Monday, May 10, 2010

Recruit News Linkorama

Congratulations are in order to Gavin Hartzog and the Bismarck Bobcats on capturing the 2010 Robertson Cup and North American Hockey League championship! Gavin is a 2011 recruit who had a rough year in juniors after a solid rookie campaign. He began the season where he finished his last one, w/ the Fargo Force of the USHL, but was demoted to the NAHL early in the season and ended up in Bismarck. Gavin didn’t factoring into the scoring in the championship game, but he did register 5 SOG. While he did struggle this season, Gavin still has one thing that cannot be taught (similar to John Mitchell): Size.

Speaking of his old team in Fargo, they are headed to a concluding Game 5 against the Green Bay Gamblers to decide the USHL Clark Cup on Wednesday night in GB. Green Bay features 2010 Badger recruit Sean Little. After winning Games 1 & 2 on the road, Fargo went home looking to clinch, but lost a heart breaker in Game 3 where the game was decided in 3OT’s. Green Bay won Game 4 the next night to send the series back to Titletown and Game 5. Tickets for Wednesday’s game are only $5. I’m thinking of going myself, since it is not often you get to see a champion crowded at any level w/ in such a short drive.

Good luck to Sean as he tries to keep the streak of Badger recruits winning the Clark Cup alive. In 2008, Matt Thurber and the Omaha Lancers were winners, last year Brett Bennett and the Indiana Ice took home the title. Green Bay won the Anderson Cup earlier in the year as the USHL regular season championship.

Over at the Hockey in Wisconsin Blog, Dplaya continues to do an outstanding job w/ his series interviewing former Wisconsin High School hockey players. Last week’s interview was w/ 2011 Badger recruit Cody Strang. Cody is a 2009 graduate of Edgewood HS and as a senior won Wisconsin’s Mr. Hockey award. Last season, he played for Youngstown of the USHL. He talks about all of that and more in his interview; definitely a good read. I pulled out two questions to cut and paste.

Dplaya: Can you fill us in on how your college recruitment progressed (when it happened, what teams were involved, which you liked, who you visited, why you chose UW)?

Cody: As far as recruiting went I had only talked to Wisconsin, Bowling green, St. Cloud and UMD. Wisconsin was the first scholarship offer I got and that was my dream growing up so when that offer came I knew there was nothing else that could top that. I had over ten offers to play golf to schools down south and some big ten schools, but all my life playing hockey for the Badgers has been a dream so there is no way I could pass that up.

Dplaya: You played with Wisconsin natives David Donnellan and Jefferson Dahl this season in Youngstown. Could you briefly describe their style of play (strengths, weaknesses, etc.)?

Cody: Playing with David and Jefferson was a great experience and a ton of fun. They are both great players and friends I will have for the rest of my life. David was our captain and did a great job handling the leadership role while also being our top defenseman all season. He is a physical player and moves the puck up the ice well. He blocked more shots than anyone on our team and was our best defensive player we had. Jefferson was an assistant captain for us this year and had a great year as well. I got to play on his line for a good portion of the second half of the season and it was a lot of fun. He is definitely an excellent playmaker and can find you with the puck no matter where you are on the ice. In addition to contributing offensively he was one of our top penalty kill guys and probably our best defensive forward.

The second question doesn’t relate directly to Cody (though he did say he spent the entire season on the PK), but I liked what he had to say about Jefferson Dahl and wanted Badger fans to see that. I didn’t get to see Jefferson play this past season (he played for GB in 2008/09) and I think this is a nice summary of his talents. The penalty kill will really be hurting next season since the majority of the best PKers were seniors (especially Captain Asskicker and the Bohmber) and hopefully Jefferson can step into that role. One thing is for sure, there will be opportunities at forward next season in all situations. A hard working, motivated freshman could see a lot of playing time.

A defensive forward who comes to play each night won’t take long to become one of my favorite players.

Got off track, but good luck to Cody next season in the USHL and looking forward to seeing him in the Cardinal and White not long after.

Two weeks before, Dplaya interviewed defenseman Joe Fiala, a Verona native, who is currently w/ the US NTDP. Wisconsin has shown interest in his services, and it would be a very nice recruit to add to the blue line pantheon w/ McCabe, Hesketh and Schmatlz.

Lastly, I stumbled across a newer blog last week: An Unofficial USHL Prospect Blog. The blog is constructed by a high schooler who loves hockey and wants to be a college scout, and reading through several of his player reports, he is doing a hell of a job. Keep up the good work! Of particular interest to Badger fans is a write up he did on 2011 recruit and Chicago Steel forward Brendan Woods. I’m going to have to make a point of seeing Brendan play next season, which shouldn’t be too hard between Dubuque and Green Bay.

Of possible other interest to Badger fans wanting to get to know future opponents, this blog covers several 2010 recruits Kevin Gravel (St Cloud), Seth Ambroz (minnesota), Jaden Schwartz (CC) and Derek Forbort (North Dakota), and one 2011 recruit Scott Mayfield (Denver). There might be some other future WCHA kids in there, but those jumped out at me.

He also is previewing kids who will be drafted in the upcoming USHL draft; these are kids whose names will be seen on the recruiting radar in the coming year(s). Chuck, not sure if you have any insight on any of these kids, if you do, pass it on, if you want to stay retired that is. 