NCAA DI Men's Hockey

CCHA RinkRap: Leading Scorer, An Aussie Remade, Bowling Green After Scandal

CCHA RinkRap: Leading Scorer, An Aussie Remade, Bowling Green After Scandal

Lake Superior’s Jared Westcott is the NCAA's leading scorer, and he shared some thoughts after netting the game-winning overtime goal against Bowling Green.

Nov 21, 2023 by Tim Rappleye
CCHA RinkRap: Leading Scorer, An Aussie Remade, Bowling Green After Scandal

This week in CCHA RinkRap, we catch up with the nation's leading scorer, touch on the reemergence of Australian standout Tyrone Bronte from Michigan Tech and check in with Bowling Green as it moves past a recent hazing scandal.

Runnin’ Down The Road

He is not imposing on the ice, and he has a skating style with inward-bending ankles. But woe to the CCHA defender who underestimates Lake Superior’s Jared Westcott. 

He is the hottest scorer in the NCAA, leading the nation with 12 goals and 22 points. 

RinkRap caught up with Westcott moments after he netted the overtime winner against Bowling Green on Saturday night.

“Connor Milburn made a great pass,” Westcott said. “When I originally saw the goalie [Cole Moore], I saw an opening on the blocker side, so I decided to take it easy and just put it there.”

That’s just it, Westcott makes scoring look easy, something that is decidedly hard to do. 

In his last 10 games, he has been unconscious, averaging over two points per game. 

Poring over his career numbers, hes never enjoyed production like this either at Penn State or while playing junior hockey. 

When it comes to extending his scorching streak, Wescott takes his cue from the Eagles and their all-time hit, “Take it Easy.”

“I dont like to overthink it too much, and I dont like to go into the game worrying about my points – thats not the player I am, or anything I think about,” Westcott said. “Im a very easygoing guy, so whatever comes along the way, Ill go along with it. Im not too particular, Im sleeping well. Everythings just clicking right now and feeling really good.”

In street clothes, Westcott might not even be mistaken for an athlete, but on the ice, he has become the sport’s most dangerous attacker, a shark circling for the kill, scoresheets from the past 10 games drowning in his bloody ink.  

Bronte 2.0

Tyrone Bronte arrived at Michigan Tech’s postgame presser Saturday night looking like a German tourist: a straw fedora cocked on his head, wispy facial hair framed his mouth. 

Out of that mouth spewed the Queen’s English with a Greg Norman brogue. 

Hockey is the most nomadic of all college sports, and Bronte is the king of global commuting. 

He has played in Australia, French Canada, Ontario, Alabama and both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. 

For the last three seasons at Tech, Bronte has carved out a niche as a bottom-6 checking forward, despite being more of a dasher then a smasher.

“People call me ‘Speedy,’ – I usually speed down the side and maybe bank one in off someones skate,” Bronte said. “Im not that comfortable in front of the net naturally because I tend to get pushed around a little bit.” 

That last statement should be in the past tense. 

Since arriving in Houghton in the fall of 2021, the 5-foot-10 Bronte has added nearly 15 pounds of muscle, bulking up to 179 pounds and counting. You can see it in the robust trapezius muscles connecting his neck and shoulders. 

In the third period of Saturday’s game, he absorbed thunderous checks that might have flattened him during his lightweight days at Alabama Huntsville.

In the second period, Bronte sniped the Huskies second goal, setting off a wild celebration with mates Blais Richartz and Alex Nordstrom, a fourth line that should be named the energy line. 

“Everyones got roles,” Bronte said “Having a line that can relieve pressure off other lines – and produce, as well – is super valuable. And its good for us. We like getting points and having some fun out there. It's great.” 

With Kyle Kukkonen mired in a historic sophomore slump, “Bronte 2.0” is critical to Michigan Tech’s drive to get back into the CCHA race. 

CCHA’s Lazurus

Immediately prior to the start of the season, there was concern whether Bowling Green would even have a season. 

Head coach Ty Eigner and three players were suspended, one a potential captain. Their top scorer had jumped into the transfer portal with the darkest cloud imaginable – another hazing scandal at BGSU – in his wake. 

But as Thanksgiving approaches, Eigner is back. And, as of Friday, so was his team. 

The Falcons now look every bit the contender they were predicted to be in the preseason, coming within a puck bounce in overtime of a road sweep in Sault Ste. Marie. 

Eigner and his Falcons have learned myriad lessons throughout the two-month ordeal.

“This is a university process, a situation where you’ve got law enforcement involved, you’ve got a third party doing interviews and you’ve got our dean of students,” said Eigner in Saturday’s postgame comments. “As head coach, I take full responsibility for what happens. Our guys understand the seriousness of what happens and know that we have to learn from this. 

“It’s our goal moving forward that we can be – as far as the education process – how you potentially talk to other teams on campus, or other organizations on campus, about the seriousness of hazing and what it actually entails.”

He then joined his now-unified team piling onto the bus, having just claimed their first four points in the CCHA standings.  

50-50 Pucks

Before the end of warm-ups Saturday in the Soo, Bowling Green senior Ethan Scardina represented the Falcons at center ice for the pre-game meeting with coaches and captains. It was only Scardina’s second game back since the Bowling Green Police Department cleared him of the infamous hazing accusations. 

Though he had neither the “C” nor the “A” stitched on his sweater, Scardina is the leader of this now reborn club.

Two weeks ago, Northern Michigan coach Grant Potulny tipped his hand regarding his goaltending situation. 

His Wildcats had just beaten Lake Superior 6-4, but he declared that four goals were “too much,” that he only wanted to give up one or two goals, not four. 

The next night, he replaced Beni Halasz with junior Charlie Glockner, and Glockner has reeled off three straight wins, giving up less than two goals per game. 

He had a shutout through 59 minutes Saturday against Alaska and now, in his third year at Northern, finally has a firm grip on the No. 1 job in goal.

The Wildcats blocked an astonishing 41 shots in Saturday’s 3-1 win, the highest total in college hockey the last five years.

Last week, Bemidji coach Tom Serratore called his team’s shocking comeback over Michigan Tech “the most interesting game I’ve ever coached in.” 

His Beavers nearly topped that Saturday with three goals in the final eight minutes to stun Minnesota State. 

The common denominator was senior Jackson Jutting, who once again was the scoring star in the third period. 

“Juts is a rock,” Serratore said. “I trust him more than anyone on our team.”