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Former USHL Defensemen Make NHL Debuts on Same Night

Wednesday April 4, 2012

Just three seasons ago, Matt Donovan and Torey Krug finished first and second among USHL defensemen in scoring, but now the duo got their first taste of the NHL on the same night. (photos by Getty Images)

Donovan and Krug finished first and second among USHL defensemen in scoring during 2008-09 season.

A pair of USHL alumni realized their NHL dreams on Tuesday when they suited up and took the ice in the NHL for the first time.  Just three seasons ago, Matt Donovan and Torey Krug finished first and second among USHL defensemen in scoring, but now the duo got their first taste of the NHL on the same night.

Just a few days after signing a NHL contract with the Boston Bruins, Torey Krug was in the lineup against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  He logged 18:18 of ice time, third most on the Bruins, during his debut.  Krug fired two shots on goal, blocked a shot, and finished with an even rating in the 5-3 loss for the Bruins.

Krug spent the 2008-09 season in the USHL with the Indiana Ice and appeared in all but one of the 60 regular season games and totaled 47 points (10g, 37a).  Playing the season as a 17-year-old, he was second in scoring among all USHL defensemen and was the leader in assists (37).  He was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team and also helped the Ice capture their first-ever Clark Cup title when he added seven points (1g, 6a) over 13 playoff games.  The defenseman led all USHL players in the postseason with a plus-11 rating. 

Krug, who turns 21 next week, recently completed his collegiate career at Michigan State University where he collected 83 points (26g, 57a) over 114 career games at the school.  He recorded 34 points (12g, 22a) in 38 games this season and helped Michigan State qualify for the NCAA tournament.  Krug was named CCHA Player of the Year and tied for the conference scoring title with fellow USHL alum T.J. Tynan (Des Moines Buccaneers) of Notre Dame University.  Krug became the first defenseman since the 1986-87 season to lead the conference in scoring.  He earned a spot on the All-CCHA First Team for the second consecutive year.

Matt Donovan was called up to the New York Islanders on Monday and was inserted into the lineup on Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.  He was second in the Islanders in total ice time as he logged 21:52 minutes of game action.  The defenseman fired a shot on goal, dished out three hits, and led the team with three blocked shots during the 3-1 loss.  He also staked claim to another milestone as he became the first player from the state of Oklahoma to play in the NHL.

Donovan played two seasons in the USHL with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders (2007-09) and totaled 81 points (31g, 50a) in 116 regular season games.  He led USHL defensemen in scoring with 51 points (19g, 32a) in 57 games in 2008-09 and would be named to the All-USHL First Team. 

As a USHL rookie, Donovan played in all but one of the 60 regular season games for the RoughRiders and put up 30 points (12g, 18a) while leading the team with a plus-19 rating.  He was named to the USHL All-Rookie Team and following that season, the New York Islanders selected him in the fourth round (96th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Donovan went on to play two seasons of collegiate hockey at the University of Denver where he scored 53 points (16g, 37a) in 78 games at the school.  He signed with the Islanders following his sophomore season and reported to their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  During his collegiate days, he was also a member of the U.S. National Junior Team that captured the gold medal at the 2010 IIHF World Junior Championship.

This season, his first full season as a professional, the 21-year-old was second in scoring on the Sound Tigers team with 42 points (10g, 32a) through 69 games at the time of his call-up.  His point total was the fourth highest among all defensemen in the AHL.  

USHL stats - Torey Krug

USHL stats - Matt Donovan

Video - Torey Krug talks about his first NHL game


Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the USHL celebrates its 10th season as the nation's only Tier I junior hockey league in 2011-12.  With 28 picks during the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, 13 NHL draftees on its rosters this season, and over 250 players already committed to NCAA Division I schools this season, the USHL is emerging 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 multiple 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 online 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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