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SCSU gets commitment from Gavyn Thoreson, Andover High School's leading scorer

Junior forward led the Class AA state champions with 29 goals, 74 points in 31 games.

Hill-Murry vs Andover_0199.jpg
Andover forward Gavyn Thoreson (12) (right) celebrates his goal with Andover defenseman Landon Stringfellow (3) against Hill-Murray during the first period Friday, March 11, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The weekend the St. Cloud State men's hockey team found out about its opponent and where it would play in the NCAA Division I tournament, the Huskies got a verbal commitment from one of the top high school players in Minnesota.

Gavyn Thoreson, a 5-foot-9, 175-pound wing, led Class AA state champion Andover in goals (29), points (74) and game-winning goals (5) in 31 games as a junior.

In three state tournament games, Thoreson had four goals, four assists and was a plus-5. He had the game-winning goal in a double overtime win over Moorhead in the quarterfinals and, in the state championship game, he had the game-tying goal with 1:50 left in regulation and also had two assists.

"We've seen a lot of that out of him, but I think that was his best hockey," Andover coach Mark Manney said. "We got to see him on three consecutive nights against arguably the three best teams in the state ... and if you throw in the Section (7AA) championship game against Grand Rapids, four straight games against four of the best teams in the state .... And he was the best player on the ice in all four of them."

Huskies get a goal from Gavyn Thoreson at 11:18 of the second overtime off a turnover in the neutral zone

The weekend after the state tournament, he visited St. Cloud State and verbally committed to play for the university Huskies.

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"It just felt like home and I love the coaches there," Thoreson said. "I just went there and watched their practice.

"I really liked the locker room facilities. It was just kind of like a dream of mine, how everything was."

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Andover forward Gavyn Thoreson (12) celebrates after scoring an open net goal to seal the win against Hill-Murray during the third period Friday, March 11, 2022, in the State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live

Thoreson was receiving recruiting interest from other Division I schools in the state, but said that SCSU was the only one that he visited.

As a sophomore, Thoreson led Andover in assists (40) and had 55 points in 22 games, helping the Huskies reach the state tournament with two assists in a 3-2 win over Grand Rapids in the Section 7AA championship game.

"He is a unique player in that he's a blend of skill and grit while being undersized," Manney said of Thoreson, who has 29 penalty minutes in two varsity seasons. "Most of his weight is from the waist down. He's solid.

"He's the kind of kid who gets under the other team's skin all the time. He's abrasive that way. Yet he's a very gifted playmaker, a very gifted goal scorer and can play both sides on the wing or play center ... We prefer to save his energy on the wing."

Thoreson said that he prefers playing wing.

"I think there's a lot more room over there on the wall and I can make plays better when I'm on the outside," he said. "I can burn guys pretty easily, get around guys and make hard plays that not many other guys can make."

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And one of his strengths — despite his size — is playing in the corners and in front of the net.

"I love playing in those spots," Thoreson said. "I think I thrive in corners and in front of the net."

Manney said that Thoreson is a deceptive player with good hands.

"It's hard to tell about his overall speed because he's the kind of guy who slows the game down," Manney said. "He wants to draw you to him and then beat you with his puck skills.

"His stats makes him look like a pass-first guy," said Manney, a former Air Force Academy forward. "Putting a finger on him is a little bit of a difficult task because if the other team plays him tight, he'll use his speed. If the other team plays him loose, he'll find a way to draw them to him and then hit an open guy somewhere else. He really has great ice vision, which allows him to play the game on his terms rather than have the defense dictate how he plays."

Thoreson is from a hockey family. His brother, Gunnar, has 53 points in 54 games this season as a 20-year-old forward for the Minnesota Wilderness in the North American Hockey League. His father, Bill, played for Blaine High School before playing for the University of Wisconsin-Superior from 1983-87 and is an assistant coach for Andover.

Thoreson said that his father coached most of his youth hockey teams growing up.

"It's nice having someone to talk to who knows the game," Thoreson said.

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"He's a kid who has an insatiable desire to get better at hockey," Manney said. "When he's not on the ice, he's either working out or shooting pucks."

Thoreson was taken in the 14th round of Phase II of the United States Hockey League draft by the Waterloo Black Hawks in May 2020. He played in two games with Waterloo before the high school season began in 2021 and had an assist in an NAHL game for the Wilderness against Janesville on March 25.

Thoreson is back home in Andover and said he plans to play high school hockey his senior season.

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Andover forward Gavyn Thoreson (12) launches the puck over the shoulder of Moorhead goaltender Kai Weigel (31) to score the winning goal in double overtime Thursday, March 10, 2022, in the Minnesota Class AA State Boys Hockey Tournament at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Jason Wachter / The Rink Live
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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
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