Monday, March 23, 2009

Pair of Rangers commit to CCHA schools

The Marquette Rangers now have a total of five NCAA Division I commitments from this year's squad.

Defenseman Reed Rushing has been offered a spot at Bowling Green State University of the CCHA, while Chad Pietila will skate for the CCHA’s Northern Michigan Wildcats in Marquette.

They join Rangers teammates Kevin Gravel (St. Cloud State,) Aaron Pietila (Michigan Tech) and James Gallagher (Connecticut) as Division I commitments from head coach Kenny Miller’s team.

“They’re both going to do well at their schools,” Miller said. “They’ve both worked extremely hard to get to this point, both were able to turn some heads over the course of the season and we couldn’t be happier for these guys and their families. There isn’t a kid playing junior hockey that doesn’t dream of making it to D-I college, so we’re very proud as an organization to do our part and help them realize that dream.”

The two players, however, had very different paths to their college destinations. For Rushing, it was more of a process over time, whereas Pietila’s journey from Lakeview Arena across the street to the Berry Events Center was much shorter in both distance and time.

“We started talking seriously about a week ago,” Pietila said of his conversations with NMU. “We talked and they told me where things stood and I decided to take it. It’s such a great opportunity for me as a player, plus I’ve got a lot of family here in the U.P., so it really is a dream for me to be able to stay in Marquette and play for Northern.”

Pietila, a native of Milford, added that playing for the Rangers in Marquette, in such close proximity to NMU, played a part in his becoming a Wildcat.

“Our schedules don’t match up very often, but they had a chance to follow me and see me from time-to-time, which I’m sure played a part in me winding up there," Pietila said. "Coach (Miller) was real helpful in making this happen, too, so I’m grateful to him and everyone in the organization for helping make this happen for me.”

Rushing, a Seattle, Wash., native echoed Pietila on the help he received from Miller and the Rangers.

“Coach was great,” Rushing said. “He communicated with Coach (Scott) Paluch at BG a lot about me and really helped me get in front of them at the right times," said Rushing. "They (BGSU) came to the Future Prospects to watch me play and Coach (Miller) talked to them after that and it all fell in to place from there. I’m grateful to him and the Rangers for helping me to get to this point and I’m excited to be going to BG next year”

Rushing said he’s excited to be a part of a rebuilding process with the Falcons.

“They’ve been down for awhile, but they’re rebuilding and it’ll be exciting to be a part of that," he said. "They have a national championship (1984) already and I hope to be able to get in there and make a difference right away.”

Rushing is in his final year of junior eligibility and came to Marquette from the Motor City Machine last fall in a three-player deal. Pietila is completing his second full season with the Rangers and is currently the team’s leading scorer with 60 points (24g, 36a) on the season.

Pietila photo (top) by Daryl Jarvinen

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