FUTURE STARS SEARCH FOR FROZEN FOUR
TURRIS, PORTER, KOLARIK, SUMMERS, & WHEELER IN ACTION
Monday, 03.17.2008 / 4:07 PM / Features
By Heath Price-Khan
The Coyotes’ trio of prospects (Kevin Porter, Chad Kolarik, & Chris Summers) continue to lead the University of Michigan Wolverines towards a spot in the Frozen Four. This past weekend they started the postseason with a three game series against the University of Nebraska-Omaha and proved once again why they are the number one team in the land.
On Friday, Chad Kolarik led the charge with a hat trick as Michigan rolled to a 10-1 victory. His linemate Kevin Porter chipped in with a goal and an assist, and Chris Summers also tallied a helper.
On Saturday, the Coyotes prospects were held off the scoreboard, but the Wolverines completed the sweep with a 2-1 win.
Next up for Michigan will be a trip down the road to Joe Louis Arena in Detroit for the CCHA Tournament Championship, March 21-22.
Kyle Turris’ Wisconsin Badgers also began their postseason over the weekend in the WCHA Tournament with a three game series against St. Cloud State.
On Friday Night, the Badgers were blanked 3-0 so they headed into Saturday night’s game needing a win to force the rubber match.
Turris elevated his game on Saturday with two assists including one on the goal that gave them a 3-2 lead. Unfortunately, St. Cloud rallied to force OT and then won in the extra session 4-3.
Turris (11 goals, 22 assists, 33 points) and Wisconsin will now sit home with a disappointing record of 15-16-7 and wait to see if they get an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament. His season could be over as it is hard to imagine the selection committee picking a team with a losing record. Once his season is officially over, it will be decision time for Kyle on whether to stay at Wisconsin for his sophomore year or turn pro.
Blake Wheeler’s Minnesota Gophers also battled in a best of three WCHA playoff series against in-state rival Minnesota State. The Gophers got off to a rough start on Friday with a double overtime 1-0 loss, so they needed to win back to back games Saturday and Sunday to advance.
Saturday night they answered the bell and stayed alive with a 2-1 win as Wheeler was held scoreless for the second consecutive night. On Sunday, they once again went to double overtime and prevailed 3-2. This time Wheeler chipped in with a first period assist.
Wheeler (15 goals, 18 assists, 33 points) and the Gophers now head to this weekend’s WCHA Final Five.
Keep an eye on all your favorite Coyotes draft picks throughout the NCAA postseason and don’t be surprised if the number one ranked Michigan Wolverines go the distance and win it all. With the nation’s leading scorer Kevin Porter (28 goals, 28 assists, 56 points) and his linemate Chad Kolarik (27 goals, 19 assists, 46 points) leading the way, they have more than enough skill to get the job done.
Finally, look for Porter to take home the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s most outstanding player when the winner is announced on April 11th 2008. If he wins, Porter will join a list of past winners that includes; Chris Drury, Paul Kariya and Coyotes Director of Player Personnel Tom Kurvers.
The future looks very bright!