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Bemidji State adds five players to men's hockey program

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BEMIDJI - The Bemidji State University men's ice hockey program received letters of intent from five student-athletes Wednesday.

The list includes forwards Markus Gerbrandt of Edmonton, Alberta, Brian Robbins of Murrieta, Calif., and Cory Ward of Las Vegas; defenseman James Hansen of Maple Grove; and goalie Fabian Sivnert of Hollviken, Sweden.

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Gerbrandt (5-11, 175), recorded 40 goals and 46 assists last season with Fort McMurray of the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Fort McMurray finished 60-15-0-4 record and made a run through the playoffs to the AJHL Championship Enerflex Cup. In the postseason he had eight goals and 14 assists in 19 games.

"Markus is a very good player who has played a boatload of junior hockey," said BSU assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Ted Belisle. "He caught our eye a few years ago and has really blossomed into one of the top players in the Alberta Junior Hockey League this season. He is a reliable player and has a very well-rounded game. He'll hit, skate, shoot and make plays."

Hansen (6-1, 201) is coming off a 14-point (3 goals and 11 asissts) season with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League (USHL). Hansen played in each of the Black Hawks' 60 games in 2011-12, saw time on Waterloo's power-play and penalty-kill units and finished second among Waterloo blueliners with a +6 plus/minus rating.

Hansen joins fellow Maple Grove native Sam Windle on the BSU blue line.

"We are excited about the strength, size and mobility James possesses," Belisle said. "He will add several dynamics to our defensive corps moving forward. He has great legs, he can eat up minutes and is a very good defender."

Robbins (5-8, 165) skated with Sioux City of the USHL and played in 57 of 60 contests for a team that clinched the USHL's Western Conference playoff spot with a 28-29-1 record. He led Sioux City and finished the regular season tied for 18th in the league in scoring with 49 points (25 goals and 24 assists.

"The wow factor about Brad is that he has very good skill," said Belisle. "He can score and he is a very good on the power play. He's demonstrated that in the past and we are looking for him to bring that element to our roster."

Sivnert (5-11, 185) played the 2011-12 season for the Valley Junior Warriors of the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL). He saw time in 30 of 45 games during the regular season and posted an overall record of 18-9-2. He led the team in minutes played (1,710:14) and saves (903), while posting a .926 save percentage and 2.53 goals allowed average.

His dominance garnered him a spot on the EJHL All-Star squad and he was named the EJHL Goaltender of the Year.

"Fabian is an athletic goaltender who has a very good track record of stopping the puck," said Belisle. "He is a technical goalie who has the ability to read plays and anticipate the puck coming his way. We are excited to see him continue his junior success into collegiate success."

Ward (6-0, 200) played for Aberdeen of the North American Hockey League (NAHL). He posted a team-best 35 goals and 63 points to lead the Wings to a 29-24-7 record during the regular season

"Cory is a very exciting young prospect for us," Belisle said. "He is a big, thick, strong player who has an incredible shot and has always been able to score. In addition, he has a tremendous battle level and that competitive skill is something we are looking forward to."

BSU's regular period signees join Graeme McCormack (Thunder Bay, Ontario), a defenseman from the British Columbia Hockey League's Nanaimo Clippers, as a part of the Beavers' 2012-13 class. McCormack signed a Letter of Intent with BSU in November.

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Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

(218) 333-9200
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