1/28 - Cooper and Kascsak to Play for Team USA at 2015 WUGs

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Matt Cooper and J.P. Kascsak to Play for Team USA at 2015 World University Games
Cooper to play for Team USA a second time, Kascsak moves up from alternate in ‘13
January 28, 2015 – Ames, Iowa – Cyclone Hockey is pleased to formally announce that senior goaltender Matt
Cooper (Duluth, Minn. – Duluth East Greyhounds/MnHSHL) and senior forward J.P. Kascsak (Springfield,
Va. – North Bay Trappers/NOJHL) have been selected by USA Hockey to play for Team USA at the 2015 World
Winter University Games in Granada, Spain, February 5 through 14 and will be leaving this Friday.
Cooper’s selection will mark the second time he’s played for Team USA at the World Winter University Games
after he tended the net for USA Hockey at the 2013 edition in Trentino, Italy, in December of that year. Splitting
time with then Minot State goaltender Wyatt Waselenchuk, Cooper helped Team USA finish fourth overall at the
2013 Winter World University Games, which was USA Hockey’s highest finish in the bi-annual tournament, by
picking up Team USA’s first shutout in Winter World University Games history in a 2-0 shutout of Sweden
December 10 and tending net in Team USA’s game against Italy in pool play and the fourth-place game against
Russia.
USA Hockey hockey’s affirmative recognition of Cooper’s abilities for the 2014-15 season only further cements his
status as the top goaltender in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). On top of being selected to the
2013 World Winter University Games, Cooper was selected by to the 2014 Central States Collegiate Hockey League
(CSCHL) All-First Team by the coaches of the CSCHL, was named to the 2014 ACHA Men’s Division 1 All-First
Team following a vote of the head coaches of the ACHA Men’s Division 1, and was tabbed to skate in the 2014
ACHA Men’s Division 1 All-Star Game for the second straight season. Cooper’s accolades at the conclusion of the
2013-14 season followed a campaign in which he led the ACHA in minutes played (2158:46) and wins (25) and
finished amongst the best in shutouts (4), goals-against average (2.06), and save percentage (.933). Not surprisingly,
Cooper was named Cyclone Hockey’s Most Valuable Player for the 2013-14 season.
Cooper’s numbers so far in 2014-15 are nearly identical to the ones he put up last season. After last weekend’s
series against Iowa, Cooper has a .932 save percentage and a 2.07 goals-against average. His 9-10-2-2 record this
season isn’t what he or the team would like, but Cooper’s record has largely been held hostage to a team that has
struggled to light the lamp against fellow ACHA Men’s Division 1 teams ranked in the top ten. Despite Cooper’s
record this season, he’s still regarded as one of the best goalies in the ACHA.
“Matt’s developed a national reputation the last couple years, and he’s had a good senior year thus far, and he’s
again, statistically, one of the best goaltenders in the nation this season and a natural selection for a second World
University Games as a proven performer,” said Fairman of Cooper. “In net and defensively we’ve been very solid so
far this season and I think that’ll continue and Matt’s been a very big part of that and will be a big part of the success
we have after he returns from Spain.”
Cooper’s ability to stop pucks is evident in his statistics, but his status as an elite goaltender in the ACHA may be
more due to the shots he doesn’t face.
“He swallows up shots,” Fairman said of Cooper. “Shots where other goalies would kick out a rebound look routine
to Cooper and he doesn’t give up those rebounds, and those seconds and third shots on rebounds and scrambles are
often the most dangerous shots.”
If Cooper manages to again earn All-CSCHL and All-ACHA selections at the conclusion of the 2014-15 season,
he’ll become one of the most decorated goaltenders in Cyclone Hockey history. Even if Cooper does not have the
same awards haul come March, Fairman is confident Cooper will receive serious consideration from pro teams for
the 2015-16 season.
“Any time you’re a first team All-American and a two-time World University Games selection by Team USA, I’d
think that teams at the next level would want to look at you and have an interest,” said Fairman. “Of course, the next
level is pro hockey, and I’d think that would be in Matt’s future.”
By being selected to play for Team USA in a second World Winter University Games, Cooper becomes only the
third goaltender to be picked by USA Hockey to tend the net twice for the bi-annual tournament after Minot State
goalie Shawn Bergstrand donned the red, white, and blue in 2001 and 2003 and Michigan-Dearborn goaltender
Stephen Yu did so in 2007 and 2009.
Kascsak’s selection to Team USA for the 2015 World Winter University Games comes after he was selected as an
alternate for the 2013 tournament and after three-plus years of establishing himself as one of the ACHA’s most
talented power forwards. As a freshman in 2011-12, Kascsak led Iowa State in goals scored (25) and points (44)
and was named Cyclone Hockey’s Rookie of the Year and selected to the CSCHL All-Rookie Team and, as a
sophomore, he backed it up his rookie year by tying for the team lead in Cyclone scoring with 40 points (22-18-40)
in 44 games despite having to battle through a groin injury that dogged him most of the season.
The groin injury that prevented Kascsak from scoring with ease his sophomore season was also a blessing, though,
as Kascsak started to focus more on his play away from the puck, which became extremely evident in the
championship game of the 2013 CSCHL Tournament. Facing tournament host Ohio, early in the first period
Kascsak lined up Bobcat forward Tyler Pilmore, arguably the best forward in the entire ACHA in 2012-13, for a
check in front of the Iowa State bench that sent Pilmore over the boards and into the Cyclone bench. Ohio went on
to take the victory, but Kascsak’s hit largely neutralized Pilmore, as the skilled Bobcat forward had to skate the rest
of the game hurt.
A wrist injury suffered early in the 2013-14 season became a nagging problem throughout most of the remainder of
the year and limited Kascsak to 20 points (12-8-20) in 46 games; but, even at far less than 100 percent, he still
finished fourth in Cyclone goal scoring with 12 goals.
After last weekend’s series against Iowa, Kascsak is contending for the team lead in goals (11) and is currently
fourth in team scoring with 19 points (11-8-19) in 31 games, despite playing through frustrating injuries during
much of the first semester. Kascsak’s determination to remain a contributor hasn’t gone unnoticed by Fairman.
“Since I’ve been here as coach, J.P. has shown great resiliency, because it’s frustrating playing through injuries and
he’s stayed with it and I’ve been impressed with his enthusiasm after Winter Break,” said Fairman. “I’ve seen a
jump in his step since we’ve been back and he wants to make an impact.”
Kascsak’s impact isn’t only seen on the scoresheet when he’s healthy and unleashing hard shots, it’s also seen in the
number of opponents he steps up on and levels along the boards or in open ice. In fact, Fairman feels Kascsak’s
offensive game receives a boost when he’s playing a highly physical game, which he’s done the last two seasons
even though it hasn’t been easy.
“J.P. is most effective when he’s being physical and it’s difficult to be physical when you have nagging injuries,”
said Fairman. “He can bring a lot of energy and physicality and can combine that with a great shot, which is a
dangerous combination.”
Below is the current schedule for Team USA:
Date
2/2
2/5
2/7
2/10
2/11
2/13
2/14
Opponent
Spain (Pre-Tournament)
Japan
Kazakhstan
Qualifier
Quarterfinal
Semifinal
Championship/Third Place
Time (ET)
3:00 p.m.
2:30 p.m.
2:30 p.m.
TBD
TBD
TBD
TBD
Below are the pool assignments for the World University Games men’s tournament:
Pool A
China
Czech Republic
Slovakia
Spain
Pool B
Canada
South Korea
Russia
Sweden
Pool C
Japan
Kazakhstan
United States
All men’s tournament games will be played at the Granada Sport Palace.
Below is the roster for Team USA’s men’s team:
Team USA Roster
Goaltenders (2)
No. Name
30 Matt Cooper
1
Joe Olen
Ht.
6-0
6-1
Wt.
185
170
Birthdate
8/28/91
5/12/93
Catches
Left
Left
Year Hometown
Sr.
Duluth, Minn.
Jr.
Hawthorn Woods, Ill.
Team
Iowa State
Illinois
Ht.
6-2
6-1
5-9
5-10
6-0
5-10
6-3
Wt.
185
180
210
185
190
175
205
Birthdate
7/17/90
5/14/91
5/24/93
10/21/93
11/18/91
5/12/92
4/7/91
Shoots
Right
Right
Left
Right
Right
Left
Left
Year
Sr.
Sr.
Jr.
So.
Jr.
Jr.
Jr.
Hometown
Lakewood, Ill.
Levittown, N.Y.
Scottsdale, Ariz.
New Boston, Mich.
San Jose, Calif.
Cave Creek, Ariz.
Auburn, Ind.
Team
Ohio
Stony Brook
Arizona State
Arizona State
Oklahoma
Arizona State
Minot State
Ht.
5-8
5-10
5-11
6-3
6-2
6-1
5-11
6-0
6-1
5-11
6-1
5-8
5-11
Wt.
175
175
190
197
225
185
190
210
215
170
200
170
180
Birthdate
6/11/90
5/5/92
11/10/91
4/28/92
9/9/91
8/6/92
10/30/91
11/6/90
2/27/92
8/31/90
1/27/90
4/6/92
12/3/91
Shoots
Right
Right
Right
Left
Right
Left
Right
Right
Left
Right
Left
Right
Left
Year
Sr.
Jr.
Jr.
So.
Sr.
So.
Jr.
Fr.
Jr.
Sr.
Sr.
So.
Jr.
Hometown
Waterford, Mich.
Green Bay, Wis.
Garden, Mich.
Centerville, Ohio
Plano, Texas
St. Louis, Mo.
Plano, Texas
Buffalo, N.Y.
Silver Spring, Md.
Grimes, Iowa
Springfield, Va.
Cary, N.C.
Hawthorn Woods, Ill.
Team
Oakland
Arizona State
Adrian
Ohio
Stony Brook
Arizona State
Oklahoma
Liberty
Ohio
Oklahoma
Iowa State
Arizona State
Illinois
Defensemen (7)
No.
21
14
4
7
5
23
8
Name
Tyler Benson
Chris Joseph
Edward McGovern
Connor Schmidt
Mico Solorzano
Jordan Young
Nick Zern
Forwards (13)
No.
10
22
18
19
25
17
26
20
12
9
11
15
16
Name
Billy Balent
Ryan Belonger
Robert Bodette
Joey Breslin
Sam Brewster
Chris Burkemper
Jordan Greenberg
Luke Hannon
Michael Harris
Bryce Johnson
J.P. Kascsak
Sean Murphy
John Olen
Former Penn State head coach Scott Balboni (State College, Pa.) will serve as Team USA’s head coach for the
second straight tournament with Sean Hogan (Athens, Ohio /Ohio), and Dan Phelps (Livonia, Mich.) again serving
as assistants as they did in 2013.
With the selection of Kascsak, with Cooper having previously played for Team USA at the World University
Games, Iowa State has had 18 players play for Team USA in the World University Games since USA Hockey
started fielding a team in the tournament and is one of only two schools (Ohio University is the other) to have at
least one player selected for each World University Games roster since USA Hockey started utilizing ACHA players
in 2001.
Below is a list of the Cyclones who have played for Team USA at each of the seven previous World University
Games Team USA has participated in with rosters of ACHA playrer:
2001 Winter World University Games – Zakopane, Poland
F – Mark Krueger (Des Moines, Iowa)
D – Tory Larson (Seattle, Wash.)
F – Nat Little (Seattle, Wash.)
D – Jason McCollum (West Des Moines, Iowa)
F – Jeremy Meyer (Eden Prairie, Minn.)
F – Andrew Murdoch (Ames, Iowa)
2003 Winter World University Games – Tarvisio, Italy
F – Tony Daniels (Downers Grove, Ill.)
D – Mike Moren (Lakeville, Minn.)
F – Andrew Murdoch (Ames, Iowa)
2005 Winter World University Games – Innsbruck, Austria
F – Scott Hagen (Maple Grove, Minn.)
D – David Moline (Duluth, Minn.)
2007 Winter World University Games – Torino, Italy
F – Allen Raushel (Cloquet, Minn.)
2009 Winter World University Games – Harbin, China
D – Brent Cornelius (Fairbanks, Alaska)
F – Pete Majkozak (White Bear Lake, Minn.)
D – Adam Mueller (Broomfield, Colo.)
2011 Winter World University Games – Erzurum, Turkey
G – Erik Hudson (Spokane, Wash.)
2013 Winter World University Games – Trentino, Italy
F – Jon Feavel (North Pole, Alaska)
G – Matt Cooper (Duluth, Minn.)
Tenth-ranked Iowa State will fight on without Cooper and Kascsak at home this weekend against second-ranked
Central Oklahoma at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena. Friday night’s game is slated for a 7:30 puck drop, while Saturday
night’s rematch will start around 8:00, following an Iowa State women’s hockey game against the University of
Wisconsin-Stout. Fans unable to attend this weekend’s games against the Bronchos (yes, that’s spelled correctly)
Central Oklahoma can watch the games online live on America One. To register and/or to watch, fans need only go
to Cyclone Hockey’s website at www.cyclonehockey.com and click on any America One logo.
The organization is still busy selling flex packs and mini packs for use the rest of the season. Cyclone Hockey also
offers steep discounts on group rates for groups of fans of 10 or more fans. Group rates must be secured two weeks
prior to the desired game a group intends to attend. Fans can learn more about Cyclone Hockey’s dramatically
slashed ticket prices and group rates at the organization’s website at www.cyclonehockey.com and can purchase
tickets by calling 515.294.0410 or at the Ames/ISU Ice Arena on game nights. Cyclone Hockey can also be followed
on Facebook at /CycloneHockey, on Twitter at @Cyclone Hockey, and on Instagram at @CycloneHockey. Cyclone
Hockey…Welcome to the New Age!
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