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Eagles Daily notebook: A look at the historic hockey recruiting class

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Boston College hockey looks to get back on track this year with the best recruiting class in college hockey coming to Chestnut Hill.

There are the obvious six draft picks incoming, three of which shared a line on the 18U U.S. National team together and all went in the first round — Will Smith (F), Gabe Perreault (F), and Ryan Leonard (F), as well as their teammates in third-round pick Drew Fortescue (D) and fourth-rounder Aram Minnetian (D). The non-NTDP team draft pick was goalie Jacob Fowler, another third-round pick.

Smith, the No. 4 pick in the draft is the program’s highest-ever selection, surpassing Cutter Gauthier last year at No. 5. The six picks is additionally the program’s highest tally since 1989.

So, who are these names — and who are some of the faces in the rest of the recruiting class that may not get as much attention?

INCOMING FRESHMEN

2005 F, Gabe Perreault: Picked 23rd overall in the draft by the Rangers, Leonard set the single-season NTDP point record with 132 points this past season, including 53 goals. The Canadian native played for the Chicago Mission in his youth days though headed to the National Team in 2021.

*Note that every name that was on the NTDP spent two seasons with the team — their junior and senior year of high school.*

2005 F, Will Smith: As mentioned, the No. 4 overall pick in the draft to the Sharks, Smith put up 127 points at center for the NTDP team, which is second all-time right behind Leonard’s new record. The Lexington, MA native played at the BC Jr. Eagles growing up while also attending St. Sebastian’s for the first two years of high school.

2005 F, Ryan Leonard: Playing alongside the two names above with the NTDP, Perrault added 51 goals, identical to Smith, going eighth overall to Washington. His first two years of high school were at Pope Francis Prep while playing for the Springfield Rifles before heading to the NTDP.

2005 F, Will Vote: The Arlington, MA native, while not on the Leonard-Smith-Perreault line, did spend his past two years with the trio on the NTDP. The 5-foot-7 winger played alongside Smith for the Jr. Eagles in his youth days while going to Dexter Southfield for the first two years of high school and tallied 16 goals/45 points for the NTDP this past season.

2005 D, Aram Minnetian: Minnetian was a fourth-rounder in this year’s draft after authoring 31 points for the NTDP this season. The New Jersey native attended Bergen High beforehand while also playing for the Mid Fairfield Jr. Rangers.

2005 D, Drew Fortescue: Another former Mid Fairfield product, the New York Native went to Don Bosco Prep for his freshman and sophomore years while authoring 26 points for the National Team this season.

2004 G, Jan Korec: One of the more interesting recruits for the Eagles, the 18-year-old Korec hails from Slovakia and was on this year’s Slovak U20 World Juniors team. He spent some time in Norway before coming over to the US to attend the Northwood School in Lake Placid for his sophomore and junior year of high school, though spent this past year in the USHL playing for the Des Moines Buccaneers, making 24 appearances and

2004 G, Jacob Fowler: The Eagles get Fowler as an 18-year-old goaltender fresh off of a strong USHL season, where he played 40 games for the Youngstown Phantoms and posted a GAA of 2.28 as well as a 1.31 GAA in nine playoff games. Beforehand, the Florida native went to boarding school at South Kent in Connecticut.

2003 D, Nolan Joyce: Connor Joyce’s brother, the defenseman was another Jr. Eagles product and St Sebastian’s alum who spent this past season with the Chicago Steel in the USHL. The 19-year-old Dedham native put up 10 points for Chicago this past season.

2003 F, Timmy Delay: The 20-year-old winger out of Hingham played for the Jr. Eagles growing up and also attended St. Sebastian’s for four years. Playing for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL in 21-22 and tallying just six points in 48 games, Delay went to the BCHL this past season after just two games for Sioux Falls in the USHL — he authored seven goals/24 points in 42 appearances. He’ll be out for a decent portion of the season however with an injury.

2003 G, Alex Musielak: The 20-year-old netminder spent this past season between the CCHL (Kemptville 73’s) and the USHL (Utica Jr. Comets), posting roughly 3.6 GAA between the two. Beforehand, he went to the Nichols School, a prep school in Buffalo, NY. With three freshman goaltenders coming in and no other tender on the roster, it’ll be an interesting battle for playing time between the three.

INCOMING TRANSFERS

2000 F, Jack Malone: Malone, a California native, comes to BC as a graduate transfer from Cornell. He played three seasons at Cornell, including a season in which he went back to the USHL after his freshman year. He had a solid career at Cornell, where last season he posted eight goals/17 points in 34 games.

1999 D, Jacob Bengtsson: Bengtsson comes to BC after three seasons at Lake Superior State. The 6-foot-3 Swedish defenseman put up just seven points his freshman year but totaled 50 points across his past two seasons. The 24-year-old came to the USHL in 2018 and has been in the United States ever since.

1998 F, Jamie Armstrong: The 25-year-old graduate transfer spent four years at BU, as the winger grabbed 26 points in 94 games while scoring five goals and eight assists in 29 appearances this past season. He didn’t play all that much through the years at BU, though he brings an older presence to what will be a very young BC team.

Additional hockey notes

~ BC Hockey Blog reported earlier in the month that Matt Argentina will be heading back to the USHL to play for the Chicago Steele this season after pointing out that he wasn’t on the initial roster release. It’s the same route the transfer Malone took after his freshman year — though whether those who take the route go to a different school varies. The center in Argentina notched just four goals/10 points across the past two seasons for BC (53 games).

~ Some more scoop that BC Hockey Blog recently picked up is that potential No. 1 pick in 2025, 2006 forward James Hagens, visited BC on August 18th.

Steele to miss time due to a “personal health issue”

Boston College football saw some disappointing news Tuesday, with AJ Black reporting that starting middle linebacker Bryce Steele will be away from the team as the byproduct of a “personal health issue.” Black also noted that he could not deliver specifics, rather noting that more details should be out in the future.

The junior in Steele played in 12 games last season, a notable piece to the defense grabbing 51 tackles (24 solo) last season along with 5.5 tackles for loss.

Ashton-Langford inks deal overseas

Former Eagle Makai Ashton-Langford has inked a deal with KK Vrijednosnice Osijek in Croatia, BC announced Tuesday.

Ashton-Langford came to the Eagles in 2019 as a redshirt after two years at Providence College and played three years for BC alongside his brother DeMarr Langford Jr. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard put together a solid career with the Eagles, averaging 12+ points in each of the past two seasons while averaging 30+ minutes per game.

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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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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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Boston College 5, Harvard 0; No. 1 Eagles Crush Crimson in Beanpot Revenge Game

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BOSTON, Mass. – Following his draft year when he scored 132 points, it should not be a surprise that freshman Gabe Perreault is leading the Eagles in points. But he’s not just scoring at a steady pace, he’s leading the entire nation in points and speeding by former Eagle greats in the process. With Perreault’s rebound goal and assist in Monday’s game versus Harvard, he tied BC great Chris Kreider’s total from 2012 at 45 points scored in only 27 games. Needless to say, Perreault is going to shatter some records during his career as an Eagle.

With Monday’s win over Harvard (4-15-4), the Eagles (21-5-1) emerged victorious in back-to-back games, maintaining necessary space in the pair-wise rankings.

In a fairly uneventful first frame, other than a notable dive block from junior defenseman Aidan Hreschuk, the teams headed into the dressing rooms knotted at zero.

Midway through the second period, freshman Ryan Leonard fired a shot at Harvard goaltender Derek Mullahy who bobbled the chance leaving the puck sitting on the goal line only for Gabe Perreault to slam home the opening tally.

At the 19-minute mark of the second period, the Eagles broke the game wide open. It started when sophomores Cutter Gauthier and Oskar Jellvik linked up for a gorgeous give-and-go play in the slot leaving Jellvik open to hammer a one-timer into the empty cage for BC’s second of the game.

Seconds later, the USA pressed the Crimson deep into their own zone. On that same play, Gabe Perreault dug a puck out the corner, centering a feed for classmate Ryan Leonard who buried his 16th of the season.

As the teams skated in and out of the second intermission, the Crimson failed to gain control of the puck for longer than a couple of seconds in the third frame.

At 7:34 of the third period, senior defenseman Eamon Powell sped past the Harvard back line and fired a puck far side past Harvard goalie Aku Koskenvuo, who replaced Mullahy in goal for the Crimson.

To build on the theme of incredible goals scored throughout the game, freshman Ryan Leonard lifted a brilliant alley-oop-like pass for a streaking Will Smith who headed in on a breakaway. With one swift head fake, Smith forced Harvard’s goalie out of position tucking a backhander home for BC’s fifth of the game.

Harvard failed to score during Monday’s action giving a shutout to BC goaltender Jan Korec in his first collegiate start, tallying 19 saves on the night.

The Eagles will resume Hockey East action this weekend facing the UMass Minutemen in Amherst Friday at 7 p.m. on the Mullins Center ice.

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