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.
Giving Thanks with a gold medal
11.24.2010 / 9:00 AM ET
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.
-- Seth Ambroz
Ambroz ready to lead Omaha
10.27.2010 / 9:00 AM ET
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.
-- Seth Ambroz