While many of the top 2001-born players in New England Prep School hockey are already committed to play Division I college hockey, there are several high-end players still on the market.
1. Johnny Beecher, #17 Salisbury, Soph., Center, Shoots Left, 4/5/01, 6-3/195 - He has pro size, is a great skater with a powerful stride and has above average hands. He can collect pucks along the wall and explode into the middle for good scoring chances. He does a great job of protecting the puck, using both his size and reach as well the ability to switch sides. He has a good release that he can pull back and just rip. Several schools have offered the Elmira, NY native, but he's holding out for the right offer from a big time school.
2. Cade Webber, #8 Rivers, Fr., Defense, Shoots Left, 1/5/01, 6-4/175 - A Pennsylvania native, he's still very raw, but his size and physical tools has several big time schools intrigued. He's being pursued by Penn State, Providence, BC and BU among others, several of whom have offered. For a big kid growing into his frame, his footwork and first step are impressive, but he'll only get better as he continues to develop. His mobility and gaps are strong. He skates with his head up and has good reach. Once he continues to bulk up his lower body strength, his skating should get even better.
3. Matt Boldy, #2 Dexter, Fr., Center, Shoots Left, 4/5/01, 5-10/150 - The Westboro, Mass. native skates well and has a good offensive skill set. He has above average hands and can be slick with the puck. While he's a little undersized, what sets him apart is how he thinks the game. His positioning and ability to be one step ahead of defenders allows him to get chances that he might not otherwise. BC, BU and Providence are the leaders in the clubhouse.
4. Arlo Merritt, #20 Kimball Union, Soph., Right Wing, Shoots Right, 1/31/01, 6-2/175 - The Halifax, Nova Scotia native is a high-end talent although he hasn't put up big numbers in prep because the Wildcats are a veteran team and he's buried on the third line. He has pro size, skates well and has a good first step. He has the ability to turn on a second gear to get around and create space on defenders. He thinks the game well and is good away from the puck. Several Hockey East schools are tracking him closely.
5. Joe Sharib, #35 Cushing, Fr., Goaltender, Catches Left, 8/16/01, 6-0/170 - He's very quick and athletic in net, but he doesn't have great size, at least yet. He was terrific in the fall for the Neponset Valley River Rats. He does a good job squaring up to shooters and is quick to pounce on pucks. He skates well and is receiving interest from UConn as well as being scouted by several other schools.
6. Liam Connors, #12 St. Sebastian’s, Fr., Right Wing, Shoots Right, 2/1/01, 5-8/150 - He's an undersized forward who is quick, slippery and crafty. His speed is dynamic enough that he can blow by defenders to the outside. He has a great motor and when he's at his best, his feet never stop moving. His speed and quickness make him a threat in prep, but his size is what keeps him outside the top five on this list.
7. Jake Flynn, #4 Thayer, Soph., Defense, Shoots Right, 5/26/01, 5-10/155 - He had a great bantam year before falling off the radar of some, but he has reemerged in a big way for a very good prep team. His skating is his strongest asset. He's very mobile, can move the puck and spin out of trouble. He projects as an offensive defenseman. He still needs to hone his skills in his own end and keep things simple, but he's a Division I player.
8. James Rayhill, #20 Gunnery, Fr., Defense, Shoots Right, 3/17/01, 5-10/155 - He's not the flashiest of players, but he's a smooth skater with good gaps and strong hockey IQ. He makes the simple yet effective play to move the puck up ice and create offense from the backend. He has good footwork and walks the blue line well. He retrieves pucks and has solid vision.
Honorable Mention: Forwards Sam Colangelo (Lawrence), Mark D'Agostino (Gunnery), Liam Devlin (St. Sebastian's), Reese Farrell (NYA), Briggs Gammill (Berkshire), Chase McInnis (Dexter); Defensemen Colby Bailey (St. Mark's), Michael Brown (Belmont Hill), Kevin MacKay (Dexter); Goaltender Brandon Sherman (Tabor)
Prep Hockey's Committed '01s: New Hampton F Lynden Breen (Maine), Lawrence Academy D Braden Doyle (BU), St. Mark's F Sean Farrell (Harvard), Avon Old Farms G Spencer Knight (BC), Nobles F Patrick Moynihan (BC), Avon Old Farms D Ryan Siedem (BC), Nobles D Jayden Struble (Northeastern), St. Mark's D Henry Thrun (Harvard), Avon Old Farms F Trevor Zegras (BU)