Friday, October 17, 2014

NTDP Alums Who Have Played for BU

USA Hockey National Team Development Program  alums 
who have played for Boston University

Pat Aufiero
Brett Bennett
Adam Clendening
Colby Cohen
Rick DiPietro
Jack Eichel
Brandon Fortunato
Matt Grzelcyk
Matt Lane
Jason Lawrence
Johnanthan MacLeod
Justin Maiser
Adam McConnell
Freddy Meyer
Bryan Miller
Matt Nieto
Nikolas Olsson
Luke Popko
Alexx Privitera
John Sabo
Vinny Saponari
Kevin Shattenkirk
Brian Strait
David Warsofsky
Ryan Whitney
Colin Wilson

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Q&A with Captain Matt Grzelcyk

The regular-season opener is here, so it’s time for our annual Q&A with the Terrier captain. This year it’s Charlestown native Matt Grzelcyk, one of just a handful Terrier captains awarded that honor in their junior season.  A third-round draft pick of the Bruins, he played for Team USA in last winter’s World Junior Championships, serving as an alternate question. He follows in the footsteps of Terrier defensemen who honed their skills in the NTDP, including Pat Aufiero, Ryan Whitney, Brian Miller, Kevin Shattenkirk, Colby Cohen and David Warsofsky.  As a freshman, he earned Hockey East All-Rookie honors.

Q—Let’s start with your health? Any limitations after last year’s shoulder injury?
A— I feel even better than I had before. My shoulder has no issues whatsoever and I cannot wait to get back to playing hockey. The process was grueling but I cannot thank everyone enough for helping me come back fully healed. I’m ready to go.

Q. After being drafted by the Bruins in the third round of the 2012 draft, you’ve participated in three Boston development camps. How does what you’ve learned there mesh with Coach Quinn’s philosophy?
A— Getting the opportunity to attend camp each summer is definitely something that I’m grateful for. The systems are pretty similar; both teams require hard work and dedication so I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in. It makes the process that much more enjoyable, especially getting to stay so close to home.

Q. Many players returning from the World Junior Championships translate that experience in to enhanced performance once back in college. Will you be able to do that despite missing the second half of last season?
A— I will try my best. I had the privilege to represent USA as an assistant captain and take on more of a leadership role, so my plan is to use those experiences to my advantage. Playing in that tournament was a dream come true and it gives me confidence going into this season.

Q—There have been only a handful of junior captains at BU. How do you feel about joining a club whose members include Terrier all-time greats such as Kevin Shattenkirk and Jack O’Callahan?
A— Being selected as captain is by far and away the highest honor I’ve ever been given and obviously something that I’m very excited about. To even be mentioned in the same breath as those guys is crazy to me. They’re both role models to me as not only are they great hockey players but they carried themselves tremendously well off the ice as well.

Q—How do you see the role of a Captain? Are you a vocal leader or do you lead by example?
A— To be honest, I’m not all that vocal as maybe some would expect a captain to be. But I think I can use this to my advantage, because when I do speak up the guys know it’s something important and listen up. I try to lead best by example and take some of the younger guys under my wing as much as I can. It’s also very important for the rest of our team to be leaders in their own right and the guys understand that. It doesn’t matter your age or what class you’re in; each guy has the ability to lead and I’m confident they will do so.

Q—Coach Quinn says he wants to see improved breakouts from the defense. Your return certainly will help, but what have you seen from the freshmen and sophomore d-men that will help achieve that goal?
A— The defensemen this year are all great skaters and can play at a fast pace as well, so this will allow us to escape from defenders and move the puck up to the forwards efficiently. Each guy really understands the game and are great transitionally. Everyone should see a major step forward in this aspect.

Q—This year’s Terriers are an especially young squad with ten freshmen, a number of whom are likely to be playing important roles early on, as well as seven sophomores. How will you and your assistant captains, Cason Hohmann and Evan Rodrigues, help the freshmen make the adjustment to the pace and skill level of D1 hockey?

A— We need to just make sure they feel comfortable in and around the locker room. We’ve discussed with them many times to not overthink each situation; they were brought in to BU for their unique skill sets and they know that they play a major role in our success. They’re all mature for their age and give all their effort to try to turn things around after last season. That, I’m sure of.

Q—What aspects of your own game are you seeking to improve in your third season in Scarlet?
A— I’m always trying to get bigger and stronger. That’s always going to be a goal of mine and something you can always improve on. Playing against bigger, stronger forwards deep in our own end is something that I’m looking to key in on and to make sure that I’m not getting beat back to our own net as well. You can always improve your game, no matter how much experience you have.

Q—You have faced some great players in your college career. Thus far, who has been the most challenging player to defend?
A— I don’t like to give anyone from another team too much credit, but it’s probably Johnny Gaudreau. He really sees the ice like no other and his deception is off the charts. He can beat you in so many ways; he’s always a threat out there and he definitely keeps you guessing. My teammates are also tough to defend in practice so I have to give them credit too. 

Q—Special teams were not a strength last season. The power play converted less than 18% and there were far too many shorthanders allowed. Do you see the ingredients for an improved power play this season?
A— I’m very confident in our team’s ability to convert on the power play this year. We have so much talent from top to bottom and we’re as deep a team there is in college hockey. There are a ton of players on our team who have the ability to play different roles on the power play and that’s always threatening. Versatility is huge.

Q—The team has only recently begun captain’s practices but can you see differences from last season’s team? And if so, what are those differences?
A— Even though we have not begun any real game situations as a team yet, early on it’s easy to tell that our speed has definitely improved. Not only have guys gotten faster, but we’re able to play the game while moving our feet as fast we can, which is always something to look for. Our talent is tremendous with the new freshmen joining our great group of core returners. We’ll be a hard-working, blue-collar type of group who can defend just as well as we score.

QWe always ask this in the captain’s Q&A: which returning player (or players) will surprise BU fans by taking his game to a higher level?
A— I believe that it’s unfair to single any one player out and say that he will improve over the rest; that’s unfair to the rest of the guys in our locker room. Each guy has worked extremely hard during the off season and will continue to do so over the course of the year. We’ll improve dramatically after last year’s slump, I can promise you that. I’d advise everyone to hop on the bandwagon before it’s too late. We’re a very determined group right now and we’re going to cause other teams a lot of problems all year long.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

2014-15 Game Highlights

Oct. 4    BU 12 St. Thomas (NB) 1  (exhibition)
Oct. 10  BU 8 Massachusetts 1
Oct. 18  BU 6 USNTDP U18s 4 (exhibition)  
Oct. 24  BU 1 Michigan State 0
Oct. 25  BU 3 Michigan 2  
Oct. 31  BU 4 Providence 1
Nov. 1   Providence 2 BU 1  
Nov. 7   BU 5 BC 3  (long version)
Nov. 8   BU 4 Connecticut 4 OT 
Nov. 14 BU 3 Maine 1
Nov. 21 BU 3 Maine 2 OT
Nov. 25 Harvard 3 BU 2 OT
Nov. 29 BU 5 Colgate 2 
Nov. 30 Dartmouth 2 BU 0 
Dec. 5   BU 1 Merrimack 1 OT
Dec. 6   BU 4 Merrimack 2  
Dec. 13 BU 5 Rensselaer 1
Dec. 19 U.S. Junior National Team 5 BU 2  
Jan. 3   BU 3 Union 3 OT
Jan. 9   BU 3 Wisconsin 3 OT
Jan. 10 BU 6 Wisconsin 1  
Jan. 16 BC 4 BU 2 
Jan. 18 BU 4 UMass Lowell 3 OT
Jan. 23 BU 4 Vermont 2  
Jan. 24 BU 2 Vermont 1
Jan. 30 BU 9 Massachusetts 5
Feb. 3   BU 4 Harvard 3  2OT  - Beanpot opening round
Feb. 6   BU 5 UMass Lowell 2  
Feb. 13 BU 6 New Hampshire 3 
Feb. 14 New Hampshire 4 BU 3
Feb. 20 BU 2 Notre Dame 2 OT 
Feb. 21 Notre Dame 3 BU 2 
Feb. 23 BU 4 Northeastern 3 - Beanpot Championship
Feb. 27 Northeastern 6 BU 5 
Feb. 28 BU 6 Northeastern 1
Mar. 13 BU 6 Merrimack 2  HE QF
Mar. 14 BU 5 Merrimack 0 HE QF 
Mar. 20 BU 4 New Hampshire 1  Hockey East Semifinal 
Mar. 21 BU 5 UMass Lowell 3 Hockey East Championship 
Mar. 27 BU 3 Yale 2 OT  NCAA Northeast Regional Semifinal (extended highlights)
Mar. 28 BU 3 Minnesota Duluth 2 NCAA Northeast Regional Final (extended highlights)        
April 9   BU 4 North Dakota 3 NCAA Frozen Four semifinal (extended highlights)
(full game)
April 11  Providence 4 BU 3 NCAA Championship (extended highlights)