The list of quality players coming out of the University of Minnesota’s men’s hockey program is nearly endless. While some of the players join the Gophers from other states and other countries, there’s something to be said about the players who stay in their home state and attend the flagship university.
There’s no shortage of senior prep hockey players who call Minnesota home who have committed to the U. Let’s take a look at current senior skaters committed to the University of Minnesota:
Jake Boltmann, Edina
Boltmann, ranked No. 17 by PrepHockey, is a quality defender who has played an integral role in the Hornets’ power play. Last season, Boltmann logged 13 points in the regular season, including two power-play goals, but also contributed to an Edina team that only allowed 46 goals. Boltmann is PrepHockey’s highest-ranked Minnesota-bound defenseman.
Jake Braccini, Buffalo
Last year’s points- and goals-leader for the Bison, Braccini (34-27-61) returns for his senior campaign to make another lasting splash before spending the following year with the Gophers. He’s the No. 8-ranked prospect by PrepHockey for the Class of 2020 — and the highest-ranked player expected to join the U.
John Mittelstadt, Eden Prairie
Not to be outdone by older brother and NHL young gun, Casey, John is carving his own path for the Eagles, who lost last year’s Class 2A state title to Lake Conference rival, Edina, 3-2. In Eden Prairie’s state tourney run, John, ranked No. 19 by PrepHockey, had four assists — the most by any Eagle skater — after notching a team’s second-highest 35 points in the regular season.
Garrett Pioniemi, Holy Family Catholic
Pioniemi is PrepHockey’s No. 12-ranked skater in the senior class, and it’s for good reason: He had a 22-goal, 40-assist season last year, which led both his team and the Wright County Conference, and tied him for fifth in the entire state in assists and points.
Rhett Pitlick, Chaska
Pitlick, ranked No. 11 by PrepHockey, had a stellar junior season (30-34-64), helping lead his Hawks to a Class 2A, Section 2 semifinal before being eliminated by eventual state runners-up, Eden Prairie. One highlight of 2018-19 that showed where Pitlick is headed: He scored two goals and two assists in Chaska’s 4-3 upset win over Edina.
Nate Warner, St. Cloud Cathedral
Ranked No. 14 by PrepHockey, Warner had a Crusaders-best eight points in their run to a Class 1A state title last year. He opened up The Tourney ’19 with a hat trick against North Branch before scoring a goal and two assists in Cathedral’s 5-2 win over Greenway. If he can continue his scoring ways, Warner will be a spark in the Cathedral fire that will fan his flame into the U in 2020-21.