November college hockey prospects notebook

By DJ Powers

Below we look back at the flurry of activity and some memorable performances involving NHL prospects from around the college hockey community in November. All statistics are current as of Nov. 27 unless otherwise noted.

College Hockey Showcase

The 14th annual College Hockey Showcase, which took place over the Thanksgiving weekend, included 39 NHL prospects, including nine first-round selections. The red-hot Minnesota Golden Gophers showed why they are the top-ranked team in the nation by sweeping both Michigan and Michigan State, outscoring their Big Ten counterparts by a combined score of 13-6. Sophomore right wing Blake Wheeler (PHX) and senior defenseman Mike Vannelli (ATL) both netted four points each to lead Minnesota. What was perhaps the most impressive part of the Golden Gophers’ performance was the fact that all but one participating skater notched a point in the Showcase. The lone player who did not was sophomore forward Justin Bostrom. The seemingly unstoppable Golden Gophers have not lost a game since their season opener against Maine on Oct. 6 in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame game.

The Michigan Wolverines and the Wisconsin Badgers both earned splits in the Showcase. Michigan defeated Wisconsin 4-3 on Friday, before being handed a crushing 2-8 loss by Minnesota. The most consistent Wolverine line of seniors T.J. Hensick (COL) and David Rohlfs (EDM) and junior Kevin Porter (PHO) accounted for 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in the Showcase, including the only Michigan scoring in the Saturday night game versus Minnesota.

After their 3-4 loss to Michigan on Friday, Wisconsin came back to beat Michigan State on Saturday 2-0, snapping a six-game losing streak. Senior and team captain Andrew Joudrey (WSH) netted the game-winner. The goal was just his second on the season and first in a month. Sophomore winger Jack Skille (CHI) notched a short-handed tally in his return to the Wisconsin lineup on Friday against Michigan.

The Michigan State Spartans were the only team swept in the Showcase, losing to both Minnesota and Wisconsin respectively. Despite the losses, the Spartans “09” sophomore line of Justin Abdelkader (DET), Tim Kennedy (BUF) and Tim Crowder (PIT) continue to be one of the nation’s most productive trios. The line posted five points (three goals, two assists) and had a hand in three of the team’s four goals in the Friday loss to Minnesota.

November notables

Senior David Brown (PIT) has backstopped Notre Dame to their best start in over a decade with a 10-3-1 record. In the month of November, the Stony Creek, Ont. native posted a 5-2-1 record that included one shutout. During that stretch, Brown allowed three goals just once with a .930 save percentage and a 1.63 goals against average.

Miami junior center Nathan Davis (CHI) became the first player in the nation this season to reach the 30-point mark. The Rocky River, Ohio native’s 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) and 1.88 points per game both co-lead the nation. Davis has posted at least a point in 13 of the RedHawks’ 16 games thus far.

Senior goaltender Glenn Fisher (EDM) is playing some of the best hockey of his collegiate career for the University of Denver. In the month of November, he has posted a perfect 4-0-0 record that included two shutouts, along with a 1.33 goals against average and a .972 save percentage. During the month, Fisher has allowed a total of just three goals.

New Hampshire freshman goaltender and Florida Panthers prospect Brian Foster posted an impressive 26-save shutout win in his first collegiate start. The feat came on Nov. 18 in the Wildcats 4-0 win over UMass-Lowell. Foster’s counterpart, junior Kevin Regan (BOS) has been stellar in his own right as New Hampshire’s starter this season, posting a 6-1-1 record in Hockey East play and is undefeated in his last seven starts (6-0-1). The Wildcats currently sit atop the Hockey East standings.

Dartmouth junior right wing David Jones (COL) has picked up right from where he left off last season. In the Big Green’s eight games in November, Jones has posted 10 points (four goals, six assists) and is in the midst of a seven-game point streak. He currently leads Dartmouth in scoring with 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) and is averaging 1.50 points per game.

Northern Michigan junior forward Mike Santorelli (NSH) is on pace to have career year that could potentially see him top the 50-point mark. In the Wildcats’ seven games this month, Santorelli posted 10 points (seven goals, three assists). The Burnaby, BC native has accounted for 12 of Northern Michigan’s 39 goals (31 percent) thus far this season and leads or co-leads the team in virtually every offensive category.

Senior center Brian Ihnacak (PIT) posted the game-winner in Brown’s 2-1 win over cross-town rival Providence College to claim the 21st annual Mayor’s Cup Championship on November 26. The goal was Ihnacak’s first of the season and 26th of his career.

Freshman defenseman Kevin Montgomery (COL) posted his first career multi-point game with a pair of assists to help Ohio State gain a 5-5 tie with RPI in the third place game of the 56th annual Rensselaer/Bank of America Holiday Tournament on Nov. 25. Host RPI claimed third place by virtue of a 10-round shootout that ended 5-4 in favor of the Engineers. Niagara University won the tournament, beating Colgate 3-1 in the championship game. Sophomore Mark Dekanich (NSH) made 27 saves for the Raiders in the losing cause.

Cat scratch fever

After struggling through most of October, the Vermont Catamounts have gotten back on track in November thanks in part to two of their NHL prospects in juniors Joe Fallon (CHI) and Torrey Mitchell (SJ).

In the six games in the month of November, Fallon has been sensational, going 5-1-0 and in the midst of a five-game winning streak. During that stretch, he has allowed just six goals, posting a stingy 1.05 goals against average and a .957 save percentage.

Co-captain Mitchell has become the cornerstone on an outstanding line for the Catamounts that also include sophomore Dean Strong and freshman Viktor Stålberg (TOR). In the month of November, Mitchell has posted nine points (three goals, six assists) in six games. On the season, he has points in 10 of Vermont’s 12 games.

A race to the finish?

One of the most hotly-contested scoring races going on right now is happening in the WCHA amongst the conference’s rookies. St. Cloud State winger Andreas Nodl (PHI) currently ranks second in the nation in rookie scoring with 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists). Right behind him are two Minnesota Golden Gophers in winger Kyle Okposo (NYI) and center Jay Barriball (SJ), both with 17 points apiece, and Denver winger Rhett Rakhshani (NYI) with 13 points (three goals, ten assists).

Making the WCHA rookie race even more intense are a pair of 2007 draft-eligible freshman forwards in St. Cloud State’s Ryan Lasch and Denver’s Brock Trotter, each with 16 points.

Early signing period

From Nov. 8 through 15, the NCAA’s early signing period took place for submissions of National Letters of Intent (NLIs). (For more information on NLIs, please visit: http://www.national-letter.org/overview).

The following is a list of current NHL prospects who have submitted NLIs in the early signing period and their institution of commitment.

G Richard Bachman (DAL) – Colorado College
G Alex Kangas (ATL) – University of Minnesota
C/LW Aaron Marvin (CGY) – St. Cloud State University
D Kevin Quick (TB) – University of Michigan
LW Andy Sackrison (STL) – Minnesota State University, Mankato
D Shane Sims (NYI) – The Ohio State University

On the shelf

Minnesota sophomore defenseman R.J. Anderson (PHI) underwent an emergency appendectomy in mid-November and is expected to be out until after Christmas.

Minnesota State-Mankato senior defenseman Chad Brownlee (VAN) is currently out with a leg injury and is listed week to week.

Minnesota-Duluth junior center Matt McKnight (DAL) is out the lineup until mid-December due to an undisclosed injury.

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