Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tech freshman Pierro-Zabotel to join Huskies in December

Michigan Tech freshman-to-be Casey Pierro-Zabotel, who was a third-round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, is hoping to gain eligibility that will allow him to join the Huskies this December, head coach Jamie Russell announced via a press release today.

According to the release, Pierro-Zabotel is considered a partial qualifier according to the NCAA's initial eligibility standards. The Kamloops, B.C. native will continue to play junior hockey during the fall. He finished third in the BCHL in scoring last season with 51 goals and 65 assists.

The earliest he can join the Huskies would be on December 15 for a non-conference series against Northern Michigan.

WCHA Blog's Take: Most onlookers expect the Huskies to build on their strong 2006-07 campaign where they finished in a tie for sixth place and advanced to the WCHA Final Five. Losing Pierro-Zabotel for the first half of the season (at a minimum) is certainly a blow to the Huskies. They have a very tough first-half schedule, which features home conference series with Minnesota State, North Dakota, and St. Cloud State. Additionally, Tech travels to Wisconsin, Minnesota Duluth, and Minnesota for road trips.

The Huskies lost just three seniors off last year's team, so this loss isn't devastating by any means. However, Pierro-Zabotel was thought of by many to be one of the top freshman in the WCHA this year and certainly would have been a boost to a Tech offense that finished seventh in the WCHA last year in conference scoring.