Friday, March 25, 2011

Four Aces

Penn State has announced that four new recruits have joined Jake Friedman and Tim Carr in the class of 2011: forwards Chris "Creek" Lewis, Forrest Dell and Dan Meiselman, as well as defenseman Peter Sweetland.

Since I haven't figured out the best way to cover recruiting yet, let's just stick with the "toss everything I can find against a wall" approach, first used with Carr and Friedman. No YouTube this time, which I suppose means that these four all have well-adjusted parents. Take the good with the bad.


Green Mountain Glades (EJHL)
6'2", 205 pounds
Newtown, PA

EJHL Player Page

Sweetland's 24 points (3-21), were tops among Glades defensemen as the team advanced to the EJHL playoffs, where they fell in the first round to Friedman's South Shore Kings. On December 9th, he had a season-high three points (1-2) in a 4-3 defeat at the hands of those same Kings. We probably could have used him on the power play last season, as exactly half of his points (1-11) came with the man advantage.

Back in October 2009, Sweetland was named EJHL rookie of the week by Here's what his blurb says:
Pete had back to back two-assist games for the Stars this past weekend in their split with Apple Core. After being All-League last year in the Empire League, Pete is starting to really understand the intricacies of the game at the EJHL level. Three of his assists this weekend were highlight-reel back door feeds. Pete is a solid student with a 3.5 GPA and continues to get better every week. His grades and upside are attracting significant interest from Division One schools.
Can't wait to see how he's developed since then.


Capital District Selects (EJHL)
6'2", 205 pounds
Winnetka, IL

EJHL Player Page

Meiselman was the Selects' leading scorer this season, with 36 points (23-13). What makes this especially impressive is that he did it in 34 games with the team after starting the season with the New York Apple Core. The Illinois native also knows a thing or two about how to finish a season, as he scored in 12 of CD's last 14 games (14 total goals), despite the fact that the team had little to play for, missing the playoffs with a last-place 6-36-2-1 record. And he has a pretty flattering write-up from USA Junior Hockey Magazine to his credit:
Meiselman started the year with the New York Apple Core, scoring two points in six games for Henry Lazar’s crew.

“They had just too many players there, and Danny came up and scored six points in nine games,” said Salfi.

Meiselman, a 1990-born forward from Winnetka, Ill., is a good student, scoring over 2000 on his SAT.
“I’m not sure what he wants to be, but at one time I thought it was an engineer,” said Salfi. “He was out visiting Penn State, which will be Division 1 in the future, but regardless it’s a great school, academically. Dan is one of those kids where you look at the scoresheet after the game and there’s his name [for a goal or assist].”

Offense is certainly the name of the game where Meiselman is concerned.

“He’s always been a guy who can find the net,” said Salfi. “He likes to shoot the puck, and that’s one of the hardest things to do today – to get kids to shoot the puck. He’s not a smooth skater. I believe he started hockey later [than most of his teammates], but he works all summer on it.”
Guess I should have known about him back in December, when that was published. Time to tweak the Google Alerts.


New York Apple Core (EJHL)
5'11", 185 pounds
Evergreen, CO

EJHL Player Page

Between Friedman, Meiselman and Dell, Penn State has recruited three of the top 50 EJHL scorers from this past season. Dell held up his part of that statement with his 39 points (17-22) in 36 games, good for second on the Apple Core. Prior to his EJHL career, Dell played some Canadian Junior A, spending time in both the Saskatchewan and Manitoba Junior Hockey Leagues.

Season   Team                   Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM
2008-09  Weyburn Red Wings      SJHL    5    0    4    4    2
2008-09  Winkler Flyers         MJHL   31    8    7   15   16
2009-10  Weyburn Red Wings      SJHL   58   14   21   35   61

I did a Google Image search for each of these players, hoping for a solid action shot. Instead, I got an invite to the gun show.

It's not stalking if you get it from Google - standard operating procedure for these posts - and not straight from his Facebook page. That's the rule that I just made up. Wait, is that even him?

Also, you don't run in hockey, you skate. First person to drop a "Run Forrest!" is persona non grata with me.

Chris "Creek"

Boston Bulldogs (AtlJHL)
6'0", 215 pounds
Fort Covington, NY

AtlJHL Player Page

I think there's one question on everyone's mind here: is "Creek" one of those nicknames to be used in place of his first name, or is it just sort of a second-option type of thing? If I was a legitimate member of the media, that would be my first question for him. Whatever you want to call him, Lewis just finished a second straight stellar season with the Bulldogs, posting 92 (34-58) points in 44 games to follow up his 82 (32-50) in 2009-2010. His second-in-the-league 2010-2011 point total included back-to-back five-point games against the Laconia Leafs on December 19th and January 9th.

The Icers have a pretty extensive relationship with both the Bulldogs and the Atlantic League - Eric Steinour and Josh Hand both played for highly-respected coach Mike Addesa. In fact, Steinour captained the 2008-2009 Bulldogs, while Lewis played 37 games for the team that season.

A couple thoughts on a big-picture level are in order. First of all, I like the fact that we've taken the "eastern" recruiting approach so far, although I'm sure it's just a result of Scott Balboni and Josh Hand both being eastern guys - the to-be-determined head coach will ultimately take things in his direction, of course. Regardless, I hope we can maintain a strong presence in the east to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the Big Ten, which slants towards the setting sun (in hockey terms). Turns out, the whole "we're on the Big Ten Network" thing isn't a valid recruiting pitch against Wisconsin.

Also, while a lot is made of the potential of current Icers to make the NCAA team, here's something a little more immediate to keep in mind: Penn State's departures following this past season were four forwards (Tim O'Brien, Marek Polidor, Chris Pronchik, Taylor Cera), a defenseman (Carey Bell) and two goalies (Teddy Hume and John Jay). In this 2011 class, we've now recruited four forwards (Friedman, Dell, Lewis, Meiselman), a defenseman (Sweetland) and a goalie (Carr). You don't have to be an RPI grad to do that math - there's going to be a squeeze on roster and lineup spots for 2011-2012 if we get any more recruits, and we probably will.


  1. You have done such a great job in covering the team and all the history and we have enjoyed reading your articles. However, there is so much written about these recruits from the EJ and AJ but since you are a history buff take a look at the current icer roster; many of them were the top players in these same leagues without getting all this fanfare. Also many past players came from these leagues.

  2. First off, thanks!

    I actually wrote this post with the Icers' program open so I could look for connections, which obviously led to the Steinour thing - you're right though, those two leagues have been stomping grounds for a long time. Without having it in front of me at the moment, probably half of the current team came from one of the two.

    As for the rest of it, yeah, the current and past guys deserved this too, no argument here. I guess the difference now is the DI team, which means if someone commits, it goes on Heisenberg's site and even's getting in on the fun (which is a new thing as far as I remember). Used to be "the rest of us" had no idea who was coming until they showed up on campus in the fall.

  3. Yep looked it up on the ACHA website; 5 from the EJHL (Broccolo and Polidor from Green Mt., Cerutti from Bay State, Morrone from Jr Bruins and Zitarelli from the Monarchs) and 5 from the AJ (Collins and Louks from Phila Jr. Flyers Daley and Winchester from the N.J. Rockets and Steinour as you mentioned from Bulldogs.

  4. Although some of the Icers may have come from the AJ and EJ, were they the impact players that these new recruits are?

  5. Tried to do some digging. Unfortunately I couldn't find archived stats for the AJ but I did for the EJ. Cerutti led the list with 71 points, Polidor had 27 and a committment to play D-1 hockey at Air Force until he changed his mind and decided to go to Penn State, Morrone had 18 points and Broccoli had 6. It's hard to compare past players with present because other circumstances influence points--injuries, playoff chances, and opportunities. Also, as in ALL sports different birthyears produce a stronger and better group of players overall. Penn State has always aggressively recruited players from these two leagues and being that they have gone to Nationals every year since its inception and have won several national championships I would say their history of finding impact players year to year speaks for itself. This year should be no different but that's yet to be proven I guess but I sure hope so. It would be nice to end the D-1 club era on a high before D-1 varsity kicks in.

  6. I agree, it would be great to end with an ACHA National Championship. My previous comment was related to whether any of the current players would move up to the NCAA team. Cerutti and Polidor will both be seniors next year, so they won't move up. Morrone and Brocollo will be juniors, so theoretically they could play on the NCAA team as seniors. This assumes all of them are planning on graduating on time....

  7. Just to fill in some of the AJs - Steinour was 11-11-22 on the same team where Lewis was 6-13-19 (with Steinour being a couple years older obviously). Winchester was 0-8-8 on the 2008-09 NJ Rockets. For a couple of the young-ish Icers, you can find their team's current roster on the league site and click on older kids until you get lucky with one who's been there three seasons, then click on the 2008-09 team name. Daley had a great career in the AJ - per the 2008-09 Icers program, he was captain for two years, scored 40 goals, top ten in the league.

    Really, I think a lot of what you're seeing now is a transitional recruiting class to go with a transitional everything else. I can elaborate on that if anyone wants.

    If we're going to name drop current Icers that could play NCAA, I always mention George Saad when that comes up. Senior in 2012-13. He was 12-7-19 in the NAHL, where his NHL first-rounder brother was 29-18-47, and we've all seen glimpses of his freakish skill set IF he stays healthy.

    And yeah, let's leave the ACHA by stomping everything in sight. Only way to do it in my book, I don't care if we needed DI recruits to make it happen.

  8. Totally agree about Saad. Also think Steinour is a possibility. Doubtful about the rest. Heard another goalie has committed.

    It will be tough for the current roster of players who came to PS thinking they would play for 4 years. Going to NCAA D1 is great for PS, but you have to feel for the current players. I
    wondered if that's why the last season was so up and down.

  9. Following the team this year (as I have for many many years) has been frustrating. Their inconsistency was a problem. Agree that Saad has potential (nothing to do with sibling genetics which people are always using in the same sentences when talking about his performance). He needs to rest on his own laurels which he is capable of doing. Steinour had a somewhat disappointing showing in the WUG games playing with and against "the best" of the league. I really like the overall play of Morrone better . From what I've seen Richie Obrien and even McDonough have a good shot of playing beyond next year.