By: Caroline Fernandez and Joe Pohoryles
With the release of the Hockey East schedule this afternoon, the Boston University Men’s Hockey team will play a total of 24 games this season, all in-conference. Here’s a closer look at each team in the league:
University of Vermont
The Terriers will kick off their season against the University of Vermont Catamounts (2019-20: 5-23-6, 2-18-4 HE) in Burlington on Dec. 4 and 5. The Catamounts finished in last place in the 2019-20 season with their only two wins coming against Northeastern.
Team leaders Andrew Lucas and Jacques Bouquot will be returning to the ice this season with an offensive core mostly composed of underclassmen. Joining the team this year are seven forwards, two defensemen and one goalie.
First-year forward Will Zapernick ranked in the top ten in goals (34), assists (54), points (88), and points per game (1.52) while playing for the Sherwood Park Crusaders of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).
UVM has graduated their top goaltender, Stefanos Lekkas, who sported a .916 save percentage and a 2.76 goals against average (GAA). Replacing Lekkas will likely be senior Tyler Harmon or freshman Gabe Carriere. Carriere spent the 2019-20 season in the United States Hockey League, playing for the Waterloo Blackhawks. Carriere ranked second in the USHL with a 2.57 GAA and .905 save percentage.
The Catamounts have added Todd Woodcroft as the 5th head coach in program history. Woodcroft spent the last four years as an assistant coach for the Winnipeg Jets. Woodcroft coached six International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championships, winning gold twice with Team Canada and Team Sweden.
In the 2019-20 season, the Terriers defeated the Catamounts twice and tied once
University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen (2019-20: 21-11-2, 14-8-2 HE) finished second in the Hockey East standings.
Hobey Baker finalist John Leonard will return to Hockey East this season after finishing 9th in the country in points. Last season, Leonard finished with 27 goals, best of any Division I player, and 10 assists for a total of 37 points in 33 games.
Also returning are forwards Mitchell Chaffee, Zac Jones, and Bobby Trivigno who tallied 29, 23, and 20 points, respectively. Joining the Minutemen is freshman Oliver MacDonald, who totaled 64 points on 23 goals and 41 assists in the USHL.
In net, Filip Lindberg will return as starting goaltender. Last season, Lindberg finished eighth in the country with a 1.91 GAA and 14th in save percentage with .927. His GAA was second-best in Hockey East.
Last season, the Terriers played the Minutemen twice, splitting the series with a 4-3 win at home, and a 1-4 loss at UMass’s Mullins Center.
The Northeastern Huskies (2019-20: 18-13-3, 11-12-1 HE) sat just behind the Terriers in the Hockey East rankings.
The Huskies will lose many of their top scorers, such as Tyler Madden, Ryan Shea, and Matt Filipe. Madden opted out of his last two years and has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the LA Kings after leading the team in points (37) from 19 goals and 18 assists. Ryan Shea and Matt Filipe both graduated last spring. Shea has since inked a professional deal with the Dallas Stars.
In the freshman class, forwards Sam Colangelo, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine and Ty Jackson will help make up for the loss of Madden, Shea, and Filipe. Colangelo put up 61 points in two seasons with the Chicago Steel of the USHL from 31 goals and 30 assists. Colangelo was a second-round pick for the Anaheim Ducks in the 2020 NHL Draft. Fontaine played alongside Colangelo in Chicago and finished fifth in the USHL in goals, goals per game, and points. Jackson was named to the All-USHL Third Team after finishing third in the league in points (58) and assists (41).
The Huskies have also graduated starting goaltender Craig Pantano. Without Pantano, Northeastern will look to Connor Murphy and freshman Devon Levi, who led the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) with a 1.47 GAA and .941 save percentage. Levi earned the CCHL Goaltender of the Year Award.
The Terriers faced the Huskies four times last year splitting games evenly with two wins and two losses, one coming in the Beanpot finals
The Providence College Friars (2019-20: 16-12-6, 10-11-3 HE) tied Northeastern in Hockey East standings, ending with 23 points in Hockey East play.
Most of the Friars’ core is returning, with forwards Greg Printz and Tyce Thompson and blueliner Michael Callahan combining for a total of 100 points last season. Thompson was fifth in the NCAA with 44 points.
The Friars will add forwards Brett Berard and Chase Yoder of the US National Team Development Program (USNTDP). Berard tallied 34 points (16g, 18a) in 41 games with the Under-18 team in 2019. Alongside Berard, Yoder earned 20 points off of 10 goals and 10 assists last year.
The team has lost their starting netminder in Michael Lackey, who finished with a 2.18 GAA and .922 save percentage, putting him fifth in the league. Replacing Lackey will likely be incoming Swedish goalie Anton Martinsson. Martinsson is coming from four years in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) where he played for the University of Alaska- Fairbanks. At UAF, Martinsson had a .919 save percentage, putting him at fourth in the league.
The biggest loss for Providence is the departure of Hobey Baker finalist Jack Dugan. Dugan led all Division I players in points, assists, power play points and points per game last season, finishing with a total of 52 points from 10 goals and 42 assists. Dugan will forgo his last two years at Providence, after signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Vegas Golden Knights.
BU faced Providence twice last season. The teams tied for one game, and the Friars took the second game.
University of Massachusetts-Lowell
The UMass Lowell Riverhawks (2019-20: 18-10-6, 12-7-5 HE) finished the Hockey East season in third place.
The Riverhawks will get their three top scorers back in forwards Matt Brown, Carl Berglund, and Andre Lee. The freshman class consists of five forwards, two blueliners and one goaltender, including Josh Latta, a transfer from the University of Alabama-Huntsville. At UAH, Latta totaled 18 points on 7 goals and 11 assists in his single year with the Chargers.
In net, Lowell lost Tyler Wall, who was second in Hockey East for save percentage with .931. Wall posted a 58-34-10 record while at Lowell, breaking several school records. Since graduating, Wall has signed with the New York Rangers.
The Riverhawks will look to returning goaltender Logan Neaton or freshman Henry Welsch to fill the net. Welsch recorded a 1.99 GAA and .926 save percentage while playing for the Aberdeen Wings of the North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Against the Riverhawks, the Terriers have two ties and a 5-0 shut-out win that took place January 24.
University of Maine
The Maine Black Bears (2019-20: 18-11-5, 12-9-3 HE) finished fourth in Hockey East last season as one of the better defensive teams, backstopped by Hobey Baker finalist Jeremy Swayman in net. In Hockey East play, Swayman finished with a 2.27 GAA and a conference-best .934 save percentage.
Because Swayman signed with the Boston Bruins this offseason, the Black Bears are left with a young goaltending core of sophomore Matthew Thiessen, who was a 2018 NHL fourth-round pick, and freshmen Victor Östen and Connor Androlewicz, all of whom have big shoes to fill in the crease.
In addition, Maine graduated last season’s top two scorers, forwards Mitchell Fossier and Tim Doherty, who contributed 42 and 37 points, respectively. Despite that loss in production, the Black Bears are bringing back the rest of their top five scorers from last season.
JD Greenway, the younger brother of former Terrier Jordan Greenway, will be suiting up for his senior season on Maine’s blueline. The Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2016 third-round pick tallied 10 points (1g, 9a) last season.
The Merrimack Warriors (2019-20: 9-22-3, 7-14-3 HE) finished 10th in Hockey East last season. The Warriors graduated two of their four 20-point scorers, including team-leader Tyler Irvine (13g-14a-27p).
Highlighting the incoming freshman class is forward Alex Jeffries. Jeffries was selected 121st overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by the New York Islanders. He scored 69 points (33g, 36a) in just 32 games to lead his prep school, The Gunnery (CT), in scoring.
The Warriors return disruptor Declan Carlilse from last season. As a freshman last season, the defenseman led Hockey East with 67 blocked shots. Now a sophomore, Carlilse is coming off a Hockey East All-Rookie campaign looking to lead the Merrimack blue line to better results in 2020-21.
BU split their two matchups against Merrimack last season, winning the first 3-2 on Jan. 17 before falling 5-1 at home to the Warriors on Feb. 7.
University of Connecticut
The UConn Huskies (2019-20: 15-15-4, 12-10-2 HE) finished just ahead of the Terriers in Hockey East last season to secure fifth in the standings. UConn’s forward depth powered the second-highest scoring offense in Hockey East (2.96 goals per game), but the team also allowed 3.12 goals per game, which was the third-worst scoring defense in the conference.
Like nearly every other team in the conference, UConn graduated a couple of their top scorers, including Benjamin Freeman and Alexander Payusov. However, the team returns junior forward Carter Turnbull, who co-led the team with 12 goals, and sophomore forward Vladislav Firstov, who was tied for third on the team with 23 points (11g, 12a) last season.
BU fell to UConn in both meetings last season; first a 4-3 overtime loss on Feb. 21 followed by a 6-1 beating the following day.
The Boston College Eagles (2019-20: 24-8-2, 17-6-1 HE) enters this season as the second ranked team in the nation. They finished with the best record in Hockey East last season, boasting the top scoring offense (3.88 goals per game) and the best defense (2.00 goals allowed per game) in the conference.
The team graduated two top-three scorers from last year in Julius Mattila and David Cotton, but retained last year’s Hockey East and Division I Rookie of the Year Alex Newhook, who totaled 42 points (19g, 23a), which tied for the team-best.
They also bring back one of the best young goaltenders in the country in Spencer Knight. Knight boasted the best goals against average (1.97) of any full-time goalie in conference play last season, and his .931 save percentage is the best among returning goalies in Hockey East.
The Eagles are bringing back most of the same roster and loaded on some extra talent, including former USNTDP defenseman Eamon Powell, and look like early favorites for the Hockey East crown.
University of New Hampshire
The University of New Hampshire Wildcats (2019-20: 15-15-4, 9-12-3 HE) are coming off a ninth-place finish in Hockey East last year. With a young core of offensive producers — all five of their 20-point scorers were freshmen or sophomores — coming back with more experience under their belt, the Wildcats have an opportunity to progress this season.
The Wildcats underwhelmed as a team offensively last year, averaging just 2.25 goals per game. Only last place Vermont scored at a lower rate (1.83) among Hockey East teams. Defensively, UNH was middle of the pack, allowing 2.88 goals per game, which was just slightly higher than BU’s 2.67 average goals allowed in Hockey East play.
The Terriers swept all three matchups against the Wildcats last season.