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Posted On Tuesday, 05.24.2011 / 8:57 AM

By Seth Ambroz -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Ambroz draft blog

Seth Ambroz talks Combine, NHL Draft and college

Seth Ambroz is a right wing for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Ambroz, committed to the University of Minnesota next fall, was just 15-years-old when he burst upon the USHL scene as a rookie in 2008-09. In 56 games this season, Ambroz led Omaha with 24 goals, 46 points and 222 shots. The New Prague, Minn., native was rated No. 31 on NHL Central Scouting's final release of North American skaters in April. In 172 games spanning three seasons with the Lancers, Ambroz compiled 60 goals, 126 points, 295 penalty minutes and 535 shots (three shots per game). A participant of the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, Ambroz has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone. Ever since our season ended with a playoff loss to Sioux Falls, I've been training at the University of Minnesota to prepare for the NHL Combine (May 30-June 4). I think it will be a real fun experience. It will be fun to talk to all the scouts and talk to all the GMs and then, as far as the training goes, show them what you've got and enjoy the moment. I've heard stories (regarding the bike tests) that haven't been too positive, but it'll be fun to see what happens. I'm not too worried about it. I'm just going to go there and give them all I've got -- if you throw up,
you throw up … I guess.

I've been in training for three weeks now, entering my fourth week. I'm not too worried, and hopefully I do really well. Most of all, I just want to enjoy it and have fun.

As far as my season goes, I thought I had a good year and thought I learned a lot again. I can't complain; we didn't have the highest scoring team this year but I think all around, it was a good year. I thought I became that guy that players looked up to as a leader and that was a big part of my development and while it was disappointing with the way we went out, it is what it is. I wish we would have put up more of a fight. You just have to move on and hopefully, you keep doing well from here.

The plan right now is to go to the U (University of Minnesota) in the fall. I'm all set for that and things will push along next year.

There's a lot of excitement about the upcoming Draft. It's a lot of fun to be a part of and whether it's early or later, it'll obviously be an honor to be drafted. It's not about now, it's about what you do afterwards, so right now I'm having fun and I know the experience will be good.

Obviously, you would like to be drafted as high as possible … that's always a good thing. But afterwards, you're still a part of a team and then it's all about what you do from there. I'm not too worried. Whenever my name is called, it's called, and I'll go with it, develop and, hopefully, make a good career out of it. You have to stay positive about things. When the final (Central Scouting) rankings came out, it was a little frustrating (dropping three slots to No. 31) but I've learned to not pay attention to any of that and it's been working well. I'm just excited to be one of the top prospects.

I know it's possible a general manager or scout may ask me why they should draft me during the interviewing stage of the Combine. If they ask, I'm going to tell them that I'm a power forward who is willing to do all the little things and willing to go to the tough spot to get any type of job done. I'm willing to step up to any challenges and I feel I'd be able to do it. I'm a hard worker and I keep a positive frame of mind on and off the ice.

Finally, I had a great time in my three seasons in the USHL. Even off ice as well, it was fun to be around the guys, the coaches, and meet new people. While you're getting better developing as a player, you're also maturing a lot more and that helped me a lot as a player and a person.
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Posted On Wednesday, 03.23.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Seth Ambroz -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Ambroz draft blog

Omaha's Seth Ambroz hoping for playoff bye

Seth Ambroz is a right wing for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Ambroz, committed to the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2011, was just 15-years-old when he burst upon the USHL scene as a rookie in 2008-09. Through 49 games this season, Ambroz leads the team with 21 goals, 40 points and 202 shots. The New Prague, Minn., native was rated No. 28 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term release of North American skaters in January. A participant of the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, Ambroz has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone! It's almost playoff time here in the USHL. I think it's been a good year so far. You see a lot of 60-plus point seasons from other players, but being a power-forward, I don't think about that too much. I think 40 points is a great accomplishment and hopefully, they'll keep coming. Right now I'm just not thinking about personal statistics too much. I'm having a fun year and we've had kind of a low-scoring team this year too, so I think just moving forward from here would be great.

We have six games left and, really, we'd like to win them all but that's a tough thing to do in this league. But there are a lot of things you want to work on as a team down the stretch … you want to work on details heading into the playoffs. You want to work towards getting all the little things right and playing your best hockey heading into the playoffs. You just want to be playing well as a team at the right time and that time is entering the playoffs.

Right now, we'd like to win these games to pull away from the pack a little because they're fighting for that second seed in the playoffs too (Omaha is currently second in the West -- one point ahead of Sioux Falls). Sioux Falls (Omaha's opponent on Wednesday) is right behind us and we have a tough grind with some road games. Road games will test every team's character right now, but we'll see what we bring to the table.

(Three of the first five meetings between Omaha and Sioux Falls have been decided by a single goal. The top 6 teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs and the top 2 teams in each conference receive a playoff bye).

You could look at the bye in two different ways, obviously we've had injuries this year and have a couple guys out so it would be good to get that bye and get some guys rested up. But you could look at it as, when you get that bye, you kind of get a little bit out of the loop by not playing and then go into the next series against a team that has already played so you have to get ready quick. But, either way, you can look at the positives or negatives, but I think we could probably use the rest right now with all the bumps and bruises, so we'll really push for that second spot and the bye.

We made it to the conference final last year and fell short in Game 5 (to Fargo, 3-games-to-2) there so we'd like to get back and go even farther this time around.

The media requests with the draft coming up fast hasn't been too bad. It's been nice to focus on the stretch run here in the last few games and just try not to think too much about the draft. I just want to focus on what's ahead of me and hope things turn out well.
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Posted On Wednesday, 02.23.2011 / 9:00 AM

By Seth Ambroz -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Ambroz draft blog

Two-time USHL All-Star: Seth Ambroz


Seth Ambroz is a right wing for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Ambroz, committed to the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2011, was just 15-years-old when he burst upon the USHL scene as a rookie in 2008-09. Through 38 games this season, Ambroz leads the team with 33 points, including 17 goals. The New Prague, Minn., native was rated No. 28 on NHL Central Scouting's mid-term release of North American skaters in January. A participant of the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, Ambroz has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.

Hi everyone. Last Friday (Feb. 18), the USHL announced its All-Star Team and I was honored to be named a second straight year because there are a lot of great players in the league and we have a lot of good players on our team. Just to be able to represent the Western Division is a honor.

It's definitely nice to be recognized as an All Star. I hope things keep working out for me. I obviously want to keep working hard because with hard work, comes reward. Like they say, the cream always rises to the top and that only happens with a lot of hard work. If it doesn't happen that way, I'll keep working and eventually something good will come out of it.

I was also happy that (defenseman) Ben Marshall and (forward) Nick Oddo were also named to the team. They've been huge for the team this year. Ben has been a plus-21 or so player all year and huge part of our team. He runs our power-play and obviously is a really good offensive-defenseman. He has a lot of skill and speed and he makes a lot of plays. He's definitely been a huge part.

Nick is in his fourth year (in the USHL) and he's having a great success and working hard. I'm really happy for him. To have two teammates like that with me on the All Star Team is great. I'm happy that it's all working out.

The USHL also celebrated Hockey Weekend Across America with some big games. We hosted rival Lincoln on Saturday (in front of 6,328 fans) at Omaha Civic Auditorium. It was great atmosphere against a big rival -- Lincoln is only 45 minutes away.

You get a lot of Lincoln fans there as well. Unfortunately, we didn't come out on top and it was a tough weekend for us. We didn't even score a goal (in 2-0 loss to Lincoln and 3-0 loss to Green Bay) which was tough. But that happens and even though it kind of set us back a little bit, we'll get back on the right track. We've had a great past 10 games. This kind of just put us in a little reality check. It could be a good thing. We need to keep our heads focused and just get to work on getting things back on track, working more towards the offensive side and scoring some more goals.

Our division is so tight (as the top five teams are within 9 points). It's never really been that close throughout the division. Last year, we kind of pulled away at the start, but this year its fun being part of this competitive side of this Western Division. You can't have an off night. It just seems like everyone is finding for points. Hopefully, we'll remain in a good spot at the time of my next blog.
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Posted On Wednesday, 01.26.2011 / 1:00 PM

By Seth Ambroz -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Ambroz draft blog

Maintaining his focus

Seth Ambroz is a right wing for the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound Ambroz, committed to the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2011, was just 15-years-old when he burst upon the USHL scene as a rookie in 2008-09. He led the U.S. Under-17 Team to a 3-0-0 mark with 5 goals at the 2009 Four Nations Cup and was selected to the U.S. U-18 team for the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial. He entered the 2010-11 campaign already having produced 36 goals, 80 points and 206 penalty minutes in 116 games in Omaha. A participant of the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, Ambroz has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.
 
Hi all! Hope everyone had a good New Year's Day.

So, earlier this month, the Central Scouting service came out with their mid-term rankings and I was 28th on the North American list. I'm really not too worried about it. I try not to think about those things too much. I mean, I'd obviously love to be higher and I'm going to do whatever I can to get higher. I feel I have a good talent to give and I'm trying not to think about those things too much. I just need to focus on what I have ahead of me here in Omaha and just hope I'm able to have a good rest of the year.

My season with the Lancers so far hasn't been too bad … I'm not disappointed (14 goals, 25 points, plus-7 rating, 132 shots, through 27 games). I feel like I've actually had a pretty good year so far, it's had it's ups and downs but we're having a good year (17-10-4) and I feel it's only going to get better the rest of the season. When I get a chance to shoot it, I want to shoot it as much as possible. The past couple of games, I haven't gotten too many shots on net but I've still been playing pretty well. When I get those chances, I just want to let it rip and just hope it goes in. I tend to get a lot of shots, but I'm also focused on making plays when the shot is not there.

As I've said in the past, becoming a leader is something I consider to be a great part of the game and to have people look up to you and just listen what you have to say is great. To just kind of be there for them, it's great just to be part of that. I feel it's a great for a players' development.

I'd obviously love to score every single night, but sometimes you just don't have a great game or don't get the bounces. I really just want to do what I can do to help our team win and be successful and I really want to play a part in helping our team win a lot of hockey games the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs. I'm not going to be too worried about a bad night. I'm just going to think about the next night and hopefully do one better. So long as you keep things positive, I feel like things will go your way. All that hard work will pay off.

I hope everyone had a chance to watch the World Junior Championship … I thought it was great. I wish it turned out a little differently for the U.S. against Canada, but it was great to watch. I was actually kind of surprised to see Russia come away with it. I was watching the gold-medal game and when Canada took a 3-0 lead, I thought this could be over. Then when Russia scored those two goals within seconds of each other, I thought, wow, they let it go from there. They were impressive to watch but it just goes to show you how quickly momentum can change in a blink of an eye.

There's no doubt I'd love to represent the U.S. team and play in World Juniors. That would be a big goal of mine and I could see it happening in a year or two, hopefully, if things keep going well and I keep just working hard. I would cherish the opportunity to represent the red, white and blue.

Thanks for reading. Check back next month.
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Posted On Wednesday, 12.22.2010 / 9:00 AM

By Seth Ambroz -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Ambroz draft blog

On a roll heading into holiday break

Hi everyone. Our team (Omaha) is doing pretty well of late (13-7-3, second in Western Conference). We just have to be patient. I feel as though our whole team is becoming more successful and a lot of the younger guys are learning the league a lot more and that's been a big reason.
 
You definitely want to be positive with the younger kids since learning the league is not easy. You want to be there for any advice they want and you have to be willing to lend your hand and maybe give your advice when they don't even ask. Anything that will keep their confidence up and help them.
 
Personally, I'm always learning more. I've been in the league now for three seasons and, this year, I'm taking more of that leadership role and being that guy that people look to. I want to be a person that the players and people respect. That's been more of my focus this year … trying to take on that leadership role and lead by example (Ambroz has 10 goals, 17 points and a plus-7 rating in 19 games).
 
It's always nice to score goals but you can't score if you don't shoot the puck so whenever I get a chance to shoot, I'm definitely not going to hesitate, unless there's a better play. Hopefully, if there is a better play, I can make that but you can't score without shooting (Ambroz is second in the USHL with 96 shots).
 
My linemates Justin Crandell and Nick Oddo are playing really well. Oddo missed one game with a sore knee a few games ago, but Ken Babinski filled in on that line to provide the same chemistry. When you have the same two guys, it's nice, but the lines change throughout the year so I'm not too worried about it. I feel like everyone on our team is capable of just making plays and being all-around good players. We have a lot of talent on this team and I feel like things are starting to turn around and click now. It has definitely been going well.
 
I just had one fight earlier in the year and there have been situations where I wanted to fight, but it didn't turn out that way. But, as I've said before, when the time comes, I'm definitely there to stick up for my teammates or if there's a good reason to fight, I won't hesitate to do it.
 
I'm looking forward to the holidays. I'll be heading back to Minnesota to be with my family and friends. I'm also looking forward to watching the World Junior Championship. It was awesome last year and it'll be exciting to see what happens this year. It should be another great tournament and definitely fun to watch.
 
Thanks for reading and happy holidays.
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Posted On Wednesday, 11.24.2010 / 9:00 AM

By Seth Ambroz -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Ambroz draft blog

Giving Thanks with a gold medal

Well, it was a pretty exciting week.

I won a gold medal playing for the U.S. Select Team in Penticton, B.C. It was a great experience and a lot of fun. We really had a great team and playing in that atmosphere (at South Okanagan Event Center) was outstanding. I didn't know how big it would be or how big this tournament was, but once I got there, I figured it out quickly. To be able to beat Canada (East) in Canada for the gold medal was pretty awesome.

The crowds were definitely into the games. Once we got to the final game, I'm pretty sure it was sold out. They didn't want a U.S. team coming in and winning on their home ice so everything was kind of against us as far as fans go. It was definitely a hostile environment, everyone was just rooting against you.

We tied the game, 4-4, with about five minutes left. When we were down, 4-1, we all said it was do or die. We got a couple goals right before the end of the second period and felt like the pressure was now on them. It took us a while, but we eventually got the tying goal and then, two minutes later, took the lead and had all the momentum.

It was kind of strange to fall behind the way we did since we were having so much success throughout the tournament, but we expected them to come out with nothing to lose playing in front of a big home crowd. It's the gold medal game, you're excited and the underdog. At least that's how we felt. But we knew what to expect and they just came out and seemed to want it a little more than we did and even though it took a while, we changed and got back to our game and got back to realizing it wasn't going to be easy. From there everything just kind of went our way.

Personally, I thought I played well in the tournament. I felt I did what I had to do to help our team be successful. Obviously, you can't always have good games, but I felt the games I played, I was solid and made an impact. I know it took the whole team effort to be able to come away with gold. We had a lot of skilled players, but everyone knew their role on the team and it all just clicked.

I'm now preparing to continue my USHL schedule with Omaha. I definitely feel better every day and it seems weird that we're already at Thanksgiving and I've only played eight USHL games. I should have done 20 by now. But it's great being back with the guys and everyone is learning. We're starting to click heading into the second half of the season.

I did see the (Central Scouting) ratings on Tuesday and I feel lucky enough to be there (at No. 3 among USHL players) and I just hope to stay around. There are a lot of great players in the league and I want to do everything I can to stay around there or move up if I could. That's a great honor being thought of as an elite player but I definitely can always keep improving. I just hope that it turns out well.

We actually have a game to play on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 25, home vs. Sioux Fall Stampede). We'll probably have a team dinner before or after just like we did last year. We'll obviously be eating Thanksgiving food and having a good time. My family will probably arrive a day or two before Thanksgiving Day so it'll be nice to see them too.

Well, until next time, Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
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Posted On Wednesday, 10.27.2010 / 9:00 AM

By Seth Ambroz -  Special to NHL.com /NHL.com - Seth Ambroz draft blog

Ambroz ready to lead Omaha


Hi, my name is Seth Ambroz and I'm currently in my third season with the Omaha Lancers in the USHL.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. Growing up in New Prague, Minn., our family wasn't very much into hockey at the start. My brother (Matt) picked it up at a young age from uncles and I just followed along and starting skating when I was 2-years-old. When I turned 4, I got into hockey and, since then, our family has been really into it. My sister (Kacey) ended up joining a team when she turned 12 and picked up on it really quick. We all got scholarships for hockey and it's kind of a big deal now.
 
I played bantam hockey in Minnesota about two years early and then ended up playing on the varsity team as a eighth grader and that's when I kind of thought this would be a neat thing for me. My brother and my family have supported me the whole way.

I've really enjoyed my three seasons with Omaha. I'm aware of my reputation as a power-forward and it doesn't bother me. That's just the type of player I am and I accept that. I can't try to be someone I'm not. I can't try and be a big skilled forward because that's not my game. I get in front of the net and just battle, be that first man in on the forecheck and put a body on someone and I just have to be a physical presence out there as well.

I'm happy I have a coach like Bliss (Littler), who has definitely helped me a lot. He brought me in as a 15-year-old and even put me in situations such as the power-play and he trusted me with all that stuff. He's really developed me a ton and coming into my third year with him is great. He's still teaching me as well and I think he's felt he's been a really big impact on my success so far.

I've definitely grown as a player and a person in my three years in the USHL. Now I'm that guy that people look up to and it's nice to kind of pass on that knowledge to the younger players coming into the league while getting to know the league better.

I really enjoyed my experience at the NHL Research and Development Camp in August. There were a lot of great players there and high-paced games. It was definitely a lot of fun and having an opportunity to room with Scott Mayfield (of the USHL's Youngstown Phantoms) was a good time. We got to know each other well and he's a great player too.

Coming into this year, I didn't try to set a points standard for myself or anything. I'd like to have a successful season but I want to keep developing as a player every day. My main goal is to get better every single day. I really hope I can help our team get to the Clark Cup final and be successful.

We're currently 3-3. There are a lot of young guys and it'll take some time. But we have a lot of talent on this roster so, by Christmas, when everyone learns to play together, we'll have much better chemistry and will know the systems without thinking about it. There's a lot of learning, but we've had a pretty good start.

During the first few weeks, I played right wing and with Justin Crandall and Stefan Demopoulos but that'll change throughout the season many times. I'm not real focused on lines right now. We'll find what works. Lines are scrambled up early in the year, but they'll eventually start settling down.

Finally, I'm definitely excited about the draft coming to Minnesota. I just hope it all works out well. I realize there's pressure but you just hope to play well in front of the scouts who are watching. It's something that you can't really think about too much because you know you're not going to be able to have your best game every single night. You can't let the pressure get to you because that's when you kind of start grabbing your stick a little harder or not making the simple plays you should be making, so just got to think of it as just another game. Just do what you do best.

Thanks for reading and check back next month.
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