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Boston College 6, UMass Amherst 4; Eagles Top Minutemen with Ryan Leonard Hat-trick

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Photo by @bc_mhockey

CHESTNUT HILL Mass. – Less than two days after his two-goal performance away at Amherst in front of his hometown crowd. Freshman forward Ryan Leonard one-upped himself Sunday afternoon with a terrific three-goal performance. With this turn of events, Leonard passed the 20-goal mark on the season, adding to his team-high plus-25 status. As an Amherst native, it is safe to say that Leonard left his mark on the Minutemen regardless of who was cheering for him.

As BC (23-5-1) pushed past Amherst (16-9-3) in Sunday afternoon’s action, they extended their win streak to four games and seven against the Minutemen.

Unlike Friday’s action, the Eagles came out firing following first puck drop. After a few seconds of puck cycling freshman Gabe Perreault centered a brilliant feed for classmate Ryan Leonard who fired the opening goal past UMass goalie Michael Hrabal’s far side.

Then, following the majority of the period where BC had most of the possession time and SOGs, the Eagles struck on the man advantage. Senior defenseman Eamon Powell send a pass down low for freshman forward Will Smith to sling a cross-crease pass to classmate Gabe Perreault who chipped in BC’s second goal top-shelf.

Despite a smooth transition in and out of the first intermission, BC failed to beat Hrabal for much of the second frame, and at 8:28 of the period, Amherst’s Kenny Connors slipped one past BC goalie Jacob Fowler’s five-hole for their first of the game.

Minutes later, Aydar Suniev of the Minutemen scored two goals in succession pushing Amherst ahead of BC 3-2.

However, BC answered right back as sophomore defenseman Lukas Gustafsson fired a shot through traffic only to deflect off graduate forward Jamie Armstrong’s stick and past Hrabal for his second of the year.

Still, UMass refused to go away following the second intermission, as Dans Locmelis fired the leading goal past Jacob Fowler making the score 4-3 Amherst.

But, as he’s done multiple times this season, BC’s Ryan Leonard stepped up in the big moments, starting with burying a short-side snipe past Hrabal off the post and in off a Will Smith feed.

Less than a minute later, Leonard received a pass from classmate Will Smith in the low slot who drove hard to the net mouth firing home his hat-trick goal far side past Hrabal, sending the Forum crowd into a frenzy.

After a late empty-net tally from sophomore forward Cutter Gauthier, the Eagles capped off a memorable weekend sweep against UMass Amherst their third in three seasons.

The Eagles are set to continue action versus the Vermont Catamounts 7 p.m. at Kelley Rink this Friday night.

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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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