The best player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has probably been Blues goalie Jake Allen, but a close second is Jake Guentzel, the former Hill-Murray standout who has burst onto the scene as a rookie playing on the same line with Sidney Crosby.
Guentzel starred at Hill-Murray before leaving for the USHL as a senior in high school and now the 2013 third-round draft pick is leading the NHL with four playoff goals this season. That's one more than the Wild have scored as a team and two more than the Blackhawks have netted.
The 22-year-old played the hero role in Pittsburgh's Game 3 win over Columbus by becoming the second rookie in NHL history – and first since 1949 – with a hat trick and the game-winning goal in overtime.
— NHL (@NHL) April 17, 2017
That meant a few "bingo" text messages from his mother, Sally, to his father, Mike. According to NHL.com, Sally sends Mike – the associated head coach of the Gophers – an apple emoji when Jake tallies an assist and "bingo" when he scores a goal.
At 5-foot-11, 180 pounds, Guentzel hasn't been slowed down by anyone. He scored twice in his first NHL game Nov. 21 and finished the regular season with 33 points (16 goals, 17 assists) in only 40 games.
For the season, that's 20 bingos and 18 apples.
"People want to talk about being undersized and lack of this or that, but you can never really measure people's heart, their competitiveness, their (guts)," Mike Guentzel said in an interview with Trib Live. "It's tough to instill that in guys. We can do drills and try to increase some of the competitiveness. Jake has just had that from the days he was a mite making the squirt team and always playing up."