The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently announced the 16 teams that will be competing for the National Championship and plenty of former Penticton Vees are in the mix for college hockey’s top prize.
The Vees will have 19 alumni heading to their regional matchups in the first round beginning today (March 26).
The teams will battle it out to move onto the quarterfinals and try to work their way into the Frozen Four tournament with the top teams in U.S. college hockey. The tournament is taking place this year in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Penticton will have 10 teams represented with former players in the tournament, beginning with the number one seed in the University of North Dakota. Forward Jackson Keane, defenseman Gabe Bast and goaltender Adam Scheel will look to lift the Fighting Hawks to victory, playing out of Fargo Regional in Fargo, North Dakota.
Taking on the Fighting Hawks will be the American International College, AIC, who won the Atlantic Hockey conference for the second straight season. Forward Darwin Lakoduk and defender Nico Somerville will be looking to upset the tournament favourite. Steve Holtz and the University of Michigan round out the Vees alumni that will hit the ice in Fargo as they are set to take on the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the opening round.
Action in Bridgeport, Connecticut will see the Bemidji State Beavers face-off against the tournament’s number four seed, the Wisconsin Badgers. The Sillinger brothers, Lukas and Owen, along with goaltender Zach Driscoll will look to help BSU into the quarterfinals.
Loveland, Colorado will boast at least one Vees alumni into the Frozen Four as Penticton has former players on every team in the region. Beginning with the number three seed, the University of Minnesota, and their steady senior between the pipes in the way of Jack LaFontaine as well as defender Sam Rossini.
The Golden Gophers first-round matchup comes against a pair of Vees alumni with the likes of forward Taylor Ward and defenseman Jonny Tychonick suiting up for the University of Nebraska-Omaha while forward Ryan Sandelin and Minnesota State University will go head-to-head against goaltender Yaniv Perets and the Quinnipiac Bobcats.
In the final region, located in Albany, New York, forward Danny Weight and number two seed Boston College will square off against the University of Notre Dame. Forwards Ty Amonte, Jay O’Brien and defender Cade Webber suit up for the Boston University Terriers and will battle St. Cloud State.
Luckily for fans in Canada, The Sports Network (TSN) is carrying a large majority of the tournament games with a link to their schedule found here.