Friday, August 2, 2013

Zach Aston-Reese Moving On To Northeastern

Zach Aston-Reese
The Lincoln Stars were dealt some bad news today when Husky Hockey News tweeted that forward Zach Aston-Reese will enroll at Northeastern this fall.  ZAR was originally set to play one more season for Lincoln this upcoming season, but a few things happened to change that.

First, Northeastern LOI (letter of intent) signee Mike Szmatula wanted to be released from his LOI obligation to play at Denver instead under his old Dubuque (USHL) coach Jim Montgomery, who took the Denver job after the Fighting Saints won the Clark Cup. But Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan took a stance and decided not to release him from the signed LOI.

After a month or two of consideration, Szmatula decided to honor his LOI and attend Northeastern in the fall.  While the Szmatula drama was being played out, and it looked like he would not enroll at NU this fall, ZAR's name came up quite frequently on Twitter as Szmatula's replacement.

However, on the same day that Szmatula decided to play for Northeastern, the Huskies lost junior forward Ludwig Karlsson to the NHL (Ottawa Senators).  So the NU coaches were quickly forced to fill a hole on their roster with a forward, and they filled it with Zach Aston-Reese, who originally committed to Northeastern in October of 2011.

ZAR is ready for the college game, especially after dominating the league toward the end of the last USHL regular season and the playoffs. ZAR led the Stars with three goals and five points in the playoffs, and he was also a team-best +3. He had nine goals and 21 assists in the regular season and was +14. ZAR played 2.5 seasons with the Stars after joining the team midway through 2010-11.

His loss is huge considering he was by far Lincoln's top returning scorer from last season and one of only three returning forwards. The others are Max Humitz (18 games, two assists) and Garrett Brossart (30 games, five assists). In short, the Stars were already inexperienced at forward, but are now extremely inexperienced up front. Forward David Parrottino, on Lincoln's protected list, also played some games in Lincoln last year but did not finish the year here. If you are doing the math at home, the Stars scored 217 goals last season and only 7 of those goals came from players protected by the Stars right now (Zach Frye 3, Daniel Willett 2, Zach Pittman 1, Parrottino 1).

Best of luck to Zach at Northeastern! His game should translate well into the college game. He's earned it and it's been fun watching him develop in Lincoln into a man amongst boys. I look forward to tracking his progress at Northeastern.

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