NCAA college prospects notebook for November, 2012

By DJ Powers

Eric Knodel - Univeristy of New Hampshire

Photo: University of New Hampshire defenseman and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Eric Knodel has been a contributor to the Wildcats' hot play of late (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

This edition of the Notebook takes a look some of the notable (and not so notable) prospect performances around college hockey in the month of November. Unless otherwise noted, all statsitics are current as of Nov. 30.

Gaudreau contending for national scoring title

After leading the nation in rookie scoring last season, Boston College sophomore Johnny Gaudreau (CGY) is making an early run for the national scoring title this season. The Carney Points, NJ native has been one of the NCAA’s most consistent point producers through the first two months of the season. He led all prospects in the month of November with 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in seven games en route to being named the Hockey East Player of the Month. Overall, Gaudreau currently leads all prospects with 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists) through 12 games. His 21 points ranks fourth nationally, while his 1.75 points-per-game average ranks third. His 10 goals currently co-lead the nation, while his five game-winners lead nationally. What is even more remarkable is the fact that Gaudreau has not been held pointless through the first two months of the 2012-13 season. His most memorable performance during the month came on Nov. 24 versus Dartmouth. In that game, he had a hand in five of the Eagles’ six goals to lead Boston College to a 6-3 victory. Barring injury or a long scoring slump, Gaudreau is poised to finish among the nation’s top scorers by season’s end.

Not surprisingly, Gaudreau’s excellent early season performance has also made him an early candidate for this year’s Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s top player.

Two top prospects make long-awaited collegiate debuts

Notre Dame’s Mario Lucia (MIN) and Wisconsin’s Nic Kerdiles (ANA), two of the most highly touted NHL prospects coming into the NCAA this season, made their much-anticipated collegiate debuts in November. And they didn’t disappoint.

Lucia made his first collegiate appearance on Nov. 15 at Michigan after missing the first nine games of the season due to a broken leg he sustained in off-season practice. The Plymouth, MN native posted his first career goal the following night. He finished the month with three points (two goals, one assist) in five games. Since making his debut, Lucia has added depth to an already- deep Notre Dame team. In addition, he’s added size and scoring punch to the Fighting Irish’s outstanding second line that also features juniors T.J. Tynan (CBJ) and Mike Voran.

While Lucia’s delayed start was due to injury, Kerdiles’ was due to an amateurism rules violation. The NCAA originally suspended the Irvine, CA native for the duration of the season. But after the University of Wisconsin’s appeal, the suspension was reduced to ten games. Kerdiles finally made his collegiate debut on Nov. 30 and posted his first career goal the following night (both at Denver). And for the Badgers, Kerdiles’ debut couldn’t come soon enough. Wisconsin has struggled mightily on offense, averaging just 1.73 goals-per-game so far. The injury to top returning scorer Mark Zengerle earlier in the month only compounded the scoring woes. With Kerdiles now in the lineup, the Badgers get a much-needed offensive boost that should also help take some of the pressure off of junior