USHL Championship Video Highlights
The 2010-11 season couldn't have ended any better for one incoming Ferris State University men's ice hockey recruit.
Hoisting a championship trophy, TJ Schlueter (St. Louis, Mo.) capped off a productive junior hockey career by leading the Dubuque (Iowa) Fighting Saints to the United States Hockey League's (USHL) 2010-11 Clark Cup as league champions.
Schlueter (pronounced She-leet-ur), who signed with the Bulldogs in April 2011, played an integral role in the Clark Cup series-clinching win as the team captain accounted for the game-winning goal in a 6-1 victory over the Green Bay (Wis.) Gamblers last Saturday (May 21) in front of a record-setting 3,480 fans at the Mystique Ice Center in Dubuque, Iowa. The 6-0, 193-pound forward picked an opportune time to register his first goal of the 2010-11 USHL Playoffs by scoring the game's decisive goal at 12:57 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Schlueter would go on to net back-to-back lamplighters in the contest by tallying a power-play marker at 1:50 into the third period as the Fighting Saints reeled off six unanswered goals, which included four in the third period alone.
Dubuque, under the direction of head coach Jim Montgomery, claimed USHL's coveted prize for the first time in 26 years (1984-85 season) as the Fighting Saints won their third game in a row of the series to win the best-of-five matchup versus the Gamblers by a 3-1 margin.
"It's very surreal," said Schlueter of being crowned 2010-11 Clark Cup Champions. "We had a bunch of guys who weren't familiar with one another at the start of the season but were able to come together and peak at the right time. It (the Clark Cup) means everything to us."
Schlueter produced four points on two goals and assists in 11 playoff appearances this season for Dubuque to go along with a plus two efficiency rating. In the 2010-11 regular season, he recorded a team sixth-place tying 28 points with a squad fourth-most 17 goals and 11 assists in 54 outings as the Fighing Saints won the Western Conference by posting a first-place 37-14-9 divisional mark (83 league points). Schlueter, who skated for the Tri-City Storm in the 2009-10 campaign, closed out this season ranking tied for 82nd place on USHL's overall scoring leaders list and tied for 70th among the league's forward in points.
With a championship now under his belt, the experience gained by Schlueter should translate well for him into the collegiate ranks.
"You need to play at a high intensity and have a 'go get it' mindset," explained Schlueter. "We played in a lot of pressure (playoff) situations which makes you focus more.
"My goal coming into this season is to help the team (Ferris State) win while being a reliable and consistent player," added Schlueter.