Last summer, Mike Cichy had to make a difficult decision: come to UND or go back to the USHL for one more year of preparation.
It’s safe to say that he made the right choice.
For the second time this season, Cichy competed in a tournament… playoff hockey, so to speak. And for the second time, Cichy won both the championship and the MVP.
Five months after leading Team USA to gold in the World Junior A Challenge, Cichy dominated the USHL playoffs with 25 points in 13 games. The next closest guy in the USHL had 16 playoff points.
Cichy capped it off with a three-assist night in a 5-1 Indiana Ice win in Game 4. He had nine points in the final three games of the Clark Cup Finals — more points than the entire Fargo Force team during those critical games. His 19 assists in the playoffs were a USHL record.
This is the type of experience that allowed Brett Hextall to have a smooth transition to college hockey as a freshman. Hextall, like Cichy, decided to go back to juniors for one more season. Hextall had a great final year of juniors, wearing a captain’s ‘C’, winning the BCHL title and being named a finalist for Canadian Junior A player of the year.
You have to believe that the UND coaching staff has enjoyed watching Cichy play his best this year when all the marbles were on the line.
You also have to wonder whether Fargo’s inability to trade for Cichy at the trading deadline — in the end – cost them the Clark Cup. Regardless, Fargo had a great first season in the USHL and Cichy had a great final year, too.