The Salem News
---- — Smooth skating Brian Pinho was a natural passer in a standout high school career at St. John’s Prep.
As he gets ready for college, he’s been developing his goal scoring touch, and capped it off with his first natural hat trick last week.
Playing for the Indiana Ice in the United States Hockey League, Pinho scored three straight goals in his team’s win over Youngstown last week. In three games over the course of the week, he had five goals and one assist and was honored as one of the USHL’s Players of the Week.
The USHL is the top player development league in the US and, unlike its Canadian counterparts, allows its players to retain NCAA eligibility. Most of the players are post-high school age preparing for college hockey, and Pinho is committed to play at Providence College.
In 54 games this season, Pinho has 50 points. He’s second on Eastern Conference leading Indiana in total points and 16th in the entire USHL. His 25 goals rank ninth in the league, and he also had two game winning goals last week.
A North Andover native, Pinho graduated from St. John’s Prep in 2013. He was recently joined in Indiana by ‘12 Prep graduate Sam Kurker, who left Boston University in the middle of his sophomore season. Kurker, whose NHL draft rights are held by St. Louis, has 10 points in 17 games with the ice.
Pinho was drafted by the Washington Capitals in the fifth round of last year’s NHL draft.