Thursday, May 25, 2017

BLOG: Chicago wins USHL Clark Cup, Penticton falls in RBC Cup to cap 2016-17 commit season

The last of Minnesota's commits had his season end Tuesday.

(There remain a few in the pros. Phil Kessel and Pittsburgh play Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight. Former Gopher defensemen Michael Brodzinski and Ben Marshall's AHL teams are in their league semis although both players only appeared in a handful of playoff games.)

Brannon McManus became Tuesday the first person committed to Minnesota to hoist the USHL Clark Cup since Nico Sacchetti in 2008 when Chicago defeated Sioux City 2-1 in overtime of winner-take-all Game 5.

A few days earlier Penticton, with Gopher commits Mat Robson (goalie) and Sam Rossini (defense), ended its season two wins short of taking home the RBC Cup, the highest prize in Canadian Junior A. The BCHL league champions lost 3-1 Saturday to eventual RBC Cup winner Cobourg.

Robson finished with a RBC Cup-best 2.16 GAA and had .939 save percentage over the five games. Rossini had a single assist playing in all five games, an achievement in itself after missing most of the year due to injury.

In addition to McManus, who ended the five game championship series with 2 goals in Game 2 and 2 assists in Game 4, verbal commit Blake McLaughlin spent part of the year with Chicago following his junior season of high school at Grand Rapids. He appeared in a single USHL playoff game.

McLaughlin already celebrated a 2017 Minnesota Class AA boys high school hockey championship back in March.

McManus joins Mike Szmatula as Clark Cup winners on next year's Minnesota team. Szmatula won in 2013 with a Dubuque Fighting Saints team coached by now-Denver head coach Jim Montgomery.

Last month Minnesota commits Scott Reedy and Nate Knoepke took home gold medals representing Team USA in the U-18 World Championships.

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