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NHL Draft Prospect Santeri Hartikainen Impresses in Groton’s OT Win at Roxbury Latin

Several NHL scouts took in Saturday’s ISL Eberhart game between Groton Academy and Roxbury Latin to observe Zebras junior center Santeri Hartikainen.

The first-year NHL Draft eligible from Helsinki, Finland had a goal and two assists in his team’s 4-3 overtime win. He assisted on both first period goals scored by linemate Mark Gallant, a Colgate recruit. He scored the game-tying goal in the third period before classmate Kai Duenez scored a breakaway goal with less than a minute to play in overtime.

Roxbury Latin’s top player is late ‘99 defenseman Michael Callahan, a Providence recruit. He was the top pro prospect on the ice, but he’s not eligible until the 2018 NHL Draft. The Fox’s leading scorer, Jimmy Duffy, didn’t play in the game.

The following notes were generated on the top three prospects from the game:

Santeri Hartikainen, #20 Groton, Jr., Center, Shoots Right, 1/5/99, 6/1/185 - On his first shift of the game he gained the zone on the left wing side, pulled up and gave a sauce pass to a streaking teammate for a shot in the slot. The next shift he picked up the puck behind his own goal line and gave a pass to the right wing that started a breakout. His second gear allowed him to blow by the opposition’s LD for zone entry. He pulled up for a perfect pass to his LW for a shot on goal. On the first Groton goal he corralled the puck through the slot and found a seam to send a backhand pass to Gallant an easy goal. On the same shift he made a good low to high pass from the right wing corner out to his RD. He won a face-off in his own zone late in a PK to kill the remainder of the penalty. His strong stick forced a turnover on the second Gallant goal. He showed off his extra gear again later in the game to beat the LD wide and make a nice pass into the middle. He isn’t overly physical, but he made a nice hit on the opposing LW to prevent him from advancing further through the neutral zone on a transition play. One of his prettiest passes of the day came when he gave a backhander out to the middle after he was coming into the zone on the right side. He showed his ability to be shifty by quickly stopping and then starting again after gaining the zone. He was on the ice for both of Roxbury Latin’s first two goals, one even strength and one coming on the man advantage. He had an excellent power play shift in the second period in which he faked a shot from the LW circle before passing the puck to Gallant at the RW circle for a shot. He kept a puck in at the blue line on a mid-air clearing attempt. He then got off two good shots before the PP expired, one a one-timer and one a wrist shot which he pulled back quickly before firing on net. His speed forced a turnover later in the second period. In the third period he was shifty on zone entry before firing a low wrist shot that forced the goalie to make a nice kick save. After RL took a 3-2 lead he scored off the ensuing face-off. It was a great individual effort off the win on the draw. His explosive stride allowed him to create space for the goal. He made a good lead pass to Chris Brown for a shorthanded breakaway bid.

Overall, he thinks the game well and does a lot of the little things including winning draws. He has a strong backhand as well as a good shot and switches speeds well. His confidence and poise with the puck are also notable.

The uncommitted recruit should be a high draft pick in the 2017 USHL Phase II Draft. If he is selected in the 2017 NHL Draft, it will likely be in the sixth or seventh round.

Michael Callahan, #24 Roxbury Latin, Jr., Defense, Shoots Left, 9/23/99, 6-2/190 (Providence) - He’s a very intriguing prospect for next year’s draft due in large part to his size and mobility. He’s coming into his own in terms of being more of a shutdown defender. He did a good job keeping pucks in at his attacking blue line. He has a hard shot on net from the point. He made a good lead pass through the neutral zone to give forward a chance to score. He rode Hartikainen into the boards to stop a transition play in the second period. He covers a lot of ground, had good gaps throughout the game and impacted possession in a positive manner. The Franklin, Mass. native showed off his vision with a terrific lead pass to Joe Pollard that drew a penalty on the breakaway. He had a great power play shift in the third period in which his mobility and puck-moving skills were on display. He was caught pinching on the overtime game-winner.

Mark Gallant, #14 Groton, Soph., Wing, Shoots Left, 5/1/00, 6-1/170 (Colgate) - He protected the puck well and had good explosion to start the scoring play through the neutral zone on his first goal. He scored on a rebound off his own shot in the slot on his second goal. He consistently did a good job of protecting the puck and getting shots off. He wasn’t selected in the USHL Draft last May.