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SCSU notebook: Bushy, Spellacy to be ECHL teammates and big honors bestowed on coach, player

Graduate student defenseman, forward sign with the Kalamazoo Wings

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St. Cloud State forward Aidan Spellacy (8) makes a push to get past Minnesota Duluth defenseman Wyatt Kaiser (5) in a scoring attempt late in the third period Friday, March 3, 2023, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD — Two players who have been St. Cloud State men's hockey teammates the last two seasons will be teammates in the ECHL.

Forward Aidan Spellacy and defenseman Brendan Bushy have both signed contracts to play for the Kalamazoo (Mich.) Wings. Kalamazoo is the ECHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Spellacy and Bushy are both coming off the best seasons of their five-year college careers.

Spellacy, who is from Lakewood, Ohio, had career-bests of eight assists, 12 points and was a plus-9 in 35 games. He also won 55.5% of his faceoffs, was second among the team's forwards in blocked shots (23) and killed penalties. Spellacy spent two seasons with the Huskies after spending three seasons at Robert Morris University and had 20 goals and 46 points in 145 career college games.

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Brendan Bushy

Bushy, who is from Thief River Falls, Minn., had career-bests of three goals, eight assists, 11 points, had two short-handed goals and was a plus-16 in 41 games. Bushy set a program record by playing in 178 games in his career and had 27 assists, 32 points, 89 penalty minutes and was a plus-32.


Bushy and Spellacy join Micah Miller as Huskies who have recently completed their college eligibility to sign pro deals. On Wednesday, Miller signed a two-year contract with the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL.

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St. Cloud State goaltender Jaxon Castor (40) catches a shot by Minnesota Duluth forward Tanner Laderoute (13) in the first period Friday, March 3, 2023, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Castor receives NCHC monthly honor

Senior goalie Jaxon Castor has been named the NCHC Goaltender of the Month for March. In his six March starts, he was 4-2 with a 1.67 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage, both of which ranked second in the NCHC in the month. Castor had 147 saves in the month, which were the most in the NCHC, while he was the only NCHC goalie with two shutouts in March.

Castor earned both Frozen Faceoff All-Tournament Team and NCAA Fargo Regional All-Tournament Team for his postseason efforts. He had a 34-save shutout in a 4-0 win over Minnesota State in the NCAA Fargo Regional semifinals.

Castor finished the season with a 14-8-1 record, while compiling a 2.02 GAA and a .924 save percentage with four shutouts. His 2.02 GAA was the second-best mark in a single season in SCSU program history, while his four shutouts rank third all-time at SCSU and his save percentage fifth. Nationally, Castor ranks fifth this season in GAA and eighth in save percentage.

Castor recently completed his college eligibility and is an unsigned free agent.

Brian Idalski (left) holds a jersey with St. Cloud State University athletic director Heather Weems after a press conference introducing Idalski as the Huskies' new women's hockey head coach on Thursday, June 2, 2022, at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.

Idalski receives national honor

St. Cloud State women's head coach Brian Idalski has been named the Coach of the Year by USCHO.com. He is the first SCSU hockey coach — men's or women's — to earn a national coach of the year award.


In his first season with the Huskies, Idalski has been named U.S. College Hockey Online's (USCHO) Coach of the Year.

Idalski, who was WCHA Co-Coach of the Year with Ohio State's Nadine Muzerall, led the Huskies to one of the best seasons in program history in a huge turnaround season. In 2021-22, SCSU was 4-20-3 in the WCHA and 9-23-3 overall. Under Idalski with little roster turnover, the Huskies were 11-16-1 in the WCHA and 18-18-1 overall.

The 18 wins tied for the most in program history (18-15-5 in 2007-08, 18-18-1 in 2005-06) and the 11 WCHA wins were the most for the program since 2009-10 (11-11-6).

Some of the highlights of the season included SCSU picking up its first win over the University of Minnesota since 2010 , shutting out Wisconsin for its first win over the Badgers since 2015 and picking up points against Ohio State and Minnesota Duluth.

By defeating 2022-23 national champion Wisconsin during the regular season, the Huskies recorded a win over the eventual NCAA champion for the first time since 2009-10 (Minnesota Duluth) and marked the fifth occurrence (2005-06, Wisconsin; 2001-02, Minnesota Duluth and 2000-01, Minnesota Duluth) in the program’s history.

The Huskies finished the season ranked for the first time in program history at No. 12 by the USCHO and No. 13 by USA Today. Prior to 2022-23, SCSU had only appeared in the USA Today rankings five times while appearing in just six USCHO polls — this season, the Huskies were ranked 12 and 11 times respectively.

St. Cloud State accomplished all of that despite not having one player named to any of the three All-WCHA teams.


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Mick Hatten is a reporter and editor for Forum News Service and helps manage TheRinkLive.com, a website dedicated to hockey. He began working for Forum Communications in November 2018 and has covered St. Cloud State University hockey since 2010. A graduate of St. Cloud State, he has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist and has been a youth hockey coach since 2014. mhatten@forumcomm.com

For more coverage of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities, check out St. Cloud Live.
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