Denfeld News

Mar. 28, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld's best scorer signs up to be a Bulldog
By Kevin Pates

Senior center Chris Stafne, the best goal-scorer in a single season in Duluth Denfeld history, says he'd like to try his hand at scoring with Minnesota Duluth and accepted a scholarship this week from the men's hockey program. Stafne had 47 goals and 77 points in 2007-08 and plans to join the Bulldogs in 2009-10 after a season in the U.S. Hockey League.

"I've been going to UMD games since I was a little kid, and it's always been my dream to play there,'' Stafne said Thursday. "I talked to some other schools, but UMD was on the top of my list as my first choice."

UMD also received an oral commitment this week from Brady Lamb of Calgary, Alberta. He was voted the top defenseman in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this season, his third year with the Calgary Royals, and will be with the Bulldogs for the upcoming season.

Lamb, 19, who is 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, was Calgary's captain and on the South Division team in the Alberta Junior Hockey League All-Star Game. He had 10 goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 58 regular-season games, and had 109 penalty minutes.

"UMD has a good hockey reputation. It's known for moving players on to the next level, and I like the school atmosphere with a good teacher-to-student ratio,'' Lamb said.

Stafne, 5-11 and 170 pounds, played three seasons at Denfeld and finished with 175 career points. Linemate Jake Johnson also had 77 points this season and finished with what's believed to be a school career record of about 250 points, said Denfeld coach Kevin Smalley. Both were on the 2008 News Tribune All-Area high school boys hockey first team.

They followed in the footsteps of top Denfeld scorers like Mike Vukonich, who had 30 goals and 53 points in 1986-87; Joe Golcz, who had 34 goals and 63 points in 1993-94; and Mark Gunderson, who had a then-career record 203 points following his senior season in 1996-97.

"Chris has speed and creativity, and is such a smooth, powerful skater," said Smalley, a UMD center in the early 1980s. "He's worked hard in learning both ends of the rink and becoming a two-way player. His scoring touch this season was phenomenal."

Stafne, who had recruiting interest from Minnesota and Quinnipiac, will be part of the Section 5AA team in next week's Great Eight tournament in South St. Paul. A U.S. Hockey League draft in May will determine where he'll play in 2008-09.

Lamb was on a Calgary team that went 19-41 this season and missed the Alberta Junior Hockey League playoffs. Yet, Calgary assistant coach Troy Norcross said Lamb wasn't overlooked.

"He's a solid, very physical defenseman who has good offensive ability," said Norcross. "He was our MVP this year and was on the power play, killed penalties and on the ice 33 to 36 minutes a game. He went from our fourth or fifth defenseman three years ago, to our No. 1 guy."

Lamb, who will visit UMD for the first time in May, also talked with Bemidji State and Robert Morris of College Hockey America. He'll help fill in for departing junior defenseman Jason Garrison, who expects to sign an NHL free-agent contract with Florida or Pittsburgh by next week.

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