St. Cloud State’s Ryan Poehling shines at World Junior Championship

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

Ryan Poehling, F, St. Cloud State (NCHC)

Poehling ranks second in the NCHC with 14 assists, but the Huskies’ star junior hasn’t scored since a two-goal outburst against Colorado College on Nov. 2. He’s had no such issues at the World Junior Championship in Vancouver, where the U.S. is currently on track to medal for the fourth straight year. Poehling, who didn’t net his first goal until the bronze-medal game last year, leads the tournament with five goals and eight points through five games. He did most of his damage during a furious comeback attempt Saturday against Sweden, scoring three consecutive goals — a natural hat trick — over the final eight minutes of regulation to tie the game. The U.S. ultimately fell in overtime, but Poehling didn’t let up, scoring again Monday in a 4-1 win over Finland. That win ultimately proved critical, securing the U.S. second place in Group B and a more-favorable matchup in the quarterfinals. Poehling was held off the scoresheet in the quarters, a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic, but will look to bounce back in the semis against Russia on Friday afternoon.

 

SECOND STAR

Noah Cates, F, Minnesota Duluth (NCHC)

A native of Stillwater, Minn., and a freshman at UMD, Cates has just one goal in the tournament, but made it count. Cates was named the U.S. Player of the Game after scoring one of the prettiest goals of the tournament in the quarterfinals. He beat Czech goaltender Lukas Dostal after teammate Jack Hughes threaded the puck through the slot, giving the U.S. a 1-0 lead late in the first period.

 

THIRD STAR

Scott Reedy, F, Minnesota (Big Ten)

It’s taken Reedy a while to get going this season, but he broke out in a big way last Friday, scoring his first three goals of the season — his first college hat trick — to power the Gophers to a 5-3 win over Ferris State. He was held off the scoresheet Saturday in a 3-2 loss, but it was still a big weekend for the sophomore, who hadn’t registered a point since registering an assist in an exhibition game against the U.S. U-18 team on Oct. 13. The Gophers resume conference play this weekend against Penn State.

 

AROUND THE RINK

— This U.S. team has the State of Hockey in its DNA. Head coach Mike Hastings (Minnesota State) and assistant Scott Sandelin (Minnesota Duluth) are behind the bench, while Poehling and Cates are joined on the roster by Mikey Anderson (St. Cloud State/Roseville, Minn.), K’Andre Miller (St. Paul, Minn.) and Dylan Samberg (Minnesota Duluth/Hermantown, Minn.)

— Anderson also scored in that comeback win over Sweden, with a secondary assist from Poehling. Anderson also set up Alexander Chmelevski’s goal in the third period that restored the U.S.’s two-goal lead against the Czech Republic.

— Iowa Wild goalie Kaapo Kahkonen is tied for the league lead again after registering his fourth shutout of the season, stopping 39 shots in a 4-0 win over Rockford last Wednesday. He made 21 saves in a 3-1 win over Chicago on Monday.

— Iowa head coach Tim Army will coach the Central Division in the 2019 AHL All-Star Classic. Kahkonen and leading scorer Cal O’Reilly (five goals, 20 assists) were also named All-Stars.

— Wild prospect Kirill Kaprizov snapped out of a four-game scoring slump in the KHL earlier this month, scoring in three straight. He scored twice while racking up a season-high eight shots on goal to help CSKA Moscow to a 4-2 win over Ak Bars Kazan.