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Top of the lottery prospects: Adam Fantilli lighting up the Big Ten Tournament

Fantilli is now the record holder for most goals and points in a single Big Ten Tournament — and the tournament isn’t even over.

Michigan Photography

Adam Fantilli kicked off the 2023 Big Ten Tournament in a blaze of glory: he notched seven goals and 10 points in the first three games, and now holds the record for most goals and points in a single Big Ten Tournament — with another game left to play.

This also brings his season total to 60 points (27 G, 33 A) in 31 games, a whopping 1.88 points-per-game rate.

To no one’s surprise, Fantilli was recently named a finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award:

Additionally, all-conference awards were announced on Tuesday, and Fantilli was named the Big Ten Hockey Rookie of the Year and to both the All-Freshman Team and All-Big Ten First Team.

As for his performance in the tournament so far, Fantilli started off with a near hat trick in the opening game of the best-of-three quarterfinals against Wisconsin on March 3. Both goals were absolute rockets of one-timers from the right circle.

The first goal gave Michigan a 3-2 lead midway through the second period:

And his second regained Michigan the the lead — 4-3 this time — with 19 seconds remaining in the second period:

It looked like Fantilli would finish off his hat trick and score the game-tying goal with 1:15 left in regulation, but Wisconsin challenged and the goal was disallowed for too many men on the ice. Luckily, the Wolverines tied the game seconds later and then ultimately won 6-5 in overtime.

The nation’s leading scorer followed that game up with an actual hat trick the next night, scoring twice in the first period and then 31 seconds into the middle frame, as well as picking up an assist to make it a four-point performance.

Fantilli’s first goal was a bit of a lucky bounce, as his cross-ice pass attempt from near the boards deflected off an opposing player and into the net. To be fair, Fantilli was looking for a deflection by his teammate — the Wisconsin defensemen just interrupted.

His second of the night was more intentional as he cleaned up a loose puck after a rebound. Fantilli has one of the best shots in the upcoming 2023 NHL Draft, but he’s also very willing to battle in the slot for a chance as more dirty goals like this one.

The goal that made it rain hats was a long wrister that Fantilli took from just inside the blue line. There was a Wisconsin player who slightly screened goaltender Kyle McClellan, but the Missouri native probably wants that one back.

Fantilli’s assist came on the opening goal of the game: a smart one-touch pass in the neutral zone to setup Mackie Samoskevich’s zone entry. Fantilli also opened a passing lane for Samoskevich to the eventual goal scorer Rutger McGroarty by driving to the net and drawing the defenders low.

After defeating Wisconsin twice, Michigan moved on to face Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament single-elimination semifinals last Saturday. Fantilli added another two goals and a pair of assists to power Michigan to a 7-4 victory.

His first point of the game was an assist on Gavin Brindley’s goal, just 24 seconds into the first period. Fantilli started the play with an efficient zone entry and initial pass, and he created a partial screen for the shot.

Then, with just a few minutes left in the second period, Ohio State decided to leave Fantilli uncovered, and he flicked a quick wrister for his first goal of the game:

The center added an empty-net goal and an assist on another empty-net goal to bring his total for the night to four points:

Next up, Fantilli and Michigan will head to Minnesota this Saturday to take on the Golden Gophers for the Big Ten Championship, attempting to become back-to-back champions.