"I felt we made a mistake in building a baseball field. I thought that should have been the ice skating rink, because I think hockey in this state right now, not just hockey, but ice skating, if you come up to our office building at 6:00 in the morning, some mornings you can't get a parking spot because parents have taken their kids up here to skate...I think hockey will be a great addition to our intercollegiate program. [The Pegula gift] is a great, great gift. And I think very far-sighted and I'm really pleased with it." - Joe Paterno

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All Saints Day


According to Chris Heisenberg's recruiting list, Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) defenseman Mike Williamson committed to Penn State on Monday.

Mike Williamson

Defenseman
Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL)
6'3", 210 pounds
Leduc, AB
DOB 9/5/1993

EliteProspects.com


Season
Team
Lge.GPGAPts.PIM
2009-10
Leduc Oil Kings Midget AAA
AMHL
31
7
3
10
72
2009-10
Drayton Valley Thunder
AJHL
4
0
0
0
0
2010-11
Leduc Oil Kings Midget AAA
AMHL
32
6
13
19
70
2010-11
Spruce Grove Saints
AJHL
1
0
0
0
0
2011-12
Spruce Grove Saints
AJHL
41
9
9
18
73
2012-13
Spruce Grove Saints
AJHL
12
1
5
6
12

Williamson then verified the news via Twitter:


The Alberta native, of course, continues a pipeline to the Saints organization that includes current freshman David Glen - a hard-working center who is tied for the PSU lead with 12 goals - and 2013 recruit Dylan Richard. Williamson, Glen and Richard all played together on the 2011-2012 edition of the Saints, which finished the regular season 46-6-8 but were upended by Fort McMurray in the league semifinals. Spruce Grove, one of Canadian Jr. A hockey's powerhouse franchises won the 2011 AJHL title with Glen and Richard, although Williamson only played one regular season game on that team.

On last year's Saints, captained by Glen, the PSU freshman was tops on the team in assists (29) and second in points (50). Richard was third on the team in scoring, with 19 goals among his 41 points. And Williamson, one of the younger players on the team, added healthy totals from the back end as a 17-year-old. He seems to have that uncoachable clutch factor in his favor too - four of his nine goals were game winners, and he stepped up his production in the playoffs, with four goals in 11 games.

This season, with Glen now at Penn State ahead of the other two, the Saints are 28-13-6, a record deflated somewhat from the team's usual pace by the fact that both Richard and Williamson have battled injuries. Williamson's - called an upper-body injury officially - has limited the blueliner to 12 games and none since October 27th, although he's expected back in the lineup soon.

Williamson is certainly stout defensively, as one might expect from a quick glance at his height and weight. But videos of offensive upside are more fun (start at 50 seconds in, unless you want to see Glen assist on a goal too).



Another one? Sure. Williamson's goal play starts at 2:25 below, and once again shows that he's not afraid to get low in the zone if it's there for the taking.



There are interesting roster implications with Williamson's addition. He joins Dave Thompson and Pat Koudys as defensemen entering next season, along with forwards Richard, Zach Saar, David Goodwin and Eric Scheid, as well as goaltender Eamon McAdam. And don't forget about roster ghost Reed Linaker. Departures will number five forwards (Michael Longo, Dom Morrone, Eric Steinour, George Saad and Bryce Johnson, who transferred to Oklahoma earlier this month) and two defensemen (Rich O'Brien and Brian Dolan).

The forwards seem to be an even swap, five in and five out. But three defensemen incoming against two leaving and one goalie in with nobody leaving may bring cuts into play, especially in a reality where Title IX and budget constraints limit roster size. It may also be worth mentioning that scholarship money is likely to get much tighter in a hurry with a large chunk of the former Icers on the roster graduating.

Regardless of the final composition of next year's roster, it's sure to include - as Glen has already demonstrated - three easy-to-like Alberta boys with a winning pedigree.

5 comments:

  1. We can carry 28 players on 18 scholarships. By my count, we'll have 16 forwards, 9 defensemen and 4 goalies next year. That seems to be one too many goalies. But one thing I've learned during all my years following college sports is that unexpected changes almost always happen during the offseason. Someone transfers, "retires", or whatever. Most often the staff knows a lot more about the future of the roster than the rest of us. No matter what, this should be an interesting offseason. I'm looking forward to picking out my seats in the PIA.

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    Replies
    1. I forgot to mention -- I thought part of the additional $14 million was to endow the rest of the scholarships. I'm not worried about budget constraints right now. And Title XI shouldn't be an issue either. The women can have just as many players on scholarship as the men.

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    2. It wasn't meant to suggest that there was a budget *issue* per se, but just to say there are reasons schools don't carry rosters of 50 men and 50 women in a realm where there's no NCAA-imposed roster limit (I haven't heard whether the Big Ten is going to have a limit).

      Title IX isn't just about scholarships, it's also about participation. From what I understand, PSU was pretty tight with compliance, to the point where the women's team is much bigger than the typical DI women's team, mostly to keep from limiting the men.

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    3. Since you mentioned "unexpected changes," I wonder what Milley's status is going to be going forward. This is two seasons in a row where he's lost the vast majority to injuries in the same part of his body. I guess you can file Bryce Johnson there too.

      You're definitely right about that - at the same time, four goalies is four goalies. Bye Madrazo.

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    4. The women have 27 on their roster. So did the men before Johnson left. As long as they both maintain full rosters we'll be fine with Title XI.

      Milley is an interesting question. He'd be nice to have around. Good size and a solid player. But if he can't stay healthy, he doesn't really help much. Hopefully they figure out a way to keep him on the ice.

      Linaker is another big question mark in my mind. It's odd to me that he wasn't on the roster if he was in school. Redshirting freshmen are on the rosters for other sports.

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