After losing five players (thus far) to the pros and coming up just short of another National Championship, the only question to ask is what’s to come for men’s hockey next season?
Sophomore Alex Tuch weighed in on the Eagles’s heart-wrenching end to this season’s campaign—a Final Four loss to Quinnipiac earlier this month.
“Finishing just short of a national championship is the most devastating sports moment I have ever been a part of. It was extremely emotional in the locker room. It’s hard to see such a talented team in front of you and think about how hard you worked to get to that point.”
To add to the somber conclusion, Boston College will lose key producers next year, including Tuch, to the NHL. The Eagles will have to rebuild on both ends of the rink, losing Steve Santini and Thatcher Demko behind the blue tape, and Miles Wood, Adam Gilmour, and Tuch on the offensive end. Demko and Wood were also named to the 2016 U.S. Men's National Team for the World Cup of Hockey this May.
Perhaps the greatest void the team will need to fill is in goal, where Demko had a season for the ages and won the Mike Richter award for the nation’s top goalkeeper. Nearly impenetrable in the crease, Demko posted the the nation’s second best save percentage at .936 this year, broke records with 10 shutout wins, and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker award—college hockey’s top honor.
But, concerns about BC hockey's future can be alleviated with a glance at the class of 2020.
The Eagles might find their prodigy inside the crease in Joseph Woll, a commit from St. Louis who is a top 2016 draft pick, boasting a .918 save percentage this season for the US National Team Development Program (NTDP).
BC will also look to bridge their offensive losses with forward Graham McPhee, who played in front of Woll on both the U-17 and U-18 USA teams. The Bethesda, MD native scored 19 goals in 43 games in 2014-15 and 10 in 58 games this past season.
Even without the newcomers, the rest of the nation won’t be shedding any tears for the Eagles, who still retain a strong platform of players heading into 2016-17.
As of now, the Eagles still have veteran Ryan Fitzgerald, who led the Eagles in overall points and goals scored this season; Fitzgerald is assumed to be returning for his senior year along with his sophomore brother, Casey, patrolling the defensive zone.
Colin White, arguably the biggest offensive threat this season, is currently returning for his sophomore season. White was named Hockey East and All-New England Rookie of the Year after his freshman campaign, logging 43 points this year, second only to Fitzgerald.
The Eagles return new captains for the 2016-17 season, rising seniors Chris Calnan and Ian McCoshen, with Fitzgerald and Austin Cangelosi as alternates, who will provide stability in a time of transition.
The development of the ten freshmen—one goalie, four defensemen, and five forwards—will be key in the Eagles’ return to the ice.
“It may not look smooth, but BC’s freshmen usually find their stride about halfway through the year, if they don’t already do so right away,” Tuch noted on the subject of the transition to fast-paced college play. He believes the pieces are in place,“BC is used to being a very fast, young, talented team. With the core that is staying and the leadership that starts with the captains, BC will continue to have a lot of success in the next few years.”
And let’s not forget about one thing. BC has the winningest coach in college hockey behind the bench. He knows a thing or two about building and training great teams.
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