Two top Rangers draft picks advance to NCAA Frozen Four

Drew Fortescue unloads a shot
Drew Fortescue (Photo Credit: BC Athletics)

This past holiday weekend saw five New York Rangers prospects compete in the NCAA Regionals, where their collegiate teams played for the chance to skate in the Frozen Four at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The action began Thursday afternoon at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts (home of the Springfield Falcons, American Hockey League affiliate of the St. Louis Blues) as the Denver Pioneers needed double overtime to defeat host UMass Minutemen by a score of 2-1.

The extra time delayed the start of the second game between the Maine Black Bears and the Cornell Big Red, featuring defenseman Hank Kempf (2021, 7th rd). After conceding the first goal at 5:43 of the first period, Cornell was able to lock down defensively and capitalize on their opportunities for a 3-1 victory. Kempf finished the game with one shot on goal.

In the Sioux Falls, South Dakota Regional. a pair of Rangers’ prospects faced off against each other, as Victor Mancini (2022, 5th rd) of host University of Nebraska Omaha took on Brody Lamb (2021, 4th rd) and the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. Minnesota rallied in the third period to comeback for a 3-2 victory. Lamb finished the game with three shots on goal and a +1 rating, while Mancini had one shot and a -1 rating in the loss. The defenseman completed his junior year with four goals and six assists for ten points in 40 games with a +7 rating. His goal and point totals were career bests. While the young man nicknamed “Moose” may return for his senior season, he could certainly help Hartford’s blueline, though the Wolf Pack’s signing of Ryan Siedem may have delayed Mancini inking an entry-level deal.

Unfortunately for Kempf and Lamb, both their season’s need on on Saturday. Minnesota fell 6-3 to Boston University in the Sioux Falls Regionals Final, while Cornell lost 2-1 against Denver in the Springfield Regionals Final.

For Lamb, he completed his sophomore campaign with 12 goals and 15 assists for 27 points in 39 games. The versatile forward played both wings and also saw time at center early in the season while being moved up and down in the Golden Gophers lineup. He is expected to return for a junior season, though he will need to be more aggressive with his overall game. Meanwhile, Kempf matched his goal total from last season with one, while adding seven assists, an improvement of six from his sophomore campaign. Kempf will return to the Big Red for his senior year, and will be looked upon as a defensive leader and possible captain come the fall.

Latest News: No letting up for Rangers

Rangers prospects’ Perreault and Fortescue in Frozen Four

Gabe Perreault warming up
Gabe Perreault warming up (Photo: Alan Selavka)

On Friday, Gabe Perreault (2023, 1st rd), along with teammate Drew Fortescue (2023, 3rd rd) made their NCAA tournament debuts with the No. 1 ranked Boston College Eagles against Central Collegiate Hockey Association Champion Michigan Tech at the Amica Mutual Pavillion (home of the Providence Bruins, American Hockey League affiliate of the Boston Bruins).

Eagles’ goalie Jacob Fowler showed why he is a finalist for the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the goaltender voted to be the most outstanding in NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey, as he made several key saves during the second and third periods to hold the Huskies to a single goal.

At the 12:18 mark of the second period, Perreault was given a five minute major penalty for direct contact to the head, and was ejected after being given a game misconduct for the infraction. He had three shots on goal and a -1 rating. As a result, Perreault’s 18 game point streak came to an end. Fortescue had one shot on goal and a +1 rating on defense as the Eagles broke the game open in the third period to go on for a 6-1 victory.

A showdown against the defending National Champions was the marquee matchup on Sunday in the Providence Regional, as Boston College and Quinnipiac University had a rematch of the first game of the season to determine who would advance to the Frozen Four. After the two teams were scoreless in the first period, a total of six goals were scored in the second, with the Eagles scoring twice on the power play. Overtime was needed to determine a winner.

In overtime, it was Fortescue who found a loose puck at the right point, and took a couple of strides before firing a low shot which hit teammate Colby Ambrosio before forcing the Bobcat goaltender into a save. Jack Malone emerged from a scramble to score into the open net and send the Eagles to the Frozen Four.

Fortescue was credited with an assist on the play. He finished with an even +/- rating, one shot on goal, two blocked shots, and a cross checking minor penalty. Perreault was scoreless with four shots on goal, while going 1-2 on faceoffs and was charged with a hooking minor penalty.

Boston College will face Michigan in the second game of the Frozen Four at 8:30 PM on Thursday, April 11th at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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