We had some fun college hockey games over the weekend in the first and second rounds of the NCAA men’s hockey tournament. We saw a huge upset on with American International taking down top seed St. Cloud State on the opening night of the tournament.
We got some overtime drama over the weekend and saw some exciting hockey if you had time to catch some of the games. The field has been narrowed down to four schools that will compete for the National Championship in Buffalo next weekend.
Those four are UMass, Denver University, Providence, and Minnesota-Duluth.
The most exciting part is Sabres fans will have the opportunity to get an up and close look at 2017 fourth-round pick Jacob Bryson. The Friars knocked off another top seed in Minnesota State on their path to the Frozen Four.
Bryson has been great in both games for Providence. He picked up two assists and six shots on goal over the weekend. He was on the ice for all six goals for the Friars on Saturday afternoon against Minnesota State.
He’s shown poise with the puck and his ability to start the rush up the ice with a nice first pass. We’ll see if he can continue to lead Providence to another National Championship after winning in 2015.
Providence also has another Sabres connection in Tyce Thompson. He’s the younger brother of forward Tage Thompson. Tyce isn’t as tall as Tage (only 6’0”), but he has the potential to be a mid-to-late round pick in the upcoming NHL Draft.
Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard spent some time this summer in the Sabres prospect development camp. The 23-year-old had another solid season with the Bulldogs. We’ll see if he can lead his team to back-to-back National Championships.
He can become a free agent this summer and if he does, it’ll be interesting to see if the Sabres explore signing him to add some depth to their goaltending pipeline.
The best player remaining in the tournament could be UMass defenseman and Colorado Avalanche draft pick, Cale Makar. After a less than stellar freshman season, Makar, has had a great sophomore campaign. He’s among the Hobey Baker finalists this season and would not be a surprise if he took home the award.
For fans that enjoy watching good young hockey players, he’ll be a treat to watch in at least one of the games next week, possibly two.
Filip Larsson, a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, is having a good freshman season between the pipes for the University of Denver. He’s been a big part of them making the Frozen Four.
Parker Mackay, the captain for Minnesota-Duluth, is another player that could see some interest from NHL teams once his season concludes. The right winger had 15 goals and 30 points in 38 games this season.
April 11th - Providence vs Minnesota-Duluth | 5 PM EST.
April 11th - Denver vs UMass | 8:30 PM EST.
April 13th - National Championship | 8:00 PM EST.