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NCAA Tourney: Bruins Prospects Recap

by Eric Russo / Boston Bruins – The NCAA Tournament began with an NHL-best nine Bruins prospects among the participating teams.

Two remained by the time the Frozen Four rolled around: Boston College forward Ryan Fitzgerald and Denver forward Danton Heinen.

BC fell to Quinnipiac in the national semifinals, 3-2, with Fitzgerald potting his second goal of the tournament. Fitzgerald, a fourth-round pick of the Bruins in 2013, also assisted on Alex Tuch’s first-period tally against Harvard in the opening round.

He netted the eventual winning goal in a 3-2 triumph over Minnesota-Duluth in the Northeast Regional Final.

Denver also lost in the national semifinals, falling to eventual National Champion North Dakota, 4-2. Heinen was a major part of the Pioneers’ high-octane offense, which tallied 13 goals in its first two tournament games.

The sophomore, who was drafted by the Bruins in the fourth round in 2014, registered three assists in a 7-2 win over Boston University, before notching a goal and two assists in a 6-3 victory against Ferris State in the West Regional Final.

Here’s a look back on how the rest of the prospects fared:

Matt Benning, Northeastern

Benning scored NU’s second goal early in the third period of the Huskies’ 6-2 loss to North Dakota in the first round of the Midwest Regional. The Huskies had been on a 20-1-2 streak and captured their first Hockey East title since 1988.

Anders Bjork, Notre Dame

Bjork, the team’s leading scorer, figured into both Notre Dame goals in a 3-2 overtime loss to Michigan in the first round of the Midwest Regional. He tied the game at 1 with his 12th goal of the season and assisted on ND’s second tally.

Ryan Donato and Wiley Sherman, Harvard

Donato landed a team-high four shots on goal in the Crimson’s 4-1 loss to BC in the opening round of the East Regional. Sherman missed the game because of injury.

Matt Grzelcyk and Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson, Boston University

Both Grzelcyk and Forsbacka-Karlsson performed well, despite a 7-2 loss to Denver in the opening round of the West Regional. Grzelcyk, who signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Bruins on Friday, had an assist and was a plus-2, while landing a game-high four shots on goal. Forsbacka-Karlsson was also a plus-2 with an assist.

Rob O’Gara, Yale

The senior defenseman was on a quest to book-end his career with National Championships (he won it all as a freshman in 2013), but the Bulldogs fell to UMass-Lowell, 3-2, in overtime in the first round of the East Regional. O’Gara signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Bruins a few days later. He will finish this season with the Providence Bruins on an Amateur Tryout Agreement.

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