Count Force coach John Marks among those impressed with how affiliates list player Dominic Toninato (Minnesota-Duluth) did in his short stint with the team.
It appears Toninato won’t play Saturday in the regular-season finale against Lincoln with the playoffs starting Monday. Toninato did play last weekend scoring his first USHL goal in a 5-1 win over Sioux Falls.
“It was a flurry out in front, Brodz (Jonny Brodzinski) got a tap on it and it just came to me,” Toninato said about his first goal. “I don’t think there was any pressure. I did feel like I was a little snake-bit the last couple weekends but it is nice to get that first one out the way.”
Toninato played four games with the Force after high school season ended with Duluth East in March.
Toninato was drafted by the Force in last season’s USHL Entry Draft. His senior season resulted in Toninato scoring 73 points in 31 games helping Duluth East to what ended up being a fifth-place finish at the state tournament.
Marks said he was so impressed with Toninato he wishes the forward was available for the playoffs. Toninato is not eligible because he’s not part of the team’s active roster, which was submitted to the league office back in February.
“He was a really good player for us,” Marks said. “We liked what we saw and we’re looking forward to what we could see from him next year.”
Toninato is expected to compete on a team where its forward corps could provide an interesting mix.
Gabe Guertler (Minnesota), Dave Gust and Alex Iafallo (Minnesota-Duluth) – known as The High School Musical Line – will all return next season. Former Lakeville North star Nate Arentz is set to return for a third season. It also appears forwards Jordan Nelson, Stanislav Dzakhov, Pavel Zykov and Jay Dickman will also return to the team next season.
The Force, in all, could have a total of nine returning forwards along with three returning defensemen and a returning goaltender in Reed Peters.