2020–21 Men’s Hockey East Preview: Boston University Terriers

Last Season: 13–13–8 (10–9–5, sixth in Hockey East)

Head Coach: Albie O’Connell (third season)

Preseason poll projected finish: Sixth

Departures: F Gabriel Chabot, F Patrick Curry, F Patrick Harper, F Alex Brink, G Sam Tucker, G Nico Lynch, F Trevor Zegras, D Cam Crotty

Additions: D Cade Webber, F Nick Zabaneh, F Luke Tuch, F Dylan Peterson, G Drew Commesso, G Vinny Duplessis, F Max Kaufman

By Jordan Baron

Last season, as most Hockey East teams battled for playoff spots entering the final weekend of the season, the Terriers were right in the thick of it. Despite an 8–8–6 start, BU performed well in the Beanpot losing a close game to Northeastern in the final. The Terriers continued to flutter around the .500 mark until the end of the season, when they scraped by with a playoff spot until COVID terminated the tournament.

One of the major themes of the Terriers’ season was a battle of goaltenders, as senior Sam Tucker and freshman Ashton Abel rotated between the pipes. However, with Tucker graduating, Abel will look to take over the starting spot this season.

He will not do so without competition.

The incoming class includes goaltender Drew Commesso, an 18-year-old US U18 Team star and second-round pick of the Chicago Blackhawks. Commesso slotted an 18–7–1 record for the U18 Team with .920 save percentage and a 2.05 goals against average, which stands at second-best in program history. Commesso will be to Abel what Abel was to Tucker: a talented freshman with the capability to take over the starting spot if given the opportunity.  

In addition to Commesso, the Terriers’ gained two more freshmen who were selected in the 2020 NHL Draft: forwards Luke Tuch and Dylan Peterson. Tuch also played for the NTDP U18 team and put up 53 points over two seasons before he enrolled at BU and was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the second round. Peterson, also a member of the US U18 team, was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the third round and shot for 28 points in the 2019–20 U18 season.  

Tuch and Peterson will look to fill the void created by the loss of forward Trevor Zegras, who signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Anaheim Ducks in late March. The Terriers’ also lost defenseman Cam Crotty to a three-year entry-level deal with the Arizona Coyotes.

Finally, the Terriers will need to recover from the loss of team captain Patrick Curry, who graduated and signed a two-year deal with the Grand Rapid Griffins of the AHL. Curry led the Terriers with 19 goals scored last year, tied for second in the conference. Senior Logan Cockerill will replace Curry as captain.

Bottom Line: Major losses at the forward and goaltender positions place the Terriers in a tough spot. However, depending on the performance of some promising incoming freshman, they could improve over last year. This team should be interesting to watch throughout the season and will undoubtedly contend for a playoff spot.

Men’s Hockey Succumbs to BU after Frantic Second Period

By Matt Neiser

Photo by Sarah Olender

BOSTON — Fresh off a victory in the Belfast-based Friendship Four and riding a five-game winning streak, the No. 8/12 Northeastern men’s ice hockey team headed across town to rival Boston University for the teams’ first meeting this season.

Despite entering Saturday’s game with a losing record, the Terriers are chock full of talent. They showed that in this game, scoring four goals in the second period and six overall as they took down the Huskies, 6–3.

Northeastern (10–5–2, 6–4–1 HEA) got off to an encouraging start, generating 17 first-period shots on net to BU’s seven. But the Terriers (6–6–5, 4–3–4 HEA) emerged with the advantage after senior Patrick Harper capitalized on a defensive lapse by the Huskies to score the lone goal of the first 20 minutes.

Photo by Sarah Olender

After a relatively tame opening frame, all hell broke loose in the second. Goals from junior Zach Solow and senior John Picking — 12 seconds apart and both within the first minute of play — put the Huskies on top, but BU sophomore Jack DeBoer fired right back 40 seconds later, evening the game at two goals apiece.

Northeastern retook the lead on an Aidan McDonough goal 90 seconds after that, but the Terriers rattled off three unanswered goals from Harper, Robert Mastrosimone, and Domenick Fensore to take control heading into the final frame.

Photo by Sarah Olender

Despite holding possession for much of the third period and benefitting from four power plays, the Huskies couldn’t match the ridiculous production of the previous period. The Terriers held them scoreless and tacked on a shorthanded empty-net insurance goal to extend their lead to 6–3, securing victory over their Hockey East rivals.

Solow added an assist to his goal and finished as Northeastern’s only multi-point scorer. Jayden Struble, T.J. Walsh, Ryan Shea, and Matt Filipe all added assists. Goaltender Craig Pantano made 21 saves but allowed five goals.

Terrier goaltender Sam Tucker was fantastic in net, totaling 37 saves, including many tough stops, in the victory.

Photo by Sarah Olender

Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan didn’t mince words after the game, stating, “I don’t know how much there is to say. We played shitty hockey, and really bad defensively, and they took advantage of opportunities.” He repeated that choice two-word phrase multiple times throughout the post-game press conference.

“We were just turning pucks over. We knew what we needed to do, it wasn’t like they were hemming us in their own zone, we were just really sloppy with the puck,” Madigan added. The Husky head coach was spot-on with his analysis, as always. This was not a good game for the Northeastern skaters, whose sloppy play led to many of the Terriers’ opportunities and goals.

Photo by Sarah Olender

The loss halts the Huskies’ win streak at five, their longest of the season. They are tied with Massachusetts and UMass Lowell for second place in Hockey East; BU sits in fifth place, though they are just one point behind the Huskies.

The Huskies have a week to recoup, with their final matchup of 2019 coming on Saturday against Dartmouth College. Milton Posner and Alex Bensley will be on the call, with coverage starting at 3:45 PM EST.

Hockey East Preview: Boston University Terriers

Last Season: 16–18–4 (12–9–3 HE, fifth place); lost in HE semifinals

Head Coach: Albie O’Connell (second season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Fifth

Losses

  • G Jake Oettinger
  • G Max Prawdzik
  • D Dante Fabro
  • D Shane Switzer
  • D Chad Krys
  • F Joel Farabee
  • F Ryan Cloonan
  • F Mark Cheremeta
  • F Bobo Carpenter
  • F Shane Bowers
  • F Max Willman

Additions

  • G Sam Tucker
  • D Case McCarthy
  • D Alex Vlasic
  • D Domenick Fensore
  • D Sean Driscoll
  • F/D John Copeland
  • F Jamie Armstrong
  • F Trevor Zegras
  • F Markus Boguslavsky
  • F Robert Mastrosimone
  • F Sam Stevens
  • F Ethan Phillips
  • F Alex Brink

By Adam Doucette

The Boston University Terriers’ 2018–19 season was the first with coach Albie O’Connell at the helm. Other than the coaching change, it was not the most memorable season for the Terriers. They didn’t notch a Beanpot win, they didn’t make it to the Hockey East finals, and they didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Their overall record was below .500 for the first time since 2013–14.

While a team cannot be expected to be elite right away under a new coach, BU has gotten used to contending. However, the team with the most Beanpot titles under its belt won’t have an easy time climbing back to the top of college hockey.

The Terriers are losing four of their five top point scorers from a year ago, including goal leader Joel Farabee (17) and assist leader Dante Fabbro (26). They are also losing the services of Jake Oettinger, their star goaltender who made 47 saves in last year’s Beanpot final against Northeastern.

The Terriers picked up two graduate transfers for this season. One is Alex Brink, a 6’0” forward from Brown University; the other is Sam Tucker, a 6’3” goaltender from Yale University. The team will also hold onto Patrick Curry, the lone remaining top-five point scorer from last year. The senior forward will serve as team captain for the 2019–20 campaign while senior Patrick Harper and juniors Logan Cockerill and Cam Crotty have been named assistant captains.

Bottom Line: It won’t be easy for the Terriers to build on last season after losing so many top players. Second-year coach Albie O’Connell will have to learn on the fly and figure out how to best use the new players. Expectations may not be as high as they were in past years, but the program is confident that O’Connell can lead them back to the top.