NCAA college prospects notebook for January, 2013

By DJ Powers

Cody Ferriero - Northeastern University

Photo: Northeastern University forward Cody Ferriero is one of several San Jose Sharks prospects to have a strong showing in the month of January (courtesy of Michael Tureski/Icon SMI)

The opening month of the 2013 calendar saw many fantastic performances from around college hockey. Hockey’s Future takes a look back at some of the month’s highlights (and lowlights). Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of Jan. 31st.

Knight stays hot

North Dakota senior Corban Knight (FLA) continued his torrid scoring pace in January. In the team’s eight games during the month, Knight racked up 12 points (four goals, eight assists). The only game in which he was held pointless was the Jan. 25th contest vs. St. Cloud State. It was just the third time, and first since Nov. 2nd, that Knight has been held pointless in a game this season. The High River, AB native currently leads all NHL collegiate prospects with 23 assists and 35 points overall. His 35 points ties him for second in the nation while his 23 assists ranks third. Not surprisingly, Knight has also become a prime candidate for this year’s Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player.

Two freshman prospects make strong push for Rookie of the Year honors

While Riley Barber (WSH) has been busy making a run for both the CCHA and National Rookie of the Year honors at Miami, two other freshmen prospects are also making their cases for Rookie of the Year.

One that is giving Barber some serious competition for National Rookie of the Year is Northeastern’s Kevin Roy (ANA). The Lac-Beauport, QC native, who is also making a push for Hockey East Rookie of the Year, is currently tied with Barber and Bentley University’s Andrew Gladiuk in the national rookie scoring race with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 22 games. His 26 points also leads Northeastern. Roy is coming off one of his best months of the season. In the Huskies’ six games during January, Roy posted eight points (four goals, four assists). His most memorable outing came on Jan. 18th versus Boston University. In that contest, Roy posted a goal and two assists en route to helping Northeastern to a wild 6-5 win.

Meanwhile over at Harvard, freshman Jimmy Vesey (NSH) is making a push for both the ECAC and Ivy League Rookie of the Year honors. The North Reading, MA native returned to the Crimson’s lineup on Jan. 9th after an excellent performance with Team USA at the World Junior Championship. In the seven Harvard games that he appeared in during January, Vesey racked up six points (five goals, one assist). Overall, he leads the Crimson with 14 points (10 goals, four assists) in 16 games. Vesey is also the only player on Harvard’s roster that has posted 10 or more goals so far this season. Vesey’s most memorable game during the month came on Jan. 26th versus St. Lawrence. In that contest, he posted two goals and earned his third ECAC Rookie of the Week honor of the season.

Sharks prospects swim to the top

January was a very good month for the collegiate prospects of the San Jose Sharks. The team’s 10 NCAA prospects combined to post a whopping 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) during the month. And all of them registered at least a point during the month.

No Sharks prospect was hotter in January than Boston University freshman Dan O’Regan. The Needham, MA native is coming off a terrific month that saw him post 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the Terriers’ seven games to earn Hockey East’s Rookie of the Month honor. Overall, O’Regan leads Boston University in rookie scoring with 23 points (six goals, 17 assists) playing in all 23 games.

O’Regan’s linemate, junior Matt Nieto, was also stellar in January, finishing the month with nine points (four goals, five assists). The Long Beach, CA native currently ranks tied for fourth on the Terriers roster with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) and has also played in all 23 games to date.

Northeastern junior Cody Ferriero is in the midst of a seven-game point streak. The Essex, MA native finished the month with eight points (three goals, five assists) in the team’s six games. Earlier in the season on Dec. 29th versus Harvard, Ferriero became the first Husky in 31 years to post four goals in a game. Overall, he ranks second on the Northeastern roster with 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists) playing in all 22 games to date. Ferriero leads the Huskies with four power-play tallies and 42 penalty minutes.

Harvard sophomore Colin Blackwell is coming off his best month of the season. In the Crimson’s nine games, he posted eight points (two goals and six assists). The North Andover, MA native currently centers one of the ECAC’s most exciting lines that includes freshmen Jimmy Vesey and Brian Hart (TBL). Overall, Blackwell has played in 14 games, posting 10 points (three goals, seven assists). Two of his three goals have come on the power-play.

Freshman Sean Kuraly returned to Miami’s lineup on Jan. 11th after an outstanding performance at World Junior Championship with Team USA. Although he only posted four assists in the RedHawks’ six games during the month, Kuraly carried the momentum that he had generated at the WJC back to Miami. To date, Kuraly has played in 24 games and has registered eight points (three goals, five assists). Like Blackwell, two of Kuraly’s goals on the season have come on the man advantage.

Rounding out the group of Sharks collegiate prospects are Ohio State junior Chris Crane, Boston College junior defenseman Isaac MacLeod, Michigan senior defenseman Lee Moffie, Minnesota State-Mankato sophomore Max Gaede and Cornell sophomore defenseman Joakim Ryan.

Jets goaltending prospects keys in their NCAA teams’ success

The Winnipeg Jets have three goaltending prospects, all freshmen, playing in the NCAA this season. Two of them, Connor Hellebuyck and Jason Kasdorf, have been a big part of their respective teams success in January.

Hellebuyck helped guide UMass-Lowell to their best month of the season. The Commerce, MI native is coming off of a stellar January, posting three wins in his three starts before being sidelined by an injury. Hellebuyck currently sports the top winning percentage (.857) among NHL-drafted goaltenders, despite having played in just 30 percent of the River Hawks’ games so far. His most memorable performance of the month came on Jan. 17th versus Providence College. In that contest, Hellebuyck stopped 31 of 32 shots to give UMass-Lowell a hard-fought 2-1 victory. The performance also earned Hellebuyck his fourth Hockey East Rookie of the Week honor on the season. His numbers overall are quite good. In eight appearances to date, he has posted a 6-1-0 record that includes two shutouts. He sports a sparkling .944 save percentage and a 1.54 goals-against average.

After missing six games due to a shoulder injury, Jason Kasdorf returned to the RPI lineup on Jan. 18th. In his three starts during the month, he went 2-1 and posted the Engineers’ only two wins in the month. RPI has utilized all three of their netminders this season, with Kasdorf leading the trio with a 4-4-2 record, .935 save percentage and a 1.75 goals against average. What has been most impressive about the Winnipeg, MB native is that he has allowed more than two goals in only one game that he has started this season, which was on Jan. 26th versus Union College when he allowed three goals in the Engineers’ 3-2 loss.

Blue Jackets prospect helps Maine get back on track

Maine currently sits in the Hockey East basement, but things are starting to look up thanks in part to the rock solid play of junior netminder Martin Ouellette (CBJ). The Black Bears went 3-3-2 in their eight games during January with Ouellette in goal in seven of those games. The St.-Hippolyte, QC native allowed more than one goal in just two games, both losses to Merrimack. Ouellette is coming off of his best weekend outing of the season when he stopped 68 of 70 shots in back-to-back wins over Boston College on Jan. 25th and 26th. The performance also earned him his first Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honor. He struggled early in the season before taking over the starting duties in mid-November. Overall, Ouellette has appeared in 17 games to date, posting a 5-7-4 record that includes one shutout. He also sports a 2.08 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage. While Ouellette’s numbers may not be all that impressive, what has been impressive is the fact that he is giving Maine an opportunity to win every night, having allowed more than two goals just three times since assuming the number one job.

Bigos in the record books

Rugged senior defenseman Kyle Bigos (EDM) made his way into both Merrimack’s and Hockey East’s record books in January. On Jan. 11th, the Upland, CA native set a new school and conference record for career penalty minutes with 415. Bigos broke the Warriors old record of 400 that was set back in 1996 and broke Hockey East’s old record of 406 that was set back in 1989. As of the end of January, Bigos has 419 career penalty minutes.

Stolarz leaves Nebraska-Omaha

Freshman netminder Anthony Stolarz (PHI) became the latest prospect to leave the collegiate ranks, when he did so on Jan. 7th to join the London Knights (OHL). The Jackson, NJ native struggled much of the time while at Nebraska-Omaha, finishing with a 2-5-0 record in eight appearances, although he posted the Mavericks’ lone shutout of the season so far. That came back on Nov. 24th versus Alabama-Huntsville.

Who’s hot

Like his North Dakota linemate Corban Knight, senior Danny Kristo (MTL) was red-hot in January. The Eden Prairie, MN native tied his teammate for the most points during the month with 12 (seven goals, five assists) in North Dakota’s eight games. His most memorable performance came on Jan. 12th versus Colorado College. In that game, Kristo had a hand in four of North Dakota’s five goals (two goals, two assists) in the 5-3 win. Overall, he ranks second on the team with 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 24 games to date. Kristo’s 15 goals currently co-lead all prospects, which is also tied for second nationally.

Sophomore Josh Archibald (PIT) was a driving force behind Nebraska-Omaha’s successful January. The Brainerd, MN native posted eight points (seven goals, one assist) in six games for the Mavericks and posted at least a point in every game during the month. His most memorable game came on Jan. 4th versus Colorado College when he netted his first career hat trick to guide Nebraska-Omaha to an 8-4 victory. The performance also earned Archibald the WCHA’s Co-Offensive Player of the Week honor. Overall, he is currently tied for second on the Mavericks squad with 25 points (14 goals, 11 assists) playing in all 26 games to date.

The Phoenix Coyotes have just three prospects currently in the NCAA, including Denver sophomore Zac Larraza. The Scottsdale, AZ native is coming off of his best month of the season so far after posting seven points (four goals, three assists) in the Pioneers’ six games. His most memorable game came on Jan. 11th versus Nebraska-Omaha. In that contest, Larraza posted a pair of goals, including the game-winner, and added an assist to propel Denver to a 7-4 win. Overall, Larraza has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 22 games to date.

It took a while, but Western Michigan freshman Colton Hargrove (BOS) finally found his groove during the month of January. The power forward from Rockwall, TX had his best month of the season so far, posting his first five collegiate goals (and points) in the Broncos’ eight games. His most memorable performance came in the Jan. 25th-26th series versus Michigan, posting three goals in the two game set to help give Western Michigan the sweep. It also earned Hargrove his second CCHA Rookie of the Week honor in January. To date, he has played 20 games for the Broncos.

Who’s not

January proved to be a tough month for Clarkson senior and team captain Ben Sexton (BOS). After being held pointless in December, he didn’t fare much better in January, registering just one assist on Jan. 4th versus UMass-Lowell. The following night, also against UMass-Lowell, he received a game-disqualification for spearing that forced him to sit out the Jan. 11 game versus Brown. Overall, Sexton has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in 17 games.

Denver junior goaltender Sam Brittain (FLA) enjoyed a great 4-1 start to the season before the wheels fell off, with Brittain losing the top job to sophomore Juho Olkinuora. The Calgary, AB native made just one start in January, which came in the 5-1 loss to St. Cloud State on Jan. 19th. His last victory came back on Nov. 17th versus arch rival Colorado College. Brittain has posted a 4-5-0 record in nine appearances to date. While he sports a respectable .902 save percentage, Brittain also sports an uncharacteristic 3.03 goals-against average – the worst among Denver’s three netminders.

A player’s struggles can sometimes mirror the struggles of their team. Such was the case for Notre Dame freshman Steven Fogarty (NYR). After going undefeated in December, the Fighting Irish managed just two wins in January, with Fogarty being held pointless. The Edina, MN native’s last point (a goal) came back on Dec. 8th versus Michigan State. Overall, Fogarty has five points (four goals, one assist) playing in all 26 games this season.

Minnesota-Duluth freshman defenseman Andy Welinski (ANA) was off to a terrific start, but has been quiet in January. In fact, he was held pointless in the Bulldogs’ four games during the month (Minnesota-Duluth also played an exhibition game versus the U.S. NTDP). The offensive-minded rookie defenseman’s last point (a power-play goal) came back on Dec. 15th versus Alaska-Anchorage. Welinski has played in all 24 Bulldogs games to date, posting 11 points (two goals, nine assists).

On the shelf

Michigan State freshman defenseman Rhett Holland (PHX) is out for the year due to a shoulder injury. The Calgary, AB native suffered the injury earlier in the season. He appeared in just three games and tallied no points.

Michigan’s injury problems continue to decimate their blueline. Junior Mac Bennett (MTL) suffered a leg injury and sophomore Brennan Serville (WPG) suffered a concussion in the Jan. 8th game versus Bowling Green and have been out of the lineup since.

New Hampshire senior Greg Burke (WSH) suffered a head injury on Jan. 12th versus Boston College and has yet to the return to the Wildcats' lineup.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF