"This class is a very skilled group and from a speed standpoint, it's one of the quickest classes we've ever recruited," Johnson said.
"The big hole that we needed to fill from the senior class was three defensemen that have played the blue line for four years. That was out number one priority, to try to find kids that we thought were capable not only of being good players, but of being able to play right away.
"We're excited about the five players that we were able to sign and hopefully they'll continue to improve and make strides so when they come in next September that they're ready to go because we are going to need them."
Mallory Deluce, a 5-7 forward from London, Ontario, currently plays for the Mississauga Aeros of the National Women's Hockey League. For the previous three seasons, she was a member of the Bluewater Hawks Intermediate AA team, twice earning the team's MVP award. Last season, Deluce led the Provincial Women's Hockey League in points with 135 (49 goals, 86 assists) in just 67 games played. She won gold medals at the Canadian Under-18 National Championship in 2005 and 2006 and served as the team captain of the 2006 squad.
Mark Johnson on Deluce:
"Mallory is a very, very skilled player. She's an excellent skater, a goal-scorer and certainly with us losing Sara Bauer, we're going to need someone to come in and I think that Mallory is going to be a special player that people are going to enjoy watching."
Kelly Nash, a 5-6 forward from Bonita, Calif., is a current member of the California Selects in Huntington Beach, Calif., where she has played since 2003. She was named the team's "Forward of the Year" in 2003, 2005 and 2006 and also led the Cal Selects in points en route to the 2005 USA Hockey Girls' U16 National Championship. The following year, Nash led all players in scoring at the same tournament. She has been selected from the Pacific District to attend four consecutive USA Hockey Select Camps. Nash, who began her hockey career playing inline hockey, ranked second in scoring in the California Interscholastic Federation in her sophomore year.
Mark Johnson on Kelly Nash:
"Kelly is very skilled in the sense that she's got an excellent set of hands. She was very good last year in the select camp and I think she's going to come in here and do a lot of the same things that she did with her team out in California because she understands how to play the game."
Anne Dronen, a 5-4 defenseman from Chaska, Minn., currently plays for the Minnesota Thoroughbreds of the Midwest Elite AAA Hockey League. Currently the team's captain, Dronen earned a spot on the Hockey Night in Boston all-star team in 2005 and 2006 while also earning the Outstanding Defenseman Award in both years. She took part in the National Development Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., in 2005 and 2006 and has also been a part of the Community Olympic Development Program since 2002. Dronen was an all-conference honorable mention selection in both 2003 and 2004.
Mark Johnson on Anne Dronen:
"Anne's skill level and skating ability will make her a solid Division I hockey player. She's going to get an opportunity to play quite a bit because of the kids we are losing. She's got good puck-handling skills and she skates very well."
Olivia Jakiel, a 5-10 defenseman from Santa Clarita, Calif., currently plays along with Nash on the California Selects. She has taken part in National Development Camps at both the U14 and U16 levels. Jakiel was a member of the USA National U12 champions in 2001 and then finished second the following season. Olivia's brother, Steve, is a freshman goalie for the University of Michigan.
Mark Johnson on Jakiel:
"Olivia is a tall left-handed defenseman with a real nice slap shot. As her strength continues to develop and she continues to be exposed to hockey, she's going to be good."
Malee Windmeier (pronounced like "Molly"), a 5-9 defenseman from Champlin, Minn., currently plays for Coon Rapids High School. For her first two high school seasons, Windmeier played center and racked up 44 points (21 goals, 23 assists) as a freshman and 75 points (44 goals, 31 assists) as a sophomore. In both seasons, Windmeier broke her school's record for assists and points. She converted to defenseman prior to last season and still managed to record 48 points (20 goals, 28 assists). Windmeier is a three-time all-conference selection and a second-team all-state honoree last season. She has taken part in National Development Camps for the last four years.
Mark Johnson on Windmeier:
"Malee has got good size and excellent work habits. I think she is going to develop into an individual that really has the opportunity to take her game to another level and not only college but I think farther. We're excited to have her and I know she's excited to be coming here."