Photos: Elmira Jackals; Pro Sports Photography/Lisel Mascaluk
The Quad City Mallards have signed goaltender C.J. Motte and forward Nelson Gadoury, the Mallards announced today.
Motte, 24, went 15-22-2 with a 2.83 goals against average, a .910 save percentage and two shutouts in 42 games with the Elmira Jackals last season.
“C.J. is a very good goalie who put up strong numbers last year in Elmira. He’s a guy who could be an American League goaltender with a couple of breaks,” said Mallards coach and general manager Terry Ruskwoski. “The opportunity to bring in a goaltender who has a year of experience under his belt makes us a better team and puts us in good position to deal with any recalls.”
Motte broke into professional hockey with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers, for whom he played four games and posted a 1-2-1 record, a 2.49 goals against average and a .917 save percentage late in the 2014-15 season.
Motte turned pro after four standout seasons at Ferris State University. In 2014-15, the 6’ 0”, 175-pound St. Clair, Michigan, native became the first goaltender in school history to serve as team captain. He set Ferris State records for most career wins and shutouts (15) while going 66-49-12 with a 2.13 goals against average and a .926 save percentage in 127 collegiate games.
Motte not only earned All-Western Collegiate Hockey Association honors in both his junior (first team) and senior (third team) years but was also one of ten finalists for the 2014 Hobey Baker Award. As a senior, Motte finished second in the nation in minutes played (2435:33) and tied for sixth in shutouts (5) after leading Division I netminders in both wins (28) and minutes (2431:06) and also finishing tied for sixth in shutouts (5) in his junior year.
Motte and the Bulldogs won regular season conference titles and earned NCAA tournament bids in both 2011-12 and 2013-14 and in 2012 reached the national title game.
A three-year stint in the junior ranks preceded Motte’s college career. Motte spent two seasons with the United States Hockey League’s Waterloo Black Hawks after a single campaign with the North American Hockey League’s Traverse City North Stars.
Gadoury, 21, scored 26 goals and added 40 assists for 66 points in just 48 games with the Camrose Kodiaks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League last season. The 6’ 2”, 210-pound Calahoo, Alberta, native also picked up 149 penalty minutes.
“Nelson is an interesting player who was a man among boys in the Alberta Junior League, which is a good league,” said Ruskowski. “[Chicago Wolves coach] Craig Berube is his cousin and helped bring him to our attention. He can skate and score and also has good size and is a tougher type of kid who doesn’t take a back seat to anyone.”
Gadoury totaled 85 goals, 131 assists and 216 points along with 711 penalty minutes in 241 career AJHL games over five seasons. He averaged better than a point per game each of the last two years. In 2014-15 he recorded 22 goals, 26 assists and 48 points in 39 games as the Kodiaks claimed the AJHL’s South Division title. Gadoury also helped the Kodiaks to five straight winning seasons and five successive playoff appearances.
The Mallards will open their twentieth season in the Quad Cities on Friday, October 14 at 7:05 p.m. against the Fort Wayne Komets at the iWireless Center. Mallards 2016-17 season tickets are now available. Season ticket holders enjoy significant savings on the walk-up ticket price and receive a host of exclusive benefits. For more season ticket information, fans can contact the Mallards at 309-277-1364 or email@example.com.