The North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL) announced its Pointstreak Peak Performers from the NAPHL Showcase event in Frisco, Texas. The players were selected based upon their performance at the fifth NAPHL showcase event of the season, which was held at the Dr Pepper StarCenter in Frisco and McKinney, Texas from December 27-30, 2012.
MIDGET MAJOR (18U) POINTSTREAK PEAK PERFORMER-Marcus Mollica, forward, Anaheim Jr. Ducks
With one regular season event to go, the Anaheim Jr. Ducks 18U team finds themselves in great position to make the top 8 in the playoffs thanks to their perfect 4-0-0 performance while in Texas. 17-year-old forward Marcus Mollica led the way for the Ducks as the native of Trabuco Canyon, California, registered 12 points in the four games as he earned the NAPHL 18U Pointstreak Peak Performer honor. Mollica (5’9/168) scored five goals (including one game-winner) and added seven assists as he ran his point streak to 11 straight games and is now one of the top three scorers in the 18U Division.
Mollica started the event with an assist on the game-tying goal in the 3rd period and then a goal in the shootout in a 3-2 shootout win over the Omaha AAA Hockey Club. The next day, Mollica had two goals (including the game-winner) and two assists in an 8-2 win over the Atlanta Fire. On the third day the Ducks faced a very tough Pikes Peak Miners squad and Mollica responded again with two more goals and an assist in a convincing 5-2 win. On the final day of the event, Mollica responded with another four-point game as he scored a goal and added three assists in a 8-3 win over New Jersey as Anaheim ran their current win streak to six straight games. Mollica is now 3rd in NAPHL 18U scoring with 28 points and ranks tied for 4th in assists with 17.
It isn’t surprising that the Ducks are in position to win their Division and make the Top 8 for the playoffs. The organization has set a standard of excellence since coming into the league as the Orange County Hockey Club, which later merged and became part of the Jr. Ducks organization this past summer. 18U Ducks head coach Mark Mollica, who also happens to be Marcus’s father, said that success for the Ducks has been a team effort. “I think we are strong in all areas and every guy on the roster works very hard.” The Jr. Ducks have the #1 scoring offense in the 18U Division, as they average 4.2 goals per game. As for his thoughts on his son, the elder Mollica stated that… "Marcus is not a big flashy player that is going to catch your eye as soon as he steps on the ice, but over the course of a 51 minute game you begin to recognize his consistent solid play in all areas of the rink,” said Mollica. “His knowledge of the game and his ability to see plays develop are a key to his success.”
The common belief that Mollica is one of the best and effective players in the 18U Division extends to the Ducks assistant coach, Jeremy Daughaday as well. "Marcus is one of the most unselfish players in the league. He would rather pass to an open teammate than score a goal,” said Daughaday. “His passing and vision are second to none. Marcus also possesses a very high hockey IQ. His ability to play away from the puck is a big reason for much of his success this season." Mollica has his eyes set on college hockey and will weigh his options following the season, which may include junior hockey or prep school hockey.
MIDGET MINOR (16U) POINTSTREAK PEAK PERFORMER-Tyson McLellan, forward, San Jose Jr. Sharks
For San Jose Jr. Sharks 16U forward Tyson McLellan, the 2012-13 season has been a coming out party for the 16-year-old. The native of San Jose, California, has flourished in his first season playing in the NAPHL and this past event held in Texas was a perfect example of why now McLellan is considered a very high-end junior and college hockey prospect. McLellan (5’10/160) led the Jr. Sharks to a perfect 4-0-0 record while in Texas and they now sit in great position to make the Top 8 for the NAPHL Championship Series playoffs in mid-January. It has all been part of a season which now has McLellan being mentioned as one of the top players in the league.
While in Texas, McLellan helped the Sharks to four wins (only one of two teams to do so) as he posted nine points, including an eye-popping seven goals and two assists in the four wins. Two of his goals were of the game-winning variety. McLellan is now tied for 5th in NAPHL 16U scoring with 30 points and his 14 goals to date ranks 4th. McLellan started the event with two goals in a 7-2 win over the Phoenix Firebirds. In the next game, McLellan was at his finest as he scored all three of his team’s goals, including the game-winner, in a 3-0 win over the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks. After going scoreless for the first time in five games in a 4-3 win over a very good New Jersey Jr. Titans team, McLelland rebounded with a four-point performance in a 10-0 win over the Pursuit of Excellence, in which McLellan scored his second game-winning goal of the event. “The whole team worked hard leading up to the event and then during the weekend in Texas. The entire group of players is a hard-working group and they do a very good job of pushing themselves. Tyson leads that group of players. He worked hard during the summer in the off-season and came back a better player with more strength, foot speed, power and aggressiveness and that has translated to seeing him be effective in games for all three periods,” said Jr. Sharks 16U head coach John Beaulieu.
If the last name sounds familiar in hockey circles, it should, because Tyson’s father Todd McLellan is the head coach of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. However, Tyson has been quick to create his own niche and reputation in the league as a prospect who can not only get things done on the ice, but also in the classroom. “Everyone is looking for the all-around player and I think Tyson is that type of guy, who can score, skate, create for his teammates, play two-way hockey and do it with a certain physical style and aggressiveness. Plus, he is a 4.0 student so he is going to have many options to choose from when pursuing the next levels of hockey,” continued Beaulieu. “Tyson has great puck control, he can find the back of the net, but he also pays attention to playing two-way hockey. He plays with an aggressive style and doesn’t shy away from the physical aspect of the game, which will make him a very effective player when he gets to the next level.”
Earlier in December, the elder McLellan was asked about the future plans for his son. “Tyson has been able to improve and showcase his skills, as have his teammates because of all of the events that the NAPHL has. As time goes on, every player wants to improve over the season, keep up on their academics and hopefully get some exposure and feedback from the some scouts. We as family understand that there are many options out there for him. I think short term, he just wants to grow his game enough that he is fortunate enough to be in the position make that type of decision,” said Todd McLellan.
The sixth NAPHL event of the 2012-13 season will take place from January 18-21 at the Troy Sports Center in Troy, Michigan, and will feature all 36 teams in the NAPHL playing in their final regular season event of the 2012-13 season. The NAPHL is comprised of six regular-season events leading up to its Championship Tournament Series in which the top teams at each level compete for a league championship. The PHL season concludes with its Top Prospects Tournament, which will be held in conjunction with the NAHL Robertson Cup Championship Tournament in May 2013.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)