The illustrious Beanpot title is on the line after the semi-finals were completed earlier this week. This mini-tournament pits the top NCAA schools from the Massachusetts region against one another for the prestigious 65-year-old trophy.
Boston College defeated Harvard in the first tilt on the back of a Jack McBain game-winner. The Wild third-round selection from 2018 has been steadily improving throughout his freshman season at BC. A powerful centre with some offensive upside, McBain was considered a first-round talent for much of his time leading up to his draft-eligible campaign.
There remains some nice upside there.
In the second game of the evening, Northeastern took on Boston University. This was an exciting back-and-forth game that was decided in overtime by Vancouver prospect, Tyler Madden. His breakaway goal was nice, but his celly was for the ages.
Madden is making a claim to be the best value pick from the 2018 class. Taken 68th overall by the Canucks, he’s been dynamite as the top line centre for the Huskies this season, and was a swiss army knife for the Americans at the WJC.
There sure looks like some top-six upside with him.
Northeastern won the title last year for the first time in 30 years. They’ll look to make it back-to-back championships when they take on BC on Monday, February 11 at 7:30 pm EST. The game will be televised on TSN2.
Europe has been abuzz with tournaments this week. The Five Nations’ tournaments have been rolling in Russia (U18), Sweden (U17) and Slovakia (U19). I’ve been keeping a close eye on the U18 event which features several high-end prospects for the 2019 and 2020 Entry Draft.
The Americans were the favourites heading into the event. This rendition of the USNTDP is a bulging basket of talent that has been deadly on the international stage trailing back to their days with the U17 squad.
Cole Caufield has yet to find the back of the net but has been dangerous. He’s due to the dam to burst.
Of note, Jack Hughes was unable to attend due to injury. That led to the first international defeat for the 2001-born USNTDP members when they fell to Sweden in their opener.
2020 draft-eligible, Alexander Holtz was all over the highlight reels scoring four goals in the 7-5 victory. Holtz is a premier winger who boasts all the offensive skills needed for a future star. He’s a projected top-five pick.
Sticking with Sweden, Tobias Björnfot has been filling more than his usual quota for online ink. The projected top-60 pick this June has looked dangerous for the Swedes, using his wheels to jump into the play with regularity. This has been a terrific opportunity to Björnfot as consensus first-round prospects, Phillip Broberg and Victor Soderstrom aren’t at this tournament.
In case you missed it, we’ve released several rankings the last week:
Over in the WHL, a pair of defenders have been making headlines. 2019 draft-eligible, Bowen Byram has been red-hot of late. He was named the WHL Player of the Month of January after he recorded 19 points in 13 contests. The calendar turning to February hasn’t slowed him down one bit.
On Wednesday evening, the 17-year-old tallied his third overtime winner in the past three weeks and his 21st goal of the season. The top-ranked blueliner for this crop has 51 points in 51 WHL contests. That mark leads all draft-eligible CHL defenders and sits third overall in the Western League.
Byram is staking his claim to a top-five selection this June in Vancouver.
Speaking of Vancouver, the Canucks 2018 second-round selection, Jett Woo has been on a heater himself. The hard-hitting right-shot defender is currently riding a seven-game, nine-point streak, and has 45 points in his last 38 games.
Woo was just six weeks shy of being eligible for the 2019 class and his development has been trending steadily upwards. Despite being a young 18, Woo is never shy to engage physically. He’s one of the few players that can illicit fear in the opposition with the threat of one of his open-ice checks.
A true throwback defenseman.
Quick update on Kaapo Kakko. The 17-year-old has continued to play well in the Finnish Liiga. He has seven goals in his last five contests and is continuing to pace for a top-five draft-eligible campaign from Finland’s top tier.
Here are the best point-per-game U18 seasons in Liiga history:
On top of the scoring, he’s been playing the middle of the ice and continues to play it well. He’s also been shooting the puck with even further regularity. He’s averaging 4.77 shots per game on the season but has racked up 19 in the last three contests.
He’s doing all he can to dethrone Hughes.
Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson
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