Hockey East Preview: #3 Boston University
2011-12 Storyline: Despite losing two key forwards during the course of the season the Terriers were still able to return to the NCAA tournament
2012-13 Storyline: BU lost some key components to graduation and early departures, but still return four of their top six goalscorers to go with one of the best recruiting classes in the country
Player To Watch: Matt Nieto F (16-26-42)
Player Missed Most: Kieran Millan G (20-14-1, 2.60 GAA)
Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: Sam Kurker F
Random Fact: This year’s seniors are hoping to avoid being the first class not to win a Beanpot once during their time on Comm Ave since 1965
Beer The Triangle Favorite Local Brew: Though they’ve brewed their beer in various other places around the state, Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is based in Somerville, not too far across the Charles from BU. Tough to pick a favorite brew of theirs, they’re literally all good.
The Terriers and their fans are probably eager to get the season going so there will be more talk about their power play and goaltending situation than about sex in the penalty box and a culture of entitlement surrounding the program. On the ice there shouldn’t be too much controversy though as BU returns some key players to go along with arguably the best recruiting class in the conference.
The team returns their top three goalscorers from last year in the form of senior Wade Megan, junior defenseman Garrett Noonan, and junior Matt Nieto, who could end up being on of the top players in Hockey East this coming season. Also likely to provide a good deal of offense will be Sahir Gill who is coming off a solid sophomore season. Joining them up front will be a number of talented freshman. Sam Kurker, a second round draft pick by the Blues, is seen as the most talented incoming player. However look for Wesley Myron out of the BCHL and prep player Danny O’Regan to make contributions as well.
The Terriers were hurt on defense during the offseason when Adam Clendening and Max Nicastro jumped to the pros. However Noonan and sophomore Alexx Privitera will key a defensive group that is also seeing an influx of talented freshmen. Matt Grzelyck is a Boston area player that was picked by the Bruins this past June and is expected to do well at BU. Joining him as a freshman blueliner is Ahti Oksanen, a highly regarded player out of Finland.
BU will have to find someone to take the place of Kieran Millan who spent the last four years as the regular starter in net. They’ll have two options; the towering Matt O’Connor who has been playing for Youngstown in the USHL or Penguins draft pick Sean Maguire out of the BCHL. It could be interesting to watch what transpires in this early goaltending battle. Between the two of them they should provide decent enough goaltending that the Terriers won’t miss too much of a beat coming off last season.
They’ll Finish Lower Because: The combination of inexperience at defense and goaltending is just too much to overcome
They’ll Finish Higher Because: They score a lot of goals. A lot.
Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
3. Boston University Terriers
4. New Hampshire Wildcats
5. Providence Friars
6. Maine Black Bears
7. Massachusetts Minutemen (preview upcoming)
8. Merrimack Warriors
9. Northeastern Huskies
10. Vermont Catamounts
Here’s a video of Coach Mick’s remarks last night at the UMass Club function.
College Hockey News previewed Hockey East today. Here are their team capsules. Also as part of their coverage is this interesting Q & A with Micheletto. Micheletto taking over at UMass in included in What To Watch for in the league this year and Steve Guzzo is listed as a Player To Watch.