Kyle Connor and the University of Michigan Wolverines are heading home, ousted by fellow Winnipeg Jets prospect Tucker Poolman and the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks in the NCAA Midwest Regional Final.
With the win – 5-2 Saturday in Cincinnati, Ohio – UND has earned a spot in the Frozen Four Tournament for the third straight year.
The action gets underway Apr. 7 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
Poolman, the Jets’ eighth pick – 127th overall – in 2013, scored an assist in the win, giving him five goals and 24 points in 38 games this season. The 22-year-old was UND’s second-highest scoring defenceman this season, right behind free-agent blueliner Troy Stecher, who attended Jets development camp just last year.
Connor, meanwhile, finished the season on a 27-game point streak, scoring 35 goals and 71 points overall, tying Jack Eichel for the for second-highest total by a freshman since Paul Kariya in the 1992-93 season.
The 17th pick last June, Connor was named the Top Player and Top Freshman in the Big 10 Hockey Conference after leading the nation in scoring. He was also a unanimous All-Freshman Team
selection and First Team All-Star, joining linemates Tyler Motte and JT Compher.
In the 27 games dating back to Dec. 4, Connor racked up an impressive 59 points, making him a frontrunner for the 2016 Hobey Baker Award, which will be presented to college hockey's top
player on Apr. 8.
Congratulations to both men on their incredible seasons, and best of luck to Tucker Poolman in Frozen Four!
– Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com