Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Traverse City adds goalie, forward

In a jam-packed and highly-competitive North American Hockey League North Division, the Traverse City North Stars are fighting for their postseason lives each weekend.

With eight teams jockeying for four postseason berths, and the NAHL trading deadline looming, Stars head coach-GM Anthony Palumbo and staff decided to add to their considerable coffers on Tuesday, bringing in Amarillo goaltender Steve Bolton and forward Justin Scott from Fargo of the USHL.

“Based on where we’re at, this was one of the first times we went out and looked to fill some needs,” Palumbo explained. “We had a veteran team last year that didn’t need as much tweaking, but with all the new faces this year, we’re still tinkering with the roster on deadline day.”

Bolton (5-11/185 lbs.) began his junior career with the USHL’s Tri-City Storm, going 8-6-0 in 20 appearances during the 2009-10 season. He started five games for the Storm this season before landing in the NAHL with New Mexico for one game and Amarillo for eight. He was 4-3-1 with a 2.90 goals-against average and .904 save percentage this year with the Bulls and was selected to play for Team South in the upcoming NAHL Top Prospects all-star event in Ann Arbor.

Traverse City sent defenseman Alex Wiese to Amarillo for the Las Vegas native.

“We’re sorry to see Alex go, but you have to give up a good player to get a good player when there’s a need,” Palumbo said. “They (Amarillo) needed a power play defenseman, we needed someone to come here and pair up with Tyler (Marble), and we feel we helped our club overall by getting Steve Bolton.”

Scott (5-11/195 lbs.), a Detroit product, appeared in 12 games with Fargo this year, picking up an assist to go with 24 penalty minutes and a +1 plus-minus rating. He spent the latter half of 2009-10 with the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, with a goal and four assists over nine regular season games, and combusted in the playoffs for seven goals and 11 helpers in 15 postseason outings.

“Justin’s a Michigan kid, he wanted to be here,” Palumbo explained. “He brings grit and toughness, and he has the scoring touch as well. We added another player to the roster who can help us win games.”

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