Monday, May 23, 2011

Edgeworth Checks in to Hockey Valley

Valley Jr. Warriors defenseman Steven Edgeworth has confirmed to me that he is Penn State-bound this fall. Well, specifically, here's exactly what he said.
"It is on a tryout basis though as Gadowsky hadn't seen me play this past season."
Right off the bat, that raises a couple interesting questions. First off, is that what we're doing with everyone Gadowsky hasn't seen play? If so, that could impact a large chunk of this year's class, although in my amateur assessment, there's zero reason why a quality EJer would have an issue playing at Penn State in 2011-2012. Beyond that? It's anyone's guess at this point, although the EJ is a perfectly viable recruiting outlet for Hockey East, the ECAC and Atlantic Hockey (yes, even including 1990 and 1991 birth years). The way I see it, this coming season will be a proving ground for a lot of these guys, and it will play a large part in dictating how we recruit leading up to the inaugural NCAA season. I don't think Gadowsky will be afraid to pull in a recruiting class of 25 next year if he needs it, but at the same time, I don't think he'll need it.

The second question concerns the fact that it's Gadowsky, not Scott Balboni, making the call on Edgeworth's status for this coming season. While some were quick to jump on Gadowsky's "I get to coach the team" comments at his introductory press conference and assume that he'd be coaching the final Icers season, that wasn't the original plan. I certainly don't think it was decided to do something different at the point he said that, a day after he was hired. It may not even be decided at this point - note that as of today still has a listing for both "varsity head coach" and "Icers head coach." My sense is that Gadowsky will be the guy behind the bench, as he and assistants Keith Fisher and Matt Lindsay are ready to go full tilt on this thing.

Anyway, on to Edgeworth...

Steven Edgeworth

Valley Jr. Warriors (EJHL)
6'0", 180 pounds
Phoenix, AZ
DOB 7/30/1990

EJHL Player Page

Season   Team                   Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM
2008-09  New Jersey Hitmen      EJHL   37    1    8    9   14

2009-10  New Jersey Hitmen      EJHL   28    0    6    6   12
2010-11  Topeka Roadrunners     NAHL    3    0    0    0    0
2010-11  PH Fighting Falcons    NAHL    1    0    0    0    2
2010-11  Valley Jr. Warriors    EJHL   23    3   14   17   36

Dude is stoked about having to try out.
Just prior to joining the Hitmen, in 2007-2008, Edgeworth teamed up with Alex Cantor and Jeremy Langlois (who led Quinnipiac in goal scoring last season) on the Phoenix Polar Bears, the dominant team in the Tier III Junior A Western States Hockey League. The Polar Bears competed at the 2008 USA Hockey national championships, but their tournament run ended with a 4-2 loss to those same Hitmen in the semifinals, although not before Edgeworth had a goal and two assists in Phoenix's four games. The New Jersey brass was impressed enough with the Bears' trio to bring them all aboard for the 2008-2009 season.

Once with the Hitmen, Edgeworth teamed up with PSU commit P.J. Musico and current Icer Ryan Seibolt on one of the EJHL's perennially elite teams. Musico only faced 21.7 shots per game in his 14 games in 2008-2009, so without a doubt some quality defense was taking place in front of him.

The Polar Bears trio, along with Musico and Seibolt, powered their way to a 34-7-4 record and the EJHL championship that season, by defeating another perennial power, the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs in the final. By virtue of that title, Edgeworth went back to nationals in 2009 and helped defeat his former team by a 5-1 mark en route to the championship game, where the Jr. Monarchs got their revenge. 2009-2010 wasn't quite as successful from a team standpoint. While the Hitmen's record actually improved to 32-5-8, they lost to South Shore in the EJHL semifinals (thanks in part to Jake Friedman's second-period goal) and missed out on the national championships.

Following very brief stops with the Topeka Roadrunners and Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the NAHL this past season, Edgeworth landed back in the EJHL, with the Valley Jr. Warriors. With his offensive output on the upswing (a team-best 0.74 per game among defensemen and points in 12 of his 23 games, including three in the last one against Capital District), he helped boost the Warriors into the quarterfinals, where they fell to Tim Carr's Jr. Monarchs.

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