The Lincoln Stars drafted eight forwards and two defensemen for a total of 10 picks in Monday's United States Hockey Leagues Phase I draft selection.

Each player drafted in the Phase I selection was born in 2001.

"I liked our preparation and I am happy with the result," Stars General Manager Jon Hull said in a release. "We liked our depth, lots of forwards. We possibly would have liked to have another defenseman sprinkled in there, but we went off our list and tried to grab the best available players."

Out of the 10 selections for Lincoln, four players have already announced college commitments to various schools.

Garrett Pinoniemi, a 5-foot-9 forward, was the Stars first selection and seventh overall pick. Pinoniemi is a St. Cloud commit, who recorded 18 points in 25 games for Delano (Minnesota) High School in last season.

Along with Pinoniemi, the Stars picked up a scoring forward with their second selection in Alex Newhook. A Boston College commit, the Newfoundland product posted 74 points in 33 games for the York Simcoe Express.

"Garrett Pinoniemi is a well-rounded player and we think has a skill set that we can put in all situations and is a guy that we look forward to getting in a jersey here," Hull said. "Alex Newhook is a guy that would have been a top two or three pick in the Ontario Hockey League, but has decided to go to school. ... That is a guy that could be a game changer if he ends up in Lincoln. To have those two guys with their skill and speed up front, those are guys that are going to be counted on down the road."

Other Lincoln selections included forwards Kyle Mandleur (4th round) andMack Motzko (5th round). The Stars picked up an additional sixth-round selection after trading Kyle Kawamura to the Waterloo Black Hawks.

Lincoln selected defenseman and University of Denver commit Jacson Alexander, and forward Alex Swetlikoff, who posted 45 points in 28 games at Yale Hockey Academy Prep in the sixth round.

The Stars rounded out the class with forwards Arlo Merritt (7th round), Joshua Lopina (9th round), Cullen Ward (10th round) and defensemen Brady Carlock in the 8th round. 

All Phase I draft selections will be invited to the Stars futures camp at the John Breslow Ice Hockey Center June 7-11.

The USHL Phase II draft, 17-21 year old eligible players, begins Tuesday at 8 a.m., where Lincoln's first selection comes in the first round with the seventh overall pick.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7431 or


Load comments