ABBOTSFORD, British Columbia – Quinnipiac men's ice hockey senior Zach Tolkinen (Lino Lakes, Minn.) has been signed by the American Hockey League's (AHL) Abbotsford Heat, as announced by the organization on Monday, March 31. The 24-year-old defenseman will report to Abbotsford for the final seven games of the 2013-14 schedule. His signing with the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames' minor league affiliate will reunite him with former teammate Zach Davies (2009-14), who was recalled to Abbotsford on March 3.
Tolkinen is the second Bobcat to sign a professional contract this week after Bryce Van Brabant inked a deal with the Calgary Flames and became the first player in Quinnipiac history to appear in an NHL game on Tuesday. Prior to his arrival at Quinnipiac, Tolkinen played for the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (2009-10) and Owatonna Express (2008-09) of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Tolkinen recently completed a four-year career with the Bobcats as one of six seniors that led Quinnipiac to their first NCAA Frozen Four and National Championship Game in 2013 and another NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014. For his career, Tolkinen played in 135 career games scoring nine goals while assisting on 38 more for 47 career points.
This past season, Tolkinen led all Quinnipiac defensemen in assists (19) and points (22), which both also represented career-highs. In addition, Tolkinen was second among the Bobcats' defenseman in terms of penalty minutes (30) and finished sixth in the conference with his 22 points while the 19 assists was fifth-best among the ECAC Hockey's blue liners.
His breakout 2013-14 campaign featured a power-play game-winning goal against Bentley in a 4-3 victory on Oct. 22. A little over a month later, Tolkinen set up the Bobcats' first three goals for a career high three assists in a 6-1 rout of UMass on Nov. 30 broadcasted regionally on SNY-TV. Tolkinen rattled off two assists against Sacred Heart on Dec. 30 before starting a four-game scoring streak on Jan. 18. Tolkinen picked up six assists in the four-game stretch including back-to-back games with two assists against Dartmouth (Jan. 31) and Clarkson (Feb. 7). He also added another power-play goal and an assist against St. Lawrence on Feb. 28 before adding three assists over the Bobcats' ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal series win over Yale in two games.