The Motor City Machine has announced that goaltender Joe Rogers has committed to the University of Notre Dame (CCHA) for next season.
In eight appearances for the Machine this year, the 18-year-old from Marysville, Mich., holds a 1-5-0 record to compliment a 3.81 goals-against average and a .838 save percentage.
“We couldn’t be happier for Joe,” said Machine head coach and general manager Matt Romaniski. “He comes from a great developmental background and has worked very hard for this deserving opportunity at Notre Dame.”
Prior to the NAHL, Rogers played Midget AAA in Michigan for Belle Tire and Little Caesars. He backstopped Belle Tire to a national championship in 2006, posting a 34-1-2 record.
“The biggest thing I’ve noticed since moving up to junior hockey has been the pace and intensity,” said Rogers. “I've never prepared harder in my life.”
Rogers, who started playing goal at age 7, has also had to overcome the disability of being born with one hand.
“I’ve never used my disability as an excuse,” he said. “I could’ve chosen another sport, but hockey was passion and the crease was where I was going to play.”
Rogers is the first player in Machine history to commit to a Division I program.
OUTLAWS PACKING THE HOUSE: Through the month of October, the North Iowa Outlaws are off to their best start in terms of attendance, averaging 932 fans after five games. That’s a total of 4,662 fans who’ve come through the door this season putting the Outlaws on pace to draw more than 25,000.
“I’d like to think it’s because some of the new things we’re doing and the increased marketing, but in reality 100 percent of the credit for the increase goes to the community itself,” said Outlaws general manager Steve Strasheim. “Our goal was to have a good start at the gate, but this has been beyond our expectations and the community deserves a round of applause.”
The average is the best through October in the team’s four-season history and already includes three home dates of more than 1,000 fans, highlighted with a season-high of 1,087 on Friday night. The smallest crowd was 727 on October 10.
“The fall is tough for every team in every market because there’s high school football and also the weather is still nice enough to entice people outside,” added Strasheim. “When a franchise begins to draw in October, that’s a very good sign it’s becoming a staple in the community.”
RANGERS READY FOR BLIZZARD: The Marquette Rangers hit the road this weekend for a three-game set against the Alexandria Blizzard.
Following a pair or home wins against Motor City and a Saturday loss at Alpena, Rangers head coach Kenny Miller says he’s still pleased with where things are going for his hockey club.
“We’ve been great at home,” Miller said. “Now it’s a chance for us to hit the road, spend some time together as a team and hopefully figure out why we start so slowly on the road.
“I didn’t think our effort Saturday was what it needed to be at Alpena, but this is a new week and a new chance for us to go work out some of the bugs and hopefully gets some points out of Alexandria.
“One of the nice things from last weekend was the chance to get some of our veterans scoring goals and gaining some confidence in their play. Tie that in with some of our newcomers who are really starting to play well and I’m confident we’ll improve every week and become the hockey team I think we can be.”
Three veterans led the Rangers last weekend in 6-3 and 6-4 wins over Motor City, including a hat trick from Josh Bussell and two-goal nights from both Mike Thompson and Garrett Ladd.
Defenseman Ryan McGrath notched a five-point weekend on a goal and four assists on his way to being named the NAHL’s North Division Player of The Week.
Miller says this weekend will go well for his club if one thing can improve.
“I’d like to see us get stronger in our own end and cut down on some of the mistakes we’ve been making in our half of the ice,” he added. “Offensively we’re fine, we’re getting good production from our forwards and that’ll also improve once we shore-up things in our end.”