Game Winner: River City’s Mike Howe is making his mark early

By Jason Shaner

by Andrew Hoyle

In the 2002-2003 River City Lancers Official Program, the caption below Mike Howe’s picture reads, “He is an explosive skater with a proven scoring touch. The coaching staff feels he has the ability to be an impact player in his rookie season.” While most player program notes are famous for their vagueness and generic descriptions, this one has turned out to be most accurate and prophetic of Howe’s early season play.

The 5-11, 180 pound forward comes to the Lancers via Apollo High School in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where he was a 2001-2002 Minnesota All-State Team Honorable Mention (24GP, 38G, 36A, 74PTS, 10PIM). One of River City coach Mike Hastings’ favorite recruiting areas, he quickly took notice of Howe and signed him to a high school tender at the end of the 01-02 season. Howe was able to participate in five games (1G, 1A, 2PTS, 2PIM) for the Lancers last season, getting a head start on his USHL career and gaining valuable experience. That experience has paid off so far in the 02-03 campaign.

Not only has Howe started the season with good stats (13GP, 6G, 8A, 14PTS, 8PIM), but he has back-to-back game-winning goals to his credit also. During one of the hardest hitting Lancer games to date this season, Howe was able to beat Sioux Falls Stampede goaltender Kellen Briggs with just 1:05 left in overtime for his first game-winner this season. The second came in the very next game, against the Tri-City Storm. At the nine minute mark in the third period, Howe would put the puck in the net on a feed from <b>Janne Jokila in what would turn out to be the game-winner. For his efforts during the Sioux Falls game, Howe was awarded Star Number One of the night’s Three Star Selections.

Howe’s steady and consistent play late in the game has also helped keep River City in the race for first place in the hotly contested West Division of the USHL. Already committed to the University of Minnesota, Howe is able to concentrate fully on making the most of his USHL career with the Lancers.

Lancer Notes: Forwards Phil Todd and Nate Raduns have joined the team now that high school football season is over. Along with newcomer Drew Miller, the Lancers have rounded out their forward lines…Defenseman Grant Clafton has returned to the ice after a broken jaw kept him out of the lineup for six weeks. He turned in a great defensive performance over the weekend, proving that you can pick up where you left off…