Note: Because there were so few women’s hockey games last week, no female hockey player of the week was selected.
Apparently, it pays to be smart when it comes to playing hockey.
It’s certainly helped Harvard’s Kyle Criscoulo and Ohio State’s Christian Frey. Both excel off the ice every bit as much as they do it, perhaps even more.
Criscoulo, a 5-foot-9, 175 senior forward and Harvard’s co-captain, scored the tying and game-winning goals against host Minnesota in the title game of the Mariucci Classic last week.
The first of his two goals came with 33.9 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 3-3 after the Crimson pulled goalie Merrick Madsen for an extra attacker. His game-winner followed 2:39 into overtime off an assist from Jimmy Vessey, who also set up the game-tying goal.
Criscoulo has played in all 12 games (8-1-3) for the Crimson and has 10 goals and 5 assists. Harvard is a plus-7 when he’s on the ice and his 44 goals and 52 assists for his career leave him just four points shy of the magical 100-point milestone.
Off the ice, Criscuolo has been even more impressive. As a junior he was named the ECAC Student-Athlete of the Year and an ECAC and Ivy League all-conference second team selection.
Frey is an Ohio State Scholar-Ahtlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree. The 5-10, 179-pound junior also stands tall in the net. The Buckeyes may be just 5-11-0 on the season and 0-2-0 in Big Ten play, but pulled off the shocker of all the holiday tournaments by capturing the Florida College Hockey Classic title.
Providence, Boston College and Cornell entered the Florida tourney with a combined three losses, and all ranked in the top 10 in the country.
The Buckeyes won the tournament opener against BC, 3-2, behind Frey’s 37 saves. A huge turning point was when the team killed a five-minute major late in the first period and early in the second.
Against Cornell in the title game the following night, everything clicked for Ohio State in a stunning 8-0 rout. Eight players scored and Frey recorded his first career shutout, turning back all 27 shots he faced.
Frey joined the Buckeyes in December 2013 because of injuries and departures of other Buckeyes goalies. He ended up earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors.
The Buckeyes enter conference play with a series at Wisconsin this weekend. Harvard faces Boston University on Thursday before a showdown with No. 2 Quinnipiac at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. The Bobcats won the first meeting, 4-0.
Above: Ohio State goalie Christian Frey led the Buckeyes to major upset in the Florida College Hockey Classic after holding off Boston College in the opening game. (Courtesy Ohio State University Department of Athletics)