Former Pioneer Jake Guentzel earns collegiate honor

Former Hill-Murray hockey standout Jake Guentzel earned a player-of-the-week honor earlier this month. The University of Nebraska-Omaha Maverick earned his second National Collegiate Hockey Conference Offensive Player of the Week honor of the season on Jan. 18.

Guentzel, a junior center for Omaha, led the Mavericks in points in a weekend series against North Dakota on Jan. 15-16. He scored a goal and added four assists as Omaha earned a split against the Fighting Hawks, who were ranked No. 1 in the country at the time. North Dakota fell to No. 2 in the Jan. 18 United States College Hockey Online poll.

Omaha won game one of the series 4-3 in overtime as Guentzel scored the Mavericks’ first goal and assisted on the other three. He finished the game a plus-3.

North Dakota rebounded to take game two 5-1 but Guentzel picked up another point by assisting on Omaha's lone goal.

The five points moved Guentzel, who is a captain this season, into first place in the NCHC scoring race with 32 points. He is second in the NCHC in goals with 11 and sixth in assists with 21. Nationally, Guentzel is tied for seventh in points and he has recorded points in seven of his last eight games.

Guentzel was also named the conference offensive player of the week back in early November following a weekend sweep of Minnesota-Duluth. He tallied five points (two goals, three assists) that weekend and finished the series a plus-5.

Guentzel, the son of University of Minnesota assistant coach Mike Guentzel, was a junior on the Hill-Murray team that finished as the state runner-up in 2012.

He did not play high school hockey as a senior, instead opting to head to the junior ranks with Sioux City of the United States Hockey League. He was the USHL rookie of the year that season as he tallied 73 points on 29 goals and 44 assists.

Guentzel's National Hockey League rights are owned by the Pittsburgh Penguins, which selected him in the third round of the 2013 entry draft. His older brothers Ryan and Gabe played Division I college hockey at Notre Dame and Colorado College, respectively.

The split with North Dakota moved Omaha up from ninth to seventh in the USCHO poll.

Omaha hosted Miami of Ohio in a conference series last weekend. Next up on the schedule for the Mavericks is an NCHC series at Colorado College on Jan. 29-30.

—Brian Meyers


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