Which GF hockey player could be next to land Division-I offers?
Mason Salquist was originally supposed to play with the Fargo Force for just a single weekend in December. He was loaned to the Force by the Janesville (Wis.) Jets of the North American Hockey League with the expectation that he'd go back to Jane...
Mason Salquist was originally supposed to play with the Fargo Force for just a single weekend in December.
He was loaned to the Force by the Janesville (Wis.) Jets of the North American Hockey League with the expectation that he’d go back to Janesville after the weekend.
That didn’t happen, though.
The Grand Forks Red River graduate impressed the Force enough that Fargo found a way to keep him for the rest of the season.
“Mason is a great example for young players,” Force coach Cary Eades said. “We drafted him two years ago. He came to camp, wasn’t ready and went back to high school. He came to camp again this last June and he got beat out. But it’s a June tryout.
“From June to December, he passed a lot of guys we kept. That’s a credit to his coaching staff in Janesville and to him working hard to develop his game. When he came back, he was at a level we really liked, making plays. He was a key piece for us.”
Salquist has battled injuries this season, but was back in the lineup for the Force last weekend for a two-game series against the National Team Development Program’s Under-17 Team. It marked just his second weekend of action since Jan. 10.
“His conditioning is way off right now,” Eades said. “He’s not the player we originally got. He played better (Saturday). We hope he can continue to improve his conditioning, because we need his hockey sense. We need his playmaking ability. And he’s pretty good defensively as well.”
Greater Grand Forks has been producing a lot of Division-I players recently.
Nine of them are currently committed for future years -- Grant Johnson (Northern Michigan), Judd Caulfield (UND), Braden Costello (UND), Jackson Kunz (UND), Dane Montgomery (UND), Kaleb Johnson (UND), Trey Ausmus (UND), Jaksen Panzer (UND) and Cole Spicer (UND).
Ausmus, Panzer and Spicer committed last week.
Eades thinks Salquist could be next to field Division-I offers.
“He’s a smart player -- tenacious, playmaker and responsible defensively,” Eades said. “He’s a 200-foot player. He’s got Division-I capabilities. This year has been tough on him with the double injuries. He’s got to try to have a good finish here and a good summer leading into next year. We’re confident with a good summer and a good September that he’ll be getting offers by the Pittsburgh Showcase next year, if not earlier.”
Parise played with broken foot
Former UND star Zach Parise had his best pro season in four years by leading the Minnesota Wild with 28 goals and 61 points.
But he wasn’t totally healthy while doing it.
Parise told Chris Miller of the Star Tribune on Tuesday that he played with a broken foot. Parise also suffered a knee injury at the end of the season.
Zach Parise says he played despite broken right foot, knee injury for #MNWild pic.twitter.com/nFWgX4JeVp - Chris Miller (@Cmillstrib) April 9, 2019
The Minnesota Wild failed to reach the playoffs for the first time since Parise signed in 2012.
This is just the second time in the 14-year pro career that Parise’s team didn’t make the playoffs. The other time was 2010-11, when Parise played just 13 games for the New Jersey Devils because of an injury.
Where will Hak land?
There are seven NHL coaching vacancies after the Buffalo Sabres fired Phil Housley this week.
That means it’s time to start tracking where former UND head coach Dave Hakstol could land.
Hakstol was fired by the Philadelphia Flyers in December and has kept his options open. A piece by TSN’s Frank Seravalli speculates that his name will be in the mix in coaching searches.
The current openings are in Buffalo, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Edmonton, Ottawa and St. Louis. The Blues may opt to retain interim coach Craig Berube after their second-half push to the playoffs.
Lizotte scores in pro debut
Grand Forks Red River graduate Jon Lizotte had a memorable pro debut Sunday.
Playing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Lizotte pinched in from the point and found a loose puck in the inside of the left circle and put it underneath the crossbar at 4:32 of the second period for his first professional goal.
#WBSPENS GOAL GIF - Welcome to Wilkes-Barre Jon Lizotte. First pro game, first pro goal. pic.twitter.com/U9SNEazrFa - WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) April 7, 2019
Lizotte’s Penguins lost to Lehigh Valley 10-6.
Lizotte signed an amateur tryout deal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton -- the top minor-league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins -- after his senior season at St. Cloud State ended with a 2-1 loss to American International in the NCAA tournament.
Carvel wins coach of year
UMass coach Greg Carvel was named the Spencer Penrose Award winner as the national coach of the year Tuesday.
Carvel, in his third season at UMass, has led the program’s remarkable turnaround. The Minutemen have gone from 5-29-2 his first year to 17-20-2 last season to 30-9 this season. UMass won Hockey East’s regular-season title and will play in the NCAA Frozen Four on Thursday in Buffalo, N.Y.
The other top contenders for the award were believed to be Eric Lang of American International and Greg Powers of Arizona State.
Lang led a similarly remarkable turnaround in three years at American International. The Yellow Jackets were 8-20-8 his first season, 15-20-4 last season and 23-17-1 this season. American International won its first-ever Atlantic Hockey regular-season title, postseason title and upset No. 1 overall seed St. Cloud State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Powers led Arizona State to the NCAA tournament for the first time.
UND commit reaches Telus Cup
UND forward commit Dylan James is headed to the Telus Cup -- Canada’s National Midget Hockey Championship.
James and his Calgary Buffaloes team won the Pacific Regional to reach nationals -- a difficult feat considering 146 teams started the tournament and six are left.
James, the youngest player on Calgary’s team, has seven points in 11 playoff games.
The 15-year-old James, a 2003-born forward, was UND’s youngest commit until the trio of 2004s from Greater Grand Forks committed last week.