Over the last seven months, Mel Pearson and his staff have been diligently working to find players that fit. They've gone to great lengths to accomplish this with commitments from ten players who play in six different leagues. Today they finally add a netminder. Pheonix Copley, goaltender for the Tri-City Storm of the USHL, has committed to play for the Huskies for the 2012–13 season. He will fill the void left by Josh Robinson's graduation.
The 19-year-old Copley calls North Pole, Alaska, home, but to find his way onto a college roster, his first step was the North American Prospects Hockey League. He spent the 2009–10 season with the California Titans. That season, Copley went 14–4–4 with a 2.38 goals–against average and a .910 save percentage. His success with the Titans brought him to Corpus Christi, Texas, where in his only season with the IceRays, their first season in the NAHL after stepping down from the semi-pro CHL, he amassed a record of 14–23–4 as the team's primary goaltender. In November 2010, Pheonix took home SBK Hockey Goaltender of the Month honors with a 2.56 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage, and a 4-3-0 record.
“Cops really came into his own in November,” said Corpus Christi head coach Brent Hughes. “He was the backbone of our team for the entire month and really came up big when we needed him. We had a seven-game road trip and rode his strong goaltending to a winning record for the month. He’s only going to get better as he gets more and more experience.” At the end of the season he was recognized as the IceRays Rookie of the Year.
His next challenge was the USHL. Copley's efforts in Corpus Christi caught the eye of the Tri-City Storm, so he packed up his things and headed to Kearney, Nebraska. His USHL career started off with a bang as he helped Tri-City win their season opener in a 1–0 shutout of Sioux City, in which he faced 28 shots. That shutout win propelled Copley to win Reebok Goaltender of the Week honors. So far this season Copley has started 11 of the Storm's 13 games and owns a 3–8–0 record, including 2 shutouts, a 3.49 goals-against average and .893 save percentage.
Now, after all that hard work, Pheonix Copley finds himself with a spot on the resurgent Michigan Tech Huskies. Steve Shields will have an opportunity to mold the new goaltender into an anchor between the pipes in the seasons ahead while Copley works on his pre-med degree.
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