BEMIDJI, Minn. -- The Bemidji State University men’s ice hockey team has announced the addition of Nicholas Cardelli (F, Bloomingdale, Ill.) and Darby Gula (D, Steinbach, Manitoba.). Both players have signed the necessary NCAA paperwork and plan to begin their BSU hockey careers in the fall of 2018.
All signees are contingent upon admission to BSU and compliance with NCAA rules, including certification by the NCAA Eligibility Center.
* Nicholas Cardelli (F, 5-10, 174; 6/6/1997; Bloomingdale , Ill.) is in his first full season in the United States Hockey League and the Fargo Force after playing a single game with the Sioux Falls Stampede in 2015-16. Playing in six of 14 games for the Force, Cardelli is in search of his first point and has recorded 12 shots on goal.
Fargo is 9-3-1-1 this season and leads the Western Conference and boasts the USHL’s best record.
Prior to his time with the Force, Cardelli experienced a tremendous amount of success in the North American Hockey League. Playing the entire 2016-17 season with the Brookings Blizzard, the Illinois native averaged 0.9 points per game. IN 59 appearances, Cardelli had 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points to rank second on the team and among the top 30 scorers in the league. His 33 assists paced the Blizzard and was good for 25th in the NAHL and five of his 20 goals stood as game-winners. In addition, he was a catalyst on Brookings’ power-play unit totaling a team-best 18 points (7g-11a) on the man advantage. Leading the Blizzard to the postseason, he posted a team-high seven points (1g-6a) in five games played.
Cardelli also played 26 games of the 2015-16 season with Brookings. He totaled 15 points (8g-7a).
“Nick possesses elite speed. His ability to take away time and space quickly and pressure the puck allows him to create turnovers and make plays in all three zones.” said Eddie Olczyk, BSU’s assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. “His lateral skating ability and shiftiness make him hard to contain in the trenches of the offensive zone corners, as well as in open ice. He is a versatile player in the sense that he can play up and down in a lineup, as well as in any special teams situation. His character and willingness to become a better hockey player is what separates him from a lot of other players. He currently plays for a very well respected and experienced coach in Cary Eades in Fargo, where he will be well prepared to play major college hockey next season. We can’t wait for Nick to get to campus next fall.”
* Darby Gula (D, 5-9, 172; 1/9/1998; Steinbach, Manitoba) is in his fourth season in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League and the Steinbach Pistons. In 19 games the alternate captain has 26 points on five goals and 21 assists and ranks as the MJHL’s top scoring defender. His 21 assists is just six fewer than a career set in 56 games in 2016-17 and is currently good for second on the team and third in the league. Twelve of his 26 points have been generated on the power play (2g-10a) and three of his five goals have gone down as game-winners.
Steinbach is currently leading the MJHL with an overall record of 16-3-0-0.
He finished the 2016-17 season with 34 points (7g-27a) in 56 games for the Pistons before leading the team to the playoffs where he added a pair of assists in 12 postseason games.
Gula also has international experience under his belt. As a member of Team Canada West in the 2016-17 World Junior A Championships, the Steinbach, Manitoba native collected an assist in four appearances on the Canadian blueline.
“Darby is a reliable and multi-purpose defenseman,” commented Olczyk. “His skating ability is dynamic and that allows him to make it hard on opposing teams’ players to make plays in offensive situations. He’s very good with the puck in transition and can make plays through layers under pressure. He plays in all situations for Paul Dyck in Steinbach, who is one of the most structured and well respected coaches in all of Western Canada. Laterally on the offensive zone blue line is a strength of Darby’s along with his ability to get pucks through and to the net. Darby has always shown the ability to produce offensively at every level he has played at, and we see him being able to do the same here at Bemidji State. A leader on and off the ice, along with being a very committed student in the classroom, Darby will have a fantastic four years at BSU.”
The 2017-18 class brings Bemidji State’s total of early signees since the program made the jump to Division I in 1999 to 38. Previous early signees include: seniors Gerry Fitzgerald, Myles Fitzgerald and Leo Fitzgerald, juniors Dillon Eichstadt, T.J. Roo, sophomore Tommy Muck and freshman Brendan Harris and Ethan Somoza.
Bemidji State, now 4-4-2 overall and 2-3-1-1 in WCHA play, will have next weekend free of competition before returning to action Nov. 22 and 24 for a trip to Princeton, N.J. for a non-conference series at Princeton University. The rare Wednesday/Friday series is set for 6:07 p.m. opening face off each night at historic Hobey Baker Rink.
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Nestled in Northern Minnesota’s wooded region and located on the shore of Lake Bemidji, Bemidji State University sponsors 15 varsity athletic programs with NCAA Division I men’s and women’s hockey membership in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, while its 13 NCAA Division II programs hold membership in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC).