Saturday, May 24, 2014

An Ice look back: The D

With the offseason upon us, it's time to take a look back at the 2014 Clark Cup champion Indiana Ice on a player-by-player basis, their contributions and where they'll continue their hockey careers. Today's installment looks at the defense from the 24-man roster to finish the season.

  • Jason Pawloski: What more can you say? Pawloski was lights-out in the playoffs and was named the playoff MVP. He became the first goalie in the USHL's Tier I era to post back-to-back playoff shutouts, when he blanked Green Bay in Games 3 and 4 to clinch the first-round series. He then proceeded to shut down Dubuque -- allowing five total goals in three games -- and led the Ice to the five-game win in the Clark Cup final against the USHL's best offensive team in the regular season. In the playoffs, he was 8-3 with a 1.80 GAA and a .928 save percentage. In 10 playoff starts, he allowed more than two goals only twice. In the regular season, Pawloski carried a very heavy workload early, and caught fire in November and December as the Ice recovered from an 0-3-1 start to vault to the top spot in the USHL. He began to share time after Hayden Stewart was acquired in January, but posted a 27-8-6 record with four shutouts, a 2.46 GAA and a .904 save percentage in the regular season. Pawloski looked ready for the postseason with pretty solid games in his last five starts, with a sub-2.00 GAA. Next up: He is committed to play at Minnesota State-Mankato. A 1995 birth-year player, he has USHL eligibility remaining, and this is also his NHL draft year. He was chosen by the Green Bay Gamblers in Friday's dispersal draft. 
  • Hayden Stewart: Stewart started the season in Dubuque, but was claimed off waivers by the Ice in January and immediately made an impact. In 14 starts with the Ice, he went 13-1-0, had four shutouts, allowed only 18 goals, and posted a 1.29 GAA. He stopped 94.5 percent of the shots aimed his way. Stewart made his first start with the Ice on Jan. 18 against Fargo, beat them 4-1, and proceeded to allow one or fewer goals in his first nine starts, including three shutouts. He had a 0.67 GAA in his first nine starts, and broke Jon Gillies' club record with 203:28 consecutive scoreless minutes over a four-game span between Jan. 30-Feb. 14. Stewart's first loss didn't come until his last start -- a 4-2 loss to Green Bay in the penultimate game of the regular season. He redeemed himself with a shutout in Game 1 of the playoff series between the two teams. He and Pawloski formed a tremendous regular-season tandem and gave coach Jeff Brown two starting-caliber starting goaltenders for the postseason. Next up: Stewart will play collegiately next season at Cornell.
  • As a group, these eight players were very deep, and very talented, making the Ice a tough, tough team to play against. 
  • Josh Jacobs: Strong, mobile blueliner who has been a rock for the Ice for two years on the point. He was the team's tender prior to the 2012-13 season, and was among the USHL leaders in +/- this season with a +36 rating. He played all special teams, logged heavy minutes, and used his wicked slapshot from the point to score three goals in the Clark Cup Final against Waterloo. Next up: He has been committed to Michigan State for two years, and will play in Lansing next year. This is his NHL draft year, and he is rated 43rd among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Service, so he will likely be a high-round pick in June. 
  • Austin Kosack: Jacobs' regular partner throughout the year, Kosack was one of the Ice's import players (he hails from Oakville, Ontario). He led the USHL in +/- this season with a +40 rating. Kosack's willingness to get involved in the offense frequently found him below the red line during the playoffs, and that helped lead to six assists. His work behind the net set up Joe Sullivan's 2OT game-winner in Game 2 against Waterloo -- a contest in which he had three assist. He was a key part of the power play, often playing a point. He was the Ice's highest-scoring defenseman, with three goals and 26 assists, in the regular season. His six playoff assists were second on the team to Scott Conway. Next up: Kosack will play at Ferris State next season.
  • Tim Shoup: Member of the USHL All-Rookie Team, Shoup had a solid year, with 16 points in 52 games for the Ice, as well as a +17 rating. He had three assists in the playoffs and was +2. His play in his own zone was critical down the stretch, as he logged heavy third-period minutes in Game 5 of the Clark Cup Final, especially after the Ice tied the game. Next up: Shoup is expected to be headed to Dartmouth next season.
  • Ryan Mantha: Shoup's regular partner after he was acquired in a trade from Sioux City on Jan. 29, Mantha gave a lot of size and strength to the Ice blueline. At 6-5, 225, he was a solid player in his own zone who really came alive with the Ice. He had nine points and was +11 in 24 games with the team. He was a strong penalty killer and also saw some power play time -- especially during the regular season. Next up: Mantha is committed to play at North Dakota next season. He also is rated 149th among North American skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Service and could be a mid-round pick in June's NHL Entry Draft. 
  • Matt Roy: When he returned from an injury late in the season, Roy gave the Ice blueline a big slapshot and a lot of strength at the point. Often playing his off-side in the playoffs -- a right shot playing left defense -- Roy was often willing to pinch and keep plays alive. He had five points in the playoffs, including two big goals in a Game 2 comeback against Green Bay that came short. Roy had nine points in 24 regular season games and was +11. In the playoffs, his six points tied him for honors as the team's third-leading scorer and top-scoring defenseman. Next up: Roy is committed to Michigan Tech and is expected to play there next season. 
  • Mike Preston: The Ice's alternate captain, he was a strong defender who played the right side with Roy throughout the playoffs. He was the team's policeman -- tallying a team-high 129 PIM in the regular season, as well as seven points, in 56 games. He also had three playoff assists. Preston is also the team's local representative, growing up in nearby Carmel. He joined the team this year after playing 2012-13 in Muskegon. Next up: A 1993 birth-year player, Preston will head to college next year and will play at Army.
  • Chris Martenet: A big defenseman at 6-7, 188, Martenet was the team's seventh defenseman in the postseason, playing two postseason games. He also skated in 35 regular season games with five assists. Next up: Martenet was picked by the expansion Madison Capitols in the USHL dispersal draft and will likely suit up for the team next year. 
  • Vince Pedrie: Unable to play during the final month of the regular season or the postseason, Pedrie was a solid two-year performer for the Ice. He had 14 points and was +12 in 36 games in his third USHL season. He was a key part of the Ice blueline for two seasons after being acquired from Omaha partway through the 2012-13 season. Next up: Pedrie is committed to Quinnipiac. He has one year of USHL eligibility remaining, and was picked by the expansion Bloomington Thunder in the dispersal draft. He'll be in either college or Bloomington next year.
Coming up: The 14 forwards who suited up for the Ice in the postseason.

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