Providence upset No. 3 seeded Cornell in a stellar 4-0 shutout performance to win the East Regional and advance to the Frozen Four in the 2019 NCAA tournament for the fifth time in program history. This marks the first time the Friars will return to the semifinals since winning the national championship back in 2015.
Penguins’ prospect, and junior forward, Kasper Bjorkqvist has put together a couple solid performances. He netted the game-tying goal (after Providence was down three) in the Friars’ incredible 6-3 comeback win against the top-seed in the East, Minnesota State.
TIE. GAME.— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 30, 2019
Jack Dugan wraps around the net on the power play and Kasper Bjorkqvist hammers it home on the doorstep for the @FriarsHockey equalizer.
2nd Period | PC 3 | MSU 3#NCAAHockey pic.twitter.com/fLVsmXk8DD
In Providence’s second tourney matchup against Cornell, the Friars — led by the top line play of Bjorkqvist, Josh Wilkins, and Jack Dugan — powered through the Big Red, who just a night earlier, stunned the typically electric (and favorite to win the natty) Northeastern Huskies in a 5-1 victory.
Bjorkqvist found the score sheet again during this game, as he collected a primary assist on Wilkins’ second period tally after trying to shovel the puck in himself a few seconds prior. The Big Red failed to get a puck past the Friars’ appropriately named goaltender Hayden Hawkey and were knocked out of the tournament.
Jack Dugan wheels around the offensive zone, throws it on net, and Josh Wilkins is there to take it home for @FriarsHockey's second goal of the game.— NCAA Ice Hockey (@NCAAIceHockey) March 31, 2019
2nd Period | PC 2 | CU 0#NCAAHockey pic.twitter.com/1VDXvAbmzJ
Bjorkqvist, and fellow captain Vincent Desharnais, play specific roles for the Friars. Bjorkqvist, specifically, is known to his teammates and coaches as “the voice of the locker room.” The two have been outstanding leaders all season, and the entire Providence team and coaching staff feeds off of the two of them game after game.
The 2016 second round draft pick (No. 61 overall) for Pittsburgh now has 30 points (17 goals, 13 assists) in 41 games played, and ranks fourth on the Friars behind three other excellent offensive talents. He continues to emerge as one of the better prospects the Penguins have in their system. His rise has been reflected in the Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 list, where Bjorkqvist clocked in at No. 10 in our rankings last summer, up from No. 17 in the summer of 2017.
Providence (24-11-6) is slated to face the defending national champions, Minnesota-Duluth, on April 11 in Buffalo, New York. The Bulldogs clinched their third-straight trip to the Frozen Four after taking down Quinnipiac 3-1 in the Midwest Regional final in Allentown, Pennsylvania. UMass, who defeated Notre Dame in the Northeast Regional final Saturday night, will face Denver in the other semifinal.