Minnesota Wild Prospects: NCAA Hockey Tournament Update


After a wild weekend of college hockey, the stage for the NCAA Men’s Hockey Frozen Four in Boston is set. Jack Eichel and Boston University will take on Nick Schmaltz and the University of North Dakota. On the other side of the bracket, Avery Peterson and the University of Nebraska-Omaha will take on Mark Jankowski and Providence. Both games are scheduled for April 9th.  Surprisingly, all four Minnesota colleges were eliminated, leaving the State of Hockey unrepresented in the Frozen Four for the first time since 2010. Several Minnesota Wild prospects represented their schools on the national stage, so let’s take a closer look at each of them.

Alex Tuch, RW, 2014 1st round and Adam Gilmour, C, 2012 4th Round. 

The Boston College Eagles were eliminated in the first round of the tournant after suffering a 5-2 loss to the Denver Pioneers on March 28th. Adam Gilmour finished the game with an assist and a -1 rating with no shots on goal. Alex Tuch was held without a point and a -1 rating but had a team leading 4 shots on goal. Tuch also had 2 penalty minutes. Boston’s season is over, but I sincerely doubt Gilmour and Tuch leave Boston College after this season. Gilmour is headed to his junior season while Tuch will be a Sophmore. With Thatcher Demko in net and the entire top line returning for another season, Tuch and Gilmour are in a good spot.

Louis Belpedio, D, 2014 3rd round

The Miami Redhawks were eliminated in a first round thriller with the Providence Friars. Down 6-2 by the end of the second period, the Redhawks spent over half of the 3rd period with an empty net and scored 3 straight goals to pull within one before Providence sealed the deal with an empty net goal. Louis Belpedio finished the game with an assist and a +1 rating. He also made an incredible diving save to prevent an empty net goal. Take a look at the GIF, courtesy of NCAA hockey on twitter.

Stephen Michalek, G, 2011 6th Round

Steve Michalek and the Harvard Crimson were eliminated by the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks in the opening round by a final score of 4-1 on Saturday. Michalek finished with 23 saves on 25 shots in 59:18 of ice time good for a 2.03 GAA and .920 save percentage in the tournament. Unfortunately, the loss to Omaha was the last game of Michalek’s NCAA career. He’s shown a lot of promise in the last two seasons and the Wild is pretty thin at goaltender, so I think he’s headed to the AHL next fall.

Avery Peterson, C, 2013 6th Round

Avery Peterson led the UNO Mavericks to their first ever NCAA tournament win with an assist and a power play goal that stood as the eventual game winner in the opening round. In tonight’s 4-0 win over RIT, Peterson was held off the score sheet.

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The Mavericks are headed to their first Frozen Four birth in program history. Peterson may be one of the most underrated Minnesota Wild prospects; however, he’s just in his freshman season and has room to grow. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs on the biggest stage in college hockey next weekend.

Carson Soucy, D, 2013 5th round

The University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs was eliminated from contention in the second round, falling 3-2 to the Boston University Terriers. Carson Soucy registered a power play goal and a +1 rating in the Bulldogs’ opening round trouncing of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Soucy finished +1 with 3 shots on goal and no points in the loss to Boston University. Given the Wild’s depth at defense, Soucy will likely return to UMD in the Fall for his junior season.

Other NCAA tournament notes:

After the Gopher’s elimination in the opening round, Gopher’s captain Kyle Rau agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers. Selected by the Panthers in the 3rd round of the 2011 NHL entry draft, the Minnesota native reported to the AHL San Antonio Rampage after the Gophers wrapped up their season.

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  • Omaha Mavericks goaltender Ryan Massa has been a pleasant surprise in the tournament, stopping 73 of 74 shots through two rounds of play and will enter the frozen four with a 0.5 GAA and a .986 save percentage. Massa went 13-7-6 during the regular season with a 1.99 GAA and a .936 save percentage during the NCHC regular season. Currently in his senior season, the undrafted Massa is a bit slight at 6-foot-0 and 180 pounds, but has undoubtedly drawn the attention of NHL scouts.

    Evan Rodrigues, who sits 2nd in the NCAA with 61 points (21G-40A,) continues to impress in his senior season playing alongside Eichel. In 2 tournament games, Rodrigues has 4 points (3G-1A.) There’s no doubt that playing alongside Eichel has helped his offensive output, but the undrafted left-winger is another player that NHL scouts will look at as the tournament winds down.

    Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey was eliminated from tournament play with Harvard and finished off the season with an NCAA leading 32 goals. The Hobey Baker finalist and 3rd round pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft now has the tough decision of leaving Harvard after his junior season and signing with Nashville, or taking one more shot with Harvard. Our friends at Predlines will keep an eye on that story and bring you more as it develops.

    I’ll be back next weekend with more NCAA news and highlights from Boston. Thanks for reading!

    Next: Minnesota Wild Win 5th Straight, Beat The L.A. Kings

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