NCAA/USHS

NCAA Game Night: 3-28-15

Midwest-4 Harvard Crimson 1 vs Midwest-1 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 4
Midwest Regional Semifinals

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 7-9-16, +4, 19 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

No. 10 Harvard couldn’t build on its ECAC tournament championship, falling to Andrej Sustr’s alma mater, No. 9 Nebraska-Omaha, 4-1. This ends the season for Lightning prospect Brian Hart, a junior for the Crimson. All signs point to him returning to Harvard for his senior season.

Northeast-2 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 2 vs Northeast-1 Boston University Terriers 3
Northeast Regional Finals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 33 GP, 2-7-9, +18, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

The No. 2 Terriers punched their ticket to the Frozen Four in Boston with a 3-2 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday. Free agent Evan Rodrigues scored his second goal of the game with less than three minutes remaining to beat UMD.

West-3 St. Cloud State Huskies 1 vs West-1 North Dakota 4
West Regional Finals

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Season totals: 39 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

No. 3 North Dakota will return to the Frozen Four after defeating conference-rival No. 13 St. Cloud State 4-1 Saturday night. O'Donnell led the team in shots on goal. UND will play Boston University in the national semifinals.

NCAA Game Night: 3-27-15

East-4 Yale Bulldogs 2 vs East-1 Boston University Terriers 3 (OT)
East Regional Semifinals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 32 GP, 2-7-9, +18, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

The No. 2 Terriers rallied from a 1-0 deficit entering the third period, nudging ahead 2-1 before Yale tied the game and sent it to overtime. Danny O’Regan scored on a rebound in front in the extra session to advance BU to the regional finals against Minnesota-Duluth. MacLeod was on the ice for both of BU’s regulation goals.

West-4 Quinnipiac Bobcats 1 vs West-1 North Dakota 4
West Regional Semifinals

F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 39 GP, 7-29-36, E, 27 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 40 GP, 12-26-38, +4, 16 PIM

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 38 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

The storied career of Matthew Peca is over at Quinnipiac. The Bobcats’ co-captain was on the ice every other shift it seemed, creating multiple opportunities, but No. 3 North Dakota was clearly the best team on the ice and ran away with the win. No. 11 QU plays a defensive style and once they were down early and couldn’t capitalize on power plays the game was essentially over. Brendan O’Donnell and the NoDaks advance to the West Finals against conference rival St. Cloud State on Saturday night. O’Donnell had a nice set-up early to a teammate on Friday, but didn’t see the ice much outside of a late power play and the odd shift.

While O’Donnell moves on in the tournament, Peca will likely move on to professional hockey. The Lightning will attempt to sign him in the coming days and bring him to AHL Syracuse for the stretch run and playoffs. Peca’s speed and compete-level was on display Friday night, as was his skill in the offensive zone and faceoff abilities. It’s possible he chooses the free agent route, but that doesn’t seem like the most likely scenario. He could also ask to join the Lightning immediately and burn the first year of his entry-level contract to put some money in his pockets. Peca is a must-sign for the Lightning and one of the bright spots in the organization beneath the NHL level.

East-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers 1 vs East-2 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 4
East Regional Semifinals

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Loss, 25 saves on 29 shots
Season totals: 38 GP, 22-12-3, 2.42 GAA, .912 sv%, 5 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO

Though he wears Iron Man on his mask and has been known for his heroic efforts, Wilcox was made to look rather ordinary Friday night in No. 8 Minnesota’s loss to No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth. The junior netminder allowed four goals on the night, but there wasn’t much he could have done on any of them. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead on a cross-crease one-timer from the weakside that an unmarked UMD player potted into the empty side of the net. The second goal was a screened wrist shot from the point that was deflected down in the slot and bounced over Wilcox’s pad. Goal No. 3 was a cross-crease pass that his defenseman put in off his skate and the fourth goal was a double-tip on a point shot – and both tips were made by Gopher players.

For his wonderful career at Minnesota, Wilcox deserved better in what was likely his final game. He’ll leave the Gophers with school records and a trophy case full of awards and start his professional career. While he could return for his senior season, he’ll have suitors for his services, starting with the Lightning, who own his rights. Wilcox does have the option to not sign with the Lightning and become a free agent this summer if he thinks he can get a clearer path to the NHL elsewhere. The Syracuse Crunch have a spot open with his name on it for the rest of this year and next should Wilcox sign with the Bolts. Like Peca, he could also choose to sign an NHL deal now and burn Year 1 of his entry-level contract. For now, the focus for Wilcox will be to remember his three years at Minnesota and the legacy he’ll leave there.

*USCHO poll used

Prospect of the Week: 3-24-15

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 24, 2015 is … Adam Wilcox, G, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA – USA).

Playing goaltender for the University of Minnesota isn’t for the faint of heart. For everything positive – and Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox had plenty of positives in his first two years with the Gophers – the negatives are amplified to a level of criticism not seen in many hockey circles. Minnesota was the top-ranked team early in the year, then fell out of the rankings completely. As a result, Wilcox has trudged through a river of disparagement for inconsistent play and what amounts to not living up to the standard that he set himself.

NCAA Game Night: 3-21-15

No. 18 Harvard Crimson 4 vs No. 15 Colgate Raiders 2
ECAC Finals

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 35 GP, 7-9-16, +4, 19 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

Harvard claimed the 2015 ECAC tournament championship with a 4-2 win over Colgate. The Crimson will now play in the national tournament as part of the field of 16. Harvard’s win likely ensures Matt Peca and Quinnipiac will receive an at-large big into the field of 16.

No. 12 UMass-Lowell Riverhawks 3 vs No. 3 Boston University Terriers 5
Hockey East Finals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, -1, 2 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 31 GP, 2-7-9, +16, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

Boston University won the Hockey East tournament championship on the back of Jack Eichel’s two goals and assist Saturday. Eichel was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. MacLeod and BU will likely get a 1-seed in the national tournament.

No. 5 Denver Pioneers 5 vs No. 1 North Dakota 1
NCHC Third Place Game

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 3 SOG
Season totals: 37 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

UND lost back-to-back games for the first time this season, falling in the third place game Saturday against Denver. UND is still a lock for the national tournament.

No. 15 Minnesota Golden Gophers 4 vs Michigan Wolverines 2
Big 10 Finals

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 22 saves on 24 shots, *Third Star*
Season totals: 37 GP, 22-11-3, 2.39 GAA, .913 sv%, 5 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO

Wilcox was named the Big 10 tournament Most Outstanding Player after making 22 saves in the finals against Michigan. Minnesota held a 1-0 lead in the second period before Michigan scored two power play goals. The first on a deke from in close that snuck under Wilcox’s arm, and the second on a back-door finish he had no chance of stopping. Minutes after Minnesota went up 3-2 in the third period Wilcox made a series of big saves on the Wolverines to maintain the lead. He was solid the rest of the way as the Gophers iced the game with an empty net goal. Minnesota and Wilcox had a lot of expectations on them coming into the year and have ridden a roller coaster of inconsistency for the majority of the season, but they’ve found their groove lately and their tournament performance was indicative of their potential. Watch out for the Gophers in the national tournament as they try to make their way back to the championship game. They lost to Union in the finals last year.

*USCHO poll used

NCAA Game Night: 3-20-15

New Hampshire Wildcats 1 vs No. 3 Boston University Terriers 4
Hockey East Semifinals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-1-1, +4, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 30 GP, 2-7-9, +17, 46 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

MacLeod returned to the BU lineup after a 3-game absence and notched an assist in the Terriers’ semifinal win over UNH. BU will play No. 12 UMass-Lowell for the conference championship.

No. 18 St. Cloud State Huskies 3 vs No. 1 North Dakota 1
NCHC Semifinals

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 13-6-19, +12, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

SCSU scored twice in the final minute of the first period and held on for the upset win over No. 1 North Dakota. UND will play Denver in the third place game on Saturday. Miami plays the Huskies for the championship. UND will get an at-large bid to the national tournament.

No. 17 Harvard Crimson 5 vs No. 7 Quinnipiac Bobcats 2
ECAC Semifinals

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 7-9-16, +4, 19 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-1-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 37 GP, 7-28-35, +1, 25 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 40 GP, 12-26-38, +4, 16 PIM

Hart and Harvard scored an upset win over top-seeded Quinnipiac in the ECAC semifinals, moving the Crimson on to the finals against Colgate. As for Peca and Quinnipiac, they will wait to see if they receive an at-large bid to the national tournament. They need some help in the form of Harvard winning the ECAC and the higher seeds taking their conference tournaments. There’s a good possibility Peca played his last collegiate game. If he chooses to sign with Tampa Bay, he could join AHL Syracuse as soon as his collegiate career is officially over.

No. 13 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3 vs Ohio State Buckeyes 0
Big 10 Semifinals

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Win, 39 saves on 39 shots, shutout, *First Star*
Season totals: 36 GP, 21-11-3, 2.39 GAA, .913 sv%, 5 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO

Wilcox recorded his sixth shutout of the season with a herculean performance in the Big 10 semifinals. The shutout was the 13th of his career, tying the school record. The junior goaltender, who was named a Big 10 Second Team All-Star earlier this week, stopped all 22 shots he faced in the third period with the Gophers nursing a 1-0 lead until halfway through the final stanza. Minnesota advanced to play Michigan for the championship game. A win propels them to the national tournament.

*USCHO poll used

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