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Big tent of Frozen Four includes a bit of everything Print
Futures Watch
Written by Steve Wozniak   
Monday, 26 March 2012 23:40

The last weekend of regionals was devoid of Cinderella stories like RIT or Bemidji State, but it wasn't devoid of great hockey action. Here are our Three Stars for the regionals, as well as the slew of pro signings of NCAA players that took place last week.

Steve WozniakWhen the college hockey world descends on Tampa in a week and a half for the Frozen Four, all the big players will get to join in the fun. The final slate of games for the season includes one representative from each of the four major conferences – Boston College from Hockey East, Ferris State from the CCHA, Minnesota from the WCHA and Union from the ECAC. In fact, each of those four teams finished the regular season at the top of their conference standings.

We have time to look at any surprises that may arise in the Sunshine State, but for now, we look back at a weekend of regionals that promptly crushed any dreams Cinderella teams had of reaching the final party like RIT and Bemidji State did in recent seasons.

THREE STARS

Parker Milner, Boston College

The week: Stopped all 53 shots he faced to shutout both Air Force and Minnesota-Duluth, which previously had the top offense in the country.

Fun fact: He was benched earlier in the season for atrocious play, but has since climbed near the top in every statistical category for goalies.

Kyle Rau, Minnesota

The week: One goal, four assists, plus-2 in wins over Boston University and North Dakota in front of the home crowds in St. Paul.

Fun fact: His older brother Chad has on occasion played across town for the Minnesota Wild.

Taylor Nelson, Ferris State

The week: Stopped 47 of 49 shots in a pair of 2-1 wins over Denver and Cornell.

Fun fact: His nickname is Nelly, though we doubt it’s because of any resemblance to the hip-hop artist.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Mass-Lowell 4, Miami 3, OT: Miami’s season fortunes went on one doozie of a rollercoaster ride in Friday’s East Regional semifinal. After two periods, the River Hawks were outshooting Miami just 19-16, but led 3-0 on the scoreboard. A furious third-period rally, in which the RedHawks outshot UML 18-8, allowed Miami to tie the score at 3 after Alden Hirschfeld flipped one into the net with 10:04 remaining in regulation.

All-World goalie Connor Knapp looked like he regained his groove for Miami by the time the extra stanza got underway. But Mass-Lowell completely dominated in overtime, and Riley Wetmore won the game with his second goal of the game, before Miami could even register a shot in overtime.

Unfortunately the River Hawks, who went from being one of the worst teams in Division I to one of its best under new coach Norm Bazin, fell to top seed Union the next evening.

PRO SIGNINGS

As college hockey teams finished their seasons, seniors and even some underclassmen have begun to sign with the NHL teams that drafted them or wooed them as free agents.

Colgate star Austin Smith signed with Dallas, the team that drafted him. Smith led Division I with 36 goals. Dallas also signed junior Reilly Smith, who led Miami in scoring this season. ... Brown F Jack Maclellan signed as a free agent with Nashville. ... Colorado College sophomore Jaden Schwartz left early to sign with St. Louis, the team that drafted him in the first round two years ago. ... Connecticut sophomore F Cole Schneider signed as a free agent with Ottawa. ... Denver’s Drew Shore agreed to a contract with the Florida Panthers, who held the junior’s draft rights. ... Tampa Bay exercised their draft rights to sign Harvard senior F Alex Killorn. ... Lake Superior junior D Zach Trotman joined his parent club, the Boston Bruins. Boston also grabbed Michigan State junior Torey Krug and Northern Michigan F Justin Florek. ... Maine senior Will O’Neill is now under contract with Winnipeg, while Merrimack goalie Joe Cannata put his name on a Vancouver Canucks contract. ... Terry Broadhurst left Nebraska-Omaha early to join the Chicago Blackhawks. ... Niagara sophomore Scott Arnold jumped ship to sign with the Phoenix Coyotes. ... Notre Dame junior Riley Sheahan left a year early to sign with Detroit, who took him in the first round a few seasons ago. ... St. Cloud State junior David Eddy signed with Calgary, Vermont junior Sebastian Stalberg left for San Jose and Yale senior Brian O’Neill signed with Los Angeles as a free agent. 

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 March 2012 10:59