Posted by: Feldman
Lourdes forward Jason Samuelson will do something this weekend that no player from a Rochester high school has done in a few years -- play in the Bauer National Invitation Tournament at New Hope Ice Arena.
Samuelson, a senior, was picked to be on Team Minnesota Red, one of two all-star teams made up of the top players from the Upper Midwest Elite League.
The Bauer NIT is an annual tournament that pits eight teams -- including two all-star teams made up of players from the UMEL, a fall league that gives Minnesota's top high school players a place to gear up for the season.
Samuelson and Team Minnesota Red will face a tough test right off the bat tonight, when they play the tournament opener against a Norway Under-18 team at 5:15 p.m.
The entire Team Minnesota Red roster can be found here.
The 2012 NIT bracket can be found here.
Lourdes coach Josh Spaniol told me that Eagles senior forward Alex Funk likely would have been picked to play on one of the two Minnesota teams, but he is battling an injury and has not played for several weeks. Spaniol said he thinks Funk will be ready to go when high school practices begin on Nov. 12.
Samuelson and Funk both played for Team Southwest during the regular season in the Elite League. Team SW tied for first place with Team Northwest. Samuelson finished as the team's second leading scorer, with 26 points, one behind Edina's Bo Brauer. Funk finished fifth on the team with 20 points.
Samuelson had a goal and an assist last Sunday when Team SW beat Team Northwest for third place in the UMEL postseason playoffs.
Near as I can tell, Samuelson is the first player from a Rochester high school to play in the NIT since 2006 (unless Mayo's Charlie Thauwald did so). Lourdes' Brandon Bahnemann, and Century's Joe Knoepke and Garrett Grimstad played in the NIT in 2006.
Rochester native Tyler Vesel is also playing in the NIT, for Faribault Shattuck St. Mary's. Vesel is off to an outstanding start for SSM, leading the powerhouse team in points (21) and goals (10).
Shattuck (11-2-3 overall) plays its NIT opener at 8:15 p.m. tonight against Michigan U-18. The Sabres then travel to Calgary next week for a pair of games against the Calgary Edge School, followed by a weeklong trip (Nov. 17-25) to Salzburg, Austria, for the Salzburg Red Bulls Tournament.
NIT semifinal games are set for 11:15 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, with the championship game scheduled for noon on Sunday.