Kukla's Korner Hockey
Frozen Four Final- Boston Univ. Goaltender Matt O’Connor Faces The Music After BU Loss To Providence
from Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald,
First, he had to sit in that tiny dressing room inside TD Garden last night and talk about giving up one of the most gruesome goals in the history of college hockey. He was manning the net in the third period of the Frozen Four championship game, his BU Terriers holding a one-goal lead over Providence College with less than nine minutes remaining. The Friars’ Tom Parisi, meandering around center ice, lifted a pop fly of a shot toward O’Connor. It should have been easy: Catch the puck and deposit it behind the net, where it would be collected by teammate Jack Eichel. It turned out to be anything but easy.
When O’Connor extended his glove, the puck went in, went out. It fell to the ice. O’Connor couldn’t find it. It trickled between his legs and into the net. Tie game, 8:36 remaining.
It wasn’t the goal that lost the game for BU, but it was the goal that broke BU. A little more than two minutes later, Brandon Tanev scored to put the Friars ahead to stay.
Final score: Providence 4, Boston University 3.
“Everybody in this locker room deserved a lot better,” O’Connor told the first wave of reporters. “They deserve to be hoisting a national championship right now. Sports are tough . . . but everyone in this locker room . . . sometimes you lose the puck in the lights in the Garden . . . you get a weird bounce and things happen . . .”
He wasn’t speaking sentences. He was speaking words, one after the other, piles of words, not all of them jiving with each other.
He was asked what his coaches and teammates said to him after the game.
“A lot of people tried to remind me that the reason we were here was partly because of my performance,” he said, “but a lot of it was just a way to make me feel better.”
Watch the game tying goal by Providence below...
from Joe McDonald of ESPNBoston,
In the NHL, parents do send emails and text messages, but most of the interactions are in person at games. Agents confess that parents will intentionally wait around after games in order to "bump" into a coach or a GM. Confrontations are rare, but parents aren't afraid to make an off-the-cuff remark. Parents will mention their child's glory days of junior or college hockey, and some believe the professional level is no different.
"It's only happened to me a few times, but it surprises me," said an Eastern Conference GM. "In [decades of experience], I'd say it's happened to me eight times, but four or five of those have happened in the last five years. You walk away from that communication like, 'I can't believe that just happened.' It's usually the parents of high-profile young players. I think parents feel more empowered now."
To be fair, not all organizations have serious issues with parents. Some situations need to be dealt with, but typically they don't develop into major, ongoing concerns.
Eichel (pronounced IKE-ul), becomes only the second freshman in the award’s 35-year history to win the Hobey. The 18-year old rookie sensation has had a fantastic season and leads the nation in points (70), assists (44), power play points (23) and plus-minus (+51). Saving his best for last, Eichel has scored 8 goals and 7 assists in 7 playoff games, while registering a +15.
As the first freshman Hobey top ten candidate in 12 years, Eichel has already claimed multiple awards having been named the Hockey East Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, conference scoring champion, First Team Hockey East and a member of the All-Rookie Team and, was named Most Valuable Player at the Hockey East playoff tournament. Earlier today, Eichel was named the National Rookie of the Year by the Hockey Commissioners Association and a First Team All American by the Hockey Coaches Association.
Eichel is projected by many hockey experts to be a top two NHL draft selection this June. Additionally, he captained the U.S. team in the most recent World Junior tournament held in Canada.
A native of North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, Jack is enrolled in the College of General Studies. He spends off-ice time mentoring an 11-year old brain cancer patient and helps out with the Terriers team partnership with Autism Speaks.
from David Albright of ESPN,
Maybe it was a case of anything you can do, we can do better. Or maybe on this one night, it was simply that two hosts weren't going to be denied a couple of servings of home cooking.
Either way, college hockey's ultimate hardware will be staying in the east for another year.
Thursday's Frozen Four national semifinals at the TD Garden were a pair of east-vs.-west matchups between event-host Hockey East and the NCHC. In the matinee, Providence College matter-of-factly skated to a 4-1 victory over Nebraska-Omaha. Then, in the prime-time match, Boston University added drama to the script, as the 5-3 final over North Dakota wasn't decided until the closing seconds.
In the end, it sets up the first all-Hockey East final since 1999, when Maine beat New Hampshire 3-2 in overtime.
And the semifinal wins ensure Hockey East of its fifth national title in the past eight years.
from Dan Rubin of USCHO.com,
This weekend, two of the nation’s best leagues collide when the NCHC meets Hockey East in the national semifinals.
It’s a microcosm of college hockey — two of the more powerful leagues producing the four teams who will play each other in a type of crossover, with Omaha playing Providence and North Dakota playing Boston University.
It should create a vibe inside the arena where East meets West in a battle of dueling hockey cultures.
“There is definitely an East-West feel to this year,” said Providence coach Nate Leaman. “I love how it is because it lets you play teams you might not ordinarily see, and it really helps you learn and respect other coaches and the job that they’ve done at their schools.”
Frozen Four semifinals
Four teams, two games at TD Garden (Boston)
Thursday, April 9
5:00 on ESPN2: Providence vs. Nebraska-Omaha
8:30 on ESPN2: Boston University vs. North Dakota
Saturday, April 11 (7:30 p.m. on ESPN)
CALGARY, Alta. - Hockey Canada announced Wednesday that Dallas Stars general manager Jim Nill has been named general manager of Canada's National Men's Team for the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, which will be held in Prague and Ostrava, Czech Republic from May 1 - 17, 2015.
Nill will lead a management group comprised of Sean Burke (Windsor, Ont./Phoenix, NHL), Claude Loiselle (Ottawa, Ont.), George McPhee (Guelph, Ont.), Pat Verbeek (Sarnia, Ont./Tampa Bay, NHL) and Scott Salmond (Creston, B.C.), Hockey Canada's vice-president of hockey operations and national teams.
from Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com,
There was little need for debate on the projected top two players for the 2015 NHL Draft when NHL Central Scouting met to rank the top North American prospects earlier this month.
What seemed like a foregone conclusion became official Wednesday when NHL Central Scouting revealed that center Connor McDavid of the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League is No. 1, and center Jack Eichel of Boston University of Hockey East is No. 2 on its final list of the top 210 North American skaters eligible for the 2015 Draft, which will be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla.
"At the start of the year McDavid and Eichel were considered Nos. 1-2," NHL Director of Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "I don't know if it's a surprise that it ended up that way but I think a lot of credit has to go to Eichel in the way he was able to at least keep it interesting.
"But McDavid has clearly shown himself to be the No. 1 prospect."
McDavid, regarded as the top draft prospect since Sidney Crosby was picked first by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2005, is regarded for his incredible speed and game-changing potential.
from Dan O'Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
There are more than 4,000 kids playing amateur hockey in the area. There are some 140 teams, 25 of which play at the AAA or Central States level.
St. Louis now competes with Anywhere, USA, when it comes to developing hockey players. Programs are available at every rink in town, blue-collar people put in the hours and effort to make the game accessible, and kids make the sacrifice and commitment to pursue a dream.
Because the dream is real.
“I know the (Blues) alumni get a lot of credit,” said Al MacInnis, Blues senior adviser and Hall of Fame defenseman. “But there’s a lot of people and a lot of pieces involved for kids to move on to the next level, whether it’s playing junior hockey or it’s playing in college or pro hockey or in Europe.
“It starts with the youth hockey at the clubs; you need the participation level, the numbers.
from Todd D Milewski of USCHO.com,
One side of the Frozen Four bracket features teams that have combined for 12 national championships and 43 Frozen Four appearances.
On the other side, the national championships column is empty and Frozen Four experience is slight.
Boston University will play North Dakota in a semifinal matchup of two of the most accomplished programs in college hockey history. Providence and Omaha are matched in the other semi, with the Friars making their first Frozen Four appearance in 30 years and the Mavericks their first ever.
The Terriers and UND are both No. 1 seeds; Providence emerged from the East Regional as a No. 4 seed, while UNO was the No. 2 seed in the Midwest.
They’ll meet at TD Garden in Boston for the Frozen Four on April 9 and 11.
from Bob McKenzie of TSN,
One is from the High Park area in the west end of Toronto; the other is from Pickering, the first community east of Metro Toronto.
One just turned 23; the other won’t turn 21 until June.
One is a late-blooming 6-foot-5 goalie who may be closer to 6-foot-6, with the size, confidence, calm demeanor and puck-stopping ability that has NHL teams falling all over themselves to sign him as an unrestricted free agent; the other is a 5-foot-10 goal-scoring left winger who may be closer to 5-foot-9, with an edgy, chip-on-his-shoulder mentality and high skill level that is perhaps, finally, causing some NHL teams to at least consider the notion the unrestricted free agent can be successful in pro hockey in spite of his size, or lack thereof.
For all their differences, though, there is much Matt O’Connor and Drake Caggiula share: two Canadians, both products of the Greater Toronto Area, who have taken the hockey path less travelled to play pivotal roles for their respective U.S. college teams in a head-to-head match-up against each other a week this Thursday, in the semifinal of the 2015 NCAA Frozen Four at Boston’s TD Garden.
One is a junior who wears the red and white of Boston University in Hockey East; the other is also a junior but in the green, black and white of the University of North Dakota in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
One will win; one will lose; which means only one is guaranteed to play for a U.S. college hockey national championship a week this Saturday in Boston.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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