Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Eagles Land Second Mattila Brother

Julius Mattila, brother of recent Eagle commit Jesper Mattila, has committed to Boston College for this fall. The former Western Michigan recruit and forward for the Ilves U20 squad recorded 56 points in 46 regular season games before notching 8 points in 7 postseason contests. Julius was ranked 115th by NHL Central Scouting for European skaters. His brother finished the season as the team's top defenseman, posting 37 points in 47 games and was pegged at 83rd by Central Scouting.

I have not seen these guys play but from what I have been able to gather, it seems as if BC picked up two pretty good players that have a chance to come in and play right away. Assuming McCoshen signs, Jesper will likely be competing with fellow freshmen Luke McInnis, Mike Campoli, and Connor Moore for playing time. Julius certainly has a shot to garner top twelve minutes, especially with the speed and skill he brings to the table. Finnish scout Marco Bombino described Julius as a "skilled forward who is tenacious and competes hard- he is certainly a nice get for BC." We will get deeper into potential lineup scenarios as the summer goes on but as of right now, I think both brothers will get a chance to play on opening night, assuming they continue to get stronger during the offseason.

Julius' commitment gives BC a whopping eleven members in the incoming class and I would not be surprised if the staff went out and added one more forward. The blue line, while extremely young and inexperienced, is fine in terms of numbers and if McCoshen does shock the world and come back, then BC will be looking at nine defensemen vying for six spots. If I had to guess, I'd say four of the five incoming forwards will get a look on opening night but of course, that number could change between now and October.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Connecticut Forward Commits to BC

A hectic 24 hours continued on Saturday afternoon as the staff secured a commitment from Salisbury School forward Jacques Bouquot, a 2000 birthdate out of South Windsor, Connecticut. The 6'0 forward recorded 15 points in 26 games for a very deep Salisbury team this season and is generally regarded as one of the top 2000's in New England. He was taken 57th overall (fourth round) in the USHL Draft this past week by Sioux City.

Bouquot is another solid add for the staff, giving them their second commit in under a day's time and fourth in the class of 2018 along with TJ Walsh, Pat Giles, and Adam Samuelsson. With Salisbury losing a good chunk of its top players from last season, I'm sure Bouquot will see an increase in playing time and should develop into a top end player sometime in the future.

Go Eagles

White Staying and Staff Picks Up Top Goaltender


After a month of constant departures, BC got some terrific news yesterday as freshman forward Colin White will return for another year, per TSN's Darren Dreger.  The Hanover native recorded 43 points on the season, second to Ryan Fitzgerald for the team lead. There is no doubt the Eagles lose a lot of talent, especially up front, but they return their top four skaters and there are increasing signs that Ian McCoshen, the best defenseman in the country as far as I'm concerned, may come back for one more run at a national championship- a final decision has yet to be made. With some open scholarship money, I expect the staff to bring in at least one more forward because for the first time in a couple years, they may have a bit of a logjam on the blue line, if McCoshen stays. As of now, they have four defensemen coming in (McInnis, Campoli, Moore, Matilla), but only Santini is gone from last season.

 Late last night, the staff picked up a commitment from top 1998 goaltender Ryan Edquist, a former Minnesota recruit, giving BC two of the best incoming goaltenders in the country to replace Thatcher Demko. Edquist is not a giant at 6'0, but led Lakeville (MN) to a perfect 31-0 record plus a state championship in 2015 before turning in a solid season with the Madison Capitols of the USHL in 2016. BC is in a bit of a tricky situation with four talented goalies on the roster but Chris Birdsall was riddled with concussions for the entire season and there is no word on his health status. Ian Milosz was brought in on an emergency basis but from what I'm hearing, there is a good chance he returns next season. The staff will only have a handful of practices to decide on a starter for the Icebreaker and honestly, I would be surprised if it wasn't Woll. In saying that, Edquist and likely Milosz will certainly get more than their share of looks throughout the campaign. 

Have a nice weekend. 

Go Eagles! 



Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sources- Demko To Sign With Vancouver



According to multiple sources, junior goaltender Thatcher Demko is set to ink an entry level deal with the Vancouver Canucks, the team that drafted him in 2014. The San Diego native will leave Chestnut Hill as one of the most decorated goaltenders in program history, leading his teams to two Frozen Fours, two Beanpot titles, two Hockey East regular season championships, and a 6-1-1 record against archrival Boston University, among other accolades. Of course, Demko was also a finalist for the Hobey Baker award and took home the Mike Richter trophy just a few weeks ago.

It may be a couple of days until Demko actually puts the pen to paper but he will become the twelfth Eagle to leave school early over the past five years, which is the most in college hockey (Minnesota and Michigan have each had eleven).

For my money, Demko is the best goalie in BC history and I think he will go on to have a long NHL career- he possesses a rare combination of size and athleticism not typically found in netminders. I wish him and his family nothing but the best.

On the bright side, Demko's replacement, Joseph Woll, recorded a shutout at the U18 World Championships tonight, as the United States defeated Switzerland 4-0. Woll has allowed just one goal in two tournament games thus far. Fellow incoming freshman Graham McPhee notched a goal for the Americans.

As for the remaining question marks, I expect Ian McCoshen to leave for Florida at some point in the near future. Out of every player on last year's team, I thought he was the most NHL ready and honestly figured the Panthers would give him a chance to participate in the playoffs. We will see what happens.

Go Eagles

Monday, April 18, 2016

Banquet Notes; McCoshen and Calnan Named Captains

The Pikes Peak Club hosted their 67th annual end of the year banquet yesterday at the Westin Hotel in Waltham. Unfortunately, Blogger could not go but from what I heard, it was another fantastic event with a good sized crowd. Those involved in that club deserve a ton of a credit for what they do behind the scenes. Here are the awards handed out by the organization-

Norman F. Dailey MVP Award- Ryan Fitzgerald and Thatcher Demko

Snooks Kelley Award for individuals who best typify Boston College Hockey- Teddy Doherty and Travis Jeke

William J. Flynn Coaches Award- Peter McMullen

James E. Tiernan Most Improved Player Award- Austin Cangelosi

Bernie Burke Most Outstanding Freshman- Colin White

Academic Excellence Award- Peter McMullen

Academic Achievement Award- Teddy Doherty

Congrats to all those guys on their well deserved recognition. 

The staff announced four captains for next season- Ian McCoshen and Chris Calnan will serve as the main ones while Austin Cangelosi and Ryan Fitzgerald will be alternates. After reading that, one would think McCoshen is coming back for his senior season but from what I have heard, he has yet to make a decision. The fact that he was voted captain can only help BC's cause. Coach York asked all four of the captains to stand up and challenged them to push the team as hard as possible in order to get back to the Frozen Four next season. Despite all the early departures, if no one else bolts, the Eagles will return 60% of their scoring from last season and with a solid recruiting class coming in, they should be in the hunt once again. 

Go Eagles 






Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Alex Tuch Signs With Minnesota



Sophomore forward Alex Tuch signed with the Minnesota Wild this evening, making him the fourth Eagle to leave early in the past week. Before getting into the meat of my post, I want to congratulate Alex on his first professional contract- from what I understand, he is a terrific kid who works extremely hard.

As for BC, well, this has been a brutal week. I expected Gilmour and Tuch to sign, Santini was 50/50, and Wood was a complete shock. Unfortunately, Tuch may not be the last guy to sign early given that Colin White, Ian McCoshen, and Thatcher Demko have yet to make their decisions. While I think White might stay, I'd be shell-shocked if either McCoshen or Demko comes back.

Tuch's departure sent off a firestorm around BC Hockey world (at least on Twitter) as many fans were quick to criticize every name in the book. Trust me, I understand the frustration, especially considering this never used to happen around here. Look at the 2008, 2010, and 2012 National Championship teams- they all consisted of guys who could have signed NHL contracts the previous year, but came back to help lead BC to the promised land. In my mind, the landscape of the sport, and the type of player that comes to a program like BC, is vastly different than it was even four years ago. It's easy to sit there and say the staff should have known when players were going to leave but what were they supposed to do? Ask them to make a decision in January? They believed most of the attrition would take place after next season because more often that not, anyone not drafted in the first or second round has stayed at BC for four years.

I think the hardest part of Coach York's job is trying to figure out the correct balance between superstar players that actually WANT to be at BC and four year guys that can play top six minutes junior and senior years. Look at the 2012 squad for a second- Barry Almeida, Paul Carey, and Tommy Cross all had varying production levels throughout their first three years but once that last campaign came around, they became some of the most reliable players on the roster. On top of that experienced core, BC had some insanely talented players that bled maroon and gold through and through- Chris Kreider, Brian Dumoulin, and Johnny Gaudreau come to mind. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Tuch, Gilmour, Santini, and Wood enjoyed their time at BC but this did not take place a few years back. Why the sudden change in heart among BC players? I think it has less to do with the mindset of the players than it does the mindset of NHL teams. After Kevin Hayes burned Chicago in 2014, and Mike Reilly/Jimmy Vesey did the same with Columbus and Nashville, respectively, teams are trying harder than ever to get kids signed before they enter the last year of their "contracts". So, when you're a top end program like BC, who obviously tries to recruit the best players available, you run the risk of losing all those guys after one or two seasons. Look at the past five national champions (not counting BC)- North Dakota, Providence, Union, Yale, and Duluth- they were led by seniors and juniors who drastically improved from year one to year three or four. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have a club like Wisconsin that landed nearly every top recruit from 2010-2013, before being burned by early departures and the CHL. Mike Eaves, a coach that recruited the likes of Ryan McDonough, Kyle Turris, Nick Kerdiles, Christian Dvorak, Justin Schultz, Brendan Smith, and Jake McCabe was out of job less than five years after making the National Championship because either guys left after their sophomore seasons or didn't show up at all. Some (me) would counter this argument by asking what would you rather the staff do, not go after the best players? I believe there should be a middle ground reached in each class they bring in from here on out- try to get one or two, maybe three, high end players that run the risk of leaving early, but put an emphasis on finding skaters that want to be at Boston College more than anything in the world. I had a long conversation with my government teacher today (an avid college fan, but not BC) and he made a great point in saying that for players like Bill Arnold, Danny O'Regan (BU), Tommy Cross, and Matt Grzelyck (BU), nothing meant more to them than donning those famed uniforms and trying to bring home titles. I am not sure the same can be said about the players some of these top end programs are bringing in now.

So, how can BC fix this? Right now, the staff has thirteen forwards on the depth chart for next season- defense, even if McCoshen bolts, is not a problem, at least in terms of sheer numbers. Most of those recruits committed two or three years ago, in fact, Michael Booth is the only incoming forward who they snatched this winter, because they were convinced that everyone outside of Tuch would come back for another year. I heard from a couple of good sources that there was a good chance of Colin White coming back for another year but after Tuch's departure, I think he might have a change of heart. The only good news that comes out of these departures is that the staff might have some extra scholarship money to spend on potential freshmen for next season, but that begs the question of who will they go after?  I'm not going to speculate but with all the holes up front, there is no way they don't bring in at least two more forwards.  While this may not be want you want to hear at the moment, I think the next two recruiting classes, particularly the incoming one, consist of over nearly a dozen players that are skilled and likely to stick around (knock on wood). Outside of maybe Jacob Tortora, a 2017 recruit, there doesn't appear to be any flight risks to the CHL, which is a major change from the past two offseasons. While they may have some trouble at times next year, they will bring back a boatload of young talent that will mesh with a highly touted 2017 class. Guys like David Cotton, Connor Moore, Graham McPhee, and Luke McInnis, while not first round draft picks, are the type of players BC needs more of in order to have sustained success because they are likely to stick around for at least three seasons, if not four.

Trust me, I know it has been a tough week, but Coach York, Coach Brown, and Coach Ayers are three of the hardest workers you will find and I'm sure they will get it figured out.

Go Eagles

Monday, April 11, 2016

Adam Gilmour Signs With Minnesota



Junior forward Adam Gilmour signed with the Minnesota Wild this afternoon and will forgo his senior season at BC, per Bob McKenzie. The Hanover native recorded 12 goals and 14 assists for the maroon and gold this season.

I am not surprised by this move as it was expected, from what I was able to gather over the past couple of days. As I said in the Wood post, teams do not want to lose valuable draft picks once their eligibility runs out, which is why you will rarely see drafted juniors come back for their senior seasons. I wish Adam nothing but the best in Minnesota.

As for the remaining players, the big question marks are Colin White, Alex Tuch, Thatcher Demko, Ian McCoshen, Chris Calnan, and, to a lesser extent, Ryan Fitzgerald and Zach Sanford. I am somewhat confident in saying that Sanford and Fitzgerald will be back but I have no idea about the other five guys. Thatcher Demko met with Canucks GM Jim Benning on Saturday and from I can tell, he is a having a tough time deciding his next move- I would say it's 50/50. I am shocked McCoshen has not signed as I figured Florida would offer him a spot on their playoff roster but that appears not to be the case- I'd say 60/40 in favor of leaving. Honestly, I have no clue on White, Tuch, and Calnan. I think White will sign, although Ottawa hired a new GM yesterday, so not sure how that changes things. Tuch, like Demko, is close to a 50/50 deal but he is likely gone as well. I'd be surprised if Calnan comes back given that Chicago has been burned in the past by players exploring free agency after their senior season (Kevin Hayes).

If some of those guys come back, they would have a heck of a team next year but if not, at least they will have a good amount of scholarship money to go out and build for the future.

Go Eagles

Friday, April 8, 2016

Miles Wood Signs With New Jersey


Oh boy.

Freshman Miles Wood signed an entry level contract with the New Jersey Devils this evening, making him the second Eagle to do so in under two hours. According to numerous reports, Wood will report to New Jersey tomorrow and may play in their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It's easy to sit here, as a BC fan, and criticize the decision but I've always said that any fan who knocks a kid for turning down a million dollars is out of their mind. Miles grew as a player over these past seven months and he certainly has the skill set to be a big time player for that organization. Am I surprised? Very. Do I think he is ready? Yes. Let's be honest here, he was a man amongst boys and I think his style of play will suit the NHL.

With Wood and Santini signed, there is a growing sense of nervousness surrounding the program regarding early departures. Demko will likely sign any day now, same with McCoshen, but other than that, we have no idea what's going to happen. The difference between Wood's situation and that of Colin White and Alex Tuch is that Wood's deal, as Devils property, would have run out by next August and as you saw with Jimmy Vesey and the Predators, teams do not want to lose valuable draft picks to free agency. I think there is an outside chance of both Tuch and White staying but I would not count on it. Same goes for Calnan and Gilmour because like Wood, they're free to sign with whomever they want if they stay- odds are Chicago and Minnesota won't fall for that.

Congrats and best of luck to Miles.


Santini Signs With New Jersey


Defenseman Steve Santini has inked a professional contract with the New Jersey Devils, forgoing his final year of eligibility at Boston College. 

This move somewhat surprises me but I think Santini could go on to have a long professional career. I wish him nothing but the best with the Devils. 


Over

Photo from The Boston Globe

As the old adage goes, "all good things must come to an end". Unfortunately, that is what happened to the 2016 edition of the Eagles last night, as they fell to Quinnipiac 3-2 in game one of the Frozen Four.

First of all, hats off to Rand Pecknold and his crew- they took it to BC for the first forty five minutes of that game and then got some outstanding play from Michael Garteig in order to hang on. They might not be a brand name around the college hockey world at the moment but certainly could be come midnight tomorrow. I wish them the best of luck against North Dakota. They had a ferocious forecheck, gave BC nothing through the neutral zone, had the best penalty kill I have seen this year, and boast a couple of awfully dangerous two way forwards. 

I'm not quite sure what happened in the first period, for whatever reason, it took BC a while to adapt to Quinnipiac's speed. One of QU's objectives was to halt BC in their own end by forcing the D to D pass as often as possible- they more than accomplished that. Less than three minutes into the game, Casey Fitzgerald's pass from behind the net squirted out front before Bobcats banged it home, giving them the game's first lead. Again, Quinnipiac was a fast team, no doubt, but I don't think it was heads and shoulders above anything the Eagles had seen from teams like BU, Denver, Northeastern, and perhaps Duluth. We knew QU was going to possess the puck in the BC end for long periods of time but if BC could have kept everything to the outside, then perhaps they would have been able to get away damage free. It didn't happen. Instead, both of QU's first period goals came from inside the slot. I don't care who you have in net, you can't expect anyone to cover for turnovers and breakdowns on such an epic scale. 

The most disappointing aspect of the game, for me anyways, was BC's power play. As the game went on, they certainly generated more quality looks but in the first period, outside of a golden opportunity from Ryan Fitzgerald, they garnered nothing. Don't get me a wrong, a lot of that had to do with Quinnipiac's speed, but I still think the Eagles could have done better than 1 for 5. 

The first three shifts of the second period were probably their best all season. After getting manhandled in the opening twenty, Tuch's line came through with a huge goal just 23 seconds into the frame, cutting the lead in half. The celebration didn't last long however as Quinnipiac capitalized on an Ian McCoshen cross-checking penalty just four minutes after Tuch's strike. The Eagles have not faced many teams that run a 1-3-1 power play, certainly none that run it as well as QU does, but like every other part of BC's game, it got better as time passed. On the third goal, obviously, you want to try and win that face-off in order to prevent them from getting great looks right off the bat but QU made the play by getting the puck to the net. The contest could have gotten out of reach before the end of the second as BC had to kill of a couple more penalties, once again, but unlike the first go around, they did so with relative ease. 

I could not have been more proud of the way this team battled in the third period. As cliche as it may sound, if we're going to go out, that's how I want to go- give me a club that plays like that, no matter the talent level, and I'll take them any day of the week. Whether it was two point blank looks from McCoshen, a terrific short side chance for Scott Savage, or an abbreviated two on one for Cangelosi and Casey Fitzgerald, BC did everything they could to tie it up after Ryan Fitzgerald notched a power play goal with five minutes left. Quinnipiac is so good in their own end, the only way you're going to score on them is by getting pucks to the net and hoping for a rebound or a deflection. Zach Sanford, who I thought was BC's best forward, made a nifty pass to McCoshen, who was robbed by a sprawling Garteig with just under a minute to go. Hockey's a weird game- sometimes you don't generate anything for the first fifty minutes and then pot a few thanks to some fortunate bounces but others, you just can't seem to capitalize on your best chances- that is what happened last night. Again, give Quinnipiac all the credit in the world for their defensive prowess. 


I will have a post either today or later in the week concerning early departures. That being said, I expect Demko to sign with Vancouver as early as this afternoon. McCoshen is ready as well, so I would not be shocked if he is gone by the weekend. Other than those two, your guess is as good as mine. If they can get most of their big guns to stay, they could be awfully good next year. Keep your fingers crossed. 

So there's that. The 2015-16 chapter of Boston College Hockey officially comes to a close after yet another fantastic run. They probably don't read this thing, but I just want to thank Teddy Doherty, Travis Jeke, Peter McMullen, and Brendan Silk for all they have done for this program. When you become a part of BC Hockey, the most important thing you can do is represent yourself, your school, your coaches, and your teammates to the very best of your ability on a daily basis. These guys have been phenomenal ambassadors for Boston College and its hockey program, I wish them nothing but the very best in whatever comes next in life. It was truly a pleasure coming to the rink everyday and seeing them set the bar so high. 

Lastly, I just want to say thanks to you, the reader, for taking time out of your day to check out this blog. I've been running the BCHB for six years and I can honestly say this is the most fun I've ever had, despite the difficult ending. As crazy as it may sound, I will be a freshman at Boston College next fall but I'm hopeful the blog will continue well into the future. 

Why BC lost- 

1. Brutal start. Quinnipiac was ready to go early on, BC was not. Teddy Doherty called the opening ten minutes "unacceptable".  Sums it up pretty well. 

2. Power play struggled for most of the game. Fitzgerald's tally was nice but other than that, they could not get anything going. 

Positives- 

1. The fight they showed at the end of that game was remarkable. Garteig had to make three or four out of this world saves in order to keep BC off the board. Give it another five minutes and I think we'd be talking about playing North Dakota. 

Thanks for an awesome season. 

Go Eagles