Congratulations to all 21 kids that made it to the USA camp in New York. They will be evaluated for playing on future USA hockey teams that play international competition. If the recent NHL draft is any indication, a high percentage of kids that ended up playing on the USA teams ended up being drafted by the NHL. Five Minnesota kids (Teenu Kivihalme/Burnsville, Parker Reno/Edina, Tom Vannelli/Victoria, Karson Kuhlman/Cloquet, and Vinni Lettieri/Minnetonka) made the US U18 Select Team just announced.
These five kids will follow in the footsteps of last season’s Minnesota kids (goalie Collin Olson/Apple Valley, Brady Skjei/Lakeville, and Kyle Osterberg/Lakeville) who played for the 2011-2012 U18 team. The 2011-2012 U17 team had four Minnesota kids (Gage Ausmus/East Grand Forks, Clint Lewis/Burnsville (Shattuck), Hudson Fasching/Burnsville(Apple Valley), and goalie Hunter Miska (North Branch). Oddly all exept one of the Minnesota kids that played on 2011-2012 teams USA Youth teams came from Burnsville, Lakeville and Apple Valley.
The 21 Minnesota Select 15 kids are being evaluated to play on those teams.
What is interesting about this group of 21 Select 15 kids is that they came be divided into groups of kids based on the associations they played in as peewees; Wayzata (four kids), Northern Associations (four kids), Edina (four kids), Wisconsin Fire (two kids) South (one kid) and Twin City associations other then Edina and Wayzata (six kids).
Matthew Freytag and Rem Pitlick played in two state tourneys for Wayzata, the 2009 Tourney held in New Hope and the 2010 Tourney played in Faribault. Max Zimmer played played for Wayzata in the 2010 Tourney and played in the 2011 Tourney played at Bloomington. Vaughan Ahrens played in the 2010 Tourney in Faribault for the Trojans. Freytag, Pitlick, and Ahrens played for the Wayzata Bantam A team in 2010-2011. Freytag and Ahrens returned to play for the Bantam A’s last season. Zimmer joined them. Pitlick played for Shattuck-St. Mary’s last season.
Chase Jungels and Mark Kaske played for the Edina peewee A team in the New Hope and Faribault state tourneys. Casey Dornbach played in the Faribault and Bloomington tourneys for Edina’s peewee A team. Ben Newhouse played in the Faribault state tourney. Jungels and Newhouse played on the 2010-2011 Edina Bantam A team. Newhouse, Dornbach, and Kaske played on the 2011-12 Edina Bantam A team. Jungels made the Edina Bantam A team last year, but played instead for Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School.
Will Garin and Alec Baer played for the Wisconsin Fire 97 peewee team in 2008-2009 and 2009-2010; and both played for the Wisconsin Fire 97 bantam team in 2010-2011. The Fire was nationally ranked 14th in 2008-2009 (out of 100 AAA teams playing that year), ranked 15th 2009-2010 (out of 112 AAA teams playing that year), and ranked 10th (out of 109 AAA teams playing that year).
Four players made it from the northern districts. Koby Bender played for the Cloquet Peewee A 2010 Schwan Super Rink Turkey Day Championship game and is one of three Cloquet players that made it to St. Cloud. Kyle Klatt and goalie Kris Klatt made the trip to St. Cloud. The two top scorers on the Lumberjacks high school team, Karson Kuhlman and Westin Michaud, made the selects from Minnesota. Add to those selects, defenseman Jack Kuhlman and forwards Ryan Schramm and Cole Litsey who made the D11 select 15 team and returning high schooler and #3 scorer Beau Michaud and the Lumberjacks should be a force at the high school level for the next few years.
Jonah Bischoff created a great memory and impression when he played for Grand Rapids peewee A’s in the 2011 State Tourney at Bloomington. The Thunderhawks lost to Farmington 2-1 in a 3 overtime game the opening day and came back to beat Elk River 5-3 in the consolation round the next day. Bischoff scored a great goal when he broke in the Elk’s zone and took a hard shot from the top of the right faceoff circle. He continued to skate but to the goalie’s left and put his own rebound in the net from two feet outside the left crease. The whole play took about one second.
Tanner Tweten and Tye Ausmus played for East Grand Forks in the 2009 State Tourney at New Hope. The Green Wave lost to Minneapolis Park 5-1. The Park team was led by Jake Jablonski. If Ausmus makes the national team, he will be the second Ausmus from East Grand Forks playing the U17 in the past three years.
Christiano Versich played for the Sibley Bantam A team last year and will play high school this at St. Thomas Academy. Versich played part of the 2011-2012 season in the North American Prospects Hockey League for a Minnesota U14 team.
Jordan Klehr skated two years for the Centennial Peewee A team before moving to Shattuck. The peewee A teams made the regionals both years. In 2008-2009, they lost to Wayzata and Blaine and were eliminated. In 2009-2010, the Centennial Peewee A team made the West Regional taking D10’s #3 seed, but lost in the regionals to Elk River and Moorhead.
Lawrence Jungwirth played two years for the Jefferson Peewee A team that struggled winning only 40% of their games. Those Jefferson teams were quickly eliminated in the D6 playoffs. Last season Jungwirth was Shattuck-St. Mary’s Bantam A Tier I team’s third leading scorer with 78 points (36 goals). In the first few games of the Select 15 process, Jungwirth played tentative for the D6 team, but started to roll. At the Select 15 camp in St. Cloud, he was one of the most effective forwards on the ice and the fastest skater for the winning Gray team.
Jack Ahcan has a chance to be the fourth kid from Burnsville to make a national team. Ahcan has at least two brother playing youth hockey at Burnsville. His younger brother, Roman, was a top 50 YHH pick this year. If Ahcan makes it, he would be the fourth Burnsville kid playing for the USA in the past few years joining Fasching, Kivihalme, and Lewis. Burnsville training regime at the youth level is paying off.
Toby Sengvongxay played two years for the Luverne Peewee A team. The 2009-2010 the Luverne team had only 9 players, Sengvongxay spent most of every game on the ice at defense. Even though he had opportunities to make full length rushes in games, he would often dump the puck to conserve his energy. Sengvongxay started slow playing for the D4 selects, but accelerated his play once he made it to St. Cloud. He plays a smart defensive position and was one of the fastest skaters at St. Cloud.
Conor Klaers played for the St. Louis Park bantam A team last year that struggled all year with a winning percentage of less than .200. The Orioles gave up an average over 5 goals a game. For a goalie, sometimes being on a team that struggles all season, pays off for the goalie.
Nick Heid played for the Spring Lake Park Peewee A team in 2009-2010 that made it to the D10 playoffs only to be eliminated by Centennial 5-3 in a tough game. At St. Cloud, Heid was one of three defense men picked from the Red Team to go to New York.
Jacob Olson should have made the 2010 Woodbury Peewee A team. The coaches wanted him, but the board reps had evaluated him out of the top 25 kids and would not let him be selected. Last year he played for the Hill Murray JV. He can score, picking up a goal and two assists in the three Festival games at Wakota for D8.
YHH wishes all the selects good luck in New York in the next few weeks. It would be nice to see eight or nine Minnesota kids on the USA youth teams in the 2013-2014 season.