Bench Boss Switch-Up & Other Off Season Updates

After a four week-hiatus, the Boston Hockey Blog is returning with some off season updates from both the Boston University Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams.

In the world of coaching, both the men’s and women’s teams have seen changes behind the bench. At Walter Brown, the Terriers will say goodbye to assistant coach Tara Watchorn who will be taking over as the first women’s hockey head coach at Stonehill College in Easton, MA. Watchorn managed the Terrier defense alongside her former coach Brian Durocher for four years, and helped improve the team’s penalty kill to .921 for the fourth highest in the country.

Also saying goodbye to Comm Ave is associate head coach Liz Keady Norton. Keady Norton will return to the ECAC and the Ivy League as the 11th head coach of Dartmouth Women’s Hockey following three years with the Terriers. While Keady Norton and Watchorn were with the Terriers, seven forwards were named Hockey East All Stars and two were named Top-10 finalists for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award.

With big shoes to fill, Durocher invited Kerstin Matthews and Mollie Fitzpatrick to the program. Matthews served as Durocher’s assistant and helped transition the team from a club sport to the varsity level in 2005. Matthews served as the head coach at Saint Anselm College recording a .745 win percentage during her 14 years with the Hawks, and will replace Keady Norton as Associate Head Coach.

Fitzpatrick will take over for Watchorn as an assistant coach coming from Norwich University in Northfield, VT. As a student and a coach at NU, Fitzpatrick won two national championships with her DIII squad, and looks to bring that experience to this Terrier team.

Over at Agganis, associate head coach Paul Pearl will be leaving the Terriers to take over as the head coach at Cushing Academy. Pearl joined the BU staff alongside Head Coach Albie O’Connell in June of 2018.

With Pearl’s absence comes the exciting addition of two former Terrier captains and teammates of O’Connell in Jay Pandolfo and Doug Friedman. Pandolfo, a 1996 graduate played on the 1995 championship team before his nearly 900 game stretch in the NHL with New Jersey, the New York Islanders, and Boston, where he won two Stanley Cups with the Devils. After retiring, Pandolfo worked as a player development coach, the team’s director of player development, and eventually as assistant coach for five years. 

Friedman, who graduated just before the Terriers fourth national title, will take over as the director of hockey operations. Friedman had an impressive four year campaign in scarlet and white with appearances in three frozen fours, two title games, two Beanpots, and two Hockey East Championships. After BU, he played professionally with the Edmonton Oilers and Nashville Predators, and later served as the head coach of the Twin City Thunder in the USPHL.

On the ice, incoming defenseman Roman Schmidt has decommitted from BU, opting to play with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. Despite the loss of Schmidt, the Terriers will be adding another right-handed defenseman in Ty Gallagher. Gallagher, originally set for Notre Dame, will likely add some depth to the Terrier blue line. In the U18 World Junior tournament, the Clarkston, Michigan native led all defenseman in goals with three and holds the record for most goals scored by a defenseman in the National Team Development Program with 25.

Lastly, after a year of uncertainty, we finally have a home schedule for both the men’s and women’s teams. The women will face the University of New Hampshire Wildcats at Walter Brown on October 2, and the puck will drop at Agganis for the 100th season of BU Hockey on October 9 against the University of Connecticut Huskies.

10 thoughts on “Bench Boss Switch-Up & Other Off Season Updates”

  1. Nice to have you guys back.
    Getting these two BU guys back will , I think , help the current players understand the meaning of how BU Hockey was and should be going forward.
    Gallagher coming here so fast shows how good O’Connell is in recruiting.
    I expect a good year and at least a Beanpot Championship.

    • Hi SOCC! I completely agree- I always say that BU never really has a “drought” when it comes to being a competitive team, but the last trophy we won was 6 years ago (3 if you count Hockey East championship). I’m looking forward to having more Terrier pride on the ice and hopefully bringing the program back to what it once was

      • Hi, Caroline,
        Yes, you were not out and about when we would win SEVERAL championships many years. We owned the ‘pot and NCAA was a given.
        I think we are on the right track to get back but there is much more competition with outstanding coaches in HE and much better over all player development in the Jr’s.

  2. Are you saying the current HC was unable to get the players to understand what BU hockey should be.
    After a three year sample I would agree

    • I think the head coach is ok with the tradition but not having another BU guy with him may have hurt.
      With the University not really in favor of any Sports it is hard to get people to come and stay I would think. It is all BC all the time in local sports and BU is almost never written or seen in local media.

  3. Both coach Pandolfo and Friedman were great terriers. If they put the same effort into coaching as they did into playing we are in great shape. Booth guys are professional and good guys that our players can learn from on and off the ice. I think too many are critical of our performances the past year. I see our play last year and our season as a success. You can be disappointed we lost but we made the National tournament that’s very good. Only one team can win the National tournament to judge the team’s success on that is a mistake. I don’t know enough about this crop of freshmen other then they all seem to be great kids to say this is the year but I will say as a huge fan of bu hockey I have the utmost faith in coach and his staff to put us in a position to win. Go bu🐾

    • They sure were great Terriers as players and here’s hoping they are remembered as even better Terrier coaches. I just saw that both Owen Powers and Matt Beniers of Michigan are giving serious consideration to returning for their sophomore seasons – despite them being the top two selections of the upcoming NHL draft. I’d love for Albie, Jay and Doug to get that kind of committent from elite recruits. To be fair, it’s unheard of and absolutely astounding.

      Anyway, one thing we won’t have to worry about is being the youngest team in colege hockey anymore. We will have multiple high-end players who are 20 and older.

  4. i do not agree that this season was a success. a partial success maybe, but we sputtered badly starting with the Merrimack game at home. they should have won that game especially with the return of Farrance and Commesso.

    and once the playoffs started, we had nothing and lost underwhelmingly to lowell and st cloud. hardly competitive in either tilt. not tough to play against

    i predict, since he has not already, Drew will not renew Albie’s contract and the job is Jay’s, if he wants it, the year after. love Albie to go back to being the main recruiter because i generally like the talent he brings in. the late addition of Ty Gallagher after Schmidt decommitted and the signing of Matt Brown from Lowell were nice coups.

    i also think that this NHL makeover/upgrade (Pando, Friedman, Daccord, and Sherman) might entice flight-risk recruits like Boucher and Legault to honor their commitments and come to BU.

    any word on Lenny’s position? my sense is that he is still with them, at least for another year.

  5. Connie I can’t predict the future and I don’t know what AD Marichello will do. I will say that if you consider loosing in national tournament a failure then no coach would be successful. I can think of many bu alums that would make for great coaches but loyalty and commitment should count for something. Albie is one hell of a good coach he has done a good job and this team is poised to win. I can tell you I idolized coach parker I thought coach Quinn was great and I think coach OConnell fits in that same category. The character of the kids bu brings in should count for something as well. The kids represent bu in the highest light. Im pulling for coach and this team. Go bu 🐾

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