4 players who impressed in East, West 1st-round action
Richard T Gagnon / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Friday's thrilling East and West regional semifinals in the NCAA men's hockey championship tournament featured a collection of the top collegiate talent in the nation.

Here are four players who stood out:

Merrick Madsen, Harvard

Junior netminder Merrick Madsen saved his finest performance of the season for Harvard's tournament opener, recording a career-high 41 saves in a shutout of Providence.

The sixth-round selection of the Philadelphia Flyers now has a nation-best 27 victories on the season.

Harvard's win was its first over Providence in the tournament since 1994.

Charlie McAvoy, Boston University

The seasons for the surplus of exciting prospects enrolled at Boston University appeared to be over when Dixon Bowen of defending champion UND scored in overtime. But after an offside brought it back, and BU finally settled in after failing to record a shot in the first bonus frame, the school's high-end talent prevailed.

Moments after nearly setting up a winner with an impressive rush down the wing, McAvoy slid to the backdoor with his team in possession of the puck in the attacking zone and deposited the double-overtime winner on a sweet feed from Clayton Keller.

It's no wonder McAvoy, a Boston Bruins first-rounder, is considered one of the top defenseman playing outside the NHL today.

Hunter Miska, Minnesota Duluth

Skating downhill on Minnesota Duluth in extra time after erasing a two-goal deficit in the third period, it looked like it was only a matter of time before Ohio State produced a decisive winner.

But freshman netminder and Richter Award finalist Hunter Miska stood tall, making stop after stop with the game hanging in the balance until Willie Raskob won it in overtime for the top-seeded Bulldogs.

This was the best of Miska's 40 saves:

Kyle Haak, Air Force

Air Force sophomore Kyle Haak broke out of a mini slump in timely fashion, scoring twice in a 5-4 win over Western Michigan - the program's second all-time win at the NCAA tournament.

Haak has just three goals in Air Force's last 11 games before fashioning his fourth multi-goal effort on the season.

Air Force is the only tournament entry without an NHL draft pick on the roster.

4 players who impressed in East, West 1st-round action
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