In the spirit of wrapping up the 2019-20 season, I wanted to recognize the performances of certain Terriers who stood out to me this year. Just as I did after last season, here are my annual BU men’s hockey superlatives. All selections and opinions are my own.
Most improved during the season – Matt Quercia
After staying fairly quiet on BU’s lower forward lines as a freshman, Matt Quercia made a major jump in year two. His offensive growth was evident from the very beginning when he scored twice in the season-opener at Union, going on to finish the year as BU’s sixth top goal-scorer. On the other side of the puck, his defensive capabilities – especially on the penalty kill – enabled him to lead all Hockey East forwards in blocks with 34. His big-body presence was felt on both ends of the ice and in all situations, and the Terriers will surely be excited about what he can offer as an upperclassman and emerging leader.
Biggest surprise – Wilmer Skoog
Joining the Terriers halfway through the season, Wilmer Skoog didn’t wait very long to introduce himself to the Terrier Nation and the BU history books. The midseason addition from the NAHL scored an overtime game-winner against Brown in his official debut, followed it up with a candidate for Goal of the Season against Dartmouth, and scored a double-OT golden goal against Boston College in the first round of the Beanpot – all within his first month of college hockey. Away from the highlights, he brought poise and consistency to the depth chart at center, showing plenty of potential to become a key contributor as his career continues.
Unsung Hero – Gabe Chabot
There were plenty of Terriers who made an impact beyond the scoresheet, but to me, Gabe Chabot deserves the most recognition. His hard-nosed, high-motor style of play wouldn’t usually go along with the label of a talented scorer, but the fourth-year forward often wound up surprising goaltenders with his shooting ability, most notably picking the top corner with two eye-popping shots against Massachusetts in November and UMass Lowell in January. Most importantly, Chabot mastered his role as a fourth-line energizer bunny, made a difference with fairly limited ice time, and finished with his best year at BU.
Most to prove next season – Logan Cockerill
Through no fault of his own, Logan Cockerill had a junior year to forget. The veteran forward played just two games before picking up a long-term injury that he never fully recovered from, according to Albie O’Connell. His struggles were fairly obvious, as he only scored once (against an empty net, by the way) in his 15 games back in the lineup to conclude the season. A strong offseason should help Cockerill get back to full strength, and BU will need him to be at his best as next season’s captain and a proven top-six forward on a team that will be losing three major weapons atop the lineup in Patrick Curry, Patrick Harper, and Trevor Zegras.
Biggest unknown ahead of next season – Ashton Abel
The more I think about it, the more I realize Ashton Abel could be a major X factor for BU next season. Arriving during the winter break, Abel made the most of his early opportunities and backstopped BU to a four-game unbeaten streak between January and February. While Sam Tucker won back the crease to conclude the season, Abel’s month as the starter gave him significant experience and therefore a head start in the goaltending duel next fall. Incoming freshman Drew Commesso is the favorite to start at the goaltender position, but we shouldn’t rule out Abel potentially making a run for the role, or at least serving as a very capable backup.
Biggest offseason departure – Trevor Zegras
Trevor Zegras’s departure after one season at BU shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone after the ninth-overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft earned Hockey East All-Rookie Team honors. That said, his absence certainly leaves a hole among a fairly young center group that will likely be relying on Ty Amonte to take the lead upon returning from his season-long injury in 2019-20. No matter how the lines end up looking, it will be very difficult to replicate Zegras’s creativity and vision in the offensive zone. As Zegras heads to Anaheim, Terrier Nation will just have to wonder what he could have done in another year of college hockey.
Terrier of the Year – Cam Crotty
There’s a captain coming later on this list who could have certainly made a case to be Terrier of the Year, but I’m going to go with Cam Crotty on this one. It wasn’t an easy year for the junior assistant captain, who battled an ankle injury for stretches, especially in the first half. Still, Crotty only missed four games all year, managing to score four goals – the second-most of any Terrier blueliner – while serving as one of the most steady defensemen on the team. Often the last Terrier off the ice at practice and a frequent voice with the media and in the locker room, Crotty made a positive impact on and off the ice in his junior year.
Offensive Player of the Year – Patrick Harper
Looking back at last year’s superlatives, I wrote that Patrick Harper had the most to prove entering his senior season. Well, he more than delivered, putting up 14 goals and 23 assists for 37 points, all of which ranked within the top three among all Terriers this season. He also led BU with a staggering 20.9 shooting percentage, essentially scoring on one out of every five shots. After starting the season on an eight-game point streak, the soft-spoken assistant captain kept up his production all year, most notably scoring and assisting twice in the Beanpot semifinals against Boston College. In his final season at BU, Harper went out with a bang.
Defensive Player of the Year – David Farrance
It doesn’t feel right picking this defensive award based on someone’s offensive production, but when I think about who BU’s best defenseman was, the clear choice is David Farrance. The Hobey Baker Award finalist put up historic numbers from the blue line, leading all division-one defensemen in goals (14), points (43), and points per game (1.26). Among all NCAA skaters, his nine power-play goals led the nation at a point and ended tied for fourth, ranking as the only defenseman among the top 30 skaters in that category. He logged 36 blocks, good for third the team, showing the two-way strengths to make him one of the top defensemen in the country.
Most Valuable Player – Patrick Curry
Wearing the “C”, Patrick Curry turned in his best season in scarlet and white, setting the pace for BU with 19 goals and finishing fourth on the team in both assists (13) and points (32). He truly found his stride down the stretch, scoring four goals in five games and finishing his collegiate career on a seven-game point streak. Curry played with a variety of linemates throughout the season and never missed a beat, performing at a high level in all situations and being named Hockey East’s Best Defensive Forward for 2019-20. As Curry moves on, his presence atop the lineup and the leadership group will undoubtedly be missed.
Agree? Disagree? Let me hear your picks for these superlatives below!