Hockey East Preview – Boston University Terriers

By: Josh Brown

61-61390

Head Coach: David Quinn (3rd season)

Last Season: 28-8-5 (HE: 14-5-3) (1st in conference, Hockey East Champions, Lost in NCAA title game)

Losses: G Anthony Moccia, D T.J. Ryan, F Cason Hohmann, F Jack Eichel, F Evan Rodrigues, F Kevin Duane, D J.D. Carrabino, F J.J. Piccinich, G Matt O’Connor

Newcomers: D Shane Switzer, D Charlie McAvoy, F Ryan Cloonan, F Bobo Carpenter, F Jordan Greenway, F Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson,

Looking back at the Terriers’ 2014-2015 campaign, to those impartial, a national championship seemed like the only just way for BU’s fairy tale story to end. After finishing an abysmal 10-21-4 in a rebuilding 2013-2014 season, all around good-guy David Quinn’s first at the helm of BU, the Terriers had a larger-than-life run last year, finishing 28-8-5 and winning the Beanpot and Hockey East titles before finishing a Matt O’Connor dropped puck away from a potential national championship.

And while the hearts of BU fans still inevitably ache from the stunning nature of their NCAA title loss, the departure of freshman sensation, and now Buffalo Sabre, Jack Eichel certainly did not help the cause. Despite all this, there are plenty of reasons why the Terriers are slated to be among the best in Hockey East again in 2015-2016.

Heading into the off-season most assumed Eichel, who posted a 26-45-71 line last season, was gone. The same goes for net-miner Matt O’Connor, who despite several inexcusable lapses on the ice, was solid in-between the pipes throughout his career in scarlet red. Evan Rodrigues (21-40-61) who was the league’s second leading scorer behind Eichel graduated and Cason Hohmann, one of the team’s biggest emotional leaders(11-20-31) joined him across the podium.  It could of been much worse though.

The future of defenseman/team captain Matt Grzelcyk and forward Danny O’Regan (23-27-50, third leading scorer in Hockey East) were both topics of discussion on Commonwealth Ave this off-season, both ultimately deciding to return to the Terriers. Senior Ahti Oksanen will be another key returnee for BU, an under-appreciated defenseman turned forward who potted 25 goals and 13 assists last season.

Along with Grzelcyk (10-28-38) and junior Doyle Somerby, BU returns an onslaught of talent from a defense that allowed just 2.32 goals per game last season, third best in Hockey East, in sophomores Brandon Hickey, John MacLeod, Brien Diffley and Brandon Fortunato.

Although Connor LaCouvee, last year’s backup to O’Connor, could see some playing time this year, it will be Sean Maguire, a red-shirt senior taking over the reigns in net, after sitting out last year due to injury. A Pittsburgh Penguins fourth round selection, the Powell River British Columbia native shared time with O’Connor in 2013-2014, arguably out-preforming him with a .290 goals against average, stopping almost 92 percent of shots he saw.

As always, BU will also have one of the best in-coming freshman classes in Hockey East. Bruins draft pick Jakob “JFK” Forsbacka Karlsson, a 6-foot-1 forward from Sweeden, tied 16th in the USHL with 53 points (15 G, 38 A) last season for the Omaha Lancers. Charlie McAvoy, a product of the USA National Team Development Program, was a gold-medal winner at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championships, in a year he scored 40 points in 63 games, the team’s top-scoring defenseman.

Bottom Line: There’s no doubt BU will feel the loss of Jack Eichel, Evan Rodrigues, Cason Hohmann and Matt O’Connor, but with a talented returning core and promising freshman class, the Terriers should still be among those fighting for a Beanpot, Hockey East and maybe even national title this season.

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