RoughRiders alum LaRocque coming home with Air Force commitment
The Rocky Mountain RoughRiders continue to serve notice to NCAA Division I college hockey.
Former RoughRiders goaltender Zack LaRocque committed to play for the Air Force Academy (Atlantic Hockey) in late November, becoming the second Rocky Mountain player to commit to the Falcons in the past two months.
Midget 16U AAA defenseman Jonathan Morrison committed to AFA in mid-October.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound LaRocque, who plans to join AFA in 2018, is in his second season with the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League (USHL).
“The academic programs are great and the hockey program is outstanding at Air Force,” LaRocque said. “The coaching staff was very supportive. It felt like a good fit when I visited.”
LaRocque, who never played AAA hockey until he joined Rocky Mountain in 2014-15, was called up to the USHL last season and played eight games, going 4-2. He helped the team clinch an Anderson Cup playoffs berth with a 3-2 win over Waterloo on the final weekend then shut out Sioux City the next night.
This season got off to a rough start after a battle with bacterial meningitis, which hospitalized LaRocque.
“I thought it wasn’t that bad, but I realized it was when I couldn’t remember the first two days of being in the hospital,” he said.
LaRocque’s trajectory has come as no surprise to RoughRiders director of hockey operations Derek Robinson, who said, “Zack has worked very hard both on and off the ice to get where he is now. The opportunity to play and attend school at the Air Force Academy is an unbelievable opportunity for him.
“Zach is a great representative of the RoughRiders Hockey Club, and we wish him the best of luck in his academic and hockey career.”
LaRocque went 10-6-0 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .916 save percentage during the 2014-15 CAHA season, and posted a shutout in his only regular-season start last season. He added two more shutouts in two ECEL Rocky Mountain Showdown games.
— Chris Bayee