The holidays can be a joyous time for some. Christmas carols, gift-giving and the lovely Hallmark Christmas movies (okay, maybe that’s just me).
The later days of December are also the time for one of the best hockey tournaments in the world, the IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championships, featuring the best young talent the game has to offer.
With the college hockey season going on at the same time, some players are taken off of their school’s roster to go represent their country. There always seem to be players in the tournament that come from the powerhouses such as Boston, Michigan, and North Dakota to name a few. However, some of the smaller schools are not well represented in the tournament, especially Ferris State, which had never had a player make it to the World Juniors. That is, until this year.
Logan Stein is Heading to Edmonton
Each year, three goaltenders are selected, per team, to be a part of the World Juniors. With so many goaltenders to count, it can be difficult for a goaltender to stand out from the rest to play for their respective country.
Stein was prepped to have that opportunity earlier this year. After a successful showing with the Americans at the 2019 World Junior A Challenge and a stellar season with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League (USHL), he was selected to USA Hockey’s World Junior Summer Showcase Camp. (from ‘Waterloo Black Hawk Stein earns spot in USA showcase,’ The Courier, 06/17/2020) However, Stein did not get the chance to show off his skills in front of USA Hockey’s brass, as the coronavirus forced the camp to be canceled.
Stein then began to prep for his freshman season at Ferris State, where he is a highly-touted prospect, and looked to possibly take the reigns as the No. 1 goaltender this season.
However, that all changed when Boston University decided to pause all activities, including hockey, which forced the Terriers to keep a few players back from joining the U.S. due to COVID-19 concerns. This included Robert Mastrosimone, Alex Vlasic, and goaltender Drew Commesso. This meant there was an open spot for a goaltender for the Americans, and Stein’s name was called.
With the invitation, Stein becomes the first Ferris State Bulldog to represent his country at the World Juniors Tournament.
“Ferris is a storied program,” Stein explained during a video press conference on Thursday. “I am just happy to contribute to the [program’s] great history.”
Stein also mentioned how much on an honour it is to be playing for Team USA.
“It’s always a great honor to represent your country…it’s an opportunity of a lifetime. It is a dream to be in this tournament. I was just happy to join the team, and help contribute to this team to win gold.”
While also trying to help his team win gold, Stein is using his time in Edmonton as a learning experience to put towards his collegiate career.
“[Skating] with the talent that I am practicing with everyday, there is not many opportunities to play with this amount of talent. You can see the development from guys who have played in the tournament, they have a much better second half of their college season…and that’s what I hope for myself.”
He will join Boston College’s Spencer Knight and Dustin Wolf of the Western Hockey League’s Everett Silvertips as the men between the pipes for the Americans.
Monday, Dec. 8
No. 6 Minnesota State def. Michigan Tech, 2-0
The Mavericks were able to bounce back from their loss on Sunday and earn the series split with the Huskies. Todd Burgess and Cade Borchardt were the goal scorers for Minnesota State, with netminder Dryden McKay earning the 16th shutout of his collegiate career.
Tuesday, Dec. 9
No. 4 Minnesota def. No. 5 Michigan, 3-1
In a heavyweight matchup out of the Big Ten, the Golden Gophers stayed undefeated with a win in Ann Arbor. Second-period goals from Sampo Ranta and Bryce Brodzinski helped send the Gophers on their way to a 7-0 record. Ben Meyers tallied a goal and two assists, with netminder Jack LaFontaine stopping 33 of the 34 shots he faced.
While the Wolverines did lose, Kent Johnson dazzled with a highlight-reel goal to put Michigan on the board.
Western Michigan ties Colorado College, 3-3 (Tigers Win the Shootout)
The Tigers finally arrived in Omaha after finally being fully cleared of COVID-19. The rust was quickly shaken off as the Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals late in the opening period. However, the Broncos came back with a pair early in the second. The game ended up going to a shootout, where Hunter McKown scored the winner to give Colorado College the extra point.
Both goaltenders played well, as Matt Vernon made 33 saves for the Tigers, while Western Michigan’s Austin made 32.
No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth def. Miami (OH), 4-2
The Bulldogs continue to roll in the early stages of the NCHC Pod with their second win over the RedHawks. Nick Swaney led the attack with a goal and two assists, along with freshman Wyatt Kaiser helping out with a pair of assists. Zach Stejskal earned the win in his first start of the season for Minnesota-Duluth.
No. 9 Denver def. No. 1 North Dakota, 3-2
The Pioneers finally get in the win column, and in a big way by knocking off the top team in the country. DU went in front by a pair before the Fighting Hawks came back to tie it in the second period. The game went down to the wire before Carter Savoie scored his fifth goal of the season with just over two minutes remaining to send Denver to victory.
Wednesday Dec. 10
Holy Cross def. Bentley, 4-3 in overtime
This was a very interesting matchup, which saw the teams combine for five goals in the second period. No scoring in the third period meant overtime, and on the power play, the Crusaders’ Logan Ferguson scored his third goal of the season to give Holy Cross their fourth win of the year.
Ferguson had an assist in the game as well, while Jake Pappalardo also posted a goal and an assist for Holy Cross.
No. 4 Minnesota def. No. 5 Michigan, 4-0
The score did not accurately portray how this one went. The shots were tied 34-34, but, once again, LaFontaine was outstanding in net for the Gophers, picking up his second shutout of the season.
Scott Reedy scored the game-winning goal for the Gophers and added an assist later in the game. He has now scored six goals in the Gophers’ first eight games of the season.
No. 18 Nebraksa-Omaha def. Colorado College, 6-1
Four first period goals sent the Mavericks on their way to the lopsided victory over the Tigers, improving their record to 3-2 on the season. Six different Mavericks found the back of the net, including Brock Bremer, who tallied a goal and an assist in the win. Isaiah Saville was solid once again in goal, earning his third win of the year by stopping 31 shots.
Western Michigan def. No. 13 St. Cloud State, 2-1
After a pair of embarrassing losses, the Broncos put themselves in the win column by knocking off the Huskies. Josh Passolt and Brett Van Os were the goal scorers, and Austin Cain earned the win in net, stopping 20 of the 21 shots he faced.
No. 7 Clarkson vs. Niagara, 4-1
The Purple Eagles pulled off the upset over the Golden Knights. Freshman Carter Randklev scored his first points at Niagara, tallying a goal and an assist. Jason Pineo’s goal back in the first period ended up being the game-winner, with Denver-transfer Mike Corson earning the win in net.
Thursday, Dec. 11
No. 9 Denver def. Miami (OH), 5-1
Despite the RedHawks scoring just over 90 seconds into the game, the Pioneers dominated the remaining 58 minutes to earn their second win of the season. Mike Benning, Ryan Barrow and Carter Savoie each tallied a goal and an assist for DU, with Barrow being credited with the game-winning goal.
No. 1 North Dakota ties No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth, 2-2 (Bulldogs win in a shootout)
In one of the more anticipated matchups in the Pod, two of the best teams in the country go toe-to-toe. North Dakota’s Jordan Kawaguchi and Minnesota-Duluth’s Cole Koepke each led their teams with a pair of points, with Koepke tying the game at two in the third to force overtime. The Bulldogs’ Nick Swaney scored the clincher in the shootout to earn the extra point.
Both goaltenders looked good in this one, with the Fighting Hawks’s Adam Scheel stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced, while the Bulldogs Ryan Fanti made 26 saves.
I’m a broadcast journalist from West Michigan, with an incredible passion for the game of hockey. After playing in goal for 16 years, I realized that my time on the ice was up, and chose a slightly different path working in the media. It is just as demanding, just a little less physical.