We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the weekend’s action in college hockey. Look for more college hockey on NBCSN Friday night January 4 as Colorado College takes on Nebraska-Omaha.
If you had to guess who was leading the WCHA right now without looking, who would you say off the top of your head? Minnesota, Denver and North Dakota always come to mind first, but it’s the St. Cloud State Huskies in front and they’re doing it thanks to a host of outstanding freshmen talent.
It starts with superb Finnish import Kalle Kossila (pictured) who leads the team with 10 goals. Kossila has been working with fellow freshman star Jonny Brodzinski on the team’s top line centered by the team’s top scorer, senior Drew LeBlanc. Brodzinski and Kossila combined for 17 goals which helps make a lot of sense out of LeBlanc’s 19 assists this season.
Those two aren’t alone in doing their freshman damage as David Morley has provided balance with six goals and six assists. His linemates are a pair of draftees in Nic Dowd (Kings), the team’s second-leading point man, and Ben Hanowski (Penguins).
Western College Hockey’s Chris Dilks pointed out the most fun fact about SCSU’s freshman class right now. Their 24 goals has them outscoring both Alaska-Anchorage (23) and Wisconsin (21) as a team. What’s crazier still about the freshman production is that perhaps the Huskies’ most highly-touted new guy, Joey Benik, has yet to play this year.
Eyes might always stray to following the likes of Minnesota and North Dakota but if the rest of the WCHA isn’t careful, St. Cloud will continue their rise up the rankings.
Buckeye Hjelle: Give it up to Ohio State’s Brady Hjelle who is continuing to shine in goal. The former UMD Bulldog has found a home in Columbus and he’s taken advantage of the new opportunity putting up monster numbers. He hung in well with No. 5 Miami this weekend earning a 1-1 draw on Friday before losing a tough 3-1 game Saturday. You might say he’s on a… Hjelle roll.
From roller hockey to college success: Here’s a story worth reading. USCHO’s Brian Farrell shares the story about Quinnipiac’s Jeremy Langlois who went from playing roller hockey in Tempe, Arizona to being the Bobcats’ leading scorer. Hockey is everywhere in every form. Good on him for not wanting to go party at Arizona State instead.
Michigan State’s Carney retires: Sad story from East Lansing where Spartans defenseman Branden Carney retired from hockey due to fracturing two vertebrae during a team practice in early November.
Colleges repping America: Team USA’s World Junior Championships selection camp will feature 15 NCAA players. Chief amongst them will be Union defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (Flyers), Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau (Flames), North Dakota forward Rocco Grimaldi (Panthers), BU defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (Bruins), and Michigan blue liner Jacob Trouba (Jets).
With how hot Gaudreau’s been this year, teaming him up with red hot Habs top prospect Alex Galchenyuk sounds like a good way to create instant offense for America.
(Photo: Bruce Hemmelgarn via CHN)