Minnesota State Men’s Hockey signs nine for 2017-18

Men’s hockey coach Mike Hastings has announced that nine student-athletes have signed NCAA Letters of Intent to attend Minnesota State University.

Committing to MSU during the early signing period are forwards Walker Duehr (Sioux Falls, S.D./Chicago (USHL)), Dallas Gerads (Blaine, Minn./Dubuque (USHL)), Jake Jaremko (Nowthen, Minn./Chicago (USHL)), Reggie Lutz (Elk River, Minn./Chicago (USHL)) and Jared Spooner (Bismarck, N.D./Green Bay (USHL)), along with defensemen Connor Mackey (Barrington, Ill./Green Bay (USHL)), Jack McNeely (Lakeville, Minn./Tri-City (USHL)) and Riese Zmolek (Rochester, Minn./Cedar Rapids (USHL)) and goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks (Riga, Latvia/Sioux City (USHL)).

Biographies of the nine student-athletes are listed below.

“We’re extremely excited with what we have with this entire group. The combination they bring as players and as people are what excites me most,” said Hastings, currently in his fifth season as head coach of the Mavericks. “There’s ability, character and several of these student-athletes are being looked to lead their teams on and off the ice. They’ve been successful during their high school and junior careers and bring an expectation of success with them.”

“I think the other part of the deal is that a number of players in this class will come to us having won junior championships,” said Todd Knott, who serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator. “There’s a lot of success at that level and it’s a credit to the coaching staffs. They’re coming to us from organizations with winning cultures. A number of them have Robertson Cups and Clark Cups on their resumes. They’ve had lengthy runs through the play-offs and the roles they play with their teams in terms of leadership and heavy minutes played can not be overstated. We look for that to translate well at the collegiate level. This group impacts our program at all positions with five forwards, three defensemen and a goaltender.”

Walker Duehr, F, 6-3, 205, Sioux Falls, S.D./Chicago (USHL)
Three-year veteran of United States Hockey league currently has seven goals and four assists for 11 points in 13 games with Chicago…Won Clark Cup in helping Tri-City capture USHL postseason title in 2015-16 where he had 10-13–23 in 38 regular-season games with the Storm…His cousin, Zeb Knutson, is a junior forward with Minnesota State.

Dallas Gerads, F, 5-9, 195, Blaine, Minn./Dubuque (USHL)
Team captain for Dubuque of the United States Hockey League where he has two goals and five assists in 12 games played with the Fighting Saints this year…Had 14-16–30 in 55 games for Dubuque in 2015-16…Blaine (Minn.) High School product had 15-21–25 with the Bengals in 2013-14 before spending a year with Rio Grande Valley of North American Hockey League in 2014-15 where he put up 20-11–31 in 59 GP.

Jake Jaremko, F, 5-10, 180, Nowthen, Minn./Chicago (USHL)
Alternate captain for Chicago (USHL) currently has four goals and ten assists for 14 points in 13 games with the Steel…Had 20-28–48 in 60 games in his first year with Chicago in 2015-16…Racked up 22-46–68 in 26 games at Elk River (Minn.) High School in 2014-15 en route to being named Mr. Hockey for the state of Minnesota…Led the Minnesota Elite League in scoring in 2014…Collected 19-32–51 in 23 games for Elk River as a junior in 2013-14.

Reggie Lutz, F, 5-10, 175, Elk River, Minn./Chicago (USHL)
Currently has 5-6–11 in 13 games with Chicago (USHL)…Won a Robertson Cup in helping Fairbanks capture the North American Hockey League postseason championship in 2015-16…Had 9-3–12 in 12 play-off games for the Ice Dogs and was named Robertson Cup MVP…Accrued 35-25–68 in 25 games at Elk River (Minn.) High School in 2014-15

Jared Spooner, F, 6-0, 185, Bismarck, N.D./Green Bay (USHL)
Team captain for Green Bay (USHL) in 2016-17 where he currently sits with 6-4–10 in 14 games played…Had 6-11–17 in 55 games with the Gamblers in 2015-16…Named to NAHL Central Division All-Rookie Team after putting up 9-34–43 in 58 games with Bismarck in 2014-15.

Connor Mackey, D, 6-2, 190, Barrington, Ill./Green Bay (USHL)
Alternate captain for Green Bay (USHL) in 2016-17 where he has 3-10–13 in 14 games…Currently the highest-scoring defenseman in the USHL…Had 1-1–2 in 29 games in rookie season with the Gamblers in 2015-16…Father, Dave, played in 126 National Hockey League games as a forward with Chicago, Minnesota and St. Louis from 1987-94.

Jack McNeely, D, 6-3, 185, Lakeville, Minn./Tri-City (USHL)
Team captain for Tri-City of the United States Hockey League where he has 0-1–1 in 11 games played with the Storm this year…Won Clark Cup in helping Tri-City capture USHL postseason title in 2015-16 where he had 0-2–2 in 11 regular-season games with the Storm…Lakeville North (Minn.) High School product where he had 1-20–21 in 25 games in 2014-15…Selected to play in the Upper Midwest HS Elite League where he totalled 1-9–10 in 42 games with Team Southwest.

Riese Zmolek, D, 6-1, 205, Rochester, Minn./Cedar Rapids (USHL)
Had 3-8–11 in 56 games in first year with Cedar Rapids of the USHL in 2015-16…Rochester Century (Minn.) product had 19-20–39 with the Panthers in 2014-15 before totalling 2-6–8 in 19 games with Team Northeast of the Elite League…Father, Doug, saw action in 467 National Hockey League games as a defenseman with San Jose, Dallas, Los Angeles and Chicago from 1992-2000.

Matiss Kivlenieks, G, 6-2, 190, Riga, Latvia/Sioux City (USHL)
In first year with Sioux City (USHL) where he has an 8-2-1 mark, 1.65 goals against average and a .936 saves percentage in ten games with the Musketeers….Went 16-10-1 with a 2.41 GAA and .925 sv% with Coulee Region (NAHL) in 2015-16…NAHL Goaltender of the Month once during course of 2015-15 season and selected for 2016 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament..Has twice played internationally for Latvia U20 team and was named top goaltender at 2016 IIHF Division I Group A World Junior Championship.

All signings are contingent upon admission to Minnesota State and compliance with NCAA rules, including certification by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

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