Massachusetts Hockey Trio Headed To USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp

AMHERST, Mass. , Three members of the Massachusetts hockey program have been invited to the National Junior Evaluation Camp, USA Hockey announced on Tuesday. Rising sophomore defensemen Scott Morrow and Ryan Ufko and incoming freshman forward Kenny Connors will travel to Plymouth, Michigan for the camp, set for July 24-August 3 at USA Hockey Arena. In total 60 individuals, comprised of 35 forwards, 20 defensemen and five goaltenders will attend.

The camp will be used to evaluate players for the USA National Junior Teams for the 2022 and 2023 World Junior Championships. The 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship will be held August 9-20 in Edmonton, Alberta and the final 23-player USA roster is expected to be announced by August 3. The tournament was originally scheduled for Dec. 26, 2021 – Jan. 5, 2022, in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta, but was canceled due to COVID.

The roster for the 2023 US National Junior Team, which will play in the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship Dec. 26, 2022 – Jan. 5, 2023, in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Moncton, New Brunswick, is expected to be announced in mid-December.

Morrow, who was selected to Team USA prior to the postponement of the World Junior Championship last December, was named a First Team All-American, a First Team Hockey East All-Star and a Hockey East All-Rookie Team honoree in 2021-22 . He ended the season tied for sixth among the nation’s freshmen in goals (13), seventh in points (33) and 11th in points per-game (.892). He was third among rookie defensemen in points per-game, second in goals and points and fifth in assists (20).

Among all defensemen nationally, Morrow finished eighth in points per-game, tied for fourth in goals and fifth in points. He finished his rookie campaign +11 over 37 games and contributed three power-play goals and three game winners.

The Darien Connecticut native became the fourth defenseman in program history to reach the 30-point plateau and first to do so as a freshman, later joined by Ufko. Morrow’s 13 goals tied for fourth-most by a defenseman in a single season in program history, with the only Minutemen defensemen to score more in a single season being UMass Hall of Famer Thomas Poeck (twice) and Hobey Baker winner Cale Makar (16 in 2018-19).

Morrow was Hockey East’s top scoring rookie and led all defensemen in league play with 23 points over 24 games. He tied for seventh with 11 goals and tied for sixth in points per-game (9.583), first among rookies and first among defensemen in both categories.

A Hockey East All-Rookie Team selection, Ufko led Hockey East in league play with 19 assists in 24 games and tied for sixth in scoring in league action with 22 points as he also netted three goals en route to a Hockey East All-Star Honorable Mention no. The February Hockey East Rookie of the Month put up 31 points over 37 games on five goals and 26 assists to finish tied for the national lead among rookie defensemen in assists and third among rookie defensemen in points. A native of Smithtown, New York, Ufko contributed three power-play goals and one shorthanded goal and posted a +5 rating on the year.

Connors comes to UMass following two seasons in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints where he put up 77 points over 115 games on 30 goals and 47 assists. In 2021-22 with Dubuque, he put up 56 points in 61 contests on 25 goals and 31 assists with a +22 rating during the regular season.

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