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Ahead: Islanders prospects in NCAA weekend

Note: Just bumping up this post from earlier this week, since the games begin in a few hours. Also: If you get Fox regional sports channels, commenter Arbourisgod -- a name I can never read without instinctively nodding and uttering "Amen" -- alerts us to Saturday's North Dakota-Yale game being on Fox Sports North. Gooo team! And more importantly: NO. MORE. SHOULDER. INJURIES.

With Islanders games Wednesday and Thursday I didn't want this to escape our suitably hockey-obsessed planning: The NCAA tournament begins Friday while many are at work or planning keggers (or both), so if you want to catch some notable future Islanders in playoff situations, set your DVR to ESPNU.

Weekend schedule and when Matt Donovan, Rhett Rakhshani, Blake Kessel and Jason Gregoire are playing after the jump.

Friday, March 26

3 p.m. ET: Friday afternoon in Albany, promising defenseman Matt Donovan, and team captain and leading scorer Rhett Rakhshani, are in action for Denver against RIT.

6:30 p.m. ET: Friday evening in Albany, Blake "The Greater" Kessel -- who's had a very productive season (9-26-35 in 36 games) on the blueline -- will feature for New Hampshire against Cornell.


Saturday, March 27

6:30 p.m. ET: The winners of the two above games face each other Saturday night, which means we have the potential to see three Isles collegiate prospects in the same do-or-die game to get to the Frozen Four.

5 p.m. ET: Not currently scheduled for ESPNU (but on the Fox Sports NOrthregional, but North Dakota -- featuring USHL vet Jason Gregoire (20-17-37 in 42 games) play Yale Saturday night in Worcester. Fellow Sioux and Islanders pick David Toews didn't play at all last weekend.


Sunday, March 28

5:30 p.m. ET: Assuming heavily favored North Dakota wins, they'll play the winner of Alaska vs. Boston College for the Northeast Regional final. (Corey Trivino is out for the season Note to self: Try not to botch the BU-BC thing, 'kay?)

It's not likely, but you never know: Friends Gregoire and Kessel could meet in the Frozen Four, where Gregoire would have his chance to run his buddy into the boards. (Here's praise for Gregoire from the Winnipeg Free Press, and here's an HF interview with Gregoire from January.)



Here is your overall bracket. Here is a bracket contest sponsored by Puck Daddy, Pond Hockey and the makers of the raved-about 1960 Team USA film, "Forgotten Miracle." There's schwag involved.