Albany, NY Regional
Fulfilling a yearly ritual, Maine defeated Harvard in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Usually, Maine wins in a close affair but this year the Black Bears cruised easily to a 6-1 win. Defenseman Mike Lundin was scoreless with 1 shot on goal.
Worcester, MA Regional
Boston College defeated rival Boston University to become the first team to advance to the Frozen Four. Goaltender Corey Schneider has yet to relent a goal in the tournament.
Grand Forks, ND Regional
IN PROGRESS: North Dakota has punched its ticket to the Frozen Four, beating Cinderella Holy Cross 5-2. Matt Smaby had a power play goal and a power play assist, his first points of the tournament.
Linopings dropped the opening game of their semifinal round series 3-2 today to Vastra Frolunda. Fredrik Norrena sat on the bench while Jonas Fransson took over starting duties for the club. Shane Willis actually played third line center in the game while Andreas Holmqvist once again performed his customary 1st pairing defensive duties.
Karri Ramo might not get his chance to battle Tuukka Rask again. HPK disposed of Ilves 2-1 in overtime today to claim a 2-0 lead in their SM-liiga quarterfinal series. Miika Wiikman carried the load for HPK stopping 22 of 23 shots faced en route to being named second star of the game.
Metallurg Magnitogorsk got a late goal by Stan Chistov to knock of Lada Togliatti 4-3. Vasily Koshechkin took his third loss of the postseason. Lada now trails Metallurg 2-1 in the series.
Omsk defeated CSKA 3-2 to sweep their quarterfinal series. Omsk has yet to lose a game in these playoffs. Nikita Alexeev did not play for Avangard.
Bolt Prospects moves a player to graduated status if they play in 41 or more games in one season or if they play 82 or more total combined NHL games. Already this season the Lightning have graduated two players: Paul Ranger and Evgeny Artyukhin. Within the next couple of weeks they should be joined by a third. With 36 NHL games under his belt, Ryan Craig is just 5 appearances away from bidding adieu to prospect status and establishment as a full time NHLer. Presuming he plays in every game until then (knock on wood) Ryan Craig will graduate from prospect status on Monday, April 3rd at home against the Florida Panthers.
Craig, like Artyukhin and Ranger before him, will remain on our Midterm Rankings until Bolt Prospects releases our final 2005-2006 rankings at the conclusion of the Memorial Cup tournament once all Lightning prospects' seasons have come to a close.