February college prospects notebook

By DJ Powers

The month of February saw a little bit of just about everything in the world of college hockey. Here’s a look back at what happened. Unless otherwise indicated all stats are as of Feb. 28.

Regan backstops New Hampshire to Hockey East regular season title

Senior Kevin Regan (BOS) was brilliant between the pipes in the New Hampshire Wildcats’ sweep of Boston College on the weekend of Feb. 22 en route to their second consecutive Hockey East regular season title. Regan stopped a combined 54 of 55 shots to help guide the Wildcats to their seventh title in school history.

Regan has also been rewriting New Hampshire’s goaltending record books as well. This season he became the program’s all-time leader in career wins and career saves. His 104 wins eclipse the 58 that were previously held by Mike Ayers. Regan’s 3,238 saves coming into the Feb. 29 weekend, breaks Greg Moffett’s mark of 2,602 set back in 1981.

Princeton has three notable free agents

The Princeton Tigers are one of the best stories coming out of college hockey this season. On Feb. 16 the Tigers won their first ever Ivy League Title outright. Their last title, which they shared with the Yale Bulldogs, came back in 1999.

Though the Tigers do not have any drafted NHL prospects on their roster, they do feature a trio of players that have garnered considerable NHL interest this season and could potentially sign as free agents at season’s end. Princeton’s "dynamic duo" of junior Lee Jubinville and sophomore Brett Wilson lead the team with 34 and 29 points respectively. Senior Mike Moore leads all Tigers defensemen in scoring with 16 points.

"Brett’s just an absolutely hungry goal-scorer," head coach Guy Gadowsky said. "He works as hard to get to the net and to get open as any player that I’ve seen. There is no faster skater that I’ve seen or we’ve ever timed than Lee. So I feel safe in saying that he’s the fastest guy in the league (ECAC). Mike is our captain and puts points on the board, but that’s far from what his most important parts to the team are. He’s a tremendous hitter and a very scary guy to play against because he does have a knack for catching guys in the middle of the ice."

Trotter and Reaney latest to go pro

Two undrafted underclassmen became the latest players opting to leave the collegiate ranks prior to season’s end.

On Feb. 8, Denver sophomore Brock Trotter left the University of Denver to sign with the Montreal Canadiens amid questions surrounding his departure and status with the team. Prior to signing, Trotter did not travel with the Pioneers the first weekend of the month to Mankato, MN for their series versus Minnesota State and the situation was not injury-related. Prior to leaving Denver, Trotter led the team with 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists).

About a week later on Feb. 16, junior Les Reaney would leave Niagara University to sign with the Springfield Falcons, AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.

"First and foremost, we are happy for Les because he has fulfilled his lifelong dream of playing professional hockey," head coach Dave Burkholder said in the team’s press release.

Reaney, the former CHA Rookie of the Year, posted 15 points (five goals, ten assists) in 25 games prior to his departure.

Ruth now a Blue Jacket

Notre Dame rookie defenseman Ted Ruth hasn’t played in an NHL game yet and he’s already been traded. At the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline, Ruth’s rights were traded from the Washington Capitals to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal that sent center Sergei Federov to Washington. The Naperville, Ill native was the Capitals 46th overall selection (second round) in last summer’s Entry Draft.

Blue loses two

Top-ranked Univ. of Michigan had to endure the loss of two prospects for very different reasons this month.

On Feb. 1 rookie defenseman Kevin Quick (TB) was dismissed from the team. He was formerly charged with credit card fraud and identity theft on Feb. 21 and if convicted, could face up to seven years in prison.  Meanwhile, he has signed a pro contract with Tampa’s AHL affiliate the Norfolk Admirals and has played three scoreless games with them.

Two weeks later on Feb. 16, Wolverines senior assistant captain Chad Kolarik (PHO) suffered a hamstring injury versus Lake Superior State that is expected to sideline him until mid-March. Kolarik is among the nation’s top scorers having posted 43 points (24 goals, 19 assists) prior to his injury.

Boston College wins 56th annual Beanpot Tournament

San Jose Sharks defensive prospect Nick Petrecki tallied his first two career goals, including the game winner to give Boston College a thrilling 6-5 win in overtime over Harvard to capture their 14th Beanpot Championship and first since 2004 on Feb. 11.

Earlier in the day, Boston University defeated Northeastern in the consolation game behind a three-point effort by Colin Wilson. Wilson, one of the top players eligible for the upcoming June draft, notched two goals and an assist. Colorado College defensive prospect Colby Cohen added a goal and an assist for the Terriers.

Boston College and Harvard met in the championship game after defeating Boston University and Northeastern respectively on Feb. 4. The Eagles defeated the Terriers 4-3 in overtime. Junior Nathan Gerbe (BUF) tallied his 20th and 21st goals of the season, including the game-winner for Boston College.

Harvard defeated Northeastern 3-1 to earn their first trip to the championship since 1998. Senior Mike Taylor tallied a goal and an assist and sophomore Doug Rogers (NYI) added a goal on the Crimson’s win.

Five prospects among semi-finalists for the Walter Brown Award

On Feb. 4, 15 players were named as semi-finalists for the 56th annual Walter Brown Award. The award, which is presented annually by the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, is given to the best American-born player playing in New England.

The semi-finalists include 12 players from Hockey East and three from the ECAC.  Five of the 15 players, all of whom are from Hockey East, are current NHL prospects. Providence College has the most players named as semi-finalists with three, led by senior Jon Rheault (PHI). Boston College, Boston University and New Hampshire have two nominations each. Juniors Nathan Gerbe (BUF) and Benn Ferriero (PHO) represent Boston College while senior Kevin Regan (BOS) and freshman phenom James vanRiemsdyk (PHI) represent New Hampshire. Ferriero and Regan were semi-finalists for last year’s award. vanRiemsdyk is one of two rookies named as semi-finalists. Seniors Bryan Ewing and Peter MacArthur, two players garnering considerable NHL interest as potential free agent signees at season’s end, represent Boston University.

The finalists and winner will be announced next month prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Schools records fall

Clarkson senior and team captain Nick Dodge (CAR) set a new school record for career shorthanded goals when he tallied his ninth in the Golden Knights 3-1 win over RPI on Feb. 16. The shorthanded tally was Dodge’s fourth on the season.

Colorado College rookie sensation Richard Bachman became the first netminder in the Tigers program’s history to record back-to-back shutout wins on the road when he accomplished the feat on Feb. 22 and 23 at Minnesota-Duluth. The Dallas Stars prospect was perfect, combining to stop all 60 shots he faced in the sweep.

Colgate senior goaltender Mark Dekanich set a new school and ECAC record for consecutive shutout minutes with 217:16. The Nashville Predators prospect saw his streak come to an end on Feb. 22 at the hands of Princeton freshman Mike Kramer. The streak ended at the 5:02 mark of the first period. Prior to that, the last game that Dekanich allowed a goal came four games earlier back on Feb. 8 at St. Lawrence when Saints junior defenseman Shawn Fensel scored a power play goal at the 12:34 mark of the second period.

The previous ECAC record was 198:44 set by Union College’s Trevor Koenig back in 1996-97. Dekanich broke a Colgate school record that stood for 46 years, when Kurt Brown set the record at 196:05 back in 1962.

North Dakota fighting their way up the WCHA standings

They are the second-most penalized team in the NCAA but that hasn’t stopped the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux from being the hottest team in the country and in contention for the MacNaughton Cup. Riding a 13-game unbeaten streak (12-0-1) coming into the Feb. 29 weekend, North Dakota has also racked up 663 penalty minutes and is averaging just over 21 minutes per game. While the team has been involved in penalty-filled games with Minnesota and Denver this month, they’re also playing some of their best hockey. Since Jan. 5, the Fighting Sioux have allowed more than two goals a game in just one contest and are averaging about 3.5 goals per game during their current streak.

One of the pleasant surprises for North Dakota this season has been junior Andrew Kozek (ATL). The Sicamous, BC native notched his first career hat trick on Feb. 15 versus Denver. He currently leads the team with 14 goals.

Four NHL prospects among chosen participants for 3rd annual Frozen Four Skills Challenge

University of Michigan team captain Kevin Porter (PHO) and New Hampshire goaltender Kevin Regan (BOS) are among the players selected to participate in the Frozen Four Skills Challenge in Denver in April. Providence College sniper Jon Rheault (PHI) and Denver defenseman and team captain Andrew Thomas (WSH) round out the group of NHL prospects selected.

The other players named on the men’s side were goaltenders David Leggio (Clarkson), Peter Mannino (Denver) and Kyle Jones (St. Norbert’s – DIII); skaters Luke Flicek (Army), Mike Brennan Boston College), Peter MacArthur (Boston University), Jesse Winchester (Colgate), Jake Morissette (RPI), Jimmy Kilpatrick (Colorado College), Mike Forgie (Wayne State), Bryan Lerg (Michigan State) and Tommy Goebel (Ohio State).

The Skills Challenge will take place on April 11 at the Pepsi Center in Denver as part of the Frozen Four festivities.

‘Hawks draftee McCulloch among NHL prospects named as WCHA Scholar-Athletes

Colorado College junior Scott McCulloch was one of eight NHL prospects named as WCHA Scholar-Athletes. McCulloch, one of two Colorado College Tigers named, is a three-time Scholar-Athlete honoree. Joining McCulloch is teammate and fellow Chicago Blackhawks prospect Bill Sweatt, along with Denver Pioneers Matt Glasser (EDM), Tyler Ruegsegger (TOR), and Andrew Thomas (WSH) and Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs Michael Gergen (PIT), Matt Greer (CBJ) and Matt McKnight (DAL).

Qualifiers must have at least a 3.5 out of a 4.0 GPA in their previous two semesters or three quarters and must have been at their current school for at least one year.

On the shelf

University of Wisconsin rookie Brendan Smith (DET) continues to be out of the Badgers lineup due to a back injury. He has not played since Jan. 12 at Denver.

Sophomore forward Tyler Ruegsegger (TOR) remains out of the University Denver’s lineup due to an abdominal injury. He is not expected to return until sometime around mid-March. His last appearance came back on Feb. 2 at Minnesota State-Mankato.

University of Massachusetts junior defenseman John Wessbecker (TB) is done for the season due to an undisclosed injury. Wessbecker has been out of the Minutemen’s lineup since early December.