By James Duffy, sports editor
The Northeastern University (NU) men’s hockey team will be welcoming eight incoming freshmen to Matthews Arena this fall, according to head coach Jim Madigan. In an interview with GoNU, Madigan spoke about the recruiting class, which consists of four forwards, three defensemen and one goalie.
“This incoming class, I think, in general, will continue what our senior class started four years ago, and what every subsequent class has been able to do, and provide us with a lot of hard work,” Madigan said. “They’re passionate players, they’re productive players, they’re smart players and they want to be at Northeastern, and we’re excited to welcome them here this fall.”
The pool of future Huskies will inject youth into a lineup that graduated six seniors last season: Goalie Derick Roy, forwards Kevin Roy and Mike McMurtry and defensemen Colton Saucerman, Dustin Darou and Jarrett Fennell. In addition to the graduating class, junior defenseman Matt Benning, junior forward Will Messa and freshman defenseman Logan Day will not be returning to Huntington Avenue next season.
These departures leave holes to fill for the incoming class, headlined by forward Matt Filipe. Filipe, whose father Paul played for Northeastern, comes in as one of the most highly touted recruits in years. After Matt’s rookie season in the United States Hockey League (USHL) during which he tallied 36 points in 56 games, he was selected 67th overall in the NHL Draft by the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Matt is a big, strapping 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound forward who gives you some flexibility and versatility in that he can play forward or left wing,” Madigan said. “He’s heavy on pucks, strong, a great skater with great offensive ability.”
Filipe was one of two incoming freshmen to have his name called at the draft, as defenseman Jeremy Davies was selected by the New Jersey Devils in the seventh round. Davies brings strong offense from the blue line, after leading USHL defensemen in points last season. Madigan was quick to point out, however, that his game is not one dimensional.
“He’s really intelligent, a good skater, jumps up in the play well and supports the play,” Madigan said. “He’s just not an offensive player. He plays 200-feet, but he does it with an effortless approach.”
One other member of the group had already been drafted. Defenseman Ryan Shea was taken in the fourth round of the 2015 draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. Shea now looks to step onto the ice at Northeastern and make immediate contributions.
“He’s a smart, puck moving defenseman with high-end offensive skills who converted back to defense four years ago,” Madigan said of Shea.
The incoming class also includes forwards Grant Jozefek, Biagio Lerario and John Picking, defenseman Nick Fiorentino and goaltender Curtis Frye.
Madigan called Jozefek a “cerebral” player and said he would remind fans of Roy and McMurtry. Picking also looks to have strong offensive upside, as he notched 24 goals and 59 points in 40 games this year, both of which ranked third in the U.S. Premier Hockey League (USPHL). Lerario, who led the USHL in penalty minutes last season, brings a bit more grit to the forward group and could play a strong role on the third or fourth line.
Fiorentino, standing at 6 feet 2 inches, can bring a physical aspect to the Huskies defense.
“He’s a physical, big, strong defenseman,” Madigan said. “He keeps his game in front of him and simple, but he’ll give us that toughness and grittiness down low and heaviness that Darou and Fennell provided.”
The eighth member of the class, Frye, will be competing with sophomore Ryan Ruck and junior Jake Theut in the fall for time in net. Frye backstopped the Philadelphia Flyers Elite of the USPHL before committing to NU.
These eight will be thrown into the fire immediately as the Huskies defend their place as Hockey East Champions, and each of them will need to play their best to rise to the challenge.
Player / Position / Height / Weight / Handedness / Hometown / Previous Team
Matt Filipe | Forward | 6 feet 2 inches | 203 | Left | Lynnfield, Mass. | Cedar Rapids (USHL)
Grant Jozefek | Forward | 5 feet 10 inches | 170 | Right | Chester, N.J. | Lincoln (USHL)
Biagio Lerario | Forward | 5 feet 11 inches | 185 | Left | Addison, Ill. | Lincoln (USHL)
John Picking | Forward | 5 feet 9 inches | 170 | Left | Wellesley, Mass. | Boston (USPHL)
Jeremy Davies | Defense | 5 feet 11 inches | 181 | Left | Pointe-Claire, Quebec | Bloomington (USHL)
Ryan Shea | Defense | 6 feet 1 inch | 176 | Left | Milton, Mass. | Youngstown (USHL)
Nick Fiorentino | Defense | 6 feet 2 inches | 201 | Right | Hartsdale, N.Y. | Merritt (BCHL)
Curtis Frye | Goaltender | 6 feet 4 inches | 194 | Left | Northwood, N.H. | Philadelphia (USPHL)
Photo courtesy United States Hockey League.