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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