Prep School Hockey Federation (PSHF) is changing scouts’ minds on how to look at high school hockey.
Another year of PSHF hockey is in the books, with both the Under-18 and Under-16 championships wrapping up this past Sunday. On the U18 side, Rothesay Netherwood School (RNS) took home top prize, and Blyth Academy South won it for the U16s.
The tournament lived up to the level of excitement organizers were anticipating as the weekend held tight scoring hockey games with only four games decided outside of a single goal difference. The tournament style playoff saw the likes of CCHL, OHL and QMJHL scouts out to see the potential in the young league.
PSHF Director Rob Radford was beyond enthused about the accomplishments of the weekend.
“I feel spoiled,” he said. “Watching these kids work all year, progress the way they have to display it like this and impress scouts is amazing.” Over 60 scouts were in attendance over the weekend to see the prep schools play, for both the U18 and U16 leagues.
In the younger league, for Blyth South and Newbridge Academy, this was the expected finals matchup. The two teams were alone at the top of the standings, Blyth South up five points on Newbridge and the two were nine points clear of third. Blythe’s Nolan Guertin ended up being the championship hero. He scored the lone goal of final game against Newbridge halfway through the first, for his third point and second goal of the playoffs.
Guertin is a large demanding forward at 6-foot-1 and 210 lbs and he scored 12 goals in 23 games during the regular season. Though the big factor for Blyth Academy was goaltender Andrew Barwinski, who gave up two goals in a 3-2 win and didn’t allow another goal against all weekend. Barwinski saw himself go 0-0 through an overtime for a tie in his second game and a 1-0 shutout win in the championship game.
That added to his impressive season winning 10 out of his 17 games played, including registering four shutouts.
The U18 division championships saw another appearance from Blyth Academy but on the wrong end of the final game. Rothesay Netherwood School looked like they were going to follow suit with the U16 game from earlier in the day, taking a 0-0 game into the third. But that’s when RNS shifted gears, scoring two quick goals and driving the nail in the coffin with two more to finish off Blyth Academy and win the championship.
Shawn Migabo managed a goal and an assist in the third to help propel his team to victory. His two points added to his lone goal that he got against Kings Edgehill School in their first game, where they commandingly won 7-2.
The championship finals for both leagues saw some great upsets, as both RNS and Blyth Central were third and fifth respectively during the season and both knocked off higher seeds to get to the finals.
Radford was keen to share how impressed the scouts were with the competitive level of hockey the championships offered.
The games were also streamed online so family and scouts from across North America could tune into see the teams play.
“Ratings were impressive online and we had a good turn out for the games too, upwards of 300 people for big games,” Radford said. “The venue was amazing at (Canadian International Hockey) Arena, this is our second year hosting there and it’s been a very successful event.”
The PSHF is a young league and the recognition has exceeded expectations for the group. PSHF’s goal is to combine high level competitive hockey with the discipline of top education and showcase it areas around North America.
They’ve been able to set up tournaments around Canada as well have been through the University of New Hampshire and University of Vermont. Next Radford says they’ll look into getting into the Boston area.
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