All six Sabres' NCAA Division One prospects have chances to win conference championships after a perfect weekend of results.
Two are guaranteed to capture a title after Michigan (w/Owen Power & Erik Portillo) and Minnesota (w/Ryan Johnson and Aaron Huglen) notched semifinal triumphs that set up next Saturday's incredibly appealing Big Ten championship game.
Northeastern and Devon Levi have reached the Hockey East semifinals. North Dakota and Matteo Costantini are safely in the NCHC semifinals. Both those games are set for Friday night.
Michigan 2, Notre Dame 1
The Wolverines managed only one win over the Fighting Irish this season in five tries, and it came at the perfect time. The hosts played an atypical (for them) shutdown defensive style, and it worked wonders.
Portillo needed only 19 saves to register the win, his 28th this season. Power didn't contribute a point, and was credited with two shots.
Minnesota 3, Penn State 2
The Golden Gophers let a 2-0 lead slip, and needed a late, late regulation time goal to earn their B1G title game spot.
Johnson assisted on Minnesota's first goal. Huglen was credited with a helper on the hosts' second.
Next -- Minnesota v Michigan, Saturday, March 19, (7 p.m.), in Minneapolis
This game could be special. The NCAA Tournament awaits both teams, but there may not be another game this season with so many eventual NHL players competing. Each team has 13 NHL-drafted players on its roster.
Michigan v. Notre Dame --
Minnesota v Penn State --
Northeastern 3, Boston College 2
Levi stood firm again, earning the Huskies a spot in a Hockey East semifinal. The sophomore made 46 saves, including 23 in the third period.
Levi was unsurprisingly named Hockey East's top goalie by a vote of conference coaches last week. He's also a candidate for the conference's Player of the Year award, which will be announced prior to the semifinals.
Northeastern next -- Hockey East semifinal v Connecticut, Friday, March 18 (4 p.m.), in Boston
Northeastern v Boston College --
North Dakota swept Colorado College, 2-1 & 2-1
Costantini scored the second game's first goal in Grand Forks on Saturday. It was his only weekend point, but it was a big one.
The freshman will join his teammates in Saint Paul, Minnesota next weekend for the NCHC semifinals. All four semifinalists -- North Dakota, Minnesota-Duluth, Denver, Western Michigan -- are ranked among the top ten in the latest US College Hockey Online poll. No other conference can claim that.
North Dakota next -- NCHC semifinal v Western Michigan, Friday, March 18 (time TBA), in Saint Paul, Minn.
Friday game --
Saturday game --