– Matt Frattin‘s magical season just keeps on going. Frattin scored the WCHA title clinching goal, burying a rebound in double overtime in Saturday night’s championship game, lifting his Fighting Sioux squad to a 3-2 victory over the University of Denver. The crowd of over 16,000 at the Xcel Energy Center greeted the WCHA Player of the Year with roaring “Hobey Baker” chants as Frattin was introduced during the pre-game warmup. Next up for Matt is the NCAA Championship tournament, which will begin Sunday morning with the selection show where his North Dakota team is expected to garner a #1 seed.
– Jake Gardiner has impressed thus far during his first two games with the Marlies, despite not yet recording a point. Gardiner’s smooth skating ability and on-ice vision have come as advertised for the point-a-game collegiate defenseman, and he has utilized those skills to effectively set up a variety of scoring chances for his teammates. Eakins has thrown the 20 year old right into the fire, relying on him for heavy even strength minutes and penalty killing duties as well. The Marlies are currently toying with the notion of employing Gardiner as the lone defenseman on a four forward power play, which has been inconsistent throughout the year. Jake’s poise, creativity and puck-moving ability could see him in Toronto as early as mid-season next year.
– Another player who has provided the Marlies with much needed injection of offensive production is Joe Colborne, who came over from Boston in the Kaberle trade. The lumbering power forward has scored 6 goals and added 4 assists through 12 games, and has responded well to the increased power play time and offensive responsibility. He’s done a good job of using his size to create time and space in the slot and in front of the net, and in turn capitalizing on screens, tips and rebounds. In fact, the Marlies have scored 15 power play goals during Colborne’s first 11 games in the lineup, which is a direct result of the work he’s put in to dominate the low slot.