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Boston College Men’s Hockey 2020-21 End of Season Round Table

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Thoughts on this very weird season from our hockey crew!

2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship - Northeast Regional Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

How would you rate this season and why?

Laura: I think particularly since I wasn’t at any games this season, it is harder to remember the good games and easier to just remember the complete collapse in the last month of play. I guess like... a solid B?

Grant: C-. At this point the lack of trophies is getting to be a curse. We don’t even get a HEPI trophy. Weak. So getting to be #1 in the rankings for a while is cool and all, and we “won” the “regular” “season” “championship,” but when you’re this good you have to come away with some hardware.

Steve: Everything before the third period against Lowell in the Hockey East semifinal gets something like a high B+ or a low A-. Everything after that gets an F. This season ended in just about the most frustrating way imaginable, but we did at least get some really enjoyable hockey for long stretches before that. But I’ve still got a bad taste in my mouth from those last two games.

Maithri: Maybe a 6 or 7 out of 10? It was definitely a fun season and I’m really glad we could watch all of the games online or on TV, but it sucked not being at Conte and then having to watch BC fizzle out in the very end when it arguably mattered most. I only started watching BC men’s hockey in 2015-16 so I’m not really even used to them winning that much (sad) but I still had really high expectations for the postseason — it *really* sucks that they fell short twice. There were still some extremely fun moments and it wasn’t all that bad in the bigger picture, but the end definitely leaves a bit of a bitter taste.

Curtis: 7/10 I guess. We accomplished a lot, had some thrilling games, and were generally fun to watch. But the team frankly just was not one of championship caliber, and that’s the expectation here at BC. I don’t think I could rate any team that performed like they did in the postseason higher than a 7.

What was the high point of the season in your opinion? (I think we all know the low point)

Laura: Helleson’s last second goal to defeat BU in OT for sure. Beating Providence 9-0 was also fun.

Grant: I’m going with the OT win over UConn. At that point we were 5-0-0, and we got the sweet goalie assist and first career win for Henry Wilder. It was a lot of fun. Then we lost two in a row and while we had ups and downs the rest of the way, everything kind of felt like a plateau from there.

Steve: Has to be Drew Helleson’s highlight-reel goal to knock of BU in overtime.

Maithri: Probably the 9-0 win at Providence. I know it was literally their fourth game of the season, but that game displayed the strength of the roster at the time (and without Alex Newhook!). The overtime win against BU at home was also a high point I think — while that game was closer than I would’ve liked it to be, that last second goal by Drew Helleson was absolutely unreal.

Curtis: Had to have been the buzzer beater OT winner against BU. The season was mostly downhill from there, but that moment gave me absolute bliss.

Who is your MVP this year?

Laura: This is tough. Spencer Knight really kept BC in a lot of games this season, but he didn’t have his best games at the end of the season. Alex Newhook played great, but was barely with the team. I think I still go with Knight despite the UML game.

Grant: Logan Hutsko. We needed him. That injury basically ended our year.

Steve: Spencer Knight by a lot

Maithri: Spencer Knight :’)

Curtis: Spencer Knight, easily. He had a shaky playoff game against UML, but otherwise was bailing out our defense all season long. He denied a lot of opponents possessions that would almost certainly had been goals if it was any other goalie. Our defense was just alright this year, but Spencer made them look great.

Who do you feel was the most improved player either between this season and last or throughout this season?

Laura: Casey Carreau was a big surprise and just an interesting story overall.

Grant: I feel like Drew Helleson will get the most picks here but I’m gonna throw Casey Carreau a bone. Guy basically didn’t play as a freshman, then moved up into a full-time role and put up 5 goals and averaged 0.5 PPG over his last 16 games. That’s a pretty great jump.

Steve: I was pretty surprised at Casey Carreau working his way up from an extra skater last year to a solid contributor on a good third line towards the end of the season.

Maithri: This one is hard!! I really don’t think there’s just one, but I think Casey Carreau was definitely someone who drastically improved from last season, even though he only played 3 games last year. It was honestly awesome to see him score goals, sometimes at super clutch moments.

Curtis: Drew Helleson this year jumped from a good defenseman to a great one. The positioning and playmaking on the defensive side he exhibited this year was top-tier.

Which freshman impressed you most?

Laura: I’ve been impressed with Nesterenko’s ability to create scoring chances. I’m excited to see how he develops as a player.

Grant: I liked Nikita Nesterenko. He cooled off a little bit in the second half of the season, but he was a fun player and seems like the kind of four-year player you can build a championship roster around.

Steve: I was a sucker for Eamon Powell’s game basically from the first period of the first game of the season.

Maithri: Nikita Nesterenko

Curtis: Colby Ambrosio has the skillset to be great, and had shown it in flashes throughout the year. While he struggled a lot of the time to shoot accurately and make something happen on a breakaway, his skating and playmaking abilities were very good for a freshman and I’m excited to see how he improves.

What is the biggest positive takeaway from this season?

Laura: That we have some pretty good freshmen...but now I’m just scared that everybody good is going to leave after 2 years on the team...

Grant: We seem to have spent the last 10-ish years trying to figure out what the right balance of elite freshmen plus experienced depth players is. The last two years we seemed to have figured it out. Unfortunately, it looks like we probably missed our shot at hardware with this iteration of guys and need a reload now, but the formula is there, and it can work.

Steve: Drew Helleson, Marshall Warren, Eamon Powell, and Jack St. Ivany all played well enough that I feel pretty comfortable with that being the defensive core headed into next season.

Maithri: I think my positive takeaway from this season is that during the regular season they were really able to grind away at wins even if they weren’t at their 100%, especially after Logan Hutsko got injured. Sure, there were some games that were too close for comfort and it was very stressful, but looking back it really allowed players to shine in some huge moments, and showed that the Eagles had a lot of fight at the time — some that stand out to me off the top of my head are Marc McLaughlin’s shorthanded OT goal against UNH, Drew Helleson’s OT goal against BU, Casey Carreau’s game winner against Northeastern, etc. I’m sure there are more, and I really hope this continues into next season!

Curtis: We have a better idea of what it takes to win in the postseason, and the coaching staff I think will have learned their lesson in college hockey’s changing landscape. Exciting hockey isn’t always the best way to win now, and going forward the kinds of players that need to be recruited (both as freshman and through the transfer portal) will change for the better.

What concerns you the most heading into next season?

Laura: As I am sure everyone will say, the fact that we are losing ... a lot of our best players. Goaltending in particular worries me, and I hope BC can get the best goalie transfer on the market.

Grant: It’s going be really shite having to go through another rebuild for a couple years. But at least there should be a pretty rich transfer market for us to pick through that should allow us to stay competitive next season.

Steve: The three best players are gone and the scoring depth completely disappeared at the worst possible time this year. Not a great feeling when you’re looking ahead.

Maithri: So as of right now, Matt Boldy, Alex Newhook, Spencer Knight, and Mike Hardman have signed pro contracts (and I can only hope there are no more) — what concerns me primarily is how BC is going to replenish that elite talent, since these four players are BC’s top line and starting goalie. I know the transfer portal is going to be super active this season, so it’s likely that BC will be able to reload than have to enter next season facing another rebuild like they did after the exodus in 2016. But still, it’s fairly concerning given just *how* much talent that is. I have faith in the coaching staff and we eventually made it through the 2016 exodus, but scoring and goaltending obviously remain a concern going into next season.

Curtis: I’m really not all that concerned because my expectations for next season are at the floor. If BC manages to get 4th or higher in Hockey East I’ll be pleasantly surprised. If they’re a bubble tournament team, I’ll be even happier. But realistically, those things won’t happen. The biggest focus for next season should be player development and preparing to be competitive for Hockey East 2 or 3 years down the road.

Please link to a song that you feel represents this season:

Laura:

Grant:

Steve:

Maithri: (Please note I specifically mean the chorus)

Curtis: