Atlantic Youth Hockey League


AMHL Has 21 Names Called in 2015 NAHL Draft

Release Date : 06/14/2015

DALLAS, TEXAS. – The North American Hockey League held their annual entry draft on Tuesday afternoon and the Atlantic Metropolitan Hockey League had 21 names called by the NAHL’s 22 teams – 11 active players and 10 alumni of the Atlantic Youth Hockey League and the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League were chosen in the 16 round event.

Of the 22 players chosen, the New Jersey Junior Titans selected four players (all active), the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights chose three (all active), the Austin Bruins and the Lone Star Brahmas each selected two (two active and two alumni) and Aston, Bismark, Brookings, Corpus Christi, Janesville, Johnstown, Kenai River, Minnesota, Odessa, and Topeka each selected one.

The first two names off the board were alumni forwards Chris Gambardella (Staten Island, N.Y.) and A.J. Drobot (Churchville, Pa./Maine) who were selected by the Bismark Bobcats (Round 2/Pick 12/34th overall) and the Austin Bruins (Round 3/Pick 20/65th overall). The duo skated as teammates with the New Jersey Rockets (EHL) before Gambardella earned a midseason promotion to the Lincoln Stars (USHL).

Gambardella, a career Rocket in the AMHL, won a Keegan Cup with the Rockets in 2013. The Staten Island native had 32 points (17G 15A) in 30 games before adding three goals and four assists in 30 games with Lincoln.

Drobot, who spent his AYHL career with the Mercer Chiefs, Team Comcast and the New Jersey Colonials, had 29 points (11G 18A) in 35 EHL games. Drobot dressed in one game with Sioux Falls, who drafted the Maine-committed forward in the 4th round of the 2014 USHL Phase I draft.

The Odessa Jackalopes made defenseman Marc Happy (Norwalk, Conn.) the first selection in the fourth round (68th overall). The defenseman saw action in six games for the Connecticut Oil Kings Midget 18U team. Happy was a mainstay in the lineup for the Connecticut Oilers (EHL) where he registered 25 points (8G 17A) in the regular season and 9 points (3G 6A) in 11 playoff games, helping the Oilers win the EHL Postseason Championship. Happy did not register a point in the AYHL.

With the very next pick, the Kenai River Brown Bears chose New Jersey Junior Titans forward Riche McCartney (Hershey, Pa.) with the 69th overall selection. McCartney was the MJHL’s Goal Scoring Champion for the 2013-14 season when McCartney was with the Central Penn Panthers when the Hershey resident registered 45 goals in 41 games. After joining the Titans 18U team in December, McCartney had five goals and four assists in ten games.

Johnstown then selected Philadelphia Junior Flyers forward Jack McDonough (Doylestown, Pa) with their 4th round selection (75th overall). McDonough saw action in 22 regular season games at the Midget 16U National level, scoring 16 points (6G 10A). The 2014-15 season was McDonough’s second at 16U National. The Doylestown resident joined the Flyers after spending three seasons with the Philadelphia Little Flyers organization.

The Brookings Blizzard then selected Lincoln Stars goaltender Peyton Jones (Langhorne, Pa.) with the 4th selection of the 6th round (115th overall). Jones was a 4th round selection (62nd overall) of the Stars in the 2014 USHL Phase II Draft out of the Junior Flyers organization. Jones spent the entire season with Lincoln, seeing action in 24 games, with a 3.90 GAA and a .878 save percentage. Jones was a longtime member of the Comcast organization and also played one season with the New Jersey Rockets before joining the Junior Flyers in 2013 and played in 130 games in his AYHL career.

Topkea chose an AYHL alumnus when they selected Salisbury Prep defenseman Quincy Gregg (Stamford, Conn.) with the 13th selection of the 6th round (124th overall). Gregg spent three seasons (Pee Wee Major through Bantam Major) with Mid-Fairfield. Gregg then advanced to Salisbury Prep.

Lone Star then selected North Jersey Avalanche forward Wade Novak (Oak Ridge, N.J./Union) with the 16th selection of the sixth round (127th overall). The Union-committed forward scored nine goals and six assists to help the Avalanche reach the National Championship game. Novak has also spent time in the Colonials and Rockets organizations.

With their seventh round (143rd overall), the Janesville Jets selected New Jersey Rockets and New Jersey Devils Youth alumnus Bobby Hampton (Middletown, N.J.). Hampton spent three seasons in the AYHL where the Middletown resident averaged 1.5 points per game.

One pick later, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights made Team Comcast defenseman Richard Brusco (Blenheim, N.J.) the first selection of the eighth round (144th overall). Brusco has spent his entire AYHL career with Comcast, appearing in 223 regular season games. Brusco scored five goals, and added five assists, for Comcast’s Midget 18U team.

The Minnesota Wilderness selected AYHL alumnus Will Brophy (Fairfield, Conn./Holy Cross) with the ninth selection of the eighth round (152nd overall). Brophy spent his Bantam years with Mid-Fairfield, appearing in 53 regular season games. Brophy then moved on to Westminster Prep. The Holy Cross-committed defenseman was selected by Omaha in the 16th round of the 2015 USHL Phase II Draft and was a 13th round selection by Chicoutimi in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft.

The New Jersey Titans then made the first of their four AMHL selections, when they selected longtime Junior Titans player, Anthony Cusanelli (Holmdel, N.J.) with the fifth selection of the ninth round (160th overall). Cusanelli has spent his entire AMHL career with the Titans and has spent the last three seasons moving between their EHL, MJHL, Midget 18U and Midget 16U National teams. Cusanelli also saw action in a pair of games for Kenai River.

The Titans returned to the AMHL for their tenth round selection when they chose Junior Flyers goaltender Harrison Feeney (Lafayette Hill, Pa.). Feeney appeared in ten games for the Junior Flyers, with a sparking 1.88 GAA and a .895 save percentage. Prior to joining the Flyers for the 2014-15 season, Feeney spent four seasons with the Valley Forge Minutemen, seeing action in 65 games.

The Bruins selected their second AYHL alumnus when they chose Jacob Paganelli (Verona, N.J./Princeton) with eighth selection of the 10th round (174th overall). Paganelli spent four seasons with the New Jersey Devils Youth and a pair of seasons with the New Jersey Rockets. Following his year with the Devils at the 16U National level, Paganelli reported to Shattuck-St Mary’s, where the Princeton-commit had 24 goals in 54 games.

Corpus Christi selected AYHL alumnus Simon Butala (Downingtown, Pa./Maine) with sixth selection of the 11th round (182nd overall). The Maine-committed defenseman was a longtime member of the Junior Flyers organization before joining the Long Island Gulls in their run to nationals. Butala moved on to the Rockets EHL program before a mid-season callup to Sioux City (USHL), who acquired the Pennsylvania native from Madison, who selected Butala with the eighth overall section in the 2014 USHL Phase I Draft.

The Brahmas selected the Metropolitan Junior Hockey League’s Defenseman of the Year with the ninth pick of the 11th round (185th overall). Matthew Araujo (Brookhaven, N.Y.), a multiple time MJHL All-Star, has spent his entire career with the Long Island Royals organization. Araujo enjoyed his finest campaign in 2014-15; scoring 10 goals with 21 assists, helping the Royals again make the MJHL playoffs.

The Aston Rebels, the newest member of the NAHL, would then chose MJHL alumnus Robbie Roche (Wachusett, Mass.) with the second selection of the 13th round (194th overall). Roche appeared in 20 games with the Walpole Express during the 2013-14 season, scoring four goals, with six assists. Roche then advanced to Walpole’s EHL program and was also drafted in May by the Tri-City Story in the 6th round of the USHL Phase II Draft. Roche’s QMJHL rights are held by the Moncton Wildcats, who chose the defenseman with the 206th overall pick in the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft.

The Titans would make their final two AYHL selections with their 14th and 15th round selections, choosing Junior Titans product, Greg Malafronte (Holmdel, N.J.) with the 195th overall selection, and Junior Flyers product Jake Gerbner (Havertown, Pa.) with the 199th choice.

Malafronte has spent four seasons with the Titans, appearing in 72 games. The Holmdel resident had his best season in 2014-15, when he had 14 goals and 10 assists, in 18 games at the Midget 18U level.

Gerbner, the longtime Junior Flyer forward, has appeared in at least 18 games a year, over his five-year AYHL career. Gerbner had five goals and eight assists in 18 games at Midget 18U and had 10 goals and nine assists in 30 games for the Flyers in the prestigious Tier 1 Elite League.

The Knights then returned to the AYHL, and their own organization, for their final two selections.

The Knights chose Paul DeNaples (Moscow, Pa.) with their 15th round choice (200th overall). DeNaples has been a staple on the blueline for the Knights since 2010, averaging 25 regular season games for the program. This past season, DeNaples matched his career high in goals, with seven, and added 18 assists and was an AYHL All-Star selection.

With the final selection of the draft (202nd overall), the Knights chose fellow blueliner Joseph Campolieto (Enyon, Pa.). Campolieto began his AYHL career with the New Jersey Rockets, where he played three seasons before joining the Knights for his midget seasons. Campolieto set a career-high in goals with 11, adding 12 assists, in 27 regular season games for the Knights.

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