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News

Frozen Four Bound

Rau (Minnesota), Matheson & McCoshen (Boston College) join Grimaldi (North Dakota) in pursuit of a National Championship in Philadelphia.

Monday, 03.31.2014 / 10:00 AM / News
By "Hockey Pat" McGrath  - FloridaPanthers.com
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Frozen Four Bound
Rau (Minnesota), Matheson & McCoshen (Boston College) join Grimaldi (North Dakota) in pursuit of a National Championship in Philadelphia.

The finals of the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Hockey Championships, better known as the “Frozen Four,” begin April 10 in Philadelphia. The event might want to rechristen itself as the “Florida Four” as four highly-acclaimed Panthers prospects have taken the Tournament by storm and led their teams through the qualifying round.

The Panthers quartet includes the University of North Dakota’s Rocco Grimaldi (2nd round, 2011), whose hat-trick against Wisconsin on Friday helped earn him MVP honors in the Midwest Regional. Grimaldi will be joined by fellow 2011 Panthers draft pick, Kyle Rau (3rd round, 2011), who scored a goal on Sunday evening to help his Minnesota Golden Gophers advance.

They will be joined in the city of brotherly love by two of Panthers General Manager Dale Tallon’s more recent selections, defensive teammates Michael Matheson (1st round, 2012) and Ian McCoshen (2nd round, 2013) of the Boston College Eagles. McCoshen netted the game-winning goal in the third period Sunday against Massachusetts-Lowell to help the Eagles punch their ticket.

With the exception of the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks (with 5), no NHL team will be better represented in Philadelphia than the Panthers. Given the illustrious careers many recent NCAA alums have gone on to have in the NHL this bodes extremely well for the future of the club and the blueprint Tallon has put in place to help identify and acquire young talent and build a core of widely acclaimed prospects.

Tallon took over the Panthers prior to the 2010 draft and is responsible for drafting each of the Panthers prospects competing in Philadelphia along with current Panthers stars including Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, Erik Gudbranson and Jonathan Huberdeau. Tallon was previously General Manager of the Chicago Blackhawks, where he was responsible for drafting the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in addition to players he subsequently acquired for the Panthers, including Jimmy Hayes, Brandon Pirri and Dylan Olsen.

The Frozen Four begins with BC taking on Union College and UND taking on Minnesota in their respective semifinals Thursday. A championship matchup between BC and Minnesota could cause some friendly jawing in the Florida Panthers locker room as Bjugstad is a Minnesota alum, while Hayes played his college hockey at Boston College. Hayes has extra reason to cheer for his hometown squad as his younger brother Kevin is a star for this year’s Eagles. The younger Hayes, a senior on BC’s top line, has seven points in two tournament games (3-4-7).

McCoshen and Matheson have been a huge part of Boston College’s on ice success this season. Sunday’s game was no different as Matheson recorded an assist on BC’s first goal while McCoshen broke a 3-3 tie with his winner midway through the third period. And it is no surprise that Matheson and McCoshen were the defensive pairing on the ice for the Eagles as time expired. Matheson was named to the Northeastern Regional All-Tournament team for his efforts over the weekend.

Rau and the Golden Gophers punched their ticket on Sunday night with their 4-0 victory over St. Cloud State. Rau recorded a power play goal in the win, giving the center three points (2-1-3) through the tournament’s first two games.

Grimaldi and the University of North Dakota were idle yesterday as the team already advanced to the Frozen Four on Saturday in a thrilling 2-1 double overtime victory over Ferris State.

The Frozen Four will be a perfect opportunity for Panthers fans to catch a glimpse of the team’s bright future as the group of talented players will be battling it out on college hockey’s biggest stage.

Who will emerge victorious? Will it be Matheson, McCoshen and the Eagles? Rau and the Golden Gophers? Or Grimaldi and UND? Regardless of the outcome, Panthers fans have reason to celebrate.

SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 50 31 15 4 163 132 66
2 MTL 47 31 13 3 127 108 65
3 NYI 48 32 15 1 157 135 65
4 DET 49 28 12 9 145 128 65
5 PIT 49 28 13 8 145 125 64
6 WSH 48 25 14 9 144 124 59
7 BOS 49 26 16 7 131 123 59
8 NYR 46 27 15 4 135 111 58
9 FLA 46 21 15 10 114 129 52
10 PHI 50 21 22 7 139 151 49
11 TOR 50 22 24 4 144 155 48
12 OTT 47 19 19 9 129 134 47
13 CBJ 47 21 23 3 119 148 45
14 NJD 49 18 22 9 110 137 45
15 CAR 48 17 25 6 104 125 40
16 BUF 50 14 33 3 94 179 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
N. Bjugstad 46 16 13 -1 29
A. Ekblad 46 7 21 6 28
J. Huberdeau 43 9 17 1 26
J. Jokinen 45 4 21 -3 25
B. Boyes 44 10 12 2 22
J. Hayes 38 13 7 1 20
S. Bergenheim 35 8 9 2 17
A. Barkov 35 5 10 -5 15
B. Campbell 46 3 11 -1 14
D. Kulikov 41 1 13 -3 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 18 11 8 .920 2.42
A. Montoya 3 4 2 .891 2.96
 
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