The Washington Capitals will be well represented at this year’s NCAA Men’s Hockey Tournament with six prospects vying for a spot in the NCAA Frozen Four.
The 16-team field was announced last Sunday with Quinnipiac, Minnesota, UMASS-Lowell and Notre Dame earning the four No.1 seeds. The Northeast and West Regionals begin on Friday while the East and Midwest Regionals start on Saturday.
The entire tournament follows a best-of-one format with the National Championship to take place on Saturday Apr. 13 from the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA.
Below is a closer look at the six Capitals prospects that are competing in this year’s NCAA tournament:
RILEY BARBER (MIAMI UNIVERSITY): Caps 6th-round pick, 167th overall, 2012 NHL Draft
Barber led all NCAA freshmen in scoring during the regular-season with 38 points in 36 games and the 19-year-old led the Miami Redhawks with a team-high 15 goals.
Barber saw top-line minutes and was a key cog on both special teams units for a Miami team that captured the CCHA regular-season title before falling to Michigan in the conference semifinals.
The Redhawks (24-11-5) earned an at-large selection to this year’s tournament and are the No.2 seed in the Midwest Region. Miami opens against No.3 Minnesota State (24-13-3) on Saturday at 5 p.m.
TRAVIS BOYD (UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA): Caps 6th-round pick, 177th overall, 2011 NHL Draft
Boyd is in his sophomore season at Minnesota and the 5’10” forward enters the NCAA Tournament with three goals and 14 points in 39 games this season.
Boyd and the Golden Gophers are looking for a return trip to the Frozen Four where they fell 6-1 last season to eventual champion Boston College in the National Semifinals.
The Golden Gophers (26-8-5) earned an at-large selection to this year’s tournament and are the No.1 seed in the West Regional. Minnesota opens against No.4 Yale (18-12-3) on Friday at 2 p.m.
GREG BURKE (UNIVERSITY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE): Caps 6th-round pick, 174th overall, 2008 NHL Draft
It has been a difficult senior season for forward Greg Burke who has spent much of the season on the sidelines with shoulder and head injuries.
Burke suffered a concussion in early January and missed the final 15 games of the regular-season and the Hockey East Tournament. In 13 games this season, the 22-year-old has three goals and five points.
The Wildcats (19-11-7) earned an at-large selection to this year’s tournament and are the No.2 seed in the Northeast Regional. UNH opens against No.3 Denver (20-13-5) on Friday at 8 p.m.
THOMAS DI PAULI & AUSTIN WUTHRICH (NOTRE DAME): Caps 4th-round picks, 100th & 107th overall, 2012 NHL Draft
Di Pauli and Wuthrich were taken just seven picks apart by the Capitals in last year’s NHL Draft, and the duo has impressed this year in South Bend, IND.
Di Pauli enters this year’s NCAA tournament with five goals and 12 points in 40 games in his freshman season, while Wuthrich has five goals and nine points in 32 games during his sophomore campaign.
Both forwards are used primarily as third and fourth line role players but Wuthrich came up with the eventual game-winning goal in Notre Dame’s 3-1 win over Michigan in last weekend’s CCHA Championship. Wuthrich was rewarded with a selection to the CCHA All-Tournament Team.
The Fighting Irish (25-12-3) won the CCHA Championship and are the No.1 seed in the Midwest Regional. Notre Dame opens against No.4 St. Cloud State (23-15-1) on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
PATRICK WEY (BOSTON COLLEGE): Caps 4th-round pick, 115th overall, 2009 NHL Draft
The Pittsburgh native and senior defenseman would probably like nothing more than to end his collegiate career by winning a national championship in his hometown.
That’s the goal for Wey and the Boston College Eagles as they look to become the first team to successfully defend an NCAA Hockey championship since Denver won back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. The Eagles beat Ferris State in the national championship last April.
Wey had a goal and 12 points in 36 games this season as Boston College finished in second place during the Hockey East regular-season before falling to rival Boston University in the conference semifinals.
The Eagles (22-11-4) earned an at-large selection to this year’s tournament and are the No.2 seed in the East Regional. BC opens against No.3 Union (21-12-5) on Saturday at 9 p.m.