When Jack Rogers came to SCSU, his family moved from New York to Stillwater
Freshman forward is enjoying having his family close to where he is playing college hockey after playing last season for the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — When players head off to play college hockey, most of them are going to a place where they are going to be farther away from home.
For Jack Rogers, when he came to St. Cloud State, his family moved closer to him. Like a lot closer. Rogers is a 20-year-old forward who grew up in East Northport, N.Y., which is on Long Island and is about 1,300 miles away.
But Rogers' mother, Carolyn Rice, is from Stillwater, Minn., and his grandparents, aunts and uncles all live there. So when Rogers came to St. Cloud, his parents moved to Stillwater. After a season playing junior hockey for the Steinbach Pistons in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, Rogers is enjoying seeing relatives at his home games.
"We've fully completed the move to Stillwater and they've been able to come to a bunch of games this year," said Rogers, whose mother is teaching at a Montessori school. "Every home game, they try to come up for and it's awesome to see them."
This past weekend, they were on hand to see Rogers play a key role for the Huskies in a sweep over Denver. Rogers had a goal in each win, including the game-winner on Saturday.
He is expected to be back in the lineup this weekend when top-ranked SCSU (10-4 NCHC, 18-6 overall) plays Minnesota Duluth (5-9, 10-13-1). The conference series games will be played at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday (NCHC.tv) at Amsoil Arena.
Playing with Spellacy, Rosborough
Rogers has been playing on a line with graduate student Aidan Spellacy at center and redshirt freshman Ryan Rosborough on left wing the last three games.
"I feel like our line had been playing well for the last week or so," Rogers said. "We kind of knew that it was a matter of time before we kind of broke out and found some success on the score sheet. I think it came to fruition last weekend."
The line is listed as the third line on the lineup chart for the Huskies. Spellacy is listed at 6-foot, 195 pounds. Rosborough is listed at 6-3 and 195 and Rogers is listed at 6-3 and 200.
"I think we compliment each other pretty well," Rogers said. "We all have a really good work ethic down low and we know how to extend shifts."
In terms of physical size, it is SCSU's biggest line and coach Brett Larson likes what he has seen out of the trio. Rogers had been a healthy scratch for four straight games. But after the Huskies dropped a game to Colorado College on Jan. 13, he put Rogers back in and the team has won three straight.
"He's a big, pro style winger," Larson said. "He plays a heavy game. Once the puck gets low (in the offensive zone), it's really hard to take the puck off him. He can extend 'O' zone shifts that way.
"He's tough to manage in front of the net. He was the type of compliment player that we were looking for to play around a group of forwards that already had some speed and skill. We need some guys to fill that role and Rog has done it well."
That was on display in both games against Denver. Rogers scored both of his goals from in close to the net and displayed some good hands. Playing for Steinbach last season, he was fourth in the MJHL in goals (30), fourth in points (68), tied for fourth in game-winning goals (6) and 12th in assists (38) in 54 games.
"I think I'm a good 200-foot player and I think if I put my work in the defensive zone first and it will lead to offense," said Rogers, who helped the Pistons reach Game 7 of the league championship series. "I play fast, use my size and I'm just trying to create offense for the team."
Quiet, hard worker
Rogers said that his biggest adjustment to the college game has been getting used to having less time with the puck before being forced to make a decision with it. He has played in 17 of the Huskies' 24 games and has tried to keep a positive attitude when he is not in the lineup.
"I think everyone wants to be in the lineup, but I've had the same attitude my whole hockey career," he said. "Just take it day by day, come to work every day and try to improve my game. I want to help the team in whatever way I can."
Larson said that Rogers does not have a boisterous personality, but he appreciates what he brings to the locker room.
"He's quiet — at least around the coaches," Larson said. "He's a methodical, quiet kid who just comes and does his work every day. He's got a good smile on his face and he can joke around a bit.
"But you can tell that he's pretty serious about his development and taking ownership of that."