With the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament just a few days away, Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman Russell Finch got a major decision out of the way this week.
One of the most consistent defensemen in coach Trevor Stewart’s lineup, Finch committed to play college hockey at Colorado College of the NCAA Division I Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) starting this fall.
“He’s just a solid defender,” Stewart said from Seattle, where the Ice Dogs will be boarding a plane to Dallas this morning to begin preparation for the first game of the Robertson Cup Thursday morning at the Dr. Pepper Center in Frisco, Texas. “He’s good at the one-on-one game, he keeps things simple and he always makes a good first pass,” Stewart said in describing the way Finch approaches the game.
Finch, who hails from Middleton, Maryland, has played the past two seasons in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). He started his NAHL career in 2010-11 with the St. Louis Bandits. After beginning this season with the Bandits, he was traded 10 games into the season to Fairbanks, where he flourished, recording 12 points in 40 regular season games with the Ice Dogs, including being a +26. In 99 career NAHL regular season games, he has recorded 27 points.
He was then selected to participate in the 2012 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament this past February in Troy, Michigan, where he represented team West.
Stewart said Finch is a perfect fit for the Tigers, who play on an Olympic-size sheet of ice in Colorado Springs. “He’s an efficient skater and he has good stick control, which is beneficial on the big ice,” Stewart said.
Stewart said Finch should fit in well at Colorado College. “He’s great academically and he’s a good team player,” Stewart said. “We’re excited that he’s going to be able to step in at a big-time school like Colorado College.”
Special thanks to Bob Eley from the News-Miner for portions of this story.