By Jensen, Randy on August 18, 2017.
With training camp just around the corner, the University of Lethbridge Pronghorn men’s hockey team and head coach Spiros Anastas has announce four more freshmen for the 2017-18 Canada West season.
Joining the program are defencemen Jeff Rayman and Taylor Fisher, along with right-winger Tyler Maltby and local goaltender Jonny Hogue.
The four newest recruits push this year’s recruiting class to six with the earlier additions of Western Hockey League grads Ty Edmonds and Dallas Valentine.
Rayman, a six-foot-three Cranbrook, B.C. product, played four years in the WHL for the Spokane Chiefs and Tri-City Americans before wrapping up his junior career with the Vancouver Giants last season. In 205 WHL games, Rayman accumulated seven goals and 10 assists but is more known for his defensive reliability.
“Jeff had a solid WHL career and we believe it will transition easily for him into USPORTS hockey,” said Anastas in a release. “He is a big, stay-at-home defenceman who plays the body well and is extremely effective on the PK.
“Adding him to a group that includes Wardley, Jensen, and Hansen gives us a pretty formidable back end in the size department.”
The Pronghorns were fortunate to add Maltby, who had committed to play at Arizona State (NCAA) but clearinghouse issues forced a new direction for Maltby. In his final season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) with the Sherwood Park Crusaders, Maltby led all goal scorers with 38 goals in only 49 games. He also added 30 assists to tie for the scoring lead for the Crusaders.
In three seasons in Sherwood Park, Maltby registered 95 goals and 72 assists in 163 games. The six-foot-two winger also played for Canada West in the World Junior A Challenge in 2015 and was part of the gold medal winning team, recording three points in four games.
“We are fortunate to get a late addition in Tyler Maltby and it is unfortunate for him that plans to go to Arizona State did not work out, but we are confident that he’ll enjoy calling Lethbridge home,” said Anastas. “He is a big-bodied right winger who can really put the puck in the net and I am confident he will inject some size and scoring into our already deep forward group.”
Hogue returns home to join the Pronghorns after playing last season in the North American Hockey League’s (NAHL) Odessa Jackalopes. In 39 games with the Jackalopes, Hogue recorded a 2.76 goals-against average, with a 0.913 save percentage.
Prior to Odessa, he played with the Drumheller Dragons in the AJHL for two seasons and made 18 appearances for the Lethbridge Hurricanes during the 2013-14 season.
“Jonny is a true competitor, he’s battled for everything he’s ever earned in junior hockey and brings a wealth of experience through the WHL, AJHL and NAHL into our trio of goaltenders,” said Anastas. “He rounds out our trio and will be looked on to push the others day in and day out.”
“He’s a local guy who played his minor hockey here and was fortunate enough to play for an alumnus of ours, Greg Gatto, this past season in Odessa. He’s a perfect fit.”
Rounding out the recruiting class is Fisher, who played in the Manitoba Junior League. Fisher played four seasons in the MJHL split between the Virden Oil Capitals and the Selkirk Steelers. This past season, the six-foot Winnipeg product set career highs in both goals (16) and points (44) and in 215 career games, Fisher collected 36 goals and 94 assists.
“Taylor is a great addition to us on the back end, he’s a much needed lefthanded shot who can play minutes on the PP,” said Anastas. “He has an offensive knack but can also make a great first pass out of the defensive zone.
“We have had some great success with MJHL players like Valentino and Kalashnikov and we strongly believe that Taylor can perform to that level.”
“Adding these four to Edmonds and Valentine makes an exciting incoming class for us this year,” added Anastas on this year’s class. “We are fortunate to be bringing back a lot of players, so we didn’t need much, we have bolstered up some key needs and believe we have a very deep group this season.”
The Pronghorns will open their non-conference schedule Sept. 8 in a home-and-home set with the Calgary Dinos. The Pronghorns will host the Dinos the next night at 7 p.m. at Nicholas Sheran Arena.
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