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Frozen Four: Will Laczynski and Warren meet in the NCAA Title game?

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Two players on opposite ends of the Flyers’ prospects pool could play each other for a championship

Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With just four teams and three games left in the NCAA season, two Flyers’ prospects have the opportunity to win the NCAA Championship.

Tanner Laczynski is an offensive catalyst on an Ohio State Buckeyes team that is one of the highest seeds in the tournament, while Brendan Warren is a contributing factor on a University of Michigan team that seems just happy to be there. With each prospect not playing one another in the semifinal, could Laczynski and Warren play one another in the NCAA Championship?

TANNER LACZYNSKI AND THE OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
With a 26-9-5 record overall, Ohio State University entered the tournament as the fourth overall seed and Tanner Laczynski is a big reason for that. OSU has been able to ride the production of both Laczynski (16 goals on 158 shots on goal and 30 assists in 40 games) and Mason Jobst (an undrafted 24-year-old center with 21 goals on 133 shots on goal and 22 assists in 39 games) to success while implementing a team-wide approach of strong defense.

The 2016 sixth-round pick (who has until August 15th, 2020 to sign his entry-level contract) is known for his two-way play and saw his stock rise after a strong regular season. Luckily for Ohio State, Laczynski has been producing in the tournament as well, as he has one goal, two assists, and three shots on goal in the Buckeyes’ wins over the Princeton Tigers and the Denver Pioneers.

Laczynski provided a goal and a helper in the 4-2 victory over the Tigers in the first round, as he found Jobst in the slot on the power play to open the scoring with 6:28 left in the first period (0:22 in) and pulled off a great redirection on a feed from Freddy Gerard to make it 3-0 in favor of the Buckeyes just 3:55 into the third period (1:05 in).

Laczynski proceeded to make his best play of the tournament the next day, as he had an assist in Ohio State’s 5-1 win over the Denver Pioneers in the schools’ quarterfinal meeting on March 25th. With the Buckeyes up 2-0, Laczynski carried the puck down the wing on a 2-on-2 rush before he tossed a pass to a trailing Matt Joyaux in the slot, who was able to separate from his man and score to make it a three-goal game with 10:33 to play (0:43 in).

Tonight, Laczynski and Ohio State hope to take down a Minnesota Duluth squad that features Scott Perunovich (undrafted), Riley Tufte (Dallas Stars), Joey Anderson (New Jersey Devils), and Mikey Anderson (Los Angeles Kings). The teams square off at 6pm.

BRENDAN WARREN AND THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Taking on a Notre Dame team that is in the Frozen Four for a second straight season, Brendan Warren and the Wolverines will have their hands full when the teams meet tonight at 9:30pm.

After the legendary Red Berenson retired as the head coach of the University of Michigan in April of 2017 following his 33rd season at the school, former Michigan Tech head coach Mel Pearson came into a position that was going to be hard to fill. Fortunately for Pearson, Warren, and the other Wolverines, the team has managed to be one of the final four schools standing.

Warren’s nine goals and six assists in 39 games helped Michigan, but it was former Flyers’ prospect Cooper Marody (50 points in 39 games), Tony Calderone (undrafted 23-year-old right winger with 43 points in 39 games), and Quinn Hughes (a left-handed defenseman projected to be a top-ten pick in this year’s NHL Entry Draft with 29 points in 36 games) who did the heavy lifting for Pearson this season.

After he failed to record a point in the University of Michigan’s 3-2 win over Northeastern in the first round, Warren managed to score on one of his two shots in the school’s 6-3 win over Boston University in the quarterfinal meeting on March 25th. The former Arizona Coyotes’ prospect was able to pound home a weird-looking rebound opportunity off a Josh Norris (San Jose Sharks) shot to give Michigan a 3-1 advantage just 1:57 into the second period (0:54 in).

Despite not having the most overwhelming point totals and speed being considered his only strength, Warren still has plenty of time to earn a look at the professional level. The Flyers need to sign him by August 15th, 2019.