Jack Dugan likes to aim high, whether he's trying to bank a puck into the net off the mask of a goalie or setting an individual goal for the season.
"I want to be the best player in college hockey," the sophomore right wing at Providence College said.
Selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the fifth round (No. 142) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Dugan leads the NCAA with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in six games. At his current pace he'll be in the mix for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to best men's NCAA player.
Dugan (6-2, 185) had 39 points (10 goals, 29 assists) in 41 games last season, and as the top-line right wing helped Providence reach the Frozen Four. Each of his linemates gave up his final season of college eligibility to sign an NHL contract, Josh Wilkins with the Nashville Predators and Kasper Bjorkqvist with Pittsburgh Penguins.
Dugan opted to stay for a second college season and has kept producing at a high level. He has five multipoint games, including a goal and two assists in a 6-2 win at Boston College on Oct. 25 and had two assists one day later in a 3-2 overtime loss against UMass-Lowell.
The goal against Boston College was one for the highlight reel as he purposely shot the puck into the net off the mask of goalie Spencer Knight (Florida Panthers) from a nearly impossible angle.
"(Knight's) head was a foot off the post so I figured I might as well go for it," Dugan said. "Throughout my whole career I've kind of looked for those weird angles and opportunities because not too many goalies expect it."
Providence coach Nate Leaman said Dugan has a lot going for him.
"He's strong on pucks, he's got a good stick, he's got very good vision,'' he said.
However there are parts of his game that can be improved.
"His wall play and his tight turns in transition," Leaman said. "Those are two things I've talked to him about in the preseason. And I still want him to attack more and to shoot the puck more."
Dugan said he believes he is addressing those areas.
"I've become more of a 200-foot player," Dugan said. "The coaching staff has done a good job helping me with that. Coming in I was pretty offensive and now I can play in the last few minutes of a game and be trusted defensively."
On the mark
Wisconsin freshman forward Owen Lindmark hasn't received the level of attention teammates Cole Caufield (Montreal Canadiens) and Alex Turcotte (Los Angeles Kings) have gotten, but he has been a solid contributor so far.
Selected in the fifth round (No. 137) of the 2019 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers, the 18-year-old scored the game-winning goal in a 4-3 victory against Clarkson University on Oct. 26. It was his fourth goal in six games.
"I love the way that Owen followed the play up," Wisconsin coach Tony Granato said. "He easily could've stayed in the neutral zone thinking about defending, but he got up and they were able to bury the rebound. Great play."
Lindmark (6-0, 192), who was born in Enid, Oklahoma, played for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program the past two seasons.
Bentley University sophomore left wing Jakov Novak, one of two NHL draft picks playing in Atlantic Hockey, has four goals in five games after scoring seven goals in 37 games last season.
Novak (6-3, 202), was selected by the Ottawa Senators in the seventh round (No. 188) of the 2018 NHL Draft. He scored twice, including a shorthanded goal, and had an assist in a 5-0 win against Army on Oct. 25.
The 21-year-old was MVP of the North American Hockey League with Janesville in 2017-18 and led the league in scoring with 73 points (32 goals, 41 assists) in 56 games.
Northeastern University relies on Tyler Madden for offense and the sophomore center came through this past weekend, scoring three of the five goals Northeastern scored in two games at St. Cloud State University.
Drafted in the third round (No. 68) by the Vancouver Canucks in the 2018 NHL Draft, Madden (5-11, 152) scored twice in a 4-1 win Oct. 25 and had a goal in a 2-1 loss the next day. The 19-year-old leads Northeastern with five goals in six games.
After missing three games because of an injury, Minnesota Duluth freshman left wing Quinn Olson (5-11, 170) had his first NCAA point, an assist in a 5-2 win at the University of Minnesota on Oct. 25. The next day he scored his first goal, the game-winner, in a 2-0 win against Minnesota.
The 18-year-old was selected in the third round (No. 92) by the Boston Bruins in the 2019 Draft after playing for Okotoks of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.