The NCAA Frozen Four is set. While Sharks prospect Dylan Gambrell and his Denver University Pioneers will be there April 6th in the semifinals, not every Sharks prospect can be so lucky.
For defenseman Gage Ausmus (@Gausmus47), his college career at North Dakota finished in heartbreaking fashion. The perennial powerhouse program was eliminated from the tournament on Friday in a 4-3 double overtime loss to Boston University. Ausmus had taken his team to the Frozen Four in the previous 3 seasons. Despite the loss, he finished the night with a +2 rating in the game.
"I would have liked to win this one, move on and go to the Frozen Four again," Ausmus said to the Grand Forks Herald. "But I can't ask for anything more. It would be selfish. I can't ask for more than what I had here, the success we had and the memories I've created will last forever."
This season, Ausmus picked up 2 goals and 7 assists with a +4 rating in 38 games. Maybe the most impressive stat for the defensive defenseman was his 80 blocked shots - currently good for 19th most in all of NCAA Division 1 Hockey.
The 6'1", 210-pound defenseman served as captain of the Fighting Hawks for the past 2 seasons. He finished with 29 points (6-23=29) and a +35 rating in 143 games.
With 4 years of college now behind him, it's time for Ausmus to move on to the professional stage of his career. He was drafted by the Sharks in the 5th round (151st overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.
"Ausmus is a defensive defenseman that plays with a bit of sandpaper. He takes simplistic approach to the game is predicated on his intelligence and strong skating. He plays a very defensively reliable game with sound defensive positioning. The offensive side of his game is underdeveloped. He makes a nice first pass and can carry the puck out of the defensive zone to start a rush. Ausmus rarely thinks offense and generally relies on the safest play at times not taking advantage of potential scoring opportunities." - Hockey's Future
With his leadership qualities, defensive skill and winning track record at North Dakota, Ausmus would be another welcome addition to the bluelines of either the San Jose Barracuda or Allen Americans next season.
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