The Minnesota Wilderness, 2015 NAHL Robertson Cup Champions, are pleased to announce the goaltender Brock Kautz has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in the Big 10.
Kautz, 20, just completed his fifth and final season playing in the NAHL, which this past season was spent with the Robertson Cup Champion Minneosta Wilderness. Kautz (6'0/190) backstopped the Wilderness to their first ever Robertson Cup Championship two weeks ago as the Wilderness swept the Austin Bruins in the Finals, 2 games to 0. Kautz allowed just one goal in the two games, facing 74 shots, and was named the Most Valuable Player of the Robertson Cup Finals.
"It was the greatest year of my life and a great feeling to bring the Cup to Cloquet. It is a dream come true to play for the Minnesota Gophers," said Kautz.
University of Minnesota head coach Don Lucia was at the Robertson Cup clinching game in which Kautz posted a 4-0 shutout.
'I didn't hear from Minnesota until after the season was over," Kautz told the Rochester Post Bulletin. "My first focus was to help the (Wilderness) win a championship. I knew if we could keep playing to the end, it would give my teammates and me some more chances to (be seen by scouts). Just playing five years in the NAHL, going through everything I did helped me learn to go out and battle," Kautz continued. "Every year I had to battle just to play and I'm going to keep doing that."
The native of Rochester, Minnesota, had a solid season for the Wilderness, posting a 14-8-1 record with a 2.33 goals average and a 90.6% save percentage during the regular season. However, he elevated his game during the playoffs as he posted a 10-1 record, which included 10 straight wins along with a 1.43 goals against average and a 94.4% saves percentage.
Kautz began his NAHL career in 2010 with the Owatonna Express as a 16-year-old, where he played 14 games with the team that season. The next three years from 2011-12 to 2013-14 were spent playing for the Janesville Jets. Kautz played in the NAHL Top Prospects Tournament back in 2013 for the Midwest Division team.
In all, Kautz appeared in 126 career NAHL regular season games, posting a record of 57-53-12 with 6 shutouts and a career goals against average of 2.73 and a career save percentage of 91.1%. He also appeared in 13 playoff games, with 11 of those coming this season on the way to winning a championship.
"We are obvisouly very excited for Brock getting an opportunity to play for the University of Minnesota. After his commitment to becoming a better goalie over the past few years and finishing it off with a great MVP performance helping us win a championship, it is well deserved," said Wilderness head coach Corey Millen, who also attended the University of Minnesota.
Kautz is the 8th player of the Wilderness roster from this past season to commit to an NCAA Division I program. The NAHL has seen 170 players make NCAA commitments from the 2014-15 season.