Three Bolts Prospects To Compete in NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship
The NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship 16-team field was announced on Sunday, and three Tampa Bay Lightning prospects will take center stage.
The first round of the tournament is set to begin on March 28th, and the tournament will run to April 12th, at which point the two teams left standing will face off at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for the Frozen Four.
The following is a look at the three Lightning prospects to watch in the NCAA Tournament.
LIGHTNING PROSPECTS TO WATCH IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Adam Wilcox #32 – Goalie, University of Minnesota
Adam Wilcox is a sophomore at the University of Minnesota and has been a large contributor to the Gophers success on the ice this season. Wilcox has been a player to watch between the pipes, with a save percentage of 93.4, just 1.91 goals allowed per game and an overall record of 23-4-6. Wilcox was recently recognized for his stellar season when he was named the BIG 10 Player of the Year, he was also named a finalist for the Mike Richter Award for the nation's top goaltender, and is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award. The Gophers are the number one overall seed in this year's tournament, and Wilcox's play during the regular season is a huge reason why. The Golden Gophers are set to take on Robert Morris in the first round on March 28th, and the game will take place at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Brendan O'Donnell #21 – Forward, University of North Dakota
Bolts prospect Brendan O'Donnell is currently playing his junior season at the University of North Dakota. He has skated in a career-high 34 games this season, recording 8 goals and 11 assists for a total of 19 points. O'Donnell and his teammates had a long, stressful Selection Sunday but ultimately earned the 12th straight NCAA tournament bid for the North Dakota Men's Hockey team. North Dakota is scheduled to take on the number four seeded Wisconsin Badgers on March 28th at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Matthew Peca #20 – Forward, Quinnipiac University
Matthew Peca is currently a junior at Quinnipiac University and was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. This season has been a great one for Peca, who has put up impressive numbers with 12 goals and 25 assists, for a total of 37 points in 38 games played. The Quinnipiac Bobcats are coming off a 3-2 double overtime loss to Colgate in the ECAC tournament semi-finals, but despite the loss the Bobcats earned a bid to the 2014 Frozen Four. Peca and his teammates are eager to show the hockey world they are one of the best teams in the NCAA despite the recent defeat, and will battle Providence in the first round on March 28th at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
COLLEGE PROSPECTS SEASON IN REVIEW
Brian Hart #39 – Forward, Harvard University
Lightning prospect and current Harvard University forward Brian Hart has continued to impress in his second season with the Crimson, posting a total of 15 points in 31 games (6 goals, 9 assists). The Harvard Crimson finished their season on March 8th, when rival Yale beat them twice in a best of three series in the opening round of the ECAC Championship. Hart had the lone goal for his team in the final game, which the Crimson ultimately lost 2-1. Harvard did not earn a bid to this year's NCAA Frozen Four tournament, which means their season has come to an end. They finished with an overall record of 10-17-4, which puts them in 10th place in the ECAC standings to finish off the 2013-14 season.
Jimmy Mullin #20 – Forward, Miami OH University
Jimmy Mullin was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2010 with the 118th overall pick in the draft. Mullin is a standout at Miami University, and has put up impressive numbers in his years with the RedHawks. He has played a total of 75 games so far in his college career, recording 17 goals and 23 assists for a total of 40 points. Mullin and his teammates did not receive a bid to play in this year's NCAA Frozen Four tournament after losing to Denver University 4-3 in the NCHC tournament finals. The RedHawks finished with an overall record of 6-17-1 in a competitive National Collegiate Hockey Conference.