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EHL All-Star Jake Mendeszoon Brings Scoring Touch To New Hampshire Avalanche

By Tom Robinson, 10/26/19, 10:45AM MDT

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Mendeszoon closing in on 2018-19 point total in early going of season

Jake Mendeszoon was ready when the Eastern Hockey League season started.The 20-year old defenseman and the New Hampshire Avalanche are collecting the rewards of an early offensive explosion.

The Avalanche sit at first in the EHL Power Rankings and are tied atop the New England Conference standings with a 10-2-1 start.

At the league’s all-star break, Mendeszoon is one of four Avalanche players on the EHL All-Star Team that is competing in a series of exhibition games against Division III college opponents. The first game, a 1-1 tie against Fitchburg State, took place on Thursday, while the All-Stars will face Salem State on Friday and UMass-Boston on Saturday.

“I came to the [Avalanche] late last year,” said Mendeszoon, who helped New Hampshire capture the 2019 EHL Championship. “A couple of my teammates got picked and I saw a couple of the games.

“It was a really cool experience and hearing from my teammates who played in it last year, they said nothing but great things about it. So, my goal this summer, working as hard I can for when I came back, was to try to make the games.”

Mendeszoon, a Methuen, MA native, put in the time to make that happen working with Avalanche head coach Chris Cerrella and others during the offseason.

“What allowed me to get off to a good start this season was all the time I put in with coach Cerrella,” Mendeszoon said. “I would skate four to five times a week, just with him personally. I also skated with another coach as well, so I was skating six or seven times a week and doing private lessons.

“I worked on one-timers a lot. I have just been shooting the puck a lot. I’ve had some puck luck and it’s been working out. I listen to my coach. He tells me to shoot and play simple. It’s been working so far this year.”

The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder had a dozen points in the first six games as the Avalanche won five times.

New Hampshire (10-2-1) has been winning with balance and defense. Four players have scored 16 points or more in 13 games, and the Avalanche is the second-toughest team to score on in the 11-team league at 2.15 goals per game.

Forward Victor Nikiforov, a Hauppauge, NY native, leads the team with 18 points while Derry, NH native Tim Cronin has registered 17.

Kyle Anderson, who has a team-high nine goals, and Mendeszoon, who leads with 13 assists, each have 16 points. Mendeszoon had 20 points from the blue line in all of 2018-19, when he played in 43 games with the Avalanche.

Nikiforov, Anderson, Mendeszoon and defenseman Jacob Iida are all representing the Avalanche in EHL All-Star Weekend, while the team is being coached by Cerrella.

Though the EHL All-Star team only managed a 1-1 tie against Fitchburg State, it was an exciting game that ended with a scoreless, five-minute overtime period.

“Tonight’s game was awesome,” Cerrella said, according to a story on the league website. “It was fast-paced and it was our first tie against an NCAA Division III college hockey team so far as a league.           

“It was a success.”

Mendeszoon said players are adjusting to each other quickly.

“The transition was a little easier than I expected,” Mendeszoon said. “The pace was a little faster than we’re all used to, but I think we were all able to adjust pretty quick, based on our skill and hockey sense.”

The goal is to prove they can fit in competing with college hockey players.

“I’ve already talked to a few schools this year,” Mendeszoon said. “Playing in the all-star games and playing against college coaches is really good exposure. There are a lot of coaches from good schools coming to these games.

“It’s good for them to see how we do against the college guys. I’m just trying to play well and hopefully be seen by some good schools that I’m looking into.”

Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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