For some teams, the college hockey season has been underway for more than a month; others have played just a few games. This week, Karen’s Print Rite summarizes the start of five freshman seasons, following players who were regulars at Young Arena last year.
Brock Boeser, North Dakota F
The University of North Dakota surrendered the top spot in the USA Today/USA Hockey college poll after a loss to Wisconsin last weekend. Still, prospects are bright for last season’s Frozen Four-qualifiers and their top freshman. Boeser is currently tied for third on the squad with seven points. The total includes five goals, highlighted by a hat trick against Bemidji State on October 17th. That effort sparked a four-game point streak and recognition for Boeser on October 26th as the NCHC Rookie of the Week.
North Dakota is on home ice Friday and Saturday in conference tilts against Miami. Eight of North Dakota’s next eight games will be against teams from the NCHC.
Alec McCrea, Cornell D
McCrea became an increasingly important part of the Black Hawks’ offense over the course of his three seasons in Waterloo. There was no waiting to get on the scoresheet in his first year at Cornell. The Big Red played their first game on October 30th against Niagara, and McCrea notched an assist on the program’s first goal of the season. Cornell went on to a 3-2 overtime victory. The next night in another win against the Purple Eagles, McCrea generated another assist. He now has three assists in four games, with Cornell off to a 3-1-0 start.
This weekend, the Big Red prepare for a home-and-home series with Colgate. The two upstate New York schools are just 90 minutes apart and with play for the 150th time since their series began in 1921.
Tyler Sheehy, Minnesota F
After an 0-3-0 start, the Gophers have won three of four. Sheehy broke through for his first NCAA goal in the first of those wins against Northeastern on October 23rd. He recorded his first multipoint effort last Saturday during a 4-1 win against Notre Dame. Sheehy set up the first goal of the night, then a third period insurance tally by Justin Kloos. With four points, he ranks as Minnesota’s top freshman scorer, one point ahead of fellow Waterloo alum Tom Novak.
Minnesota opens a series of four straight games against in-state rivals Friday versus Minnesota State-Mankato. The string also includes matchups against St. Cloud State.
Ethan Spaxman, Merrimack D
With his big shot from the point, Spaxman has captured a little freshman magic for the Warriors. His first NCAA goal proved to be the difference in a 4-3 victory against Boston University on October 30th. It was an significant win for Merrimack, not only against a top-ten opponent, but also because it provided valuable points in the highly competitive Hockey East conference. Spaxman struck again last Saturday, and the Warriors downed Canisius, 3-2 on the road. He is one of only a dozen freshman defenseman in all of college hockey currently with multiple goals.
Spaxman will try to add to the total and Merrimack will try to improve on their sturdy 5-1-2 record this weekend against Massachusetts and New Hampshire. The Warriors are currently tied for 13th in the most recent USA Today poll.
Tom Novak, Minnesota F
Novak made his first college goal count. It was the game-winner during a 4-0 shutout of the Northeastern Huskies. He put the puck between the pipes during a power play situation; for good measure, he added an assist in the third period for a multipoint effort. Novak found the scoresheet again last Friday with an assist during a 4-3 loss to Notre Dame. He has not been hesitant about sending the puck toward the cage, averaging over two shots on net per game.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, Novak will get his first taste of Big Ten hockey when Minnesota meets Ohio State on December 4th.
Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite.