McGill Redmen 1 @ No. 17 Harvard Crimson 5 (exhibition)
F Brian Hart, HAR: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Harvard started their season with a big exhibition win over the alma mater of Lightning coaches Guy Boucher and Martin Raymond. McGill won the Canadian university national championship last season. This was Hart’s collegiate debut.
Providence Friars 1 @ No. 4 Miami RedHawks 1
F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: 0-0-0, E, 2 PIM (tripping), 0 SOG
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM
2012 Lightning prospect camper Austin Czarnik had an assist as Miami tied Providence on Friday night.
Ohio State Buckeyes 1 @ No. 20 Quinnipiac Bobcats 1 (OT)
F Matthew Peca, QU: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG, *First Star*
Season totals: 4 GP, 1-1-2, -2, 2 PIM
Peca (pictured) scored his first goal of the year and earned first star honors in the Bobcats’ tie against visiting Ohio State. Peca’s goal was unassisted and scored at even strength.
No. 2 North Dakota Fighting Sioux 5 @ Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks 0 (Alaska Goal Rush Tournament)
F Brendan O’Donnell, UND: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 1 GP, 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM
UND got two goals from Habs prospect Mark MacMillan and the Sioux won their season opener, 5-0 over tournament host Alaska-Fairbanks.
No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers 3 @ Michigan Tech Huskies 5
G Adam Wilcox, MIN: No decision, 11 saves on 12 shots in relief
Season totals: 1 GP, 1-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .909 sv%, 0 SO
Freshman Adam Wilcox replaced an ineffective Michael Shibrowski in the second period and allowed one goal in 31 minutes as the top-ranked Gophers lost on the road at Michigan Tech in both teams’ conference opener. It was Minnesota’s first loss of the season.
Canisius Griffins 0 @ No. 12 Western Michigan Broncos 3
D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 3 GP, 0-2-2, E, 2 PIM
The Broncos shut out the alma mater of Lightning prospect and reigning AHL Most Valuable Player Cory Conacher. Witkowski did not register a point. Lightning free agent target Danny DeKeyser had six shots on goal for WMU.
Colgate Raiders 1 @ No. 9 Miami RedHawks 5
F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM, 5 SOG
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 0 PIM
Miami easily handled the Raiders on Saturday, one night after shutting them out, 3-0. Jimmy Mullin hit the scoresheet for the first time this year with a third period assist.
Robert Morris Colonials 0 @ Quinnipiac Bobcats 4
F Matthew Peca, QU: 0-1-1, +1, 2 PIM (slashing), 3 SOG
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-1-1, E, 2 PIM
Quinnipiac improved to 2-0 on the year with a shutout win over the Colonials. Lightning prospect Matthew Peca earned his first point of the season, an assist. Eric Hartzell (undrafted) made 16 saves in the Quinnipiac nets for the shutout.
St. Lawrence Saints 2 @ No.10 Western Michigan Broncos 3
D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 2 GP, 0-2-2, E, 2 PIM
The Broncos exacted a bit of revenge on the Saints, who beat WMU in overtime on Friday night. Lightning prospect and WMU captain Luke Witkowski (pictured) notched his first two points of the season, including an assist on the game-tying goal scored by Lightning target Danny DeKeyser. The Lightning pursued DeKeyser, a free agent, late last year and along with the Red Wings were thought to be a finalist to sign him until he decided to return to school for his junior season. DeKeyser and Witkowski are partners on the ice and roommates off the ice.
As uncertain as things have traditionally been for the Lightning between the pipes, the defenseman position may be even more unsettled at this point in the offseason. After cheating father time for much of the 2011-2012 season, age caught up to many of the Lightning's veteran defensemen in 2012-2013. Mattias Ohlund may never play another NHL game after the 35 year old's knee finally gave out after over 900 games of NHL service.
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 Cornellâ€™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 heâ€™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
WMUâ€™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. Itâ€™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
Colgate Raiders 0 @ No. 13 Cornell Big Red 3
D/W Kirill Gotovets, COR: 0-0-0, , 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Season totals: 22 GP, 1-6-7, +13, 12 PIM
Gotovets was back on defense after playing forward in Cornellâ€™s semifinal loss to Harvard on Friday. He registered one shot on goal as Cornell took the Consolation Game win in Atlantic City.
No. 19 Harvard Crimson 1 @ Union Dutchmen 3
F Alex Killorn, HAR: 1-0-1, E, 0 PIM, 6 SOG
Season totals: 34GP, 23-23-46, +13, 47 PIMs
In what was probably his final collegiate game, Alex Killorn scored his teamâ€™s only goal and led the Crimson with five shots on net, but Harvard lost to Union 3-1 in the ECAC Championship Game. It was Unionâ€™s first ECAC title. Any slim shot Harvard had at getting an invitation to the big dance went by the wayside when Union and Western Michigan both got automatic bids. Killorn came back to school for his senior year to do just this â€“ have a strong offensive campaign and lead his team to new heights. Hopefully he holds his head high. The Killorn contract watch now begins, as heâ€™s a lock to sign his name on the dotted line with the Lightning. Itâ€™s just a matter of when.
No. 7 Miami RedHawks 4 vs. Bowling Green Falcons 1
F Jimmy Mullin, MIA: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Season totals: 35 GP, 11-15-26, +17, 10 PIM
After a tough loss to Western Michigan in the semifinals Friday, Miami defeated upstart Bowling Green in the CCHA Consolation Game. Miami is a lock for the national tournament and will await their seeding on Sunday.
Note: Brendan Oâ€™Donnell (North Dakota) is out for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. North Dakota won their third straight WCHA tournament championship.
No. 3 Michigan Wolverines 2 vs. No. 14 Western Michigan Broncos 3
D Luke Witkowski, WMU: 0-0-0, E, 0 PIM, 0 SOG
Season totals: 39 GP, 2-11-13, +8, 47 PIM
Fear the beard. Witkowski and Western Michigan won their first CCHA tournament title since 1986 as they held on to beat Michigan, 3-2. Witkowski was strong all night with his partner, free agent Dan DeKeyser. Witkowskiâ€™s dump-in and the hybrid icing rule led to the eventual game-winning goal, scored in the closing minutes of the second period. Witkowski, who came into the game with seven points in his last eight games, was beaten one-on-one for Michiganâ€™s first goal, which came while WMU was on the power play, but was strong in his own zone as the Broncos killed off a five-minute major penalty that ended with three minutes to go. He was very poised and strong on the puck in his own end, and at one point in the final minute enabled a clear when he beat two Wolverines to a loose puck while he was on his knees after breaking up the previous play. During the broadcast, Fox Sports Detroit said WMU coach Andy Murray mentioned that all six WMU defensemen would be back next year. The announcers didnâ€™t seem to put a ton of stock in the comment, but itâ€™s the first indication that DeKeyser â€“ and Witkowski â€“ are staying in school. DeKeyser, who was named to the CCHA All-Tournament team, will be offered a contract from most every NHL team and Witkowski has played well enough to start a contract conversation among the Lightning brass. Time will tell, but right now Witkowski, his beard â€“ which got a kiss from the Broncos backup goaltender during the celebration, and WMU will wait and see what damage they can do in the national tournament. They earned an automatic bid with the tournament championship. (Luke's photo from his Twitter feed, @LWitko28)
*USCHO poll used