MUSKEGON, Mich. – The Muskegon Lumberjacks are pleased to announce that goaltender John Keeney has committed to play for the University of Alaska Fairbanks beginning this fall.
Keeney arrived in Muskegon via trade with Omaha in late October and quickly grabbed the reins as the Lumberjacks’ No. 1 netminder. The 19-year-old from Lake Arrowhead, Calif., made the decision to play for the Nanooks after a campus visit this week.
“I got to spend a long day with the coaching staff and enjoyed everything about it,” said Keeney. “I walked around campus and liked what I saw. It seems like a really good fit.”
The third-year USHL veteran has played in 38 games this season and has been entrusted with eight straight starts on two separate occasions. He has relished the opportunity to man the crease regularly and plans on staying busy upon his arrival in Fairbanks.
“I wanted to go to a school where I would get a chance to play,” Keeney said. “It’s a solid program in a good league (CCHA).”
Keeney has the Lumberjacks’ only two shutouts of the season and has presided over eight of Muskegon’s 17 victories. With four games to go this season, he has played in 81 USHL games, posting a 32-31-11 record with four shutouts and a .907 save percentage.
“I’ve enjoyed this year in Muskegon and I’ve learned a lot here,” Keeney said. “My time in the USHL has prepared me well to move on to the next level.”
The 6-foot-1, 187-pound goalie plays a calm style between the pipes but he has been busy this season as the Lumberjacks have allowed 34.1 shots against per game, third-most in the USHL. Keeney has made 40 or more saves in a game six times, including his signature performance, a 44-save shutout of Youngstown Dec. 2.
“John has been a stabilizing force for us this year,” said Lumberjacks Head Coach Jim McKenzie. “We wish him the best at Fairbanks and we know he’ll do very well.”
Alaska Fairbanks finished at 12-20-4 overall (9-17-4 in the CCHA) this season under fourth-year head coach Dallas Ferguson. The former Nanooks captain guided the program to its only NCAA tournament appearance in 2009-10 and has averaged nearly 16 wins per season, the best mark in program history.
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)