by Andrew Hoyle
It’s not often that a team is willing to wait on a player. Period. End of story. Think about it; when is the last time you can remember seeing your favorite hockey coach pacing outside the bus before a road trip, tapping his foot, looking at his watch, brushing up on his best four-letter vocabulary, wondering where one of his young charges is?
The answer is simple: NEVER! That bus rolls on time, to the second, even if the player has to run alongside and dive for the open door. (I won’t even allude to those “Terminator-“esque visions of grabbing onto a bumper…) Hockey, and coach, wait for no one. Yet that is exactly what River City coach Mike Hastings did; he waited for not one, but two, of his talented young forwards to finish their high school careers in…football? Boy, was it worth it, though. Along with line-mate Drew Miller, also a late arrival due to an early-season trade, Nate Raduns and Phil Todd are quickly becoming a line to be reckoned with. Even if they missed the bus early on….
Raduns, a 6-3, 200 lb native of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, played his high school hockey for Sauk Rapids High School, where he led his team in scoring (50 PTS), and was voted MVP during the 2000-2001 season. He was also named to the “All-Area” Team by the St. Cloud Times and the Minnesota Class “A” All-State Tourney that same year. During the 2001-2002 season, Raduns played for the U.S. National Under-18 (NTDP) Team, where he appeared in all 62 games. He tied for sixth on the team in total points, and tied for second on the team in both power play and game winning goals.
Raduns was also a member of the U.S. Under-18 Team that won the gold medal at the 2002 World Championships in Slovakia. He is ranked #156 in the NHL Central Scouting Midseason Ranking of North American Players for the 2002 draft. Since finishing his high school football career and joining the Lancers (9GP, 0G, 4A, 4PTS, 8PIM), Raduns’ size and speed have drawn a lot of attention from opposing defenses. That has allowed his line-mates to make the most of their opportunities; in fact, all four of his assists belong to goals by either Miller or Todd.
At 6-2, 185 lbs, Phil Todd also brings a great deal and size to the Lancers’ attack. Also a native of Minnesota, Todd joined the Lancers after also finishing his high school football career, at Centennial High School in Centerville, Minnesota. In his short time with the Lancers (6GP, 3G, 0A, 3PTS, 0PIM), Todd has enjoyed a great deal of success against Topeka; in fact, all three of his goals have come against the Scarecrows.
His first goal came at the 6:36 mark of the first period of a 3-2 loss on November 22nd. Eight days later, he had a 2-goal effort in a 4-2 win against the same Scarecrows. All the assists to Todd’s goals were by Raduns and Miller. What is also noteworthy of Todd is the fact that he’s only put five official shots on goal, and three have gone in, giving him a great shooting percentage of .600.
Drew Miller, a 6-2, 165 lb forward from East Lansing, Michigan, came to the Lancers in an early-season trade with the Capitol Centre Pride , where he put up great numbers early (14GP, 9G, 9A, 18PTS, 12PIM, 2PPG, 1SHG, 2GW). It took until the arrival of Todd and Raduns for Miller’s scoring to take off with the Lancers (11GP, 1G, 3A, 4PTS, 2PIM). As opposing defenses continue to focus on those two, the quick and elusive Miller is oftentimes forgotten about and left alone in the slot for a quick poke at a rebound, or high in the circle for a pass and a try at a slapshot. Either way, Miller has found his spot on a line that is almost guaranteed to wreak havoc on the rest of the USHL, and give him plenty of scoring opportunities as the season progresses.
And it’s all because of a little patience…
Lancer Notes: It’s been a week of firsts for the River City Lancers; they lost to the Waterloo Blackhawks at home for the first time since 1997, 2-1. The Lancers then went on the road to Lincoln, where they were able to pull out their first win at the Ice Box this year, 4-1. Finally, they won their first game ever at Landon Arena in Topeka, downing the Scarecrows 4-2, despite being outshot 29-13. Topeka put an incredible 18 shots on goal in the second period, compared to none for the Lancers…. Calling all goalies: in an unusual twist of fate, Lancer Goalie Dominic Vicari has gone down with an injury, only about a week after one of his backups, Chad Beiswenger, was removed from the protected list and snapped up by the Bozeman Icedogs. Dan Tormey will now be the netminder, with a backup to be found soon….