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Eagan's May picks Minnesota State

12/14/2011, 7:00pm CST
By Loren Nelson, Editor

Gritty Wildcats' defenseman happy to get decision out of way, focus on season


Eli May (14) of Eagan checks Hunter Warner (16) of Eden Prairie. Photo by Helen Nelson


Eli May

The bumps and bruises that come with standing in front of the net during an Eagan power play aren’t much of a concern to Eli May, who doesn’t talk about whacks to the shin or the goalie-stick jabs to the small of his back when discussing the inherent dangers of the role.

“Someone has got to do it,” the Wildcats’ defenseman said. “I’m not afraid of getting a slapshot from (Michael) Zajac or (Will) Merchant or any of them.

“I don’t mind getting hit with a shot or two. You’ve got thousands of dollars of equipment on. It’s not like it is going to hurt for very long.”

May’s grittiness is an important element in a well-rounded skillset that attracted the interest of several Division I college programs.

On Monday the 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior accepted a scholarship offer to play at Minnesota State, becoming the first of what could be several Wildcats seniors – Zajac and Merchant among them -- to commit to a Division I program.

May, who played two seasons in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League and this year was selected for the Bauer National Invitational tournament, took an unofficial visit to Bemidji State and was invited to visit Maine. Ultimately, he chose to Mankato State because of the commitment he felt from the Mavericks’ coaching staff.

“I liked the coaching staff,” May said. “I just really liked the environment. They say you should go with your gut feeling, and I went with my gut.”

May is one of four Eagan defensemen in their third season on the varsity. He is joined by fellow seniors Nick Kuchera, Connor McGovern and Sam Wolfe to form one of the deepest and most defensive corps in the state.

When he isn’t stationed in front of the net during Wildcats’ power plays, May is paired with Wolfe to form a puck-moving, body mashing tandem.

“He’s a great leader with a great attitude,” Eagan coach Mike Taylor said about May, a co-captain who has one assist and four penalty minutes in three games for the No. 4-ranked Wildcats (2-1-0). “He’s got good size, he’s strong and he works super hard.

“He can play with the puck and he can get up and go with the puck. He’s a pretty well rounded.”

May, who first caught the attention of recruiters when he broke into the Elite League two years ago as an injury replacement for Edina’s Parker Reno, said he was happy to have his college decision made. Now he can go about the business of helping Eagan hone its game in preparation for the playoffs and, hopefully, another trip to the state Class 2A tournament. Eagan finished third in the state last season after losing to eventual champion Eden Prairie in the semifinals.

“Obviously that’s our goal,” May said about a return trip to the state tournament. “I think we’ve really worked hard over the summer to make our dream come true.”

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2011-12 Minnesota High School Division I Recruits

Name High School Year Pos. College Verbal Commit
Spencer Bell Maple Grove Senior F Wisconsin Yes
Grant Besse Benilde-St. Margaret's Junior F Wisconsin Yes
Jake Bischoff Grand Rapids Junior D Minnesota Yes
Michael Brodzinski Blaine Junior D Minnesota Yes
Andrew Commers St. Thomas Academy Senior F RPI Yes
Jordan Gross Maple Grove Junior D Notre Dame Yes
Jake Guentzel Hill-Murray Junior F Nebraska-Omaha Yes
Blake Heinrich Hill-Murray Junior D Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Christian Horn Benilde-St. Margaret's Senior F Minnesota Yes
Adam Johnson Hibbing Junior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Justin Kloos Lakeville South Senior F Minnesota Yes
Dan Labosky Benilde-St. Margaret's Junior F Colorado College Yes
Vinni Lettieri Minnetonka Junior F Minnesota Yes
Eli May Eagan Senior D Minnesota State Yes
Will Merchant Eagan Senior F Maine Yes
Lou Nanne Edina Junior F Minnesota Yes
Grant Opperman Breck Senior F Dartmouth Yes
Judd Peterson Duluth Marshall Senior F St. Cloud State Yes
Matt Pohlkamp Brainerd Senior F Bowling Green Yes
Jake Randolph Duluth East Senior F Nebraska-Omaha Yes
Charlie Sampair Hill-Murray Senior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Joe Schuldt Minnetonka Senior D Michigan Tech Yes
Eric Schurhamer St. Thomas Academy Senior D Maine Yes
Dylan Steman Maple Grove Senior F Michigan Tech Yes
Jared Thomas Hermantown Senior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Dom Toninato Duluth East Senior F Minnesota-Duluth Yes
Hunter Warner Eden Prairie Sophomore D Minnesota State Yes
Sam Wolfe Eagan Senior D Maine Yes
Michael Zajac Eagan Senior F Princeton Yes

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