Recently, I had the opportunity to take in a CCHL game between the Newmarket Hurricanes and the St. Michael’s Buzzers. For those of you who don’t know, the CCHL is one of two newly created leagues (the other being the OJHL) that have replaced the former Central Ontario Tier Two circuit known as the OPJHL. Being my first Tier Two game in quite some time, I was a bit surprised at how different the pace was from major junior hockey, but there were a couple of players who were notable stand outs, and will embark on hockey careers at a higher level in the next couple of years. Here is a boxscore from the game: http://cchl.stats.pointstreak.com/boxscore.html?gameid=1089794
LD Julian Melchiori | 1991L | 6’3” | 195lbs | 13GP 4G 10A 14P +3 8PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
NCAA: UMass-Lowell (2010)
Melchiori was probably the second best player in this game, behind Lessio, and you can tell that he’s a player with some solid upside. Originally a 14th round pick of the Oshawa Generals in 2007, Melchiori has steadily progressed into a quality two-way defenseman this season. He’s got good size, but could stand to add a couple of pounds to his frame. He’s a pretty mobile player, his top speed is very good, but he’ll need to work on his first few steps and evening out his stride, which is a bit choppy. He competes hard on the ice, makes good decisions and is more than willing to play the body. I also like the amount of poise he has. He sees the ice fairly well and is effective on the powerplay, with a good shot and ability to walk the line. Overall, Melchiori should be able to contribute for UMass-Lowell next season, and he could even be a late round NHL pick this year, as there is a lot of untapped potential with him.
RW (LS) Chad Sumsion | 1990 | 6’1” | 200lbs | 13GP 10G 10A 20P +2 10PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
NCAA: Bowling Green (2010)
The leading scorer of Newmarket, Sumsion just recently committed to Bowling Green for the 2010/2011 season. After coming to Newmarket a season ago from the Stratford Cullitons, Sumsion has been a very productive forward for the Hurricanes. His strength as a player is definitely from the has marks in. He’s pretty dangerous in tight, and has a slick skill set that he utilizes to make things happen in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, he is a very average skater, and his transition to the NCAA game will likely be extremely hampered by this, so he’ll be a player that will need a couple of seasons before he is able to play a bigger role at Bowling Green.
LD Joel Hanley | 1991 | 6’0” | 185lbs | 13GP 3G 11A 14P +2 6PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
NCAA: UMass-Amherst (2010)
Another Hurricane that will be leaving to join the NCAA ranks next season is offensive defenseman Joel Hanley. After getting some NHL Draft interest last season, and even making NHLCS’s players to watch list, Hanley went undrafted in June. He’s not an overly intimidating figure, and he doesn’t play a very physical style, but he’s a very calm and composed defenseman. He’s doesn’t have great speed, but he’s very aware when he has the puck and makes good decisions. Offensively, he’s pretty dangerous, and is especially effective on the powerplay. His positioning is pretty solid, but he will need to improve his strength to play in the NCAA next year.
ST. MICHAEL’S BUZZERS
LW Lucas Lessio | 1993 | 6’1” | 187lbs | 13GP 12G 13A 25P -1 26PIM
NHL: 2011 Eligible
NCAA: Michigan (2011)
Arugably the top 1993 player in OHL territory, Lessio is easily the best pro prospect playing in the CCHL right now. After being selected by the Niagara Ice Dogs with the 7th overall pick in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, Lessio elected to play for the Buzzers and pursue a scholarship at Michigan. The Oshawa Generals even acquired his rights in an attempt to lure him to the OHL, but at this point, it looks like Lessio is committed to the NCAA route. On the ice, he’s not the most flashy player, but he’s a very effective one. He’s got good size, and he’s a player that competes extremely hard on the ice. He’ll go to battle for loose pucks in the corner, and he’s not afraid to take a hit to make a play, or dish out a hit when he has the opportunity. His skating is above average, and could use some work, but he does a good job of protecting the puck in stride. Lessio has a pretty good set of hands, but his poise could use some work. Sometimes he overthinks the game when he has the puck, and he doesn’t have the same natural creativity that high end goal scorers have. His niche is definitely driving the puck to the net. He has a very good shot, and he has a knack of finding loose pucks around the goal mouth, which is where he can make a big impact. Overall, while he’s still a bit raw on the whole, there is a lot to like about Lessio, and he’s probably a top half first rounder in 2011 at this point. While he will likely be returning to St. Michael’s next season, he could really stand to benefit from a year in the USHL, playing at a higher level of competition with better talent around him.
LC Daniel Ciampini | 1990 | 6’0” | 178lbs | 15GP 8G 19A 27P +5 16PIM
NHL: 2010 Eligible
The captain of the Buzzer’s, Ciampini has really exploded this season on a very weak St. Michael’s hockey team. After being selected by the Peterborough Petes back in the third round of the 2006 OHL Priority Selection, Ciampini has kept his NCAA options open to this point, as he has struggled to make a big impact in tier two. This season has definitely been a break out one for Ciampini, with an increased role, as well as playing alongside Lessio. Nothing about his game really sticks out too much, he’s solid in both ends and has the ability to make things happen in the offensive zone, but his role will be limited in the NCAA, if he gets a scholarship there. He does work hard, and isn’t afraid to play a physical game, so he could be an effective energy forward for an NCAA team in the future.
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