By Scott McLaughlin/DFP Staff
7) Northeastern University
2009-10 record: 16-16-2 (11-14-2 HE)
Finish in HE: 9th (missed tournament)
Key returners: Sr. F Wade MacLeod (14-16-30), Sr. F Tyler McNeely (12-16-28), So. F Steve Quailer (10-15-25 in ’08-09), So. F Garrett Vermeersch (5-18-23), So. G Chris Rawlings (2.83, .913)
Key losses: F Kyle Kraemer (17-11-28), D Jake Newton (9-13-22), D David Strathman (4-7-11), D Jim Driscoll (2-5-7)
Notable freshmen: F Cody Ferriero, F Braden Pimm, D Anthony Bitetto
Coach: Greg Cronin
How they finished
After an 8-2-0 run from mid-January to mid-February, the Huskies found themselves smack in the middle of the race for home ice. But then they went 0-4-1 to close out the season -- including a sweep at the hands of BU on the final weekend -- and missed the playoffs by a heartbreaking one point.
The Huskies finished ninth in scoring last season, but there are plenty of reasons to think they’ll be able to light the lamp more frequently this year. They return eight of their top 11 scorers and they also bring back Steve Quailer, who finished fourth on the team in scoring as a freshman but missed all of last season with a knee injury. Northeastern also brings in some talented freshmen up front -- including fifth-round NHL draft pick Cody Ferriero, who signed over the summer after de-committing from BC.
Defense and goaltending
Chris Rawlings returns in net after a solid freshman season that earned him Hockey East All-Rookie Team honors. In front of him, though, Northeastern loses its top three defensemen, making the blue line this team’s biggest question mark. Everyone, including a freshman group headlined by sixth-round pick Anthony Bitetto, will need to step their games up, as there is not a star d-man among this group. Although their first job will be to make sure Rawlings gets the same protection he got last year (the Huskies ranked fifth in team defense), the blue-liners will also have to contribute more on offense -- NU returns a whopping zero goals from defensemen. If the back line is up to the task, a trip to the semifinals isn’t out of the question. The Huskies are most likely a year away from returning to that stage, though.
1) Sept. 28
2) Sept. 27
3) Sept. 24
4) Sept. 23
5) Sept. 22
6) Sept. 21