Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Boston University's 2005 recruiting class

Editor's note: This is the first of several original articles written by blog contributors looking back at the 2008-09 season and, in this case, BU's senior class.

by srsterrier

It is April 2009 and the mood on Comm. Ave. is decidedly euphoric [well, at least part of Comm. Ave]. But four years ago, the reaction out of Terrier Nation to BU's 2005 recruiting class was underwhelming. The class did not make Inside College Hockey’s annual list of the Top 15 recruiting classes, finishing behind the likes of Bowling Green and Ferris State. The six recruits coming to BU that year, Chris Higgins, Jason Lawrence, John McCarthy, Steven Smolinsky, Brandon Yip, and some walk-on out of the EJHL named Gilroy, were the subject of ridicule from some fans of opposing schools. The conventional wisdom was that BU was falling behind in the recruiting battles with other Eastern schools.

Four years later, the results are in and the 2005 recruit class accomplished the following:
• 100 wins
• 3 Beanpot Championships
• 2 Hockey East Regular Season titles
• 2 Hockey East Tournament Championships
• 2 End-of-regular-season #1 rankings
• 3 NCAA tournament appearances
• 1 National Championship

How is it that what many believed to be a mediocre class could have this kind of success? One factor stands out: all six stayed for the full four years and will be graduating together next month. While other elite programs brought in top players, many of those recruits left after a year or two. Members of BU’s 2005 recruiting class chose to finish what they started and gave the program much-needed continuity and leadership in the incredible 08-09’ campaign. It didn’t have to be this way. In the case of Gilroy, there were multiple offers from the NHL, but he passed on them. Some felt that Yip could pursue a similar opportunity, but he also stayed. Smolinsky could have been forgiven if he had transferred elsewhere so he could have more playing time. But he remained with his class too.

Not only did the six classmates provide leadership, it turns out they were talented too. Aside from the numerous individual awards and accolades that they won [multiple Player of the Week awards, Hockey East Rookie of the Year, All-American team, Hobey Baker, etc.], this year’s Seniors had a knack for producing goals at the most critical times. In the last month alone, Yip scored the lone goal in the Hockey East Championship against UMass-Lowell; Lawrence scored the game-winner with seconds to go in the NCAA quarterfinal against UNH; and Higgins tied things up late in the 3rd period of the NCAA semifinal against Vermont. Finally, who can ever forget Gilroy’s brilliant play to get the puck over to Nick Bonino with the clock ticking down against Miami?

When all is said and done, Boston University’s 2005 recruiting class will be remembered as one of the most successful in Terrier history. For a group of recruits that many observers had panned, that must feel pretty good.

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