Heading into the regular season stretch run, second-ranked North Dakota is one of the top teams in the country and a creative, shifty forward with ‘BLAKE’ imprinted along the back of his jersey is firmly in the Hobey Baker Memorial Award conversation.
For those old enough to have watched college hockey in the late 1990s, it’s déjà vu all over again.
Back then, Jason Blake was an electrifying forward at North Dakota, racking up 169 points and three WCHA titles in three seasons. He was a Hobey finalist in 1996-97 -- the school’s Hobey campaign for Blake dubbed him ‘Hobey Blaker’ -- the same season he helped spark the program to an NCAA championship. He was a Hobey finalist again two seasons later before embarking on a 13-year NHL career as an undrafted free agent.
A quarter of a century later, Blake’s son, UND sophomore Jackson Blake (Eden Prairie, Minn.), is turning back the clock.
No player in the country has out-produced Blake’s 17 points since the start of the New Year, and the 2021 Carolina fourth-rounder will go into UND’s off week tied for fourth in the NCAA scoring race with 39 points in 28 contests overall.
Blake’s current 10-game point streak has run parallel to UND’s 8-1-1 stretch that has vaulted the Fighting Hawks into the No. 3 spot in the PairWise rankings and first place in the NCHC. UND is on a 21-game regulation unbeaten streak, tying for the best such streak in school history.
Longtime UND radio voice Tim Hennessy, who has called the action for both generations of Blakes, says Jackson’s two-way game has evolved.
“He learns as he goes. He made some mistakes early but learned from them and has become a feared and productive player on both ends,” Hennessy said. “He’s now a 200-foot player.”
It remains to be seen if this second family act will end with the same team achievement or individual acclaim, but so far Jackson Blake is doing his best to write his own story.
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Boston Globe: Northeastern men’s hockey has gotten a lot healthier in the win column
College Hockey News: New Hampshire’s rejuvenation
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Minneapolis Star Tribune: Rochester connection to hockey continues with next generation of Zmoleks
New England Hockey Journal: BU, Northeastern set to meet in Beanpot final
The Hockey News: No. 1 NHL draft prospect Celebrini dominates with speed, skill
The Rink Live: Returning from surgery, Dylan Anhorn leads SCSU and keeps learning from NHL star
The Rink Live: Northern Michigan blue line flexes its muscle amid late-season push
USCHO: NMU picking up points, ‘building, trying to get us back where we were before the break’
USCHO: North Dakota netminder Persson says return to Miami ‘was really fun to be out there’
USCHO: By reflecting on youth hockey days, Colgate turning corner
Bulldog Insider: Jack Smith goes from Huskies from to rival at UMD
CHN Insiders: Featuring Sacred Heart Head Coach C.J. Marottolo
Inside Atlantic Hockey: Bentley graduate F Ethan Leyh
Inside ECAC Hockey: Featuring Quinnipiac Associate Head Coach Joe Dumais
Inside Hockey East: Featuring Boston College senior D Eamon Powell
Parting Schotts: Union coach Hauge looks back at Yale-Brown games, previews Colgate-Cornell
The CCHA Show: Featuring Bowling Green’s Michael Bevilacqua and Augustana’s Hunter Bischoff
The Pipeline Show: Talking Beanpot with USCHO’s Jimmy Connelly
USCHO Spotlight: Talking rules and officiating with Big Ten’s Piotrowski
USCHO Weekend Review: Five top 20 teams with big weekends, some dustups, our ‘big’ predictions
NCAA: Defending champs re-enter men’s hockey Power 5
New England Hockey Journal: Inside the Boston College-Boston University hockey rivalry
Third-ranked Boston University and Northeastern will square off in next Monday’s Beanpot final at Boston’s TD Garden.
BU advanced with a 4-3 victory over top-ranked Boston College last Monday, keyed by two goals from freshman F Macklin Celebrini (Vancouver, British Columbia), his 20th and 21st of the season. In the other semifinal, Northeastern’s Gunnarwolfe Fontaine (East Greenwich, R.I.) scored 33 seconds into overtime to deliver a 3-2 win over Harvard.
Monday’s final can be seen in the United States on NESN and ESPN+ and in Canada on TSN3 and TSN5.
Wendt Into Action:
In 2021-22, Western Michigan’s Ethen Frank led the nation with 26 goals. Last season, WMU’s Jason Polin scored 30 goals to tie Michigan’s Adam Fantilli for the NCAA lead. Could the Broncos produce the nation’s top goal-scorer for a third straight year?
It’s never been done before in NCAA Division I men’s hockey, but junior F Dylan Wendt is certainly making a run at history. The Grand Haven, Mich., native scored his 21st goal of the season in Saturday’s 7-2 win at Denver, moving him into a five-way tie for the national lead.
An undrafted free agent like Frank and Polin before him, Wendt started filling the net on opening weekend and hasn’t stopped. He scored each night that weekend against Ferris State and has gone consecutive games without a goal just once all season.
Also of note, two-thirds of Wendt’s goals have come away from WMU’s Lawson Ice Arena; only BU’s Macklin Celebrini (15) has lit the lamp more often on the road.
No. 13 Cornell will take a 10-game unbeaten streak (7-0-3) into Friday’s road clash at RPI. Only Wisconsin, which went without a loss in 11 straight (10-0-1) earlier this season, has put together a longer unbeaten streak in 2023-24.
The Big Red have a long way to go in order to match the longest unbeaten run in program history. That was a 19-game streak (18-0-1) in the second half of the 2004-05 season.
Fit to Print:
“It was probably one of the coolest experiences. Whether we had a good save or scored a goal, that was probably one of the coolest things I’ve been a part of.”
NHL Note of the Week:
NCAA alumni are considered to be the current leaders for the NHL’s Norris Trophy, Calder Trophy and Vezina Trophy, according to a recent ESPN piece:
Click HERE to read more.
Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:
Western Michigan G Cameron Rowe (Wilmette, Ill.) enters the weekend just one victory away from becoming the fourth active goalie in NCAA Division I men’s hockey to reach 50 career wins. The others are Michigan Tech’s Blake Pietila (Howell, Mich.), Michigan’s Jake Barczewski (Gr., O’Fallon, Mo.) and Minnesota’s Justen Close (Gr., Kindersley, Saskatchewan). Rowe and the Broncos host Omaha this weekend … Boston College sophomore F Cutter Gauthier (Scottsdale, Ariz.) had his point streak snapped at 14 games Monday against BU. It is the longest such streak in NCAA Division I men’s hockey this season … North Dakota’s 4-1 win at Miami on Saturday was the 200th behind the bench for head coach Brad Berry (North Dakota ’86) … Arizona State senior F Matthew Kopperud (Denver, Colo.) notched his 100th career point with a power-play goal Saturday against Lindenwood. It was his 36th career PPG, tops among all active players … Wisconsin’s crowd of 15,359 fans at the Kohl Center to witness Saturday’s overtime tie with Minnesota was the largest home crowed in NCAA Division I men’s hockey all season.
College Hockey Inc. Resources:
Did you know? 92% of NCAA Division I men’s hockey players earn their degree!