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Hockey East Preview #9: Northeastern Huskies

Hockey East Preview: #9 Northeastern Huskies

2011-12 Storyline: Northeastern sees significant success out of conference in 2011-12 but cannot win enough against Hockey East foes to gain the playoffs

2012-13 Storyline: Is the Huskies’ goaltending and defense strong enough to return them to the post-season?

Player To Watch: Ludwig Karlson

Player Missed Most: Anthony Bitetto

Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: Kevin Roy

Random Fact: Prized recruit Kevin Roy and his brother Derek were very late signees after being committed to Brown as late as mid-July

Beer The Triangle Favorite Local Brew: I like to try all the rare and crazy craft brews out there, but Harpoon IPA is one of my go to beers.  Love those Cascade hops.

Team Outlook:

Not much was expected out of the Huskies last year after a rough offseason and having to adjust to a new coach who had not been behind the bench that that capacity in decades.  But Northeastern ended up surprising most, especially in their non-conference schedule where they gained wins over the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Minnesota.  They did have a bit tougher time in league and finished the season out of the playoffs after losing the tiebreaker to UMass.

Even with junior Steve Quailer leaving after last season, scoring shouldn’t be too much of a problem for the Huskies who return Vinny Saponari, Cody Ferreiro, and super soph Ludwig Karlson.  Added to that mix will be Kevin Roy, the USHL’s leading scorer who was added to the commit list late in the summer.

Defense and goaltending is where Northeastern’s success will ultimately be decided.  The biggest loss for the Huskies during the offseason was Anthony Bitetto signing with the NHL.  Luke Eibler deciding to transfer closer to home in Michigan didn’t help either.  Drew Ellement is the only defenseman with multiple year experience on the blueline.  They’ll also have to rely on sophomore Josh Manson who played solid in his freshman season, but after that it’ll be all freshmen or inexperienced players.

Husky fans were for the most part frustrated with the play of starting goaltender Chris Rawlings last season and were looking forward to the prospect of him moving on and handing the reigns to highly rated recruit John Gilles.  In the end though Rawlings ended up staying and that was enough for Gilles to bounce to Providence where he’ll have a chance to play right away.  As a result, you may find Rawlings hearing it from his own fans if he plays with inconsistency.

They’ll Finish Lower Because: The inexperience at defense is too much to overcome and Rawlings’ play continues to descend

They’ll Finish Higher Because: Rawlings returns to the type of play we saw in earlier seasons and the offense makes up for any defensive deficiencies

Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
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9.   Northeastern Huskies
10. Vermont Catamounts

Per his Twitter account, former Vermont recruit Dennis Kravchenko will be on an official visit to UMass in the next couple days.  I wrote about the prospect of Kravchenko following the UVM coaching staff to Amherst earlier and will write more about him in the next couple days.

College Hockey News highlights K.J Tiefenwerth in this piece on the recruiting classes of Hockey East.

They haven’t played a game yet, but North Dakota’s season is already getting off to a rocky start.

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3 Comments

  1. Henry S.

     /  September 24, 2012

    What are your feelings on the new playoff format for ’13-’14?

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    • I’m pretty neutral. I don’t mind the current format as it makes the regular season that much more important and adds drama as teams battle just to make the playoffs. At the same time, I don’t have a problem with more teams and fanbases being able to participate and look forward to the post season. I see benefits both ways.

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      • Henry S.

         /  September 25, 2012

        I agree, but I really do like the added importance of the regular season with the current format. At the same time there will be a real bonus for finishing first or second in the regular season with the new format. Hopefully UMass will have to worry about fighting for that added bonus in the not too distant future.

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