by Lucas Treat (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sioux City, IA - The United States Hockey League today announced that Sioux City Musketeers forward Jake Guentzel has been named the 2012-13 USHL Rookie of the Year as determined by a vote of USHL coaches and general managers.
The 18-year-old collected 73 points (39g, 44a) in 60 regular season games, ranking sixth overall in USHL scoring. Guentzel scored 43 of his points (16g, 17a) during a record-tying 21-game point streak to close out the season. That mark equaled the longest point streak in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present), first set by Mike Erickson of the Des Moines Buccaneers during the 2003-04 season.
Prior to the start of Guentzel's point streak, the Musketeers had a 7-22-10 record, but they posted a 14-6-1 record during the streak and finished the regular season as one of the hottest teams in the USHL. Guentzel had 12 multi-point efforts during the streak, including his first USHL career hat trick in a 5-1 win over the Omaha Lancers on March 30th. He also twice had five-point games during that stretch, posting two goals and three assists in the 7-4 victory against the Tri-City Storm on March 19th, plus a five-assist game in the 10-3 win over the Fargo Force on February 8th. The five assists equaled a game high by a USHL player this season.
The Woodbury, Minnesota native tied for sixth in the League with 44 assists and was third overall with 26 points (11g, 15a) on the power play. He also finished the season with a plus-13 rating. His 73 total points also equaled a scoring record for the Musketeers in the USHL Tier 1 era, matching the 73 points (26g, 47a) by Phil DeSimone during the 2006-07 season. The 29 goals by Guentzel tied for the third-highest total by Sioux City player since 2002 and his 44 assists are the second-most.
Guentzel was first selected by the Musketeers with the 47th overall pick in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft before making his USHL debut this season. His family has strong ties to the League as both his older brothers, Ryan (2006-07) and Gabe(2007-08), played in the USHL for the Sioux Falls Stampede. His father, Mike Guentzel, was a head coach in the USHL for six seasons, winning 171 games and leading the Omaha Lancers to back-to-back Clark Cup titles (1993 and 1994).
"Obviously the hockey world has been long aware of Jake's talents – it runs in the family, and the Guentzel legacy in the USHL is lasting," said USHL President and Commissioner Skip Prince. "The year he had with the Musketeers was a testament to hard work, talent, and just a great feel for the game. Congratulations to Jake and the Sioux City organization for a great season on an exciting young team."
Jake has garnered attention from the NHL level as he is a prospect for the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft. He was selected to compete in the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January, dishing out one assist and finishing the night with a game high plus-two rating to help Team West earn a 2-1 victory. Guentzel was recently listed as #80 among the top North American skaters in the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings, up from #114 in the Midterm Rankings in January. It represented one of the largest jumps in the rankings of any player eligible for the 2013 NHL Draft.
The forward is committed to play collegiate hockey at the University of Nebraska-Omaha following his USHL career.
Guentzel is the third member of the Sioux City Musketeers to earn USHL Rookie of the Year honors, joining Max Pacioretty (2006-07) and Tyler Palmiscno (1998-99). The three rookie awards are the most by any team in USHL history.