Chilliwack Chiefs well represented in NCAA Frozen Four tournament

Kohen Olischefski, Vimal Sukumaran and Vincent Desharnais play for an NCAA men’s hockey championship.

The Chilliwack Chiefs will have three players gunning for a national championship at the NCAA’s Frozen Four tournament.

The Providence Friars, Denver Pioneers, UMass (Massachusetts) Minutemen and Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs are the last teams standing in the quest for a Div-1 title.

Providence was third in the Hockey East standings during the regular season and fought their way into the Frozen Four with a 4-0 win over Cornell last Sunday in an East Regional playoff.

The Friars roster includes ex-Chiefs Vincent Desharnais (defence) and Vimal Sukumaran (forward) along with West Kelowna alum Kyle Koopman.

Providence won a national championship the last time it was in the Frozen Four, back in 2015.

Former Chief’s forward Kohen Olischefski plays for Denver, which finished fourth in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference standings during the regular season and punched its ticket with a 3-0 win over American International in a West Regional playoff last Saturday.

Denver makes its 16th trip to the Frozen Four, targeting the ninth championship in the program’s storied history.

Other BCHL grads on the Pioneers roster are Griffin Mendel (Penticton), Liam Finlay (Vernon), Jarid Lukosevicius (Powell River), Slava Demin (Wenatchee), Ryan Barrow (Langley) and Michael Corson (Cowichan Valley).

UMass blanked Notre Dame 4-0 last Saturday in a Northeast Regional playoff to secure their spot in the Frozen Four.

Heading into the program’s first ever Frozen Four appearance, the Minutemen are light on BCHL alums, with Powell River grads Kurt Keats and Jacob Pritchard the only ones. Colorado Avalanche draft pick and former Alberta Junior Hockey League star Cale Makar leads UMass.

Minnesota-Duluth doesn’t have a single BCHL alum on their team, but the Bulldogs are making their third straight appearance in the Frozen Four.

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