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Three Lone Star Brahmas Join St Norbert College For 15-16 Season

St Norbert College is coming into the 2015/16 hockey having won three NCAA DIII National Champions since 2011. While the Green Knights graduated 11 players from last season’s squad they have nine returning lettermen including three of their top five scorers. To that core they are adding 11 recruits with a heavy dose of NAHL South Division including three former Lone Star Brahmas in Roman Uchyn, Storm Wahlrab and TJ Black. Two others have ties to the Brahmas franchise with Nick Le Sage and Brad Pung having suited up for the Texas Tornado during the 2012/13 season. Of the 11 incoming freshmen, eight played in the NAHL last season with six spending at least part of the season in the South Division.

All three of the former Brahma players will have a chance to compete early with the skill sets and work ethic that they will bring to the program. Each of them played an instrumental part in Lone Stars’ playoff run that saw the team fall one goal short of playing for the Robertson Cup Championship.

Lone Star Brahmas

Photo courtesy of Wendy Sarich: Lone Star Brahmas forward Roman Uchyn came alive during the Brahmas playoff drive with seven goals scored.

Uchyn a 6’ 2”, 205 power forward from Elgin, IL was the first to commit to St Norbert in early June. Roman got his start in the NAHL with the Corpus Christi Icerays during the 2012/13 season. He earned a midseason trade to the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL and combined for 8G – 11A in 57 games. An upper body injury prior to the start of the 2013/14 season kept Uchyn out of the lineup and when he came back he found himself the odd man out in a packed forward rotation. After 19 games with the Bucs he once again was traded back to the NAHL and the Coulee Region Chill. The Brahmas coaching staff took little time in putting together a trade with the Chill to bring Uchyn to North Texas. In 15 games for the Brahmas he scored 8G – 10A to go along with 57 PIMs.

This past season was big one for Uchyn. He tallied 12G – 17A in 47 games during the regular season with two game winners. Once on the big stage of the post season Roman kicked it up a notch hammering home 7G in just 10 games played. His first of the playoffs was a double OT game winner in game one against Wenatchee. He netted another game winner in game three of the South Division finals against Topeka and followed that up with an assist on the OT series clincher the next night. After the Brahmas fell a game behind the Austin Bruins in the Robertson Cup Semi-Finals, Roman scored twice in game two to pull Lone Star even. Unfortunately they came up short when the Bruins scored an OT series clenching goal in game three. Uchyn finished his NAHL Brahmas career as the fifth all-time scoring leader with 55 total points through 72 games.

Lone Star Brahmas

Photo courtesy of Wendy Sarich: TJ Black finished fourth in the NAHL in save percentage at 1.99 and is the all time leader in Wins for the Brahmas with 35.

TJ Black anchored the Brahmas’ 2013/14 second half resurgence which saw them come just short of the playoffs. He finished with a 14 – 14 – 0 record with four shutouts a 2.40 GAA and a .923 SV% in his rookie season. This past season the 5’ 9”, 160 native of Chicago split time with San Jose Sharks draft pick Jake Kupsky and finished fourth in the league with a 1.99 GAA and ninth with a .915 SV% while building a 21 – 8 – 2 record. He also pitched three shutouts.

Black was eligible to return to the Brahmas for the upcoming season. However, as he was in discussions with the staff on his return, NA3HL Brahmas head coach and NAHL Brahmas goalie coach Al Rooney put him in touch with St Norbert. The Green Knights staff expressed a strong interest in having Black for this season. “It was a tough decision having to leave Lone Star a year early,” said Black. “But I’m going to an unbelievable opportunity to play college hockey for a great team like St. Norbert’s.”

Once he arrives in De Pere, Black will be competing for playing time with Sophomore Tony Kujava who played in 13 games last season. He will also have a lot of support from his roommate Wahlrab. “Soon after St. Norbert’s started talking to me they told me they were interested in Storm,” said Black. The two started talking about their opportunity and saw no negatives going into a situation where they will have a chance to win a national championship with one of the best head coaches in college hockey. TJ knows having a familiar face in Wahlrab will make the transition smoother adding “We are actually lucky enough to be rooming together this year!”

Lone Star Brahmas

Photo courtesy of Wendy Sarich: Storm Wahlrab joined the Lone Star Brahmas at the trade deadline and used his versatility contributing from both the forward and defenseman positions.

Storm Wahlrab was a trade deadline addition to the Brahmas this past season, but his impact was felt immediately. At 6’ 3”, 210 the Laguna Niguel, CA resident added size, grit and versatility for the stretch run. The big forward put up points in seven of his first eight games played on his way to 15 points on 6G – 9A in 24 games.

When Alternate Captain Hayden Hanson went down with a broken arm, Wahlrab moved to the blueline and helped stabilize the defensive rotation. Storm’s strong defensive play continued into the post season where he scored what was one of the biggest goals of the season. With the Brahmas trailing Topeka by one game in the South Division Finals they went to OT in game two after seeing a four goal lead vaporize. Coming off the bench for a line change, Wahlrab intercepted a clearing attempt by the Roadrunners’ Captain and took it toward the goal. He toe dragged around one defender and split two others before putting a back hander over the goaltender’s right pad for the game winner at 3:53.

In the excitement following the goal, Wahlrab went racing toward the blueline dropping to one knee. As he slid across the ice he extended his left arm in front and curled his stick over his head with his right in move the Brahma faithful quickly labeled the “Scorpion”.

Storm has been discussing the upcoming season with the St Norbert staff. “Their plans for me this season, because I’m going to be a freshman, is to gain the respect of the senior guys,” said Wahlrab. “The older guys have worked their way up and I should show them respect and work hard to prove to them I want to be a counted on guy on the team.” He has set a goal for himself going into the year of not being scratched this season and potentially earning All American honors someday.

When asked if he would introduce the “Scorpion” after scoring his first goal Wahlrab laughed and replied “You know if the time is right I might need to bring the scorpion to Wisconsin, that would be really fun.”

With the talented individuals they have coming in, the Green Knight fans should be have a lot to cheer for this season.

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