Fairbanks goaltender Benson makes NCAA DI commitment
March 23, 2018
The Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the North American Hockey League (NAHL) are pleased to announce that goaltender Josh Benson has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for Sacred Heart University of Atlantic Hockey.
Benson, 20, is a true ladder of development success story and is currently one of the top-five goaltenders in the NAHL. After a standout high school career at Stillwater High School in Minnesota, Benson began his junior career with the North Iowa Bulls in the NA3HL during the 2016-17 season.
Benson’s great numbers with the Bulls, which included a perfect 7-0 record, a 1.54 goals against average, and a 94.1% save percentage, earned him an opportunity with the Ice Dogs in December and he took advantage of the opportunity.
This season, the 6’1/190 lbs. native of Stillwater, Minnesota, has had a career season in the NAHL. He currently leads the league with 26 wins and ranks fourth in the NAHL with a 1.85 goals against average to go with a 92.2% save percentage and four shutouts this season.
Benson was also selected to and played in the 2018 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the Midwest Division team, an event that Sacred Heart was at. Benson first spoke with Sacred Heart during an Ice Dogs series against the East Division’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights in Pittston, Pennsylvania in January, and then later talked to at the Top Prospects Tournament.
“I talked to them a month and half later, and they were pretty interested,’’ Benson said. “They had been watching me in videos of the games. Both coaches were really nice to me and I liked the campus from what I saw online. It looks like a really close-knit organization and school, and everything,’’ he added.
“I think he’ll bring steadiness and competitiveness between the pipes,’’ Ice Dogs head coach Trevor Stewart said. “They’re getting a good goaltender, and obviously, they’re getting a good person. I think it’s a really good situation for him to go into, where they have a senior goalie next year who, I’m guessing, will probably play the majority of the games,’’ Stewart added, “and then Josh will kind of ease his way into college hockey and be able to take over as a sophomore.”
Benson said he’s looking at majoring in business management or economics.