NCAA DIII Freshman Analysis: November

By Brendan Collins

Earlier in the season we analyzed the NCAA Division I freshman and their early contributions to see who was making an immediate impact, how old they were and what leagues those players came from. We found some interesting results. The USHL dominated statistics and 78 percent of the leading scorers were 19-20-year olds without a single 21-year-old in the top 32 scorers in the country.

It is important to keep a few things in mind before delving too deeply into these statistics. First, over half the players come from sub .500 hockey programs which means there is a slight strength of team bias. This means a 2.5-star prospect might be on the power play for a sub .500-team and have more opportunities to score then a 2.5-star prospect on a nationally ranked team who may not be playing each night.

Secondly, some teams (in NESCAC) have only played a handful of games, so these players will change as the season goes on 15-20 games. We chose to compile a list now, however, to show the “immediate impact” freshmen who were made a difference within the first 5-10 games of the season.

Thirdly, unlike in the DI study, we used points per game and not total points.

Lastly, while analyzing what percentage of top scorers hail from what leagues, it is important to understand how many players from each junior or previous league are currently playing DIII hockey. For example, if there are fewer USHL players than USPHL players in DIII, it would make more sense that the USPHL supplies more top scorers than the USHL. We will have a more in-depth breakdown that deals with this later in the season.

Top 26 Freshman Scorers as of Nov. 28th:


Name BY College P/GM Previous League  Prior to Juniors  Rate  
Zack Bross 1996 Umass Boston 1.90 NAHL T1EHL U18 3.25
Greg Pezza 1996 Conn College 1.50 USPHL Premier NE Prep 2.75
Jake Simons 1996 Endicott 1.50 USPHL Premier NE Prep 3
Mike Faulkner 1996 Hobart 1.50 BCHL NE Prep 3.25
Tyler Seltenreich 1996 U. New England 1.50 USPHL Premier Colorado HS 2.75
Sascha Figi 1997 Fitchburg State 1.44 NA3HL Swiss Elite (SUI) 2.5
James Callahan 1997 Trinity 1.40 USPHL Premier NE Prep 3.25
Nick Albano 1996 Umass Boston 1.30 USHL NE Prep 3.25
Connor Landrigan 1996 Utica 1.29 NA3HL NE Prep 2.75
Nick Bondra 1996 Amherst 1.25 USPHL Premier T1EHL U18 3
Eric Benshadle 1996 Trinity 1.20 AJHL NE Prep 3.25
Garrett Gintoli 1996 Milwaukee S.E. 1.12 EHL Connecticut HS 2.5
Jeff Eppright 1996 U. New England 1.12 USPHL Premier EJEPL U18 2.5
Filip Virgili 1998 Nichols 1.12 SuperElite (SWE) J18 Elite (SWE) N/A
Danny Eruzione 1996 Salve Regina 1.12 NAHL NE Prep 3
Reid Bibb 1996 Buffalo State 1.11 USPHL Premier USPHL U18 3
Zach Pamaylaon 1996 Bryn Athyn 1.00 EHL N/A 2.5
Alec Grollman 1997 Bryn Athyn 1.00 AJHL T1EHL U18 2.5
Caleb Anderson 1997 Gustavus Adolphus 1.00 NA3HL South Dakota HS 2.5
Graham Day 1996 Johnson & Wales 1.00 NA3HL Michigan HS 2.5
Michael Fahie 1998 Middlebury 0.89 USPHL Premier NE Prep 3.25
Vadim Vasjonkin 1996 Buffalo State 0.89 USPHL Premier MPHL 3
Victor Tracy 1996 Fredonia 0.89 CCHL NE Prep 2.75
Carson Kelley 1996 Geneseo 0.89 NAHL T1EHL U18 3
Coby Downs 1996 Norwich 0.89 SJHL NJPHL U18 3.25
Matt Muzyka 1996 Skidmore 0.89 USPHL Premier NE Prep 2.75













We took the top 26 scorers in the league and broke down their age group, previous team, league prior to playing junior hockey and star ratings.




Birth Year

In almost stark opposite from DI, the 21-year-old freshmen make up for a significant 77 percent of the leading freshman scorers. There are no 18-year-olds, two 19-year-olds and four 20-year-olds as opposed to 20 payers who are 21.

Birth Year # %
1996 20 76.9%
1997 4 15.4%
1998 2 7.7%





Previous League

The League distribution is also much different from DI to DIII. The USPHL Premier (now NCDC) was the top producer of scorers, whereas in DI it accounted for none of the top 32 scorers. While the USPHL Premier makes up for over a third of the leading scorers, the NA3HL is second with 15.4 percent of players, producing more than their parent league, the NAHL. The arguably four best junior hockey leagues in North America–USHL, BCHL, NAHL and AJHL–have only produced a combined seven of the top 26 scorers in DIII.




Previous League # %
USPHL Premier 10 38.5%
NA3HL 4 15.4%
NAHL 3 11.5%
AJHL 2 7.7%
EHL 2 7.7%
BCHL 1 3.8%
USHL 1 3.8%
CCHL 1 3.8%
SJHL 1 3.8%
SuperElite 1 3.8%






League Before Juniors

This has been of growing interest not only to parents and players trying to be recruited, but also for college coaches to know where to recruit. Here again the trends in DI differ from DIII. New England Prep produced 42 percent of top scorers in DIII as opposed to just nine percent in DI. Canadian Midget and Minnesota High School made up over 46 percent of the top scoring DI freshmen, while they didn’t produce a single top-scoring DIII freshman.




Prior to Junior # %
NE Prep 11 42.3%
T1EHL U18 4 15.4%
USPHL U18 1 3.8%
Michigan HS 1 3.8%
Colorado HS 1 3.8%
Connecticut HS 1 3.8%
South Dakota HS 1 3.8%
NJPHL U18 1 3.8%
EJEPL U18 1 3.8%
Swiss Elite 1 3.8%
J18 Elite 1 3.8%






Star Ratings

The Star Rating data shows that 52 percent of the top-scoring freshmen received a three star rating or higher (typically 3-3.25 stars is the highest ranking for DIII prospects). There was not a single player ranked below 2.5.

Of the top scorers, 28 percent are ranked 2.5, which is the average for DIII prospects. We can see two trends here. First, we likely ranked NA3HL prospects too low as they make up three of the seven players with a 2.5 star rating. And secondly, a 2.5 on a sub-.500 team could get more opportunities than a three star prospect on a nationally-ranked team.




Star Rating # %
3.25 7 28%
3 6 24%
2.75 5 20%
2.5 7 28%
2.25 0 0%
2 0 0%




What we learned

There isn’t one Canadian in the top 26 freshman scorers in DIII hockey. This is likely due to the lower number of Canadians playing DIII with the current Canadian-U.S. Dollar exchange rate. Also, many highly ranked DIII prospects (3.0-3.25 stars) are finding homes with CIS/U Sport teams in Canada.

We also learned to be careful assuming “immediate impact” prospects only belong to the top junior leagues or that what is true in DI is true in DIII. The NA3HL may have made the biggest statement of any league as it ranks second in producing DIII immediate-impact point producers.

There is also a fascinating trend that shows 21-year-old freshmen make up over 75 percent of the top freshman DIII scorers, while they made up none of the top DI scorers. At the DI level it is statistically proven that 21-year-old freshmen tend to have lower output both in games played and points produced. However, in DI it makes sense because the most talented prospects are around 18 or 19. That is not the case in DIII. This shows that in order to player DIII, most players will likely have to play several years of junior hockey. Less players are going straight from high school or prep hockey to DIII.

Lastly, we see DIII level has a strong eastern bias with the high percentage of USPHL Premier and New England Prep prospects. There are no Canadians or Minnesota High School players, and just five players came from Canadian junior leagues.


Photo Credit: Hickling Images