From the FreeP: The 2016-17 Hockey Preview Issue is here!

At last, the annual Hockey Preview Issue is out! We have some great content on the team this season, and are looking forward to you guys checking it out. Here are the links to each feature in the issue!

  1. Terriers welcome talented incoming class, look to bounce back from last season
  2. Terriers at last, Bellows, Fabbro and Keller look to cherish college hockey experience
  3. Somerby looks to guide young team to a title in final season
  4. Injury free, Nikolas Olsson appreciating life, role as BU hockey assistant captain
  5. Sophomores Greenway and McAvoy, with winning pedigree, look to lead BU to new heights
  6. 20 Questions: Brien Diffley and Brandon Hickey talk rats, team style and Coldplay
  7. The Blue Line: Is BU hockey better than it was the last time?
  8. No. 4 men’s hockey prepares for U.S. NDTP exhibition, Colgate season-opener
  9. With new complexion, BU women’s hockey looks to secure defense in 2016-17
  10. Coomey, Lachapelle reflect on BU hockey memories, close bonds as assistant coaches

You can also pick up a print copy of the issue in several locations scattered about BU campus. If you’re not around BU campus, you can view the PDF of the print edition here.

Thanks as always for your support, and we hope you enjoy the issue this year!

Three thoughts from Saturday’s win over Prince Edward Island

Now that the dust has settled on the Boston University men’s hockey team’s 10-2 win over the University of Prince Edward Island on Saturday night, let’s revisit some reactions. To be exact, we offer three takeaways from a contest in which penalties took over the narrative and fans got a glimpse into the well-oiled machine the Terriers could be in 2016-17.

Without further ado, here we go. Feel free to share your thoughts below, too:

1.) The goaltender battle – When people think of BU’s roster, odds are they aren’t jumping to the goaltender position. After all, there’s so much on-the-puck talent that it’s easy to forget Coach Quinn has three viable netminders who are all capable of stepping into the crease on any given night. That was exactly the case against PEI.

The veteran, Connor LaCouvee, got the nod in the first period, and was bested twice in a 5-on-3 scenarios. Quinn conceded in his postgame press conference that BU hasn’t even practiced 5-on-3 hockey yet, and senior captain Doyle Somerby assured LaCouvee was hardly at fault. The Canadian also made 11 saves, and looked assured from the start.

When the second period rolled around, freshman Jake Oettinger got the nod, and he didn’t disappoint, turning aside all seven shots he faced. The U.S. National Team Development Program product never look flustered, and that’s a positive sign. Then came the third period, giving sophomore Max Prawdzik an extended period of live action. Like Oettinger, Prawdzik posted a shutout, stopping the puck 10 times.

All things considered, Quinn has an intriguing goaltender proposition on his hands: Who gets the start? Is it the known commodity in LaCouvee? How about Oettinger, who has high NHL Draft potential? What about Prawdzik? As Quinn likes to say, playing goalie is just about stopping the puck. You stop it, you play. Will it all be that simple?

2.) The freshmen – Leading up to BU’s season, I spoke with John Gardner, Avon Old Farms’ head coach, for a New England Hockey Journal article. Gardner has been around the block once or twice, and he spoke glowingly about Patrick Harper, suggesting he could be BU’s sparkplug on offense. Now we all understand why.

Harper demonstrated incredible instinct in front of goal and an eye for a pass, finishing with a whopping five goals and two assists against the Panthers. The kid is legit. But let’s not forget that center Clayton Keller put up a hat trick of his own, defenseman Chad Krys tossed out three assists and blueliner Dante Fabbro finished with a goal and an assist.

A perhaps unnoticed bit was that winger Kieffer Bellows, the New York Islanders’ first round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, finished without a point. It’s not that Bellows played poorly, it’s just more that a solid night paled in comparison to his classmates. That’s how productive this nine-member freshmen group can be.

3.) The penalties – Holy cow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many penalties in a hockey game in my entire life. To be exact, PEI and BU combined for 122 minutes in the penalty box, and the refs called the game incredibly tightly.

That’s why it’s important to revisit this telling quote from Quinn’s postgame presser. He might have taken exception to the Panthers’ physical style, but he definitely wants BU to clean its game up:

“I thought college hockey had gotten away from calling penalties. I thought it was starting to morph into 1995, ‘85, and I just thought there was too much hooking, holding and grabbing, and we’ve got to get back to calling the penalties that are penalties. To me, we have to do a better job of staying out of the box. I’m not blaming the referees in any way shape or form. We’ve got to adapt to the way they’re going to call it, and we’re going to watch every penalty we took tonight and they have to have a better understanding of what a penalty is. You can’t hit people high, you can’t go over the top and hook somebody, and we just have to adapt. We will, we’ll adapt.” – David Quinn

Will this trend continue? Only time will tell.

The Small Five:

  • Shane Switzer, normally a defenseman, saw some time at forward. It’s likely not a long-term solution, but intriguing nonetheless.
  • Four forwards – Oskar Andren, Ryan Cloonan, Johnny McDermott and Chase Phelps – didn’t dress last night. We’ll follow up and see if there are any injury updates.
  • BU fans had to love seeing Nikolas Olsson and Nick Roberto back on the ice. Neither made huge contributions, but odds are that won’t be their role this year.
  • The Terriers could have one of the nation’s best power plays. Few teams can roll out two five-man units as skilled as BU’s.
  • Take this result with a major grain of salt. PEI is no Hockey East or NCAA team, and greater tests await. Namely the U.S. NTDP visits Agganis on Thursday night, and BU visits Colgate University on Oct. 8. Those will serve as far more accurate gauges of BU’s standing.

From The FreeP: Saturday night’s win over Prince Edward Island

The Terriers got their 2016-17 season underway Saturday night with a 10-2 victory at Agganis Arena over the University of Prince Edward Island.

Check out our game coverage on The Daily Free Press, BU’s student-run newspaper.

Jonathan wrote up the recap, and there are some interesting quotes from head coach David Quinn and senior captain Doyle Somerby. It’s safe to say the scarlet and white aren’t satisfied with making quick work of a Canadian team in an exhibition match.

Meanwhile, Nick wrote up a sider on the freshmen. Forwards Patrick Harper and Clayton Keller were electric, while defensemen Chad Krys and Dante Fabbro showed why they’re so highly touted. You want to give this a read, folks.

Furthermore, check out the game’s highlights:

And last but not least, here’s out tweet of the night. This Patrick Harper kid is quite the jokester.

Brandon Fortunato leaves BU hockey program

Fortunato scored five goals this past year for BU.
Fortunato scored five goals this past year for BU.

One of the Boston University men’s hockey team’s most experienced defensemen has left the program.

Brandon Fortunato – as first reported by Mark Divver, the Providence Journal’s resident hockey reporter – has bid farewell to his career in the scarlet and white. The native of North Hills, New York would have been a junior in the 2016-17 season.

He appeared in 79 games across two seasons, registering six goals and 34 assists in the process. Often a pillar on the second power-play unit, Fortunato was a staple of BU’s charge to the NCAA title game during the 2014-15 campaign.

Prior to his time at BU, Fortunato featured prominently for U.S. Hockey’s youth national teams, earning a gold medal at IIHF U18 World Championships. During his sophomore year, Fortunato played on the U.S. World Juniors squad that captured a bronze medal.

It is not immediately clear what Fortunato’s BU hockey career entails, but the Terriers’ logjam along the blueline has become slightly simpler.

Head coach David Quinn will now have eight defenseman to choose from. From most to least experienced, they read as senior captain Doyle Somerby; juniors John MacLeod, Brandon Hickey and Brien Diffley; sophomores Charlie McAvoy and Shane Switzer; and freshman Chad Krys and Dante Fabbro.

Robbie Baillargeon leaves BU, transfers to Arizona State

PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
PHOTO BY MADDIE MALHOTRA/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

One of the Boston University men’s hockey team’s most experienced forwards has left the program ahead of the 2016-17 season.

Robbie Baillargeon has transferred to Arizona State University as a graduate student. The Sun Devils, who captured the the 2014 ACHA national title, are entering their first season of Division I competition. 

Baillargeon began his college hockey career at Agganis Arena in 2013, bursting onto the scene as a bright spot from a 10-21-4 season. The Enfield, Connecticut native’s 27 points were best on the team, while his 10 goals and 17 assists were both tied for the team lead.

Also the Ottawa Senators’ fifth round selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Baillargeon’s torrid scoring pace slowed down come his sophomore campaign. 

His three goals and 13 assists were helpful contributions en route to BU capturing a Beanpot Trophy, Hockey East regular season title and Hockey East Tournament championship. Baillargeon, who starred with the Omaha Lancers of the USHL before joining the Terriers, also battled mononucleosis in 2014-15.

Come Baillargeon’s junior year, his performances became inconsistent, as head coach David Quinn tossed various linemates his way. The future Sun Devil finished with six goals and six assists, with a trio of three-game point streaks popping up throughout the 2015-16 season.

After BU was bounced from the 2016 NCAA Tournament by the University of Denver on March 26, speculation arose that Baillargeon would finish his college career beyond Commonwealth Avenue. He wasn’t named a captain of any sort for his senior season, and now he’ll take his talents to The Grand Canyon State’s up-and-coming program.