Only 16 teams remain in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Men’s Hockey playoffs heading into the NCAA tournament regionals taking place in four different locations. 56 total BCHL alumni remain in the battle for college hockey supremacy with Adam Plant, Seb Lloyd and Josh Monk in the thick of the battle.
Adam Plant and the University of Denver Pioneers have been at the top of the college hockey ranks for most of the 2016/17 season and finished the regular season with a 29-7-4 record in first place in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) standings. Plant spent 115 total games (including playoffs) with the Warriors from 2012-2014 with four games coming during the 2011/12 regular season. The 5’9″, 161 pound defenseman earned 14 goals and 75 points during his tenure in West Kelowna and has been a mainstay on the Denver blueline. The Penticton, BC native is in his 3rd season with the Pioneers and played in 39 of the team’s 40 games this season while amassing 2 goals and 10 points.
The Pioneers enter the weekend as the number one overall seed in the tournament and will be playing in the Midwest Regional in Cincinnati, Ohio at the U.S. Bank Arena. Denver opens their regionals on Saturday morning at 10:00 am against the Michigan Tech Huskies, who reach the NCAA tournament after a double-overtime victory in the WCHA Championship game on Saturday night. After reaching the Frozen Four last season and losing in the semi final to the University of North Dakota, Plant says the goal this season is to finish the job, “Ever since we lost last year in the Frozen Four, it’s been our goal to get back and finish the job. Coming that close last season only made us hungrier and more determined for this year.”
In Providence, Rhode Island, a pair of Warriors alum go up against each other on Friday night as Seb Lloyd and his Harvard Crimson take on Josh Monk and the Providence Friars. Lloyd and the Crimson has enjoyed an incredible season thus far, finishing tied atop the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) standings. The Prince George, BC native played in 150 total games with the Warriors over the course of three seasons from 2011-2014 while scoring 49 goals and 156 points in his time in West Kelowna. The junior forward has been hit by injury this season, having not played since January 17th, and has appeared in only 15 games this season with the Crimson but did score three goals and while collecting 8 points.
“The season has been really good for us, winning the Ivy League, the Beanpot, ECAC playoffs and the ECAC Championship,” said Lloyd ahead of the East Regionals, “We are currently on a 16-game unbeaten streak and have some momentum heading into the NCAA tournament.” Harvard opens their tournament on Friday at 1:00 pm against Providence with the former Warrior excited for the stage, “It’s really exciting to play in the NCAA tournament and getting a opportunity to play against some of the best teams and players in the country. We are really happy to have earned a number one seed and look forward to playing Providence.”
The game holds a special meaning to Lloyd as it comes against a former Warriors teammate, “I’m also looking forward to seeing Josh Monk. I was lucky enough to play with him for two seasons and he was a great player and an even better teammate.”
Josh Monk and the Providence Friars have been to the NCAA tournament for the last three seasons, winning a National Championship in 2015 in Boston. The Langley, BC native played in 79 total games with the Warriors from 2011-2013 while earning 14 goals and 65 points during his time in West Kelowna. The captain of the Friars is in his senior season and in 27 games this season, Monk scored three goals to go along with 20 points. The Friars finished in 5th in the Hockey East conference in 2016/17 with a 22-11-5 record.
With the potential of a second National Championship just four victories away, the captain Monk says it would be a great finish to his collegiate career, “It’s a great opportunity to finish my college career and trying to win a championship. I was lucky to be apart of the team in 2015 that won and I would love to do it all again.”
Just as with Lloyd, Monk looks forward to the matchup against his former teammate, “It’s going to be a great game against Harvard on Friday. They’ve had a really good season and is going to be a great matchup especially playing against a good friend and former teammate in Seb makes it even better.”
The Regionals begin on Friday with some playing up until Sunday as each team vying for a spot in the Frozen Four which takes place in Chicago, Illinois on Thursday, April 6th for the semis and Saturday, April 8th for the National Championship. Each of the games can be seen on TSN GO, the live streaming service provided online through www.tsn.ca and your local television provider.
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