Dax Lauwers, a ’91 from Anchorage, Alaska committed to Northeastern over the weekend. The 6’2, 220 lbs defenseman will arrive this fall as a sophomore after using a year of eligibility playing for Army in the 2010-2011 season. He played this past season with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL.
Lauwers joined the Lincoln Stars in 2009 for his senior year of high school, where he played alongside former Husky Brodie Reid. Lauwers posted an 0-4-4 line in 54 games with 88 PIMs and a -1 rating, which was the highest on the team among regular skaters. The Stars finished in dead last.
Lauwers then moved on to Army to begin his college career. He played in 33 of 35 games for Army despite being the youngest member on the team by a full 2 years. He led the team with 53 PIMs. He finished the year with 1 goal and 2 assists.
After the season, Lauwers chose to leave Army. “I decided to take a different route with hockey and school, so I went back to Lincoln for my 20 year old season,” said Lauwers. And Lincoln was happy to have him.
This time around, Lauwers was named team Captain and got to play fora much more successful Stars team. He played in all 60 regular season games for the Western Conference Champion Stars. He had 5 assists to go with his 87 PIMs and -6 rating, but those numbers severely undersell his value to the team. He also managed to get his first career USHL goal during the playoffs this year before his team was knocked out by Waterloo. Despite having his season end in defeat, Lauwers left Lincoln with positive memories: “I had a great year and loved my team. Couldn’t have asked for a better place to play Juniors.”
With his junior career over, Lauwers turned his focus to the next level and prepared for his return to the NCAA. “Once we were knocked out of the playoffs, I decided to take a look at Northeastern,” said Lauwers. A logical choice due to the recent connection between the Stars and Northeastern. Current Huskies Ben Oskroba and Garrett Vermeersch both played for the Stars, as well as Brodie Reid and Jake Newton who both sandwiched a year at Northeastern in between Lincoln and the professional ranks. Lincoln’s current roster also features two Northeastern recruits, who Lauwers consulted before visiting: “Sauce (’12 recruit Colton Saucerman) and (’13 recruit Zach Aston) Reese told me great things.” But it was his visit that really sealed the deal. “I had an awesome visit and loved the rink, facilities, staff as well as the academic side of things. (Northeastern) has everything I’m looking for in a hockey program and university. I couldn’t be more exited to get there in the fall. I’m looking forward to winning at Northeastern and being a part of a championship team.”
Lauwers is the latest name that will be thrown into the mix on defense next year. The Huskies lost 3 out of their 4 most experience defenseman this summer, but Coach Madigan has responded by bringing in a wide range of players to compete for those spots. Like most of Madigan’s other recruits, Lauwers is a guy who is known for his heart and leadership. That seems to be his M.O. right now. Last season, Madigan did not have much options on D. This year, he will have plenty. That means the lackadaisical play and mental mistakes will be rewarded with a seat in the rafters. It should be a nice change of pace after watching some truly frustrating displays of apathy last year from a certain defenseman. Lauwers also should bring the physicality that will be missed with the loss of Luke Eibler.
This should certainly mark the end of the defensive recruits for next year. There might still be players moving on, and there could be an effort to bring another forward. But its nice to finally be able to report on some guys coming in, instead of adding to the list of guys headed out.
Also here is a clip of Lauwers getting some good licks on former NU recruit Mike McKee.