The Fargo Force announced that goaltender Ryan Massa has committed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the fall of 2011.
Massa, 20, is playing in his second USHL season and has posted a 4-1-1 record over his first six starts. Just once this season has he allowed more than two goals in a game and in his four victories, he has compiled a 1.70 goals-against-average. The native of Littleton, Colorado earned a 19-7-2 record for the Force last season and had a stellar playoff performance as he led the club to the Clark Cup Finals. Massa posted an 8-5 record in the postseason, playing more minutes than any other USHL goaltender in the playoffs.
Massa is joined by Force teammate Tanner Lane who is also committed to play hockey at the University of Nebraska at Omaha following his USHL career. Five other USHL players are committed to attend UNO; Jayson Megna (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Jaycob Megna (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Alex Broadhurst (Green Bay Gamblers), Brian O'Rourke (Green Bay Gamblers), and Dominic Zombo (Sioux Falls Stampede).
The University of Nebraska at Omaha has begun its first season in the WCHA and is currently ranked #4 in the national polls. A total of 20 USHL alumni are on the roster for the Mavericks this season; Matt Smith (Indiana Ice), Andrej Sustr (Youngstown Phantoms), Kyle Ensign (Tri-City Storm), Pasko Skarica (Waterloo Black Hawks), Rich Purslow (Des Moines Buccaneers), Alex Simonson (Chicago Steel), Brock Montpetit (Waterloo Black Hawks), Jordan Willert (Tri-City Storm), Johnnie Searfoss (Fargo Force), Terry Broadhurst (Sioux Falls Stampede), Ryan Walters (Des Moines Buccaneers), Brandon Richardson (Indiana Ice), Matt White (Omaha Lancers), Tony Turgeon (Waterloo Black Hawks), Eric Olimb (Indiana Ice), Bryce Aneloski (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Brent Gwidt (Indiana Ice), Alex Hudson (Tri-City Storm), Fredrik Bergman (Des Moines Buccaneers), and Matt Ambroz (Tri-City Storm).
In addition, the entire Mavericks coaching staff has USHL experience. Head coach Dean Blais led the Fargo Force to the Clark Cup Finals during their inaugural season and was named the 2008-09 USHL Coach of the Year. Associate head coach Mike Hastings is the all-time leader in USHL coaching victories (529) after leading the Omaha Lancers for 14 seasons (1994-2008). Assistant coach Mike Guentzel was the head coach of the Des Moines Buccaneers in 2009-10 and has coached a combined six seasons in the USHL.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)