored twice and assisted on another goal as Choate skated past Northfield Mount Hermon, 4-1, in NEPSAC hockey action on Sunday afternoon.
After a scoreless first period the Wild Boars jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a power play strike 3:18 into the second period. Jeremy Germain started the play by sending a lead pass to Borek as Choate transitioned up ice. Borek slide it over to the right wing to Henry Marshall, whose shot beat NMH goaltender Conor O'Brien low blocker side.
Choate added to its lead just about two minutes later when Dartmouth commit Brendan Less sent what looked like a harmless shot on net from the right point. However, his wrister slid through traffic and evaded O'Brien.
UConn commit Ben Freeman gave the home team life 4:34 into the third period when he connected for a power play tally. After receiving a pass from low to high on the man advantage, he walked the line and threw a high wrister that found its way into the top corner of the net. Peter Owen Hayward and Oliver Chau assisted.
Borek scored his first of two insurance tallies with 8:44 to play in the game. With linemate John Hoey skating behind the net from right to left Borek got himself open in the slot. As soon as he received the puck he quickly deposited it into the back of the NMH net for a 3-1 Choate lead.
Borek gave Choate a 4-1 lead with 2:37 to play in the game when he sniped a shot just below the bar after a nice feed from Germain.
At quick glance, O'Brien's stats don't stand out. He stopped 36 of 40 shots for a .900 save percentage, but he didn't stand a chance on at least two of the goals. The 2015 NHL Draft prospect was left hung out to dry by his defenseman. In this observer's previous viewings this season, O'Brien did a little more to stand out and perhaps made some saves he shouldn't have made. Today was tough to judge. He still commanded a nice presence in the crease, but he fought the puck a little bit more than previous viewings this season. The Ottawa Senators had a scout in attendance to watch the Pinellas Park, Fla. native.
Freeman had a goal, but beyond that, the UConn commit impressed this observer more than previously this season. He'll never stand out for his gracefulness, but his skating was much better than previous games. He showed off some nice moves and displayed good hands on a few moves through the neutral zone. He's got nice size and walks the line nicely as he quarterbacks the power play from the point.
There was a lot to like about Choate as Pat Dennehy's team improved to 13-6-5. The Wild Boars definitely played better than their record would indicate. They skate well, are well-disciplined and execute well.
Dennehy appeared to mix and match his lines. Borek played the left wing on the team's top line with Germain at center. Hoey played right wing on the line for much of the game, but Marshall stepped in on a few shifts and on the power play. The line skated well and was very solid on possession.
Hoey, a '98, looked comfortable skating with Borek and Germain. He exhibited some good attributes for a '98 playing against an older NMH squad.
Germain, a '96 senior, had good hands and skated well. Borek, another '96 senior, was a good finisher with good awareness of what was going on around him and seemed to find himself in the scoring areas often.
Co-captain Turner Uppgren, a late '95 from Minnesota, isn't going to factor in the offense very often, but he did a lot of the little things well. He had to have blocked at least five or six shots on the penalty kill and was always back checking and picking up sticks or getting in passing and shooting lanes.
Overall, the defense did a nice job of playing its gaps and keeping NMH's top line to the perimeter. The all-'98 pairing of Billy Overby and Brendan Less stood out. They weren't perfect, but they did a nice job when on the ice. Less, a Dartmouth commit, scored a goal and got a few shots on net outside of his goal. He was responsible in his own zone and anticipated well.
Overby was more aggressive and sometimes might have over-committed, but he recovered well. He used the boards well to chip and start the breakout. He impressed at the USA Select 16 Festival and did again today. He doesn't have great size, but he's a solid defender worth keeping on the radar.
Yale commit Sam Tucker got the night off in net in favor of Andrew Tucci, a Toronto native. Tucci is the polar opposite of Tucker, who's a big prototypical modern-day netminder. Tucci is small (5-7), but athletic. He moves around a lot and sometimes wanders too far from the crease, but he makes up for it with some acrobatic stops. He's quick and made a really nice save on a Ben Barton breakaway midway through the third period.
Jeff Cox covers college, junior, high school and prep hockey, NCAA recruiting and NHL Draft prospects. Follow him on Twitter @JeffCoxSports.