Hockey East Preview – University of Vermont Catamounts

By: James Duffy

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Head Coach – Kevin Sneddon, 14th season

Last Season – 15-22-3 (6-13-3 in Hockey East, 9th); lost in 2nd round of conference playoffs to Boston College

Losses – F Jonathan Turk, F Dan Senkbeil, D Yvan Pattyn, D Alexx Privitera, G Packy Munson

Newcomers – F Matt Alvaro, F Ross Colton, F Cameron Klein, F Derek Lodermeier, D Max Daigle, D Jake Massie, D Corey Moriarty, D Matt O’Donnell, G Stefanos Lekkas

The Catamounts struggles started before their season actually began. Vermont lost its preseason exhibition game against Acadia, and followed that up by going 2-6-1 to start the year. They managed to sweep UConn in the first round of the Hockey East Playoffs, and pushed BC to three games, but eventually fell short and ended a disappointing season. The biggest takeaway from the season was the emergence of freshman goaltender Packy Munson, who seemed poised to take the starting job from senior Mike Santaguida before deciding to transfer to Denver in another setback for the Catamounts.

Offensively, Vermont lost very little production this offseason.  Turk and Senkbeil, the graduating forwards, were essentially non-factors in their senior seasons. Privitera, who finished fifth on the team in goals, is the biggest loss, but the five graduates combined for just 15 goals last year. The defense was hit much harder. Pattyn, the Catamount’s captain, and Privitera, a top pair defenseman, were essential on the blue line.

Vermont will look to incoming freshman Ross Colton to fill the void on offense. Colton was selected by Tampa Bay in the fourth round of the 2016 NHL Draft after posting 66 points in 55 games with Cedar Rapids of the USHL. The team will also rely heavily on Mario Puskarich, Brendan Bradley and Jarrid Privitera, all of whom netted 10 goals last season. The team will also be looking for a rebound from senior forward Brady Shaw. Shaw led the team with 19 goals two seasons ago, but took a major step back last season and lit the lamp just 4 times.

On defense, sophomore Ori Abramson will need to step up, as he may find himself on the top pair. The team will also look to senior Rob Hamilton to lead the D corps, and sophomore Jake Kearley to continue to develop after a strong rookie season. Jake Massie, a former Hurricanes sixth round pick who was traded to the Blackhawks, looks to be the most promising incoming defenseman, and may claim a bottom six spot this season.

In net Vermont is going to need a breakout season from Santaguida, the only established goalie on the team. The Mississauga, Ontario native went 6-11-2 with a 2.65 goals against average and .913 save percentage last season. After strong freshman and sophomore seasons, the Catamounts are hoping Santaguida returns to form as their only other option are senior Pat Feeley, who has under 3 minutes of regular season experience and freshman Stefanos Lekkas.

Bottom Line – This season hinges on the back end for Vermont.  Mike Santaguida will need to be strong in net in his senior season, and the team will need to find a way to replace Privitera and Pattyn on defense. The Catamounts will be able to score, but it remains to be seen if they can keep the puck out of their own net. If they can do that, they should be able to climb out of the cellar of Hockey East.

 

Hockey East Preview – University of New Hampshire Wildcats

By: Joseph Barbito

unh-logoHead Coach – Dick Umile (27th Season)

Last Season – 11-20-6 (4-12-6 in Hockey East, 10th), lost in conference first round to Merrimack

Losses – F Andrew Poturalski, D Harry Quast, F Dan Correale, F Maxim Gaudreault, F Kyle Smith, F Collin MacDonald, G Jamie Regan

Newcomers – F Brendan van Riemsdyk, F Justin Fregona, F Joe Sacco, F Patrick Grasso, D Anthony Wyse, D Nick Nonis, F Liam Blackburn

New Hampshire’s fall from grace as one of Hockey East’s top programs continued last year after a disappointing 10th place conference finish. Sophomore Andrew Poturalski (22-30-52) was the highlight of an otherwise dismal season in Durham, but he opted to sign with Carolina in the NHL this offseason. For a team that finished first in the conference in power play percentage (23.9%) losing a goal scorer like Poturalski is sure to make itself evident. Forward Tyler Kelleher (18-24-42) and blueliner Matias Cleland (5-22-27) were the next two highest point scorers in 2015-2016 and will try to hold the offense up while Dick Umile looks to find a solution for an aching defense.

New Hampshire came in sixth in the conference in goals per game (3.03), scoring 112 total goals. Coupled with a potent power play, New Hampshire certainly could have won more games if not for poor goaltending and lackluster defense. UNH came in third to last in goals against per game (3.27), allowing 121 goals throughout the course of the 2015-2016 campaign. In a conference filled with top-tier goaltending, Danny Tirone (3.19 GAA, .907 sv%) was not enough to cut it. The Wildcats were 10th in shots on goal differential at -223 and 10th in shots on goal differential per game at -6.03. For perspective, the 9th overall shots on goal differential belonged to Maine with a -40 differential.

The only departing defender is Harry Quast (1-7-8) who was at a +2 overall in 2015-2016, and will be replaced by Anthony Wyse of the USHL Lincoln Stars and Nick Nonis of the BCHL Powell River Kings. Wyse was a high scorer, with 2 goals and 17 assists for 19 total points in 54 games. Nonis is a large defender, and at 6’3”, 201 lbs with 10 points (2 goals and 8 assists) he profiles as more of a stay at home defender than Quast. He did have 58 PIM over 54 games in the BCHL, which can be cause for alarm if he cannot keep out of trouble with the referees. Given that the biggest problems for UNH in the past have been related to defense, it is highly disappointing to see only two recruits being brought in to address this area with both of them on the lower end of defensive recruits in the 2016 entering class.

Keeping in tradition with the current game plan of scoring a lot and trying to cobble together enough defense, the Wildcats have brought in Liam Blackburn of the West Kelowna Warriors of the BCHL. Blackburn scored 27 goals and 47 assists (74 total points) in 58 games, good for 1.28 points per game. The prior year he scored 73 points in 55 games, and all signs point to top-six minutes for the 5’11” forward from Prince George. Patrick Grasso (22-21-43) of Des Moines in the USHL is a bit of an undersized freshman at 5’7” and 174 pounds, so it will be interesting to see how he transitions to the college level. Brendan van Riemsdyk (20-27-47) of the USPHL Islanders will round out the forward class. The youngest of the van Riemsdyk family had penalty issues last season (50 PIM in 43 games), but shows more of a two-way game than Blackburn or Grasso.

Bottom Line: The biggest issue for New Hampshire last season was defense, and very few moves have been made to address that issue. Coach Umile and the rest of the Wildcats coaching staff will have to hope they can provide enough offense between returning scorers like Kelleher and freshman potential in Blackburn. With every team in the conference working to improve their areas of difficulty, UNH will have to look from within to increase their position in the standings this season.

Husky Sports Update: Week 1

Senior striker Khesanio Hall scored in double overtime on Friday to give NU a 1-0 victory over Saint Joseph's (Image Credit: The Huntington News)
Senior striker Khesanio Hall scored in double overtime on Friday to give NU a 1-0 victory over Saint Joseph’s (Image Credit: The Huntington News)

by Gavin Davis

As you’ve been busy moving in, Northeastern’s student-athletes have been competing across the country. Here’s a quick recap of last week’s action:

8/28: Women’s Field Hockey

Northeastern defeated California 3-2 in an overtime thriller. Senior Natalie Stewart scored the game winner in OT from an assist from fellow senior Alyssa Carlson to take her team to victory in Berkley.

8/28: Women’s Soccer

After a two hour delay due to lightning concerns, Northeastern held on for as long as they could against the No. 16 ranked Texas Tech before giving up two goals in the second half in a 2-0 Red Raider victory.

9/2: Women’s Volleyball

Northeastern was defeated 0-3 by Washington State in its first match of the Long Beach State/UC Irvine Mizuno Invitational. The Huskies were unable to compete with the Washington State team that swept them by winning all three of the first sets.

9/2: Women’s Soccer

Northeastern was able to outlast La Salle in a 4-3 grind out victory at McCarthy Stadium last Friday. Redshirt junior Taylor Caparo notched two goals while sophomore Hannah Rosenblatt knocked down the game winner with seven minutes remaining.

9/2: Women’s Field Hockey

Northeastern fell just short in a 2-1-overtime loss to No. 17 ranked Boston University. BU has one the last three straight matchups against the Huskies, despite Northeastern leading the all-time series 6-4.

9/2: Men’s Soccer

In a game that could best be described as a near stalemate, Northeastern senior Khesanio Hall netted the game winner a minute into double overtime to give the Huskies a 1-0 OT victory over Saint Joseph’s.

9/2: Womens Volleyball

Northeastern’s late game rally fell short in their four set, 1-3 loss to tournament host UC Irvine. A notable milestone for the Huskies was junior Kristen Walding recording her 1500th career assist in the second set.

9/3 : Womens Volleyball

Despite Northeastern’s best efforts in forcing a fifth set, the Huskies were defeated by California in day two of the Long Beach State / UC Irvine Mizuno Invitational. The two teams alternated set win’s until California fifth set, deciding the 3-2 victory.

9/4: Men’s Soccer

In what was the Huskies toughest test of their young season thus far,  Northeastern was defeated 3-0 by Temple at the new Temple Sports Complex. Northeastern ended up splitting their series in Philadelphia after their 1-0 victory over Saint Joseph’s two days prior.

9/4: Women’s Soccer

Saint Joseph’s Emily Gingrich had a career performance, netting two goals off corner kicks, including the game-winner with 8:29 remaining, to give St. Joseph’s the 2-1 win over Northeastern at Sweeney Field.

9/4: Women’s Field Hockey

After taking an early 2-0 first half lead, Northeastern allowed three straight second half goals from the University of Vermont to suffer a 3-2 loss at the hands of UV.

Hockey East Preview – University of Maine Black Bears

By: James Duffy

Head Co6108_maine_black_bears-secondary-1999ach – Red Gendron, 4th season

Last Season – 8-24-6 (5-15-2 in Hockey East, 11th); Lost in first round of conference playoffs to Northeastern

Losses – F Steven Swavely, F Andrew Tegeler, F Will Merchant, D Bill Norman, D Conor Reilly

Newcomers – F Jake Pappalardo, F Mitchell Fossier, F Chase Pearson, F Tim Doherty, F Ryan Smith, F Patrick Shea, D Patrick Holoway, G Stephen Mundinger

For the third time in the last four years, the Black Bears found themselves with a record below .500. Once a force to be reckoned with, last year Maine was little more than a doorstep for most teams. After three ties to start the season, they rattled off nine straight losses. Their first win of the season didn’t come until November 20, and by that point they had already dropped their first five conference games. The season ended just like it started for Maine, as they lost nine of their final ten games of the year.

Maine’s abysmal offense sunk them last season, and they graduated three of their top six leading scorers in the offseason. They managed 76 goals last season, 53rd out of 60 teams in the nation, and now-graduated seniors netted 27 of those goals. Norman and Reilly were essentially non-factors on the team, bouncing between the blue line and fourth line. Between Swavely, the captain, and Merchant and Reilly, alternates, the Black Bears lost leadership as well as scoring.

Luckily for Maine, their nine man incoming class is comprised mostly of forwards. Chase Pearson, the 140th overall pick in the 2015 draft, and Patrick Shea, the 192nd pick in 2015, lead the way up front. Both are very raw prospects, with a lot of untapped potential that Red Gendron should be able to drill into. Defenseman Patrick Holoway was another big addition for Maine, literally and figuratively. The 6-foot-4 defenseman was picked in the 6th round of the 2015 draft by Detroit, and possesses a strong offensive game from the blue line. Goalie Stephen Mundinger stands even taller, at 6-foot-8, but will have a hard time cracking the starting lineup. Sophomore goalie Rob McGovern seems to have a hold on the starting gig, with senior Matt Morris backing him up.

Maine doesn’t have a lot to look forward to next season. With Merchant gone, they’ll turn to seniors Cam Brown and Blaine Byron to carry the offense. They’ll also be looking at Nolan Vesey to rebound after a major regression in his sophomore year. Vesey posted 23 points as a freshman, but managed just 11 last season. They still remain weak on defense and in goal, though. Maine allowed 3.39 goals per game last year, and neither McGovern nor Morris was particularly sharp along the way.

Bottom Line – A far cry from the powerhouse they used to be, the Black Bears will spend another year in the basement of Hockey East. They have almost no reliable offense, and less reliable goaltending. Climbing as high as 9th in the conference would be a successful season in Orono.

 

Hockey East Preview – University of Massachusetts Minutemen

By: James Duffy

Head Coach:urlGreg Carvel, 1st season

Last Season:
8-­24­-4 (2-­16­-4 in Hockey East, 12th); Lost in first round of conference playoffs to Boston University

Losses: ­ ​F Shane Walsh, F Dennis Kravchenko, F Keith Burchett, D Maddison Smiley, D Ben Gallacher, G Henry Dill

Newcomers: ­ ​F Brett Boeing, F Jonathan Lazarus, F Griff Jeszka, F Kyler Nachtigall, F Jack Suter, F Niko Hildenbrand, F Luke McElhenie, D Shane Bear, D Jake McCarthy, D Josh Couturier, D Jake McLaughlin, G Ryan Wischow

After a surprisingly strong start to the season, the UMass Amherst Minutemen eventually sunk to the bottom of Hockey East. They began their season by winning four of their first five games. They ended it by winning four of their final 31. Their only conference wins came in November when they swept UConn. The Minutemen went 0-­16­-4 in 20 Hockey East matchups after that point. The disastrous second half of the season ended with a surprisingly competitive series with Boston University, where they were swept nonetheless.

Despite only graduating two seniors, the offseason was a tumultuous one for Amherst. Greg Carvel was hired as the new head coach of the team, after spending five successful years coaching St. Lawrence. Following the hiring of Carvel, it was announced that Kravchenko, Burchett, Smiley and Dill would not be returning to Amherst. Kravchenko was the team’s second leading scorer behind Walsh, so the Minutemen lost a bulk of their offense over the summer. The duo combined for 30 of the team’s 84 goals last season. In Smiley and Gallacher, the team lost two starting defensemen as well.

Luckily for Amherst, they pulled an 11 ­man deep freshman class, with seven of those being forwards. Griff Jeszka leads the forward group, a 6-­foot­-1 overaged forward who posted 48 points in 59 games in the North American Hockey League last year. Brett Boeing is another interesting freshman forward for Amherst. A star in the United States Hockey League, Boeing left the USHL for Michigan Tech, before leaving the team halfway through the season to return to juniors. After putting up 18 points in 31 games last season in the USHL, and 6 points in 11 games for Michigan Tech, Boeing seems poised to have a breakout season for Amherst.

On the blue line, Shane Bear looks to make an immediate contribution for the Minutemen. He plays a strong two­-way game, and can provide defensive scoring on a team that sorely needs it. He’s a bit undersized, at 5-­foot­-10, 170 pounds, but is more of a puck mover than a stay at home defender. They also landed BC transfer Josh Couturier, who figures to be one of their best defensemen down the road. He’ll sit out this season, per NCAA transfer rules, but should contribute for the Minutemen for years to come.

The situation between the pipes isn’t very strong in Amherst, which makes incoming freshman Ryan Wischow a very interesting prospect. Nic Renyard should hold onto the job after an uninspiring season last year, where he posted a .898 save percentage in 26 games. Backup Alex Wakaluk was significantly worse, with a .862 mark in 10 appearances. That gives Wischow a chance to at least seize the backup role, and potentially contend with Renyard for the starting job. He’s coming off a season where he stopped pucks at a .917 rate in the USHL, significantly better than either seasoned goalie.

Bottom Line: ­ ​The Minutemen will have a hard time recovering from the losses of Kravchenko and Walsh, their leading scorers last season. While their incoming forwards look promising, none can be counted on to contribute at that level this season. In net, look for Wischow to steal the starting job by Christmas, since neither Renyard or Wakaluk has shown that they truly deserve it. Nevertheless, Amherst will have a hard time climbing higher than 8th in Hockey East this year.

 

 

Men’s basketball reveals non-conference schedule

If Northeastern can navigate a tough out-of-conference schedule, it could position itself for another NCAA Selection Sunday viewing party, like in 2014 (Image courtesy of Northeastern University).
NU is hoping it can position itself for another NCAA Selection Sunday viewing party, like in 2014 (Image courtesy of Northeastern University).

by Matthew MacCormack

Don’t get too comfortable in your seat at Matthews Arena this winter; the Northeastern men’s basketball team won’t be spending much time in their home arena.

The Huskies unveiled their 2016-17 non-conference schedule on Monday, adding 12 games to the already-released 18-game conference schedule. Prior to the start of the Colonial Athletic Association schedule, NU will play 10 road games against a dozen out-of-conference opponents.

Husky fans will be circling their calendars for matchups with perennial powers UConn and Michigan State, two of the four 2016 NCAA tournament participants on the slate. Northeastern will also battle Boston University twice in the season’s first three games, the latter matchup a part of the BU-hosted Steve Wright Classic tournament.

You can view the full schedule here.

The Huskies open against crosstown canine rival BU for the seventh consecutive season on Nov. 11. The Terriers will look to spoil Homecoming at Matthews Arena.

Next, NU plays at defending American Athletic Conference champ UConn in a battle for Husky supremacy on Nov. 14. Leading scorer Rodney Purvis returns for UConn, but three of coach Kevin Ollie’s top four point-getters graduated.

The weekend of Nov. 18 will see the Huskies participate in the inaugural Steve Wright Classic, a round-robin tournament honoring the former BU great who died of leukemia in 2003. In addition to BU, Northeastern will play LIU-Brooklyn and Maine.

After a post-Thanksgiving home bout with Kent State on Nov. 27, the Huskies have six straight road contests to conclude the non-conference slate.

The Huskies will touch down in New York (Cornell, Stony Brook), Vermont (UVM) and Michigan (Michigan State, Oakland) during that stretch. A bus ride to Cambridge for a Dec. 6 matchup with Harvard provides a short respite from the travel.

All eyes will be fixed on East Lansing on Dec. 18 for the rematch with Michigan State. Tom Izzo’s Spartans thumped the Huskies by twenty points at Matthews Arena last December, but that was before MSU lost NBA draft picks Denzel Valentine and Deyonta Davis.

NU’s conference schedule features two matchups with each of the nine CAA opponents. Northeastern faces defending champion UNCW twice in nine days in February.

The Seahawks knocked NU out of the conference tournament last March.

Huskies in the Pros: Ford and Walker pursue professional dreams

Quincy Ford (left) and David Walker will continue their basketball careers this fall (Image Courtesy of GoNU.com).

by Gavin Davis

As the Northeastern men’s basketball team continues to gear up for the 2016-2017 season, former Husky stars David Walker and Quincy Ford find themselves preparing to play on the professional level, in both Europe and the National Basketball Association.

Both Ford and Walker entered the 2016 NBA Draft, with hopes of being one of the 60 players selected. While neither was drafted, both former Huskies were added to NBA Summer League rosters. Both received major playing time.

David Walker was invited by the Miami Heat to join their Summer League roster, playing in 11 games in the Orlando and Las Vegas summer leagues. Walker averaged 6.0 points, 1.5 rebounds and an assist in 21.1 minutes of play per game, not to mention a fast break slam-dunk that should be familiar of David “Sky” Walker’s high-flying Northeastern career.

Once finished with his stint in summer time pro hoops, Walked agreed to sign with BC Andorra of the Spanish Liga ACB on August 11th.

“I’m excited to start my career in such a competitive league with BC Andorra,” Walker told GoNU.com. “I really look forward to what the future holds.”

The Liga ACB is well documented as a league second to only the NBA in its level of competitive play. Additionally, over the past ten years, many of this Spanish league’s skilled players have been brought over to NBA rosters due to their strong play overseas.

Walker should have the opportunity to play against some of the best young talents Europe has to offer, while also showcasing his abilities in a setting in which NBA teams will be closely monitoring his performances.

Quincy Ford also received an invitation from an NBA franchise, the Utah Jazz, to join their Summer League Team. Ford averaged 5.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and an assist through Jazz summer league play in both Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.

Ford, whose younger brother Sajon will continue his NU basketball career in the fall, signed a three year, partially guaranteed contract with the Utah Jazz back in June, That deal was first reported by The Vertical’s Shams Charania.

Three Huskies Selected on Second Day of 2016 NHL Draft

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Northeastern assistant captain Nolan Stevens was selected 125th overall by the St. Louis Blues.

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON- Just months after winning its first Hockey East Championship since 1988, three Northeastern Huskies were selected on the second day of the 2016 NHL Draft. The trio consists of assistant captain Nolan Stevens, and incoming freshman Matt Filipe and Jeremy Davies.

Nolan Stevens: St. Louis Blues, Fifth Round, #125 Overall 

The Sea Isle City, New Jersey native had a breakout sophomore campaign last season, going from a 3 goal, 9 assist freshman season to netting 20 goals and 22 assists, earning himself assistant captain honors for the 2016-2017 season. A Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star, a member of the Hockey East All-Tournament team, and named Northeastern’s Most Improved Player at the annual end of the year banquet, Stevens shined brightest on the biggest stage for Northeastern, scoring four goals and five assists in postseason play, including a goal and an assist in the Hockey East Championship Game against Umass Lowell.

Matt Filipe: Carolina Hurricanes, Third Round, #67 Overall

The freshman forward is the highest drafted Husky since Jamie Oleksiak went 14th overall to the Dallas Stars in 2011, joining assistant captain Brendan Collier as a member of the Hurricanes organization. After playing three seasons at Malden Catholic High School where he won Super 8 Championships in 2013 and 2014, Filipe, the son of former Northeastern great Paul Filipe, played the 2015-2016 season with the USHL’s Cedar Rapids RoughRiders. He scored 19 goals and tallied 17 assists while in Cedar Rapids, finishing fifth on the team in scoring and earning USHL All-Rookie Second Team honors.

“Matt is a big, 6’2″, 200-pound forward who gives you some flexibility and versatility in that he can play forward or left wing,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “He’s heavy on pucks, strong, a great skater with great offensive ability. This year he had a real good year in the USHL playing for Cedar Rapids. We are thrilled to have Matt come in here. He’ll be in that lineup providing some key offensive production for us as well as playing a 200-foot game.”

Jeremy Davies: New Jersey Devils, Seventh Round, #192 Overall

A 5-foot-11 defenseman from Point-Claire, Quebec, Davies played the last two seasons with the USHL’s Bloomington Thunder where he scored 16 goals and 53 assists in 103 career games, becoming the organization’s all-time scoring defenseman. In addition to scoring three game-winning goals, Davies was named USHL Defenseman of the Week on three separate occasions last season, and was the first player in Bloomington history to earn All-USHL honors.

“Jeremy is someone I think most Husky fans are going to come to watch and really appreciate the skill and intelligence that this young man brings,” said Madigan. “This year he was an All-USHL First Team selection, which is a difficult feat to accomplish. He was the leading defensive scorer in the USHL and he’s someone who will break us out of our own zone. He’s really intelligent, a good skater, jumps up in the play well and supports the play. He’s just not an offensive player, he plays 200-feet, but he does it with an effortless approach.”

Image credit to SBNation. A big thanks to the Northeastern Athletics Communication staff as well.

WRBB Summer Podcast 2016

Looking for something to do at the beach or on that long summer road trip? Catch up on all things Northeastern basketball with our annual WRBB summer podcast! Also, be on the lookout as our hockey segment will be coming in July.