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Done drafting: Gillette Wild pick 12 players in Tuesday’s NA3HL draft

Done drafting: Gillette Wild pick 12 players in Tuesday’s NA3HL draft

By Roy Frazier Gillette News Record

rfrazier@gillettenewsrecord.net

Jun 15, 2016

One year made a huge difference for Gillette Wild coach and general manager Brendon Hodge at the North American 3 Hockey League draft.

Last year, Hodge was hired just a week before the June draft and made selections with little help and minimal recruiting knowledge.

The former Rapid City, South Dakota, Rushmore Thunder assistant hockey coach was coming off his first season with the Wild in which he led them to their fifth straight playoff appearance when he prepared for the draft this time. Tuesday’s draft, and the entire offseason, offered a much better ride for Hodge.

“It’s different worlds,” said Hodge, with a chuckle. “Last year I don’t even think Tim (Brownell, the assistant coach) was hired yet. I was just sitting there with eight draft picks, maybe nine. I don’t even know. I was just sitting there without a recruiting season thinking, ‘What do I do?’ This year we had more of a game plan. We knew what kind of guys we were looking at.”

At Tuesday’s NA3HL draft, he even was able to do some wheeling and dealing to trade for more picks. The Wild traded with Hodge’s brother — Dan Hodge, the owner of the Cape Cod Islanders — to ultimately have 12 selections.

Gillette used nine of those selections on forwards, two for defensemen and one for a goalie. Hodge also used 11 of the Wild’s tenders this offseason. If he can sign and bring all those players to town next season, Gillette could have 23 new players on the ice.

Training camp is still a few months off, but Hodge is excited about what this draft class could become.

“Overall this offseason is going to be a positive thing,” Hodge said. “At this level of hockey, you don’t really get excited until September. That’s when everyone comes into camp. You can start to realize this person that you drafted, that you tendered, that you talked with in the summer is actually here. But overall … it’s a huge step for us in the right direction.”

 

The selections:

Hodge and Brownell have racked up frequent flyer miles scouting players once the 2015-16 season ended in March. Hodge took visits to Omaha, Nebraska, Denver, Alaska and several other places around the region. Brownell, Hodge said, went everywhere.

Their selections mirrored their travel patterns.

“We pulled guys in the draft out of Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, from everywhere,” Hodge said.

The team’s first pick was forward Tyler Miknich of Alaska. Miknich also was selected in last week’s NAHL draft by the Amarillo (Texas) Bulls. The Wild’s patience could be tested, but it might be worth it.

“With our ties up in Alaska, we are always calling about players,” Hodge said. “We were thinking, ‘Why don’t we take a chance on this kid?’ We heard some very positive things about him. A lot of comparisons to players that were in our league this year. His main goal is to make the NAHL. Right now we’re not going to get in his head. When the time comes and tryout cuts are made, hopefully he makes a team. But if he doesn’t, that’s when we’ll reach out to him.”

Gillette’s next two picks were on forwards Colton Fletcher and Derrick Scoggins. John Newman was the first defender, taken with the 141st selection.

The Wild added forward Blake Ramsey next, and then picked up goaltender Chris Armstrong.

The next four selections — Grant Smith, Caleb Moretz, Zack Ciampa and Josh Gillrie — were all forwards. Defenseman Cody Taylor was acquired with the 313rd pick.

Former Wild Player Trent Dillinger Commits to Norwich University

Originally posted by Wichita Falls Wildcats 

Thursday, 6.9.2016 / 1:12 pm CT

By Alex von Keudell

Wildcats winger Trent Dillinger has committed to play Division III NCAA hockey at Norwich University of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference East. He will begin his college hockey career at the start of the 2016-2017 season.

“In addition to Coaches LaFontaine and Nelson, all of the players in the Wildcats locker room were a huge support system and without them playing hard and working for each other and boosting my game and helping me be successful, I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now,” Dillinger said. “The coaching staff at Norwich is incredible and has a long and successful history in the hockey world. The way everyone conducts themselves and runs their hockey program reminds me a lot of Wichita Falls.”

The tenth Wildcat from the 2015-2016 roster, Dillinger (21) became the first player in franchise history to commit to Norwich. Though there have been few ties between the Cadets and the Wildcats, the NHL has accumulated some talent from the academy over the years. NHL alumni Keith Aucoin and Kurtis McLean each played four seasons for the Cadets before turning pro the following year.

“So excited to see Trent commit to Norwich’s storied program,” Wildcats Head Coach John LaFontaine said. “We really enjoyed him in the short time we had him in Wichita Falls, wish we had him longer. Norwich is getting a strong leader on and off the ice whose upside is still peaking.”

Dillinger was acquired from the Amarillo Bulls via trade mid-season in January of 2016. The 6’3,” 185 pound forward immediately made an impact, scoring four goals in his first six games as a Wildcat. He added size and grit to a team built around speed and skill, which proved to be crucial to making a deep playoff run. In 18 regular season games, the Gillette, Wyoming native notched six goals, two assists and eight points. More importantly than his point totals, however, Dillinger was characterized as a good teammate and a heart-and-soul player, providing intangible qualities which he will carry with him to Norwich.

 

Gillette defenseman Reble makes college commitment

 

Orginally from NA3HL

The Gillette Wild of the NA3HL are pleased to announce that defenseman Tyler Reble, 21, has committed to play ACHA Division I hockey at the University of Utah.

The native of Gillette, Wyoming, just completed his third and final season playing junior hockey for the Wild.

His junior career began back during the 2013-14 season with the Wild while they were still members of the AWHL. Statistically, this past season was Reble’s best as he recorded 13 points (2 goals, 11 assists) in 38 games played.

Reble (5’10/185) played in 123 career regular season games for the Wild and had 24 points to go along with a +49 rating. He also appeared in 10 career playoff games.

"On behalf of the Gillette Wild organization we would like to congratulate Tyler Reble on committing to the University of Utah. Tyler will join Tristen Leberknight and Alex King at the University of Utah. We would like to thank Tyler for all his contributions in growing the game of hockey in Gillette and for all of his help in our community,” said Brendon Hodge, the Head Coach/GM of the Gillette Wild.

NA3HL Approves Exapansion

Originally Posted by NA3HL

The North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) has announced that it has approved a new expansion team, the Missoula Junior Bruins, to begin play in the 2016-17 season in Missoula, Montana. 

Missoula, a former AWHL market prior to its merger with the NA3HL in 2013-14, lies directly in the heart of the NA3HL Frontier Division footprint of Montana and Wyoming, which will now consist of eight teams. The Junior Bruins will be the league’s 48th member club overall.

“The city of Missoula has a fantastic hockey community and tradition, and it fits perfectly into the NA3HL’s Frontier division,” said NA3HL Commissioner Denny Scanlon.

The team is owned and operated by Jason and Liz DiMatteo. The team will play its home games out of Glacier Ice Rink. Glacier Ice Rink is located on the grounds of the Missoula County Fairgrounds. The Missoula Area Youth Hockey Association (MAYHA), a nonprofit organization, operates the rink.

 

“Missoula is a great hockey community and we are excited for the opportunity to be involved in MAYHA’s programs,” Bruins owners Jason and Liz DiMatteo stated. “We look forward to building a strong partnership with youth hockey and creating support for the new Missoula Junior Bruins in the NA3HL."

Jason DiMatteo brings a solid hockey background to his new role, having coached teams and managed ice rinks throughout the state. The Bruins have named Marcus Baxter as head coach and general manager and Joren Johnson will be the assistant coach.

Missoula is located at the western edge of Montana approximately 45 miles from the Idaho border and is Montana’s second-largest city, behind Billings. Missoula is also home to the University of Montana.

A presentation to and final approval by the USA Hockey Junior Council is expected by June 10th.  

 

Tristen Leberknight Makes College Commitment

Tristen is from Rapid City, SD and graduated from Rapid City Stevens High School in 2014 with a 3.8 GPA. Tristen is a defensive defenseman and most recently played for the Gillette Wild in the NA3HL the last two seasons where he was also invited to the NA3HL Top Prospects tournament last season. He also spent a season with the Cheyenne Stampede of the WSHL during the 2013-2014 season.

Tristen is looking to study Biology while at the U.

Utah Hockey would like to welcome Tristen and wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.

Mitchell McEwan Makes College Commitmet

Westminister, Colorado native Mitchell McEwan has committed to play hockey this Fall at the University of Northern Colorado. In his season and a half in Gillette, McEwan proved to be a potent scorer netting 25 goals in his 66 games. Not only was he a capable goal scorer, but he was also an exceptional distributer tallying 36 assists. With 61 points in 66 games and a +17 rating during his time in Gillette, McEwan played an important role keeping the Wild's playoff streak alive. 

Wild Captain Alex King Commits to Utah

 

The Gillette Wild organization would like to announce that captain Alex King has committed to the University of Utah to play college hockey and to further his education. The Gillette native tied for the most points on the team during the 2015-2016 season and is second all-time in organization history with 155 points. King has shown leadership and grit throughout his career, missing only 5 games in four years and wearing the captain's C for his last two seasons. He also set the team record for games played having played in 187 regular season games and 13 playoff games bringing his career total up to 200 games in a Wild uniform.

Coach Hodge says, "I am very proud of Alex, not only is he a great hockey player, but most importantly he is a great person. He has had a tremendous impact not only to the game of hockey in Gillette but also with all of his various community work he has had a huge impact in the whole community of Gillette. From the Gillette Wild organization we would like to wish Alex all the best in college and in his future."

Managing partner Dwayne Dillinger had this to say about Alex, "Alex is the perfect example of what Gillette Wild Hockey represents. A leader both on and off the ice. He is the type of person who will be very successful as he moves on to college and whatever he tackles beyond that.  His attitude, work ethic and leadership are second to none. We wish him all the success in the future and look forward to watching him at the college level."

Gillette falls to Yellowstone in overtime, 3-2 (OT)

Yellowstone pulled out a 3-2 (OT) overtime victory over Gillette on a clutch goal by Reed Kelly.

The win by Yellowstone clinched the best of three series at 2-1.

Yellowstone was paced by Kelly, who registered one goal. Kelly scored 17:51 into overtime to make the score 3-2 Yellowstone. Jake Dickison assisted on the tally.

Yellowstone\’s offense rang up 63 shots on Gillette\’s net. Yellowstone did not rack up many penalties in the contest, tallying only one minor for two minutes in penalty time.

Yellowstone also had goals scored by Max Doner and Curtis Greenbush, who each put in one. In addition, Yellowstone received assists from Nick Greene, Justin Berezinski, Nick Ligocki, and Matt Runyon, who each chipped in one.

Yellowstone was unable to stop Gillette from sending pucks towards the net, and Gillette eventually piled up 46 shots on goal. Gillette did not rack up many penalties in the contest, registering just one minor for two minutes in penalty time.

Gillette was helped by Cade Boreing, who tallied one goal. Boreing scored 8:41 into the second period to make the score 1-1. Jack Oberg picked up the assist. Gillette additionally got points from Nick Scherbinin, who also grabbed one goal and one assist. Other players who recorded assists for Gillette were Preston Fuller, who had one.

Garret Matz made 44 saves for Yellowstone on 46 shots. Yellowstone registered zero goals on one power play opportunities. Gillette\’s Alex Feese stopped 60 shots out of the 63 that he faced. Gillette registered zero goals on one power play opportunities.

Greene’s hat trick boosts Yellowstone over Gillette, 6-4

Gillette could not stop Yellowstone\’s Nick Greene, who tallied a hat trick in a 6-4 win.

Greene got on the scoresheet 6:39 into the second period. He then added goals at 5:32 into the third and at 19:21 into the third.

With the win, Yellowstone avoided elimination to make the series score 1-1 in the best of three series.

Gillette was unable to stop Yellowstone from sending pucks towards the net, and Yellowstone eventually piled up 43 shots on goal.

Yellowstone additionally got points from Reed Kelly, who also registered one goal and one assist and Jake Dickison, who also tallied one goal and one assist. Hunter Ruschmeyer also scored for Yellowstone. Other players who recorded assists for Yellowstone were Max Doner, Curtis Greenbush, Nicholas Elliot, and Justin Berezinski, who each chipped in one and Tony Dahlberg and Matt Runyon, who contributed two each.

Gillette was led by Cade Boreing, who had two goals. Boreing scored the first of his two goals on the power play at 5:11 into the second period to make the score 3-2 Yellowstone. Gillette had gained a power play chance when Runyon was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct. Nick Scherbinin provided the assist. Boreing\’s next tally on the power play made the score 4-4 with 15:07 left in the third period. Tristen Leberknight assisted on the tally. Gillette also had goals scored by Adam Maxfield and Alex King, who each put in one. In addition, Gillette received assists from Jack Oberg, who had one.

Garret Matz recorded 23 saves for Yellowstone. Yellowstone incurred four minutes in penalty time with two minors. Gillette\’s Alex Feese stopped 37 shots out of the 42 that he faced. Gillette incurred six minutes in penalty time with three minors.

Gillette downs Yellowstone in overtime, 6-5 (OT)

Cade Boreing gave Gillette a 6-5 (OT) victory over Yellowstone when he scored 45 seconds into the extra period.

After the loss made the series score 1-0 in the best of three series, Yellowstone faces elimination next time out.

Gillette overcame a two-goal deficit to capture the victory. Gillette fell behind 5-3 after a goal by Yellowstone\’s Curtis Greenbush at 7:23 in the second period. Gillette tied things up at 5-5 on a goal by Nick Scherbinin at 6:41 in the third period.

Scherbinin and Alex King provided the spark for Gillette, combining for three goals and three assists. Scherbinin registered two goals and one assist and King also notched one goal and two assists.

Gillette\’s offense rang up 31 shots on Yellowstone\’s net.

Gillette also got points from Jack Oberg, who also grabbed one goal and one assist and King, who also tallied one goal and two assists to lead the team in points. Riley Holwegner also scored for Gillette. In addition, Gillette received assists from Tyler Reble, who had two and Garrett Medina, Gennadi Zabeline, and Brett Kramer, who contributed one each.

Gillette was unable to stop Yellowstone from sending pucks towards the net, and Yellowstone eventually piled up 46 shots on goal.

Yellowstone additionally got points from Manuel Manero, who also racked up one goal and one assist. Yellowstone also had goals scored by Reed Kelly and Matt Runyon, who each put in one. More assists for Yellowstone came via Tony Dahlberg, Jake Dickison, and Nick Ligocki, who each chipped in one and Hunter Ruschmeyer, Nicholas Elliot, and Tristan Henrichs, who contributed two each.

Alex Feese rejected 41 shots on goal for Gillette. Gillette incurred six minutes in penalty time with three minors. Lance Knudson recorded 25 saves for Yellowstone. Yellowstone incurred four minutes in penalty time with two minors.