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.
MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO
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.”

Tilts against Union, Michigan, U.S. National Junior Team highlight Terriers’ 2014-15 schedule

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff

David Quinn’s second go-around with the Boston University men’s hockey team looks to be a memorable, if not challenging, campaign.
The program released its 2014-15 schedule Thursday, revealing plenty of both new and familiar matchups for the Terriers.
Games against reigning NCAA champion Union College, University of Wisconsin, University of Michigan and both the U.S. National Junior Team and the U.S. National Under-18 Team highlight the schedule for the Terriers, who are looking to rebound from a disappointing 2013-14 year.
BU’s season will kick off on Oct. 4, as the Terriers will host St. Thomas University-New Brunswick before opening up regular-season play on the road against the University of Massachusetts-Amherst on Oct. 10.
The Terriers will then host the U.S. U-18 team on Oct. 18 before starting their home schedule the following weekend with games against Michigan State University and Michigan on Oct. 24 and 25, respectively.
Other notable non-conference games on the schedule include the first ever meeting between Union and BU at Agganis Arena on Jan. 3 and contests against Harvard University (Nov. 25), Colgate University (Nov. 29), Dartmouth College (Nov. 30) and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Dec. 13).
The Terriers will also travel to Madison for the first time since 2000 to take on Wisconsin in a two-game road tilt on Jan. 9-10. BU will also move back to its old confines of Walter Brown Arena on Dec. 19 to take on the U.S. National Junior Team.
Twenty-two Hockey East games are set for the upcoming season, including a home game against Boston College on Jan. 16. Two Hockey East teams will be making their first trips up to Agganis this season, as BU will host the University of Notre Dame for a weekend series on Feb. 20-21 and new conference member University of Connecticut on Nov. 16.
The Terriers will kick off the 63rd annual Beanpot on Feb. 2 and 9 at TD Garden. BU will take on Harvard in the first round before taking on either Boston College or Northeastern University the following weekend.
For the full schedule, check out the “2014-15 schedule” tab on the left.

From walk-on to Terrier legend: John Curry reflects on BU Hall of Fame induction

By Conor Ryan/DFP Staff

When he first entered Walter Brown Arena in the Fall of 2003, Boston University goaltender John Curry was a virtual unknown – a recruited walk-on who was resigned to playing Division-III hockey just a few months earlier.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, even Curry found it hard to believe that just 11 years after his arrival in Boston, he would be receiving an honorary red jacket from legendary head coach Jack Parker, as the netminder was elected to the Boston University Athletic Hall of Fame Saturday night.
“When I first found out, I was surprised,” Curry said. “It was nothing I ever expected. I really appreciate it, because I’ve actually gotten a chance to reflect heading up to this event and really think about my time here and all the people that helped me here. It’s just been a fun night and it just means more than I can describe.”
Curry, the seventh goalie to be named to the prestigious club, was elected in his first year of eligibility. While Curry left Commonwealth Avenue with the program’s all-time record in both goals-against average (2.07) and save percentage (.923), his road to BU hockey stardom was paved with both frustration and disappointment.
Growing up in the small town of Shorewood, Minn., Curry got his first taste of discouragement when his favorite team, the Minnesota North Stars, moved down to Dallas when he was just nine years old.
The young goaltender would soon turn his attention to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, where his dream of playing Division-I hockey was born.
After an impressive high-school career at the Breck School in Golden Valley, Minn., led to no real opportunities with D-I programs, Curry attended the Taft School in Watertown, Conn., for one season, compiling a 1.46 GAA and a .920 save percentage.
In the waning days of Taft’s season, Curry accepted the harsh reality that his goal of playing for a D-I hockey team was likely dead, and planned on signing with a D-III school in the coming weeks.
However, Curry’s luck would quickly turn around, as BU’s then-associate head coach Brian Durocher scouted the goaltender and offered him a spot on the team as a walk-on.
“I’m sure I would’ve had a great time [playing D-III hockey,], but what I wanted was to play Division-I hockey, so to get that call from  [Durocher] and to get the opportunity was one of the best moments of my life,” Curry said. “For things to go the way they did, and to have the teams we did, it was just a bonus. It was an amazing ride.”
Serving as the third-string goalie during the 2003-04 season, Curry only saw five minutes of ice time during his freshman campaign. With the departure of Sean Fields at the end of the season, the starting goaltender job was up for grabs.
Curry noted that while he obviously had his mind set on seizing the heralded position, his preparation did not change going into the new year. 
“Everything was still new for me. It was my second year, but you just take it day by day,” Curry said. “For me, I was just going in with the same mentality of just trying to be good in practice and be ready. I was fortunate enough to get an opportunity early in the year and the team played well in front of me and it went well for a while, which allowed me to gain some confidence and establish myself.
“A lot of stars had to align. I definitely worked hard for it but I had so much help along the way too.”
After getting a start early in the season, Curry would never relinquish his spot, protecting the crease for the next three seasons. By the time he played his final game for the Terriers, Curry had led his team to three Beanpot titles, the 2006 Hockey East Championship and was a top-10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award during his senior year in 2007. 
Despite forging an incredible legacy at BU, Curry was not drafted by an NHL team – instead signing with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a free agent on July 1, 2007.
Assuming the role of undrafted free agent would aid Curry in his career, giving him a chip on his shoulder that he first gained while struggling to impress D-I schools during his high-school years.
“It’s helped me. I’ve found a little bit of an identity that way by just trying to prove myself,” Curry said. “I don’t feel like I’m cheated. It’s just one of those things where everyone’s competitive, they want to be recognized, they want to get those opportunities, and for me, it’s just easier to use that type of attitude to be aggressive.”
After four years with the Penguins organization, Curry played one season in Germany with the Hamburg Freezers of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga before returning to the United States to play for the Iowa Wild, the AHL affiliate of his hometown Minnesota Wild.
The BU Athletic Hall of Fame boasts an impressive class of former Terriers – including players and coaches such as Mike Eruzione, Jim Craig, Chris Drury and Jack Parker.
Joining them now is a former walk-on in Curry, who, after fighting for a chance his whole life, became a legend on the ice for the scarlet and white. 
“For me to be named to the BU Athletics Hall of Fame, believe me when I say that I could have never imagined this in my wildest dreams,” Curry said. “It’s the single greatest honor that I’ve ever received.”