Some links & previews as Boston College men’s hockey travels to Hartford to take on UConn tonight, with the Huskies newly minted as a top-10 team for the first time in program history...
Boston Globe: BC-UConn Hockey Is Friendly Rivalry Between Benches
The Boston Globe highlights the first ever matchup between Greg Brown and Mike Cavanaugh as head coaches, after the two spent nine years working together as Jerry York’s deputies at BC.
Cav on Brown:
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for him, not only as a coach, but as a person,” said Cavanaugh. “He’s on my Christmas card list. But all that being said, [Thursday] night he’s an opponent.”
Brown on Cav:
“It’s always goo to see Cav... They’ve had a great start, so we know we’ll have our hands full. He coaches with a ton of passion, and his players feed off that... One thing you know about Cav’s teams is they’re going to show up.”
As you may recall, Cavanaugh was linked to the BC opening before re-upping with UConn; he and Brown were long considered the two likeliest successors to Jerry York after their run of success alongside him. The quality roster Cav is working with this year likely made it easier for him to focus on continuing to grow the UConn program, rather than pursuing the BC job.
UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh praised BC’s top line in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.
“You could argue that line is the best offensive line in our league, maybe the country,” Cavanaugh said. “Gauthier is big and strong up the middle and has a great skill set. [Junior forward Nikita] Nesterenko might be the most skilled player in the league, he can do it all offensively. And [junior forward Colby] Ambrosio might be the fastest player in the league. They all pose a different threat offensively, and we’re certainly going to have to manage the puck when they’re on the ice.”
“It’s about taking away their time and space,” senior defenseman Roman Kinal said. “That’s what we’ve been harping on all week. The more we can close them out before they get into our zone and not let them get that running game type-thing going on ... that’s what’s going to make us successful.”
College Hockey News: UConn’s Star in the Making
College Hockey News wrote a feature article on Matthew Wood, the youngest player in college hockey who arrived at UConn this fall as a 17 year old hot prospect. Wood, a 6’3’’ freshman who lit up the BCHL last season in preparation for his jump to the NCAA level, will be a high draft pick next year.
Wood’s decision to head to UConn a year early has put his skill on the radar, not only in the college hockey world, but the professional realm as well. The 2005-born player said he doesn’t think about his young age in relation to his game because the Husky leadership, namely head coach Mike Cavanaugh, believe he’s ready for this next step in his career.
“The coaches had confidence in me, they felt like I was ready to come in and help the team,” Wood said. “I think I can bring a lot to the table whether it be my shot or playmaking, seeing the play, being creative, trying to make a play. I think offensively with the puck, I can make scoring chances out of nothing, or if there is an opportunity, I take it.”
On what he’s working on this year:
“I’m just trying to get better in all my aspects,” Wood said. “Especially working on acceleration, speed and strength off ice and on ice. I’m not trying to focus too much on numbers, especially at this level — as long as our team is winning, I’m doing something right.”
Look for Wood on the first line for UConn when they line up against the Eagles tonight.