ASNetminding: New Hampshire's 1-2 punch leads nation in scoring

The most dynamic scoring duo in college hockey so far this season doesn’t reside in Providence, Omaha, St. Cloud, North Dakota or even Quinnipiac.

[caption id="attachment_6268" align="alignright" width="105"] Kelleher[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_6267" align="alignright" width="105"] Poturalski[/caption]

That title belongs to sophomore Andrew Poturalski and junior linemate Tyler Kelleher of the New Hampshire Wildcats.

UNH is just 6-6-4 on the season, ending the first half on a 3-0-1 run to get back to 500. But the constant for the Wildcats has been the 1-2 punch of Poturalski and Kelleher.

Poturalski is averaging two points per game (tops in the nation) with 16 goals (tops in the nation) and 16 assists for 32 points (also No. 1). Kelleher has six goals and leads the nation with 23 assists. Last year, he led the Wildcats with 18 goals and 24 assists.

The New Hampshire pair holds a slight edge over North Dakota’s Drake Caggiula and Nick Schmaltz, who rank third and fourth, respectively, with 27 and 26 points.

With just 11 teams competing this weekend, here’s a look at some leaders at the Christmas break:

  • Qunnipiac goalie Michael Garteig has played in all 18 games for the Bobcats, tops in the nation. He’s logged more minutes (1,066:57) and has the most wins (15) and is tied with Boston College goalie Thatcher Demo for most shutouts with six.

  • Harvard’s Merrick Madsen has played in seven games and leads the country with .978 goals-against average and .966 save percentage. He’s given up just seven goals and has four shutouts. North Dakota’s Cam Johnson is second at 1.19 goals-against and a .955 save percentage.

  • Michigan (9-3-3) leads the nation in scoring at nearly 4.4 goals per game. The Wolverines are also giving up 3.0 goals per game. Penn State (11-2-3) ranks second in scoring at 4.38 but surrender just 2.31.

  • Quinnipiac leads the nation in defense, allowing just 1.37 goals while Harvard is second at 1.46.

  • Best power play thus far: Robert Morris is converting at a 35.38% clip, followed by Penn State at 30.43% and St. Cloud State at 28.79%.

  • Miami (Ohio) is killing penalties at a 93.10 clip, followed by Yale at 90.62.

  • Austin Ortega of Omaha and Joey Benik of St. Cloud State are tied for the nation’s lead with five game-winning goals apiece.

  • Zac Lynch of Robert Morris tops the nation with four shorthanded goals, while Tage Thompson of UConn and Austin Farley of Minnesota-Duluth are tied for the lead in power play goals with seven each.

Training underway for Team USA
Training camp opened Tuesday for the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete in the 2016 IHF World Junior Championships Dec. 26-Jan. 5 in Helsinki, Finland. They’ll play an exhibition Friday against Massachusetts before traveling to Finland for the remainder of their exhibition and tournament schedule.

There are 29 players trying to make the roster, 13 from NCAA colleges. The blue line looks to have the biggest college influence with seven of the nine invitees from U.S. colleges. In a year where goalies have dominated play, no Division I goalies were asked to try out.

USA Hockey also announced the 37 players it invited to the USA Hockey women’s winter training camp from Dec. 27-Jan. 1 in Blaine, Minn.

Twenty-two of the invitees competed on U.S. Women’s National Team that won the Four Nations Cup in early November and 20 competed for the gold medal team at the International Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in April.

Nineteen of the invitees are from NCAA teams. (See the complete roster.)
Poll sitters
For the sixth consecutive week Providence sits atop both the USCHO and USA Today/USA Magazine men's polls, as well as ASN’s Elite Eight.

This is the first week, however, that the Friars earned 48 of 50 first-place votes in the USCHO poll and were a unanimous No. 1 in the USA Today/USA Magazine poll. The Friars (12-0-3) are the lone unbeaten team in men’s Division I, and will face possibly two of their stiffest tests in the Florida College Classic when it opens Dec. 28 against 8-1-2 Cornell.

The winner of that matchup faces the Ohio State-Boston College winner. BC (13-2-1) dropped to fourth after losing 4-3 to No. 16 Notre Dame last week. Quinnipiac, ranked third in the USCHO and ASN’s Elite Eight and second in the USA Today/USA Magazine Top 15, dropped its first game of the season, 4-1 to Boston University.

The women’s poll saw a new No. 1 this week as Boston University, the lone unbeaten at 20-0-0, moved past previous No. 1 Wisconsin (18-1-1) after the Badgers needed a shootout to gain the extra point against North Dakota. The shootout goals were the only goals scored against the Fighting Hawks over the weekend. UND, 11-6-3, moved from ninth to eighth.

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