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Boston University Down Key Players, Looks to Repeat in Hockey East

Reigning Hockey East Champion BU had many reasons to celebrate last season. Will they have the same fortune this season?

The BU Terriers won the Beanpot, edged out Northeastern by one point to take the regular season Hockey East crown, and then won the league tournament to grab all the conference hardware. They capped all that off with the NCAA Championship and boasted the Hobey Baker winner in Matt Gilroy. Colin Wilson and Northeastern’s Brad Thiessen were the other Hobey finalists as the league swept the last round nominees.

Team-by-Team Breakdowns

(teams listed in 2008-2009 final standings order)

Boston University Terriers

  • Key Players: Nick Bonino (Junior, F), Eric Gryba (Senior, D), Kieran Millan (Sophomore, G), Kevin Shattenkirk (Senior, D)
  • Key Losses: Matt Gilroy, Colin Wilson
  • Key Non-conference games: vs. #7 Notre Dame, vs. #5 Michigan, vs. #6 Cornell
  • Outlook: BU lost a couple key players, but returns a lot of young depth, especially on the blue line and in Millan in net.

Northeastern University Huskies

  • Key Players: Greg Costa (Senior, F), Chris Donovan (Senior, F), Jim Driscoll (Senior, D), Tyler McNeely (Junior, F)
  • Key Losses: Brad Thiessen
  • Key Non-conference games: two at Colorado College
  • Outlook: The Huskies continued a recent Hockey East trend of riding the goalie hard, eschewing mentoring opportunities to chase every point. With Thiessen gone, the Huskies turn to Jr. Mike Binnington and Fr. Bryan Mountain and Chris Rawlings and will need some kind of production from them. With heavy experience up front, this season might be do or die.

University of New Hampshire Wildcats

  • Key Players: Bobby Butler (Senior, F), Brian Foster (Senior, G), Peter LeBlanc (Senior, F)
  • Key Losses: James van Reimsdyk
  • Key Non-conference games: vs. #1 Miami twice, a pair at #13 Wisconsin, vs. #6 Cornell
  • Outlook: With van Reimsdyk, they lose 40 points and a tough presence. Foster put up pretty good numbers last year which, if repeated, should keep UNH in the upper tier of the league. UNH always schedules tough teams which should give them a boost come tournament time.

University of Vermont Catamounts

  • Key Players: Patrick Cullity (Senior, D), Rob Madore (Sophomore, G), Kevan Miller (Junior, D), Brian Roloff (Senior, F)
  • Key Losses: Peter Lenes, Viktor Stälberg
  • Key Non-conference games: two at #3 Denver, vs. #8 Yale, hosts Catamount Cup
  • Outlook: Rob Madore won the starting job as a freshman and Senior Mike Spillane is more than adequate to spell him. However, the offense will have to replace Viktor Stälberg’s 24 goals and 22 helpers; Lenes’ 15-16-31 are also gone.

University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks

  • Key Players: Jeremy Dehner (Senior, D), Barry Goers (Senior, D), Nevin Hamilton (Senior, G), Ben Holmstrom (Senior, F), Carter Hutton (Senior, G)
  • Key Losses: Mike Potacco, Mark Roebothan
  • Key Non-conference games: at #16 Nebraska-Omaha, two vs. #10 Princeton
  • Outlook: In most cases, not having a defined number one netminder is not a good thing, however, the River Hawks had two number ones in Hamilton and Hutton, who each played in 19 games and posted GAA’s of 2.15 and 2.06 respectively. They took a step forward last season and look to build on it with a senior laden squad.

Boston College Eagles

  • Key Players: Matt Lombardi (Senior, F), John Muse (Junior, G), Matt Price (Senior, F), Ben Smith (Senior, F)
  • Key Losses: Brock Bradford, Ben Ferriero, Andrew Orpik, Nick Petrecki
  • Key Non-conference games: at #7 Notre Dame, at #3 Denver
  • Outlook: Two years ago, the Eagles rode a stellar freshman netminder Muse, but last year, he was not as sharp and the Eagles did not make the big tournament. It is safe to say that Muse’s play will have a lot to bear on BC’s fortunes.

University of Massachusetts-Amherst Minutemen

  • Key Players: Justin Braun (Senior, D), Paul Dainton (Junior, G), James Marcou (Junior, F), Martin Nolet (Senior, D), Brett Watson (Senior, F)
  • Key Losses: Alex Berry, Chris Davis, Cory Quirk
  • Key Non-conference games: at #8 Yale, at #18 Quinnipiac
  • Outlook: Dainton was not particularly strong in net and is now part of an uncharacteristic four-headed monster. They will have to find some new offensive firepower if they want to ascend into the top half of the conference.

University of Maine Black Bears

  • Key Players: Scott Darling (Sophomore, G), Jeff Dimmen (Junior, D), Tanner House (Junior, F), Gustav Nyquist (Sophomore, F)
  • Key Losses: Simon Danis-Pepin, Matt Duffy, Christopher Hahn
  • Key Non-conference games: two vs. Michigan State, Florida College Classic (vs. #10 Princeton and Colorado College or #6 Cornell)
  • Outlook: They have been dismal the last couple seasons, but they are young and there is nowhere to go but up. They could be this year’s surprise team.

Merrimack College Warriors

  • Key Players: Chris Barton (Junior, F), Pat Bowen (Senior, D), Andrew Braithwaite (Senior, G), Joe Cannata (Senior, G), Adam Ross (Junior, D)
  • Key Losses: Rob Ricci
  • Key Non-conference games: two at #4 North Dakota, Badger Showdown (vs. #13 Wisconsin and vs. Ferris State or #8 Yale)
  • Outlook: Ricci was their best player and goaltending is questionable, but team should improve on total of 13 points in 27 conference games.

Providence College Friars

  • Key Players: Alex Beaudry (Sophomore, G), John Cavanaugh (Senior, F), Mark Fayne (Senior, D), Justin Gates (Sophomore, G)
  • Key Losses: Pierce Norton, Matt Taormina
  • Key Non-conference games: two at #7 Notre Dame
  • Outlook: Most of the young team is back, but someone needs to step up and become a number one goalie; Beaudry (3.50 GAA) and Gates (3.81 GAA) struggled last season.

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