NCAA/USHS

Frozen Four Game Night: 4-11-15

Providence Friars 4 vs Boston University Terriers 3
National Championship

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 4 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 37 GP, 2-7-9, +19, 58 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

Providence won its first national championship with a 4-3 win over John MacLeod and the Terriers in the final of the Frozen Four Saturday. The Friars were down 2-1 and 3-2 in the game before coming back to win, aided by an odd goal where BU goaltender Matt O’Conner dropped the puck between his legs and accidentally kicked it into his net. MacLeod took an interference penalty with the Terriers up 2-1 and Providence scored with a few seconds remaining in the power play to tie the game at 2. MacLeod finishes a fine freshman season with nine points and a plus-19 rating. He’ll be a big part of BU moving ahead, likely without project No. 2 overall pick Jack Eichel.

Frozen Four Game Night: 4-9-15

North Dakota 3 vs Boston University Terriers 5
National Semifinals

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-1-1, -1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 40 GP, 13-8-21, +9, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 34 GP, 2-7-9, +18, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

Lightning prospect John MacLeod will play for the national championship against Providence College on Saturday after his Boston University Terriers beat Brendan O’Donnell and North Dakota, 5-3, Thursday. BU had a 4-1 lead at one point before UND came fighting back to make it 4-3 with just over three minutes to play. O’Donnell had an assist on UND’s third goal. All-everything prospect Jack Eichel, who scored the game’s first goal, sealed the game with an empty netter with 19 seconds left.

While MacLeod, a freshman, is just beginning his college career, tonight was the final game for O’Donnell, a UND senior. He finished his final year with a career-high 21 points, matching his jersey number. O’Donnell is a prime candidate for a contract with the Lightning in the coming days, much like Matt Peca, Adam Wilcox, and Cameron Darcy before him. He could at least join AHL Syracuse on an AHL contract.

NCAA Game Night: 3-28-15

Midwest-4 Harvard Crimson 1 vs Midwest-1 Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks 4
Midwest Regional Semifinals

F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 36 GP, 7-9-16, +4, 19 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 30 GP, 7-8-15, -8, 20 PIM

No. 10 Harvard couldn’t build on its ECAC tournament championship, falling to Andrej Sustr’s alma mater, No. 9 Nebraska-Omaha, 4-1. This ends the season for Lightning prospect Brian Hart, a junior for the Crimson. All signs point to him returning to Harvard for his senior season.

Northeast-2 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 2 vs Northeast-1 Boston University Terriers 3
Northeast Regional Finals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 33 GP, 2-7-9, +18, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

The No. 2 Terriers punched their ticket to the Frozen Four in Boston with a 3-2 win over the Bulldogs on Saturday. Free agent Evan Rodrigues scored his second goal of the game with less than three minutes remaining to beat UMD.

West-3 St. Cloud State Huskies 1 vs West-1 North Dakota 4
West Regional Finals

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Season totals: 39 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

No. 3 North Dakota will return to the Frozen Four after defeating conference-rival No. 13 St. Cloud State 4-1 Saturday night. O'Donnell led the team in shots on goal. UND will play Boston University in the national semifinals.

NCAA Game Night: 3-27-15

East-4 Yale Bulldogs 2 vs East-1 Boston University Terriers 3 (OT)
East Regional Semifinals

D John MacLeod, BU: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 32 GP, 2-7-9, +18, 48 PIM
2013-2014 totals (USHL): 19 GP, 1-4-5, +1, 36 PIM

The No. 2 Terriers rallied from a 1-0 deficit entering the third period, nudging ahead 2-1 before Yale tied the game and sent it to overtime. Danny O’Regan scored on a rebound in front in the extra session to advance BU to the regional finals against Minnesota-Duluth. MacLeod was on the ice for both of BU’s regulation goals.

West-4 Quinnipiac Bobcats 1 vs West-1 North Dakota 4
West Regional Semifinals

F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-0-0, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 39 GP, 7-29-36, E, 27 PIM
2014-2015 totals: 40 GP, 12-26-38, +4, 16 PIM

F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 38 GP, 13-7-20, +11, 35 PIM
2013-2014 totals: 34 GP, 7-11-18, +7, 10 PIM

The storied career of Matthew Peca is over at Quinnipiac. The Bobcats’ co-captain was on the ice every other shift it seemed, creating multiple opportunities, but No. 3 North Dakota was clearly the best team on the ice and ran away with the win. No. 11 QU plays a defensive style and once they were down early and couldn’t capitalize on power plays the game was essentially over. Brendan O’Donnell and the NoDaks advance to the West Finals against conference rival St. Cloud State on Saturday night. O’Donnell had a nice set-up early to a teammate on Friday, but didn’t see the ice much outside of a late power play and the odd shift.

While O’Donnell moves on in the tournament, Peca will likely move on to professional hockey. The Lightning will attempt to sign him in the coming days and bring him to AHL Syracuse for the stretch run and playoffs. Peca’s speed and compete-level was on display Friday night, as was his skill in the offensive zone and faceoff abilities. It’s possible he chooses the free agent route, but that doesn’t seem like the most likely scenario. He could also ask to join the Lightning immediately and burn the first year of his entry-level contract to put some money in his pockets. Peca is a must-sign for the Lightning and one of the bright spots in the organization beneath the NHL level.

East-3 Minnesota Golden Gophers 1 vs East-2 Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 4
East Regional Semifinals

G Adam Wilcox, MIN: Loss, 25 saves on 29 shots
Season totals: 38 GP, 22-12-3, 2.42 GAA, .912 sv%, 5 SO
2013-2014 totals: 38 GP, 26-6-6, 1.97 GAA, .932 sv%, 4 SO

Though he wears Iron Man on his mask and has been known for his heroic efforts, Wilcox was made to look rather ordinary Friday night in No. 8 Minnesota’s loss to No. 7 Minnesota-Duluth. The junior netminder allowed four goals on the night, but there wasn’t much he could have done on any of them. The Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead on a cross-crease one-timer from the weakside that an unmarked UMD player potted into the empty side of the net. The second goal was a screened wrist shot from the point that was deflected down in the slot and bounced over Wilcox’s pad. Goal No. 3 was a cross-crease pass that his defenseman put in off his skate and the fourth goal was a double-tip on a point shot – and both tips were made by Gopher players.

For his wonderful career at Minnesota, Wilcox deserved better in what was likely his final game. He’ll leave the Gophers with school records and a trophy case full of awards and start his professional career. While he could return for his senior season, he’ll have suitors for his services, starting with the Lightning, who own his rights. Wilcox does have the option to not sign with the Lightning and become a free agent this summer if he thinks he can get a clearer path to the NHL elsewhere. The Syracuse Crunch have a spot open with his name on it for the rest of this year and next should Wilcox sign with the Bolts. Like Peca, he could also choose to sign an NHL deal now and burn Year 1 of his entry-level contract. For now, the focus for Wilcox will be to remember his three years at Minnesota and the legacy he’ll leave there.

*USCHO poll used

Prospect of the Week: 3-24-15

We continue our Bolt Prospect of the Week award, an honor (virtually) given to one Tampa Bay Lightning prospect for his recent contributions on and off the ice.

The Bolt Prospect of the Week for March 24, 2015 is … Adam Wilcox, G, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (NCAA – USA).

Playing goaltender for the University of Minnesota isn’t for the faint of heart. For everything positive – and Lightning prospect Adam Wilcox had plenty of positives in his first two years with the Gophers – the negatives are amplified to a level of criticism not seen in many hockey circles. Minnesota was the top-ranked team early in the year, then fell out of the rankings completely. As a result, Wilcox has trudged through a river of disparagement for inconsistent play and what amounts to not living up to the standard that he set himself.

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