As college hockey prepares for its semester break, 10 Western New York natives find themselves playing for a nationally ranked team. It starts with Eden’s Alex Iafallo whose Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs continue to hold the No. 1 spot in the USCHO.com Division I Men’s Hockey poll.
Who else is in the mix? Here’s your rundown of players from the 716:
Top 20 Division I Men’s Teams
Iafallo, Minnesota-Duluth: The senior saw his 10-game point streak end on Dec. 10 in a 3-1 win at second-ranked Denver. Iafallo leads the Bulldogs with 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists). Seven of those points are on the power play. While the Bulldogs make a push for a deep run in the NCAA tournament, also keep an eye on Iafallo’s stock when the season is over. Undrafted, he could become a highly coveted college free agent signing for an NHL team. The Bulldogs close out 2016 with a home-and home series with Bemidji State Friday and Saturday.
Andrew Sturtz, Penn State: The sophomore from Buffalo leads the No. 3 Nittany Lions in goals with 13 and has 15 points in 13 games. Penn State has won its last 11 games.
Sean Malone, Harvard: A native of West Seneca who was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the sixth round in 2013, Malone is tied for the team lead in goals with eight and has 14 points in 11 games. The Crimson are ranked fourth, have won three straight and are off until meeting Rensselaer on Dec. 30.
Christian Lampasso, Ohio State: The Buckeyes are ranked ninth and Lampasso, an Amherst native, is an energy guy on the third line. The junior forward has two assists in eight games. Ohio State next plays Dec. 31 when it hosts Miami (Ohio).
Dennis Gilbert, Notre Dame: The Williamsville native was drafted in the third round by Chicago in 2015. A sophomore, he has six assists in 17 games for the 12th-ranked Fighting Irish who host Alaska for a non-conference series on Dec. 31.
Nick DeSimone, Union: The junior defenseman from East Amhrst has five goals, two on the power play, and eight points for Union, ranked No. 13. Union, on a four-game winning streak, plays two non-conference games at Vermont this weekend.
Matt Krug, Union: The senior defender has two assists in 11 games, matching his best season which came his freshman year.
Michael Ederer, St. Lawrence: The sophomore forward from Lancaster has nine points (four goals, five assists) in 17 games for St. Lawrence, ranked 17th.
Carson Gicewicz, St. Lawrence: The freshman forward from Orchard Park has four goals and two assists with a plus-seven rating.
R.J. Gicewicz, St. Lawrence: Older brother of Carson, R.J. has played two games for the Saints his sophomore season. The Saints are off until January.
Men’s Teams Receiving Votes
Matthew Nuttle, Cornell: A sophomore defender from Marillia, Nuttle picked up his second assist of the season in Cornell’s 2-1 win over Miami (Ohio) on Dec. 3.
Zach Evancho, Army West Point: The freshman from Buffalo is co-leader in goals for the Black Knights with seven in 16 games. Four of those goals came on the power play. He ranks second on the team in scoring with 11 points.
Parker Gahagen, Army West Point: The senior from Buffalo is one of the best goaltenders in Division I hockey. He leads the country in shut outs with four; his .940 save percentage ranks second while his 1.69 goals against average is third.
Joe Cecconi, Michigan: The Youngstown native was drafted in the fifth round by the Dallas Stars in June. The sophomore defenseman has one assist in 16 games for the Wolverines, who stopped a three-game losing streak with a 4-1 win against Wisconsin on Dec. 10.
Griffin Luce, Michigan: The grandson of Buffalo Sabres Hall of Famer Don Luce and a Williamsville native, Griffin has played in 10 games as a freshman on the Michigan blue line.
The Rest of the Roster
Kyle Mackey, Air Force: The junior defender from Derby picked up his fourth assist of the season in the Falcons’ 4-0 win over Niagara on Dec. 10. It was his first even-strength point of the season as his two goals and other three assists have all come on the power play.
Daniel Mele, American International: The senior forward has played in two games for the Yellow Jackets this season.
Josh Gabriel, Canisius: The Lancaster native has one goal in 10 games for the Griffs in his sophomore season.
Dylan McLaughlin, Canisius: The sophomore from Lancaster ended the first semester with four points in two games, including a pair of goals in a 4-3 win over Bentley on Dec. 2.
Ryan Schmelzer, Canisius: The junior captain from Buffalo leads the Griffs in scoring with 10 points, including four goals.
Nolan Sheeran, Canisius: The junior from East Amherst scored his first goal of the season on Dec. 3 in a 3-3 tie against Bentley.
Andrew Black, Colgate: The senior defenseman from Buffalo has two goals and one assist in 16 games for Colgate. In 96 career games for the Raiders he has 12 goals and 13 assists.
Ben Sharf, Colgate: In his freshman season for the Raiders, the Williamsville forward has played in three games.
Paul Berrafato, Holy Cross: In 16 games the junior goalie is 6-7-3 with one shut out, a 3-0 decision against Brown on Oct. 28. A Williamsville native, Berrafato has a 3.16 goals against average and an .892 save percentage.
Anthony Tirabassi, Holy Cross: The freshman goalie from Niagara Falls made his collegiate debut on Dec. 10, playing five minutes and letting in one goal in the Crusaders 8-1 loss to Army West Point.
James Roll, Lake Superior State: The junior defender from West Seneca has played in one game for the Lakers who are 8-9-1 overall and 5-8-1 in the WCHA.
Alexander Carlson, Mercyhurst: A sophomore on defense from Lakewood, he picked up his first assist of the season in a 5-2 win over Sacred Heart on Dec. 9.
Ryan Cook, Merrimack: The freshman defenseman from Lancaster played his first collegiate game Dec. 10 in a 5-1 loss to seventh-ranked UMass-Lowell.
Frankie Cefalu, New Hampshire: The sophomore defender from Buffalo has one assist in 12 games.
Ryan Kuhn, Niagara: The Wheatfield native played just nine games with two assists before an injury sidelined him and likely ended his sophomore season.
Vinny Muto, Niagara: The senior from Niagara Falls has one goal and five assists from the blue line in 18 games.
Larry Smith, Niagara: A junior from Grand Island, the defenseman has one goal and one assist in 15 games.
Charlie Manley, Rensselaer: The freshman defender from Orchard Park has one assist in 12 games.
Patrick Polino, Rensselaer: the freshman defender from Buffalo has three goals and three assists in 20 games.
Max Mikowski, RIT: A former member of the Buffalo Jr. Sabres and a native of Cheektowaga, the forward has one assist in 12 games this season.
Michael Coyne, Robert Morris: Has a plus-rating in six games played for the Colonials in his first season of college hockey. The freshman forward is from Buffalo.