Thursday, April 27, 2006

Tough guy Pisellini signs with Flyers

Plymouth Whalers’ 19-year-old right wing Gino Pisellini has signed an entry-level contract with the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers.

Terms of the agreement were not announced by the Flyers, who selected Pisellini in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2004 National Hockey League Entry Draft. Philadelphia had to sign Pisellini by this summer’s 2006 NHL Entry Draft or relinquish his draft rights.

“We’re very happy for Gino,” Plymouth coach-GM Mike Vellucci said. “He’s worked very hard to develop into a good hockey player. He can be tough when needed and was one of our leaders. Gino was also one of best penalty killers this year and that’s a credit to his hard work.”

A native of Itasca, Ill., the Whalers selected Pisellini in the sixth round (116th overall) in the 2002 OHL Priority Selection. Pisellini started his Whaler career with a bang, scoring in his first two games Sept. 19-20, 2003.

Pisellini also established himself as one of the toughest players in the OHL during his rookie season, when he scored 15 goals with 15 assists for 30 points and 214 penalty minutes in 68 games in 2003-04. Injuries limited Pisellini in 2004-05, but he responded last this season to score 15 goals with 16 assists for 31 points and 194 PIMs in 63 games.

Pisellini played well on a forward line this season with Andrew Fournier and Tom Sestito. The Whalers’ version of the Grind Line had good success in shutting down the opposition’s top lines.

“We really enjoy going up against the other team’s top line,” Pisellini said in March. “We know we can give the team a lift by shutting them down. We can help some of our other lines, who can concentrate on scoring.”

While Pisellini has signed with the Flyers, Fournier (ranked 108th overall in the final Central Scouting rankings) and Sestito (112th overall) rate a good bet to be selected in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft June 24 in Vancouver.

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