(Photo Credit: Jessi Schoville, The Daily Cardinal)

By Mike Cratty                                                            Twitter: @Mike_Cratty

The Wisconsin boys, Cameron Hughes and Trent Frederic held down the top two center spots and came to North Andover, MA last night to take on Merrimack College, along with the rest of a strong Wisconsin squad. Both of the Boston Bruins prospects are NCAA studs and had solid showings Wisconsin’s 4-1 win over Merrimack.

I’m a team manager for the Men’s hockey team at Merrimack. This game was a treat as a Bruins fan and writer, not as a Merrimack student, unfortunately. Part of what makes it so great is the view I have for every home game.

Cameron Hughes really came to play last night. As a senior, Hughes has the “C” on his chest and for good reason. His skating sticks out, his stride is smooth, and he is pretty agile. Hughes put together a good all-around showing despite not tallying a point. One negative that stood out was that he struggled on a few defensive zone breakouts, which can be fixed.

Hughes displayed great passion as the Wisconsin captain. Merrimack’s only goal was questionable is his eyes, and he made it known. That type of intensity from a leader is significant and should always be a valued quality. Although he was riled up a bit, he didn’t blow his lid and do anything too rash.

A right amount of playing time came his way, including power play and penalty kill minutes. He did an excellent job forcing a timely turnover in the first that lead to a decent chance for Wisconsin. Trent Frederic did the same a few minutes later in the period. Impressive hockey IQ was definitely present from Cameron Hughes.

Hughes was just under a point-per-game with 32 points in 36 games and has two points in five games to start his senior season. Altogether, Cameron Hughes holds good late-round value as the 165th overall pick in 2015.

(Photo Credit: www.uwbadgers.com)

Frederic, who was drafted 29th overall in 2016, picked up the secondary assist on Wisconsin’s fourth goal. He was locked in last night, I couldn’t think of one negative thing to say. What sticks out the most to me in Frederic’s game is his patience and willingness to take care of the defensive zone first. Not to mention the fact that he earned an “A” on his chest after tallying over a point-per-game in his freshman season. He is picking up where he left off with five points in five games to start his sophomore season.

With new responsibility comes substantial playing time. Frederic saw the ice a whole lot, including power play and penalty kill time. Getting back to his patience, one moment where it really stood out was in the first period last night. On the penalty kill, he was patiently waiting in open space for a pass to come his way and didn’t overcommit to his man. This lead to him stretching out his stick to pick off a Merrimack pass and dump the puck. While that may seem like a simple thing, patience and poise like that from a 19-year-old is very good to see.

On the power play, Frederic occupied the half wall on the right side boards and worked hard down low. It looks so simple to him. His 6-foot-2 frame allows him to box opposing players out, control, then distribute the puck however necessary.

Frederic plays a mature and poised game, with the skill to add to an impressive arsenal of good qualities for a hockey player to have. Last Friday, October 6, Wisconsin took on Ohio State, and one of the Fox Sports announcers had high praise for Trent Frederic. This praise entailed him saying something along the lines of that he thinks Trent Frederic may be NHL ready soon, if not now. He also brought up how thinks Trent Frederic is a real leader at such a young age, with former Wisconsin captain Luke Kunin leaving for the Minnesota Wild organization.

The value of drafting Trent Frederic at 29th overall is looking very good, he really is an impressive player.

Both of the Wisconsin boys are making their presences known with the 4-1-0 Badgers. Boston Bruins fans should be very excited to see how their developmental process goes in the future.