NCAA Report Card

Dobber Sports





The Canadian Hockey League has reached the double-digits in games played, but the college ranks are just catching up. Who gets an A+ so far, and who is failing the grade.



CCHA (Central Collegiate Hockey Assocation)



Leading Scorers:


1. Justin Mercier, Miami (Col)            5 GP, 6-1-7


2. Ben Ryan, Notre Dame (Nas)         6 GP, 2-5-7


3. Kevin Porter, Michigan (Pho)         5 GP, 4-2-6


4. Nick Sirota, N. Michigan (FA)        5 GP, 3-3-6


5. Bryan Marshall, Neb-Omaha (FA)   2 GP, 0-5-5



Boasting the likes of T.J. Hensick, Andrew Cogliano, Jack Johnson, Jeff Tambellini, Eric Nystrom and Al Montoya over the past five years, the University of Michigan has been a seemingly insurmountable factory of NHL talent. But as the program goes through a changing of the guard, other schools in the CCHA finally have a chance to stand out. With that are new names, new faces, and new expectations for the future.


Justin Mercier, C (Age 20)


The 2005 Draft treated the Colorado Avalanche pretty well. Besides Paul Stastny- who wasn't even the team's first pick- the aforementioned Hensick looks to be a shoo-in for the NHL, and Raymond Macias, Ryan Stoa and Tom Fritsche all appear to have at least a cup of coffee in their future. The Avs have even gotten some NHL games out of 7th rounder Kyle Cumiskey. So could the '05 crop get any better? It just might. A dominant player for the USNTDP U18 team at the time he was drafted, undersized sniper Justin Mercier wasn't thought to be much of a pro prospect by most when the Avalanche scooped him up in round six. Since adding 30 pounds and an inch of height, the crafty forward has fought his way up the Miami University depth chart. Now the team's top offensive weapon, Mercier has responded with a six-goal output to start the year. Those half-a-dozen goals are the most amongst the major college circuits and have been a major factor in a perfect start for the RedHawks.


Potential: Second-line scoring forward ala Justin Williams; NHL player in two years.



Ben Ryan, C (Age 19)


You'd think the NHL would have learned by now. While we predicted USHL star Ben Ryan would be taken in the fourth round- albeit at 116 instead of 114- DobberHockey also predicted he had some serious pro potential (2nd/3rd line center, 55 points). It's early, but that prediction looks to be on track. A crafty forward with outstanding vision, Ryan popped home an outstanding 64 points in just 59 games. But like Andreas Nodl and Thomas Vanek before him, the NHL teams relegated the second-time-through forward to second-day status. The CCHA's co-assist leader, Ryan will likely stay at the burgeoning University of Notre Dame for