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Wallace impresses as a MSU rookie

Oak Lake’s Riley Wallace enjoyed a successful first season with the Minot State University men’s hockey team.
Riley Wallace

Oak Lake’s Riley Wallace enjoyed a successful first season with the Minot State University men’s hockey team.

The son of Tod and Penny Wallace helped the North Dakota school squad make it to the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I championship game. The sixth-seeded Beavers fell 6-1 to top seeded Adrian (Mich.) College in Chesterfield, Mo., a St. Louis suburb. A goaltender, Wallace, 21, was a finalist for the ACHA Men’s Division I Rookie of the Year award, which was won by teammate Carter Barley.

“Riley came in as the youngest player on our roster last season and the job he did was admirable,” MSU head coach Wyatt Waselenchuk said. “We essentially rotated all three goalies, and he played some big games for us.”

A 5-foot-9, 150-pound netminder, Wallace posted a 10-0-1 record in 13 regular season appearances. He had a 1.77 goals against average with a .936 save percentage, according to the ACHA website. 

“I will rely on Riley to get even better this coming season, and I believe a year of experience under his belt will greatly benefit him,” said Waselenchuk, a former MSU goaltender.

What did Wallace enjoy about his first college campaign?

“The best part about playing with the Beavers this past season was being able to have an almost full season during uncertain times with COVID and, of course, going to St. Louis for the national tournament,” he said.

Before coming to MSU, Wallace played the 2018-2019 season with the Virden Oil Capitals of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. He spit the next season between the Junior A Oil Caps and the Junior B Columbia Valley Rockies in British Columbia. In reference to the ACHA, Wallace said:

“It’s a skilled league with a lot of good players who have come from graduating junior A programs.”

Off the ice, Wallace – who is majoring in physical education – liked life in Minot.

“I think what I enjoyed most about my classes was being able to take them in person instead of online,” he said. “Living in Minot was awesome because I got to live with my teammates in an apartment which made the transition easier.”

Throughout his hockey career, Wallace has been pleased to have the backing of his parents.

“Their support has been unbelievable, and they never miss any of my games even if they can’t be there in person,” he said.