Welcome to the college hockey stock report, where we take a look at what’s going on throughout the NCAA men’s hockey landscape.
Another month has flown by in a season that seems like it started yesterday. North Dakota junior forward Jordan Kawaguchi and Providence sophomore forward Jack Dugan continue to lead the national scoring race. Minnesota State and Cornell’s team defense hold steady atop the rest as both teams continue to stay in the top-five.
While those remain steady, there has been plenty of movement elsewhere. This week’s report looks at trends entering February to see who is doing well, who is on their way down, and which trends should be followed or forgotten. We'll also take a look at best thing that happened in college hockey this week.
Minnesota has found its footing, winning five straight games and going 7-1-1 in its last nine. After struggling defensively earlier in the season — the Gophers gave up 14 goals to Penn State in a November series sweep — Minnesota has improved as of late, only giving up 12 total goals in six January games.
It’s not just the Gophers who are trending upward, however. It’s the state. The three hottest teams since the calendar flipped to 2020 hail from Minnesota. Minnesota State and Bemidji State are each 8-1-1 with the losses coming to one another. Add St. Cloud State moving up 20 spots in the Pairwise and Minnesota Duluth's road sweep of Denver and there is plenty to be happy about throughout Minnesota.
Speaking of the Pioneers, Denver’s 11 game unbeaten streak came to an end thanks to Minnesota Duluth sweeping DU. The month does not get any easier as the Pioneers will travel to Grand Forks to play North Dakota on Feb. 14.
More importantly, UMD now holds the comparison against Denver, which is bad news for the Pioneers and good news for Boston College’s quest to take the final No. 1 seed.
Up: The Cotton Brothers in New England in-state tournaments
Leave it to a pair of brothers from Texas to make their mark in New England. Sacred Heart's Jason Cotton helped lead the Pioneers to the first Connecticut Ice title as champions among the four Nutmeg State schools. He earned the inaugural Gordie Howe MVP Trophy for his two goals in wins over Yale and Quinnipiac. Boston College's David Cotton, meanwhile, also scored twice. His goals came in the Beanpot’s Monday semifinals, helping the Eagles tie Boston University in the final minute of regulation.
Although the two so far combined for 29 goals (17 for Jason, 12 for David), the Cotton brothers will not be combining for two in-state championships. Boston College officially tied BU, but lost the chance to face Northeastern for the 2020 Beanpot title, giving Jason some more bragging rights.
Hold: Picking a winner in the Hockey East and Big Ten
Boston College currently finds itself tied with Massachusetts atop Hockey East with 20 points. (The Eagles do have two games in hand.) Three points away are Northeastern in the eighth and final playoff spot.
Yet that may not be the tightest race. Thanks to Notre Dame taking five of six points from Penn State last weekend and Minnesota’s sweep of Wisconsin, the Big Ten race is as close as it gets. Five of the seven Big Ten teams find themselves with either 28 or 29 points. Finishing at the top of the Big Ten is desirable because there are only four home spots in the postseason.
Down: Goals allowed by RPI’s Owen Savory
Good luck getting a puck past RPI sophomore goaltender Owen Savory. Over his past six games, Savory stopped 186 of 189 shots faced for a .984% save percentage. He has three shutouts, including a 38 save win in Saturday’s Big Red Freakout against Vermont, and helped the Engineers go 6-2-1 in its last nine games.
What’s scarier is how close Savory was to an even better save percentage. Two of the three goals against him came in the final 12 seconds of a period.
Up: Healthy Wade Allison
Western Michigan, unfortunately, knows all too well about playing without Wade Allison. The senior forward missed the final five games before the holiday break due to the latest in a long line of injuries. In the 10 games since, Allison has 12 points (6 goals and 6 assists) and helped the Broncos to a five-game winning streak prior to Saturday’s loss.
Down: Bowling Green and Army
A pair of teams from last month’s stock report continue a downward trend. Bowling Green, now 1-8-1 in its last 10 games, has gone from seventh place in the Pairwise to sixth place in the WCHA in a two-month span. Army West Point has slid down the Atlantic Hockey table as well, dropping three straight games before defeating Canisius on Saturday.
Up: Maine at home
No one has found a way to defeat the Black Bears in Maine. When hosting this season, Maine is 9-0-2, one of two teams (Cornell being the other) with unbeaten home records. The Black Bears are also finding ways to win away from Orono, sweeping Boston College and going from longshot to NCAA tournament contender.
One reason for the success? Another streak, this time coming from forward Tim Doherty. The senior has at least one point in all 7 games Maine played in 2020, which is two less than his nine-game point streak at the beginning of the season.
Down: The 20 Goal Mark
Northern Michigan’s Griffin Loughran became the first men’s player to reach 20 goals this season, two more than Sacred Heart’s Austin McIlmurray. Only once has a team been able to keep Loughran, who has scored in 17 of 27 games this season, from lighting the lamp in both games in a two-game series.
Up: Jack Drury
While Loughran leads the nation in goals, Drury, a Harvard sophomore, leads the nation in goals per game with .78. Over his last eight games, Drury has scored 10 goals. A Carolina Hurricanes draft pick, he’s especially found success as of late at NHL rinks, including a hat trick against Yale at Madison Square Garden and goal Monday at TD Garden in the Beanpot.
BOSTON CALLING: Catch up on everything relating to the 2020 Beanpot
Up: Children of Yost
Keep doing what you do best.
Who Won The Week?
Second Runner-Up: Having the Beanpot on national TV in America
Fans outside New England were treated to the tournament’s two semifinal games for the first time in several years. For being annually brought up as one of the pinnacles of the college hockey season, it was nice for once to see some of the Boston-centric shenanigans shared outside Route 128.
First Runner-Up: Jeb getting to see the Gophers sweep Wisconsin in Madison
Amid all of recognition of our armed forces at arenas these days, a stick salute to Jeb, a @GopherHockey fan from Elk River, who stopped by the Kohl Center to see his team en route to Chicago, where he will head to a deployment in Afghanistan until Christmas. Get home safe Jeb! pic.twitter.com/2C05PFscHV— Jess Myers (@JessRMyers) February 2, 2020
Winner: Ida and Malin Press
Even Hollywood couldn't write this script.— Maine Hockey (@BlackBearsWIH) February 2, 2020
Malin Press, mother of #15 Ida Press is battling breast cancer and we were honored to have her attend our Skating Strides Game.
So what does Ida do? Go and score a goal for her mother!!
Here it all is!!#BlackBearNation pic.twitter.com/OhBUYKUwu5
So many great things have happened this week, but the winner of the week in college hockey is an easy pick. There’s no way to end the week without giving the win to Ida Press, a Maine sophomore defender, and her mother Malin. For continuing to battle and writing a movie script ending on ice, you’ve won the week.