Goaltender Brett Bennett has been released from the Boston University men’s hockey team and will not return this season, a school official confirmed on May 5.
Six weeks removed from a 2007-08 campaign in which he served as the Terriers’ primary netminder, the junior-to-be departed a program that will welcome two freshmen goalies this fall in Kieran Millan (Alberta Junior Hockey League) and Grant Rollheiser (British Columbia Hockey League).
‘Our staff has decided that we move in a different direction in regards to our goaltending,’ BU coach Jack Parker said in a statement issued May 6. ‘We wish Brett the best in his future endeavors.’
Millan and Rollheiser will join sophomore-to-be Adam Kraus, who appeared in two games last year, to comprise the Terriers’ goaltending corps this season.
Bennett, a touted recruit coming out of the United States National Development Program, landed the starting job last January following an ankle injury to senior Karson Gillespie. Despite steady improvement — undoubtedly aided by the man-to-man defensive coverage installed by Parker in late December — Bennett struggled in his role as the successor to All-American John Curry, who graduated in 2007.
A fifth-round draft choice of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the 20-year-old Bennett posted a 16-10-3 record in 31 appearances last season behind a 2.63 goals-against average and a Hockey East-worst .888 save percentage.
The Williamsville, N.Y., native’s best stretch of the season coincided with BU’s second-half surge, during which Bennett registered shutouts against the University of Maine (Feb. 16), the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (Feb. 29) and Providence College (March 6).
‘I thought there were times when Bennett looked like he was gonna get to a point where he was coming along,’ Parker said in an April interview. ‘He looked better, a little more relaxed and a little more confident.
‘But at the same time, I still don’t think we got great goaltending in the second semester. We were not happy with the goaltending all year. It was a little bit better, and we got by with what we got. Benny got better as the season progressed, but there was a lot of pressure on him when Gillespie went out. A whole bunch of things added up to the fact that it got better, but still wasn’t good enough.’
The Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League wasted little time capitalizing on Bennett’s release, selecting him with the 10th overall pick in the league’s 2008 Entry Draft on May 14.
‘He is a proven goaltender with major collegiate experience,’ Ice Vice President of Player Personnel Jim Paliafito said, according to the team’s website.
Bennett was expected to participate in the Ice’s 2008 Main Tryout Camp, held June 5-8 at Carmel Ice Skadium in Carmel, Ind.