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Friday, May 13, 2022
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The Need for Goal Scorers


Kristaps Skrastins
2022 UNH Commit
Cy LeClerc
2022 UNH Commit
Stiven Sardarian
2022 UNH Commit

News & Notes

The Need for Goal Scorers:

The first quarter of the 2021-22 season is in the books for the UNH men’s hockey team and they are struggling to score goals. In the highly competitive Hockey East Conference, the Wildcats are last in goals per game. They are averaging only 1.00 goal per game over 5 Hockey East games and 1.56 GPG over the first 9 games.

Clearly, the UNH men’s hockey program needs more goal scorers. Are there any young players currently committed to UNH who have the potential to be productive goal scorers when they enroll at UNH? There are three forwards on track to enroll next season who are making a pretty good case:

~ Kristaps Skrastins (DOB: 11/20/01) committed to UNH on October 18th. The 5’11 “, 180 lbs., Right-shot forward from Riga, Latvia has tallied 11 goals in 14 games (0.78 goals per game) and is tied for 3rd in goal-scoring in the North American Hockey League. His 4 game -winning goals is tied for first in the league. He’s also contributed 10 assists to the Amarillo Wranglers and his 1.50 points per game is tied for 3rd in the NAHL. Skrastins was named NAHL Forward of the Month for September.

Skrastins scored 2 goals and a shootout goal over his last 6 games. This highlight reel shows him scoring goals in a variety of ways – a slap shot on a power play, banging home a rebound on the doorstep of the crease, and a toe drag move in a shootout:

~ Cy LeClerc (DOB: 8/17/02) averaged 0.42 goals per game for the Islanders Hockey Club (National Collegiate Development Conference) in his first two seasons of junior hockey. This season, the 5’9 “, 175 lbs., Left-shot center / winger from Brentwood, New Hampshire is playing for the Janesville Jets in the North American Hockey League. Over the first 17 games, LeClerc has increased his goal-scoring production to 0.58 goals per game.His 10 goals ties him for 4th in goal-scoring in the NAHL.

LeClerc scored 3 goals and 4 assists over his last 4 games. He was named NAHL Midwest Division Star of the Week for the first week in November. This highlight reel shows LeClerc’s last 3 goals. It’s impressive how strong he skates to the net on all of them:

~ Stiven Sardarian (DOB: 2/7/03), a native of St. Petersburg, Russia, waited a long time to come to the United States to advance his hockey career. When he committed to UNH last May, he was hoping to join the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) for their summer training camp. In June, Sardarian was drafted in the third round (88th Overall) by the Buffalo Sabers. However, due to COVID restrictions on non-citizen travel, he was not able to come to the US and join the Phantoms until late October.

Despite the long layoff, Sardarian has had an immediate impact on the Phantoms offense. In his first 7 games, he has scored 1 goal in regulation, 1 shootout goal, and 2 assists. This highlight reel shows his goals and a pinpoint, cross ice pass for a primary assist:

NHL Central Scouting Players to Watch List:

~ Two UNH commits made the NHL Central Scouting Services’ “Preliminary Players to Watch” list for the 2022 NHL Draft. 2022 Commit Tyler Muszelikgoalie for the Under-18 team of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program and 2023 Commit Nick Ring, a forward with the New Jersey Titans (NAHL) were identified as ‘C’ prospects. NHL CSS views them as candidates for being drafted in 4th, 5th, or 6th Rounds in the next NHL Draft.

National Letter of Intent:

~ The signing period of the National Letter of Intent (NLI) program began November 10th and ends August 1st. Some of the key provisions of the NLI are: ~ The NLI is a binding agreement between a prospective student-athlete and an NLI member institution. ~ The prospective student-athlete agrees to attend the institution full-time for one academic year. ~ The institution agrees to provide athletics financial aid to the student-athlete for one academic year, provided he / she is admitted to the institution and is eligible for financial aid under NCAA rules. ~ A recruiting prohibition is applied after a prospective student-athlete signs the NLI. This prohibition requires member institutions to cease recruitment of the prospective student-athlete once an NLI is signed with another institution. ~ If the student-athlete does not fulfill the NLI agreement, he / she has to serve one year in residence at the next NLI member institution and lose one season of competition in all sports.

In the last two days, defenseman Brendan Fitzgerald and forward Morgan Winters signed an NLI with the University of New Hampshire. Fitzgerald is a senior in high school so has the potential to enroll as a “true freshman” at UNH next Fall. Winters is in his final year of eligibility for junior hockey and is set to enroll next Fall.

2021-22 Statistics

Player AZ** Stars Team League GP Goals Asst Pts PIM +/-
2022 Commits
Nicolas Ardanaz * 5/30/02 (D) 4.25 West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 10 0 6 6 6
Jed Baliotti 2/7/02 (G) 3.75 Northeast Generals NAHL 3 1 1 0 2.76 .910
Aberdeen Wings NAHL 2 2 0 0 3.00 .872
Damien Carfagna * 12/12/02 (D) 3.75 Green Bay Gamblers USHL 10 2 10 12 2 +1
John Evans 4/8/02 (F) 4.5 West Kelowna Warriors BCHL 9 3 6 9 0
Cy LeClerc 8/17/02 (F) 3.75 Janesville Jets NAHL 17 10 8 18 0 +4
Tyler Muszelik 7/1/04 (G) 4.0 US National U18 Overall 8 5 1 1 3.38 .892
Team USA U-18 USHL 2 1 0 1 3.94 .857
NCAA Exh. 5 3 1 0 2.95 .906
Cade Penney * 3/23/01 (D) 3.75 Madison Capitols USHL 8 0 5 5 8 +3
Stiven Sardarian 2/7/03 (F) Youngstown Phantoms USHL 7 1 2 3 6 0
Kristaps Skrastins 11/20/01 (F) 3.75 Amarillo Wranglers NAHL 14 11 10 21 35 +8
JP Turner * 1/31/03 (F) 4.25 Sioux Falls Stampede USHL 8 0 0 0 18 -4
Morgan Winters * 12/8/01 (F) 3.5 Youngstown Phantoms USHL 7 0 4 4 12 -1
2023 Commits
Brendan Fitzgerald * 10/26/03 (D) 4.0 Cedar Rapids RoughRiders USHL 11 0 4 4 21 0
Nick Ring 10/26/03 (F) 3.75 New Jersey Titans NAHL 18 4 6 10 2 -3
2023 or’24 Commits
Sam Court 1/7/04 (D) 3.75 NV River Rats U18 18U AAA 17 1 9 10
Avon Old Farms NE Prep
* = Signed National Letter of Intent
** = Neutral Zone 5-Star Rating

NOTE

The statistics for the commits, presented in the above table, are categorized by the projected year they will enroll in UNH. For example, the “2022 Commits” are projected to start playing for UNH in the Fall of 2022. I have based these projections on the following factors:
~ Number of UNH players leaving the team at the end of the previous season and the position they played.
~ If a National Letter of Intent has been signed.
~ The year the commit and UNH coaches originally targeted for enrollment in UNH.
~ How old the commit would be upon admission.
~ Number of years in junior hockey prior to admission.
~ The commit’s performance in recent seasons as well as injuries.
~ Anticipated date of high school graduation.



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