Chicago Mission downed Team Wisconsin U16 5-1 today. Unofficially I had Lindmark with an assist, De St. Phalle with a goal and Alex Turcotte with a goal and assist. Turcotte centers the first line with Luke Toporowski (committed to Spokane Chiefs WHL) on the left and De St. Phalle on the right wing. Lindmark and Koufis played together on a line with Lindmark centering the line.
I was really, really impressed with Turcotte and De St. Phalle today. Both have elite skating ability...both have incredible top-end speed and acceleration. De St. Phalle has really great hands and he is masterful at possessing the puck, even in heavy traffic. Many times he took control of the puck in his own end and just patiently evaded and escaped every opponent in his vicinity until he found a clearing and started the attack. De St. Phalle used his speed to generate two breakaway attempts today, neither of which he scored on. One he carried the puck, the other he flew behind the defense and received a pass to go in all alone. Turcotte is fantastic on his skates and many times just used his body and his feel to shield the puck and skate around guys while they were trying to push him off the puck. These guys should be terrors in two years when they hit campus.
Lindmark didn't jump out at me a whole lot as I watched. I think his skating is above average.
Koufis seemed to be an average skater.
Mission's first line was so good I think it made anyone not playing with them look average. After some penalties Koufis ended up playing the right wing with the top line and he threaded a great pass to one of the other forwards that they almost converted. It just seemed like good things happened to whoever was on the ice with Turcotte and Toporowski. De St. Phalle still stood out when he was not with his typical linemates, but it didn't seem like he was able to consistently show off his complete skill set with the other forwards.
I used to go watch a lot of hockey at this level but since my daughter has played it has admittedly been a while. My evaluation skills are likely showing some rust...
Funny story...I saw a guy at the rink I knew I had seen a picture of somewhere...got to thinking that maybe it was Andy Johnson. So I walked up and introduced myself and low and behold it was Andy. He and I used to blog together and interact digitally for a lot of years but we had never met in person. It was interesting that he would not "take the bait" and talk about specific players but did say he had seen both those teams play 8 times this year and thought it was a sloppy game after I mentioned I was disappointed with all the defensemen beyond maybe Vlasic and Weiss for Mission.
Speaking of Weiss (Notre Dame commit), one of the TW players blasted him over the boards into the TW bench area in the third period.
I had a great time watching the future Badgers and was glad I made the time to take in the game. That is a really impressive team. And to think that Badger defensive recruit Brady Smith started the year with that Mission team before jumping to the USHL....