NCAA Prospects Notebook, November, 2015: White, Schmaltz among impressive NHL draftees heading into midseason

By DJ Powers
Colin White - Boston College

Photo: Boston College freshman forward and Ottawa Senators prospect Colin White has had a good bit to celebrate so far in the 2015-16 season as he is the leading frosh scorer with 23 points in 15 games (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)

 

 

The first two college hockey holiday tournaments and a number of stellar prospect performances highlighted the month of November. Hockey’s Future takes a look back at some of the most memorable moments in NCAA hockey from the prior month. Unless otherwise indicated, all stats are current as of Dec. 1st.

Friendship Four & Shillelagh kick off holiday tournaments

Two tournaments over the Thanksgiving weekend kicked off this year’s college hockey holiday tournaments.

The Friendship Four, the first-ever in-season tournament to take place outside of North America, took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Junior defenseman Dylan Zink scored in the shootout to give UMass-Lowell a thrilling championship victory over Brown University on Nov. 28th. The score officially goes down as a 5-5 tie. Sophomore C.J. Smith, who netted the game-tying goal at the 19:22 mark of the third period in the contest, was named the River Hawks’ “Man of the Match”.

Brown freshman Tommy Marchin turned in a sensational performance and was named the Player of the Tournament. The Algonac, MI native posted six points (four goals, two assists) including his first career hat trick in the Bears semi-final match versus Colgate University on Nov. 27th en route to earning that honor. Senior linemate Nick Lappin, who posted seven points (one goal, six assists) in the tournament, was named Brown’s “Man of the Match”.

In the consolation game, Northeastern University routed Colgate 7-1. The Huskies, who were without injured senior winger Kevin Roy (ANA), exploded for five goals in the second period en route to the win. Junior Brendan Collier (CAR) netted a pair of goals including the game-winner to lead Northeastern.

Meanwhile back in the U.S., the sixth annual Shillelagh Tournament was taking place in South Bend, IN as host Notre Dame welcomed Harvard, RPI and Western Michigan.

Harvard won the tournament thanks in large part to the brilliant goaltending of freshman Merrick Madsen (PHI). The Acton, CA native stopped a combined 59 of 60 shots in the two games versus Notre Dame and RPI respectively to earn the tournament’s Most Valuable Player honor. After a 29-save outing in the Crimson’s 4-1 win over the Fighting Irish in the tournament semi-final on Nov. 27th, Madsen topped it with a 31-save shutout over conference rival RPI in the title game the following night. The shutout was his third of the season. Among those joining Madsen on the All-Tournament Team were teammates Jimmy Vesey (NSH) and Alexander Kerfoot (NJD). The lone non-Harvard player on the All-Tournament team was RPI sophomore defenseman Mike Prapavessis (DAL).

In the third place game, senior Sam Herr netted the game-winner at the 14:55 mark of the third period to lead Notre Dame to a 3-1 win over Western Michigan. Senior Thomas Di Pauli (WSH) added an insurance goal at the 19:01 mark of the third period for Notre Dame. Sophomore Frederik Tiffels (PIT) posted the Broncos’ lone goal on the power play at the 18:26 mark of the second period.

White Hot

No NCAA prospect was hotter in the month of November than Boston College freshman Colin White (OTT). The Hanover, MA native amassed a whopping 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in the Eagles seven games during the month en route to earning Hockey East’s Rookie of the Month honor. White, an early candidate for both the Hockey East and National Rookie of the Year honors, currently leads the nation in freshman scoring with 21 points (seven goals, 14 assists) in 13 games.

White centers one of the nation’s most prolific lines that also features juniors Ryan Fitzgerald (BOS) and Matthew Gaudreau. Fitzgerald also enjoyed a strong November, posting 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in six of Boston College’s seven games. Fitzgerald missed the Nov. 6th game versus the University of Maine due to serving a one-game suspension for a game disqualification he received for cross-checking versus UMass on Nov. 3rd.

Blackhawks prospect making strong case for Hobey Baker

University of North Dakota sophomore Nick Schmaltz (CHI) has continued to build on his stellar freshman campaign and is making a strong case for this season’s Hobey Baker Award. The Verona, WI native is coming off a terrific November where he posted an impressive 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in North Dakota’s eight games during the month en route to being named the NCHC Player of the Month. Only Boston College freshman Colin White (see above) posted more points among NHL prospects in November. Overall, Schmaltz is tied for the team lead with 21 points (two goals, 19 assists) in 16 games to date. His 19 assists and +23 both currently lead the nation.

Schmaltz centers North Dakota’s dynamic top scoring line that also features freshman phenom Brock Boeser (VAN) and senior Drake Caggiula. The trio have accounted for a whopping 40 percent of North Dakota’s scoring to date.

Blueger sets new record at Minnesota State-Mankato

Minnesota State-Mankato senior Teddy Blueger (PIT) didn’t post many points in November, but he finished the month with a bang. Prior to the Nov. 28th game versus Alaska-Anchorage, Blueger had posted just two points (a goal and an assist) in November. But, in the final game of the month, Blueger busted out for five points (one goal, four assists). All five of his points came in the first period, which set a new D1 record for Minnesota State-Mankato. The lone goal he tallied, a power play goal, also held up as the game-winner.

Overall, Blueger leads the Mavericks with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 16 games to date. The Riga, Latvia native has also established himself as one of Minnesota State-Mankato’s clutch scorers as Blueger’s three game-winners lead the team. Three of his four goals have come on special teams – two on the power play and one shorthanded.

Peterson thriving as one of Huskies go-to guys

A team making quite a bit of noise in the NCHC this season is St. Cloud State University. The Huskies success so far is due in part to their potent offense. The team’s 4.29 goals per game average currently ranks third nationally and leads all NCHC teams.

One of the Huskies offensive catalysts this season is sophomore Judd Peterson (BUF). The Duluth, MN native is coming off a productive November, finishing with seven points (four goals, three assists) in St. Cloud State’s six games during the month. Overall, Peterson leads the Huskies with nine goals and his 13 points in 14 games to date is nearly double that of his point total of last season. Peterson has been particularly good on St. Cloud State’s special teams. Of his nine goals, four have come on special teams. Peterson has netted both of the team’s shorthanded goals, and he has netted two power play tallies, as well.

Matured Clifton a key cog on Quinnipiac blueline

Since arriving in Hamden, CT nearly three years ago, Connor Clifton (ARI) has come a long way in his maturity and development. So far this season, those qualities have paid dividends for undefeated Quinnipiac University. Part of Clifton’s maturation process has been his ability to strike a balance between his ultra-aggressive defensive play and discipline. He plays in all situations, logging upwards of 20-25 minutes per game.

Clifton enjoyed an outstanding November, posting five points (three goals, two assists) in Quinnipiac’s nine games during the month. On Nov. 7th versus Cornell, Clifton registered his first goal since Mar. 14, 2014 versus Yale in the ECAC Tournament quarterfinals. Overall, Clifton has posted nine points (three goals, six assists) in 15 games. His nine points matches his career-best set in his freshman campaign two seasons ago. In addition (and equally notable), Clifton has amassed just 10 penalty minutes so far this season.

Hey, what about me?

Of the University of Michigan’s six freshmen this season, Kyle Connor (WPG) has been the most talked about. Lately however, the conversation has shifted to his teammate Cooper Marody (PHI). The Brighton, MI native is coming off an excellent November where he finished with five points (four goals, one assists) in the Wolverines five games. Overall, Marody’s seven goals and 12 points in 11 games both co-lead Michigan. One notable area where he has excelled has been on face-offs, with Marody winning nearly 50 percent of his draws.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF