It was an exciting final day at the 2019 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament as the games on Tuesday featured plenty of scoring and some close games.
Despite having the event for the past nine years in the state of Michigan, this year’s new location in Attleboro, Massachusetts was a rousing success, as scouting and attendance numbers once again set a new standard.
“We have done a lot of events and this one did not disappoint. It is the first time we have hosted an event on the East Coast since 2010 and we could not be happier with the result. To see that many NHL and NCAA scouts in the building early in the week was affirmation that our league has a wide variety and plenty of talent to offer,” said NAHL Commissioner Mark Frankenfeld. “I thought the players played at a very high level and battled very hard. You have to keep in mind all of them played on Friday and Saturday this past weekend, traveled all day on Sunday, and then were put into a very high-pressure situation with a lot of eyes on them the past two days, and trying to do it with guys with divisional teammates they compete against all year. I thought the transition was seamless.”
With over 220+ NCAA, NHL, and other college and junior scouts checking in, the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament once again proved that it is a vital and important part of the NAHL event model, which includes the NAHL Showcase in September and the NAHL Robertson Cup National Championship in May.
One of the things the NAHL does better than any other junior league is seeing their players earn an NCAA opportunity while playing and being showcased in the NAHL. To date, 179 players have already made NCAA commitments during the 2018-19 season, and that number is sure to skyrocket after this year’s event.
Carson Briere (Johnstown) and Logan Jenuwine (Amarillo), who are both uncommitted players, shared the scoring lead at the event, both recording four points.
Game 4: Central Division 5 vs. NAHL Selects Red 4 (OT) – Five different players scored for the Central team, including Shawn Kennedy (Aberdeen), who had a goal and two assists as the Central edged the Selects Red team, 5-4 in overtime. Central led 2-0 after one period with goals from John Sladic (Aberdeen) and Jack Johnson (MN Wilderness). Selects Red tied the game at 2-2 in the 2nd period with goals from Ryan Taylor (Bismarck) and Sam Antenucci (Brookings). In the 3rd period, each team scored twice as Kennedy and Dante Zapata (Austin Bruins) lit the lamp for Central, only to see Jake Hale (MN Magicians) and Jonathan Sorenson (Fairbanks) respond for Selects Red. In the overtime, Dylan Johnson (MN Wilderness) ended the game as he potted home a nice 2 on 1 pass from Kennedy. Both Central goalies put up some good numbers as George McBey stopped 30 of 33 shots in two games, including 17 saves in Tuesday’s win, while Nick Grabko (Minot) stopped 28 of 31 shots in two games and only allowed one goal on 17 shots in Tuesday’s win. For NAHL Selects Red, Cole Brady stopped 29 of 32 shots in two games, including 12 saves on Tuesday. Jack Williams (Springfield) stopped 40 of 46 shots in the two games, which included 20 saves each outing.
The Wings were represented by Shawn Kennedy, John Sladic, Max Salpeter, Riley Murphy, Pierson Brandon and Head Coach Scott Langer. They returned to Aberdeen late Tuesday night. The Boys will be taking on the Minot Minotauros this Friday & Saturday at the Odde Ice Center. Saturday is the Annual Yelduz Shrine Teddy Bear Toss! Bring your stuffed animals in a plastic bag to throw onto the ice after the first Wings goal!