Brookings Blizzard (NAHL)
St. Louis, Mo.
With senior Ryan Little leaving the program via graduation, Wisconsin was looking for a gritty, physical forward that could add a spark to the lineup. The coaching staff found that in NAHL forward Aidan Cavallini, who verbally committed to the program in March.
"Everything you're looking for in a college, Wisconsin is No. 1," Cavallini told the Wisconsin State Journal. "It's a school I always dreamed about going to."
Cavallini also had a scholarship offer from Holy Cross.
Brookings Blizzard assistant coach Chris Olsen on Cavallini:
"He came to us mid-season, and has been a great addition since he's been here," Olsen told Bucky's 5th Quarter in March. "We wish we would have had him all year.
"Physical kid, strong kid, probably the strongest player on the team in the weight room. Good skater, but being a physical forward is probably his best attribute."
Olsen on Cavallini making the move to college hockey:
"Physically, he will be fine," Olsen said. "I think he still needs to find a quarter-of-a-step with his speed to adjust, but I think if he's given a fourth-line role of not giving up any (goals) against, he's probably a good player to fit that role."
Brookings Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin on Cavallini:
"What an unbelievable opportunity for a hard working player like Aidan," Blizzard head coach Cory Laylin said in a press release. "His style of play will translate well at the next level. He has a strong body and a gritty attitude."
As you can probably already tell, Cavallini is a kid who isn't afraid to mix things up. The Wisconsin coaching staff understands the need to have a combination of kids who can pass, kids who can score and kids who will run through the wall to get the job done. Cavallini is a kid who is willing to do whatever it takes for the program.
Cavallini racked up 84 penalty minutes in just 37 games this season with Brookings and added another 20 earlier in the season when he was in the EJHL. Olsen noted that he might have to reign that in a bit at the next level.
"He's not a kid that we'll put out there strictly to fight, he's more skilled than that," Olsen said. "But there's been an occasion or two where his emotions maybe got the best of him over the past few months.
"He's an intense kid -- he's got a streak in him."
Cavallini has the ability to chip in some points, but he'll likely find his niche at Wisconsin in a fourth-line role, and eventually killing penalties down the road.
2012-13 Brookings Blizzard (NAHL): 37 games, 12 goals, 11 assists, 23 points, 84 PIM
2012-13 South Shore Kings (EJHL): 19 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points, 20 PIM
Bucky's 5th Quarter: Badgers receive commitment from NAHL forward Aidan Cavallini
Wisconsin State Journal: Aidan Cavallini rewarded with offer, chooses UW
The 1992-born Cavallini has certainly taken his tour of the country playing hockey. Cavallini played two years of bantams in Chicago, two years of midgets in St. Louis and two years of high school at Taft Prep in Connecticut. After graduating, Cavallini has made stops in junior hockey in the ECHL with South Shore, the USHL in Chicago, the BCHL in Langley and the NAHL in Alexandria and Brookings, where he finished this past season.
The bloodlines are certainly there for the 5-foot-10, 181-pound Cavallini. His father, Gino, played 593 games in the NHL for the St. Louis Blues, Calgary Flames and Quebec Nordiques. Gino also spent three full seasons in Milwaukee with the Admirals from 1993-96, shortly after son Aidan was born in January 1992.
Gino is currently running the Chicago Mission AAA hockey program. The Badgers have been recruiting that program heavy the past couple seasons, receiving commitments from elite players Peter Tischke, Christian Dvorak, Jake Linhart, Seamus Malone and Ryan Wagner.
Cavallini's uncle, Paul, also played 564 games in the show with stops in Washington, St. Louis and Dallas.
Cavallini will join the Badgers this upcoming season.
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