As we waved goodbye to 2023 and welcomed 2024, our eyes were glued to the NCAA action, and there were some enthralling moments for our New York Rangers prospects. We've talked about Gabe Perrault and Drew Fortescue leading the charge for Boston College and taking the NCAA by storm. Yet there are other Blueshirts prospects in action, too.
Unfortunately, Jaroslav Chmelar is still sidelined for the Providence College Friars as he recovers from wrist surgery. The talented forward, drafted by the New York Rangers in the fifth round in 2021, isn't expected to return to action until later February or early March. Before his injury, Chmelar was on fire, racking up five goals and nine assists for fourteen points in just sixteen games.
As for the Friars' recent games, they had a mixed bag against Alaska Anchorage. They clinched a solid 2-0 victory on Friday but couldn't find their footing on Saturday, getting blanked 4-0.
Harvard's captain, Zakary Karpa, showed his leadership skills on Friday with a shorthanded secondary assist in their 6-3 victory over Rensselaer. Despite the win, he managed just one shot on goal but excelled in the faceoff circle, going 13-6. However, Saturday's game against Union College was a more challenging outing for Karpa. In the 5-4 overtime loss, he had another shot on goal and went 10-10 on faceoffs but couldn't contribute to the scoresheet. So far this season, Karpa has struggled to find his offensive rhythm, tallying only four points in sixteen games.
Yet let's not forget Karpa's standout performance in the New Year's Eve showdown against UConn, which garnered national attention on ESPNU and ESPN+. Despite UConn's strong start, Karpa led impressive rushes, showcasing his skills on the ice. Although Harvard fell short with a 4-2 loss, Karpa made his mark with one goal, one point, and one shot. He also demonstrated his clever delay tactics following icings, allowing his teammates to regroup.
Looking ahead, Karpa's not just a player; he's a leader. At 6'2" and 190 lbs, he brings both size and leadership qualities to the team, which earned him the captaincy of his peers. With his commitment and determination, expect Karpa to continue making an impact, both on and off the ice, throughout his senior year.