Photo: Matt Krohn / Gopher Sports
The Washington Capitals’ have six prospects playing at the collegiate level for the 2022-23 season: Ryan Chesley, David Gucciardi, Brent Johnson, Joaquim Lemay, Mitchell Gibson, and Chase Clark. Gibson and Clark are goaltenders while the other four are defensemen.
Here is our regular mid-month update on the Capitals collegiate athletes:
Ryan Chesley — Defenseman
Chesley was drafted by the Capitals in the second round of the 2022 NHL Entry draft with the 37th pick overall. He is currently a freshman at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Going into December, the Minnesota Golden Gophers were 11-5-0 overall and 6-2-0 within their conference.
On December 2 and 3, the Golden Gophers went on the road to face fellow prospect David Gucciardi and the Michigan State Spartans in Lansing, Michigan. The Gophers took the first game, 5-0 and the second game, 6-3. Chesley was kept off the scoresheet in both of the games.
Chesley and three of his teammates on the Golden Gophers, Logan Cooley (drafted #3 in 2022 – Arizona Coyotes), Luke Mittelstadt (undrafted), and Jimmy Snuggerud (drafted #23 in 2022 – St. Louis Blues) were named to the US World Junior training camp roster, which runs from December 12 through December 17. [The team writeup can be found here and the NoVa Caps story can be found here.]
Photo: Matt Krohn / Gopher Sports
The Wisconsin Badgers visited the Golden Gophers on December 9th and 10th. The Gophers swept the weekend set, winning the first, 7-1, and winning the second, 6-4.
Chesley was on the second defensive pairing for both contests. The game on December 9 featured Chesley’s first collegiate goal, which came at 9:12 of the second period.
His first #Gophers goal 🥲
— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) December 10, 2022
It was the team’s sixth goal of the game. Chesley was named Third Star of the Game.
Tonight’s @3M three stars of the game!
— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) December 10, 2022
Chesley spoke about his first “Border Battle” experience after the game, “This was pretty cool, seeing that, and scoring a goal against them was awesome, “ said Chesley.
“I just saw a good play in front. Cools [Cooley] had a good chance to score and got the rebound, thought I could sneak down a little bit, hit me with a great pass, so maybe a little bit of a roommate connection there.”
Chesley was kept off the score sheet in their 6-4 victory on December 10.
The Gophers have no more games until their game against the USA Development team on December 29. Their next collegiate opponent is Bemidji State on December 31.
Meanwhile, Chesley, Cooley, Mittelstadt, and Snuggerud report to the US World Junior training camp from December 12 through December 17.
Chesley has played in all 20 of the team’s games, scored one goal and has two assists. He has made 28 shots on goal and blocked 25 shots. He is currently +9.
The Gophers are now 15-5-0 overall, 10-2-0 within the Big Ten Conference and have a four-game winning streak in progress. Click here for the Golden Gophers schedule.
David Gucciardi — Defenseman
Gucciardi was drafted by the Capitals in the seventh round of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft with the 213th pick overall. He is a sophomore playing for the Michigan State Spartans.
Going into December, the Spartans were 11-4-1 overall and 5-2-1 within their conference. They faced the Minnesota Gophers and fellow Capitals prospect Ryan Chesley at home on December 2 and 3, losing the first game 5-0 and losing the second game 6-3. Gucciardi was kept off the scoresheet in both games.
Michigan State faced the Michigan Wolverines in their in-state rivalry on December 9 and 10. The Spartans won the first game, 2-0, but lost the second game, 2-1. Gucciardi was kept off the score sheet in both games except for a minor penalty in the game on December 10.
In the game of December 10, Gucciardi, who, according to the State News, has committed an atypical amount of turnovers over the last two weekends, gathered the puck in the corner but failed to clear it out of the zone. Luke Hughes of the Michigan Wolverines intercepted it, passed it off to a fellow Wolverine, and burst to the net. Senior defenseman Keaton Pehrson fed Hughes across the ice, who guided the puck in the wide open back door of the net. See the game write-up from State News.
TJ Hughes goals in back-to-back nights! Keato and Rutger with the apples pic.twitter.com/F6TmnuLcIx
— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) December 11, 2022
For the season, Gucciardi has two goals and three assists. He has 40 shots on goal and has blocked 26 shots. During December, he was on the team’s second defensive pairing.
The Spartans are now 12-7-1 overall and 6-5-1 in the Big Ten Conference. Click here for the Michigan State Spartans’ schedule.
Brent Johnson — Defenseman
Brent Johnson was drafted by the Capitals in the third round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He is a sophomore at North Dakota.
Going into November, the North Dakota Fighting Hawks were 6-6-3 overall and 2-3-1 in their conference
The Fighting Hawks faced St. Cloud State on December 2 and 3 at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and lost both games. Johnson returned to the lineup after a 3-game absence on December 3. He played on the third defensive pairing and was kept off the scoresheet.
On December 9 and 10, North Dakota played two games at Western Michigan in Kalamazoo, Michigan. They tied the first game, 2-2 and won the shootout. They won the second game, 3-0. Johnson was not in the lineup for either game, presumably due to injury or illness, since he was listed among the healthy scratches on the road trip.
For the season, Johnson has played in 13 games, scored one goal and five assists, made 13 shots on goal, blocked 8, and is +3.
North Dakota’s record is now 7-8-4 overall and 3-5-2 within the Big Ten Conference. Their next game is an exhibition game against the US Development Team on December 31. Click here for the Fighting Hawks Hockey Schedule.
Joaquim Lemay – Defenseman
Lemay was drafted by the Capitals in the fourth round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft with the 119th pick overall. He is a freshman at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. One of his teammates is Jakub Pivonka, the son of former Capital, Michal Pivonka.
Going into November, the Omaha Mavericks were 6-6-2. They played two home games against Western Michigan on December 2 and 3 and won them both, winning the first one 7-6 and winning the second one 3-1.
On December 2, Lemay had an assist on a power play goal that occurred at 4:43 in the second period. On December 3, he had the primary assist on the team’s first goal by Jake Pivonka at 2:04 of the first period.
On December 9 and 10, Omaha played two games at Colorado College. They lost the first game, 6-4 and lost the second game, 1-0. Lemay did not play in either game.
Lemay has played in 16 of the team’s 18 games, has scored one goal, recorded six assists. He’s recorded 19 shots on goal and blocked nine shots.
The University of Omaha Mavericks are 8-8-2 overall and 4-5-1 within their conference (National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC). They play their next games on December 30 and 31 against St. Lawrence. Click here for the Mavericks’ Hockey schedule.
Mitchell Gibson – Goaltender
Mitchell Gibson was drafted by the Capitals in the fourth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft with the 124th pick overall. He is a senior at Harvard University.
Going into December, the Harvard Crimson was 7-1-1 with Gibson having a record of 4-1-1. The Crimson had a light schedule for December, playing Cornell University at home on December 2 and playing Colgate University on the road.
The Crimson beat Cornell 2-1 in overtime, with Gibson making 21 saves out of 22 shots.
They lost to Colgate 6-4, but Gibson did not play in game.
For the season, Gibson has played in seven games, all starts, and has a record of 5-1-1. His goals against average is 1.83 (6th-best in NCAA). His save percentage is .930 (5th-best in NCAA) and he has recorded one shutout.
Harvard is now 8-2-1 overall and 7-1-0 in their conference, the ECAC. The Crimson schedule can be found here.
Harvard does not play any more games until after Christmas when they play Boston University.
Chase Clark — Goaltender
Chase Clark, drafted by the Capitals in the sixth round (#183 overall) of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, is a freshman at Quinnipiac University.
The Quinnipiac Bobcats were 11-1-3 going into December. They beat St Lawrence, 2-1 on December 2 and won 6-3 against Clarkson, with Clark not getting into either game.
Quinnipiac faced Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Engineers on December 9 and won that game 8-3. Clark played 28:21 and made eight saves out of ten shots.
On December 10, the Bobcats faced the Union College Dutchmen and won 8-1. Clark played 4:04 and made two saves on two shots faced.
Overall, Clark has played in four games, starting none of them. He has made 14 saves out of 16 shots, giving him a save percentage of .875 and a goals against average of 3.20. Again his role is backup goaltender to Yaniv Peretz.
Quinnipiac is now 14-1-3 overall and 10-0-0 within their conference, the ECAC. Click here for the Bobcats’ schedule.
The 2022-23 season is now in full swing, with most of the Capitals’ college prospects seeing steady action. Four of the six prospects play for teams now ranked in the NCAA’s current top 20.
They include Minnesota (Chesley), Michigan State (David Gucciardi), Harvard (Mitchell Gibson), and Quinnpiac (Chase Clark).
By Diane Doyle