The Melfort Mustangs had a big night Thursday as the organization announced two college commitments for a pair of its players.
Goaltender Evan Plotnik, 20, will attend American International College (AIC) in Springfield, Mass. next season. The three-year Mustang from Capistrano Beach, Calif. said the reality of his scholarship is still sinking in.
“It’s pretty euphoric. When it was in the process I was like whatever, but as soon as I talked to the coaching staff I was pretty excited,” Plotnik told northeastNOW.
Plotnik played 108 games between the regular season and playoffs in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) winning 53 of them. This season he leads all netminders with 18 victories. He said the turning point for him was filling in for injured starter Richard Palmer during the Mustangs championship run in 2015-16.
“It really helped me in my career confidence wise because the team around me was so good. If I messed up and let in an ice-burner they would be there to recover for me and that helped a lot,” Plotnik said.
Head coach Trevor Blevins lost Plotnik in a trade to Melville after acquiring defenceman Eric Sinclair but was able to work a deal to retain the American goaltender. Blevins said Plotnik is deserving of the scholarship.
“He’s very involved in our community and he’s been fantastic on the ice. This year he has surpassed all expectations and he’s deserving of his commitment to AIC,” Blevins said.
Defenceman Loch Morrison also locked up his education future committing to Acadia University.
The 20-year-old Prince Albert product is having a stand out season in the SJHL after playing parts of four years in the Western Hockey League. Morrison said he’s still processing the announcement.
“It really hasn't sunk in but once I get there it will. I’m happy with my decision, confident with it and really excited,” Morrison said.
He played for the Calgary Hitmen, the Victoria Royals, as well as his hometown Raiders before coming to Melfort to finish his junior hockey career. Morrison said the decision to play junior “A” hockey led to this opportunity.
“I’m having a successful year which has earned me the right to a scholarship and I’m very excited,” Morrison said.
Morrison is second among SJHL defensemen scoring with 14 goals and 43 points. He sits eleventh among the league’s overall scoring race.
Blevins said Morrison has provided the skills sought from a veteran player.
“Loch has been a stand-up Melfort Mustang on and off the ice. I can’t say enough about his leadership and what he has brought to our hockey club, we couldn’t be happier for him,” Blevins said.
The Mustangs will be in Melville tonight seeking their eighth straight victory.
On Twitter: @ClarkStork
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