Tyler Wall (Rich Gagnon/UMass-Lowell)
Ten New York Ranger prospects took to the ice on Friday evening with once again goalie Tyler Wall of UMass-Lowell leading the way. The senior goalie who was the Rangers’ sixth-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Wall is looking to force the Rangers to offer him an NHL contract.
Wall and his UMass-Lowell River Hawks were in Vermont to take on the Vermont Catamounts in Hockey East conference play. Coming off tying his career-high of 40 saves, Tyler Wall equaled that by recording his second straight 40 save effort to help his River Hawks earn a 2-1 win.
Giving up just a third-period goal, Wall kept his team in it despite the River Hawks being out-shot 41-24 for the game. Tyler Wall earned the game’s first star in large part with a 16 save third period when Vermont out-shot UMass-Lowell 17-5.
Overall Wall improved his season totals to 5-1-2 with a 1.49 goals against and a 0.952 save percentage. Nationally Wall is second in both goals against and save percentage while fourth in wins. The same two teams will play on Saturday night.
Morgan Barron (Eldon Lindsey/Cornell Athletics)
Junior forward Morgan Barron led his fifth-ranked Cornell Big Red as they got their regular season underway with a road series against Michigan State. Barron who is serving as Cornell’s captain is looking to improve off last season’s 15-19-34 which led the team. Against Michigan State, Barron had two primary assists as Cornell rallied for a 3-2 win.
With Cornell trailing 2-1 in the second period, Barron fired a shot that was blocked but found it’s way to teammate Yannis Kaldis who fired a shot that tied the game at 2-1. It was the only even-strength goal of the game and it came at 9:15 of the period.
Still in the second but on a power play, Barron found teammate Max Andreev at the top of the right circle for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Barron finished 0-2-2 on three shots with a +1 and a minor penalty in the first period for hooking.
The same teams will face each other on Saturday evening.
Zac Jones (Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics)
Defenseman Zac Jones led his third-ranked Massachusetts Minutemen up against fellow prospect Riley Hughes 19th-ranked Northeastern Huskies in Hockey East action. Jones and the Minutemen rallied from down 2-0 to earn a 6-3 win with Jones earning a primary assist.
The freshman defenseman Jones is quickly making the Rangers look like geniuses for finding him in the 2019 third-round. Every time I watched him play, Jones has found a way to make outstanding plays. Against Northeastern, Jones would find John Leonard on the right side of the crease for a goal while his team was on a two-man advantage.
Jones’ assist starts at the 36-second mark and is well worth the look.
Overall Jones is 2-6-8 in six games good for second in team scoring after a 0-1-1 +1 on two shots. As for Northeastern’s Hughes, he was scoreless with no shots on goal and was 0-1 on faceoffs. The two teams will face each other again on Saturday evening only this time at Massachusetts.
Hunter Skinner (Terry Wilson/ OHL Images)
Hunter Skinner had a two-assist effort as his London Knights had to rally for a 7-6 overtime win over the Erie Otters. The Knights let a 3-0 first period lead slip away and needed a late third-period power-play goal to force overtime. Skinner had the primary assist on that tying goal.
Skinner also earned a secondary assist on London’s fourth goal of the game, an even-strength goal. On the season, Skinner is 3-11-14 in 13 games which leads all North American Ranger prospects in scoring.
Nico Gross had a goal as his Oshawa Generals had little trouble knocking off the Kingston Frontenacs 5-1. Gross got his team going with his sixth goal of the season, a power-play goal at 5:45 of the first period.
Four of Gross’s six goals have come on the power play as he improves to 6-7-13 in 15 games. The twitter copy of his goal is hard to view but it is a typical Gross goal. He “one-times” a shot from just above the right face-off circle.
Eric Cicolini had a primary assist on his Michigan Wolverines’ first goal but it wasn’t enough to help them defeat the 13th-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes 3-2. The Wolverines are an offensively challenged team as Ciccolini is their second-leading scorer with a 0-4-4 stat line.
Matthew Robertson was scoreless as his Edmonton Oil Kings rallied for a 4-3 win over the Saskatoon Blades. With the win, the Oil Kings have the best record in the WHL at 11-1-3 as they are unbeaten in regulation in 11 games (9-0-2).
K’Andre Miller was scoreless as his Wisconsin Badgers dropped a 4-2 decision on the road to 12th-ranked Penn State. I am really wondering if Wisconsin is trying to push Miller out the door after this season the way they are using in. Miller’s strength is his skating and he is at his best when he is attacking.
Against a very good skating Penn State team, Miller rarely got a chance to attack. Even stranger was the idea to use Miller as a forward on the power play. Yes, Miller has a big body but he isn’t a power forward and should be controlling the attack from the point.
Miller had just two shots on goal and just three attempted for the game. I know Wisconsin is trying to rebuild but Miller is a first-round pick for his offensive skills so why not use them?
The Wisconsin/Penn State game was part of a hockey doubleheader on the Big Ten Network and the second game was crazy.
Tyler Nanne and his Minnesota Golden Gophers were hosting fourth-ranked Notre Dame and on paper, this should have been a Notre Dame blowout win. Nanne is one of the few seniors on a team starting 11 true freshmen so of course, you know what is coming.
The scoresheet said the game ended in a 2-2 tie but in the Big Ten conference, you play a “5-on-5” overtime sudden-death overtime period. If nobody scores then you play a “3-on-3” period to earn the extra point.
Nanne was scoreless on one shot as Minnesota scored at 3:22 of the second overtime to earn the extra point. The same two teams play on Saturday night.