Seven Chicago Blackhawk prospects stud the Division 1 NCAA Tournament that began Thursday. On Selection Sunday, the NCAA announced the 16-team field that included six teams for a total of seven Blackhawks prospects. Considering the fact that the only regional without a Blackhawks prospect is the West, it looks like at least one of the Frozen Four teams will include a Blackhawks prospect.
Blackhawk Prospects in the Midwest
Perhaps the most saturated regional of the championship with Blackhawks prospects was the Midwest regional. The Midwest games were 3 North Dakota against 14 Northeastern with prospects North Dakota C Nick Schmaltz (2014, 1st), North Dakota C Luke Johnson (2013, 5th) and Northeastern C Dylan Sikura (2014, 6th). The Midwest regional is also perhaps the most challenging and competitive regional event.
Schmaltz had earned two assists in the game against Northeastern. According to Emerald Gao for chicagoblackhawks.com, “Schmaltz now has 34 helpers in 34 games this season, fifth-most in the nation—it’s the noticeable improvement at the defensive end of the ice that has the Blackhawks excited for the 19-year-old.”
Schmaltz has created incredible scoring opportunities on his line with Drake Caggiula and Brock Boeser, cleverly called the “CBS Line.” This was yet another example of their aggressive and effective passing style that resulted in a win for North Dakota.
Then, 6 Michigan competed against 11 Notre Dame with one Blackhawk prospect on each team: Michigan RW Tyler Motte (2013, 4th), Notre Dame D Dennis Gilbert (2015, 3rd). The Midwest segment of the tournament takes place March 25-26 in Cincinnati, Ohio at the US Bank Arena.
Prospects in the East
In the East region one Blackhawk prospect competed in the match between 8 Yale and 9 UMass–Lowell at Time Union Center in Albany, New York. Yale C John Hayden (2013, 3rd) is the sole Blackhawks prospect on the ice in this segment of the tournament. Yale fell to UMass-Lowell in overtime which was the icing on the cake to a disappointing season from the Bulldogs.
In the Northeast regional championship things fared better for Blackhawk prospect Chris Calnan who represented 5 Boston College in a 4-1 win against 12 Harvard. Calnan gained an assist on an empty netter by Eagles forward Austin Cangelosi in the third period.
Calnan, Johnson, Schmaltz Advance to Frozen Four
After Saturday’s games two teams of the NCAA Frozen Four were decided and three Blackhawk prospects got one step closer to the Championship round.
North Dakota centers Nick Schmaltz and Luke Johnson advance to the Frozen Four after defeating Northeastern and Michigan over the weekend.
The big story going into Saturdays game between North Dakota and Michigan was the matchup between North Dakota’s “CBS” line with Blackhawks prospect Nick Schmaltz and Michigan’s “CCM” line which features Blackhawk prospect, right-winger Tyler Motte.
Johnson gained a point in the second half when he scored on Michigan’s goalie Steve Racine. The goal led North Dakota to taking the lead over Michigan and winning the game. The key to North Dakota’s success was the amount of shots they took on Racine’s net which, “By the end of the first 20 minutes, North Dakota had tripled Michigan on the shot counter, 24-8.”
The third Blackhawk prospect making it into the Frozen Four is 2012 3rd round draft pick Chris Calnan. Calnan gained another assist on Saturday when BC took over Minnesota-Duluth in a 3-2 win.
Check back for more Blackhawks prospects updates!