Dec. 31, 2009
Denfeld graduate taking puck skills to
By Kevin Pates
Duluth’s Jake Johnson says he got a fresh
start with Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League this
season and hopes to continue that success with Northern Michigan.
The former Duluth Denfeld forward accepted a scholarship
from Northern Michigan coach Walt Kyle on Tuesday and will be a
candidate with the Wildcats in 2010-11. He visited the Marquette,
Mich., school on Sunday.
“Coach Kyle likes hard-working, consistent
players, and I pride myself in doing those things,” Johnson,
a right winger, said Wednesday. “I connected right away with
Northern Michigan’s coaching staff and knew right away that
the school and the city were the perfect fit for me.”
As a senior in 2007-08, Johnson had 27 goals and
50 assists for 77 points, while helping Denfeld to the Section 5A
title game. He was named to the News Tribune All-Area first team.
He played 14 games that season with Sioux City (Iowa) in the U.S.
Hockey League and 57 games in 2008-09.
Johnson, 20, who is 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds, contacted
Penticton coach Fred Harbinson last summer and has six goals and
11 assists for 17 points in 26 games this season. Penticton is 31-5
for the second-best record in the British Columbia Hockey League.
“Jake is a very versatile player in all
situations,” said Harbinson, a former Wisconsin-Superior player
and St. Cloud State assistant. “He has great stick skills
and is a good forechecker and penalty killer. Many times he’ll
go into a corner with guys twice his size, and he doesn’t
lose many of those battles. He goes and goes and goes.”
Penticton defenseman Derik Johnson of Scottsdale,
Ariz., recently made a commitment to Minnesota Duluth for 2011-12.
Fifteen Penticton players have earned Division I scholarships for
the next two seasons.
“It’s been a blessing to come to Penticton
and play on such a good team,” Johnson said.