Friday, September 28, 2012

Adam Clark: UNH's Goalie of the Future

Scott Campbell, radio voice of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, announced that 6'5", 210 lbs. goalie Adam Clark (DOB: 3/23/1993) has committed to play for the University of New Hampshire. In an online interview, Clark explained his reasons for choosing UNH:
"It's a great program, great hockey. I mean the school is gorgeous. It's a great fit for me; (after) talking to the coaches and everything, it just clicked for me. It was a great opportunity. I'm looking to get into business. I did my research and a lot of their team is studying in business. It's just something I've always wanted to get into so it was a pretty easy choice for me."

Adam Clark is from Sherwood Park, Alberta, a suburb of Edmonton. UNH Captain Connor Hardowa is from Edmonton. Adam played his youth hockey at the Sherwood Park Kings Athletic Club. From an early age, he was a tall goaltender relative to his peers. As a 14-year-old, he was six feet tall and backstopped the Sherwood Park Bantam AAA Flyers. That team won the 2008 Alberta Provincial Championship and Adam was named the top goaltender in the Alberta Major Bantam Hockey League. Adam Clark and the Flyers went on to win the 2008 Western Canadian Bantam Championship.

At age 15, Adam Clark advanced to midget major hockey with the Sherwood Park Kings AAA team and posted a save percentage of .915% and goals against average of 2.00 in 10 regular season games. In his third season in midget majors, Clark split goaltending duties with Matt Tomkins, who went on to be drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks. The tandem helped lead the Kings to the 2011 playoff finals in the Dodge Division of the Alberta Midget Hockey League.

Last season was Adam Clark's first in the British Columbia Hockey League. As an 18-year-old rookie, Clark was the Salmon Arm Silverbacks' backup goalie to 20-year-old Kurt Williams. The Silverbacks struggled throughout the 2011-12 season, finishing with the second fewest points in the league and scoring the third fewest goals. In the 22 games that Clark played in goal, the Silverbacks managed to win only 5 times. Clark's save percentage for the season was .855% and he allowed an average of 4.33 goals per game.

Determined to take his game to the next level and earn an NCAA scholarship, Adam Clark enrolled in the prestigious Elite Goalies Mentorship Program this summer. Mike Valley, the head instructor and owner of Elite Goalies, has also been the goalie coach for the Dallas Stars for the last three years. In an extensive article, Justin Goldman - founder of the independent goalie scouting service The Goalie Guild - provided an analysis of Adam Clark's progress throughout the program. Fans interested in understanding the intricacies of goaltender style and technique, as well as the specific improvements Clark made, are encouraged to read the entire report. In general, the goal of the instruction was to help the big, tall Clark utilize his size more efficiently. Goldman summarized Clark's progress as follows:
"Ultimately, what I liked most about Clark is that he wasn’t just a big lumbering goalie out there; he displayed good natural instincts, quality skating skills, and quiet body language. He will definitely remind you of (Mike) Smith (Phoenix Coyote goalie) when watching him make saves, and that’s a really nice compliment for a goalie that’s still learning how to utilize his size more effectively...Despite the fact he’s an undrafted 19-year-old prospect just hoping for a chance to earn a college scholarship, only the sky is the limit for this kid."

In the following interview, Adam Clark describes his background and his commitment to UNH:   

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): Congratulations on your commitment to play for the University of New Hampshire. When did you begin to consider UNH as a potential destination?
Adam Clark: It has always been an aspiration of mine to be a part of an elite Division 1 NCAA program and as of this year when UNH approached me things just fell right into place. With a great hockey and academic program UNH couldn’t have been a better fit for me and I am extremely excited to be a part of such a prestigious program.

Mike Lowry ("C-H-C"): What other college programs were recruiting you?
Adam Clark: I had talked to a couple of other schools, but none for myself or my family were as clear of a choice as UNH.

Lowry: Have you and the UNH coaches agreed on a target date for you to enroll as a freshman at UNH and join the team?
Clark: As of now I have committed for the 2014/2015 season, after completing my final year of junior hockey.

Lowry: Are you acquainted with UNH Captain Connor Hardowa who is from Edmonton? If so, was that a factor in your decision to commit to UNH?
Clark: I have not met Connor, but have heard great things not only from the staff at UNH but also many people back home who knew him from his days as a Spruce Grove Saint.

Lowry: When did you start playing goalie and where did you play before you joined the Silverbacks last year?
Clark: I started playing goalie at the age of five. My family lived in Florida for a couple years and the age groups were much larger than those in my hometown of Sherwood Park. Being the youngest in that age bracket, barely able to skate, they stuck me in net and my passion for the position only grew from there. I played the majority of my minor hockey in Sherwood Park Alberta for the Kings Athletic Club, which I owe a lot of my success today as an athlete and a person to.

Lowry: Professional goalie scout Justin Goldman has likened your style to Mike Smith of the Phoenix Coyotes. What are the strengths of your game? What areas do you plan on improving this season?
Clark: I would have to say some of my strengths would be the ability to use my size, speed and agility within my crease, puck handling ability and my sense of leadership. There are always little things that I will adjust throughout the season , but as a whole, physically and mentally preparing myself to play at the NCAA level is the biggest thing I will work on.

Lowry: In a recent interview, you said that you were interested in studying business when you come to UNH. Have you graduated from high school? What are your academic strengths?
Clark: I graduated from high school in 2010 from Bev Facey High School. I have always had an interest in business, growing up watching my dad go to work every morning, sitting in on his meetings, and learning some inner workings of a successful company.

So far this season, Adam Clark has started in three games for the Silverbacks. His save percentage is .924% and the GAA is 3.00. Clark was in goal for the team's first win of the season, an overtime victory over the Vernon Vees. In addition to Adam Clark, there are three UNH recruits playing in the BCHL this season. Mike McNicholas (Nanaimo Clippers), Dylan Chanter (Merritt Centennials) and Cam Marks (Coquitlam Express) are the others.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A Look At UNH's Incoming Freshmen

In an ongoing series, the Beanpot Forum is providing a preview of each Hockey East team for the 2012-13 season. One feature of these "Team Capsules" is a look at the incoming, freshman recruits - the Class of 2016. In preparation for the preview of UNH Hockey, the Beanpot Forum asked for my impressions on the young players who recently began freshman classes in Durham. "Hockey East Team Capsules 2012-13 - New Hampshire" has just been posted on the Beanpot Forum (NOTE: He predicts that UNH will finish 7th in Hockey East) and includes the following preview of the UNH freshmen:

Dan Correale, F, 8/21/91, 5-10/185 (Nanaimo Clippers/BCHL) -- 21-year-old left shot, left-winger has most junior hockey experience of freshman class. Three seasons in British Columbia HL and two in Alberta Junior HL. Averaged a point-per-game last two seasons. Was on track to enroll at UNH last year but shoulder surgery postponed him a year. Most prepared to make jump to college hockey.

Maxim Gaudreault, F, 7/16/92, 6-0/190 (Sioux City Musketeers/USHL) -- Strong left-winger played on Sioux City's 1st line. Solid, two-way player excelled on penalty kill unit. Was named Alternate Captain in second season with Sioux City. Is third UNH player, along with Nick Sorkin and Casey Thrush, to play midget hockey with Team Maryland.

Jamie Hill, F, 2/3/92, 5-9/175 (Waterloo Black Hawks/USHL) -- Fiesty right-winger excelled in USHL playoffs last season. Lead Waterloo to USHL Championship Series with most playoff goals (9) in league. Quickness in offensive zone creates space, excitement and scoring opportunities. Infamous for losing 10 teeth while blocking a shot in semifinal game and returning to game. The veteran of three seasons in the USHL could make an impact early in his first UNH season.

Collin MacDonald, F, 6/21/92, 6-2/200 (Jersey Hitmen/EJHL) -- A big, strong left-winger who shows speed in open ice and tenacious one-on-one play in the offensive zone. Scored 27 goals in 45 regular season games for the Hitmen which tied him for 7th leading goal scorer in the EJHL. Jersey Head Coach Toby Harris likens MacDonald's skill set to those of former UNH star and current NHL standout James van Riemsdyk. Played only one season of junior hockey before coming to UNH so may take until midseason to work his way into the lineup.

Brett Pesce, D, 11/15/94, 6-3/175 (Jersey Hitmen/EJHL) -- Although the tall, right-shot defenseman is not yet 18 years old, he has already played in four NCAA Division I hockey games. Despite battling a shoulder injury for much of last season, he was called up to the U.S. Under-18 National Team Development Program team and held his own against BU, Northeastern, Wisconsin, and Minnesota State. Pesce is a smooth skater who carries the puck through the three zones with authority. Has outstanding vision and distributes the puck well on the power play. Some scouts have identified Pesce as a player to watch in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Harry Quast, D, 3/26/91, 6-4/215 (Bay State Breakers/EJHL) -- A late-bloomer, the outsized, left-shot defenseman made a huge impact in his second season in the EJHL. The All-Star scored 8 goals and 24 assists and was the fifth leading scorer among EJHL defenseman. Quast is a shutdown defenseman in his own end using his size and reach to gain control of the puck. Also makes effective first passes out of his zone. May surprise some UNH fans with the amount of playing time he earns this season.

Jamie Regan, G, 1/15/92, 6-2/180 (Philadelphia Revolution/EJHL) -- Last season, Regan was named an EJHL All-Star despite playing for a last place team. Facing an average of 35 shots on goal each game, he posted a .903 save percentage. As a junior in high school, lead his team to the 2009 State Championship in Ohio.

Kyle Smith, F, 2/14/92, 6-1/185 (Junior Bruins/EJHL) -- In his third season with the Junior Bruins, Smith was an EJHL All-Star and the 10th leading scorer in the league. He scored 24 goals and 38 assists in 43 regular season games. He's a tall and lanky, right-shot forward whose forte is passing and setting up goals.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

15-Year-Old Defenseman Liam Darcy Commits to UNH

Liam Darcy (DOB: 2-26-1997), a sophomore at Berwick Academy, has committed to play for the UNH Wildcats. Last season, Darcy played as a 5'11", 160 lbs. defenseman for Berwick Academy. His scoring line as a freshman was 5 goals and 17 assists in 21 games which made the left-shot defenseman the team's fourth leading scorer. In midseason, Liam was rated by U.S. Hockey Report as one of the top freshman playing high school or prep school hockey. The folks at USHR described Darcy as an "intelligent player who processes the game quickly; keeps his head up and makes plays."

There are long-standing ties between the hockey programs at UNH and Berwick Academy. Following an illustrious career as Head Coach at UNH, Charlie Holt came out of retirement to coach Berwick from 1989-1996. Former UNH captain Bill Beaney, who has been the long-time head coach at Middlebury College, coached at Berwick in the mid-1980's. And of course, current standout goaltender for UNH, Casey DeSmith, played for Berwick Academy in his freshman and sophomore years.

As a top young prospect, Liam Darcy has earned invitations to USA Hockey's Player Development Camps over the last two summers. In July, 2011, Darcy scored 2 assists in 5 games at the Select 14 Player Development Camp in Rochester, NY. Last March, after his season at Berwick Academy had ended, Darcy competed at the New England Yankee Conference Festival. Players earn an invitation to the USA Hockey Development Camps at these regional competitions. In their extensive coverage of the competition, U.S. Hockey Report provided this assessment of Liam Darcy:
"Was the MVP at Berwick Academy as a freshman, which is no small accomplishment. Very, very intelligent player who is beginning to realize just how good he is. Has a smooth set of hands and is difficult to get the puck from. Does an excellent job of sucking forecheckers in before moving the puck up ice. Will be another defenseman who will get consideration from the NTDP (National Team Development Program)."
Darcy earned a trip to the 2012 Select 15 Camp in mid-July. In 5 games, Darcy scored 3 assists. It's interesting to note that 1997-born UNH recruit Charlie Kelleher also participated in the same two USA Hockey Select Camps.

In the spring of 2010 and 2011, Liam Darcy played in international competition for the East Coast Selects Quebec team. In the 2011 season, Darcy scored a goal in a game against a team from Omsk, Russia and was named as one of the Player of the Year winners.

Liam Darcy has played his youth hockey for the Seacoast Spartans based at the Rinks in Exeter, NH. Last fall, Darcy played for the Spartans' Bantam Major team.

Monday, September 10, 2012

BCHL Season Opens for 3 UNH Recruits

The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) opened the 2012-13 season over the weekend with its first ever Showcase Event. All 16 BCHL teams played two games at the Prospera Center in Chilliwack, BC. Three UNH Recruits saw their first action of the regular season.

Mike McNicholas, who has targeted either the Fall of 2013 or 2014 to play at UNH, scored a goal in his second game with the Nanaimo Clippers. The Clippers beat the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 2-1 after losing their opening game to the Chilliwack Chiefs. The 18-year-old McNicholas - a 5'10",175 lbs., left-shot forward - is in his second year of junior hockey. As a 17-year old, he played last season for the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League.

17-year-old defenseman Cam Marks of the Coquitlam Express began his first full season of BCHL competition on Sunday as the Express defeated the Cowichan Valley Capitals 3-0. Marks - a 6'0", 175 lbs. right-shot - was called up for two games last season with the Penticton Vees. Marks and UNH have targeted the Fall of 2014 as the time to enroll.

Dylan Chanter began his second season with the Merritt Centennials as the Cents split their two weekend games. Chanter, who will turn 17 in a week, is a 6'3", 195 lbs., right-shot defenseman. Like Marks, his target date for enrollment at UNH is the Fall of 2014.

Mike McNicholas
Nanaimo Clippers
British Columbia Hockey League
DOB: 3-23-1994 Hometown: Manhattan Beach, CA
Forward, 5'10", 175 lbs. Shoots Left
Commit to UNH: 2-13-2011

Cam Marks
Coquitlam Express
British Columbia Hockey League
DOB: 4-9-1995 Hometown: North Vancouver, BC
Defense, 6'0", 175 lbs. Shoots Right
Commit to UNH: 4-11-2012

Dylan Chanter
Merritt Centennials
British Columbia Hockey League
DOB: 9-17-1995 Hometown: Armstrong, BC
Defense, 6'3", 195 lbs. Shoots Right
Commit to UNH: 2-22-2012
For a link to an article announcing the player's commitment to UNH, click on the date next to "Commit to UNH:"
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