Hermantown senior defenseman Dylan Samberg following the Hawks’ 4-3 come-from-behind victory over top-ranked Delano at the Hilltoppers Holiday Classic on Wednesday night at Mars Lakeview Arena in Duluth: “It’s a big win for us, a big comeback victory. We came out strong, let off a bit in the second period and finished it off in the third. We have a team motto that we never lose a third period, and our guys showed that. Our focus is to get back to state, to get another championship under our belt.”
Cade McEwen, Hermantown Jr.
Zach Stejskal, Grand Rapids Jr.
PLAYER-COACH OF THE YEAR
2016-17 Preseason Player of the Year — Ryan Sandelin, Hermantown
2016-17 Preseason Coach of the Year — Mike Randolph, Duluth East
By Tim Droogsma
The NHL Central Scouting service has released its first “players to watch” list of the season, and there are 14 current and former Elite League players on the list. More than 100 Elite League players have been drafted by NHL teams in recent years, and more than a dozen Elite League alums currently play in the NHL.
MORE COLLEGE COMMITS: Two more Elite League players made college commitments this past week. Ryan Sandelin (Hermantown) of Team North committed to Minnesota State-Mankato, and Judd Caulfield (Grand Forks Central) of Team Great Plains committed to the University of North Dakota. Team Wisconsin also added a player to its roster, Cole Caufield (Stevens Point) who is an Ohio State University commit.
TIES IN ABUNDANCE: Teams Northwest and Northeast played to a 4-4 tie Tuesday night, which was the 15th tie game in the Elite League this season. After his team gave up three different leads in the game, Team Northwest coach Todd Tuomie said, “It’s either parity or parody, I don’t know which.”
SHATTUCK ROLLS ON: Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the Faribault, MN prep school that produced Elite League alums Sidney Crosby and Zach Parise, among others, went 2-0-1 in Week 4 to remain unbeaten. They are 6-0-3 overall and in a three-way tie for first with Teams North and Northwest, although Shattuck has played fewer games.
LEADING SCORERS: Ian Malcomson (Waukesha West) of Team Wisconsin remains the Elite League leader in goals (11) and points (19). Griffin Ness (Wayzata) of Team Northwest leads in assists with 12. Goalie Jack Robbel of Shattuck is tops with a 2.00 GAA and four wins, and is tied with Team North’s Cade McEwen (Hermantown) for the league’s best save percentage at .930.
NATIONAL TEAM ON ITS WAY: The U.S. National Team Development Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan will be sending its U-17 team to take part in Week 6 of the Elite League. It has not yet been determined which Elite League teams they will play, but that schedule will be announced shortly.
HOME COOKING: After three weeks on the road, the Elite League returns to its home base in New Hope for Week 5 and Week 6, with a handful of games played at Shattuck in Faribault. The final regular-season week, Week 7, will be played at Duluth, MN and Eau Claire, WI.
HONOR FOR MITTELSTADT: Casey Mittelstadt (Eden Prairie) who was the leading scorer in the 2015 Elite League, was named Player of the Game in the recent USA Hockey All-American Prospects game in Philadelphia. Mittlestadt, a University of Minnesota commit, scored two goals for Team Howe in the prospects game.
Elite League Players on NHL Central Scouting Watch List
Casey Mittelstadt, Southeast
Ryan Poehling, Southeast
Nick Lievermann, Northwest
Bram Scheerer, Southwest
Sam Walker, Southwest
Dylan Samberg, North
Matt Anderson, Southwest
Keaton Pehrson, Northeast
Joshua Ess, Southeast
Alex Mella, Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Jesse Bjugstad, Northeast
Noah Cates, Northeast
Grant Anderson, Northwest
Dylan Mills, Southeast
John Stampohar, Grand Rapids, Sr.
Dylan Samberg, Hermantown, Sr. (Bulldogs commit)
Luke LaMaster, Duluth East, Jr.
Darian Gotz, Hermantown, So.
Hunter Paine, Duluth East, So.
Carson Cochran, Duluth East, So.
Casey Kallock, East Grand Forks, Sr.
Garrett Worth, Duluth East, Jr.
Ian Mageau, Duluth East, Jr.
Levi Stauber, Duluth Marshall, Jr.
Ryder Donovan, Duluth East, So.
Dylan Johnson, Cloquet, Sr.
Jarrett Lee, Hibbing, Jr.
Matt Valure, Hermantown, Sr.
Gavin Hain, Grand Rapids, Jr.
Blake McLaughlin, Grand Rapids, Jr.
Jesse Jacques, Hermantown, Sr.
Ryan Sandelin, Hermantown, Sr.
Tyler Watkins, Hermantown, Jr.
Cade McEwen, Hermantown, Jr.
Zach Stejskal, Grand Rapids, Jr.
Note: Elite League regular season play begins the weekend of Sept. 10-11 at New Hope Arena.
Cole Koepke, a pure sniper who scored a team-high 40 goals for Minnesota Class 1A state champion Hermantown in his senior season a year ago, has verbally committed to the Bulldogs, he announced on his Twitter page Sunday.
Koepke collected five goals and six assists in three state tournament games for the Hawks.
Hawks defenseman Dylan Samberg, who will be a senior next season, committed to the Bulldogs in June.