Ice Hockey, Sports

BU men’s hockey shows hopefulness at 2014 Hockey East Media Day

The 2014 Hockey East Media Day was held at TD Garden Monday. PHOTO BY ANDREW BATTIFARANO/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
The 2014 Hockey East Media Day was held at TD Garden Monday. PHOTO BY ANDREW BATTIFARANO/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The Boston University men’s hockey team shared one overwhelming mood at Hockey East Media Day Monday at TD Garden: optimism.

The league announced the results of its coaches’ poll Monday, with Providence College taking the top spot with 127 points and seven of a possible 12 first-place votes. BU was picked to finish sixth, a three-spot drop from the media poll results released on Sunday.

Boston College took the number-two spot, with 120 points and three first-place votes. The University of Notre Dame was third with 94 points, and Northeastern was fourth with 90 points and one first-place vote. The University of Massachusetts-Lowell, ranked seventh, received the other first-place vote.

“Hockey East is one of the best leagues in the country, and I think it’s always competitive,” said senior assistant captain Evan Rodrigues. “Polls are polls, people have their opinions, and it’s just our job to go out there and play our best every time we hit the ice, and the standings and everything will take care of itself.”

Rodrigues, alongside head coach David Quinn and junior captain Matt Grzelcyk, represented BU at the media day, and each noted the team’s eagerness to get the season underway.

GRAPHIC BY EMILY ZABOSKI/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
BU was picked to finish sixth in the 2014 Hockey East Preseason Coaches’ Poll. GRAPHIC BY EMILY ZABOSKI/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

“There’s a lot of optimism this year,” Rodrigues said. “We have great freshmen coming in, a great group of guys…I think we’re going to be a lot better than we were last year, and we’re all looking forward to getting started.”

Grzelcyk is most certainly one of those people looking forward to the 2014-15 season. The defenseman had season-ending surgery in January after dislocating his shoulder in practice and has not played in nine months. Grzelcyk said he has fully recovered, though, and said he feels “100 percent” and is “itching to get started.”

As for the highly touted 10-person freshmen class, the captains and Quinn appear to like what they have seen so far in practice.

“They’ve done great,” Grzelcyk said. “We’ve had a couple scrimmages the past couple weeks. They’ve done really well, both on and off the ice.”

Quinn said he believes the returning players and incoming class complement each other well.

“I really like the core we have coming back. I like the freshmen class we have coming in to surround them,” Quinn said. “The good news is, because of the size of the freshmen class, I don’t think there’s going to be too much pressure on one particular guy. We’re excited.”

One of those freshmen, goaltender Connor LaCouvee, will look to get some time in net, but right now sits behind a returning starter, junior goaltender Matt O’Connor. BU is expected to start the season with three netminders, as graduate student Anthony Moccia is returning to the school for another season.

“We’re going to watch practice and see how they do,” Quinn said. “Obviously, going into it, Matt’s got the edge over everybody just because of his history, but those who play well will be rewarded with further play. So we’ll watch practice and see what happens in the games, and that situation will resolve itself because I think we’ve got three very capable goalies.”

Coming off a disappointing season, in which the Terriers finished the year with an overall record of just 10-21-4, Quinn said he feels a sense of confidence headed into the first full-team practices, which began Monday.

“I like to talk to the returning guys to find out what their feel is, and I know how excited our guys are,” Quinn said. “Our guys are excited obviously, to get the season going, but I think they’re a little bit more excited because they understand what our chances are [of] having a lot more success than last year. I think they’re very optimistic.”

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