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Niagara University Hockey Announces Incoming Class

NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. – Niagara University hockey head coach David Burkholder has announced the incoming class of Purple Eagles.

Tim Madsen and I feel that the combination of size, speed, character and leadership qualities will make this one of the deepest recruiting classes we have ever had here at Niagara,” Burkholder said. “We cannot wait to get on the ice with these young men, as we are ready to be contenders for an Atlantic Hockey Championship.”

Tanner Lomsnes | Forward | 6-foot-4 | 200 | Left | Red Deer, AB | Corpus Christi IceRays (NAHL)

Lomsnes participated in the Dallas Stars Development Camp in July 2015. Lomsnes was one of 34 players at the camp which included prospects drafted by the Stars organization, players acquired by trades or free agency, and invite on a try-out basis. Lomsnes finished his junior hockey career with the Corpus Christi IceRays of the North America Hockey League (NAHL). He recorded 24 goals and 33 assists for 57 points with a plus-seven rating and seven power-play goals in 56 games for the IceRays during the 2014-15 season. He was second on the team in all major scoring categories. Prior to the IceRays, Lomsnes played two seasons with the Dauphin Kings of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. He registered 22 goals and 32 assists for 54 points in 88 regular season games and recorded seven goals and eight assists for 15 points in 29 playoff games.  He was named the team’s rookie of the year in 2013.

“Tanner has the size, hockey sense and skill that will make him not only an effective Division I player, but a potential professional,” Burkholder said. “At 6-foot-4, Tanner’s frame will allow him to wear down opposing teams’ defenseman and be a two-way force for Niagara hockey.”

Ryan Kuhn | Forward | 6-foot | 180 | Left | Wheatfield, NY | Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL)

Kuhn, a local product, played for the Buffalo Jr. Sabres for three seasons and for the Under-16 and Under 18 teams while winning the New York State Amateur Hockey Association title in 2013; he also played at Niagara-Wheatfield High School. In his first season with the Jr. Sabres, he scored 12 goals and had 20 assists for 32 points in 51 regular season games to help the team win its division regular season. Kuhn served as the captain for the 2014-15 team and led the Jr. Sabres in goals (52), assists (27), points (50), power-play goals (six), shorthanded goals (three) and game-winning goals (six). He was named South-West Conference Player of the Month for December after recording nine goals and 12 points in seven games.

“Ryan is all about character, character and character,” Madsen added. “His speed and tenacity will allow him to make a seamless transition to the Division I game.”

Guillaume Therien | Goalie | 6-foot-1 | 170 | Left | Mirabel, QC | Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)

One of the top goalies on the junior circuit, Therien arrives to Niagara full of accolades. After starting the 2013-14 season with the Hawkesbury Hawks of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL), Therien joined league foe the Carleton Place Canadians midseason; Therien would backstop the Canadians to the CCHL title and Fred Page championship. He was named the CCHL Best Goaltender with a 2.07 goals against average and .923 save percentage in 28 regular season games.  Therien had a stellar 2014-15 season, helping the Canadians to consecutive CCHL and Fred Page championships. He repeated as the CCHL Best Goaltender, was named to the CCHL All-Star First Team, and led the league in save percentage (.924).

“Guillaume is one of the highest touted goaltenders in North America,” Burkholder said. “His work ethic, athleticism and mental toughness combined with a history of winning hockey games will allow him to compete for playing time immediately.”

Nick Farmer | Forward | 6-foot | 180 | Right | Spokane, WA | Wichita Falls Wildcats (NAHL)

Farmer spent the last three seasons playing for the Wichita Falls Wildcats of the North America Hockey League (NAHL). He scored 43 goals and had 53 assists for 96 points and a plus-2 rating in 172 contests. Farmer set single season career-highs in goals (23), assists (30), points (53), power-play goals (10), power-play assists (11) and game-winning goals (six) as the Wildcats set a franchise record with 39 wins during the 2014-15 season. Farmer also played in the NAHL Top Prospect Tournament in February 2015. Prior to playing for Wichita Falls, Farmer spent two seasons with the Spokane Braves of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) where he tallied 22 goals, 18 assists and 40 points in 70 regular season games. He also played for the Nevada Stars U16 team of the North American Prospects Hockey League (NAPHL).

“Nick’s greatest asset is his speed,” Madsen said.  “Combine that with an outstanding, competitive work ethic and we couldn’t be happier to have him joining our program.”

Niko Kovachis | Defenseman |6-foot-2 | 185 | Right | Mississauga, ON | Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL)

Kovachis played a major role in the success of the Toronto Lakeshore Patriots of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). In his first season with the team during the 2012-13 campaign, he earned a spot on the 2012 CJHL Prospects Games as part of the World Junior ‘A’ Challenge and played on the OJHL Prospects Team at the 2012 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge. He finished the season with 19 points in 52 games. The following season, he helped the Patriots claim their first-ever Buckland Cup OJHL title and claimed the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, which is awarded to the Central Canadian Junior A Champion, to earn a place in the Royal Bank Cup (RBC Cup). He ranked third on the team amongst blueliners with 10 goals and 37 points and played on the OJHL South-West Conference All-Star Team, which finished as runner-up at the 2013 Central Canada Cup All-Star Challenge. Kovachis was an assistant captain on the 2014-15 team which repeated as Buckland Cup champions. He finished second on the team with 49 points (10 goals, 39 assists) and participated in the all-star game for the second straight season.

“Niko is a big, rangy defenseman that has elite power-play instincts and a heavy shot from the point,” Burkholder said.

Sean King | Forward | 6-foot-3 | 205 | Right | Newmarket, ON | Brockville Braves (CCHL)

King was a proven goal scorer and offensive threat during his two seasons with the Brockville Braves of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL). In his first season with the Braves, King found the back of the net almost once a game (0.8 goal per game) and was second on the team in goals with 24. He finished the regular season with 34 points in 30 games.  King was named the team’s playoffs MVP after scoring three goals and having four assists for seven points in five games. King captained the 2014-15 team. He scored 36 goals, which were second on the team, led the team with 10 power-play goals, was second on the team with four game-winning goals, and had 24 assists for 60 points on the season en route to be being named team MVP. Prior to Brockville, King played for the Cornwall Colts of the CCHL accumulating 14 goals, 14 assists and 28 points in 46 games.

“Sean comes to Niagara after finishing second in goals in one of the best leagues in all of Canada,” Madsen said. “His 6-foot-2 frame, along with his ability to score goals, is something all Niagara hockey fans should be excited to see come October.”

Sam Rennaker | Forward | 6-foot | 205 | Left | Grand Rapids, MI | Topeka RoadRunners (NAHL)

Rennaker played two seasons for the Topeka Roadrunners of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Rennaker saw action in 109 games while tallying 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points. In 19 playoff games, Rennaker scored one goal and had five assists for six points. Rennaker was named an assistant captain in his second season with the Roadrunners and was selected to play in the 2015 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament. Rennaker collected first team all-state accolades while playing at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern/Eastern High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“Sam is a responsible, two-way forward that can make plays in all three zones,” Burkholder said. “His size and speed will make him hard to play against and an important asset to our program.”

Devin Campbell | Defenseman | 6-foot-2 | 215 | Left | Greely, ON | Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)

Campbell comes to Niagara with championship experience playing four seasons for the Carleton Place Canadians of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL). Campbell was a part of the two CCHL championship teams (2013-14 and 2014-15), two Fred Page Cup championship teams (2013-14 and 2014-15), and was a two-time finalist in the Royal Bank Cup, a tournament that determines the Canadian Junior A champion. He earned the most improved award for the 2012-13 season, the most underrated award for the 2013-14 season, and the best defenseman award while serving as an assistant captain during the 2014-15 season. In four seasons, the defenseman tallied 57 points on six goals, including two game-winning goals, and 51 assists in 226 regular season games. He accumulated two goals, 13 assists for 15 points in 44 playoff games.

“Devin is a solid, responsible defenseman that brings a winning pedigree with him to Monteagle Ridge,” Madsen said. “Devin played big minutes for one of the best teams in all of Canada and we expect him to bring that winning attitude to Niagara.”

Joe O’Brien | Goalie | 5-foot-10 | 165 | Left | Brentwood, MO | Nipawin Hawks (SJHL)

O’Brien spent the past two seasons playing for the Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL). O’Brien won a total of 37 games and had a career .926 save percentage. This past season, O’Brien earned the Sherwood Division Goalie of the Year. Prior to Nipawin, O’Brien played two seasons with the St. Louis AAA Blues. O’Brien attended Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis where he helped the team win the 2012 state championship and was the 2013 runner-up. He was a two-time all-state honoree, was the team’s MVP as a junior and senior, and was named best athlete in his senior class while also being named to the Dean’s List and the National Honors Society.

“Joe is a hard-working, competitive goaltender with great character and work ethic,” Burkholder said. “We look forward to him joining our goaltending group and competing for playing time.”

The Purple Eagles start their 20th season on Oct. 9 at St. Lawrence and will have their home opener on Oct. 23 against Robert Morris at 7 p.m. For ticket information, please contact the Niagara Ticket Office at (716) 286-TIXX (8499), [email protected] or visit www.PurpleEagles.com/Tickets.

Stay connected with the Purple Eagles through social media. Follow Niagara Athletics on Twitter @NUPurpleEagles and for hockey updates @NiagaraUHockey. Check in with the Purple Eagles on Facebook/PurpleEagles and on Instagram @NUPurpleEagles.

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