Up until this point, it has been a very quiet season for the Hurricanes NCAA prospect pool, which is understandable when you consider that most of the players under team control are underclassmen. At the same time, it was expected that players like Danny Biega of Harvard and Phil Di Giuseppe of Michigan would emerge as more impactful players than they have been thus far. Biega’s three points in nine games aren’t bad, but they are a bit disappointing when you consider that he had 35 in 34 games last season and I’m sure most people expected Di Giuseppe to have more than one goal at this point of the season.
It is what it is, though and the most we can do is just wait and see how the rest of their seasons go. Di Giuseppe and the Wolverines have been going through a very rough patch over the last month or so. They went 2-6-2 in November and hadn’t went nearly a month without winning a game before this weekend when they took on the #7 Western Michigan Broncos in a two-game series. The good news for Michigan is that they snapped a three-game winless streak on Saturday night by shutting out the Broncos 2-0 on the back of a 31-save performance by Adam Janecyk.
The night before, however, did not go so well for the team as they took a 4-1 loss but the Wolverines lone goal in the contest came from Di Giuseppe. It was the kind of goal most would expect from someone going through a slump, as he snagged a loose puck in front of the net and fired home a quick snap shot to net his first goal since opening weekend. Finally getting that second goal will hopefully take some weight off his shoulders if anything. There is plenty of hockey to be played this season, so he and the Wolverines have time to rebound after a rough start.
The Wolverines have struggled as of late, but their start to the year isn’t nearly as frustrating as the one the Wisconsin Badgers had gotten off to. At the beginning of December, this team had recorded only one win on the entire year and scored more than two goals in only one game, which ended up being a 5-4 loss in OT to Colorado College. Things have been turning around for them since then, however. The Badgers started out the month by picking up a huge upset over Denver University, tying both of their games against Michigan Tech and sweeping Alabama-Huntsville this past weekend.
Scoring has been a problem for this Badgers team all year but that wasn’t the cast against UAH, as the Badgers outscored them 9-1 and even got a goal from Carolina’s fifth round pick Brendan Woods. Woods got his first goal of the season last weekend against Michigan Tech and added another this weekend, so you could say that he is on a bit of a “hot streak,” despite having only four points on the season. He is still pretty young and should improve as the year goes on, which appears to be the case as of late.
Unfortunately, the rest of Carolina’s NCAA prospects didn’t make that much noise over the last weekend. Danny Biega had five shots in Harvard’s 5-0 loss to Massachusetts-Lowell last Monday but failed to get on the scoresheet otherwise. Mark Alt’s Minnesota Golden Gophers have a couple of weeks off until the Mariucci Classic after Christmas and Collin Olson hasn’t started or played a game for the Buckeyes in awhile as senior Brady Hjelle has the starting job there locked down.
Most of these players won’t have another game until late-December so now is a good time to measure their progress before they get to the second half of the season. As of now, there isn’t much to report on with Carolina’s NCAA prospect pool aside from a couple players having strong finishes to the first half. Hopefully they can build on that once the break is over.