Friday, December 1, 2017

Local Players to Watch in this Weekend's BC vs BU Hockey Clashes

North Reading native and Austin Prep alum Bobo Carpenter leads the Terriers in goals so far this season, but is just one of several local players who should influence a pair of games between old rivals BU and BC.  Photo from
By Joshua Kummins (@joshuakummins)

Simply put, no weekend series during the college hockey season excites fans in Massachusetts more than The Battle of Commonwealth Avenue. Boston College and Boston University renew their storied rivalry this weekend in Hockey East play, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. from Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill.

The series-opening contest will not only be the 275th all-time meeting between the Terriers and Eagles, but also the 100th season in which the two teams get together. BU has a 133-123-18 mark against its longest running rival since the series began with a game at Boston Arena (now known as Matthews Arena on Northeastern University’s campus) on Feb. 6, 1918.

The season is just about two months old for most teams across Division 1 men’s hockey, and the Eagles stand five points ahead of second-place Providence in the Hockey East standings, with eight wins in nine Hockey East games. However, BC does not have a win in non-conference play as it stands 8-5-2 overall. BU has a 4-4-1 record in league play, which ties it for fifth place with UConn.

There is still some time to play from behind in Hockey East, as the seventh through 11th-place teams have all played seven or fewer league games.

Of course, there will be no shortage of players from Massachusetts taking the ice in the series. Twelve players in the BC-BU series and 109 across college hockey ― the third-most of any U.S. state, behind only Minnesota and Michigan ― call the Bay State home.

The Terriers boast eight of those local products, including North Reading native assistant captain Bobo Carpenter. The junior center and former Austin Prep star leads BU with eight goals, while his 14 points trail sophomore Patrick Harper by one. Carpenter has five points over his last four games and is also the second-best faceoff man in Hockey East, having won 61.3 percent of his draws through 15 games this season.

Norwell’s Ty Amonte, who played for his father and former NHLer, Tony, at Thayer Academy, has played in all but one of BU’s games as a freshman. He scored his first collegiate goal against defending national champion Denver and a Nov. 11 game-winner to down New Hampshire.

Junior Ryan Cloonan of East Longmeadow recorded an assist in the same Oct. 27 game against Denver in which Amonte scored, while Melrose native and Malden Catholic product Jake Witkowski has appeared in two games, recording his first collegiate assist Nov. 18 in the Terriers’ 7-0 at Maine.

The Terriers have a pair of senior defensemen from Massachusetts in Burlington’s Brien Diffley and Dracut’s John MacLeod. Both have one point in limited action this season, as Diffley has played in six games and MacLeod five. Diffley was a member of Burlington High’s state championship team in 2012 before playing two seasons at BB&N.

Andover native Max Prawdzik, a redshirt sophomore goaltender, has made his first three collegiate appearances this season. The former Brooks School captain became the first Bay State native to start in goal for BU since Rick DiPietro in 1999-00, and the first BU goaltender to earn a shutout in his first collegiate start since 2000, with 29 saves on Nov. 11. Barnstable’s Nico Lynch backs up sophomore Jake Oettinger and Prawdzik.

BC is in a unique situation this season as one of just two Division 1 teams without a true senior on its roster, but Jerry York ― whose 1,041 career victories make him the winningest head coach in college hockey history ― elected former Malden Catholic defenseman Casey Fitzgerald as one of his junior captains.

Fitzgerald plays on the top defensive pairing for the Eagles, and leads the team’s blueliners with nine points in 14 games. The North Reading native did not crack the scoresheet in BC’s last two games against fellow Beanpot rivals Northeastern and Harvard, but had points in his four previous outings, including his third goal of the season in a Nov. 4 win over Merrimack.

The Eagles’ youngest Massachusetts native is Acushnet’s Casey Carreau, who won the John Carlton Memorial Award, which is given to New England’s best high school player, after his senior season at Thayer Academy last year.

Carreau, who was named MVP in the Independent School League (ISL) after tallying 61 points in just 30 games, and also played four years of varsity baseball at Thayer, has recorded one point through his first 12 games.

Sophomore Luke McInnis, who previously played for his hometown Hingham Harbormen and at Dexter School, has recorded three assists in 13 games as a sophomore defenseman. North Grafton’s Ian Milosz is a backup goaltender for BC.

Both games begin at 7 p.m. Friday’s game can be seen on ESPN3, while the Saturday night’s rematch from Agganis Arena in Boston will be streamed on

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