NCAA January prospects update

By DJ Powers

With the second half of the season now underway, the focus is on the playoff races, which begin just over a month from now. All six conferences have, to varying degrees, some hotly contested races and intense rivalries taking place that are likely to continue through to the postseason.

Below is a look back at some of the month of January’s news and notes involving NHL prospects from around the NCAA. All statistics listed are current as of February 5th.

Bemidji State’s Murray now in the record books

Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Andrew Murray officially etched his name in the Bemidji State record books. Back on January 7th versus Air Force, Murray posted his 100th and 101st career points to set a new record for career points in the school’s Division I era. He also set a new school record for consecutive games with a point with 12. The streak, which ran from November 22nd to January 21st, was halted on January 22nd after he suffered an injury in the game versus Alabama-Huntsville that temporarily kept him out of the Beavers lineup. Murray leads the team in scoring with 34 points (14 goals, 20 assists).

Avalanche defensemen prospects taking ‘offense’

It took until their senior years to finally pot their first collegiate goals, but Providence College defenseman Eric Lundberg and Bowling Green defenseman Taylor Christie, both Avalanche picks, have finally done it. Since scoring his first goal back in November, Lundberg has notched another to go along with 11 assists on the season. Christie notched his first collegiate goal back on January 28th in BGSU’s 4-1 win over Notre Dame. Another Colorado Avalanche defenseman getting “offensive” these days is University of Minnesota freshman Derek Peltier. He leads all Gophers freshmen defensemen in goals with five.

Flyers prospect is Colgate’s big man on campus

At 6’6, 230 lbs. it’s tough to miss Philadelphia Flyers prospect and Raiders defenseman Joey Mormina out on the ice. Mormina has become an integral part of Colgate’s success this season. The Raiders currently sit tied for second with Harvard in the hotly contested ECACHL race. One reason Mormina has been so effective for the Raiders could be attributed to his offensive contributions. His 11 points (five goals, six assists) rank him second on the team. His five goals are the most he has scored in a season during his collegiate career.

Grumet-Morris has opponents seeing Crimson

The Harvard Crimson have won five consecutive games and senior goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris (PHI) has allowed just five goals in that stretch. Meanwhile his Crimson teammates have scored a combined 23 goals in that same stretch. Grumet-Morris’ best performance during that stretch came back on January 8th where he went the distance, posting a 27-save shutout over Cornell.

Sigalet returns to workhorse duties

The month of January saw Bowling Green senior goaltender Jordan Sigalet (BOS) returning to very active duty in the Falcons net. Since the series versus Alaska-Fairbanks back on January 7th, he hasn’t missed a game. During that stretch the Falcons have gone 5-2-1 and Sigalet, who announced that he has MS, has faced an average of just over 32.5 shots per game.

Wolverines’ Hunwick hot streak

During the first half of January after returning from the World Junior Championship, Michigan sophomore Matt Hunwick (BOS) began heating up on the scoresheet. In the weekend series versus Western Michigan and Alaska-Fairbanks, Hunwick posted six points (one goal, five assists). His performances earned him two consecutive CCHA Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Parse and Holt leading the surging Mavericks

The Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks are one of the hottest teams in the nation that no one seems to be talking about. The Mavericks have quietly put together an impressive streak of 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, dating back to the beginning of 2005. Sophomores Scott Parse (LA) and Chris Holt (NYR) have been instrumental in helping to put that streak together. Parse currently leads the team in scoring with 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) and is averaging better than a point per game. Parse, along with freshman Bill Thomas, make up arguably the most offensively potent duo in the CCHA. Holt has put together a 15-9-3 record that includes one shutout. He also sees plenty of ice time. Holt currently ranks fourth in the nation in minutes played (1609:41).

The Battle of the Riverstone turns into a wild night in Manchester

Back on January 12th, the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. hosted the “Battle of the Riverstone” between two New Hampshire based schools: University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College. When the final buzzer sounded, the teams combined for 17 goals. With the exception of Dartmouth’s injured forward Hugh Jessiman (NYR) and sophomore defenseman Grant Lewis (ATL), every NHL prospect on both teams who were not goaltenders notched at least a point in the game. Dartmouth pulled out a four-goal third period for the come-from-behind win. The winning goaltender for Dartmouth was freshman Mike Devine, who was the third Dartmouth goaltender to see action in the contest.

The game was also part of a two-game weekend series that saw Dartmouth freshman Nick Johnson (PIT) earn his first ECACHL Rookie of the Week honor after a six-point (four goals, two assists) performance.

In a Colorado state of mind

Two of the nation’s top teams reside in the state of Colorado. Colorado College and the University of Denver currently sit atop the WCHA standings ranked first and second respectively. Both teams have gotten superb goaltending and lots of offense. In Colorado Springs, the Tigers possess two of the nation’s top performing goaltenders in NHL prospects, senior Curtis McElhinney (CGY) and sophomore Matt Zaba (LA). In Denver, it’s been the stellar play of sophomore Glenn Fisher (EDM) and freshman Peter Mannino between the Pioneers’ pipes that have helped Denver enjoy an outstanding season. Denver and Colorado College rank first and second respectively in the nation in team offense. Both are currently the only teams in the nation averaging over four goals per game. Senior Marty Sertich and junior Brett Sterling (ATL) have been tearing things up at Colorado College, while junior defenseman Brett Skinner (VAN) and sophomore defenseman Matt Carle (SJ) have been doing the same at Denver.

First Hats

Minnesota Wild prospect Danny Irmen (Minnesota) and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim prospect Drew Miller (Michigan State) each recorded their first career hat tricks in the month of January. Irmen’s came back on January 14th in Minnesota’s wild 9-6 win over Minnesota State-Mankato. Miller’s came the same night in the Spartans’ 5-4 loss to Western Michigan.

Injury updates

– North Dakota sophomore Brady Murray (LA), who missed time earlier in the season due to a knee injury, is out of the Fighting Sioux lineup once again, this time with a shoulder injury. He has not played since January 15th versus Colorado College.

– Freshman Rylan Kaip (ATL) may be lost for the season due to lingering effects of post-concussion syndrome. Kaip has been out of the Fighting Sioux lineup since mid-December.

– Just as his season was going so well for him, imposing Michigan senior Jason Ryznar (NJ) is back on the shelf with a broken finger. He suffered the injury on January 29th versus Northern Michigan. He’ll likely be out of the Wolverines lineup for two weeks. Ryznar is one of three NHL prospects on the Wolverines roster currently out of action. Sophomores Mike Brown (VAN) and David Rohlfs (EDM) are both battling mononucleosis. Their current status is week-to-week. Senior David Moss (CGY) missed the weekend series versus Northern Michigan back on January 29th and 30th due to a groin injury. He returned to the Wolverines lineup on February 4th versus Michigan State.

– Miami-Ohio sophomore goaltender Brandon Crawford-West (PIT) was out of the RedHawks lineup in the January 28th and 29th series versus Ferris State with a viral infection. He returned to the lineup the following weekend versus Western Michigan.

– Lake Superior State senior goaltender Matt Violin (VAN), who suffered a knee injury back on November 26th versus Northern Michigan, returned to the Lakers lineup on January 14th versus non-conference rival Alabama-Huntsville. He stopped 24 of 27 shots to preserve a 3-3 for LSSU.

– Wisconsin freshman Matt Ford (CHI) is expected to be out of the Badgers lineup for at least another week after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for an undisclosed injury last week. He was out of the Badgers lineup in this past weekend’s series versus Minnesota and is expected to be out of the Badgers lineup for the upcoming weekend series versus Denver.

Hobey Watch

Atlanta Thrashers prospect Brett Sterling (Colorado College), Ottawa Senators prospect Patrick Eaves (Boston College), Boston Bruins prospect Jordan Sigalet (Bowling Green) and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ryan Potulny (Minnesota) are some of the early top candidates for this year’s Hobey Baker Award. The award, which is given annually to the top collegiate player in the nation, is presented during the Frozen Four and is voted on by the collegiate hockey media as well as the fans. Potulny, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota was the top vote getter in the nomination phase of the fan balloting online. He garnered over 460 votes to make it to the preliminary voting phase of fan balloting, which is currently going on right now until March 6th. Fans who wish to participate can go to HobeyBaker.com to cast their votes.

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