The Lakeville North boys’ hockey team gained a Division-I defenseman on Tuesday night, but he already held a spot on the Panthers’ roster.
Keaton Pehrson, a junior defender, announced his verbal commitment to play college hockey at Michigan Tech University on Tuesday night. The Huskies are a Division-I men’s hockey team in the Western College Hockey Association.
Michigan Tech coaches watched Pehrson in elite league this fall, and offered Pehrson just over a week ago.
After visiting campus multiple times and watching a game, Pehrson made the decision to commit to play for the Huskies.
“It just felt right,” he said. “I wanted to get it out of the way so it wouldn’t be a distraction during the year.”
College coaches didn’t get much of an opportunity to watch Pehrson during Lakeville North’s 31-0 state championship run in 2014-2015 because he rotated in and out of the fifth and sixth defenseman position in the lineup.
It wasn’t because of lack of ability from Pehrson, though.
The talent above him was just that good.
Jack Sadek, Angelo Altavilla, Jack McNeely and Luke Seper held the top four defenseman spots last season. Sadek is now at the University of Minnesota and was drafted by the Minnesota Wild this past summer. Altavilla, who likely could have played collegiate hockey, is at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he will play Divison-I baseball in the spring. McNeely is at the University of Nebraska-Omaha where he is playing for the men’s hockey team. Seper is playing in juniors.
Although Pehrson didn’t play much, he gained valuable experience playing with the 2014-2015 defenseman.
“Without getting to play a lot, I was still at the practices and got to learn stuff from those great defenseman,” Pehrson said.
Goaltender Ryan Edquist also won’t return in 2015-2016 as he now plays for the Madison Capitols of the USHL. Even though Edquist had one of the top season’s of any goaltender in the state of Minnesota in 2014-2015, it didn’t start out that way—Edquist gave up five goals in the opener and appeared nervous.
With Matt Foss, a senior goaltender who moved from Northfield, now in net, Pehrson wants to make sure the new net minder isn’t nervous come the season opener against Stillwater, similar to how nervous Edquist was in last season’s opener.
“Something we will have to do with our goalie this year is tell him he needs to stay calm in the net and make a few good saves and let the game come to him,” Pehrson said.
Although there are some nerves, Pehrson is excited to get more ice time for Lakeville North this season after experiencing the team’s success in 2014-2015.
“I want to be part of that again,” Pehrson said.