The brackets are set for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament, with a total of seven Buffalo Sabres prospects scheduled to take part in the action.
Freshman defenseman William Borgen (2015, fourth round) produced two shots on goal Saturday as St. Cloud State earned an automatic berth with 3-1 victory over Minnesota-Duluth in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff Championship. Borgen, who on Friday finished with a plus-1 rating in the Huskies’ 4-2 semifinal doubling of Denver, enters his first NCAA Tournament appearance with one goal, 13 assists and a plus-12 rating in 36 contests.
St. Cloud State is the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, where they’ll take on No. 4 Ferris State in a Saturday semifinal.
St. Cloud State forward Judd Peterson (2012, seventh round) was blanked in lower-line duty as the Huskies rolled past Denver and Minnesota-Duluth on their way to the NCHC Tournament Championship. Peterson has 16 goals and 23 points entering Saturday’s matchup with Ferris State.
In a Friday ECAC Tournament Semifinal, Sean Malone (2013, sixth round) posted a team-high four shots on goal as Harvard edged St. Lawrence 2-1. Malone was held out of the lineup the following night after dealing with cramping issues as the Crimson fell in the championship to Quinnipiac 4-1.
Malone has 10 goals, 19 points and a plus-12 rating this season for a Harvard squad that opens the NCAA Tournament Friday in an East Regional Semifinal versus Boston College.
Freshman forward Christopher Brown (2014, sixth round) will be part of the Boston College attack in Friday’s Northeast Regional Semifinal against Beanpot rival Harvard. Brown moved up the lineup Friday, notching one assist as the Eagles came up short in a 5-4 loss to Northeastern in a Hockey East Tournament Semifinal. Brown has 11 points (2+9) in 38 games.
Defenseman Anthony Florentino (2013, fifth round) and top-seeded Providence will compete on the other half of the Northeast Regional bracket, where they’ll battle Minnesota-Duluth in a Friday semifinal. Last Friday, Florentino finished with a minus-1 rating as Providence fell to Lowell 2-1 in triple overtime in a Hockey East Tournament Semifinal tilt.
The third-year defenseman has five goals, 12 points and a plus-14 rating in 30 appearances for the defending national champion Friars.
Notre Dame, who was idle after last weekend’s Hockey East Quarterfinal loss to Northeastern, earned a spot in the Midwest Regional to face Big Ten Tournament Champion Michigan in a Friday semifinal. Sophomore goaltender Cal Petersen (2013, fifth round) has started all 36 games for the Fighting Irish, posting a 19-10-7 record, 2.19 GAA and a .928 save percentage.
Sophomore forward Connor Hurley (2013, second round) enters the tournament with six goals and 12 assists in 35 contests for Notre Dame.NCAA TOURNAMENT TV SCHEDULE
|MIDWEST REGIONAL (CINCINNATI) |
|North Dakota vs. Northeastern ||Friday at 2 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|Michigan vs. Notre Dame (Petersen & Hurley) ||Friday at 5:30 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|Regional Championship Game ||Saturday at 6 p.m. ET ||ESPN 2 |
|EAST REGIONAL (ALBANY) |
|Quinnipiac vs. RIT ||Saturday at 4 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|U-Mass vs. Yale ||Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET ||ESPN3 |
|Regional Championship Game ||Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|NORTHEAST REGIONAL (WORCESTER, MASS.) |
|Providence (Florentino) vs. Minnesota-Duluth ||Friday at 4:30 p.m. ET ||ESPN3 |
|Boston College (Brown) vs. Harvard (Malone) ||Friday at 8 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|Regional Championship Game ||Saturday at 9 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|WEST REGIONAL (ST. PAUL, MINN.) |
|St. Cloud State (Borgen & Peterson) vs. Ferris State ||Saturday at 3 p.m. ET ||ESPNews |
|Denver vs. Boston University ||Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|Regional Championship Game ||Sunday at 5 p.m. ET ||ESPNU |
|FROZEN FOUR (TAMPA) |
|East Regional Champion vs. Northeast Regional Champion ||Thursday, April 7 ||ESPN2 |
|West Regional Champion vs. Midwest Regional Champion ||Thursday, April 7 ||ESPN2 |
|National Championship Game ||Saturday, April 9 at 8 p.m. ET ||ESPN |
More information on the Frozen Four can be found here
Elsewhere in the NCAA, Hudson Fasching was held to four shots on goal Saturday as Minnesota saw its season come to an end with a 5-3 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament Championship. The night before, the power forward contributed two shots on goal as Minnesota advanced to the conference title tilt with a 4-2 win over Ohio State.
Fasching's junior season ends with career highs of 20 goals and 38 points, including seven game-winning goals.
Vaclav Karabacek (2014, second round) buried a feed from the slot Friday as Moncton was downed by Halifax 7-4. Karabacek returned to work Saturday, scoring a goal for the second straight night off a nice wrist shot to earn the game's first star as the Wildcats were defeated by Acadie-Bathurst 5-4 in a shootout.
The Czech winger has connected for 18 goals and 30 points while missing six weeks with a hand injury. Moncton begins a best-of-seven playoff series Friday against Victoriaville.
Eric Cornel (2014, second round) snapped an eight-game goal drought with an empty-netter and added an assist Tuesday as Peterborough doubled Barrie 4-2. Cornel recorded a pair of assists in Friday’s 5-3 loss to Mississauga, and then closed the regular season with another helper Saturday in a 5-4 overtime victory over Niagara.
Cornel's excellent developmental campaign as the Petes' captain resulted in career bests of 27 goals and 83 points. He'll look to keep it going when Peterborough begins their first-round playoff series Friday in North Bay.
Defenseman Devante Stephens (2015, fifth round) picked up one assist and a plus-three rating Saturday as Kelowna capped the schedule with a 10-1 smoking of Vancouver. Stephens, who began the week without any points in a 7-4 loss to Victoria Wednesday and Friday’s 5-3 win at Vancouver, has 11 points (2+9) this season, which equals his previous season's total. The Rockets will have home-ice advantage in their opening round playoff series with Kamloops.
Brycen Martin (2014, third round) returned from injury Wednesday, logging a minus-one rating as Everett dropped a 3-2 overtime decision to Spokane. Martin recorded one assist in Friday’s 4-2 loss to Victoria, and then another helper Saturday in a 4-1 loss to the Royals.
The left-handed defender ends the year with six goals and 37 points in 66 games between Everett and Saskatoon. The Silvertips will face Portland in the first round of the playoffs beginning Friday.
Giorgio Estephan (2015, sixth round) picked up one assist Friday as Lethbridge hammered Medicine Hat 9-3. On Saturday, Estephan went without a goal for the fifth-straight game as the Hurricanes ended regular season play with a 4-2 loss to the Tigers. Estephan enters the playoffs with career bests of 30 goals and 44 assists for the Hurricanes, who begin a best-of-seven quarterfinal series Friday against Regina.
Prince Albert defenseman Brendan Guhle (2015, second round) logged a minus-1 rating Wednesday as the Raiders lost to Moose Jaw 4-1. Guhle, who netted a career-best 10 goals this year as part of a 28-point season, was given the night off as Saturday as the Raiders closed the regular season with a 3-2 loss to Saskatoon. The Raiders finished second in the WHL's East Division standings, setting up a first round matchup with Moose Jaw beginning Friday.
Victor Olofsson (2014, seventh round) struck for a pair of goals and added one assist Sunday as MODO blanked Leksands IF 5-0 in Game One of their SHL Qualification series. Olofsson snapped a shot from 15 feet out at 11:30 of the opening period to make it a 1-0 game. The 20-year-old sniper later finished off a 2-on-1 rush with one second remaining in the second period to extend MODO’s lead to 4-0. The clubs continue the best-of-seven affair Tuesday in Leksand.
MODO winger Gustav Possler (2013, fifth round) notched a goal and an assist in Sunday’s win over Leksands IF. At 6:56 of the third period, Possler buried a feed while alone in front of the net for MODO’s fifth and final goal of the game.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects) for in-game updates throughout the week on any Buffalo prospects that are in action.