It's no secret that Wisconsin hockey coach Mike Eaves and his staff have made the Chicago area a recruiting priority over the past few years. In the past eight months alone the Badgers have landed three verbals from players playing full time with the Chicago Mission AAA program.
Jake Linhart from Brookfield, WI started the trend in October when he made his commitment to Wisconsin. Seamus Malone from Naperville, IL followed suit in March, and Peter Tischke from Hinsdale, IL chose the Badgers a few weeks ago.
Now Wisconsin is on the verge of landing a fourth elite recruit from that high powered Mission U16 club. Christian Dvorak, a forward out of New Lenox, IL told Bucky's 5th Quarter on Sunday that he's narrowed down his list of potential schools to four, and the Badgers are still alive. Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, and New Hampshire are also still in the running.
Dvorak, who would be a fall of 2014 recruit led the Mission U16 club offensively last season. In 29 games this season in the High Performance Hockey League, Dvorak recorded 21 goals and 24 assists for 45 points.
The 5'11, 150 pound forward does have other options outside of the college route. Dvorak was selected by the London Knights in the 8th round of the OHL Priority Selection this spring. The Knights are considered one of the most aggressive teams in the OHL in pursuing American talent.
That said, it's likely that Dvorak will spend the next two seasons in the USHL with the Chicago Steel. The Steel selected Dvorak in the USHL Futures Draft with the 6th overall selection in early May. Considering the Steel scored the fifth fewest goals in the USHL last season, it would be surprising if they didn't inject Dvorak into a scoring role almost immediately.
I got a chance to watch Dvorak play a few weeks ago at the Central District Tryouts in Fond du Lac. Here was my scouting report:
Another first round USHL futures pick (Chicago). First shift left me disappointed, but in the blink of an eye he changed my opinion. Picked the puck up and showed incredible burst to blow down the wing past a d-man and finished the play with a beautiful deake. Was awesome the rest of the game. Incredible patience, fast, total package. 5'11, 150 and a top 4 forward in the 96 class at this event. Absolute stud who is an elite college hockey recruit. 8th round OHL pick of the London Knights.
Part of what makes Dvorak so special is his hockey intelligence. He seems to wade through the weeds like an alligator, and at first opportunity he pounces and is off to the races. Has an incredible burst and an uncanny ability to finish when he has the puck around the net.
Dvorak noted to Bucky's 5th Quarter that he plans to make his final decision sometime in July.
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