The first month of 2007-08 season got off to an exciting start and featured a few surprises as well. Here is a look back at what happened.
For your information
As of the start of the 2007-08 regular season, 208 NHL drafted prospects representing all 30 NHL teams as well as 43 schools were playing in the NCAA this season.
Of the NCAA schools, the University of Minnesota leads with 15 drafted prospects, followed by the University of Michigan with 13 and the University of North Dakota with 11.
Among the NHL teams, the San Jose Sharks have the most current collegiate prospects with 14, followed by the Chicago Blackhawks with 13 and the Philadelphia Flyers with 12. Among the Canadian-based teams, the Edmonton Oilers and the Toronto Maple Leafs lead with seven apiece.
Early season tournaments roundup
The Icebreaker Invitational: Minnesota junior goaltender Jeff Frazee (NJ) posted a combined 69 saves in wins over RPI and Michigan respectively to help the Golden Gophers capture the Icebreaker Invitational Championship on Oct. 13 at the Xcel Energy Center. The tournament featured 39 NHL prospects representing all four participating teams.
After making 25 saves in Minnesota’s 4-3 win over RPI, Frazee went on to post a career-high 44 saves the following night in the hard-fought 4-3 victory over the Michigan Wolverines in the championship game. That contest also featured the first career goal scored by Minnesota junior defenseman R.J. Anderson (PHI) as well.
The championship however, came at a high cost to the Golden Gophers when junior Ryan Stoa (COL) was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in the opening period of the championship game.
Michigan reached the championship game after defeating Boston College 4-3 in their semi-final contest. Freshman Louie Caporusso (OTT) notched the game-winner and added an assist for the Wolverines.
In the consolation game, Boston College defeated RPI 4-1 thanks to a pair of power-play goals scored by senior Dan Bertram (CHI) and junior Nathan Gerbe (BUF).
The Lefty McFadden Invitational: In Dayton, OH, senior team captain Matt McIlvane (OTT) posted a goal and two assists in leading Ohio State to wins over Mercyhurst and Wisconsin to capture the Lefty McFadden championship.
Ohio State reached the championship game after defeating Mercyhurst 2-1 in a game that featured some outstanding goaltending by Ohio State sophomore Joe Palmer (CHI) and Mercyhurst junior Matt Lundin.
Wisconsin reached the championship game after defeating Notre Dame 4-1 in their opening contest. Freshman sensation Kyle Turris (PHX) posted two goals and two assists in the tournament for the Badgers.
In the consolation game, Notre Dame defeated Mercyhurst 4-0 thanks in part to stellar performances by a pair of Nashville Predators prospects in sophomore Ryan Thang and freshman Ben Ryan. The two combined for three points (one goal, two assists) in the game.
The Superior Cup Tournament: The first annual Superior Cup Tournament took place on Oct. 12-14 that pitted two CCHA teams in Lake Superior State and Northern Michigan against two WCHA teams in Michigan Tech and Minnesota-Duluth.
The Bulldogs of Minnesota-Duluth finished the tournament with a 2-2 tie with Lake Superior State on Oct. 12 before going on to defeat Northern Michigan 4-0 the following day. Sophomore netminder Alex Stalock (SJ) was brilliant between the pipes for Minnesota-Duluth, posting a combined 44 saves in the two contests.
Sophomore Nathan Perkovich (NJ) was off to a hot start for the second season in a row for Lake Superior State after posting a goal in both the Lakers 2-2 tie with Minnesota-Duluth and 3-4 loss to Michigan Tech on Oct. 14. Senior Jordan Foote (NYR) notched a power play goal and an assist to help guide the Huskies to victory.
Northern Michigan gained a split in the tournament after defeating Michigan Tech 3-2 on Oct. 12 before being shut out by Minnesota-Duluth 4-0 the following day. Sophomore defenseman T.J. Miller (NJ) tallied the game-winning power-play goal in the Wildcats win.
The Nye Frontier Classic: In Anchorage, AK, junior Jason Towsley notched four points (two goals, two assists) to lead the Colonials of Robert Morris University to capture the Nye Frontier Classic Championship. The Colonials handed Boston University a stunning 4-2 loss on Oct. 12 before defeating CHA conference rival Wayne State 4-1 the following day.
Boston University finished with a disappointing loss and tie in the tournament. After their loss to Robert Morris, the Terriers salvaged a 4-4 tie with host Alaska-Anchorage the following night thanks in part to a 19-save performance by sophomore netminder Brett Bennett (PHX). Freshmen Nick Bonino (SJ) and 2008 draft-eligible Colin Wilson each tallied two assists for Boston University.
The Mutual of Omaha Stampede: Seniors Mick Lawrence and Bryan Marshall combined to post two goals and five assists in host Nebraska-Omaha’s 5-1 over Alabama-Huntsville on Oct. 20 to capture the Mutual of Omaha Stampede championship. Prior to defeating the Chargers, the Mavericks posted an 8-1 exhibition win over the University of Manitoba the previous night.
Reigning CHA champion Alabama-Huntsville, reached the championship game after edging Canisius 4-3 the previous night. Sophomore Tom Train notched a goal and two assists for the Chargers in the tournament.
The Alaska Airlines Governor’s Cup: Part one in the Battle of Alaska took place at Sullivan Arena as the two University of Alaska teams (Anchorage and Fairbanks) faced off on Oct. 19 and 20. Host Anchorage swept the first two games in hopes of defending their title with 4-3 and 5-3 wins over their Fairbanks counterparts. Sophomore Josh Lunden and freshman Winston DayChief each netted three points to lead the Seawolves in the weekend set. Junior defenseman Tyler Eckford (NJ) posted a goal and two assists in the losing cause for the Nanooks.
The series concludes Dec. 28 and 29 at Carlson Arena in Fairbanks.
The Citizen’s Bank Governor’s Cup: Out in Albany, four New York-based ECACHL teams clashed in the Governor’s Cup Tournament on Oct. 26-27.
After a fourth-place finish in the Icebreaker Tournament two weeks prior, the RPI Engineers stormed back to successfully defend their Governor’s Cup title after defeating Union College and Colgate respectively. Senior Jordan Alford went the distance, stopping all 21 shots he faced against the Raiders. The Engineers got to the championship game after beating Union College 3-2 the day before. Seniors Andrew Lord and Jonathan Ornelas each posted a goal and an assist in the win.
Colgate reached the championship game after handing then-15th ranked St. Lawrence a bitter 2-1 loss behind senior Mark Dekanich‘s (NSH) 27-save performance.
In the consolation game, fifth-year senior John Hallas in just his second career start, was perfect between the pipes, stopping all 20 shots he faced to guide St. Lawrence to a 4-0 shutout of Union College.
The Shootout at Ingalls: The Ivy Leaguers got their 2007-08 regular season underway as host Yale welcomed Brown, Princeton and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in the inaugural Shootout at Ingalls on Oct. 26 and 27.
Princeton came out on top after posting convincing wins over host Yale (6-2) on Oct. 26 and UOIT (5-0) the following day. Sophomore Cam MacIntyre posted his first career hat trick and added two assists to pace the Tigers in their two wins.
After losing to Princeton in the Shootout opener, Yale bounced back to defeat Brown 2-0 the following day, thanks to some very solid goaltending by sophomore Billy Blasé. The win and shutout were career firsts for the Santa Monica, CA native.
The Brown Bears also finished the tournament 1-1 after defeating UOIT 2-0 in the opener before dropping the second game to Yale. Senior assistant captain Jeff Prough notched the eventual game-winner early in the first to give the Bears the win over UOIT.
The kids are alright
Rookie phenom Kyle Turris (PHX) is off to a blazing start for Wisconsin. He currently leads the nation with 12 points (five goals, seven assists), while averaging three points per game. At the rate that he is going, Turris is on pace to score roughly 125 points this season.
Want an early candidate for ECACHL Rookie of the Year? How about Colgate’s Brian Day? The New York Islanders prospect is off to a terrific start for the Raiders, posting five goals through the team’s first six games. His five goals also lead the team.
A Michigan Wolverines rookie was selected in the fourth-round of this past summer’s draft and didn’t garner quite as much press prior to the season that his teammates Max Pacioretty (MON), Aaron Palushaj (STL) and Louie Caporusso (OTT) did, but Matt Rust is certainly making everyone around college hockey take notice early. He currently co-leads Michigan in goal scoring with four and, along with Caporusso, leads all Wolverine rookies with six points.
So who is leading Boston College in scoring right now? If you guessed either juniors Nathan Gerbe (BUF) or Benn Ferriero (PHX), you’d be wrong. The answer? Freshman Joe Whitney. The Reading, MA, native, who is also eligible for the 2008 NHL Draft, currently leads the Eagles with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) and is averaging almost two points per game.
Goalies, goalies, goalies
If an NHL team is looking for a good free agent graduating from college to sign at the end of this season, one place they’re likely to explore is the University of North Dakota. The reason? Senior Jean-Philippe Lamoureux. He is the hot topic around Grand Forks these days. And it’s not hard to see why.
His numbers are unbelievable. In his five starts to date, four are shutout wins and one was a loss where he allowed just two goals. To date, Lamoureux has posted a 0.43 goals against average and .983 save percentage
Junior Jeff Zatkoff (LA) has been a big part of the reason why top-ranked Miami is off to a perfect 6-0-0 start. In his five starts this season, Zatkoff has allowed two or more goals in just one game. He currently has a1.20 goals against average and a .951 save percentage.
Despite a 2-2 record to start, sophomore Jase Weslosky (NYI) is faring just fine at St. Cloud State. His 1.50 goals against average and .947 save percentage both currently rank in the top ten in the nation. He opened the season with a stellar 20-save shutout performance of non-conference foe Canisius.
Junior Billy Sauer (COL) is off to a terrific start between the pipes for Michigan. He has backstopped the Wolverines to a 5-1 start that include recent sweeps of Northern Michigan and Boston University respectively. While his .889 save percentage may not be all that impressive, his 2.49 goals against average is, especially considering how young Michigan is this season.
Senior Justin Mrazek (WSH) may have a 2-1-0 record right now, but he’s also playing some very good hockey. His .941 save percentage and 1.35 goals against average both rank in the top 15 in the country.
Out of action
Alaska-Anchorage senior defenseman Luke Beaverson (FLA) is listed day-to-day with an ankle injury.
Boston College sophomore Brock Bradford (BOS) is out indefinitely due to a broken arm. He could return to the lineup as early as December.
Miami senior Nathan Davis (CHI) suffered a shoulder injury on Oct. 12 versus Vermont. His status is unknown.
St. Lawrence junior defenseman Matt Generous (BUF) is out indefinitely with a separated shoulder.
Minnesota-Duluth junior Michael Gergen (PIT) suffered an ankle injury versus St. Cloud State on Oct. 19 and is listed as day to day.
North Dakota freshman Brad Malone (COL) suffered a shoulder injury versus Boston College on Oct. 19. He is expected to be out at least until late November.
Boston College junior defenseman Brian O’Hanley (SJ) has been suspended indefinitely due to unspecified team rules violations.
Clarkson sophomore defenseman Phil Paquet (MON) is currently out of the lineup with a knee injury. He is listed as week to week.