Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Hill-Murray/White Bear Lake

After the first two games of FSN's High School Hockey Showcase were kind of duds, they finally got a great game last night. In a classic rivarly game, Hill-Murray beat White Bear Lake 2-1 in overtime thanks to a Nick Larson end-to-end rush.

There were a lot of talented players on both sides in this game. Hill-Murray had a lot more of the well-known names, but White Bear Lake played an incredibly disciplined defensive game and didn't give up a lot of opportunities. They also got great goaltending from their young goalie. On the other end, Joe Phillippi also played a great game. He kind of struggled in the state tournament last season, and people kind of questioned why he was so well-regarded, but he showed why last night.

White Bear Lake's Jake Hansen reminded me a lot of another former White Bear Lake player: Ryan Carter. Both Hansen and Carter are only 6'1" but seem like they're much bigger. Both are pretty fast skaters and have a great shot. I think Minnesota is getting an excellent player.

Defenseman Caleb Wolfgram looked like a solid dependable defenseman. He kind of reminds me of White Bear defenseman Zach Hansen last season. He's a very solid kid that will likely go to the USHL next season, and end up getting some scholarship offers after playing there for a while.

Another Minnesota recruit, Nick Larson, had an assist on H-M's first goal and then scored the game-winner. My impression of him didn't really change much watching him, though that's good since my opinion was pretty positive. He still isn't the prettiest player out there, but he's got such great athletic ability that he can really fly around the ice. I think spending next year in the USHL would be good for his development.

1991 birthdate Tyler Zepeda got a lot of ice time on the first line. He didn't stand out a lot when I saw him at the Select 15 Festival, but he looked pretty good last night. He's a very fast skater.

Isaac Kohls was another '91 that saw a good amount of ice time. Like Larson, he didn't change my opinion on him a lot. His acceleration isn't great, but if he gets the puck on his stick, and has a little bit of time, he's incredibly dangerous. He easily could have had a couple goals last night.

I didn't see a lot of '91 defenseman Jordan Johnson. Hill-Murray has a lot of upperclassmen on defense, so he didn't get as much ice time.