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HOCKEY

UNO defenseman Victor Mancini picked by Rangers in NHL draft

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UNO added another NHL draft pick to its roster Friday afternoon, when the New York Rangers selected sophomore Victor Mancini in the fifth round.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman played in all 38 games last season as a freshman and continued to impress as the year went along. He finished with five assists for the 21-17-0 Mavericks, who won seven games against top-10 teams this past season and finished sixth in the NCHC.

“He just came in here and he’s one of those kids that I think is kind of our identity as a program,” coach Mike Gabinet said. “Just a hard-working young man that does things the right way and puts the work in.

“When you get guys like that in this environment where we’re a development environment, and we’re passionate about trying to help guys get better — special things happen. He’s a prime example of that.”

He just turned 20 May 26, making him draft eligible again this summer, and was a name many within college hockey thought could be called during the two-day event in Montreal.

Mancini was also heavily scouted last season, especially toward the end of the year, and the Rangers were well represented in Baxter Arena. New York took the Michigan native with the 159th overall pick.

Mancini could join his defensive partner from last season, Brandon Scanlin, in the organization, too. Scanlin signed a two-year deal with the Rangers in March.

Mancini was the lone Maverick selected this year and became the fifth player drafted on the current roster.

Cameron Berg was a fourth-round pick by the Islanders last year and 2018 picks Jonny Tychonick (second round by Ottawa) and Tyler Weiss (Colorado fourth-rounder) will likely use their fifth year of eligibility and return to UNO. In April, the Mavs added Notre Dame transfer Jake Pivonka, the Islanders’ fourth-round pick in 2018.

But Mancini wasn’t the only player with Nebraska ties to get drafted. Rutger McGroarty, a forward who grew up in Lincoln, was selected 14th overall by the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. The 18-year-old is the first Nebraska native to be taken in the first round of the NHL draft.

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