Denver announces five newcomers for ’17-18 season, including T-Birds alum Rasmussen
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University of Denver coach Jim Montgomery announced Nov. 17 that five student-athletes have submitted National Letters of Intent to join the program in 2017.
Goaltender Dayton Rasmussen, forwards Adam Goodsir and Kohen Olischefski and defensemen Ian Mitchell and Griffin Mendel will all join the Pioneers as freshmen next season.
“We’re very excited about next year’s freshman class,” said Montgomery. “Our program prides itself on recruiting young men with exemplary character and scholastic prowess in addition to tremendous on-ice ability and all five student-athletes who have signed NLIs this week very much embody those traits.”
Mendel, 17, has been a member of the Penticton Vees (BCHL) for the past two seasons, amassing 2G-14A-16P-8PIM in 77 career appearances. A native of Kelowna, British Columbia, Mendel helped Team Canada White win Gold at the 2015 World U-17 Hockey Challenge in his home province, tallying 6GP-0G-1A-1P-6PIM at the tournament. That same year, Mendel captured a Canadian Sport School Hockey League championship with Okanagan Hockey Academy. He was featured on NHL Central Scouting’s Preliminary Watch List in advance of the 2017 NHL Draft along with Mitchell, Rasmussen, Goodsir, Rasmussen and current freshman DU blueliner Erich Fear (Winnetka, Ill.).
“I chose to go to DU because it’s a great school academically and the hockey program is second-to-none,” says Mendel. “Denver is the perfect place to help me elevate my game to the next level while continuing my education at a first-rate institution.”
Montgomery: “Griffin is an exceptional defender who has already shown great dedication to his hockey career by taking his conditioning to a new level this past summer and into the current season with his junior team. He’s one of the top shutdown blueliners in his league and we’re looking forward to having him play a key role on our defensive corps in the coming years.”
Mitchell, 17, is in his second full season with the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL). The Calahoo, Alberta native has appeared in 79 career games with the Saints, registering 8G-30A-38P-26PIM in addition to a +26 plus/minus rating. Mitchell was a teammate of Mendel’s at the 2015 World U-17 Hockey Challenge and also represented Canada at the 2016 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament in Europe at which he tallied 2G-1A-3P and was +4 in four games played.
“I am extremely excited to officially become a Pioneer,” says Mitchell. “I chose Denver because I feel it gives me the best opportunity to not only become the best hockey player I can be but also get an excellent degree that I can utilize after my career on the ice comes to an end.”
Montgomery: “Ian is an outstanding two-way defenseman who has all the tools to be a great player at the college level. He’s already had a lot of quality experience playing at international events which will be of tremendous asset to his transition to the NCAA.”
Goodsir, 18, is currently a member of the Tri-City Storm (USHL). The Okemos, Mich. native has tallied 1G-2A-3P-14PIM (13GP) in addition to a +5 plus/minus rating thus far on the 2016-17 campaign for the 6-5-1-2 Storm. In 2015-16, Goodsir recorded 28G-17A-45P and a +19 rating in 59 games played for the Wichita Falls Wildcats to earn NAHL Rookie of the Year honors.
“The combination of the amazing coaching staff and their recruiting process along with the outstanding academics at DU made my decision easy,” says Goodsir. “Denver will both make me a better hockey player and give me the tools I’ll need to be successful after I’m done playing.”
Montgomery: “Adam is a power forward who is strong on faceoffs and has shown good scoring ability at the junior level. He plays a 200-foot game and is solid in all three zones which makes him a great asset for us.”
Olischefski, 18, has been a member of the BCHL’s Chilliwack Chiefs since 2015. The 6’2”, 180-lb. winger has recorded 22G-50A-72P-38PIM in 88 career games played with the Chiefs, who currently rank second in the BCHL’s Mainland Division with a record of 14-5-3-0. Prior to joining Chilliwack, Olischefski was a member of the Yale Hockey Academy (CSSHL) where he won League MVP honors in 2014-15 after tallying 29G-42A-71P in 28 games played.
“I am very excited to be a part of the DU family,” says Olischefski. “The coaches, style of play, and overall feel of the school is the perfect fit for me as a person and a player. I can’t wait to be a Pioneer and do everything I can to contribute to the winning tradition in Denver.”
Montgomery: “Kohen is a skilled forward with a high hockey IQ. He’s a smooth skater who’s been an impact player at the junior level and we believe he’ll be a great addition to our talented forward group.”
Rasmussen, 18, is a teammate of Goodsir’s in Tri-City. He currently ranks 10th in the USHL in GAA (2.22), T-13th in SV% (.919) and T-6th in wins (6). Last season, the Eden Prairie, Minn. native was named to the USHL All-Rookie Second Team after helping the Storm capture the Clark Cup as league champions. A product of the Colorado Thunderbirds AAA program, Rasmussen represented the U.S. at the 2015 Memorial of Ivan Hlinka Tournament where he made two appearances.
“I chose to attend the University of Denver because of its strong academic tradition, great hockey program, and the quality of the coaching staff,” says Rasmussen. “I’m very much looking forward to being a Pioneer.”
Montgomery: “Dayton is a physically-gifted goaltender who has the athleticism and attributes to be elite. He’s gained a lot of good experience in Tri-City and has emerged as a go-to netminder this year after playing the role of backup very well last season.”