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College men's hockey: Swaney expected to make offensive impact with Bulldogs

The three or four defensemen Minnesota Duluth is bringing in next season are without a doubt young, but the same cannot be said about incoming freshmen forwards Nick Swaney and Kobe Roth. Both will be 20 when they hit the ice for UMD's season-ope...

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Nick Swaney

The three or four defensemen Minnesota Duluth is bringing in next season are without a doubt young, but the same cannot be said about incoming freshmen forwards Nick Swaney and Kobe Roth. Both will be 20 when they hit the ice for UMD's season-opening exhibition against Alberta on Oct. 1 at Amsoil Arena.

Read more: UMD’s defensive corps, led by freshman Mikey Anderson, will be youthful next season

Roth, who has played for the Minnesota Wilderness of the North American Hockey League and the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League, is in his second season of juniors after graduating from Warroad High School in 2015. In 45 games with the Bucs this year, he has 12 goals and 19 assists.

Swaney is also in his second season of juniors after graduating from Lakeville South in 2015. Both seasons have been with the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks. He posted 35 goals and 24 assists in 63 games a year ago and could have joined the Bulldogs for 2016-17.

Swaney decided to play another season in Waterloo. He has 27 goals and 25 assists through 50 games thus far as the Hawks moved into the USHL playoff semifinals following a sweep of Fargo.

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"This year has been big for my development," said Swaney, who believes he's become more of a leader on and off the ice, as well as a better all-around player. "Taking another year of juniors has helped me for sure coming in next year trying to make an impact right away."

Bulldog Hockey Blog: Rundown of UMD men's commitments for 2017-18 and beyond

Bulldogs coach Scott Sandelin said he expects Swaney to come in next season and be an impact freshman, just as Adam Johnson, Neal Pionk and Hunter Miska did after they spent an extra season in juniors.

Swaney definitely fits the mold of Johnson, a sophomore center and/or wing who played two seasons with the USHL's Sioux City Musketeers after his high school career at Hibbing concluded. Swaney said he's comfortable playing wing or center, and took faceoffs regularly for Waterloo no matter where he lined up.

"He's a goal scorer. He's got good speed," Sandelin said. "Certainly we considered bringing him in last year but felt another year would be good for him because we wanted him to possibly be in our top six or nine forwards. He can play the right wing. He's a right shot. He can play left wing. He's played some center, too. He's pretty versatile."

Kobe Roth
Kobe Roth

Related Topics: COLLEGE HOCKEY
Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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