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Prospect Profile: Matheson Iacopelli

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

The Blackhawks signed forward Matheson Iacopelli on Tuesday morning, continuing their collection of prospects who have recently completed their college seasons. The 2014 third-round pick was an older entrant into the NCAA last season and initially had difficulty adjusting to the college game, but showed promising growth towards the end of his freshman year, which he finished with seven points (1G, 6A) in 27 games.

"He really became more of a 200-foot player [last season]," Development Coach Derek Plante said of Iacopelli's improvements. "It didn't translate to goals as much, and he was deficient in some areas of his game play, but I think that's why he was able to come out this year and be really good. He did so much of that [learning process] last year. It's not surprising that this year he's had a pretty good year."

Those adjustments resulted in even better numbers on the scoresheet in 2016-17. At the end of NCAA regionals, Iacopelli was one of 30 players to reach the 20-goal plateau, and he led a competitive NCHC in that area throughout most of the conference season; he paced WMU with 36 points, including a pair of assists in Friday's 5-4 loss to Air Force that ended the Broncos' season. The 22-year-old also totaled 166 shots on goal and averaged 4.15 per game, showing off the hard, accurate shot and quick release that could be his calling card in the pros.

"He's a kid that's a big body, can really skate and really shoot the puck, so he's got some excellent skills that can easily translate to the NHL level," Plante said.

Iacopelli will report to the Rockford IceHogs, joining fellow new pros in Anthony Louis and Luc Snuggerud.

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Game notes: March 29 at Pittsburgh Penguins

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

LAST GAME
The Lightning defeated the Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Monday night at Amalie Arena. Chicago now carries a 10-4-1 record against the Atlantic Division and an 18-8-3 mark vs. the Eastern Conference. Artemi Panarin, Patrick Kane, Tomas Jurco and Richard Panik each recorded goals for Chicago. Scott Darling made 25 saves and is now 18-5-4 on the season.

VS. PENGUINS
Chicago holds a 71-42-17-2 all-time record against Pittsburgh, including a 26-31-7-1 mark on the road. Tonight's contest marks the second and final regular-season matchup between the clubs this year. The Blackhawks have defeated the Penguins in their last five matchups, including a 4-1 victory on March 1 in Chicago after Kane notched his second hat trick of the year. Per Elias, he became the first Blackhawks player to record two hat tricks in a three-game span since Brian Noonan in consecutive contests on Dec. 27 and Dec. 29, 1991.

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Blackhawks agree to terms with Iacopelli

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms with forward Matheson Iacopelli (ah-coh-PEHL-ee) on a two-year contract that begins next season and runs through the 2018-19 season. He will report to the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs.

Iacopelli, 22, posted 20 goals and 16 assists in 40 games during his sophomore season with the Western Michigan Broncos. Iacopelli's 20 tallies paced the Broncos and shared fourth in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Chicago's third round draft choice (83rd overall) in the 2014 National Hockey League Draft was named the NCHC's Player of the Month in November after compiling 11 points (7G, 4A) in six games. The Brownstown, Michigan, native also earned NCHC Offensive Player of the Week honors twice, Oct. 31-Nov. 6 and Nov. 14-20.

In two seasons at Western Michigan, Iacopelli recorded 21 goals and 22 assists in 67 games. Prior to his collegiate career, he spent two seasons with the United States Hockey League's Muskegon Lumberjacks where he registered 100 points (64G, 36A) in 114 contests.

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Teams set for NCAA Men's Frozen Four at United Center

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

The 2017 NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship semifinals, also known as the Men's Frozen Four, will be held at the United Center and feature Denver University, the University of Minnesota Duluth, Harvard University and the University of Notre Dame, which is also the host team. Harvard and Minnesota Duluth will face off at 5 p.m. CT on Thursday, April 6, at the United Center, followed by Denver and Notre Dame at 8:30 p.m. CT. Tickets are available for purchase at NCAA.com/FrozenFour or by visiting the United Center box office.

The Chicago Blackhawks will have two draft picks competing in the tournament. Notre Dame defenseman Dennis Gilbert was a 2015 Draft selection (third round, 91st overall) and Denver defenseman Blake Hillman was a 2016 Draft selection (sixth round, 173rd overall). Additionally, seven players competing in the tournament are from Illinois: Notre Dame's Tory Dello (Crystal Lake), Jack Jenkins (Lake Bluff) and Bobby Nardella (Rosemont); Harvard's Adam Baughman (Chicago) and Michael Floodstrand (Hinsdale); and Denver's Erich Fear (Winnetka) and Greg Ogard (Wilmette).

This marks the first time the Frozen Four has been held at the United Center. The tournament will take place April 6 & 8, 2017. The Frozen Four is the culmination of the NCAA's 16-team tournament to determine the collegiate national champion. The tournament, which began in 1948, has branded its semi-final and final games as the Frozen Four since 1999. The single-elimination tournament was expanded to its current 16-team format in 2003.

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Game notes: March 27 at Tampa Bay Lightning

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

LAST GAME
The Panthers defeated the Blackhawks 7-0 on Saturday night at the BB&T Center. Chicago is now 18-8-2 against the Eastern Conference this season. Corey Crawford made 21 saves before being replaced by Scott Darling. Darling allowed three goals on six shots.

VS. LIGHTNING
Chicago owns a 17-12-5-5 all-time record against Tampa Bay, including a 5-6-3-4 mark on the road. Tonight's contest marks the second and final regular-season matchup between the clubs. The Lightning defeated the Blackhawks 5-2 on Jan. 24 at the United Center. It was Chicago's first regulation loss (78-1-5) when leading after two periods since the 2014- 15 season. The Blackhawks defeated the Lightning in six games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final. Duncan Keith took home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP after registering 21 points (3G, 18A) and averaging 31:07 of ice time.

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Game notes: March 25 at Florida Panthers

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

LAST GAME
The Blackhawks defeated the Stars 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday night at the United Center, improving to 4-0-1 in a shootout this year. Chicago has posted an 18-3-1 record since the start of February to lead the NHL in wins (18) and points (37) during that span. The Blackhawks picked up victories in all five matchups with the Stars this year, outscoring Dallas 18-11. Chicago's 25 wins on home ice rank fourth in the NHL. Patrick Kane recorded a goal in the first period and added a tally in the shootout, Marian Hossa recorded a goal and Artemi Panarin netted the game-deciding goal in the shootout. Corey Crawford turned aside 42 of 44 shots on goal in Thursday's victory over the Stars, improving to 30-15-3 on the season.

VS. PANTHERS
Chicago holds a 21-8-3-2 all-time record against Florida, including a 10- 4-1-1 mark on the road. The Blackhawks own a 17-3-2-2 record over their last 24 matchups with the Panthers. Tonight's contest concludes the two-game regular-season series between the clubs. The Blackhawks defeated the Panthers 2-1 in a shootout on Nov. 29. Richard Panik (1G), Marcus Kruger (1A) and Dennis Rasmussen (1A) have each registered a point vs. the Panthers this year.

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Blackhawks agree to extension with Kero

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that they have agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension with forward Tanner Kero (KAIR-oh), which runs through the end of the 2018-19 National Hockey League season.

Kero has posted five goals and seven assists in 38 games with the Blackhawks this season. He began the 2016-17 campaign with the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs where he led the club with 20 points (7G, 13A) before being recalled on Dec. 22, 2016. The Hancock, Mich., native recorded a career-high three points (2G, 1A), including his first career multi-goal game, on Jan. 17 at Colorado. Kero is one of seven rookies to suit up for Chicago this season.

The 24-year-old has split time with the Blackhawks and IceHogs over the previous two seasons after being signed by the organization as a free agent on April 2, 2015. In 55 career games with the Blackhawks, Kero has registered six goals and nine assists. He has also compiled 64 points (32G, 32A) in 94 contests with Rockford.

Prior to turning pro, Kero spent four seasons at Michigan Tech where he accumulated 111 points (55G, 56A) in 153 games. A 2015 Hobey Baker nominee, Kero was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association's Player of the Year during his senior campaign after pacing the Huskies with collegiate career-highs in points (46), goals (20) and assists (26).

The Blackhawks host the Dallas Stars tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the United Center. The game can be seen on CSN, streamed live online at CSNChicago.com (CSNChicago.com/BlackhawksStream) and the NBC Sports App, and heard on WGN Radio and Univision America (WRTO 1200 AM).

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Prospect Profile: Dylan Sikura

by Emerald Gao / Digital Content Coordinator

No prospect has made bigger strides in his development as forward Dylan Sikura, who was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Over three seasons at Northeastern, he's shown concrete improvements year after year, ranging from building up his physical game to finding his scoring touch, a trajectory that has impressed the Blackhawks brass. Below is his profile, one of eight featured in the March/April issue of Blackhawks Magazine, on sale now.

Maybe no one expected a sixth-round draft pick with a beanpole build like Dylan Sikura to shine quite so brightly in one of the toughest conferences in college hockey, but there he was at the end of the Hockey East regular season with 53 points to his name, second-most on a volatile Northeastern offense and a standout on one of the most dynamic lines in the NCAA. That total included two hat tricks, 18 multi-point outings and three point streaks of six or more games.

The 21-year-old has always played creatively, setting up plays with precise passing, but this year he's found confidence in his shot, becoming a 20-goal scorer for the first time since Triple A.

"He's playing so well, he's so confident and he's getting so many chances, and if you can get him to shoot more he's going to get a lot of goals," Development Coach Derek Plante said. "He's kind of realizing that -- it was a focus going into the season -- and he becomes more of a threat if he can shoot more. It's paying off, obviously."

Although Sikura is somewhat of a late bloomer, physically speaking, three years in a college hockey environment have helped him get stronger, and in turn he has unlocked new parts of his game while continuing to be a top-notch playmaker. He was drafted as a center, but has the speed and vision to stick at wing, where he's played for the majority of his collegiate career.

"It's going to depend on who the other guys are around him," Plante explained. "It's great that he can play both, but I think he's been more comfortable playing the wing because he's done that the most. Sometimes it pays off to have bigger, stronger guys down the middle, but it's not to say he can't do that."

Whether he'll turn pro this summer or return to Northeastern for his senior campaign remains to be seen, but the growth that Sikura has shown over the last three seasons makes him one of the most improved and intriguing prospects in the system.

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Blackhawks playoff tickets on sale Monday, March 27

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

The Chicago Blackhawks announced today that single-game tickets for the first two rounds of the potential 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs home contests will go on sale to the general public on Monday, March 27, at 12:00 p.m. The tickets will be available exclusively at ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000.

Each customer will be limited to four tickets. Refunds for any un-played playoff games will be available at the point of purchase. In that event, the credit card used to purchase tickets by fans using the internet or phone will be automatically credited, less any applicable processing fee.

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Game notes: March 23 vs. Dallas Stars

by Chicago Blackhawks Media Relations / chicagoblackhawks.com

LAST GAME
The Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 5-4 in overtime on Tuesday night at the United Center, snapping Chicago's five-game winning streak. The overtime result gave Chicago 100 points in the standings this year, the fourth consecutive year the team has reached that mark. Ryan Hartman (2), Marian Hossa and Richard Panik each registered goals for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 10 shots before being replaced by Scott Darling in the third period. Darling made four saves and took the loss.

VS. STARS
Chicago holds a 136-102-31-3 all-time record against Dallas, including a 78- 41-15-0 mark at the United Center. Tonight's contest concludes the five-game regular-season series between the Central Division rivals. The Blackhawks own a 4-0-0 mark against the Stars this season, including victories on Nov. 5 (3-2), Nov. 6 (4-3 OT), Dec. 11 (3-1) and Feb. 4 (5-3). Crawford picked up his 202nd career NHL victory on Feb. 4 at Dallas, passing Ed Belfour for third in Blackhawks history.

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