Top Prospects commitments piling up
The NAHL Top Prospects Tournament continues to pay dividends on the college front, as two more players who participated in the January event recently committed to Division I schools.
Fairbanks Ice Dogs defenseman Brandon Martell will man the blue line at Ohio State University (CCHA) next season, while goaltender Phil Cook will stop pucks at Minnesota State-Mankato (WCHA).
The two are the seventh and eighth players who competed at Top Prospects to decide on a school after the event.
“I couldn’t be happier to be attending such a great school and a great hockey program,” said Martell. “I’m very grateful to the Ice Dogs organization for everything they’ve done for me.”
Martell, a 20-year-old from Andover, Minn., has four goals for 18 points in 43 games this season. He is also a plus-8.
“Brandon has the ability to be successful right away in the college game,” said Ice Dogs head coach Josh Hauge. “He has a great work ethic and Ohio State is not only getting a great hockey player, but an even better team guy and person.”
Cook, a 21-year-old from Wheaton, Ill., holds a 22-10-5 record in 39 appearances this season to compliment a 2.72 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage.
“When Phil is in the net, I’m confident we have a chance to win every night,” said Hauge. “He’s a leader in the locker room and on the ice. He’s going into a great situation at Minnesota State and we expect big things from him.”
Cook began his NAHL career with the Springfield Jr. Blues. He was named the GDI Goaltender of the Month for November.
"Minnesota State was an easy decision for me,” said Cook. “I felt very comfortable with the coaching staff and the situation.
“I’d also like to thank my teammates for everything they’ve done for me and the way they’ve played in front of me.”
The six other players to commit to a school after the Top Prospects Tournament are: Springfield Jr. Blues forward Trent Frey (Mercyhurst); St. Louis Bandits defenseman Tyler Elbrecht (Minnesota State-Mankato) and goaltender Keith Kinkaid (Union); RoadRunners goaltender Bryce Merriam (RPI) and forward Steve Shafer (Canisius College); and Wenatchee Wild forward Mitch Torrel.