With the Ottawa Senators putting heavy focus for their prospect pool in the NCAA, it’s starting to pay off as many players are starting to see success with their colleges. Josh Norris and Jakov Novak both make this week’s biggest standouts, along with free agency pickup Adam Tambellini.
(Click to enlarge)
Clearly this week’s biggest standout (once again), Norris picked up four more points, bringing his total up to an impressive eight in five games. Centring Michigan’s top line with Jake Slaker and Will Lockwood (the SNL line), they’ve been able to find their chemistry early, after being reunited from last season.
Josh Norris— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 28, 2018
Back-to-back 1G, 1A games for Norris this weekend. That's a point in each game so far this season, totalling 8 points (3G, 5A) in 5GP pic.twitter.com/EmJ7DCZBg2
Norris was featured in a piece for University of Michigan Athletics this week, where he spoke a bit about his hot start, and how he’s still trying to focus on the defensive aspects of his game.
”I think maybe I felt a little bit of that,” said Norris. “I was 18 and inexperienced. Maybe I thought too much and put pressure on myself offensively. But I think I still found a role on the team, keeping the pucks from going in (on goalies). I wasn’t scoring points, but I was great on faceoffs and played first PK (penalty kill).
”I thought I did a lot of really good things, and you know we had that line with Coop (Cooper Marody), (Dexter) Dancs and Tony (Calderone), and they did most of the scoring. I was kind of the other guy who was reliable defensively and did things the right way.”
One-upping Michigan’s Frozen Four semifinal appearance last year is going to be a tall task, although if the first five games are any indication, they appear to be up for the challenge. Via CollegeHockeyInc’s poll from USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine, the Wolverines currently rank #15 in the NCAA power rankings.
Signed in free agency this summer after not being qualified by the New York Rangers, the 23-year-old Tambellini is beginning to emerge as a solid prospect pick-up. Playing in Belleville’s top six, he’s scored six points in his first nine games this season, including two goals and an assist this week.
Adam Tambellini is off to a good start in his @BellevilleSens' career, tallying six points in his first nine games played.— Joel Vanderlaan (@Joelvanderlaan) October 28, 2018
"My confidence is good right now, feeling comfortable, playing with some good players and the power play is doing really well right now so that helps." pic.twitter.com/VC7O6tkT3L
Tambellini has slotted nicely into Belleville’s second line left wing position, although was bumped down this week with the demotion of Paul Carey to the AHL. He was still able to make the most of it, earning second star honours during Saturday’s 3-1 loss. The younger brother of former NHLer Jeff Tambellini and son of former Oilers GM Steve Tambellini, Adam is next in the family looking to make it big in the pros.
One of two 7th round picks made by the Sens in 2018, freshman Jakov Novak picked up his first two NCAA goals (and points) this week, scoring twice on the power play in Bentley’s 7-4 win against Holy Cross. His first one ended up being the game-winner.
Jakov Novak first career NCAA goal!— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) October 27, 2018
Novak picked up a pair of PPGs from the slot, including the GWG, in Bentley's 7-4 win over Holy Cross. He's got 2G in 4GP. Congrats @jakov_novak! pic.twitter.com/5nUKAgaWXH
At 6’3” and 191 lbs, the appeal of drafting Novak was his physical maturity. He’s been moving quickly up Bentley’s lineup, from the fourth line during the season opener to now centring their second line. He leads the team with a 56.9% faceoff win percentage.
- Some quick-hit news around the NCAA: Angus Crookshank has already moved up to New Hampshire’s first line after scoring his first collegiate goal in the previous week. For RPI, Todd Burgess is riding a three-game point streak. Miles Gendron, captaining the University of Connecticut, scored an assist in his first game back from injury. You can read a Q&A with him here.
- Joel Daccord also won his two games this week, stopping 67 of 72 shots faced. Like last season, he already leads the NCAA in shots faced and saved. He’s also started eight games, as he’s been relied upon more than any other goalie. The fact that he’s been able to maintain a 94.8% save percentage is astounding, as he has a legitimate case to be the NCAA’s best goaltender.
- If you missed Ross’ interview with Jacob Bernard-Docker, you can also give that a read here.
- Parker Kelly and the Prince Albert Raiders are off to an incredible start to the season, with a WHL-leading record of 15-1-0. They’ve outscored their opponents by a total of 78-30, as they’re currently riding an eight-game win streak.
- Aaron Luchuk scored his first pro goal this week in the ECHL, recording six shots in two games. He missed the opening week of the season with a concussion.
- Luke Loheit returned to action for Penticton this week, after missing eight games with mono.
- Filip Ahl also made his comeback for Tingsryds in Allsvenskan following a shoulder injury. His start to the season has been pretty rough, as playing in the second-tier Swedish league, the forward has managed to score only a single assist. Tingsryds has already fired their coach, as they currently rank last in the league.
- Markus Nurmi’s assist this week broke an eleven-game pointless drought. He’s playing mostly on the third line for TPS in Finland’s top league, averaging 15:22 per game.
- With Filip Chlapik still injured, Nick Paul took over as Belleville’s top line centre next to Rudolfs Balcers and Drake Batherson. The trio combined for five points in Belleville’s three games this week.
- Jack Rodewald’s hot start of seven points in eight games earned him an NHL call-up, although he has yet to suit up for action.
- In the NHL, Colin White had likely the best week of his career to date, picking up a pair of assists while being one of Ottawa’s most consistent forwards at both ends. The numerous injuries to the regular roster are providing him with plenty of opportunity to move up the lineup.