Shattuck-St. Mary’s has tested itself against hockey teams from around the world.
Now, director of hockey Tom Ward is hoping that schedule helps the private boarding school from Faribault, Minn. repeat as the best 18-and-Under Tier I team in the country at the USA Hockey National Championships on April 3-7 in Pittsburgh.
Ward coaches the 18-U team that will be trying to defend its title. Shattuck-St. Mary’s also will represent the Minnesota District on the 16-U and 14-U tournaments on the Tier I level.
“I think a lot of what we do during the year is to teach kids how to play in these environments,” Ward said. “That’s one of the big draws for a kid to come to our hockey program and a school like ours. They learn how to travel and play.
“After travel, it’s a battle every day to get ready to play.”
According to Ward, the team travels overseas in about half its seasons, when the budget allows.
This season, Shattuck-St. Mary’s played in Austria, Germany and Canada. The Sabres played games against teams from those countries as well as the Czech Republic, Switzerland and Norway on the way to a 42-7-3 record with two games remaining before nationals.
“We take a lot of pride in teaching how to travel and play,” Ward said. “When we travel, we don’t go on vacation.
“We travel and we go play hockey.”
Competing against that type of schedule is made easier by the fact that many of the nation’s top high school players head to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in an effort to launch major college careers.
Six members of the current roster have already committed to NCAA Division I schools.
The committed players are: Tyler Vesel, a forward from Rochester, Minn. to Nebraska-Omaha; Max Becker, a junior forward from Orange, Calif., to Princeton; Marcel Godbout, a junior from Detroit, to Michigan State; Truman Reed, a defenseman from Anchorage, Ala., to Providence; Willie Raskob, a defenseman from Hastings, Minn., to Minnesota-Duluth; and Brett Boeing, a forward from Barrington, Ill., to Michigan Tech.
The defending national champions possess incredible depth.
Vesel leads the team with 75 points on 32 goals and 43 assists in 52 games. Ryan Norman, a sophomore from Maplewood, Minn., has 62 points, and eight players have scored between 55 and 42 points. That group includes Becker; Chase Phelps, a junior from Eagan, Minn.; Godbout; Anthony Petrella, a junior from Hilton, N.Y.; Raskob; Nick Petrella from Hilton, N.Y.; Boeing; and Alex Rodriguez, a junior from Miami.
“We’ve been lucky in my 15 years here, that’s been the calling card of our program,” Ward said. “We do have depth throughout our lineup.
“We’re lucky in that we have a lot of good hockey players who are good students who want to come to our school.”
Vesel, Becker, Raskob, Nick Petrella, Reed, defenseman Matt McArdle and goalie Anthony Brodeur were on the national championship team last year. The Sabres recovered from losing their opener and won five straight games, allowing just five goals in the process.
Reed scored a goal in the 2-1 national championship game victory over the Los Angeles Kings. He joined Vesel, Becker and Raskob in scoring four points each at nationals.
“I’m hoping the fact that we’ve been there and done that before will help us and not hurt us,” Ward said. “I’d rather go in as the defending champion than not be the defending champion.”
Shattuck-St. Mary’s won the National Invitational Tournament in New Hope, Minn. with three overtime victories this season and took the World Sports Challenge in Calgary, Alberta. The Sabres will be trying to win the 18-U national title for the third straight year, the fifth time in seven years and the sixth time in nine years.
With most of Minnesota’s hockey concentrated on the high school level, Shattuck-St. Mary’s, which plays an independent schedule as a prep school, is representing the district in all three age groups. It was unopposed, claiming automatic berths for its highly successful programs.
The two younger teams have also thrived against demanding schedules.
Shattuck-St. Mary’s is 30-13-6 with three games left on the 16-U level. Kevin Dineen, a junior from Faribault, leads the team with 62 points on 29 goals and 33 assists. Jordan Greenway, a sophomore from Potsdam, N.Y., leads with 38 assists and is second in points with 60.
The Shattuck-St. Mary’s 14-U team enters the tournament with a 21-0-1 mark in the last 22 games to improve to 48-5-1 on the season. Ryan Edquist, a freshman from Lakeville, Minn., has nine shutouts in goal with a 1.23 goals-against average and .937 save percentage. Drew Speckman, a freshman from Fairfield, Conn., has six shutouts.
Two more freshmen lead the offense with lofty scoring totals. Clayton Keller, from Swansea, Ill., has 53 goals and 68 assists in 54 games. Ryan Lindgren, from Lakeville, Minn., has 21 goals and 59 assists in 50 games while playing defense.
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Girls Tier I
16-U: Shattuck-St. Mary’s
19-U: Shattuck-St. Mary’s
Boys Tier I
14-U: Shattuck-St. Mary's
16-U: Shattuck-St. Mary's
19-U: Shattuck-St. Mary's