By Kevin Scott
GREAT FALLS, Mont., May 4, 2016 — Jake Stephan, a goaltender for the Great Falls Americans of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) recently made a commitment to play hockey at the NCAA Division III level.
Stephan, 20, a 6’0” and 185 lb. net minder from Eagle River, Wisconsin will join the Concordia College men’s hockey team located in Moorhead, Minnesota in the fall of 2016. The Cobbers are members of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAC).
In his lone season with Great Falls during the 2015-16 season, the 20-year-old boasted a record of 16-4-1 in 23 regular season appearances. He finished with 591 saves and had a save percentage of 0.926, which ranked 7th in the NA3HL for coach Jeff Heimel’s squad. Great Falls finished the regular season with a 34-11-2 record and a playoff berth.
Previously, he played for the Metro (Michigan) Jets of the NA3HL during the 2014-15 season before a stint with the North American Hockey League’s Michigan Warriors.
Jake helped lead his team to a Frontier Division championship in 2016 with a 2-0 series win over the Cody, Wyoming based Yellowstone Quake in the Frontier Divisional Finals after sweeping the Bozeman Ice Dogs in the Divisional Semifinals. Great Falls advanced to the NA3HL Silver Cup Tournament in March in Illinois where they went 2-2 in the round robin national tournament and made it to the semifinals.
The Wisconsin native was also one of four Americans who were selected and played in the 2016 Top Prospects Tournament in Michigan in February. The team was guided by Americans coach Jeff Heimel. He played in four games at the prestigious tournament, which attracted many scouts and college coaches. He ended the tournament with 47 saves on 50 shots.
The college bound freshman was happy about his achievements with Great Falls this season. “I managed to stay high in the league rankings, both (fellow teammate and goaltender Lauren) Massie and I did,” said Stephan. “I had a really good wins-loss record which I was really excited about and I had fun in Montana.”
Playing at the junior level of hockey really helped him develop as a player. Just being on the ice every day and knowing the rest of the team wanted the same thing (a league championship) as he did was a recipe for success.
The Business Marketing major is really excited to play for Concordia University head coach Chris Howe and experience college and continue to play hockey at the next level.
“I enjoyed my time in Great Falls playing with the Great Falls Americans and my host family was excellent. Great Falls is a great place to play junior hockey,” said the former Great Falls American.
Click here to view Jake Stephan’s statistics for the 2015-16 season.
Click here for a full listing of NA3HL college commitments.