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NCAA Division 1 Men's Hockey Frozen 4 Field Set

By Randy Lucenti on April 02, 2017

Vancouver, B.C. native Alexander Kerfoot of Harvard Crimson is one of 28 Canadian-born players heading to Chicago for the Frozen Four beginning Thursday, April 6. (Gil Talbot photo)

28 Canadians Have Shot at National Championship

Twenty-eight Canadian-born players will be competing for an NCAA Division 1 men's hockey crown during the Frozen Four at the United Centre in Chicago from April 6 to 8.

The top three seeded teams in the nation (Denver Pioneers, Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs and Harvard Crimson), along with wild-card entry Notre Dame Fighting Irish, survived through the round of 16 and round of eight playoffs to advance to the final four.

In the quarterfinals with a berth in Chicago on the line, the Pioneers dropped Penn State Nittany Lions, appearing for the first time in the championship tournament, 6-3 and Harvard got by Air Force Falcons 3-2. The other two matches featured overtime as the Irish got by the UMass-Lowell River Hawks and the Bulldogs edged the Boston University Terriers by identical 3-2 counts.

The semifinals start in Chicago on Thursday, April 6 and will pit the Pioneers against the Fighting Irish and the Bulldogs against Harvard.

The two winners will meet for the national championship title on Saturday, April 8.

Harvard leads the way in players from north of the board with nine. The Pioneers and Bulldogs have seven apiece while the Fighting Irish dress five.

A preview of the Frozen Four combatants:

DENVER PIONEERS

HISTORY: The Pioneers are the most experienced program among the final four and the lone returnee from last season's group. Denver has been to the Frozen Four 16 times and has won the national title seven times. Their last NCAA crown came in 2005.

CANADIAN TO WATCH: Tanner Jaillet
The junior goaltender from Red Deer, Alta. started all but six games in 2016-17 and finished the regular season with a record of 24-5-4. He led the NCHC in save percentage with .930 and goals-against-average with 1.82. The NCHC goaltender-of-the-year and first team all star is one of five finalists for the fourth annual Mike Richter Award as most outstanding goaltender in the NCAA. The winner will be announced on Friday, April 7.

THE OTHER CANADIANS: Freshman forward Liam Finlay, Kelowna, B.C.; junior defenceman Tariq Hammond, Calgary, Alta.; sophomore forward Jarid Lukosevicius, Squamish, B.C.; senior forward Matt Marcinew, Calgary, Alta.; sophomore forward Logan O'Connor, Calgary, Alta.; and junior defenceman Adam Plant, Penticton, B.C.

MINNESOTA-DULUTH BULLDOGS

HISTORY: This will be the Bulldogs’ fifth trip to the Frozen Four and first since 2011 when they captured their one and only NCAA title.

CANADIAN TO WATCH: Carson Soucy
The senior defenceman from Irma, Alta. is part of the Bulldogs top blue line tandem along with Riley Tufte. The two finished tied in scoring and led all team defencemen with 15 points apiece. Soucy has played 145 games over four seasons with the Bulldogs and has tallied 47 points (12G, 35A) and is a plus-31 for his university career. The tough-nosed rearguard has also racked up 216 penalty minutes.

THE OTHER CANADIANS: Sophomore forward Parker Mackay, Irma, Alta.; junior forward Sammy Spurrell, Sherwood, Alta.; junior forward Blake Young, Battleford, Sask.; sophomore forward Billy Exell, Thunder Bay, Ont.; freshman defenceman Jarod Hilderman, Kamsack, Sask,; and senior defenceman Brenden Kotyk, Regina, Sask.

HARVARD CRIMSON

HISTORY: The Crimson have been to the Final Four 13 times, but 2017 marks the first time since 1994. They have one national title to their credit and that came back in 1989.

CANADIAN TO WATCH: Alexander Kerfoot
This year, the senior forward from West Vancouver, B.C. was a finalist for both the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college hockey as well as the ECAC player of the year award. Kerfoot led Harvard in scoring with 40 points (16G, 24A) in 31 starts this season.

THE OTHER CANADIANS: Freshman forward Colton Kerfoot, West Vancouver, B.C.; sophomore defenceman Viktor Dombrovskiy, Coquitlam, B.C.; senior defenceman Victor Newell, Burnaby, B.C.; freshman forward Frédéric Grégoire, Saint-Lambert, Que.; junior forward Seb Lloyd, Prince George, B.C.; freshman forward Justin Szeto, Vancouver, B.C.;  sophomore forward Lewis Zerter-Gossage, Montreal, Que.; and senior forward Phil Zielonka, Montreal, Que.

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH

HISTORY: Notre Dame is the only remaining team without an NCAA title to their credit. This will be their third trip to the Frozen Four with the other two coming in 2008 and 2011.

CANADIAN TO WATCH: Cam Morrison
The freshman forward from Aurora, Ont. scored a pair of goals in Notre Dame's 3-2 overtime victory over UMass-Lowell in the round of eight and had an assist in their 3-2 upset victory over Minnesota in the opening round. He had 20 points, including nine goals, during the regular season.

THE OTHER CANADIANS: Senior goaltender Chad Katunar, Victoria, B.C.; junior defenceman Luke Ripley, Kitimat, B.C.; junior forward Jake Evans, Toronto, Ont.; and freshman forward Mike O'Leary, Halifax, N.S.

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By Randy Lucenti| April 02, 2017
Categories:  College
Keywords:  Frozen Four

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