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


Forwards

  • 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

Defense/Goaltending

  • 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

Recruits

  • 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

via GIPHY

2.) Brandon Hickey vs. Providence

via GIPHY

3.) Shane Switzer vs. Yale

via GIPHY

4.) Clayton Keller vs. Northeastern

via GIPHY

5.) Clayton Keller vs. Vermont

via GIPHY

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers open Hockey East play with ‘hard-fought’ win over UConn

For its Hockey East season opener, the No. 8 Boston University men’s hockey team earned a “hard-fought” win, according to BU head coach David Quinn, to begin conference play with a 1-0 record.

The Terriers (2-1, 1-0 Hockey East) didn’t necessarily start the game at UConn’s pace (2-2, 0-1 Hockey East), but as time wore on, they adjusted their game to dominate the third period and emerge on top.

Freshman Ryan Cloonan. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP STAFF
Freshman Ryan Cloonan. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP STAFF

Here’s what we thought looked good and bad in the victory.

Pluses

Ryan Cloonan

Tied for the team lead in points with four is freshman winger Ryan Cloonan. In his first game of the season at Union College, Cloonan was in the lineup as the fourth line right wing. He scored the second BU goal of the game, assisted by senior center Mike Moran and junior defenseman Doyle Somerby, and gave the Terriers a temporary 2-1 lead.

The next week for BU’s game vs. the University of Wisconsin, he was slotted in as the second line left wing to freshman center Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and tallied a pair of assists.

Against UConn, he notched another marker to extend his point streak.

Quinn said Cloonan’s experience is a valuable asset he brings to the team that the other freshmen might not have. While BU’s rookie class is largely comprised of guys 17 or 18 years old, Cloonan is 20.

And he’s improving with each week as well.

“He’s gotten better in the three weeks he’s been here,” Quinn said. “He’s a lot more conscientious away from the puck, there’s more purpose to his game without the puck, but you see his puck skills, he can really skate. He’s got deception to his game, he can shoot it, so there’s a lot to like in his game.”

As the third period began, Cloonan switched places with freshman forward Jordan Greenway and took the left wing’s place on the first line. Quinn said he thought Cloonan’s quickness would give senior assistant captain Danny O’Regan and senior forward Ahti Oksanen more speed to work with on the top line.

O’Regan said lines were a little bit all over the place as the game went on, but that Cloonan is a “great player and a really offensive guy.”

“He’s a really creative player,” O’Regan said. “So I was definitely open to it. And I think at that stage of the game we just needed a little spark, and switching up the lines was definitely something that could do that for us.”

Third period

The Terriers managed to simplify their game and really settle into a groove during the third period, netting three goals in the frame. For more on that, read Sarah’s sider.

Special teams

During its first two games, BU’s power play looked good. The Terriers were moving the puck well and creating chances for themselves, but they had only converted once out of nine opportunities they had with the man advantage.

On Saturday, though, the scarlet and white were able to capitalize on two of their five power plays as they maintained heavy offensive zone pressure. In their first attempt, though the Terriers didn’t score, they spent so much time in UConn’s zone that the second unit never got a chance to hit the ice. On a delayed penalty, even, BU was able to keep possession of the puck for 47 seconds before the Huskies touched for the whistle.

“We spent an awful lot of time in the offensive zone on the power play,” Quinn said. “We had chances and chances.

“That power play’s going to keep getting better.”

Of the 33 shots BU took on Saturday, 10 came on the man advantage, and seven of their 15 third period shots were of the power play variety.

The two successful conversions resulted in Forsbacka Karlsson’s first collegiate marker and sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato’s second of the year.

On the other side of special teams, the penalty kill was perfect as BU went to the box four times during the contest. The Terriers have allowed just one goal while shorthanded so far this season. It was the first penalty they took of the year against Union on Oct. 10. Since then, they have not conceded a power-play goal the last 12 times they’ve had someone in the box.

Minuses

Puck management

Though BU managed a win, Quinn said he thought the team’s puck management was “incredibly sloppy” and that his squad held onto the puck way too long. He said that, along with the way the defense played, contributed to the Terriers’ problems on the night.

“I thought that’s as bad as we played as a D corps unit from a puck management standpoint,” he said. “We held onto it way too long, we weren’t making stick-to-stick passes, we just were very sloppy.”

How “cute”

For two periods, Quinn said he thought the team played “incredibly cute.” That, he said, wasn’t going to get them anywhere in this game.

O’Regan said his coach was referring to the way his team entered the offensive zone. Many guys were trying to make plays through the middle in a way that played “right into [UConn’s] system, where they sag back, and it’s kind of what they want us to do.”

In the third period, though, the Terriers were able to use their speed and take guys wide, O’Regan said, possessing the puck down low to try and create offense.

Second period penalties

Though the Terriers were perfect on the penalty kill Saturday, Quinn said his team’s trips to the box in the second period were “unnecessary” and “stupid.”

BU took one penalty in the first period as sophomore defenseman John MacLeod went off for tripping, and then the Terriers were sent to the box three times in the second. Two of those three penalties were committed by sophomore defenseman Brandon Hickey, who went off for cross-checking 59 seconds into the frame and then got called for interference at 9:16.

Cloonan also sat for two minutes at 13:56 for hooking.

Pluses and Minuses: Terriers take home opener over Wisconsin

Chase Phelps. PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Chase Phelps. PHOTO BY FALON MORAN/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

On Friday night playing against the U.S. National Development Team Program Under-18 Team, David Quinn said he saw what you might expect to see out of a young team playing in an exhibition game — immaturity.

But, Quinn said when the games mattered again, his team would get its act together and right the ship.

True to his word, the No. 6 Boston University men’s hockey team won when it counted, defeating the University of Wisconsin on Saturday night at Agganis Arena.

The Terriers (1-1) fell behind early on in the first period, but rallied for four unanswered goals to close out the Badgers (0-2-2), 4-1.

Ten different Terriers chipped in at least one point in what was an all-around, clean win.

As always, though, it wasn’t perfect, so we’ll take a look at what went right and wrong in this Pluses and Minuses.

Pluses 

Lane’s score flips the script 

It was beginning to look a lot like Friday night early on in Saturday’s game.

Much like the first period against the U-18s, the Terriers held a sizable shot advantage over the Badgers to start the game, more than doubling Wisconsin’s first-period shot total. However, there were no goals to show for it.

But senior assistant captain Matt Lane changed all of that 1:36 into the second period.

Taking a fortuitous carom off the end boards, Lane backhanded a shot over high over goaltender Matt Jurusik to put BU on the board. It looked a lot like much of Lane’s goals from the previous three years — close and down low in the dirty area.

They haven’t been from far out, but Lane’s scoring has been effective nonetheless.

“He’s strong, he’s quick, he’s got a good stick. He’s got good hands, he’s not easily denied,” Quinn said. “I don’t think his goals traveled, last year, he had eight or nine goals, I don’t think his goals traveled more than a foot combined. He’s off to a great start, both of his goals this year are the same. Back door, quick, picking up a puck, having the athleticism to corral it and get it in the net.

“That’s how you’ve got to score these days.”

Fortunato turns it around 

Back in the lineup for the first time this season on Friday, sophomore defenseman Brandon Fortunato looked like a player that needed to shake off the rust. When it was all said and done, he finished the night with a team-worst minus-4.

But whatever rust was there was nowhere to be found against Wisconsin.

He came away with two points (a goal and an assist) and a plus-1 rating. Better yet, his defensive coverage was strong and he was effective quarterbacking BU’s top power-play unit.

Having a more shoot-first mentality translated in what proved to be a game-winning goal for the sophomore.

“Last year Coach had a lot of individual meetings with me and he said if I were to get my shot a lot better, then I would improve as a player tremendously,” Fortunato said. “And I worked a lot with him last year and went home for summer. This summer I worked on it every day and the first month since I’ve been here I’ve been working on it every day and I feel like I’m getting stronger and I feel like it’s getting better so I’m just going to keep on working on it.”

Fortunato was just one of many players to make an improvement from Friday to Saturday. You can read more about that in Judy’s sider.

New line combinations pay off

Looking for a shakeup, Quinn adjusted all four lines and two of the three defensive pairs.

To say the least, it worked.

Most impressive were BU’s second and fourth lines, which registered four points and three points, respectively.

The second line of freshman forwards Ryan Cloonan and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson and Lane combined for a speed game that Wisconsin had trouble keeping up with. Each had at least one point, with Cloonan registering two. They were quick on the puck and caused a lot of trouble for the Badgers in the neutral zone.

As for the fourth line, senior Mike Moran centered, while the wingers, sophomore Chase Phelps and freshman Bobo Carpenter, all contributed. Phelps and Carpenter scored the Terriers’ final two goals and Moran had the primary assist on the last goal score.

“I like the speed on Forsbacka Karlsson, Lane, Cloonan line,” Quinn said. “I thought that Bobo Carpenter and Phelps had great nights. So did Mike Moran. So it’s a little bit of everything on those lines.”

New uniforms 

BU already has a lot of jerseys and alternates, and they added to that count Saturday night.

The Terriers wore a jersey that was similar to the retro red one they unveiled last season, but the base of this uniform is white and the letters and numbers are red. It’s a nice, clean look that I’m sure BU will use at some more home games this year.

Minuses 

Early goal and struggles

Not even a minute and a half into the game, forward Adam Rockwood somehow snuck in a shot through sophomore netminder Connor LaCouvee and the retreating BU defense.

It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it gave a winless Wisconsin team some early excitement.

There was a response and chances from BU, but it seemed that all of the “Grade-A” chances either went wide or were turned aside by Jurusik. They recorded eight shots on three power plays, but the Terriers just could not hit the twine in the first period.

It didn’t come back to bite them, but it could down the road against tougher competition.

Low power-play percentage

It’s a tough complaint, especially just two games into the regular season, but BU still hasn’t found its groove on the power play.

Yes, they had seven power plays and recorded an impressive 21 shots on goal, but the Terriers just converted once for a 14.3 percent conversion rate.

“Well, we have to capitalize,” Quinn said of the power play. “We had 21 shots on the power play. So again, there are going to be nights where it’s not going to go in, tonight happened to be one of those nights. We certainly obviously have to do some things better on the power play.”

Odds and Ends: Playing catch-up

Hey folks. Did you miss us? We certainly missed you!

The past week we’ve had issues with our entire website, which stemmed from our old host. Essentially, the only way to fix this was by switching to a new host. Given the volume of content on the dailyfreepress.com domain, transferring all of the information from the old host to the new one took much longer than we all anticipated.

You might notice that some of our design looks a little different than before — a bunch of our custom design coding got wiped, so we’re in the process of fixing that. But for the moment, getting content brought back to you was a much higher priority.

Naturally, given that we didn’t have a platform to show you all of our content, a whole bunch of BU hockey stuff happened in the past several days. So here’s a gigantic roundup of everything we weren’t able to share with you.

Our sincerest apologies for being out of touch. Hopefully, this transfer avoids any future issues and you guys won’t be left in the dark again. — Sarah

-Last Friday, BU formally announced its incoming seven-person freshman class. No surprises, but we now know what jersey numbers they’ll all wear:

  • #1: Max Prawdzik, G
  • #2: Shane Switzer, D
  • #7: Charlie McAvoy, D
  • #8: Ryan Cloonan, F
  • #14: Bobo Carpenter, F
  • #18: Jordan Greenway, F
  • #23: Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, F

-According to the updated roster on GoTerriers, Ahti Oksanen will wear #17 this season. Dillon Lawrence will wear #28.

-Right before our site blackout, we reported that T.J. Ryan has decided to retire from hockey after multiple concussions. I got a chance to chat with him (and his father, Tom) about what went into that decision and what the future looks like for him. Here’s that story.

-Former Terrier Chris Dyment was formally named the new Director of Hockey Operations on Wednesday. The news was first reported by Jeff Cox of SB Nation on Monday. Here’s Judy’s brief for that.

-Cox also ranked all 12 Hockey East schools in terms of recruiting classes. He ranked BU #2.

Looking forward:
-It’s Hockey East Media Day on Monday! All three of us will be there and will have a full writeup of anything important that happens.

-They’ll unveil the preseason coaches’ poll on Monday, too. We all know that polls don’t have that much value (i.e., BU was picked to finish sixth in the conference last season, and we all know how that turned out) but it’s always fun to see what people say and argue about it.

-On that note of polls, the Hockey East Writers and Broadcasters Association poll is expected to be released on Sunday. We’ve already revealed our votes for that on Twitter (Sarah, Judy, Andrew) but we’ll have a post up on Sunday once the results are out.

’95 F Ryan Cloonan commits to BU

According to his Twitter account, 1995-born forward Ryan Cloonan has committed to play hockey at Boston University.

An East Longmeadow native, Cloonan currently plays for the Boston Jr. Bruins of the USPHL. In 47 games this season, he has recorded 61 points (18 goals, 43 assists). He had previously committed to the University of Maine in 2010, but decommitted in 2013 when coach Tim Whitehead was fired.

Earlier reports indicated Boston College had interest in Cloonan.