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St. Cloud State's Lee signs with Coyotes

There was no epiphany, but Mike Lee just knew it was his time. The goaltender from Roseau, Minn., on Thursday decided to forgo his senior year at St. Cloud State to sign with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes. Lee, 21, signed a three-year contract with t...

There was no epiphany, but Mike Lee just knew it was his time.

The goaltender from Roseau, Minn., on Thursday decided to forgo his senior year at St. Cloud State to sign with the NHL's Phoenix Coyotes.

Lee, 21, signed a three-year contract with the team. He will report to the Coyotes' camp next season, he said.

"It was the right time to get into this organization," Lee said. "This is the organization that drafted me and believes in me."

Lee was drafted by the Coyotes in 2009 in the third round with the 91st overall pick.

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Lee's junior season was shortened by a lower-body injury he suffered in November.

He returned this season, finishing the year with an 8-6-2 record, a 2.23 goals-against average and a .930 save percentage.

"I just had to get it fixed and deal with it," Lee said of the injury. "After that it was about working your tail off to get back in there."

Lee played 74 games with the Huskies in three seasons, going 32-29-9 with a 2.59 GAA and a .919 save percentage.

During his freshman year, Lee represented Team USA at the IIHF World Junior Championship, winning a gold medal. He went 4-0 and had the tournament's third-best save percentage.

"Mike had a tremendous career here at St. Cloud State and has played a key role in the success of our program over the past three seasons," Huskies coach Bob Motzko said in a statement. "Mike's skills and play-making abilities placed him among the best in college hockey, and he will certainly be remembered as one of the premier goalies in the history of the Husky hockey program at St. Cloud State."

Lee rose to prominence in the 2006-07 season as a high school sophomore at Roseau.

He split time but got the start in the state title game, getting a victory in a 5-1 win over Grand Rapids, giving the school its seventh and most recent state championship.

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In his junior season at Roseau, he went 27-2 with a 1.10 GAA, a .936 save percentage and 12 shutouts in 29 games. He only allowed 32 goals, but Roseau suffered a semifinal loss to Hill-Murray in the state tournament, finishing fourth.

Lee walked away from one of the state's most storied high school programs in what would have been his senior year to play for the Fargo Force.

Lee went 26-15-4 with a 2.40 GAA and .918 save percentage, helping Fargo reach the Clark Cup Finals, where it lost in the final round.

He now becomes the first player in the Force's four-year history to sign a professional contract.

"I thought about it for a couple of weeks and just like any other major decision you weigh both ends of it," Lee said. "You decide what is best for your life. My family and I thought about it and decided this was a great opportunity."

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