With the second half of the season in full swing, the conference races have begun to heat up. The first month of the new calendar year saw some outstanding performances and fantastic finishes. Here is a look back at what was making news around college hockey. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of January 31st.
Isles prospect makes push for CCHA Rookie of the Year
When the CCHA hands out their league honors in March, the Rookie of the Year could likely come out of Notre Dame, with New York Islanders prospect Anders Lee and fellow freshman (and linemate) T.J. Tynan being the top candidates.
The Edina, MN native exploded onto the college hockey landscape back in October when he became the first Fighting Irish player in over four decades to record a hat trick in his very first (non-exhibition) collegiate game. Since then, Lee has continued his stellar play. In 30 appearances to date, Lee has posted 33 points (18 goals, 15 assists), which currently leads all NHL-drafted freshmen. His 33 points also ranks second in the nation among all rookies, behind only Tynan’s 39. Lee currently leads Notre Dame in several categories, including power play goals (5), game-winning goals (4) and shots (114). His plus-13 ranks fourth on the team.
In the month of January, Lee posted 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in ten games. He recently earned his second CCHA Rookie of the Week honor after an impressive five-point (three goals, two assists) performance against Miami on January 28/29th. Lee is also a two-time CCHA Player of the Month, having earned the award for October and December.
What has been particularly impressive about Lee throughout the season has been his offensive consistency. Of the 30 games that he has played in, Lee has only been held scoreless in 11 of them. He has also posted multiple points in 11 games.
Schultz making strong case for Hobey Baker
Last year, Blake Geoffrion (NSH) became the first University of Wisconsin player to win the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player. This season, current Badgers defenseman Justin Schultz is making a strong case for it. The West Kelowna, BC native, along with fellow Anaheim Ducks prospect Jake Gardiner have been the driving force behind a Wisconsin team that is poised for another run at the National Championship.
Schultz’s numbers this season are astounding. He currently leads the nation in defenseman scoring with 39 points (15 goals, 24 assists) playing in all 30 games to date. His 39 points also lead Wisconsin as well as rank tied for fourth in the nation overall. Schultz’s 39 points is nearly double the 22-points that he posted in all of last season as well.
Schultz’s eight power play goals and three game-winners both rank tied for second on the Badgers squad, while his plus-15 ranks third. Of the 30 games that Schultz has played in this season, he has been held pointless in only seven of them. In the month of January, Schultz was particularly good, posting 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in Wisconsin’s eight games.
What has been most impressive about Schultz this season is his consistent and balanced play in all three zones. As good as he has been offensively; he has been equally as good defensively. And as great as Schultz’s point production has been, it has not come at the expense of his defensive duties.
Kings prospect makes history at St. Cloud State
On Jan. 28, senior Garrett Roe (LA) etched his name into St. Cloud State hockey books when he became the Huskies new career assists leader. His record-setting, 105th career assist came in the first period on junior Jared Festler‘s power play tally in St. Cloud State’s 3-3 tie with Minnesota State-Mankato. The previous record of 104 was set by former Huskies standout Ryan Lasch. Roe currently ranks second on the team with 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) playing in all 26 games.
Season-ending injury list grows among Thrashers collegiate prospects
University of Minnesota senior goaltender Alex Kangas opted to end his season (and collegiate career) to undergo hip surgery midway through the month. The Rochester, MN native appeared in only eight games this season, posting a 2-5-0 record. Kangas had the option to redshirt and return for another season, but declined to do so.
Caps prospect dismissed
For the second straight year, Boston University has dismissed one of their NHL-drafted players. This time around it was junior Andrew Glass (WSH). According to The Daily Free Press, Boston University’s student newspaper, head coach Jack Parker cited "missing meetings and being late" among the reasons for Glass’ dismissal.
The Wrentham, MA native appeared in 15 games this season, posting five points (two goals, three assists).
Goaltending prospects help propel teams up conference standings
Two goaltending prospects have gotten their respective teams moving up not only in their respective conferences, but also in the national polls as well.
One of the best stories coming out of Hockey East this season has been Merrimack College. The Warriors currently sit in fourth place in their conference with a vastly improved defense, lead by junior Joe Cannata (VAN). The Wakefield, MA native has been a key component of the stingy Merrimack defense that currently ranks fifth in nation, allowing an average of 2.12 goals per game, as well as the nation’s second best penalty killing unit with an 89.1 percent efficiency rating.
Cannata has appeared in all 24 games to date, posting a 15-5-4 record that includes one shutout. His 2.07 goals against average ranks tenth in the nation, while his .923 save percentage ranks tied for 15th. Cannata was named the Hockey East Goaltender of the Month back in October after starting the season with a 2-1-2 record. He has also garnered three Goaltender of the Week honors as well.
In the month of January, Cannata posted wins in seven of Merrimack’s eight games, including an outstanding 29-save effort in Merrimack’s 7-1 win over Maine back on January 8th that earned him his most recent Goaltender of the Week honor.
While Cannata’s poise and grace under pressure has been well-documented, what may be most impressive about the junior netminder this season are his consistency and much-improved rebound control.
Another goaltender that is backstopping his team up the league standings and polls is RPI junior Allen York (CBJ). The Engineers currently sit in fourth place in the ECAC, and like Merrimack, have a vastly improved and stingy defense as well, thanks in part to the stellar goaltending of York. RPI sports the nation’s third-best defense that is allowing an average of 2.04 goals per game.
The Wetaskiwin, AB native has played in 25 games to date, posting a record of 16-6-3 that includes two shutouts. York’s 1.86 goals against average currently ranks third in the nation, while his .932 save percentage ranks seventh. His 16 wins, goals against average, save percentage and minutes played (1512:33) leads all NHL-drafted goaltenders.
York’s best month thus far was January, where he went 6-2. His most brilliant weekend performance of the season took place on January 28/29th. During the weekend, York posted a 36-save, 3-0 shutout win over Brown and followed it up with a 38-save, 5-2 win over then-top-ranked Yale the following night. The effort also earned York his third ECAC Goaltender of the Week honor as well.
His ability to consistently step up at crucial times and giving his team a chance to win every night have been two of the most notable aspects of York’s game this season. And like Cannata, York has also shown that he can be poised and calm under pressure as well.
Yale’s Ken Agostino (PIT) was one of the hottest freshmen in the month of January, taking home the HCA National Rookie of the Month award. In the Bulldogs’ nine games during the month, Agostino posted 12 points (eight goals, four assists). He started the month off with a bang, posting his first career hat-trick and adding two assists in the Bulldogs’ 10-3 rout of Holy Cross back on Jan. 2. Agostino earned his lone ECAC Rookie of the Week honor on Jan. 25 after posting three goals in the January 21/22 series versus St. Lawrence and Clarkson. To date, Agostino has posted 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 16 games for Yale.
Michigan senior Carl Hagelin (NYR) continued his torrid point production in January. In the Wolverines’ seven games, he posted 12 points (four goals, eight assists). The lone game during the month that Hagelin was held pointless was in Michigan’s 1-2 loss to archrival Michigan State on January 29th. It also snapped his nine-game point streak as well. Hagelin currently leads the Wolverines with 35 points (13 goals, 22 assists) playing in all 28 games thus far.
North Dakota sophomore Danny Kristo (MON) ended the month with ten points (three goals, seven assists) playing in all eight games. The lone game he was held pointless was in the Fighting Sioux’s 2-4 loss to Colorado College on Jan. 28. He recently suffered frostbite and is out indefinitely. Kristo currently ranks sixth on the team with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) playing in all 29 games to date. His 17 assists rank second on the team.
After missing seven games due to injury, junior Jason Gregoire (NYI) made a triumphant return to the North Dakota lineup on Jan. 14. In the six games during the month since his return, Gregoire recorded nine points (six goals, three assists). Overall, he has posted 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) in 22 games. His 12 goals currently rank tied for second on the team.
Another freshman currently on a hot streak is St. Cloud State’s Cam Reid (NSH). In the Huskies’ six games in January, he posted eight points (three goals, five assists). Reid’s current point streak, which goes back to late December, is at eight games. On the season thus far, Reid currently leads St. Cloud State in rookie scoring with 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 25 games. His four game-winners and plus-10 leads all Huskies as well.
Senior John Albert (ATL) has been one of Ohio State’s most consistent point producers all season long, but he was particularly productive in the month of January. The Concord, OH native posted ten points (five goals, five assists) in the Buckeyes’ ten games during the month. Albert earned his lone CCHA Offensive Player of the Week honor on Jan. 10 after posting four points (two goals, two assists) in the Buckeyes sweep of intrastate rival Miami on January 7th and 8th. Albert currently leads Ohio State with 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists). In the 27 games that he has appeared in to date, Albert has posted a point in 19 of them.
Miami’s Reilly Smith (DAL) continued his sensational sophomore campaign in January. In the RedHawks’ eight games during the month, he posted nine points (six goals, three assists). Smith earned his second CCHA Offensive Player of the Week honor back on January 17th after collecting four points (two goals, two assists) in Miami’s sweep over Bowling Green on January 15th and 16th. Overall, Smith leads the RedHawks with 16 goals and a plus-15, and ranks third on the team in points (35) in 27 appearances.
Junior Nick Tremblay (BOS) enjoyed an outstanding January, despite the fact that his Clarkson team only posted two wins during the month. Tremblay posted eight points (five goals, three assists) in the Golden Knights’ eight games in January. He is coming off of an excellent performance versus Princeton on January 29th after posting two goals in Clarkson’s 3-4 overtime loss. It was also Tremblay’s first multi-goal game of his collegiate career. He currently co-leads the Golden Knights with 18 points (nine goals, nine assists) in 24 games to date.