By Matt Mackinder, NA3HL.com
After making the jump last season from Midget AA hockey to the Metro Jets, Mike Moroso is hoping to continue the trend this year by moving up to the Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the North American Hockey League.
Port Huron starts their training camp next week and Moroso has every intention of being on the Fighting Falcons’ opening night roster. His offseason workload certainly helped him get the attention of the Port Huron staff.
“I prepared myself for the final camp by consistently getting myself on the ice, anything I could do just to skate about four or five times a week,” said Moroso, a 20-year-old forward from Macomb, Mich. “Working out and running at least three times a week also was big in my preparation.”
Last year with the Jets, Moroso was third in team scoring with 20 goals and 16 assists for 36 points in 43 games. He also led the team and was second in the North American 3 Hockey League with four shorthanded goals.
”Going into my last year of juniors, I’m looking to improve on last year and hopefully impress some college scouts in hopes to play a high level of college next year,” Moroso said. “Getting the coaching (last year with the Jets) from (head coach) Jason (Cirone), (assistant Sean) Clark and (assistant) Jamie (Hayden) was big in helping me make the NAHL this year. All their knowledge on the game and how they taught it to me made a huge difference in my game.”
PORT HURON CONNECTIONS
Should Moroso wind up with Port Huron, he’ll be the third former Metro skater to play with the Fighting Falcons. Defenseman Sam Bell played two games at the start of last year, while Tommy Kilgore was called up from the Jets to Port Huron for a three-game stretch last season.
Forwards Shane Halaas and Ryan Kelly and defenseman Jacob Schlacht joined the Jets last season in separate trades after both started the year in Port Huron.
Adam Frank, Port Huron’s leading scorer a year ago, was a Jets draft pick in 2010.
JR. PENS’ TROMBETTA ADVANCES TO CCHL
Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins forward Nolan Trombetta has signed with the Smith Falls Bears of the Tier 1 Canadian Central Junior A Hockey League.
Trombetta, who was also a first round pick (sixth overall) of the Fresno Monsters of the North American Hockey League in May, is a 1993 birthyear who will be a senior in high school. He was the Jr. Penguins’ youngest player on their roster last season.
“We are very proud of Nolan for his success so far,” said Pittsburgh head coach Brian Cersosimo. “He is a tireless worker who plays a great game on the ice, but is also a great young man off the ice, which will help lead to better things for him.”
“I want to thank the entire Jr. Penguins organization for everything,” added Trombetta. “I've played through all levels of the organization. The organization is a class act and has a very, very bright future.”
HITMEN ANNOUNCE TUTORING PROGRAM
The Chicago Hitmen have announced the formation of a tutoring program for their NAHL and NA3HL teams.
George Atsaves, who earned a Master of Education degree from DePaul University in 2009, will head the program that will include ACT prep. The program will also feature tutoring for players still enrolled in high school or junior college, along with assistance in the application process for players who do not earn a hockey based college scholarship.
Atsaves, who “can’t wait to start working with the Hitmen players,” spent the summer creating a syllabus, selecting a textbook, and working with the coaching staff to settle on a schedule.
“These boys are at an important time in their development, not just as players, but as people,” said Hitmen owner Mark Hammersmith. “The tutoring program, along with our other off-ice programs such as visits to Children’s Memorial Hospital, go a long way toward helping us reach our goal of building a good team on and off the ice.”
The program will begin on Tuesday, Sept. 6, and will run the length of the season.
SEVEN FROM PEORIA MOVING UP THE LADDER
Five Peoria Mustangs skaters from the 2010-2011 team have earned scholarships to play hockey in college, while young forwards Nathan Chasteen and Mitchell McPherson will be making the jump to the NAHL.
Team captain Evan Jones is off to Division III Nichols College, Anthony Yezek will play for Florida Gulf Coast University, Brandon Neville will stay in town to skate for Robert Morris College and Mason Riley and Kyle Hamilton will play for the Robert Morris College campus in Chicago.
Chasteen (Wichita Falls Wildcats) and McPherson (Texas Tornado) still have junior eligibility and are NAHL-bound.
“We can’t say enough of all seven of these players,” said Peoria coach Jean-Guy Trudel.
Trudel also chimed in on all seven of his departing players:
On Jones: “Jonesy gave everything he had everyday and was a great leader for our young team. He gave us two great years and now we expect him to be a top defenseman in D-III at Nichols.”
On Hamilton: “He gave us three outstanding years. Played injured last year and still was our offensive leader. Great work ethic and played with no fear.”
On Yezek: “One of the best athletes we ever had. Great kid with a great work ethic. Played him on ‘D’ or forward and never complained. Another great leader who will do great at the next level.”
On Riley: “We just had him for one year, but wow. A warrior with more heart than most. Great kid with great skills. One of the fastest skaters in the league and can hit like a train.”
On Neville: “Our most improved player. Learned what it took to be a top-six forward on a great team. Great on penalty kill and will block shots and can also score.”
On Chasteen: “Our most talented young player. Had a great year offensively, but also played great in his defensive zone. Has what it takes to play D-I, but now it’s just a matter of how much he wants it.”
On McPherson: “Took a big step this year. Very good hockey instincts. A big man that understands the little things that makes you better as a hockey player. Tough as nails and a great kid that will only get better.”