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Boston College 6, Merrimack 4; Eagles Wax Warriors Sweeping the Season Series

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Photo by Boston College Athletics

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – Entering the weekend, Boston College had already clinched the one seed in the Hockey East Tournament, lifting the regular-season trophy exactly one week ago. However, entering Saturday’s game versus the Merrimack Warriors, pairwise points and NCAA Tournament seeds were still up for grabs. With three points on the night, freshman forward Will Smith made sure he put his team in the best position for success for springtime hockey as he carried his team to a 6-4 victory.

With this win, the Eagles (28-5-1) extended their win streak to nine games narrowing the field of possible Hockey East quarterfinal opponents to Merrimack (13-20-1), UConn, Vermont, and UMass Lowell.

The opening frame started slowly where BC’s bottom six skated for the majority of the minutes and backup freshman goalie Jan Korec kept a clean slate, as the teams headed into the first intermission scoreless.

However, that would all change in the second when Merrimack’s Ty Daneault fed a cross-crease pass to Frank Djurasevic for the game’s opening tally. Minutes later, the Warriors found the back of the net again as Devlin O’Brien sniped a far-side shot past Korec doubling the lead.

At around the 15-minute mark of the second period, the Eagles would head to the penalty kill where they have been great all season. Off a turnover in the neutral zone, junior forward Mike Posma picked up a loose puck and sped down the left wing, feeding a brilliant cross-crease pass for graduate forward Jamie Armstrong who buried BC’s first goal of the game. One minute later, Will Smith collected BC’s second goal on the same penalty kill, sniping a wrister short side past Merrimack goalie Hugo Ollas.

After the second intermission, the Warriors responded immediately at 1:06, as Liam Dennison threw a soft wrister on Korec that trickled into the Eagle net.

Following that sequence, it was all BC. As Will Smith entered the Warrior zone, he dropped a pass off for wide-open senior defenseman Eamon Powell who ripped home a wrist shot from the high slot. Minutes later, sophomore defenseman Lukas Gustafsson slung a stretch pass to senior forward Colby Ambrosio who picked the top right corner for his first goal since November.

In the last half of the final frame, the Eagles continued their dominance as Will Smith dished yet another cross-crease pass to sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier who collected his 32nd goal of the year.

At 19:28, the Eagles wrapped the game up as Jamie Armstrong banged home his second tally of the night despite a late consolation goal from Merrimack’s Luke Weilandt at 19:55.

The Eagles will return home on Saturday for their first Hockey East quarterfinal game at Kelley Rink since before the pandemic. The contest is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. against the lowest remaining seed of Merrimack, UConn, Vermont, or UMass Lowell.

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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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