By Nate Ewell
Omaha has been the nation’s most explosive offense at home, scoring 4.86 goals per game, and the Mavericks have moved into the top 10 in the Pairwise Rankings that mimic the NCAA Tournament selection process. They hope to take their offensive show on the road in this weekend’s visit to No. 6 St. Cloud State, but UNO’s last three road games have been shutout losses. Senior David Pope (Edmonton, Alta./W. Kelowna-BCHL/DET) ranks tied for seventh nationally in points (35) and goals (16), and he averages a point per game on the road despite the recent struggles away from Baxter Arena. | Friday’s game is on FOX Sports North
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Watertown Daily Times: SLU’s Gicewicz provides physical presence
South Bend Tribune: Pooley could skate his way to college hockey’s top award
Times Union: A conversation with RPI’s Jake Marrello
Foster’s Daily Democrat: Kelleher in attack mode for Wildcats
College Hockey News: Robson’s New Path
Five More Storylines No One Should Be Without
Bavaro breaks through – Sacred Heart returns home to face Robert Morris after an off week having won back-to-back games. Sophomore Vito Bavaro (Sarasota, Fla./Brooks School) has enjoyed a breakthrough season after a solid freshman campaign. He leads the team with 13 goals and 22 points, both nearly double last year’s totals, and his 95 shots are 36% more than his next closest teammate. The Pioneers are 11th in Atlantic Hockey but have games in hand and could climb the standings. Bavaro – still the second-youngest player on the roster – won two prep school championships at Brooks School and had a hat trick earlier this year in an upset win at Notre Dame.
Scarfo leads balanced Union – Union takes a four-game winning streak to Cornell Friday, featuring a balanced offense with five players between 27 and 22 points. Leading the way is senior Ryan Scarfo (N. Chelmsford, Mass./Powell River-BCHL), whose 15 goals and 27 points set the pace and mark career highs. He and sophomore Anthony Rinaldi (Montreal, Que./Kingston-OJHL) are two Dutchmen who boast 10-goal improvements from last season. Union, which had four players from last year’s team sign NHL contracts, is 15-7-1 after an 0-5-0 start and just five points off the ECAC Hockey lead with four weeks to play in the regular season. | College Hockey News: Scarfo helps Union soldier on
Biggest Goal Improvement, 2016-17 to 2017-18
+11 – Dawson DiPietro, WMU
+11 – Nick Halloran, CC
+11 – Zach Jordan, Omaha
+11 – Derian Plouffe, Niagara
+10 – Anthony Rinaldi, Union
+10 – Ryan Scarfo, Union
+10 – Michael Wilson, Army
Ferris State hopes to get on roll – A big weekend from junior goaltender Darren Smith (Barrie, Ont./Madison-USHL) led Ferris State to a sweep of Michigan Tech, as he stopped 61 shots in 4-3 and 3-1 wins. It’s been a streaky season for the Bulldogs, who hope to get on a good run in the last month of the regular season as they head to Alaska this weekend. As a freshman Smith posted a .926 save percentage after Jan. 1 and led Ferris State to the WCHA tournament title and a first-round NCAA Tournament win.
Pinho leads Providence – Providence is the third of three teams within three points of the Hockey East lead, closing that gap with a 7-1-2 mark since Christmas that trails only Cornell (8-0-1) and Ohio State (7-1-0) nationally. Senior Brian Pinho (N. Andover, Mass./Indiana-USHL/WSH) has led the Friars in that time with 12 points, surpassing 100 career points in the process (now 108). An excellent two-way center and team captain, Pinho won championships in back-to-back seasons: in 2014 with Indiana (USHL) and 2015 as a Friar freshman.
Best Record Since Christmas
8-0-1 – Cornell
7-1-0 – Ohio State
7-1-2 – Providence
5-1-1 – Boston University
6-1-2 – Mercyhurst
7-2-1 – Bemidji State, Northern Michigan
6-2-0 – Minnesota State
Hughes among draft highlights – Midseason rankings universally see Michigan freshman Quinn Hughes (Orlando, Fla./U.S. NTDP) as a top-10 selection in the 2018 NHL Draft, vying with BU’s Brady Tkachuk (St. Louis, Mo./U.S. NTDP) for the honor of first collegian selected. Hughes has starred for the Wolverines as the youngest player in Division I, posting 15 points through 23 games, including five assists in January since returning from the World Junior Championship. Hughes is a second-generation college star from both parents: his father, Jim, captained Providence while his mother, Ellen, was a two-sport star at New Hampshire (hockey and soccer). | College Hockey Inc.: Freshmen lead midterm rankings | Both Michigan games this weekend are on FOX Sports Wisconsin
NHL Note of the Week
Five players from the 2015 NHL Draft were part of the 2018 NHL All-Star Game last weekend in Tampa: Connor McDavid and four NCAA alumni (Jack Eichel, Noah Hanifin, Zach Werenski and Brock Boeser). Boeser was the All-Star Game MVP while using the same locker he had for the 2016 Frozen Four, which he won with North Dakota.
Fries at the Bottom of the Bag
This weekend is Concussion Awareness Weekend in several NCAA conferences, an initiative led by the Headway Foundation ( @HeadwayFDN), a non-profit founded by former college players Danny Otto, Paige Decker and Josephine Pucci … The 66th annual Beanpot begins Monday, with Boston College facing Northeastern and Boston University facing Harvard in the first-round games (NESN/TSN2) … Three players who played college hockey last season took home All-Star MVP honors in the NHL (Brock Boeser), AHL (C.J. Smith) and ECHL (Taylor Cammarata) … The Hobey Baker Award has named Red Berenson as its 2018 Legend of College Hockey honoree.