We’re nearing the end of the major-junior and college hockey seasons. The majority of the Calgary Flames’ prospects are about to begin their playoffs.
So who’s playing where?
Boston University won their games over the weekend, winning the Hockey East conference title and an automatic spot in the NCAA tournament. Brandon Hickey’s freshman season will continue. Through 37 games, he’s got 16 points and a bunch of shots on goal. He had an assist this weekend in games that were won via Jack Eichel and Evan Rodrigues playing great. The Terriers play on Friday against Yale – Kenny Agostino’s old school – in the regionals of the NCAA tournament.
Like Boston University, Providence College qualified for the NCAA tournament. They were idle this weekend after losing in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs, but they got in based on the pairwise rankings (e.g., they were better than the majority of the other college teams). They lucked out, as they get to play in their own city for the NCAA tournament, playing Miami (of Ohio) in the first round on Saturday.
Michigan State’s Matt Deblouw ended his junior season with 13 points in 35 games. It was much better than his sophomore season, at least. The Spartans didn’t make the big tournament.
Colgate lost in their conference championship game to those stuffed-shirts from Harvard. Tim Harrison went pointless. He racked up 10 points in 37 games in his sophomore year. The Raiders just missed qualifying for NCAA tournament by the skin of their teeth, being slightly eked out in the pair-wise rankings. I believe they were the best team that didn’t make it.
Every single junior player in the Flames organization made the playoffs.
- The Calgary Hitmen (WHL) qualified, so Keegan Kanzig is in the playoffs. They play today to determine who they play. A win gets them the Central Division crown and a date with Kootenay. A loss gets them a series with the Red Deer Rebels. Both will be tough series.
- The Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) are in, and so are Morgan Klimchuk and Eric Roy. The Wheat Kings were the WHL’s best regular season team. They open against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
- The Victoria Royals (WHL) are in, and so is Austin Carroll. They face divisional foe the Prince George Cougars, who finished with 15 fewer points than the Royals.
- The Charlottetown Islanders (QMJHL) qualified, with the help of goalie Mason McDonald. They open against the awesomely-named Sherbrooke Phoenix. Charlottetown and Sherbrooke were both part of the Q’s mushy middle, so they have a decent shot.
- The Oshawa Generals (OHL) and Hunter Smith qualified. The Generals were tops in their conference. They face the Peterborough Petes, who were 10 games below .500. I like their chances.
- The Kingston Frontenacs (OHL) and Sam Bennett made the post-season. They’re facing the North Bay Battalion in the first round. Kingston finished 11 points behind North Bay, but y’know, Sam Bennett is a difference-making player.
For the curious, the earliest Sam Bennett would be free of OHL commitments would be April 3 (though I personally think the Frontenacs make it through…). Based on standings, odds should favour Brandon, Victoria and Oshawa. Kingston would be considered a slightly underdog, while the Calgary and Charlottetown series are probably coin-tosses.