At a Glance: BC Hockey Recruits Off to Strong Starts


November 18, 2013 by conteconfidential

The Boston College men’s hockey team made headlines when it snagged Sonny Milano this weekend. Milano, who was originally committed to Notre Dame, received an “A” rating from NHL Central Scouting, indicating that he is seen as a potential first or second round selection in the 2014 NHL draft. As of the moment, he is projected to be a part of a stacked class of 2018. In the spirit of Milano’s commitment, Conte Confidential updates how BC’s hockey recruits are doing so far this season.

Class of 2018

Sonny Milano (U.S. NTDP U-18): Milano has been called a “once in a decade talent” and was rated by the College Hockey News as the No. 2 recruit in the nation. His 30 points (10g-20a) in 19 games leads the U-18 team, and he is currently riding a five-game point streak with 14 points (5g-9a) over that span. He recently helped the team to a second place finish in the U-18 Four Nations Tournament with eight points (2g-6a) in four games.

Alex Tuch (U.S. NTDP U-18): Tuch is enjoying a breakout year. Currently third on the U-18 team in scoring with 23 points (11g-12a) in 19 games, he needs only two points to equal his output from last season with the U-17 team, when he finished with 25 points (11g-14a) in 56 games. In nine USHL games, he has 13 points (5g-8a), which is three more than he had in 38 games last year. His best performance to date came against Muskegon on Oct. 20. With two goals and three assists, he led Team USA to a 7-3 win. Like Milano, Tuch had a strong showing at the Four Nations, totaling 11 points (4g-7a) in four games.

Tanner MacMaster (Camrose Kodiaks, AJHL): MacMaster was picked by the Waterloo Black Hawks in the 2013 USHL draft but opted to stay in Camrose for another season. The reigning AJHL Rookie of the Year has appeared in 24 of Camrose’s 28 games, missing time to attend Hockey Canada camps, and is third on the team in scoring with 23 points (4g-19a). His 19 assists are good for a tie for second in the league. He tried out for Canada West for the World Junior A Challenge but was asked to play in the CJHL Prospects Game instead, and he tallied an assist in two games for Canada West. MacMaster has been in a bit of a scoring slump as of late, as 15 of his points, and all of his goals, came in the first 14 games of the season.


The rich got even richer as Sonny Milano joined what is shaping up to be another stacked freshman class next year (photo credit: U.S. National Team Development Program)

Zach Sanford (Waterloo Black Hawks, USHL): According to Waterloo head coach P.K. O’Handley, it takes a player roughly 20 games to get the feel of the USHL. In his first season in the EJHL last year, Sanford got off to a slow start, being held pointless for the first seven games and goalless for the first 13 before tearing the league up in the second half to finish the 37-game regular season with 36 points (12g-24a). So far this season, his first in the USHL, the 6-foot-4 Washington Capitals pick has a solid, but unspectacular, nine points (5g-4a) in 15 games, tied for eighth on the Black Hawks in scoring. He had a six-game point streak in October, where he totaled all but one of his points this season. With 20 PIM, it’s clear that Sanford is starting to throw his weight around.

Joey Dudek (Kimball Union Academy, NH High School): Over the summer, Dudek won a silver medal representing the United States at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. All three of his points (1g-2a) came in the U.S.’s 4-2 win over Russia in the preliminary round. He was one of three New Hampshire high school players to be rated by NHL Central Scouting, receiving a “C” rating on its preliminary list. Kimball Union’s season begins Saturday as the Wildcats take on Stanstead College.

Class of 2019

Noah Hanifin (U.S. NTDP U-17): There’s talk that Hanifin’s arrival at BC could be accelerated a year, like Thatcher Demko’s was this year. With 17 points (3g-14a) through 16 games, he is tied for third on the U-17 team in scoring and is the only defensemen to appear in the top 10. At the U-17 Four Nations Tournament, Hanifin totaled six assists in four games to help his team capture the gold medal. Through nine USHL games, he has eight points (2g-4a). The 6-foot-2 blueliner has made the transition from the prep school game to international competition and the USHL look seamless so far, furthering his case to come to BC a year early.

Chris Brown (Cranbrook Kingswood, MI High School): Captain Pat Brown’s younger brother committed to BC in early September. With his family’s tradition at BC, it was a no brainer. Last year, Brown finished tied for third on the team with 50 points (23g-27a) in 30 games. In MIHL conference play, he notched 12 points (5g-7a) over the 13 games. Cranbrook’s season starts tomorrow against Plymouth.

Casey Fitzgerald (U.S. NTDP U-17): Fitzgerald doesn’t have the big numbers of fellow BC recruits and teammates Hanifin and Colin White, only recording four points (1g-3a) in 16 games. But the younger brother of BC freshman Ryan is still making an impact for the U-17 team. His +7 plus/minus rating leads the team, and he’s been a solid defensive presence on the blueline.

Chris Birdsall (Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, USHL): Birdsall made the jump to the USHL last year at age 16. In 23 games for the RoughRiders, he finished with a GAA of 3.63 and a 0.867 sv%. This year, he has split time with Danny Tirone, a University of New Hampshire recruit who is in his first season in the USHL. Birdsall’s numbers aren’t the best, as he currently has a 3.08 GAA and a 0.900 sv% in seven starts. His record, though, sits at a 5-1-1-0, largely because Cedar Rapids has been able to outscore its opponents at a furious clip.

Class of 2020                                                                                 

Colin White (U.S. NTDP U-17): Like Hanifin, White has made the transition from prep school to playing for the U.S. NTDP look easy. The 16 year old is currently second on the U-17 team in scoring with 20 points (9g-11a) in 17 games. At the Four Nations, White notched nine points (3g-6a) in the four games. His best performance in the tournament came in the team’s 8-2 rout of Switzerland, in which he tallied two goals and three assists for a team-best five points.

Graham McPhee (Shattuck-St. Mary’s, MN High School): The son of the Washington Capitals GM and BC hockey alum George McPhee, this forward verbally committed to BC in early November. A member of the Shattuck-St. Mary’s U-16 team, he has 20 points (7g-13a) in 14 games played, according to the school’s website. Last year, with Shattuck-St. Mary’s Bantam team, he totaled 89 points (35g-54a) in 61 games.

By Jen Dobias

Note: Class years are based on when the players would graduate from BC. The players were put in these classes based on the College Hockey News’s projections.


One thought on “At a Glance: BC Hockey Recruits Off to Strong Starts

  1. […] At a Glance: BC Hockey Recruits Off to Strong Starts (Conte Confidential) […]

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