By Mark Haas
DENVER (CBS4) – Freshman Henrik Borgstrom has produced quite the hockey highlight reel for the University of Denver hockey team this season.
“It is like, ‘Oh my God, he did it again,'” said DU hockey coach Jim Montgomery. “The crowd goes silent almost in awe of what they just saw, our bench goes ‘wow’ and our confidence goes through the roof; and I think it is really demoralizing for the other team.”
“I have never played with anyone like him,” said DU sophomore Troy Terry. “He is just so skilled and does so many creative things.”
Borgstrom leads DU this season with 21 goals and 36 points. The 21 goals are also the most in the NCHC (DU’s conference).
“In the moment, it feels pretty slow,” Borgstrom said, describing one of his many highlights. “When I watch it afterwards it looks so fast, but in the game it slows down.”
It’s certainly been a whirlwind 12 months for the 19-year-old from Finland, who committed to DU last spring without actually visiting Denver.
“I just got the feeling that Denver wanted me the most,” said Borgstrom, who was visited in Finland by DU assistant coach David Carle, and had several Skype calls with Montgomery.
And then in June, the Florida Panthers selected Borgstrom with the 23rd pick of the first round of the NHL draft.
“I wasn’t expecting to be drafted in the first round,” Borgstrom said. “But when I heard the Panthers GM say, ‘From Helsinki, Finland,’ I was like, ‘That has to be me.’ The moment was pretty special.”
In the NHL, drafted players can still go and play college hockey until they are ready to sign a professional contract. Despite Borgstrom’s success this season, he says he still plans to play at least one more year in Denver.
“I’m coming back,” Borgstrom said. “Well, most likely.”
“Florida, his parents and (he) will have a big decision,” said Montgomery. “But we fully expect him to be back.”
First things first though — as the No. 1 ranked Pioneers have their sights set on winning the program’s eighth national title.