The University of North Dakota has captured its first NCAA national championship in 16 seasons.
In the final of the 2016 Frozen Four, the Fighting Hawks dominated the nation’s No. 1 ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats from the outset of the contest to earn the eighth national championship in North Dakota’s history.
The Hawks, who entered the contest as the NCAA’s third-ranked team, opened the scoring with eight minutes remaining in the first period on a goal by Shane Gersich, but it didn’t take long before Brock Boeser, who has been one of the NCAA’s standouts this season, doubled the North Dakota lead with a shorthanded goal following a misplayed puck by Bobcats netminder Michael Garteig. Read more
The playoffs have certainly not disappointed at the prospect level so far. The Frozen Four had numerous overtimes and now the field is set for the final weekend, with North Dakota battling Denver and Boston College taking on Quinnipiac. In major junior, it’s been just as crazy, with big upsets and a couple other underdogs taking the favorites down to the wire – Kelowna finally iced Kamloops, while Barrie and Mississauga needed seven games to determine a winner. We’re also nearing the world under-18s in North Dakota, so look for more info on that in the near future. Here’s what’s going on in the world of prospects:
It’s obvious the Predators are incredibly displeased with Jimmy Vesey’s decision to opt for free agency, but the college standouts advisors released a statement Wednesday that said Nashville’s recounting of the events leading up to Vesey’s decision to test free agency are “not accurate.”
In a lengthy statement, Vesey’s advisory group, Global Hockey Consultants, said that Nashville was told prior to the trade deadline that the signing of Vesey or his choice to opt for free agency shouldn’t have any impact on their moves at the trade deadline.
“Nashville now claims and it has been widely reported that they were without knowledge of this possibility (of Vesey becoming an unrestricted free agent) and that this lack of knowledge precluded the hockey club from acquiring a player at the trade deadline,” the statement reads, via ESPN’s Craig Custance. “This contention is not accurate. The Nashville Predators were informed prior to the trade deadline that they should conduct their business as they saw fit and that the potential of signing or not signing Jimmy Vesey should not be a factor in their decision.” Read more
Everything is happening right now, as Bob Cole would say. You’ve got the Jimmy Vesey saga in Nashville, Zach Werenski signing with Columbus and Pittsburgh grabbing college free agent Ethan Prow out of St. Cloud State. Plus, the CHL playoffs are in full swing, with a couple upstarts threatening the top seeds. In the OHL for example, Sarnia is in trouble thanks to a surging Sault Ste. Marie squad, while Edmonton is giving powerhouse Brandon fits in the WHL. Oh, and the Frozen Four is set, with Quinnipiac, Boston College, North Dakota and Denver all in the mix for April 7. Let’s keep the prospect party going:
It’s not a fun day in Nashville and the Preds’ loss to Colorado is actually of secondary importance. Last night, GM David Poile revealed that highly-touted prospect Jimmy Vesey would not be signing with the franchise and would instead pursue free agency.
Poile was livid.
One week after suffering a head injury, NCAA referee Oliver ‘Butch’ Mousseaux has passed away. Mousseaux, 48, fell during a pre-game warmup during a WCHA Final Five contest on March 18 between Michigan Tech and Ferris State at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids.
Mousseaux’s injury happened as he was turning during warmups. He caught an edge and wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time. His head hit the ice, he was knocked unconscious and had to be taken from the ice on a stretcher, at which point he was transported to hospital. Because of the fall, Mousseaux suffered brain swelling, which resulted in him being placed in a medically induced coma.
“It’s just shocking to me how it happened,” Macaire Mousseaux, Oliver’s wife, told MLive.com’s Peter Wallner. “I get the logistics of it all that he had his hands in his pockets and was just casually skating backward and tripped somehow. He didn’t have an opportunity to break his fall and slammed his head.” Read more
Notre Dame and Michigan will meet in the first round of the Frozen Four on Friday and whichever team loses, they can apparently say “see you in two years.” That’s because the former CCHA rivals will reportedly be reunited in 2017-18 when Notre Dame joins the Big Ten conference.
This is huge news for college hockey.
CHL playoffs and the NCAA Frozen Four tournament kick off this week, so it’s a big time for prospect evaluation. But there is also a lot of change in the air, starting at the University of Wisconsin, where long-time coach Mike Eaves was given his walking papers after two straight disastrous seasons. Recruiting and retention was an issue, as the Badgers could have had Brock Boeser (VAN), Luke Opilka (STL) and Jack Dougherty (NSH) in their lineup this year, but lost all of them. It’s been a rough ride in Madison, but I’m sure Eaves will land on his feet. Elsewhere, Pittsburgh signed scorer Jake Guentzel once his season with Nebraska-Omaha was finished and there’s rampant speculation about another NCAA product’s future plans that I’ll mention below. Let’s take a spin around the world of prospects again: