Hockey East Preview: Boston University
Last Season: 23-15-1 (17-9-1). Finished 3rd in Hockey East, lost in NCAA Semifinal to the University of Minnesota.
What Happened: The season was a wild one to say the least for Boston University, as the Terriers struggled with consistency and the mid-season departures of Charlie Coyle and senior Corey Trivino. BU ended a strong first half with a big win over Maine, but the Terriers never lived up to the hype as a championship contender. Trivino, who was kicked off the team following an arrest, was the first of many distractions the team had to deal with through the second half of the season. They fought for consistency through the remainder of the season and eventually fell in an embarrassing 7-3 loss to the University of Minnesota.
- Adam Clendening (D) – As a sophomore, Clendening led all Terrier defensemen with 33 points. His major contribution was as a playmaker with a grand total of 29 assists, second on the team. The dynamic defensemen proved that his productive freshman season was not a fluke, putting up huge numbers while boasting a +/- of 11. The sophomore defensemen’s early departure for the NHL is certainly a disappointment for the Terriers, who will need to find a way to replace their most productive defensemen of the last two years.
- Alex Chiasson (F) - Chiasson made his mark in Hockey East, ending his junior season ranked fourth in scoring with 46 points. Chiasson led BU in points, bringing in the third-highest goal total and second-highest assist total on the team. In a tough conference that demands production in special team situations, Chiasson’s 21 points on the power play ranked second in Hockey East. Chiasson’s veteran presence and production will surely be missed in the upcoming season.
- Chris Connolly (F) – Injuries and a scoring drought made for a slow start for Connolly, but the senior captain settled in to his game midway through the season. Although not a big goal scorer, Connolly did his part by showing off his playmaking ability, tying for the team lead with 31 assists. Connolly finishes off a successful career with an impressive 129 points. His consistent ability to play two-way hockey, stay out of the box, and be a leader on and off the ice are all characteristics the Terriers could be left wanting in 2012-2013.
- Wade Megan (F) – The new senior Captain will be leading Boston University into a highly anticipated season after an interesting offseason. Megan will be counted on to bring the same goal-scoring talent he brought last year and then some. With the loss of three of the team’s top scorers, Megan will need to find away to generate offense with more than just goal scoring and assume his position as the leader of this team.
- Garrett Noonan (D) – With 27 points from the blue line, the Terriers are surely rejoicing in the return of this exciting, young defenseman. Noonan led all defensemen in Hockey East in goal-scoring by a mile, tallying 16 goals. With the loss of Clendening, Noonan will need to find a way to manufacture the 60 points he and Clendening produced last season with a new partner along the blue line.
- Matt Nieto (F) – The sophomore forward impressed last season with a performance that saw him improve from an already impressive freshmen campaign. Nieto nearly doubled his point total, going from 23 up to 42 points. His improved production landed him second on the team in points and seventh in all of Hockey East. With the team losing their top goal scorer and the core of much of their power play production, Nieto will be counted on to pick up a large portion of the slack on offense.
The Outlook: Despite the off-ice roller coaster and the tumultuous offseason that Boston University has endured, the team should again be seen as powerhouse to be reckoned with. The loss of Chiasson, Connolly, and Clendening are big to say the least, but, as usual, the Terriers have a combination of many productive young and veteran players to step up and fill those roles. The team will be returning the majority of their tough blue liners and talent runs deep for the Boston University hockey team. The loss of a few productive players can be more than made up for by the young talent waiting to break out. Where the Terriers will see their biggest challenge is in the departure of their two senior goaltenders, specifically Kieran Millan. Jack Parker has implemented the same solution to this conundrum as he did the last time this situation presented itself. He will start two freshmen goaltenders. This may spark some reservations about the Terrier’s championship prospects, but it’s worth remembering this strategy worked out very well for BU in 2008-09.