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Rookies fuel fast start for Steelheads

Sunday, November 22nd
Rookies fuel fast start for Steelheads

(Boise, ID) -- Coming into the season, a lot of the attention focused on the Idaho Steelheads hockey club was spent on the veterans. Players like Rejean Beauchemin, Mark Derlago, Tyler Spurgeon, and Weston Tardy. Those players clearly have not disappointed at all as Idaho has shot out of the gates with a league-best 13 wins. But an impressive subplot has quickly developed with the 2009-2010 edition of the Idaho Steelheads. The rookies. As of Monday, head coach Derek Laxdal?s active roster included eleven rookies. ?And every one of them brings something different to the table, too.? Laxdal quickly noted. Kevin DeVergillio, Evan Barlow, Brandan Kushniruk, Michael Neal, John Swanson, Mathieu Tousignant, Cody Lampl, Matt Sorteberg, Brendan Milnamow, Guillaume Monast, and Richard Bachman are all in their first full season of professional hockey. ?John (Swanson) is probably one of the fastest skaters in our conference, Evan (Barlow) has some incredible pure skill, (Brendan) Milnamow is a steady, stay-at-home defenseman,? Laxdal began. ?I could go on and on.? And he did: ?No one will ever out-work Brandan (Kushniruk). Michael (Neal) has the prototypical power-forward body. Cody (Lampl) plays the game the way it?s supposed to be played, (Matt) Sorteberg is a solid, puck-moving blue-liner. Tousy (Mathieu Tousignant) does a great job pestering the other team into mistakes. Guillaume (Monast) has the tools to be a great defenseman. Devo (Kevin DeVergillio) has four goals in six games.? As for the eleventh rookie, goaltender Richard Bachman, he smiled. ?Leads the league in wins and top-five in goals against,? Laxdal said. ?He?s done all right so far.? There are two more rookies ? defenseman Brad Miller and forward Michael Olson ? on the team?s injured reserve list as well. The all-around contributions have enabled the Steelheads to move into Thanksgiving week at 13-3-1. The team?s third line right now is all rookies ? Tousignant centering Neal and Kushniruk. At times, that line has been overpowering. ?Not many teams have a third line that is capable of dominating the flow of a game the way they can,? Laxdal said. ?And all three of them are first-year guys.? The coach knows growing pains will happen, but he?s excited about the future for his crop of rookies. ?There?s a lot of ability out there,? he said. ?These guys can really play.?

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