Maine Hockey Journal

Pappalardo commits to UMaine

(PHOTO:  Dan & Margaret Hickling)

(PHOTO: Dan & Margaret Hickling)

LEWISTON — Maine’s newest men’s hockey recruit Jake Pappalardo just got better as last season went along in his first season at Proctor Academy.

As a repeat sophomore – a common occurrence when a player moves from high school to prep hockey – he had 15 goals and 22 assists in 38 games.

His head coach Mike Walsh didn’t expect him to have that type of season right off the bat.

“I think he overachieved, especially the last a couple months,” Walsh said. “I think that’s the attractive part of him as a prospect, he showed a lot of improvement. A lot of kids come out, and they are able to get out to good starts and some kids aren’t able to maintain (that pace). He actually got stronger and stronger as the season wore on with more responsibility. The bigger the game, the bigger the effort (was).”

He was also coming back from a serious snowmobile accident from the previous winter where he broke his arm and missed the last part of the 2012-13 season with Salem High School (N.H.). He was kept off the ice for eight weeks due to his injury.

The college interest began last winter as schools saw him at some prep showcases and jamborees.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound native from Salem, N.H. had interest in a couple of Ivy League schools but decided Maine was the right fit for him. He plans to attend Orono in either the 2016 or 2017.

“Ben Guite was the original guy who recruited me and who got me on campus,” Pappalardo said. “After the tour, I really like Maine, I liked the rink and everything it had to offer. When coach (Red) Gendron called me to give me the (scholarship) offer, I was really excited. I didn’t know what to say. I told him I would need a little bit (of time) to think about it.”

Pappalardo went up Friday for the Black Bears regular season opener and said it was everything he thought it would be and more. He announced his commitment on Twitter Saturday afternoon.

He did say it was difficult to pass up an Ivy League education.

“An Ivy League education is unmatched. In a way the more I think about it, it doesn’t matter what kind of education you get at the end of the day,” Pappalardo said. “If you are motivated and have the desire to be successful, regardless where you go to college you’ll be successful.”

In the summer, the self-described power forward who plays with a lot of energy went to USA Hockey’s National Select 17 camp where his Grey team won the tournament. He had four goals and three assists in five games.

“That was a lot of fun,” he said. “I got to play with a lot of talented hockey players as well as against. I thought I had a pretty good showing. It would have been nice to make the all-star team or get a chance to play in the (Ivan) Hlinka (U-18) tournament (for Team USA).”

The most significant thing Walsh sees Pappalardo needs to do to be successful at the college level is to adjust to the speed of the college game.

“The biggest challenge is him continuing what he does now at a higher pace,” Walsh said. “You are playing against bigger and stronger kids that move faster.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login