Coyotes 2008-09 NCAA prospects update

By Jeff Dahlia

The Coyotes have six prospects playing in the collegiate ranks, down from 10 a year ago. Spread out over four leagues, the franchise currently has three seniors, a junior, and two freshmen active in the nation.

Hockey East

Benn Ferriero, C
Boston College, senior
7th round, 196th overall, 2006 NHL Entry Draft

Ferriero is in what is normally the most memorable year in college, his senior year. With his Eagles in the middle of the pack in Hockey East, the final chapter could go either way. But on a team that’s lacked a steady back end and its usual surefire offense, staying over .500 might prove challenge for Boston College. As for the captain, he struggled early, registering 13 points (3 goals, 10 assists) through 20 games. But he came to life about a month into the season where he had a six-point scoring streak from Oct. 30 to No. 15.  Back from the winter break, Ferriero is looking to pick up his production, as he’s dropped three points (2 goals, 1 assists) in his last five games.

Scott Darling, G

University of Maine, freshman
6th round, 153rd overall, 2007 NHL Entry Draft

The Black Bears weren’t expected to be much of a threat in the league this year, but Darling’s red-hot start between the pipes changed all of that. Going 8-3-1 after the second week in December, the freshman was sitting as one of the best netminders in the nation. All of a sudden, Maine was looking like a surprise contender. But since returning from Christmas break, the Bears now look they are headed for the endangered list. They’re 0-5-2 in their last six games and Darling is trying to keep things together. Even though he’s been shelled as of late, he’s still playing great hockey for a team in a funk. To date, he has an 8-7-3 record with a 2.18 goals against average and a .915 save percentage.

ECAC

Patrick Brosnihan, RW
Yale University, senior
7th round, 212th overall, 2005 NHL Entry Draft

Over the last few seasons, Yale has finally stepped out and become a solid team in the ECAC. Led primarily by a younger team of sophomores and juniors, the Bulldogs have maneuvered their way to the top of the standings this year. As for Patrick Brosnihan, he’s seen action in all but one the Yale’s games this season. With only four points (2 goals, 2 assists) in 17 games, he leads the small senior class in scoring. Brosnihan is also on pace to turn in his most points in his career with Bulldogs.

CCHA

Chris Summers, D
University of Michigan, sophomore
1st round, 29th overall, 2006 NHL Entry Draft

Slotted to move up front early in the season to help shore up scoring vacancies left by fellow prospects and former Wolverines Chad Kolarik and Kevin Porter, Summers ended up sticking at his regular position as the season got underway for the maize and blue. Injuries to fellow rearguards quickly changed head coach Red Berenson’s plan, but it’s paid off. With Aaron Palushaj and Louie Caporusso jumping out and leading the Wolverines up front, the junior captain has been able to lead a steady blueline for the Wolverines. In the offensive zone, Summers production started to pick up at the end of 2008, at hasn’t slowed as he’s averaging a point a game. To date, he’s got 13 points (4 goals, 9 assist) in 26 games. The junior ranks second in defensive scoring, two points off Chad Langlais lead.

Chris Frank, D
Western Michigan University, junior
7th round, 188th overall, 2006 NHL Entry Draft

Rugged defenseman Frank is trying to make the best of his final season with the Western Michigan. After starting the season going 2-11-4 in their first 18 games, the Broncos have been turning things around. Finally getting some of the bounces that eluded them early on, they’ve gone 5-2-2 since a Jan. 9 2-1 win against Ferris State. Being a defensive-minded rearguard, points don’t come easy for the senior captain, but he’s has continued to live up to his reputation for being the CCHA’s human wrecking ball. However, along with his partner junior Tyler Ludwig (second in team scoring; leads all defensemen) they are a wicked pair in college hockey. In 23 games, Frank has chipped in his earnest five points (1 goal, 4 assists), and leads the team with 61 penalty minutes.

WCHA

Brett Hextall, F
University of North Dakota, freshman
6th round, 159th overall, 2008 NHL Entry Draft

After ending last year on a high note with Penticton Vees in the BCHL, it looks like Hextall is enjoying the same success on his new team at the University of North Dakota. He’s seen different line pairings throughout the year, but it looks like head coach Dave Hakstol likes senior Ryan Duncan leading Hextall on the right, with fellow freshman Jason Gregoire on the left. Blending toughness and skill has worked well for Hextall on this electric Fighting Sioux squad. He’s also earned the reputation in the WCHA as one of best agitators on the ice. He literally took the University of Minnesota’s top players off their game and out of character during Jan. 9-10 series where North Dakota destroyed the Gophers in back-to-back games. With 16 points (8 goals, 8 assists) in 18 games played, Hextall is part of group of healthy freshman talent in the WCHA. And to no surprise, he leads the team with 69 penalty minutes.