Michigan Tech announces eight incoming players for 2020-21
HOUGHTON — Michigan Tech head hockey coach Joe Shawhan announced eight incoming players for the 2020-21 season.
The class consists of goaltenders Cayden Bailey and Mark Sinclair, defensemen Jed Pietila and Brett Thorne, and forwards Carson Bantle, Arvid Caderoth, Nick Nardella, and Blais Richartz.
“We feel we have addressed our needs and continue to build our team for long term success,” Shawhan said.
Sinclair is a graduate transfer from Alabama Huntsville where he appeared in 65 career games over the past three seasons.
Carson Bantle is a 2020 NHL Draft prospect and recently ranked 104th amongst North American Skaters in the April NHL Central Scouting Report. The Hockey News ranked him No. 66 in their most recent ranking and The Hockey Writers have him 120th.
Jed Pietila is a cousin to current Huskies Blake and Logan Pietila, Brian Halonen, and David Raisanen. Pietila and Raisanen were teammates for one game with the Minot Minotauros in October 2017.
Nick Nardella was teammates with Trenton Bliss at Green Bay in 2017-18 and Blais Richartz at Tri-City in 2016-17.
Bailey is a 5-foot-11, 181-pound goaltender from Estero, Florida. He was named the NAHL’s 2019-20 Vaughn Hockey Goaltender of the Year after going 20-5-2 with the Lone Star Brahmas. His 1.32 goals-against average, .940 save percentage, and 11 shutouts led the NAHL. The 1.32 goals-against average mark set a new NAHL single-season record and the 11 shutouts tied an NAHL single-season record.
“We are excited to add Cayden to our team, and he is expected to challenge for playing time immediately,” Shawhan said. “His success speaks for itself earning all-league accolades in virtually every league he has played in.”
Bailey was also honored on the All-NAHL Team and NAHL All-South Division Team. Bailey played 31 games for the Surrey Eagles in the BCHL in 2018-19 and 22 for the PAL Junior Islanders in the NCDC in 2017-18. He was named the USP3HL Goaltender of the Year in 2016-17 after leading the league with a 1.03 goals-against average and .961 save percentage with the Florida Jr. Blades.
Sinclair is a 6-foot, 180-pound goaltender from Dundas, Ontario. He ranked second in the WCHA with 971 saves for Alabama Huntsville in 2019-20. He made 40 saves in seven games last season with a career-high 54 save performance against Bowling Green (Feb. 28).
Sinclair was twice named WCHA Goaltender of the Week during the 2018-19 season. Prior to his collegiate career, Sinclair played a season with the Chilliwack Chiefs in the BCHL and two seasons in the GOJHL for Caledonia and Hamilton.
“We are very fortunate to add a goaltender of Mark’s caliber to our roster at a late point in the recruiting process,” Shawhan said. “Several factors made this opportunity available to us and I appreciate UAH for their cooperation in allowing this transfer to occur.”
Thorne is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound defenseman from Bedford, Nova Scotia. He was named the CCHL Defenseman of the Year after leading all blueliners with 74 points for the Carleton Place Canadians. He scored 27 goals and added 47 assists in 62 games to finish fourth in the league in points and second amongst defensemen in Canadian Junior Hockey and set single-season records for the Canadians.
“Brett is a special talent,” Shawhan said. “It is our hope and expectation that Brett will bring a similar element to what Shane Hanna brought us. The ability to log minutes and contribute at an elite level at both ends of the ice.”
Thorne was also named to the CCHL First All-Star Team. Thorne was named a finalist for the 2019-20 Defenseman of the Year in Canadian Junior Hockey, placing second. Thorne played 167 games in the CCHL over the past three seasons with 153 points and is the Canadians all-time leader in goals, assists, and points by a defenseman. He was named to the CCHL Second All-Star Team in 2018-19 after tallying 47 points in 58 games. The Canadians won the regular-season title the last three seasons and were runners up for the Bogart Cup in 2018 and 2019 with 2020 being canceled. Thorne also played for the Wellington Dukes (OJHL) in 2017-18 and Ridley College in 2016-17.
Pietila is a 6-foot, 181-pound defenseman from Howell. He’s played 128 career games in the NAHL and was the captain of the Austin Bruins in 2019-20. He tallied 29 points with eight goals and 21 assists last season, ranking 17th amongst league defensemen in points. He led NAHL bluelines with 14 assists on the power play. He also tallied 31 points with eight goals and 23 assists in 2018-19 for the Bruins.
“Jed will be a valuable player on our roster because he is comfortable playing both defense and forward. He reminds me of a combination of recent graduate Todd Kiilunen and former standout Chris Leibinger.”
In 2017-18, Pietila played for Aberdeen, Minot, and Austin after starting the season with the TPH Thunder U18. He was a First Team All-State selection at Hartland High School in 2016-17 after tallying 55 points and was an alternate captain. He transitioned to defense before joining the junior ranks.
Bantle is a 6-foot-4, 201-pound forward from Onalaska, Wisconsin. He tallied 49 points in 49 games with the Madison Capitols in the USHL in 2019-20 with 20 goals and 29 assists, ranking 12th in the league. He was an alternate captain in his second season in Madison and was promoted to captain midway through the season.
“It is our hope that Carson will bring the same type of character and dominance to our team that former Capitol forward Alec Broetzman did as a freshman.”
Bantle appeared in 62 games 2018-19 and had 10 goals and 10 assists. Prior to playing in the USHL, Bantle played at Shattuck St. Mary’s. He played 52 games with the U16 team in 2017-18 and 56 games for the Bantam T1 in 2016-17.
Bantle played in the 2020 BioSteel All-American Game which showcases the top talent for the upcoming NHL Draft. He also played for Team USA at the 2019 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and the 2018 Under-17 Five Nations Tournament. Bantle attended USA Hockey’s Boys Select 15, Select 16, and Select 17 Camps.
Caderoth is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound forward from Askim, Sweden. He’s played 106 games and three seasons with Frölunda HC J20 of the Sweden SuperElit league. He tallied 63 points with 21 goals and 42 assists. He scored eight goals and racked up 25 assists in 2019-20 while serving as team captain and had 10 goals and 14 assists in 2018-19 as an alternate captain. Caderoth has also played for Hanhals IF for 33 games over the past two seasons.
“We’ve been trying to secure a top-end European player since I got here. Arvid’s a playmaking centerman who is responsible at both ends of the ice. His size and reach complement his vision and play-making skills and should compliment trigger men Alec Broetzman, Trenton Bliss, and Brian Halonen on the power play. We’re highly optimistic with regards to the options that Arvid will provide us. He has played with the Swedish National Team and has excelled at the highest level of one of the best Junior Hockey Leagues in the World.”
Nardella is a 5-foot-10, 174-pound forward from Rosemont, Illinois. He was the captain of the Janesville Jets in the NAHL in 2019-20 and led the team with 20 goals, 31 assists, and 51 points to rank 15th in the league. He was named team MVP last season and joined the Jets in 2018-19, tallying 36 points in 48 games.
“Nick has the tools to be an all-around contributor at the DI level. He is intelligent and comes from a hockey family. His father coaches professionally and his brother plays professionally. I would consider Nick in the mold of a Dylan Steman.”
Nardella played two seasons in the USHL with the Green Bay Gamblers in 2017-18 under former Husky Pat Mikesch and the Tri-City Storm in 2016-17. He played five seasons with the Chicago Mission organization before his junior career.
Nardella’s father Bobby played 14 years of pro hockey after a four-year career at Ferris State. He is currently an assistant coach with the Chicago Wolves (AHL). Nick’s brother Bobby played for Notre Dame and is currently in the Washington Capitals organization with the Hershey Bears (AHL).
Richartz is a 6-foot, 183-pound forward from Menomonie, Wisconsin. He played over three seasons in the USHL with the Tri-City Storm, Omaha Lancers, and Lincoln Stars.
“A hard-nosed player that I expect will be more offensively productive at the collegiate level than he was at the junior level. He skates well and creates havoc much in the same mold as former captain Ray Brice.”
In 144 USHL games, Richartz has 50 points on 21 goals and 29 assists. He had an injury-shortened 2019-20 campaign with a goal and two assists in 16 games. He was traded to Lincoln in November. Richartz had 17 points in 35 games for Omaha in 2018-19 after starting the season in Tri-City where he tallied eight points in 23 games. He notched 17 points in his first full season in the USHL in 2017-18, playing 56 games. He played for Victory Honda U16 in 2016-17 and racked up 47 points in 24 games for Menomonie High School in 2015-16.