Boston College men’s hockey takes to the ice for the first time tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. when they take on Holy Cross in an exhibition game.
Here’s what we’ll be watching as we try to get an idea of what the Eagles will look like this season:
-Who is the sixth attacker on the first two lines? : In its excellent season preview, the Boston College Hockey Blog reports, based on what it hears from practice, suggests BC have five excellent forwards they believe they can count on to be a top-six player. this year: Colby Ambrosio; Trevor Kuntar; Nikita Nesterenko; Cutter Gauthier; and Oskar Jellvik.
A big unknown is who will occupy the wing on the second row, and we’ll get a first look at who Brown is trying in a bigger role this year.
Possibilities may include rookie Andre Gasseau, a former USNTDP and Bruins draft pick who recovered from injury last year to have a strong USHL season with the Fargo Force; Mike Posma and Matt Argentina, two actors who showed brilliance in their first year but struggled to stay consistent; or perhaps one of the graduate transfers, Cam Burke or Christian O’Neill, who arrive with limited goal-scoring resumes but extensive experience and leadership.
-Watch Oskar Jellvik: Everyone knows and expects Cutter Gauthier to be one of the best rookies in college hockey, and any successful season for BC includes Gauthier as a top player. But another intriguing but more low-key freshman to watch is Oskar Jellvik, who will likely be the mainstay of BC’s second line.
Jellvik became a hot prospect this summer after being widely considered one of the most impressive players at the Boston Bruins’ development camp. Jellvik, from Sweden, was drafted in the 5th round in 2021 by Boston and has been on the radar of the Swedish national youth team throughout his career.
Reports on Jellvik say he’s not the tallest player at 5’11”, but he has common sense, patience and playing skills that bring out the best in his teammates. We certainly love players like that in BC.
He’s still young, so time will tell if he’s ready to be a true top-six presence at the NCAA level — but if he is, it would make a huge difference for the Eagles.
-The role of Marshall Warren. The exhibit probably won’t tell us much about what the ice time allocation will look like when the games count, but it will be our first glimpse of what Marshall Warren will be asked to do under Coach Brown. . Warren is widely expected to play huge minutes this year and will likely be called upon to play a role in both offense generation and defensive presence.
At his best, Warren looked like someone ready to fight for All-American status with elite playing skills, speed and a good sneaky shot.
Of course, as you can see from this video, BC’s reliance on Warren to create the offense often leads to him being deep in the offensive zone, which sometimes makes it difficult to come back and be a force as well. defensive.
BC is going to need Warren to be Mr. Everything and be able to do both this year.
-A first look at Mitch Benson in BC. If you’ve watched a lot of Colgate hockey, congratulations, you can give us the scouting report. But for most of us, this will be the first time we’ve closely followed Mitch Benson, who we expect to start tomorrow night between the posts for the Eagles.
Benson has been very solid for Colgate, even in 2019 when his team struggled a lot. An improvement in goaltending stats this year would make a huge difference for a team that was one of the worst in Hockey East last year in terms of goals against.
-Style and structure of special teams. We’ve had a stomach ache about BC’s special teams inconsistencies over the past few years, so it’ll be a good opportunity here to see how BC lines up and approaches special teams under Greg Brown. In particular, on paper, BC should have a pretty good power play, with Marshall Warren and take your pick of four of BC’s big five forwards.
But while solid on paper, the power play has often struggled in recent years, especially with zone entries and effective set-up in the offensive zone, with much of the success seeming to come from precipitation. Will this trend continue, or can BC do a better job of setting things up and allowing playmakers like Gauthier, Jellvik and Nesterenko to make skillful passes, find openings and to create an attack?