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Union men's hockey welcomes 12 new recruits

Union men's hockey welcomes 12 new recruits

Dutchmen lost nine players to graduation, one to injury and another to pro hockey
Union men's hockey welcomes 12 new recruits
Union men's hockey coach Rick Bennett will have 12 new players joining the team this season.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

SCHENECTADY — With losing 11 players — nine to graduation — after the 2018-19 season, the Union College men’s hockey team had to restock its squad for this year.

The Dutchmen announced their 2019-20 recruiting class on Friday. There are 12 players who will join the Dutchmen, eight of whom are forwards. There are two defensemen and two goalies.

This is the biggest the Dutchmen have had under head coach Rick Bennett, who begins his ninth season at the helm.

The loss of the nine graduates was expected. But two losses were not expected. Rising junior forward Jack Adams tore up his knee during Detroit Red Wings prospects camp in June and could miss the season. Then last week, forward Liam Morgan, the team’s second-leading goal scorer last season with 14, announced he was leaving Union to sign a contract with the Belfast Giants.

“Our staff is excited to welcome the class of 2023,” Bennett said in a press release. “We feel this overall group has a good blend of size, skill, and hockey sense. I’d like to thank associate coach Jason Tapp and assistant coach John Ronan for their tireless efforts in putting this class together. We look forward as a coaching staff to work with these future humble and hard-working student-athletes.”

Here is a breakdown of the class.

FORWARDS

  • Matt Allen: Collected 21 goals and 25 assists for the Boston Jr. Bruins last season. He had three goals and five assists in eight playoff games as the Jr. Bruins won the National Collegiate Development Conference title. Allen shoots left.
  • Alex Cohen: Played three seasons with the North American Hockey League’s Northeast Generals, producing 29 goals and 29 assist in 167 games, including 16 goals and 15 assists last season. He is a right-handed shot.
  • Owen Farris: Had three goals and six assists for the U.S. Hockey League’s Muskegon Lumberjacks. Farris shoots left.
  • Liam Robertson: Had seven goals and 15 assists in 61 games with the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms last season. In 2017-18, he was the team MVP for the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Whitby Fury, where he had 18 goals and 18 assists in 46 games. Robertson shoots right.
  • Christian Sanda: He had a career-best 18 goals and 23 assists for the British Columbia Hockey League’s Coquitiam Express last year. Sanda is a left-handed shot.
  • Collin Schmidt: Played in 41 games for the NAHL’s Jamestown Rebels last season, collecting eight goals and 19 assists. He was on Wayzata High School’s Minnesota state title team in 2016. He was a finalist for Minnesota Mr. Hockey in 2018. Schmidt shoots right.
  • Gabriel Seger: A native of Uppsala, Sweden, Seger was the second-leading scorer for the NAHL’s Amarillo Bulls with 18 goals and 52 assists. He was tied for second in assists in the league and seventh in points. Shoots left.
  • Chaz Smedsrud: Had 11 goals and 13 assist in 62 games for the USHL’s Madison Capitals. Before that, he had 51 goals and 59 assists in 115 games for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Notre Dame Hounds. Smedsrud is a left-handed shot.

DEFENSEMEN

  • Dylan Anhorn: Had five goals and 22 assists for the Prince George Spruce Kings, who won the BCHL title. He was the leading scorer at the 2019 National Junior A Championship with a goal and seven assists. Anhorn shoots left.
  • Ben Pirko: Played in 35 games for the NAHL’s New Jersey Jr. Titans. He had a goal and six assists. Pirko is a left-handed shot.

GOALIES

  • Garrett Nieto: Had a 21-5-2 record with a 2.00 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage for the NAHL’s Janesville Jets in 20-17-18. He only played six games last season because of injury. Nieto’s brother, Gavin, is a rising senior goalie for Brown. Garrett Nieto catches left.
  • Merek Pipes: Posted a 20-8-1 mark with a 2.45 GAA, a .924 save percentage and four shutouts for the Swan Valley Stampeders of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Catches left.

On Twitter, follow Associate Sports Editor Ken Schott @slapschotts and Daily Gazette Sports @dgazettesports. Email Schott at [email protected]. Listen to “The Parting Schotts Podcast” at https://dailygazette.com/sports/partingschotts.

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