Gophers senior Gates Jr. leading the way with Notre Dame up next

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 college to the pros, check out our recap of all the week’s events in Minnesota hockey, as we check in with college players, Wild prospects and State of Hockey alums.

Let’s take a look at our three stars of the week in the latest edition of the State of Hockey Tracker.

 

FIRST STAR

Brent Gates Jr., F, Minnesota (Big Ten)

The Gophers’ offense got back on track Saturday after scoring just two goals in back-to-back losses to Ferris State and Penn State. Gates led the way, scoring in a 4-2 loss to the Nittany Lions on Friday, then netting the game-winner in a 4-1 win Saturday and grabbing an assist on Rem Pitlick’s empty-netter. It was the Gophers captain’s first multi-point game since Nov. 23. Gates now has goals in five straight, and will look to extend his scoring streak this weekend against No. 9 Notre Dame. The Gophers are currently ranked 26th in the PairWise, well outside of NCAA tournament contention, and wins over Notre Dame, which enters the weekend in seventh, would do wonders for that number.

 

SECOND STAR

Ryan Poehling, St. Cloud State (NCHC)

The Huskies missed Poehling last weekend, falling 7-2 to Union, then beating Robert Morris 5-2 during the Three Rivers Classic in Pittsburgh. The star junior, however, was pretty busy on the West Coast, leading the U.S. to a silver medal at the World Junior Championship. Poehling was held off the board in the gold-medal game, a 3-2 loss to Finland, but was named WJC MVP after leading tying for the tournament lead with eight points (five goals, three assists) in seven games.

 

THIRD STAR

Connor Dewar, F, Everett Silvertips (WHL)

Dewar has six points in his last three games for the Silvertips, and now ranks third in the league with 29 goals. The 19-year-old now has points in his last seven games and a goal in his last three after leading Everett to a 4-2 win over Kelowna with a goal and two assists. A third-round pick of the Wild in 2018, Dewar has 55 points (29 goals, 26 assists) in 38 games this season, his fourth in the WHL.

 

AROUND THE RINK

— Wild goaltending prospect Kaapo Kahkonen continues to have an up-and-down rookie season in the AHL, his first in North America. Kahkonen registered his league-leading fifth shutout last Friday, then allowed five goals on 28 shots on Wednesday.

— Junior forward Rem Pitlick also came up big for the Gophers, finishing with a goal and two assists against Penn State.

— Sophomore forward Kevin Fitzgerald held down the fort while Poehling was away, scoring both of St. Cloud State’s goals against Union, and adding a goal and an assist in their win over Robert Morris. Fitzgerald now ranks fifth in the conference with 10 goals.

— Iowa Wild forward and Gophers alum Justin Kloos had points in four straight before being held off the scoresheet in a 5-4 loss to San Antonio on Wednesday, his longest streak since logging a point in five straight in early December. He’s now tied for the team lead with 27 points and 12 goals, and is on pace to improve on his totals from last season, when he had 50 points (19 goals and 31 assists) in 76 games as a rookie.