ADRIAN, Mich.--The Adrian College men's hockey team would like to introduce the five-member recruiting class for the 2017-18. The quintet of newcomers includes a pair of NCAA Division III transfers who both play right wing--junior Nick Erb (Concordia University-Wisconsin) and sophomore Ryan Cusin (UMass-Boston)--and three freshmen. They join a talented nucleus of 21 returners off last season's NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Championship semifinals squad that ended up 20-7-2 overall, ranked third in the national polls and Northern Collegiate Hockey Association (NCHA) Peters Cup regular-season champion with a 17-3 NCHA South Division mark.
Below is a snapshot of each newcomer along with comments from fourth-year head coach Adam Krug '12, who has piloted his alma mater to a 68-15-6 (.798) overall mark, three NCAA tournament appearances, and five NCHA titles combined.
#30 Nikita Babintsev - Freshman - Goalie - Moscow, Russia - Amarillo Bulls (North American Hockey League, NAHL)
Went 19-18-1 with a 3.04 goals-against average and .916 save percentage in over 2440 minutes with the Bulls in 2016-17...recorded one shutout...compiled 1,353 saves in 43 appearances between the pipes...also played in the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies system.
"For us, it just worked out that Nikita was looking to leave junior hockey as a 19 year old. Nikita has lived in Michigan the last five years or so and Adrian College has been on his radar. We wanted him to come in and not have any pressure. He will compete for time in the net with Kevin Entmaa and Dillon Kelley. Hopefully, having some separation of classes, at that position, will put us in a great spot once Entmaa is gone. I think he is a D-I caliber goaltender who felt that Adrian was going to be a good fit."
#88 - Ryan Cusin - Sophomore - Right Wing - Westland, Mich. - UMass Boston (New England Hockey Conference, NCAA Division III)
2017 USCHO All-Rookie Team...NEHC Rookie of the Year and named third-team all-conference...paced the conference in points throughout the regular season and finished the year with an impressive line of 16 goals, 24 assists and 40 points in 25 games...plus-10 rating.
"We recruited Ryan a little bit a couple of years ago but the East Coast was appealing to him. Fortunately, I received a call this summer saying he was interested in transferring. I've known Ryan since he played U-16 for my dad, Kyle, at Belle Tire. Knowing the kid and then looking at his stats, you're not going to say no to that. Ryan has the potential to be an All-American, and with our high-end skill, we should see Ryan continue to put up staggering numbers at this level. Ryan has high-end ability. He's a Patrick Kane-type player as far as having the ability to see the ice, make plays, and put the puck in the net."
#94 - Nick Erb - Junior - Right Wing - London, Ontario - Concordia Univ. at Wisconsin (NCHA, NCAA Division III)
Member of the 2017 Academic All-NCHA team as a sophomore...6+9=15 scoring totals in 25 games last season...12+17=29 in 51 career games for the Falcons...scored 43 points, including 23 goals, in 53 games for the Aurora Tigers of the OJHL.
"Nick is another one who we dabbled with a bit a few years ago. I've known him as a player and all accounts, including his former coaching staff, gave good reviews on him as a person. In a lot of other years, I wouldn't have taken a junior transfer, already having nine juniors (in our program), but we are close to a National Championship and Nick is the kind of player that will really add some depth for us. He has played in big games against a lot of top-five teams, including us. He's a big body that is hard to play against; I'm interested to see where exactly he fits in our lineup. He has a lot of tools that will make him extremely versatile."
#74 Dean Hewines - Freshman - Left Defense - Troy, Mich. - Fairbanks Ice Dogs (North American Hockey League, NAHL)
Played on Raven Cup/Division championship team...participated in the NAHL Showcase...had 18 assists among 22 points in 56 appearances for the Ice Dogs last season...also skated in the Central Canada Hockey League in 2015-16.
"Dean is a guy whose upside is great. He can skate, he has ability, and is the type of person you want around your program. The simplicity of our systems will make Dean a very solid player as long as he's willing to keep it simple. Sometimes skilled defensemen try to do too much. For us, making the easy, simple plays is what makes us great as a team. Dean will have opportunity to excel here; it's up to him to be a solid puzzle piece."
#57 Joshua Owings - Freshman - Defense - Saline, Mich. - Cowichan Valley Capitals (British Columbia Hockey League, BCHL)
Racked up 41 assists and 45 points in his two seasons on the Capitals' blue line...was a state champion in hockey.
"Josh is a big, mobile defenseman with some sneaky skill. He should slide right in our lineup with the departure of Michael Hoy. In my opinion, he's one of those kids that slipped through the cracks at the D-I level, for one reason or another. Four years of development at the college level could propel Josh into the pro ranks."
Fans can catch their first glimpse of the 2017-18 edition of the Bulldogs at 2 p.m. Sunday in the annual Black and Gold intrasquad scrimmage at Arrington Ice Arena. There is no admission charge so fans are encouraged to come out to the arena to see the team prepare for the US Under-18 exhibition that will be hosted on Saturday, Oct. 28 (7:30 p.m.). Click on the link for ticket information for that contest versus Team USA.
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