Local players productive in college hockey season
A number of local products competed at a high level in college hockey over the winter. Here is a wrap-up of their seasons.
Calleja, Burke, Milliron
Jake Calleja and Jeff Burke both earned post-season honors for the UW-River Falls men's hockey team.
Calleja, a senior forward from New Richmond, was named to the All-Academic team for the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. He finished his senior season with three goals and 15 points. His 12 assists was second on the team. He scored one power-play and one game-winning goal. His best game was a three-assist effort in the team's 5-3 win over Concordia-Moorhead on Jan. 4.
Burke, a junior from Somerset, was named as a member of the All-WIAC second team for 2013. He earned honorable mention honors on the 2012 All-WIAC team. Burke scored two goals and 12 points for the 2013 team. The defenseman has scored one game-winner.
Burke is a big part of the team's plans for next season, according to Falcon coach Steve Freeman.
"He'll be one of our top defensemen, one of our leaders for sure," Freeman said.
Freshman Tanner Milliron of New Richmond was also a member of the Falcon men's team. Milliron served as the backup goaltender on the team. Milliron saw action in two games, stopping all 10 shots he faced.
Freeman said Milliron worked extremely hard this season to get acclimated to the college level of hockey.
"His progress was pretty impressive. We think he can be a very good goalie," Freeman said.
A broken ankle did major damage to Brock Montpetit's season for the University of Nebraska-Omaha men's hockey team. Montpetit broke his ankle in mid-December and he wasn't able to play again until the beginning of March.
Montpetit, a junior from Somerset, was headed for his most prolific season until the injury happened. Despite the injury, Montpetit was able to produce a career high with 13 assists this season. That included a four-assist game that tied a team record on Nov. 24 in an 8-0 win over Alabama-Huntsville.
Montpetit finished his season with 14 points on one goal and 13 assists. The Mavericks finished their season with a 19-18-2 record. Their season came to an end on March 17 with a 3-1 loss to Minnesota State-Mankato in the WCHA playoffs.
Montpetit's strong work in the classroom earned him two honors in recent weeks. In February he was honored as a WCHA Scholar-Athlete, for maintaining a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. In March, Montpetit was named to the WCHA All-Academic team for the second straight year. This honor goes to athletes who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
Megan Cox completed her sophomore season with the women's hockey team at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo. Cox played in 34 of the team's 36 games. The team finished 7-26-3.
Lindenwood moved up to NCAA Division 1 for the first time this season. The Lady Lions now skate in College Hockey America.
Lindenwood coach Vince O'Mara said Cox was part of the first Lindenwood recruiting class geared toward NCAA Division 1 competition. He said the team made significant progress this season. With another talented recruiting class coming in, O'Mara said he thinks Lindenwood will make another large step forward next season.
O'Mara said Cox, a New Richmond native, is a big part of those plans. She was part of the team's second defensive grouping all season. She also saw significant time on the penalty kill. He said, as Cox continues to improve her core strength, she can play an even bigger role on the team next season.
O'Mara said the Lady Lions take great pride in their academic work and Cox is one of the leaders in that aspect. The team had a 3.56 grade point average this sea