The Mahoning Valley Phantoms have announced that forward Jordy Trottier has committed to Bentley College (Atlantic Hockey) for next season.
Given Bentley’s strong academic reputation, Trottier says it wasn’t just hockey that helped him decide to become a Falcon for the 2009-10 season.
“Playing hockey was a huge part of my decision and I really like the direction of Coach (Ryan) Soderquist and the program there,” said the Phantoms’ leading scorer. “But they’ve also got a really well-known business school at Bentley and that’s the type of career I’d like to pursue once I’m done with hockey, so that only made me want to play there even more.”
The Bozeman, Mont., native made his decision following last weekend’s three-game series at Traverse City, where he recorded a team-leading four assists. He had made his official visit to campus back on Nov. 24.
Phantoms head coach Bob Mainhardt says that Trottier joins a long line of Mahoning Valley veterans to attend the Waltham, Mass., school.
“We have a great recent history of sending veteran players to Bentley, including numerous captains and assistant captains,” said Mainhardt, “and he’s going to follow in the footsteps of those great Phantoms leaders. He’ll be joining a great young program that seems to get better every year.
“Coach Soderquist has got himself another great player in Jordy who can step in and contribute right away.”
Phantoms alumni who went on to become Falcons include Trent Bonnett, Anthony Canzoneri, Dustin Cloutier and Marc Menzione, all of whom were either captains or assistant captains with Mahoning Valley.
Trottier’s commitment to Bentley capped a big two weeks off the ice for the third-year NAHL veteran; last week he was named to the North Division’s Top Prospects Tournament team.
His signing makes him the second Phantom in the last week to commit to an Atlantic Hockey school; Cole Schneider committed to Connecticut last Wednesday.
RANGERS OFF TO TRAVERSE CITY: Following an emotional split with Alpena last weekend, the Marquette Rangers travels to Traverse City this Friday and Saturday to battle the North Stars.
Traverse City currently sits in second place in the NAHL North Division with a record of 17-7-5 (39 points) while the Rangers go into the weekend in fourth place with 36 points and a record of 16-15-4.
Marquette is 3-1 against the North Stars so far this season, and leads in the teams’ Smith Barney Challenge Cup series, 6-4 (points). The Challenge Cup standings are based on the same point system the NAHL is based on: two points for a win, one point for an overtime loss and no wins for a loss in regulation. Two of Marquette’s wins this year came in overtime.
“Obviously, we want to take some of the momentum from Saturday’s overtime win,” said Rangers head coach Kenny Miller. “Somehow we need to find a way to be more consistent for a full 60 minutes; we’ve been hit-and-miss lately which is a concern for us going into their place this weekend.
“Traverse City is a very good team, so we need to be ready to go from the opening faceoff this entire weekend. If we can do that and play the way we’re capable, I think good things can happen for our club.”
The record against the North Stars this season wasn’t lost on the head coach either.
“We’ve proven we can play well against them in our four games so far this season,” Miller added. “I think that can transfer into some confidence for our players going into this weekend as well.”
Chad Pietila continues to lead the Rangers in scoring, with his cousin Aaron Pietila and James Gallagher a close second. Chad Pietila’s two goals against Alpena last Saturday gives him 16 on the season to go along with 19 assists for 35 points. Gallagher, who scored the game-winner in overtime onSaturday, now has 30 points on 12 goals and 18 assists. Those numbers are matched by Aaron Pietila.
The North Stars are led by Kyle Bonis’ 32 points on 14 goals and 18 assists. Kyle Jean is second in TC scoring with 23 points (12 goals).
SAAD HELPS USA TO BRONZE: Phantoms forward Brandon Saad is back in the Valley after helping lead Team USA to a bronze medal at the World Under-17 Challenge in Vancouver.
Saad says his first foray into international competition was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
“It was a great experience to get up there and play against competition from all around the world,” said Saad. “The fans were crazy because we were up in Canada, which made it even better to be able to go in there, make the medal round and take home a bronze medal.”
The 16-year-old native of Gibsonia, Pa., led all scorers in the four-game preliminary round with four goals and five assists and was named as a first-team all-tournament forward - an honor that caught him by surprise.
“I actually didn’t find out about it until after the tournament,” Saad said. “I had a good tournament because I played with such a talented group of guys and I feel lucky to get the nomination. It’s a great honor.”
Saad’s selection to the American side marks the fourth straight year the Phantoms have sent a player to skate for Team USA in international competition. In 2006, defenseman Doug Leaverton played for the Americans while blueliner Eric Ringel represented the United States in 2007 and 2008.
The Phantoms are the only team in the country to have that distinction for that many consecutive years.
Mahoning Valley head coach Bob Mainhardt says the streak is a great feather in the Phantoms’ cap.
“It’s a special honor,” said the sixth-year head coach. “They seem to come to us every year to borrow one of our guys. It just shows that we’re developing great players here for international play and to have success at the next level as well.”