SCSU's Grant Ahcan is hoping a milestone puck reaches special spot in the family house
Freshman from Savage, Minn., scored his first college goal over the weekend. Following two older brothers (Jack and Roman) into college hockey, he gave the puck to his mother
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — In the home owned by Tim and Michelle Ahcan, it sounds like there is a trophy room. Grant Ahcan's two older brothers, Jack and Roman, are both playing professionally in the American Hockey League to start this season.
So there have been a number of trophies and accomplishments for Tim and Michelle to hold onto for their boys.
When Grant Ahcan scored his first collegiate goal on Oct. 14, his parents were in attendance at the Kohl Center in Madison, Wisconsin. After the game, Ahcan gave the puck to his mom. Now, he's hoping the puck makes the cut.
"My mom has a little shrine with a lot of hockey stuff," he said. "We'll see if my (puck) makes it in there."
Ahcan had a big smile on his face when he said that. His first college goal came with the Huskies killing a penalty and he is the first St. Cloud State men's hockey player to have his first goal be a short-handed goal since Michael Olson accomplished the feat on Oct. 21, 2005, against Wisconsin.
Ahcan, a 20-year-old freshman wing from Savage, also had his first college assist in the 5-1 win. Ahcan helped the Huskies to a series sweep against Wisconsin and they look to extend their undefeated start to the season this weekend.
It will be a tall task for the eighth-ranked Huskies (4-0), who will play host to second-ranked Minnesota State University-Mankato (3-1) as a part of homecoming festivities. The teams play at 7:30 p.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Saturday (both on FOX 9+) at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center.
"I think this week, we're trying to bear down a little bit more," Ahcan said of playing the Mavericks, who reached the NCAA Division I championship game last season. "We want to have the best week we can (in practice) before going into the weekend. With homecoming, there should be a lot of fans and energy in the building.
"I wouldn't say there are higher stakes. We're just going to play our game and I think we'll be fine if we do that."
Ahcan is playing at his fourth level of hockey in four years. His senior season at Burnsville High School, he had 26 points in 21 games.
In 2020-21, he played for the Bismarck Bobcats in the North American Hockey League and had 17 points and 49 penalty minutes in 50 games.
Last season, he had 12 goals, 25 points and 45 penalty minutes in 63 games playing for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States Hockey League.
After playing in his first three college games, Ahcan acknowledges he is adapting to the college level.
"Everyone is a really good skater, everybody can rip the puck (with shots) and everyone is huge," said Ahcan, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds. "Those things are noticeable right away and you have to adjust to them."
After playing in the Huskies' second game of the season against St. Thomas, Ahcan looked more comfortable playing against Wisconsin. With Chase Brand missing the series with an upper body injury, Ahcan played both games against the Badgers on a line with freshman center Adam Ingram and junior wing Joe Molenaar.
"I thought Grant had a really good weekend," Huskies head coach Brett Larson said. "He's high compete. He's not afraid to have the puck and make plays, for a young guy. He brings an energy and a jump to our game. He's been a pleasant surprise here.
"He brings a physical element to the game as well."
St. Cloud State fans remember his older brother, Jack, who played defense for the Huskies from 2016-20. But his game is more similar to his brother, Roman, who played forward for Wisconsin from 2018-22.
"I'm definitely an energy guy," Ahcan said of his game. "I also feel like I'm a gritty guy, too. I can stir some stuff up and get some guys going there, too."
Ahcan is also likely to continue to see time killing penalties. The Huskies are 13-for-13 on the penalty kill this season and Ahcan has the team's first short-handed goal.
"He's smart, he has a good stick and those two things usually make a good penalty killer," Larson said. "For a guy like that, who is probably not going to get time on the power play right now, it's give him an opportunity to earn more minutes by being good on the kill."
Ahcan said he spent a lot of time on the penalty kill last season with the RoughRiders. And some of that experience came through to help him score his first goal. With Kyler Kupka coming off the ice, Ahcan jumped on and saw Grant Cruikshank aggressively go after the puck in the corner.
Ahcan went to the middle of the ice, Cruikshank hit him with pass and he made a nice move to get around a defender and score.
"Grant Cruikshank was on the forecheck and got a body on the first guy and saw me in the slot and threw it back to me," Ahcan said. "I kind of pushed it around a defenseman in front of the net and went 5-hole."
"He showed some poise when he got it," Larson said. "He had to slip that back to the far side of the ice to score a really nice goal."
And now he's hoping to see that puck in a place of prominence when he gets home.
Updated on 10/19/22:
This tweet from his dad assures Grant of where the puck is:
Front and center next to the SCSU puck!!! Congrats @LilGuzi03 we are super proud! pic.twitter.com/H4fvlsYG64— Tim Ahcan (@bocce13) October 19, 2022