Payton Baldillez joins the Norwich University Team

by Derek Dunning, Director of Sports Information

NORTHFIELD, Vt. – Norwich University head men’s ice hockey coach Mike McShane announced that nine newcomers will be joining the Cadets for the 2014-15 season on Friday.

The nine newcomers will join 19 returners from last year’s squad that went 20-7-3 and reached the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals. Prior to Norwich’s regular season opener on Friday, Oct. 31 vs. Plymouth State, the Cadets will embark on a Quebec City Tour from Oct. 24-26.

Norwich will play two exhibition games, as well as hold a Maroon & Gold Scrimmage over the course of the weekend. On Friday, Oct. 24 the team will play the St. Lawrence Lions of the CEJPT league. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be played at CSMAL, 1311 Rue des Loisirs Est., Ancienne-Loreete, Quebec.

On Sunday, Oct. 26th the team will travel to St. Jerome, Quebec to play the St. Jerome Panthers of the Quebec Junior AAA league. The game will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will be played at Arena Melancon, Parc Melancon, 451 Rue Melancon, St. Jerome Quebec.

Sandwiched in between the two games will be a Maroon & Gold Scrimmage on Saturday from 3-4:20 p.m. at CSMAL. After the game, there will be a meet and greet with the players and coaches that all fans are welcome to attend.

“It will be an exciting team builder to get away and get up in one of the hockey hotbeds in the world,” McShane said. “It give us some good preparation and good way to see a lot of the new players so that we’ll have a better idea of where we at when we come back.”

Pending the amount of interest a fan bus will be coordinated by the Maroon & Gold Athletic Association for the weekend. If interested, email or call 802-485-2902.

#26 Payton Baldillez

Baldillez is a 5-foot-10, 163-pound forward from Arlington, Texas that played for the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs of the Eastern Hockey League (EHL) last season. He ranked among the team leaders in points with 22 goals and 41 assists for 63 points in 44 games played. He also scored five goals and added six assists for 11 points in 12 playoff games with the Monarchs. Two seasons ago, Baldillez played prep school hockey for former Norwich coach Pat Norton at Tilton School. He scored 19 goals and added 27 assists for 46 points in 34 games.

“Payton has top skills, handles the puck well and is an excellent stick handler,” McShane said. “He has a knack for finding the next and setting up other players to score. We’re counting on him to add some offensive punch.”

#5 Alec Brandrup

Brandrup is a 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman from Rochester, Minn. that played for the Melville Millionaires of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) last season. He scored eight goals and tallied 21 assists for 29 points in 53 games played. He also scored twice and dished out three assists in 13 games played in the playoffs. Two seasons ago, he played for the Minnesota Flying Aces of the NA3HL, registering 18 points in 38 games played.

“Brandrup is a big, strong offensive type of defenseman,” McShane said. “He carries the puck and moves it well out of the zone. He’s a right shot and we hope to use him in on special teams. We’re counting on him to contribute defensively, but also offensively.”

#14 Mitch Byrne 

Byrne is a 5-foot-11, 200-pound forward from Onaping, Ontario that played for the Fort McMurray Oil Barons of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). Byrne scored 10 goals and tallied 13 assists for 23 points in 57 games. He also scored four goals in the playoffs. Prior to Fort McMurray, Byrne played a prep school season for former NU player Aaron Lee ’04 at Rothesay Netherwood School in Nova Scotia.

“Byrne is a strong, well-built center,” McShane said. “He’s going to be an excellent checker, add some physical presence up front.”

#19 Justin Charbonneau  

Charbonneau is a 6-foot, 186-pound forward from Bromont, Quebec that played for the Ottawa Senators of the Central Junior Hockey League (CJHL) last season. He ranked as one team leaders last season, scoring 28 goals and adding 24 assists for 52 points in 61 games played. He also played for the Senators two years ago, scoring seven goals and tallying 14 assists for 21 points. His Uncle played football at UNH and played pro football in the Canadian Football League.

“Charbonneau is a big left winger who has an explosive release with his shot,” McShane said. “He was one of the leading scorers in the Central Junior Hockey League. We brought him in for his offensive abilities and he should be good in the corners.”

#4 Connor Evangelista

Evangelista is a 5-foot-6, 175-pound defenseman from Middletown, Mass. that played for the New England Wolves of Academy East Hockey League (AEHL). He dished out eight assists in 16 games and helped the Wolves to the AEHL regular season title. Evangelista also spent half of last season with the Islanders Hockey Club of the USPHL Premier League. Prior to that, he played two seasons for Kimball Union Academy. His father played for Coach McShane at New Hampton School.

“Evangelista is an offensive type of defenseman that moves the puck well out his zone,” McShane said. “He helped Malden Catholic win a state championship. He has good stick skills and plays the position with good hockey knowledge and sense.”

#1 Braeden Ostepchuk

Ostepchuk is a 5-foot-11, 184-pound goalie from Lethbridge, Alberta that played for the Selkirk Steelers of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) last season. Ostepchuk backstopped Selkirk to the MJHL regular season title and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. He compiled a 37-8 record with a 2.00 goals against average and a .932 save percentage during the regular season.

“Ostepchuk won the goalie of the year award in Manitoba Junior Hockey League,” McShane said. “He got a lot of experience playing most of the games for Selkirk and we’re looking for him to come in and compete right away with our other two goalies.”

#29 Ty Reichenbach

Reichenbach is a 6-foot-2, 192-pound goalie from Billings, Mont. that transfers in after spending his freshman season at American International College. He saw action in six games last season at AIC. He compiled a 2-4 record with a 4.70 goals against average and a .880 save percentage. Prior to AIC, Reichenbach played with the Notre Dame Hounds of the SJHL. In the 2012-13 season, he posted a 2.89 goals against average and .905 save percentage at Notre Dame.

“We recruited Ty before he went to AIC,” McShane said. “He’s a strong kid with a big frame that plays very aggressive. He has good experience and we’re looking for him to challenge the other two goalies for top spot.”

#16 Kevin Salvucci

Salvucci is a 5-foot-10, 174-pound forward from Plymouth, Mass. that played for the Bay State Breakers of the USPHL Premier League the last two seasons. Salvucci scored an even 13 goals and dished out 13 assists for 26 points in 46 games played last year. In 2012-13, he scored 16 goals with 18 assists for 34 points. Prior to that he played prep school hockey at Tabor Academy.

“We’ve been watching Kevin for a number of years,” McShane said. “He’s a fast, physical forward that is in the Corps of Cadets.”

#8 Andrew Sullivan  

Sullivan is a 5-foot-7, 186-pound defenseman from Chelmsford, Mass. that also played for Pat Norton at Tilton School for the last three seasons. Last season he scored two goals and dished out 12 assists for 14 points in 33 games. Two years ago, he had three goals and four assists for seven points in 34 games.

“Andrew is short stocky kid that has a quick shot,” McShane said. “He moves the puck well out of the zone and has good offensive skills.”

Norwich opens preseason practice on Monday, Oct. 20 with the Quebec City Tour the following weekend. The Cadets then open up the regular season for the second straight year hosting Plymouth State in a non-conference matchup on Friday, Oct. 31 at 7 p.m. at Kreitzberg Arena.