clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Blackhawks fan guide to NCAA hockey tournament, Canadian Hockey League playoffs

New, comment

Fourteen Chicago prospects will compete in the postseason.

Erie Otters v Niagara IceDogs Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks will have 14 prospects compete in the postseason in the NCAA men’s hockey tournament and their respective junior leagues.

There will be seven Chicago prospects in the NCAA tournament — the most for any NHL team — including three on three different teams in the Northeast Regional. Another seven will play in the Canadian Hockey League playoffs: three in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and two apiece in Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League.

The winners of each NCAA regional meet April 6 and April 8 at the Frozen Four at United Center in Chicago. The three CHL league champions along with host Windsor will play for the Memorial Cup in a round-robin tournament May 19-28 at WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ontario.

NCAA tournament

Complete TV schedule and game times for the tournament.

West Regional, Fargo, North Dakota; March 24-25

Matt Tomkins (G) - Ohio State

Ohio State has a tough draw facing Minnesota Duluth in the opening round. The Bulldogs were ranked in the top three of the nation for the better part of the season. Tomkins, 2012 seventh-rounder, leads the Buckeyes between the pipes with a 12-4-3 record, 2.48 goals-against average and .909 save percentage with one shutout. It’s Ohio State’s first playoff appearance under coach Steve Rohlik.

Chad Krys (D) - Boston University

Ohio State may have the tougher opponent by seed, Boston will also have to deal with a “home” crowd when it plays North Dakota. The Fighting Hawks fanbase will make the 80-mile drive down 1-29 and pack Scheels Arena. Krys, a 2016 second-rounder, has 10 points (five goals, five assists) in 37 games during his freshman season.

March 24: No. 1 Minnesota Duluth (25-6-7) vs. No. 4 Ohio State (21-11-6)

March 24: No. 2 Boston (23-11-3) vs. No. 3 North Dakota (21-15-3)

March 25: West Regional championship

East Regional, Providence, Rhode Island; March 24-25

Matheson Iacopelli (RW) - Western Michigan

Western Michigan is back in the postseason for the first time since 2012. The Broncos draw Atlantic Hockey Conference tournament champions Air Force in the first round. Western Michigan is limping into the tournament after a pair of losses to Minnesota Duluth and Denver in the NCHC Frozen Faceoff. Iacopelli, a 2014 third-rounder, leads the Broncos in points (34), goals (20) and shots (162). Iacopelli

The Broncos went 1-0-1 in November against Air Force. Iacopelli tallied two goals in the series opener. Western Michigan is 0-5 all time in the postseason.

March 24: No. 1 Harvard (26-5-2) vs. No. 4 Providence (22-11-5)

March 24: No. 2 Western Michigan (22-12-5) vs. No. 3 Air Force (26-9-5)

March 25: East Regional championship

Midwest Regional, Cincinnati, Ohio; March 25-26

Blake Hillman (D) - Denver

Denver is the top overall seed. The Pioneers are looking to return to the Frozen Four, where they fell to rival North Dakota in the semifinals a year ago. Hillman, a 2016 sixth-rounder, has a goal and six assists in 39 games during his sophomore season.

March 25: No. 1 Denver (29-7-4) vs. No. 4 Michigan Tech (23-14-7)

March 25: No. 2 Union (NY) (25-9-3) vs. No. 3 Penn State (24-11-2)

March 26: Midwest Regional championship

Northeast Regional, Manchester, New Hampshire; March 25-26

Dennis Gilbert (D) - Notre Dame

Notre Dame is another team that fell in the semifinals of its conference tournament. The Fighting Irish could avenge that loss in the regional championship if they advance and face UMass-Lowell. Gilbert, a 2015 third-rounder, failed to find the back of the net in 37 games during his sophomore season, but had no trouble helping his teammates do so with 22 assists.

Jack Ramsey (RW) - Minnesota

Minnesota earned an at-large bid after falling to Penn State in the Big Ten tournament semifinals. The Gophers are the fourth overall seed. Ramsey, a 2014 seventh-rounder, hasn’t played a significant scoring role for the Gophers this season with only 5 points (a goal, four assists) in 35 games in his sophomore campaign.

Beau Starrett (C) - Cornell

Cornell received an at-large bid following its ECAC title game lost to Harvard. Starrett, a 2014 third-rounder, has four goals and 14 points in 24 games. The Big Red also feature two Illinois natives: Jeff Kubiak of Tinley Park and Hayden Stewart of Rockford.

March 25: No. 1 Minnesota (23-11-3) vs. No. 4 Notre Dame (21-11-5)

March 25: No. 2 Massachusetts Lowell (26-10-3) vs. No. 3 Cornell (21-8-5)

March 26: Northeast Regional championship

Frozen Four, Chicago; April 6, 8

April 6: Northeast Regional champion vs. Midwest Regional champion

April 6: East Regional champion vs. West Regional champion

April 8: NCAA national championship game

CHL

Ontario Hockey League

Alex DeBrincat (RW) - Erie

Erie is the clear-cut favorite to win the OHL and make a run at the Memorial Cup. The Otters are fresh off a CHL record fourth consecutive 50-win season and look to win the J. Ross Robertson Cup for the first time since 2002. DeBrincat, a 2016 second-rounder, won the OHL scoring title with 127 points (65 goals, 62 assists) in 63 games. The 19-year-old is currently on a 19-game point streak. Erie is 3-1 this season against Sarnia and the Otters won last year’s opening round series against the Sting, 4-1.

Game 1: Sarnia at Erie, March 23

Game 2: Erie at Sarnia, March 25

Game 3: Erie at Sarnia, March 27

Game 4: Sarnia at Erie, March 29

*Game 5: Sarnia at Erie, March 31

*Game 6: Erie at Sarnia, April 2

*Game 7: Sarnia at Erie, April 4

Graham Knott (LW) - Windsor

Windsor faces longtime rival London, the defending Memorial Cup champion, in the first round. The Spitfires and Knights split the season series with three wins apiece. Knott, a 2015 second-rounder, has scored 11 goals and 35 points in 45 games for Windsor since being traded from Niagara in January. The 20-year-old has 42 points (15 goals, 37 assists) in 59 games this season between Niagara and Windsor.

Windsor is hosting this year’s Memorial Cup, so if the Spitfires win the OHL, the Memorial Cup berth reserved for the league champion will be awarded to the OHL’s runner-up.

Game 1: Windsor at London, March 24

Game 2: Windsor at London, March 26

Game 3: London at Windsor, March 28

Game 4: London at Windsor, March 30

*Game 5: Windsor at London, March 31

*Game 6: London at Windsor, April 2

*Game 7: Windsor at London, April 4

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Alexandre Fortin (LW) - Rouyn-Noranda

Rouyn-Noranda, the defending QMJHL champions, face Halifax in the first round. The Huskies limped into the playoffs with three losses, but were able to remain the top seed in the Western Conference. Rouyn-Noranda won both games this season against Halifax. Fortin, an undrafted free agent signing by Chicago, averaged a point per game (52) in the regular season.

Game 1: Halifax at Rouyn-Noranda, March 24

Game 2: Halifax at Rouyn-Noranda, March 25

Game 3: Rouyn-Noranda at Halifax, March 28

Game 4: Rouyn-Noranda at Halifax, March 29

*Game 5: Rouyn-Noranda at Halifax, March 31

*Game 6: Halifax at Rouyn-Noranda, April 3

*Game 7: Halifax at Rouyn-Noranda, April 4

Matthew Highmore (C) and Nathan Noel (C) - Saint John

Saint John is the top overall seed in the QMJHL after posting a 48-14-5-1 record. The SeaDogs will face Rimouski Oceanic, who they beat twice this season. Highmore leads the SeaDogs in points (89) and assists (55). The undrafted signee ranks third on the team in goals (34). Noel, a 2016 fourth-rounder, has also shown his scoring touch with 50 points (24 goals, 26 assists) in 52 games this season.

Game 1: Rimouski at Saint John, March 24

Game 2: Rimouski at Saint John, March 25

Game 3: Saint John at Rimouski, Mach 28

Game 4: Saint John at Rimouski, March 29

*Game 5: Rimouski at Saint John, March 31

*Game 6: Saint John at Rimouski, April 2

*Game 7: Rimouski at Saint John, April 4

Western Hockey League

Radovan Bondra (RW) - Prince George

Prince George won the British Columbia Division title and will face the Portland Winterhawks, who finished in third place in the U.S. Division in the Western Conference. Bondra, 20, joined the Cougars on Jan. 10 in a trade from Vancouver. The Hawks’ 2015 fifth-rounder tallied 32 points (13 goals, 19 assists) since the move to Prince George. He blew past his 2015-16 numbers with 63 points (32 goals, 31 assists) in 62 games this season.

Game 1: Portland at Prince George, March 24

Game 2: Portland at Prince George, March 26

Game 3: Prince George at Portland, March 29

Game 4: Prince George at Portland, March 30

*Game 5: Portland at Prince George, April 1

*Game 6: Prince George at Portland, April 3

*Game 7: Portland at Prince George, April 5

John Dahlstrom (LW) - Medicine Hat

Medicine Hat, the Central Division champions, will play defending WHL champion Brandon in the opening round in the Eastern Conference. The Tigers finished second overall in the league, nine points back of first-place Regina. Dahlstrom, 20, has found tremendous success this season for the Tigers after moving from Sweden to Canada. Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick in the 2015 draft, has 59 points (30 goals, 29 assists) this season.

Game 1: Brandon at Medicine Hat, March 24

Game 2: Brandon at Medicine Hat, March 25

Game 3: Medicine Hat at Brandon, March 28

Game 4: Medicine Hat at Brandon, March 29

*Game 5: Brandon at Medicine Hat, March 31

*Game 6: Medicine Hat at Brandon, April 2

*Game 7: Brandon at Medicine Hat, April 4

Memorial Cup, Windsor, Ontario; May 19-28

Round-robin Game 1: QMJHL vs. Windsor, May 19

Round-robin Game 2: OHL vs WHL, May 20

Round-robin Game 3: Windsor vs. WHL, May 21

Round-robin Game 4: OHL vs. QMJHL, May 22

Round-robin Game 5: WHL vs. QMJHL, May 23

Round-robin Game 6: Windsor vs. OHL, May 24

*Tie-breaker: Teams TBD, May 25

Semifinal: Teams TBD, May 26

Final: Teams TBD, May 28