Fan Favorite: Rookie Osterberg Leads Duluth
Freshman Plays Integral Role on Bulldogs' Top Line
by Nicole Brodzik/CHN Reporter
Now is not a bad time to be Minnesota-Duluth’s Kyle Osterberg.
After being named NCHC Rookie of the Week for the third time this season, Osterberg received the Bulldogs’ 2013-14 Fan Favorite Award during the second intermission of last Friday’s game against Nebraska-Omaha. He then continued his team’s offensive outburst in the third period, scoring the Bulldogs’ sixth goal of the evening against the Mavericks.
Not bad at all.
And all of that added up to a yet another NCHC Rookie of the Week title, his second straight and fourth of the season, the most of any player named.
While he was snubbed from the NCHC’s All-Rookie Team announced on Friday, his skill and energy have helped contribute to an impressive line with Justin Crandall and Tony Cameranesi who are clicking at just the right time as Minnesota-Duluth plays host to an NCHC quarterfinal series against Western Michigan this weekend.
“It’s huge,” Crandall said. “It’s a good time to start playing well now that we’re at the end of the year. We need to continue that into playoffs and be a line the team can count on.”
The trio scored six of the Bulldogs’ nine goals last weekend. And though it’s fair to say that Osterberg and company are in fact the line the Bulldogs have been able to count on, Osterberg credits his linemates for his successes, claiming that he’s simply been in the right place at the right time.
“It feels really good,” said the Lakeville, Minn., native. “[We] have been clicking really well. We just seem to find each other. When you have the speed of Tony and the smarts of Justin, all I really have to do is kind of find open space, and those guys find me.”
The 19 year-old forward leads UMD with 14 goals and 27 points in 32 games. It’s not often that a freshman leads his team in goals, so it’s no surprise he’s already become a “Fan Favorite.”
“It is pretty special,” Osterberg said. “I didn’t really think I was going to get it. I mean our whole team is just clicking, and our whole team deserves it, but I was lucky enough to get that honor. It feels good though, but I have to thank my teammates for that because they’re the ones helping me out.”
His head coach, Scott Sandelin, believes that Osterberg is one of many talented freshmen his team has skated this season, and the numbers show that. But the Bulldogs also have the highest-scoring freshman class in the NCHC, and forward Alex Iafallo was named to the conference’s All-Rookie Team this week.
“Obviously Kyle’s our leading goal scorer and Alex has played great,” Sandelin said. “You put Kyle’s line against Nebraska’s top line [last] weekend, and I think they did great. I think all of our freshmen have done a good job.
“Those two have kind of done a little bit more on the offensive side. They’ve had great production for us.”