by Josh Carey
The countdown continues today with the middle five of the countdown. Click here for a look back at numbers 15-11, and stay tuned as Josh's top five will be unveiled on Thursday. Think someone is ranked too high or too low and wish to say so, or have any other questions or comments? If so, feel free to head on over to the d3boards to make your voice heard.
10. Michael Wiggins - UW-Superior
31 goals (1.07 per game) in 2004-05.
|Wiggins capped off a 54 goal career with an impressive 31 in his senior season.|
The NCHA makes its only appearance on the list with the Yellowjackets' top scorer from the '04-'05 season. As a senior, Wiggins led the nation in goals scored while leading UW-Superior to the Peters Cup title game en route to just a three-loss campaign. Wiggins followed a pretty standard career progression, staying below 20 points his first two years before breaking out to total 101 points at graduation. His final season was by far his best though, and why he became just the second Yellowjacket to earn NCHA Player of the Year honors.
9. Mike Lukajic - Oswego State
33 goals (1.00 per game) in 2002-03.
And now we get the only look at the SUNYAC on our list. Like Wiggins, Lukajic had a pretty standard career path, netting 12 goals in his sophomore season before breaking out as a junior with his 50 point campaign. Another 40 in his final season put Lukajic over 100 for his career. In each of those three years, Lukajic's Lakers advanced to at least to the SUNYAC finals. In 2003, the Lakers made it all the way to the national championship game - and Lukajic scored at least once in every single Oswego postseason victory. It's also worth noting this was back when the SUNYAC used a much more exciting multi-game series to decide playoff winners, an aspect that pushed his postseason goal streak to six games. After leaving Oswego, Lukajic played 172 games and scored 74 goals in a Central Hockey League career that spanned from 2004 to 2008.
8. Nick Cote - Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
33 goals (1.43 per game) in 2002-03.
Cote's impressive junior season (noted above) in which he totaled 49 points in just 23 games is memorable as much for being the end of an era as for the outstanding play on the ice. MCLA axed its men's hockey program in the summer of 2003, leaving players like Cote to scramble for transfer options. After tallying 104 points in three years at the ECAC East school, Cote spent his senior season at Norwich where he roughly replicated the output of his modest freshman season. It's hard not to wonder what he might have achieved were he able to finish his career at MCLA. After graduation, Cote signed with the now-defunct Lubbock Cotton Kings of the Central Hockey League.
7. Rick Cleaver - Norwich
31 goals (1.11 per game) in 2007-08.
|Cleaver's 92 career goals are
the most for the Cadets since Kurtis McLean posted 111 from
What kind of player can rank in the top ten nationally in scoring for three straight years? Rick Cleaver, that's who. We've highlighted his senior season (above), but his junior campaign (24 goals in 28 games) and sophomore efforts (28 goals in 29 games) are also noteworthy. Add in 21 points from his freshman season and Cleaver totaled 158 for his career. The teams he played on were pretty decent, as well, as those squads reached the NCAA Tournament in each of Cleaver's final three seasons. Following his time at Norwich, he was named Rookie of the Year in the International Hockey League after totaling 61 points in 70 games for the Kalamazoo Wings. The next year, he was good enough for the AHL's Hershey Bears to take notice, but ended back up in Kalamazoo before spending the 2010-11 season with the ECHL's Victoria Salmon Kings.
6. Shawn Skelly - Adrian
30 goals (1.03 per game) in 2007-08.
If this list were created as a lifetime achievement award, rather than based on outstanding individual seasons, then Shawn Skelly might be at the very top. Skelly scored 102 times during his four years with the Bulldogs, and finished his career with 229 points. Let that one sink in for a minute. His final two seasons disappointed on the promise of the previous two, however, as Skelly fell to 21 goals-per-year in his junior and senior seasons. Still, Skelly was able to experience an honor that teammate Adam Krug (no. 11 on our list) did not: skating in a NCAA championship game. Though he did not score in the title game he did light the lamp twice, once as a result of the game-winner, in the Bulldogs' semifinal win over Oswego State. He played 20 games for the Mississippi Surge (SPHL) last season (who interestingly are able to charge $14/game in a season ticket package. The demand for hockey in the South must be more robust than we thought).