Denfeld News

Dec. 31, 2009
Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld graduate taking puck skills to Northern Michigan
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.

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