Sioux City, IA. – The Musketeers announced today that Jake Guentzel and Michael Kapla will begin their collegiate playing careers in the 2013-14 season.
Guentzel, the Musketeers leading scorer last season as a rookie, will suit up for the University of Nebraska-Omaha next season. The Musketeer MVP and USHL Rookie of the year for 2013-14 will wear # 20 for the Mavericks. Guentzel joins eleven USHL alumni on the Mavericks roster as it currently stands. Head Coach Dean Blais had plenty of holes to fill on his roster. Eight UNO seniors ended their collegiate careers after the 2012-13 season. All eight where products of the USHL. Of those eight, six were in the top ten in team scoring, including leading scorer Ryan Walters, who finished his senior season with 52 points (22g, 30a). Guentzel will undoubtedly see plenty of playing time as a freshman next season.
Michael Kapla will suit up for the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. He joins 9 USHL alumni on the Riverhawks roster, including former Musketeer defenseman Jake Suter. Suter will be a junior with the Riverhawks next season. The Riverhawks recently competed in the NCAA Frozen Four tournament, making it all the way to the semifinals in Pittsburgh, where they lost 3-2 in overtime to Yale. 2012-13 was the best season for the Riverhawks since beginning play at the division 1 level. They finished with a 12-11-2 record.
Head Coach and General Manager Jay Varady has been impressed with everything about Guentzel. “This speaks volumes about Jake as a player, he made a huge impact with our organization and in the league! He has earned an opportunity to take his game to the next level at a great program. We wish him the best of luck and will be following his college career”. Guentzels’ departure has been speculated on for weeks by fans who are anxious to come out of the gate winning next season. “Jake’s departure leaves a big hole in our line up but that is what the USHL is about providing an environment for players to develop and promote them to the next level. This will also provide an opportunity for players coming into training camp because Jake played a lot of key minutes for the club.”
Mark Abalan was quick to praise both players on their jump to the college ranks. “Guentzel and Kapla are great guys, we’re really going to miss them, but at the same time we’re really happy for them. They’re both going on to great programs. Good for them”. The second year assistant coach loves to use stories like those of Guentzel and Kapla. “It’s always an honor as a coach to help these guys develop at our level so that they can move on to opportunities like the ones Jake and Michael are moving on to. This kind of progress is great for recruiting future players. When recruits see guys like Jake and Michael come in and make an impact with our team, who are subsequently rewarded with scholarships to places like UNO and UMass-Lowell, it makes them want to be a part of what we have to offer here in Sioux City.”
“Jake and Michael were a huge part of our success, there is no question about that. We are excited to see them moving on in their careers. With our returners, affiliate players, draft picks, and camp invites, it puts us in great position to start the 2013-14 season. Despite the loss of Jake and Michael I think we’re in great position to put together one of the best teams in the USHL next season” stated Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator Keith Paulsen.
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