ST. PAUL, MN - APRIL 07: Jack Connolly #12 of the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs is congratulated by teammate J.T. Brown #23 after Connolly scored in the second period against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Men's Frozen Four on April 7, 2011 at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Minnesota-Duluth senior forward Jack Connolly picked up 4 points in a weekend sweep of Alabama-Huntsville this past weekend, bringing his total on the season to 40 points through 24 games, and bringing his career point total to 177 points.
That means Connolly is on/close to the pace needed to reach the pretty significant 200 career point plateau. The last player to do so was Michigan's TJ Hensick in 2006-2007, who finished with 222 points in his four year Michigan career. Nebraska-Omaha's Scott Parse finished with 197 points that same year. Since then, not many players have come close. St. Cloud's Garrett Roe had a chance last year, needing 58 points in his final campaign, but only tallied a career-low 36 points for the Huskies. Carter Camper finished his four-year Miami career with 183 points last year. A few other players would have had an outside shot at it if they had stayed in school for four years, including Connolly's UMD teammate Mike Connolly(he would have needed 64 points in his final year), and Boston College's Nathan Gerbe(he needed 67 points as a senior, after scoring 68 as a junior).
Needless to say, reaching 200 points is a pretty big deal in the modern college game. So what does Connolly need to do to get there?
Minnesota-Duluth has 12 regular season games, at least two, very likely three, and possibly four WCHA playoff games, and at least one NCAA tournament game, barring something apocalyptic happening. We'll stick with the minimum to be safe and he has roughly 15 games left in his college career. If he stays on his current pace of 1.67 points per game, over 15 games, that works out to 25 points, leaving him at 198 career points.
Strength of schedule may factor in as well though. Minnesota-Duluth was blessed with a comically weak cluster of Michigan Tech, Minnesota State, and Alaska-Anchorage this year. That means six of Connolly's remaining 12 games will come against those teams, and Connolly managed 4-point weekends against all three of them in the first half of the season. Add in that their playoff series is almost guaranteed to be against Minnesota State or Alaska-Anchorage, and there should be plenty of opportunities for Connolly to rack up a few extra points to push him over that mark.
If Connolly can't reach that mark this year, it may be a while before someone comes close again. Even if he comes back for his senior year, as rumored, Denver's Drew Shore would need 100 points between now and the end of next year to reach the mark. Notre Dame's TJ Tynan fits the mold of a player that might reach it, and is currently on pace to, but being a 3rd round draft pick this past summer, the chances he plays out all four years seems unlikely, despite his barely 5'8" frame.