COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – After an impressive opening month to the 2013-14 season, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) has selected Miami sophomore forward Riley Barber as the inaugural NCHC Player of the Month and Minnesota Duluth freshman forward Kyle Osterberg as the first NCHC Rookie of the Month, both for the month of October.
Barber (Pittsburgh, Pa.) is tied for the national lead with 12 points on the year in just six games. His eight goals are second in the NCAA and tops in the NCHC while he also dished out four assists in helping the RedHawks to a 3-2-1 start to the year and a top-10 national ranking. Of his eight goals, two were game-winners, which ties for second in the NCAA and first in the NCHC, three were power play tallies, which ties for fourth nationally and first in the conference, and two came short-handed, which shares both the NCAA and NCHC lead.
Barber wasted little time denting the scoreboard, totaling seven points in Miami’s opening-weekend sweep of Ohio State (Oct. 11-12). He dished out two assists in the opener and then tallied a career-high five points the next night against the Buckeyes, including four goals, which was the most by a RedHawk in a game since 2009. The sophomore winger then added another goal in Miami’s first ever NCHC win Oct. 19 over North Dakota, which was the game-winner and started a three-game goal streak. He totaled four points at Providence Oct. 25-26 to complete the month with a goal in the first game and two goals and an assist for a second three-point (or more) game the next night, one of which was a short-handed goal in the 4-4 draw.
In addition to his scoring, Barber posted a +6 rating in October. He was named the inaugural NCHC Offensive Player of the Week after his hat trick and seven-point weekend against Ohio State. The Washington Capitals prospect has three multi-point games on the year, including two multi-goal contests, and had a point in all but one game in October. His 2.00 points per game lead the NCHC and tie for second in the country entering November.
Barber is now a candidate for National Player of the Month. Other nominees for NCHC Player of the Month were St. Cloud State senior forward Nic Dowd and Nebraska Omaha senior forward Ryan Walters.
Osterberg (Lakeville, Minn.) totaled four points on two goals and two assists in six games for the Bulldogs, helping UMD to a top-20 ranking in October and a 3-2-1 record. Minnesota Duluth went 3-0-0 in games where Osterberg recorded a point. His two goals tied for ninth nationally among rookies during the month and first among NCHC freshmen. His four points tied for third in the NCHC among rookies, while the left-winger also posted a +4 rating in the month.
Osterberg notched his first collegiate point on an assist in his first game -- a win over Michigan Tech Oct. 11. He then tallied his first career goal, unassisted, Oct. 19 in a win at Colorado College, which was the Bulldogs’ first ever NCHC victory. The five-foot-eight, 180-pounder capped the month with his best showing, notching a goal and an assist for his first multi-point game, leading UMD to a 4-1 upset of No. 2 Notre Dame Oct. 26. Osterberg put nine shots on goal in October and leads the Bulldogs with a .222 shooting percentage.
Osterberg is now a nominee for National Rookie of the Month. The other nominee for NCHC Rookie of the Month was St. Cloud State freshman forward Ryan Papa.