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Captain will go to RPI

Wilderness captain Gustavs Ozolins has decided to take his talents to RPI.

The veteran defenseman announced this week he had committed to play NCAA Division 1 hockey at the institution based in Troy, New York.

Ozolins, from Riga, Latvia, began his junior career in 2019 in his home country. He is now in his second season with the Wilderness and third playing in North America. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound 20-year-old has skated in 34 games this season, generating two goals and 15 assists for 17 points.

Wilderness head coach Colten St. Clair says he could not be more proud of his captain.

“You always hear people say ‘well deserved,’ but that was well earned,” said St. Clair.

“I have nothing but the best things to say about him as a leader, as a human being, obviously a really good player, but the person makes the player. For me, I think RPI is getting a stud of a human being, and a stud player. He’s going to have as much success as he wants and puts his mind to.”

Ozolins joined the Wilderness last season, generating two goals and 21 assists for 23 points over 35 games. He also posted four assists over nine playoff games, leading Minnesota to its first Midwest Division playoff championship since 2015 and an appearance in the Robertson Cup semifinals.

Ozolins is in his final season of junior eligibility and will begin his career at RPI next fall.

RPI is officially known as Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Engineers compete in ECAC Hockey.