UMD Recruiting Update

The Bulldogs lose 7 seniors to graduation, including 2 defensemen and 5 forwards.  Add that to the loss of Chris Casto and the Dogs need to replace 8 skaters.  Before chaos erupts, these "expected arrivals" are not a sure thing.  The official roster hasn't been released at this point.

Expected Arrival: 2013-2014

Dominic Toninato
Photo: M. Joy Photography
Forward - Fargo Force (USHL)
Birthdate: March 9th, 1994
Height: 6-1  Weight: 168
Hometown: Duluth, MN

Dom Toninato, a Duluth East alum, has had a very successful first year in the USHL.  As a member of the Fargo Force, Toninato has scored 27 goals for 67 points in the 59 games he's played in this season.  The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect is +25 on the year while only spending 42 minutes in the penalty box.

Toninato recently broke the Fargo Force regular season scoring record, as he now stands as the all-time single season record holder with his 67 points.  That story can be found here.

Sammy Spurrell
Photo: Emily Van Ee
Center - Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
Birthdate: October 5th, 1992
Height: 5-11  Weight: 180
Hometown: Sherwood Park, AB

Sammy Spurrell has spent his last few seasons in the AJHL with the Spruce Grove Saints.  Spurrell has tallied 16 goals, 12 assists for 28 points in the 25 games he's played in.  He sustained an injury during the year, resulting in the low amount of games he's participated in.  Overall, Spurrell has earned 114 points in the 148 games hes wore a Spruce Grove sweater.
"I am very excited for the opportunity to go down there (Minnesota) next year, it has been a dream of mine for about 5 years now," says Spurrell.  It was harder than I anticipated but I just had to be patient and it finally came along. I had some injury trouble this year but I kept at it and was rewarded with a scholarship to Minnesota-Duluth."
"Sammy is a tireless worker in regards to improving his game," proclaims Head Coach and General Manager Jason McKee. "We couldn't be happier to see Sammy moving on to play at the Division 1 level. Sam has the ability to change the game in a variety of ways which has included very timely scoring for the Saints throughout his career."
For Spurrell's roster information click here.  For the story on Spurrell's recent commitment, click here.

Alexander Iafallo
Photo: M. Joy Photography
Center - Fargo Force (USHL)
Birthdate: December 21, 1993
Height: 6-1  Weight: 172
Hometown: Eden, NY

Iafallo will join the Bulldogs after spending two seasons with the Fargo Force of the USHL.  Previous to that, Iafallo spent a year with the Buffalo Regals Under-18 teams.  Iafallo has tallied 35 points this season, burying 17 goals in 45 games along the way.  The most impressive stat with Iafallo, though, is his plus/minus rating, which currently stands at +30.
“I feel like UMD is the perfect fit for me between the hockey program, coaches, school and location. It reminds me of home in Buffalo. In my gut, I feel like I belong there,” said Iafallo on Thursday. “I have developed a strong relationship with the coaches at UMD throughout the recruiting process and am excited to finally say I will be a Bulldog.”
For information on Iafallo's commitment, although it was last year, click here.  For news on Fargo's progress this season, click here.

Willie Raskob
Defense - Shattuck St. Mary's (MN Prep)
Birthdate: March 14, 1995
Height: 5-10  Weight: 194
Hometown: Hastings, MN

Raskob has spent the last few years with the Shattuck St. Mary's program.  He started in the 2009-10 season as a Bantam (T1), then moved to Shattuck's Under-16 team, and finally to the prep team, where he has tallied 24 goals for 85 points in the last two seasons.  This season alone, Raskob has earned 9 goals, 37 assists for 46 points in 52 games, while only spending 28 minutes in the sin-bin.

For information regarding the Shattuck St. Mary's prep hockey team, click here.

Kyle Osterberg
Forward - Omaha Lancers (USHL)
Birthdate: September 5, 1994
Height: 5-8  Weight: 171
Hometown: Lakeville, MN

Starting out in 2009-10 skating for the Lakeville South until accepting an invitation to skate with the U.S. National Development Program, skating for the USA U17 team as well.  Osterberg returned to play for the USNTDP and for team US in the World Junior Championships the following year before joining the Omaha Lancers.  This year, Osterberg has buried nine goals and 13 assists in 22 games in the USHL.

Osterberg's Omaha Lancer profile, along with a "Q & A" segment can be found here.  CollegeHockeyProspective had an article about Osterberg here.  My story on Osterberg's commitment I wrote can be found here.

Dan Molenaar
Photo: Tim Alan
Defense - Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)
Birthdate: July 5, 1993
Height: 5-11  Weight: 187
Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN

Molenaar started his hockey career in Eden Prairie, helping the Eagles win a national championship before starting his junior hockey career.  Playing his first 5 games with the Green Bay Gamblers, Molenaar was then sent to Sioux City, where he tallied 18 points in the 2011-12 season.  This year, Molenaar has three goals and eight points in the 34 games he's played, but hasn't seen the ice in a Musketeers sweater since early January due to an injury.

For information regarding the season-ending injury sustained, click here.  To view Molenaar's Point-Streak page, click here.

Carson Soucy
Defense - Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
Birthdate: July 24, 1994
Height: 6-3  Weight: 190
Hometown: Irma, AB

Soucy began amateur hockey playing for the Wainwright Polar Kings, then too Lloydminster Bobcats Midget program before finally ending up in the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Spruce Grove Saints.  Playing alongside fellow UMD recruit, Sammy Spurrell, Soucy has racked up 12 points thus far, playing in 24 games, although he sustained a lower-body injury in January that took him out of the action.
"I am very excited and relieved to have made the decision to attend the University of Minnesota Duluth," says Soucy. "I am excited to play for a top hockey school and now that the pressure is off to earn a commitment I can focus completely on hockey." 
"Carson is a big strong defenseman that thinks the game very well," says Head Coach and General Manager Jason McKee. "He is a first year player that has stepped right into our lineup and made an immediate impact in all situations."
To view the AJHL's release on Soucy's commitment to Minnesota-Duluth, click here.  To find out information about the AJHL's Spruce Grove Saints, click here.

Blake Heinrich
Defense - Sioux City Musketeers
Birthdate: February 17, 1995
Height: 5-11  Weight: 192
Hometown: Cambridge, MN

Heinrich "The Hammer" started his hockey journey playing for Hill-Murray, a private high school in Minnesota.  With the Pioneers, Heinrich put away 15 goals, 33 assists for 54 points in 56 games, including Hill-Murray's venture into the post-season.  After playing for Team Northeast, Heinrich found himself on the Sioux City USHL team to finish out his year as a junior.  As a high school senior, Heinrich decided to stay in the USHL, scoring 17 points in 38 games thus far with the Musketeers.
“I talked to UMD before the state tournament, too,” said Heinrich, who also took an unofficial visit to Minnesota State and had heard from Ohio State and Wisconsin. “I definitely got more interest after the state tournament."
“I think the most obvious thing is he’s a physical force out there,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach Ken Pauly said. “Very phsycial, very tough."
For information regarding Sioux City's recent victory, click here.  For the Hockey Hub's release on Heinrich's commitment, click here.

Jared Thomas
Forward - Sioux City Musketeers
Birthdate: February 21, 1994
Height: 6-0  Weight: 192
Hometown: Hermantown, MN

The current Musketeer is very familiar with the Duluth area, as he was once a Hermantown star, scoring 30 goals and 54 assists for 84 points in 31 games played as a senior for the Hawks.  Now, Thomas has scored 13 goals and 18 assists this season for Sioux City, playing 53 games wearing a Musketeers sweater.  Although Thomas was expected to join the Bulldogs in 2013, he may have to wait another year in juniors due to recent recruiting/roster changes.

For information regarding Sioux City's recent victory, click here.

Expected Arrival: 2014-2015

Adam Johnson
Left Wing - Indiana Ice
Birthdate: June 22, 1994
Height: 5-11  Weight: 160
Hometown: Hibbing, MN

Johnson has played the last few years with Hibbing High School, where he finished his career tallying well over two points per game.  Although his senior season went well, 52 points in 20 games, Johnson soared with Hibbing in his junior year, scoring 34 goals and 36 assists for 70 points in 25 games.  Now, Johnson is a member of the Indiana Ice and will most likely remain with Indiana for the next year, allowing him to develop with players of his same skill level.
"I've wanted to go to there since I was in the fifth grade,” said Johnson. “I kind of was surprised. I didn’t think it would be that big of deal. I just played as good as I could.”
Johnson has two relatives that have played in a Bulldog jersey; his father, Dave Johnson, and his uncle, Gary DeGrio.  To view Johnson's decision to sign with Minnesota-Duluth when he was a sophomore, click here.

Neal Pionk
Photo: Sporting Images
Defense - Sioux City Musketeers
Birthdate: July 25, 1995
Height: 5-11  Weight: 160
Hometown: Hermantown, MN

Pionk, a recent UMD commit from Hermantown, Minnesota, just finished her junior season with the Hawks, helping them compete well into the State Tournament.  In his junior year, Pionk scored 16 goals, 23 assists for 39 points in his 30 games with the Hawks.  After the completion of his junior season, this year, he joined Sioux City of the USHL where he currently has two assists in eight games.  I would assume Pionk would stay with Sioux City this year if he would like to further develop, unless Sandelin said he would join the team for the 2015 season.
"Proud to announce my commitment to the University of Minnesota-Duluth," Pionk tweeted earlier this year. "Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way."
To view Western College Hockey's release on Pionk's commitment, click here.  To view Pionk's roster statistics for Sioux City, click here.

Brett Boehm
Right Wing - Flin Flon Bombers
Birthdate: September 19, 1994
Height: 6-3  Weight: 160
Hometown: Martensville, SK

Boehm, who may join the Bulldogs in 2014 rather than 2013, has developed into one helluva hockey player.  Boehm started his career playing for Beardy's Blackhawks until choosing to play for Flin Flon the following year.  Boehm was selected by the Fargo Force, whom he may in fact play for next season, late in the draft, so it may in fact mean both Fargo and Boehm were not expecting to meet until a year later.  Boehm  was one of the top rookies in the SJHL, scoring 25 goals and 29 assists in the 49 games played, although their season isn't over yet.

To view Flin Flon's post-season article, click here.  To view the Force's take on their draft selectee, click here.  To view Boehm's very successful past seasons, click here.

Karson Kuhlman
Photo: Dubuque Fighting Saints
Forward - Dubuque Fighting Saints
Birthdate: September 26, 1995
Height: 5-10  Weight: 168
Hometown: Cloquet, MN

Kuhlman is in a similar situation to Boehm and Pionk.  The junior just finished the hockey season with Cloquet/Esko/Carlton and than joined the Dubuque Fighting Saints.  He'll be a senior next year, giving him the opportunity to either play with Cloquet for his senior season or stay in the USHL and play juniors.  With the Lumberjacks, Kuhlman scored 27 goals and 24 assists for 51 points in 27 games, averaging 1.89 points per game.  Now 12 games into his USHL season, Kuhlman has six points and has a +6 rating.
“When you grow up 12 minutes away, it’s always been something that I wanted to do,” Kuhlman said. “I slept on it for one night and I felt I was ready. This fit everything we were looking for.”
To view Kuhlman's USHL page with Dubuque, click here.  To take a look at the Hockey Hub's release on Kuhlman's commitment to UMD, click here.


Questions?  Comments?  Ask Below!


Anonymous said...

Just FYI, you have "Expected Arrivals 2013-2014" twice. Otherwise, very good info, thanks!


Anonymous said...

Any possibility of signing another defenseman for next year's class so Raskob and Heinrich can develop for another year?

Greg said...

By the way, I love your site. The best source of UMD news, especially after Penalty Box is going under.

Thank you very much! I appreciate the feedback and glad I can offer a good place for news.