Saturday, August 27, 2016

Neely Cup Days One and Two Recap

Austin Adamson is trying out with Portland
It is officially hockey season as 85 hockey players converged on Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland. The annual Neely Cup is currently taking place and the 85 players were split into four teams for the four day tournament.

I was unable to make the opening day of the tournament, but was able to go today and also plan on attending tomorrow and Sunday.
Here are the standings for the four teams after two days of back-to-back 30 minute games.

 Goal Leaders:
-Evan Weinger: 5
-Brad Ginnell: 3
-Brett Clayton: 2
Other scorers: Trevor Griebel, P.J. Fletcher, Connor Bowie, Holden Kodak, Skyler McKenzie, Owen Farris, Bronson Sharp, Easton Easterson, Codey Beaulieu, Ryan Hughes, Declan MacEachern, Conor MacEachern, Brendan Tendeck, Reece Newkirk, Kishaun Gervais, Justin Paul, Darren Gisti, Brendon Jorssen, Austin Daniels, Caleb Jones (shoot out winner).

Rather than break down the games, I thought I'd provide scouting reports (of a type) on some of the players that jumped out to me.
Signed Players:
-Evan Weinger (Team Hoyda):
He has been a training camp darling the last couple of seasons, but has taken it to another level at this camp. He has five goals in 120 minutes of total action and his line with unsigned 2001-born players Connor Bowie and Trevor Griebel was the most dominant during the entire day two. It seemed that every time they were on the ice, Team Currie was pinned deep. Weinger was a force, throwing the body around and always seemed to have the puck on his stick. On one of his goals he made a play to a team mate to the right side of the net and then posted with a shooting angle along the left goal line. He got a pass back and just buried a one-timer.
-Jackson Caller (Team Hoyda):
I had heard that he had been impressive on day one of the Neely Cup and saw much the same result during day two. He is an extremely smooth skater and pretty effortlessly, can recover for any small positioning mistakes he makes. He also drives possession well and was a threat to rush the puck a lot of the times he hit the opponent's blue line.
-Brad Ginnell (Team Currie):
The 2000-born forward seems a lock to make the opening night roster. He has a quick first step and showed off an incredibly accurate shot, to the extent of three goals in under 30 minutes Friday.
-Conor MacEachern (Team Currie):
On his goal, he showed great timing by jumping up into the rush and also showed nice touch, by wiring a shot over goalie Matt Radomsky's shoulder.
-Keoni Texeira (Team Currie):
He looks to have added on yet more muscle. He threw two of the bigger checks of the day; one on a 20-year-old (Austin Adamson) and one on a 15-year-old. So at least, he is an equal opportunity body-checker. The level of comfort he showed out there jumped out to me, Texeira just seemed to have command when he was out there. Calling for the puck from his partner and backing that request up, by making the right play out of the zone.
-Joachim Blichfeld (Team Ireland):
A very flashy forward, the Danish import was dangerous whenever he touched the puck. His curl, drag and shot with pressure on his back shoulder from the corner was something not a lot of players, even at this level can do and make look that smooth. I was looking for more from him during the shoot out at the end of the day, but he opted for a really slow skate in and just tried to go five-hole after very little panache. A good sign for me though, was how much his team mates looked for him when he was out there.
-Jake Gricius (Team Bandura):
Threw his body around a lot, which was good to see. During one sequence, he played the puck back to the point and then put himself in perfect position to both screen the goalie and set up a good tip-chance. The tip went wide, but the whole thing demonstrated to me his ability to use his size to create some scoring looks.
-Cody Glass (Team Bandura):
Had to be chomping at the bit after not playing Thursday. He was great through the neutral zone and helped create four different odd-man rushes. During one of them, he chose to shoot and hit the post and on the two others his line mate was unable to finish the play. On the last one, his pass was a little off.
-Austin Adamson (Team Hoyda):
The overage forward has jumped around the WHL, with previous stops in Saskatoon, Red Deer and Swift Current. He was not invited back to the Broncos and is being given a chance to earn one of two possible, overage openings. I definitely expected him, as an older, WHL-veteran to jump out to me and he really didn't do that too much. He had one opportunity to impress as he skated in on the right wing alone, but, he could not fit the puck over the goalie's right pad. Adamson, as a player who has signed a WHL standard player agreement, is eligible for WHL-preseason action. The Hawks may want to see more from him and keep him around for the tournaments in Everett and Kennewick.
Unsigned Players:
-Trevor Griebel (Team Hoyda):
2001-born prospect out of the Phoenix Jr. Coyotes' program. He was very quick and showcased a lot of creativity.
-Joshua Kroon (Team Bandura):
2000-born prospect out of the AC Avalanche program. On a defensive unit that had Carter Czaikowski and Caleb Jones, Kroon's positioning and plays out of his own zone, rate right up there with the two WHL-veterans.
Evan Fradette (Team Currie):
2001-born prospect out of the St. Albert Sabres. The goalie did a really great job of being confident in his positioning and getting his body in a spot, where he could flare out a pad rather easily and make a save.
Ty Kolle (Team Ireland):
Portland's top pick in the 2015 bantam draft showed incredible burst as he flew past several opponents and into their zone with the puck on his stick. He tried to stick handle around the last defender and could not keep possession. There seems to be some work to be done on his hands, but the fact that the speed is there on such a young player, is enough to warrant a longer look in the preseason, in my opinion.

I'll bring more after Saturday's games and look forward to seeing more from the unsigned prospects during the weekend's action..

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