The Gophers have signed five players, including forward Seth Ambroz who has accelerated his high school education to graduate in three years.

Ambroz is playing on the first line for the best team in the USHL, the Omaha Lancers. He is 6-3, 205 and has seven goals and three assists for 10 points in 12 games for the Lancers. He is the fifth-leading scorer for Omaha, which is 13-2 and recently had a 10-game winning streak.

Ambroz left New Prague High School after his freshman year and this is his second year with Omaha. The right winger is expected to join the Gophers for the 2010-11 season as is his linemate, center Erik Haula.

Haula is a 6-foot, 175-pound center who is the Lancers' second-leading scorer with eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 14 games. He played for Shattuck-St. Mary's last season and is from Finland.

The third USHL player to sign with the Gophers is Fargo defenseman Nate Schmidt. He is 6-0, 197, and has four goals and six assists for 10 points in 13 games.

Minnetonka seniors signing with Minnesota are forward Max Gardiner and defenseman Justin Holl. Gardiner, whose brother Jake is a sophomore defenseman for Wisconsin, had 15 goals and 27 assists for 42 points for the Skippers last season. He was listed at 6-3, 178 when he attended Gophers coach Don Lucia's Model Camp last summer. Holl had one goal and six assists for seven points. He is 6-2, 175 and played four games with Omaha this fall.

Seth, in many ways, is an intriguing signee. He won't turn 17 until next April and won't be eligible for the NHL draft until 2011. "God blessed him," said his mother Sue. "You can't teach size."

He comes from a hockey family. His brother Matt is a 6-4, 205 junior who plays for the University of Nebraska-Omaha. His sister Kacy is a sophomore forward for UMD.

All five of these players will not necessarily join the Gophers next season, but at least four probably will. Ambroz and Haula for sure. And coach Lucia needs defenseman because he is losing three. David Fischer and Brian Schack are seniors and Sam Lofquist quit the team.

Another player coming in in 2010-11 will be Blaine junior Nick Bjugstad. By springtime, Bjugstad will be classified a senior -- and eligible to sign -- because he started taking online classes this summer and continues to do so.

Bjugstad, a 6-5 center, will graduate from high school in three years like Ambroz.