Kearney, NE. – The Tri-City Storm has completed the second and final phase of the 2020 USHL Draft by making twenty-one selections in the twenty-four-round draft. Tri-City selected fourteen forwards, five defensemen, and two goaltenders in Tuesday’s draft. The Storm traded up to obtain the second overall pick in the opening round of the draft and used the pick to select forward Hunter Strand. The next major event on the Storm’s schedule will be its 2020 Selection Camp & Tryouts held in late July at the Las Vegas Ice Center in Las Vegas, NV.
After executing a trade earlier in the day with the Sioux City Musketeers, the Storm climbed from 3rd overall to 2nd overall in the USHL Phase II Draft. Notre Dame commit Hunter Strand was Tri-City’s opening selection of the draft. After defenseman Owen Gallatin was selected 1st overall by the Madison Capitols, Strand became the first forward selected in the draft when he was chosen by Tri-City. Strand has played in the USHL the past two seasons for both the U17 & U18 teams of the United States National Team Development Program (Team USA) and is from Anchorage, AK. Strand recorded thirteen goals last season and notched nine assists in sixty-six games played.
“I am just so thankful to have the opportunity to play for such a great organization. The Storm program is filled with great coaches and staff and I can’t wait to meet the team. It was such an honor to be selected 2nd overall, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of my family, my advisors, and the staff at Tri-City. I had great memories with Team USA and I’ll never forget scoring against Sweden in the Championship of the Four Nations Tournament. Right now I’ve been biking and going on hikes and working out at my house. I am trying to work on my speed, strength, and my shot. I try to never be content and improve every day.” Forward Hunter Strand
Tri-City selected its second forward of the draft with its second pick in the 1st Round minutes later. Kieran Cebrian, of Denver, CO, was selected 10th overall in the 1st Round of Tuesday’s draft by the Storm and was the sixth overall forward to be drafted. Cebrian scored forty-six goals and notched eighty-two assists in eighty-six games played last season for the Colorado Thunderbirds program. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at the University of Denver.
Joshua Eernisse became Tri-City’s third selection in the Phase II draft when the team drafted him 25th overall in the 2nd Round. He skated for the Austin Bruins (NAHL), Team CCM (UMHSEHL), and Eastview High School (MN) during the 2019-2020 season. He scored twenty-five goals and recorded eighteen assists in forty-six total games played. Eernisse is from Apple Valley, MN.
Parker Lindauer was drafted 32nd overall in the 3rd Round by the Storm and became the teams’ fourth consecutive forward selected in the draft. Lindauer is committed to play college hockey at Northern Michigan and is a native of Madison, WI. He skated in thirty-two games during the 2019-2020 season for the Janesville Jets (NAHL). Lindauer scored fourteen goals and provided the Jets offense with seventeen assists.
Nate Benoit became the first defenseman to be selected by the Storm during the Phase II draft when the team drafted him 49th overall in the 4th Round. Benoit is from Bow, NH and skated last season for Mount St. Charles Academy (U18) and the Rhode Island Saints (U18). Benoit scored fourteen goals and recorded thirty-one assists for forty-five total points in the 2019-2020 season. He previously skated for the Northern Cyclones (USPHL) during the 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 seasons.
In the 5th Round of the Phase II draft the Storm selected forward Graham Gamache with the 67th overall pick. Gamache is from Edmonton, AB and spent last season with the Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL). In fifty-three games with the Saints in the 2019-2020 season, Gamache scored seventeen goals and recorded thirty-three assists for fifty total points. He previously announced a commitment to play college hockey at Minnesota State University.
Tri-City’s next draft selection was defenseman Steven Bellini from Sault Ste. Marie, ON. The Storm selected Bellini 87th overall in the 6th Round of the Phase II draft. He appeared in forty-six games last season and scored eight goals for the Coquitlam Express (BCHL). He also provided the Express offense with thirty assists for thirty-eight total points. Bellini previously skated for the Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) and the Soo Greyhounds Midget AAA program (GNML). Like the Storm’s previous draft selection Graham Gamache, Bellini is committed to play college hockey at Minnesota State University.
Owen Millward was one of two goaltenders selected by the Storm in Tuesday’s draft and he was picked 97th overall in the 7th Round. He is from Davis, CA and played for the Fox Motors U16 program in Byron Center, MI during the 2019-2020 season. Millward posted a 1.43 Goals Against Average (GAA) and a save percentage of .923% this season. He also previously played for the Anaheim Jr. Ducks program in Anaheim, CA.
Drew Montgomery was the Storm’s next selection in the Phase II draft and was drafted 102nd overall in the 7th Round. Montgomery is from Grand Forks, ND and spent last season with the Sioux Falls Power U16 team (T1EHL). He netted two goals for the team and recorded nine assists in twenty-one games played. Montgomery previously skated for Grand Forks Red River (HS) and Grand Forks Bantam (AA).
Tri-City drafted Jack O’Brien 112th overall in the 8th Round with its next selection in the Phase II draft. O’Brien is a defenseman from White Rock, BC and skated for the Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL) during the 2019-2020 season. He scored one goal and recorded four assists in fifty-four regular season games this year. He previously skated for the Delta Hockey Academy in Delta, BC during the 2016-2017, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 seasons. He has committed to play collegiate hockey at Cornell University.
Two picks later, the Storm drafted Nick Nardecchia with the 114th overall pick in the 8th Round of the Phase II draft. Nardecchia appeared in two games for the Storm this season as a replacement player in back to back road games against the Chicago Steel. He also skated in two games for the Lincoln Stars the previous weekend and scored his first career USHL goal in Lincoln’s 5-3 road win over the Waterloo Black Hawks on December 7th, 2019. He spent the majority of the 2019-2020 season with the Topeka Pilots (NAHL). Nardecchia scored ten goals and recorded thirteen assists in forty-four games with the Pilots this season.
In the 9th Round, Tri-City selected forward Shane Lachance from Andover, MA. Lachance was the 128th overall pick in Tuesday’s draft and skated for Tabor Academy (HS) and the Neponset Valley River Rats (U16) program during the 2019-2020 season. In sixty-three total games played for the two teams, Lachance netted twenty-seven goals and recorded twenty-five assists. He also previously skated for the Andover Golden Warriors (HS).
The Storm executed a trade with the Omaha Lancers in the 10th Round and Tri-City’s next selection was the 162nd overall pick in the 11th round. In the mid-draft transaction, the Storm sent the 147th overall (10th Round) pick to the Omaha Lancers in exchange for Omaha’s 8th Round draft pick in the 2021 USHL Phase II Draft.
Tri-City selected goaltender Logan Terness with its next selection in the Phase II draft. Terness is from Burnaby, BC and played for the Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL) during the 2019-2020 season. Terness posted a Goals Against Average (GAA) of 2.36 and a save percentage of .932%. Terness also previously played for the Vancouver NE Chiefs (BCMML).
Forward Jordan Dumais of Ile Blizard, QC was selected 177th overall in the 12th Round by the Storm. Dumais skated for the Selects Hockey Academy (U15) team at the South Kent School in South Kent, CT during the 2019-2020 season. He scored fifty goals and recorded eighty-eight assists for a one hundred and thirty-eight-point total in sixty-one games played. Dumais previously played for the Lac St-Louis Lions Bantam AAA program.
Forward Josh Nadeau was selected 185th overall in the 12th Round of Tuesday night’s Phase II draft. Nadeau is from Saint-Francois, NB and skated for both the Edmundston Blizzard (MJAHL) and the Fredericton Office Interiors Caps (NBPEIMMHL) during the 2019-2020 season. In thirty-five games with the Fredericton Office Interiors Caps, Nadeau netted twenty-four goals and recorded thirty-two assists. He also previously skated for the North West Bulls Bantam AAA program (NBBAAAHL).
Defenseman Mason Wheeler of Lakeville, MN was Tri-City’s next selection of the Phase II Draft. The Storm drafted Wheeler with the 192nd overall pick in the 13th Round. Wheeler scored two goals and recorded two assists in five games last season with the Minnesota Magicians (NAHL). In twenty-five games skating for Rosemount High (MN), where he served as the teams’ Captain, Wheeler scored one goal and recorded eleven assists. He also appeared in seventeen games for Team Southwest, where he notched four assists.
Ondrej Rohlik from Chrudim, CZE was the Storm’s next draft choice. Rohlik, forward, was selected 222nd overall in the 15th Round by the Storm. He has skated for HC Dynamo Pardubice over the past five seasons at the U16, U18, U19, and U20 levels. Rohlik played forty-two games during the 2019-2020 season and scored twenty-six goals. He also recorded twenty-five assists.
Tomek Haula from Pori, FIN was the 237th overall selection in the Phase II Draft, taken in the 16th Round by the Storm. He skated in forty-six games this season and scored fifteen goals for Assat U16 in Pori, FIN. He also recorded forty-one assists for a season total of fifty-six points.
Cornell commit Aidan Cobb was Tri-City’s 17th Round draft selection and the 252nd pick of the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. Cobb is a native of Ridgefield, CT and spent the 2019-2020 season skating for both the Kent School (Prep) and the Yale Jr. Bulldogs. He scored twelve total goals this season in thirty-two games played. He recorded twenty-one assists and finished the year with thirty-three total points.
Forward Jaani Holopainen was selected by Tri-City in Tuesday’s draft. Holopainen is from Lohja, FIN and appeared in forty-three games this season for HIFK U20. He scored fifteen goals and recorded twelve assists for twenty-seven total points during the 2019-2020 season.
Defenseman Saku Joutsi was the Storm’s final selection in the 2020 USHL Phase II Draft. Joutsi is from Loppi, FIN and appeared in forty-six games this season with HPK (U16, U18). He scored six goals and notched eight assists for fourteen total points.
“We felt that based on the plan that we had and the research that we did, Monday and Tuesday went about as well as they could go. I give a ton of credit to the relentless work of Jason Koehler for his preparation and professionalism throughout the entire year in getting ready for the draft. Jason along with Ethan Goldberg, Troy Thibodeau, and Nick Brusa knew the player pool from getting out on the road, making calls and being as prepared as possible and we put a pretty specific plan together based off of that and it worked. We carried through with the plan that we had going into both days and we’re excited to see what the future holds after welcoming a great group of individuals into our organization.” President of Hockey Operations/Head Coach Anthony Noreen
“Just like our Phase I Draft on Monday, we’re excited to welcome another great group of student athletes into the Tri-City Storm family. Our staff did a great job in preparation for both the Phase I and Phase II drafts. Everyone put in a lot of hours filtering through live games and video and doing our due diligence on these prospects. We had a good plan in place to try to fill roles for the immediate future and also create a solid affiliate list of players who we feel will be able to play key roles on our team in upcoming seasons. We were able to address some needs and we’re very happy with how both drafts turned out for our organization.” General Manager Jason Koehler