Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Recruits shine in USHL

With Minnesota State idle this week and the stretch run starting next week (two more weeks in the regular season followed by up to three weeks of conference playoffs), I thought this would be a good time to check in on the team's recruits for next year. 

It's a pretty impressive class.

The group of nine players already signed with the Mavericks includes the United States Hockey League's top goaltender and top-scoring defenseman, as well as three forwards who rank among in that league's top 25 scorers.

Goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks might be the most intriguing prospect (especially considering MSU's up-and-down goalie situation this season). The Sioux City Musketeers goalie is 21-5-4 in 32 games, ranking second in the USHL in wins. He leads the league with a .937 save percentage and 1.77 goals-against average.

Defenseman Connor Mackey has 33 points in 40 games for the Green Bay Gamblers. He's the USHL's No. 1-scoring defenseman and No. 13 overall. His 33 assists rank third in the league.

Mackey's teammate, Jared Spooner, ranks 10th in USHL scoring with 34 points in 36 games. He has 14 goals.

The Chicago Steel have three MSU forwrd recruits, and they play together on the team's "Mankato Line." Reggie Lutz is 10th in the USHL in goals with 33 and 11th in points with 33, playing 39 games. Jake Jaremko has 30 points in 39 games, which ranks 21st in scoring. His 21 assists rank 11th. Walker Duehr has 27 points, including 12 goals, in 36 games, which ranks 30th in the league.

Forward Dallas Gerads of the Dubuque Fighting Saints has 24 points, including eight goals, in 38 games.

Back on defense, Riese Zmolek of the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders has 10 points in 26 games, and Jack McNeely of the Muskegon Lumberjacks has five points in 35 games.

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