FAIRBANKS—Persistence has been an ally of Michael Quinn this season.
The Alaska Nanooks junior defenseman experienced a three-game points drought after contributing an assist to a season-opening 2-2 tie against Air Force on Oct. 12 in the Kendall Hockey Classic in Anchorage.
Since then, he has contributed in five of the last Nanooks’ last six games, all Central Collegiate Hockey Association contests. The 6-foot, 186-pound geography major is on a four-game points streak heading into a CCHA series against the ninth-ranked Western Michigan Broncos on Friday and Saturday at the Carlson Center.
The native of Surrey, British Columbia, continues to be a solid stay-at-home defenseman, though he’s the Nanooks’ fifth-leading scorer with six points, all from assists.
“The beginning of the season was a bit frustrating but things are starting to turn around now,” Quinn said during a recent practice at the Patty Center. “I’m sticking to my game and I feel really good out there, and my teammates are helping me out, too.”
Quinn has been a big help to the Nanooks, who hold second place in the CCHA at 3-2-1-0 conference and 5-3-2 overall.
He was a 45-point career scorer (13 goals and 32 assists) in four seasons and 144 games with the Surrey Eagles and Westside Warriors of the British Columbia Hockey League before coming to Alaska in 2010.
“I think when he came to us, it was a lot about his skills. He had offensive side to his game,” Alaska head coach Dallas Ferguson said after Tuesday’s practice. “In order to develop into an everyday college defenseman, you have to play all 200 feet of the rink.”
Ferguson sees potential for Quinn to become an all-league defenseman — the Nanooks are moving next season to the Western Collegiate Hockey Association — by the time his collegiate career ends.
“I think when you have some characteristics like he has, such as his work ethic, you’re going to see him get better because he cares about it,” Ferguson said.
“It’s been nice to watch him develop from where he was as a freshman to where he is now,” Ferguson said. “It’s been real positive for our team and I think you see the results out there on the ice.”
Among Quinn’s contributions this season was a pass from the left point to junior left wing Colton Beck for the game-winning power-play goal in a 2-1 victory over Lake Superior State on Nov. 2 at the Carlson Center.
He was one of the catalysts for Alaska earning four points in the standings last weekend at Ohio State.
He had an assist on freshman defenseman Colton Parayko’s go-ahead power-play goal in the second period of Friday’s 1-1 tie in Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeyes later prevailed 2-1 in a shootout.
On Saturday, Quinn forced a turnover that set up senior center and team captain Adam Henderson’s shorthanded breakaway with 1:18 left in the game to assure a 3-1 victory.
“Throughout the years, he’s been very solid, always that guy you look to in the back end,” senior left wing Jarret Granberg said. “This year, he’s come through as one of our top defensemen, and I think he’s reliable and a very consistent hockey player.”
Contact staff writer Danny Martin at 459-7586.