NMU adds 10 freshmen hockey players

Five forwards, Three defensemen and two goalies
 (NMU Graphic)
(NMU Graphic) (WLUC)
Published: Jun. 10, 2022 at 4:31 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - NMU Hockey adds ten Freshmen to their 2022-23 roster.

The freshmen roster is diversified with two goalies, five forwards, and three defensemen from the USHL, BCHL, AJHL, and NAHL.

Freshmen Forwards

Joey Larson

Larson joins the Wildcats after an impressive season with the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League (USHL). During the 21-22 regular season, Larson registered career highs in points (32-34-66) and goals (32) in 62 games. He led the entire 21-22 USHL Playoffs with 17 points (4-13-17) in nine games. Larson’s 13 assists tied Trevor Lewis (Des Moines Buccaneers, 2005-06) for the third-most assists in a single Playoff in USHL Tier I history. His 17 points also tied sixth all-time with Jack Badini (Chicago Steel, 2016-17) in a single Tier I Playoffs. Before his junior hockey career, the Brighton, MI native was awarded Michigan’s prestigious ‘Mr. Hockey Award’ following a dominant senior season at Hartland High School in 2019. Before joining the Cats, Larson will attend the Vegas Golden Knights NHL Development Camp this summer.

The NMU Coaching staff noted, “Joey Larson had a career final season of junior hockey in Muskegon. He was an every-night presence in the USHL, blending elite scoring ability and skill with his pro frame (6′1, 196lbs). Joey was a main driver in helping Muskegon make a deep run in the Clark Cup Playoffs, and by doing so, earned himself interest from multiple NHL organizations. He is expected to make an immediate impact on our hockey program while continuing to drive our culture both on and off the ice.”

Tanner Latsch

Latsch, a Muskegon, MI native, comes to Marquette with a diverse hockey resume with playing experience on both the US and International stages. During his two seasons representing the United States National Team Development Program (USNTDP), he aided the US National Team in taking first place at the Five Nations Championship in 2019. In addition, Latsch was named to the 2020 BioSteel All-American Game. After his time with USNTDP, Latsch continued his junior hockey career with the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL).

“Tanner possesses a mix of size (6′2, 197lbs), skating, and a big-time release. His knack to shoot the puck has been prevalent dating back to his time playing for Wildcat Hockey alum Mark Beaufait at the Meijer AAA Organization, throughout his career at the USNTDP, and most recently with Des Moines in the USHL. Before having season-ending surgery last year, he was on pace to score 20+ goals and was dangerous in shooting/bumper positions on the power play. We expect a strong, healthy Tanner Latsch to be a scoring weapon for our program.”

Connor Eddy

Eddy will be making the transition to Marquette from the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Known for his ability to blend physicality, speed, and scoring, the 6′1, 200lb forward has been a fixture in Victoria for the past three seasons. During the 2021-22 season, Eddy was an offensive driver for his hometown club posting a 22-35-57 line in 39 games (1.46 PPG). In addition, he earned two BCHL Player of the Month and three BCHL Player of the Week honors.

“We’ve had a chance to watch Connor the past three seasons with Victoria, and he’s made great strides over the last two seasons especially. He has a ton of energy, speed, and grit that complements his ability to generate offense. He brings a different element to our lineup, one we feel addresses a necessity when constructing our forward group.”

Zach Michaelis

Michaelis, a 6′1, 203lb Minnesota native, comes to NMU from the Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL). During the 21-22 season, he posted a 28-24-52 line in 49 games. He was honored with a spot on the BCHL All-Star roster and tacked on BCHL Player of the Month and Player of the Week honors. Before his time in junior hockey, Michaelis was a prominent player on the Minnesota high school hockey scene for Elk River, earning himself an invitation to the USNTDP evaluation camp in 2018.

“Zach is a power forward that can skate and make plays at top speed. He took full advantage of his role and opportunity with Trail in the BCHL and was just shy of an impressive 30-goal regular season. Zach adds to the speed and offensive identity of our forward group, and we are excited to watch him continue his progress in a Wildcat jersey.”

Nathan Butler

Butler, the final addition to the 22-23 Wildcat roster, comes to Marquette from the Corpus Christi Ice Rays of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). The Texas native played in 58 games and posted 39 points (19 G, 20 A), leading his team in scoring during the 2021-22 season. In addition, he was selected to participate in the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Game and earned NAHL Player of the Week honors in December of 2021.

“When we decided to add a forward late, our staff wanted to provide an opportunity to a junior-experienced player who had the desire, hunger, and ability to push himself and others around him in pursuit of getting better on a daily basis. In addition, this particular player needed to possess toughness, grit, physicality, and a high competition and energy level. We feel we accomplished that by adding Nathan, and are eager to watch him add those elements to our dressing room.”

Freshmen Defenseman

Luke Gramer

Gramer comes to NMU from the Fargo Force (USHL). A mainstay on the Force blue line, the Moorhead, MN native is the second Minnesota freshman to join the Wildcats this upcoming fall. Before his time in Fargo, Gramer led the NAHL during the 2020-21 season in points per game (PPG) amongst all defensemen with 31 pts in 41 games (.76) for the Bismarck Bobcats. Luke also served as Captain of Moorhead High School and was a first-team, all-state player in Minnesota before making the transition to junior hockey.

“Luke is a mobile, puck-moving defenseman that has shown the ability to defend while adding offense throughout his career. We expect him to bring a strong, competitive two-way game, and draw from his experiences throughout multiple leagues and levels to strengthen our D-core while continuing to elevate his game with us.”

Isack Bandu

Bandu is the second player coming to NMU from the Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) by way of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot, Quebec. Throughout his career with the Grizzlies, he posted 60 points in 108 games played. The 6′2, 194lb defenseman was honored with the 2020-21 BCHL Island Defenseman of the Year Award and was the 2020-21 BCHL Pod Defenseman Scoring Leader.

“Isack is a dynamic defenseman with strong offensive instincts. During his time with Victoria, Isack was effective in producing on the powerplay, off the rush, and generating time, space, and offense for himself and others during offensive zone play. We expect him to bring those same attributes to our program as he continues to grow his game at the college level.”

Josh Zinger

Zinger is the final defenseman the Wildcats will add to the Freshman roster. The Red Deer, Alberta native comes to Marquette after a memorable year with the Brooks Bandits of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). Zinger assisted the Bandits in winning the 2021-22 AJHL Championship and the 2021-22 Centennial Cup Championship. Josh was also awarded the 2022 Stewy Stewart Memorial Trophy for his character, dedication, perseverance, integrity, and sportsmanship on and off the ice. In addition, he finished second in scoring amongst all AJHL defensemen with 57 points.

“Josh was one of the most productive defensemen in all of Western Canada this past season. He is an elite skater and played a crucial role in Brooks’ championship season. He converted from forward to defense less than a year ago and has embraced the transition with the right mindset. We feel he is just scratching the surface of his potential as a defenseman, and look forward to continuing his development in Marquette.”

Freshmen Goaltenders

Kaeden Lane

Lane joins NMU from the Penticton Vees (BCHL) where he backstopped Penticton to their 13th Fred Page Cup Championship in franchise history. During his two seasons with the Vees, Lane posted a 43-4-3 record in 50 regular-season games and a 16-1-0 record in 17 playoff outings. Kaeden had a save percentage (SV%) of .910, 2.07 goals-against average (GAA), and six shutouts during the 2021-22 season. The Burnaby, BC native led the BCHL in SV% and GAA during the 21-22 playoffs, led the BCHL in SV% and GAA during the 20-21 regular season, and led the BCHL in shutouts in both of the previous two BCHL seasons. He was awarded the Wally Forslund Award for best goaltending duo in the BCHL, was a five-time BCHL Player of the Week, and was named a First-Team All-Star.

“Kaeden comes to our program after two outstanding seasons in Penticton. His body of work and production during his time in the BCHL was nothing short of remarkable. We expect him to be a big part of our goaltending dynamic, and we are thrilled to welcome a person and player of his caliber to our hockey program.”

Beni Halasz

Halasz, a Hungarian native, comes to NMU after a successful tenure for the New Mexico Ice Wolves (NAHL). During the 2021-22 season, he posted a winning record (26-13-3), save percentage (.921), and goals-against-average (2.14). In addition, Beni led the NAHL in shutouts (9) and was selected for the 2022 NAHL Top Prospects Game. The three-time NAHL South Division Player of the Week also competes Internationally for the Hungarian National Team.

“Beni joins us after two great seasons playing for NMU alum Phil Fox and the New Mexico Ice Wolves organization. He was one of the top goalies in the NAHL this past season and helped lead his club to the Robertson Cup final four. In addition to his abilities, Beni has the personality and drive to keep maximizing his potential. We expect him to strengthen the depth of our goaltending while adding to the competitive culture within our program.”

The incoming Freshman Class and the rest of the NMU Hockey team will kick off their season at home on Oct. 1, 2022, against Bowling Green State at 6:07 P.M. in the Berry Events Center.

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