As you know by now, the Boston Bruins have a couple of significant injuries on the club and that injury bug has trickled down to some key prospects for their respective teams. Riley Duran and Philip Svedeback for Providence College and Brett Harrison for the Windsor Spitfires. I’m told Harrison “Could miss significant time” as they await more test results.
The big news is that most NCAA teams have completed their regular seasons and a few teams are already playing in their play-in rounds.
In the NCHC bracket Cole Spicer, Quinn Olson and the fifth seed Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs take on the fourth seed St Cloud State. Jake Schmaltz and his sixth seed North Dakota Fighting Saints will take on third seed Omaha. Both series are a best of three and will take place on the weekend.
Over in Hockey East there is a bit of a difference in the setup. Oskar Jellvik, Andre Gasseau, Trevor Kuntar and eighth seed Boston College Eagles take on ninth seed Massachusetts on Wednesday with the winner moving on to take on the top seed Boston University Terriers and Ty Gallagher on Saturday. Duran and Svedeback, if back from injury, and seventh seed Providence Friars will take on tenth seed New Hampshire on Wednesday with the winner to take on second seed Merrimack on Saturday.
And in the Big Ten bracket, Mason Lohrei and third seed Ohio State Buckeyes took on sixth seed Penn State. On Friday, the Buckeyes won decisively 5-1. On Saturday it was all Ohio State as they fired 56 shots on goal that included 9 in overtime but dropped a 2-1 decision. That set up a clinching game for Sunday. Ohio took the clincher 3-1 and will face second seed Michigan on Saturday.
Finally, in the ECAC first round, Dustyn McFaul and sixth seed Clarkson Golden Knights defeated eleventh seed Brown and will now take on the number 3 seed Cornell in a best of three series. McFaul had two assists in the 5-1 victory in the series clincher. Number two seed Harvard Crimson and Mason Langenbrunner will take on number 9 seed Princeton in a best of three series.
Over in Finland, Matias Mantykivi and Ilves Tampere enter the final week of the regular season in a dog fight for top spot in Liiga play. They are deadlocked at 110 points with Tappara and both teams having 3 games remaining.
In Sweden, our two prospects are also heading towards the playoffs. Jonathan Myrenberg and Mora IK have two games remaining and Mora is third spot in Hockey Allsvenskan with an outside shot at second place but they could drop as low as fifth. Dans Locmelis and Lulea HF still have a couple of weeks to go and are in a three-way tie for second place in the J20 Nationell Top-10 just one point out of first. Locmelis leads the Top-10 in scoring.
The Canadian Hockey League regular season ends on March 26.
I have to quickly touch on two players here. The first is Matthew Poitras. I was asked often at draft time if I would have preferred Danny Zhilkin or David Goyette over Poitras at the time and my answer was yes and it reflected in my OHL draft rankings. But it came with an understanding that it was difficult because we didn’t have a prior season to see how they are progressing. We have to remember, entering into last season, many had him pegged as a first-round talent.
Fans are disappointed in his goal production and are still asking the same question and my answer is a resounding no. Poitras has turned into an elite playmaker at this level and a playmaker will always have an easier time transitioning to pro hockey than the goal scorer will. If I had a do-over, Poitras would be much higher than where I had him.
The other player I want to touch on is Lohrei. There were fans in the thousands saying the Bruins should not trade Lohrei (at trade deadline). Yet some of those same fans are complaining because he didn’t have a big jump in production this season.
Well, Lohrei has matched his production with Ohio State from a season ago and yes, I may have put expectations a little high for him but he was coming off major knee surgery entering this season. I mean no one could possibly know how much that would affect him but it was evident early in the season that it was going to take some time for him to get up to speed. And once he was up to speed, we saw a better Lohrei. I’m not worried about this one season.
Here’s a look at the Providence Bruins leaders:
Coming up this week:
|PLAYER||MON 6||TUE 7||WED 8||THU 9||FRI 10||SAT 11||SUN 12|
|MANTYKIVI||Vs KAR||Vs AXE||At HPK|
|LOCMELIS||At V L||At H V|
|MYRENBERG||Vs VAS||At V H|
|LANGENBRUNNER||Vs PCT||Vs PCT||TBD|
|SPICER/OLSON||At St C||At St C||TBD|
|SCHMALTZ||At OMA||At OMA||TBD|
|DURAN/SVEDEBACK||Vs N H||TBD|
|MCFAUL||At COR||At COR||TBD|
|POITRAS||At KIT||Vs WSR|
|HARRISON||At GUE||Vs KIT|
|MAST||Vs SOO||Vs KIT|
|EDWARD||At BAR||At SBY||At N B|
|BRUNET||Vs DRU||Vs SHA||Vs B B|
|DYCK||At SAS||Vs M J||At M J|
AROUND THE GLOBE
Dans Locmelis has a 7-game point streak with 9 goals and 4 assists. He leads the J20 Nationell Top-10 scoring race with 23 points in 13 games. He is second in J20 Nationell league scoring when combining Divisional play and Top-10 games.
Matthew Poitras has a 13-game assist/point streak going on 3 goals and 19 assists. It is the longest assist streak in the OHL this season. He is tied for 8th in the scoring race, second in the league in assists, third in powerplay assists but 103rd in goals and 122nd in SOG.
Frederic Brunet is heating up again after a bit of a dry spell. He is on a 3-game streak with 2 goals and 3 assists and has climbed back into second spot in QMJHL scoring by defencemen.
Reid Dyck has won two of his last three starts after losing 4 in a row and stopped 92 of 98 shots he faced that included a shutout. He has lost some starts to rookie Joey Rocha but Dyck is getting the harder competition and the team appears to lock it down defensively when Rocha is in the crease.
Oskar Jellvik, Andre Gasseau and Trevor Kuntar are heating up at just the right time for Boston College. All three are on two-game streaks – Jellvik with 3 goals, Gasseau with 2 goals and Kuntar with 2 assists as they complete their regular season and head into tournament play.
Matias Mantykivi is also warming up at the right time. He has a 2-game point streak with 2 goals and 2 assists as they enter the final week of the regular season.
Philip Svedeback left Friday’s game with an injury and did not play on Saturday.
Riley Duran is still out with an injury.
Brett Harrison has missed the last 3 games with what is being deemed a lower body injury.
Mason Langenbrunner is pointless in 12 games.
Jake Schmaltz is pointless in 5 games.
Jackson Edward is pointless in 4 games.