It's been a whirlwind four months for Seamus Malone. In late March the 2015 recruit made his college choice, picking Wisconsin over the likes of Colorado College, Western Michigan, Ohio State, and Yale.
After his commitment, Malone told Bucky's 5th Quarter that Mike Eaves and the Badger coaching staff was the primary reason he chose Wisconsin.
"I truly believe they (Wisconsin coaching staff) can take my hockey skills to the next level, and mold me into a premier player. Plus the facilities are state-of-the art."
Just weeks later Malone made the decision as to where he would spend the next three seasons prepping for his Badger debut. Malone picked the Dubuque Fighting Saints, signing a tender to play with the USHL club starting this fall.
Things keep getting better for the future Badger. On Friday Malone was named to the U.S. U17 team that will participate at the Five Nations Tournament Aug. 7-11, in Chomutov, Kadan and Klasterec, Czech Republic.
Malone was chosen for the team due in large part to his performance last week at the USA Select 16 festival. The Naperville, IL native notched four goals and two assists in five games playing against the best 1996 born players in the United States.
Two other Wisconsin recruits were on hand in Rochester, N.Y. last week for Select 16's. Defensemen Jake Linhart (Brookfield, WI) and Peter Tischke (Hinsdale, IL) both chipped in two goals and an assist in five games last week. Along with Malone, Linhart played in the Select 16 All-Star game on Friday.
Potential Wisconsin recruit Christian Dvorak was also at camp and had a productive week for the red squad. The Chicago native recorded two goals and three assists in six games, and helped lead his club to an undefeated record in Rochester.
Dvorak is an elite 2014 recruit who has the Badgers on his short list. The Chicago Mission forward told Bucky's 5th Quarter in early June that the Badgers are finalists for his services along with Notre Dame, Nebraska-Omaha, and New Hampshire.
Dvorak is expected to make his decision by the end of the month.
Another notable name on the U.S. U17 roster that will play in the Five Nations tournament is defenseman Keegan Ford. The Waunakee, WI native was the only Wisconsin born player named to the roster. By all accounts Ford had a solid week in New York, recording four assists in five games.
The Ford name may sound familiar to Badger fans. Keegan's father Pat is a former Badger himself (84-88), and also was an assistant coach under Jeff Sauer from 1994-2002.
Ford has been on the Badgers recruiting radar for a while, and his recent performance can only help his chances in earning an offer from the staff. The earliest Ford could come to Madison would be for the 2014 season. The Badgers already have Linhart and Tischke in the fold for that recruiting class, but are looking for at least one more defenseman, and possibly two if Jake McCabe signs with the Buffalo Sabres before his senior season.
Ford has signed a tender to join Malone with the Dubuque Fighting Saints next season.
Another potential Wisconsin recruit to have a big week at Select 16's was Notre Dame Academy forward Brett Gruber. Like Malone, Linhart, and Ford, Gruber played in the All-Star game Friday. The Appleton, WI native burst onto the recruiting scene last season leading NDA to a state title as just a sophomore, recording 62 points in 30 games along the way.
Gruber turned some heads in Rochester, finishing the week tied for second in points with four goals and six assists in five games for team black. While he was paired up with first round OHL draft pick Blake Clarke much of the week, Gruber's performance will undoubtedly earn the attention of college recruiters, including those with an office at 601 West Dayton Street.
As I've noted previously on this website, Gruber's prospect status will always be questioned due to his diminutive size (5'8, 160 pounds). That said, there are kids that put points on the board, and Gruber continues to do that. This kid will be a good division one college hockey player some day, and I'm guessing Badger fans will hope it's wearing cardinal and white.
Another Notre Dame Academy player at camp last week was Luke Davison. The 5'11, 174 pound mobile blue-liner is the younger brother of 2013 Wisconsin recruit Tim Davison. The younger Davison had a solid week after being snubbed from the initial roster. In five games this week, Davison notched three assists.
Luke is part of a deep class of 96 born defenseman from the state of Wisconsin that includes Linhart, Ford, and Appleton native Cooper Watson. Davison has drawn recruiting interest from Northern Michigan, and is still in the evaluation process for a Badger offer.
Looking a bit further into the future, the USA Select 15 camp starts up this weekend in Rochester. Wisconsin is sending a boatload of players to camp including Anthony Stillwell (Notre Dame Academy), Adam Parsells (Wausau West), Tarek Baker (From Verona, plays for Omaha Lancers U16, Sam McCormick (Notre Dame Academy), Tommy Novak (From River Falls, plays for St. Thomas Academy) and Ty Pelton-Byce (Madison Memorial). The Badgers also have serious interest in Chicago area prospects Christian Fischer and Vas Kolias from the Chicago Mission.
Additionally, the Badgers have shown interest in Minnetonka defenseman Tommy Vannelli. The Skippers blue-liner comes from the same program as former Badger Jake Gardiner. Vannelli participated in the USA Select 17 festival a few weeks back, where he recorded a goal and five assists in five games.
Vannelli, who is also receiving interest from Minnesota, Notre Dame, St. Cloud State, and Minnesota State was selected by USA Hockey to represent the red, white, and blue at the famed Ivan Hlinka Tournament.
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