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Farm Cats: 'Cawlidge Hockey' Playoffs

by "Hockey Pat" McGrath / Florida Panthers

Get your ‘sieve’ chants ready, break out that vintage alma mater sweater and settle into your favorite spot on the couch because it’s time for some ‘cawlidge hockey’.

The regular season is in the books and the conference tournaments are on the way so it is a perfect time to check in with some of Florida’s finest plying their trade at the NCAA level.

Great Brittain

One player that does not garner any ‘sieve’ chants is University of Denver goaltender Sam Brittain (4th round, 2010) (@sbrittain1). The 21-year-old senior is in the midst of a phenomenal season that has culminated in his selection as a finalist for the 2014 Mike Richter Award, awarded to college hockey’s best goalie.

Brittain has a 17-13-6 record in 36 games played this season to go along with a 2.06 GAA, a .934 SV% and five shutouts. He will look to continue his strong season on Friday when Denver takes on Western Michigan in the NCHC (National Collegiate Hockey Conference) semi-finals.

All signs point to Brittain joining the professional ranks in the Panthers’ farm system (“Get your ‘Great Brittain on a Rampage’ puns ready!) following his college career, but that does not mean the University of Denver will be left without a goaltender. The Panthers are too nice to leave them hanging. Evan Cowley (@ECtendy31), a freshman and a Panthers’ 2013 4th round selection, will assure a smooth transition in net for Denver once Brittain sets his sights on the North American pro ranks.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-check it out…it’s the ‘B-C Boys’!

The trio of Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D, better known as the Beastie Boys, delivered decades of hits from the streets of New York. But a little further northeast, it is a pair of the Panthers’ BC Boys that are delivering the big hits on the ice sheets of Boston.

The Panthers’ pair of blue-chip blue line prospects Michael Matheson (1st round, 2012) (@MMatheson7) and Ian McCoshen (2nd round, 2013) (@IJMcCoshen3) have their focus directed towards the NCAA tournament after the third ranked Boston College Eagles bowed out in the quarterfinals of the Hockey East tournament losing 4-2 to Notre Dame.

Matheson and McCoshen have been defensive rocks for the Eagles all season and they will play a large role in the team’s anticipated deep run in the tourney. The pair has also been productive on the offensive end as Matheson finished the year with 17 points (3-14-17) in 35 games, earning Hockey East First Team honors while McCoshen finished with 12 points (4-8-12) in 32 games.


Speaking of rock stars, Rocco Grimaldi (2nd round, 2011) (@RGrimaldi23) has continued his stellar junior season with the 11th ranked University of North Dakota. The forward finished the regular season as North Dakota’s scoring leader with 35 points (13-22-35) in 37 games. He also added two assists in the team’s 4-3 win over Colorado College on Sunday, a win that advanced UND into the semi-final of the NCHC tournament.

Kyle Rau (@KyleRau)

The Panthers’ third round draft pick in 2011 (91st overall) finished the regular season leading the #1 ranked Minnesota Golden Gophers in points, notching 33 (11-22-33) in 36 games. Up next for the Gophers is the Big 10 Tournament where, as the number one seed, the team will have a first round bye all the way through to Friday’s semi-final, where they will take on Ohio State. Good luck with your brackets, everyone.

As the conference tournaments wrap up and the NCAA tournament gets under way, we will keep you updated on all the goings-on with Panthers prospects playing at the collegiate level.

Affiliate Update

The AHL’s San Antonio Rampage have been feeling the impact of all the injuries at the NHL level. As the injury bug continues to bite the Cats, Rampage players keep getting called up to the show. While this is great for the individuals getting experience at the NHL level, it leaves San Antonio with a depleted roster. In the last few weeks, F Vincent Trocheck, F Quinton Howden, F Garrett Wilson, F Joey Crabb, D Alex Petrovic, and D Colby Robak have all packed their bags to join the Panthers.

With most of their key players making contributions for the Panthers, the Rampage have fallen off the playoff pace in the Western Conference. With a 25-28-3-6 record and 59 points, San Antonio is currently 10 points away from the West’s final playoff spot. On the bright side, their fans could not be happier to see the players they have cheered on all season finally receive opportunities to live their NHL dreams. And with a list of prospects like those set forth above, Rampage fans will have many more stars to cheer on soon.


The Panthers’ ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones, appear to have their playoff tickets punched. With a 33-21-2-4 record, the Cyclones occupy the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference and the team is gearing up for a very real chance to take home the Kelly Cup.

Junior Cats

Over in the Canadian junior leagues, we have a talented group gearing up for playoff runs of their own. Defenseman MacKenzie Weegar (7th round, 2013) is in the midst of an excellent season for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL. Weegar leads the Mooseheads’ defense in scoring with 59 points (12-47-59) in 61 games to go along with a +56 rating while helping Halifax to a 47-18-0-3 record, good for second place in the Q.

A bit further down the standings in fifth place are the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada. The Armada are led in scoring by Panthers prospect Christopher Clapperton (5th round, 2013) (@Clapperton57) who has 62 points (26-36-62) in 53 games played.

Over in the Western Hockey League, the Seattle Thunderbirds have been steady-as-they-come, currently occupying the fourth spot in the Western Conference. A large part of the Thunderbirds success has been the production of left-winger Alexander Delnov (4th round, 2012) who has 63 points (29-34-63) in 71 games. Delnov is the final piece of the Cats’ trio of playoff bound prospects in the Canadian Hockey Leagues.

There will be a lot of excitement following the Panthers’ deep group of prospects over the next few months as they compete for championships in leagues across the continent.

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