March college prospects notebook

By DJ Powers

In the final season installment, the notebook looks back on some defining moments and fantastic finishes going into the upcoming Frozen Four in Milwaukee, WI involving NHL prospects from around the country.

Sharks prospect makes WCHA history

University of Denver defenseman and recent San Jose Sharks signee Matt Carle became the first player in WCHA history to capture both the Player and the Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season. Carle capped a stellar three-year career with the Pioneers leading the nation in scoring among defensemen with 53 points (19 goals, 42 assists) playing in all 39 games. He was also recently named as a “Hobey Hat Trick” finalist.

The Mavericks’ hockey king

Nebraska-Omaha forward and Los Angeles Kings prospect Scott Parse wraps a sensational junior season finishing second in the nation in scoring with 61 points (20 goals, 41 assists), taking home the CCHA Player of the Year honor and leading his team to their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Parse, who was also named as a top ten finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, also solidified himself in the annals of the Nebraska-Omaha record books, becoming the team’s all-time career leader in points (145), goals (75) and assists (90). He also became the first Maverick in the program’s history to capture the CCHA’s Player of the Year honor and to be named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

Blackhawks prospect Wisconsin’s “marathon man”

It was a game that was one for the ages. A game that last 111:13 minutes in actual playing time and netted a grand total of one goal. That goal, at the 11:13 mark of the third overtime in the NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Final on Mar. 26, came off of the stick of Chicago Blackhawks prospect and Wisconsin freshman Jack Skille. The tally sent the Badgers to their first Frozen Four since 1992 and the devastated Cornell Big Red home. The victory was made even sweeter for Wisconsin by the fact that they also play host to the Frozen Four this year. The game was the second longest in NCAA Tournament history.

Elliott and Schneider shutting out opponents

Wisconsin junior Brian Elliott (OTT) and Boston College sophomore Cory Schneider (VAN) head into the Frozen Four playing at the top of their game and with shutout streaks intact. The two could (depending upon the outcome in the Frozen Four semi-finals) face one another for the National Championship in a showdown of two of the nation’s finest and most reliable goaltenders.

Elliott, recently named a Hobey Hat Trick finalist, helped guide the Badgers into their Frozen Four appearance behind a shutout streak of 252:49 minutes that spans over three games. He has not allowed in this year’s NCAA Tournament, shutting out CHA Champions Bemidji State 4-0 then Cornell 1-0 in the hard-fought Midwest Regional Final marathon. The last goal Elliott allowed came back on Mar. 17 versus North Dakota in the WCHA Final Five semi-finals.

Schneider guided the Boston College Eagles to another Frozen Four appearance behind back-to-back shutouts against two of the nation’s top teams in Miami and Boston University respectively in the Northeast Regional on March 24 and 25. Coincidentally, the last goal he allowed was to Boston University on Mar. 18 in the heartbreaking 2-1 loss in the Hockey East Championship game. This is the second time this season that Schneider has posted consecutive shutouts. He did it three times in a row back in January, posting two of them against Merrimack and the other against Vermont. His eight shutouts is a new school single-season record, surpassing the five previously set by Scott Clemmenson.

Early departures

With the 2005-06 season coming to a close, the annual departures to the pro ranks have begun. In addition to the graduating seniors, several top non-graduates are also making the jump. Defenseman Matt Carle (SJ), and forwards David Backes (STL), Ryan Potulny (PHI), and Daniel Winnik (PHO) are the drafted players who have chosen to make an early exit from the collegiate ranks. Thus far, three non-graduating free agent signings have taken place. Cornell junior goaltender and 2005 Hobey Baker finalist David McKee signed with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks earlier this week. Bowling Green sophomore Alex Foster signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs while Nebraska-Omaha sophomore Bill Thomas signed with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Four NHL prospects named to the inaugural Skills Challenge rosters

New to the Frozen Four weekend is the Skills Challenge. It works similarly to what one would see in the Skills Competition during the NHL All-Star game. This inaugural year, four NHL prospects will be among the competitors taking part. All four players are seniors having just completed their collegiate playing careers. The teams are divided in an East-West format and have players represented from both the men’s and women’s sides of NCAA hockey. Cornell’s Matt Moulson (PIT) and Colgate’s Kyle Wilson (MIN) have been named to the East squad. Michigan State’s Colton Fretter (ATL) and Notre Dame’s Mike Walsh (NYR) have been named to the West squad. The Skills Challenge takes place on Friday, Apr. 7 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI.

Award-winning season

This year, many NHL prospects were recognized for their outstanding seasons. Below is the list of prospects that took home an award and/or were named to All-Conference teams.

Player of the Year: CCHA – Scott Parse (LA); WCHA – Matt Carle (SJ)
CCHA Defensive Forward of the Year: Drew Miller (ANA)
Hockey East Rookie of the Year: Brandon Yip (COL)
WCHA Defensive Player of the Year: Matt Carle (SJ)

All-Rookie Teams

CCHA: Tyler Eckford (NJ), Jack Johnson (CAR), and Andrew Cogliano (EDM)
ECACHL: Matt Generous (BUF) and Shea Guthrie (NYI)
Hockey East: Ben Bishop (STL) and Brandon Yip (COL)
WCHA: Chris Butler (BUF), Brian Lee (OTT), T.J. Oshie (STL) and Mason Raymond (VAN)

All-Conference First Teams

Atlantic Hockey: Jason Smith (NJ)
CCHA: Nathan Oystrick (ATL), Nathan Davis (CHI), Scott Parse (LA) and Bill Thomas (PHO)
Ivy League: David Jones (COL), Matt Moulson (PIT), Grant Lewis (ATL), Ryan O’Byrne (MON) and Dylan Reese (NYR)
Hockey East: Dan Spang (SJ), Brian Boyle (LA) and Greg Moore (NYR)
WCHA: Bobby Goepfert (PIT), Matt Carle (SJ), Tom Gilbert (EDM), Ryan Potulny (PHI), Brett Sterling (ATL) and Paul Stastny (COL)

All-Conference Second Teams

CCHA: Matt Hunwick (BOS), Alex Foster (TOR), T.J. Hensick (COL) and Ryan Jones (MIN)
ECACHL: Grant Lewis (ATL), Dylan Reese (NYR), David Jones (COL), Matt Moulson (PIT) and Kyle Wilson (MIN)
Ivy League: David McKee (ANA)
Hockey East: Cory Schneider (VAN) and Daniel Winnik (PHO)
WCHA: Brian Elliott (OTT), Alex Goligoski (PIT), Brian Salcido (ANA), Joe Pavelski (SJ), and David Backes (STL)

All-Conference Third Teams

ECACHL: Ryan O’Byrne (MON)
WCHA: Matt Smaby (TB), Drew Stafford (BUF) and Danny Irmen (MIN)

Milestones

Michigan freshman defenseman and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Jack Johnson capped an outstanding rookie season with his name added to the Wolverines hockey history books. He set a new school record for points by a freshman defenseman when he tallied his 32nd point of the season on a goal back on Mar. 11 versus Ferris State in the CCHA conference quarterfinals. The goal was the game and series winner for Michigan.

St. Cloud State goaltender Bobby Goepfert (PIT) got his name in the Huskies hockey history books after finishing a stellar junior season that included a 2.20 goals against average. His GAA is a new school single-season record. St. Cloud State closed out their 2005-06 season in a 5-3 loss to North Dakota in the WCHA Conference Championship game back on Mar. 18.

North Dakota freshman sensation and St. Louis Blues prospect T.J. Oshie recently etched his name into the North Dakota hockey record books. His game-winning tally versus Michigan in the NCAA Tournament West Regional semi-final on March 24 was his ninth of the season and a new school record. He leads the nation in goal scoring among rookies with 24, which also includes 11 power play tallies. He currently sits tied for second on the school’s all-time single season power play tally list among freshmen. Oshie needs two more to tie and three to set a new all-time mark.

San Jose Sharks prospect and Wisconsin sophomore Joe Pavelski (SJ) notched his first career hat trick in the Badgers 4-0 win over Bemidji State in the NCAA Tournament Midwest regional semi-final on Mar. 25. Two of his three goals came on the power play.

New York Rangers prospect and Maine team captain Greg Moore became the 45th player in Black Bears hockey history to join the century club. He posted his 100th career point back on Mar. 10 versus UMass-Lowell in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

It took 60 games into his collegiate career but North Dakota sophomore and Atlanta Thrashers defensive forward prospect Rylan Kaip finally scored his first (and second) collegiate goals. It happened back on Mar. 17 in North Dakota’s 4-3 win over Wisconsin in the WCHA Final Five semi-finals.

Ducks prospect named a finalist for the Hockey Humanitarian Award

In addition to the Hobey Baker Award, the Hockey Humanitarian Award is one of college hockey’s most coveted awards. The annual award, which is presented at the same ceremony as that honoring the Hobey Baker Award finalists and winner, is given to college hockey’s finest citizen. It recognizes the player who has distinguished him or herself through charity work and community service.

This year, Anaheim Mighty Ducks prospect and Michigan State junior Drew Miller was among the seven finalists named for this prestigious award. Miller, who also won the CCHA’s Illitch Humanitarian Award, founded the Spartan Buddy program, which sends Michigan State athletes to visit terminally or severely ill children. He is also involved with the Special Olympics and the Children’s Miracle Network. The award will be presented on Apr. 7 at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, WI during the Frozen Four weekend.


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