For Northeastern sophomore Josh Manson, ice hockey has truly been a way of life. Not just because he has skated for as long as he can remember, but because his father was a longtime professional player.
Josh’s father, Dave, played in more than 1,100 games in 16 years with seven NHL teams from 1986-2002, including the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Montreal Canadiens, Dallas Stars and the Toronto Maple Leafs. For the majority of the younger Hanson’s life, the family moved around North America as his Dad was traded frequently.
“I didn’t really understand what was going on and the how different the lifestyle was that I was living from everyone else,” Manson said. “It was definitely really cool hanging out at the rink with all of the NHL guys like Ed Belfour. I also used to play bubble hockey against [NHL Hall of Famer] Mats Sundin all the time. At the time I really didn’t think anything of it because that was what I was used to, but looking back it was pretty amazing.”
The elder Manson made his living in the NHL playing defense, something which is fairly new to the Northeastern sophomore defenseman.
“I was a forward my whole life up until my second year of Junior A when my coach asked me if I would try playing defense,” Hanson said. “So, I have only been a defender for three years, but it definitely feels more natural.”
Not only has he been a mainstay of the Huskies back line since arriving on campus two years ago, but he has developed into one of the team’s leaders.
“Josh [Manson] is one of those guys every team needs,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “He is a role model off the ice, and a force to be reckoned with on it. He is a leader by example and carries himself in a mature fashion that permeates through the locker room.”
Northeastern is 7-12-3 on the year heading into Friday night’s game against New Hampshire. Monday night, they face Boston University in a Beanpot semifinal contest looking to win the prestigious tournament of Boston schools for the first time since 1988.
“It would be amazing for us to win it, especially since it has been so long since we have won it,” Manson said. “Last year was my first year playing in it and since I am not from Boston I didn’t really understand the magnitude of it. It is just an unbelievable event and the first thing people always talk to me about no matter what time of year is the Beanpot. Being able to win it would definitely put an amazing stamp on the season no matter where we finish in the conference standings.”
A sixth-round pick of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 2011 NHL Draft, Manson hopes he is able to follow in his father’s footsteps to the professional ranks when his Northeastern career is over.
“I definitely want to take hockey as far as I can go,” Manson said. “However, I am a criminal justice major with a minor in business so I will always have my education to fall back on.”
• Air Force hosts American International in a two-game series, looking to extend its four game win streak and six game unbeaten streak (5-0-1). The Falcon’s four-game winning streak is the longest since a five-gamer last season. Air Force completed the month of January with a 5-1-1 record, tying for the most wins in January since the 1986-87 team set a school record with nine. Since the beginning of December, the Falcons are 8-2-2 in the last 12 games with the only losses at No. 1 Minnesota and at No. 15 Niagara. At 11-9-5 overall, AFA is above .500 for the first time this season.
• Counting four defeats in which its opponent clinched victory with an empty netter late in regulation, Colorado College has been involved in 16 one-goal affairs so far in ’12-13. The Tigers have prevailed in only one of the past 11 (1-8-2) – including a 3-2 loss to Duluth on Jan. 18 – after winning four of the first five, and are 5-9-2 in the 16 outings overall.
• Heading into its series with North Dakota this weekend, Wisconsin is 7-0-3 in its past 10 WCHA contests, including a 5-0-1 mark on the road during that stretch. The current league unbeaten streak is the school’s longest since the Badgers went unbeaten in 12 consecutive WCHA contests from Oct. 21-Dec. 3, 2005. UW went 10-0-2 during that streak. Wisconsin’s record is 13 games during an 8-0-5 stretch from Nov. 7, 2003 through Jan. 9, 2004. Wisconsin has also won its last six WCHA contests, its longest streak since UW won six consecutive WCHA games from Nov. 22, 2008 through Jan. 16, 2009. The Badgers last WCHA win streak longer than six was eight games from Feb. 4-26, 2000 during UW’s most recent MacNaughton Cup-winning season. Overall, UW owns wins in nine of its last 10 games and is 10-1-3 since Nov. 30.
• Miami looks to improve its 8-1-3 at Steve Cady Arena this year when it hosts Alaska-Fairbanks on Friday and Saturday. The RedHawks have doubled their opponents in goals when playing at home, outscoring foes, 32-16, in Oxford. In 12 road games, the ‘Hawks have scored 29 goals but given up 23.
Merrimack’s next win will be Mark Dennehy’s 100th career as Merrimack’s head coach … The RPI team members combined for a 3.54 GPA last semester with four players posting a perfect 4.0… St. Cloud State senior forward Drew LeBlanc is four assists away from hitting the century mark for his career… Minnesota-Duluth is an impressive 8-2-1 in series openers this season but a mere 2-6-2 in rematch games… Quinnipiac has allowed more than two goals only once since the beginning of November… Ohio State has not allowed a power-play goal in its last six games and is 17-for-17 in the stretch … Nebraska-Omaha’s Ryan Walters leads the nation with 39 points on the season and has scored at least one point in his past 10 games … North Dakota’s Derek Forbort will play in his 100th career game on Friday, while Dillon Simpson is on pace to reach the same milestone on Saturday … Meanwhile RIT junior defenseman Greg Noyes will play in his 100th career game on Friday, while forward Ben Lynch is set to play in his 100th on Saturday\… Yale hosts second-ranked Quinnipiac looking to improve its record of 6-0-2 this season against teams with national rankings the week of the game… Colorado College senior center Rylan Schwartz is one assist away from tying current CC assistant coach Eric Rud for 24th on the school all-time list with 90… Canisius is 8-0-0 when senior captain Torrey Lindsay records a point this season and 1-11-5 when he doesn’t… Michigan Tech is 8-1-15 in its past 24 overtime games stretching back to 2009… Goaltender John Faulkner earned both Nebraska-Omaha wins last weekend, moving him to within two of tying Dan Ellis for most career wins (53) at UNO … Wisconsin junior forward Mark Zengerle has 99 career points and could reach the century mark this weekend against North Dakota… Miami has killed 20 consecutive opponent power plays dating back to Jan. 11 and 38 of their past 39 opponent power plays going back to Dec. 8… During the past three weeks, no other player in the country has more points than Boston University forward Danny O’Regan, who has 11 points (4g,7a) in six games.