By: Ken Oda, minotauroshockey.com
Minot, ND – The Minot Minotauros are proud to announce the goaltender Brandon Wildung has committed to play for NCAA Division I Mercyhurst University next season. The first year Tauro has gone 8-8-2 on the season with a 2.52 goals against average (GAA) and .917 save percentage (SV%). His recent play has been a key to the Minotauros’ turnaround since the start of November, going 7-1-0 with a .928 SV% including two shutouts.
The Minotauros coaching staff was unanimous in their praise of Wildung not just as a player, but as a young man. Head Coach Marty Murray said, “Mercyhurst has shown interest in Brandon since the showcase and has closely followed Brandon's progress. Brandon has been very, very good for us this season, and it's great to see the hard work and commitment he has put into his game, pay off. Not only is Mercyhurst getting a great goalie, they are also getting an outstanding young man.” Cory Lonke, the Tauros’ goaltending coach expanded on Murray’s comments saying; “I’m really happy for Willy, he’s a great kid, his technical game is second to none in the NAHL. Mercyhurst is getting a great player and an even better person.”
Wildung explained that he chose Mercyhurst because “Coach [Rick] Gotkin has built a good program, I believe it’s a good fit not just because of the hockey but because of the academics as well.” He also pointed to Assistant Coach Peter Aubry as a reason he chose the Lakers explaining “we built a good relationship, and I like his views on goaltending.” It was also important to Wildung to thank the people whom have helped him reach his goal; “most importantly I want to give thanks to God. Also thank you to my mom (Jody VanDrunen), Dad (Jeff Wildung), stepdad (Cad Van Drunen). All of my coaches: especially Coach Murray, Lonke, and the entire Minotauros organization; Coach Reagan from last season and the Flin Flon Bombers organization; and my goalie coach Dave Rogalski.”
The Minotauros are in their third season in the NAHL. Wildung becomes the third Minotauro to commit to play NCAA DI hockey, following the commits of Tyler Parks and Mason Morelli last season. Wildung’s advancement continues to build the Minotauros a reputation as a goalie factory. Last season’s goaltenders Tyler Parks (NCAA DI St. Lawrence) and Ryan Ruck (USHL Des Moines) both advanced to a high level of play after one season in Minot. Both Jake Hebda (NCAA DIII U.W. Concordia) and Tim Shaughnessy (NCAA DIII University of St. Thomas) from the Minotauros inaugural season moved on to play at the college level as well. Wildung will finish the season with the Minotauros before heading to Erie, PA, to join the Lakers for the 2014/15 season.