NCAA Men’s Hockey Regional Recap: Blowouts Galore on Final Day of Semi-Final
With three teams winning with eight-goal efforts and the other earning a 5-0 shutout victory, there are only eight teams left in the NCAA Regional Championship, with titles to be decided this weekend.
Buckeyes shock Harvard with blowout win
In a game many expected to be one of the best games of the day, the Ohio State Buckeyes instead drove the pace in a whopping 8-1 victory to advance to the Bridgeport Regional Final on Sunday.
Ohio will face Quinnipiac in the regional final on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. ET with a chance to qualify for the Frozen Four next month.
It didn’t take long for Ohio State to start strong. At just 3:22, Gustaf Westlund – who hadn’t played since October – found Cam Thiesing close for a tight angled shot to make it 1-0. Thiesing then helped screen past goaltender Mitch Gibson at 18:24, and Mason Lohrei’s shot hit Cole Mcward in front for the 2-0 goal in a period that saw OSU beat Harvard 17-3.
Ohio State’s dominance continued into the second. Westlund scored one of his own after a smooth pass between him and Jake Wise at 3:44. Then, seconds later, Thiesing somehow caught Gibson off guard to make it 4-0 – a scoreline that completely deflated Harvard.
The score was not made. Mason Lohrei scored at 28:24 after deflecting on Stephen Halliday’s shot, and Joe Dunlap made it 6-0 with another tight goal with less than five minutes left in the frame. Mcward’s second of the night would make it 7-0, and Patrick Guzzo scored just 1:10 into the third to make it 8-0.
Harvard wouldn’t go down without a fight, however. John Farinacci, who is expected to sign with the Arizona Coyotes in the coming days, managed to bounce a weird shot off Jakub Dobes and make it 8-1 with about three minutes left. It didn’t matter in the end, but it gave traveling fans something to cheer about.
Penn State crushes Michigan Tech
Penn State cruised to the Allentown Regional Finals with a convincing 8-0 victory over Michigan Tech.
The Nittany Lions will face the Michigan Wolverines in a bid to qualify for the Frozen Four next month.
Penn State is off to a good start. At 2:15, a pair of Tyler – Paquette and Gratton – combined for the opening goal, with Paquette capitalizing to put the second-seeded team in Allentown ahead. That lead remained for around 22 minutes, when Jarod Crespo’s shot beat Blake Pietila for the goal 2-0. Ashton Calder scored around 10 minutes later to make it 3-0, before Christian Berger ended the second-period onslaught with his own shot.
Michigan Tech looked defeated from the start in the third, and it didn’t help that Kevin Wall scored early to make it 5-0. Chase Mclane, Connor McMenamin and Kevin Wall all scored to make it 8-0, while Liam Souliere held on for the 24-save shutout – his third of the season.
Second-period surge gives Quinnipiac victory over Merrimack
The Quinnipiac Bobcats advanced to the Bridgeport Regional Finals after beating the Merrimack Warriors 5-0 on Friday.
On Sunday, Quinnipiac will battle with Ohio State University for a spot in April’s Frozen Four.
The first period was quiet with both teams focusing more on hitting than anything else. Everything changed at 21:56 when Joey Cipollone scored from the right of Merrimack goalkeeper Zachary Borgiel. Cipollone’s shot bounced off a defender and into the 1-0 goal, a big change of momentum.
Two minutes later, Quinnipiac’s first line struck to make it 2-0. Jacob Quillan managed to make it home after Sam Lipkin and Collin Graf watched, and suddenly the game seemed out of reach for Merrimack.
Merrimack was doing everything he could to stay the bottom seed in Bridgeport, but, in the end, Quinnipiac bowed out on everything. With 13:32 to go, Michael Lombardi’s single wrist made it 3-0, a deficit Merrimack couldn’t overturn. Quillan scored another late goal and Lipkin scored into an empty net, while Yaniv Perets finished the effort with a 15-save shutout.
University of Michigan demolishes Colgate
The University of Michigan headed into the Allentown Regional Finals with a big 11-1 win over Colgate.
Michigan will meet Ohio State on Sunday, with the Wolverines looking to make the Frozen Four for the third time since 2018.
Luke Hughes is known for his tremendous ability to move the puck, and he was on full display in the first. At 10:20, Hughes skated from the blue line and wrapped around the net and found Nick Granowicz in front. Granowicz quickly made it 1-0, catching Colgate goaltender Carter Gylander off guard.
The score remained tied for the next 18 minutes. But with less than eight minutes behind in the second, everything started to fall apart for Colgate. Eric Ciccolini scored first at 7:33 on the power play. Then, on the next shift, Adam Fantilli went all out, showing why he should move up to second overall, to make it 3-0.
Frank Nazar then made it 4-0 after Jackson Hallum used his speed to create a chance, only to be stopped. Nazar, a Chicago Blackhawks prospect, got past him on the third attempt to score the team’s third goal in four minutes. The onslaught continued in the next two teams, with Mark Estapa and Rutger McGroarty both scoring to make it 6-0 with over seven minutes left in the middle stanza.
Fantilli wasn’t the only 2023 NHL Draft prospect to watch. Late in the second, Gavin Brindley – a projected first-round pick – scored from the high slot, beating a frustrated Gylander for the goal 7-0. Hughes capped the seven-goal period with a simple flick of the wrist, ending Gylander’s tournament with more than one period to go.
Hughes scored one of his own at 16:54. Due to turn pro once Michigan’s season ended, he took off a defender and fired him from the slot, making it 8-1 with 3:07 left in the second. Colgate’s Nic Belpedio ended Erik Portillo’s shutout offer early in the third, but that didn’t boost late-game momentum.
Instead, a five-minute power play for Michigan got things going. Hughes scored his second, Dylan Duke scored one and McGroarty got another to make it a three-goal blast after Alex Young was given a five-minute major for pummeling an opponent. Once that ended, Michigan was finally able to call it a game.
Impact on the NHL
- Harvard has 15 NHL prospects, many of whom could sign up and adapt to their respective teams in the near future. Including Sean Farrell (Montreal Canadiens), Matt Coronato (Calgary Flames) and Henry Thrun (Sharks of San José). Farrell and Coronato should give their respective teams some speed and skill, while Thrun will have the opportunity to learn from Erik Karlsson, Marc-Eduard Vlasic and Co. Jean Farinaccian Arizona Coyotes prospect, is expected to sign with the club soon.
- Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ryan O’Connell completed his fifth year and fourth with Michigan Tech. The Leafs have until Aug. 15, 2023, to sign him or the 2017 seventh-round pick will become an unrestricted free agent.
- The loss of Merrimack marked the end of Stanislav Deminewith Merrimack, his third varsity team in five years. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect can now turn pro, so we’ll see if the team is happy enough with their breakout season.
Calendar of regional championships
Cornell Big Red vs. Boston University Terriers – 4:00 p.m. ET
Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. St. Cloud State Huskies – 6:30 p.m. ET
Quinnipiac Bobcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes – 4:00 p.m. ET
Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Michigan Wolverines – 6:30 p.m. ET