College Hockey Inc.
Men's Notes: NCAA Tourney Picture Coming Into Focus
Conference Champs, NCAA Berths Decided This Weekend

Quinnipiac fans will cheer on the Bobcats in the ECAC Tournament in Lake Placid (Photo: QU Athletics/Rob Rasmussen).

Conference championships and berths in the NCAA Tournament are the stakes this weekend in NCAA Division I men’s hockey. Below is a preview of all the weekend action in every conference tournament:

Atlantic Hockey
Regular-Season Champion: RIT
An NCAA Tournament autobid will be on the line when top-seeded RIT hosts No. 5 seed AIC in Saturday’s Atlantic Hockey championship game … The two teams split their regular-season series in early December … RIT advanced to the title game by sweeping Niagara in the best-of-three semifinals, extending the Tigers’ winning streak to six games … Freshman F Tyler Fukakusa (Toronto, Ontario) scored four goals (on four shots) in that series … AIC G Nils Wallstrom (Fr., Skellefteå, Sweden) posted a .959% percentage in the Yellow Jackets’ road sweep of No. 2 seed Holy Cross … AIC has lost just once in its last 10 games (6-1-3).

Big Ten
Regular-Season Champion: Michigan State
Storied rivals Michigan State and Michigan will square off in Saturday’s championship game at Munn Arena … Top-seeded MSU edged No. 7 seed Ohio State 2-1 in the semifinals on a Nash Nienhuis (Sr., Sarnia, Ontario) game-winner early in the third period … No. 4 seed Michigan, which is chasing its third straight Big Ten tournament championship, picked up a 2-1 road victory at third-seeded Minnesota … The Spartans won three of the four meetings with the Wolverines during the regular season.

Regular-Season Champion: Bemidji State
Top-seeded Bemidji State hosts third-seeded Michigan Tech in Friday’s Mason Cup championship at the Sanford Center, with the winner receiving an autobid into the NCAA Tournament … BSU got past Lake Superior State in the semifinals to extend its unbeaten streak to 11 games, the longest of the Beavers’ Division I era … MTU, playing in its first CCHA title game, advanced with a 4-3 win over Minnesota State … Logan Pietila (Gr., Howell, Mich.) scored the game-tying goal with 4:33 left in the third period, then he added the game-winner with just nine seconds remaining … The two teams met four times during the regular season, with the Huskies claiming a 2-1-1 edge.

ECAC Hockey
Regular-Season Champion: Quinnipiac
Lake Placid plays hosts to a pair of ECAC Hockey semifinal matchups on Friday … Defending NCAA champ and No. 1 seed faces St. Lawrence in one matchup, while No. 2 Cornell battles No. 4 Dartmouth in the other … QU enters the weekend having won nine of its last 11 games … St. Lawrence was the lone road team to come out of the quarterfinals, having swept No. 3 seed Colgate … Six of the Saints’ last 10 games have gone into overtime … Dartmouth enters Friday’s game on a six-game winning streak and unbeaten in its last nine … Cornell, which is 15th in the PairWise Rankings, got four points from Gabriel Seger (Gr., Uppsala, Sweden) in its Game 2 clincher against Harvard.

Regular-Season Champion: Boston College
UMass will face top-ranked Boston College, and Maine will battle Boston University in the Hockey East semifinals at Boston’s TD Garden … BC enters the weekend on a 10-game winning streak and swept the regular-season home-and-home series with UMass … The Minutemen were the only road team to advance out of the quarterfinals, defeating Providence … BU is averaging more than five goals per game offensively during its current six-game winning streak … The Black Bears have won four straight games, including a 5-0 quarterfinal win over New Hampshire. Brothers Bradly and Josh Nadeau each had two goals and two assists in that game and have combined for 90 points on the year.

Regular-Season Champion: North Dakota
The NCHC Frozen Faceoff semifinals at Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul will feature No. 1 seed North Dakota against No. 4 seed Omaha in one matchup, and No. 2 Denver vs. No. 3 St. Cloud State in the other … UNO swept UND to close out the regular season and has taken three of the four head-to-head matchups this season … UNO G Simon Latkoczy (So., Trencin, Slovakia) logged a .951 save percentage in the three-game quarterfinal series at Colorado College … DU holds a 3-0-1 advantage in the season series with SCSU … The Huskies are No. 16 in the PWR.

The NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship bracket will be announced on Sunday, March 24. The selection show can be seen live on ESPNU at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Daily Scoreboard | Weekly ScheduleStat Leaders | Goaltending Leaders

Must Read:

Bemidji Pioneer: Connecting Bemidji State’s historic dots ahead of Mason Cup championship
Bangor Daily News: UMaine hockey continues racking up noteworthy accomplishments
Daily Mining Gazette: Miracle at the Mac: Huskies hockey tops Mavericks to advance to Mason Cup final
ESPN: Road to Frozen Four: Men’s conference tournament results, schedules
FloHockey: 2024 Atlantic Hockey championship preview: RIT hosts AIC
Michigan Daily: Michigan’s impressive point production across lines showcases depth in the postseason
New England Hockey Journal: 6 things to watch in college hockey conference championships Celebrini, Smith among 10 Hobey Baker candidates
The Athletic: Rangers prospect Gabe Perreault is thriving but making the NHL is a ways away
The Rink Live: From sunshine to stardom, again, as Michigan’s Brindley claims Big Ten Player of Year
USCHO: NCAA tournament berth on line in Rochester as RIT hosts AIC for conference postseason title
USCHO: Even with NCAA tourney bids sewn up for three of four teams, intense battle in store for crown
USCHO: Mason Cup, NCAA Tournament bid at stake as Michigan Tech travels to Bemidji State
USCHO: Four teams heading to Lake Placid this weekend for shot to hoist Whitelaw Cup

Must Hear:

CHN Insiders: PairWise Chaos/Playoffs
Inside Atlantic Hockey: Featuring AIC Head Coach Eric Lang, RIT Head Coach Wayne Wilson
Inside ECAC Hockey: Featuring RPI Head Coach Dave Smith
Inside Hockey East: Featuring Providence F Nick Poisson, Maine F Thomas Freel
NCHC Icecast: Previewing the Frozen Faceoff with Grand Forks Herald reporter Brad Schlossman
Parting Schotts: Union Head Coach Josh Hauge reviews Dartmouth games, recaps season
Talking Hockey Sense: College hockey conference championship week preview; Hobey reset
The CCHA Show: Breaking down Mason Cup semifinals and previewing the championship game
The Pipeline Show: 2024 Draft Spotlight: Zeev Buium
USCHO Weekend Review: Three finals, six semis set; some can win to get in while others await their fate

Hobey Hopefuls:

The 10 finalists for the 2024 Hobey Baker Memorial Award were announced on Wednesday: North Dakota F Jackson Blake (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.), Boston University F Macklin Celebrini (Fr., Vancouver, British Columbia), Denver F Jack Devine (Jr., Glencoe, Ill.), Boston College F Cutter Gauthier (So., Scottsdale, Ariz.), Quinnipiac F Collin Graf (Jr., Lincoln, Mass.), Boston University D Lane Hutson (So., Chicago, Ill.), Wisconsin G Kyle McClellan (Sr., Manchester, Mo.), Holy Cross F Liam McLinskey (Jr., Pearl River, N.Y.), Minnesota State F Sam Morton (Gr., Lafayette, Colo.), and Boston College F Will Smith (Fr., Lexington, Mass).

The Hobey Hat Trick of three finalists will be announced on April 4. The winner of the award, given annually to the top player in NCAA Division I men’s hockey, will be named during the Frozen Four in Saint Paul.

Race for the Richter:

The three finalists for the 2024 Mike Richter Award, given to the nation’s top goaltender, were announced Thursday afternoon: Boston College’s Jacob Fowler (Fr., Melbourne, Fla.), Colorado College’s Kaidan Mbereko (So., West Bloomfield, Mich.) and Wisconsin’s Kyle McClellan (Sr., Manchester, Mo.).

  • Fowler earned first-team All-Hockey East honors after backstopping top-ranked Boston College to a Hockey East regular-season title. He’s won a nation’s best 27 games in his 33 appearances, posting a 2.23 GAA and .923 save percentage.
  • A first-team All-NCHC selection, Mbereko has logged more minutes than any goaltender in the country while going 21-13-3 with a 2.40 GAA and .915 save percentage.
  • McClellan is the NCAA leader in both save percentage (.931) and shutouts (seven), going 24-11-1 with a sterling 1.92 GAA. He was recently named Big Ten Goaltender of the Year.

Busy Beavers:

Bemidji State will take into Friday’s CCHA championship game an 11-game unbeaten streak and a nine-game winning streak, both of which are the longest of the program’s NCAA Division I era that began in 1999-2000.

Prior to its current 11-game unbeaten stretch, which started Feb. 9, the Beavers were 10-15-1 on the year, averaging 2.8 goals per game while allowing an average of 3.5. Since then, BSU is 10-0-1 while averaging 4.0 goals per game and yielding an average of just 1.7.

Tiger King:

RIT D Gianfranco Cassaro (Gr., Nobleton, Ontario) scored his 17th goal of the season in the Tigers’ Atlantic Hockey playoff win over Holy Cross last Friday, setting a new AHA single-season record for goals by a defensemen.

Former Mercyhurst standout Joseph Duszak had set the previous standard of 16 in 2018-19.

Cassaro’s 31 goals over the past two years are the most of any defenseman in the country.

Notebook Quotebook:

“I’ve never really felt a pulse like this team in my 35-plus years of coaching. There is a lot of heart and love in that room. I don’t ever count these guys out. They battled it out to the very end and it paid off.”

-- Michigan Tech Head Coach Joe Shawhan following the Huskies’ 4-3 win over Minnesota State in the CCHA Mason Cup Semifinal on Saturday (source:

NHL Note of the Week:

St. Louis D Nick Leddy (Minnesota, 2009-10) is closing on becoming the latest NCAA alumni to play in 1,000 career NHL games.

Leddy currently sits on 998 games. If he suits up for the Blues’ next two games, he will reach No. 1,000 on Saturday in Minnesota. A native Minnesotan, Leddy played his high school hockey for Eden Prairie and went on to play collegiately for the Golden Gophers.

Leddy would become the fourth active NCAA alum this season to reach 1,000 NHL games, joining Washington RW T.J. Oshie (North Dakota, 2005-08), Boston LW James van Riemsdyk (New Hampshire, 2007-09), and Florida RW Kyle Okposo (Minnesota, 2006-08).

Fries at the Bottom of the Bag:

North Dakota F Jackson Blake (So., Eden Prairie, Minn.) needs one point to reach 100 for his career. He would become the first UND skater since Zach Parise (2002-04) to reach 100 career points as a sophomore … Western Michigan senior F Luke Grainger (Montreal, Que.) reached the 100-point milestone last Saturday at St. Cloud State in the NCHC quarterfinals … Holy Cross junior F Liam McLinskey (UDFA), the Atlantic Hockey Player of the Year, scored his 13th career AHA playoff goal in Sunday’s loss to AIC, tying the conference’s career playoff record … New Hampshire announced a three-year contract extension for head coach Mike Souza on Tuesday.

Longest Active Point Streaks:

  • 16 games, F Gabe Perreault (Boston College)
    • 12-18—30, Began Dec. 1 vs. Northeastern
  • 12 games, D Eamon Powell (Boston College)
    • 4-17—21, Began Jan. 26 vs. Boston University
  • 9 games, F Jackson Blake (North Dakota)
    • 4-14—15, Began Feb. 17 at Colorado College
  • 9 games, F Matthew Wilde (RIT)
    • 8-4—12, Began Feb. 10 at Mercyhurst

Longest Active Goal Streaks:

Atlantic Hockey | Big Ten | CCHA | ECAC | Hockey East | NCHC

College Hockey Inc. Resources:

Did you know? 92% of NCAA Division I men’s hockey players earn their degree!