Brookline, Mass. — Discipline and special teams were the difference in Wednesday’s New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association (NEPSIHA) Stuart/Corkery Elite 8 Tournament Quarterfinal between Dexter and Salisbury.
Dexter took advantage of Salisbury’s inability to stay out of the box and jumped out to a 3-1 lead thanks to three power play tallies. Dan Donato’s team ended up winning, 4-2, to advance to Saturday’s semifinals where it will host Kimball Union Academy.
Dexter junior and 2017 NHL Draft prospect Jack Rathbone, a Harvard recruit, had a goal and two assists and was on the ice for all four of the team’s goals. A.J. Caprio, John McElaney and Sean Keohan also scored for Dexter. John Femia had three assists while Chase McInnis and Ian Murphy also added helpers.
Quinnipiac commit Peter Diliberatore and top uncommitted ‘01 Johnny Beecher tallied the two Salisbury goals. There were quite a few Salisbury players who didn’t perform as well as they are capable of on Wednesday afternoon.
Dexter senior goaltender Aidan Murphy wasn’t tested a lot, but made a huge post-to-post save during a Salisbury power play in the second period to keep the home team ahead. Jonah Capriotti took the loss in net for the Knights.
Jacques Bouquot (BC) - Johnny Beecher - Matt Holmes
Kevin Wall - Alex DiPaolo - Tyce Thompson (Providence)
Riley Johnson - Brett Willits - Michael Foggia
Nick Hale (Holy Cross) - Peter Diliberatore (Quinnipiac)
Ryan Verrier (UNH) - Noah Lee
Vella Vanttinen - Julian Coleman
Tommy Giandomenico - Jack Nisbet - Nolan Donato (Harvard)
Chase McInnis - Matt Boldy (BC) - John McElaney
A.J. Caprio/Danny Shea - John Femia - Ian Murphy
Jack Rathbone (Harvard) - Sean Keohan (Dartmouth)
Ben Meehan - John Fusco
Bobby Pearl/Kevin MacKay
Jack Rathbone, #5 Dexter, Jr., Defense, Shoots Left, 5/20/99, 5-10/175 (Harvard) - His presence on the power play was the difference in this hockey game. He has an absolute cannon of a one-timer, similar to Providence junior and St. Louis Blues prospect Jake Walman. He has good footwork and gets in position for one-timers and to collect passes. His confidence with the puck on his stick is uncanny. He’s a one-man breakout with terrific vision and excellent passing skills. He made a few impressive lead passes out of his zone and into the neutral zone. If you’re truly nitpicking his game as NHL scouts do, he looks down at his feet a little bit when he’s skating. Is he the best defender in the draft? Far from it, but here’s the caveat. He has the puck on his stick and pushes possession in his team’s favor enough that he doesn’t have to defend that much. Overall, he’s an excellent puck-moving defenseman who can impact a power play in a major way.
Johnny Beecher, #17 Salisbury, Soph., Center, Shoots Left, 4/5/01, 6-3/195 - He scored a beautiful goal in transition for the team’s second of the night. He came into the zone down the left wing and quickly pulled the puck back and rifled it under the bar on the short side for a goal. Earlier in the game, his hockey IQ allowed him to be in position to intercept a pass on the backcheck. He turned defense into offense by quickly getting the puck up ice, ultimately drawing a penalty on the play. He has an elite first step and that extra gear. He also has that Jack Eichel-like ability with his stick to reach and then pull back for a shot. Expect him to make the U.S. NTDP U-17 team as well as be a high selection in the OHL Draft.
Matt Boldy, #2 Dexter, Fr., Center, Shoots Left, 4/5/01, 6-0/165 (Boston College) - He didn’t find the score sheet Wednesday, but his skill set was on display all afternoon. He showed off his agility and stick skills several times, including a few plays down the right side in which he faked out Salisbury defenders. One play he toe-dragged Peter Diliberatore and drew a penalty. He has strong hockey sense and intercepted a pass which led to one of Dexter’s goals. The recent Eagles’ commit is only going to get better. He should be an absolutely dynamite player at the collegiate level. He’s probably a fringe player for the NTDP, but he’s worthy of a high second or third round pick in the USHL Phase I Draft.
John Fusco, #3 Dexter, Fr., Defense, Shoots Right, 6/13/01, 5-10/165 - He’s the son of 1983 Hobey Baker Award winner Mark Fusco and nephew of 1986 Hobey Baker Award winner Scott Fusco, both Harvard alums. He didn’t make my Top Uncommitted ‘01s list published a few weeks ago, and it was a mistake. He was really good today, especially for an ‘01 going up against some very talented prep players on the other side. He has good agility and he’s an excellent skater overall. He can skate the puck up ice and join the rush. He made things happen, especially in the first period. He’s hard to play against in his own zone and is rugged. The Crimson already have quite the haul of ‘01s, but it’d be surprising if Fusco didn’t commit to Ted Donato’s program.
Chase McInnis, #24 Dexter, Left Wing, Shoots Left, 2/23/01, 5-10/165 - He needs less introduction, but he’s the brother of BC freshman Luke McInnis and the son of BC alum and volunteer assistant and former NHLer Marty McInnis. His skill set isn’t as high end as Boldy, but he did a nice job in all situations for Dexter on Wednesday. His stride is a little short and choppy, but it gets the job done. He engages and works hard each shift. He has a strong hockey IQ and makes plays. He’s a prospect who should be taken in the mid to late rounds of the USHL Phase I Draft.