(Ed. note: This is a sponsored post for Corey Blauss. If you want me to write about any old thing in hockey, all you have to do is donate $50 below. It’s easy and fun. Bye.)
As you may or may not know, I love college hockey. I like it more than I like NHL hockey. And I like NHL hockey a lot.
Over the course of the average college hockey season I usually get out to 20 or 30 games in person and watch a bunch more on TV, and so I tend to get a pretty good feel for the teams that play in and around Boston. And this season, I can say unequivocally that one of the finest and most consistent teams I’ve seen either on television or in person is the Northeastern University Huskies.
Now, you might look at their 9-17-3 schedule and say to yourself that they’ve been struggling a bit, and that’s certainly true, especially considering they’ve only won four games out of 15 at home this season. I don’t think anyone thought they would be this bad. But the reason for that is that on paper the Huskies are pretty damn good, and occasionally they’ve shown it this season.
They’re led by Anaheim draft pick Kevin Roy (pictured above), who’s inarguably the best rookie forward in the conference in a runaway. He has 34 points in 29 games this season, 10 more than his nearest teammate (Winnipeg pick Vinny Saponari, who’s very good in his own right) and has seven more goals than Sharks choice Cody Ferriero. They’re also without sophomore Ludwig Karlsson, who was one of the best freshmen in the league last season, but who has played just one game since the new year. Braden Pimm and Garrett Vermeersch, who round out the team’s top five scorers are now slouches either. But overall I’d say the Huskies have two very good lines, and can go shot for shot with most teams in Hockey East, one of the best top-to-bottom conferences in the nation every single year.
This is evidenced by the team’s ability to actually show up for games every once in a while and rip the arms off opponents generally considered far better. This year they’ve beaten Merrimack (tied for first in Hockey East), Boston College (reigning national champions and a point back of first in the conference), twice put traditional power BU down in convincing fashion, and played UNH (currently tied with Merrimack) to a scoreless draw.
Those are good, solid wins, of which most teams nationwide would be envious, and a sign that Northeastern has, like, one thing slightly wrong with it. That thing is goaltending, and it’s in no way Northeastern’s fault. Going into the season I would have told you that any sort of reliance on apparent No. 1 Chris Rawlings would be reason enough to start waving the white flag in October, and the fact that his backup is Bryan Mountain, who isn’t even good enough to start ahead of Chris Rawlings, doesn’t really help at all. But it wasn’t supposed to be this way.
The conventional thinking was that Rawlings was going to go pro after his junior season, at which point a Northeastern recruit by the name of Jon Gillies was supposed to come in and be the No. 1 on his first day on campus. But for some reason, Rawlings didn’t go pro, and Gillies withdrew his commitment to Northeastern. He then briefly considered playing in the QMJHL but in the end opted to go to NU league rival Providence, where he has been the best goaltender in the conference as a rookie. So if you’re looking to point the finger at anyone for Northeastern’s lack of success this season, you can aim ‘er straight at Rawlings for two reasons: He didn’t go pro, and he stinks.
The good news is he’s gone after this season, at which point Roy and whomever gets the starting job can lead this team back to being good. Unless Roy goes pro, I guess. Which I bet he will.
Don’t forget to donate to 826 Boston. Thanks again.