UND MEN'S HOCKEY: Rowney finding his way
Prior to UND, Corban Knight didn't have good memories of Carter Rowney. They played against each other in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and one game in particular stood out. "It was Christmastime and they came to play us and coach (Cary) Eades...
Prior to UND, Corban Knight didn't have good memories of Carter Rowney.
They played against each other in the Alberta Junior Hockey League and one game in particular stood out.
"It was Christmastime and they came to play us and coach (Cary) Eades was at the game recruiting both of us," Knight said. "I heard about this guy who was at the top of the league in scoring and our lines matched up against each other."
And how did it turn out?
"He dominated me pretty handily," Knight said. "I kind of have a bitter taste in my mouth about junior memories of Carter."
All is well now, though. They are UND's top two centers and Rowney is starting to find the scoring touch he displayed in juniors to go along with his always-consistent, two-way play.
Rowney, a junior, scored four goals last weekend at Minnesota-Duluth -- the same number he had during his first two seasons at UND. The Sexsmith, Alta., product now has 12 goals and 21 points through 29 games. He's averaged a point per game since mid-December.
"He's starting to put up the numbers," Sioux coach Dave Hakstol said. "Most important, we're starting to see the dominant play on a nightly basis that we saw from Carter the last few months of his final season in Grande Prairie. If you remember, he was the Alberta League's playoff MVP. He was a dominant player night in and night out.
"He did it much in the same way he's doing it here, just by playing great, solid two-way hockey. He's taking advantage of his opportunity."
Rowney, a 6-foot-2, 208-pound forward, played virtually every night as a rookie because of his consistent, reliable play. He scored one goal and had eight points.
Rowney missed some time due to injury last season, but was at his best down the stretch, when UND went on a two-and-a-half month unbeaten streak. His stats -- three goals and five points -- weren't real eye-popping, though.
In the offseason, the Sioux lost four forwards to graduation, two juniors signed NHL contracts and two more transferred. One forward recruit bailed on his commitment during the summer, two weren't cleared by the NCAA and three have gone out with injury.
That has left the forward ranks wide open and perhaps nobody has taken advantage more than Rowney. He's fourth on the team in points, already with 16 more than last season. Rowney is a regular on the special teams units.
Against the No. 3 Bulldogs, Rowney scored two goals each night and nearly finished off a natural hat trick that would have tied Saturday night's game with six seconds left.
"This last weekend was his big coming out party for the fans," Knight said. "But the guys who have been around Rowns know how valuable he is to the team with the little things he does on the ice. Not only that, he's a great leader in the locker room. A lot of guys look up to him. I look up to him. He has a presence in the dressing room and on the ice.
"You can see the confidence setting in and he's putting the puck in the back of the net. All of the guys in the dressing room have known that he does all the subtle things really well. Now, he's showing the scoring touch he had in junior."
Rowney has been centering a line with rookies Michael Parks and Mark MacMillan on his wings for a month.
"It's good, there's definitely a lot of excitement and a lot of jump with those guys," Rowney said. "They are making my life a lot easier out there. They are making plays."
Hakstol says Rowney has been a calming influence on the freshmen.
"It seems like those guys are comfortable playing with Carter," Hakstol said. "Mark MacMillan is flat out just playing the game, not thinking about it, not worrying about making mistakes. He's flat out playing and playing extremely hard. Michael Parks is on a similar path as Carter. His best production has been the last few weeks.
"That production has been needed. We've been a team starved, to a certain degree, for scoring. Carter has been a guy who has stepped into his role and that's been real important. He and his linemates are starting to provide scoring for us. Those are difference-making statistics."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .