Prospect Hot List: Casey Fitzgerald’s deep hockey roots

Casey Fitzgerald (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Since I did a big NCAA dig on Monday, it’s time to focus on some other circuits. Major junior playoff brackets are set and there will be some barnburners – Quebec vs. Cape Breton is intriguing, while a potential second-round match between Erie and the Soo Greyhounds is dizzying to think of. But the big story right now is Youngstown of the United States League. The Phantoms just broke a USHL record by winning 17 straight – and Chicago gave them a good game in that last one. But enough about teams, here are the players making noise in the prospect world right now.

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NCAA Frozen Four: Players to watch from every team in the tournament

Minnesota State goalie Stephon Williams (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

College hockey’s Frozen Four kicks off this week with 16 teams gunning for a spot in Boston, where the semifinal and final will be held in April. Regionals spread the squads across four cities and there is a lot of firepower at this year’s installment. But who are the players to watch for? Here’s a primer for every school, with an admitted bias towards NHL prospects.

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Miami U’s Austin Czarnik dominates Denver for incredible goal

Jared Clinton
Austin Czarnik (via YouTube)

Miami University RedHawks captain Austin Czarnik hasn’t been drafted, is eligible for NHL free agency and could sign with a pro team as soon as his season in the NCAA is up. If making the big leagues is his goal, Czarnik’s Friday night tally against Denver is sure to make everyone notice him.

In the second frame of Miami’s game against Denver, a bouncing puck landed inside the Pioneers zone and Czarnik was the first to the puck. With his back to the defenders, Czarnik shielded the puck, turned one way, turned the other, cut towards the blueline, pulled back down towards the goal line and then cut into the middle of the ice before burying a backhander for an amazing goal. You can check it out below: Read more

Jack Eichel headlines announcement of finalists for Hobey Baker Award

Jared Clinton
Jack Eichel (No. 9) makes Team USA an instant contender at the 2015 world juniors.(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

There is no award more prestigious in college hockey than the Hobey Baker Award as the best men’s player in all of the NCAA. Today, the balloting results from the coaches and fans are in, and the top 10 for nominees for the award have been announced.

The most notable name of the bunch is Boston University’s Jack Eichel, one of the most sought after players in the upcoming draft and considered by some to be worthy of the first overall selection. Though Eichel makes the list, he didn’t win the fan balloting, but still has a great shot at taking home the hardware as the best men’s player in NCAA Division I hockey. Read more

Prospect Hot List: Hunting for Hobey in Denver

Joey LaLeggia (Photo By Karl Gehring/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The playoffs are almost upon us in major junior, while the NCAA conference tournaments are in full swing. Since some teams have already been eliminated, early signing season has begun too, with Brandon Montour leaving UMass for Anaheim and Ben Hutton ending his career in Maine to ink a deal with Vancouver. More are sure to come, but until then, here’s a look around the world of prospects.

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Ohio State women’s hockey coach resigns following sexual harassment complaints

Adam Proteau
Members of the Ohio State University marching band. (David Dermer/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

The head coach of Ohio State University’s women’s hockey team resigned on Monday after the university cited inappropriate and unprofessional conduct that included allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation and retaliation.

After finishing his fourth season behind the Buckeyes’ bench, 37-year-old coach Nate Handrahan tendered his resignation in the wake of the school’s findings. The university’s review of his behavior – presented Monday to Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith – concluded Handrahan “engaged in a pattern of verbal conduct of a sexual nature that unreasonably interfered with the athletic experience of many students” on the women’s team. It also claimed to have sufficient evidence the university’s policies on sexual harassment, inappropriate conduct and retaliation were violated by the Niagara Falls, Ont., native, and that he made sexually explicit comments to many members of the team. Read more