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March 18, 2010 3:37 am

Six Quake players named to all-star team

Written by Tribune Staff

Rinaldi tendered to Chicago Hitmen of NAHL

The Yellowstone Quake may have finished one win shy of a possible national tournament trip, but that didn't stop a half-dozen members of the team from making the trip to Boston anyhow. Six members of this year's Quake roster were named to the Northern Pacific (NORPAC) League's all-star team.

Forwards Chris Rinaldi, Kory Sosnowski and Nick Kent, defenders Andrew Lord and Nick Hinsberg and goalie Alex Larson were all named to the NORPAC all-star lineup. They will compete against all-star teams from five other Tier III Junior A leagues across the nation — the Western States Hockey League (WSHL), the Minnesota Junior Hockey League (MJHL), the Eastern Junior Hockey League (EJHL), the Atlantic Junior Hockey League (AJHL) and the Central States Junior Hockey League (CSHL).

Both Larson and Lord were honored with all-rookie team selection by the NORPAC following the regular season. Sosnowski was named to the league's second team as a forward.

Rinaldi was named the NORPAC's rookie of the year after accounting for 42 goals — the second-highest tally in the America West Division and third-highest amount in the NORPAC — and 38 assists. Rinaldi had a strong playoff run for the Quake, finishing with nine goals and three assists in eight playoff games. He has tendered to play next season for the expansion Chicago Hitmen of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).

“It's almost like a farm system in pro sports,” explained Yellowstone Quake coach Sean Hogan. “There are three tiers in junior hockey, I, II and III. Think of it like A, AA and AAA in baseball. The NORPAC is a Tier III. The NAHL is the only Tier II league and the United States Hockey League (USHL) is the only Tier I league.

“USHL players are sure-fire for NCAA Division I players and many NHL draft picks. Tier II NAHL players are looking at a good shot at NCAA Division I and really good NCAA Division III teams. Tier III players are looking at getting into Tier I and Tier II, as well as NCAA schools.”

The Hitmen were recently added to the NAHL. Rinaldi will be joining the club for its 2010-2011 expansion season in the NAHL.