December 23, 2006

Caren Classic

Update...

Ithaca defeated McQuaid 2-1 in the final yesterday at The Rink in Lansing. I hope some of you made the trip because it was a great high school hockey game played with playoff intensity. The game had a nice flow with only 4 penalities called the entire 45 minutes (high school hockey in NY plays 15-minute periods). McQuaid is probably one of the better passing teams in the State and when they start to control a game they can put on quite a show. Yesterday came down to the offensive flair of McQuaid against the defensive discipline of Ithaca. Ithaca showed they were more than simply Andy Iles, as they played solid defense the whole game with only a few breakdowns -- which against the pressure McQuaid put on was bound to happen. About the only thing Ithaca's defense didn't do was get Iles the shutout, giving up the tying goal with 3:24 remaining in the game on a shot that was deflected past Iles by one of Ithaca's players. Ithaca then scored with 29 seconds remaining to win their first Carren Classic since 2000.

Andy Iles was named the MVP of the tournament. Iles stopped 52 of the 54 shots he faced, making some spectacular saves along the way. Iles plays a technically sound game, rarely getting out of position, and seems capable of taking over a game at this level. He seems to have a feel for the game beyond his years, knowing when to leave the net to challenge a skater and when to stay home. He shows a penchant for guiding rebounds to his teammates, creating numerous breakout opportunities for his team. Despite being in 9th grade he doesn't appear shy about quaterbacking his team, which is always nice to see in a goalie. His stick skills are advanced for his age and he always seems to know what's going on around him. He needs to work on getting back to his feet and to make sure that his intensity doesn't get the best of him. At present he seems to be competing with himself and will probably need to move on to a more challenging environment sooner rather than later. For now, it's a joy watching him in a Little Red uniform. Both Evan Casamento and Nick BonDurant played solidily in net for McQuaid. For this tournament, however, the goalie crown went to Andy Iles.

Note (6/21): Both Evan Casamento and Nick BonDurant are believed to be leaving McQuaid and heading to prep school for 2007-2008. Casamento is belived to be off to Hotchkiss & BonDurant is believed to be off to Choate.

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Ithaca defeated previously unbeaten Canton 3-1 in the first game yesterday, and McQuaid defeated Penfield 3-1 in the second game. Canton will play Penfield in this morning's consolation game, while Ithaca will play McQuaid at 1:00 (or so).

For those of you in town over the holidays, there'll be some great high school hockey in Lansing on the 27th and 28th. Canton, Penfield, and McQuaid will join host Ithaca at The Rink. Canton is currently ranked 4th in the State, with McQuaid (5) and Ithaca (8) also in the top-10. Penfield and McQuaid are both from the Rochester area. On Wednesday, Ithaca will play Canton and McQuaid will play Penfield, with the winners and losers meeting on Thursday. Ithaca and McQuaid feature some of the top goalie prospects in the country, at least at the high school level. Ithaca is led by freshman, Andy Iles, who is giving up 0.93 goals per game, while stopping 96% of his shots. Andy also has 4 shutouts in 11 games for the 8-3 Little Red. Andy is currently listed at #23 on The Scouting News' list of the top 1992-born players in North America. McQuaid is led by two talented sophmores, Nick BonDurant and Evan Casamento. BonDurant, who was in goal when McQuaid beat Ithaca 1-0 earlier this month in Rochester, burst on the high school scene as an 8th-grader when he was the goalie for McQuaid's State Championship team. BonDurant is reportedly hoping to follow the footsteps of former McQuaid goalie Billy Sauer, who went from McQuaid to the USNTDP (before stopping in the USHL) on his way to Michigan. Casamento will probably move on to a prep school next year and is hearing from Salisbury, Milton, Taft, and Shattuck St. Mary's.

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