The good, the bad, and the ugly: 2020-21 season (2/2)

Sam Tucker makes a save against UMass Amherst on November 15th. Photo by Caroline Fernandez

In part one of this feature, I covered the ups and downs of the Boston University Men’s Hockey team focusing mainly on last season. Now I’ll be looking into the future to discuss the same details but with our new recruits in mind. All opinions are my own.

The Good:

The 2019-20 Terriers had a massive freshmen class, consisting of 13 new players. While some had played together in the US National Team Development Program, many had never taken the ice together. With the exception of Trevor Zegras, this cohort of freshmen now has a year of NCAA experience under its belt. Heading into their second year at Agganis, the team has likely gelled together, allowing for smoother plays overall.

With that being said, the Terriers will add eight players this upcoming season. Players like Luke Tuch, Drew Commesso, and Dylan Peterson spent several years playing together for the NTDP; Cade Webber and Jay O’Brien played together with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. Starting the year with these connections has proven successful in the past, and will hopefully continue into the next season.

Looking at specific players, I’m really excited to see what Jay O’Brien and Drew Commesso will do on the ice. After leaving Providence College and heading to Canada with the Penticton Vees, O’Brien earned 66 points in 46 games in the BCHL. His growth after one year in juniors, especially after an underwhelming freshman year with the Friars, really shows the value he’ll add for the Terriers.

The player I’m most looking forward to seeing in a BU jersey though, is Drew Commesso. Commesso was the starting goalie for the NTDP, and I think that he will be a massive asset to the team. NHL.com ranked Commesso third in a listing of the top 10 goalie prospects for the 2020 draft. With the second-lowest GAA (2.05) and sixth-highest save percentage (.920) Commesso could fill the hole left behind by Jake Oettinger’s departure in 2019. 

I think that one of the biggest issues the Terrier’s faced last season was the lack of a solid starting netminder. The season switched between Graduate Sam Tucker, and mid-season addition, Ashton Abel. With three goalies to choose from next season in Commesso, Abel, and incoming freshman Vincent Duplessis, the coaching staff will be able to choose between three viable candidates.

The Bad:

Because this is more focused on the incoming class I don’t have many “bads.” Despite that, I will say I’m a bit shocked to see Cam Crotty forego his senior season. Crotty had a huge presence on the blueline and was a strong leader on and off the ice, wearing an “A” last season. Even though Crotty will be missed, I imagine that rising senior Kasper Kotkansalo or rising sophomore Domenick Fensore will fill his spot. 

The Ugly:

In a more general sense, I unfortunately imagine a January start to the season. The Patriot League, in which all other BU sports participate, has cancelled fall sports as a result of the Coronavirus. While hockey is a winter sport, we all know that the season really begins in mid-October. With that comes uncertainty about fans, conference setups, and travel restrictions.

Final Thoughts:

Next year will be the first year where the majority of players have been coached by Albie O’Connell. This year’s graduating class began their career under David Quinn and switched to O’Connell halfway through; now the team has really acclimated to O’Connell’s style of play.

Despite everything that’s still in question, I’m optimistic about next year’s squad. Our incoming recruits will fill holes left empty by seniors and those who left early, and having a clear starter in goal, one of the best in the country at that, will turn BU into a force to be reckoned with. With an impressive new lineup, I’m excited to see what we achieve on the road to six.


  1. Thanks for a great preview article Caroline! Just to follow up on O’Brien’s underwhelming season at PC, I believe he did have a concussion early in that season and that might have had a prolonged effect on his play. I also heard he didn’t feel comfortable in general at PC. And I totally agree that Commesso is the guy who I am most excited to see play of all the freshmen. He had elite numbers at Saint Sebastian’s, struggled mightily in his U-17 year with the USNTDP but turned it around and put up even better numbers in his U-18 season than his predecessor and current BC goalie Spencer Knight. Of course the shortened season will drastically reduce the time Commesso will have to adjust to D-1 play. Oh well. We shall see!

    • Caroline Fernandez

      Glenn- I spoke to O’Brien in May and definitely agree with you; he was underprepared and uncomfortable in Providence. As for a shortened season, seems like we might get a full schedule after all!

  2. I wish I had a better read on the freshman coming in. I hear so much about the goaltender Commesso . To be compared to Jake is a huge accomplishment. Jake was one of the best all time goalies in bu history. I’m assuming the rest of the class will be top notch. Our coaches can evaluate talent . The league as a whole looks very strong. Bu will have there work cut out for them to do damage against hockey east teams. As I have stated many times what helps bu is there level of preparedness entering a season with a start date up in the year. Our strength and conditioning coach has his work cut out for him with social distancing but he’s the best at his profession and these kids will be ready for whenever there is hockey. I think this will be a huge advantage for bu