Meriden, NH — Kimball Union jumped out to a 2-0 lead and was able to fend off a relentless attack from visiting Exeter to win a hotly contested prep school hockey game, 2-1, on Wednesday afternoon.
Senior Bobby Young scored the only goal of the opening period. Roope Hirvonen and recent Quinnipiac commit Michael Lombardi picked up the assists.
Arlo Merritt, an ‘01 sophomore from Halifax, Nova Scotia, scored what would prove to be the game-winning goal 3:44 into the second period. He received a nice lead pass from senior defenseman Sean Thomson and exploded past a defender, waited for the goaltender to go down and roofed a shot into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Garrett Foster redirected a centering feed from Sam Stone later in the middle frame to cut the KUA deficit in half. Senior defenseman Graham Rutledge also assisted on the goal.
KUA ‘99 junior Sean Dynan picked up the win in goal while Exeter ‘00 freshman Ryan Welch was solid in defeat.
Kimball Union Lines:
Mike Lombardi (Quinnipiac) - Bobby Young - Roope Hirvonen
Alex Heinritz - Andranik Armstrong - Thomas Samuelsen
Kyle Shero - Paul McAuliffe - Logan Cash
Kyle Penney - James Caras - Arlo Merritt
Jordan Harris (Northeastern) - Sean Thomson
Elijah Older - Chris Konin
Exeter didn’t keep their lines as consistent. While Dana Barbin’s team certainly doesn’t have the firepower necessary to compete with the big boys of prep hockey, they have some good players.
The following are the game notes generated from Wednesday’s game on the top three Division I prospects:
Jordan Harris, #2 Kimball Union, Defense, Shoots Left, 7/7/00, 5-11/175 (Northeastern) - There was no one on the ice who came even close to having the positive impact on the game that he did. He is a dynamic puck transporter. He can skate the puck or pass the puck out of his own zone. He is very confident and poised with the puck on his stick. He moves the puck well from the point as quarterback on the power play. He has a good stick and does a solid job on retrievals. He holds pucks in at the line. He showed off his hands and agility on an end-to-end rush in the second period. He’s on the Youngstown Phantoms affiliate list.
Arlo Merritt, #20 Kimball Union, Right Wing, Shoots Left, 1/31/01, 6-2/175 - He scored the game-winning goal as described above, but he was limited in how many shifts he received on the fourth line. He’s a high-end talent who will be highly sought after by every Hockey East program and should hear his name called pretty high in both the USHL Phase I Draft and the QMJHL Draft. He has good size, skates well and has a first step that has pro potential written all over it. He thinks the game well and moves well without the puck. He snuck into the backdoor, finding a seam between two defenders for a good chance in the third period. He also made a really nice backcheck in the third period, showing off his speed. He broke up the odd man rush the other way after a KUA defender had pinched.
Hunter McCoy, #16 Exeter, Center, Shoots Left, 8/1/00, 5-11/175 - He didn’t have his best game, but he still made some very good passes. He’s definitely a better playmaker than a finisher. He does a good job dishing the puck from the wall and finding open teammates. He has good vision, finding the pinching left defenseman as he was breaking into the zone down the right side on an odd man rush for a good chance. His shot could use a little improvement, but he’s a Division I player, especially once he’s surrounded by the right players and utilized correctly.
Two players, Exeter ‘98 senior defenseman Bradley Ingersoll and KUA ‘98 senior forward Alex Heinritz, deserve recognition for their play on Wednesday. Both will likely end up being very good Division III players.
Ingersoll, a Waxhaw, NC native, is a converted forward who moves the puck extremely well in transition. He has a great skill set when it comes to moving the puck. While he could probably make a few Division I rosters, he’ll likely be an elite offensive defenseman in the NESCAC.
Heinritz doesn’t have the offensive skill set coaches are looking for, but he’ll be coveted by a Division III program looking for a competitive two-way forward who empties the tank each shift. He did a great job on the penalty kill and provided grit and energy each shift on Wednesday.
Kyle Jadatz, a ‘99 junior center for Exeter, didn’t have his best game, but he’s a physical two-way forward who this observer believes could fit in nicely in ECAC Hockey or Atlantic Hockey somewhere down the line as an older freshman.
Exeter’s lone goal scorer, ‘00 sophomore Garrett Foster, and teammate Bobby Murray, a ‘98 junior, are two others players to watch on the Big Red.