With a quick release of a snap shot off of a toe drag from the top of the slot, top Florida Panthers prospect Mackie Samoskevich sent the Michigan Wolverines to the Frozen Four in a 2-1 win over Penn State.
His 20th goal of the season capped off an unusually low-scoring game for the third-seeded Wolverines who blistered Colgate 11-1 in the NCAA Tournament’s opening round.
Michigan averaged 4.3 goals per game this season.
Samoskevich is one of six players hovering around the point-per-game mark through 38 games and is second behind Adam Fantilli — who solidified his case as the No. 2 prospect in the 2023 NHL Draft with 28 goals this year — for second on the team in goals.
The 2021 first-round pick doubled his goal total from the 2021-22 season and increased his point total from 29 to 43 in his sophomore season.
Samoskevich will be looking for redemption in the Frozen Four after his Wolverines fell to fellow Panthers prospect Mike Benning’s University of Denver Pioneers in last year’s national title game.
Denver was shutout by Cornell in the opening round of the tournament, leaving way for a new champion to be crowned in Tampa.
This year’s Michigan team looks a bit different than the one which lost in the title game last season.
Seven players on that team left to go play professionally in the NHL and AHL — including Calder Trophy favorite Matty Beniers — which left a hole for Samoskevich to become a leader on the team.
If the Wolverines are going to make a deep run, it will have to start with Samoskevich, Fantilli and Luke Hughes rather than Beniers, Owen Power and Kent Johnson.
Michigan will take on second-seeded Quinnipiac on April 6 to kick off the Frozen Four festivities at Amalie Arena.
Should they leave with a win, they would take on the winner of No. 1 Minnesota vs Boston University in the title game on April 8.
PANTHERS ON DECK
FLORIDA PANTHERS AT OTTAWA SENATORS
- When: Monday, 7 p.m.
- Where: Canadian Tire Center, Ottawa
- TV/Streaming: Bally Sports Florida, ESPN+
- Radio: WPOW 96.5-FM2; WBZT 1230-AM (Palm Beach); WCTH 100.3-FM (Florida Keys); SiriusXM
- Panthers Radio Streaming: SiriusXM 932
- Season Series (Florida leads 1-0): Panthers 5, Senators 3 (Oct. 29)
- Last season: Florida won 3-1
- All-time regular season series: Ottawa leads 56-43-5, 3 ties
- Up Next for the Panthers: Florida at Toronto, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.