NHL scouts and college coaches gathered at Exeter Academy in New Hampshire for an eight-team tournament to start the season. It was a chance for them to see a number of prospects in one spot.

One guy on their watch list was Cooper Moore, an uncommitted, NHL draft-eligible defenseman for Brunswick School.

Moore, a 6-foot-1, 181-pounder from Connecticut, had impressed scouts a year earlier with his smooth skating stride. But on the night of Dec. 1, he did more than show off his speed.

Moore sent everyone home talking about his performance -- NHL scouts, college recruiters and those in between.

It started in the first four minutes of the game. Moore scored a power-play goal to give Brunswick School an early 1-0 lead over New Hampton. In the second period, he tacked on another goal. This one was at even strength, but his team fell behind 6-2.

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Early in the third, one of Moore's teammates scored to make it 6-3.

Then, Moore took over.

Moore poured in three goals in just under three minutes -- one on the power play and back-to-back even-strength tallies in the span of 22 seconds -- to tie the game 6-6. Moore (remember, he's a defenseman) almost won the game in overtime. He hit the post off the draw. It would have been his sixth goal of the game.

"Anything that goalie saw coming from Cooper's stick was, 'Uh oh, I'm in trouble,'" Brunswick School coach Mike Kennedy said.

Kennedy's phone began ringing like it never had before. NHL scouts wanted more information. So did colleges.

"Tons of schools had been asking about him," Kennedy said. "All of the sudden, they were very, very interested after that five-goal game."

Moore narrowed his college recruitment to two finalists: UND and Boston College. After visiting both campuses, he committed to UND.

"I just loved the coaches," said Moore, who visited campus during UND's regular-season finale against Omaha. "Talking to Brad Berry and Dane Jackson, I really believed in what they were telling me and I think they believed in me, too. Going out there on a visit and seeing The Ralph and the facilities there, that just sweetens the deal. On top of that, I got to meet some of the guys on the team and they seemed like great guys."

It's rare that UND lands a player from the East Coast, but Moore had a connection. His uncle, Dave Ellett, was teammates with Berry for five years for the Winnipeg Jets.

Ellett, who played for the 1984 Bowling Green NCAA national championship team before embarking on a 16-year NHL career with the Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, New Jersey Devils, Boston Bruins and St. Louis Blues, even lived with Berry for a few years in Winnipeg.

"He really helped me through the recruiting process and let me make my own decision," Moore said of Ellett. "If he was a player (going through the process now), I know where he would have gone. It would have been North Dakota."

Moore graduated from high school last month, but won't be coming to UND's campus yet.

He'll play this season for the Chilliwack Chiefs in the British Columbia Hockey League. Then, he'll come in the fall of 2020.

Next weekend, he'll turn his attention to the NHL Draft in Vancouver.

Moore won't be attending, but he'll be following it from afar. In addition to watching where he goes, Moore's former teammates Trevor Zegras and Spencer Knight are expected to be first-round picks.

Moore is most likely to go between the fourth and sixth rounds on Day 2.

"He absolutely has NHL skating ability," an NHL scout told the Herald. "His best attribute, no question, is his skating ability. He competes hard and he has a good shot. The foundation of his game is his skating and his shot. He needs coaching to learn how to manage the game, think the game, where to go with the puck, how to defend and positional play. He makes some mental errors. I'm glad that he's going to juniors this year. It will be really good for him. He needs time."

Moore finished the season with 13 goals and 31 points in 28 games, generating offense both from the top of the circles and from pinching in.

"The first thing you notice is his skating ability," Kennedy said. "He's just a great athlete on ice. He has great edges. He can skate forward and backwards equally as good. That's what really stands out about him if you see him for the first time. Boy that kid can really skate. He doesn't take slap shots, but he has this half one-timer. He scored most of his goals from up top in the umbrella, little wrist shots that slip over a goalie's shoulder. It's something you can't teach."

But it's something everyone learned in December.

COOPER MOORE

Position: Defense.

Size: 6-1, 181.

Shoots: Left.

Hometown: Cos Cob, Conn.

2018-19 team: Brunswick School, Greenwich, Conn.

2018-19 stats: 28 games, 13 goals, 18 assists, 31 points.

2019-20 team: Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL).

Herald draft projection: 4th-6th round.

Central Scouting rank: 88 (North American skaters).

Brunswick School coach Mike Kennedy says: "The first thing you notice is his skating ability. He's just a great athlete on ice. He has great edges. He can skate forward and backwards equally as good. That's what really stands out about him if you see him for the first time. Boy that kid can really skate. He doesn't take slap shots, but he has this half one-timer. He scored most of his goals from up top in the umbrella, little wrist shots that slip over a goalie's shoulder. Something you can't teach."

An NHL scout says: "He absolutely has NHL skating ability. His best attribute, no question, is his skating ability. He competes hard and he has a good shot. The foundation of his game is his skating and his shot. He needs coaching to learn how to manage the game, think the game, where to go with the puck, how to defend and positional play. He makes some mental errors. I'm glad that he's going to juniors this year. It will be really good for him. He needs time."