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Saints Duo Make College Choices

Thursday January 17, 2013

Dubuque Fighting Saints forward Eric Freschi and defenseman Niklas Nevalainen. (photos by Serena Dalhamer)

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).

St. Cloud State University is a member of the WCHA and has 13 USHL alumni on the roster this season; Nic Dowd (Indiana Ice), Kevin Gravel (Sioux City Musketeers), Nick Jensen (Green Bay Gamblers), Taylor Johnson (Green Bay Gamblers), Jarrod Rabey (Indiana Ice), Brooks Bertsch (Dubuque Fighting Saints), Nick Oliver (Fargo Force), Andrew Prochno (Sioux Falls/Waterloo), Ethan Prow (Des Moines Buccaneers), Jimmy Murray (Omaha/Fargo), and Jonny Brodzinski (Fargo Force).

USHL stats – Eric Freschi

USHL stats – Niklas Nevalainen


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 11th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2012-13.  With 20 NHL Draft picks on team rosters and over 230 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL has emerged as the world’s foremost producer of junior hockey talent.  For more information, visit us on the web at www.USHL.com or visit the League’s social media platforms, including Facebook (www.facebook.com/ushlhockey), twitter (www.twitter.com/ushl), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/ushlinteractive).  Fans can also watch USHL action all season long, live or on-demand via FASTHockey (ushl.fasthockey.com).

It’s not just hockey. It’s the USHL.

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