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Panthers Insider

Falling Short Of A National Championship

Monday, 04.1.2013 / 10:50 AM ET
By Glenn Odebralski - FloridaPanthers.com / Panthers Insider
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Minnesota forward Nick Bjustad (University of Minnesota)

It was a tough weekend for the Panthers prospects that were looking to win an NCAA National Championship.

Seven Panthers prospects had a chance to do so but by Saturday, their dreams of winning that title came to an end and the upstart Yale Bulldogs were the cause for four of them.

Seeded fourth in the West Region and 15th overall in the tournament, they took out two of the NCAA's most prestigious programs in back-to-back days and will have a chance to play for a National Championship if they beat UMass-Lowell in the semis on April 11.

First it was Nick Bjugstad, Kyle Rau and the second ranked University of Minnesota that were shocked by the Bulldogs. The underdogs held a 2-0 lead after two periods before Minnesota tied it up with two third period goals (Rau assisting on the first). It didn't take Yale long to rebound in overtime as they forced a turnover behind the net and scored just nine seconds in to send the Gophers home.

"This is one of the best years of my life, one of the best group of guys I’ve ever been with," said Bjugstad to the media following the game. Florida's first round pick (19th overall) in the 2010 draft had one of Minnesota's best chances in the first 40 minutes, sending a backhanded shot from a sharp angle off the goaltender and off the post, wide. Having made the decision to return to chase a title, he was asked about his future. "I don’t even want to think about it right now. I get choked up thinking about it."

North Dakota scored two third period goals to come back and defeat Niagara in their first round and looked good through forty minutes as Hobey Baker finalist Corban Knight gave them a 1-0 lead less than eight minutes in against the Bulldogs. Yale would not be deterred as they exploded for four third period goals in a 4-1 victory to win the region and spoil Knight and Rocco Grimaldi's chances at a title.

In the East, defending champs Boston College along with 2012 first round pick and freshman defenseman Mike Matheson were no match for Union College, falling 5-1. Wisconsin (Ed Wittchow) fell to UMass-Lowell 6-1 in their opening game Friday while Denver and Sam Brittain fell 5-2 to New Hampshire in the same region, although Brittain did not see any action for the Pioneers.

The Frozen Four will see two four seeds, Yale and St Cloud St. (who beat Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio) by a combined 9-2) face-off against two top seeds in UMass-Lowell and Quinnipiac respectively with the winners facing off in the Championship Game on April 13.

SCHEDULE

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 48 16 21 12 37
J. Huberdeau 51 10 27 11 37
A. Barkov 41 15 19 13 34
J. Jokinen 51 9 24 12 33
V. Trocheck 51 17 15 4 32
R. Smith 51 16 15 12 31
B. Pirri 47 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 47 10 12 23 22
B. Campbell 51 4 15 17 19
N. Bjugstad 36 9 8 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 4 .930 2.11
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

 
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