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Canadiens Prospects Face Off At NCAA National Championship

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Montreal Canadiens prospect Jacob Fowler

Two Montreal Canadiens prospects will share the biggest stage in college hockey, as Jacob Fowler and Boston College Eagles face Sam Harris and the Denver Pioneers for bragging rights at the NCAA Frozen Four National Championship.

Frozen Four National Championship

Boston College (31-5-1. No.1 Providence Seeds) vs. Denver  (28-9-3. No.1 Springfield Seeds)
Time And Location: 6:00 pm ET, Xcel Energy Centre, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
How To Watch The Frozen Four: ESPN2, ESPN+

One of the most exciting tournaments in sports has come down to two powerhouse programs, as Boston College faces Denver to determine the top team in the NCAA this year.

Both teams have had their fair share of success in this situation, with Denver emerging as champions in 2022, and Boston College winning it all in 2013.

The Eagles will be considered the favourite heading into the game, and you’d be hard-pressed to argue otherwise seeing as they have over a dozen players in their lineup who have already been drafted into the NHL, including some of the most talented forwards in the entire league.

Cutter Gauthier, Gabe Perreault, Ryan Leonard and Will Smith will lead the offensive charge for Boston College, displaying an embarrassment of riches compared to most college rosters. Having one of the aforementioned players in an NCAA lineup would be rather impressive. Having four is all the evidence necessary to suggest Boston College recruiters deserve a raise.

Montreal Canadiens prospect Jacob Fowler will once again be counted upon to serve as one of Boston College’s most important players. The freshman has been dominant throughout the Frozen Four tournament, posting a sparkling .942 save percentage, including a 32-save shutout performance against Michigan to guarantee Boston College’s appearance in the final.

Fans familiar with Fowler’s game will tell you to expect a stoic performance in the crease that doesn’t necessarily lead to a bevy of highlight saves due to his elite anticipation and top-tier tracking.

That’s what makes him such an exciting prospect for the Canadiens. Despite being a freshman, Fowler plays with the poise of a 10-year NHL veteran. He is almost always set, leaving opposing forwards frustrated due to the lack of high-quality shooting options avaialble.

Staunch Competition

Though the Eagles will be the favourites, Boston College would be foolish to take Denver lightly.  Just ask Canadiens prospect Lane Hutson, who recently signed his entry-level contract after being eliminated by the Pioneers in the semifinals.

Denver doesn’t necessarily have as many elite players in their lineup, but have excellent depth, not to mention three players who were recently named to All-American All-Star teams: Zeev Buium, Jack Devine, and Massimo Rizzo.

It should also be noted Denver is one of just five teams to beat Boston College this season, a hard-fought 4-3 game that was only resolved in the dying minutes of the third period.

The Eagles will have to keep particularly close attention to Buium, who is expected to be a top-10 draft pick at the upcoming 2024 NHL Entry Draft. The talented defenceman scored 11 goals and 38 assists this season, matching Hutson’s production. It took Buium a few more games, but we also have to consider he’s still just 18 years old.

Sam Harris will also represent the Montreal Canadiens at the National Championship. He plays a supporting role for the potent offence Pioneers offence. Harris was chosen in the fifth round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft and followed it up with a 14-goal, 7-assist season for Denver University.

The 20-year-old freshman kept the best for last, scoring the game-winning goal in the regional final against Cornell to clinch a semifinal match-up against Boston University.