“I can’t wait to play another four years with the kid,” Burgess said by cellphone on Monday.
Liljegren said: “It’s always nice to have someone you know when you go to college.”
The Engineers finished last season with a 15-16-6 overall record and 8-9-5 in ECAC play. While the two talked about RPI together, their decision was not made together. They just happened to make it on the same day. “I didn’t know he had committed when I committed,” Liljegren said. “It was a nice little surprise.”
Burgess is expecting to join the Engineers in either 2015 or 2016 while Liljegren is undecided when he will make the jump to college.
Burgess, a 6'2, 175 pound forward from Phoenix, Ariz., has family about an hour away from Troy, N.Y., where RPI is located. The location also was a factor for Liljegren, who hails from Stockholm, Sweden. It’s a six hour time difference between New York and Stockholm, opposed to the 10 hour difference between Fairbanks and Stockholm.
“They’ve been great guys,” Burgess said of talking with RPI head coach Seth Appert and his assistants.
Liljegren, also a forward, is listed at 6-foot-3, 195 pounds. “Both are bigger kids who have a lot of room to grow into their frame,” Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said of the two who are in their first season with the Ice Dogs.
In 39 regular season games, Burgess scored five goals with 11 assists for 16 points. During the five game, opening round playoff series win over Kenai River, Burgess scored one goal and three points.
According to Stewart, Burgess took a while to adjust to playing in the North American Hockey League but since Christmas has been playing much better. “He’s just gotten stronger, comfortable and learned to compete,” Stewart said of Burgess.
Liljegren, meanwhile, stepped into the lineup and made an instant impact. Liljegren was third on the Ice Dogs during the regular season with 45 points on 18 goals and 27 assists. “Viktor is a couple years older and was expected to step in and make an impact,” Stewart said.