From the FreeP: Hockey Preview Edition 2017

With the Boston University men’s hockey season right around the corner, this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. to be precise, we have an entire edition of The Daily Free Press full of photos, content and all things regarding BU hockey.

Click here for the entire edition, but if you are around BU please pick up a copy today! We are also going to try to put some near the doors of Agganis Arena before BU’s first game of the season against Union College.

The Terriers watch BU head coach David Quinn during practice. PHOTO BY CHLOE GRINBERG/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
The Terriers watch BU head coach David Quinn during practice. PHOTO BY CHLOE GRINBERG/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

BU Season Preview – “Boston University men’s hockey enters season with a lot at stake

We dive deep into the No. 2 (in the preseason poll) Terriers as they attempt to make a run to the Frozen Four in Minnesota. Learn all about returning stars and the new freshman that plan on paving the way forBU to make it all the way to this April.

Brandon Hickey Feature – “Brandon Hickey readies himself to take reins of men’s ice hockey

The Terriers have a brand new captain this season – senior defenseman Brandon Hickey.

Hickey scored four goals while chipping in 11 assists last year while emerging as a prominent force in the locker room.

His leadership was rewarded this past spring, as he became the heir to current Columbus Blue Jacket Doyle Somerby on the throne of captainship.

Len Quesnelle Feature – “BU men’s hockey fills assistant coaching vacancy with Len Quesnelle

Former assistant coach Scott Young moved on to the professional ranks to join BU alum Mike Sullivan’s staff with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Terriers received someone from the NHL in return.

Len Quesnelle, most recently an amateur scout for the Detroit Red Wings, joins David Quinn’s coaching staff for his third assistant coaching job in the collegiate ranks.

He plans to be the primary force behind BU’s recruiting efforts.

Jake Oettinger Feature – “The goaltender’s mentality in Jake Oettinger

Sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger was the 26th pick by the Dallas Stars in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft this summer, but returns to BU with many goals for the upcoming season.

One of the best goaltenders in Hockey East, Oettinger will look to be a brick wall in net throughout the year. Although the question remains: what goes on Oettinger’s mind to produce such a calm and stable presence between the pipes?

Ty Amonte and Brady Tkachuk Feature – “A new era for the names Amonte and Tkachuk

Freshman forwards Brady Tkachuk and Ty Amonte have received the baton from their five-time NHL all-star fathers, both of whom played for BU on the same 1990-91 team during their own college hockey days.

Amonte looks to serve a prominent role on the squad’s offensive attack, following in the footsteps of his father Tony, who played in the NHL for 18 seasons with teams such as the Chicago Blackhawks and the New York Rangers.

Tkachuk, a forward in his own right and one of the top prospects for the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, will look to light the lamp in the shadow of his father Keith who enjoyed 20 seasons in the NHL.

Despite their father’s legacies, the two players hope to create their own at BU.

20 Questions Max Prawdzik – “20 Questions for Max Prawdzik

Get to know Max Prawdzik, a redshirt sophomore goalie who spent his spring with the Lone Star Brahmas of the NAHL. Prawdzik discussed what it was like leaving BU for a semester, which he’d bring on a desert island and much more.

Column – “Dropping the Gloves: NHL draft changes are not a good idea

In Jess Grinberg’s hockey column, Dropping the Gloves, she tackles the heated subject of NHL draft picks and the possibility of the NHL draft age increasing.

Women’s Hockey Features

The issue finishes off with a few must-read women’s hockey stories.

Women’s hockey seniors reflect on their time at BU” – Senior forwards Victoria Bach and Nina Rodgers look to lead a young group of Terriers in their final seasons with the Terriers.

Women’s hockey reloaded, looks to improve on last season” – Find out what goes on behind the scenes when Brian Durocher hits the recruiting trail to add talent to the BU squad.

Terriers release 2017-18 home schedule

Terrier fans can already begin planning their visits to Agganis Arena as the Boston University men’s hockey team announced their home schedule for 2017-18 on Wednesday afternoon.

Luckily for the BU faithful, the team is scheduled to begin their season earlier than ever before. For the first time since their inception, the Terriers will begin their regular season before October. BU will kick off its season at home for the first time since 1992-93 as they play host to Union on September 30.

The home crowd will be treated to numerous high-profile tilts this coming season, beginning with the Terriers’ jam-packed October slate featuring a handful of formidable opponents. On October 13 and 14, Minnesota State, the No. 1 overall seed in the 2015 NCAA Tournament, will pay a visit to Agganis Arena for a two-game series. This set marks the first ever matchup between the Mavericks and Terriers.

Just two weeks later, the stakes will be ratcheted up even further, as defending national champion the University of Denver will serve as a measuring stick for the Terriers. The Pioneers raced through the NCAA Tournament after being handed the No. 1 overall seed this past spring, and look to be one of the favorites to reach the Frozen Four in 2018. In what is likely to be a contest pitting two teams ranked in the top ten of the NCAA polls, BU will seek its fourth consecutive home victory over Denver.

The Terriers should not have to wait long to host another highly-ranked opponent. After the month of November, in which BU hosts three Hockey East opponents in the span of eight days (Providence College, Northeastern University, and University of New Hampshire), the rink heats up in the month of Christmas with visits from both Boston College (Dec. 2) and University of Massachusetts Lowell (Dec. 9). The Terriers’ crosstown enemies finished 16th in the rankings at the conclusion of 2016-17 while the River Hawks ended the season two slots above the Terriers at No. 4.

After an exhibition against the U.S. Under-18 National Team to begin 2018, BU will jump right back into Hockey East competition on January 6 with a matchup against the University of Maine. This is followed by a second home tilt against the Friars, who finished 15th in the rankings last season, before Merrimack College returns to Agganis Arena on January 20. The Warriors stunned the Terriers in the last week of January last season, blowing out BU 3-1 on home ice before shocking Hockey East with a 4-1 victory on Commonwealth Ave. three nights later.

The Hockey East competition continues in February, as BU will host University of Massachusetts Amherst on February 9 before a two-game home set against the University of Vermont to close out the month. The Terriers earned a split in their two games in Burlington, Vt. last season.

Terriers replace Max Prawdzik, add goaltender Nico Lynch for depth

With goalie depth a concern for Boston University heading into next week’s game against Union College, the Terriers announced in a press release the addition of freshman netminder Nico Lynch to the team.

Last season, Lynch played at Barnstable High School, where he recorded a 1.80 GAA and was named to the Boston Globe All-Scholastics Old Colony All-Star Team. In the press release, BU head coach David Quinn said that the plan all along was for Lynch to enroll for the second semester.

The addition of Lynch comes a few days after it was confirmed sophomore goaltender Max Prawdzik would be leaving the Terriers to play with the Lone Star Brahmas in the North American Hockey League (NAHL). Freshman goaltender and regular BU starter Jake Oettinger is with Team USA in the World Junior Championships, so it is likely he will be out for the Union game on Jan. 5.

That meant that junior netminder Connor LaCouvee may have been the only goalie available that week. With Lynch joining the team, that is no longer an issue.

The press release also included a quote from Quinn that Prawdzik plans to rejoin the Terriers next fall with sophomore eligibility.

Click here to read the full press release.

Midseason Report: BU hockey, halfway through 2016-17 season, in position to thrive

2016harvard-3328-1600x1065Boy does time fly by.

It feels like yesterday that the Boston University men’s hockey team got its 2016-17 season underway, but the halfway point is here. As things stand, BU is 10-5-2, sits fourth in the Pairwise rankings and sixth in the Hockey East standings.

Of course, the state of the Terriers is not that simple, so we’re here to break down some of the subtler nuances and trends that developed in the fall of 2016. It’s also important to note context, as BU entered the year with great hype and expectations, largely the byproduct of rostering 11 NHL Draft picks. The jury is still out on whether all that talent will translate into silverware of some kind.

Before we get underway, it’s important to give these two quotes from disparate parts of the semester a read through. The first came on Sept. 27 at Hockey East’s annual media day, and is from junior assistant captain Nikolas Olsson. Meanwhile, the second is from head coach David Quinn and came after BU’s 5-2 win over Yale on Dec. 13.

Quote 1: “We want to hold ourselves to our own standard, so we don’t want to pay attention to what everyone else expects us to do. We tune everything out and when we’re all in the locker room, we have a saying of, ‘Close that up and everything that’s in here matters – this is what matters, whatever is outside doesn’t.’ If we can figure out our affairs in here, then we can do great things.” – Olsson

Quote 2: “It’s been a really good first half for us. We feel our best hockey is ahead of us. It’s a great group. I love coming to the rink every day with them. They work hard, they care for each other, they’re forming some of those characteristics you need to have as a group to win important games in late March and April. We feel really good about where we’re at.” – Quinn


  • harper-vs-upeiPatrick Harper – Who would have thought that freshman Patrick Harper would lead the team in points by the end of 2016? Heading into this season, the hype centered around Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows, but it’s been the 5-foot-9, 160-pound playmaker from New Canaan, Connecticut who has led the way early on. With seven goals and 13 assists, Harper ranks fifth in scoring among Division I freshmen. He will head into the next half of the season with a three-game point streak, and it’s safe to assume that the Nashville Predators draft pick will look to extend that run of form on the first line. – Nick
  • Kieffer Bellows – Yes, Kieffer Bellows has disappointed in his freshman campaign, but there’s a very good chance he turns it around. Just look at sophomore Jordan Greenway, who totaled one goal and seven assists in the first half of the 2015-16 season. After the holiday break, Greenway scored four goals and notched 14 helpers to finish the season top-5 on the team in points (26). Of course, Greenway didn’t have a plus/minus rating of -8 halfway through his freshman year, but you get the point. Sometimes, freshmen need some extra time to adjust before they flourish, and that very well could be the case with Bellows. His penalty problem can be easily fixed, and he’s flashed his trademark scoring ability at points. Let’s hope playing with Team USA in the World Junior Championships will energize Bellows so he can begin the 2017 on a high note. – Nick
  • pvd_at_bu-1-1600x1067Third line – Oft-overlooked, especially on a team with five forwards drafted by NHL teams, BU’s third line deserves ample credit for wins against powerhouse and mid-level teams alike. The contingent typically features senior Nick Roberto and junior Nikolas Olsson as wingers, with freshman Patrick Curry at center. They all have subtly good hands, play heavy on the forecheck and consistently skate with the pace and intensity Quinn so ardently desires. They’re chipping in on the scoreboard, too, as they’ve combined for 19 points from eight goals and 11 assists. What’s perhaps most significant about the third line, though, is that it affords BU’s top two lines the chance to catch a breather, all the while maintaining the level those elite forwards (Keller, Greenway, etc.) demand. Lastly, any team looking to make a deep postseason run with only two lines is in deep trouble. Luckily for Quinn, this Roberto-Olsson-Curry group won’t cause that worry to arise. – Jonathan
  • JFK – It’s natural to watch BU’s top-end players and make NHL comparisons. When it comes to Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, a sophomore and assistant captain, one of the highest honor surfaces: Patrice Bergeron. Both are centers, both were picked 45th overall by the Boston Bruins in their respective drafts and both offer forth the same skill set. Bergeron, now a two-time participant in the NHL All-Star Game, has smooth hands, makes smart hockey plays like clockwork and has won the Frank J. Selke Trophy three times, which is annually given to the NHL’s top defensive forward. As for Forsbacka Karlsson, the scorer of 45 points in 56 career games for the Terriers, he’s an expert at using his body to protect the puck, plays a 200-foot game in every sense of the phrase and does so many of the little things right. Who knows if “JFK” will ever reach Bergeron’s notoriety or respect throughout the professional ranks, but it’s still a joy to watch the 20-year-old Swede lead BU night in and night out. And for those who feel JFK isn’t chipping in on the scoreboard, he boasts three goals and 12 assists. That puts him a tie with Keller for the third-most points on the Terriers. – Jonathan


  • pvd_at_bu-10-1600x1067Sixth Man – There’s really not much to complain about in this department, as BU ranks fourth in the nation in goals allowed (2.06). The core four of Charlie McAvoy, Chad Krys, Dante Fabbro and Brandon Hickey have been excellent, but perhaps the most important piece of the defense has been the sixth man, usually paired with captain Doyle Somerby. For the most part, that has been John MacLeod, who has four assists in 13 games but has also been dealing with injuries. When he’s unavailable, Brien Diffley and Shane Switzer stepped into his spot on the blue line, making smart choices with the puck and seamlessly slotting into the defensive zone. Expect the D-unit to continue to shut down top offenses in 2017. – Nick
  • LaCouvee – Jake Oettinger has been terrific in net, but a shoutout has to go to his backup, Connor LaCouvee. He’s only started twice, but knowing that there’s a solid netminder behind Oettinger is comforting for Terrier fans. He earned victories in both of his starts, and has a save percentage of .938. Sure, a small sample size, but so what? He’s been awesome in limited play. Should the 18-year-old Oettinger fall in a slump or require some rest, LaCouvee can slide right into the starting lineup and keep the Terriers in it. – Nick
  • m46a0201Oettinger – Speaking of Oettinger, it’s hard to ask for more from the freshman. It’s commonplace in postgame press conferences for his teammates to shower the recently-turned 18-year-old with praise, and that’s because he deserves every plaudit thrown his way. In his young career, the former U.S. National Team Development goaltender has three shutouts, blanking Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart and Vermont. He also boasts a .932 save percentage and 1.87 goals against average, which both lead Hockey East. In terms of a grander scope, the former statistic stacks up as the eighth best in the country, while the latter is fifth best in the nation. To the credit of critics in and around Agganis Arena, Oettinger did have an incredibly rough outing at home – BU’s 4-0 loss to UConn on Nov. 11 – but he has since bounced back with aplomb. Looking ahead, the Lakeville, Minnesota native seems stout enough to lead the Terriers when playoff hockey rolls around, as he instills confidence in the squad and can stymie the nation’s best forwards. Do you know what’s scariest of all? This kid is so young he isn’t even draft eligible until the summer. – Jonathan
  • Fourth line – While BU’s defense has largely been resolute, one area in need of marked improvement arises through the fourth line. Whether it’s freshmen Johnny McDermott and Gabriel Chabot, sophomores Ryan Cloonan and Oskar Andren, junior Chase Phelps or senior Tommy Kelley, a worrisome theme has surfaced against tougher opponents: an inability to break out of the defensive zone on a consistent basis. This note is based on the eye test and isn’t easily measurable, but too often has some combination of the aforementioned group been hemmed below its own blue line. There are several reasons for this trend – being mismatched against an opponent’s top line, a changing cast of characters and general fatigue late in games – but it needs a firm resolution. On the other hand, when this is the biggest complaint about the Terriers’ defense, they’re in pretty good shape. – Jonathan

Special Teams

  • keller_maddiemalhotra_online-1-of-1-1600x1109Net value – Special teams have been the strongest part of the Terriers’ game in 2016. They have scored on 16.87 percent of their power plays, while going 91.2 percent on the penalty kill, second best in the nation. What’s the most impressive stat from special teams? The Terriers have allowed nine goals on the penalty kill, yet they have scored six shorthanded goals this year. That makes them a fantastic -3 on the PK, which is even more impressive when you consider the number of penalties this team has been whistled for. Stick taps to all involved. – Nick
  • Freshmen – So who have the stars of the power play been thus far? You may want to sit down for this … it’s been the freshmen. Harper, Keller and Fabbro have three power play goals each, which lead the team. In fact, the only other Terrier with multiple power play goals is … Bellows. It’s obvious that these guys are well-coached when it comes to the PP, so another shoutout to the coaching staff for a job well done. – Nick
  • QB1, QB2, QB3 – In his weekly sit-down with the media, Quinn routinely talks about the importance of learning what a professional-level power play looks like. From BU’s first 17 games of the year, it appears as though Keller, Fabbro and McAvoy have firmly grasped every coaching point. The trio often operates from the point, quarterbacking the Terriers’ man advantages and always seems willing to pull the trigger. There’s proof in the pudding, too, as Keller and Fabbro both have three tallies on the power play. McAvoy hasn’t registered a point on the power play, but his contributions surface in other ways. – Jonathan
  • img_3767-1-1600x1138The magic number – During October and November, as was the case throughout college hockey, penalties dominated the conversation. Truthfully, BU has been one of the worst culprits in this regard, as its 16.24 penalty minutes per game is the 15th-highest total in the NCAA. Given that fact, you’d never guess this, but coach Quinn considers four to be his team’s magic number. And that’s a reference to taking no more than four penalties across all three periods. When that’s been the case, meaning BU is playing 5-on-5 hockey, it’s a dominant team that makes mediocre teams look poor and great teams look OK. This was the case in the 3-0 win over Northeastern on Nov. 5, as BU took five penalties, and the same pattern repeated in the 4-0 win over Vermont on Dec. 10, when it took six penalties. The Terriers are far from perfect in this regard, but the trend is clear. – Jonathan

Defining Moments

  • Surprise, surprise – Perhaps the most fun I’ve had watching the team so far was the last game of the semester, when Shane Switzer scored twice to propel BU to a 5-2 victory over Yale. Can’t say anyone saw that coming. It was great to see the guys hype the crowd up when Switzer was named the No. 1 star after the game. – Nick
  • mhock7_justinhawk-1600x1190Breakout moment – Another shining moment came in the exhibition against Prince Edward Island, when Pat Harper scored five times. Obviously, the competition wasn’t the best. But after Harper’s third or fourth goal, it became pretty clear that this guy was going to be integral. I remember being surprised that Harper was on the first line with Forsbacka Karlsson and Bobo Carpenter. Can’t say it was a bad move. – Nick
  • Bye bye Crimson – Outside of the result itself, pre-break games boast an extra layer of significance in that the scoreline will linger around for quite some time. So when then-No. 9 Harvard University visited Agganis Arena on Nov. 22 – just before the Thanksgiving break – an essential opportunity was before the Terriers. Its next game wasn’t for 10 days either, so a win or loss would remain fresh. In back-and-forth fashion, BU edged out a 5-3 win over the Crimson. Furthermore, coach Ted Donato’s side is now ranked fourth in the nation, making the win better than advertised at the time. – Jonathan
  • UConn at home – While adulation usually follows the Terriers at every turn, a low moment arose on Nov. 19 at Agganis Arena. The visiting UConn Huskies blanked BU, 4-0, cementing the fact that Hockey East wins won’t come easily for this squad. Quinn’s side didn’t play poorly against the likes of Tage Thompson and Max Letunov, so perhaps the result was an outlier without much of an explanation. After all, sometimes the better team goes home empty handed. – Jonathan


  • The big get: Oh yeah, we almost forgot about the commits the Terriers secured during the season. It appears the biggest one was forward Shane Bowers, a 17-year-old currently with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. He currently has nine goals and 10 assists through 26 games after totaling 33 points with the Black Hawks last season. With a few present Terriers likely to move on to the NHL next season, Bowers should contribute right away in 2017-18. – Nick
  • img_3861-1600x1126Reinforcements – On top of that, Finland defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo (at least it’s easier to spell than Grzelcyk) committed to BU and is likely to play next season. Kotkansalo, 18, measures up at 6-foot-2, 190-pounds and has a reputation for hard hits on the boards. He is also currently in the USHL, totaling a plus/minus rating of +7 in 20 games with the Sioux Falls Stampede. – Nick
  • Red, white and blue – When BU scrimmaged the U.S. National Team Development Program on Oct. 6, Terrier fans got a major glimpse into the future. The coveted squad featured defenseman David Farrance and forwards Brady Tkachuk and Logan Cockerill. While none registered a point – largely the product of BU skating to a comfortable 8-2 win – it was still interesting to see what the young guns could do. Lastly, Tkachuk is second on the NTDP in points with 22, Farrance is seventh with 18 and Cockerill is ninth with 17. – Jonathan
  • Don’t forget about me – While so much attention, understandably, is given to BU’s big-name recruits, it’s important not to lose sight of those who might not boast as lofty of a pedigree. This is certainly the case with Ty Amonte, who will call Agganis Arena home in the fall of 2017 and currently skates with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. That’s the same squad that Fabbro used to play for, and Amonte currently has 28 points in 35 games for them. – Jonathan

Top Goals

1.) Patrick Harper vs. Northeastern


2.) Brandon Hickey vs. Providence


3.) Shane Switzer vs. Yale


4.) Clayton Keller vs. Northeastern


5.) Clayton Keller vs. Vermont


Seven Terriers make U.S. National Junior team; Fabbro joins Canadian squad

Chad Krys joined BU's cohort of draftees on Saturday morning. PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey
Chad Krys has been named to the USNJT preliminary roster for the second consecutive year. (PHOTO COURTESY OF: USA Hockey)

As if we needed anymore evidence that the young guys on the No. 5 Boston University men’s hockey team are crazy talented.

On Monday, USA Hockey announced the preliminary roster for the 2017 United States National Junior Team. Seven of the 27 athletes are current Terriers. Freshman defenseman Chad Krys and sophomore blue-liner Charlie McAvoy got the invite after leading last year’s U.S. NJT squad to a bronze medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship.

Along with Krys and McAvoy, freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger, sophomore forward Jordan Greenway, and freshman forwards Pat Harper, Clayton Keller and Kieffer Bellows made the first cut.

Four of the 27 players will be cut before this year’s IIHF WJC starts Dec. 26 in Canada. The final roster cuts are expected to be made Dec. 24.

Playing for the U.S. National Team is nothing new for most of the Terriers named to the preliminary roster. McAvoy, Oettinger, Keller, and Krys won gold with Team USA at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship, while Bellows joined Oettinger, Keller, and Krys to snatch bronze in the same tournament last year.

Training camp will be from Dec. 16-20 at HarborCenter in Buffalo, New York, then Dec. 20-24 in Ontario. There will also be two pre-tournament games on the 21st and 23rd.

Not to be outdone, freshman defenseman Dante Fabbro was named to the Canadian WJC selection camp. He joins North Dakota’s Tyler Jost as the only NCAA athletes to make the cut. Camp will be held from Dec. 10th to the 14th.

As a reminder, the Terriers host Yale University on Dec. 13th, then take on Union College Jan. 5th.

For the complete schedule for this year’s tournament, click here.

BU picked 3rd in preseason Hockey East media poll

The Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association released the results of its media poll Sunday afternoon, which included its preseason conference rankings and all-conference team. The Boston University men’s hockey team was selected to finish third in Hockey East, with two first-place votes.

Votes were placed by print and broadcast media covering each of the 12 Hockey East schools, in addition to regional and national media.

Here are the complete poll results:

1. Providence College (26 first-place votes) — 414
2. Boston College (8) — 399
3. BU (2) — 309
4. Northeastern University — 305
5. University of Massachusetts-Lowell — 267
6. University of Maine — 256
7. (tie) University of Notre Dame — 231
7. (tie) University of Vermont — 231
9. University of New Hampshire — 171
10. Merrimack — 97
11. University of Massachusetts — 80
12. University of Connecticut — 48

F Ross Mauermann (Providence)
F Kevin Roy (Northeastern)
F Devin Shore (Maine)
D Ben Hutton (Maine)
D Michael Matheson (BC)
G Jon Gillies (Providence)

The three of us each picked BU to finish fourth, with Providence, BC and Northeastern as our top three, respectively. However, we did disagree on our All-Hockey East team picks. You can check out our selections at the bottom of this post.

On Monday, we’ll be at TD Garden for Hockey East Media Day. We’ll livetweet updates over at @BOShockeyblog, and we’ll be sure to let you all know about any important news here.

Andrew’s picks:
F Kevin Roy, Northeastern
F Devin Shore, Maine
F Ross Mauermann, Providence
D Matt Grzelcyk, BU
D Michael Matheson, BC
G Jon Gillies, Providence

Conor’s picks:
F Kevin Roy, Northeastern
F Devin Shore, Maine
F Ross Mauermann, Providence
D Ben Hutton, Maine
D Michael Matheson, BC
G Jon Gillies, Providence

Sarah’s picks:
F Kevin Roy, Northeastern
F Devin Shore, Maine
F Mario Puskarich, Vermont
D Ben Hutton, Maine
D Steve Santini, BC
G Jon Gillies, Providence

Terriers snag another recruit in ’99 D David Farrance

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff

It didn’t take long for the Boston University men’s ice hockey team to add another promising recruit to its program, as the Terriers have reportedly received a commitment from ’99-born defenseman David Farrance.

The news comes the same day as Patrick Harper’s announcement of his commitment to BU.

The Victor, New York, native had an impressive 2013-14 campaign with the Syracuse Stars of the United States Premier Hockey League U16 division, compiling 32 points (20 goals, 12 assists) in 28 games – tying him for the team lead in scoring.

The highly touted blueliner has already gotten off to a hot start this year with Syracuse, scoring four goals and adding an assist over the team’s first three games.
Noted for his speed and advanced ability to generate offense, Farrance should be a key contributor to future Terriers teams.

O’Connell looks to guide men’s hockey back to winning ways

FILE PHOTO/DEREK GEE O’Connell captured four Beanpot
championships during his tenure with the Terriers from 1995-99.

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff

After more than a decade away, Albie O’Connell has finally returned to Commonwealth Avenue.

The former Boston University men’s hockey team captain joined the Terriers in April as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season, completing a full-circle move for O’Connell, who is once again affiliated with the same program that he played for almost 20 years ago.

“It’s great. I’m excited,” O’Connell said. “I’m excited for the year to start. I think we’ll have a pretty good team. I think how good guys can get throughout the year and how they improve is going to dictate the outcome of how we end up.”

O’Connell joined the Terriers during the 1995-96 season as a heralded recruit. Over a year before his arrival at BU, the Watertown native was selected by the New York Islanders in the fifth round of the 1994 NHL Draft.

Playing a key role on a BU squad filled with NHL talent such as Chris Drury, Shawn Bates and Tom Poti, O’Connell and the Terriers established one of the greatest stretches in program history in the late 1990s, posting a 97-41-14 record from 1995-99.

While there were many positive takeaways to choose from for O’Connell, his fondest memory of playing for the Terriers was the team’s success in the annual Beanpot tournament. O’Connell and other members of the Class of 1999 are one of only four classes in program history to win four Beanpot titles.

Even though O’Connell was never able to capture an NCAA title, he made two Frozen Four appearances with BU in both 1996 and 1997 – including a loss to the University of North Dakota in the 1997 championship game, 4-2. Captaining the team during his final campaign in 1998-99, O’Connell led his squad in scoring with 39 points (nine goals, 30 assists) in 36 games.

By the end of his career with the Terriers, O’Connell acknowledged that learning under longtime BU head coach Jack Parker helped him grow as a hockey player in multiple areas – mostly due to the completive tone that Parker established from the get-go with his teams.

“He was a great coach,” O’Connell said of Parker. “We had good teams, so it was very competitive. It was setting a high standard and then coming to work and practice every day trying to get better on and off the ice. We held a high standard and he made the practices more competitive. It was very intense. He was ready to go for practice, which led to players being ready to go and be ready to compete everyday.”

While O’Connell may have turned in his scarlet and white sweater in 1999, he did not hang up his skates following his departure from Walter Brown Arena. O’Connell later played professional hockey for four teams in both the East Coast Hockey League and the British National League from 1999-02, compiling 132 points (54 goals, 78 assists) in 127 pro tilts.

Once he put a close to his playing career, O’Connell immediately made the transition from the ice to behind the bench, serving as an assistant coach at Berkshire Prep School in Sheffield during the 2002-03 season before making the move up to the collegiate level the following year at Colby College.

After stints at both Niagara University and College of the Holy Cross, O’Connell entered into the Hockey East coaching ranks in 2007-08 as an assistant coach at Merrimack College before serving the same role over the last six seasons with both Northeastern University (2008-11) and Harvard University (2011-14).

Throughout his coaching career, O’Connell has garnered praise for his recruiting skills. During his time at Northeastern, the Huskies received commitments from both standout Providence goaltender Jon Gilles and 2014 Hobey Baker Award recipient and former Boston College forward Johnny Gaudreau. Both players later de-committed from the program.

For O’Connell, the key to his success in terms of identifying talent is to trust his instincts and to collaborate with the rest of his staff.

“Just going out there and working hard,” O’Connell said. “Using your resources, using what you see and not listening to anyone and trusting what you’re looking at and what your staff is looking at and what you’re trying to do as a group – that’s the biggest thing.

“Working with [associate head coach] Steve [Greeley] and [head coach] David Quinn so far, it’s been really positive. They’ve both been very sharp when it comes to what they’re looking at, and they’re very organized and hard-working, so hopefully I’m a good addition to that.”

While he has excelled at building up multiple teams, O’Connell is certainly no slouch when it comes to instructing his players on the ice. During his first season with the Crimson in 2011-12, O’Connell helped establish the country’s most potent power-play unit, which posted a 27.3 percent success rate.

While the duty of serving as both a recruiter and a mentor has its own set of challenges, O’Connell holds both jobs in equally high esteem.

“They’re both fun jobs,” O’Connell said. “Basically, it’s two different jobs. One, you’re trying to help build the team, the other one, you’re trying to help coach the guys that you were trying to recruit, so they’re both equally tough jobs, but at the same time, both fun and rewarding.”

The journey back to his alma mater has been a long and winding road for O’Connell, but the 38-year-old coach doesn’t have much time to reflect.

With an influx of freshmen already training at Agganis Arena and the season opener almost a month away, O’Connell is diverting all of his energy toward helping a talented group of players achieve the same level of success that he attained almost two decades ago.

“Hopefully, we’re a lot better at the end of the year than at the start, because we’ve got nine or ten freshmen,” O’Connell said. “Practice is going to be important, player development is going to be important…Hopefully at the end of it, we’ll make good strides as a group.”

Men’s hockey adds 4 additional freshmen to complete 2014-15 roster

Boston University men’s hockey head coach David Quinn will welcome four additional freshmen to his team for the 2014-15 campaign.

By Conor Ryan & Andrew Battifarano/DFP Staff

With a little over a month until the start of the 2014-15 regular season, the Boston University men’s hockey team has finally put the finishing touches on its roster with the inclusion of four more freshmen on the team.

The four new Terriers – two forwards, one defenseman and one goaltender – will help push the final roster to 26 total players.

BU will add another puck-moving defenseman with the arrival of Brandon Fortunato. Playing last season with the United States National Team Development Program U-18 team, Fortunato led all blueliners in points with 39 (three goals, 36 assists) on the year.

The North Hills, New York native, who also played alongside incoming BU freshmen forward Jack Eichel and defenseman John MacLeod, helped the USNTDP squad capture the 2014 International Ice Hockey Federation World U-18 Championship.

The Terriers will also receive a boost on offense with the addition of forward A.J. Greer, an imposing 6-foot-3 presence out on the ice. Greer put up impressive numbers over the last two seasons at Kimball Union Academy compiling 92 points (39 goals, 53 assists) in 61 games.

During the 2012-13 season at KUA, Greer skated alongside current BU sophomores forward Nick Roberto and defenseman Doyle Somerby. Greer, who does not turn 18 until Dec. 14, is the youngest player on the Terrier roster.

Another netminder will join the ranks of the Terriers this season, as goaltender Connor LaCouvee was also added to the team. Playing last season with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the British Columbia Hockey League, LaCouvee earned team MVP honors after posting a 2.82 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage.

LaCouvee, hailing from Qualicum Beach, British Columbia, stepped up his game in the BCHL playoffs, putting forward a .929 save percentage in seven games.

Rounding out the list of new players is forward Nikolas Olsson, who last played for the Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League over the last two years. In 75 games with Sioux City, the Escondido, California, product recorded 23 points off of 13 goals and 10 assists.

The arrival of four new freshmen was not the only news roster-wise for the Terriers Wednesday, as a team source confirmed that defenseman Dalton MacAfee is no longer a member of the team. No reason was given for his departure.

A standout at St. Sebastian’s School in Needham, MacAfee played in 31 games last season for the Terriers, recording three assists while leading all defensemen in plus-minus at -3.

MacAfee is not the first Terrier to depart the team this offseason, as freshman forward Brendan Collier and redshirt sophomore defenseman J.D. Carrabino were cut from the roster in May.

Earlier this year, BU head coach David Quinn acknowledged that a large incoming class would likely force the team to make some roster cuts in order to free up space.

Fortunato, Greer, LaCouvee and Olsson will round out a 10-member Class of 2018 that also includes forwards in Eichel, Chase Phelps and J.J. Piccinich, as well as defensemen in MacLeod, Brandon Hickey and Brien Diffley. The first wave of BU’s incoming freshmen signed their National Letters of Intent back in May.

BU captain Matt Grzelcyk ‘confident in a turnaround’ in 2014-15

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff
Seven months removed from season-ending shoulder surgery, Boston University junior captain Matt Grzelcyk was forced to don a red non-contact jersey during Bruins development camp last week.
BU defenseman Matt Grzelcyk will captain a BU team
looking to rebound from a lackluster 2013-14 campaign.
But the 5-foot-9 defenseman will once again be ready to don the Scarlet and White this fall.
The Charlestown native took part in his third development camp with the Bruins, who selected the puck-moving blueliner in the third round (85th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
While Grzelcyk was held from contact during the five-day camp held at Ristuccia Memorial Arena in Wilmington, Mass., he was still able to take part in certain drills and showcase the agility and playmaking potential that made him one of the Terriers’ most dynamic players over the last two seasons.
Grzelcyk, who played alongside fellow Hockey East talent in players such as Boston College sophomore forward Ryan Fitzgerald and Northeastern sophomore defenseman Matt Benning during the camp, said that attending the event has been an important part of his offseason regiment over the past three years.
“I mean, it’s always fun to come in for a week and just learn from all the management and see what they have to say so we know what to work on when the season comes along,” Grzelcyk said after the camp’s final scrimmage Sunday afternoon.
Seeing Grzelcyk back out on the ice should serve as a relief to a BU community that last saw the defenseman play Jan. 8, 2014 in a 4-2 loss to Dartmouth College. Just days before BU’s Frozen Fenway tilt against the University of Maine Jan. 11, Grzelcyk dislocated his left shoulder in practice and was forced to undergo season-ending surgery.
The loss of a playmaker like Grzelcyk – who recorded 28 assists in 57 games with BU over the past two seasons – had a massive impact on the Terriers.
During the 19 games in which Grzelcyk dressed, the Terriers posted a lackluster record of 7-10-2. In the 16 games following Grzelcyk’s injury, BU put up a woeful 3-11-2 line.
The results looked even worse on the BU power play during Grzelcyk’s absence. In 19 games with a healthy Grzelcyk, the Terriers successfully converted on 18 of 76 power-play opportunities, good for a 23.7 percent conversion rate – one of the highest marks in the country at the time.
Without Grzelcyk quarterbacking the team out on the ice during the man advantage, BU managed just eight power-play goals in 73 chances – a shocking 10.1 percentage rate.
Despite the severity of his injury, Grzelcyk stated that his shoulder feels fine and that wearing a non-contact jersey was more of a precaution than anything during the camp.
“[The shoulder] feels 100 percent,” Grzelcyk said. “I just want to make sure I’m ready for October.”
After a disappointing 2013-14 campaign that saw BU slump to a ninth-place finish in Hockey East, the Terriers appear to be primed to make a comeback this season.
Not only does BU feature a strong returning core that includes Grzelcyk, senior forwards Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues, junior forward Danny O’Regan and sophomore forward Robbie Baillargeon, but an impressive recruiting class should also provide a shot in the arm for the Terriers.
Notable members of the upcoming class include defensemen John MacLeod and Brandon Hickey, as well as standout forward Jack Eichel, who has the potential to be the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft.
For Grzelcyk, the addition of these new players should have multiple benefits during the season.
“It definitely creates a little more excitement in the locker room,” Grzelcyk said. “I think it’s good for the returning guys because we’ll have a lot of good competition in practice and stuff, so I think only good can come from it.”
Grzelcyk will take an even larger role with the team going forward, as the USNTDP product was given the title of team captain in April. Despite the honor, Grzelcyk said that he will not change his approach both on and off the ice this season.
“I’m probably just going to stick to what I’m doing, that’s what got me the recognition in the first place but it’s always nice to have that trust and belief from your teammates and coaches and things like that,” Grzelcyk said. “It’s definitely a humbling experience.”
While Grzelcyk was not able to fully participate in all of the drills and scrimmages during the camp, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli acknowledged that he was happy with Grzelcyk’s performance as a whole.
“I thought he was good,” Chiarelli said. “He wasn’t able to participate fully, but Matt’s had a good collegiate career so far and I would anticipate that he picks it up again when he gets back. We’ve got some real good skating defenseman and he’s one of them. I was happy with it.”
The 2014-15 season may be over two months away, but Grzelcyk said that both he and the team are already focused on erasing the memories of a lackluster 2013-14 season and returning the Terriers to the top of the Hockey East standings.
“I think everyone is confident in a turnaround for sure,” Grzelcyk said. “It was a tough year with transitions and new recruits, a new coach and stuff, but I think we can use it to our advantage and kind of motivate us for the season going forward.”