With the exception of #1 Duluth battling #2 Denver this week, this is the biggest matchup in college hockey this week, and certainly the biggest in the East.
The Boston University Terriers are, well, good. Damn good. Their freshman class is without a doubt the best in the country, and they’ve got some solid vets as well. BU has played 5 games against teams UVM has played so far (two each against Michigan and Northeastern and one against Quinnipiac), and went 3-1-1 in those games (Catamounts went 3-0). Seven BU players were recently named to Team USA for the upcoming World Juniors.
In goal, BU has the best goalie prospect in the upcoming NHL draft. Jake Oettinger is elite, to put it lightly. At 17, he’s 9th in the country in save percentage and 7th in goals against. The duel between Oettinger and Lekkas this weekend will no doubt be incredible to watch for any fan of goaltending.
Defensively, BU is deep and is elite as one of the top five defensive teams in the country, allowing just over 2 goals per game. 2016 NHL first round picks Charlie McAvoy (Boston) and Dante Fabbro (St. Louis) headline the squad, but EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of this top 6 was drafted. Like McAvoy, Chad Krys was also named to the US WJC team, and was drafted this summer. He only has two points, but his defensive play has been solid. This defense is talented, deep, and will prove a huge test for UVM and its offense averaging around 3.5 goals per game.
Offensively, the Cats do dodge a bullet, as Clayton Keller is still injured. Keller was arguably the best recruit in college this year, and started with 9 points in 7 games. BU is still talented, though, despite Kieffer Bellows’s slow start (5 points). The young trio of Jordan Greenway (13 points), Patrick Harper (17), and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (15) leads the way for the Terriers; all are either sophomore or freshman. The offense hasn’t been great so far – it’s been average – but the talent is there.
Friday’s student tickets sold out in LESS THAN TWO HOURS. The hype is real. Also that night will see us learn the student section’s name. (If it isn’t The Den, we riot. Actually wait Naked Bike Ride is that night so we riot regardless.)