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Boston College 5, UMass Amherst 1; No. 1 Eagles Mash No. 11 Minutemen in Leonard’s Return Home

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Photo by @bc_mhockey

AMHERST Mass. – For freshman forward Ryan Leonard, the expectation was that he would follow in his brother John’s footsteps and stay close to home to attend local university UMass Amherst. However, after spending two years out of state at the USNTDP in Plymouth, MI. Leonard continued to shine on the big stage, especially in big international competition matchups. “I wanted to play in the Beanpot” Leonard told the Daily Hampshire Gazette in one interview. At this point, it’s clear that BC allows Leonard to play his best in the biggest moments, and on Friday he proved why he wanted to forge his own path.

In front of a packed house at the Mullins Center Friday night, the Eagles (22-5-1) stifled the Minutemen (16-8-3) in the first half of a home-and-home series.

Out of the gates, the Eagles struggled to get things going, Amherst rung the post two times in succession as BC scrambled for lose pucks. However, at 14:58 of the first, sophomore Andre Gasseau dropped a pass to classmate Cutter Gauthier who buried the chance off an Amherst defender for the opening goal.

As the teams skated into the first intermission, Amherst still held most of the chances following the first period.

In the second frame, UMass answered back as forward Lucas Mercuri buried a rebound down low, knotting the score at one apiece.

Nevertheless, Cutter Gauthier answered back slinging a wrister from the right point that caromed past Amherst goaltender Michael Hrabal for Gauthier’s 25th goal of the season.

After a series of penalty kills for either side, the Eagles found themselves on the man advantage when Amherst’s Kenny Connors headed to the box for roughing. On that powerplay, freshman Ryan Leonard demonstrated his lethal shot, firing a snapper past Hrabal doubling BC’s lead.

Minutes later, the USA line would link up once more as freshman Will Smith dished an entry feed to streaking classmate Gabe Perreault who squared one for Leonard, ripping home his second of the game and the fourth for BC.

Down the stretch, freshman goalie Jacob Fowler shut down the Minutemen making several key saves en route to a solid 25-save performance.

The Eagles will be back in action at Kelley Rink for a 1 p.m. start against UMass Amherst on Sunday.

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Hockey

Draft Day to Development Camp: Three Future Eagles’ Names are Called, Thirteen Invited for Development Camps

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Photo by The Hockey News

Following Ryan Leonard’s initial decision to return to BC in May even after the Capitals succeeded in making the playoffs, it was still unclear if he would change his mind going into the summer and toward development camp season. However, following the 2024 NHL Draft and the start of the Washington Capitals’ development camp, Leonard emphasized to the media that he was positive about his original decision.

“I want to be over-ready,” Leonard told The Hockey News during media time last Wednesday, “I met Kevin Hayes before I went to men’s worlds, and he told me right away, he goes, ‘Dude, if I was in your position, I would stay here as long as you can.'”

Despite Will Smith signing for the Sharks about a month ago, the Eagles are getting one of their primary game-breakers back for next season, among several new faces joining the team for the first time.

Here’s a breakdown of where a trio of BC’s incoming freshman landed on draft day, and a summary of what they were working on before and during their respective team development camps:

Dean Letourneau (Boston Bruins / Round 1 / Pick 25)

Photo by The Hockey Writers

After the Bruins picked Dean Letourneau in the first round looking for the second coming of Sabers’ star centerman Tage Thompson, Letourneau emphasized all during camp that he wasn’t set on developing one specific area of his game before entering BC.

“I just need to get a little stronger,” said Letourneau to The Hockey Writers on Thursday. “Playing against older and stronger guys, I can’t get pushed around out there…so putting on a little more weight going into this offseason is going to be a big help to my game.”

Teddy Stiga (Nashville Predators / Round 2 / Pick 55)

Photo by MetroWest Daily News

After Teddy Stiga became the first BC commit to ever be selected by Nashville, he elaborated how the past two years at the USNTDP have given him the chance to develop all facets of his game. During his media session following his name being called, Stiga offered reporters a summary of his development.

“I think I’ve always had a lot of skill in my game, but I think these past couple of years I’ve added a lot more tenacity and two-way [ability] to my game,” Stiga told the MetroWest Daily News. “I think my defensive side has gotten a lot better and the aggressiveness, my physicality and the physical play I bring now has been a big change too.”

Will Skahan (Utah Hockey Club / Round 2 / Pick 65)

Photo by KSL Sports

In addition to Stiga, his teammate Will Skahan also became a historic name for the Eagles, as he too was the first BC commit to be selected by the newly established Utah Hockey Club in the second round of the draft. During his media session, Skahan described his game to the reporters and listed some things he wanted to work on at this year’s development camp and Boston College.

“I bring the physical side of the game,” Skahan told KSL Sports. “Hard defense, moving the puck well…secondary offense is also something I’ll work on here, but my main thing is my physicality, defense, and puck-moving.”

For the rest of BC Hockey’s 2024-25 incoming roster, eight other Eagles were offered spots by the teams that drafted them, and two undrafted players were selected for camp such as Lukas Gustafsson by the Vegas Golden Knights and Michael Hagens by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

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Hockey

Details of the Draft: An Update on BC Commits Prior to a Weekend in Vegas

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Photo by Stanley Cup of Chowder

When Dean Letourneau committed to BC last November, his plans to join the Eagles were not at the forefront of his mind. Instead, Letourneau was focused on his current season at St. Andrews College Prep in Canada, and breaking the school point record en route to a league championship. However, following the departure of former freshman phenom Will Smith to the San Jose Sharks, Letourneau got the call from Coach Greg Brown about a potential jump to the NCAA a year before he expected and did not think twice about taking the chance.

Along with Dean Letourneau who has rocketed up draft boards after a 127-point campaign on the u18 AAA circuit, two other BC committed skaters are set to have their names called tomorrow in Vegas at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft.

After their silver medal-winning tournament at the u18 Men’s World Championships away in Finland, Teddy Stiga and Will Skahan have consolidated rankings of 30 and 61 respectively which project them landing in the first two rounds of the draft.

Here is a breakdown of a few unfamiliar, yet realistic destinations for BC-committed skaters at this year’s draft:

Winnipeg Jets (Teddy Stiga)

Photo by Instagram @teddystiga_

Set to pick at 37 on the second day, a BC commit has never been selected by the Winnipeg Jets, but given the diverse Jets prospect pool, the team may look Stiga’s way as a consistent 200 ft playmaking wing that can fit into any system and make an impact.

Dean Letourneau (Utah Hockey Club)

Photo by The New York Times

After being awarded the equivalent of an expansion franchise for the 2024-25 season and beyond, the Utah Hockey Club will have a blank draft history going into tomorrow night. But, with GM Bill Armstrong’s previous history of drafting big players, selecting Dean Letourneau as a 6’6″ sniper at the center ice position is not an unrealistic thought.

Will Skahan (Seattle Kraken)

Photo by The Hockey Writers

Going into the weekend, the feeling among the Seattle Kraken organization is that they need to improve their blue line to be competitive and re-enter the playoff picture for next season. Therefore, they may look to Will Skahan at pick 63 as a stable, stay-at-home defenseman who can start the breakout. Here, Skahan would be the first BC commit to be drafted by the Kraken franchise before his tenure at Boston College.

For more information on BC Hockey news from the past couple of months tune in to our podcast below and tap the banner for more content post-draft and the introduction of a special guest!

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Hockey

Summer Recruiting Period: Will Moore of the USNTDP Verbally Commits to BC

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Photo by CHL

The theme of highly skilled forwards out of the US National Development Program continues under Greg Brown following Will Moore’s decision to verbally commit to Boston College on Monday via his Instagram. As the first five-star player from the ’07 birthyear to commit to Boston College, Moore is set to arrive on campus in the fall of 2025 following one more season for the USNTDP in Plymouth, MI.

Though born in Mississauga, ONT. Canada, Moore plays for the US National Development Program as a dual citizen choosing the college route as many skilled Canadian skaters have done in recent years. Leading the u-17 team in goals last season, Moore is set to join fellow countryman Dean Letourneau down the middle in 2025 following his draft season. Moore at 6’2”, 161 lbs, has some growing to do in his final season at the USNTDP but will serve as a major offensive threat for BC once he grows into his body.

The 2024 NHL Draft is almost upon us, and we will have more news on BC recruits at the end of the month.

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