Andrew Raycroft, who spent parts of five seasons with the Bruins, is now an assistant coach at UConn. (Charles Laberge/Getty Images)

Andrew Raycroft, who spent parts of five seasons with the Bruins, is now an assistant coach at UConn. (Charles Laberge/Getty Images)

Andrew Raycroft wasn’€™t planning to get into coaching. When the 34-year-old former Bruin decided to retire in April after spending the previous two seasons in Europe, he was looking forward to a year away from the rink.

But then over the summer, Raycroft’€™s agent mentioned that Mike Cavanaugh — a friend of his and the head coach of the UConn men’€™s hockey team — was looking for a new goalie coach.

There was enough interest on both sides that Cavanaugh and Raycroft, who had never met before, decided to grab some coffee and talk about the position. They each liked what the other had to say, and Raycroft, who won the Calder Trophy as the NHL‘€™s rookie of the year in 2004, agreed to join the staff as a volunteer assistant coach.

It may seem odd for a former NHLer to take an unpaid, part-time position, especially when you consider that Raycroft had never even been to a college hockey game before Saturday night, but Raycroft saw it as the perfect job for him at this time.

It allows him to get into coaching without making as much of a time commitment as a head coach or full-time assistant would, and more importantly, it allows him to stay in the Boston area. Raycroft, who was famously traded to Toronto for Tuukka Rask in 2006, has considered Boston home since he played for the Bruins, and he currently lives in Sudbury with his wife and three kids.

‘€œI’€™m not looking to be a head coach or a full-time goalie coach at this point,’€ Raycroft said. ‘€œI just wanted to come in and kind of help the guys out, use some of my experience to help out and give them a few pointers here or there, give them a few new ideas. It was a good opportunity to give back a little.’€

Part of the reason Raycroft decided to retire was because he didn’€™t want to keep moving around, and he won’€™t have to with this job. He’€™ll attend all of UConn’€™s games that are in the area, which will be a lot of them, and commute to Storrs at least once a week to help out at practice.

So far, Raycroft is enjoying the experience. He said he likes the coaching staff, trainers and players, and he likes the college environment, something he never experienced himself. And making it all more exciting is the fact that this is UConn’€™s first season in Hockey East, widely considered the best conference in college hockey.

Everyone at UConn knows that the transition to Hockey East isn’€™t going to be an easy one given that it’€™s a significantly tougher conference than their old one, Atlantic Hockey. But Cavanaugh believes the program has a bright future, and he sees Raycroft helping it get to where he wants it to go.

‘€œHe certainly has an understanding of how to play goal,’€ Cavanaugh said. ‘€œI think he brings — not only for our goaltenders, but for the rest of our team — he’€™s an experienced guy. He played in the NHL for 12 years. He won rookie of the year in the NHL. We’€™re recruiting players here who aspire to go to the NHL, and he has the type of experience that can help those kids. He’€™s been a great addition to the staff.’€

Raycroft said he is happy to give advice to any of UConn’€™s players, not just the goalies. While his goaltending knowledge is what might help the team the most on the ice, his insight into what it takes to get to the next level could have an even longer-lasting impact.

Sophomore goalie Rob Nichols could be the biggest beneficiary from Raycroft’€™s first season in the college ranks. He posted an impressive .939 save percentage in 13 games as a freshman last season, and now he’€™s expected to be UConn’€™s every-night starter as a sophomore. So far he has had one tough game (five goals on 23 shots) sandwiched between two very good games (two goals on 35 shots, two goals on 43 shots).

Nichols, who hopes to get a shot at the pros someday, said he can already see the benefits of having someone with Raycroft’€™s experience around.

‘€œHe’€™s really knowledgeable about the game,’€ Nichols said. ‘€œHe knows what it takes to get to the next level. He’€™s really worked on details of the game so far, and what the difference is between an NHL goalie and the college game. Just trying to help me fine-tune things that would help me be successful at the next level.’€

As for the experience that he is probably best known for around here — the trade for Rask — Raycroft said he really doesn’€™t think about it too much, even when he sees Rask going deep in the playoffs or winning the Vezina Trophy. He said he doesn’€™t hold any grudges against anyone associated with the Bruins and that he has nothing but good memories of his time here.

‘€œIt’€™s the business that we all signed up for,’€ Raycroft said. ‘€œI enjoyed being a Bruin and living here. Then I was able to go to Toronto and live in a great city there and play another six, seven, eight, nine years. I have no regrets in my career. I was very lucky and very fortunate to be all the places I was and meet all the people I met.’€

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Josh Bordner looked as if he was going through confession more so than conducting a press conference at Alumni Stadium.

CHESTNUT HILL — To Steve Addazio, Saturday’s 17-13 loss to No. 24 Clemson is just part of the growing process for his football program.

There have been highlights, such as the 37-31 win over No. 9 USC on Sept. 13. Last week’s bounce-back win over North Carolina State on the road.

But the bumps have been painful. The loss to Pittsburgh at home in the ACC opener. The meltdown against Colorado State when they had the game in their grasp only to lose in the final minute.

And then there was Saturday night at Alumni Stadium. With 10:59 left, Tyler Murphy found Josh Bordner on the other side of the field for a 6-yard touchdown that put BC up, 13-10. But the Eagles defense could keep the Tigers from making two big plays – a 33-yard pass completion to midfield and a 32-yard run off right tackle for the go-ahead touchdown just 84 seconds later.

BC had their chances with under a minute left. Tyler Murphy found Tyler Rouse all alone down the right sideline at the Clemson 3. But the ball fell through his hands on first down and the Eagles lost a chance at beating a Top-25 team.

“€™Obviously our locker room is devastated, which is completely understandable but I’€™m proud of the fact that we battled,” coach Steve Addazio said. “We really battled tonight. We’€™re going to get to work and take a look at where we could have played better, where we could have coached better. Where I could have done a better job to be able to find the inches and the yards in there that would have swung that thing and made a difference. But our team resolve is strong and united.”

“This is where teams come into play. When you’€™re a real team you stick together. You support each other. You cry a little bit together. You take care of each other and your steel resolve gets stronger and you get ready to the play next week. You get ready to go down and play Wake Forrest. That’€™s a good football team we just lost to out there. I’€™ve got a lot of respect for them and the job they did as coaches. They found the plays that they needed to win that game and we came up a little bit short but we battled.”

Here are some other takeaways from Addazio postgame Saturday:

On the opportunities to win the game:: €œWell we certainly had an opportunity to win the game. I’€™m not a real should’€™ve, could’€™ve, would’€™ve guy. We didn’€™t. Did we have our opportunities? Yes we did. But you’€™re talking about kids that are champions. You’€™re talking about guys that are warriors for us. You’€™re talking about guys that gave everything they had. Although plays will stick out, I don’€™t go down that path because there’€™s a lot of plays in there. As I said, it would come down to some plays. It came down to some plays. They obviously must have made a play more than we made. To answer the question simply, we fell short a couple of plays.”

On the BC offense:: €œThat’€™s the best defensive line in the ACC and quite frankly maybe one of the most elite in the country. I knew that going in. Everybody says, ‘€œWhy do you keep saying that? Why do you keep saying that?’€ I’€™ve been in this a long time. I coached the offensive line for a living. I know the run game. I watched the tape. It’€™s really hard. The people that hit plays, hit them on broken plays. And we hit a couple. We hit a couple. But you’€™re not going to consistently hit them. €œIn a game like that which we knew would be that game going in. It was going to be a bunch of ugliness and we have to play defense, hang in there and make some plays in the play action game. And that’€™s really how it kind of how it unfolded. We hit a couple of runs. A few, not many. Here and there. Not a ton. We were going to try to make our plays.”€

On the BC defense: €œYou win with defense and our defense had to go out and play. That was the best matchup, our defense against their offense. That was the best matchup. I thought our special teams did a great job tonight, until we missed an extra point. But our coverage was outstanding. Our kick return was outstanding. Our kick coverage was outstanding. Our punt coverage was outstanding. I thought we did some really good things on special teams. I thought we did some really good things on defense. I thought we made some plays on offense and left some. I’€™m telling you, I would tell you straight on. That’€™s about what I thought that would roll like. That’€™s about what I thought would happen. But everybody is so preoccupied with offense, you win with defense. You win with efense, especially when you’€™re playing really good teams. And that’€™s what it should be. This was going to be a defensive struggle and that’€™s what it was.”

On the effort of the BC players: “€œI thought Tyler Murphy, he just played his tail off, just played. Josh Bordner, played his tail off. Both of those two guys made that play in the end zone on that y-cross. I mean unbelievable, just straining. At the end of the game, Tyler straining to throw that ball back to Charlie Callinan. I really do want to appreciate the effort and the great plays that our guys, and their guys, made. There was some unbelievable play out there tonight. You know I think it’€™s fair for our fan base and for our students to really embrace the fact that, that really was a great football game out there tonight. They saw this young football program, this young football team battle their tail off. It was exciting to watch and I think it was a night that didn’€™t go our way but it gives a peak into the window of where we are going to head. I told you before; we’€™re going to be on a roller coaster ride. Well, we’€™re on a roller coaster ride. The biggest challenge in front of us right now is to get ready to go play Wake Forrest next week and to be able to strike back from this. That’€™s our biggest challenge but I know our kids are resilient, tough and we’€™ll get that done.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

CHESTNUT HILL — A second upset of a ranked team wasn’t in the cards for Boston College.

CHESTNUT HILL — A second upset of a ranked team wasn’t in the cards for Boston College.

Tyler Murphy drove the Eagles down to the Clemson 25 with under a minute to go, highlighted by a 43 yard scramble up the middle. But after a drop by an open Tyler Rouse of a likely touchdown pass near the goal line, the Eagles drive stalled and Boston College fell to No. 24 Clemson, 17-13, Saturday afternoon at Alumni Stadium.

It was a slow start for both teams, as each punted three times in the first quarter. Clemson broke out on top first when running back Wayne Gallman ran it in from 17 yards out with just under 12 minutes left in the second quarter. Boston College responded when Tyler Murphy found a wide open Sherman Alston for a 25-yard TD connection down the right side.

Clemson took a 10-7 halftime lead on a Ammon Lakip 23-yard field goal at the first half gun.

Boston College punter Alex Howell kept the Eagles in the game with a sensational day, punting 10 times for a 50.1 yard average.

Murphy converted his first third down conversion in 10 tries at a pivotal time. Murphy was flushed from the pocked and rolled to his right, chased by four Clemson linemen. He found a crossing Charlie Callinan for 12 yards down to the Clemson 21.

After another first down, Murphy again rolled to his right, set himself and threw back across the entire width of the field, finding Josh Bordner, who went into the air and brought the ball down for Boston College’s first lead of the day, 13-10, with 10:59 left in the fourth quarter.

As great a day as Alex Howell had punting the ball on special teams, freshman Mike Knoll picked a bad time to push his extra point wide right.

The Boston College lead lasted just 84 seconds. With the rain pouring down, Clemson marched 83 yards in one minute, 24 seconds. Cole Stoudt found Mike Williams for 33 yards down the right sideline to get the Tigers out to midfield. Three players, C.J. Davidson found a big lane off right tackle and sprinted straight ahead for a 32 yard go-ahead touchdown with 9:35 left.

The Eagles (4-3, 1-2), who finished 2-of-14 on the day on third down, got the ball back with 3:25 left on its own 17 and drove down to the Clemson 25 but failed to get into the end zone. Clemson improves to 5-2 and 4-1.

Boston College travels to Winston-Salem, N.C. next Saturday to take on Wake Forest.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Brian Mihalik was named ACC Defensive Lineman of the Week after recording his first career interception in Saturday’s 30-14 victory at NC State. Josh Keyes was named co-ACC Linebacker of the Week after recording a career-high 10 tackles in the game.

Mihalik, a 6-foot-9, 295-pound senior from Avon Lake, Ohio, also had a key sack in Saturday’s game, giving him 3.5 sacks on the year.

Keyes, a 6-foot-2, 223-pound senior from Ghent, New York, had two tackles for loss, including his team-leading fourth sack of the season. Keyes is second on the team with 32 tackles. This is the second time this season Keyes has been honored by the league.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

My first two ideas for this post were “What we learned” or “What was surprising,” but you can’t really do those after one weekend of games. It’s dangerous to say we really learned anything from one or two games. Teams and players who struggled could go out and be very good in the next few weeks, and vice versa for those who impressed the most.

Similarly, nothing that happened over the weekend should really be considered all that surprising. We don’t know enough about any of these teams to be surprised by what they did on the first weekend of the season. We may not have expected UMass-Lowell to cruise past Boston College or Vermont to dominate Northeastern, but anything can happen in one game.

So in lieu of those first two options, here’s a look at what stood out:

Jack Eichel dominates in debut

There was no reason to think Eichel, a probable top-two pick in next summer’s NHL draft, wouldn’t be very good right off the bat, but two goals and two assists in his first non-exhibition college game is better than anyone could’ve reasonably expected, even if it was against a bad UMass team. Eichel was held off the score sheet for the first two periods, but then he exploded for four points in the first 12:39 of the third period as Boston University ran away with an eventual 8-1 win.

These weren’t easy, benefit-from-the-work-of-others points either. He played a central role on all four goals (you can watch them all below — Eichel’s first point is at the 1:27 mark). On the first, he took a pass at the offensive blue line and went straight to the slot before beating Steve Mastalerz with a great wrister. On the second, he won the puck back after nearly turning it over and then made a beautiful backhand pass to Danny O’Regan for the finish.

On the third, Eichel helped clear the puck out of the crease on the defensive end before patiently leading the rush the other way and beating Mastalerz with another wrist shot. On the fourth, he forced a turnover at the offensive blue line that eventually led to a Cason Hohmann goal. And while he didn’t get an assist on BU’s final goal of the game, it was his net drive that opened up space for a trailing O’Regan. It was fun to watch the highlights of Eichel’s first game, and it’s going to be fun to watch him all year.

BC’s defense struggles

I said in my season preview that BC might have the best defensive corps in the country. I still think that, but the Eagles D really struggled against Lowell on Friday night. “Sluggish” is probably the best word for it. BC’s defensemen lost way too many puck battles and got caught watching the puck far too often. There just wasn’t a whole lot of urgency, and the River Hawks, to their credit, made the Eagles pay time and again.

Michael Matheson, a first-team All-Hockey East player last season, got sucked way out of position on Lowell’s first goal, and then he lost a puck battle out of the corner on the second (you can watch all of Lowell’s goals below). Teddy Doherty was the one out of position on the third, and Ian McCoshen’s failed clear led to the fourth. Steve Santini and Noah Hanifin (a probable top-five pick in next year’s NHL draft), while not directly responsible for any of Lowell’s goal, both had a couple mishaps as well.

The safe play here is to simply chalk this up as a bad game. These guys are too talented to make these kinds of mistakes, and they played much better than this last year. Still, Friday night was a good reminder that talent alone isn’t enough in Hockey East.

Northeastern’s defense is still a problem

The goals are going to come for Northeastern, but Saturday night’s 6-2 loss to Vermont presented a worst-case scenario for the Huskies defensively. After giving up 34.57 shots per game last season, they gave up 37 on Saturday, including 19 in the second period alone. To make matters worse, Clay Witt didn’t bail them out the way he did much of last season before faltering down the stretch.

The Huskies aren’t going to succeed using the same formula as last year. They can’t give up 35 shots per game and rely on Witt standing on his head every night. It caught up to them last year and it’s not going to work any better this year. If they can’t find a way to spend less time in their own zone, you can forget about that fourth-place finish everyone (including myself) predicted for them.

On a related note, Vermont’s Jonathan Turk was also a standout in this game. He got first crack at centering the Catamounts’ top line alongside Mario Puskarich (last year’s Hockey East Rookie of the Year), and he certainly made the most of it, as he registered his first career hat trick. Turk had just six goals in his first two seasons combined, so let’s not get carried away here, but it was certainly an encouraging first game.

Maine, Notre Dame both get swept

Maine was in Alaska, which is always a tough trip simply because of the travel, but Alaska-Anchorage and Alaska are middle-of-the-pack teams in a weaker conference, and the Black Bears were barely even competitive against them. They registered just 19 shots on goal in a 3-1 loss to Alaska-Anchorage on Friday, and then just 21 in a 5-2 loss to Alaska on Saturday. In addition to the offense being inept, there was some bad defense that led to goals against (go to the 35-second mark in the clip below and watch three defenders just stare at the guy with the puck and do nothing to break up the backdoor pass), and neither Matt Morris nor Sean Romeo did much to answer the team’s goaltending questions.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, was at home for the Ice Breaker Tournament. The Fighting Irish didn’t even have to face the best team in the tournament (Minnesota), but yet they still went 0-2 with a 3-2 loss to Rensselaer and 3-0 loss to Minnesota-Duluth. UMD is a pretty good team, and you could use “ran into a good goalie” to explain the RPI loss (the Irish did have 33 shots on goal), but regardless, getting swept on home ice is never good.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

The meaningless exhibition games are over and Hockey East’€™s regular season gets started Friday night. Last year marked the first time in the league’€™s 30-year history that no Boston team reached the tournament semifinals, as UMass-Lowell, Providence, New Hampshire and newcomer Notre Dame were the four teams at TD Garden, with Lowell ultimately capturing its second straight tournament title. This year could be very different, as Boston College, Boston University and Northeastern all have enough talent to end up at the Garden, while Lowell, UNH and Notre Dame could all take a step back given what they lose. Providence, meanwhile, enters the season as the favorite to win the league.

Here is our preseason ranking, with some background on each team:

Jon Gillies and the Friars are the favorites to win Hockey East this season. (Providence College Athletics

Jon Gillies and the Friars are the favorites to win Hockey East this season. (Providence College Athletics)

1. Providence
Last year, the Friars reached the Hockey East semifinals for the third straight year and made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001. This year, they’€™re poised to take the next step. Their 97 returning goals are the most in the conference, as they bring back their top five scorers and 11 of their top 13. Leading the way is senior center Ross Mauermann, who broke out to the tune of 19 goals and 17 assists last season. Junior goaltender Jon Gillies is also back after posting a .931 save percentage in each of the last two seasons. If there’€™s a question mark for the Friars, it’€™s on defense, where they lose minutes-eaters Steven Shamanski and Kevin Hart to graduation. Look for junior John Gilmour (a Flames draft pick) and sophomore Anthony Florentino (a Sabres draft pick) to be two of the leaders on the back end.

2. Boston College
The defending Hockey East regular-season champs lose more offense than anyone (56.1 percent of last season’€™s scoring to be exact), highlighted by the departure of the superstar trio of Johnny Gaudreau, Kevin Hayes and Bill Arnold. The Eagles won’€™t come anywhere close to last year’€™s 4.10 goals per game, but the good news is that they aren’€™t going to give up too many goals either. Sophomore goalie Thatcher Demko is back, and junior Michael Matheson leads what might be the best defensive corps in the country. Sophomores Steve Santini, Ian McCoshen and Scott Savage are all looking to build on strong freshman campaigns, and newcomer Noah Hanifin could be a top-three pick in next year’€™s NHL draft. As for the offense, sophomores Ryan Fitzgerald (a Bruins draft pick), Austin Cangelosi and Adam Gilmour will all be thrust into bigger roles, and freshman Alex Tuch (a first-round pick of the Wild) will be relied upon as well.

3. Boston University
The Terriers’€™ first season under David Quinn was a tough one, as they went 10-21-4 and finished ninth in the league. Season two should be much better, though. Up front, Danny O’€™Regan, Evan Rodrigues and Cason Hohmann are all capable of big bounceback seasons after seeing their point totals drop significantly from 2012-13 to 2013-14. Robbie Baillargeon looks to improve on a rookie season that saw him lead the team in scoring, and Jack Eichel — a likely top-two pick in next year’€™s NHL draft — is one of the most highly-touted freshmen in college hockey history. Defense is the biggest question mark here, but Bruins draft pick and team captain Matt Grzelcyk is back after missing the second half of last season with a shoulder injury, and freshmen John MacLeod (a second-round pick of the Lightning), Brandon Hickey (a third-round pick of the Flames) and Brandon Fortunato should help as well.

4. Northeastern
The Huskies are going to score this season, which gives them a little more certainty than most Hockey East teams. Junior Kevin Roy (19 goals, 27 assists) could be a Hobey Baker candidate, and Mike Szmatula (15 goals, 24 assists) was the league’€™s highest-scoring freshman last year. Dalen Hedges, John Stevens and Zach Aston-Reese will all look to build on stellar rookie seasons as well. The Huskies’€™ defense is once again a question mark, though. They gave up 34.57 shots per game last season and relied far too heavily on goaltender Clay Witt, who returns as a fifth-year senior. When his unsustainably high save percentage started to regress late last season, the Huskies collapsed, ultimately bowing out in the Hockey East quarterfinals and missing the NCAA tournament. Junior Colton Saucerman and sophomore Matt Benning (a Bruins draft pick) should be fine, but the Huskies will need other defensemen to step up.

5. Maine
The Black Bears took a step forward in their first year under Red Gendron, but they wound up stumbling to the finish line and getting swept by Providence in the Hockey East quarterfinals. They’€™re probably not ready to take the next step, but they should be able to challenge for home ice this season. They have two of the league’€™s biggest stars in junior center Devin Shore (14 goals, 29 assists) and junior defenseman Ben Hutton (15 goals, 14 assists), and forwards Cam Brown, Blaine Byron and Brian Morgan and defensemen Dan Renouf and Eric Schurhamer all showed some promise as freshmen. The Black Bears’€™ biggest question is in goal, where they’€™ll have to find a replacement for Martin Ouellette, who played 92.6 percent of the team’€™s minutes last season.

6. Vermont
The Catamounts won nine more games last year than the year before and made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010. After playing good defense last year (fourth in Hockey East in goals against, third in shots against), they return five of their top six defensemen — including standout senior Michael Paliotta — while adding a potential top-pairing guy in BU transfer Alexx Privitera. The offense loses top scorer Chris McCarthy but returns Mario Puskarich, who posted 19 goals and 17 assists en route to winning Hockey East Rookie of the Year honors. Kyle Reynolds, who posted 20-plus points in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, is back after missing all of last season with a knee injury. In goal, the Catamounts return the tandem of Brody Hoffman (.925 save percentage) and Mike Santaguida (.912).

7. UMass-Lowell
The River Hawks won their second straight Hockey East tournament title last season, but they could be in for a step back this year. They lose four of their top seven forwards, top defenseman Christian Folin, star goalie Connor Hellebuyck and sturdy backup Doug Carr. The defensive corps should still be solid with seniors Zack Kamrass and Jake Suter and sophomore Michael Kapla as its leaders, but offense and goaltending will be question marks. They’€™ll look to juniors Adam Chapie, A.J. White and Ryan McGrath to lead the way up front, while junior Kevin Boyle and freshmen Jeff Smith and Olli Kalkaja will battle it out in goal.

8. Notre Dame
The Fighting Irish are looking to build on a Hockey East debut season that saw them reach the conference semifinals and make the NCAA tournament, but they could have a tough time this year. They lose three of their top six forwards, three of their top four defensemen and goalie Steven Summerhays, who played 97 percent of the team’€™s minutes last season. On the bright side, forwards Vince Hinostroza (8 goals, 24 assists), Mario Lucia (16 goals, 15 assists) and Sam Herr (14 goals, 13 assists) are all back, as is defenseman Robbie Russo, a two-way threat who missed the second half of last season for academic reasons.

9. New Hampshire
The Wildcats reached the Hockey East championship game last year, but they’€™re longshots to get back there this season. They lose four of their top seven forwards and three of their top four defensemen, and if that wasn’€™t bad enough, three-year starting goalie Casey DeSmith is suspended indefinitely — possibly for the season — after getting arrested on domestic violence charges in early September. That leaves freshman Adam Clark and unproven junior Jamie Regan between the pipes. The offense will turn to seniors Matt Willows (18 goals, 21 assists) and Grayson Downing (10 goals, 12 assists) and sophomore Tyler Kelleher (5 goals, 11 assists) to lead the way, while junior Brett Pesce is the No. 1 guy on the blue line.

10. Merrimack
The Warriors scored the fewest goals in the league last year (1.88 per game), and losing top scorer Mike Collins to graduation won’€™t help. Their next seven highest-scoring forwards are all back, but none of them scored more than seven goals last season. They’€™re going to need some of those guys to find the back of the net a lot more this season, and sophomore Chris LeBlanc (a Senators draft pick) might be the most likely candidate to lead the way. At the other end of the ice, Dan Kolomatis — a steady senior and the team captain — and the rest of the defense will need to make up for the losses of Jordan Heywood and Brendan Ellis, and Rasmus Tirronen will need to do better than last year’€™s .908 save percentage.

11. UMass
The Minutemen ranked 10th in the league in both offense and defense last year, and they lose their top three forwards and top two defensemen. Their 34 returning goals are the fewest in the league, and they have just three players (Steven Iacobellis, Troy Power and Ray Pigozzi) who scored more than two goals last year. Goaltending is also a big question mark, as expected starter Steve Mastalerz had the worst save percentage in the league among qualifying goalies last year (.907). If there’€™s anything to be excited about, it’€™s Anaheim second-round pick Brandon Montour, but the offensive defenseman won’€™t arrive in Amherst until the second semester, reportedly due to a clearinghouse issue.

12. UConn
This will be the Huskies’€™ first season in Hockey East, and they could be in for a rude awakening. They tied for third in Atlantic Hockey last year, but Atlantic Hockey is no Hockey East. In their seven non-conference games last season, the Huskies got outshot by 19.86 shots per game. They will now be facing that level of competition on a nightly basis, and they’€™ll do so after losing their top three scorers to graduation. There are a couple reasons for optimism, though. After leading Atlantic Hockey in team defense last season, the Huskies return their top five defensemen — with Penguins draft pick Ryan Segalla the most notable of the group — as well as sophomore goalie Rob Nichols, who posted a .939 save percentage in 13 games last year.

Blog Author: 
Scott McLaughlin

Junior cornerback Bryce Jones has been dismissed by Boston College for an unspecified violation of team rules, the Eagles announced.

Junior cornerback Bryce Jones has been dismissed by Boston College for an unspecified violation of team rules, the Eagles announced. Jones, 20, had picked off a pass in last week’s loss to Colorado State, his lone interception of the season to go with his 20 tackles (17 unassisted), tied for fourth on the team. He had started all 13 games, recording two interceptions and 62 tackles, as a sophomore.

Blog Author: