The NCAA playoffs are underway. As confusing as the format may be, there are only three prospects in action.
G Thatcher Demko (Boston College, Hockey East)
After a stunning 35-game season for the 20-year-old netminder, Thatcher Demko has now led his Boston College Eagles through the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. He allowed six goals in three games, good for a 0.933 save percentage and 1.99 goals against average. That, folks, is not up to Demko standards. After a .938 save percentage year of a 1.77 goals against average, Demko must be frustrated.
That’s how good Demko has been this season. Jim Benning is hoping that his second-round draft pick turns pro this year, but the ultimate decision seems to hang in Demko’s hands. But Demko is not the only NCAA netminder in play here.
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Demko now has 10 shutouts this season, which has already surpassed Cory Schneider‘s record (nine) for most single-season shutouts among Boston College netminders. Demko’s team will now face Northeastern University in the Hockey East semi-finals.
Playoffs for NCAA netminders is tough. One three-game playoff series takes place over a single weekend, starting game one on Friday and ending with game three on Saturday. This should explain why Demko struggled in the two weekend games (gave up three goals each game) after a shutout on Friday, the first game of the series.
C Adam Gaudette (Northeastern, Hockey East)
Speaking of Demko and Northeastern University, Adam Gaudette will try to continue his strong second-half play. The freshman forward had 27 points in 38 regular season games. He now has two assists in four playoff games. He will try to ruin Demko’s stats this coming weekend. Northeastern and Boston College go at it starting Friday, March 18th.
As said before with Demko, Gaudette is more likely to have success scoring over the weekend. I like Boston College’s chance in this one. The pressure is on BC Eagles Demko to stop the surging Northeastern’s King Husky.
RW Brock Boeser (North Dakota, NCHC)
Last but not least is North Dakota freshman right winger Brock Boeser. After a sparkling finish to the regular season, Boeser is leading the team to a strong postseason play. North Dakota has already swept their opponent in the first round of the playoffs.
Boeser, in the two games of the first round, had five assists. After those two games, his name is with good company:
Zach Parise is pretty good if you ask me. North Dakota will now face the Minnesota Duluth on Friday for the Frozen Faceoff. The weekend will be big for Boeser and the North Dakota Fighting Hawks.
The winner of Friday’s match will go on to the Frozen Faceoff Championship on Sunday. The loser will play for the third-place honours on Saturday. Denver and St. Cloud State are on the other side of the bracket.
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