Bloomington, IL - After countless hours scouting, evaluating players, and two days in their "War Room" at the Bloomington Holiday Inn & Suites, the Bloomington Thunder have successfully concluded the 2015 United States Hockey League draft. Phase I finished Monday night with the Thunder selecting 11 players through 10 rounds and Phase II continued Tuesday morning with 17 picks for the organization.
During the 2014 USHL draft the Thunder pieced together the draft with a short turn around after announcing the team in April. Head Coach Dennis Williams and the staff were much more prepared for their second draft come Monday evening.
"This year was much different. We were able to evaluate ourselves and what our needs are, where last year we were drafting the whole team," said Williams. "Director of Scouting Dan Jewell did a fantastic job with his details on all the players throughout all the leagues in the US, Canada, and overseas. Now we are just excited about the picks we selected thanks to our scouting staff's keen eye."
The Thunder selected 14 forwards, 12 defensemen, and one goaltender with their picks to round out the 45 players on their initial protected list prior to open camps. The picks spanned 11 different states and three different countries.
Prospects lined the draft board and the Thunder step away with their protected list before main camp opens on June 17th. Marko Reifenberger was selected with the eighth overall pick in the first round of Phase I, which is reserved for only '99 birth year players. The forward out of Hasting, MN finished his second year with the Hill-Murray School with 41 points (19g, 22a) through 30 games played. Those totals, which include playoffs, rank second on the team in scoring.
Referencing Phase I as the future of the organization one, two, or three years down the road, Coach Williams was more than happy and confident about the selections. He then tipped his cap to the work of Coach Jewell. "He lived on the road this year and when it came time for the drafting process it wasn't hectic at all. He made it run smooth with the help of our other scouts talking through it all.
Phase II drafts all other eligible free agent players until team's protected lists reach 45 individuals. With the eighth overall pick in the first round, the Thunder drafted '96 prospect Ethan Somoza (Bimidji State University) from the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League. Somoza was ranked second on the Ice Dogs in points with 65, but led the team with a +31 rating, and 30 goals. That total was tied for third in the NAHL and he was ranked sixth in the league for points.
Two offspring of former NHL greats also made the list for the Thunder. Skyler Brind'Amour, son of Stanley Cup champion and current Carolina Hurricanes Assistant Coach Rod Brind'Amour, was selected out of the Jr. Hurricanes program in the third round of Phase I. Matthew Barnaby Jr. was then selected in the eighth round of Phase II, following in his father's footsteps, who played over 830 career NHL games.
1st RD - 8th Overall Marko Reifenberger - F - Hill Murray HS
2nd RD - 30th Overall Ben Mirageas - D - Avon Old Farms Prep
3rd RD - 40th Overall Jack Harris - D - Prior Lake HS
3rd RD - 42nd Overall Skyler Brind'Amour - F - Carolina Jr. Hurricanes
4th RD - 56th Overall Michael Callahan - D - Roxbury Latin Prep
5th RD - 72nd Overall Christian Thomas - F - Northern Cyclones
6th RD - 88th Overall Patrick Smyth - F - Compuware
7th RD - 104th Overall Fletcher Fineman - D - North Broward Prep
8th RD - 120th Overall Bram Scheerer - F - Edina HS
9th RD - 136th Overall Patrick Dawson - D - Westminster Prep
10th RD - 152nd Overall Thomas Altounian - F - Chicago Mission
1st RD - 8th Overall Ethan Somoza - LW - Fairbanks Ice Dogs
2nd RD - 24th Overall Noah Delmas - D - Aurora Tigers
2nd RD - 30th Overall Brogan Rafferty - D - Coulee Region Chill
3rd RD - 40th Overall Myles Cunningham - D - Blake HS
3rd RD - 46th Overall William Harrison - C - Amarillo Bulls
4th RD - 56th Overall Liam Folkes - C - Brockville Braves
5th RD - 73rd Overall Dominic Dockery - D - Selects Hockey Academy
6th RD - 90th Overall Nick Leivermann - D - Eden Prairie HS
7th RD - 107th Overall Joseph Cipollone - C - Selects Hockey Academy
8th RD - 116th Overall Sean Harrison - RW - Cowichan Valley Capitals
8th RD - 123rd Overall Matthew Barnaby - RW - Buffalo Regals
9th RD - 139th Overall William Riedell - D - Vermont Academy Prep
10th RD - 155th Overall Brandon Biro- LW - Spruce Grove Saints
12th RD - 187th Overall Matt Foley- D - Merritt Centennials
13th RD - 203rd Overall Andreas Maier- C - Sodertalje SK
14th RD - 219th Overall Erik Gordon- G - TPH Thunder
Bloomington holds their main camp from June 17th through the 21st at the Leafs Ice Arena in West Dundee, IL. All drafted players are not guaranteed a spot on the roster/affiliate list also meaning players entering camp have the ability to make the team through a try-out.
"Hopefully we have put together a healthy competition for players. That's how you get the best out of players. The ones that want to compete and battle are going to be the most successful," said Coach Williams about the team's upcoming camp.
"I'm excited to meet all the draft picks in person, after talking to them on the phone already, and hopefully we can see them on the ice with our returning players soon. It is just an exciting time for us."
To sign up for the camp head to BloomingtonThunder.com and click the link on the home page, or click here.
Season Tickets: 2015-16 will be here before you know it and for just $50 we can reserve your season tickets for the Bloomington Thunder at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum. If you reserve before June 1st, you'll be entered to win an all-expenses paid flight to Las Vegas! Plans start at just $240 and youth season tickets are $150 for all the same benefits. Head to BloomingtonThunder.com for a full list of benefits and pricing options to go with our new seating map. Call the Thunder office at (309) 434-2980 for information and booking.
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