When analyzing the performance of a group of players, there are usually at least one or two guys who have a big performance in a given week, which has been the case so far in the Hurricanes NCAA prospect pool. It’s been a nice start to a young NCAA hockey year, but it’s important to remember that there are going to be weeks where these players don’t do much of anything that is noteworthy. Some may think this is a discouraging sign but keep in mind that most NCAA teams play, at most, two games per week and since we are only looking at five players, there are going to be times where they don’t make much of an impact. That’s just how things work in small sample sizes, and it was the case for all of the Hurricanes NCAA prospects this weekend.
There may not be much to talk about regarding the players themselves, but there is still plenty of news relating to their respective teams and their games this weekend. Unfortunately, it is of both the good and bad variety. After the jump, we’ll look at what went wrong and what went right for the NCAA schools currently housing Carolina prospects.
Michigan Wolverines (Phil Di Giuseppe)
Di Giuseppe continues to be the Hurricanes top NCAA prospect as he added another point to his season totals with an assist on Saturday night against Northern Michigan University. That gives him six points in seven games on the season (only one of which is a goal) and he is also registering over two shots per game. I’d like to see some more even strength production from him, but PdG is doing enough to take advantage of his time on the first line for now and should hopefully keep his spot there for the time being.
Michigan was also victorious in the shootout in their first game of a back-to-back series against Northern Michigan where they won the shot battle 35-28 thanks to a powerplay in overtime. Unfortunately, this isn’t the NHL so the Wolverines receive no charity point for winning the shootout.
If not picking up a win the previous night was bad enough, the Wolverines would lose 5-3 to Northern Michigan the next night, a game where the Wildcats were in the driver’s seat for most of the time as Michigan had to rally in the third period to make it close after falling behind 4-1. This was also the game where Di Giuseppe recorded his only assist of the weekend. The Wolverines have suffered a few tough losses to start the year and this is one to add to the list as they are now 1-2-1 on the year in conference play. They will have a change to improve that record next weekend when they take on rival Michigan State in a home-and-home series.
Harvard Crimson (Danny Biega)
Biega didn’t record any points over the weekend, but he had seven shots on goal so he was definitely getting his chances. Four of those shots came on Friday night when Harvard defeated Brown University 3-2. The score may have been close but Harvard really dominated most of this game, outshooting them 42-29. Harvard definitely started their ECAC play off on the right foot but things didn’t exactly go as planned the following night against archrival Yale.
Harvard would end up taking a 5-1 loss to the Yale Bulldogs, gave up three third period goals and nearly 50 shots on goal. It was just a bad and disappointing performance all-around for the Crimson, especially since the game was in reach heading into the late stages. Things were pretty disappointing for Biega himself, as he ended the series with a -1 rating and Harvard’s powerplay went 0/8 on the weekend. Biega plays a big role in Harvard’s powerplay, so I can bet that he wasn’t happy about them being blanked.
Harvard’s home-stand continues next week when they take on Union College and Rensselear.
Minnesota Golden Gophers (Mark Alt)
The Golden Gophers took on in-state foes Minnesota State-Mankato this weekend and won the first game at home 3-2. Alt was held off the scoresheet completely, but the Gophers had a very good defensive performance overall in allowing only 25 total shots on goal. It’s tough to judge how effective Alt is from a defensive standpoint without game tape, but it seems that the Gophers did a good job as a team of limiting Minnesota State’s chances.
Minnesota would drop the second game of the series 5-3 despite being tied at three heading into the third period. Alt was a little more involved in this game, getting one shot on goal and being on ice for one Minnesota goal. Unfortunately, he was also on –ice for two Maverick goals, one of which coming on the penalty kill, and also took a penalty in the first period. Definitely not the best night for the Gophers who suffered their second loss of the season.
The Gophers still have a strong 5-2-0 record and will probably hang onto a top-five spot, but the two early WCHA losses may come back to hurt them. It’s a long season, though. They have two more road WCHA games next week when they travel to Anchorage, Alaska to take on the University of Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves.
Wisconsin Badgers (Brendan Woods)
Woods was placed back into the lineup in the Badgers second game against Colorado College after sitting out the previous night. Woods recorded a shot on goal and went 2/5 on faceoffs. The Badgers also took Colorado College to overtime in the first game and had a decent showing overall in that game.
The Badgers dropped both of their games to Colorado College this weekend, losing the first game 5-4 in overtime and getting shutout the following night 3-0. They had a 2-0 lead at one point in the first game but let it slip out of their hands quickly. It’s also worth mentioning that the game-winning goal for Colorado College came off a terrible turnover by the Wisconsin goaltender Joel Rumpel.
The two losses put Wisconsin at 1-4-1 on the season with their only win being an upset over Minnesota-Duluth a couple weeks ago. This squad lost more than a few players this year, so there were expected to be some growing pains and that seems to be the case thus far. Things aren’t going to get much easier down the road either as they have a series with the #2 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers coming up.
Ohio State Buckeyes (Collin Olson)
Olson did not give up any goals this weekend.
Ohio State did not play this weekend, but they have a series with Alaska-Fairbanks coming up next week.