So. | W | Halkirk, Alta.
led UMD freshmen in scoring
with six goals and 13 assists
and was named the team's Rookie of the Year.
Statistics: Despite missing nearly a fifth of his
rookie season nursing various ailments, McKnight led UMD freshmen
in scoring with six goals and 13 assists. Logging extensive
time on special teams, he tied for the team lead in shorthanded
goals with two and also scored three power play goals en route
to being named the Bulldogs’ Rookie of the Year.
What He Does: As a freshman on a senior-dominated
team that failed to live up to lofty expectations and experienced
some off-ice turmoil, part of McKnight’s role as a rookie
was to be the voice of reason at times in the locker room.
Coach Scott Sandelin talks of McKnight’s “calming
presence” off the ice and his “smartly aggressive”
play on the rink, and may reward those traits by pinning an
‘A’ on McKnight’s sweater for his sophomore
The Bigger Picture: For this somewhat lanky,
soft-spoken kid, it’s easy to look back on his rookie
year and see missed opportunities, not only individually but
as a team. The Bulldogs’ slide from the No. 1 ranking
in the nation to the lower half of the WCHA had already begun
in late November when McKnight was checked hard into the boards
in St. Cloud and missed five games with a separated shoulder.
He said he never really got his timing back the remainder
of the season, but has spent the summer on the ice working
hockey camps and getting healthy. On a roster that’s
gone from having 12 seniors last year to a record 11 freshmen
this year, his leadership may be as important as goals and
Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin on McKnight:
“For a freshman, he had a very consistent year. The
peaks and valleys weren’t way up or way down. Six goals
doesn’t look like a lot, until you remember that Junior
(Lessard) had four his first year.”