Four local players were selected in Phase II of the 2020 United States Hockey League Draft on Tuesday, following two players that were selected in the first phase on Monday.
Daniel Vladimir Tkac, Dane Dowiak, Austin Oravetz and Cameron Recchi added their names to the USHL’s rolls on Tuesday, joining Matthew DiMarisco and Braedon Ford, who were chosen on Tuesday.
Tkac, a 19-year-old Pittsburgh native, was selected by the Lincoln Stars with the 115th overall pick in the eight round. A 5-foot-11, 185-pound left-winger, Tkac spent the last two seasons with the Merritt Centennials of the British Columbia Hockey League. With Merritt in 2019-20, Tkac scored 11 goals and recorded 21 assists for 32 points in 45 games, good for third on the team. Tkac played for the Esmark Stars and Bishop Canevin in 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Dowiak, an 18-year old from Wexford, was chosen in the 11th Round, going to Cedar Rapids with the No. 155 pick. Dowiak (5-foot-10, 172 pounds) is a rising senior at The Gunnery School in Connecticut, where he scored 14 goals and recorded 29 assists in 33 games last season. The former Pittsburgh Penguins Elite center and left wing has committed to play college hockey at Penn State beginning with the 2021-22 season.
Oravetz went 11 picks after Dowiak, going to Dubuque with the 166th pick in the 11th round. A Canonsburg native, Oravetz was an alternate captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite under-16 squad last season and he scored 10 goals and recorded 35 assists in 51 games while manning the blue line. The 5-foot-8, 168 pound defenseman was also a plus-31, tying for the team lead. Oravetz won’t turn 17 until September, making him one of the youngest players in the Phase II portion of the USHL Draft.
Recchi, a Pittsburgh native, was taken with the 202nd pick in the 14th round by the Muskegon Lumberjacks. A 5-foot-8, 155-pound forward, Recchi spent most of the 2019-20 season with the Maryland Black Bears of the North American Hockey League, where he scored seven goals and recorded 16 assists in 41 games. He also played one game in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers. Recchi is the son of Hockey Hall of Fame forward and current Pittsburgh Penguins assistant coach Mark Recchi, who spent most of the 1988-89 season in Muskegon when the Lumberjacks were in the International Hockey League and the Penguins’ top farm club.
The USHL is the top level of junior hockey in the United States and is the primary feeder system for college hockey teams. It features players from 16 to 21 years old, with 16 teams spread across the midwest.
The first phase of the draft was for players under the age of 17. The second phase was for players over the age of 17. Each team can add up to 45 players each offseason via the two-tiered draft system, but must cut to 49 total players, including returners, by July 10.
The closest USHL team to Pittsburgh is the Youngstown Phantoms, though the league has held its Fall Classic scouting tournament in Pittsburgh for four straight years. The event is scheduled to return to UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex on Sept. 24-28, 2020.