St. Cloud State has two Hobey Baker Award candidates, Minnesota Duluth might have the nation’s best goalie, unless Minnesota State does, but there are other players to pay attention to when the NCAA tournament opens Friday. Here are five:
5. Chase Priskie, D, Quinnipiac: The senior has 17 goals and 22 assists, with his 10 power-play goals tied for the national lead. A Washington Capitals prospect, Priskie and the Bobcats face Arizona State in the Midwest Regional first round.
4. Jake Kielly, G, Clarkson: The junior from Eden Prairie has a 26-10-2 record with a 1.89 goals-against average, .929 save percentage and five shutouts. He’ll face Notre Dame and reigning Mike Richter Award-winning goalie Cale Morris on Friday in the Northeast Regional.
3. Johnny Walker, F, Arizona State: Limited late in the season because of injury – he missed the series against the Gophers in Minneapolis – Walker nonetheless is tied for second nationally with 23 goals in only 31 games. The Sun Devils meet Quinnipiac in the Midwest Regional on Saturday.
2. Adam Fox, D, Harvard: The junior and Carolina Hurricanes prospect leads the nation in assists (35) and points per game (1.45). Multiple reports say that Fox will return to the Crimson for his senior season and become an NHL free agent after the 2019-20 campaign. Harvard faces Massachusetts on Friday in the Northeast Regional opener.
1. Cale Makar, D, Massachusetts: Watch him in college because the sophomore, the No. 4 overall NHL draft pick by Colorado in 2017, is expected to sign with the Avalanche once the Minutemen’s season ends. Makar has 15 goals and 31 assists, his 46 points tied for fifth nationally. Led UMass to the Hockey East championship and Northeast Regional top seed.