NCAA Game Night: 3-24-12

No. 14 Cornell Big Red 1 vs. No. 9 Ferris State Bulldogs 2
NCAA Midwest Regional Final

D/W Kirill Gotovets, COR: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 24 GP, 1-7-8, +13, 12 PIM

Ferris State senior Jordie Johnson (undrafted) scored in the seventh minute of the third period to break a 1-1 tie and propel the Bulldogs to their first Frozen Four. Gotovets had the only assist on Cornell’s lone goal. He finishes the year with eight point in 24 games. More will be expected of the Belarusian next year as an upperclassman. Gotovets may not be completely done for the season as he could suit up for Belarus in the World Championships later this spring as he’s done the last two years.

No. 4 North Dakota Fighting Sioux 3 vs. No. 12 Western Michigan Broncos 1
NCAA West Regional Semifinal

D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM (hitting after the whistle), 1 SOG
Season totals: 40 GP, 2-11-13, +8, 66 PIM

WMU’s postseason run came to an end Saturday afternoon, falling 3-1 to top-seeded North Dakota. The Broncos scored to make the game 2-1 and appeared to get the tying goal, but it was ruled no-goal. The puck appeared to bounce in off a net-crashing forward while a Sioux player was sliding into the post and knocking the net off. It was ruled no goal and UND added an empty net goal late to give the game its final score. Witkowki and NCAA free agent partner Dan DeKeyser were on the ice in the last minute trying to get the game tied. Witkowski appeared to hesitate when deciding to pinch in at the blueline to keep the puck in, and when he finally did he was a little too late and lost a one-on-one battle along the wall. The UND player got around him and scored into an empty net. It’s a tough play for the junior alternate captain, who has been fantastic all year on the back end. It was reported this week that he will return to school for his senior season. He has a good chance to be named captain. Witkowski set a career high for points in a season and could breakout on offense next year. DeKeyser had an assist in the game and was strong throughout. There have been mixed signals as to whether the sophomore will leave school and turn pro. The Lightning are one of a few teams thought to be leaders for him. Detroit and Toronto are the others.

Note: With Gotovets and Witkowski seeing their seasons end on Saturday, it means no Lightning prospect will be playing in the Frozen Four taking place in Tampa. Brendan O'Donnell's Fighting Sioux could still make it, but O'Donnell is out for the season due to injury. A final review of Lightning NCAA prospects will be posted in the coming days.

*USCHO poll used