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Old 01-03-2007, 02:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Chicago defenseman Dan Lawson has committed to the University of Vermont for the 2007-08 season. Lawson is in his second season with the Steel and has recorded nine points in 24 games. He is the ninth Steel player to commit to a NCAA Division I school this year.
Des Moines defenseman Ben Rosen has verbally committed to Brown University for next season. He has two points and a plus-3 rating in 13 games. He is the 11th Buccaneer to commit to a college.
Omaha has won five-straight games and has moved from fifth place to third in the very tight West Division.
Sioux City saw its 11-game win streak snapped on New Year's Eve, falling to the Bucs, 3-0. The Musketeers have lost on New Year's Eve six-straight times.
Defenseman Zach Hansen has committed to Quinnipiac University for the 2007-08 season. He has 12 points in 23 games this year and is the ninth Stampede player to commit to college this season.
Cedar Rapids RoughRiders forward Rob Bordson, who has missed the last eight games with mono, committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, the team announced this week. He will begin his college career in the fall of 2008. Bordson has 15 points in 15 games.
Green Bay defenseman Ryan Little has committed to the University of Wisconsin and will begin play for the Badgers in 2008. Little, 18, has three points and a plus-3 rating in 25 games this year.
Green Bay forward Bryan Haczyk has committed to Niagara University, joining current Gambler goalie Adam Avramenko in opting for the College Hockey America school.
The Ohio Junior Blue Jackets won just their third regulation victory of the year on New Year's Eve, taking a 3-2 decision from Indianapolis. Tim Hall scored the winning goal late in the third period.
Sitting in the cellar of the 11-team USHL, the Chicago Steel made a bold move on the day after Christmas to revive its fortunes, naming former NHL defenseman Steve Poapst as the team's new head coach.

Poapst, the only former NHL player coaching in the USHL, replaces Chris Imes, who led the team to an unsatisfactory 4-17-1 mark this season before the move was announced.

General Manager Jason Koehler strongly believed a change needed to be made and identified Poapst as the most likely candidate to reverse the Steel's fortunes. Poapst, who retired as a player last season after stints with the Pittsburgh Penguins and St. Louis Blues, has strong ties to Chicago, where he played the majority of his NHL career during a four-year span between 2000 and 2004.

This season, Poapst, 38, had begun his coaching career with the Chicago Mission's bantam minor program, going 16-1-2.

"We're a much better program than our current record (4-17-1) indicates, and we felt that we needed to go in a different direction for the final 38 games of the season and into the playoffs," Koehler said in making the announcement. "We believe that Steve Poapst will help change the on-ice direction of this club and improve our focus and attitude. Someone with Steve's abilities, and his experiences at the highest level of professional hockey, will no doubt benefit our players here in Chicago a great deal."

Poapst, who was a coach's favorite wherever he went during a professional playing that covered 15 years and eight different franchises, will certainly instill a more pronounced work ethic in the Steel players. As a player, Poapst was all about effort, making the most out of his limited set of skills, translating them into 307 games in the NHL, where he scored eight goals, added 26 assists and 173 penalty minutes.

Poapst began his USHL coaching career in fine fashion, winning his debut, against Ohio, Friday night. The next night, the Steel played East Division-leading Waterloo tough before dropping a 3-1 decision. Sunday, Chicago dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 game to Green Bay.
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