Jr. Hockey Notebook: Thunder sign Jolicoeur; draft night for the Nordiques

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The NA3HL held its entry draft Wednesday night, and the L/A Nordiques made seven selections in the eight-round draft.

Their first three picks went to help restock the forward position. Austin Marini of Hyde Park, Massachusetts was the team’s first-round pick, 27th overall. The soon-to-be 19-year-old played with the Hartford Jr. Wolfpack of the USPHL Premier Division this past season, where he had 19 goals and 25 assists in 41 games.

“Austin was a player I wanted to take early, I watched him a little bit throughout the year and I saw him at a showcase in Boston last weekend,” Nordiques coach Cam Robichaud said. “He scored in every game and he’s a player that has the knack of putting the puck in the back of the net. He has decent size, six feet, 175 pounds. The junior hockey experience is definately a plus and I really hope he’s joining us come August.”

With their second-round pick, the Nordiques selected 18-year old Russian Sergei Anisimov, who played for the Hill Academy in Concord, Ontario, Canada. The team plays in multiple leagues, and in the East Coast Elite League he had four goals and two assists in 15 games. In two Canadian Sport School Hockey League showcase events, he had two goals in 12 games.

The Nordiques had no third-round pick after it was traded away to the New England Stars as part of the deal that sent Sage Broda to the Nordiques this season, In the fourth round, they selected 18-year old Jacob Thomason of Youngstown, N.Y. He played for the Boch Militia 18U team. In 2016-17 with the Niagara Whalers of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League in Ontario he had eight goals and 14 assists in 40 games. No stats were available for 2017-18.

In the fifth round, L/A selected goalie Robbie Fuller of Kingswood High School in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. In the sixth, the Nordiques added 16-year old Manny Sanchez of Potsdam, New York, who played this past season with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs U16 team. Between USPHL and Tier I Elite League play he had 21 goals and 24 assists in 44 games.

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The first defenseman the Nordiques selected was 20-year old Émile Boudreau, who played for the Saint-Lazare Révolution of the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League, where he had five assists in 17 games.

With their eighth-round pick, they selected Lawrence/Skowhegan/MCI goalie Hunter Raye. He was 0-7 with a 6.43 goals against average and a .898 save percentage with the Bandits.

Robichaud also announced he signed two defensemen to tender contracts. Hans Watson is a 19-year old from Lancaster, Pennsylvannia, where he played for the Quakers Hockey U18 team. He had two goals and two assists in Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League play. Dylan Sack played for the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers Tier I Elite League team this past season. The 19-year old Douglassville, Pennsylvannia native also can play forward, Robichaud said.

Wild select Maine high school standouts

In the fifth round of the NA3HL draft the Maine Wild selected Lewiston High School senior defenseman Ryan Bossie. The Travis Roy finalist had three goals and 12 assists in 17 regular season games for the Blue Devils as he helped Lewiston to their third straight Class A Championship in March.

In the sixth round, the Wild stayed closer to home, selecting Thornton Academy senior foward Chandler Bilodeau. He had 17 goals and 13 assists in 20 games this past season.

Thunder sign another

The Twin City Thunder announced their second signee Tuesday: The team announced defenseman Matt Jolicoeur will join the team for their inaugual season.

Jolicoeur, of Waterville, led the Panthers to back-to-back Class B State Championships in 2016 and 2017. In his senior season in 2016-17 he had 10 goals and 27 assists in 18 regular season contests.

This past season he split time with the Maine Moose 18U team, where he had a goal and assist in 19 Eastern Junior Elite Prospects League games. He helped the Moose to back-to-back USA Hockey Tier II National Championships in 2017 and in 2018, where had three assists in five games.

He also played ten games with Thomas College’s club team, where he had four goals and three assists in 10 games this past season.

Jolicoeur is excited to play in front the Lewiston-Auburn fans. After playing club hockey for a year, he has his sights set on NCAA Hockey and hopes playing in the USPHL will help him reach his destination.

“Now I want to play actual Division III hockey,” Jolicoeur said. “It depends on what happens after the next year. I wasn’t ready to give up on competitive hockey just yet. I want to take this year or the next two years to develop my game more and hopefully make it to the next level.”

“When we are bringing guys in, these are the qualities we are looking for,” Gray said. “How they are off the ice, how they are on the ice, the accomplishment, the levels they have won at. These are all checkmarks we look for when we are signing guys. Matt comes in with a great pedigree and a great resume. We are continuing to look for guys of his caliber to bring in.”

Gray said he hopes to announce one or two more signings before the team’s tryout on May 4-6 at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn.

NA3HL down to 37 teams

The NA3HL announced their divisional alignment for the 2018-19 season. They will have six divisions instead of seven after the East Division was eliminated.

The L/A Nordiques remain in the Coastal Division with the Maine Wild, New England Stars, Northeast Generals, Cape Cod Islanders and Long Beach Sharks.

The teams that made up the East division — the Metro Jets, Pittsburgh Vengeance,  Lansing Wolves, Southern Tier Xpress, Wooster Oilers and Toledo Cherokee — all withdrew from the league.

The Metro Jets captured the Fraser Cup as league champions in March.

The Butte Cobras will return to the NA3HL and join the Frontier Division. They were scheduled to join the league this past season from the Western States Hockey League, but cancelled their season in September.  

NA3HL also announced league events for the upcoming season. The NA3HL Showcase, which involes all 37 teams, will be in Blaine, Minnesota from Dec. 16-18. The Top Prospects Tournament, which brings the best prospects from every division to showcase their skills, will take place Feb. 26-27 in Plymouth, Mich. The Fraser Cup Tournament will be in Chicago from March 20-24.

Wahlstrom ranked No. 7 North American skater for the NHL Draft

Oliver Wahlstrom, who grew up in Yarmouth and became a YouTube sensation in 2009 with his shootout moves with the Portland Jr. Pirates in the Bruins’ Mini One-on-One competition, is setting his sights on becoming a first-round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft in June.

NHL Central Scouting released its final rankings for the draft on Tuesday and rated Wahlstrom as the No. 7 North American skater for the upcoming draft in Dallas on June 22-23.

The 17-year-old is with USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program Under-18 team that plays in the United States Hockey League, international tournaments and exhibitions against college teams. He currently has 40 goals and 43 assists in 54 games.

He has one more chance to impress NHL scouts before the combine and the draft when Team USA opens up the International Ice Hockey Federation’s World Under-18 Championships in Magnitogorsk and Chelyabinsk, Russia, on Thursday against Canada. He won a gold medal with Team USA in last year’s tournament.

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