Bobby Brink has been fulfilling hockey dreams in 2018.
In March, Brink was a key part of the first Minnesota state championship for his hometown Minnetonka High School when he scored a power-play goal in a 5-2 win over Duluth East in the final.
All he has done in between is become the United States Hockey League scoring leader as a 17-year-old playing center for the Sioux City Musketeers, often against older players in the nation’s only Tier I junior league.
Brink, who played for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program (known as Team USA during league play) in the USHL during last season’s Clark Cup Playoffs, will be getting his first exposure to international play. Fortunately for him, and the U.S., he heads into the World Junior A Challenge on a hot streak.
But he credited his teammates for that.
“I think our team has just been playing better as a whole,” said Brink, a quick 5-foot-8, 159-pounder, who continues to work on developing even more advanced skating ability.
Brink has been a big part of that team success. After his only two scoreless outings of the season, he has 12 goals and eight assists in the last 10 games, including two hat tricks and a two-goal game.
Sioux City is 8-0-2-0 during Brink’s scoring streak after being 5-4-0-0 up to that point. The Musketeers have climbed to second in the USHL Western Conference.
“I’m playing on a really good line right now and they’re just feeding me pucks and it seems like lately, they’ve just gone in,” said Brink, who has 15 goals and 18 assists in 19 games, playing on a line with Martin Pospisil from Slovakia and Marcus Kallionkiel from Finland.
Brink already had some familiarity with Pospisil from the 2017-18 regular season in which he played part of the season in Sioux City. They have been together for most of this season.
Pospisil, a Calgary Flames draft pick, is third in the USHL with 10 goals and 21 assists in 17 games.
“We’ve just found some really good chemistry as of late,” Brink said.
And, Brink keeps finding the back of the net, just as he did five times in five high school playoff games as a freshman and sophomore.
With the help of a tying goal with 3.2 seconds left in regulation of a double-overtime section-final victory, Minnetonka and Brink got to play for and eventually capture their state championship, playing in front of a crowd of 18,914 at the home of the NHL’s Minnesota Wild.
“Growing up in Minnesota, everyone wants to play for their high school team and play for a state championship in the Xcel Energy Center in front of a packed house,” Brink said. “To play in it was really special, just because of the camaraderie of the whole school supporting the team.”
Now, Brink, who has already committed to the University of Denver, has another special opportunity ahead.
“It’s a huge honor to be able to play for your country and be selected for this team,” he said. “I’m real excited to go up there and be able to be with all the guys and play for USA.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Jim Utterback.