Minnesota State freshman Chris Van Os-Shaw spent the first 18 games of the season awaiting his NCAA debut, but after playing in 11 of the teams past 12, he’s becoming another piece for the nation’s sixth-ranked team.
Following last season, Van Os-Shaw was named Canadian Junior A Player of the Year and Top Forward after taking off with the scoring race in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL). His 97 points in 59 games placed him 17 ahead of the second place finisher. He was the first AJHL player in more than a decade to reach the 50-goal plateau. The Regina, Saskatewan, native added another 11 goals and 19 points in 11 postseason games en route to the Spruce Grove Saints winning the 2018 Doyle Cup.
But even with the immediate advantage of a 6-foot-2, 201-pound frame, his transition to the NCAA would bring adversity. Van Os-Shaw was joining an extremely successful program with an expectation of its fifth NCAA Tournament bid in seven years.
As the season got underway, the 21-year-old was forced to sit out the first semester as he awaited his NCAA eligibility. After watching and cheering on his team to a 14-4 start, the Mavericks’ prized recruit suited up for the Desert Hockey Classic on Dec. 28.
He was thrust into the lineup while the Mavericks simultaneously had leading scorer Parker Tuomie and another regular in Jake Jaremko go down with injuries. Van Os-Shaw, a big body with a hard shot and eagerness to drive to the net recorded an assist in his debut.
The next eight games saw his seven-month game hiatus catch up as he registered just one assist, but the coaches liked what he was bringing as the freshman remained a lineup constant quickly adjusting to a higher level.
After five scoreless games, Van Os-Shaw scored his first NCAA goal Friday night, while adding an assist in a 6-1 win over Alabama Huntsville. The next night, he lit the lamp again in a 4-0 win, as he and fellow freshman Julian Napravnik found instant chemistry and combined for four goals and three assists during the sweep of the Chargers.
Van Os-Shaw now holds two goals and five points through his first 11 games with the Mavericks and isn’t showing signs of slowing down for head coach Mike Hastings.
“He’s fitting in real well,” Hastings told David Faulkner of the Mankato Free Press. “He’s got some offensive gifts. He can shoot it. He feels very comfortable in the offensive zone. He’s still learning the other piece of it, but he’s making our staff, myself included, very comfortable at putting him in spots where he can go out and be successful.”
The Mavericks, 23-6-1, hold an 11-point lead in the WCHA and Van Os-Shaw’s growing confidence will only make them better with six games remaining ahead of the WCHA Tournament.
Tune in this weekend to watch Van Os-Shaw and the Mavericks live, right here on FloHockey as they visit the Michigan Tech Huskies.
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