Saville, Walker lead Alaska hockey players headed to NCAAs
Two of the most prominent college hockey players from Alaska are on a collision course to face off in the Frozen Four.
A lot of things need to take place for that to happen, but stranger things have transpired at the NCAA Tournament.
Anchorage’s Isaiah Saville of the University of Nebraska Omaha and Anchorage’s Nolan Walker of St. Cloud State University lead a group of five Alaska players with ties to teams that qualified.
Saville, a sophomore goalie, is the main man in the mask for the Mavericks and a big reason why Omaha is back at the NCAAs for the first time since 2015.
He has posted a 12-10-1 record and owns a career-best .912 save percentage.
Saville, of West High fame, owns two victories over No. 1 seed North Dakota and earned a tie against another NCAA qualifier in Minnesota Duluth.
He twice eclipsed the 40-save mark, including a career-high 43 saves against North Dakota.
Omaha is the fourth seed in the West Regional and will face the top seed Minnesota in the first round Saturday in Loveland, Colorado.
The Omaha team features another Alaskan in Josh Boyer of Wasilla. The sophomore forward has been used in a reserve role with only five appearances on the season.
Saville and Boyer were both named to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Academic All-Conference Team. As was Walker, a junior forward, with St. Cloud
On the ice, he ranks fifth on his team with 18 points in 27 games on eight goals and 10 assists.
He is one of the most accurate snipers in the country with a lights-out 33-percent scoring percentage. That means he scores a goal for every three shots he takes on net.
In January, Walker racked up his first five-point game to tie a National Collegiate Hockey Conference record. He scored four goals on four shots that night.
He owns scoring totals of 18-39-57 in 94 career games.
For Walker, this will be his second time skating at the NCAA Tournament after helping the Huskies reach Big Dance as a freshman in 2019.
St. Cloud will face perennial power Boston University in the first round of the Northeast Regional Saturday in Albany, New York.
Other NCAA qualifying teams to include Alaskans are Notre Dame (Zach Plucinski of Eagle River) and Minnesota State (Tanner Edwards of Anchorage).
But neither will play. Notre Dame just pulled out of the tournament because of COVID protocols and Edwards hasn’t played all season as a redshirt.