Knight having subtle, yet productive seasonHOUGHTON, Mich. — It has been a typical year for Corban Knight.
By: Brad Schlossman, The Dickinson Press
HOUGHTON, Mich. — It has been a typical year for Corban Knight.
He’s been winning faceoffs, muscling players off of pucks, setting up goals and potting a few himself — all without any attention or fanfare.
Quietly, Knight is on an 11-game point streak and has become the University of North Dakota’s leading scorer with 17 points in 15 games. He has racked up 114 points in his career, which is more than everyone in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association sans linemate Danny Kristo, Colorado College’s Rylan Schwartz and St. Cloud State fifth-year senior Drew LeBlanc.
Yet he never garners as much attention as other key players in the league.
“We’re seeing that again this year,” UND coach Dave Hakstol said. “He’s flown under the radar with it, but he has a nice point-scoring streak going.
“He’s a complete hockey player. He’s good in all three zones. I think there are a lot of elements to his game that bring a lot of value to a team. He gets a lot of credit for his ability in the faceoff dot, but a lot of areas in his game are quietly similar to what he does in the faceoff dot. He’s a very solid, reliable, two-way player that consistently puts up good, solid offensive numbers.”
Knight is on pace for his third straight 40-point season (he tallied 44 as a sophomore, 40 as a junior). The only other UND player to do that in the last decade is T.J. Oshie, a Hobey Baker Award finalist.
In the last 20 years, the only other UND players to do it were Hobey Baker Award finalists Jeff Panzer and Jason Blake and standouts Ryan Bayda and David Hoogsteen.
Knight has been a key for UND’s success, too: The team is 28-2-4 all-time when he scores a goal, including a 3-0-2 mark this season.
Typical to his personality, Knight points to other reasons for his success.
“It has been a little bit of luck and both my linemates are playing really well right now,” Knight said, explaining his 11-game point streak. “They’ve been generating a lot of chances.”
So has Knight.
His brilliant pass to Dillon Simpson on a game-tying goal against Colorado College helped UND ultimately grab two points in World Arena a couple of weeks ago. He continued his hot play last week against Denver, scoring a goal each night and setting up another.
“I think his consistency is the biggest thing,” classmate Carter Rowney said. “Whether it’s him coming into the rink in the morning and getting better or coming to the gym and the weight room, he’s such a professional. He comes to the rink to get better every day and the consistency in which he does it is (impressive).”
The alternate captain also is one who routinely lifts spirits in the locker room.
“He’s a great guy,” Rowney said. “Everyone gets along with him. He’s easy to get along with. He’s always positive, no matter what’s going on. He’s never down on himself, never down on anyone else. He’s just a positive guy.”
Hakstol said: “What you see is what you get. He’s a great young man, always got a positive perspective. He always pays attention to how he treats people around him. He’s very cognizant of that. He’s always being a leader, not just in our locker room but in the community. He does an awful lot of things in the community that go unnoticed. He doesn’t do it with any fanfare, but he’s always willing to help out. All those things speak to his high level of character.”
But don’t let the smile and laid back attitude fool you, Hakstol said. Knight is one of the most competitive players on the team.
“He’s a mature young man in every way,” Hakstol said. “Mentally, he’s as tough as there is. He’s very quiet in the way he goes about it, but he’s as mentally tough and as competitive as anybody.”