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In the Pipeline: Road to a Championship

by Mike Lewis / Florida Panthers



Five Florida Panthers prospects will participate in the 2016 Division I NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Tournament.

D - Ian McCoshen – Boston College

2013 second round (31st overall)

In his Junior season, McCoshen has had a solid campaign as one of the veteran blueliners on a young BC squad. Serving as an Alternate Captain, McCoshen has recorded 20 points (6-14-20) in 37 games and ranks second in the nation with a +29 rating. Voted number one among NHL-drafted defensemen in the NCAA by Hockey’s Future, the 6-foot-3, 218-pound defenseman possesses a booming shot from the point and operates with sound two-way play. His deceptive mobility makes him a threat to the opposition at both ends of the ice.

McCoshen and Boston College face Harvard on March 25 at 8:00 p.m. (ESPN – U)

G – Evan Cowley – University of Denver

2013 fourth round (92nd overall)

Sharing the net with sophomore Tanner Jaillet, the 6-foot-3, 180-pound goaltender is honing his craft with his hometown Denver Pioneers. In his Junior season with Denver, Cowley owns a 8-5-1 record with a 2.09 goals against average, .929 save percentage and one shutout.

Cowley and Denver face Boston University on March 26 at 6:30 p.m. (ESPN – U)

D – Michael Downing – University of Michigan

2013 fourth round (97th overall)

Another Junior-year defenseman, Downing can contribute offensively and mix things up physically. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound rearguard ranks second among Michigan defensemen in scoring (3-16-19), behind Columbus Blue Jackets 2015 eighth overall pick, Zach Werenski. He leads the Wolverines with 62 PIM and is tied for fourth on the team with a career-high +20 rating.

F- Joe Wegwerth – Notre Dame

2014 fourth round (92nd overall)

Photo Courtesy of Fighting Irish Media

Size…Wegwerth has that in spades. An imposing, physical force, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Notre Dame Freshman has recorded four points (1-3-4) in 30 games this season with the Fighting Irish.

Wegwerth and Notre Dame face Downing and the University of Michigan on March 25 at 5:30 p.m. (ESPN – U)

F – Chris Wilkie – University of North Dakota

2015 sixth round (162nd overall)

Photo Courtesy of Conor Knuteson/UND Athletics

Wilkie has been learning the ropes of college hockey in his freshman season with the newly named UND “Fighting Hawks”. A top scorer in the USHL for 2014-15, Wilkie has recorded five goals and four assists in 32 games for North Dakota this season.

Wilkie and North Dakota face Northeastern on March 25 at 2:00 p.m. (ESPN – U)



Jayce Hawryluk closed out the 2015-16 regular season with his fifth hat trick of the year on March 19 against the Regina Pats. The 20-year old forward recorded 27 points and 17 goals in nine games in March. Hawryluk finished the season ranked fourth in the Western Hockey League with 106 points and second with 47 goals.

Hawryluk and the Brandon Wheat Kings will face either the Edmonton Oil Kings or the Medicine Hat Tigers for game one and game two of their WHL playoff series on Thursday and Friday.


Finishing the year with goals and points (3-2-5) in three straight games, Dryden Hunt closed things out as the WHL’s leading goal scorer (58) and finished second in points (116).

Hunt and the Moose Jaw Warriors face the Prince Albert Raiders on Friday and Saturday to kick off their WHL playoff series.


Lawson Crouse finished the season with a career-high 62 points (23-39-62) in 49 games with the Kingston Frontenacs, ranking third in team scoring. In a poll of OHL coaches, Crouse was voted the Eastern Conference’s best body checker by a commanding lead.

Juho Lammikko in his second season of North American hockey, recorded career-high numbers in goals (22), assists (33) and points (55) to rank fourth in team scoring.

The Eastern Conference leading Frontenacs face the reigning Memorial Cup champion Oshawa Generals this weekend to begin their series in the OHL playoffs.


Goaltender Samuel Montembeault and his Blainville-Boisbriand Armada face the Val-D’or Foreurs on Friday and Saturday to begin their first round series of the QMJHL playoffs. Montembeault finished the season with a 17-19-8 record , a 2.63 goals against average, .901 save percentage and three shutouts.

Defenseman Thomas Schemitsch and the Owen Sound Attack will square off against the London Knights on Friday and Saturday in their first round series of the OHL playoffs. Schemitsch finished the season with 31 points (9-22-31) in 51 games.


(32-24-5-2, 71 points, fifth in Atlantic Division, eighth in Eastern Conference)


March 18 – Portland Pirates at Hartford Wolf Pack (4-3 OTL)

March 19 – Portland Pirates at Bridgeport Sound Tigers (2-1 OTL)

March 20 – Portland Pirates at Lehigh Valley Phantoms (4-2 W)


After an eight-game winless streak, the Pirates got back into the win column on March 20 vs. Lehigh Valley. Shane Harper, Wayne Simpson and Rocco Grimaldi scored three unanswered goals for the Pirates to jump to a 3-0 lead. Simpson tallied again with an empty netter for a final score of 4-2.


Still standing in the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, the Pirates will need to string some wins together to secure a playoff berth as they begin a three-game homestand against Bridgeport and Springfield. With Portland, Utica and Hartford duking it out for playoff position, every game is important for the Pirates. Portland won’t square off against Utica for the rest of the regular season as they only have division rivals left on their schedule, but the Pirates could face two crucial games against Hartford on April 2 and April 10.


March 23 – Portland Pirates vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (7:00 p.m.)

March 25 – Portland Pirates vs. Springfield Falcons (7:00 p.m.)

March 26 – Portland Pirates vs. Springfield Falcons (7:00 p.m.)


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