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American hockey prospects return to Buffalo

American hockey prospects return to Buffalo

Photo By Bob Caico, Jr.

Joseph Cecconi (#5) at the All-American prospects game

Photos by Bob Caico, Jr.

The third annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects game which brings the top 40 American-born prospects eligible for the NHL draft was held at First Niagara Center on September 25th. This is the second time Buffalo has hosted the game since the inaugural event in 2012 also held at First Niagara. The first two years of play a total of eight players who participated were selected in the first round of the NHL draft. The highest Buffalo Sabre draftee to play in the game was J.T. Compher in 2012 who was selected 35th overall. The most recognizable player from the games is Seth Jones who was selected 4th overall by Nashville in 2012. The player to watch in this game was Jack Eichel of N. Chelmsford, Mass. who is expected to be drafted number one or number two in the 2015 NHL entry draft. Eichel was voted Most Valuable Player of the game and the award was presented by Buffalo Sabre Drew Stafford. The lone local player in the game was Joseph Cecconi of Youngstown, NY who played for Team Olczyk (coached by Ed Olczyk). Cecconi, a 6’2 207 lb defenseman played for the Niagara University Jr. Eagles, Wheatfield Blades, Buffalo Regals and the Buffalo Jr. Sabres. The 17-year old is committed to play at the University of Michigan in 2015. Cecconi played solid defense throughout and was not on the ice for any of the opponent’s six goals. The game started a little slow as both teams seemed to make the safe play which lead to a scoreless first period. Things opened up in the second as Team Grier (coached by Mike Grier) opened the scoring at 5:35. That goal brought life into both teams as they opened up and a total of five goals were scored in the period. Team Grier took over in the third period and won the game by a 6-3 score. Jeremy Bracco and Connor Moynihan had two goals apiece while Jack Eichel had a goal and an assist for the winners. Coming as no surprise to the hockey world, attendance was a record for a prospect’s game with an announced crowd of 7,310.

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