NCAA prospects notebook for October, 2013

By DJ Powers
Kevin Roy - Northeastern University

Photo: Notheastern University forward and Anaheim Ducks prospect Kevin Roy is picking up where he left off in 2012-13, leading the Huskies offense while also sitting among the top scorers in the NCAA (courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)


The opening month of the 2013-14 NCAA hockey season featured some fantastic finishes and great performances by a number of NHL prospects. Hockey’s Future takes a look back what happened during the month of October. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of November 3rd.

Hockey East wins Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge

Hockey East dominated the Big Ten, posting a 7-4-2 record to claim the inaugural Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge title.

UMass swept Michigan State by a combined 8-3 margin in their series on Oct. 18th and 19th. The Minutemen’s line of junior Troy Power and freshmen Steven Iacobellis and Ray Pigozzi led the way with three points apiece. Redshirted sophomore defenseman Ben Gallacher (FLA) chipped in two assists to help guide UMass. Redshirted freshman defenseman Rhett Holland (PHX) recorded a pair of assists for the Spartans.

Of the five Big Ten teams in the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge this season, none suffered lopsided losses like Wisconsin did. The Badgers were outscored by a combined total of 16-5 in their series versus Boston College and Boston University respectively on Oct. 18th and 19th. In the first game, the Eagles crushed the Badgers 9-2. Junior Johnny Gaudreau (CGY), senior Kevin Hayes (CHI) and freshman Austin Cangelosi each posted three points in Boston College’s win. Sophomore Nic Kerdiles (ANA) and senior Michael Mersch (LAK) netted the Wisconsin goals. The Badgers didn’t fare much better the following night versus the Terriers, falling 7-3 in that contest. Junior Cason Hohmann posted four points in the win. Senior co-captain Garrett Noonan (NSH) and freshman Robbie Baillargeon (OTT) added three points each to lead Boston University. Mersch chipped in a goal and junior defenseman Jake McCabe (BUF) added two points for Wisconsin.

Michigan went 2-1-1 in their four-game set of the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. The Wolverines earned a tie and a win versus New Hampshire on Oct. 18th and 19th. The following weekend, Michigan posted a win over Boston University on Oct. 25th before falling to UMass-Lowell the following day. Freshman Tyler Motte (CHI) netted three goals in the series, while fellow freshman J.T. Compher (BUF) chipped in three assists to lead Michigan. Junior Alex Guptill (DAL) added a pair of goals, including one on a penalty shot that was also the eventual game-winner in the Wolverines 2-1 victory over Boston University on Oct. 25.

Minnesota was the lone Big Ten team that did not lose a game in their series, with their series versus Boston College being the marquee matchup of this year’s Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. The two teams skated to a 3-3 tie in the first game on Oct. 25th with Boston College winning the shootout 2-1 in five rounds in arguably the best game of the Big Ten/Hockey Challenge. The following day was a different story, as the Golden Gophers routed the Eagles 6-1. Junior co-captain Kyle Rau (FLA) led Minnesota with three points (all assists). In the series, the Golden Gophers had eight different goal scorers. Junior Michael Sit and freshman defenseman Scott Savage led Boston College with two points apiece. The Eagles top scoring junior Johnny Gaudreau also chipped in a goal.

UMass-Lowell swept their series at Michigan State and Michigan respectively by a combined score of 6-2 on Oct. 25th and 26th. After struggling out of the gate to begin the season, sophomore goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (WPG) bounced back for two brilliant performances, stopping a combined 62 of 64 shots to give the River Hawks the victories.

Vermont defeated Penn State 5-2 in the only game for both teams in the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. Senior Matt White posted two points and junior defenseman Nick Luukko (PHI) added a goal in the win for the Catamounts. Freshman Eamon McAdam (NYI) made 24 saves in the loss for the Nittany Lions.

Early season tournament roundup

Four tournaments took place in the month of October.

Host Minnesota claimed this year’s Icebreaker Tournament championship after defeating Mercyhurst and New Hampshire respectively on Oct. 11th and 12th. Sophomore Adam Wilcox (TBL) was stellar in goal, stopping a combined 46 of 48 shots to earn the tournament’s MVP honor. The Golden Gophers terrific top line of juniors Sam Warning and Kyle Rau and freshman Hudson Fasching (LAK) combined for 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in the tournament. Rau and Fasching joined Wilcox on the All-Tournament Team. New Hampshire senior defenseman Eric Knodel (TOR) posted two assists for the Wildcats and was also named to the All-Tournament Team.

The same weekend that the Icebreaker tournament was taking place, the Kendall Hockey Classic up in Anchorage, AK was also underway. Host Alaska-Anchorage won the tournament after defeating Quinnipiac and Air Force respectively. Senior Jordan Kwas was named the tournament MVP, posting four points that included his first career hat trick to lead the Seawolves. Quinnipiac, who came back to beat Alaska the following night (Oct. 12th), got three points from freshman Sam Anas and two from junior Matthew Peca (TBL). The Nanooks, who also split their games in the tournament, got two assists from sophomore defenseman Colton Parayko (STL). Parayko joined Kwas on the All-Tournament Team.

The following weekend on Oct. 18th and 19th, the Brice Alaska Gold Rush took place in Fairbanks, AK. Host Alaska won the tournament by virtue of a shootout vs. Western Michigan on Oct. 19th. Senior Cody Kunyk posted three points en route to being named the tournament MVP. Sophomore Colton Hargrove (BOS) posted three points for the Broncos, including a pair of goals in the championship game to earn a spot on the All-Tournament Team.

The final tournament to get underway, the Liberty Hockey Invitational, took place on Oct. 25th and 26th at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. This tournament featured four of the six Ivy League teams. Brown won the tournament after posting wins over reigning national champion Yale and Dartmouth, respectively. Sophomore Mark Naclerio was the unanimous tournament MVP after a sensational performance, posting seven points (three goals, four assists) to guide the Bears.

SoCal NHL teams' prospects dominate opening month

No NHL teams got more collective production out of their collegiate prospects in October than the Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Kings.

The Anaheim Ducks got a whopping 30 points (15 goals, 15 assists) in October from eight of their ten prospects in the NCAA. Northeastern sophomore and current Hockey East Player of the Month Kevin Roy led all Ducks prospects with 13 points (seven points, six assists) in six games thus far. The Lac-Beauport, QC native’s 13 points currently places him tied for second in scoring in the nation. Roy opened the season with a bang, netting his second career hat trick and adding three assists in the Huskies season-opening series versus Alabama-Huntsville. Roy’s teammate, junior defenseman Josh Manson, has three points (one goal, two assists) and currently leads Northeastern with a +12.

Wisconsin sophomore Nic Kerdiles and freshman Grant Besse have combined for 11 points (seven goals, four assists) in the Badgers six games to date. Kerdiles currently eads Wisconsin in both points (eight). Besse leads all Badgers freshmen with three points (all goals).

The lone Ducks prospects with a point or less so far are Nebraska-Omaha sophomore defenseman Brian Cooper and North Dakota freshman defenseman Keaton Thompson. While Cooper has played in all eight games for the Mavericks so far, Thompson has played in only one game for North Dakota.

The Los Angeles Kings seven collegiate prospects fared even better, racking up a combined 38 points (17 points, 21 assists) to date, with all of them posting at least a point during the month of October. Minnesota freshman sensation Hudson Fasching leads the group with eight points (three goals, five assists). The Burnsville, MN has points in all six of the Golden Gophers game thus far.

Wisconsin senior Michael Mersch is next with seven points (four goals, three assists) in all six games. The Park Ridge, IL native’s seven points currently places him second in scoring for the Badgers, with all four of his goals coming on the power-play.

The Kings three prospects on the St. Cloud State roster combined for 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in the Huskies six games to date. Current linemates Nic Dowd and Jonny Brodzinski are one-two in scoring for St. Cloud State with seven and six points, respectively. Senior defenseman and co-captain Kevin Gravel has posted two goals and an assist.

Cornell junior Joel Lowry and North Dakota freshman defenseman Paul LaDue round out the Kings prospects with six points and one point, respectively.

Barber makes early case for Hobey

After leading the nation in rookie scoring last season, Miami sophomore Riley Barber (WSH) has simply picked up from where he left off and is making a strong case for this year’s Hobey Baker Award.

The Livonia, MI native, who was recently named the NCHC Player of the Month, currently co-leads the nation with 14 points (eight goals, six assists) playing in all eight RedHawks games so far. Barber’s eight goals currently rank second nationally and he’s scored them in numerous ways. Three of his goals have come on the power-play and two have come shorthanded. Barber earned his first NCHC Player of the Week honor on Oct. 13th after posting seven points (four goals, three points), which included his first career hat trick, guiding Miami to a sweep over intrastate rival Ohio State in their season-opening series. Barber, who finished his sensational rookie campaign with 39 points, is on pace to eclipse that mark this season and could potentially finish above the 50-point plateau as well.

Who’s hot

One of the most pleasant surprises in the month of October was Notre Dame freshman and current Hockey East Rookie of the Month Vince Hinostroza (CHI). The Bartlett, IL native currently leads the Fighting Irish with eight points (three goals, five assists) in eight games. And what makes it so remarkable is the fact that Hinostroza centers Notre Dame’s fourth line. His eight points places Hinostroza among the top-scoring freshman nationally. He recorded points in five of the Fighting Irish’s six games in October. Hinostroza earned his first Hockey East Rookie of the Week honor on Oct. 21st after posting four points (two goals, two assists) in Notre Dame’s series sweep of Michigan Tech.

After capturing the National Rookie of the Year honor last season, Providence College sophomore netminder Jon Gillies (CGY) has picked up from where he left off and hasn’t missed a beat. The South Portland, ME native recently earned the Hockey East Goaltender of the Month honor after posting a 3-0-1 record that included one shutout in four games for the Friars. Gillies’ .938 save percentage currently ranks sixth nationally. He has also sports a 1.97 goals-against average and a .667 winning percentage. Gillies was one of two NHL goaltending prospects in the NCAA that did not lose a game in October.

The one NCAA goaltender/NHL prospect that currently remains unbeaten is Minnesota sophomore Adam Wilcox. The South St. Paul, MN native has played in six games to date for the Golden Gophers. He sports a 5-0-1 record that includes one shutout. His five wins currently ranks tied for third nationally and his .917 winning percentage leads all NHL goaltending prospects playing college hockey.

Wilcox’s teammate, junior Kyle Rau, has posted eight points (one goal, seven assists) in all six Minnesota games so far. The Eden Prairie, MN native was named the Big Ten’s Third Star on Oct. 15th after posting three points (one goal, two assists) in the Icebreaker Tournament on Oct. 11th and 12th.

Boston College junior Johnny Gaudreau is off to a fast start this season, having posted 11 points (six goals, five assists) in seven games. The Carneys Point, NJ native posted points in the Eagles first four games. In the Oct. 18th contest versus Wisconsin, Gaudreau posted three points (one goal, two assists), which included his 100th career point.

Senior Kellen Jones (EDM) currently is second in scoring for Quinnipiac with 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in nine games to date. He also ranks tied for second on the team with a +6. Jones plays right wing on the Bobcats dynamic top line that also features twin brother Connor and freshman Sam Anas. The line accounted for 38 percent of Quinnipiac’s total points in the month of October.

It’s a first for non-freshmen

While a number of freshmen posted their first collegiate points in October, there were some firsts among non-freshmen as well.

Providence College senior defenseman Mark Adams (BUF) posted his first collegiate goal on Oct. 19th versus American International. The Boxford, MA native has struggled through a myriad of injuries during his collegiate career. He has played in two games for the Friars to date.

Miami junior Blake Coleman (NJD) registered his first career hat trick on Oct. 19th versus North Dakota. The Plano, TX native has gotten off to a very good start for the RedHawks, posting 11 points (six goals, five assists) playing in eight games to date. Coleman also currently leads Miami with 25 penalty minutes.

Yale sophomore Matthew Beattie (VAN) posted his first collegiate goal on Oct. 26th vs. Princeton. The Whitehouse Station, NJ native saw limited time in his freshman campaign last season, and has played in the Bulldogs four games to date.

On the shelf

University of Denver junior defenseman Josiah Didier (MTL) and sophomore winger Zac Larraza (PHX) were both out of the lineup in October due to injuries. Didier suffered a knee injury versus Alaska on Oct. 18th, while Larraza is recovering from offseason surgery. Larraza is expected to return to the Pioneers lineup sometime in November, but Didier has recovered and has now played in six games for Denver. Larraza has yet to play a game this season.

Michigan State sophomore defenseman John Draeger (MIN) has yet to play this season due to his recovery from offseason surgery. He is expected to return to the Spartans lineup in mid-November.

RPI sophomore goaltender Jason Kasdorf (WPG) suffered a shoulder injury in practice on Oct. 15th and could be out indefinitely. The Winnipeg, MB native played in two games and was off to a promising start before suffering the injury.

Colorado College freshman defenseman Gustav Olofsson (MIN) is currently out of the lineup due to an upper body injury.

Follow DJ Powers on Twitter via @DJPowersHF