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DiMauro: Jacob Lassner and his call of a lifetime

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The puck lay there on the ice of Providence, R.I., yet really was a foot away from St. Paul, MN. And the inflection in Jacob Lassner’s voice mirrored the thoughts, hopes and dreams of Boston College fans everywhere, praying for a Lazarus act from their hockey team early Easter evening.

Holy happenstance. Look at it. The puck is right there. Loose. It’s overtime, for heaven’s sake. Somebody shoot the damn thing, right?

And this is where Jack Malone, whose goal to beat Quinnipiac thrust him into BC lore and legend, arrived there with an unwitting partner. That would be Lassner, the WZBC student radio voice of the hockey Eagles, who authored the call of a lifetime.

“Here’s Fortescue at the point … takes a shot, tipped in front; save … rebound in front of the slot … SCOOOORE! SCOOOORE! JACK MALONE! JACK MALONE! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! OH, MY FREAKING GOD, BRENDAN! IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S HAPPENING! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! LET’S GOOO!”

The call had everything. It was organic, authentic, heartfelt and appropriately hysterical, given the urgency of the moment. The “Jack Malone! Jack Malone!” part was even a wink and a nod to “Matteau! Matteau!” – the great Howie Rose’s epic call of Stefan Matteau’s goal that ended the 1994 Eastern Conference semifinals for the Rangers.

“I grew up listening to Howie Rose,” Lassner was saying Monday by phone, not 24 hours after BC’s 5-4 win. “I’m a Met fan and Islander fan. I met him when I was 10-years-old. I’ve listened to the Matteau call so many times. I saw a number of stories on MSG Network about it as a kid. To be compared in any way to that is unfathomable in my mind.”

And yet here we are. Lassner’s call was so intriguing that several folks in the media posted it to X on Monday morning, including WBZ sportscaster Dan Roche. The clip went viral enough so that Lassner’s Go Fund Me request to get the WZBC crew to the Frozen Four wasn’t merely reciprocated, but caught the fancy of the BC athletic department. Gold stars to athletic director Blake James for picking up the tab not only for WZBC, but the Heights as well.

So now Jacob Lassner, a kid who grew up not far from Grand Central Station, has his BC sports moment. Maybe it’s not there with Dan Davis’ classic call of Flutie to Phelan, but then not bad for a college junior.

“I’ve been playing and watching hockey my whole life. It’s always a dream of mine to do something in the sport,” Lassner said. “I go to a sleep away camp every summer. Two years ago, they hosted a roller hockey tournament with 800 people. I was a DJ at WZBC, vaguely interested in play by play. I got to do in stadium PA announcing. I’ve stuck with it ever since.”

If Howie Rose was an early inspiration for Lassner, then some random cab driver gets credit for the rest.

“I was in a cab on the way to a hockey game,” Lassner said. “The driver and I struck up this random conversation. I told him I was interested in sports broadcasting. I think he was from Morocco. So he stopped to show me this goal from a Moroccan League national soccer final. The announcer was repeating phrases and was super enthusiastic. I thought, ‘That’s the style I want to bring to hockey.’”

Turns out that WZBC had some issues beginning around 2010 that forced it to stop sports programming. This was news, given WZBC’s deep history that has produced top-of-the-profession talents Joe Tessitore, Bob Wischusen and Boog Sciambi in past years. Lassner, Brendan Mahoney, Reynolds Johnson and Gio Culotta decided to revive it. They even got a football game on WZBC-FM in the fall.

Lest anyone conclude there’s glory in college radio, well, put it this way: Those cushy broadcast locations from which we see Jim Nantz and Tony Romo? This is more chewing gum and chicken wire.

“A lot of away buildings don’t have the space to accommodate student broadcasters,” Lassner said. “We have a folding table in Conte. If you face the press box and look all the way to the right, there’s the WZBC Sports folding table and an extension cord.”

But then as the old line goes: The Titanic was built by professionals; Noah’s Ark by volunteers. And these volunteers went viral … and now are heading for St. Paul.

“I had to pace around the entire arena between the third period and overtime,” Lassner said. “I was on the phone with a friend going, ‘I can’t do this.’ I’ll tell you, it’s a dream come true for my younger self.”

Mike DiMauro, a columnist in Connecticut, is a contributor to Eagles Daily and a member of BC’s Class of 1990. He may be reached atm.dimauro@theday.com or @BCgenius   

Here are both calls side by side:

“Here we go … Here’s your ballgame, folks, as Flutie takes the snap. He drops straight back … has some time, now scrambles away from one hit … looks … uncorks a deep one to the end zone, Phelan is down there … (**OH, HE GOT IT!) DID HE GET IT? (**HE GOT IT!) TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN!! TOUCHDOWN BOSTON COLLEGE!! HE DID IT!! HE DID IT!! FLUTIE DID IT!! HE GOT PHELAN IN THE END ZONE!! TOUCHDOWN!! OH MY GOODNESS … WHAT A PLAY!! FLUTIE TO GERARD PHELAN!! 48 YARDS!! NO TIME ON THE CLOCK, IT’S ALL OVER!! – Dan Davis, Nov. 23, 1984

**(OH, HE GOT IT!) … (HE GOT IT!) was said by the statistician Dick Tarpey.

“Here’s Fortescue at the point … takes a shot, tipped in front save … rebound in front of the slot … SCORE! SCORE! JACK MALONE! JACK MALONE! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! OH, MY FREAKING GOD, BRENDAN! IT’S HAPPENING! IT’S HAPPENING? BC’S GOING TO THE FINAL FOUR! LET’S GOOO!” – Jacob Lassner, March 31, 2024

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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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