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Three top hockey juniors sign letters of intent

April 20, 2001

Tom Newton wasn’t exactly waiting next to the mailbox, but the three pieces of paper he had been anticipating for the past week finally arrived Wednesday.

Seven days after the spring signing date, left wings Kevin Estrada and Mike Lalonde and center Ash Goldie, all of whom had already verbally committed to MSU, officially signed National Letters of Intent to play for the Spartans as freshmen next fall.

The signings bring MSU’s recruiting class to seven.

Newton, an MSU assistant coach, said the class will probably add some scoring punch to the Spartans’ defensively strong lineup.

“These people have traditionally been able to score, but scoring at this level and scoring at the junior level are two different things,” Newton said. “The guys that we’re bringing in have the reputation of scoring more goals than the guys we lost.”

Estrada, a 5-foot-11, 185-pounder, played with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League last season. He amassed an impressive 118 points (34 goals, 84 assists) in 59 games with the Chiefs - the same team that produced former MSU center Jeremy Jackson.

Newton said Estrada’s blazing speed sets him apart from other players.

“He’s a talented offensive player, sees the ice well, makes good decisions with the puck and has the ability to finish,” Newton said. “He’ll be an exciting player to watch because he has that burst of speed to beat an opposing player at any moment.”

Goldie, a 5-foot-10, 170-pounder, ranked second in scoring on the London Nationals of the Western Junior B Hockey League with 39 goals and 29 assists in 50 games. Goldie also performed well on the power play, leading the league with 11 man-advantage tallies.

“Ash is a great skater who has very good hockey sense,” Newton said. “He makes good decisions, is sound positionally and has scored goals at all levels. He’s the type of player that makes those around him better because of his intelligence.”

Lalonde, a 5-foot-11, 195-pounder, scored 27 goals and 27 assists in 29 games with the BCJHL’s Prince George Spruce Kings after missing half the season with an injury. He scored 98 points with the Spruce Kings two seasons ago.

“Mike is a player with a real head for the game both offensively and defensively,” Newton said. “He sees the ice well and has a great touch in front of the net. He’s that kind of player that really complements other talented players very well.”

The signees join wing Brock Radunske, centers Jim Slater and Lee Falardeau, and defenseman Duncan Keith, all of whom signed with MSU in November.

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