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Saturday, October 2, 2010

USHL notes: Ambroz held scoreless in Omaha win

Seth Ambroz is the prohibitive favorite to be the top player out of the USHL to be taken in the 2011 draft, but the big, skilled power forward from New Prague, Minnesota was held off the scoresheet in his team's 3-2 win over the expansion Dubuque Fighting Saints.

Justin Crandall (a '92 from Lakeville, Minnesota) had two of Omaha's goals (he scored on both of his shots), and Dubuque defenseman Joakim Ryan is a player of interest. The son of a Swedish tennis pro, but born in the USA and a native of the Garden State, Joakim was snubbed by the U.S. NTDP, so Team Sweden grabbed him. He had an assist in the loss. He's a pretty slick two-way defenseman who is a product of the N.J. High School and N.J. Jr. Devils AAA program, but I like him as a prospect. He's worth keeping tabs on as a mid-rounder in the draft.

But the real story of the game was Latvian forward Zemgus Girgensons, who figured in both of his teams goals: tallying a goal and assisting on John Gaudreau's score. I saw him when he was with the Green Mountain Glades of the EJHL last year and he's a beast- big (6-1), fast and skilled. The plan is for him to play in Iowa this year, accelerate and be at the University of Vermont next year. As a '94 birthdate, he's not eligible until 2012, but put this kid on your watch list now, because you'll be hearing his name quite a bit over the next 18 months.

Gaudreau is very skilled, but tiny. Like Cedar Rapids forward Cason Hohmann, he really played well at the Ivan Hlinka for Team USA (and like Ryan is from Jersey) but when you're about 5-6 and less than 150 pounds, it's a real tough sell to get drafted.

You won't see Ambroz held scoreless much this season with his size, talent and experience/superior physical maturity, so take a snapshot of this and save it. I'm sure we'll be talking a lot about his scoring exploits a lot this year.

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