This year’s men’s hockey team has seen the addition of eight freshmen; some have argued that this is easily one of the greatest recruiting classes in Jerry York’s career. Colin White, Miles Wood and Casey Fitzgerald have all stood out and become big contributors in the first half of the season.
Colin White is ranked 7th nationally in points, the top freshman in the country, with a 1.44 points per game pace. He has eight goals and 15 assists in 16 games. White was the first-round draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, 21st overall, in 2015. He leads the Eagles in points and assists and is second in goals with eight, after Ryan Fitzgerald. Earlier this week, White was named to the 2016 U.S. National Junior Team preliminary roster with the World Junior Championships approaching this January.
Additionally, White’s high level of play has had an impact on others on the ice. His linemates have improved a great deal since they began playing together. Ryan Fitzgerald has 21 points thus far, while he only had 25 total last season. Matt Gaudreau has played better than ever on this line with 13 points, more than his total last year of nine, and held an eight-game point streak earlier this season.
White’s outstanding performance has generated some speculation as to whether he may be a Hobey Baker contender this year. While this may seem far-fetched, he is posting similar numbers to last year’s freshman winner, Jack Eichel. While Eichel’s season-long rate of more than 5.5 shot attempts at full strength per game and 1.78 goals per game was astounding, and a good deal more than White’s current 3.56 shots and 1.44 goals per game, White is still posting higher numbers than many veteran players. Despite the obvious issues in comparing any player to a talent like Eichel, it is still in the realm of possibility if White keeps his level of play around where it currently is.
Another freshman powerhouse, Miles Wood, is ranked 14th nationally with 19 points and produces 1.27 points per game. He and White are two of the only four freshmen in the USCHO rankings’ top 15 for points in the NCAA. Wood has seven goals and 12 assists in 15 games, placing him at third on the team for points, goals and assists. He has been starting in the top line alongside Chris Calnan and Austin Cangelosi. Wood has contributed greatly to the team, and his absence was certainly noticeable against Notre Dame. Wood plays a physical game and is a good skater; he is able to make plays happen and take advantage of any opportunities that arise during the game.
Casey Fitzgerald has contributed as one of the team’s top defensemen. He is one of only two Boston College players to have been named the U.S. National Junior Team preliminary roster. He has 11 points and a plus-minus of +20, the highest on the team. He has proven himself to be one of the most valuable defensive players this year, helping to fill in the hole left by Noah Hanifin’s departure after last year. He is paired with veteran Ian McCoshen and the two see the most time on ice of any defensive pairing.
The freshmen have contributed a great deal to the Eagles’ success this year and should continue to push the Eagles to greater heights. They have taken on crucial roles as leading scorers and playmakers, and if they continue to play as they have so far they will continue to be one of the most formidable opponents in the league.
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