Fargo Force director of player personnel Jesse Davis said today forward Dave Gust has committed to Ohio State.
Gust, 18, was a mid-season call up for the Force and turned out to be one of the reasons why they finished fourth in the Western Conference. Gust in 43 games, scored 30 points ranking fifth on the team in scoring.
He combined with forwards Gabe Guertler (Minnesota) and Alex Iafallo (Minnesota-Duluth) to become a potent line for the Force during the regular season combining for 20 percent or 90 of the team’s 455 points.
But it was in the playoffs where the group really made its mark accounting for 40 percent of the Force’s points.
The line, known as “The High School Musical”, led the Force in points during the entire postseason. They combined for 12 points with Gust getting three of them off two goals and an assist.
Gust had said during the team’s first-round playoff series he’d be committing to a school before the end of the summer. He apparently didn’t waste any time by choosing Ohio State.
Committing to Ohio State gives the school a class that has depth but has also enjoyed success in midget, prep and junior hockey. Ohio State now has 13 commits and seven, including Gust, are forwards, according to Chris Heisenberg.
Those forwards include Zach Stepan, who scored scored 65 points playing at Shattuck-St. Mary’s (MN-HS) among others. Stepan told NHL.com’s Mike Morreale on Wednesday he would play next season with the Waterloo Black Hawks. Stepan is the cousin of New York Rangers forward Derek Stepan.
Ohio State’s recruiting class also consists of Green Bay forwards Matthew Weis and Nick Schilkey plus NTDP goaltender Collin Olson. The Force said in a release, Gust would go to Ohio State in 2014.
What Ohio State will be getting in Gust is a 5-9, 170-pound forward who used a combination of speed, scoring and playmaking prowess to establish himself during a game.
It was those qualities which prompted the Force’s coaching staff to call up Gust on a permanent basis. Gust, who started the season on the team’s affiliates list, had been playing midget hockey back in his native Chicago.
Teaming up with Guertler and Iafallo gave the line more speed and three players who were able to work well with each other, on or away from the puck. Some of Gust’s performances drew comparison to Force forward Austin Farley (Minnesota-Duluth), who before a foot injury was on pace to shatter several franchise scoring records.
Having all three return for next season gives the Force, what will likely be the team’s No. 1 line. With all three having college commitments and a year of experience, there’s a strong possibility the line could buoy the Force which have up to 16 players returning for next season.
Of the 16 players returning, Gust becomes the fourth with a college commitment joining his linemates and defenseman Justin Wade (Notre Dame).