Nate McDonald is heading to Cornell University on a Division I Hockey Scholarship.
McDonald was the NOJHL’s most valuable player, posting a 30-4-1-1 regular season record with a 2.16 goals-against average (GAA) and a .923 save percentage. In the playoffs, he was an incredible 12-0 with a 1.84 GAA and a .933 save percentage as he helped the Powassan Voodoos to their first ever NOJHL title.
McDonald, who was drafted by the Peterborough Petes in 2015 and had his rights traded to the Niagara IceDogs at the OHL trade deadline, had initially committed to Niagara University but de-committed after the coaching staff that recruited him was replaced in the offseason.
The 18-year-old was traded to the OJHL’s Whitby Fury in the off-season and secured the NCAA opportunity after a 1-0 win, over the Stouffville Spirit on Saturday night.
He is expected to join the Cornell Big Red in the fall of 2018 after one more year of junior ‘A’ hockey.
“Obviously I had a pretty good year last year and I am looking to build off of that and sort of pick up where I left off,” said McDonald.
Next fall, McDonald will join Colgate’s Colton Point as the second North Bay goaltender playing NCAA Division I hockey.
The commitment from the ECAC team may open more doors for McDonald to get some NHL interest next year.
“I just want to keep playing the way I did last year and good things will come,” said McDonald.
“I don’t think I have to change much if I keep doing what I did last year and stick to my routines. I have been in the gym a lot more this season and over the summer as well so if I keep getting bigger and stronger and getting better every day I think good things will come.”
The 6’2”, 190-pound netminder also credits goalie coach Dan Spence for helping him to get to this point.
“Dan was great this summer, we worked on a lot of the little things that, the little tweaks that will make a big difference in my game. He was great for me this summer, he pushed me really hard and got me ready for the season,” said McDonald, about Spence who is also the Voodoos goalie coach.
Spence, originally worked with McDonald when he was playing for the Nipissing Lakers. He believes you can put Nate McDonald into the same conversation with NHL draft pick Colton Point and New Jersey Devils prospect Kenny Appleby.
"We are absolutely confident in what we have seen in Nate this summer and it's a great story about a local kid and I think he is a name you are going to be hearing from a lot around the north and in hockey in general," said Spence.