The opening month of the 2015-16 NCAA Hockey season saw a number of terrific performances by NHL prospects. Below is a look back at some of those performances, as well as other noteworthy items. Unless otherwise indicated, all stats are current as of Nov. 1.
Season-opening tournaments round-up
Four tournaments helped open the 2015-16 NCAA campaign.
In Portland, ME, the Icebreaker Tournament was one of two tourneys that took place during the opening weekend of Oct. 9-10. The University of North Dakota won the tournament with a win over Lake Superior State and a shootout loss to host Maine. Sophomore Nick Schmaltz (CHI) and junior defenseman Paul LaDue (LAK) each posted an assist for North Dakota and were named to the All-Tournament Team.
The other tournament taking place the same weekend was the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage, AK. St. Cloud State University won the tournament with wins over Alaska and host Alaska-Anchorage respectively. Sophomore Judd Peterson (BUF) and 2016 NHL Draft prospect Robby Jackson each netted a pair of goals in the tournament for the Huskies.
The following weekend on Oct. 16-17 and further north in Fairbanks, AK, the Brice Alaska Gold Rush took place. Host Alaska successfully defended their tournament crown with wins over AIC and RPI respectively. Sophomore Tayler Munson paced the Nanooks with six points (four goals, two assists) and was named the tournament’s MVP.
The final season-opening tournament to get underway was the Capital City Classic in Trenton, NJ on Oct. 30-31. Yale University won the tournament, defeating host Princeton and Massachusetts respectively. Senior defenseman Rob O’Gara (BOS) posted an assist and was named to the All-Tournament Team. Junior John Hayden (CHI) was among three Bulldogs that posted two goals in the tournament.
Blues defensive prospect hottest in October
No NCAA prospect was hotter in the opening month of the season than Providence College sophomore defenseman Jake Walman (STL). After finishing his freshman campaign last season with 16 points (one goal, 15 assists), Walman is on pace to more than double that this season. The Toronto, ON native currently leads all defensemen in both scoring (12 points off of seven goals and five assists) and plus/minus (+9) in seven games to date. His seven goals also co-lead the nation among all skaters. On Oct. 30th versus Colgate, Walman netted a hat trick in the Friars 7-2 win over the Raiders.
Those fabulous freshmen
Max Letunov (ARI), Jack Roslovic (WPG) and Brock Boeser (VAN) got off to excellent starts to their collegiate careers. The five goals that each of them have scored currently co-lead all NCAA freshmen.
No NCAA rookie was hotter in October than Letunov. The Moscow, Russia native currently leads the nation in freshman scoring with 11 points (five goals, six assists) in seven games. Letunov opened the season with a bang, netting a hat trick in Connecticut’s 5-2 win over Alabama-Huntsville back on Oct. 9th.
Roslovic made an immediate impact for Miami University, registering eight points (five goals, three assists) in his first eight games. The Columbus, OH native is developing into a clutch scorer for the RedHawks. Roslovic posted all the game-winners in Miami’s three wins to date. Furthermore, his three game-winning goals not only lead all NCAA rookies, it also leads all collegiate prospects.
Boeser was one of the most highly touted incoming freshmen this season, and he hasn’t disappointed. The Burnsville, MN native has posted seven points (five goals, two assists) in eight games. He currently leads all NCAA rookies with a +8 rating. Boeser posted his first collegiate hat trick back on Oct. 17th in North Dakota’s 5-2 win over Bemidji State.
O captain, my captain
Three prospects that serve as team captains in Nebraska-Omaha junior Jake Guentzel (PIT), North Dakota junior defenseman Gage Ausmus (SJS) and Notre Dame senior Steven Fogarty (NYR) have guided their teams to excellent starts to begin the season.
Guentzel was the driving force behind the Mavericks’ six consecutive wins to open the season. He has played in eight games to date. His 11 points, seven assists and +7 all currently lead Nebraska-Omaha. Guentzel centers one of the NCHC’s best lines that also features freshman Fredrik Olofsson (CHI) and junior clutch scorer Austin Ortega.
North Dakota is one of three teams (Providence College and Quinnipiac University are the others) that have not lost a game in regulation or overtime so far this season. One reason behind North Dakota’s success can be attributed to the outstanding leadership and defensive play of Ausmus. The East Grand Forks, ND native has posted four assists in eight games. His 20 blocked shots is currently tied for second nationally.
Fogarty’s leadership has been a vital component in stabilizing a very young Fighting Irish team this season. The Edina, MN native currently leads Notre Dame with eight points (four goals, four assists) in six games. His four goals also co-lead the team. Fogarty currently centers Notre Dame’s excellent all-senior line that also features Mario Lucia (MIN) and Sam Herr.
NCAA loses two to OHL
College hockey saw the departure of two Hockey East freshman prospects in a span of two days near the end of October. Both have moved on to the OHL.
The first to leave the NCAA was Boston College winger Jeremy Bracco (TOR), who left Chestnut Hill on Oct. 28th to play for the Kitchener Rangers. The Manhasset, NY native was a part of one of the nation’s best incoming classes. Bracco played in five games, posting three assists for the Eagles.
New Hampshire winger Warren Foegele (CAR) was the next to leave when he left Durham on Oct. 30th to sign with the Kingston Frontenacs. The Markham, ON native was one of the Wildcats’ best underclassmen before his departure despite posting only an assist in five games.
Picking up from where he left off
Harvard University began their 2015-16 season just a few days ago, having only played two games to date, but senior co-captain Jimmy Vesey (NSH) simply picked up from where he left off last season. The North Reading, MA native has already amassed five points (two goals, three assists), which currently co-leads the Crimson. Vesey, an early top candidate for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, could potentially eclipse the 58 points that he accumulated last season.
In addition to the aforementioned players, several other collegiate prospects are coming off stellar performances in the month of October.
Boston College junior netminder Thatcher Demko (VAN) is off to an excellent start following off-season hip surgery. The San Diego, CA native currently sports a 5-1-0 record that includes three shutouts in six appearances. His three shutouts rank second nationally, while his five wins are tied for second. Demko’s 1.00 goals-against average lead the nation among all non-Ivy League goaltenders, while his .957 save percentage ranks second.
Another junior netminder who is off to an excellent start is Eamon McAdam (NYI). In October, the Perkasie, PA native posted a 3-1-0 record that includes a .910 save percentage in four games for Penn State to begin the season. Although he continues to split time with senior Matthew Skoff, McAdam has posted the better numbers.
University of Denver junior Will Butcher (COL) is the only NCHC defenseman currently leading his team in scoring. The Sun Prairie, WI native has amassed six points (two goals, four assists) in six games to date. After finishing his sophomore campaign with 18 points, Butcher is on pace to better that total this season.
Sophomore Judd Peterson (BUF) has quietly put together an impressive start for St. Cloud State. The Duluth, MN native currently leads the Huskies with five goals and is tied for third on the team with six points in eight games. Peterson has already nearly equaled his point total (7) from last season.
Michigan Tech University sophomore defenseman Matt Roy (LAK) got off to an outstanding start in October. The Canton, MI native currently ranks second on the team in defensive scoring with three points (one goal two assists) in six games to date. After being held goalless last season, Roy posted his first collegiate goal on Oct. 30th versus Ferris State.
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