Hockey East Preview: Boston College
Last Season: 33-10-1 (19-7-1), Finished 1st, Won Hockey East and NCAA Championship (Defeated Ferris State)
What Happened: Boston College continued to be the poster child for success in college hockey this past season, winning its third national championship in the last five seasons. The Eagles started the season in winning fashion by capturing the Ice Breaker championship over North Dakota and were pretty consistent throughout the season. There were some questions surrounding the team when they lost four of six games from mid-November until early December, including a 5-0 throttling by Boston University, but the team was able to right the ship and came back dominant in 2012. After being swept in a weekend series at Maine in late January, the Eagles didn’t lose another game, ending the season on a 19 game winning streak. In what has become a common occurrence for BC, they were able to collect a Beanpot championship, Hockey East Tournament championship, and NCAA championship all in the same season.
- Chris Kreider (F) – This past season, Kreider showed why he was selected in the first round of the NHL draft by the New York Rangers. Kreider nearly doubled his scoring from his first two seasons, leading Boston College with 45 points and earning a spot on the All-Hockey East Second Team. Following BC’s national championship run, Kreider signed with the New York Rangers and immediately jumped into their lineup, helping the team make it to the Eastern Conference Finals.
- Brian Dumoulin (D) – Arguably the best defenseman in Hockey East, Dumoulin left BC after this year’s national championship to sign with the Carolina Hurricanes. In 2011-2012, Dumoulin was named First Team All-Hockey East for the second consecutive season and led all Eagles defensemen with 28 points. His departure will create a big hole on the blue line for BC.
- Barry Almeida (F) – With players such as Cam Atkinson and Brian Gibbons leaving BC after 2010-2011, there was a void on the first line that needed to be filled and Barry Almeida stepped up in a big way to make up for those losses. Almeida’s scoring increased by 19 points in 2011-2012 and he finished the season with a scoring line of 22-18-40, good enough to be named First Team All-Hockey East.
- Parker Milner (G) – Milner had big shoes to fill with the departure of John Muse, who won two championships in his four seasons as the starter for Boston College, and he didn’t disappoint. The junior finished the season with a 1.66 GAA and .937 Save Percentage in 34 games played. He was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Frozen Four and is expected to be one of the top goalies in the conference coming into 2012-2013.
- Johnny Gaudreau (F) – Johnny Gaudreau burst onto the Hockey East scene in 2011-2012, finishing sixth in the conference in scoring with a line of 21-23-44. He was a unanimous choice for the Hockey East All-Rookie team and was a preseason media pick for the All-Hockey East Team. Gaudreau proved to be a big game player, being named MVP of both the Beanpot and the Hockey East Tournament. He finished the season scoring 12 points in his last eight games, all playoff games, including a beautiful insurance goal in the National Championship. Expect Gaudreau to be a key cog in the Eagles high-powered offense in 2012-2013.
- Patch Alber (D) – With four freshman defenseman this season, the Eagles will need to rely heavily on Patch Alber and Patrick Wey to lead the defense and keep shots away from goaltender Parker Milner. With the loss of top pair Tommy Cross and Doumolin, Alber should see a lot more critical minutes especially at the beginning of the season while the freshmen adjust to Hockey East. Look for Alber to improve upon his scoring line of 1-13-14, while continuing to provide steady defense for the Eagles.
2012-2013 Outlook: Every year the Eagles lose a ton of talent and yet they continue to have success and win championships. 2012-2013 should be no different. The Eagles lost some key players from last season’s national championship run, but don’t expect them to fall off this season. Players such as Gaudreau, Alber, Kevin Hayes, and Bill Arnold return and seem ready to make the jump to elite Hockey East players and they bring in a highly touted recruiting class who will help ease the losses as well. Also, with the return of Milner, the Eagles know they have a solid net presence who knows how to lead the team to a championship. They may not successfully defend their title, but you can bet that Boston College won’t give it up easily.
- Mike Sobel