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Thunder's Dzhioshvili picks Cornell

Thunder's Dzhioshvili picks Cornell

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BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington Thunder forward Vlad Dzhioshvili has given his college commitment to Cornell University.

A 17-year-old Moscow native, Dzhioshvili announced his decision to attend the Ivy League school Sunday on Twitter, the team said in a news release.

“This is a very rare opportunity for a Russian player,” said Dzhioshvili, who is expected to return to the Thunder for next season before heading to Cornell in 2016. “Most Russian born players don’t have the chance to go to college and will try to go straight to the NHL. So I’m very happy that I can get an education and play Division I college hockey.”

Bloomington selected Dzhioshvili in the third round of last summer's USHL Phase I Entry Draft, 40th overall. The 6-foot, 188-pound forward made his Thunder debut on March 13 and had three goals and two assists with a plus-4 rating in nine games.

“Vlad was a very great player for us down the stretch. The last nine games he took some big strides," said Thunder coach Dennis Williams, whose 27-man roster now includes 16 Division I recruits. "He showed that he can play at the USHL level. So we expect him to come in and be a big component to our offense next season.”

Bloomington will participate in its second USHL draft next week. Phase I is Monday and Phase II is Tuesday.

​Follow Joe Deacon on Twitter: @pg_deacon

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