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Calgary Flames prospect Aydar Suniev will be competing for the NCAA’s national championship

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Photo credit:courtesy Penticton Vees
Ryan Pike
23 days ago
One of the Calgary Flames’ most promising forward prospects will be competing for the top prize in college hockey. The University of Massachusetts Minutemen, Aydar Suniev’s team, were announced as one of the 16 teams competing in the 2023 NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey national championship tournament.
UMass were eliminated from their conference tournament in the semi-finals, losing to the eventual tournament winners Boston College. However, based on their body of work throughout the season, UMass qualified for the national championship tournament as an at-large bid.
Tthe six conference tournament winners receive automatic bids into the national tournament, and the other 10 spots are filled by using the pairwise ranking system, weighing a team’s record against their strength of schedule. Based on the pairwise system, UMass likely snagged the final at-large spot available. UMass won the national championship back in 2021.
UMass has been assigned a seed in the Springfield region, along with Denver, Maine and Cornell. UMass will play Denver on Thursday at noon MT, and if they advance they’ll meet the Maine/Cornell winner on Saturday at noon MT. The winner of the regional bracket advances to the Frozen Four on Apr. 11 & 13 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The 19-year-old Suniev is in his freshman year with UMass after a season and change in the BCHL with the Penticton Vees. In 35 games so far this season, Suniev has 12 goals and 25 points – he’s tied for the team lead in goals. He’s gradually adjusted to the college style of play and has become a larger part of UMass’ overall team game as the season has progressed. He was a third-round selection by the Flames in June’s entry draft, snagged with a selection the Flames acquired in the Tyler Toffoli trade with New Jersey.
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