NCAA Prospects Notebook, February, 2016: “CCM” line continues tear, Roy finding game at right time

By DJ Powers
Danton Heinen - University of Denver

Photo: University of Denver forward and Boston Bruins prospect Danton Heinen is off his scoring pace of last season but has still produced 15 goals and 37 points in 34 games for the Pioneers in 2015-16 (courtesy of Patrick Green/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

With the 2015-16 NCAA hockey regular season now in the books, schools now turn their attention to conference postseason showdowns and NCAA Tournament bids. As always, a number of NHL prospects will play a big role in their school’s quest for postseason success.

Before moving on to the NCAA postseason, however, Hockey’s Future takes a look back at some of the notable happenings in NCAA hockey making news in the month of February.

Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of Mar. 8th.

Boston College wins 64th annual Beanpot Tournament

It was a Beanpot Tournament that was one for the ages, featuring a brilliant goaltending duel between Boston College junior Thatcher Demko (VAN) and Boston University senior Sean Maguire (PIT). Sophomore Alex Tuch (MIN) netted the game’s lone goal at the 1:57 mark of overtime to give the Eagles their 20th Beanpot title.

In the Eagles victory, Demko posted his NCAA-leading ninth shutout of the season, which also set a new Boston College single-season record. Maguire, who stopped 65 of 67 combined shots that he faced in the tournament, was named to both the tournament’s MVP and Dan Eberly Award recipient for posting the highest save percentage amongst all Beanpot goaltenders despite being on the losing team. Demko and Maguire played arguably their best respective games to date this season.

Take it outside

Archrivals Colorado College and the University of Denver played the first-ever outdoor college hockey game in the state of Colorado on Feb. 20th at Coors Field. The Pioneers won the game 4-1 in front of over 35,000 spectators. Sophomore Danton Heinen (BOS) and freshman Dylan Gambrell, part of Denver’s exciting “Pacific Rim” line, led the way with a goal and an assist each. Junior defenseman Will Butcher (COL) chipped in two assists for the Pioneers.

Four teams claim titles

Atlantic Hockey, the ECAC and Hockey East all wrapped up regular season play on Feb. 28th.

Robert Morris University successfully defended their Atlantic Hockey regular season crown on Feb. 26th after a convincing 6-3 win over Canisius College. The Colonials, one of the NCAA’s top offensive teams this season, were led by top seniors Greg Gibson and Zac Lynch who combined for six points in the Robert Morris victory.

On the same day, Quinnipiac University successfully defended their ECAC regular season title with a 4-1 over Brown University. Senior Travis St. Denis posted a goal and an assist and goaltender Michael Garteig stopped 16 of 17 shots to propel the Bobcats to victory.

In the nation’s most hotly contested race that came down to the wire, Boston College and Providence College finished tied atop the Hockey East standings to grab a share of the conference regular season title.

For Boston College, this was their 14th championship (or co-championship). The Eagles clinched a share of the title on Feb. 26th, downing UMass-Lowell 3-1. Junior Ryan Fitzgerald (BOS) netted a pair of goals and netminder Thatcher Demko stopped 29 of 30 shots he faced and added an assist to lead Boston College.

The following day, Providence College nabbed a share of the title thanks to a sweep of UMass-Amherst combined with Boston College’s loss to UMass-Lowell in their finale. In their final regular season game on Feb. 27th, the Friars crushed the Minutemen 6-0. Senior Mark Jankowski (CGY) posted two goals, including the game-winner, and chipped in a pair of assists to lead Providence.

All of the aforementioned teams have earned first round byes in their respective conference tournaments.

Vesey among 10 finalists for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award

Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey (NSH) was named one of the 10 finalists for this season’s Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The award is annually given to the senior that displays excellence in the areas of classroom, community, character and competition.

The winner of the award will be announced in April during the Frozen Four in Tampa, FL.

Hot Heinen

No collegiate NHL prospect was hotter in February than Denver sophomore Danton Heinen. In the Pioneers six games during the month (all wins), he posted 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) en route to being named both the NCHC and National Player of the Month. After getting off to a bit of a slow start, Heinen is playing some of his best hockey of the season right now. Overall, he currently leads Denver with 15 goals and ranks third on the team with 37 points playing in 34 games to date.

Michigan’s “CCM” line continues torrid pace

The University of Michigan’s lethal top line of freshman Kyle Connor (WPG), and juniors J.T. Compher (COL) and Tyler Motte (CHI), aka the “CCM” line, continues to be the nation’s hottest line. The line combined for 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) in the Wolverines seven games during February. Not surprisingly, Connor, Compher and Motte are amongst the nation’s top scorers. Connor currently leads the nation with 57 points while Compher leads in assists with 37, and Motte leading in goals with 29. In addition, the trio also sports the nation’s top three plus/minus ratings with Compher and Connor leading the way with an astounding +34.

It’s been a long time coming

To say that it’s been a very difficult year for Northeastern University senior Kevin Roy (ANA) might be an understatement. The Lac-Beauport, QC native struggled mightily early in the season to score goals before missing 12 games to injury. Upon his return on Jan. 22nd versus Merrimack College, Roy continued to struggle to find the back of the net.

That would all change on Feb. 13th versus UMass. Roy posted his first goal of the season and first in nearly a year. His previous goal came back on Feb. 28th, 2015 versus Boston University. Since scoring his first of this season, Roy has begun to find his groove again which should give the Huskies a significant boost heading into the postseason. Overall this season, Roy has played in 22 games, posting 16 points (five goals, 11 assists).

On the shelf

Boston College freshman Colin White (OTT) and junior Chris Calnan (CHI) missed the Eagles regular season finale on Feb. 26th & 27th versus UMass-Lowell due to a shoulder and upper body injury, respectively. Boston College hopes to have both players back in the lineup when they open postseason play on Mar. 11th.

UMass-Lowell junior Evan Campbell (EDM) has missed the last six games due to an undisclosed injury, and his current status is unknown. The River Hawks hope to have Campbell back in the lineup when they open postseason play on Mar. 11th.

Harvard University junior Tyler Moy (NSH) missed the Crimson’s regular season finale versus St. Lawrence on Feb 27th due to a lower body injury. Meanwhile, Moy’s linemate and fellow junior Sean Malone (BUF) missed the Crimson’s last three games due to a lower body injury. Harvard hopes to have both players back in the lineup when they open postseason play on Mar. 11th.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF