New York Rangers prospects fall short in National Championship Game

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four
Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

In the summer of 2023, the New York Rangers drafted two young future stars that had an amazing freshman campaign with Boston College. On Saturday, Gabe Perreault (1st rd, 23 overall) and Drew Fortescue (3rd rd, 90 overall) fell short in the NCAA Frozen Four National Championship game at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota losing 2-0 to the Denver Pioneers.

“Denver did a good job of getting above, especially in the neutral zone,” said BC coach Greg Brown via College Hockey News. “We’re usually pretty good at breaking pucks out and having speed through the neutral zone, but they had three and four guys a lot of times above our guys right away. I just didn’t think we generated as much speed, and that’s more of a credit to [Denver].”

Related: Gabe Perreault leads BC to Championship Game

New York Rangers prospects fall short in Frozen Four

NCAA Hockey: Frozen Four
Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Boston College was unable to capitalize on early opportunities in the first period, as Andre Gasseau hit the post at 2:48 of the opening frame after rebound from Oskar Jellvik’s wide shot bounced into the slot. Will Smith was stopped on a breakaway after being set up by Perreault minutes later by Denver goaltender Matt Davis. The two teams were scoreless heading into the first intermission.

The Pioneers scored first at 9:42 in the second period when Jared Wright found space on the right side and released a high shot which hit the left post, then bounced off goalie Jacob Fowler’s back before bouncing off the ice and eluding Fortescue’s stick into the net. Fowler stopped Wright on a breakaway at 12:55 and made another big save on Aidan Thompson from in close at 14:04. A blocker side snipe from Rieger Lorenz at 15:16 gave the Pioneers a two goal lead, their first time in the tournament leading by more than one goal. Though Boston College had scored four or more goals in seven straight games, Denver’s defense limited the Eagle’s potent offense to just 12 shots.

While on the powerplay in the third period, Perreault passed to Ryan Leonard, who seemed to have an open net, until goalie Matt Davis dove across the crease in desperation for the save.

The Eagles nearly got on the board midway through the third period when sophomore defenseman Lukas Gustafsson had a shot which beat Davis off a clean look, but the puck went wide along the boars after hitting the outside of the post. Jacob Fowler was pulled for an extra attacker in the final few minutes of the game as the Boston College Eagles searched for a goal to cut the deficit, but their attempts to score were stonewalled by Denver University Pioneers netminder Matt Davis.

Perreault finished the game with three shots on goal and a -1 rating, though he did win three of four faceoffs taken. He completes his freshman season at Boston College with a stat line of 19 goals and 41 assists for 60 points in 36 games played. Fortescue did not record any shots and was also a -1 on the night with two blocked shots. The defenseman also completed his freshman campaign with the Eagles having scored four goals and four assists for eight points while appearing in 40 games.

Pioneers goaltender Matt Davis recorded 35 saves to earn the shutout, and was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. He finished the tournament with 138 saves and just three goals allowed.

The loss for Boston College snapped a 15-game winning streak. The program’s record dropped to 52-44 all-time in the NCAA tournament. Meanwhile, Denver won its record 10th championship, moving past Michigan for the most titles in men’s Division I history. This is the program’s fifth national championship since 2004, more than any other program in the country during that span. Denver improved their record to 4-1 against Boston College in the national tournament, while improving their record in National Championship games to 10-3 and their record at the Xcel Energy Center to 19-9.

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