The North Iowa Bulls of the NA3HL are pleased to announce that goalie Chris Amsden has committed to play NCAA Hockey at Gustavus Adolphus College, a Division III program in the MIAC.
“Chris was outstanding in the playoff run, but especially at the national tournament,” head coach Todd Sanden said. “The games that we lost in the playoffs were not a result of Chris’ performance. That’s for sure.”
Amsden, a 20-year-old from St. Peter who will continue his hockey career at Gustavus Adolphus College next season, outdueled Drennen Atherton of the Northern Cyclones in a Tier III Division 1 national championship game that featured outstanding goaltending.
Both Amsden and Drennen made 45 saves. They had 32 saves each through two scoreless periods before the Bulls pulled out a 2-1 victory.
“Both goaltenders in that game were good, but Chris was amazing,” Sanden said. “He made it look easy. He was square in front of the puck no matter where it was.”
The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder had another shutout during this year’s Silver Cup, but North Iowa lost 3-2 to the Granite City Lumberjacks in the final. However, with the NA3HL’s status as the only league that sends two teams at nationals, the Bulls were already assured a berth at that point.
“For a tall guy, he’s very athletic,” Sanden said.
Amsden began the season playing the NAHL for the Minnesota Magicians. “When he made their team [the Magicians] out of a tryout process, we had told him, ‘If it doesn’t work out, you always have a spot here,’” Sanden said. “We did not really realize that once he got settled in there and became their starter for quite a while, he would be coming back.”
After playing 23 games for the Magicians, Amsden was back in North Iowa’s net by late January.
Amsden’s regular-season statistics were the worst of the four goalies the Bulls used, but he won his last four starts and hit the playoffs on an upswing. From there, he posted a .932 save percentage in five games in the divisional portion of the NA3HL playoffs, and the Bulls were back on their way to another national championship.