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6 Canuck prospects are gearing up for NCAA Conference Championship pushes this weekend

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Photo credit:@terrierhockey on IG
Dave Hall
3 months ago
With nearly a month remaining in the Vancouver Canucks’ schedule, are you getting antsy to catch playoff hockey? Well, this weekend, the NCAA has got you covered.
Starting Friday, all conferences will wrap up their respective schedules with semifinal and championship games slated over the weekend. The Canucks’ prospect pipeline boasts six players still in contention to play for glory.
Unlike the professional ranks, the collegiate level is cut-throat, setting up single-elimination matches across the board to finalize their winners.
Here’s a breakdown of who, when, what, and where to catch each Canuck prospect this weekend.

Hockey East

For Canuck fans, the Hockey East matchup should be considered the main event, as there’s potential for three prospects to vie for the championship – including one of the organization’s top prospects, Tom Willander.
On Friday, there will be two semifinal matchups. The first game will be between Boston College (BC) and the University of Massachusetts, starting at 1:00 pm. Following that, Boston University (BU) will face off against Maine University at 4:30 pm.
The winners of each semifinal will advance to a single-game championship on Saturday at 4:30 pm (all times are Pacific Time).
For BC, Jack Malone played a significant role in his team’s advancement through the quarterfinals, tallying two goals and one assist for three points. Since his transfer to the high-flying Boston group, he’s enjoyed a career Senior year with 21 points through 35 games.
Meanwhile, Tom Willander, who earned a spot on the Hockey East All-Star team, and the BU Terriers come in as the favourites in the match against former Penticton Vees’ standouts, Bradley and Josh Nadeau.
Skating on the team’s second pair, Willander picked up a secondary assist in BU’s quarterfinal match to bring his point total to 22 points across 33 games and a strong plus-24 plus/minus rating.
Aiden Celebrini has primarily been used as the seventh defender, and we expect much of the same over the weekend.
While not directly affiliated with the Canucks organization, undrafted Abbotsford native Mathieu Caron enters the weekend with an impressive .917 save percentage and a 2.29 goals-against average while keeping his opponents to two goals or fewer in his last seven starts.
Boston University, the defending Hockey East Tournament champion, comes into the matchup riding a six-game win streak and a seven-game unbeaten streak. They haven’t suffered a regulation loss since January 27th and boast a 9-1-1 record since the start of February.

NCHC

The National Collegiate Hockey Conference will showcase a clash between two Canucks prospects in a single-game semifinal on Friday at 2:00 pm.
The matchup will pit Ty Mueller and his fourth-ranked Omaha-Nebraska squad against Jackson Kunz and the top-ranked North Dakota Fighting Hawks, with the winner advancing to the final on Saturday at 5:30 pm.
Despite a recent dip in scoring form, Mueller remains a pivotal figure for Omaha as he’s currently tied for second on the team with 25 points in 37 games. His performance on the top line is crucial to the team’s success, and he scored a goal in the first game of their best-of-three quarterfinal series.
On the other hand, Kunz enters the matchup on a hot streak, tallying a goal and four points in two playoff games so far. Starting the season as an extra forward, he has climbed the ranks to the top-six, and has become a prominent presence in front of the net on the power play. With 10 points in his last 12 games since February, he’s enjoying a breakout season with 17 points in his Junior campaign.

Big Ten

Finally, we have Jacob Truscott, who will represent Michigan in an all-state Big Ten Championship game against Michigan State.
Truscott, who will reportedly be exploring the free agent market, has accumulated 15 points in 37 games and has set a new career high in penalty minutes with 41.

Eliminated

Aku Koskenvuo (Harvard), Jackson Dorrington (Northeastern), Matthew Perkins (Minnesota-Duluth), and Daimon Gardner (Clarkson) have all been eliminated from playoff contention.

Frozen Four

Once all conference champions are awarded, the NCAA looks toward its coveted Frozen Four tournament.
Directly taken from NCAA.com, the process is as follows:
Selection Process
The 2024 Division I Men’s Hockey Championship will feature 16 teams competing in a single-elimination tournament. Of the 16 teams, six conference champions will receive automatic qualification, with the remaining 10 best teams being selected on an at-large basis by the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Committee. A total of four teams will be seeded with each of the seeded teams being placed at one regional site.
Selection Show – March 24, 2024
The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship bracket will be announced on Sunday, March 24.
Regionals – March 28-31, 2024
At each site, four teams will compete in a single-elimination Regional Semifinal competition. The two winning teams will then compete against each other in a single-elimination Regional Final competition at the same site. The winning team from each of the four Regionals will advance to the Men’s Frozen Four in St. Paul, MN.
Men’s Frozen Four – April 11 & 13, 2024
The 2024 NCAA Division I Men’s Hockey Championship will be held at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, MN. The National Semifinals will be held on April 11, 2024. The National Championship will take place on April 13, 2024.
Join Sekeres & Price and the CanucksArmy crew on Saturday April 20th at the Hollywood Theatre in Kitsilano for a special tribute to their late friend, Jason Botchford, presented by Fountain Tire. “Bro, Do Your Playoffs” is a media event celebrating the life and legacy of Jason that will feature shared memories, special guests, an exclusive performance from The Matinée and the celebration of Vancouver’s triumphant return to the playoffs. This event is in support of the BC Mental Health Foundation. Get your tickets now at https://www.showpass.com/hollywood-brodoyourplayoffs/

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