Welcome back for the next round of Preds’ prospects’ playoff hopes and an update on the post-seasons that have already started. Let’s get right into it.
#20 Boston Terriers [NCAA]; Dante Fabbro, David Farrance & Patrick Harper
As I wrote last week, the Terriers kick off their Hockey East Tournament with a series against UConn this weekend. Below is that schedule:
Jokerit [KHL]; Eeli Tolvanen
Eeli Tolvanen and Jokerit hold a 3-games-to-1 lead over HC Sochi in their quarterfinal matchup. Two of the four games have gone to overtime (3-2 Sochi, 7-2 Jokerit, 7-2 Jokerit, 3-2 Jokerit). Game 5 is today (Friday) in Helsinki where Jokerit has a shot to move on to the conference semifinals.
#11 Minnesota Golden Gophers [NCAA]; Tom Novak, Rem Pitlick
The Golden Gophers lost two straight to Penn State last weekend in the Big Ten Tournament. They sit idle awaiting their fate at the NCAA Selection Show on March 18th at 12:00 pm EST. USCHO.com says the Golden Gophers are firmly on the bubble but have a good shot at a bid.
#17 Bowling Green Falcons [NCAA]; Adam Smith
The Falcons swept Ferris State last weekend in the first round of the WCHA Tournament winning Game 1 2-1 in overtime and Game 2 by a score of 5-2. The Falcons are still on the bubble, but a sweep this weekend could really boost their NCAA Tournament chances.
Adam Smith & Co. travel to Michigan this weekend for a best-of-three semifinal date with Northern Michigan. Below is that schedule:
#14 North Dakota Fighting Hawks [NCAA]; Grant Mismash
Mismash and the Fighting Hawks slot in as the No. 4 seed in the NCHC Playoffs. This weekend they will host the University of Nebraska-Omaha for a best-of-three quarterfinals series.
Omaha leap-frogged UND for #13 in the latest USCHO.com poll. They finished their regular season with a 17-15-2 record, whereas UND finished at 14-12-10. Omaha is giving up a staggering 3.71 goals per game but also has the nation’s fifth most efficient power play at 25.7%.
There’s a good chance this series decides which program gets a bid to the NCAA Tournament, so it’s a big weekend for UND.
Below is the series schedule:
Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers [DEL]; Taylor Aronson
The three-seed Ice Tigers have a quarterfinal date with Kolner Haie (Cologne Sharks) and Preds’ alums Ryan Jones and Alexander Sulzer. That series starts next week as the pool currently waits for two play-in series to conclude between Grizzlys Wolfsburg - Schwenninger Wild Wings and the Iserlohn Roosters - Fischtown Pinguins.
I’m a bit biased because I am huge DEL fan (specifically Kolner Haie), but German hockey is awesome. Games have incredible atmospheres, and the level of play is very high. If you have a chance to watch the playoffs, do so.
Below is the Ice Tigers first round schedule:
HC Kometa Brno [Czech]; Karel Vejmelka
Vejmelka has spent most of the season with SK Horacka Slavia Trebic of the Czech 2 league, but they failed to make the playoffs this season. So, here’s a breakdown of the big club’s post-season.
Kometa finished 5th in the league and will face fourth-seeded HC Vitkovice Ridera in the first round. I’m not sure how much playing time, if any, Vejmelka will get, but below is the schedule just in case:
SKA-1946 [MHL]; Konstantin Volkov
SKA-1946 finished second in the MHL this season behind Lokomotiv. They’ll take on the 15th-seed “Wings of Soviets” in the first round of the playoffs.
This season has been pretty tough keeping track of Volkov because Russian internet is absurdly complicated. That goes the same for this schedule below. Game 1 is tomorrow (Saturday) with Game 2 following suit on Sunday and Game 3 on Monday.
I’ll do my best to keep you all updated on the schedule and Volkov’s movement in the organization.
Part III will feature Pavel Koltygin, Jacob Paquette, Stefan Elliott, Hardy Haman Aktell and NCAA Tournament coverage!