DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 23: Duncan Siemens #25 of the Colorado Avalanche and Ty Rattie #61 of the St. Louis Blues collide on the boards as they pursue the puck during their preseason game at Pepsi Center on September 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The Frozen Four starts today in Tampa and the second semifinal game features three Avalanche prospects. The playoffs are underway north of the border and a few prospects had a short showing. The Lake Erie Monsters have four games left in the regular season and are in a tough fight to grab one of those coveted playoff spots. It's the Frozen Four edition of TWIAP!
The tournament began with 16 teams and the final four teams in Men's Division I college hockey will gather in Tampa today for the start of the Frozen Four. The tournament features some new faces in Ferris State and Union and some old names in Boston College and Minnesota. Defending champion Minnesota-Duluth, was knocked out by BC in the second round.
Union and Ferris State will play in the 2:30 PM MST semifinal game and Boston College and Minnesota will get the 6:00 PM MST prime time slot. (The games will be available on ESPNU and ESPN2 respectively.) For Avalanche fans, the second game will feature three prospects: Kent Patterson and Nate Condon for Minnesota and Paul Carey for Boston College.
Carey had an assist in the 4-0 win over Minnesota-Duluth that sent the Eagles to the Frozen Four. BC also shut out Air Force on the previous day 2-0. The Gophers earned 7-3 and 5-2 wins over Boston University and North Dakota respectively to earn their trip to Tampa. Nate Condon had an assist in the game against the Terriers and had a goal and assist against rival North Dakota. Kent Patterson improved to 28-13-1 and will look to close out his collegiate career with a national championship.
Boston College is seeking their fifth Men's Division I Hockey championship; whereas the Gophers are shooting for their sixth. The University of Michigan leads all schools with nine titles, followed by Denver and North Dakota who each have seven.
While the college hockey season will wrap up this weekend, teams in the Canadian Hockey League have entered the second round of the playoffs. Injuries to Dillon Donnelly (upper body) and Garrett Meurs (shoulder) have kept them out of action, but their clubs Shawinigan (QMJHL) and Plymouth (OHL) have both advanced to the second round of the playoffs.
Val-d'Or was quickly dispatched by Rimouski in the opening round of the QMJHL playoffs. Gabriel Beaupre did not record a point, but had six penalty minutes in the four game series. In the OHL, the Sudbury Wolves made a fast exit after they were swept in the first round by Brampton. Michael Sgarbossa was held to two goals and an assist. Also in the OHL, Belleville was ousted by Ottawa in six games. Stephen Silas had one goal in the series.
Out west, Seattle did not qualify for the playoffs and goaltender Calvin Pickard joined the Lake Erie Monsters. Saskatoon was swept by Medicine Hat in the first round. Duncan Siemens had a goal and an assist in the series, to go along with 10 penalty minutes. He is now getting a little taste of the pro life with the Lake Erie Monsters.
The Portland Winterhawks dumped Kelowna in four games. Defenseman Troy Rutkowski had one goal in the series. His club will face Kamloops in the second round.
Lastly, a quick check on the Lake Erie Monsters who have four games remaining in the regular season. The Monsters find themselves in ninth place with 78 points. They have the same number of points as eighth place Peoria and a point behind sixth place Charlotte and seventh place Houston, but those clubs all have games in hand over the Monsters.
It was no joke on April 1st when goaltender Calvin Pickard started his first game as a professional for the Lake Erie Monsters. Pickard had replaced starter Cedrick Desjardins the previous evening and stopped all eight shots he faced. On Sunday, he made 25 saves in a 8-4 win over the Texas Stars.
Next week, a recap of the Frozen Four. A look in on the Portland Winterhawks and their series against the Kamloops Blazers. Finally, a look back at the Monsters two game set with the Rockford IceHogs.