Fargo Force defenseman Brian Cooper has committed to play collegiately at the University of Nebraska at Omaha following his USHL career.
The 17-year-old is already in his second USHL season and has collected 23 points (10g, 13a) in 36 games this season. He is the fourth highest scoring defenseman in the USHL and has also posted a plus-11 rating. Cooper recorded 13 points (3g, 10a) and a plus-seven rating for Fargo in 55 games last season and also helped the club reach the Clark Cup Finals. The native of Anchorage, Alaska was also a member of the U.S. Select Team that captured the gold at the World Junior A Challenge in November 2010.
Cooper will be joined at UNO by current Fargo teammates Ryan Massa and Tanner Lane who are also committed to the school. Seven other USHL players will play hockey at UNO following their USHL careers; Ian Brady (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Jayson Megna (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Alex Broadhurst (Green Bay Gamblers), Brian O'Rourke (Green Bay Gamblers), Andrew Schmit (Lincoln Stars), Jaycob Megna (Muskegon Lumberjacks), and Dominic Zombo (Sioux Falls Stampede).
The University of Nebraska at Omaha Mavericks are playing in their first season in the WCHA and are currently ranked #13 in the nation. A total of 20 USHL alumni are on the roster for the Mavericks this season, the most of any school in the WCHA; Matt Ambroz (Tri-City Storm), Bryce Aneloski (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Fredrik Bergman (Des Moines Buccaneers), Terry Broadhurst (Sioux Falls Stampede), Kyle Ensign (Green Bay Gamblers/Tri-City Storm), Brent Gwidt (Indiana Ice), Alex Hudson (Tri-City Storm), Brock Montpetit (Waterloo Black Hawks), Eric Olimb (Indiana Ice), Richard Purslow (Des Moines Buccaneers), Brandon Richardson (Indiana Ice), Johnnie Searfoss (Fargo Force), Alex Simonson (Chicago Steel), Pasko Skarica (Waterloo Black Hawks), Matt Smith (Indiana Ice), Andrej Sustr (Youngstown Phantoms), Tony Turgeon (Waterloo Black Hawks), Ryan Walters (Des Moines Buccaneers), Matt White (Omaha Lancers), and Jordan Willert (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 email@example.com)
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