After a whirlwind weekend of conference playoff tournaments, the NCAA has set its bracket for the 2016 national championship tournament. As has been typical in recent years, there’s a lot of Calgary Flames representation in the tournament. More importantly there’s a lot of senior representation and 2012 first round selection Mark Jankowski is now into the “lose and then sign with the Flames” portion of his senior season.
One of the four top seeds in college hockey, Providence College plays Minnesota-Duluth at 2:30pm MT on Friday. If they win, they play again on Saturday at 7pm MT against the winner of Notre Dame and Michigan.
Providence College won 10 in a row at the end of the season, with the streak getting snapped in a triple-overtime game with U-Mass Lowell over the weekend. Overall, they were 27-6-4 on the season. Jankowski had 40 points this season and led the Friars in scoring. Teammate John Gilmour, another Flames pick, had 23 points. Their opponent Minnesota-Duluth is 19-16-0 on the season and have alternated wins and losses since a January five-game winning streak. The Friars match up well against them.
A lower seed in the tournament, Boston University plays Denver on Saturday at 4:30pm MT, and moves on to face the winner of St. Cloud State and Ferris State on Sunday at 3pm MT if they can advance.
The Terriers finished their season 21-12-5 and have alternated wins and losses for much of the season. The Denver Pioneers finished 23-9-6 on the season. That game will be pretty even, at least in terms of how the teams match against each other. Flames pick Brandon Hickey had 8 points this season for the Terriers.
Here’s the gist:
- If Providence loses on Friday, Jankowski can potentially sign and fly from Worcester/Boston to join the Flames in Arizona on Monday night.
- If Providence loses on Saturday, he still probably makes it to Arizona though the timelines will be tighter and he won’t have as much practice time.
- If Providence makes it to the Frozen Four semis and loses on April 7, the Flames have a game on April 9 in Minnesota and can rush him from Tampa (where the Frozen Four is) to the arena in time.
- If Providence makes it to the Frozen Four final on April 9, there won’t be any remaining Flames games for Jankowski to get into.
There’s also a non-trivial chance that Hickey signs with the Flames following his playoff exit, whenever that would be, but he’s only a sophomore so the temptation to stay in school is still there and there really isn’t an obvious place for him to play next season with the Flames organization having a ton of blueliners signed for next year already. Keep an eye on Hickey, but the focus for the Flames is likely what happens with Jankowski and when they can put pen to paper and get him in a fancy red jersey.