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The University of Wisconsin men's hockey team's connections to the Eau Claire area got a little stronger on Friday.

Zach Urdahl mug

Urdahl

Zach Urdahl, a high-scoring 17-year-old forward from Eau Claire North, made a nonbinding oral commitment to the Badgers. He can join as early as the 2020-21 season.

UW already has one player from Eau Claire — freshman defenseman Ty Emberson — and has commitments from two others from the area: Urdahl's Eau Claire North teammate Sam Stange and Altoona's Daniel Laatsch, who's playing for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program.

Urdahl made a recruiting visit with the Badgers in October. Since then, he finished his Upper Midwest High School Elite League season with nine goals and 17 points in 21 games for Team Wisconsin.

His scoring has accelerated in his junior season for Eau Claire North. He has recorded a hat trick in three of his last four games and scored twice in the other.

In 10 games this season, he has 20 goals and six assists. Stange, a senior, is right behind him on the team scoring chart with 11 goals and 25 points.

The Lincoln Stars own Urdahl's United States Hockey League rights through the 2018 draft.

In a sign of the cyclical nature of recruiting, Urdahl made his commitment on the same day that it became known that forward Ethan Leyh of British Columbia flipped his commitment from the Badgers to Quinnipiac.

The Badgers have 20 forwards committed for future seasons.

Bucky!

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