Senior defenseman Chris Casto of Stillwater, Minn., a captain at Hill-Murray High School in Maplewood, Minn., made an oral commitment to Minnesota Duluth on Tuesday for 2011-12.
Casto, 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, is in his third varsity season with the Pioneers. He has four goals and eight assists for 12 points in 13 games this season for Hill-Murray (11-1-1). He’s expected to play in the U.S. Hockey League in 2010-11.
“He’ll play defensively as tough as you want, which is his No. 1 strength, but he can also play offensively,” said Hill-Murray coach Bill Lechner. “He’s a good skater, strong and tough in the corners, and runs our power play. He’s the real deal and UMD has gotten a good player.”
Casto has taken a regular shift since his sophomore season when Hill-Murray won the 2008 Minnesota Class AA title.
“UMD has a great hockey program and when I watched them play [in Friday’s 5-2 home win over Colorado College], I liked what I saw. I really like the city of Duluth,” said Casto.
Casto had made two other recruiting visits, although he didn’t want to say where. It’s believed that Minnesota and North Dakota were among the schools that had contacted him.
Mike Connolly Named WCHA Co-Offensive Player of the Week
Mike Connolly, a 5-9, 190-pound left winger from Calgary, Alberta, had a team-high five points while helping lead the host UMD Bulldogs to a pair of WCHA victories over then No. 3-ranked Colorado College.
Connolly figured in on three of UMD’s five goals in a 5-2 win Friday, scoring the game-winning goal at 6:04 of the second period and assisting on two other tallies. He then followed that up with a two-point night Saturday, scoring one goal and assisting on the game-winner, as Minnesota Duluth completed the sweep over the Tigers with a 4-1 victory. In the series, Connolly was also an integral part of a power-play unit that cashed in on five of 11 opportunities.
Connolly has produced 24 scoring points (8g, 16a) in 20 games this season. North Dakota’s Jason Gregoire, co-player of the week, had four goals in a home sweep of Minnesota State-Mankato.