The first half of the season is over, so here is my player-by-player analysis, all based on my own opinion and the stats that each Terrier put up over the course of the semester. Be sure to check out my article about the second half of the roster, which was posted here.
Due to preseason surgery, Amonte hasn’t played and won’t for the rest of the 2019-20 season. That said, since he is still technically on the roster, I wanted to include him on this list. Losing a tough, dynamic, proven college hockey player in Amonte before the season began was certainly a blow to BU’s inexperienced lineup, and as this team has grown, I’m sure it’s become even more challenging for the junior forward to sit out and not be on the ice combining with these talented youngsters. He’ll just have to wait until next season, because his 2019-20 season ended before it began.
Armstrong was relatively unknown among the BU faithful when he started the season on the fourth line, but it didn’t take long for the freshman forward to lock up a spot on the BU line sheet. The Terriers have utilized Armstrong’s physical style of play to complement some of their more skilled attacking players, moving him up the lineup to work with Robert Mastrosimone and Ethan Phillips first, and eventually Trevor Zegras and Patrick Harper by the end of the first half. While his production could be improved (and likely will if he sticks with BU’s top line), two points (1g, 1a) in 17 games doesn’t really tell the story of what Armstrong has brought in his first semester of college hockey.
It wasn’t the semester Blixt would have wanted to begin his second season with the Terriers. After spending much of his freshman season on BU’s third defensive pair, the Swedish defenseman has been demoted to serving almost exclusively as a seventh d-man this season. Jockeying with freshman blueliner Sean Driscoll for the extra skater slot, Blixt has played nine games, while Driscoll has played 13. Blixt’s calling card has been his strong defense with discipline, earning time on the penalty kill while staying out of the box all semester. However, the sizable sophomore has yet to really prove his offensive ability at BU, so until he can find more of a two-way game, it will be difficult for Blixt to hold on to an everyday spot in a very deep Terrier defensive unit.
Boguslavsky was active for 13 games through the first half of his freshman campaign, skating among a Terrier fourth line that some rotation of personnel over the course of the semester. The Calgary native only got on the scoresheet once with an assist, but perhaps his greatest contributions thus far have come through his versatility. Boguslavsky, a winger by trade, served as a center when BU needed one and went a respectable 20 for 41 at the faceoff dot. This positioning flexibility makes the first-year Terrier an appealing option to fill in for injured teammates, but it seems unlikely that we will see him carve out a day-in, day-out role among the Terrier skaters this season.
As far as contributions go, one would have to assume that Brink’s biggest impact in the first half of his grad year at BU would be his leadership and experience as the oldest player on a young Terrier roster. On the ice, he has been a physical presence in the core of BU’s forward lines, although his efforts have only yielded two assists thus far. Brink has come close on his opportunities in the offensive zone, most notably at Red Hot Hockey with BU’s best two chances of the game, so if he can find a way to bury a few of his chances in the second half, he could extend his influence from the locker room to the scoreboard.
Chabot isn’t exactly a guy who lights the lamp on a regular basis, but he is off to his best scoring start in his four years at BU with two goals through his first 16 games. The veteran forward’s motor is what makes him the leader of the Terrier fourth line, providing a burst of energy when his trio is called upon. Chabot can be relied on to set the tone by playing with an edge, finishing his first half with just three penalties, although one was a major that resulted in a game misconduct. While his name may fall towards the bottom of the BU line chart, it’s hard to see Chabot being ousted from the Terrier lineup any time soon as his experience could be crucial in high-stakes games down the road at the TD Garden. Looking for one last shot at a trophy, the senior will be aiming for a strong finish to conclude his career at BU.
Cockerill’s first half was cut short with an injury in the finale of BU’s home-opening series against Northern Michigan. The assistant captain had been off to a hot start to begin his junior campaign, looking lively among BU’s skillful freshmen forwards and notching a goal in the middle of his three games played. Cockerill is expected to return towards the end of January, and BU will hope that he can provide an extra spark to push BU into tournament play. The challenges will be finding a spot for him on BU’s attacking lines without interfering with the chemistry built across the existing Terrier trios, and getting him back up to speed quickly if he hopes to dress for the Beanpot in early February.
It’s relatively clear that Copeland is a work in progress early in his collegiate career. The freshman only dressed in one game all semester, forced into action with BU down to their last man in an injury-riddled stretch between late October and early November. Standing at six-foot-six, Copeland certainly draws eyes when he takes the ice, but his game hasn’t quite caught up with his size. It’s unlikely that we see much of Copeland down the stretch this season, but perhaps some ice time in exhibition games could give the local kid something to build off of as he sets his sights towards making an increased impact in his sophomore season.
Crotty had his first half interrupted by what seemed to be an ankle injury just four games in. The assistant captain still dressed for 13 games in the first half of his junior season, returning a few weeks after initially leaving the lineup, but there were stretches where he just didn’t seem quite like himself on the BU blue line. Consistent defensively as always, Crotty’s attacking touch returned with a goal and an assist against Harvard in the second-to-last game of the semester. Chipping in offensively could help Crotty take his game to the next level, but his priority as the leader of a young BU defensive corps will be to protect the Terrier zone as BU did resolutely in December victories over dangerous offenses in Harvard and Northeastern.
Tasked with leading a team of predominantly underclassmen, Curry’s first semester as the BU captain likely left the senior forward with mixed feelings. After breaking out on the top line in his junior season, Curry found another gear in his first games wearing the “C” this fall, scoring seven goals in his first six games of the 2019-20 campaign. The Illinois native even led the country in scoring at one point, but his production has cooled off significantly since then, tallying three goals in his last 11 games. Curry was moved alongside Robert Mastrosimone and Ethan Phillips when BU shuffled the lines late in the first half, and while this new-look trio didn’t quite flourish the way the “Avon Old Farms” line did, there is plenty of potential between Curry and his new linemates. The captain will be hungry to get back to lighting the lamp on a more consistent basis in 2020, so learning to excel with Mastrosimone and Phillips will be a critical step towards getting back into goal-scoring form.
Aside from Ty Amonte, who is out for the season, DeBoer missed the most time of any injured Terrier skater through the first semester. The sophomore was sidelined until the Vermont series towards the end of November, and, as was to be expected, it took some time for him to get back in game condition in his return to the lineup. After being a healthy scratch against Cornell and Harvard, DeBoer finished his shortened first half on a positive note by scoring against Northeastern. The injury may have caused the New Jersey forward to be temporarily overtaken by other underclassmen on the depth chart, but if he can use his size and ability to create some goals for the fourth line, DeBoer could be an every-night player in the second half for BU.
Driscoll was praised by Albie O’Connell before the season for his physical ability and aggressiveness, and the freshman defenseman did not disappoint in his first semester on Commonwealth Avenue. While often overshadowed by the drafted first-years ahead of him, Driscoll found his role as a seventh defenseman and looked far from a freshman depth piece. The Wisconsinite played strong on defense and showed a willingness to pull the trigger in the attacking zone, which likely separated him from Hugo Blixt in the race to be the extra man on the blue line. It will be difficult for Driscoll to become part of a defensive pairing this season with the veterans and superior freshmen he has ahead of him, but if he can continue to earn time as a seventh defenseman, he could position himself well to take a more consistent job next season.
Farrance was likely BU’s most valuable player in the first half, and not just because of his offensive production. While the junior defenseman has already beaten both of his previous full-season points totals, he also played every game and often logged the most time on ice of any Terrier, and was solid defensively when BU was missing other veteran blueliners or experiencing growing pains among their younger members. Farrance’s play has put him in the Hobey Baker conversation, leading all defensemen in the nation in goals (10) and points (22) while also rounding out his two-way game as noted by his coach and teammates. Farrance has had a dream start to the 2019-20 campaign, and BU will only hope that he can keep it up as the season rolls on.
Fensore has drawn comparisons to David Farrance through his first semester of college hockey, and it’s easy to see why. The former USNTDP blueliner has shown flashes of brilliance with the puck, becoming a one-man breakout unit and challenging opposing defensemen on the rush. However, his attacking aggressiveness has occasionally left BU susceptible to odd-man chances, so the freshman will need to learn the best times to pick his spots and attack without opening the door for a quick strike the other way. Fensore’s goals against Vermont and Northeastern were strong indications that he is getting the hang of what works at this level, and if he can continue to grow into the college game, his ceiling is very high.