USA TODAY High School Sports has unveiled the ALL-USA Boys Hockey Teams for the 2018-19 season based on past performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
COACH OF THE YEAR: Brian Shuman, Canton
Name: Bryce Brodzinski
School: Blaine (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Bryce Brodzinski scored two goals and dished out two assists in Blaine’s season-opening 6-0 win over Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper on Nov. 29. He never stopped.
In 29 games for the Bengals, Brodzinski posted some staggering numbers: 36 goals, 55 assists, 91 points. There were 20 multi-point games, nine multi-goal games (including three hat tricks) and 14 multi-assist games. He had 18 games with at least one goal and one assist. The USA TODAY ALL-USA Boys Hockey Player of the Year did it all.
“We often hear of kids that are snipers or playmakers,” Blaine coach Chris Carroll said. “He’s both.”
Brodzinski might have been even better in the postseason than he was during the regular season. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder went off for four goals and 11 assists in six playoff games, leading Blaine to a third-place finish in the Minnesota Class 2A state tournament. Even in defeat, Brodzinski tallied three assists in a 4-3 loss to Eden Prairie in the state semifinals.
“He sees the ice so well,” Carroll said. “His linemates benefited from his ability to make plays. He has an unbelievably quick and accurate shot but he can also make plays.”
Brodzinski got ready for his final high school season by playing during the fall with the Omaha Lancers of the United States Hockey League. Since the conclusion of Blaine’s season, Brodzinski has returned to Omaha—where one of his teammates is ALL-USA Third Team member Rhett Pitlick—and he keeps on scoring with four goals and two assists in his first seven games.
Brodzinski won Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award and was also named the Associated Press Player of the Year. He is expected to be a mid-round pick in the 2019 NHL Draft.
“This year he developed another step quicker and he’s a little physically stronger,” Carroll said. “Both boosted his play and his confidence. He’s an absolute stud.”
Blaine’s all-time leading scorer with 193 points, Bryce is the fourth Brodzinski brother to play for the Bulldogs, and he will be the second to lace up his skates for the University of Minnesota. His second oldest brother, Michael, played for the Gophers and now plays for Orlando in the ECHL. His oldest brother Jonny went to St. Cloud State and has seen time with the Los Angeles Kings this season. There’s also Easton, a sophomore at St. Cloud State.
That is all fitting considering Brodzinski patriarch Mike played hockey at both Minnesota and St. Cloud State in the mid-1980s.
“He’s such a threat because he has a remarkable shot … all the Brodzinski boys do,” Carroll said.
ONE YEAR AGO: Who made the ALL-USA Team last season?