The breakout year finally came for Collin Adams last season.
After tallying two goals and seven points as a sophomore, Adams had 12 goals and 28 points as a junior, becoming a dangerous scoring threat while centering UND's top line.
If this summer's informal scrimmages in Ralph Engelstad Arena are any indication, Adams is ready to take yet another big step forward -- one that could land him on all-National Collegiate Hockey Conference teams at the end of the year.
Adams, now a senior, has been electric throughout the summer, using his speed to create space, displaying good hands that allow him to stickhandle by players and a finishing ability that has gradually improved over the last 15 months.
According to the Herald's numbers, Adams has easily scored more goals than anybody this summer. He's most closely followed by Shane Pinto, Jasper Weatherby, Matt Kiersted and Judd Caulfield.
Adams scored two more goals Thursday in the team's final scrimmage of the week, as the veterans reminded the freshmen that things aren't easy in college hockey.
On his first goal, Adams was camped at the side of the crease and redirected a Josh Rieger pass behind goalie Harrison Feeney. On his second goal, he finished off a feed from Jordan Kawaguchi on a two-on-one.
Veterans topple underclassmen
The theme of the scrimmage was upperclassmen vs. underclassmen, and the veterans, at times, showed why they led UND to a 26-5-4 record a year ago.
UND freshman defenseman Jake Sanderson has been as impressive as any freshman coming into school in recent memory, but he also had a few reality-check moments Thursday.
Sanderson had a shot blocked by Mark Senden, which allowed Senden to take it the other way on a breakaway. Feeney stopped Senden's shot, but Weatherby trailed the play, picked up the rebound and finished it.
Then, Sanderson found out why Kawaguchi was a Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick finalist last season. While skating the puck through the neutral zone, Kawaguchi stripped it off of Sanderson's stick, transitioned it the other way and fed Adams for a goal.
The scrimmage ended with Gavin Hain winning a puck battle against rookie defenseman Tyler Kleven near the top of the crease and firing it home.
The upperclassmen and underclassmen played three games up to three. The upperclassmen won the first game 3-0, the underclassmen won the second 3-0, and the upperclassmen finished it off by winning 3-1.
- Kleven, who played high school at Fargo Davies, scored a goal on a breakaway, beating senior Peter Thome. The impressive part about the goal was Kleven's acceleration toward the goal to open up space for himself after his opponents got caught in a line change.
- Ethan Frisch scored perhaps the prettiest goal of the day. The sophomore defenseman from Moorhead had a clean breakaway, made a nifty move to his backhand and flipped it just underneath the bar. Even Austin Poganski, a master at scoring with the backhand, would have been impressed.
- Pinto, a sophomore led the underclassmen with a goal and an assist. He made a perfect setup to Carson Albrecht for a goal, and he finished off a nice feed from Sanderson for one.
- Kawaguchi, the senior captain, also got on the board, finishing on a turnover in front of the net.
- Jackson Keane, a senior, also scored for the upperclassmen in the final game.