Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Eric Freschi has committed to play college hockey at Cornell University while defenseman Niklas Nevalainen has committed to St. Cloud State University.
Freschi has played in all 33 games for the first-place Saints this season and recorded 14 points (8g, 6a) with a plus-10 rating. He recently netted two goals in the 4-1 win over Cedar Rapids on Saturday, his first multi-goal game of the season. The 19-year-old from Bloomington, Minnesota is playing his second USHL season in Dubuque after putting up 19 points (12g, 7a) in 51 games last year, which included scoring a goal in his USHL debut on October 11th, 2011.
Five other current USHL players are committed to Cornell University, including Woody Hudson (Chicago Steel), Jeff Kubiak (Chicago Steel), Michael Booth (Fargo Force), Alex Rauter (Omaha Lancers), and Ryan Bliss (Team USA).
Cornell University is a member of the ECAC and has 11 USHL alumni on the roster this season for the Ivy League school; Cole Bardreau (Team USA), Armand de Swardt (Chicago Steel), Andy Iles (Team USA), Vince Mihalek (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Joakim Ryan (Dubuque Fighting Saints), John McCarron (Lincoln Stars), Brian Ferlin (Indiana Ice), Jacob MacDonald (Waterloo Black Hawks), Christian Hilbrich (Indiana Ice), Gavin Stoick (Team USA), and Teemu Tiitinen (Lincoln Stars).
Nevalainen is a 19-year-old from Finland and leads all Dubuque defensemen with 18 points (2g, 16a) in 30 games this season which is tied for 10th among all USHL blueliners in scoring. His plus-29 rating is also the second-highest mark in the USHL. During a recent six-game point streak, he amassed 10 points (1g, 9a) and a plus-13 rating, which included dishing out four assists in the 7-1 win over Chicago on December 15th and posting a plus-six rating in the 8-2 victory against Green Bay on January 5th. It equaled the second-highest plus/minus rating posted by a player in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present).
Four other current USHL players are committed to St. Cloud State University – Judd Peterson (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders), Ben Storm (Muskegon Lumberjacks), Charlie Lindgren (Sioux Falls Stampede), and Ryan Papa (Waterloo Black Hawks).
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)