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Great Lakes Finest - Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013
By: Michael Gosnell

The North American Hockey League announced the rosters for the Top Prospects tournament, which takes place in Troy, MI.

The tournament is a great opportunity for the NAHL's top prospect to display their skills in front of college and professional scouts.

Today, we begin with the Great Lakes team, which is comprised of the Jamestown Ironmen, Johnstown Tomahawks, Michigan Warriors, Port Huron Fighting Falcons and Soo Eagles.

Up front, Eric Rivard and Jared Van Wormer of the Soo and Luc Gerdes lead the Great Lakes from Jamestown. All three will anchor the scoring duties for Dan Daikawa's squad.

The Soo features Sean Murphy on offense and Jamestown's Tyler Dunagan, Evan Ritt are as well.

Cody Gylling, Andrew McDonald and Mitch Kontny represent the Tomahawks. McDonald and Kontny have been consistent on offense for Johnstown and Gylling is a great set-up man for players like Rivard and Gerdes.

Martin Gruse is the lone forward representing the Michigan Warriors. His leadership skills are valuable and have been instrumental in Michigan's turnaround.  

Port Huron's Nick Horne and Rick DeRosa were locks to make it on the roster. Ian Miller, the team's leading scorer is committed to Lake Superior State University, so he is unable to be on the roster.

The Great Lakes blue line features high-end prospects like Eagles defenseman Cody Von Reuden and Johnstown defenseman Casey Nelson.

Ironmen defender Dylan Zink will also provide firepower from the point.

Fighting Falcons defenseman Jonathan Kopacka and Jamestown Ironmen defenseman Brett Szajner could handle the shutdown duties as well as Michigan's Josh Shellman.

Goaltending is strong for the Great Lakes. Despite not having the services of Tyler Marble and Chris Truehl, the roster features Port Huron's Max Milosek and Warriors goalie Trevor Gorsuch.

Gorsuch has stringed together strong performances over the past few weeks and Milosek has been solid for the Fighting Falcons.


posted Jan. 22nd, 2013 - 9:38pm
Bill Smith says:
Nice summary Michael. However, I have to voice my opinion on the selections from the Soo Eagles.

The Soo coaching staff should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for selecting a player that joined the team in late December and has only played a handful of games. Yet, their uncommitted 92's who have played their butts off all year are slighted and not given the opportunity to showcase their talent in front of the scouts. I also shake my head at excluding their uncommitted 94' goalie.

A complete shame to disregard the hard work and success that these players have contributed to, yet a part-time player comes in and gets the "reward". I hope this does not upset the team chemistry that Coach Bruno spoke so highly of a couple of months ago.

I have heard Randy Russon speak highly of the Soo coaching staff but I really wonder about that now. Players are mere pawns in their over glorified world.

posted Jan. 22nd, 2013 - 11:32pm
Jon Arthur Kohan says:
via the NAHL press release from 1/16/2013.

"The number of players each NAHL team can to send to the tournament, in which five teams from five different regional groups: Dakota, Frontier, Great Lakes, Midwest and Texas and a special sixth NAHL 18U Selects team, will each play three games, is based on each teamís winning percentage within their group as of January 14, 2013."

Later down,

"The Head Coaches of each Top Prospect Team will make final roster decisions after considering the player nominations submitted by individual teams. Top Prospects Head Coaches will finalize their rosters by 5:00pm CST on January 17th. Top Prospects rosters for all teams will be formally announced on Tuesday, January 22nd on nahl.com and nahltopprospects.com."

I am surpised that Zach Nagelvoort wasn't selected. Him and Marble are hands down the best goalie tandem in the league, and that's coming from a die hard Johnstown Tomahawks fan. But I supose there are only so many spots.

Out of the 92's on the team there are two that have put up good numbers, Brandon Adams 13 games 13 points, and Alexander Taulien 36 games 28 points. Now of course I say only two but really Soo has a great team of talent, but as I said before there is only so much room and only a few players each team can take.

Out of Von Rueden, Sean Murphy, Jared VanWormer, and Eric Rivard I could see your complant with Sean Murphy since he's only played a handful of games but when it comes to games to points ratio he's got one of the best on the team even if he's only played a handful of games. Also if they are basing the choices on his hockey history and not just this season, Murphy has played 125 junior games with 86 points.

posted Jan. 23rd, 2013 - 8:10am
Randy Russon says:
Bill Smith,

I am not sure why you think the Soo Eagles coaching staff, specifically Bruno Bragaganolo, should be ashamed for the Great Lakes roster selection.

As assistant coach, Bruno did not choose the Great Lakes roster, head coach Dan Daikawa did.

As for the selection of Sean Murphy of the Eagles that you seem to have issue with Bruno over, it was Dan Daikawa who wanted Murphy on the Great Lakes team. How do I know this? I got it straight from the head coach himself.



posted Jan. 23rd, 2013 - 10:17am
Bill Smith says:

Thank you for the clarification.

I stand corrected and now would like to retract my comments and offer an apology to the Soo staff for my comments and, specifically, to Coach Bruno.

In the future, I will refrain from voicing my opinion without getting the facts straight.

posted Jan. 23rd, 2013 - 10:29am
Randy Russon says:
Bill Smith,

Thanks for the reply. It was an honest mistake on your part. Don't sweat it, man.



posted Jan. 23rd, 2013 - 10:37am
Stephen Heisler says:
Bill Smith writes:

Thank you for the clarification.

I stand corrected and now would like to retract my comments and offer an apology to the Soo staff for my comments and, specifically, to Coach Bruno.

In the future, I will refrain from voicing my opinion without getting the facts straight.

No worries Bill, feel free to speak at will, if your facts are not straight, somebody will tell ya.

Conversation is a great way to learn something.


posted Jan. 23rd, 2013 - 11:33am
Bill Smith says:
Thanks Randy and Stephen.

I guess I am just a bit passionate about getting these players their due.

posted Jan. 23rd, 2013 - 11:51am
Randy Russon says:
Bill Smith,

Nothing wrong with a little passion, man. Your heart is in the right place, I am sure.



posted Jan. 23rd, 2013 - 12:54pm
Jenni OConnor says:
And you know just because a player joins a team late because of a trade or addition, doesn't mean he's not deserving and hasn't worked just as hard. In this world of junior hockey, trades happen. Why should kids be penalized because they were traded? He's now a part of the team and should have the same consideration like all the other guys. It's the team thing. There are other things that coaches also look at when nominating kids, are they college material?, are they NCAA eligible? Do they already have a college commitment?

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* Article disclaimer: This site may contain advice, opinions and statements from various authors and information providers. Views expressed in this article reflect the personal opinion of the author, Michael Gosnell, and not necessarily the views of JuniorHockey.com. JuniorHockey.com does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other info provided in the article, or from any other member of this site.

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