Howell, NJ (August 10, 2010)-A number of Junior Titan players had strong summers excelling within USA Hockey's Atlantic District’s Player Development Program at various levels of play. For the summer, the Atlantic District holds select tryouts on two weekends, one in April and one in May to select a group of players to take to camps at the Lawrenceville School to set teams for Summer Competition. Coming out of these tryouts, many of the Junior Titan Players participated in the tryout weekends and were selected to play within the program throughout the Summer.
At the 1993 Level, Titan Junior player Jay Malone was selected as an alternate behind a strong list of players including many of the District’s top 1993 players some of whom will be competing next year in the prestigious United States Hockey League, the top Junior “A” League in the country. Malone attended the 1993 Camp in late June at Lawrenceville and had an outstanding weekend where he practiced multiple times with the group under the direction of coaches Rich McKenna of Wesleyan University, Graham Johnson of Hamilton University, and our club’s very own Junior “B” Coach Dustin DePalma.
At the 1994 Level, Titan Junior player Dan O’Keefe was also selected as an alternate with a strong and competitive group of 1994 players in the Atlantic District, with this strong group sending players off to various New England Prep Schools as well as Junior Programs throughout the country. O’Keefe attended the same Camp in late June with the 1993s at Lawrenceville as he also was very strong over the weekend competing hard against talented players a year older than him under the direction of the same staff of Mckenna, Johnson, and DePalma.
At the 1995 Level, two Titans were selected to represent the Altantic District in Kent ,Ohio at the Select 15 District Festival. Titan Midget U16 “AAA” American players RJ Steer and Tom Panico were selected out of a large group of players at tryouts. The Atlantic squad defied expectations yet again, shocking Team Michigan in the Finals again after doing the same last year as Select 14s. Panico, in his first year with the select program made it through two weekends of tryouts and was selected in early June for the District Team. Panico provided a big, strong body on defense who fit very well into the team concept as well as a player with some outstanding offensive skill with the puck who can jump into the play. Steer, making his 2ndstraight appearance out in Kent was rock solid all weekend long as well as giving some offensive play when not playing strong in-zone. Steer is a steady defenseman who gives nothing away easily, and this marks his second straight year being part of a championship team out in Kent, having been a part of the Select 14 team which shocked Michigan in the Finals last year. The Select 15 team was under the direction of coaches Matt Greason of the USA Hockey NTDP, Ben Barr of Union College, and Gump Whiteside of Holy Ghost Prep School.
At the 1996 Level, three Titan players were selected to represent the District In Kent, Ohio for the Select 14 District Festival. Titan Bantam “AAA” Major players Anthony Cusanelli, Ryan Price, and Kevin Stickle were selected out of the original two weeks of tryouts. While this year’s District squad wasn’t quite as successful as last year’s, they were able to check in as the third place team without losing a game in regulation time, finishing with a win over Massachusetts in the third place game. Cusanelli was an offensive gamer and clutch player for the team, leading the team in goals over the course of the tournament including a clutch goal against Michigan in the last five minutes to tie the game up and send the game to overtime. Price was a dynamic two-way defenseman who was able to contribute with some brilliant offensive plays as well as playing strong defense in his own zone over the course of the tournament. Price was a leader of the defense at both ends of the ice. Stickle, in his first year of experience with the District program, took some time to get acclimated, but once he did, he stepped in and started to make his presence felt by using his size and strength to establish a presence on defense while getting adapted to the level of play. Overall it was an outstanding experience and successful weekend for the players involved with the squad. The Select 14 team was under the guidance of Chris Barcless of the Mercer Chiefs, Dale Reinhardt of the NJ Devils Youth and Canterbury Prep School, and Justin Friedman of the NJ Devils Youth and one of our current Junior “B” coaches.
Finally, at the 1997 level, the Titans were represented with four players on the Bantam “AAA” Minor team for the upcoming season. The four players represented were Defenseman Matt Chinnichi, and Forwards Ryan Walker, Todd Goehring, and Wayne Jackson, each of whom were selected to play on the Atlantic “Blue” team as the district also selected a “White” team in Ohio. In finishing up a wildly successful summer for the Atlantic District in Ohio this year, each of the four got the opportunity to celebrate another District Championship as the Atlantic “Blue” team was able to scrape past the “White” team 3-2 in the finals. Chinnichi was strong on defense with his positional play as well as his unselfishness leading his defensive pairing for the entire weekend by providing stifling defense in his own zone as well as strong play going forward in linking the defensive group with the forwards. Walker, Goehring, and Jackson all combined to play together and form an All-Titan line over the course of the weekend and they helped to pace the attack for the Atlantic “Blue” offense in their first matchup against Mid-Am “Gold” with Jackson picking up two goals and Walker picking up two assists, while Goehring worked to set plays up. The team also defeated Atlantic “White” 5-2, Massachusetts 2-1 in a shootout, Southeast 5-4 in a shootout and then the Gold Medal win against Atlantic “White.” The Atlantic “Blue” team was led by coaches John Riley of the Philadelphia Flyers and Randy Walker of our very own Titan club, defeating their counterparts, the Atlantic “White” led by John DiNorcia of the NJ Devils Youth and Steve Riley, also of the Devils.
Overall, it was a wildly successful summer for our Titan players involved in the program and all will look to carry some great momentum that was achieved through the program through the opening of the season and beyond.