Faced once again with not having NHL players available for the Olympics, Team USA is going a different route for next month’s Winter Games in Beijing.
Of the 25 players announced to the roster on Thursday, 15 are currently playing college hockey, and there are plenty of local connections.
Hingham’s Matty Beniers, a sophomore at Michigan and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft is on board.
Boston College and Harvard will have two members on the team. Senior captain Marc McLaughlin of Billerica and junior defenseman Drew Helleson will represent BC, while forwards Nick Abruzzese and Sean Farrell of Hopkinton will represent the Crimson.
Boston University sophomore Drew Commesso of Norwell is one of three goaltenders on the roster.
The team will be coached by former BU coach and Rhode Island native David Quinn.
“We’re excited about the mix,” Quinn told ESPN. “I think we’ve got a great mix of youth and experience. The challenge is you’re throwing 25 players together in a short period of time and trying to become a cohesive unit in a small window.”
Four years ago in PyeongChang Team USA went with an older squad, with just four players in the college ranks, and struggled, finishing seventh out of 12 teams. The average age on the roster was 29.6, whereas this year’s group comes in at 25.1.
Other local connections on the squad include Marshfield native David Warsofsky, who played on BU’s 2009 national championship team, and Steven Kampfer, who spent the last three seasons with the Bruins.
In two games, Stoneham’s Sam Colangelo nets two goals
Northeastern (15-5-1) came back from the holiday break by sweeping Long Island to extend its unbeaten streak to eight games. A few days later, the streak was snapped when Arizona State went into Matthews Arena and handed the Huskies a 6-2 loss on Tuesday.
The game was a late add, as the Sun Devils approached Northeastern about playing after NU’s game with Vermont scheduled for Friday got pushed back to Tuesday, Jan. 18. ASU was already in town for a pair of games with Boston University (both won by the Terriers), so the schedules lined up.
A silver lining in the loss was another goal for Stoneham native Sam Colangelo, his second goal in as many games.
“I thought he was playing some pretty good hockey before he got banged up this year,” said coach Jerry Keefe. “He’s getting his timing back and learning what he has to do to have success at this level, but he’s got a lot of ability. When he’s playing at the top of his game, he can be a difference maker for sure.”
Forward Aidan McDonough of Milton and defenseman Jordan Harris of Haverhill were both reportedly under consideration by Team USA, while there are multiple reports that goalie Devon Levi had been invited to join Canada. Before the roster was announced, Keefe talked about the possibility of any of his players heading to the Olympics.
“It’s a good thing for our program for sure,” said Keefe. “But at the same time, yes, it’s a concern, because we haven’t had a full lineup very much this year, so it would be nice to get, not only a full lineup, but play some games together and string some games together with a full lineup.”
BC takes its game outside
Boston College (10-6-3) will have a busy week ahead, facing New Hampshire in a home-and-home series beginning Friday night at Durham, and traveling next week to play Notre Dame on Wednesday.
After a tough 5-4 loss to UConn last Saturday in which they tied the game in the final minute, only to surrender the game-winning goal 22 seconds later, a change of scenery was in order, so the Eagles took advantage of the cold weather earlier this week and held an outdoor practice at the Jack Kirrane skating rink in Brookline.
UNH (9-10-1) has struggled offensively for much of the season, but erupted for 12 goals in the last two games to secure victories over Mercyhurst and Clarkson. The Wildcats had nine players inactive for Saturday’s 5-1 win over Clarkson, and were down to just one goalie, senior Mike Robinson.
That left coach coach Mike Souza scrambling for a backup, and he turned to Jake Moniz, a fellow Wakefield native who played goal at Bishop Fenwick. Now a student at UNH playing intramural hockey, Moniz stepped in for the Wildcats last year when they needed a practice goalie. The only issue this time was Moniz had plans to travel to Miami for the Patriots game and initially declined. But fortunately for everyone involved, Moniz was able to reschedule his flight.
Souza was hoping to get Moniz in the game, and once the Wildcats scored an empty-netter for the four-goal margin, he had his chance, and Moniz went in with 36 seconds remaining in the game.
“We had the whistle, he goes in and gets a shot. It was awesome,” said Souza. “It was extra cool for me because he’s a Wakefield guy, and his father is friends with my brother. It’s kind of a crazy, crazy story, and one he’ll remember for a long time and I certainly will, too.”
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney.