January college prospects notebook

By DJ Powers

In the second half of the 2009-10 season, teams are jostling for playoff positions heading towards the post-season. Hockey’s Future takes a look back at a month that featured just about everything. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of Jan. 31.

Frozen Fenway Game was one for the ages

One of college hockey’s best rivalries went head-to-head on Jan. 8 outdoors at the storied Fenway Park. When it was all over, the Boston University Terriers downed their Commonwealth Ave. archrivals Boston College 3-2 in a thriller aptly named the Frozen Fenway Game. This was the first of two outdoor games in college hockey this season.

Freshman Wade Megan (FLA) notched the game winner at the 10:50 mark of the second period in the Terriers victory. Sophomore defenseman David Warsofsky (STL) opened the scoring for Boston University at the 6:58 mark on the power play. Junior Joe Perriera netted the Terriers second goal of the game.

Boston College made a valiant comeback effort in the latter stages of the second period and into the third period, but failed to get the game-tying goal before the end of regulation. Senior Brian Gibbons got Boston College on the board with a power play tally at the 18:19 mark of the second period before sophomore Cam Atkinson (CBJ) potted a shorthanded goal at the 7:43 mark of the third period. That was all the Eagles could muster as the Terrier hung on for the win.

Rangers prospects have college teams back on track

Junior Carl Hagelin and sophomore Derek Stepan have Michigan and Wisconsin respectively headed in the right direction as both teams are in the thick of their respective conference races. The two players will also face one another in the Camp Randall Classic outdoor game on Feb. 6 at Wisconsin’s Camp Randall Stadium.

Struggling with inconsistent play earlier in the season, the Michigan Wolverines look to have things back on track in time to make a move up the CCHA standings. But one player that is has been a model of consistency for the Wolverines all season long as been Hagelin. The Swedish-born winger, who is also an early candidate for this year’s Hobey Baker Award, leads Michigan with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists). He also co-leads the team with five power-play tallies. Of the 28 games that Hagelin has appeared in this season, he has been held pointless in only eight of them and has never gone more than two games without registering a point.

Fresh off a gold-medal performance with Team USA at the recent World Junior Championships, Stepan has simply picked up from where he left off and that is helping the Wisconsin Badgers battle for WCHA supremacy that has, heading into February, become a five-team race. Stepan currently leads Wisconsin with 23 assists and is third on the team with 29 points in 24 appearances. What is most impressive about Stepan doesn’t necessarily show up on a score sheet. The continually blossoming defensive side and his attention to detail in his game have made him an invaluable asset in all situations for Wisconsin, particularly in defensive and penalty-killing situations.

Injury bug hitting Notre Dame blueline hard

Few teams in the NCAA this season have been hit harder by the injury bug than Notre Dame. And where it has decimated the Fighting Irish the most has been their defensive corps. That may also partly explain their struggles season. Notre Dame has played 30 games to date and only two defensemen – seniors Kyle Lawson (CAR) and Brett Blatchford — have played in all of them. Earlier in the season, sophomore Sean Lorenz (MIN) was plagued by a leg injury. Juniors Ian Cole (STL) and Teddy Ruth (WSH) are both currently out with concussions. Both players also missed time earlier in the season due to injury. Adding to the growing list of wounded Irish defensemen are freshman Sam Calabrese (broken ankle) and sophomore Eric Ringel, who is still battling post-concussion syndrome.

Top-ranked Miami getting top-notch goaltending

The Miami RedHawks have arguably the best goaltending tandem in the nation right now, and have the numbers back it up. They possess the nation’s stingiest defensive in large part of the stellar play of junior Cody Reichard and sophomore Connor Knapp (BUF). The RedHawks are currently averaging 1.64 goals against per game and have allowed just 46 total goals, which is second to Cornell’s 41 to date. Reichard (1.47) and Knapp (1.86) currently rank first and second in the nation respectively in goals against average. Both players also rank in the top 20 nationally in save percentage as well. Reichard, who is garnering considerable NHL interest as a possible free-agent signee, also ranks second in the nation with a .806 winning percentage.

NHL prospects giving Raiders offense a boost

Despite struggling with consistently stringing together wins, the Colgate Raiders have become one of the nation’s top offensive teams partly due to the forward trio of sophomore Austin Smith (DAL), senior David McIntyre (NJ) and junior Brian Day (NYI). The trio has accounted for nearly 40 percent of the Raiders offense to date and have played in 25, 24 and 23 games respectively. Smith leads the team with 21 assists and 31 points, while Day leads the team with 16 goals. In addition to the aforementioned trio, Colgate has also gotten solid secondary scoring, particularly from their defense. Freshman Thomas Larkin (CBJ) leads the team in defenseman scoring with 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) in 22 appearances.

Last season, Colgate finished the season ranked tied for 44th in the nation in offense, averaging 2.41 goals per game. Through 37 games, the Raiders scored a total of 89 goals. This season, they are in position to best that number. Through 25 games thus far, Colgate has scored 82 goals and possess the nation’s 14th-ranked offense that is averaging 3.28 goals per game.

Capital improvement

He may not get quite as much attention as his goaltending partner Mike Lee (PHX), but the outstanding season that St. Cloud State junior Dan Dunn (WSH) is having has earned him some well-deserved accolades of his own. Dunn and Lee have been keys behind the Huskies success and move up the WCHA standings. Dunn has started in 12 games this season and has a 10-2-0 record. His .920 save percentage and 2.32 goals against average both rank in the top 20 nationally. While he had slightly better numbers as a freshman compared to his sophomore campaign. Dunn has steadily made improvements and progress in his game. A notable area has been in his confidence level, especially in big-game situations. One Dunn’s best outings came back on Nov. 14 at North Dakota, where he stopped 47 of 49 shots in St. Cloud State’s 3-2 victory.

On the shelf

Boston College is currently without two defensemen due to injury. Sophomore Tommy Cross (BOS) is out with a knee injury, while freshman Patrick Wey (WSH) has a wrist injury. Both players are expected to return sometime in mid-to-late February.

Maine junior left wing Robbie Dee (EDM) is currently out with a foot injury and is listed as week to week.

North Dakota sophomore Brett Hextall (PHX) is currently out with a leg injury and is listed as week to week.

Northern Michigan senior Matt Butcher (VAN) is out indefinitely recovering from knee surgery.