With NCAA conference tournaments wrapping up over the weekend and CHL regular seasons ending as well we are getting closer to the end of the “amateur” hockey season. Some NCAA prospects might sign NHL contracts this spring (rumor has Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson) and I am sure the Bruins are going to try to lock up Charlie McAvoy and Anders Bjork too. Also, depending on how some of the CHL playoffs go you could see some those B’s prospects make their way to Providence as their junior seasons end.

There were many Bruins NCAA prospects playing in their conference championship games last weekend, such as Wisconsin (Trent Frederic and Cameron Hughes), and Boston College’s Ryan Fitzgerald. Both Wisconsin and BC lost in their respective finals which ultimately cost both teams an opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament.

This season’s Harvard team, who has two Bruins’ prospects, was just a cut above the rest of the competition in the ECAC. Harvard won convincingly over Cornell in the conference final, 4-1, and that is with Cornell scoring a late garbage time 3rd period goal. Just like the Beanpot final a few weeks ago Ryan Donato came up big in a big game again, and that is why he is our BostonPucks.com “Prospect of the Week”.

Donato scored two goals in the ECAC championship game with yes, yours truly in attendance watching Donato. Both were beauty power play goals and both came from the point. The left shot Donato plays the left point on Harvard’s first power play unit.

In the first period he opened up the scoring with a shot from the point that the Cornell goalie got a piece of. But his 3rd period goal that made it 4-0 was gorgeous. Donato moved into the high slot with the puck, he did a toe drag to buy some time, and then just sniped an absolute rocket wrist shot past the Cornell goalie. See the highlights of the ECAC Championship game below:

One of my college roommates now refs ECAC hockey and I was able to talk with him at the game. His impression of Donato after working many of his games is that he is one of the top players in ECAC along with teammate Adam Fox and Union’s Mike Vecchione, who is a Hobey Baker Finalist.  Donato earned ECAC second team honors for this sophomore campaign.

Saturday night was the first time I was able to see Donato play in person and I thought he was an above average skater but does not have blazing speed like someone I’ve watched multiple times in person, Zach Senyshyn. But he has good size and is very smart with the puck. As you can see in the highlight above he can shoot the puck too.

Donato currently has 20 goals and 18 assists for 38 points in 33 NCAA games. I think Donato will stay at Harvard one more year, continue to elevate his game, and then sign with the Bruins after his junior season.

Harvard is now the #1 seed in the NCAA East Regional (#3 overall) which will be played in the Providence Bruin’s barn, the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Harvard will take on host Providence College in the first found of the tournament.

Other Prospect Notes:

  • Ryan Fitzgerald of Boston College has kind of flown under the radar this season. After a fantastic junior season he returned for his senior year. He missed some time due to injury but still managed 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points in 33 games. He scored 2 goals and had an assist against Boston University on Friday night in the Hockey East Semi-Final. One would think if he was going to sign with the Bruins it would have maybe happened by now. BC did not make the NCAA tournament either. There is a chance he does not sign and enters free agency. It will be a hit for Providence, but not a big one in my opinion. The Bruins have other prospects that have passed Fitzgerald on the depth chart that will be needing ice time with the Baby B’s next season.
  • Charlie McAvoy earned 1st Team All Hockey East honors. BU faces off with North Dakota in the West Regional of the NCAA tournament. If BU does not make it out of the West Regionals look for McAvoy and JFK to potentially sign with the Bruins soon after and go to Providence.
  • Anders Bjork also earned 1st Team All Hockey East like McAvoy and his Notre Dame Fighting Irish will be in the Northeast Regional in Manchester, NH. They face off against a Ryan Lindgren less Minnesota team.
  • Trent Frederic was named “Freshman of the Year” in the Big-10. A real nice honor for the underdog. He also was selected for the All-Freshman Team.
  • Ryan Lindgren was also selected to the Big-10 All-Freshman team, but he is currently done for the season due to injury.
  • If it was not for Harvard winning the ECAC Championship Jake DeBrusk would have been our Prospect of the Week. DeBrusk recorded 5 points (1 goal and 4 assists) in 3 games for the P-Bruins over the weekend. DeBrusk now has 39 points (14 goals and 25 assists) in 62 games.
  • Zach Senyshyn finished his final OHL regular season game on a high note Sunday with a goal and 2 assists. Senyshyn has equaled his point total from last season at 65 playing in 6 fewer games. He is also a plus-16 this season, which is a big improvement from last season’s plus-5.
  • Jesse Gabrielle also finished his final regular season weekend in the WHL with a bang by scoring 2 goals.  He now has 35 goals on the season, which is 5 goals lower than the 40 he scored last season. He still has the playoffs to make up the difference.

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