It has been an exciting opening two weeks in College Hockey, after kicking the season off on October 1st. Lets recap some of the storylines, players who performed, and a few of the disappointments of the past ten days.
Ice Breaker Tournament Recap
Denver, Boston College, Ohio State and Air Force took to the ice in Denver, for the 20th Anniversary of this prestigious season opening tournament. Denver and BC came in as the favorites, with the Eagles ranked fifth in the USCHO preseason poll, and the hosting Pioneers ranked third.
Ohio State and Air Force apparently didn’t get the memo, turning the tournament upside-down with the Buckeyes downing Denver 3-2 and the Falcons defeating Boston College 2-1 in the tournaments two opening games. In the championship game, Air Force held off Ohio State in a shootout to take home first place after finishing overtime in a 3-3 tie.
Big Ten teams went 6-3 to start the season, with Minnesota leading the way with two wins, and Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin splitting their season starting sets 1-1. Michigan State was the only Big Ten team that has yet to play their season opener, which will occur this Friday night against Lake Superior State.
Team of the Week: Minnesota
The Golden Gophers had a successful start to their season, defeating Alaska-Anchorage twice (6-0 and 6-3) on the weekend. Minnesota was paced by balanced scoring, as seven players netted their first goal of the season. Sophomore forward Tyler Sheehy led the team with five points in the two games, after posting 30 points in 37 games during his freshman season a year ago.
Boston University, UCONN, Maine, Notre Dame, UMASS, Providence and Vermont all won their season openers in a solid weekend for Hockey East. BU freshmen Clayton Keller, Kieffer Bellows and Patrick Harper all got on the board with their first points of their careers after starting the season as one of college hockey’s biggest storylines.
St. Louis Blues 2016 first round pick Tage Thompson continued his success of a year ago, scoring three goals and adding two assists, helping UCONN to win their first two games of the season. Last season, Thompson posted 32 points in 36 games as a freshman.
Team of the Week: Notre Dame
After being ranked ninth in the USCHO preseason poll to begin the season, the Fighting Irish dominated Arizona State in two wins this past weekend, outscoring the Sun Devils 13-4. They have shot up the rankings to fifth overall in the most recent poll this Monday after a successful start to their campaign. Boston fifth round pick Anders Bjork (2014, 146th overall) piled up seven points (4G, 3A) in Notre Dame’s opening weekend. The junior forward was the teams leading scorer last season with 35 points in 35 games.
The NCHC started the season with four of the top seven teams in the USCHO preseason poll. Defending NCAA Champion North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth held up their end of the bargain with 2-0 starts. Denver was not as lucky, finishing the Ice Breaker Tournament in fourth place with a 0-2 record despite being the tournaments host. St. Cloud State opens their season Friday at Minnesota State.
Team of the Week: North Dakota
Surprise-surprise, North Dakota starts off their season hot with two wins at home against Canisius. The defending champs lost a handful of their top players from last season, but as usual, have reloaded for the 2016-17 season. Vancouver Canucks prospect Brock Boeser (2015, 23rd overall) led the way with a goal and five assists to kick off his sophomore campaign.
The WCHA had a fairly bumpy start to the season, with two of their top twenty teams starting the season 0-4. Ferris State and Michigan Tech, ranked 20th and 17th respectively in the USCHO preseason poll to start the season, faltered, and were outscored a combined 30-12 in their first eight combined games. On the plus side, Bemidji State and Minnesota State are unbeaten at 2-0 to start the year.
Team of the Week: Minnesota State
The Mavericks won their opening two WCHA games against Michigan Tech, outscoring the Huskies 7-1. Sophomore Daniel Brickley scored a goal and added five assists, with five of his six points coming with the man advantage. Minnesota State is home for a two game set against St. Cloud State upcoming this weekend.
Freshman of Week: Tyson Jost, North Dakota
The freshman phenom and tenth overall pick of the Colorado Avalanche in this years entry draft wasted no time getting acclimated to college hockey. He posted three points in his first two college hockey games, scoing a goal and adding two assists. To go along with the points, Jost was plus-4, took seven shots and won 66% percent of his draws.
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