For those watching the United States Men’s Olympic Hockey Team in Sochi, fans will notice a distinct college hockey feel.
Of the 25 players that make up the roster, 20 have played college hockey. The players represent 14 NCAA institutions, with only three schools having more than one player on the roster. The University of Wisconsin is the most represented on Team USA with Ryan McDonagh, Joe Pavelski, Derek Stepan and Ryan Suter all having played for the Badgers. The University of Minnesota is next with three players on the roster -- Paul Martin, Phil Kessel and Blake Wheeler. The University of North Dakota is the only other school with more than one player as Zach Parise will captain the squad and he is joined by T.J. Oshie.Overall, the Golden Gophers have had more Olympians than every other school with 54 players dotting rosters through the years. This year, Thomas Vanek, star of the Gophers' 2003 NCAA championship team, will play for Austria, marking the first player of the 54 who will play in the Olympics for someone other than the United States.
Boston University is second on the list with 32 Olympians. Of the 32, 27 have played for Team USA. The Terriers had four players on the 1980 Miracle On Ice team, including captain Mike Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig. Meanwhile Boston College has had 26 players in the Olympics and every one of them has worn the Red, White and Blue, including Brooks Orpik this year.
Wisconsin and Harvard are the only other two institutions that have had at least 20 players compete in the Olympics. The Badgers have had 23, including 18 for the United States, while Harvard has had 20, 19 of which played for the U.S.
The remainder of schools which have had at least 10 Olympians include Dartmouth (19), Michigan State (15), Michigan Tech (14), Maine (13), Michigan (13), Denver (12), Minnesota-Duluth (12) and Bowling Green (10).Current Bowling Green Falcon Ralfs Freibergs, who will play for Latvia, is the only current college player that will be playing in the Olympics. Freibergs has 20 points on two goals and 18 assists this season for the Falcons, and will rejoin the team after the Olympics is over.
North Dakota has had more Olympians on teams other than the United States than any other school. All 13 UND players who have made the Olympics for a team other than the United States have all played for Team Canada, including Jonathan Toews. Denver is second on the list with nine players on international teams including Canada, Finland and Italy. The Pioneers will be represented in this year’s Olympics by Paul Stastny, who will play for Team USA.
Crossing the blue line
Of its 28 games this year, Clarkson has played in 18 one-goal games, more than any other team in the nation. In fact, five of its past six games have been decided by one goal. On the season, the Knights are 12-6 in one-goal games. Clarkson started off the season 7-0 in games decided by one goal, but have lost its past three. Michigan Tech is second in one-goal games as it has played in 16 one-goal games, but more impressively 22 of its 30 games have been tied or decided by one goal.
Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau was named the Hockey Commissioners Association national player of the month for January. Gaudreau scored eight goals and 10 assists for 18 points in January. The Eagles went 7-0-1 in the eight-game stretch in the month of January. He scored at least one point in every game during the month and is currently on a 22-game point scoring streak. His teammate, goalie Thatcher Demko, was named the national rookie of the month.
The Massachusetts-Lowell goaltending duo of Connor Hellebuyck and Doug Carr are the top two goalies in the nation in terms of goals-against average. Hellebuyck has 1.76 GAA, while Carr has a 1.80 GAA. Understandably, the River Hawks lead the nation in scoring defense at 1.89 goals allowed per game, less than a hundredth of a goal ahead of Quinnipiac. Even with such a low goals-against average they have only posted three shutouts all season, but have allowed only one goal 10 times.
Minding the net
When Penn State plays Michigan in a series this weekend, it will mark the 12th time it will play a ranked team in its past 17 games. … In Denver’s past five series, neither team has skated away with a sweep. … Massachusetts senior forward Conor Sheary is three points shy of 100 for his career. … In the past eight years, North Dakota is 145-13-11 in games in which it led headed into the third period. … Merrimack plays at Boston College on Friday night, looking to win for the first time in Chestnut Hill since October 1997. Merrimack is 0-24-3 at BC since then. … In St. Cloud State’s past three games, the two teams have combined for an average of 11 goals per game. … Notre Dame senior forward T.J. Tynan is two assists shy of 100 for his career. … Robert Morris sophomore forward Zac Lynch leads the nation with four short-handed goals. … Notre Dame’s Steven Summerhays leads the nation’s goalies with five shutouts. … Mercyhurst has six players that have reached at least 20 points on the season. … Holy Cross plays Sacred Heart in a home and home this weekend with the Crusaders 8-1-1 in the past 10 meetings between the two teams … Former Rensselaer standout Jerry Knightley (‘65) has been chosen to be the seventh inductee into the Hockey Ring of Honor. He finished his career with 90 goals and 97 assists for 187 points in 71 games in three varsity seasons and will be recognized Friday during an intermission. … Minnesota-Duluth is unbeaten in the 41 games it's struck for more than three goals (36-0-5). … Yale and Niagara are the only teams in the country with freshmen logging all the minutes in net this season.