UMD’s Perunovich off to a hot start in NCHC

Rather than focus exclusively on the Minnesota Wild’s top prospects, we’re taking a look at the best players from across the State of Hockey every week.

From high school to the pros, check out our recap of all the week’s events in Minnesota hockey, as we check in with college players, prep standouts and State of Hockey alums.

Let’s take a look at this week’s three-star selection, along with other notes, in the latest edition of the State of Hockey Tracker.

 

FIRST STAR

Scott Perunovich, D, Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)
Perunovich went undrafted last summer, but his hot start could have more than a few teams rethinking that decision. The freshman was named the NCHC Defenseman of the Week after helping the Bulldogs to a split in Omaha. He scored UMD’s fourth goal Friday, then registered a pair of assists Saturday, before scoring the Bulldogs’ fifth goal early in the third period. Perunovich was named to the U.S. National Junior Team’s preliminary roster ahead of the World Junior Championship later this month, and now leads all NCHC freshmen with four goals and 12 assists in 19 games.

Wild Prospect Trackers

SECOND STAR

Justin Kloos, F, Iowa Wild (AHL)

A month after making his NHL debut, Kloos is settling in with the AHL’s Iowa Wild. Kloos scored in back-to-back games last week for the first time as a pro, chipping in three points during a pair of overtime losses. He’s been relatively quiet since his five-game point streak last month, but now ranks fourth on the team with 15 points in 25 games.

THIRD STAR

Carter Randklev, F, Moorhead High School (MSHSL)

At just 5-foot-8, Randklev hasn’t always been a top college hockey prospect. Once committed to newcomer Arizona State, the Spuds senior became one of the most sought-after recruits in the region after he reopened the recruiting process in November. Wednesday, he settled on nearby North Dakota after being courted by everyone from Bemidji State and St. Cloud State to Minnesota and Wisconsin. Randklev explained his decision-making process to the Forum’s Chris Murphy. “UND has always been a part of my life,” he said. “It was only a dream to go there until it became a reality.” Why the sudden interest? See below.

AROUND THE RINK

— Wild backup and Minnesota Duluth alum Alex Stalock relieved an injured Devan Dubnyk after the first period Tuesday night, allowing one goal. He gave up another in the shootout, where Johnny Gaudreau of the Calgary Flames showed off this (possibly illegal) bit of puck wizardry.

— Burnsville native Brock Boeser scored his 16th goal of the season Monday. Through 28 games, the only rookies in NHL history to score more than that are Alex Ovechkin (2005-06), Eric Lindros (1992-93) and Teemu Selanne (1992-93).

— Gophers alum and Brooklyn Park native Krissy Wendell will join the Wild for practice Friday as part of Girls Hockey Weekend. A two-time Olympian, Wendell won silver in 2002 and bronze in 2006. She helped lead the Gophers to national championships in 2003 and 2004, while her 105 points during the 2005 season rank third all-time.

— Former third-round pick Ivan Lodnia signed his entry-level contract Monday. He’s currently a point-per-game player in the OHL, where he ranks third on the Erie Otters with 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 32 games.

— The Toronto Maple Leafs practiced on an outdoor rink in downtown St. Paul on Wednesday ahead of their matchup with the Minnesota Wild.