By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., June 13, 2019 — Another member of the Great Falls Americans hockey squad, a proud member of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), is set to pursue his college education and play hockey in Iowa in the fall of 2019.
The Great Falls Americans are excited to announce that Drew Scites, a goaltender from Plymouth, Minnesota, who played with Great Falls’ NA3HL franchise since January 2018, signed his letter of intent to continue his education and pursue another chapter of his hockey career at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa this fall.
The 21-year-old college signee saw action in 44 contests for Great Falls over the previous 1.5 seasons including six appearances in the goal during the 2019 NA3HL Fraser Cup Playoffs. Drew recorded 693 saves (0.935 save percentage), a 1.96 GAA (Goals Against Average) and four shutout victories in the 2018-19 regular season leading his squad to an overall record of 41-11-0-1 in the Frontier Division and a second-place finish behind the Helena Bighorns. He went 3-3 in the playoffs against the Bozeman Ice Dogs and the Helena Bighorns and finished with a 22-8-1 record.
The Minnesota product was named the 2018 NA3HL and the Frontier Division Goaltender of the Year in his first season with the Americans during the 2017-18 campaign. In 21 appearances split between the North Iowa Bulls and the Great Falls Americans, he went a perfect 20-0-0. Drew’s save percentage of 94.9% was tops in the league and his 1.42 Goals Against Average was second best. Scites was also a member of the Grey team at the 2018 Top Prospects Tournament hosted in his hometown of Plymouth, Michigan. The new member of the Cyclones swatted away 76 of the 78 shots he faced in three contests. The former Great Falls American standout was also one of six players named to the All-Frontier Division team and the All-NA3HL First team (see story).
The Iowa State University Cyclones, coached by Jason Fairman, play Division 1 hockey level hockey in the Central States Collegiate Hockey League (CSCHL) of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Four other schools make up the CSCHL including the Lindenwood University (St. Charles, Missouri) Lions, the Ohio University (Athens, OH) Bobcats, the Robert Morris University (Chicago, IL) Eagles and the University of Illinois Fighting Illini located in Champaign, Illinois. The Iowa college also has a Division II team.
The Cyclones use the 1,000-seat Ames/ISU Arena for their home games in Ames, Iowa, about 37 miles from Iowa’s state capital in Des Moines. Iowa’s largest university offers over 100 Bachelor’s degree programs, 112 Masters programs, and 83 Ph. D programs. Scites is going to major in kinesiology with emphasis on exercise science while attending the Iowa school.
The sixth-ranked goaltender in the NA3HL during the 2018-19 season posted a GAA of 1.96 just ahead of current Great Falls Americans netminder Viktor Wennberg (1.98), who recently announced that he will be back for a second season with Great Falls.
Scites led Great Falls goaltenders this season in minutes played (1763 including playoffs) and in shutouts (4).
The new goaltender for the Cyclones said spending all three years playing at the junior hockey level helped him mature as a person and he didn’t think he would be as good a player if he would have jumped from high school to college without playing in a competitive (NA3HL) junior hockey league.
Previously, he played two years of high school hockey (2014-16) for the Prior Lake High Lakers in Prior Lake, Minnesota and part of 27 games with the NA3HL’s North Iowa Bulls during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 season before going to the Montana junior hockey franchise.
Drew stated his biggest accomplishments with the Americans were “being named as the NA3HL and Frontier Division Goaltender of the Year during the 2017-18 season and getting traded to Great Falls (from the North Iowa Bulls) and having (former coach Jeff) Heimel interested in me,” said Scites. “I think the trade helped jump star my career and gave me a fresh start as we got to the Divisional Finals this season.”
He wanted to thank the Americans organization, the community of Great Falls and his host families for all the support he has received in his time with the Americans.
Drew is the son of Doug and Deanna Scites and the brother to Derian and Danielle.
Drew becomes the sixth member of the 2018-19 Great Falls Americans team to commit to playing at the next level in college. He will join Great Falls forward Payton McSharry at Iowa State while a trio of Americans including Nate Simpson, Jens Juliussen and Sean McLean have signed with Missouri’s Maryville University, and Great Falls native Cam McIntosh will begin his college career at the University of North Dakota.
Drew Scites’ career statistics can be found by clicking here.
Click here for a full listing of NA3HL college commitments.
Additional Media Coverage: June 13, 2019: North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL): Great Falls goaltender Scites makes college commitment
Additional Media Coverage: June 15, 2019: Great Falls Tribune: Goalie Scites to join Americans teammate McSharry at Iowa State