Blues NCAA prospects update

By Jon Shecket

Four Blues prospects are playing in the NCAA this year. Below is a progress report.

David Backes, C – Minnesota State-Mankato, junior
Height – 6’3, Weight – 210 lbs., DOB – 1984-05-01, Shoots – Right

Selected by the Blues with their second round pick (62nd overall) in 2003, Backes was chosen captain of the Mavericks for 2005-06 and is currently leading the team in scoring for the second year in a row with 29 points in 24 games. He scored the 99th and 100th points of his NCAA career with his two assists against Alabama-Huntsville on Dec. 31. Backes then hit another milestone on Jan. 13 with his 100th NCAA game.

Backes has scored at a rate of 1.12 points per game since his sophomore season.

Ben Bishop, G – Maine, freshman
Height – 6’5, Weight – 205 lbs., DOB – 1986-11-21, Catches – Left

Drafted by the Blues in the third round in 2005, Bishop has been sharing the Black Bears’ goaltending duty with sophomore Matt Lundin. He has an 8-5 record along with a .901 save percentage and a 2.43 goals against average.

Bishop started both games of Maine’s sweep of the defending national champion University of Denver on Oct. 14-15 saving 38 of 41 shots. Bishop then hit a low point on Dec. 2 when he was pulled in the third period against Providence after giving up four goals for his third straight loss. He sat out the next two games before returning to the ice Dec. 28 in the consolation game of the Florida College Classic, a 4-2 win over Northeastern. Bishop had another difficult outing Jan. 14 at Boston University in which he was pulled after conceding four goals in the second period.

Ryan MacMurchy, RW – Wisconsin, senior
Height – 6’2, Weight – 208 lbs., DOB – 1983-04-27, Shoots – Right

A late selection by the Blues in 2002 (9th round, 284th), MacMurchy had his best season for the Badgers last year as a junior with 33 points in 40 games. His numbers so far this season are not up to the same pace, but this could largely be due to the Badgers’ offensive depth. He has 15 points in 22 games.

MacMurchy is Wisconsin’s biggest forward and is leading the Badgers in penalty minutes with 51, as he did last season. He has scored four goals and three assists on the power play.

T.J. Oshie, C – North Dakota, freshman
Height – 5’11, Weight – 181 lbs., DOB – 1986-12-23, Shoots – Right

Oshie, the Blues’ first round pick in 2005 (24th overall), is one of the top-scoring freshmen in the NCAA. His best weekend of the year came on Dec. 16-17 against Bemidji State when he was moved from center to right wing. He scored the game-winning goal on the 16th to help the Sioux end a five-game home losing streak and then scored a hat trick the following night. This earned him WCHA Rookie of the Week honors as he left North Dakota to participate in the World Juniors, where he was one of Team USA’s best two-way players.

He has 23 points, 12 of them goals, in 24 games this season.

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