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University of Denver lands commitment from top USHL prospect

Cole Guttman saga adds a wrinkle to DU-St. Cloud State tensions

The University of Denver Pioneers picked up a commitment from Cole Guttman of the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints Monday, who was previously committed to NCHC rival St. Cloud State as of April 2016.

Guttman, a sixth round selection by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2017 draft, is coming off his first USHL season in 2016-17, a 54-point (27 G, 27 A) campaign that put him on the radar of NHL scouts.

Through the start of this season, the Los Angeles native has recorded eight points in 10 games as the Fighting Saints’ captain. It seems likely that Guttman, now 18-years old and in his second USHL season, will be on DU’s campus next year.

In landing Guttman, the Dubuque-Denver pipeline continues to be fruitful for the Pioneers. Not only did current head coach Jim Montgomery jump from the Fighting Saints after winning two Clark Cups, but current Pioneers Dylan Gambrell and Blake Hillman made their way to Denver through Dubuque as well.

With his de-commitment from St. Cloud State, some are floating the theory that the testy exchange between Montgomery and Huskies head coach Bob Motzko had something to do with Guttman’s status as a recruit.

While the theory seems plausible, it’s probably more likely that the coaches were having words over the chippy game Saturday night, which included Huskies goalie David Hrenak being hit and a scrum in final minute that resulted in six players handed minor penalties. The video shows, along with some choice four-letter words, Motzko pointing down the to the other end of the ice, likely gesturing about one or both of the incidents.

Alternatively, Montgomery offered his own explanation after the game.

There’s nothing like transparency, straight from the source. Regardless of the true cause, the teams’ rematch in February, and future games with the flipped commitment of Guttman, could be a fireworks show in a budding rivalry.

It was also reported Monday that Trevor Wong, a 14-year old (yes, 14) out of St. George’s School, committed to DU for the 2021-22 season. Take his absurd numbers — 61 points in 10 games — with a gigantic grain of salt.