Brandon Francisco, a highly skilled forward for the York Simcoe Express bantam team in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, has verbally committed to attend the University of Maine on a hockey scholarship.
The 15-year-old Francisco, a left shot right winger, will come to Maine in 2011.
Express coach Maurice Catenacci called Francisco “a tremendously talented player. He has great, great hands, better than most pros.
“He has a quick release [on his shot] and he has a good shot. His ability to score is his greatest asset,” said Catenacci while also admitting he would like to see Francisco shoot more.
Catenacci said they don’t keep up-to-date statistics, preferring to focus on the team concept, but he estimated that Francisco had 50-60 goals and 50-60 assists in 50 games.
He will have to work on the defensive aspect of his game and he will have to learn to move the puck more efficiently, said Catenacci, who formerly played for Maine assistant coach Grant Standbrook in Varese, Italy.
The 5-foot-9, 160-pound Francisco, who is from Bradford, Ontario, said he also talked to Michigan, Notre Dame and Colorado College and wound up choosing chose Maine over Michigan.
“The crowd and the atmosphere drew me in,” said Francisco. “The area is really nice and I felt wanted [by the coaches and players] there.”
He said he needs to get “bigger, faster and stronger” and he also has to “fine-tune my skills to get ready to play against older players.”
His coming to Maine is contingent upon his acceptance into the school and meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.
UM tops HE in academic picks
UMaine led all Hockey East schools by placing 16 players on the league’s All-Academic team.
Junior winger Chris Hahn was one of three Hockey East Top Scholar-Athletes and senior defenseman Travis Ramsey was named a Hockey East Distinguished Scholar-Athlete.
Hahn shared Hockey East Top Scholar-Athlete with UMass Lowell’s Frank Stegnar and UNH’s Brad Flaishans, marking the first time in the 24-year history of the league three student-athletes achieved a 4.00 grade point average for the year.
Hahn and teammate Tanner House, a freshman center, were named to the Hockey East Academic All-Star team which honors the top GPA by position.
Maine was the only team to place two players on the Academic All-Star team.
Ramsey was one of three Hockey East players to be named a Distinguished Scholar by earning a 3.0 GPA or higher each semester for four years.
Ramsey has been named to the Hockey East Academic honor roll four times; Hahn is a three-time selection; Ben Bishop and Keenan Hopson were chosen for the second time and first-year members included Glenn Belmore, Brett Carriere, Simon Danis-Pepin, Robby Dee, Jeff Dimmen, Shane Foley, House, Keif Orsini, Lem Randall, Andrew Sweetland, Josh VanDyk and Dave Wilson.
To earn a spot on the Hockey East All-Academic team, players must post a 3.0 GPA or higher in both semesters.
Burlock earns regional honor
UMaine senior track standout Lindsay Burlock of Caribou has been named to the ESPN The Magazine’s CoSIDA Academic All-District women’s track and field/cross country second team.
The America East All-Academic team and America East Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection, who was a Maine Scholar-Athlete Award winner, graduated last month with a degree in food science and nutrition.
Burlock ran a leg for the triumphant 4X400-meter relay team at the America East Championships. The relay team went on to set a school record with a time of 3:48.17 at the NCAA Eastern Regionals.
Burlock finished second in the 200-meter dash at the AE championships and was 29th in the 400-meter run at the 2008 ECAC Championships.