Ahh, college hockey season. Finally. Almost all WCHA schools were playing games that counted this weekend, meaning we have a very, very small sample to use when judging individual performances. Even so, here are some payers that stood out, and some that disappointed.
1. Christian Isackson, Minnesota
When Minnesota’s lines were announced for its exhibition against Lethbridge last week, many pointed straight to Isackson, who’s name sat next to Nick Bjugstad and Kyle Rau on the Gophers’ top line. Following the Lethbridge game and a weekend series against Michigan State, it looks like he’s a perfect fit. Last winter as a freshman, Isackson only skated in 11 games and didn’t record a point. Counting the exhibition, he now has four goals and two assists in three games as a sophomore.
2. Milos Gordic, Michigan Tech
Last season was a disappointing one for Gordic, who saw his scoring production drop from the previous winter. Apparently, he used that as motivation this summer. Gordic posted a four-point weekend (two goals, two assists) in a home-and-home series against Lake Superior State, showing that he might be the guy to step up and fill the void left by the departure of Brett Olson.
3. Mike Seidel, Minnesota Duluth
Seidel had a breakout season in 2011-12, notching 17 goals – six of which came on the power play – while taking on an increased role in the UMD lineup. It looks like he’s picked up right where he left off. Seidel netted not one, not two, but three power-play goals for UMD this weekend and added an assist to go along with it, giving him his most productive weekend as a Bulldog to date.
1. Mark Zengerle, Wisconsin
Although Zengerle had a goal and an assist this weekend, the less noticeable aspects of his game weren’t up to par. As the top center on the Wisconsin roster, Zengerle was a minus-two and won just 37 percent of his faceoffs (13-of-35 on the weekend). Everyone expects him to put up numbers, but he must be better all-around.
2. Ben Hanowski, St. Cloud State
You can’t be too hard on a guy who had a shorthanded goal and 11 shots in a weekend, but Hanowski was a minus-three against New Hampshire. Finding a way to get some of those shots past opposing goalies will obviously help that stat, and Hanowski’s offensive abilities will soon pay dividends for St. Cloud State.
3. Josh Thorimbert, Colorado College
Thorimbert was pretty dang good last season, and he posted a .924 saves percentage to show for it. But in his only action last weekend, he wasn’t impressive. Thorimbert gave up four goals on only 25 shots (an .840 saves percentage) in a winning effort against Clarkson. With some stiff competition on the horizon, he better find his game.