Prospect Report: Tufte, Minnesota Duluth win NCAA championship
The 2016 first-round pick shakes off injury to help the Bulldogs top Notre Dame in title gameby Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge
Stars prospect Riley Tufte and the University of Minnesota Duluth won the NCAA championship over the weekend, defeating Notre Dame, 2-1, in the title game Saturday at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
The Bulldogs, who barely made it into the NCAA tournament with an at-large bid, won four straight one-goal games to secure their second national championship in men's hockey.
Tufte, a first-round pick (25th overall) in the 2016 NHL Draft, played through an ankle injury he suffered in Thursday's national semifinal game against Ohio State. Tufte was injured in a collision in the neutral zone, limped off the ice and had to be helped to the locker room, but he returned to finish the game and then played in Saturday's championship game against Notre Dame.
"When it comes down to the playoffs, you've got to battle through the adversity," Tufte told collegehockeynews.com. "I had to do that myself. This team had to do that tonight … It's tough, but you've got to overcome it. You're playing for a national championship."
Tufte didn't score in either of the two final games at the NCAA Frozen Four and recorded one assist in the four NCAA tournament games. He finished the season with 29 points (16 goals, 13 assists) in 42 games and led Minnesota Duluth in goal scoring.
UMD coach Scott Sandelin was asked about Tufte's play after the national championship game.
"I think he had eight or nine goals in the first half and same thing in the second half. He's growing as a player. But his game has taken steps. And we're looking forward to where he could be next year," Sandelin said. "But he was a big contributor. And it's not easy. It's not easy going against everybody's best line and best defensemen. I think he's learned from that, too, but there's other ways to contribute, and I thought he had a really good year for us."
Tufte Stats: Minnesota Duluth (NCHC) | 42 GP | 16 G | 13 A | 29 PTS | +11 | 36 PIM
Dallas defense prospect Joseph Cecconi also played in the NCAA Frozen Four, tallying one assist in Michigan's 4-3 loss to Notre Dame in Thursday's semifinals. Ceconni, a fifth-round pick in 2015, played on Michigan's top defense pair and recorded two assists in three NCAA tournament games. He finished the season with 27 points (5 goals, 22 assists) in 40 games.
Cecconi Stats: Michigan (Big Ten) | 40 GP | 5 G | 22 A | 27 PTS | E | 43 PIM
The Stars announced Monday that they signed Cecconi's teammate, Michigan captain Tony Calderone, to a two-year entry level contract. Calderone, a 23-year-old right wing, scored one goal in Thursday's loss to Notre Dame.
Calderone recorded two goals and two assists in three NCAA tournament games, finishing the season with 45 points (25 goals, 20 assists) in 40 games, leading the Wolverines in goal scoring and ranking second on the team in points.
The 6-foot, 200-pound Calderon had 91 points (54 goals, 37 assists) in 134 career games at Michigan.
Calderon Stats: Michigan (Big Ten) | 40 GP | 25 G | 20 A | 45 PTS | +14 | 10 PIM
D Miro Heiskanen (1st round/2017) recorded one goal and one assist in three games as HIFK began play against Karpat in the semifinals of the Finnish League playoffs. Karpat leads the best-of-seven series, 2-1. Heiskanen has 7 points (2 goals, 5 assists) in 9 playoff games and ranks second among all league defensemen in playoff scoring. His 25:54 of ice time per game is tops among all players.
Heiskanen Stats: HIFK (Liiga) | 30 GP | 11 G | 12 A | 23 PTS | +17 | 8 PIM
Playoffs | 9 GP | 2 G | 5 A | 7 PTS | +5 | 2 PIM
LW Valeri Nichushkin (1st round/2013) is headed to the KHL's Gagarin Cup Final after CSKA defeated SKA, 4-2, in the West Final series. Nichushkin tallied one goal and one assist in four games over the past week, including the game-winning goal in CSKA's 2-1 win Wednesday that gave it a 3-1 series lead. Nichushkin has 8 points (2 goals, 6 assists) in 16 playoff games. CSKA plays Ak Bars in the championship series.
Nichushkin Stats: CSKA (KHL) | 50 GP | 16 G | 11 A | 27 PTS | +11 | 14 PIM
CSKA (KHL Playoffs) | 16 GP | 2 G | 6 A | 8 PTS | +3 | 4 PIM
D John Nyberg (6th round/2014) played two games for Sweden's national team against Slovakia, recording no points and a plus-one rating. Nyberg skated on the second defense pair as Sweden won both games.
Nyberg Stats: Frolunda (SHL) | 52 GP | 2 G | 11 A | 13 PTS | E | 40 PIM
Playoffs | 6 GP | 0 G |2 A | 2 PTS | -2 | 4 PIM
Sweden (Intl) | 2 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | +1 | 2 PIM
North American Juniors
LW Jason Robertson (2nd round/2017) recorded 5 points (2 goals, 3 assists) in three games as Kingston started play in its second round Ontario Hockey League playoff series against Barrie. Kingston is down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Robertson has 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in 8 playoff games and is tied for sixth in OHL playoff goal scoring and seventh in points.
Robertson Stats: Kingston (OHL) | 68 GP | 41 G | 46 A | 87 PTS | +8 | 36 PIM
Playoffs | 8 GP | 6 G | 6 A | 12 PTS | -1 | 4 PIM
RW Nick Caamano (5th round/2016) tallied 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 2 games for Hamilton in its second-round OHL playoff series against Niagara. Hamilton leads the series 2-0. Caamano has 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in 7 playoff games.
Caamano Stats: Hamilton/Flint (OHL) | 64 GP | 25 G | 32 A | 57 PTS | +9 | 94 PIM
Playoffs | 7 GP | 3 G | 5 A | 8 PTS | +2 | 8 PIM
D Ondrej Vala (Free agent/2016) picked up 1 assist in 2 games for Everett in its second-round Western Hockey League series against Portland. The series is tied 1-1. Vala has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) in 7 playoff games.
Vala Stats: Kamloops/Everett (WHL) | 59 GP | 7 G | 21 A | 28 PTS | +17 | 48 PIM
Playoffs | 7 GP | 1 G | 2 A | 3 PTS | +5 | 6 PIM
Here's a brief recap of the prospects who have concluded their seasons in college, juniors, and Europe.
G Colton Point (5th round/2016) finished his sophomore season at Colgate with a 16-12-5 record and ranked second in the nation in goals against average (1.74) and first in save percentage (.944). His six shutouts ranked fourth.
Point Stats: Colgate (ECAC) | 16-12-5 | 1.74 | .944
G Jake Oettinger (1st round/2017) finished his sophomore season at Boston University with a 21-13-4 record, 2.45 goals against average and .915 save percentage. Oettinger tied for fifth in the nation with five shutouts.
Oettinger Stats: Boston University (Hockey East) | 21-13-4 | 2.45 | .915
C/LW Rhett Gardner (4th round/2016) tallied 20 points (7 goals, 13 assists) in 33 games with North Dakota. Gardner, a junior, won 58.6 percent of his faceoffs (459 of 783).
Gardner Stats: North Dakota (NCHC) | 33 GP | 7 G | 13 A | 20 PTS | +6 |48 PIM
D Michael Prapavessis (4th round/2014) finished his senior season with 19 assists in 37 games for RPI. He signed an amateur tryout contract with Cincinnati of the ECHL.
Prapavessis Stats: RPI (ECAC) | 37 GP | 0 G | 19 A | 19 PTS | -10 | 18 PIM
C Liam Hawel (4th round/2017) tallied 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 41 games for Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League. Won 53.4 percent of his faceoffs (512 of 958).
Hawel Stats: Guelph (OHL) | 62 GP | 14 G | 27 A | 41 PTS | -5 | 31 PIM
Playoffs | 6 GP | 3 G | 3 A | 6 PTS | -1 | 4 PIM
C Brett Davis (6th round/2017) finished the regular season with 58 points (25 goals, 33 assists) in 72 games for Kootenay of the WHL, tying for second on the team in goals and ranking third in points.
Davis Stats: Kootenay | 72 GP | 25 G | 33 A | 58 PTS | -20 | 25 PIM
D Jakob Stenqvist (6th round/2016) played primarily in Sweden's second league where he tallied 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists) in 46 games and, as a defenseman, was the highest scoring junior player in the league. He ranked eighth among all league defensemen in scoring.
Stenqvist Stats: Bjorkloven (Allsvenskan) | 46 GP | 5 G | 17 A | 22 PTS | -3 | 16 PIM
Frolunda (SHL) | 2 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | E | 2 PIM
Bjorkloven (Postseason) | 5 GP | 0 G | 3 A | | 3 PTS | +3 | 2 PIM
Frolunda (Jr, Postseason) | 2 GP | 2 G | 0 A | 2 PTS | -3 | 0 PIM
C Jacob Peterson (5th round/2017) played at three different levels this season in Sweden including juniors, the second league, and the Swedish Hockey League. He played primarily in juniors where he tallied 34 points (13 goals, 21 assists) in 33 games and he recorded 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in 10 games in the second league.
Peterson Stats: Frolunda (Sweden, Jr.) | 33 GP | 13 G | 21 A | 34 PTS | +3 | 26 PIM
Frolunda (SHL) | 9 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | -1 | 0 PIM
Bjorkloven (Allsvenskan) | 10 GP | 3 G | 2 A | 5 PTS | +2 | 2 PIM
Bjorkloven (Postseason) | 5 GP | 1 G | 1 A | | 2 PTS | -1 | 4 PIM
Frolunda (Jr, Postseason) | 2 GP | 1 G | 2 A | 3 PTS | -3 | 0 PIM
LW/C Fredrik Karlstrom (3rd round/2016) played primarily in the Swedish Hockey League where he had five points (two goals, three assists) in 35 games. He didn't play towards the end of the season due to injury. Karlstrom also played at the 2018 World Junior Championship, recording three assists in seven games as Sweden took home the silver medal.
Karlstrom Stats: Linkoping (SHL) | 35 GP | 2 G | 3 A | 5 PTS | -2 | 6 PIM
Linkoping (Sweden, Jr.) | 4 GP | 2 G | 0 A | 2 PTS | -3 | 4 PIM
G Markus Ruusu (6th round/2015) played at three different levels in Finland, primarily in the second league (Mestis) where he posted a 9-4-3 record, 2.64 goals against average and .907 save percentage.
Ruusu Stats: TUTO/LeKi (Mestis) | 9-4-3 | 2.64 | .907
Ilves (Liiga) | 5-6-0 | 3.75 | .851
Ilves (Finland, Jr.) | 0-2-0 | 2.57 | .924
Leki (Postseason) | 0-1 | 7.00 | .696
D Miro Karjalainen (5th round/2014) recorded five points (two goals, three assists) in 36 games for HPK in Finland's top league.
Karjalainen Stats: HPK (Liiga) | 36 GP | 2 G | 3 A | 5 PTS | -5 | 135 PIM
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.