The final full month of the 2014-15 NCAA regular season saw some fantastic team finishes and stellar performances from a number of NHL prospects. Hockey’s Future takes a look back at some of the most memorable ones. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of Mar. 4th.
Boston University wins 63rd annual Beanpot Tournament
Despite a two-week delay between the semi-finals and title/consolation games, this year’s Beanpot Tournament was one of the best in recent memory. Boston University claimed their 30th Beanpot title and first since 2009 in thrilling fashion, defeating Northeastern 4-3 in overtime on Feb. 23rd. Junior defenseman Matt Grzelcyk (BOS) was named the tournament MVP after netting a pair of goals, including the game winner, for the Terriers. In Boston University’s semi-final versus Harvard on Feb. 3rd, the team needed double overtime to defeat the Crimson 4-3 to advance to the championship game.
Harvard senior Steve Michalek (MIN) won the Eberly Award, which is given to the netminder with the lowest save percentage in the tournament. The Glastonbury, CT native posted a .926 save percentage in this year’s Beanpot. In the Crimson’s semi-final game versus Boston University, Michalek set both a new tournament and Harvard single-game record for most saves with 63. In all, he stopped a combined 87 of 94 shots that he faced. Michalek’s 87 total saves was just four shy of the tournament record.
After a heartbreaking double overtime loss to the Terriers in their semi-final, Harvard experienced another overtime loss in the tournament’s consolation game, falling to Boston College 3-2 in the extra session. Sophomore Ryan Fitzgerald (BOS) netted the game winner for the Eagles at 1:16 of overtime.
Four teams claim conference regular season titles
Atlantic Hockey, the ECAC and Hockey East all wrapped up their regular seasons at the end of February. The NCHC and the WCHA will close their regular seasons on Mar. 7th while the Big Ten will finish their regular season on Mar. 14th.
Robert Morris University claimed their first Atlantic Hockey regular season title after clinching their first conference tournament and NCAA Tournament bid last season.
Quinnipiac was the first team to claim their conference regular season title, accomplishing the feat on Feb. 21st versus Brown. This is the Bobcats first conference regular season title since 2012-13. Quinnipiac was one of the hottest teams in February, putting together a 5-1-2 record during the month.
Boston University claimed the Hockey East regular season title after a 6-1 win over Northeastern on Feb. 28th coupled with Boston College’s 3-1 loss to Notre Dame the same night.
Although the NCHC has one regular season weekend left, North Dakota claimed at least a share of the conference’s regular season title on Feb. 28th after sweeping St. Cloud State. With Miami’s loss to Denver, North Dakota can clinch the title outright with one point in their regular season finale on Mar. 6th-7th versus Miami, who are chasing them for the title.
It’s been awhile
Minnesota senior Kyle Rau (FLA) recorded his second career hat trick on Feb. 13th versus Michigan. The Eden Prairie, MN native accomplished the feat with goals coming on the power play, shorthanded and at even strength. The performance also earned him the Big Ten Second Star of the Week. Rau’s previous hat trick came more than two years ago on Jan. 12th of 2013 versus Alaska-Anchorage. Rau currently is tied for second on the Golden Gophers roster with 33 points (15 goals, 18 assists) in 32 games to date.
Also earning the Big Ten’s Second Star in February was Michigan sophomore J.T. Compher (BUF). The Northbrook, IL native posted his first career hat trick on Feb. 28th versus Wisconsin. Compher’s hat trick, which included the game winner, came in his 63rd game in the Maize and Blue. Compher has played in 28 games to date, posting 18 points (eight goals, 10 assists).
On the same day (Feb. 28th), Penn State sophomore defenseman Mike Williamson (VAN) netted his first goal in nearly a year in the Nittany Lions 5-3 loss to Ohio State. Coincidentally, Williamson’s last goal back on Mar. 14th of 2014 was also against the Buckeyes. The Leduc, AB native has seen limited time this season, appearing in just 12 games to date and posting two points (a goal and an assist).
Another Big Ten defenseman that went an even longer stretch between goals was Michigan State junior defenseman John Draeger (MIN). The Faribault, MN native posted his first goal in over two years on Feb. 27th versus Minnesota. Draeger’s previous goal came back on Oct. 27th of 2012 versus Lake Superior State. To date, Draeger has posted four points (one goal, three assists) in 23 games.
Ducks prospect tears it up in February
No NHL prospect was hotter in the month of February than Northeastern junior Kevin Roy (ANA). The Lac-Beauport, QC native amassed a whopping 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in the Huskies nine games during the month. Roy’s most memorable game came on Feb. 13th when he netted four goals in Northeastern’s 9-0 thumping of Connecticut. In the weekend finale the following night, he chipped in three assists to help the Huskies complete the sweep. The performance also earned Roy his second Hockey East Player of the Week honor on the season.
Roy leads Northeastern with 43 points (19 goals, 24 assists) in 33 games. He is on pace to eclipse his career-high of 46 points set last season. Roy’s 43 points is currently tied for seventh nationally, while his 19 goals are tied for 10th.
In addition to Roy, several other prospects also turned in stellar performances in February.
Denver freshman Danton Heinen (BOS) continues to be one of the best stories coming out of the NCHC this season. The Langley, BC native enjoyed arguably his best month of the season in February, racking up 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) in the Pioneers seven games during the month. His most memorable performance came on Feb. 28th versus Miami when he netted two power play goals and added a pair of assists in Denver’s 6-2 victory. Heinen is the favorite to win the NCHC’s Rookie of the Year honor as he currently leads all conference freshmen. Overall, he has posted 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) in 32 games. His 41 points leads all freshman prospects and ranks second among all rookies nationally.
Heinen wasn’t the only Boston Bruins prospect to have a strong February. North Dakota junior goaltender Zane McIntyre (BOS) was equally stellar, posting a 5-0-1 mark in his team’s six games during the month. McIntyre’s most memorable game came on Feb. 20th versus Western Michigan. In that contest, he stopped 33 shots and came within 32 seconds of recording his second shutout of the season. McIntyre’s weekend performance earned him his fourth NCHC Goaltender of the Week honor of the season. Overall, McIntyre sports a 24-6-3 record with one shutout in 33 games. His 24 wins lead the nation.
Minnesota senior Travis Boyd (WSH) had his best month of the season in February. The Hopkins, MN native posted 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in the Golden Gophers eight games during the month. Boyd’s most memorable game came on Feb. 7th versus Ohio State. In that game, he recorded his first career hat trick that included the game winner and added an assist to lead Minnesota to a 6-2 victory. The performance also earned Boyd the Big Ten’s First Star of the Week. Overall, Boyd leads the Golden Gophers with 16 goals and is tied for second on the team with 33 points in 25 games. His 33 points are also a new career-high.
Notre Dame sophomore Vince Hinostroza (CHI) enjoyed an excellent February, posting 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in the Fighting Irish’s eight games during the month en route to helping the team to a strong fifth-place finish in Hockey East. His most memorable game came on Feb. 21st versus Boston University. In that contest, Hinostroza netted the game-winning power play goal and added two assists to guide Notre Dame to a 3-2 win over the Terriers. Overall, Hinostroza leads the Fighting Irish in both assists (30) and points (38) playing in all 36 games to date. His 30 assists currently rank second among all NHL prospects in the NCAA, and he is tied for fourth nationally. Hinostroza’s 38 points also eclipses his career-high 32 points posted last season.
Canadiens’ prospect finalist for two awards
North Dakota senior Mark MacMillan (MTL) has been named a finalist for both the Hockey Humanitarian and the Lowe’s Senior CLASS awards.
The Penticton, BC native is the lone Men’s Division I player to be named among the five finalists for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, which recognizes college hockey’s top citizen.
MacMillan is also one of four prospects among the 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes the senior who excels in the classroom, in the community and displays the highest level of character and competition. The other four NHL prospects named as finalists are MacMillan’s teammate, defenseman Nick Mattson (CHI); Vermont defenseman Mike Paliotta (CHI); and Minnesota center Kyle Rau.
The winners of both awards will be announced during the Frozen Four weekend in Boston in April.
Seven prospects among Mike Richter Award nominees
Seven prospects are among the 28 nominees for this year’s Mike Richter Award as college hockey’s top goaltender. They are: Boston College sophomore Thatcher Demko (VAN); Providence College junior Jon GIllies (CGY); North Dakota junior Zane McIntyre; Notre Dame freshman Cal Petersen (BUF); Michigan Tech junior Jamie Phillips (WPG); Minnesota junior Adam Wilcox (TBL); and Minnesota State-Mankato junior Stephon Williams (NYI).
The 28-nominee field will be narrowed to five finalists that will be announced in March. The winner will be announced in April during the Frozen Four weekend in Boston.
Six prospects among semi-finalists for Walter Brown Award
The Gridiron Club of Greater Boston announced the 20 semi-finalists for this year’s Walter Brown Award and among them are six prospects. They are: Boston University junior defenseman Matt Grzelcyk, Boston University junior right wing Danny O’Regan (SJS), Boston College sophomore goaltender Thatcher Demko, Providence College junior goaltender Jon Gillies, Vermont senior defenseman Mike Paliotta, and Harvard junior left wing Jimmy Vesey (NSH). O’Regan and Vesey are repeat semi-finalists. 2015 top prospect Jack Eichel, a freshman at Boston University, is also a semi-finalist.
The award recognizes the top American-born player playing at a New England-based Division I college or university. The finalists and winner will be announced prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament in March.
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