Tuesday, September 25, 2012

WCHA Instant Impact: Austin Farley (UMD)

Instant Impact, Minnesota-Duluth edition, features Bulldog freshman Austin Farley.

Previous Entries:
Joey Benik, SCSU
Blake Tatchell, UAA
Hunter Fejes, CC
Nic Kerdiles, UW
Anthony Stolarz, UNO
Teddy Blueger, MSU

Austin Farley, F, Minnesota-Duluth
Vitals: 5' 9" - 170 lbs - 11/10/1993
Hometown: Park Ridge, IL
Previous Team: Fargo Force (USHL)

As the 2012-13 season approaches, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs will be faced with the task of filling some significant holes throughout their lineup. Gone is All-WCHA Second Team goaltender Kenny Reiter, who started 38 of the team's 41 games last season, as well as defensive stalwart Brady Lamb. But the most glaring holes for UMD are upfront, where they lose a fantastic trio of forwards in J.T. Brown, Travis Oleksuk, and Hobey Baker Award winner Jack Connolly.

The offensive cupboards aren't completely bare in Duluth as the Bulldogs return a pair of 30+ point scorers in Caleb Herbert and Mike Seidel. However, just five of their top ten point producers from a year ago return for the 2012-13 season, and two of those returnees make their home on the blueline (Wade Bergman, Chris Casto). Minnesota-Duluth brings in a large and promising crop of freshmen, a group that will be counted on to help offset the loss of more than 50% of the team's offense from a year ago. One such freshman who can be expected to contribute from the outset is Austin Farley.

Farley arrives in Duluth following a pre-collegiate career that saw him carve out successful stints with both the Chicago Mission AAA program and the USHL's Fargo Force. He began the 2010-11 season with the Chicago Mission AAA Under-18 team before joining the Force in November of 2010, eventually producing 11 points (7G, 4A) in 33 USHL games. In 2011-12 he enjoyed a breakout season, finishing among the USHL's top 10 point producers with a 59 point (28G, 31A) campaign that saw him lead Fargo in goals, assists, points, and power play goals.

With Farley in the fold, the Bulldog faithful will be introduced to a highly-skilled and tenacious forward who will help provide an offensive spark to a team that lost 80 goals from a season ago. He is described by Fargo Force associate head coach Byron Pool as "a very skilled offensive player. He has great touch around the net, and he has a lot of grit and sandpaper to his game. He has the ability to get under opponents' skin."

Pool also shook off any concerns people may have regarding Farley's size. "He might be 5'7" but he plays like he is 6'4". He has no fear. He goes to the tough areas, takes hits to make plays. Austin has not allowed a perceived lack of size to play a factor in his game." A game, no doubt, that UMD and WCHA fans alike can expect to make a difference for the Bulldogs in 2012-13.

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