The Merrimack College men’s ice hockey program and head coach Scott Borek are excited to welcome 16 student-athletes as part of the incoming freshman Class of 2023.
With a group comprised of eight forwards, five defensemen and three goaltenders, the 16 new Warriors will join the program this fall and will all be eligible to compete immediately.
“These student-athletes bring many of the elements that are needed to help our program move forward, and our staff is very excited to work with them,” Borek stated. “We are excited about the players who chose Merrimack and that, in each of their decisions, they showed confidence in Merrimack College and the future of Merrimack Hockey. We tried to focus our recruiting on leaders, and that shows from the number of players coming to North Andover who have served in leadership roles on their junior teams.”
The 16 newcomers will join 12 returning letterwinners from last year’s squad that will look to return to the Hockey East Championship this winter in the second season of Borek’s tenure.
Ben Brar | Forward | 6’2″ | 190 | Left | Prince George (BCHL)
Before Merrimack: Played the 2018-2019 season in the BCHL for the Prince George Spruce Kings, appearing in 74 games … Led Prince George with 35 goals while totaling 72 points altogether … Eleven of those points came in the postseason, where Prince George won both the Fred Page Cup and the Doyle Cup … Also led the Spruce Kings with 33 goals during the 2017-18 season.
Borek on Brar: “Ben served as an Assistant Captain for the 2018-19 Spruce Kings. He has led the Spruce Kings in goals in each of the last two seasons, helping lead them to the National Junior A Championship Game, where they lost by a goal. Ben was fifth in the tournament in scoring and had the game winner in the national semifinal, showing his poise on the biggest stage.”
Declan Carlile | Defenseman | 6’2″ | 180 | Left | Muskegon (USHL)
Before Merrimack: Spent the 2018-19 season completing with the Lincoln Stars and Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL, helping Muskegon win a regular season Eastern Conference title while reaching the Clark Cup conference finals … Combined to play in 59 games between the two teams while logging 19 points on four goals and 15 assists … A year prior, helped the Wellington Dukes (OJHL) finish as the national runner-up in the CHL RBC Cup while playing a key role in Wellington winning the OJHL league title, the Buckland Cup … Was named the top defenseman for Wellington in 2017-18 and a Second Team All-Prospect selection in the OJHL.
Borek on Carlile: “Declan is a physical defender who can contribute offensively as well. His game is taking away other people’s space.”
Joey Cassetti | Forward | 6’3″ | 195 | Left | Waterloo (USHL)
Before Merrimack: Spent the last two seasons with the Waterloo Black Hawks playing in over 100 games in that span … Was one of four 20-goal scorers for Waterloo last season while finishing fifth overall with 37 points in 62 games … Played in over 40 games with the United States National Under-18 Team in 2016-17.
Borek on Cassetti: “Joey served as an Assistant Captain for the 2018-19 Black Hawks. He was moved to center last year and has been the pivot on Waterloo’s top line. He plays a heavy game and has shown the ability to defend down low for the first time in his career.”
James Corcoran | Goaltender | 6’4″ | 195 | Left | Winchedon (NEPSAC)
Before Merrimack: Posted a 2.53 goals against average and a .927 save percentage during his last full season of action in 2017-18 for Winchedon, as an injury forced him to miss all of the 2018-19 campaign … His 14 shutouts as a senior at Walpole High School set a Massachusetts state record … He was named MVP of the Bay State Games as a junior and senior, and was named to the USA Today All-USA Team in 2017, as well as a Boston Globe All-Scholastic and Boston Herald Dream Team selection that year, as well.
Borek on Corcoran: “James was injured at the end of last summer but has spent the past season rehabbing and will be ready to play in the fall. James was the captain of his Walpole H.S. team.”
Liam Dennison | Defenseman | 5’9″ | 175 | Left | Youngstown (USHL)
Before Merrimack: Played the past two seasons with the Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) and enjoyed a remarkable improvement in 2018-19 from an offensive standpoint, as his production more than tripled … Finished with 25 points from the blue line on four goals and 21 helpers, the second-highest scoring total by a defenseman on the team … Helped Youngstown qualify for the 2017-18 Clark Cup Finals.
Borek on Dennison: “Liam is a mobile defender who makes an excellent first pass. In his second season with Youngstown, he tripled his offensive output. He also served as a Captain for the Phantoms this past season.”
Hugo Esselin | Forward | 6’2″ | 185 | Right | Djurgårdens IF J20 (SuperElit)
Before Merrimack: Recorded 26 points in 40 games for Djurårdens in 2018-19 with 10 goals and 16 assists … Served as assistant captain for the championship-winning Sweden team at the Under-18 championship … Also helped Sweden earn a bronze medal at the Under-20 national championship.
Borek on Esselin: “Hugo played center on the bronze medal-winning Djurgårdens team. He is a strong, heavy center. Hugo moves well and plays a strong 200-foot game. He will be a true freshman this fall.”
Filip Forsmark | Forward | 5’10” | 170 | Left | Tri-City (USHL)
Before Merrimack: Played the past two seasons with the Tri-City Storm (USHL) and was a major scoring factor last winter, ranking second on the team with 52 points … Contributed 14 goals while ranking second on the team with 38 assists to serve as a true playmaker … Added five points in six playoff games in 2019, helping the Storm reach the Clark Cup conference finals.
Borek on Forsmark: “Filip was the offensive catalyst for his team, playing in every situation for the Storm. He has an excellent stick and vision to go with it. He will be a big help on the Warrior special teams.”
Jere Huhtamaa | Goaltender | 6’2″ | 190 | Left | Jokerit U20 (Jr. A SM-Iiiga)
Before Merrimack: Recorded 30 games between the pipes for the Jokerit Under-20 team in 2018-19, posting a .903 save percentage that was the best on the squad … Also played two games in the Junior Club World Cup in August of 2018 in Socchi, Russia.
Borek on Huhtamaa: “Jere played this past season in the U-20 league with Jokerit and was part of the Finnish National program, as well. We’re excited to see what he can contribute to our young goaltending tandem this year comprised of three freshmen.”
Regan Kimens | Forward | 6’1″ | 190 | Left | Coquitlam (BCHL)
Before Merrimack: Spent the last two seasons in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) while averaging over a point per game in 2018-19 with Coquitlam … Led the express in scoring with 55 points in 54 games on 20 goals and 35 assists … Was named the team’s top forward … Also added three points in five playoff games … Split the 2017-18 campaign with Langley and Chilliwack.
Borek on Kimens: “Regan was the Assistant Captain for the Express in 2018-19. He led the team in scoring playing both center and wing and was used in all situations for Coquitlam and is seen as a strong, 200-foot player.”
Jacob Modry | Defenseman | 6’5″ | 210 | Left | Wenatchee (BCHL)
Before Merrimack: A regular on the blue line for the Wenatchee Wild of the BCHL in each of the last two seasons, helping them win the 2017-18 regular season title and the 2018 Doyle Cup … Appeared in 58 games in both 2017-18 and 2018-19, serving as assistant captain in the latter campaign … Contributed 25 points on three goals and 22 helpers, upping his point total by 14 from the previous season … Combined for 38 postseason games while adding 11 points over that span, including eight in the 2019 playoffs on three goals and five assists.
Borek on Modry: “Jacob is a strong-skating defenseman who played against the opponent’s best players in a shutdown role. He served as Wenatchee Assistant Captain for the 2018-19 campaign, as well.”
Ryan Nolan | Forward | 6’1″ | 205 | Right | Victoria (BCHL)
Before Merrimack: Appeared in over 100 games over the last two seasons with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League … Was the seventh-highest scorer last year after totaling 42 points on 18 goals and 24 assists … Added five more points in the postseason (2g, 3a) … Registered 139 penalty minutes, indicative of his hardnosed style of play in all three zones … Upped his offensive production by 25 points from 2017-18 to 2018-19.
Borek on Nolan: “Ryan served as an Assistant Captain for the Grizzlies, who finished in first place in the Island Division of the BCHL last year. He is known for his physicality and his willingness to defend hard, two qualities which we obviously look for and take pride in.”
Christian Stoever | Goaltender | 6’2″ | 175 | Left | Youngstown (USHL)
Before Merrimack: Logged 26 games in net for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League in 2018-19, posting a 3.78 goals against average and a .866 save percentage … Started the season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders … Broke out during the 2017-18 postseason with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) … Registered a remarkable 1.89 goals against average and .949 save percentage during that run that helped the Knights reach the semifinal round of the NAHL playoffs.
Borek on Stoever: “Christian broke through two years ago in Wilkes-Barre, when his playoff run led the Knights to the Robertson Cup semifinals where they fell to the eventual champions. ”
Zach Uens | Defenseman | 6’1″ | 175 | Left | Wellington (OJHL)
Before Merrimack: A dynamic defenseman who saw action in nearly 90 games with the Wellington Dukes of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL) in each of the last two seasons … Registered 22 points on six goals and 16 assists over 34 games for the Dukes in 2018-19 while totaling 10 more points (2g, 8a) in 22 playoff games … Also had 18 points in 54 games during his first campaign with Wellington in 2017-18.
Borek on Uens: “Zach will be coming to campus as a true freshman. He is a mobile defender with a very good ability to get into the rush. He has tremendous pro potential as well and it would not be surprising, if his game continues to improve, that he sees his name called in next June’s NHL Draft.”
Zach Vinnell | Defenseman | 6’1″ | 185 | Left | Camrose (AJHL)
Before Merrimack: Averaged over a point per game from the blue line for the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) in 2018-19 … Ranked in the top-40 overall in the AJHL in scoring last year and was the third-highest-scoring defenseman … Finished with 52 points in 51 contests on 14 goals and 38 assists … Altogether, played in over 150 games over most of three seasons with the Kodiaks while registering 118 points in that span … Named Camrose’s top defensive player in each of his last two seasons and leaves as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer by a defenseman.
Borek on Vinnell: “Zach is another skilled and dynamic defenseman who will contribute offensively from the blue line and potentially have an impact right away. He served as an Assistant Captain for the Kodiaks this past season and ranked second on the team in scoring and was among the AJHL’s most potent blueliners.”
Liam Walsh | Forward | 6’0″ | 190 | Left | Cedar Rapids (USHL)
Before Merrimack: Played for the Cedar Rapids of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in each of the last four seasons … Recipient of the 2019 Curt Hammer Award Winner … Ranked third on the team in scoring in 2018-19 after his most productive year yet, finishing with 44 points (25g, 19a) in 62 games while adding five more points in six postseason contests … Totaled 183 games altogether for the RoughRiders.
Borek on Walsh: “Liam served as captain for Cedar Rapids this past season after serving as an assistant captain the year prior, representing his tremendous leadership qualities and maturity. He has played both center and wing and played in all situations for the Rough Riders, versatility that will surely prove to be valuable with our program.”
Mac Welsher | Forward | 5’8″ | 175 | Left | Des Moines (USHL)
Before Merrimack: Was a top-four scorer for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League (USHL) in 2018-19, recording 46 points thanks to an 18-goal, 28-assist scoring ledger, averaging nearly a point per game … Served as assistant captain for Des Moines … Spent the 2017-18 campaign with the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL) while appearing in nearly 50 games while totaling 13 points.
Borek on Welsher: “Mac was the Assistant Captain for Des Moines and he helped lead his team back to the playoffs for the first time in three years this past winter. He has played center all year and is the first guy over the wall on the Bucs’ penalty kill. Mac loves to be F1 and will create energy with his pace of play.”