Colorado Springs native, Tigers grad Gutschick piling up points with NA3HL’s Bighorns
Taber Gutschick is one of the top scorers this season in the NA3HL.
And yet, he said he isn’t quite sure how he is scoring at such a rapid pace.
“I wish I had the answer for you; I’m still trying to find it myself,” said Gutschick, a 2001-born Colorado Springs native playing this season on the back end for the Helena Bighorns. “In all seriousness, I think it’s just staying consistent each and every day with our skates and workouts. That’s been leading to the success on the ice, I would say.
“Also, my teammates, I could give any one of them a pass and I know they will bury the puck. I also think I’ve just tried to be more aggressive in the offensive zone but not get caught in odd-man rushes either.”
So far through 17 games, Gutschick sits in a second-place tie in the league scoring race with 38 points on four goals and 34 assists for the Bighorns, who currently sit in first place in the Frontier Division with a sparkling 17-0-0 record.
Gutschick’s Helena teammate, Tylor Greene, a Colorado Springs native who has 20 goals and 40 points in 15 games, leads the NA3HL in scoring.
“The team and season have been amazing so far,” Gutschick said. “We have all meshed together since the start of training camp and we all just got along really well really fast, and I think that’s why we have had great success so far. We know what we are as a team, and we all want the same thing and will do anything to bring that trophy back to the Capital City.
“For me personally, it’s been a great season and I just take it day by day and not get caught up in the future of this amazing season.”
Last year, Gutschick played for the EHL’s Walpole Express and then came to a familiar environment in Helena for the 2021-22 season.
“The opportunity arose in Helena when now-owners Mike Greene and Jed Snyder took over the team,” said Gutschick, who played his entire youth hockey career with the Colorado Springs Tigers. “I really didn’t know where I wanted to go yet and they proposed to me what they had going on up here, and I just loved what I was hearing.
“When they told me who we were all getting to come back here it was an easy decision for me. This whole team has deep roots, just alone we have a ton of kids from Colorado, and I’ve grown up playing with most of them, so it was exciting to sign with Helena.”
For the month of October, Gutschick was named the NA3HL Defenseman of the Month after tying for the NA3HL scoring lead during the month with 25 points (two goals, 23 assists) in just nine games.
“It was pretty cool getting named Defenseman of the Month,” Gutschick said. “I had an idea that it might be me, but I wasn’t too worried about it. It’s an honor that I got selected, though, but I couldn’t have done it without the boys because they make it easy on me out there. I know if I jump up in the play that someone is covering for me. Hopefully, I can get a couple more while I’m here.”
In his final season of junior hockey, Gutschick wants to use this year in Montana to springboard him to the next level.
“Short-term goal is make it to Blaine (for the NA3HL Showcase next month) in first place and sweeping Blaine to finish off a great first half of the season,” Gutschick said. “Long-term goal is to bring the Fraser Cup back to Helena. That’s always been our end goal and we are excited to go out there and get it.
“I have always wanted to get a bachelor’s at a four-year school, whether that’s with hockey or without, but I want to get my education.”
— Matt Mackinder
(November 18, 2021)