The Fargo Force players and staff may be in offseason mode, but for a few college hopefuls this time of year is go-time. Three players have gotten looks from a handful of colleges and could be making a decision soon.
The list starts with Orland Park, Ill. native Dave Gust. Gust wasn’t supposed to be a player in the success of the 2011-12 Fargo Force. In fact, he wasn’t even expected to be on the team. Gust was selected in the 2011 USHL Entry Draft during the second phase and was expected to contribute during the 2012-13 campaign.
After a couple cameo appearances early in the season, Gust was put on the roster for good and went on to put up outstanding numbers. He netted 16 goals and 14 assists in just 43 games during the USHL regular season. The success of the regular season parlayed into the playoffs where Gust scored three points in six games.
“He’s going to see some more schools when high school ends,” assistant coach Jesse Davis said. “He has narrowed it down a little bit, and we are excited that a lot of teams are interested in him.”
While Gust provided some electricity up front, the Force played well on the back end for most of the season. Few players were more steady than Taylor Richart.
Richart was third on the team amongst defensemen with 16 points, playing in all 60 regular season games. He is a bit of a junior hockey veteran, as he grabbed 12 points in 53 games with the Aberdeen North American Hockey League franchise during the 2010-11 season.
The experience coupled with a “Steady Eddy” USHL season had Richart receiving walk-on offers to play college hockey next season. According to Davis, Richart has turned down such offers and plans to return to the Force next season.
Dom Racobaldo, who came over in the Tanner Lane trade early in the season, is in a similar situation as Richart. He was offered to walk-on with an NCAA program, but plans to return to the USHL next season according to Davis.
Racobaldo played in 56 regular season games between Fargo and Omaha this season, netting one goal and 10 assists. Should Racobaldo return to the Force next season, it will be his third year in the league and he should be able to provide some leadership that will be lost with players like Brian Cooper heading off to college.
You can also follow me on Twitter. My handle is @fmhockey.